The relaxation is given for a period equal to the number of days of lockdown declared by the Government of India
The capital markets regulator, Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has extended the timelines for processing various investor requests pertaining to physical securities and compliance, and disclosure to be made under various regulations. The relaxation is given for a period equal to the number of days of lockdown declared by the Government of India. This announcement is relevant to those investing in shares.
The circular observes that the COVID-19 lockdown has meant that issuers (of investment papers and instruments), and registrar & transfer agents are working with minimal staff strength. Therefore, relaxations are given for certain investor service activities. SEBI has listed 12 types of investor requests and compliance requirements for which this relaxation is given. These include processing of requests for rematerialisation (converting shares in demat mode to physical mode), transmission, name change, replacement of share certificates, amalgamation of folio for physical shares among others.
As the circular comes into effect, the time limits are extended for investor service requests mentioned, by 21 days. For example, the processing of remat requests is completed within 30 days at present. Similarly, investor complaints raised on the SCORE platform without involving the issuer involved, need to be responded to by entities concerned within 30 days of the complaint, up from 21 days at present. The RTA has an extended time horizon of 21 days beyond the original time limit of 30 days.
“As intermediaries are working with minimum staff and most of them are working from home, it was difficult to handle requests pertaining to physical shares. This relaxation was much required and will ensure that penal actions against intermediaries concerned won’t be taken for inability to respond to investors’ requests during the lockdown,” says Narendra Jain, President, IIFL.The Prime Minister has extended the lockdown to May 3. The circular further made it clear that in case of extension of lock down by the central or state governments, additional relaxation in time lines will be given in accordance with the extended days of the shut down. Therefore, the timelines will be extended further by 18 days now.