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

Arbitral Award

I. Introduction

One of the quintessential features of an arbitration friendly jurisdiction is a robust award enforcement mechanism. Often such enforcement mechanisms are determined by the interpretation of ‘public policy’ of each jurisdiction. In India, the trajectory of public policy has witnessed dramatic advancements, resulting in a much narrower scope and ambit of interpretation. Consequently, Indian courts have adopted a pro-enforcement stance and this pattern can be observed even in the arbitral awards that have been passed in disputes relating to exchange control laws and securities regulations.

Continue Reading Enforcement of a Foreign Arbitral Award: Calcutta High Court Contextualises Fundamental Policy of Indian Law

Overseas Direct Investment

Background

Outbound investments in India have witnessed a significant decline from its peak in the golden period of 2005-08. As per the data collated by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”), in July 2011, the total outbound financial commitment was at USD 5,478.15 million. This figure has declined over the decade to USD 2,047.79 million in December 2021.

Continue Reading RBI’s proposed regulatory architecture for the ODI Regime – Does it meet India Inc’s expectations?

Delegated Legislation

Background

Over the last few decades, there has been a trend where only a small fraction of law stems directly from ‘legislations’ passed by the Parliament. In the sphere of corporate law, the tendency of the law makers is to enact ‘bare-bone’ statutes such as the SEBI Act, 1992 (“SEBI Act”) and the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (“FEMA”), and a bulk of the law is enacted by the designated regulators, such as the MCA, SEBI and RBI.

Continue Reading The Rise & Rise of Delegated Legislation – Do we need more Safeguards?

IFSC Banking Units – offshore branches with onshore dispute resolution

The Gujarat International Financial Tec-City (“GIFT”) 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 banks are permitted to establish and operate IFSC Banking Units (“IBU”) from GIFT IFSC, upon obtaining the requisite licenses and permissions. The IBUs have the advantage or the ability to transact in freely convertible foreign currencies in the offshore markets, while being situated within the territorial borders of India. From 2015 to early 2020, the Reserve bank of India issued notifications and regulations related to the IFSC framework. Thereafter, on April 27, 2020, the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2020, was notified, pursuant to which the International Financial Services Centres Authority (“IFSCA”) was established 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 IBUs.

Continue Reading IFSC Banking Units – offshore branches with onshore dispute resolution?

Role of IFSC in the Indian SPAC Dream

India, being one of the major consumers of international financial services, has been pushing the envelope on making itself the hub for such services. With this objective, the Government of India had operationalised India’s first (and currently the only) International Financial Services Centre (“IFSC”) at GIFT Multi Services Special Economic Zone (“SEZ”) in Gujarat in April 2015. In this regard and to further this objective, the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act was enacted in December 2019 to set up a unified regulator, viz the International Financial Services Centres Authority (“IFSCA”), which commenced operation in October 2020. The IFSCA has been vested with the roles and powers of four domestic regulators, namely the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (“IRDAI”), and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. IFSCA has been set up to develop and regulate financial institutions, financial services, and financial products within the IFSCs in India.

Continue Reading Role of IFSC in the Indian SPAC Dream: An Overview – Part 1

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?

Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Part I of this article explores the current Indian regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry and recommendations for AML/CFT compliance in respect of virtual asssets.

Indian legal framework

The virtual asset industry has had a somewhat difficult time in India, with the RBI banning any regulated entities from providing services to any individual or business, dealing in digital currencies, given the risks involved in such transactions. The term ‘services’ included maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges, dealing with them and transferring or receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs or facilitating the same thereof.
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part II

Rights Issue - Regulatory to and fro on renunciation

On April 27, 2020, the Central Government notified the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) (Second Amendment) Rules, 2020 (“FEMA NDI Amendment”). The FEMA NDI Amendment seeks to modify the position on pricing of rights issue – in case of renunciation of rights in favour of a non-resident by a resident, pricing guidelines will apply. We have analysed the implications of the FEMA NDI Amendment on rights issue of securities in this blogpost.

Why Rights issue?

Rights issue has been a preferred mode of raising capital from the existing shareholders of a company as there are no prescriptive conditions on issue price. Companies have the flexibility to determine issue price in case of rights issue under company law as well as SEBI regulations (applicable to listed companies). This gives companies much-needed flexibility to structure a capital raise from existing investors, especially in times of need.
Continue Reading Rights Issue: Regulatory to and fro on renunciation?

Single Brand Retail Trading A tale to harmonise NDI Rules with the FDI Policy

In an attempt to liberalise retail trading in India, the Government of India (“GoI”) has introduced intermittent reforms in the past decade, with a view to make the sector investor friendly and to ensure that India remains an attractive investment destination from the Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) perspective. The measures introduced have enabled foreign players to set up brick and mortar stores and operate in the e-commerce space to facilitate the transformation of the retail landscape in India.
Continue Reading Single Brand Retail Trading: A tale to harmonise NDI Rules with the FDI Policy