Among Asia-Pacific markets, Hong Kong and India led the pack, rebounding from mammoth declines in their HNI base and wealth in 2008 due to strong growth of their stock markets
India's population of high net worth individuals grew by as much as 51 per cent to over 1.26 lakh in 2009, riding on the surge in market valuations and improved economic growth, reports PTI.
According to the 2010 Merrill Lynch-Capgemini World Wealth Report, in India, the number of high networth individuals (HNIs) with minimum investable assets of $1 million (around Rs5 crore) rose to 1,26,700 by the end of 2009 compared to just 84,000 in 2008.
"India also has a relatively high market-cap-to-GDP ratio (two times GDP) and its stock-market capitalisation more than doubled in 2009, after dropping 64.1% in 2008," the report added.
"The recovery was also underpinned, however, by the strong outlook for India's underlying economy," it said.
HNIs are defined as those having investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables.
Among Asia-Pacific markets, Hong Kong and India led the pack, rebounding from mammoth declines in their HNI base and wealth in 2008 due to strong growth of their stock markets.
The wealth of Asia-Pacific HNIs rose to $9.7 trillion by the end of 2009, a 30.9% increase over the previous year.
Interestingly, for the first time-ever, the wealth of Asia-Pacific HNIs surpassed that of Europe's HNIs ($9.5 trillion) in 2009.
"In Asia-Pacific, China and India will continue to lead the way, with economic expansion and growth likely to keep outpacing more developed economies. The region's HNI growth is likely to be the fastest in the world as a result," the report added.
China continues to have the world's fourth largest HNI base of 477,000 wealthy people at the end of 2009.
Overall, the world's population of HNIs grew 17.1% to one crore in 2009, returning to levels last seen in 2007, despite contraction in the world gross domestic product.
Global HNI wealth similarly recovered, rising 18.9% to $39 trillion, with HNI wealth in Asia-Pacific and Latin America actually surpassing 2007 levels.
The global HNI population, nevertheless, remains highly concentrated in the US, Japan and Germany, which accounted for 53.5% of the world's HNI population at the end of 2009, down slightly from 54% in 2008.
Australia became the tenth largest home to HNIs after overtaking Brazil due to a considerable increase in wealth.
The wealth of ultra-HNIs, having investable assets of $30 million or more, also increased in 2009 and accounted for 35.5% of global HNI wealth.
The RBI has clarified that its directive on prohibiting alterations or corrections on cheques is applicable only to cheques cleared under the image-based cheque truncation system
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has clarified that its new norms related with alterations or corrections on cheques will be applicable only for cheques cleared under the image-based cheque truncation system (CTS). This will be applicable from 1 December 2010, the RBI said.
In a circular, the central bank said its prescription on prohibiting alterations or corrections on cheques is not applicable to cheques cleared under other clearing arrangements such as magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) clearing, non-MICR clearing, over-the-counter collection (for cash payment) or direct collection of cheques outside the clearing house arrangement.
According to a senior RBI official, it is true that 90% of cheque frauds involve beneficiary changes. A presenting bank has to be 100% sure that it is presenting a bonafide cheque and if it is not satisfied it may not present the same, he added.
The clarification from the central bank will give respite to a majority of bank customers who use the MICR clearing system and save them from the embarrassment of a cheque being returned.
Earlier, the market regulator exonerated NSDL and now SAT wants to erase certain adverse remarks against the depository made by the two-member bench of SEBI
The National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) now has a squeaky-clean slate following orders from the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) and market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in the initial public offer (IPO) scam. SAT, in its latest order, has asked SEBI to erase certain adverse remarks against NSDL made by the two-member bench appointed by the regulator in relation with the IPO scam of 2003-2005.
Earlier, in February, SEBI exonerated NSDL for the depository's alleged failure in preventing the IPO scam. SAT, in its latest order, said that it is satisfied in the light of the directions issued by SEBI. "NSDL has revised its business rules and put in place additional procedures to deal with the accounts of the beneficial owners in the event of deactivation/termination of a depository participant," the order said.
The two-member SEBI bench comprising G Mohan Gopal, director, National Judicial Academy and former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor V Leeladhar, had passed a strongly-worded order against NSDL, directing it to carry out an independent enquiry to establish individual accountability for the failures of NSDL in the IPO scam.
The IPO scam goes back to 2006 when SEBI investigations conducted by then chairman M Damodaran, unearthed that shares reserved for retail investors were illegally acquired by various entities through tens of thousands of fake dematerialised (demat) accounts and fictitious applications. From the facts, it appeared that NSDL was liable for poor oversight that allowed fake demat accounts to be opened. NSDL's then head CB Bhave denied any responsibility for the scam even though the banks that had opened the fake demat accounts were penalised by the RBI.
Based on the prima facie findings, SEBI issued various directions against 82 financiers, 24 key operators, 12 depository participants (DPs) and two depositories. The order also asked NSDL promoters to take all appropriate actions including revamping of management, which clearly has allowed matters to come to such a sorry pass, without further loss of time.
After Mr Bhave took over as SEBI chairman, a two-member bench was constituted to look into the IPO scam as well as the DSQ Software Ltd case.
This was followed by a one-year effort to bury the orders of the two-member bench. Finally, under pressure from a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court, the SEBI board met and was forced to release the three orders of the bench into the public domain. But the board sought to kill the application of the orders by declaring that two of the orders as void or 'non est' since the bench had gone beyond its brief in criticising the regulator itself.
Dr Gopal had objected to this action taken by SEBI. His reservations were echoed by Justice JS Verma, former Chief Justice of India, who declared that such quasi-judicial orders can only be reviewed and quashed "by a judicial forum with requisite jurisdiction, at the instance of a petitioner with standing to seek relief." Justice Verma is one of the most respected jurists whose opinions are not for sale.
Citing the SAT orders, the SEBI board had said, "In substance, the Hon'ble SAT has held that NSDL cannot be faulted for any lapses or deficiencies on those counts. In view of this finding by Hon'ble SAT in its order and submission made by NSDL as in paragraph 11 above, we do not find it necessary to examine the very same aspects any further and issue any fresh directions."
Earlier, the SEBI board had also sought the legal opinion of C Achuthan, former presiding officer of the Securities and Appellate Tribunal (SAT), in relation to this matter. Dr Gopal had officially pointed out that Mr Achuthan's position was conflicted because he had represented one of the IPO accused (Karvy) in a matter before the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Mr Achuthan is also a director on the NSE board, a SEBI-regulated entity. NSE is the promoter and major shareholder of NSDL.