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Partner in the Corporate, M&A and Financial Institutions Advisory Practice at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Anu has over 15 years of experience and advises clients on matters related to public and private M&A, raising capital, commercial agreements, and activism. Anu represents both Indian and multinational fintech, banking, broker-dealer, exchange, asset management, speciality finance and information technology companies on transactional, enforcement and regulatory matters.

Anu has been a member of RBI’s Committee on Household Finance, SEBI’s Working Group on Mutual Fund Regulation, Fintech Committee of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and a visiting faculty at the SP Jain School of Global Management.

Mr. Tiwari has been recognised by Chambers & Partners, IFLRMergerMarket and as Lawyer of the Year 2021, India, by Global Law Experts for his work in the M&A, Financial Regulatory and Blockchain/  Cryptocurrency space. He can be reached at anu.tiwari@cyrilshroff.com

 

 

FIG Papers

The recent Master Directions issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Credit cards and Debit cards – Issuance and Conduct Directions, 2022, dated April 21, 2022, is a consolidation of existing guidelines on the subject, except that it has brought about greater clarity by providing definitions on what is a credit card, credit limit and other related terminologies. In addition, it has spelt out more explicitly the scope of co-branding arrangements and the roles of card issuers and co-branding partners.

Continue Reading FIG Papers (No. 12: Series-1) RBI Master Directions on Credit and Debit Cards

Fintech Hubs in IFSC

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) had notified its Fintech Incentive Scheme on February 2, 2022 (Scheme), setting up a framework to provide six grants to eligible applicants. The six grants, thematically, are for ESG financing (Green FinTech Grant), meant to provide early-stage capital for scaling up (FinTech Start-up Grant, Proof-of-Concept Grant, Sandbox Grant, Listing Support Grant), and aimed at supporting third-party incubation (Accelerator Grant), with the common thread among all being an intent to facilitate market access.

Continue Reading Policy support for fintech hubs in IFSCs

Metaverse

The metaverse and its use-cases

There are many ways to describe the ‘metaverse’: a post-reality universe that allows several users to participate in a shared virtual environment, an immersive 3-D extension of the internet itself, or even as the next frontier of the digital economy. In due course, the metaverse may align itself with its initial usage, as described in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash, as a vast digital environment where users could interact with each other. While the Metaverse may escape the contours of a universally accepted definition (for some time at least), it will, by present trends, continue to capture popular culture, imagination and increasingly, various aspects of life. As early as 2005, the metaverse had begun to be considered as something more than simply being centered around MMORPGs (or massively multiplayer online role-playing games). Today, the Indian market already bears witness to the proliferation of augmented reality, virtual reality, and elements of the ‘metaverse’ across several B2B, B2C and C2C applications. Indian tech firms and start-ups have been quick to respond.

Continue Reading FIG Papers (No. 11: Series-1) Into the Metaverse: Legal and regulatory considerations in India

Fintech Department

In recent years, in line with global trends, India’s growth has been fuelled by technology and platform economy, with physical moving towards digital and ‘phygital’.

Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 10: Series -1) RBI’s New FinTech Department: Industry Implications & Future

Fintech

The end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 has come bearing gifts for the financial technology (“Fintech”) sector particularly for the lending space. The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) had amended the Credit Information Companies Regulations, 2006 (“Regulations”) on November 10, 2021 vide the Credit Information Companies (Amendment) Regulations, 2021  (“Amendment”)[1] – the first amendment since 2017 – expanding the scope of entities falling within the definition of ‘specified users’ under Regulation 3 to include “an entity engaged in the processing of information, for the support or benefit of credit institutions, and satisfying the criteria laid down by the Reserve Bank from time to time.”

Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 9) – RBI Press Release on ‘Specified Users’ – New Year Relief for Fintech Companies

FIG Paper 8

Introduction:

With the pandemic acting as a tailwind for the digital payments industry in India, the fintech industry represents a key opportunity for the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) for its financial inclusion push in the country. A key driver in this regard is the burgeoning prepaid payment instruments (“PPI”) industry. PPIs have been widely used in the country for many years, but have seen significant commercial changes in recent times to reach a wider consumer base, given the high market penetration of mobile internet in India.

Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 8) – New Master Directions for PPI – A Fresh Look at Prepaid Payment Instruments!

FIG Paper (No. 7) - Cryptocurrency in India

Introduction:

In recent years, investments in cryptocurrencies have witnessed exponential growth, with growing recognition by established financial institutions across the globe and cryptocurrencies morphing from a digital payment method to an asset class for investment.
Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 7) – Cryptocurrency in India!

FIG Papers No. 6 - Series–2 RBI Payment Regulations – 2009 to 2021 - Bank ‘nodals’ to PA PG licenses Blog

Introduction:

In our previous FIG Paper, we shared key learnings from our experience in connection with the payment aggregator and payment gateway guidelines (“PA/PG Guidelines”) issued by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) on March 17, 2020. Based on representations received from various industry associations and payment intermediaries, the RBI has formalised the clarifications (initially issued on September 17, 2020) relating to the PA/PG Guidelines on March 31, 2021 (“Clarifications”).
Continue Reading FIG Papers (No. 6: Series–2) RBI Payment Regulations – 2009 to 2021: Bank ‘nodals’ to PA/PG licenses!

