April 29, 2021

A quick analysis of the Residency & Citizenship by investment program of the world!!

Ajmera Law Group’s analysis and comparison of RCI programs of several countries will surprise you.

To attract the right kind of global businesspersons and entrepreneurs to their countries, two G-7 countries have reduced the investment amount which is now the lowest in the world.


Name of the country Investment amount Name  of the visa program  
USAUS$ 200,000 to 1,800,000Non-Immigrant L1, E2 visa, and Green card under EB-5
Ireland€ 500,000Permanente residency
AustraliaA$ 500,000Business innovation Stream (Provisional to PR)
New ZealandNZ$ 100,000Permanente residency
Canada CD$ 100,000 PNP Business program ( temporary residency to PR)
UK£ 50,000Innovator visa (ILR)
Malta€ 250,000Permanente residency
Cyprus€ 300,000Permanente residency
Portugal€ 350,000-500,000Golden Visa – Permanente residency
Spain€ 500,000Golden Visa – Permanente residency
Greece€ 250,000Golden Visa – Permanente residency
Bulgaria€ 512,000Permanente residency
TurkeyUS$ 250,000Citizenship
GrenadaUS$ 150,000Citizenship
Carrabin CountriesUS$ 100,000+Citizenship


April 20, 2021

How many Indian HNIs really left India?                        

In the last few years, we have time and again read articles in the Indian media with the following eyeball grabbing headlines:

Being in the immigration industry with more than 28 years of experience, I was intrigued by these headlines and the alleged figures. Yes, India’s rich and famous are leaving the country and opting for a second passport but the numbers cited in many of these articles seemed preposterous.

I decided to do some research to determine if this was true. I picked out the last article and tried to reach the author of the article.  He was nice enough to send me the report which was referred to in this article. He also sent me a note saying – ‘Our figures are estimates’. 

I also reached out to the bank which has been part of the same report and quoted in several pressnote. The bank, however, has not replied to my email.

Regulatory Bank of India


Here is the official data from the Reserve Bank of India (the regulatory bank in India) of the remittance/investment made by Indian citizens overseas in the last 4 years.

Outward remittances/investments made under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) for Resident Individuals / Indian Citizens – Published by Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
(US$ Million)
Item2016-172017-182018-192019-20TOTAL of Four years
1 Outward Remittance under the LRS – TOTAL for the year8,170.7 11,333.613,787.5818,751.4052,043.28
1.1 Deposit283.8414.9455.94623.371778.01Investment
1.2 Purchase of immovable property92.989.684.5386.43353.46Investment
1.3 Investment in equity/debt443.6441.8422.90431.411739.71Investment
1.4 Gift749.51,169.71370.241904.535193.97Expenses
1.5 Donations8.88.58.6722.3248.29Expenses
1.6 Travel2,568.04,022.14803.816954.2018348.11Expenses
1.7 Maintenance of close relatives2,169.52,937.42800.883437.4611345.24Expenses
1.8 Medical Treatment17.327.528.5933.88107.27Expenses
1.9 Studies Abroad1,536.42,021.43569.874989.0412116.71Expenses
1.10 Others300.8200.6242.15268.741012.29Expenses
Note: 1.10: Includes items such as a subscription to journals, maintenance of investment abroad, student loan repayments, and credit card payments.


We can plainly see from the above RBI data that the ‘estimates’ cited in most reports and their subsequent press notes are nowhere near the actual figures. It appears that these articles/press notes are nothing more than self-serving paid advertorials.

By creating a hype that a large number of Indians are leaving the country by opting for a second passport, they perhaps want to popularize the Residency & Citizenship by Investment programs offered by different countries in India. They hope that rich Indians will join the bandwagon and sign up for these programs.

April 19, 2021

An article by Mr.  Nasee Genani has been published on Outlook.com titled:

Mysterious ‘Invest In Turkey’ Hoardings Appear In Srinagar’s Lal Chowk  

After reading the article, it appears that the media and local authorities are perplexed regarding the origin of these hoardings. This story was followed by several other media. ( IBT, JKNS, VEN, etc.)

These hoardings were put up by an immigration consulting firm from Dubai with offices in Mumbai and Delhi. The likely aim of these hoardings was to attract Indian investors to invest in Turkish real estate so as to acquire Turkish Citizenship.

Investors, including Indian citizens, acquiring Turkish citizenship are eligible to apply for an E2 business visa of the USA and a business visa of the UK (under the Ankara Agreement between the UK and Turkey).

This is not an invitation from the Turkish government to apply for citizenship but an advertisement by an immigration agent who is licensed in the UAE but not in India.

But at the same time, it is interesting to note that this Dubai-based immigration consulting firm is operating illegally in India.

Invest in Turkey
Istanbul, culture and historical capital of Turkey. Aerial photo from above. City view and landscape photo by drone. The Galata Kulesi Tower

Why illegally you may ask?

When it comes to advising on Turkish immigration and visa law, the Indian law clearly states that only Indian advocates can practice law ( Indian or Foreign), including immigration law, under the Indian Advocates Act of 1961 and The Supreme Court of India’s judgment.

In view of the same, RBI has also issued a notification specifically directing Indian banks and other authorities to refrain from issuing or renewing permission to foreign law firms from establishing offices in India and opening bank accounts in India.

