Ship Leasing in IFSC

India has a vast coastline and easy access to shipping routes, yet India contributes only 1% in global trade.[1] Many major shipowners and operators have chosen key international maritime centres such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai as their base for operations.

To create a stimulating ecosystem that can help Indian entities compete with global marine hubs by accelerating and boosting their presence internationally, IFSCA has constituted a Committee on Development of Avenues for Ship Acquisition, Financing and Leasing Activities (“SAFAL Committee”) to obtain a complete overview and assessment of the existing legal and regulatory regime in IFSC in India for ship acquisition, financing and leasing.

Continue Reading Ship Leasing in IFSC – A New Regime

FIG Paper

Pursuant to the Report of the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) Working Group on Digital Lending, issued on November 18, 2021, and the RBI Press Release on ‘Recommendations of the Working Group on Digital Lending – Implementation’, dated August 10, 2022 (“August Press Release”), the RBI released the Guidelines on Digital Lending on September 2, 2022 (“Guidelines”). Our Alert examines the key changes introduced and industry implications.

Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 17 – Series 2) – New Digital Lending Guidelines – Industry Implications

Evolving Insurance Landscape in IFSC

The Gujarat International Financial Tec-City (“GIFT City”) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, is India’s first operational greenfield smart city, housing a domestic tariff zone and an International Financial Services Centre (“IFSC”) in a Multi-service Special Economic Zone (“SEZ”). As part of developing India’s very own and first IFSC, both Indian and foreign entities are permitted to establish and operate IFSC Insurance Offices (“IIO”) from GIFT City, upon obtaining the requisite approvals. The IIOs have the advantage or the ability to transact in freely convertible foreign currencies in offshore markets, while being situated within the territorial borders of India. From 2015 to early 2020, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (“IRDAI”) issued guidelines for IIOs (“IRDAI IIO Guidelines”). Thereafter, pursuant to the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019, the International Financial Services Centres Authority (“IFSCA”) was empowered on October 1, 2020 as the unified regulator with wide powers to develop and regulate financial products, financial services, and financial institutions in IFSCs, including IIOs.

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Fund Management Regulations 2022

I. Introduction

A robust asset management industry along with a well-developed regulatory ecosystem is pivotal to the growth of capital markets, which are in turn critical to a developing economy such as India. The Government of India is taking considerable efforts for ‘onshoring the offshore’ financial services activities to enable India to compete with some of the more established jurisdictions in the world such as Singapore, Mauritius and Hong Kong.

Continue Reading IFSCA (Fund Management) Regulations, 2022: Inching closer to make India a Global Hub for Asset Management

GIFT City

Introduction

The onset of Global In-house Centres (“GICs”) in India was driven by global financial services companies seeking to drive costs down and access India’s large talent pool across various locations. These factors together made it a compelling case for GICs to invest in India to setup large centres which performed a variety of functions across technology, risk, AML, operations, research, credit analysis, etc., for a wide variety of businesses, from retail banking, wholesale banking to investment banking, located in various foreign countries. This model has been visibly successful in driving the upskilling of a large talent pool in India and enabling significant cost advantages to the financial services companies that have implemented this model.

Continue Reading GICs in IFSC, GIFT City: A Combination to Unlock Value

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

SEBI amends FPI Regulations to permit registration of AIFs in IFSC with resident sponsors managers as FPIs

Previously, RBI had permitted Indian entities to make mandatory sponsor commitment to AIFs in IFSC under the ‘automatic route’

Introduction

Alternative Investment Funds (“AIFs”) set up in an International Financial Services Centre (“IFSC”) are required to register themselves as Foreign Portfolio Investors (“FPIs”), for being able to invest inter alia in securities listed on Indian stock exchanges or in specific listed or unlisted corporate debt securities of Indian companies. Since entities set up in IFSCs are equivalent to ‘non-residents’ for the purposes of Indian foreign exchange regulations, restrictions placed by Securities Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) and the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) on participation of Indian residents in FPIs are, by default, applicable to AIFs in IFSC. Considering that AIFs may be set up by managers/ sponsors who are resident Indian entities and that the SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 (“AIF Regulations”), require managers/ sponsors of AIFs to make mandatory sponsor commitment[1] to the AIF, it is imperative that the restrictions on residents investing in FPIs do not conflict with the mandatory sponsor commitment requirements under AIF Regulations, as applicable to AIFs in IFSC.

Continue Reading SEBI amends FPI Regulations to permit registration of AIFs in IFSC with resident sponsors/ managers as FPIs

Funds in GIFT City - FAQs & Structuring Insights Blog

 A. Introduction

Gujarat International Fin-Tec City (“GIFT City”) is being developed as a global financial and IT Services hub on the lines of globally benchmarked financial centres. It includes a Special Economic Zone having the status of an International Finance Services Centre (“IFSC”). The IFSC is set up to undertake financial services transactions that are currently carried out outside India by overseas financial institutions and overseas branches/ subsidiaries of Indian financial institutions. 
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 Indian Mutual Funds – M&A Wave

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) recently approved amendments to the SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996 (“MF Regulations”) at its December 16, 2020 board meeting, notified on February 4, 2021 through the MF Regulations by way of the SEBI (Mutual Funds) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021, with effect from March 5, 2021.

Currently, a Mutual Fund (“MF”) ‘sponsor’ is required to have a ‘sound track record’ i.e. having profits  in 3 out of the last 5 years, including the fifth year. Recognising the role of emerging tech/ fintech companies in the Indian financial services space and to facilitate MF innovation/ geographic penetration, SEBI relaxed the above profit criterion for sponsors. Going forward, MF sponsors who do not meet the above, would still be eligible to, either set up a new, or acquire an existing, MF asset management company (“AMC”) and trustee company, if it has a minimum net-worth of INR 1 billion as contribution towards the AMC’s net-worth, which is required to be maintained till the sponsor makes profits for 5 consecutive financial years.
Continue Reading FIG Papers (No. 3: Series – 1) : Indian Mutual Funds – M&A Wave!

RBI’S REVISED REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR NBFCS

Introduction

In the backdrop of recent stress in the financial sector, especially in the speciality finance (i.e. NBFC) space, the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) has sought to address potential systemic risks by issuing a discussion paper on ‘Revised Regulatory Framework for NBFCs – A Scale-Based Approach’ (“Discussion Paper”) on January 22, 2021. The apex bank, through the Discussion Paper, has introduced a scale-based approach to the regulation of non-banking financial companies. Owing to their growing significance, linkages with the banking and capital markets sectors, and complexity in operations, the Discussion Paper proposes a four-tiered regulatory structure for NBFCs, based on proportionality of the NBFCs.
Continue Reading FIG Papers (No. 2) : RBI’s Revised Regulatory Framework for NBFCs : Industry Implications