New Delhi: The government has introduced a single application form for foreign investors to enter into the domestic capital market as part of the exercise to improve ease of doing business.
Earlier, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) had to file a separate form to register themselves with the market regulator Sebi.
Besides, they had to approach bank for opening bank account, income tax department for PAN (Permanent Account Number) and market intermediaries for DEMAT account.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2017-18 Budget Speech had said a common application form for FPIs would be devised with a view to enhance operational flexibility and ease of access to Indian capital markets.
The central government has now notified "the Common Application Form...for the purpose of registration, opening of bank and demat accounts, and application for permanent account number by FPIs in India".
The long-pending single combined application form for registration of FPIs with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, allotment of PAN and know your customer (KYC) for opening bank and demat account is expected to reduce time and cost for the foreign investors.
The common application form was prepared jointly by Sebi, Reserve Bank of India and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
As per the notification of the Department of Economic Affairs in regards to the common application form, FPIs will have to provide information regarding 'Ultimate Beneficial Owner' of investments.
Last week, Sebi had extended the deadline for FPIs by two months till December for providing a list of beneficial owners and assured them that issues raised will be looked into by an expert panel.
As per the form, for KYC purposes, the individual custodian/designated depository participants (DDPs) can seek additional information based on their independent evaluation and risk classification of the FPI applicants "on the basis of multiple parameters such as home jurisdiction, type of entity, nature of business".
Commenting on the government's move, Naveen Wadhwa, DGM, Taxmann, said integration of multiple compliance forms is a great initiative.
"This is similar to the new company incorporation form introduced last year which enables the applicant to apply for PAN/TAN at the time of incorporation of company itself," he said.
Making the compliances easy for the foreign investors would not only bring up their confidence on Indian market but it will also help to push India ranking in global index of ease of doing business, he added.
According to the latest depository data, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) pumped in a net sum of Rs 2,048 crore into equities during August 1-24 and a net amount of Rs 4,662 crore into the debt market, taking the total to Rs 6,710 crore.
Overall, so far this year, FPIs have pulled out more than Rs 2,100 crore from equities, while they withdrew nearly Rs 37,000 crore from the debt markets.