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SEBI simplifies Issuance and Listing of Debt Securities

In order to facilitate development of a vibrant primary market for corporate bonds in India, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has notified on 19th June 2008, Regulations for Issue and Listing of Debt Securities to provide for simplified regulatory framework for issuance and listing of non-convertible debt securities (excluding bonds issued by Governments) issued by any company, public sector undertaking or statutory corporations. The Regulations will not apply to issue and listing of, securitized debt instruments and security receipts for which separate regulatory regime is in place.

The Regulations provide for rationalized disclosure requirements for public issues and flexibility to issuers to structure their instruments and decide on the mode of offering, without diluting the areas of regulatory concern. In case of public issues, while the disclosures specified under Schedule II of the Companies Act, 1956 shall be made, the Regulations require additional disclosures about the issuer and the instrument such as nature of instruments, rating rationale, face value, issue size, etc.

While the requirement of filing of draft offer documents with SEBI for observations has been done away with, emphasis has been placed on due diligence, adequate disclosures, and credit rating as the cornerstones of transparency. Regulations prescribe certifications to be filed by merchant bankers in this regard. The Regulations emphasize on the role and obligations of the debenture trustees, execution of trust deed, creation of security and creation of debenture redemption reserve in terms of the Companies Act.

The Regulations enable electronic disclosures. The draft offer document needs to be filed with the designated stock exchange through a SEBI registered merchant banker who shall be responsible for due diligence exercise in the issue process and the draft offer document shall be placed on the websites of the stock exchanges for a period of seven working days inviting comments. The documents shall be downloadable in PDF or HTML formats. The requirements for advertisements have also been simplified.

While listing of securities issued to the public is mandatory, the issuers may also list their debt securities issued on private placement basis subject to compliance of simplified regulatory requirements as provided in the Regulations. The Regulations provide an enabling framework for listing of debt securities issued on a private placement basis, even in cases where the equity of the issuer is not listed. NBFCs and PFIs are exempted from mandatory listing. However, they may list their privately placed debt securities subject to compliance with the simplified requirements and Listing Agreement. A rationalized listing agreement for debt securities is under preparation.

SEBI notifies SEBI (Intermediaries) Regulations, 2008
Public Offer and Listing of Securitised Debt Instruments Regulations, 2008
SEBI relaxes norms for Foreign Institutional Investors
SEBI allows mutual funds to sell government securities
Indian Mutual Funds can now invest $7 bn
Current challenges in the global financial markets
No immediate threat to financial stability in India




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