The process of getting alternative investment fund (AIF) license just got easier. SEBI has allowed fund houses and other market participants to apply for the AIF registration online.
In a circular, SEBI has said, “In a constant endeavor to facilitate ease of operations in terms of applying for registration, reporting and various compliances, SEBI has introduced an online system for filings related to AIF. The online system can be used for application for registration, reporting and filing in terms of the provisions of AIF Regulations.”
Furthermore, all existing SEBI registered AIFs are now required to file their compliance reports and submit applications for any request through the online system only. SEBI has made this online filing system for AIF operational with immediate effect.
Experts believe that although this will ease the process by doing away with the physical documentation part, it does not claim to reduce the overall time of registration. Also, there is no clause mentioned with respect to fund approval. Typically, the market regulator takes 2 to 3 months to complete the registration process.
Currently, of the 39 AMCs, only a handful of them have launched AIFs. Fund houses such as Indiabulls, Reliance, DSP Black Rock, Edelweiss, IIFL, IDFC, ICICI Prudential and HDFC are among the players who have ventured into the AIF space. A majority of them have launched category II AIFs, which are private equity funds, debt funds and fund of funds. Fund officials say that taxation is a deterrent for launching AIFs.
The budget 2017 has announced that SEBI would enable market intermediaries, which include AIFs to apply for registration online.