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FPIs can invest up to $81 bn in debt securities

Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs), a newly created class for overseas investors, will be able to invest up to USD 81 billion (close to Rs. 4 lakh crore) in government and corporate debt securities in India.

This would include investments up to USD 30 billion in government debt and up to USD 51 billion in corporate debt securities under the new FPI regime, which would come into force from next month.

According to market regulator SEBI, government securities would need to have a residual maturity period of at least one year to be eligible for investments from this new class of investors that would eventually encompass existing categories like FIIs, sub accounts and QFIs.

FPIs would also be permitted to invest in unlisted non-convertible debentures or bonds issued by corporates in the infrastructure sector, SEBI said in a detailed note on its new FPI guidelines.

Besides, FPI can invest in privately placed bonds if it is listed within 15 days, SEBI said.

The investment limit of USD 30 billion for government securities would include up to USD 10 billion by Category-I FPIs such as sovereign wealth funds, multilateral agencies, endowment funds, insurance funds, pension funds and foreign central banks.

An investment of up to USD 20 billion in government debt securities would be allowed to all kinds of FPIs.

For corporate debt securities, the overall cap will be USD 51 billion, which would include USD 2 billion in commercial papers.

In the Indian currency, the investment limits would be Rs. 2,44,323 crore for corporate debt and Rs. 1,53,569 crore for government debt securities.

The new regime divides FPIs into three categories as per their risk profile, while registration and operational procedures for them would be simpler.

Category-I will be the lowest risk category comprising of foreign governments and government-related foreign investors.

Category-II FPIs will include regulated entities, broad-based funds whose investment managers are regulated, university funds, university-related endowments and pension funds. All other FPIs would come under Category-III.

Existing overseas investors such as FIIs, sub-accounts and QFIs will have to convert to the new regime eventually.

FPIs will be barred from purchasing short-term government securities — the Treasury Bills. The existing investments in T-Bills by FIIs and other overseas investors converting into FPIs will be allowed to taper off on maturity or sale.

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