India: Securities and Financial Regulations
Last Updated: 13 May 2003

Shorter settlement cycle

The Indian capital markets have made a transition into a T+2 rolling settlement system from April 2003 getting in line with international practices. According to a study, settlement risk can be reduced by up to 40% with a move to the new system of T+2. SEBI has also set a deadline for the market to meet the T+1 standard by April 2004. This would bring it in line with the government securities markets which are already on the T+1 system and with several international markets (which become relevant when capital account convertibility is introduced).

Introduction of Central Listing Authority

With a multitude of listed companies (over 9000) and stock exchanges in the country (23), a uniform listing agency is sought to be formed. The agency (Central Listing Agency) would make recommendations regarding listing and introduce a long needed uniformity across exchanges in terms of vetting of listing terms, and reduce duplication of work.

MoU – Mauritius, Sri Lanka and IOSCO

SEBI, the Indian regulator signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mauritius and Sri Lanka over the past few months. The MoU with Mauritius gains significance in light of last year’s unearthing of certain malpractices by certain Indian market operators channeling funds via Mauritius into the Indian stock markets. With the MoU such transactions should be easy to track down and prosecute. The SEBI has signed a multilateral MoU with IOSCO making it a signatory to 10 more jurisdictions automatically.

Supreme Court of India to decide on taxation of Investments from Mauritius

The highest court heard extensive arguments in a challenge to a circular under the double tax treaty between India and Mauritius (in appeal from the Delhi High Court). Starting from a challenge to the circular, arguments were amplified by the "Public Interest Litigation" to argue the validity of important parts of the treaty itself which allow Mauritius ‘residents’ to take the benefit of the treaty. Arguments have been concluded in the case and judgment in the case is awaited. Whichever way the ruling goes, the judgment is expected to have far reaching international implications and can be expected to be referred by other jurisdictions looking into similar issues in taxation in cross border investments.

Credit Derivatives

The Central Bank issued draft regulations for trades in credit derivatives. The regulations will become effective after comments are received and deliberations are made.

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