RBI Issues New Guidelines On Money Changing Activities

Posted On - 29 June, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced a significant update to its guidelines on money changing activities, as outlined in the FED Master Direction No. 3/2015-16, originally issued on January 1, 2016. These new guidelines, effective from July 1, 2024, aim to streamline the operations of Full-Fledged Money Changers (FFMCs) and non-bank Authorized Dealers (ADs) Category-II, ensuring better management of foreign currency reserves and enhancing regulatory compliance.

Key Highlights of the Updated Guidelines:

The RBI has emphasized the necessity for FFMCs and non-bank ADs Category-II to maintain their foreign currency balances at reasonable levels. This move is aimed at preventing the accumulation of idle balances, thereby ensuring more efficient utilization of foreign currency resources within the market. One of the most notable changes is the introduction of a new rule regarding the sale of foreign currency notes. Starting July 1, 2024, FFMCs and non-bank ADs Category-II are required to sell to the public, for permitted purposes, at least 75% of the value of foreign currency notes they purchase from other FFMCs and ADs on a quarterly basis. This measure is designed to enhance the circulation of foreign currency and meet the public demand more effectively.

To ensure compliance with the new sale requirement, FFMCs and non-bank ADs Category-II must maintain detailed records of their foreign currency purchases and sales. These records should be readily available for audit and inspection by regulatory authorities. Additionally, when FFMCs or non-bank ADs Category-II purchase foreign currency notes, they should ascertain the ‘sale to public’ requirement of the selling entity, ensuring transparency and adherence to the new norms. The RBI has also mandated that FFMCs and non-bank ADs Category-II submit their annual audited balance sheet to the concerned Regional Office of the Reserve Bank. Along with this, a certificate from their statutory auditors confirming the Net Owned Funds (NOF) as of the balance sheet date must be submitted by October 31 each year. This requirement aims to bolster the financial oversight and ensure the financial health of these entities.

The updated guidelines have been issued under the authority of Section 10(4) and Section 11(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA). This legal backing underscores the importance of compliance and the potential consequences of non-adherence.

The updated guidelines present both opportunities and challenges for FFMCs and non-bank ADs Category-II. On the positive side, the emphasis on maintaining reasonable foreign currency balances and the minimum sale requirement is likely to promote more active participation in the foreign exchange market, potentially leading to increased business opportunities and better service to the public. However, these entities will also need to enhance their operational efficiencies to comply with the new requirements. Maintaining detailed records and ensuring timely submission of audited financial statements will require robust internal processes and coordination with statutory auditors.

Ensuring Smooth Transition:

To facilitate a smooth transition to the new regulatory framework, FFMCs and non-bank ADs Category-II should start preparing well in advance. This includes:

  1. Assessing current foreign currency management practices to identify any gaps and areas for improvement.
  2. Implementing or upgrading systems to maintain detailed and accurate records of all foreign currency transactions.
  3. Establishing clear communication channels with statutory auditors to ensure timely preparation and submission of audited balance sheets and NOF certificates.
  4. Conducting training sessions for staff to ensure they are fully aware of the new guidelines and their implications.


The RBI’s updated guidelines mark a significant step towards better regulation and management of money changing activities in India. By promoting transparency, accountability, and efficiency, these changes are expected to enhance the overall stability and robustness of the foreign exchange market. FFMCs and non-bank ADs Category-II must proactively adapt to these changes, leveraging the opportunity to refine their operations and contribute to a more dynamic and responsive financial ecosystem. As the July 1, 2024, deadline approaches, it is imperative for all stakeholders to stay informed and prepared, ensuring seamless compliance with the new norms and continuing to provide excellent service to their customers.