Sebi relaxes OFS norms to push public shareholding

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SummaryThe Securities and Exchange Board of India has allowed institutions to bid for share in an offer for sale without paying any upfront margin.

insider trading regulations.

The Sebi chairman also amended the norms for infrastructure debt fund (IDF) to make it more acceptable to industry players. While Sebi has allowed the tenure of the scheme to be extended along with the new fund offer period, it also gave the go-ahead for foreign institutional investors and registered non-banking financial companies to be included in the scope as strategic investors.

Currently, infrastructure finance companies registered with RBI as NBFCs, scheduled commercial banks and international multilateral financial institutions are only allowed as strategic investors in an IDF.

The regulator has also allowed IDFs to invest up to 30% of their assets under management (AUM) in assets not below investment grade owned by their sponsor/ associates (increased from the earlier 20%). This will be subject to the condition that the sponsor/associate retains at least 30% of the assets sold to the IDF till the assets are held in the portfolio.

The regulator has also decided to amend the regulations for broker and sub-broker registration to allow banks to be registered as “proprietary trading member” to participate in the debt segment. This in line with a recent notification by the RBI.

This has been done to develop the corporate bond market and encourage trading on the stock exchange platform, stated a Sebi release. Apart from banks, the new category of membership would also be applicable for primary dealers, pension funds, provident funds, insurance companies and mutual funds.

The regulator has also allowed partial two-way fungibility of Indian depository receipts (IDRs) to provide liquidity in the domestic markets. Sebi will notify guidelines providing a detailed roadmap for the future IDR issuances as well as for the existing listed IDRs, stated the Sebi release.

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