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RBI guidelines on governance in commercial banks

Vinita Nair | Senior Partner

Vinod Kothari & Company

vinita@vinodkothari.com

RBI amends mode of payment and remittance norms for units of Investment vehicles

Permits FPIs and FVCIs to use Special Non-Resident Rupee (SNRR) account 

CS Burhanuddin Dohadwala| Manager, Aanchal Kaur Nagpal| Executive

corplaw@vinodkothari.com

The Reserve Bank of India (‘RBI’) vide notification dated October 17, 2019 had  notified the Foreign Exchange Management (Mode of Payment and Reporting of Non-Debt instrument) Regulations, 2019[1] (‘the Regulations’) governing the mode of payment and reporting of non-debt instruments consequent to the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-Debt Instrument) Rules, 2019[2] framed by the Ministry of Finance, Central Government.

RBI has recently vide its notification dated June 15, 2020 notified Foreign Exchange Management (Mode of Payment and Reporting of Non-Debt Instruments) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020[3] amending Reg. 3.1 dealing with Mode of Payment and Remittance of sale proceeds in case of investment in investment vehicles.

Let us discuss few terms to understand the recent amendments to the Regulations.

Investment Vehicles under FEMA:

According to FEMA (Non-Debt Instruments) Rules, 2019, investment vehicles mean:

Different types of account available under FEMA (Deposit) Regulations, 2016[1] (‘Deposit Regulations’)

The following are the major accounts that can be opened in India by a non-resident:

Particulars Eligible Person
Non-Resident (External) Rupee Account Scheme-NRE Account

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Person of Indian Origin (PIOs)

Foreign currency (Non-Resident) account (Banks) scheme – FCNR (B) account
Non-Resident ordinary rupee account scheme-NRO account

Any person resident outside India.

Special Non-Resident Rupee Account – SNRR account

Any person resident outside India.

A significant advantage of SNRR over NRO is that the former is a repatriable account while the latter is non-repatriable.

What is Special Non-Resident Rupee (‘SNRR’) Account?

Any person resident outside India, having a business interest in India, may open SNRR account with an authorised dealer for the purpose of putting through bona fide transactions in rupees. The  business  interest,  apart  from  generic  business  interest,  shall  include the  following INR transactions, namely:-

  • Investments made  in  India  in  accordance  with  Foreign  Exchange  Management  (Non-debt Instruments)  Rules,  2019  dated  October  17,  2019  and  Foreign  Exchange  Management  (Debt  Instruments)
  • Import of  goods  and  services  in  accordance  with  Section  5  of  the  Foreign  Exchange  Management  Act  1999 Regulations,   2019;
  • Export of  goods  and  services  in  accordance  with  Section  7  of  the  Foreign  Exchange  Management  Act  1999;
  • Trade credit   transactions   and   lending   under   External   Commercial   Borrowings   (ECB)   framework;
  • Business related  transactions  outside  International  Financial  Service  Centre  (IFSC)  by  IFSC  units  at  GIFT  city  like  administrative  expenses  in  INR  outside  IFSC,  INR  amount  from  sale  of  scrap,  government  incentives  in  INR,  etc;

Rationale behind the amendment:

Position under Master Direction – Foreign Investment in India by RBI

According to Annex 8 of Master Direction – Foreign Investment in India by RBI, investment made by a PROI was permitted with effect from 13th September, 2016. The provisions specify that the amount of consideration of the units of an investment vehicle should be paid out of funds held in NRE or FCNR(B) account maintained in accordance with the Deposit Regulations as one of the modes of payment.

Further it also specifies that the sale/ maturity proceeds of the units may be remitted outside India or credited to the NRE or FCNR(B) account of the person concerned.

Position under the erstwhile provisions of the Regulations

Schedule II of the Regulations (Investments by FPIs) stated earlier that of units of investment vehicles other than domestic mutual fund may be remitted outside India.

However, balances in SNRR account were permitted to be used for making investment only in units of domestic mutual fund and not in Investment Vehicles.

As discussed above, the NRO account is a non-repatriable account while the SNRR account is a repatriable account. Due to the above provisions, investment in Investment Vehicles could not be transferred to the SNRR account for repatriation resulting in ambiguity.

Owing to the above and to increase the inflow of foreign investment, the Government has amended the said provision and allowed FPIs & FVCI to invest in listed or to be listed units of Investment vehicle.

Brief comparison of the pre and post amendment is covered in our Annexure I.

Annexure-I

Comparison of the pre and post amendment

Schedule Post amendment Prior to amendment Remarks
Schedule II w.r.t Investments by Foreign Portfolio Investors A.     Mode of payment

1.       The  amount  of  consideration  shall  be  paid  as  inward  remittance  from  abroad through banking channels or out of funds held in a foreign currency account and/ or a Special Non-Resident Rupee (SNRR) account maintained in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Deposit) Regulations, 2016.

