Assocham seeks reduction of lock-in period to 6 months in RGESS

“Retail investors who find difficult to enter equity markets due to sharp upswings do not want any lock-in on their investments,” Assocham said in a report

Industry body Assocham called for reducing the lock-in period in the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) for new equity investors to six months, instead of three years as proposed in the Budget 2012-13.

"Retail investors who find difficult to enter equity markets due to sharp upswings do not want any lock-in on their investments. Thus, the three-year lock-in period under the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Scheme announced in the Budget needs to be reviewed and capped at six months," Assocham said in a report.

Further, the report said that the only way to attract and enlarge retail participation is to reserve at least 50% of PSU divestment at a discount of 5%-10% to market price.

This will bring some stability and depth in the market, it added.

On the auction method, it said, the mode has upset retailers as it puts big investors and corporates to advantage due to their capacity to quote higher price.

Less than 2% of people in India invest in capital markets as against 35% in the US, 15% in UK and China, and 12.5% in Germany.

"The time is ripe to roll out more stock exchanges and encourage setting up of trading platforms in existing stock exchanges in securities of small and medium enterprise," Assocham secretary general D S Rawat said.

Companies which are not listed at home should be allowed to raise equity abroad upon compliance of regulatory requirements in the destination countries, he said.

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RBI relaxes norms on unused fund refund on international travel cards

The central bank has allowed authorised persons, mainly banks, to issue foreign currency pre-paid cards to resident Indians going abroad, subject to the overall ceiling

The RBI has relaxed the norms for refund of unutilised sums to holders of international travel cards by doing away with the 10-day mandatory waiting period.

"All such authorised persons (which are allowed to issue cards) shall redeem the unutilised balance outstanding in the cards immediately upon request by the resident Indians to whom the cards are issued...", RBI notification said.

At present, the agencies issuing travel cards refund the unutilised amount only after 10 days from the date of last transaction.

As per the RBI norms, a person can utilise $10,000 or equivalent currencies for private overseas visits during a year.

The central bank has allowed authorised persons, mainly banks, to issue foreign currency pre-paid cards to resident Indians going abroad, subject to the overall ceiling.

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HSBC India appoints Stuart Milne as CEO

Naina Lal Kidwai will continue as the country head of HSBC India and also as a director at HSBC Asia Pacific

The country's second largest foreign bank HSBC said it appointed group veteran Stuart Milne as the new chief executive, effective 1 April 2012. Stuart Davis, after a three-year stint in the same role, is moving out of the country but within the group. This makes HSBC the second foreign bank in the country to have a new CEO, after rival British lender Standard Chartered Bank.

Davis' new role is yet to be announced, but it has been reported that he will be holding a larger role at the bank's Asia headquarters in Hong Kong as part of a global reshuffle of the bank as the largest European bank tries to trim costs in the Western markets which are yet to recover from the 2008 credit crisis.

Naina Lal Kidwai will continue as the country head of HSBC India and also as a director at HSBC Asia Pacific. "Milne, who was most recently its country manager for Japan, succeeds Stuart Davis who is moving to a new position within the organisation," the bank said.

On Milne's appointment, HSBC Asia-Pacific chief executive Peter Wong said, "I am delighted to announce Stuart Milne as HSBC India CEO. His appointment to the executive committee in Asia reinforces the high profile of our India business. I am pleased that in the three years that Stuart Davis has been in India, HSBC has secured its position among the biggest and most profitable foreign banks in the country. HSBC has emerged as a competitive player in the market, taking Indian businesses overseas and helping to attract overseas business to India," Wong said.

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