India's First P-Note
Foreign institutional investors were first permitted to invest in Indian equity markets in 1992 but the strict registration process kept many genuine long-term investors and hedge funds out of the market.
Our research indicated that these foreign investors had a strong home market and home currency bias and wished to gain exposure to specific Indian stocks without the hassles, infrastructure and cost of dealing in a foreign market. Many also wished to use leverage but Indian regulations did not allow that.
In late -1993, we designed a simple, low-cost solution providing all the desired attributes and launched India's first participatory note through Peregrine Capital in USA in 1996 - giving birth to one of the most successful instruments in India's financial markets.
World's First GDR Index
In 1994, India had a single index - the BSE Sensex. Foreign investors had begun trading Indian GDRs listed on Luxembourg and other exchanges but there was no way to judge foreign investor sentiment for Indian equities listed outside India.
We designed the world's first depositary receipt index and were the first to use free-float market capitalization for index construction. The index captured the imagination of Indian and foreign investors and copy-cat products were introduced by multiple global brokerage firms and depositary banks.
India's Nifty Index
In mid-1995 the start-up National Stock Exchange (NSE) needed something to grab mind-share away from India's leading Bombay Stock Exchange. Given the strong success of the Skindia GDR Index, we were invited to assist in constructing an Index for the NSE. The initial NSE Index committee developed a framework for the Nifty 50.
US ETF Structure - SuGaR
In the early days of exchnage traded funds (ETFs), there were less than 10 products and none providing India exposure. In 1999, Instanex designed the first Indian ETF - Skindia Depositary Receipt - and service marked SuGaR for US financial products. Today, the brand is jointly owned by Gautam Chand and the New York Board of Trade.
India's First Factor Rate
India had an interbank rate in MIBOR that was used by banks as a benchmark for their largest relationships for lending and discount rates. However, small and mid-sized firms (SMEs) had no way of knowing the cost of funds for firms of their size.
Instanex introduced the Instanex Mumbai Factor Rate (IMFR) in 2007 to provide SME with a benchmark discount rate for discounting receivables.
World's First Ownership Indexes
In 2008, global markets crashed even though the fundamentals of many companies were affected only marginally. It was widely accepted that the fall in perceived discounted future cash flows was far lower than what the price effect of stocks indicated.
Instanex began a six-month study to determine the main influencer of changes in stock prices and concluded that the strongest determinant of changes in stock prices was their ownership pattern. In early 2009, Instanex introduced the world's first 'owner indexes', made an application for a global provisional patent, and trade-marked 'FII' and 'DII' for India's financial markets.