20 October 2000
LIC misses IRDA deadline on equity increase
Mumbai: In what is the first instance of defying the diktats of the insurance regulatory body, Life Insurance Corporation missed the deadline to raise its equity capital to Rs 100 crore from the present level of Rs 5 crore. By doing so, it became the first insurance company to default on the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority guidelines.
IRDA had given a period of six months to LIC and the four General Insurance Corporation subsidiaries to raise their paid-up capital to Rs 100 crore.
While LIC executives and officials in the finance ministry, however, said that the life insurance company is not required to raise its equity capital, top IRDA officials maintained that LIC had to increase its equity to Rs 100 crore by yesterday.
LIC executives maintain that the equity norms are applicable only to the new life insurance companies only. The government has raised the equity in the four GIC subsidiaries because they are being delinked from the parent company.
19 October 2000
Citibank launches CitiAlert
Mumbai: Citibank, the aggressive multinational bank, launched its CitiAlert service, which is an Internet and mobile phone-based service designed to provide customers information conveniently - wherever and whenever they want it.
The completely personalised service provides customers with the latest information on their accounts, with a certain degree of timeliness and the reach. The bank claims that the service empowers the customer to take informed decisions through relevant money alerts such as when an event occurs: when salary is credited to customers' account or when credit card bills are due.
It also offers continuously updated information on withdrawals and account-balances. This service has the technological capability to reach the customer anywhere in the country at any frequency.
"CitiAlert", which is being rolled out globally, is a first-of-its-kind service to be offered in India. It's India launch closely follows a successful international debut in Singapore recently.
The customer need not have a WAP-enabled or high-end phone. The technology powering "CitiAlert" involves a triggering mechanism and the routing of short message service (SMS) alerts through multiple-mobile carriers. The wireless service that makes the messaging service possible has been provided by iSolv India - a wireless technology venture backed by iNestor India Venture Fund.
18 October 2000
Stanchart holds board meeting in India
Mumbai: In what can be clearly read as a measure of confidence in the Indian operations of the global bank, the directors of Standard Chartered Bank are to meet in India for a meeting of the board of directors. The Standard Chartered global board meets once a year outside the group's headquarters in London.
Being held in India after a gap of five years, the meeting assumes significance against the backdrop of Stanchart's acquisition of the Grindlays business in the Middle East and South Asia.
The directors who will attend the board meeting in New Delhi are chairman, Sir Patrick Gillam, group chief executive Mr. G S Talwar and group executive directors Mr. Christopher Casrtleman, Mr. E Mervyn Davles JP, Mr. Chris Keljik, Mr. Nigel Kenny, Mr. Karl S Nargolwala and Mr. Mike Denoma.
Non-executive directors Lord Stewartby, Mr. Ronnie C Chan, Sir Ralph Robins, Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, Mr. Kevith AV Mackrell, Mr. Hugh E Norton, Sir K C Chow, Mr. Cob Stenham, Mr. David Moir and Mr. Barry Clare will also take part in the meeting.
HDFC against any merger with its bank
Mumbai: The board of India's leading housing finance company ,HDFC, has decided unanimously not to merge with its banking subsidiary, HDFC Bank. The board has decided to continue being the holding company for its non-housing finance activities, which include commercial banking and insurance.
The HDFC decision to stick to the existing pattern is in stark contrast to the decision of another financial institution, ICICI Ltd, which has been planning to merge with its banking subsidiary. It is understood that the HDFC view on converting itself into a commercial bank to access cheap demand deposits is unviable. According to Mr. Deepak Parekh, chairman of the institution, the 25 per cent statutory liquidity ratio (SLR), 8.5 per cent cash reserve ratio (CRR) and the 40 per cent priority sector lendings stipulations which a bank has to comply with, do not make this decision an attractive proposition.
Insurance privatisation enters final round
New Delhi: With four companies, including Reliance, filing their R2 application with the insurance regulatory authority, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), the licensing process for the first round of insurance licences has entered the final round.
While IRDA has received 13 applications in the first phase, it has shortlisted Sundaram Royal & Sun Alliance, ICICI-Prudential, Reliance (non-life) and HDFC-Standard Life for the first round of licences.
The regulator is expected to ask about half-a-dozen applicants to file their R2s by the end of the month. The cut-off date for the second round has not been decided but a decision is expected soon.
16 October 2000
SBI cautions banks on IMD
Mumbai: Having learnt from its costly and bitter experience of marketing the Resurgent India bonds, the State Bank of India is now treading very gingerly with the India Millennium Deposits program, primarily to ensure that it does not run into any legal hurdles.
While SBI has made it very clear that it is not offering the deposits to investors or non-residents in the US, it is busy plugging loopholes to avoid court battles with aggrieved non-resident Indian investors.
It has categorically instructed its collecting banks, that while marketing the issue, they should make it abundantly clear that deposits are not being solicited from NRIs in the United States.
Meanwhile, the collecting banks have sought the State Bank of India's clarification on whether they could market the issue on their Websites.
The India Millennium Deposits issue is slated to open for subscription on October 21 and will close on October 31 which, incidentally, coincides with the last working day of SBI chairman G G Vaidya
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