Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme

A Business Conclave on  “Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme” was organised by Indian Securitisation Foundation jointly with Edelweiss on September 16,2019 in Mumbai.

On this occasion, the presentation used by Mr. Vinod Kothari is being given here:

http://vinodkothari.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/partial-credit-enhancement-scheme-.pdf

 

We have authored few articles on the topic that one might want to give a read. The links to such related articles are provided below:

Indian Securitisation Market opens big in FY 20 – A performance review and a diagnosis of the inherent problems in the market

By Abhirup Ghosh , (abhirup@vinodkothari.com)(finserv@vinodkothari.com)

Ever since the liquidity crisis crept in the financial sector, securitisation and direct assignment transactions have become the main stay fund raising methods for the financial sector entities. This is mainly because of the growing reluctance of the banks in taking direct exposure on the NBFCs, especially after the episodes of IL&FS, DHFL etc.

Resultantly, the transactions have witnessed unprecedented growth. For instance, the volume of transactions in the first quarter of the current financial year stood at a record ₹ 50,300 crores[1] which grew at 56% on y-o-y basis from ₹ 32,300 crores. Segment-wise, the securitisation transactions grew by whooping 95% to ₹ 22,000 crores as against ₹ 11,300 crores a year back. The volume of direct assignments also grew by 35% to ₹ 28,300 crores as against ₹ 21,000 crores a year back.

The chart below show the performance of the industry in the past few years:

Direct Assignments have been dominating market with the majority share. During Q1 FY 20, DAs constituted roughly 56% of the total market and PTCs filled up the rest. The chart below shows historical statistics about the share of DA and PTCs:

In terms of asset classes, non-mortgage asset classes continue to dominate the market, especially vehicle loans. The table below shows the share of the different asset classes of PTCs:

Asset class

Q1 FY 20 share Q1 FY 19 share FY 19 share
Vehicle (CV, CE, Car) 51% 57% 49%
Mortgages (Home Loan & LAP) 20% 0% 10%
Tractor 6% 0% 10%
MSME 5% 1% 4%
Micro Loans 4% 23% 16%
Lease Rentals 0% 13% 17%
Others 14% 6% 1%

Asset class wise share of PTCs

Source: ICRA

Shortcomings in the current securitisation structures

Having talked about the exemplary performance, let us now focus on the potential threats in the market. A securitisation transaction becomes fool proof only when the transaction achieves bankruptcy-remoteness, that is, when all the originator’s bankruptcy related risks are detached from the securitised assets. However, the way the current transactions are structured, the very bankruptcy-remoteness of the transactions has become questionable. Each of the problems have been discussed separately below:

Commingling risk

In most of the current structures, the servicing of the cash flows is carried out of the originator itself. The collections are made as per either of the following methods:

  1. Cash Collection – This is the most common method of repayment in case of micro finance and small ticket size loans, where the instalments are paid in cash. Either the collection agent of the lender goes to the borrower for collecting the cash repayments or the borrower deposits the cash directly into the bank account of the lender or at the registered office or branch of the lender.
  2. Encashment of post-dated cheques (PDCs) – The PDCs are taken from the borrower at the inception of the credit facility for the EMIs and as security.
  3. Transfer through RTGS/NEFT by the customer to the originator’s bank account.
  4. NACH debit mandate or standing instructions.

 

In all of the aforesaid cases, the payment flows into the current/ business account of the originator. The moment the cash flows fall in the originator’s current account, they get exposed to commingling risk. In such a case, if the originator goes into bankruptcy, there could be serious concerns regarding the recoverability of the cash flows collected by the originator but not paid to the investors. Also, because redirection of cash flows upon such an event will be extremely difficult to implement. Therefore, in case of exigencies like the bankruptcy of the originator, even an AAA-rated security can become trash overnight. This brings up a very important question on whether AAA-PTCs are truly AAA or not.

 

This issue can be addressed if, going forward, the originators originate only such transactions in which repayments are to happen through NACH mandates. NACH mandates are executed in favour of third party service providers which triggers direct debit from the bank account of the customers every month against the instalments due. Upon receipt of the money from the customer, the third party service providers then transfer the amount received to the originators. Since, the mandates are originally executed in the name of the third party service providers and not on the originators, the payments can easily be redirected in favour of the securitisation trusts in case the originator goes into bankruptcy. The ease of redirection of cash flows NACH mechanism provides is not available in any other ways of fund transfer, referred above.

Will the assets form part of the liquidation estate of the lessor, since under IndAS the assets continue to get reflected on Balance Sheet of the originator?

With the implementation of Ind AS in financial sector, most of the securitisation transactions are failing to fulfil the complex de-recognition criteria laid down in Ind AS 109. Resultantly, the receivables continue to stay on the books of the originator despite a legal true sale of the same. Due to this a new concern has surfaced in the industry that is, whether the assets, despite being on the books of the originator, be absolved from the liquidation estate of the originator in case the same goes into liquidation.

