Photo of Shagoofa Rashid Khan

National Head - Funds, Investments and Advisory and Partner in the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Shagoofa has over 19 years of experience across structuring funds (domestic and offshore), managed accounts, fund documentation, acquisitions / exits / restructuring / joint ventures and strategic initiatives. She has been recognised as “Leading Lawyer” under the “Corporate/M&A” and “Investment Funds” rankings in The Guide to Asia-Pacific’s Leading Lawyers (2017 edition), a publication of the Legal Media Group, Asia Law & Practice. She can be reached at shagoofa.khan@cyrilshroff.com.

Back to the future - restoring the Mauritius route for FPI investments

Background

On September 23, 2019, the Securities and EXCHANGE Board of India (“SEBI”) notified the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2019 (“New FPI Regulations”), overhauling the erstwhile SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2014 (“Erstwhile FPI Regulations”). Under the New FPI Regulations, SEBI recategorised FPIs in to two categories (as against the three categories under the Erstwhile FPI Regulations), based on their regulatory status and jurisdiction of residence. Under the New FPI Regulations, Category I FPIs include sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, appropriately regulated entities, certain endowments and other entities from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) member countries, which are appropriately regulated funds or unregulated funds whose investment manager is appropriately regulated and registered as Category I FPI or is owned to the extent of at least 75% by certain Category I FPIs. Category II FPIs include entities that do not qualify for Category I status under the New FPI Regulations. Further, on account of the overhauling and recategorisation under the New FPI Regulations, those Category II FPIs under the Erstwhile FPI Regulations, which did not qualify to be recategorised as Category I FPIs under the New FPI Regulations got recategorised as Category II FPIs under the New FPI Regulations, along with Category III FPIs under the Erstwhile FPI Regulations. Hence, with one stroke of the pen, Mauritius based FPIs became disentitled for Category I status as Mauritius is not an FATF member.
Continue Reading Back to the Future: Restoring the Mauritius Route for FPI investments

Barbarians at the gate – no entry without approval

To say that the Covid-19 has unleashed unprecedented times is an understatement. Every country, government, regulator and citizen across the globe is trying to come to terms with the implications of this deadly virus and surviving it. It is indeed a Hobson’s Choice – to save lives or to save the economy. But several countries, in said and unsaid words, have expressed vulnerability to the corporate raiders from China! They are literally at the gate and it has become a cause of worry for most governments and corporations.

Japan has proposed building an economy that is less dependent on China, so that Japan can mitigate supply chain disruptions caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic. To this end, Japan announced an emergency economic package on April 7, 2020, earmarking 240 billion yen (approximately USD 2.2 billion) for fiscal 2020 to pay  Japanese manufacturing firms to leave China and relocate production either to their home country or to diversify their production bases into South East Asia. Australia, Italy, Spain, and Germany have announced amendments to their respective foreign investment laws to make acquisitions and takeovers by foreigners much harder. So has the European Union. The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) of the United States has seen increased review of foreign investments under the Trump administration due to security and national interest concerns.
Continue Reading Raising the Wall – No Entry without Approval

Morning Mumbai mist, hot coffee and the 1986 song ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe is playing in the background – life seems blissful! And it was mostly so for the Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) industry. As we begin the run-up to Budget 2018, we look back at the milestones crossed in 2017 and the goalposts set for 2018 – and we focus on the key hits, misses and asks of the AIF industry.

2017: Key Highlights 

  • Investment by Banks in Category II AIFs: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) amended the Reserve Bank of India (Financial Services provided by Banks) Directions, 2016 permitting banks to invest in Category II AIFs up to a maximum cap of 10% corpus of such AIF. With Category II AIFs constituting nearly 50% of the total number of AIFs registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), this amendment sets the roadmap for channeling domestic savings into productive alternate assets and, at the same time, provides banks with the ability to earn a risk-adjusted return, thereby boosting the overall Return on Equity for its stakeholders.


Continue Reading It’s the Final Countdown: Achievements by and Expectations of the AIF Industry

Taking cue from Yoda, the adjudication officer of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has ordained “Do or do not, there is no try”. This means there can be no halfway compliance with SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 and circulars issued therein (the AIF Regulations).

The November-end order of the SEBI Adjudicating officer (AO) in the case of the SREI Multiple Investment Trust (the Fund) not only provides an insight into the regulator’s interpretation of the AIF Regulations but it is also the first case of imposition of a monetary penalty for breach of the AIF Regulations. This article critically analyses the AO’s order and summarises the learnings from the same.


