Regulations
RBI restricts foreign investment in HDFC Bank

RBI said HDFC Bank has crossed the FDI limit of 49% and foreign investors cannot invest any further in the Bank 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has restricted foreign investors from to investing further in HDFC Bank Ltd (HDFC bank) as the lender has crossed the 49% foreign direct investment (FDI) limit. As of 13th December, foreign shareholding in HDFC Bank stood at 52.18% as against the limit of 49%. Separately, HDFC Bank has filed an application with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) seeking approval for increasing its foreign shareholding limit.
 

In a release, RBI said “foreign entities would not be allowed further to purchases HDFC Bank shares through stock exchanges in India as it crossed its overall foreign shareholding limit of 49%. These entities include foreign institutional investors (FIIs), non-resident Indian (NRI), persons of Indian origin (PIO), foreign direct investment (FDI), asset development reserve (ADR) and global depository receipt (GDR).”
 

In a regulatory filing, HDFC Bank said, “The foreign shareholding in the Bank as on 13 December 2013 was 52.18% of its paid-up capital. This includes investments through the FDI route in ADRs and GDRs of 17.01% which were raised in accordance with the then applicable guidelines, and other foreign holdings made under the FII route of 35.17%. Necessary approval from the shareholders is in place for FII investments up to 49%.”
 

HDFC bank further mentions that, “Since the total foreign shareholding in the bank (FII and FDI) has crossed limit of 49%, the bank has filed an application with FIPB seeking approval for increasing its foreign shareholding limit, in accordance with the now prevailing guidelines."
 

HDFC Bank closed Thursday, 2.16% down at Rs653 on BSE, while Benchmark Sensex closed 151 points down at 20,708.

User

SEC issues more fines over Magnetar deals – and appears to move on

There have now been more than $435 million in SEC settlements regarding one of the most notorious groups of mortgage securities deals behind the financial crisis

Five years after the financial crisis, the Securities and Exchange Commission appears to be wrapping up its investigation into more than $40 billion worth of controversial mortgage deals that helped turn the financial crisis into the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. Today, the agency announced fines against Merrill Lynch for its role in sponsoring three of the securities with a total value of $4.5 billion.
 

Merrill, which is now owned by Bank of America, agreed to pay a fine of $131 million, but did not admit wrongdoing in the deals, which were created at the behest of an Illinois-based hedge fund called Magnetar.
 

As ProPublica detailed in 2010, Magnetar worked with investment banks to build CDOs that the hedge fund also bet against. Magnetar would buy the riskiest part of the CDO, which gave it influence in picking which bonds would be included in the CDO. In turn, the hedge fund pushed riskier bonds that would make the investment more likely to fail.
 

The fines against Merrill are the just the latest in a long series of Magnetar-related SEC settlements, now totaling more than $435 million.
 

“We are pleased to resolve this matter, which pre-dated Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch,” said William Halldin, a spokesman for the bank.
 

A North Carolina-based asset manager called NIR Capital Management was also fined over one of the three mortgage deals, known as collateralized debt obligations. NIR agreed to pay $472,000 for its involvement in a $1.5 billion deal called Norma. As part of the SEC order, NIR will cease operations and its two principals, Joseph Parish III and Scott Shannon, will be barred from working in most aspects of the financial services industry for one and two years respectively.
 

A lawyer for the two declined to offer a statement.
 

The latest charges are less serious than some earlier CDO-related charges. The agency charged another CDO manager and its chief executive with fraud in October. And it fined Goldman Sachs $550 million for its role in another non-Magnetar CDO.
 

Magnetar, which approached investment banks in 2006 and 2007 with an elaborate plan to create collateralized debt obligations, said today that the SEC has ended its investigation into the firm’s activities. While the SEC has levied fines against several banks over Magnetar deals, it has never taken any action against the hedge fund.
 

“We are happy to report that the SEC has issued a closing letter to Magnetar, which confirms that the Staff has completed its investigation as to Magnetar’s activities regarding the relevant CDOs and will not recommend any action against the firm, its funds or any of its personnel,” the firm said in a statement.
 

The SEC declined to comment beyond the charges it has already brought.
 

Merrill and Magnetar collaborated on four CDOs, all named for constellations, a trademark of the hedge fund. The SEC singled out three – Norma, Octans and Auriga – in the settlement.
 

The SEC’s order uses emails and other communication to detail Magnetar’s role in creating the CDOs. The hedge fund was a valued customer of Merrill because it was willing to do multiple transactions. In the end, Merrill’s business with Magnetar made the bank more than $40 million. The hedge fund selected many of the assets that went into the CDOs and rejected others. Magnetar then bet against many of assets. Investors who subsequently invested in the CDOs were unaware of Magnetar’s extensive role in the transactions. The SEC found that Merrill’s marketing material for the deals was misleading since it did not detail Magnetar’s role.
 

The SEC also hit Merrill over a “books-and-records” violation for improperly recording the appreciation of assets to avoid overpaying Magnetar on a deal.
 

Courtesy: ProPublica.org

User

Sexual Harassment Act: Understanding pros and cons for women

The Sexual Harassment Act if implemented well would go a long way in protecting women employees. Anagha Sarpotdar and Adv Mini Mathew, speaking at a Moneylife Foundation seminar, explained issues of workplace sexual harassment and guided on how to deal with such cases

Media coverage of the complaint against Tarun Tejpal and Justice Ganguly (retired Supreme court judge) have only brought home the fact that most people are clueless about the stringent new provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (Act).

