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Is SBI Life Insurance a private or government company?

There is some confusion in the minds of the general public when it comes to the ownership of SBI Life Insurance Company. This article will aim to resolve all those queries.

SBI Life Insurance is a joint venture between Indian banking giant SBI and foreign company BNP Paribas Cardif.

SBI Life Is a Publicly traded company that is listed on the BSE and NSE stock exchanges.

SBI Life shareholding pattern

The identity of the company can be made out of its shareholding pattern. Below is SBI Life’s shareholding pattern:

  • 55.50% shares owned by SBI – No of shares 555,000,000
  • 5.20% shares owned by BNP Paribas Cardif – No of shares 52,007,092
  • 32.92% shares owned by institutions – No of shares 329,214,588
  • 6.37% shares owned by the general public – No of shares 63,836,997

As you can see the majority ownership is with the State Bank of India (SBI), hence the decision-making authority when it comes to the direction of the company will be SBI. That being said, SBI Life is being run like a professionally managed company and not like a Public Sector Unit (PSU).

This means that majority of the employment opportunities within SBI Life will be private in nature and not through Government exams and reservations.

Difference between a PSU and a privately run company

As mentioned above, even though the majority ownership of SBI Life is government owned, the company is run like a private professionally run company. Let us learn about the 5 most important differences between a PSU and a Privately run company.

Employee hiring

A PSU will generally hire through general government exams and specific government exams. Hiring is based on quotas and reservations. PSU’s hire through exams like SBI Probationary Officer (PO) Exam, SBI Clerk Exam, SBI SO Exam, etc. Other PSU’s like BHEL, DRDO, ONGC have their own set of exams.

A privately-owned company will hire based on their own internally formulated yardsticks.


The end goal of a public sector company is to uplift the people of the nation. This can be done by employing a quota system, reservations, etc. The end goal of a privately run company is to make profits for its shareholders


The ownership of a government company lies with the state or central government. Ownership of a private company lies with a private entity.

Restricted sectors

Private ownership in certain sectors is restricted by the government. For instance, only state-owned corporations can partake in the following sectors:
Atomic energy

Examples of privately owned vs Government owned companies

  • Example of a government undertakings can be SBI, IOC, BHEL, etc.
  • Privately-owned companies include ITC, Reliance Industries, Wipro, Infosys, L&T, L&T Finance, etc.

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