Sebi invites bids from BPOs to set-up helpline agency

New Delhi: Markets regulator Sebi has invited bids from BPOs and call centres to set-up helpline service, where agents will attend investor calls on issues related to IPOs and commodity derivatives. While the helpline has been proposed to be set up with 30 agents initially, it can be extended up to 50 seats. The agency will run its nationwide toll-free investor helpline between 9 am and 6 pm every day, except declared public holidays. The timing might subsequently be extended based upon the data including call volume.

In a notice, the regulator has invited “applications from reputed agencies from the field of Business Process Outsourcing/Call centers for setting up and operating helpline services of Sebi in the interest of the investors of securities market all over India”.

The helpline will handle matters like procedure for lodging complaints, opening of trading accounts, complaint status and assistance in issues like transfer and transmission of shares, Initial Public Offers and assistance related to commodity derivatives.

Besides, the call centre would also need to provide guidance on status of companies on whether they are unlisted, sick, vanished or delisted, matters pertaining to other regulators that are not under the Sebi purview. The agency would also require to record and track the calls, inform the Sebi about status of processing of calls, but would not provide legal opinions and investment advice.

The agency would need to respond to investors in seven languages (English, Hindi and five regional languages) initially and after satisfactory service, helpline operations may be expanded to another seven languages. The tenure of the contract for providing helpline services will be three years, extendable up to five years.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said that bids can be submitted by November 13 and the interested candidates should have sufficient infrastructure. The agency should be registered under Companies Act. It should not have been blacklisted by any government agency or PSU in last two financial years. It needs to have a minimum average annual turnover of Rs 100 crore during last three years and should have been in operations of providing call center services for at least three years.

The agency also needs to be registered with software industry body Nasscom and the applicant should have a total capacity of at least 5,000 full-time equivalent for Indian domestic call center voice operations during each of last three financial years.

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