Over 1,000 fresh foreign investors were registered with Sebi in April-September 2017-18, primarily due to their continued interest in the Indian capital markets, latest data from the regulator showed. This comes on top of close to 3,500 new foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) registering with Sebi in the past financial year. According to Sebi data, the number of FPIs with the regulator’s approval increased to 8,826 at the end of September 2017, from 7,807 at March-end, resulting in an addition of 1,019. “The reason for increasing FPI registrations is continued interest in the Indian equity, bonds and real estate,” said Arvind Chari, head, fixed income and alternatives, Quantum Advisors. “Besides, the end of the earlier FII/sub-accounts regime, which ended in September 2016, necessitated all such entries to register as FPI,” he added. Further, market experts are of the view that several measures taken by the Sebi added to India’s attractiveness. Also, foreign investors have pumped in more than Rs 95,500 crore into the Indian capital markets – equity and debt – during the period under review. In June, the board of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) decided to ease the entry norms for overseas investors by permitting direct access to FPIs from eligible jurisdictions. Recently, Sebi raised FPIs’ investment limit for government debt, permitted them to invest in unlisted corporate debt as well as securitised debt instruments and allowed direct entry to well-regulated foreign investors to invest in corporate bonds.
In a big revamp, Sebi in 2014 released norms that clubbed different categories of foreign investors into a new class called FPIs. They have been divided into three categories as per their risk profile and KYC (know your customer) requirements while other registration procedures have been made simpler. They are granted permanent registration as against the earlier practice of approval granted for one or five years to overseas entities seeking to invest in Indian markets. The registration remains permanent unless suspended or cancelled by Sebi or surrendered by an FPI.