India: SEBI streamlines IPO process

November 20, 2018

Security exchange board of India


Attributable to its global ranking for on ‘Ease to Business’ scale, India is increasingly being counted as a favoured business destination in the world. In order to facilitate the carrying out of business activities of varied nature, the Indian legal system allows a number of business structures such as proprietorship, partnership, companies and limited liability partnership. Incorporation of a company is a common mode for business transactions in the country.

Companies in India

Companies are the artificial legal entities having existence independent from its shareholders. Incorporated for the purpose of carrying out business activities as stated in its Memorandum of Association, the companies are often confronted by the requirement of capital with view to expand its operations and earn greater profits. The raising of capital for the said purpose is required to be done in accordance with the Companies Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the “Companies Act”).

Investment in India

The Government is regularly devising schemes that boost the Indian market. The fastest growing economy not only encourages progress of business in India but also makes it an attractive investment option. With a view to secure investment for the Indian business sector, the Government has been making efforts with the help of introduction of investor friendly policies.

Regulated framework

Governed under the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (hereinafter referred to as the “SEBI Act”), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (hereinafter referred to as the “SEBI”) is the market regulator of India which aims to protect the interests of investors in securities and to promote the development of, and to regulate the securities market and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.

Initial Public Offering

One of the mediums for the companies to raise capital is through initial public offer means an offer of specified securities by an unlisted issuer to the public for subscription and includes an offer for sale of specified securities to the public by any existing holders of such specified securities in an unlisted entity. It serves as the largest source of funds for a company to meet expenses for its projects and go public by being listed on a Stock Exchange.

IPO timeline reduction

SEBI, in its endeavour to provide an efficient mechanism for raising funds, has been continuously striving to regulate the process and methodologies associated with public issue fund raising process. In the said regard, the regulator issued a circular for streamlining the process of public issue of equity shares and convertibles dated November 1, 2018.[1]

With a view to free up the locked investor funds faster so as to benefit both issuers as well as investors, SEBI has initiated the process to reduce the timeline for public issues from the current 6 days to 3 days in a phased manner by making it mandatory for intermediaries to provide retail investors the option of bidding through the Unified Payments Interface as a payment mechanism with Application Supported Block Amount for applications in public issues. In the second phase, the current mechanism of physically submitting bid forms from the intermediaries to the banks would be discontinued after 3 months. The said process would be effective April 1, 2019 onwards.

Subsequent third phase provides that final reduced timeline will be made effective using the Unified Payments Interface mechanism.

The proposed process is expected to increase efficiency, eliminate the need for manual intervention at various stages, and will reduce the time duration from issue closure to listing by up to 3 working days.

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