Continue Reading The Empire Strikes Back: Strict Compliance with SEBI AIF Regulations

The RBI has amended the Master Directions on Financial Services provided by Banks. This is a significant move permitting Banks to invest in Category II Alternative Investment Funds.

As of June 30, 2017, Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) had raised the cumulative figure of Rs. 48, 129 crores, against aggregate capital commitments of Rs 96,000 crores. The AIF industry is thus growing at an exponential rate, raising monies from domestic and offshore investors.

Unfortunately, however, the Indian AIF industry, lags behind its western counterparts in terms of participation by domestic pools of capital. In western countries, long term or patient capital, such as pension funds, contributes nearly 40% of the capital raised by AIFs. In the Indian context, restrictions prescribed by sector regulators have inhibited fund managers from raising capital from the domestic financial services sector.

Hence, it was no surprise that one of the key themes in the 2016 reports of the Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC), chaired by Mr Narayan Murthy, was “unlocking domestic pools of capital”. The committee’s recommendation was premised on the argument that the domestic capital pools – pensions, insurance, domestic financial institutions, banks, and charitable institutions – need access to appropriate investment opportunities to earn risk-adjusted returns.


Continue Reading It’s a Yes – for Banks!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things…”

Hearing my niece practice this iconic song made me introspect on the year gone by. So, here are select highlights of 2016 from the Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) industry perspective.

  1. Regulatory developments
  • 2016 started with Report 1 of the Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC), and drew to a close with Report 2 of the AIPAC in December 2016. SEBI amended the AIF regulations in November 2016 to implement recommendations relating to Angel Funds. Our last post covers key recommendations made by AIPAC in Report 2. AIPAC has rightly focussed on structural and evolutionary changes needed for the AIF industry and thus 2017 will be the year to implement or build on these recommendations.
  • In February 2016, subject to certain conditions, RBI permitted NRIs to invest in AIFs on a non-repatriation basis and for investments to be treated at par with investments by residents.
  • In April 2016, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority permitted pension funds to invest in Category I and Category II AIFs subject to various conditions. However, these conditions have effectively stymied pension fund investing in Category II AIFs. AIPAC reports recommend the liberalisation of regulations to allow investments in AIFs by pension funds, insurance companies, banks and others.
  • In April 2016, RBI amended the Foreign Venture Capital Investor (FVCI) regime under FEMA 20 to provide, inter alia, that FVCIs registered under the SEBI (FVCI) Regulations will not require RBI approval for investments as per amended Schedule 6. The RBI notification also stipulated that FVCIs can receive the proceeds on liquidation of venture capital funds (VCFs) or Category I AIFs. However, RBI’s October 2016 circular was a sting in the tail. That circular stated that downstream investment by VCFs / Category I AIFs that have been invested into by FVCIs will need to comply with Schedule 11 of FEMA 20 i.e. such downstream investments shall be subject to the sectoral caps and conditions under the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy.
  • In September 2016, RBI amended FEMA 20 to permit 100% FDI in ‘other financial services’ industry subject to conditions prescribed by the relevant regulator and FDI in entities conducting unregulated or partially regulated financial services (FS) activities with the prior approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). While this liberalisation was eagerly awaited, the language of the notification stirred up concerns surrounding the interpretation of ‘regulated FS activities’. For example, would FDI in an AIF manager which is exempt from registration under SEBI (Investment Advisers) Regulations require FIPB approval? Or would FDI in an Indian advisor to an offshore PE fund or Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) manager qualify for the automatic route?


Continue Reading 2016, The AIF Industry In Retrospect

In March 2015, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) constituted a standing Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC) under the chairmanship of Shri. N. R. Narayana Murthy. AIPAC submitted its first report in January 2016 and its second report was released by SEBI on December 1, 2016 (Report 2) for public comments.

The Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) industry has been growing exponentially. The cumulative funds raised increasing from Rs 3,841 crores (approximately, USD 568 million) in September 2013 to Rs 29,016 crores (approximately, USD 4292 million) in September 2016[1]. In approximately four years since the introduction of SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 (Regulations), the number of AIFs registered has reached 268[2]. The AIF industry is thus poised to make its next leap of growth. Guided by this, Report 2 makes several recommendations to unshackle the AIF industry and lead the way into Phase II of its evolution. Some of the key recommendations that will facilitate growth are highlighted below.
Continue Reading AIPAC Report 2: Bag Of Goodies and Festive Cheer for the AIF Industry