Sebi to scout for foreign pension money

At the government’s urging, the Securities and Exchange Board of India ( Sebi) intends to begin talking to global fund managers for investing pension money in this country.

According to sources, the regulator is making a list of pension funds that are likely to look at India as an investment market. “ A list of global jurisdictions that the regulator can work with is being figured out. Additionally, it is studying how these funds are distributed worldwide,” said one.

Recently, Indian equity markets got a boost when the government decided to invest ? 5,000 crore of Employees Provident Fund money there. The government and Sebi believe the equities market needs a bigger push. Getting foreign pension funds here is one measure they wish to act on.

Such funds typically invest for the long term and are considered astable source of capital.

Unlike hedge funds or other investors which quickly move in and out of the markets for a profit.

Also, pension and sovereign wealth funds account for alesser proportion of the overall foreign portfolio investor (FPI) holdings than they did last year at this time. These long- term investors share of the overall investment pie has declined every month since September last year. They now account for about 15 per cent of all FPI holdings, down from 16.7 per cent in September 2014 Depository data as of May show FPI holdings at Rs.20.78 lakh crore, of which sovereign funds accounted for Rs.1.58 lakh crore. Pension funds accounted for Rs.1.41 lakh crore.

The government in April invited foreign pension funds and the insurance sector to invest in infrastructure. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE last month, the discussion was around getting the Gulf countrys estimated $ 800 billion sovereign wealth fund into infra projects here.

Business Standard, New Delhi, 26th Sept. 2015

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