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Ending licences anti-competitive: Index provider MSCI slams Indian bourses

Says Indian exchanges' move to terminate licensing and data-feed pacts with global counterparts is anti-completive, could cause disruption and lead to a cut in India's weight on its global indices

Samie Modak  |  Mumbai 

National Stock Exchange

Global index provider has slammed Indian exchanges’ decision to terminate licensing and data-feed agreements with their global counterparts.

MSCI, whose indices, widely used by passive investors, help channel billions of dollars into Indian markets, said the concerted announcement by three domestic exchanges was “anti-completive” and would restrict access to the Indian

is evaluating the measures’ potential impact on existing financial products and the future accessibility of the Indian equity for international institutional investors more generally. It is a clearly negative development for the accessibility of the Indian equity for international institutional investors,” said the index provider in a release, hinting that it might have to cut India’s weight in its global indices.

Currently, India’s weight on the Emerging (EM) index is about eight per cent, and on Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) index it is 12 per cent. These help attract nearly a tenth of the foreign flows going into (EMs) through exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Industry sources say the assets under management of ETFs with EM and Asia Pacific indices as underlying is over $50 billion.

Ending licences anti-competitive: Index provider MSCI slams Indian bourses

On February 9, the National Exchange (NSE) and BSE — India’s two main exchanges — and MSE had said in a joint release that they were discontinuing their data-feed tie-ups with foreign exchanges to prevent offshore trading in domestic securities. The move would come into effect after the contractual notice periods expire — in August 2018.

“A set of restrictions on the use of traded price data is inconsistent with the practices of any other in MSCI’s Index series and could result in an unprecedented disruption of trading in financial products in around the world,” said.

“Based on the exchanges’ press release, we understand that they do not seek to impose a precipitous or disorderly wind down of the various products that would be affected in many around the world. Nonetheless, given the breadth of the application of the changes referred to in the announcement, we believe that if the changes are put into effect, the result will be disruptive and harmful to international institutional investors in Indian equities whether accessing the onshore or offshore,” it said.

“Under MSCI’s Classification Framework, anti-competitive measures restricting investors' access to derived exchange information receive a negative score in the Competitive Landscape category,” it further said.

has issued curbs on the China due to restrictions on overseas investors in accessing stocks traded on the Mainland. The index provider has threatened a similar action against

“The introduction of restrictive measures that might result in a material deterioration of the accessibility of an equity is reviewed carefully by in consultation with international institutional investors and other participants and could lead to a change in classification,” it warned.

strongly suggests the Indian exchanges and their regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of (Sebi), reconsider this unprecedented anti-competitive action before it leads to any unnecessary disruptions in trading or a potential change in the classification of the Indian in the Indexes,” the global exchange provider warned.

Vikram Limaye, MD & CEO of NSE had told Business Standard last Friday that exchanges would continue to provide data to providers. 

First Published: Sat, February 17 2018. 01:01 IST