Any person who wishes to carry on investment advisory services for its clients should get themselves registered as Investment Adviser (IA) with SEBI. SEBI has specified the eligibility criteria and conditions that one must fulfill before making an application with it.
Before starting with the conditions that one must fulfill to become an IA, let us first understand-
Who is an Investment Adviser?
An Investment Adviser means any person, who for consideration, is engaged in the business of providing investment advice to clients or other persons or group of persons and includes any person who holds out himself as an investment adviser.
# investment advice means advice relating to investing in, purchasing, selling or otherwise dealing in securities or investment products, and advice on investment portfolio containing securities or investment products, whether written, oral or through any other means of communication for the benefit of the client and shall include financial planning.
Now, in order to register yourself with SEBI as IA, you must fulfil the following conditions and criteria:
The first thing you should ensure before proceeding with the application is to meet the qualification requirements for making the application.
An individual IA or a principal officer of a non-individual IA or a person associated with investment advice should have the following minimum qualification, at all times:
(a) A professional qualification or post-graduate degree or post graduate diploma (which shall be of minimum two years in duration) in finance, accountancy, business management, commerce, economics, capital market, banking, insurance or actuarial science from a university or an institution recognized by the Central Government or any State Government or a recognised foreign university or institution or association; or
(b) a professional qualification by completing a Post Graduate Program in the Securities Market (Investment Advisory) from NISM of a duration not less than one year; or
(c) a professional qualification by obtaining a CFA Charter from the CFA Institute.
An individual IA or a Principal Officer of a non-individual IA must have an experience of at least five years in activities relating to advice in financial products or securities or fund or asset or portfolio management.
However, a person associated with Investment Advice must have an experience of at least two years in activities relating to advice in financial products or securities or fund or asset or portfolio management.
An individual IA or a principal officer of a non-individual IA or a person associated with investment advice should have a certificate on financial planning or fund or asset or portfolio or investment advisory services from:
(a) NISM; or
(b) any other organization or institution including Financial Planning Standards Board of India or any recognized stock exchange in India provided such certification is accredited by NISM.
For Example: If you have an MBA degree in Finance (2 years course) with 5 years of experience as required and take NISM exam, you will fulfill the qualification and certification requirement.
However, if you have an MBA degree in marketing (2 years course) with 5 years of experience as required, you will not fulfill the qualification and experience requirement.
4. Net worth
The net worth requirement are as follows:
*Net worth means the aggregate value of paid up share capital plus free reserves (excluding reserves created out of revaluation) reduced by the aggregate value of accumulated losses, deferred expenditure not written off, including miscellaneous expenses not written off.
The net worth certificate shall be obtained by a Chartered Accountant and shall be attached to the form while making an application with SEBI.
5. Adequate Infrastructure
You should ensure to have an adequate infrastructure which shall include office space, office equipment, furniture and fixtures, communication facilities, research capacity, research software for undertaking investment advisory services.
Application and Fee Structure
Once you are sure that you meet the above criteria, you can proceed with making an application with SEBI for IA. However, before proceeding you are required to take in-principal approval from BASL.
Once BASL sends you an approval email requesting you to proceed with filing of application with SEBI, you can start the process.
For this, you will require to login to https://siportal.sebi.gov.in/intermediary/index.html and complete the initial application process only then you will be able to proceed with the application with SEBI.
All the details mentioned in Form A are required to be provided along with all the necessary required documents as attachments.
Note: In order to grant the registration certificate under the IA Regulations, SEBI might want the applicant to furnish further information or clarification on the submitted documents.
Fee Structure for the application with SEBI:
SEBI on receiving internal approval from BASL on receipt of fees, will issue you the SEBI IA License. BASL on the other hand will issue you the certificate of membership.
Hope the article gives you the clarity on the requirements for IA License. In case you have any query or are looking for any professional assistance to make an application, you may write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.