Liberalisation of FDI In Insurance Companies – A look at the step(s) taken since the Big Budget Announcement

The industry is now well versed with the move to liberalise foreign direct investment (“FDI”) in Indian insurance companies to 74%, from the existing cap of 49%. The announcement was first made by the Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2021, as part of her Budget presentation. The move followed the raise in FDI limits to 100% in insurance intermediaries, which was announced by Ms. Sitharaman in July 2019 and effected in September 2019.
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Transfer of Shares of an Insurance Company - The much-needed clarifications

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (“IRDAI”) issued a circular (“Circular”) on July 22, 2020 to all CMDs and CEO of insurance and re-insurance companies with a view to bring more clarity on issues relating to the transfer of shares of insurance companies and the creation of pledge over shares of insurance companies Set out below is a brief summary of the clarifications provided by the Circular in relation to transfer of shares of an insurance company:

 A. Clarification on IRDAI’s guidelines for transfer of shares of listed companies
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IRDAI’s Approach to ‘Fit and Proper’ Assessment in light of the Sahara Life Saga

Introduction

An issue of significant relevance to financial regulators world-over is the fitness and propriety of key shareholders of financial entities. The objective of this blog is to analyse IRDAI’s approach to assessment of ‘fit and proper’ status of significant owners of insurers, especially in light of the order passed by the IRDAI in the matter of M/s Sahara India Life Insurance Company Limited (“Sahara Life”) on December 30, 2020 (“IRDAI Order”). Before we delve into IRDAI’s approach in this regard, it is important to trace the chronology of events, leading to the IRDAI Order.
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