Norms for MFs, insurers’ participation in preference issues eased

“It has been decided to exempt insurance companies and MFs from the provisions of SEBI (ICDR) Regulations relating to sale and lock-in of their pre-preferential shareholding in the issuer company,” SEBI chairman UK Sinha said after a board meeting on Sunday

New Delhi: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Sunday relaxed investment norms by waiving the six-month lock-in period for insurance companies and mutual funds (MFs) participating in preferential allotment of shares, reports PTI.

“It has been decided to exempt insurance companies and MFs which are broad-based investment vehicles representing the interests of the public at large from the provisions of SEBI (ICDR) Regulations relating to sale and lock-in of their pre-preferential shareholding in the issuer company,” SEBI chairman UK Sinha said after a board meeting here today.

“As a matter of liberalisation, we have taken this measure, if there is broad-based investor base, for example the mutual funds and insurance companies which do not represent the interest of one particular investor, they have group of investors backing them and they take their decisions on professional consideration... why should they be debarred from this facility.

“Even they have bought or sold in the last six months they will be permitted (to participate in another preferential allotment). So, they have been given this special exemption,” Mr Sinha added.

As per the SEBI regulations (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements (ICDR), an insurance company or a MF cannot participate in preferential allotment transactions before the six-month cooling off period.

Also, allottees are required to lock in their entire holdings for six months under the present norms.

The board has decided to enhance the minimum investment amount of clients under the portfolio management schemes (PMS) to Rs25 lakh from Rs5 lakh at present. This would apply to new customers.

“PMS regulations are light touch regulation and SEBI was worried that retail investors are being drawn into it whereas their interest are not as tightly protected or guarded as it is in mutual fund regulation,” Mr Sinha said.

The changes would be brought about by amending the SEBI (Portfolio Managers) Regulations, 1993.

Further, SEBI has said that Asset Management Companies (AMCs) would be responsible for accuracy and truthfulness of the advertisements.

“AMCs (which float MFs) shall be responsible for the accuracy, truthfulness, fairness of the advertisement”, said a statement issued after the SEBI board meeting here.

The market regulator further said that SEBI (Mutual Fund) Regulations, 1996 would be amended and the advertisement code would be modified to broaden the definition of advertisement to include all forms of communication that may influence investment decisions of an investor.

These steps, SEBI added, were aimed at “providing flexibility to AMCs in issuing true and fair advertisements with meaningful disclosure to investors... Advertisement Code shall be amended and made principle based as far as possible”.

AMCs, SEBI said, will be required to accord a “fair treatment to all investors, in all schemes.” 

The capital market regulator has brought down limit for calculation of mark-to-market fair valuation to 60 days from existing 91 days.

“In case debt and money market securities are not traded on a particular valuation day then valuation through amortization basis shall be restricted to securities having residual maturity of up to 60 days (currently 91 days), provided such valuation shall be reflective of the realizable value or fair value of the securities,” Mr Sinha said.

“So if there are any securities where the balance period is more than 60 days so in those cases you will have to have mark-to-market valuation. Earlier this stipulation was 91 days,” he said.

“This will make NAV more realistic which means risk people might be taking for inter-scheme to that extent it will be curbed,” he added.

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Double home loan repayment exemption limit to Rs3 lakh: ICAI

In a move to boost the housing sector in view of rising property prices and high interest rates, ICAI has suggested that the deduction in respect of interest on housing loan in case of self-occupied property be increased from Rs1.5 lakh to Rs3 lakh

New Delhi: Seeking relief for home buyers, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has asked the finance ministry to double the tax exemption limit on loan repayment to Rs3 lakh, reports PTI.

“...it is suggested that the deduction in respect of interest on housing loan in case of self-occupied property should be increased from Rs1.5 lakh to Rs3 lakh”, ICAI said in a pre-Budget memorandum to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The move is necessary to boost the housing sector in view of rising property prices and high interest rates, it said.

ICAI has also pitched for aligning the provisions of the Income Tax Act, so that people above the age of 60 years can avail of all benefits meant for senior citizens.

“To bring more clarity and equality in every section which deals with senior citizens, it is suggested that 60 years age shall apply uniformly in the (Income Tax) Act and accordingly appropriate amendments may be made in the Act,” it said.

Although the Finance Act, 2011, had decreased the age of senior citizens from 65 years to 60 years for getting tax benefits of basic threshold limit, it has yet to amend other provisions related to the law.

The regulator has also suggested that the government should consider raising monetary ceilings of other tax exemption provisions in view of the inflation and declining purchasing power of rupee.

The government is expected to present the General Budget for 2012-13 anytime after 12th March.

 

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Efforts on to build consensus on FDI in multi-brand retail: FM

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s comments follow commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma telling prominent business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos that the decision to put on hold FDI in multi-brand retail is “just a pause”, forced by the compulsions of coalition politics

Chicago: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that efforts to evolve consensus on the controversial decision to open up multi-brand retail to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) were on, reports PTI.

“We have further liberalised FDI in single brand retail, but our effort to open up the FDI in multi-brand retail trading has not been operationalised yet. We are in the process of building up consensus among the various stakeholders to take the next steps in that regard,” he said.

Mr Mukherjee was addressing a gathering of top business leaders, including from Fortune 500 firms, here on Saturday.

His comments follow commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma telling prominent business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos that the decision to put on hold FDI in multi-brand retail is “just a pause”, forced by the compulsions of coalition politics.

After widespread opposition, including from its own ally, the government put on hold its decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail in November.

On the global growth scenario, Mr Mukherjee said the world is passing through turbulent times and the lingering effects of the financial crisis have of late become more pronounced.

“We have seen that the real danger to the global economy lies in the rapid contagion through today’s globally integrated financial markets...We cannot afford to have a piecemeal stop-go approach to address the issues confronting us,” he said.

Talking about the Indian economy, the minister asserted it is, in some ways, better placed than many other nations to withstand a fresh round of global economic turmoil.

He said the key objective this year is “to regain the growth momentum, strengthen the moderation in headline inflation... rejuvenate the markets and improve the business sentiments which have been at low levels for most of the last year”.

 

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