NRI Trading in derivatives in India offers a great opportunity for hedging, speculation, and margin trading. Derivatives are financial instruments like future contracts and options (F&O) whose value is derived from underling asseta. The derivatives trading account for over 95% of the daily turnover in India Stock Market.n
Many Non-resident Indians (NRIs) show interest in trading in derivatives but the complexity in regulations makes it challenging. It's important for NRIs to understand the NRI trading rules and NRI trading restrictions for derivative trading in India Stock Exchanges. NRIs including NRI, PIO & OCI card holders are permitted to trade in derivatives through special set of rules. In this article, we try to explain the basics of NRI derivatives trading, prerequisites for trading in Futures & Options and the tax implications.
A derivative is a financial contract or an agreement that is derived from some other assets (called underlying) like stocks, index, commodities, and currencies, etc. The value or price of a derivative depends on the price or value of its underlying.
To know more detail about derivatives trading in India, visit the following articles:
All NRIs are permitted to trade in F&O's in India. The major difference between the way you trade as a resident Indian and an NRI is that for residents, all the derivatives trades are settled by the broker but for an NRI client the F&O trades are settled by the Custodian.
Key Facts about CP Code:
An NRI customer has to apply for a Custodial Participant code with a Custodian. The CP code is linked to the NRI trading account and passed by the broker to the exchange for every trade. It is also used by the clearing member to clear the trades through Custodian.
A custodian is a financial service provider registered with the SEBI and a member of the Clearing Corporation of India. They help the customers in getting the CP code and later clear the F&O trades at the exchange on the behalf of the customer.
All the funds for trading in F&O for NRIs are kept with the custodian (unlike in a resident account where funds are kept with the broker). The broker shares the contact note with the custodian to get the payment at the end of the trading day.
This is similar to how the funds for NRI Delivery Trading remain with the bank (and not with the broker) and given to the broker once they share the contact note with the bank at the end of the trading day.
Note: When you open a custodial account, the company offering custodial services usually demands at least Rs 25 lakhs custody portfolio size. This including cash, stocks or any other security that you deposit with the custodian.
NRI Futures Trading and NRI Options Trading are permitted by SEBI, the market regulator, through a Custodian via an NRO bank account. But there are a number of rules and regulations by SEBI, RBI and Stock Exchanges. Here are a few key restrictions:
For detail about rules and regulations by SEBI, RBI and Exchange, visit below links:
For NRI Investment in Derivatives(F&O) in India, an NRI needs an NRO Bank Account, a CP Code (optional for investment repatriation basis), a Trading account, and a Demat account.
A PIS account is not required for trading in Equity Derivatives (F&O) since the funds are settled through the Custodial. An NRI can use an NRO saving bank account to trade in F&O.
A Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) is a saving account needed to be opened by an NRI to manage the income earned in India i.e. rent, dividend, pension, sale of property purchased before becoming an NRI, etc. Some of the key features of the NRO account are:
The NRE savings account can be opened with any major bank offering NRI services in India. Banks like Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC, etc., offer NRO account services in India.
NRE vs NRO Account in India for NRI
Custodial holds the money and settle the F&O trades for NRI customers. An NRI has to open a Custodial Account with a SEBI registered Custodial.
The broker whom with you are planning to open the trading account has a partnership with one of the Custodial. You have to open an account with them before you open the trading account.
It is an account that is required to access stock exchanges and trade in Futures and Options along with other securities like stocks, IPOs, etc. Your NRO account, Demat account, and the Trading account are linked to each other to facilitate the transfer of funds and securities.
NRIs can open a trading account with any share broker in India. Most brokers like Zerodha,Axis Direct,ShareKhan etc., offer trading account services.
Note that most banks offer 3-in-1 NRI Investment account which is a combination for NRI Bank Account, NRI Trading Account and a Demat Account. The 3 in 1 account offers seamless transaction between there 3 accounts and make the stock investment easy for the investor.
An NRI demat account is a must for stock market investment in India for both resident and NRIs. It is an online account for holding stocks, mutual funds, NCDs, etc. in the electronic format. The demat account is a secure way to hold stocks and mutual funds. It also makes online trading quick and easy.
In the case of NRIs, the demat account is linked with their NRO savings account. All the earnings from their investments in securities like Stock dividends, Mutual Funds dividends, etc., are directly credited to the NRO account.
NRIs can open a demat account with any stock broker in India. Most brokers like Zerodha, ICICI Direct, Axis Direct, etc., offer demat account services.
Note that the Demat account is made mandatory even if you are planning to trade only in derivatives since the physical settlement of stock contracts was introduced. Due to physical settlement, an investor may either have to take or receive delivery of shares for certain stock contracts on expiry.
Once all accounts are set up and linked correctly, trading in F&O is similar to how the trading is done by the resident Indians.
If the combined position of all index-based derivative contracts is 15% or more of the open interest*, there is a need for disclosure of such requirement to the exchange.
The gross open position across all derivative contracts on a particular underlying stock should not exceed higher of the below:
*Open interest is the number of open outstanding contracts across all market participants. This is calculated at the end of each day and is made available on the NSE website.
# Free float capitalization refers to the number of shares that are freely available to the public for trading which excludes promoter holding.
In case the open positions exceed the above limits, there is a penalty levied by the exchange on the clearing member. In case the index contract limit exceeds 15% limit and the disclosure is made as required then there is no penalty levied.
The clearing members keep a check on the above position limits via their robust risk management system and intimate to clients on a timely basis in case the client position is nearing the limits.
Trading income from F&O trades in India is considered as business income, and taxed according to the Income-tax (IT) slabs in India.
NRI customers are taxed (income tax) at the rate of 30.90% (Tax 30% + Service Charges 3%) for trading in derivatives (as of March 2019). The taxes are charged on the net profit for a calendar month.
The income tax is in addition to other transactional taxes charged while trading in derivatives. The below table provides the detail of taxes paid by the NRIs on trading futures and options in India.
Securities Transaction Tax (STT)
0.1% of the transaction value (On Sell)
Sell : 0.05% on Premium,
Exercise : 0.125% on Settlement Price
0.002% (₹200 per crore) on buy-side
0.003% (₹300 per crore) on buy-side
SEBI Turnover Tax
0.0001% on turnover + GST 18%
Income Tax (on net profit)
30.9% (30% Tax + 3% service charges)
The term net profit for Futures Trading is considered as:
The term profit for Options trading is considered as:
NRIs are allowed to trading in derivatives but with a set of restrictions, high entry barriers, high brokerage and taxes. F&O offers an opportunity to hedge and trade in highly leveraged financial instruments. With effective use, F&O trading can be highly profitable for NRI investors.