SEBI revisits mode of bidding in public issue of debt securities

Permits submission through UPI mechanism and online interface

-CS Henil Shah & CS Burhanuddin Dohadwala

corplaw@vinodkothari.com

Introduction

In order to streamline the process in case of public issue of debt securities and to add an addition to the current Application Supported by Blocked Amount (‘ASBA’) facility. Securities and Exchange Board of India (‘SEBI’) vide its circular dated November 23, 2020[1] (‘November 23 Circular’) has introduction Unified Payments Interface (‘UPI’) mechanism for the process of public issues of securities under:

  • SEBI (Issue and Listing of Debt Securities) Regulations, 2008 (‘ILDS Regulations’);
  • SEBI (Issue and Listing of Non-Convertible Redeemable Preference Shares) Regulations, 2013 (‘NCRPS Regulations’);
  • SEBI (Issue and Listing of Securitised Debt Instruments and Security Receipts) Regulations, 2008 (‘SDI Regulations’) and
  • SEBI (Issue and Listing of Municipal Debt Securities) Regulations, 2015 (‘ILDM Regulations’).

The said circular shall be effective to a public issue of securities for the aforesaid captioned regulations which opens on or after January 01, 2021 (‘effective date’).  Earlier, SEBI Circular dated July 27, 2012[2] (‘Erstwhile Circular’) provided the system for making application to public issue of debt securities.  The Erstwhile Circular will stand repealed from the effective date. However, SEBI Circular dated October 29, 2013[3] w.r.t allotment of debt securities shall continue to remain in force.

Earlier in November, 2018[4] SEBI had introduced use of UPI as a payment mechanism with ASBA, to streamline the process of public issue of equity shares and convertibles and implemented the same in 3 phases.

The article below covers the role required to be done by the issuer in case of public issue of debt securities.

Background

UPI[5] is an instant payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (‘NPCI’), an RBI regulated entity. UPI is built over the IMPS (‘Immediate Payment Service’) infrastructure and allows you to instantly transfer money between any two parties’ bank accounts.

The facility to block funds through UPI mechanism whether applying through intermediaries (viz syndicate members, registered stock brokers, register and transfer agent and depository participants) or directly via Stock Exchange (‘SE’) app/ interface is set for upto and amount of Rs. 2 lakhs, which is the maximum limit approved by NPCI for capital markets vide its circular dated March 03, 2020[6].

Appointment of Sponsor Bank

Sponsor Bank as a term was introduced under the SEBI circular dated November 01, 2018 meaning a self-certified syndicate bank appointed by issuer to conduit/act as a channel with SE and NCPI to facilitate mandate collect requests and/or payment instructions of retail investors.

Comparison of mode of application under November 23 Circular and Erstwhile Circular

November 23 Circular Erstwhile Circular Remarks
Direct application through SE app/web-interface along with amount blocked via UPI mechanism. Direct application over the SE interface with online payment facility; Online payment facility stands replaced with UPI mechanism. However, it is not clear as to how the application to be submitted where amount to be invested is above 2 lac rupees.
Application through intermediaries along with details of his/her bank accounts for blocking funds Application through lead manager/syndicate member/sub-syndicate members/ trading members of SE using ASBA facility No change
Application through SCSBs with ASBA. Applications through banks using ASBA facility; No change
Application through SCSBs/intermediaries along with his/her bank account linked UPI ID for the purpose of blocking of funds, if the application value is Rs.2 lac or less.

New insertion.

Application through lead manager/syndicate member/sub-syndicate members/ trading members of SE without use of ASBA facility This was discontinued for all public issue of debt securities made on or after October 01, 2018 vide SEBI Circular dated August 16, 2018[7].

Application through lead manager/syndicate member/sub-syndicate members/ trading members of SE for applicants who intended to hold debt securities in physical form. No reference made in the present circular

Modes of submitting application as per November 23 Circular

Process of the applying utilizing UPI mechanism is produced in a diagrammatic form as below:

* Application made on SE App/web interface shall automatically get updated on SE biding platform

# Upon bid being entered under the bidding platform SE shall undertake validation process of PAN and Demat account along with Depository.

## In case of any discrepancies the same are reported by depositories to SE which in turn relays the same to intermediaries for corrections.

Roles of issuer in case of public issue of debt securities

Apart from appointing a sponsor bank by the issuer the roles of issuer remain same as those already required under the SEBI circular dated July 27, 2012 i.e.:

  • Use of SE platform;
  • Entering to agreement with SE with respect to use of same;
  • Dispute resolution mechanism between the issuer and SE and maintenance of escrow account remain the same.

Only the aforesaid roles are aligned with newly introduced with UPI Mechanism.

Allotment of securities within 6 days

SEBI vide its circular dated November 10, 2015 had, in order to stream line the process of public issue of equity shares and convertibles issued a circular to reduce the timeline for issue from 12 working days to 6 working days and same was introduced for public issue of debt securities, NCRPS and SDI vide circular dated August 16, 2018[8]. The same has been re-iterated/repeated under the November 23 Circular. Indicative timelines for various activities are re-produced under Annexure-A.