Under the current framework for bankruptcy of corporates in India, the confines of liquidation estate are laid in section 36 of the IBC. Section 36 (3) lays what all will be included therein. Primarily, section 36 (3) (a) is the relevant provision, saying “any assets over which the corporate debtor has ownership rights” will be included in the estate. There is a reference to the balance sheet, but the balance sheet is merely an evidence of the ownership rights. The ownership rights are a matter of contract and in case of receivables securitised, the ownership is transferred to the SPV.

The bounds of liquidation estate are fixed by the contractual rights over the asset. Contractually, the originator has transferred, by way of true sale, the receivables. The continuing balance sheet recognition has no bearing on the transfer of the receivables. Therefore, even if the originator goes into liquidation, the securitised assets will remain unaffected.

Conclusion

Despite the shortcomings in the current structures, the Indian market has opened big. After the market posted its highest volumes in the year before, several industry experts doubted whether the market will be able to out-do its previous record or for that matter even reach closer to what it has achieved. But after a brilliant start this year, it seems the dream run of the Indian securitisation industry has not ended yet.


[1] https://www.icra.in/Media/OpenMedia?Key=94261612-a1ce-467b-9e5d-4bc758367220

2019 Securitisation volumes in India reach record high

By Falak Dutta (finserv@vinodkothari.com)

Up, Up & Above!

Yet another year went by and Indian securitization market certainly had a year to rejoice. Starting from the volume of transactions to innovative structures, the market has everything to boast about. Before we discuss each of these at length, let us take stock of the highlights first:

  • The securitization volumes doubled during the year, as securitization in India became a trillion rupee market.
  • DAs continued to be the preferred mode of transaction with Mortgages as the dominant asset class.
  • Clarity on Goods & Services Tax, increased participation of private banks, NBFCs and mutual funds along with healthy demand for non-priority sector loan were primary reasons for this sharp growth.
  • DHFL & IL&FS rushed to securitize as traditional sources of funding dried up due to concerns of debt servicing in the 2nd half of 2018.
  • The country witnessed the first issuance of covered bonds during year.
  • Several new structures were tried, namely, lease receivables securitization, corporate loan securitization, revolving structures etc.

Securitization volumes reaching all time high

The volume of retail securitization grew by 123% as figures soared to ₹1.9 lakh crore compared to ₹85,000 crore in fiscal ’18. Mortgages, vehicle loans and microfinance loans constituted the three major asset classes comprising of 84% of the total volume. The growth was primarily propelled by a combination of three factors.

First, a few big players who stayed away from the market returned after the GST Council clarified that securitized assets are not subject to GST.

Second, Two non-banking companies (DHFL& IL&FS) rushed to securitize their receivables as traditional sources of financing dried up after September 2018. After this, banks started preferring portfolio buyouts over taking credit exposure on the NBFCs.

Third, subsequent to the liquidity crisis faced by several NBFCs, RBI relaxed guidelines of minimum holding period requirement for securitization transactions backed by long duration loans leading to greater number of eligible securitized assets.

The graph below shows the performance of the Indian securitization market over the years:

Source: CRISIL Estimates. Figures in ₹10 Billions

Traditionally the bulk of securitization transactions have been driven by Priority Sector Lending (PSL) from banks. At present though, securitization transactions are being increasingly backed by non PSL assets that are making their presence felt as they gain market traction. The trend has been clear. The share of non-PSL assets as a part of total transaction rose to a record of 42% in 2018, up from 33% in 2017 and a relatively moderate share of 26% in 2016. Banks are focusing on securing long term assets such as mortgages that have displayed fairly stable asset quality to expand their retail asset portfolio.

The case for PSLCs

An additional recurring theme is the growing popularity in PSLCs which serves as a direct alternative to securitization. The volume of transactions have skyrocketed to ₹ 3.3 lakh crore in fiscal ’19 up from ₹ 1.9 lakh crore in fiscal ‘18 and ₹ 49,000 crore in fiscal ‘17. PSLCs which were introduced in 2015, was an idea which appeared in the report of a Dr. Raghu Ram Rajan led Committee- A Hundred Small Steps. Out of the four kinds of PSLCs, the PLSC- General and PSLC- Small and Marginal Farmers remain the highest traded segments. The supply side consists of private sector banks with excess PSL in the general PSLCs category and Regional Rural Banks in SFMF category.

PTCs vs. DAs

Another point of note is the increasing share of the DA’s in the securitization market. The move from PTCs to DA isn’t surprising given the absence of credit enhancements, amount of capital requirements and relatively less regulatory due diligence in DAs. The fact that the share of PTC transaction fell from 47% in fiscal ‘17 to 42% in fiscal ’18 and further to 36% in fiscal ’19 serves as a case in point. However, one hasn’t impeded the growth for the other. DA transactions soared a record 146%. Whereas PTCs soared 95% reaching a volume of ₹69,000 crore. Also, mortgages still remain the preferred asset class, accounting for almost 74% of DA volumes and 46% of total securitization volumes.

