Foreign investors permitted to participate in IFSC commodity derivatives

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On 4 January 2017, SEBI issued a circular prescribing guidelines for the participation or functioning of eligible foreign investors (EFIs) and foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).

The circular stipulated that FPIs that want to operate out of the IFSC are permitted to do so without undergoing any additional documentation or prior approval process, and that the trading member of the recognized stock exchange in the IFSC may rely upon the due diligence process already carried out by a SEBI registered intermediary during the course of registration of account process in India. In the case of an EFI that wishes to operate in the IFSC but is not registered with SEBI as an FPI, trading members of the recognized stock exchange in the IFSC may rely upon the due diligence carried out by a bank during the EFI’s account opening process.

Following this circular, SEBI, through its circular dated 18 March 2019 (circular), has clarified that EFIs may participate in commodity derivatives contracts traded in stock exchanges in the IFSC subject to the following conditions:

  1. The participation is limited to derivatives contracts in non-agricultural commodities
  2. Contracts should be cash settled on the settlement price determined on overseas exchanges
  3. All transactions should be denominated in foreign currency only.

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