 

2.       Unless otherwise  specified in these regulations or the  relevant Schedules, the foreign  currency  account  and  SNRR  account  shall  be  used  only  and  exclusively for transactions under this Schedule.

 

 

 

A.     Mode of payment

1.       The amount of consideration shall be paid as inward remittance from abroad through banking channels or out of funds held in a foreign currency account and/ or a Special Non-Resident Rupee (SNRR) account maintained in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Deposit) Regulations, 2016.

Provided balances in SNRR account shall not be used for making investment in units of Investment Vehicles other than the units of domestic mutual fund.

2.       The foreign currency account and SNRR account shall be used only and exclusively for transactions under this Schedule.

 

 

The erstwhile provisions restricted use of SNRR account balance for making investments in investment vehicles other than mutual funds.

As a result FPIs could not use their SNRR account and had to resort to other types of accounts for investment in investment vehicles such as REITs, and InViTs. The recent amendment has removed this restriction.

The amendment has been made to provide for the amendment made in Schedule VIII dealing with Investment     by     a     person resident outside India in an Investment Vehicle.

B.     Remittance of sale proceeds

The sale proceeds (net of taxes) of equity instruments and units of REITs, InViTs and domestic mutual fund may be remitted outside India or credited to the foreign currency account or a SNRR account of the FPI.

B.     Remittance of sale proceeds

The sale proceeds (net of taxes) of equity instruments and units of domestic mutual fund may be remitted outside India or credited to the foreign currency account or a SNRR account of the FPI.

The sale proceeds (net of taxes) of units of investment vehicles other than domestic mutual fund may be remitted outside India.

To align with the amendment made in Schedule VIII dealing with Investment     by     a     person resident outside India in an Investment Vehicle.
Schedule VII w.r.t Investment by a Foreign Venture Capital Investor (FVCI) For Para A(2):

Unless otherwise specified in these regulations or the relevant Schedules, the foreign currency account and SNRR account shall be used only and exclusively for transactions under this Schedule.

For Para A(2):

The foreign currency account and SNRR account shall be used only and exclusively for transactions under this Schedule.

 

The insertion has been made to align with the amendments proposed in Schedule VIII dealing with Investment     by     a     person resident outside India in an Investment Vehicle.

Schedule VIII w.r.t Investment     by     a     person resident  outside  India  in  an Investment Vehicle A.     Mode of payment:

The  amount  of  consideration  shall  be  paid  as  inward  remittance  from  abroad through  banking  channels  or  by  way  of  swap  of  shares  of  a  Special  Purpose Vehicle   or   out   of   funds   held   in   NRE   or   FCNR(B)   account   maintained   in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Deposit) Regulations, 2016.

Further,  for  an  FPI  or  FVCI,  amount  of  consideration  may  be  paid  out  of  their SNRR  account  for  trading  in  units  of  Investment  Vehicle  listed  or  to  be  listed (primary issuance) on the stock exchanges in India.

A.     Mode of payment:

The amount of consideration shall be paid as inward remittance from abroad through banking channels or by way of swap of shares of a Special Purpose Vehicle or out of funds held in NRE or FCNR(B) account maintained in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Deposit) Regulations, 2016.

 

Further, it is clarified that the SNRR account may be used for trading in units of listed as well as to be listed units of investment vehicles and the sale/ maturity proceeds can be credited to the said account.

B.     Remittance of Sale/maturity proceeds:

The  sale/  maturity  proceeds  (net  of  taxes)  of  the  units  may  be  remitted  outside India or may be credited to the NRE or FCNR(B) or SNRR account, as applicable of the person concerned.

B.     Remittance of sale/maturity proceeds

The sale/maturity proceeds (net of taxes) of the units may be remitted outside India or may be credited to the NRE or FCNR(B) account of the person concerned.

 

 

Link to our other articles:

Introduction to FEMA (NDI) Rules, 2019 and recent amendments:

http://vinodkothari.com/2020/04/introduction-to-fema-ndi-rules-2019-and-recent-amendments/

RBI rationalises operation of Special Non-Resident Rupee A/c:

http://vinodkothari.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/RBI-rationalises-operation-of-SNRR-Account.pdf

 

[1] http://vinodkothari.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/RBI-rationalises-operation-of-SNRR-Account.pdf

[1] http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2019/213318.pdf

[2] http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2019/213332.pdf

[3] http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2020/220016.pdf

Webinar on RBI discussion paper on Governance in Commercial Banks in India

Date: 22nd June, 2020 at 05:00 pm, India time. Will run for about 90 mins.

Speaker: FCS Vinita Nair, Senior Partner, Vinod Kothari & Company

Background:

Effective Corporate Governance practices at banks plays a significant role in the banking sector and the economy as a whole. The banking industry in India witnessed governance failures in the past which seems to have triggered the need for the regulator to re-look at the governance guidelines for commercial banks in India.

RBI on 11th June, 2020 issued a discussion paper on the guidelines for Governance in Commercial Banks in India.