Source: CRISIL1 Estimates

Source: CRISIL[1]

India on the Global Map

2018 was a landmark year for global securitization with over a trillion dollars’ worth of issue, as the memories of the 2008 crisis gradually fade into oblivion. The U.S has been the major player in the global market, issuing over half of the total transactions by volume. Europe recorded a surge in volume clocking $106 billion against $82 billion in 2017. In Asia, China both grew and remained the dominant player in Asia at $310 billion, followed by Japan at $58 billion. Elsewhere issuance in Australia and Latin America declined. Some potential factors that could affect the global markets in the coming future include the Brexit uncertainty, market volatility, rising interest rates, renegotiations of existing trade agreements and liquidity. Some of these are contentious issues, the effects of which could sustain beyond the near future.

 

Source: SP Global[2], Values in $US Billion

Conclusion

Heading into the next fiscal year, some of the tailwinds that propelled the market in fiscal 2019 are fading gradually. Pent-up supply following the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has almost exhausted, the funding environment for non-banks have been steadily stabilizing and the relaxation on the minimum holding period will be only available till May 2019. The entry of a new segment of investors- NBFC treasuries, foreign portfolio investors, mutual funds and others such brought about differing risk appetites and return aspirations which paved the way for newer asset classes. The trend for education loan receivables and consumer durables loan receivables accelerated in fiscal 2019. Although, the overall volumes of these unconventional asset classes are relatively small at present, investor presence in these non-AAA rated papers is a good sign for the long term prospects of the securitization markets.

“The Indian securitization market in 2018 have attained several significant milestones: from significant growth in non-PSL volumes, to asset class diversity, to attracting new investor base, to innovative structures, the market seems ready to launch into a new trajectory.”, stated Mr. Vinod Kothari, Director at Vinod Kothari Consultants.

He added, “It is only in stressful times that securitization has shone globally– the Indian financial sector has gone through some stress scenarios in the recent past, and securitization has been able to sustain the growth of the financial sector.”

 

Sources:

1) https://www.crisil.com/content/dam/crisil/our-analysis/reports/Ratings/documents/2018/june/securitization-resilient-despite-roadblocks.pdf

6) https://www.spglobal.com/en/research-insights/articles/global-structured-finance-outlook-2019-securitization-continues-to-be-energized-with-potential-1-trillion-in-volume-expected-ag

[1] https://www.crisil.com/content/dam/crisil/pr/press-release/2017/12/retail-securitization-volume-doubles-to-rs-1point9-lakh-crore.pdf

[2] https://www.spglobal.com/en/research-insights/articles/global-structured-finance-outlook-2019-securitization-continues-to-be-energized-with-potential-1-trillion-in-volume-expected-ag

Securitisation laws prevailing in various countries are listed below :

  • Singapore:
  1. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Guidelines on Securitisation (The guidelines were finalized in 2000)
  2. Amendment in 2018
    http://www.mas.gov.sg/~/media/MAS/Regulations%20and%20Financial%20Stability/Regulations%20Guidance%20and%20Licensing/Finance%20Companies/Notices/MAS%20Notice%20832%20%20Amendment%20%202018.pdf
  3. Amendment in 2007
    http://www.mas.gov.sg/~/media/MAS/Regulations%20and%20Financial%20Stability/Regulations%20Guidance%20and%20Licensing/Commercial%20Banks/Regulations%20Guidance%20and%20Licensing/Notices/MAS%20Notice%20628%20(2007).pdf
  4. News on Securitisation
    http://vinodkothari.com/2013/11/sing/
  5. Rules on Securitisation
    http://vinodkothari.com/seclawsg/
  • USA:
  1. 15 U.S. Code § 78o–11. Credit risk retention:
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/78o-11
  2. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act [Public Law 111–203] [As Amended Through P.L. 115–174, Enacted May 24, 2018]
    https://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/Dodd-Frank%20Wall%20Street%20Reform%20and%20Consumer%20Protection%20Act.pdf
  3. Securitisation Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/secusa/
  4. Laws on Securitisation
    http://vinodkothari.com/seclawus/
  • Australia:
  1. Australian Prudential Standard (APS) 120 made under section 11AF of the Banking Act 1959 (the Banking Act) By Australian Prudential Regulation Authority
    https://www.apra.gov.au/sites/default/files/aps_120_securitisation.pdf
  2. Covered Bonds issued under Part II, Division 3A of the Banking Act 1959 (Cth)
    https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00067
  3. Laws on Securitisation
    http://vinodkothari.com/seclawaustral/
  4. Securitisation Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/austral/
  • Indonesia:
  1. Bank Indonesia Regulation No. 7/4/PBI/2005 Prudential Principles in Asset Securitisation for Commercial Banks
    https://www.bi.go.id/en/peraturan/perbankan/Pages/bir%207405.aspx
  2. Securitisation Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/secindon/
  • Hong Kong: 
  1. There is no specific legislative regime for securitisation. Securitisation is subject to various Hong Kong laws, depending on the transaction structure, transaction parties, underlying assets, and the nature of the offering of the securities
  2. Securitisation Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/sechong/
  • Canada:
  1. Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Government of Canada
    http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/fi-if/rg-ro/gdn-ort/gl-ld/Pages/CAR18_chpt7.aspx
  2. Securitisation Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/seccanad/
  • European Union:(UK, Germany, France,Italy, Sweden, Poland, Spain, Greece, Finland, Malta)
  1. Regulation(EU) 2017/2402 (the Securitisation Regulation) as on December 12,2017
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32017R2402
  2. Regulation (EU) 2017/2402 of the European Parliament and of the Council of September 30, 2015
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A52015PC0472
  3. Securitisation Market:
    http://vinodkothari.com/europe/

