The aggregate investments by QFIs in equity schemes of the mutual funds under direct and indirect routes shall be subject to a ceiling of $10 billion. QFIs can invest up to an additional amount of $3 billion in the units of mutual fund schemes, which invest in infrastructure debt
New Delhi: The government on Tuesday allowed foreign investors, in its newly created Qualified Foreign Investor (QFI) category, to invest up to $13 billion in equity and debt schemes of mutual funds, a move aimed at enhancing depth in the capital market, reports PTI.
The announcement comes at a time when there are concerns over the flight of foreign capital and is expected to provide much needed succour to the markets.
“It has been decided that the aggregate investments by QFIs in equity schemes of the mutual funds under direct and indirect routes shall be subject to a ceiling of $10 billion,” a finance ministry statement said.
Similarly, QFIs can invest up to an additional amount of $3 billion in the units of mutual fund schemes, which invest in infrastructure debt of minimal residual maturity of five years in corporate bonds issued by infrastructure companies, it said.
QFI is an individual, group or association, resident in a foreign country that is compliant with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standard.
It is to be noted that QFIs do not include foreign institutional investors or sub-accounts as these are already permitted to invest in equity and debt markets in India.
This would enable QFIs to have direct access to the Indian mutual funds. It would widen the class of investors participating in the Indian capital market, help increase depth and reduce volatility in the market, it said.
Both Reserve Bank of India and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued enabling notifications in this regard.
Dividend payments on units held by QFIs would have to be directly remitted to the overseas accounts of the QFIs by the domestic mutual funds and dividend payments to QFIs would not be allowed as an eligible credit to the single rupee pool bank account, the RBI said in its notification.
SEBI in a separate notification said QFIs can buy units of equity or debt funds in the primary market, but cannot trade in the secondary market.
The capital market regulator also said that when the cumulative QFI investment reaches $8 billion in equity schemes, SEBI would auction the remaining limit to foreign investors who can then buy the units from funds of their choice.
A similar process will be followed when the investment in debt hits $2.5 billion.
The QFI limit for debt will be within the overall ceiling of $25 billion, including FIIs, set by the RBI in corporate debt issued by infrastructure companies.
According to the statement, the announcement incorporates the suggestion made by captains of India Inc during meeting with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on 1st August to allow investment from QFIs up to $3 billion in for debt schemes in the infrastructure sector.
As the scheme has now been expanded to include debt schemes investing in infrastructure sector, it is expected to give a new momentum to the debt instruments in this priority sector, it said.
The QFI scheme, it said, will make it easier for the overseas investors to participate in the infrastructure sector projects in India, and therefore would provide an additional source of overseas long term debt funding.
The move follows the announcement of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue in the last Budget.
“Currently, only FIIs and the sub-account registered with SEBI and NRIs are allowed to invest in the mutual fund schemes.
To liberalise the portfolio investment route it has been decided to permit SEBI registered mutual funds to accept subscriptions from foreign investors who meet the KYC requirements for equity schemes,” Mr Mukherjee had said in the Budget speech.
“This would enable Indian mutual funds to have direct access to foreign investors and widen the class of foreign investors in India equity market,” the finance minister had said.
The average assets managed by the MF industry, consisting of 40 players, stood at Rs7.28 lakh crore as of July 2011.
The suggestion was made by the high court while hearing a petition filed by MCX-SX against SEBI for not allowing it to start equity trading despite complying with all regulations. SEBI representatives responded by saying that they would seek instructions from the regulator’s board in this regard
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) whether it would accept an undertaking from the promoters of MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-SX) that they would maintain their equity holding at 5% and not exercise the option of converting warrants into equity, reports PTI.
The suggestion was made by justice DY Chandruchud and justice Anoop Mohata, who were hearing a petition filed by MCX-SX against the market regulator for not allowing it to start equity trading despite complying with all regulations.
SEBI representatives responded by saying that they would seek instructions from the regulator’s board in this regard.
As per the SEBI guidelines, no promoter of a stock exchange can hold more than 5% equity stake.
In the above case, Financial Technologies (FTIL) and Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), promoters of MCX-SX, had reduced their equity stake to 5% by evolving a method wherein they gave warrants to 18 PSU banks.
They assured the court that the warrants would not be converted into equity.
