New bank licenses: Guidelines still stringent but more time allowed for meeting norms

The new bank licenses, when issued, are likely to usher in greater innovation and competition into the Indian banking sector. The guidelines are stringent understandably but the opportunity for the winners can be immense

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which had on 22nd February issued final guidelines for issuing new banking licences, on Monday came up with clarifications to various queries, as many as 443 from 39 entities, raised by prospective licence seekers.


Nomura Equity Research looks at the impact of the clarifications. According to the brokerage, the RBI will grant no forbearance for maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) and Priority Sector Lending (PSL) requirements.


Judging whether a promoter group has sound credentials and integrity is an issue of ‘judgment’ and no specific measures have been enumerated, Nomura said.


Para-banking activities, such as credit cards, primary dealer, leasing, hire purchase & factoring, can be housed either inside the bank departmentally or through subsidiaries held in the Non-Operating Financial Holding Company (NOFHC). Insurance, stock broking, asset management, asset reconstruction, venture capital funding and infrastructure financing through Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) sponsored by the bank can only be done outside the bank under the NOFHC, as per RBI’s clarifications.


All lending activities have to be housed within the bank (including housing finance). Commodity broking cannot be held under the NOFHC. Lending activities that are not permitted to a bank, such as promoter financing, loans for purchase of land, would have to be wound up within 18 months from the date of in-principle approval or before commencement of the bank, whichever is earlier. Infrastructure financing through IDF sponsored by the bank will remain outside the bank (but under the NOFHC) while infrastructure financing activities of an infrastructure finance company (IFC) have to be conducted from within the new bank held by the NOFHC.


RBI may consider allowing the new bank to convert the existing non-bank financial company (NBFC) branches into bank branches only in the Tier 2 to six centres. All NBFC branches in Tier 1 centres which would carry out banking business may be permitted to be converted into bank branches and the excess would be adjusted against future entitlements of the new bank within three years from the date of commencement of the bank. Erstwhile branches of NBFC, retained and converted into bank branches, cannot conduct the NBFC’s business.


Impact for NBFCs covered by Nomura:

IDFC – CRR, SLR norms may be easier compared with PSL.

LICHF – LICHF cannot be an NOFHC and will need clarity further on whether the NOFHC that will be created will also include LIC under it (insurance is a regulated financial services activity).

REC & PFC – Lack of forbearance on CRR, SLR and PSL is a negative.

MMFS – Meeting PSL norms is not a challenge.

Shriram Transport – Clarity on the plan for transferring the businesses of Shriram Transport & Shriram City Union Finance to the NOFHC needs to be watched. Also, the group structure is quite complex, and how this will be rationalized in the time frame provided needs to be seen.


SEBI cracks whip on 105 companies for not complying with public shareholding norms

Voting rights and corporate benefits of promoters and directors of Adani Ports, BGR Energy Systems, Tata Teleservices and Videocon among others, have been frozen. SEBI has also warned of levying monetary penalties, initiation of criminal proceedings, restricting trading activities of related stocks, etc

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has cracked the whip on 105 companies including Adani Ports, BGR Energy Systems, Tata Teleservices and Videocon for not complying with the mandatory 25% public holding (minimum public shareholding-MPS) norms. Out of the 105 non-compliant companies, 33 are suspended by the stock exchanges.


SEBI's whole time member, in an order issued late last night had frozen voting rights and corporate benefits of promoter, promoter group and directors of these companies, until they comply with the minimum shareholding norm.


The market regulator has also prohibited promoter, promoter group and directors of these non-compliant companies from buying, selling and dealing in the company shares in any manner. In addition, SEBI has restrained them from holding any new position as a director in any listed company, till they follow the norms.


In a 13-page order issued late last night, SEBI also warned of further actions, including levy of monetary penalties, initiation of criminal proceedings, restricting the trading activities of related stocks and other possible directions.


The companies whose promoters and directors would face prohibitory orders include Adani Ports, BGR Energy Systems, Videocon Industries and Tata Teleservices.


The guidelines issued on 4 June 2010 by the finance ministry make it mandatory for Indian companies to have a free float of at least 25% before 3 June 2013. State-run companies or public sector units (PSU) too have to comply with these guidelines by 8 August 2013. Market regulator SEBI had clearly said that the deadlines would not be extended.


On 4 June 2010, the finance ministry amended the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules, 1957 (SCRR), raising the MPS requirement to 25% for listed companies or those that proposed to list. Listed companies that did not meet the MPS norm would be required to increase public shareholding by at least 5% a year until they met the norm. On 9 August 2010, the SCRR was amended again to revise public-sector companies' MPS norms to 10% (from 25%) within three years from August 2010.


According to BNP Paribas Securities (Asia), these guidelines have created an asymmetrical situation between sellers of equity i.e. company promoters and potential buyers or secondary market investors. “The promoters have to sell by a certain date, but the buyers are not forced to buy. In fact, secondary market investors may not even be interested in buying the equities of many of the companies. This, in our view, creates downside risk to the share prices of companies that need to increase free float,” the brokerage said in a research note.


As of May 2013, the market had seen 44 offers for sale (OFSs) and eight institutional placement programmes (IPPs) worth $9 billion. SEBI has allowed companies to take either one of the routes—follow-on public offers (FPOs), OFS, IPP or bonus, rights issues—to comply with the revised norms. A company wanting to take any other route must take SEBI's permission before doing so. 


Here is the list of companies against which SEBI had issued the order...




Sunil Arora

3 years ago

Why is Westlife not figuring in this list. Today I read that they are going to allot equity to Airsig partners. Are they allowed to?

Real Estate Regulatory Bill gets Cabinet nod

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill seeks to make it mandatory for developers to launch projects only after acquiring all statutory clearances from relevant authorities

A Bill providing for setting up a regulator for the real estate sector and having provisions like a jail term of up to three years for developers who make offences like putting up misleading advertisements about projects repeatedly was approved by the government on Tuesday.


The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, approved by the Cabinet, seeks to provide a uniform regulatory environment to the sector.


It also intends to make it mandatory for developers to launch projects only after acquiring all statutory clearances from relevant authorities.


Builders and developers who become repeat offenders may even face a jail term of up to three years.


The Bill makes it mandatory for builders to clarify the carpet area of the flat. This would be made uniform for the entire country. This rule would make the concept of super area—which is often used to mislead owners—virtually non-existent.


The Bill has provisions under which all relevant clearances for real estate projects would have to be submitted to the regulator and also displayed on a website before starting the construction, sources said.


The proposed legislation has tough provisions to deter builders from putting out misleading advertisements related to the projects carrying photographs of the actual site.


Failure to do so for the first time would attract penalty which may be up to 10% of the project cost and a repeat offence could land the developer in jail.


The ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation is working on bringing all projects under a single-window clearance. While the Airports Authority of India and municipal bodies have come on board, there are some objections from the environment ministry which are being looked into.


The ministry sources said 22 states had given their approval to the Bill while five states wanted certain amendments. These changes have been incorporated in the Bill cleared by the Cabinet, sources said. Chhattisgarh is the sole state to still oppose the Bill.


Builders and developers will have to get all clearances—from title deed to project cost—cleared before construction begins. FAR (Floor Area Ratio) will also have to be specified clearly by the builder.


While the regulator in the states will be appointed by the state governments, in Delhi the urban development ministry will appoint the regulator. DDA is likely to be made the regulator in Delhi, sources said.


The Regulator will also be the appellate authority in cases of dispute. This will save the owners the hassle of running around to different authorities for redressal.


The developers will also have to specify the common area in the society. The term ‘apartment’ has been specified in the Bill and will include the space to be provided for a garage.


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