SEBI circular dated 13th August, 2020 laying down standard operating procedure for redressal of grievances by listed companies.
Investors are encouraged to initially take up their grievances for redressal with the concerned listed company directly. SCORES platform can also be used to submit grievances directly to the company for resolution, if the complainant has not approached the company earlier. Companies are expected to resolve the complaint directly.
In case the company does not redress the complaint within 30 days from the date of receipt of the complaint, such direct complaints shall be forwarded to Designated Stock Exchange (DSE) through SCORES. Basically it means that the investor will have to complain again in the SCORES system if the company has not redressed his grievance within 30 days.
At the time of lodging the complaint through SCORES platform, in case the
complainant had approached the company earlier, the complainant shall submit all such details of the complaint in SCORES i.e., period of cause of event, date of grievance taken up with the entity, address of the company corresponded earlier, etc. Such complaints shall be forwarded to the DSE. This is not clear, when the complaint is filed at the SCORES platform, then why the necessity to forward complaints to the stock exchange.
Upon receipt of the complaint through SCORES platform, the SE shall take up the complaint with the company. The company is required to redress the complaint and submit an Action Taken Report (ATR) within 30 days from the date of receipt of such complaint. So basically it means that enforcement of SCORES is done by the respective stock exchange.
In case the ATR is not submitted by the company within 30 days or SE is of the opinion that the complaint is not adequately redressed and the complaint remains pending beyond 30 days, a reminder shall be issued by SE to the listed company through SCORES directing expeditious redressal of the grievance within another 30 days. SE should ensure that the ATRs are not frivolous. Company asking for further documents or information is not tantamount to redressal of the complaint.
On being adequately satisfied with the response of the company with respect to the complaint, the stock exchange shall submit an ATR to SEBI. It should be “fully satisfied” rather than adequately satisfied, which is very vague.
For any failure to redress investor grievances pending beyond 60 days by listed companies, stock exchange shall initiate appropriate action against the listed company as detailed below.
SEBI circular empowers the stock exchanges to levy fines and if the fines are not paid or the complaints are not redressed, then the promoter’s shareholding can be frozen. Stock exchanges can levy a fine of upto Rs.1000/- per day for those complaints which are not redressed within the stipulated time period. Stock exchanges have power to take any other action as it may deem fit beyond the levy of fines and freezing of the shareholding of the promoters.
Then it has laid down procedures after the fines have been paid for the unfreezing of the promoters’ shares in the exchange. After this period, payment of fines levied is mandatory. Even if the complaint has been redressed, the shares will not be unfrozen until and unless the fines have been paid.
This circular will come into force from 1st September, 2020,
Copy of the circular can be found here