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Advisory firm IiAS questions ESOPs for Paytm CEO and demands SEBI’s intervention

Training guns at Paytm, proxy advisory firm Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS) raised concerns that the fintech major could be bypassing laws to grant employee stock options (ESOPs) to its founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

The advisory firm expressed two concerns in a note: whether Sharma meets the definition of a promoter under SEBI guidelines, and whether his direct or indirect cumulative shareholding in the fintech behemoth was less than 10%. The advisory firm requested that the SEBI investigate Sharma's decision to reduce his direct stake in Paytm by transferring his shares to a family trust. In H1 FY23, Paytm spent INR 564 Cr on ESOP expenses for directors, KMPs, and relatives of key management personnel.

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