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Saturday 19 October 2019
Economy P-note investments plunge to over 9-year low

P-note investments plunge to over 9-year low

P-notes are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to overseas investors who wish to be part of the Indian stock markets without registering themselves directly

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Mumbai: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has been strengthening norms to check misuse of stock market investments through instruments of participatory notes for last few years. The result is now visible. No longer, P-notes are the preferred instruments for the foreign institutional investors.

Investments through participatory notes into Indian capital markets have plunged to over 9-year low of more than Rs 93,000 crore at May-end amid stringent norms put in place by Sebi.

P-notes are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to overseas investors who wish to be part of the Indian stock markets without registering themselves directly. They, however, need to go through a proper due diligence process.

According to Sebi data, the total value of P-note investments in the Indian market — equity, debt, and derivatives — slumped to a low of Rs 93,497 crore at May-end from Rs 1,00,245 crore at the end of March. Prior to that, the figure was Rs 1,06,403 crore.

This is the lowest level since April 2009 when the cumulative value of such investments stood at Rs 72,314 crore. Of the total investments made last month, P-note holdings in equities were at Rs 70,442 crore and the remaining in debt and derivatives markets.

Besides, the quantum of FPI investments via P-notes dropped to 2.9% during the period under review from 3% in the preceding month.

P-note investments were on a decline since June last year and hit an over eight-year low in September. However, these investments rose slightly in October but fell again in November and the trend continued till May this year.

The decline could be attributed to several measures taken by the market watchdog to stop the misuse of the controversy-ridden participatory notes.

In July 2017, Sebi had notified stricter norms stipulating a fee of  $1,000 on each instrument to check any misuse for channelising black money. It had also prohibited FPIs from issuing such notes where the underlying asset is a derivative, except those which are used for hedging purposes.

These measures were an outcome of a slew of other steps taken by the regulator in the recent past.

In April last year, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had barred resident Indians, NRIs, and entities owned by them from making an investment through P-notes.

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