INVESTORS would soon be able to avoid repeated Know Your Client (KYC) procedures every time they register with a capital market intermediary. Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has framed the guidelines for a KYC Registration Agency (KRA) that could see depositories setting up subsidiaries to function as registration entities.
More than four months after it gave its go-ahead for KRA, Sebi has allowed stock exchanges, depositories or any other self-regulatory organisation (SRO) to form wholly owned subsidiaries that could be registered as a KRA. While exchanges are not expected to get into the KYC arena, there are hardly any SROs in the capital market segment. This leaves only the depositories, CDSL and NSDL, to launch operations as KRAs.
At present, if an investor trades through brokerage ‘A’ and wants to open a new account with brokerage ‘B’, he will have to fill all the KYC forms again with the new brokerage. The fact that the old brokerage has already completed the KYC requirements becomes immaterial. Once a KRA is in place, intermediaries can use the existing KYC database of any individual. The move is also expected to reduce the overhead costs for brokerages that have to maintain back-office staff for carrying out KYC requirements.
The role of a KRA will be to complete the KYC procedures for a client and make it available for all capital market intermediaries that avail of its services. If there is more than one KRA, then inter-operability will be put in place so as to avoid any kind of duplicity. The KRA will have to maintain a net worth of at least `25 crore on a continuous basis. According to the norms, any entity that applies to Sebi for recognition as a KRA will initially be granted registration for five years. After which, apermanent registration can be granted. Meanwhile, KRAs will have to retain the original KYC documents of the client, in both physical and electronic form, which would be inspected by the market regulator when required. The regulator can also inspect the books, records and infrastructure systems of a KRA to ensure the privacy of clients’ data is maintained and not shared with any other agency/associates