Key Points- Unlocking Opportunities: SEBI's New Framework for Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs)


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SEBI has amended the regulations concerning Category I and Category II Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) to allow them to create encumbrance on their equity holdings in investee companies. This amendment aims to facilitate the raising of debt by investee companies and provide flexibility to AIFs. The circular outlines conditions and procedures for creating such encumbrances, including explicit disclosures, investor consent, limitations on usage of borrowed funds, compliance with foreign investment regulations, and protection of investors in case of default by the borrower company. Additionally, it mandates the formulation of implementation standards by the Standard Setting Forum for AIFs (SFA) to ensure proper utilization of funds and compliance reporting by AIF managers.

Key Points:

  1. Amendment to AIF Regulations: Allows Category I and II AIFs to create encumbrance on equity holdings in investee companies.
  2. Purpose: Facilitate debt raising by investee companies and provide flexibility to AIFs.
  3. Conditions:
    • Encumbrance limited to investee companies in infrastructure sub-sectors listed by the Central Government.
    • Explicit disclosure in Private Placement Memorandums (PPMs) required.
    • Investor consent needed for existing encumbrances without prior disclosure.
    • Usage of borrowed funds limited to specified purposes.
    • Duration of encumbrance tied to scheme tenure.
    • Compliance with foreign investment regulations for AIFs with foreign involvement.
    • Protection of investors in case of borrower default.
  4. Prohibitions: AIFs cannot provide guarantees or create encumbrances on foreign investee companies.
  5. Implementation Standards: To be formulated by SFA in consultation with SEBI for proper fund utilization.
  6. Compliance Reporting: Managers must include compliance with this circular in their 'Compliance Test Report'.
  7. Immediate Effect: The circular comes into force immediately upon issuance.