FTIL concluded its arguments yesterday, while MCX will give its submissions today. Thereafter, additional solicitor general Darius Khambata will argue on behalf of the SEBI.
In a petition filed on 19th July last year, Jignesh Shah-led MCX-SX had urged the high court to direct SEBI to grant clearance for commencing operations in the equity segment as it had complied with the guidelines issued by the regulator.
Three days prior to filing the petition, MCX-SX came out with a public notice expressing anguish at the delay in getting license and also at the misinformation campaign launched by rivals.
MCX-SX pleaded that although it had complied with all SEBI regulations and norms to commence operations, it was not given the permission to commence equity trading. It also alleged that the market watchdog was favouring a rival stock exchange.
In an advertisement earlier, MCX-SX, without naming the National Stock Exchange, had alleged that its rival was killing competition by offering free trading in currency derivatives, and thus making it difficult for it to get business and investors.
“There have been attempts by some elements at spreading misinformation to create doubts among our shareholders and to undermine our reputation and business for their benefit,” MCX had said.
In an apparent attack on SEBI, it had said the go-ahead for doing full-fledged business was elusive despite MCX-SX having taken all the necessary steps to make it compliant to the relevant regulations about trading in equities, equity derivatives, interest rate derivatives, mutual fund and debt market among other instruments.
Although MCX-SX became operational in October 2008, it is offering only currency derivatives products at present.
The stock exchange had said that one of the key conditions put on it was related to bringing down promoters’ stake and it did so with a ‘capital reduction-cum-arrangement’ scheme and that SEBI was informed about the same, way back in December 2009.
While the scheme was already approved by the board and shareholders, it also got the nod of the Bombay High Court in March 2010 and the same was also notified to SEBI on 7 April 2010, MCX-SX said.
But the exchange has got ‘no response from SEBI in this regard’ as of July 2010, it had noted in the public announcement.
C Sivasankaran, who heads $3 billion conglomerate, Siva Group, with operations in realty, telecom, shipping and other areas, had alleged in his statement to the CBI that he was forced by the then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran to sell his stake in Aircel to Maxis
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will soon approach Maxis, a Malaysian-based firm, for co-operation in its probe on alleged forced sale of shares from Aircel to it at the behest of the then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, reports PTI.
Sources in the agency said that Maxis will be asked to join the probe and respond to allegations made by former Aircel chief C Sivasankaran.
Mr Sivasankaran, who heads $3 billion conglomerate, Siva Group, with operations in realty, telecom, shipping and other areas, had alleged in his statement to the CBI that he was forced by Mr Maran to sell his stake in Aircel to Maxis.
Mr Sivasankaran had alleged that his applications for licences were rejected when Mr Maran was the telecom minister in 2006, forcing him to sell his company to Maxis, whose owner is considered to be close to Mr Maran and his brother Kalanidhi, who owns Sun TV.
Mr Maran is alleged to have granted 14 licences to Dishnet Wireless (Aircel) during his tenure as the telecom minister.
CBI is looking into financial transactions of Sun TV and Maxis. Besides, it is also looking into various aspects of takeover of Aircel by Maxis group, the sources said.
Maxis has 74% stake in Aircel which has presence in 23 telecom circles in different states.
The probe agency has already registered a preliminary enquiry on issues in second generation (2G) spectrum allocation between 2001 and 2007 and is actively looking into matter.
The PE was registered against 'unknown persons' following a Supreme Court directive to detect any alleged anomaly in the 'first-come-first-serve' during the spectrum allocation between 2001 and 2007.
Mr Maran may soon be 'examined' by the CBI in connection with his alleged role in persuading Mr Sivasankaran to sell his stake to a Malaysia-based group, the sources said.
They said Mr Maran, who resigned as textile minister last month, will be asked to answer allegations levelled by Mr Sivasankaran on spectrum policy changes made during his tenure as telecom minister.
They said CBI would soon wrap up the PE on the issue of spectrum allocation during the period 2001-07 which spans across three telecom ministers-Pramod Mahajan, Arun Shourie and Dayanidhi Maran-before registering a regular case.
Before registering a regular case, Mr Maran will be given an opportunity to appear before CBI and give his statement, the sources said.
Arun Shourie, who had held the charge of telecom ministry between 2003 and 2004, recorded his statement with the CBI on 25th February about allocation of telecom airwaves during his tenure but the agency has so far not found anything against him, they said.