Financial Action Task Force

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

Revised norms for foreign portfolio investors SEBI

The norms surrounding foreign portfolio investors have undergone continuous changes and tweaks since liberalisation. The framework introduced by Central Government was first consolidated and expanded upon by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) under the SEBI (Foreign Institutional Investors) Regulations, 1995 (1995 Regulations).

A little under a decade later, in 2014, SEBI took steps to consolidate the categories of investors previously accessing Indian capital markets – i.e., foreign institutional investors, sub-accounts and qualified foreign investors – into a single class known as ‘foreign portfolio investors’ (FPIs). SEBI also delegated the responsibility of registering such FPIs to designated depository participants (DDPs). Multiple questions arising out of the new regime were subsequently answered by SEBI in a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs), updated from time to time. The 2014 Regulations also incorporated concepts such as opaque structures and a scope of investor group, which did not find a mention in the 1995 Regulations but were introduced through notifications and instructions from SEBI.

Five years later, SEBI has issued revised norms for FPIs in terms of the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2019 (2019 Regulations) with a number of changes (as suggested by the committee headed by Mr. HR Khan), some to concepts dating back to the regime under the 1995 Regulations. The 2019 Regulations also consolidate the extensive guidance and requirements prescribed by SEBI by way of amendments to the 2014 Regulations as well as circulars and FAQs issued thereunder.

This post discusses some of the key aspects of the 2019 Regulations.
Continue Reading Revised Norms for FPIs: New Wine in a New Bottle