Scope of the webinar:

We intend to discuss the proposals put forth in the discussion paper in this webinar (expected duration around 90 mins) and comparing the proposed requirements with the existing ones.

  • Scope and applicability;
  • Overall responsibilities of the Board of Directors;
  • Duties of director;
  • Understanding and managing Conflict of Interest for banks;
  • Structure, composition and role of Board Committees;
  • Risk Governance Framework – The three lines of defence;
  • Separation of ownership from Management;
  • Whistle-blower mechanism.

Where:

On the internet, via Google Meet / Zoom Meeting

Please note that the webinar has a maximum capacity of 50, including the host, and entry is on first-come-first-enter basis.

Whether interactive:

Yes. Participants may post queries, either in advance or at the time of webinar. Participants may, based on feasibility, also be allowed to speak.

For registration:

Kindly mail with relevant details on – shaifali@vinodkothari.com.

Knowledge Resources:

  1. RBI Discussion paper on Governance in Commercial Banks in India
  2. Report of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
  3. RBI circular on Calendar of Reviews – Audit Committee of the Board of Directors
  4. Recommendations of the Banks Board Bureau

Presentation on Draft Directions on Securitisation of Standard Assets

Our related research on the similar topics may be viewed here –

  1. New regime for securitisation and sale of financial assets;
  2. Originated to transfer- new RBI regime on loan sales permits risk transfers;
  3. Comparison of the Draft Securitisation Framework with existing guidelines and committee recommendations;
  4. Comparison of the Draft Framework for sale of loans with existing guidelines and task force recommendations;
  5. Inherent inconsistencies in quantitative conditions for capital relief;
  6. Presentation on Draft Directions Sale of Loans;
  7. YouTube video of the webinar held on June 12, 2020.

Presentation on Draft Directions on Sale of Loans

Our related research on similar topics can be viewed here –

  1. New regime for securitisation and sale of financial assets;
  2. Originated to transfer- new RBI regime on loan sales permits risk transfers
  3. Comparison of the Draft Securitisation Framework with existing guidelines and committee recommendations;
  4. Comparison of the Draft Framework for sale of loans with existing guidelines and task force recommendations;
  5. Inherent inconsistencies in quantitative conditions for capital relief;
  6. Presentation on Draft Directions on Securitisation of Standard Assets;
  7. YouTube video of the webinar held on June 12, 2020.

Comparison on Draft Framework for sale of loans with existing guidelines and task force recommendations

On 8th June, 2020, RBI issued the Draft Comprehensive Framework for Sale of loan exposures for public comments. This draft framework has brought about major changes in the regulatory framework governing direct assignment. One of the major changes is that the framework has removed MRR requirements in case of DA transactions. The framework covers both Sale of Standard Assets as well as stressed assets in separate chapter. We shall be coming up with a separate detailed analysis of sale of stressed assets under the draft framework.
In continuation of our earlier brief write-up titled Originated to transfer – new RBI regime on loan sales permits risk transfer, here we bring a point by point comparative along with our comments on the changes. Further, we have covered the Draft Directions on sale of loans in a Presentation on Draft Directions Sale of Loans.

Read more

Originated to transfer- new RBI regime on loan sales permits risk transfers

Team, Vinod Kothari Consultants P. Ltd.

finserv@vinodkothari.com

Major changes have been proposed by the RBI in the regime on what has become a major part of the business model of NBFCs and MFIs in the country – direct assignments (DAs). We have separately dealt with the Draft Directions on Securitisation of Standard Assets in a write up titled “New regime for securitisation and sale of financial assets

The term DA is so very typical of the Indian scene – globally, the practice of loan trading, loan sales or so-called whole-loan transfers has largely been out of the regulatory domain. However, in India, the motivation to shift from securitisation to DAs were partly the RBI Guidelines of 2006 which regulated securitisation but did not regulate DAs, and partly, the tax issues on securitisation that began prominent around 2011-12 or so. However, the DA model has, over the years, been a sizeable part of securitisation volumes in India, and is the mainstay of transfer of priority-sector loans from NBFCs to banks. Now that NBFCs have been permitted a major push for MSE lending by several GoI schemes, NBFCs are eagerly looking for another round of DA drive, and therefore, it is important to see whether the proposed regulatory regime for loan sales will facilitate NBFC-originated loans to end up on the books of banks and other investors.

Read more

New regime for securitisation and sale of financial assets

Team, Vinod Kothari Consultants

finserv@vinodkothari.com

On Monday, 8th June, 2020, the RBI released, for public comments, two separate draft guidelines, one for securitisation of standard assets, and the other for sale of loans. Once implemented, these guidelines will replace the existing regulatory framework that has stood ground, in case of securitisation for the last 14 years, and 8 years in case of direct assignment. We have separately dealt with the Draft Directions on Securitisation of Standard Assets in a write up titled “Originated to transfer- new RBI regime on loan sales permits risk transfers

Read more