India has a diversified financial sector undergoing rapid expansion, both in terms of strong growth of existing financial services firms and new entities entering the market. The sector comprises commercial banks, insurance companies, non-banking financial companies, co-operatives, pension funds, mutual funds and other smaller financial entities. The banking regulator has allowed new entities such as payments banks to be created recently thereby adding to the types of entities operating in the sector. However, the financial sector in India is predominantly a banking sector with commercial banks accounting for more than 64 per cent of the total assets held by the financial system.
The Government of India has introduced several reforms to liberalise, regulate and enhance this industry. The Government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have taken various measures to facilitate easy access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). These measures include launching Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises, issuing guideline to banks regarding collateral requirements and setting up a Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA). With a combined push by both government and private sector, India is undoubtedly one of the world’s most vibrant capital markets. In 2017,a new portal named ‘Udyami Mitra’ has been launched by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) with the aim of improving credit availability to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) in the country. India has scored a perfect 10 in protecting shareholders’ rights on the back of reforms implemented by Securities and Exchange Board of India.
The Mutual Fund (MF) industry in India has seen rapid growth in Assets Under Management (AUM). Total AUM of the industry stood at Rs 23.16 trillion(US$ 321.00 billion)as of February 2019. At the same time the number of Mutual fund (MF) equity portfolios reached a high of 74.6 million as of June 2018.
Another crucial component of India’s financial industry is the insurance industry. The insurance industry has been expanding at a fast pace. The total first year premium of life insurance companies reached Rs 159,004 crore (US$ 22.04 billion) as of Jan 2019.
Along with the secondary market, the market for Initial Public Offers (IPOs) has also witnessed rapid expansion. The total amount of Initial Public Offerings (IPO) stood at Rs 14,032 crore (US$ 1.94 billion) as of Feb 2019.
Furthermore, India’s leading bourse Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) will set up a joint venture with Ebix Inc to build a robust insurance distribution network in the country through a new distribution exchange platform.
Investments by Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in Indian capital markets have reached Rs 5,400 crore (US$ 748.44 million) up to December 30, 2018.
As of October 2018, the Financial Inclusion Lab has selected 11 fintech innovators with an investment of US$ 9.5 million promoted by the IIM-Ahmedabad’s Bharat Inclusion Initiative (BII) along with JP Morgan, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The private equity and venture capital (PE/VC) investments reached US$ 33.1 billion in 2018.
In December, 2018, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) proposed direct overseas listing of Indian companies and other regulatory changes. It has provided companies with a broader investor base, better valuation, increased awareness, analyst coverage and visibility.
Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) introduced weekly futures and options contracts on Sensex 50 index from October 26, 2018.
In September 2018, SEBI asked for recommendations to strengthen rules which will enhance the overall governance standards for issuers, intermediaries or infrastructure providers in the financial market.
The Government of India launched India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), to provide every district with one branch which will help increase rural penetration. As of August 2018, two branches out of 650 branches are already operational.
India is today one of the most vibrant global economies, on the back of robust banking and insurance sectors. The relaxation of foreign investment rules has received a positive response from the insurance sector, with many companies announcing plans to increase their stakes in joint ventures with Indian companies. Over the coming quarters there could be a series of joint venture deals between global insurance giants and local players.
The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) is targeting nearly five fold growth in assets under management (AUM) to Rs 95 lakh crore (US$ 1.47 trillion) and a more than three times growth in investor accounts to 130 million by 2025.