Sebi sets foreign portfolio investor limit of 10 pc per firm

A foreign portfolio investor will be allowed to buy additional shares in a company only if its holding is less than 10 per cent, according to norms for the new overseas investment regime that starts in June.

Market regulator Sebi has said one FPI can hold a maximum of 10 per cent of a company's equity shares, while existing overseas investor classes such as FIIs, sub-accounts and qualified foreign investors (QFIs) need to convert to the new FPI regime eventually.

If an FII or its sub-accounts already holds more than 10 per cent in a company, it would not need to divest any shares even after conversion to FPI, Sebi said in a detailed note on the new regime coming into force from June 1.

While such FPIs would be allowed to hold more than a 10 per cent stake, they would be restricted from fresh share purchases in that company until their holding falls below the threshold limit.

Going forward, FPIs would encompass all foreign institutional investors (FIIs), their sub-accounts and qualified foreign investors (QFI).

"Where a foreign portfolio investor already holds 10 per cent of equity shares in an Indian company, no fresh purchases by such FPI shall be allowed in that company till its holdings fall below 10 per cent," the Securities and Exchange Board of India said.

"However there will be no need to divest its existing holdings," it added.

The regulator said all existing investments made by FIIs/sub-accounts/QFIs are exempted.

The new regime divides FPIs into three categories as per their risk profile and the KYC (know your client) requirements and other registration procedures would be much simpler for FPIs compared with current practices.

Category-I FPIs (lowest risk category) include foreign governments and government related foreign investors.

Category-II FPIs include appropriately regulated entities, broad-based funds whose investment manager is appropriately regulated, university funds, university related endowments and pension funds.

Category-III FPIs include all others not eligible under the first two categories.

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