Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments

The past year has witnessed a massive increase in sanctions-related enforcement activity and has indeed caused a stir in the global sanctions landscape. Under the new administration, the US re-imposed all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, culminating in the largest ever single set of sanctions designations to date.

With the heightened global regulatory environment and the aggressive stance of enforcement agencies, it has been made rather clear that sanctions laws can no longer be ignored. Moreover, in an attempt to bring clarity to compliance expectations of the sanctions regime in the US, on May 02, 2019, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published the Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments (Framework). The Framework sets out OFAC’s key considerations for evaluating the efficacy of a sanctions compliance programme (SCP) and in turn determining whether mitigation of civil monetary penalties ought to be granted. Continue Reading Are You Ready to Make a Commitment? A Glimpse into the Newly Introduced OFAC Compliance Commitments

Challenges and Opportunities in the Indian Media and Entertainment Industry - Film Industry

The media and entertainment industry in India enjoyed a stellar performance in 2018, with the film segment expanding by 12.2% to reach an annual revenue of INR 174.5 billion. Of this amount, the domestic film revenues crossed INR 100 billion with Net Box Office Collections for Hindi films at INR 32.5 billion – the highest ever.

The number of Hollywood films released in India fell from 105 in 2017 to 98 in 2018. Hollywood films (consolidated with Indian language dubbed versions) reached Net Box Office Collections of INR 9.21 billion. Thirteen Hindi films reached the INR 100 crore mark in 2018, the highest number the industry has ever seen. Multiplexes added to the total screen count to reach 9,601; however, the number of single screens declined.[1] Continue Reading Challenges and Opportunities in the Indian Film Industry

Difference between International Investment Arbitrations and International Commercial Arbitrations

A foreign investor’s power to sue a host State plays a vital role in investment protection. Investment arbitration is undertaken to resolve disputes between a foreign investor and the host State and is also known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and differs from an International Commercial Arbitration (ICA/s) dispute due to the nature of the claim and the parties involved. While the former deals with disputes arising under a public treaty between two contracting States, the latter deals with disputes arising out of a commercial contractual obligation[1].

Under a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT/s), States ensure certain rights and protections to investors from the other contracting State[2]. These include Fair and Equitable Treatment, National Treatment, Most Favoured Nation (MFN), Protection from Expropriation to name a few. Each of these are protections accorded under international law and are usually negotiated upon by the contracting States, such that any derogation from the protections accorded give rise to the investor’s right to initiate an investment arbitration against the host State. Currently, there are 2,344 BITs and around 314 Treaties with Investment Provisions in force globally[3]. Continue Reading International Investment Arbitrations and International Commercial Arbitrations: A Guide to the Differences

Shares with Differential Voting Rights

The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has recently circulated a consultation paper on Differential Voting Rights (DVRs). Issuance of shares with differential voting or dividend rights is not a novel concept for India. It has been around since 2000 and a few listed companies, like Tata Motors and Pantaloons, have issued shares with differential voting / dividend rights.

However, ever since, SEBI amended the Listing Regulations in 2009, to state that listed companies are not permitted to issue shares with ‘superior rights’, there have hardly been any takers for this instrument. SEBI’s current proposal appears to be an attempt to breathe some life into such instruments by providing more flexibility in structuring the terms of such issuances, albeit with some checks and balances.   Continue Reading Shares with Differential Voting Rights – SEBI’s Sequel Trumps the Original

data protection indian insurance regulations

 

In the first part of this two part series we discussed about the regulatory frameworks governing insurance companies and insurance intermediaries. In this part we will look at the guidelines applicable to both insurance companies and insurance intermediaries which includes cyber security and ecommerce guidelines.

Guidelines Applicable to Both Insurance Companies as well as Insurance Intermediaries

In addition to the previously-mentioned regulations, the IRDAI has also issued certain guidelines pertaining to data security and protection that are applicable to both insurance companies as well as insurance intermediaries. These are the Guidelines on Information and Cyber Security for Insurers[i] (Cyber Security Guidelines) and the Guidelines on Insurance E-Commerce[ii] (E-commerce Guidelines) and have been discussed below. Continue Reading Data Protection in the Indian Insurance Sector – Regulatory Framework Part II

 Data Protection in the Indian Insurance Sector – Regulatory Framework Part I

A shift towards digitisation has been the central theme for the insurance industry in recent years. Digitisation lowers the cost of transacting business, helps increase penetration, and brings higher efficiencies. However, the convenience of digitisation brings with it concerns related to data protection.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 (SPDI Rules) set out the general framework with respect to data protection in India. However, given the nature of the business of insurance companies and intermediaries, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has prescribed an additional framework for the protection of policyholder information and data, which is required to be followed in addition to the general framework under the IT Act. Continue Reading Data Protection in the Indian Insurance Sector – Regulatory Framework Part I

RBI’s Fintech Sandbox Proposal Startups

Technological innovation in the financial space, popularly known as ‘fintech’, has been at the forefront of regulatory thinking in recent times and is widely considered to be the panacea to the thorny issues of financial inclusion and ease of access to financial products/solutions, etc.

In 2018, the inter-regulatory Working Group (WG) set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to review the granular aspects of fintech and its implications, released a report being the ‘Report of the Working Group on FinTech and Digital banking’. One of the WG’s key recommendations was the introduction of an appropriate framework for the creation of a regulatory sandbox (RS) where the RBI could provide the requisite regulatory guidance to test products in a controlled environment. Continue Reading Learning by Doing? The RBI’s Fintech Sandbox Proposal

Race to Space - Space Activities Bill, 2017 - commercialization of space

Spearheaded by the Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India has developed low cost indigenous space capabilities for peaceful purposes over five decades. The proposed Space Activities Bill, 2017 (Bill), seeks to dismantle the Government monopoly on space and encourage private sector involvement. Will it lead to advancement of the space programme?

Globally, the space sector is no longer the preserve of Governments, as entry barriers to private players are being lifted[1]. The need for technological advancement, cost reduction and emerging opportunities such as mineral exploration of planets, are some of the reasons for encouraging the private sector. ISRO began commercialising certain space activities by opting for a public-private partnership model[2]. It has since seen many start-ups, but has yet to translate into a wider role for the private sector.   Continue Reading Race for Space

Social media code of conduct and ethics - election commission of India

The 2014 General Elections saw a new kind of election campaigning. Far removed from the dusty rallies, a considerable part of the campaigning took place online. Political parties employed big data analytics to crunch user information of nearly 100 million Indian social media users and used it to their advantage in campaigning.

Political parties’ major portion of campaigning was done by PR executives sitting on computers, in addition to the proactive Twitter accounts of their leaders. A study estimated that around Rs. 300-400 crores were spent by the political parties for their publicity and campaigns on social and digital media in 2014. Continue Reading May The Best Man Win: ECI’s Social Media Code of Conduct

NEW ICDR Regulations - SEBI

 

In November 2018, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018 (New ICDR Regulations) came into force, replacing the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2009 (Old ICDR Regulations). The overhaul of the regulations followed a robust public consultative process, aimed at getting views from stakeholders and at bringing the Indian regulations closer to global best practices.

The New ICDR Regulations particularly emphasise streamlining disclosure requirements with respect to financial statements in offer documents for initial public offerings, by reducing the volume of disclosures and focusing on what is considered material and relevant to an investor in making an investment decision.

Continue Reading Financial Disclosures Under the New ICDR Regulations – Half a Step Forward