 

  • Italy:
  1. Law 130 of 30 April 1999, Italian securitisation law
    https://www.housing-finance-network.org/fileadmin/user_upload/hfn/Country_Law/Law-Italy/2006-00281.pdf
  2. Securitistion Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/secitaly/
  • Greece:
  1. GREEK LAW 3156/2003
    http://www.greeklawdigest.gr/topics/finance-investment/item/317-securitization-law-bonds-l-3156-2003
  • France:
  1. Order No. 2017-1432 of October 4, 2017 , Modernizing the Legal Framework for Asset Management and Debt Financing (Initial Version)
    https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000035720833&categorieLien=id
    Version in force on 26/03/2019
    https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000035720833&dateTexte=20190326
  2. Securitisation Market:
    http://vinodkothari.com/france/
  • Japan: Securitisation in Japan is governed by laws and regulations applicable to specific types of transactions such as the Civil Code (Law No. 89, 1896), the Trust Act (Law No. 108, 2006) and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law (Law No. 25, 1948) (FIEL).
  1. https://www.fsa.go.jp/common/law/fie01.pdf
  2. http://jafbase.fr/docAsie/Japon/CodCiv.pdf
  3. http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail_download/?ff=09&id=1946
  4. Laws on Securitisation
    http://vinodkothari.com/seclawjapan/
  5. Securitisation Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/japan/
  • China:
  1. Administrative Rules for Pilot Securitization of Credit Assets(the Administrative Rules) on April 2005
    http://www.cbrc.gov.cn/EngdocView.do?docID=1720
  2. Securitisation Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/secchina-2/
  • Ireland:
  1. European Union (General Framework For Securitisation And Specific Framework For Simple, Transparent And Standardised Securitisation) Regulations 2018 (Central Bank of Ireland)
    http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2018/si/656/made/en/pdf
  • South Africa:
  1. In South Africa, securitisations are regulated according to the securitisation regulations issued under the Banks Act 94 of 1990 (the Banks Act)
    https://www.resbank.co.za/Lists/News%20and%20Publications/Attachments/2591/Banks+Amendment+Act+2007%5B1%5D.pdf
  1. Government Gazette 30628 of 1 January 2008 (Securitisation Regulations)
    https://www.resbank.co.za/Lists/News%20and%20Publications/Attachments/2734/30628%20sec%20schemes%202008.pdf
  2. Laws on Securitisation
    http://vinodkothari.com/seclawsa/
  3. Securitisation Market
    http://vinodkothari.com/secafric/
  • Morocco:
  1. Law No. 33-06 on Securitization
  2. Draft amendment of Law on Securitization
    http://www.sgg.gov.ma/portals/0/AvantProjet/8/Projet_loi_Amendement-titrisation_Ang.pdf

Accounting for Direct Assignment under Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS)

By Team IFRS & Valuation Services (ifrs@vinodkothari.com) (finserv@vinodkothari.com)

Introduction

Direct assignment (DA) is a very popular way of achieving liquidity needs of an entity. With the motives of achieving off- balance sheet treatment accompanied by low cost of raising funds, financial sector entities enter into securitisation and direct assignment transactions involving sale of their loan portfolios. DA in the context of Indian securitisation practices involves sale of loan portfolios without the involvement of a special purpose vehicle, unlike securitisation, where setting up of an SPV is an imperative.

The term DA is unique to India, that is, only in Indian context we use the term DA for assignment of loan or lease portfolios to another entity like bank. Whereas, on a global level, a similar arrangements are known by various other names like loan sale, whole-loan sales or loan portfolio sale.

In India, the regulatory framework governing Das and securitisation transactions are laid down by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The guidelines for governing securitisation structures, often referred to as pass-through certificates route (PTCs) were issued for the first time in 2006, where the focus of the Guidelines was restricted to securitisation transactions only and direct assignments were nowhere in the picture. The RBI Guidelines were revised in 2012 to include provisions relating to direct assignment transactions.

