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

Bank Guarantee

A move that may prove to be a game-changer but the proof lies in the pudding

A government procurement contract (GPC) for goods and/ or services usually requires the elected counterparty (Contractor) to furnish a bank guarantee (BG) of upto 5-10% of the contract value as performance security, as per General Financial Rules 2017. Rising non-performing assets, in recent years, have prompted banks to exercise greater caution while issuing BGs, due to which, the cost of procuring a BG has gone up from 20-40 basis points to 50-130 basis points and the cash margin required for securing a BG has also increased from 15-20% to 40-100% of the amount of the BG. Owing to these factors, the procurement of a BG has become increasingly cumbersome for Contractors and they have been long-advocating the need for an alternative to BGs.

Continue Reading Replacement of bank guarantees with surety bonds in government procurement: A welcome relief?

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!

SEBI Regulatory Update

There have been significant changes to the regulatory regime governing alternative investment funds (“AIFs”)[1] in the past year and a half. In its Board Meeting dated August 06, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) approved a fresh set of amendments to the SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 (“AIF Regulations”), governing AIFs, intended to ease compliance requirements, provide greater investment flexibility and streamline regulatory processes. A regulatory circular giving effect to these proposed amendments is awaited.

Continue Reading SEBI Regulatory Update : Proposed Amendments to AIF Regulations

Extra-territorial application of India’s securities law – Has SEBI cast its net too wide?

If a connection exists, it is for the Legislature to decide how far it should go in the exercise of its powers.[1]

Introduction

The territorial application of laws made by Parliament is enshrined in Article 245 of the Constitution of India (“Constitution”). The universal presumption that laws made by a country are limited to its own territorial borders, is provided under Article 245(1) of the Constitution, which provides that “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India.” However, Article 245(2) of the Constitution carves out a specific exception providing that a law made by Parliament, pursuant to Article 245(1), shall not be invalidated on the ground that such a law would have extra-territorial operation. Most countries have enacted extra-territorial laws with the US being the clear leader in this regard having enacted anti-corruption law, securities laws etc. which have extra-territorial application.

Continue Reading Extra-territorial application of India’s securities law – Has SEBI cast its net too wide?

SEBI Delisting Regulations 2021

The SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2021 (“2021 Regulations”), were notified on June 10, 2021. The new regulations do not substantially deviate from the SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2009 (“2009 Regulations”). However, certain incremental changes are introduced that further refine and streamline the delisting process. The key changes effected by the 2021 Regulations, with specific reference to voluntary delisting offers, are as follows:

Continue Reading SEBI Delisting Regulations, 2021

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!