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Navigating Regulatory Waters: A Comprehensive Guide to Demat Account Opening for Foreign Companies in India

CMA Sonam Verma , Last updated: 21 February 2024  


In a significant regulatory development, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) introduced a transformative shift through a Notification dated October 27, 2023, impacting the issuance and management of securities by private companies in India. The mandate requires private companies, excluding small enterprises (a non-public entity having paid-up share capital equal to or below Rs.4 crores or such higher amount as specified, but not exceeding Rs. 10 crores and maintains the turnover equal to or below Rs.40 crores or such higher amount as specified, not exceeding 100 crores), to issue securities exclusively in dematerialized form and facilitate the dematerialization of existing securities. With a strict 18-month time frame for compliance (i.e. deadline is 18 months from the end of the financial year in which the company does not qualify to be a small company), the urgency for wholly owned subsidiaries (WOS) and foreign companies to adhere to these new requirements is underscored.

One notable implication of this directive is the necessity for WOS of foreign companies operating in India to obtain an International Securities Identification Numbering system (ISIN). Additionally, foreign companies are obligated to initiate the dematerialization process by opening dematerialization accounts with a Depository Participant (DP).

Navigating Regulatory Waters: A Comprehensive Guide to Demat Account Opening for Foreign Companies in India

Importance of ISIN

The International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) is a global code that uniquely identifies securities, streamlining electronic trading and settlement worldwide. The process of obtaining ISIN by WOS is a crucial first step in the dematerialization process, setting the stage for subsequent procedures.

Steps to Obtain ISIN

1. Identify a Registrar and Transfer Agent (RTA)

  • Collaborate with an RTA to assist in obtaining ISIN from depositories like Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL) or National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL).
  • Prepare necessary documentation in collaboration with the RTA.

2. Submission of Information/Documentation with RTA and Verification

  • Provide essential documents including the certificate of incorporation, memorandum of association, articles of association, GST registration certificate, net worth certificate, and other prescribed formats.
  • RTA conducts a thorough verification process to ensure compliance and appropriateness.

3. Payment and Documentation Process

  • Pay the one-time joining fees to CDSL or NSDL after successful verification.
  • Generate the Master Creation Form and Tripartite Agreement.
  • Obtain stamp papers of designated value and execute the documents, submitting them to RTA.

4. ISIN Issuance

  • Upon document submission and verification, regulatory authorities approve the issuance of ISIN.
  • A unique ISIN is allocated for each category of security planned for dematerialization.

Steps for Opening Demat Account by Foreign Company

1. Identify a DP

  • Choose a reliable Depository Participant (DP) to act as an intermediary between the foreign company and the depository (NSDL or CDSL).
  • DP facilitates a smooth transition from physical securities to electronic format.

2. Submission of Information/Documentation with DP and Verification

  • Provide essential documents such as demat and KYC account opening forms, details of ISIN, notarized and apostilled/consularized copies of various corporate documents, and other specified requirements.
  • DP verifies the documents for compliance with regulatory standards.

3. Payment and Account Opening

  • Make the one-time joining fees payment to the DP after successful document verification.
  • DP officially opens the demat account for the foreign company.


In conclusion, the process of opening a demat account for foreign companies in India is intricate and demands meticulous adherence to regulatory frameworks and precise documentation. This comprehensive guide aims to illuminate the pivotal steps necessary for a seamless and compliant entry into the Indian securities market. By following the outlined procedures, foreign companies can confidently initiate the opening of a demat account, positioning themselves to actively engage and invest in India's dynamic financial ecosystem. This article serves as a roadmap, empowering foreign companies to navigate the intricacies of the process and capitalize on opportunities within the vibrant landscape of the Indian capital market.

Published by

CMA Sonam Verma
(Practicing CMA)
Category Shares & Stock   Report



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