Read more

RBI temporarily relaxes the Guidelines on Securitisation for NBFCs

By Financial Services Division, finserv@vinodkothari.com

 

In the wake of the recent hues and cries of the entire country in anticipation of a liquidity crisis in the NBFC sector, the Reserve Bank of India, on 29th November, 2018, issued a notification[1] to modify the Securitisation Guidelines.The amendment aims to relax the minimum holding period requirements of the guidelines, subject to conditions, temporarily. Therefore, the changes vide this notification come with an expiry date. The key takeaways of the notification have been discussed below:

a. Relaxation in the MHP requirements: As per the notification, NBFCs will now be allowed to securitise/ assign loans originated by them, with original maturity of more than 5 years, after showing record of recovery of repayments of six monthly instalments or two quarterly instalments (as applicable). Currently, for loans with original maturity more than 5 years, the MHP requirements are repayment of at least twelve monthly instalments or four quarterly instalments (as applicable).

b. Change in MRR requirements for the loans securitised under this notification: The benefit mentioned above will be available only if the NBFC retains at least 20% of the assets securitised/ assigned. Currently, the MRR requirements ranges between 5%-10% depending on the tenure of the loans.

c. Timeline for availing this benefit: As already stated above, this is a temporary measure adopted by the RBI to ease out the tension relating to liquidity issues of the NBFCs; therefore, this comes with an expiry date, which in the present case is six months from the date of issuance of the notification. Therefore, this benefit will be available for only those loans which are securitised/ assigned during a period of six months from the date of issuance of this notification.

The requirements under the guidelines remains intact.

Further, the RBI has extended the relaxation till December 31, 2019 vide its notification dated May 29, 2019.

To summarise, the MHP requirements and the MRR requirements on securitisation/ assignment of loans looks as such –

Loans assigned between 29th November, 2018 – 30th December, 2019 Loans assigned after 31st December, 2019
MHP requirements for loans with original maturity less than 5 years Loans upto 2 years maturity – 3 months

 

Loans between 2 – 5 years – 6 months

Loans upto 2 years maturity – 3 months

 

Loans between 2 – 5 years – 6 months

MHP requirements for loans with original maturity less than 5 years If revised MRR requirements fulfilled – 6 months

 

If revised MRR requirements not fulfilled – 12 months

Loans upto 2 years maturity – 3 months

 

Loans between 2 – 5 years – 6 months

MRR requirements for loans with original maturity of less than 5 years Loans with original maturity upto 2 years – 5%

 

Loans with original maturity more than 2 years – 10%

Loans with original maturity upto 2 years – 5%

 

Loans with original maturity more than 2 years – 10%

MRR requirements for loans with original maturity of more than 5 years If benefit of MHP requirements availed – 20%

 

If benefit of MHP requirements not availed – 10%

Loans with original maturity upto 2 years – 5%

 

Loans with original maturity more than 2 years – 10%

 

Vinod Kothari comments: 

  •  Loans with original maturity of more than 5 years are essentially home loans and LAP loans. Home loans are housed mostly with HFCs. These guidelines ought to have come from NHB rather than RBI, but given the tradition that RBI guidelines are followed in case of HFCs as well, this “relaxation” will be more applicable to HFCs rather than NBFCs.
  • In case of LAP loans, given the current credit scenario prevailing in the country, taking exposure on LAP loans itself is subject to question. Issue is – will the relaxation prompt NBFCs to write LAP loans, or will it simply allow them to package and sell existing pools of lap loans sitting on their books waiting for the MHP of 12 months to get over? It is more likely to be latter than the former.
  • However, the so-called relaxation comes with a give-and-take – the MRR is 20%. The NBFC has, therefore, 2 options – wait for 12 months to be over and just do a transaction with 10% MRR, or avail the so-called relaxation and put in on-balance funding of 20%. Therefore, it is only for those who are desperate for refinancing that the so-called relaxation will seem appealing.
  • Our interaction with leading NBFCs reveals that there are immediate liquidity concerns . Banks are not willing to take on-balance sheet exposure on NBFCs; rather they are willing to take exposure on pools. Therefore, for more than 6 months and less than 12 months seasoned LAP pools, this might provide a temporary packaging opportunity.
  • This is indeed the best time to think of covered bonds. The proposition has been lying unresolved for last few years. If banks are willing to take exposure on pools, why not dual recourse by way of covered bonds? That indeed provides ideal solution, with ring fenced pools providing double layers of protection.

[1] https://www.rbi.org.in/Scripts/NotificationUser.aspx?Id=11422&Mode=0

For more articles on Securitisation and Covered Bonds, refer our page here.

Also refer our article: The name is Bond. Covered Bonds.

 

GST on assignment of receivables: Wrong path to the right destination

Team Vinod Kothari Consultants P. Ltd

 

There has been a lot of uncertainty on the issue of exigibility of direct assignments and securitisation transactions to goods and services tax (GST). While on one hand, there have been opinions that assignments of secured debts may be taxable being covered by the circuitous definition of “actionable claims”, there are other views holding such assignments of debts (secured or unsecured) to be non-taxable since an obligation to pay money is nothing but money, and hence, not  “goods” under the GST law[1]. The uncertainty was costing the market heavily[2].

