This article was published in February, although it relates to fresh news that Chitra Ramkrishna was arrested following an investigation into a scandal that engulfed the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE), starting in 2015.
The scandal arose from allegations that certain firms and members of the NSE were given priority access to NSE data, giving them an 'unfair' informational advantage over other members.
I recall the scandal from the time. It highlighted why the Securities and Exchange Board of India has taken such a hard-line approach to algorithmic trading and co-location.
The latest allegation against Chitra Ramkrishna is that the spiritual guidance she sought went above and beyond the common practice of executives seeking 'coaching' from astrologers, numerologists and yogis to the point where 'allegedly the former chief executive of India's largest bourse made crucial decisions by consulting and sending confidential information to a yogi.'
While the above case is shocking and reaffirms the importance of robust regulators and corporate governance practices, it throws up an interesting debate regarding guidance in the business world.
What is important to emphasise is that it is not the case that anyone should find the use, or the seeking of guidance from spiritual coaches unusual: we all do it to one extent or another from a variety of sources we trust, for whatever reason.
I am reading a recently-published book by Joe Zammit-Lucia - The New Political Capitalism - that expounds on the difficulties businesses have navigating a world where business shapes politics and politics more-than shapes business.
It would be a mistake to forget that it is not just politics that interacts with business and vice versa; it is also 'belief' that shapes and directs business. How often do we hear commentators give us the '10 most effective habits of successful entrepreneurs' or highlight the importance of 'self-belief'.
The focus should not be on whether or not business leaders can seek wider advice from people other than a brand or management consultant, accountant or lawyer, but rather ensuring that one follows all appropriate rules and regulations in doing so.
“Senior leaders often seek informal counsel from coaches, mentors or other seniors in this industry,” Ramkrishna told the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in April 2018. “I felt his guidance would help me perform.”