New Delhi: Capital market regulator Sebi has decided to park its surplus funds in fixed deposits of PSU banks, even if the returns offered by them are lower than that of private banks by up to 10 basis points (0.1 percent).
The current investment policy of Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) is guided by the sole criteria of highest return, but it has been now proposed to change to the consideration of return as well as 'safety of funds'.
Sebi's board discussed the matter at its last meeting, after its Committee of Executive Directors (CoED) recommended a change in the regulator's investment policy to this effect, a senior official said.
Sebi's Audit Committee has also agreed with the CoED recommendations in this regard.
The surplus funds available with Sebi are invested as per its approved policy guidelines for investment, which have been in place since April 2009.
Presently, investment of surplus funds of Sebi is made in Fixed Deposits (FDs) after inviting competitive quotes from PSU banks and approved private sector banks and institutions.
These investments are subject to certain exposure limits and are made with the banks offering highest quote for the desired tenure.
The exposure limit is 20 percent for a PSU bank and 10 percent for approved private banks or institutions. The private entities approved by Sebi for such investments are ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank/HDFC Ltd. The exposure limit of 10 percent is considered cumulative for HDFC Bank and HDFC Ltd.
Each investment proposal is approved by the CoED, which after its recent discussions felt that the investment of funds should be guided by consideration of return balanced with safety of funds rather than sole criterion of highest return.
Accordingly, the CoED recommended that the funds may be invested in fixed deposits with a public sector bank, even if its quote is lower by not more than 10 basis points, as compared with the highest of the quotes offered by any of the approved private sector entities.
The recommendation of CoED was also considered by the Audit Committee, which agreed to the view that funds may be invested in fixed deposits with a public sector bank, even if its quote is lower by not more than 10 basis points, as compared with the highest of the quotes offered by any of the approved private banks/institutions, subject to exposure limit for that public sector bank.
The Audit Committee has also expressed its views that Sebi might continue with the present policy of making investment with ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank/HDFC Ltd, subject to the present exposure limits.
Sebi's funds comprise of fees and penalties collected by the regulator from various market entities and listed firms.
As per Sebi's budget estimates, its overall accounts had a surplus (of income over expenses) of Rs 104.31 crore for 2011-12.
Its total revenue for the fiscal ended March 31, 2011 is estimated at about Rs 338 crore and net surplus after various expenses at about Rs 180 crore. The regulator's fee income alone that year stood at about Rs 200 crore.