RBI Regularizes Issuance Of Partly Paid Units To Foreign Investors By AIFs

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


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) plays a critical role in managing foreign exchange in India. This includes regulating investments made by foreign residents in the Indian market. The Foreign Exchange Management (FEM) framework established by the RBI ensures a stable and orderly flow of foreign currency. One type of investment instrument is partly paid units, issued by Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). These units allow investors to contribute capital gradually.

This update addresses a recent RBI notification that simplifies a situation faced by AIFs.[1] Earlier, some AIFs issued partly paid units to foreign investors before a rule change in March 2024. This notification offers a solution for AIFs to regularize these past issuances, ensuring compliance with the updated Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules, 2019 (NDEI Rules).[2]

Understanding the Notification

  • Amendment to NDEI Rules: The notification references the NDEI Rules, which govern investments made by foreign residents in India through non-debt instruments.  A key amendment to these rules was made in March 2024, allowing investment vehicles (which include Alternative Investment Funds or AIFs) to issue partly paid units to foreign investors.
  • Regularization for Past Issuances: The circular addresses situations where AIFs issued partly paid units to foreign investors prior to the March 2024 amendment to the NDEI Rules. These issuances were technically non-compliant with the regulations at the time.
  • Regularization Method: The RBI offers a solution for AIFs to regularize these past issuances. The method involves compounding under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA).[3] Compounding allows for resolving a violation by paying a fee to the RBI.
  • Role of AD Category-I Banks: The process for regularization involves AD Category-I banks. These banks play a key role by:
    • Verifying AIF Reports: AIFs must report their past issuances of partly paid units to foreign investors through the Foreign Investment Reporting and Management System (FIRMS) portal. AD Category-I banks will facilitate this reporting process.
    • Issuing Acknowledgements: Once AIFs submit their reports, AD Category-I banks will issue conditional acknowledgements for these reports.
  • Approach to RBI for Compounding: After completing the reporting process with AD Category-I banks, AIFs can approach the RBI for compounding of the past non-compliance.


This notification signals a positive shift for foreign investment in Indian AIFs. It allows for the regularization of previously non-compliant issuances of partly paid units to foreign investors. This move, coupled with the March 2024 amendment to the NDEI Rules, holds significant implications for the Indian AIF industry.

Firstly, it provides much-needed flexibility for foreign investors. Partly paid units allow for staggered capital contributions, potentially reducing upfront investment costs and mitigating risk. This flexibility can be particularly attractive to foreign investors unfamiliar with the Indian market or those seeking a phased entry strategy.

Secondly, the regularization process eases compliance concerns for AIFs.  The ability to rectify past issuances eliminates the potential for penalties and fosters a more transparent investment environment. This can boost investor confidence in Indian AIFs, potentially attracting new foreign capital.


The RBI’s decision on partly paid units for foreign investors in AIFs signifies a forward-thinking approach to attracting foreign capital. By enabling flexible investment structures and regularizing past non-compliance, this move fosters a more transparent and investor-friendly environment. This can not only boost foreign investment in AIFs but also potentially trigger a chain reaction, attracting further foreign investment across the Indian financial landscape. The long-term impact could be a more diversified and robust Indian economy fuelled by increased foreign participation. However, the success of this initiative hinges on efficient implementation and ongoing efforts to streamline regulations and improve investor education, particularly for foreign investors unfamiliar with the Indian market.

[1] https://www.rbi.org.in/Scripts/NotificationUser.aspx?Id=12686&Mode=0.

[2] https://www.rbi.org.in/Scripts/NotificationUser.aspx?Id=11723&Mode=0.

[3] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/1988/1/A1999_42.pdf.