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The below content is purely for informational purposes and is not intended to constitute advisory of any kind. Please note, these are in-depth articles which are best viewed on large screen devices like laptops, desktops and tablets. The position reflected in this article has been updated as of March 31, 2024.

The Portfolio Investment NRI Scheme (PINS) is a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) scheme for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)/Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs)/Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) that allows them to engage in transactions in the secondary markets in India. This article details the need and process of opening a PINS account.

 

Importance of a PINS account

To start investing in the Indian secondary stock market, NRIs need a specific PINS designated bank account. for. As an NRI, you can open only one PINS designated account with specified branches of banks, which are authorised by the RBI to administer PINS accounts.

The PINS designated account acts as a channel for NRIs to invest in listed securities. Banks are mandated to report to the RBI the transactions made by their NRI customers through PINS and designated accounts.

Did you know?

Overall investment by NRIs is limited to 10% of the paid-up capital of an Indian company. This can be increased to 24% if the company’s general body approves it through a special resolution.

Opening an account under PINS

You can open an account under PINS by approaching the specified branches of banks, authorised by the RBI to administer PINS accounts. You will need to provide the necessary documents, including proof of identity, proof of address, and proof of your NRI status at these designated bank branches to initiate the account opening process. Please note, you can opt for only one authorised dealer bank to invest in India through the PINS route and have only one PINS account at any given time.

You should get in touch with your bank for more details.

 

Using a PINS account to invest in the Indian stock market

To invest in the Indian stock market, you would need to link your NRI demat account with your Non-Resident External (NRE)/Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) bank account.

  • If you are investing through your NRE account, you will need a specific NRE (PINS) account. This will be distinct from your regular NRE bank account and is meant exclusively for trading and investing in the stock market.
    Please note, once you designate your NRE account as an NRE PINS account, you cannot use that account for any other banking related transactions.
  • If you are investing through your NRO account, you do not need a separate NRO (PINS) account for trading and investment purposes. According to the recent RBI guidelines, NRO (PINS) accounts are redesignated as regular NRO bank accounts.

The table below outlines the type of bank account required to invest in different asset classes:

Please note, tables are best viewed on desktops and in landscape mode on mobile phones.

 Asset classes Account required

Equity

NRO/NRE PINS account

Derivatives (F&O)

NRO account

Mutual fund* (except USA/Canada)

NRO/NRE accounts

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)

NRO/NRE/NRE PINS accounts

*NRIs from the USA and Canada may face restrictions on investing in Indian mutual funds with a few Asset Management Companies (AMCs) which may not be Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) or Common Reporting Standard (CRS) compliant. You should consult your relationship manager for more details.

Did you know?

NRIs can subscribe to IPOs if they have an NRE/NRO bank account. You do not need a PINS designated account to invest in IPOs.

Repatriable and non-repatriable investments

As an NRI, you have the flexibility to repatriate funds invested in the Indian stock market, along with any capital gains, subject to the limits of the account through which you have invested. If you have invested through your:

  • NRE account, then the sale proceeds are fully repatriable.
  • NRO account, then the proceeds are repatriable only up to USD 1 million** per financial year (April-March) subject to necessary documentation and tax compliances.

**This USD 1 million limit is applicable for capital income sources. For current income sources, while there is not upper limit, it is subject to documentation and source of funds. You might want to get in touch with your bank to know more on this.

 

Let us understand this through an example

Aman, a Dubai-based NRI, holds both, NRO and NRE bank accounts along with NRI demat and trading accounts. He was planning to invest in the Indian stock market, in the equity and derivatives (F&O) segments. His friend told him that he needed a PINS designated bank account to do so. To gain more clarity, Aman approached his banking Relationship Manager (RM) who advised him that:

  • He can link and use his NRO or NRE (PINS) account for equity trading.
  • However, he can use only his NRO account for derivatives trading, as using an NRE account for derivatives trading is not permissible.

If he trades through his NRO account, he can repatriate up to USD 1 million per financial year (April–March) to his international bank accounts. In order to freely repatriate his investments and gains, Aman could opt for an NRE account.

The RM highlighted that with the redesignation of NRO PINS as NRO accounts, he need not open a separate NRO PINS account. However, if he plans to invest through his NRE account, he would require a specific NRE (PINS) account in addition to his regular NRE bank account.

Also, Aman must maintain separate demat accounts for investments through his NRO account and NRE PINS account, to comply with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)*

Click here, to read more on stock market investments by NRIs.

Conclusion

PINS is an RBI scheme that allows NRIs/PIOs/OCIs to invest in the Indian secondary markets. If you are investing through your NRE account, you will need a specific NRE (PINS) account, distinct from your regular NRE bank account.

You can open a PINS account by approaching the specified bank branches authorised by RBI and will have to link your NRI demat account to your NRE/NRO (PINS) account. You can only hold one PINS account at any given time. You should get in touch with your bank for more details.

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