SEBI lifts ban on Barclays for issuing ODIs

Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has lifted ban on British bank Barclays for issuing offshore derivative instruments (ODI), a move which will allow the lender to facilitate investment by unregistered entities into Indian stock markets, reports PTI.

SEBI, in December last year, had banned Barclays Bank Plc from issuing ODI following its failure to provide "true and accurate picture of transactions" as required by the regulations.

"The deficiencies in the systems and processes of Barclays have now been remedied ... The ex-parte directions issued against Barclays Bank Plc vide the order dated 9 December, 2009, shall stand revoked with immediate effect," SEBI said in a ruling.

ODIs are investment vehicles issued by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) to unregistered overseas investors for parking their funds in Indian equities and derivatives.

The market regulator said the British bank has taken steps to streamline its system.

"From submissions made by Barclays and the review reports of KPMG ... Barclays has undertaken steps to validate its systems and processes to ensure that true and correct reports of its ODI activity are furnished to SEBI," the order said.

SEBI had banned Barclays from issuing ODIs after finding that the bank had been "non-compliant with the provisions of regulations and is not capable of providing information."

The case pertains to reporting of four ODIs issued by Barclays back in December 2006 with Reliance Communications as underlying assets.

Initially, Barclays in its report to SEBI had said that ODIs were issued to the UBS AG. Later, the bank told the regulator that they were issued to Hythe Securities and not UBS.

In its December 2009 order, SEBI had asked the bank to furnish a certificate from an auditor of international standing about its ability to correctly report transactions.

"The reviewer (KPMG) has...certified that information provided in the reports of Barclays to SEBI during the review period is in all material respects, accurately extracted from the source systems of Barclays and accurately reflects all outstanding positions for ODI," the latest order said.

KPMG had furnished an assurance report in this regard on 3rd June.

"As the situation has been remedied and the aforesaid directions in the order have been complied with by Barclays ... the ex parte directions issued against it vide the order need not continue and can be withdrawn," SEBI said.

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Personal finance Tuesday

Fidelity MF launches Fidelity Fixed Maturity Plan-Series III-Plan C; DSP BlackRock Top 100 Equity Fund announces dividend; Tata MF files offer document with SEBI to launch Tata Fixed Maturity Plan Series 29; South Indian Bank and UAE Exchange launch instantaneous remittance facility

Fidelity MF launches Fidelity Fixed Maturity Plan-Series III-Plan C

Fidelity Mutual Fund has launched Fidelity Fixed Maturity Plan-Series III-Plan C, a close ended debt scheme. The new fund offer (NFO) price will be Rs10 per unit. The issue opened on 30 August 2010 and will close on 2 September 2010. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The investment objective of the scheme is to generate reasonable returns and reduce interest rate volatility by making investment in money market and short to mid term debt instruments having maturity, on or before the date of maturity of a plan. The tenure of Plan C will be 94 days from the date of allotment. The Plan C will be benchmark against CRISIL Liquid Fund Index.

DSP BlackRock Top 100 Equity Fund announces dividend

DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund has declared a tax-free dividend under DSP BlackRock Top 100 Equity Fund-Regular Plan. The record date for dividend has been fixed as 3 September 2010. The quantum of dividend will be Rs1.25 per unit on a face value of Rs10 per unit. The net asset value (NAV) of the fund stands at Rs21.81 per unit as on 30 August 2010. DSP BlackRock Top 100 Equity Fund is an open ended growth scheme. The investment objective of the scheme is to generate long-term capital appreciation, from a portfolio that is substantially constituted of equity securities and equity related securities of the 100 largest corporates, by market capitalisation, listed in India.

Tata MF files offer document with SEBI to launch Tata Fixed Maturity Plan Series 29  

Tata Mutual Fund has filed an offer document with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to launch Tata Fixed Maturity Plan Series 29, a closed ended debt fund. The fund comprises three schemes namely Scheme A, Scheme B and Scheme C. The schemes will have maturity ranging from a month to 18 months. Each scheme shall have a separate portfolio. The portfolio of each scheme shall comprise debt and money market instruments maturing on or before the maturity of the scheme. The new fund offer (NFO) price will be Rs10 per unit. The investment objective of the schemes is to generate income and/or capital appreciation by investing in debt and money market instruments having maturity in line with the maturity of the respective schemes. Each scheme has two options-growth and dividend (payout). Minimum investment amount under the schemes is Rs10,000. Minimum target amount is Rs20 crore for each scheme. The scheme will invest up to 100% in debt and money market instruments and securitised debt. The load structure for the schemes will be nil.

South Indian Bank and UAE Exchange launch instantaneous remittance facility

South Indian Bank (SIB) and UAE Exchange, Abu Dhabi, have launched a new remittance service called SIB Flash. This service will enable NRIs to remit funds instantaneously into the beneficiary's account with SIB through UAE Exchange online banking service. The remitter will get an SMS confirmation on completion of the remittance process within 60 seconds. The beneficiary will also get an SMS, if his account is registered under mobile banking. Presently, there is a cap of Rs5 lakh per remittances routed through Flash, which may be revised at a later date. No additional charges will be borne by the remitter under SIB Flash. Only the normal charges applicable as in the case of SIB Express facility is collected by the exchange house.

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DTC bill to impact employment, investment in SEZs: EPCES

New Delhi: Expressing serious concerns over the DTC bill, special economic zone (SEZ) entrepreneurs today said the proposed tax provisions would hit employment and drive away investors from the special economic zones, reports PTI.

Export Promotion Council for export oriented units (EoUs) and SEZs (EPCES) said that by altering the SEZ Act through the DTC bill, the government is sending a wrong message to investors.

"These provisions do not meet the requirement of the SEZ scheme fully and would very seriously affect employment, exports and investment in the SEZs," EPCES chairman R K Sonthalia said here in a statement.

The bill, which was tabled in Parliament yesterday, proposed that the SEZs notified on or before 31 March, 2012, will get income tax benefits. And units in SEZs that commence commercial operations by March 2014 shall be allowed profit-linked deductions permitted under the Income Tax Act 1961.

"Time period provided for the new unit is insufficient.

Hence this time period needs to be extended further," he said.

Mr Sonthalia said that as the SEZ Act was just implemented four years back, it should not have been altered.

"By altering the SEZ Act through the DTC bill, we are sending a very wrong message to investors," he added.

Exports from SEZs have gone up from Rs22,000 crore in 2005-06 to Rs2,20,000 crore in 2009-10.

Direct employment in SEZs have gone beyond 5,50,000 people and investment in the SEZs gone up to more than Rs1,66,000 crore.

"This shows the tremendous progress and this process needs to be accelerated further," EPCES director general LB Singhal said.

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