-by Dibisha Mishra
(firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com)
SEBI vide Notification dated 25th July, 2019 further amended the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 2015. The major part of this amendment is to make curative changes in the Regulations, in response to difficulties expressed by the stakeholders. In this regard, VK&Co. also had occasion to make representation to SEBI, a few of which have been brought in via this amendment.
Highlights of the SEBI (PIT) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2019.are as follows:
- Employees having access to unpublished price sensitive information are to be identified as ‘designated persons’ [DPs]: Keeping the intent of regulating and monitoring trading by such employees, the earlier provision of identifying them as ‘designated employees’ was merely a laxity in drafting since no corresponding duties/obligations were put upon ‘designated employees’ anywhere in the PIT Regulations.
- Mandatory closure of trading window from the end of every quarter till 48 hours after the declaration of financial results [the word ‘can’ substituted by ‘shall’]
- Permitted transactions by DPs while trading window is closed:
a. off-market inter-se transfer between DPs having possession of the same unpublished price sensitive information where both parties have made informed trade decision;
b. transaction through block-deal mechanism between persons having possession of the same unpublished price sensitive information where both parties have made informed trade decision;
c. arising out of a statutory or regulatory obligation to carry out a bona fide transaction;
d. exercise of stock options in respect of which the exercise price was pre-determined;
e. pursuant to a trading plan;
f. pledge of shares for a bonafide purpose like raising of funds subject to pre-clearance by the compliance office
g. acquisition by conversion of warrants or debentures, subscribing to rights issue, further public issue, preferential allotment or tendering of shares in a buyback offer, open offer, delisting offer: Difficulties were frequently being faced by companies as to whether the trading window bar will apply to corporate actions involving transaction in shares. This amendment makes a clear way out for the same. While only a few corporate actions are listed in the amendment, these should be taken as illustrative rather than exhaustive.
4. In order to qualify as a “material financial relationship”, payment by way of loan or gift should flow from a designated person equivalent to at least 25% of his annual income [excluding payment is based on arm’s length transactions] in last twelve months.
5. Educational institutions from which designated persons have graduated, is to be disclosed to the intermediary or fiduciary on an annual basis and as and when the information changes.