Experts welcome SEBI's regulations for foreign investors

Experts welcome SEBI's regulations for foreign investors New Delhi: Easier entry norms and streamlining the categories for foreign investors by SEBI today will boost domestic market and quicken the pace of their entry, experts said.

SEBI board Tuesday approved the Chandrasekhar committee recommendations for foreign investors which among other things have suggested merging of different classes of investors into a new category called the Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs).

"Merging the FII, sub-accounts and QFIs into a new investor class 'FPI' will surely simplify foreign investors entry into the Indian capital market and is a big positive," PWC India Executive Director Suresh Swamy said.

"Delegation of registration of FPIs to Designated Depository Participants (DDP) will also quicken the pace of their entry," he added.

Besides, Swamy said "doing away with the requirement to submit personal identification documents like passport and photograph is a welcome relief.

Foreigners have been hesitant to share these documents as it has lot of information which they consider personal".

Echoing the view, Economic Laws Practice Consultant Yogesh Chande said: "The recommendations made by the committee under the chairmanship of K M Chandrasekhar are steps in right direction".

"It is obviously a great relief to note the change in the mood and resolve to re-boot FDI into India," he added.

According to Chande, adopting a risk-based KYC approach for overseas investors is also a welcome move.

However, he said that amending various norms would be a "key challenge" for the regulator.

Regarding buyback norms, PWC India Executive Director Hemal Uchat said "the regulator's (SEBI) decision to revise the buy-back guidelines comes from the hard pressed need to regulate the pricing, quantity and the periodicity aspects of the buy-back offers in past".

In its board meeting today, SEBI approved proposal making it mandatory for companies to buyback at least 50 percent of repurchase offers.

Besides, the companies would have to complete their buyback offers within six months and have been asked to keep 25 percent of the proposed buyback offer amount in an escrow account to avert them from making non-serious offers that could wrongly influence the share prices.

"It is expected that regulator may clarify whether the transfer to escrow account will be over and above the buy-back amount in case of the open market process as well as the consequences of not achieving even the minimum required 50 percent of the offer size," Uchat said.

"The revised guidelines are also tilted towards encouraging the companies to undertake the buy-back offer through tender offer process as against the existing popular method of open market process," he added.

PTI