 

Moneylife Foundation invited Anagha Sarpotdar, a consultant of gender and socio-legal issues and Advocate Mini Mathew to address issues related with sexual harassment at workplace in its 192nd seminar held on 18 December 2013 at the Indiabulls Finance Centre, Mumbai.

 

Ms Sarpotdar explained the overview of the Act and its obligations and implications for companies and employees. Adv Mathew, while explaining the impact of the Act on organisations, structure of anti-sexual harassment committees and compliance requirements, reminded the audience about Bhanwari Devi still not getting any justice. It was the Bhanwari Devi case, after which Vishakha and other women’s groups filed the public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court resulting in what are popularly known as the Vishaka Guidelines. Following the 16th December Delhi gang rape and subsequent protests, the government brought acts of sexual harassment under the Criminal Law.

 

Ms Sarpotdar said, the law casts an obligation upon the employer to address the grievances in respect of sexual harassment at workplace in a time-bound manner, which in several cases may not be practically possible as the employees or witnesses involved may not easily or readily co-operate.

 

Several times repeated complaints about sexual harassment to immediate seniors and the human resources (HR) department yield no result. “In fact, senior management ignore the sexual harassment complaint and sometimes encourage it. Even at some places harassers are backed and supported by the companies by footing their legal bills,” Ms Sarpotdar said.

 

She said, the definition of 'aggrieved woman' in the Act does not make a reference to victimisation on the part of the employer of the employee who has made the complaint of harassment, which would be fairly common in such situations. Also, in order to cover some of the technological developments, words like 'verbal, textual, physical, graphic or electronic actions' should have been added in the definition of 'sexual harassment', Ms Sarpotdar said.

 

The Act mandates the employer to provide a safe working environment and display conspicuously at the workplace, the penal consequences of indulging in acts that may constitute sexual harassment and the composition of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC).

 

Ms Sarpotdar said there are no well laid policies for employers for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment. There is zero or low awareness amongst employers about these policies and most of the policies are not in sync with Vishakha guidelines. Even external agencies like Labour Commissioner, Women Commissions and Police are not well informed about sexual harassment complaints, especially the Vishakha guidelines.

 

She said Labour Commissioner has not complied with the Medha Kotwal interim order and judgement, while Women Commissions are toothless and inefficient and Police are clueless about Vishakha guidelines. 

 

The Supreme Court, in its landmark judgment in Vishaka and others vs. State of Rajasthan (Vishaka Judgement), laid down guidelines making it mandatory for every employer to provide a mechanism to redress grievances pertaining to workplace sexual harassment and enforce the right to gender equality of working women. These guidelines are known as Vishakha Guidelines.

 

Adv Mathew said, “The Act stipulates that a woman shall not be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace, including organised as well unorganised sector. As per the Act, a workplace also covers within its scope places visited by employees during the course of employment or for reasons arising out of employment - including transportation provided by the employer for the purpose of commuting to and from the place of employment”.

 

“Sexual Harassment Act has been enacted with the objective of providing women protection against sexual harassment at the workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is considered as a violation of the fundamental right of a woman to equality as guaranteed under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India and her right to life and to live with dignity as per Article 21 of the Constitution. It has also been considered as a violation of a right to practice or to carry out any occupation, trade or business under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, which includes a right to a safe environment free from harassment,” she said.

 

“The definition of sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication) such as physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.”

 

Adv Mathew said, as per the Act, employers are mandated to set up an internal complaints committee (ICC) at each office or branch where there are at least 10 employees. Similarly, the government is also required to set up a local complaints committee (LCC) at the district level. The LCC would investigate complaints from establishments where ICC has not been constituted or if the complaint is against the employer. Both the ICC and LCC are required to follow process and inquire into the complaints in time bound manner, she said.

 

Both the ICC and LCC, at the request of the complainant, can recommend interim relief measures like transfer of the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace; or granting leave to the aggrieved woman up to a period of three months in addition to her regular statutory or contractual leave entitlement.

 

Timeline:

  1. A written complaint has to be filed by the female employee within three months of the date of the incident.
  2. The inquiry has to be completed within 90 days.
  3. The inquiry report has to be issued within 10 days from the date of completion of inquiry.
  4. Employer is required to act on the recommendations of the committee within 60 days of receipt of the inquiry report.
  5. Appeal against the decision of the committee is allowed within 90 days of the date of recommendations.

If an employer fails to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee or does not comply with any provisions contained therein, the Act prescribes a monetary penalty of up to Rs50,000.

 

Adv Mathew said, a new section is added in the Indian Penal Code through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 enlisting the acts which constitute the offence of sexual harassment and further envisages penalty / punishment for such acts. “A man committing an offence under this section is punishable with imprisonment, the term of which may range between one to three years or with fine or both. Since the amendment criminalizes all acts of sexual harassment, employers are mandated to report any offences of sexual harassment to the appropriate authorities,” she added.

 

According to Adv Mathew said, in order to ensure that the Act does not get misused, certain provisions for action against false or malicious complainants have been made.

User

COMMENTS

ABHA CHAWLA MOHANTY

3 years ago

WILL THE EMPLOYERS FOLLOW MANDATE RELIGIOUSLY ,...something ,,like , carnivores started to root for grass??,..... cautious OPTIMISM ,though.

nagesh kini

3 years ago

The particulars for accessing the PIO has to be displayed prominently why now the Sexual Harrassment Committee.
By the way how many inc. the Supreme Court have yet to set up their respective set-ups?

REPLY

ABHA CHAWLA MOHANTY

In Reply to nagesh kini 3 years ago

MR NAGESH KINI...,LIKE CURIOSITY.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)