In order to put diverging views to rest, the GST Council came out with a set of Frequently Asked Questions on Financial Services Sector[3], trying to clarify the position of some arguable issues pertaining to transactions undertaken in the financial sector. These FAQs include three separate (and interestingly, mutually unclear) questions on – (a) assignment or sale of secured or secured debts [Q.40], (b) whether assignment of secured debts constitutes a transaction in money [Q.41], and (c) securitisation transactions undertaken by banks [Q.65].

The end-result arising out of these questions is that there will be no GST on securitisation transactions. However, the GST Council has relied on some very intriguing arguments to come to this conclusion – seemingly lost between the meaning of “derivatives”, “securities”, and “actionable claims”. If one does not care about why we reached here, the conclusion is most welcome. However, the FAQs also reflect the serious lack of understanding of financial instruments with the Council, which may potentially create issues in the long run.

In this note[4] we intend to discuss the outcome of the FAQs, but before that let us first understand what the situation of the issue was before this clarification.

Situation before the clarification

  1. GST is chargeable on supply of goods or services or both. Goods have been defined in section 2(52) of the CGST Act in the following manner:

“(52) “goods” means every kind of movable property other than money and securities but includes actionable claim, growing crops, grass and things attached to or forming part of the land which are agreed to be severed before supply or under a contract of supply;”

Services have been defined in section 2(102) of the CGST Act oin in the following manner:

““services” means anything other than goods, money and securities but includes activities relating to the use of money or its conversion by cash or by any other mode, from one form, currency or denomination, to another form, currency or denomination for which a separate consideration is charged;”

Money, is therefore, excludible from the scope of “goods” as well as “services”.

Section 7 details the scope of the expression “supply”. According to the section, “supply” includes “all forms of supply of goods or services or both such as sale, transfer, barter, exchange, licence, rental, lease or disposal made or agreed to be made for a consideration by a person in the course or furtherance of business.” However, activities as specified in Schedule III of the said Act shall not be considered as “supply”.

It may be noted here that “Actionable claims, other than lottery, betting and gambling” are enlisted in entry 6 of Schedule III of the said Act; therefore are not exigible to GST.

  1. There is no doubt that a “receivable” is a movable property. “Receivable” denotes something which one is entitled to receive. Receivable is therefore, a mirror image for “debt”. If a sum of money is receivable for A, the same sum of money must be a debt for B. A debt is an obligation to pay, a receivable is the corresponding right to receive.

Coming to the definition of “money”, it has been defined under section 2(75) as follows –

““money” means the Indian legal tender or any foreign currency, cheque, promissory note, bill of exchange, letter of credit, draft, pay order, traveller cheque, money order, postal or electronic remittance or any other instrument recognised by the Reserve Bank of India when used as a consideration to settle an obligation or exchange with Indian legal tender of another denomination but shall not include any currency that is held for its numismatic value.”

The definition above enlists all such instruments which have a “value-in-exchange”, so as to represent money. A debt also represents a sum of money and the form in which it can be paid can be any of these forms as enlisted above.

So, in effect, a receivable is also a sum of “money”. As such, receivables shall not be considered as “goods” or “services” for the purpose of GST law.

  1. As mentioned earlier, “actionable claims” have been included in the definition of “goods” under the CGST Act, however, any transfer (i.e. supply) of actionable claim is explicitly excluded from being treated as a supply of either goods or services for the purpose of levy of GST.

Section 2(1) of the CGST Act defines “actionable claim” so as to assign it the same meaning as in section 3 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, which in turn, defines “actionable claim” as –

“actionable claim” means a claim to any debt, other than a debt secured by mortgage of immovable property or by hypothecation or pledge of movable property, or to any beneficial interest in movable property not in the possession, either actual or constructive, of the claimant, which the civil courts recognise as affording grounds for relief, whether such debt or beneficial interest be existent, accruing, conditional or contingent;”

It may be noted that the inclusion of “actionable claim” is still subject to the exclusion of “money” from the definition of “goods”. The definition of actionable claim travels beyond “claim to a debt” and covers “claim to any beneficial interest in movable property”. Therefore, an actionable claim is definitely more than a “receivable”. Hence, if the actionable claim represents property that is money, it can be held that such form of the actionable claim shall be excluded from the ambit of “goods”.

There were views in the industry which, on the basis of the definition above, distinguish between — (a) a debt secured by mortgage of immovable property, and a debt secured by hypothecation/pledge of movable property on one hand (which are excluded from the definition of actionable claim); and (b) an unsecured debt on the other hand. However, others opined that a debt, whether secured or unsecured, is after all a “debt”, i.e. a property in money; and thus can never be classified as “goods”. Therefore, the entire exercise of making a distinction between secured and unsecured debt may not be relevant at all.

In case it is argued that a receivable which is secured (i.e. a secured debt) shall come within the definition of “goods”, it must be noted that a security granted against a debt is merely a back-up, a collateral against default in repayment of debt.