RBI Payment Regulations - 2009 to 2021 - Bank nodals to PA PG licenses

Introduction:

In early March 2020, a regulatory moratorium imposed on a private bank in India froze the country’s digital payments ecosystem. Many payment aggregators (“PA”) and payment gateways (“PG”) had set up nodal accounts with this bank, including others, and it raised a question on whether the customer funds pooled in those accounts were bankruptcy ‘remote’. Within 10 days, the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) issued the payment aggregator and gateway guidelines (“PA/PG Guidelines”) on March 17, 2020, under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (“PSSA”), to regulate PAs and prescribe baseline technology standards for PAs and PGs.
Continue Reading FIG Papers (No. 5 : Series -1) : RBI Payment Regulations – 2009 to 2021: Bank ‘nodals’ to PA/PG licenses! 

Indian Mutual Funds – New M&A Rules! Anu Tiwari (Partner), Ritu Sajnani (Senior Associate), Utkarsh Bhatnagar (Senior Associate) and Karthik Koragal (Associate) The Securities Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) carried out a regulatory revamp exercise of SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996 (“MF Regulations”) and various circulars issued under it by way of a circular on mutual fund(s) (“MF”) issued on March 4, 2021 (“MF Circular”), effective from March 5, 2021, thereby streamlining a robust regime governing the reporting, compliance and disclosure requirements applicable to asset management company(ies) (“AMC”) and the trustee(s) of such AMCs. Reporting requirements strengthened Currently, the MF Circular requires an AMC to furnish the complete details of any indirect change in its control/ promoters of the sponsor(s) to SEBI and also notify details of a proposed change in control (whether direct or indirect) to the unitholders, by way of an email (in addition to publishing the same in newspapers. Similarly, in case of any proposed change to the fundamental attributes of a MF scheme, trustees are now mandated to obtain comments from SEBI, prior to effectuating such change. With an intent to ensure better compliance, SEBI has also expanded the scope of ‘key personnel’ of an AMC to include chief investment officer, chief risk officer, chief information security officer, chief operation officer, compliance officer, sales head, investor relation officer(s), etc. in addition to the erstwhile list of key personnel, which included the chief executive officer, fund manager(s), dealer(s) and head of other departments of the AMC. Hence, inter alia these new key personnel who are also now prohibited from carrying on self-dealing or front running activities, in addition to meeting the prescribed eligibility criteria. The revised reporting requirements extends SEBI’s regulatory prowess to monitor and bring more transparency in relation to the indirect change in control of the AMCs’ process. Relaxations and scrutiny go hand-in-hand In order to facilitate innovation in the MF space, SEBI has introduced certain relaxations like permitting employees of AMCs to participate in private placement of equity by any company, has allowed trustees to delegate its function(s) to declare/ fix a record date and decide the quantum of dividend, etc. to AMC officials. Further, trustees are now mandated to report to SEBI the MF securities dealt by them, only if a transaction exceeds INR 5 lakhs (vis-a-vis the previous threshold of INR 1 lakh). The regulator has also classified investment in non-convertible preference shares (“NCPSs”) as a ‘debt instrument’ and accordingly, limitation of a MF scheme to invest not more than 10% of its net asset value in debt instruments will also include NCPSs. The trustees now being required to obtain SEBI comments before effecting a ‘change in in the fundamental attributes of a MF scheme’ seems burden-some, as the regulator’s role, and oversight, already guarantees for the requisite checks and balances to govern the MF scheme, including for MF scheme transfers, through separate regulations and circulars in this behalf. Above is likely to add another layer to M&A deal-making, with already many layers involved, impacting deal costs and timelines, especially if a ‘new sponsor’ application may be involved, from a process, governance and unit holders’ standpoint. Albeit above ties into SEBI’s increasing focus on MF trustee’s accountability, which has hitherto been an overlooked area, given the nature and composition of MF trustee boards. Though, done with noble regulatory intent, one would have to see whether the above changes, including expansion of key personnel, further ‘spook’ trustee directors, especially independents - already an onerous position, with few upsides, especially after Calcutta High Court’s Order in the ITC / JPMorgan MF Trustees case, and SEBI’s approach qua Franklin Templeton trustees in 2020, expand the scope of potential SEBI show-cause ‘noticees’ from the current list of 7 (!), and shoot MF M&A in the knees, which was given a new lease of life recently via SEBI dropping the ‘3/ 5’ profitability criterion in Regulation 7, MF Regulations.

The Securities Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) carried out a regulatory revamp exercise of SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996 (“MF Regulations”) and various circulars issued under it by way of a circular on mutual fund(s) (“MF”) issued on March 4, 2021 (“MF Circular”), effective from March 5, 2021, thereby streamlining a robust regime governing the reporting, compliance and disclosure requirements applicable to asset management company(ies) (“AMC”) and the trustee(s) of such AMCs.
Continue Reading FIG Papers (No.4 : Series – 2): Indian Mutual Funds – New M&A Rules!