Looking to prevent money laundering, Sebi Chairman U K Sinha today said the regulator is in discussions with the industry on tightening Know Your Client (KYC) mechanism for participatory notes (P-Notes) and will take a final decision on it soon. The discussions are based on suggestions by the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money.
“The SIT, on black money, has made some suggestions to us about certain improvements in the P-Note mechanism,” Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of APREA’s conference on Reits and Invits.
“We have been holding discussions with the industry on this and very soon will take a call on it,” he said.
The Sebi chief noted that while suggestions from SIT has come in this regard, the regulator has covered a lot of ground for the KYC mechanism in the last five years.
“So what was prevalent in the country during 2001 scam... Since then, we have covered lot of ground,” Sinha added.
He said Sebi has under P-Note norms covered eligibility criteria and reporting standards among others. “Due to this, Sebi has information on all P-Note transactions.”
The SIT had last year suggested that Sebi should further strengthen norms to keep a tab on beneficial ownership of P-Notes as they were widely used by foreign investors and could be prone to misuse.
According to the Sebi chief, foreign investors have been “persuaded” with regard to these suggestions “but in view of the discussions...on what Sebi is proposing, they are willing to accommodate”.
The regulator plans to put in place six specific changes to the KYC norms and transferability of Offshore Derivative Instruments (ODIs), commonly known as P-Notes, in this regard.
The proposed changes include mandating the issuers of P-Notes to file Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs), if any, with the Indian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in relation to the ODIs issued by them.
On the KYC norms, while current regulations also mandate that ODIs can be issued only after compliance with the KYC requirements, the issuer entities have been adopting either the Indian AML (Anti-Money Laundering) norms, norms in then jurisdiction of the issuer or the norms in the jurisdiction of the end beneficial owner or the ODI subscriber, it was earlier reported.