  1. In one of the background materials on GST published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India[5], it has been emphasised that a transaction where a person merely slips into the shoes of another person, the same cannot be termed as supply. As such, unrestricted expansion of the expression “supply” should not be encouraged:

“. . . supply is not a boundless word of uncertain meaning. The inclusive part of the opening words in this clause may be understood to include everything that supply is generally understood to be PLUS the ones that are enlisted. It must be admitted that the general understanding of the world supply is but an amalgam of these 8 forms of supply. Any attempt at expanding this list of 8 forms of supply must be attempted with great caution. Attempting to find other forms of supply has not yielded results however, transactions that do not want to supply have been discovered. Transactions of assignment where one person steps into the shoes of another appears to slip away from the scope of supply as well as transactions where goods are destroyed without a transfer of any kind taking place.”

Also, as already stated, where the object is neither goods nor services, there is no question of being a supply thereof.

  1. Therefore, there was one school of thought which treated as assignment of secured receivables as a supply under the GST regime and another school of thought promoted a view which was contrary to the other one. To clarify the position, representations were made by some of the leading bankers and the Indian Securitisation Foundation.

Situation after the clarification

  1. The GST Council has discussed the issue of assignment and securitisation of receivables through different question, extracts have been reproduced below:

 

  1. Whether assignment or sale of secured or unsecured debts is liable to GST?

Section 2(52) of the CGST Act, 2017 defines ‘goods’ to mean every kind of movable property other than money and securities but includes actionable claim. Schedule III of the CGST Act, 2017 lists activities or transactions which shall be treated neither as a supply of goods nor a supply of services and actionable claims other than lottery, betting and gambling are included in the said Schedule. Thus, only actionable claims in respect of lottery, betting and gambling would be taxable under GST. Further, where sale, transfer or assignment of debts falls within the purview of actionable claims, the same would not be subject to GST.

Further, any charges collected in the course of transfer or assignment of a debt would be chargeable to GST, being in the nature of consideration for supply of services.

  1. Would sale, purchase, acquisition or assignment of a secured debt constitute a transaction in money?

Sale, purchase, acquisition or assignment of a secured debt does not constitute a transaction in money; it is in the nature of a derivative and hence a security.

  1. What is the leviability of GST on securitization transactions undertaken by banks?

Securitized assets are in the nature of securities and hence not liable to GST. However, if some service charges or service fees or documentation fees or broking charges or such like fees or charges are charged, the same would be a consideration for provision of services related to securitization and chargeable to GST.

 

  1. The fallacy starts with two sequential and separate questions: one dealing with securitisation and the other on assignment transactions. There was absolutely no need for incorporating separate questions for the two, since all securitisation transactions involve an assignment of debt.

 

  1. Next, the department in Question 40 has clarified that the assignment of actionable claims, other than lottery, betting and gambling forms a part of the list of exclusion under Schedule III of the CGST Act, therefore, are not subject to GST. This was apparent from the reading of law, therefore, there is nothing new in this.

 

However, the second part of the answer needs further discussion. The second part of the answer states that – any charges collected in the course of transfer or assignment of a debt would be chargeable to GST, being in the nature of consideration for supply of services.

There are multiple charges or fees associated in an assignment or securitisation transaction – such as  servicing fees or excess spread. While it is very clear that the GST will be chargeable on servicing fees charged by the servicer, there is still a confusion on whether GST will be charged on the excess spread or not. Typically, transactions are devised to give residuary sweep to the originator after servicing the PTCs. Therefore, there could be a challenge that sweep right is also a component of servicing fees or consideration for acting as a servicing agent. The meaning of consideration[6] under the CGST Act is consideration in any form and the nomenclature supports the intent of the transaction.

Since, the originator gets the excess spread, question may arise, if excess spread is in the nature of interest.  This indicates the need for proper structuring of transactions, to ensure that either the sweep right is structured as a security, or the same is structured as a right to interest. One commonly followed international structure is credit-enhancing IO strip. The IO strip has not been tried in Indian transactions, and recommendably this structure may alleviate concerns about GST being applied on the excess spread.

  1. Till now, whatever has been discussed was more or less settled before the clarification, question 41 settles the dispute on the contentious question of whether GST will be charged on assigned of secured debt. The answer to question 41 has compared sale, purchase, acquisition or assignment of secured debt with a derivative. The answer has rejected the view, held by the authors, that any right to a payment in money is money itself. The GST Council holds the view that the receivables are in the nature of derivatives, the transaction qualifies to be a security and therefore, exempt from the purview of supply of goods or supply of services.

While the intent of the GST Council is coming out very clear, but this view is lacking supporting logic. Neither the question discusses why assignments of secured receivables are not transactions in money, nor does it state why it is being treated as derivative.

Our humble submission in this regard is that assignment of secured receivables may not be treated as derivatives. The meaning of the term “derivatives” have been drawn from section 2(ac) of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956, which includes the following –

(A) a security derived from a debt instrument, share, loan, whether secured or unsecured, risk instrument or contract for differences or any other form of security;

(B) a contract which derives its value from the prices, or index of prices, of underlying securities.

