Global index provider MSCI Inc on Thursday “strongly suggested” that India’s three main stock exchanges reconsider their anti-competitive measures that restrict the accessibility of the Indian equity market to foreign exchanges. The National Stock Exchange, BSE Ltd and Metropolitan Stock Exchange said last week that they would stop licensing products and data to foreign exchanges to prevent trading from migrating overseas.
The breadth of the restrictions announced were “unprecedented” and could lead to “unnecessary disruptions in trading or a potential change in the market classification of the Indian market in the MSCI Indexes”, the index provider warned the Indian exchanges and markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India.
The decision by India’s stock exchanges is likely to force foreign investors to either migrate their trading onshore to India, with its uncertain regulatory environment and higher taxes, or give up their exposure to a hot emerging market.
Foreign markets offer dollar-based derivative contracts based on Indian indexes, shares and other securities under licensing agreements with Indian exchanges, allowing overseas investors to gain exposure to Asia’s third-largest economy without having to trade onshore. Those licensing agreements were terminated with immediate effect last week, subject to notice periods.
The most popular of these contracts has long been the SGX Nifty 50 index futures offered by the Singapore Exchange under a licensing agreement with the National Stock Exchange, India’s biggest exchange. It tracks the NSE’s main index of its top 50 shares, the Nifty 50 index.