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Sebi introduces ASBA-like facility for secondary market trading in India

Sebi’s ASBA Facility: Empowering Indian Investors in the Secondary Market

Sebi, India’s main securities market regulator, has always prioritized empowering investors and promoting fair practices in the country’s securities market. One of its latest initiatives that have gained significant attention is the Application Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA) facility for secondary market trading. ASBA is a payment mechanism that allows investors to block their funds in their savings accounts instead of transferring the money to the broker’s account during IPO subscriptions. This ensures the safety of investor funds and streamlines the process of applying for shares in an IPO, with a reduction in the time taken for refunds and providing greater liquidity to investors.

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Real-time Settlement: How ASBA-like Facility Can Change Indian Secondary Market Trading

The ASBA facility can also be applied to secondary market trading, which could result in a real-time settlement process. This method allows investors to block their funds in their accounts while placing an order. Once the order is executed, the funds will remain blocked until the shares are credited to the demat account. This approach can offer several benefits for investors, such as transparency, enhanced control over their funds, and interest earnings on their blocked funds until the time of the actual debit.

Challenges of Implementing ASBA-like Facility in Indian Secondary Market Trading

However, the implementation of the ASBA-like facility in secondary market trading would require significant changes in the current infrastructure. The current system of brokers and depositories would need to be upgraded to support real-time settlement, and it would require substantial investments in technology and training. The decision is also likely to affect brokers as it may result in a reduction in float earnings or the client’s funds held in the pooled account. To compensate for the loss, brokers may charge higher transaction costs.

Benefits of ASBA-like Facility for Indian Investors

Despite the challenges, the ASBA-like facility can align the Indian secondary market trading with the global best practices, enhancing the credibility of the Indian market. It would deepen and widen the investor base in India’s stock market, which would be a significant achievement in itself. Investors and brokers can opt for the ASBA-like facility for secondary market transactions, and Sebi has approved the broad framework for its implementation, which is expected to lower working capital requirements for the members.

In conclusion, the ASBA-like facility for secondary market trading promises to be a game-changer for Indian investors, ensuring the safety of their funds and streamlining the entire process of stock trading. Although its implementation requires significant upgrades in the current infrastructure and changes in the legal framework, the benefits of aligning the Indian market with global best practices cannot be ignored.

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