In the present case, assignment of receivables do not represent any security nor does it derive its value from anything else. The receivables themselves have an inherent value, which get assigned, the fact that it is backed a collateral security does not make any difference as the value of the receivables also factor the value of the underlying.

Even though the logic is not coming out clear, the intent of the Council is coming out clearly and the efforts made by the Council to clear out the ambiguities is really commendable.

 


[1] Refer: GST on Securitisation Transactions, by Nidhi Bothra, and Sikha Bansal, at  http://vinodkothari.com/blog/gst-on-securitisation-transactions-2/; pg. last visited on 06.06.2018

[2] At the recently concluded Seventh Securitisation Summit on 25th May, 2018, one leading originator confirmed that his company had kept transactions on hold in view of the GST uncertainty. It was widely believed that the dip in volumes in FY 2017-18 was primarily due to GST uncertainty.

[3] http://www.cbic.gov.in/resources//htdocs-cbec/gst/FAQs_on_Financial_Services_Sector.pdf

[4] Portions of this note have been adopted from the article – GST on Securitisation Transactions, by Nidhi Bothra and Sikha Bansal.

[5] http://idtc-icai.s3.amazonaws.com/download/pdf18/Volume-I(BGM-idtc).pdf; pg. last visited on 19.05.2018

[6] (31) “consideration” in relation to the supply of goods or services or both includes––

(a) any payment made or to be made, whether in money or otherwise, in respect of, in response to, or for the inducement of, the supply of goods or services or both, whether by the recipient or by any other person but shall not include any subsidy given by the Central Government or a State Government;

(b) the monetary value of any act or forbearance, in respect of, in response to, or for the inducement of, the supply of goods or services or both, whether by the recipient or by any other person but shall not include any subsidy given by the Central Government or a State Government:

Provided that a deposit given in respect of the supply of goods or services or both shall not be considered as payment made for such supply unless the supplier applies such deposit as consideration for the said supply;

Indian securitisation market remains stagnant as PSLCs rule the market

Despite the economic slowdown due to GST, the Indian securitization market has performed fairly well, though it has not been able to match the volume of last year. During FY 17-18, the overall volume of the market stood at Rs. 84,000 crores, which is Rs. 1000 crores less than what happened a year back. Of the total volume, there were direct assignments worth Rs. 49000 crores and the remaining were pass through certificates. After the introduction of the securitization distribution tax in 2012, the market shifted towards DAs and the same continued until 2016 when the same was removed. This also reduced the gap between DAs and PTCs, however, the gap has increased once again. The following two graphics show the trend of securitization and the market composition (DAs vs PTCs) during the last few years.

The market showed a 72% YoY growth on issuance of pass through certificates from Rs 25000 crores in FY16 to Rs 43000 crores in FY17 however, and a 24% decrease in FY18 to Rs 34800 crores. The slowdown in securitisation was mainly due to lack of clarity surrounding incidence of Goods & Services Tax on the ‘assignment’ of secured loan receivables as well as a sharp spike in PLCS lending volume.

The volume of PSLC market leapfrogged to around Rs 1.84 lakh crore in FY18 from mere Rs 50,000 crore in FY17. Trading of PSLC was introduced in 2016 and FY18 was the first full year of its use. Here, banks needed to meet priority sector loan targets buy the priority sector obligation certificate from the seller bank without the transfer of risks or loan assets. Seller banks earn a fee without reduction in the loan portfolio unlike in securitization or direct assignment deals. The PLCS are also easier to execute as happens without any real transfer of assets whereas PTCs require pooling of assets and selling it.

Despite a slowdown in the market, several new asset classes were tried during the year. For the first time, asset classes like educational loans, consumer durable loans were tried. The market also witnessed return of Collateralised Loan Obligations.

7th Securitisation Summit, 2018 & 2nd Indian Securitisation Awards

Vinod Kothari Consultants, along with the Indian Securitisation Foundation, has also announced the 7th Securitisation Summit, 2018 on 25th May, 2018 at World Trade Center, Mumbai. This is an industry forum where stakeholders from the entire industry gather to discuss various issues concerning the market and try to take up issues with the regulatory authorities so as to make the environment facilitating in India. The details of the event can be viewed at: www.vinodkothari.com/secsummit/

Also, during this years’ summit, Indian Securitisation Foundation will also announce the second edition of the Indian Securitisation Awards. There are five categories award – most innovative deal of the year, large and small arrangers of the year, trustee of the year and law firm of the year.  Details can be viewed at:

http://vinodkothari.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/INDIAN-SECURITISATION-AWARDS-2018-BROCHURE.pdf

Chinese securitization market continues to grow – S&P Report

By Nidhi Bothra (finserv@vinodkothari.com)

 

Amdist slowdown of the Chinese economy, bulging debt load and excessive investments, the impetus has been on securitisation to convert assets into asset-backed bonds. China’s ABS market has wide range of assets such as loans, real estate, toll ways, auto loans, housing loans etc. Read more