Markets regulator Sebi will introduce one-hour trade settlements by the end of this fiscal, in the run up to making such processes instantaneous, a top official said on Tuesday.
Amid concerns raised by certain foreign portfolio investors on the shortening of the settlement cycles citing forex-related worries, the official made it clear that faster settlements are optional and investors can opt out.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has adopted a roadmap towards realising its aim of making trade settlements instantaneous, the official told reporters.
"From one day to one hour to instantaneous is the roadmap," the official said, adding one hour settlements are much quicker to implement than instantaneous.
The official said technology for one hour trade settlements already exists and the regulator is confident about the same, while the instantaneous settlements need more technology development.
At present, Sebi is thinking of rolling out the one hour trade settlement for all investors by March next year, and is looking at a time frame of 6-8 months more for the instantaneous settlements, the official said.
The Application Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA)-like facility for secondary markets will start by January for all investors and it will take another couple of months for the one-hour cycle to set-in after that, the official said.
Addressing investor concerns, the official said the early settlement facility will be optional for investors and they can opt out of it and stressed that data analysis does not indicate any problems on the trading side if some investors were to opt out.
"If the FPIs don't want to do that (instantaneous), they're free to do that. And we've looked at the matching data (on) whose trade matches with whom. So, our belief based on that data is that it will not be a problem for anybody," the official said.
Elaborating on the recently issued proposals to tackle the menace of financial influencers, the official said Sebi is acting keeping the future in mind and its intent is only to get into a situation if a regulated entity comes into the picture.
Separately, the markets regulator is also keeping tabs on activities with the help of states' law enforcement agencies, the official said.