Additional data details required to be mentioned under the Application and biding form relating to UPI

  1. Under Main Application form
  • Payment details –UPI ID with maximum length of 45 characters
  • Acknowledgement slip for SCSB/broker/RTA/DP
    • Payment details to include UPI
  • Acknowledgement slip for bidder
    • Payment details to include UPI ID
  1. Overleaf of Main Application form
  • UPI Mechanism for Blocking Fund would be available for Application value upto Rs. 2 Lakhs;
  • Bidder’s Undertaking and confirmation to include blocking of funds through UPI mode;
  • Instructions with respect to payment / payment instrument to include instructions for blocking of funds through UPI mode.

Conclusion

Public issue application using UPI is a step towards digitizing the offline processes involved in the application process by moving the same online. UPI mechanism in public issue process shall essentially bring in comfort, ease of use and reduce the listing time for public issues.

Annexure A:

Indicative timelines for various activities

Sr. No. Particulars Due Date (working day)
1. Issue Closes T (Issue closing date)
2.
  • SE(s) shall allow modification of selected fields (till 01:00 PM) in the bid details already uploaded.
  • Registrar to get the electronic bid details from the SE by end of the day.
  • SCSBs to continue / begin blocking of funds.
  • Designated    branches    of    SCSBs    may   not    accept    schedule    and applications after T+1 day.
  • Registrar to give bid file received from SE containing the application number and amount to all the SCSBs who may use this file for validation/ reconciliation at their end.
T+1
3.
  • Issuer, merchant banker and registrar to submit relevant documents to  the  SE(s)  except  listing  application,  allotment  details and   demat   credit   and   refund   details   for   the   purpose   of   listing permission.
  • SCSBs to send confirmation of funds blocked (Final Certificate) to the registrar by end of the day.
  • Registrar shall reconcile the compiled data received from the SE(s) and all SCSBs (hereinafter referred to as the “reconciled data”).
  • Registrar to undertake “Technical Rejection” test based on electronic bid details and prepare list of technical rejection cases.
T+2
4.
  • Finalization of technical rejection and minutes of the meeting between issuer, lead manager, registrar.
  • Registrar  shall  finalise  the  basis  of  allotment  and  submit  it  to  the designated SE for approval.
  • Designated SE to approve the basis of allotment.
  • Registrar to prepare funds transfer schedule based on approved basis of allotment.
  • Registrar and merchant banker to issue funds transfer instructions to SCSBs.
T+3
5.
  • SCSBs  to  credit  the  funds  in  public  issue  account  of  the  issuer  and confirm the same.
  • Issuer shall make the allotment.
  • Registrar/Issuer   to   initiate   corporate   action   for credit   of   debt securities, NCRPS, SDI to successful allottees.
  • Issuer  and  registrar  to  file  allotment  details  with  designated  stock exchange(s)  and  confirm  all  formalities  are  complete  except  demat credit.
  • Registrar  to  send  bank-wise  data  of  allottees, amount  due  on  debt securities,  NCRPS,  SDI allotted,  if  any,  and  balance  amount  to  be unblocked to SCSBs.
T+4
6.
  • Registrar to receive confirmation of demat credit from depositories.
  • Issuer and registrar to file confirmation of demat credit and issuance of instructions to unblock  ASBA  funds,  as  applicable,  with  SE(s).
  • The   lead   manager(s)   shall   ensure   that   the   allotment,   credit   of dematerialised debt securities, NCRPS, SDI and refund or unblocking of application monies, as may be applicable, are done electronically.
  • Issuer  to  make  a  listing  application  to  SE(s)  and  SE(s) to give listing and trading permission.
  • SE(s) to issue commencement of trading notice.
T+5
7. Trading commences; T+6

 

[1] https://www.sebi.gov.in/legal/circulars/aug-2018/streamlining-the-process-of-public-issue-under-the-sebi-issue-and-listing-of-debt-securities-regulations-2008-sebi-issue-and-listing-of-non-convertible-redeemable-preference-shares-regulations-_40004.html

[2]https://www.sebi.gov.in/legal/circulars/jul-2012/system-for-making-application-to-public-issue-of-debt-securities_23166.html

[3]https://www.sebi.gov.in/legal/circulars/oct-2013/issues-pertaining-to-primary-issuance-of-debt-securities-amendment-to-simplified-debt-listing-agreement_25622.html

[4] https://www.sebi.gov.in/sebi_data/attachdocs/nov-2018/1541067380564.pdf

[5] https://www.sebi.gov.in/sebi_data/commondocs/mar-2019/useofunifiedpaymentinterfacefaq_p.pdf

[6] https://www.npci.org.in/PDF/npci/upi/circular/2020/UPI%20OC%2082%20-%20Implementation%20of%20Rs%20%202%20Lakh%20limit%20per%20transaction%20for%20specific%20categories%20in%20UPI.pdf

[7] https://www.sebi.gov.in/legal/circulars/aug-2018/streamlining-the-process-of-public-issue-under-the-sebi-issue-and-listing-of-debt-securities-regulations-2008-sebi-issue-and-listing-of-non-convertible-redeemable-preference-shares-regulations-_40004.html

[8]https://www.sebi.gov.in/legal/circulars/nov-2020/introduction-of-unified-payments-interface-upi-mechanism-and-application-through-online-interface-and-streamlining-the-process-of-public-issues-of-securities-under-sebi-issue-and-listing-of-debt-_48235.html

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