Note: After this blog was written, it has been brought to the attention of the author that the said hoardings have been duly removed.

April 15, 2021

Common mistakes made by parents and students while planning for study abroad!

Here are my 10 quick tips.   (Video version)

  1. Study abroad after grade 12 only if money is not a problem!
  1. Take IELTS coaching from an institute that does not provide student visa consultancy!
  1. STUDYING ABROAD does not translate to ‘Your life is set’!
  1. Study abroad only in recognized programs at university where immigration is possible!
  1. “Post-graduate Diploma” in colleges is not a Master’s degree!
  1. After studying abroad, immigration is not automatic!
  1. There is no guarantee that you will find a job that can finance your study. Always find employment related to your education!
  1. For licensed professionals, make sure you have the right to practice in India or the right to immigrate to the country of your choice!
  1. Do your own research, consult immigration lawyers and plan your career early and for the long term!
  1. Studying abroad is NOT the only option available to settle abroad. There are several other better options available!

Are you interested in planning for your child’s foreign education and settlement in a foreign country? 

Get this ebook for FREE or you can purchase the book from Amazon or ebook from google – Click Here



How to Plan for your Child's Foreign Education in 2020
A must-read book for all students who wish to study and settle abroad!

Who is Prashant Ajmera? 

Prashant Ajmera is a reputed Indian lawyer, NRI, and Canadian citizen since 1997 with more than twenty–five years of experience in the field of cross-border personal law and global investment advisory. He has assisted numerous HNIs and UHNIs in planning their finances and advised them in planning their children’s foreign education in the most economical manner.

Over the years has authored two books and a number of articles for diverse publications and has been invited as a speaker by various organizations and institutes …Read more

Mr. Ajmera is a member of the International Bar Association (IBA) and has addressed the IBA Annual Conference as a speaker on two occasions (Cancun-2001 & Durban-2002).

He is also a member of many chambers of commerce and charitable organizations.

To consult Prashant Ajmera (Lawyer, Author & Founder)  for planning your child’s foreign education either in person or via Zoom video conference click here

April 13, 2021

AFTER SEVERAL YEARS AT No. 2 and one at No. 3 since the inception of the Best Countries report, Canada finally climbed to the No. 1 spot in the sixth edition of U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings released on Tuesday.

The North American country ranked first in both the Quality of Life and Social Purpose subrankings, meaning that it is seen as a stable and safe society in which individuals can develop and prosper, and is open, fair and equitable. Most of the countries that ranked highest for 2021 come from Western Europe. But Australia, New Zealand and Japan – which is ranked No. 2 overall – also appeared in the top 10.

The Top 10 Countries in the World:

1. Canada
2. Japan
3. Germany
4. Switzerland
5. Australia
6. United States
7. New Zealand
8. United Kingdom
9. Sweden
10. Netherlands

To read complete article click here 

April 12, 2021

Indian parents wait till standard 12 or bachelor degree results to take action for a child’s foreign education. It could be too late and you may be running out of options.  

Pursuant to the economic liberalization in India, wealth creation has reached unprecedented heights. From the time of independence, the Indian economic era can be divided into three main periods:

The first period from 1947 to 1993 can be described as pre-liberalized – a time when pre-liberalisation of the economic policies were in place in India.

The second period from 1993 to 2007 can be regarded as the start of economic liberalization– a time when inbound investments began in earnest in India.

The third period from 2007 to present can be described as optimum economic liberalization – a time when inbound and outbound investments to and from India were allowed.

Before the 1993 pre-economic liberalisation era, most Indians aspired to just own a decent house, a vehicle (two wheelers were good enough), good education for their children in local schools and enjoying vacations within the country. However, in the post economic liberalisation era, most Indians not only want a house with four walls but yearn for a lavishly furnished, luxurious home. Owning at least two cars, a holiday home or farm house outside the city and vacationing abroad have become must-haves for well-to-do Indian families today.

The wave of economic liberalization seen the past few years has increased the number of HNIs in India and wealth generation is at its peak. Life styles, standard of living, travel, education, weddings, savings, retirement and many other important aspects of life have changed post 2007.

Have a look at the following figures:

2007 – HNIs in India 152 ,000

2015 – HNIs in India 236,000

2018 – HNIs in India 430,000

2023 – HNIs in India 860,000

Today, Indian HNIs own a second home outside India, their children are studying in foreign universities and they spend at least one vacation abroad per year, thanks to the booming economy and increased spending power.

According to the data received from RBI the Indian HNI remittance has increased from US$ 440 million in 2007-08 to US$ 13.5 billion in 2017-18 under the LRS. This exponential increase is due to outbound investment and remittance post 2007. Now Indian HNIs are travelling abroad more frequently, for work as well as pleasure. Destination weddings in exotic international locations and sending their children out of India for undergraduate and graduate studies is also making a sizeable contribution towards outbound investment.

According to RBI, the top spending for HNIs was on their children’s education – around US$ 4 billion, followed by foreign travel and gifts to family.

As the data shows, spending for children’s education abroad is on top of the list for Indian HNIs. Today not only HNIs but even middle class parents aspire to send their children abroad to study. Several surveys show that Asian parents give top priority to their children’s education and are particularly keen that they study abroad. This is probably due to the fact that the approach and attitude towards education in Western countries is very different compared to that in Asian countries.

The number of Indian students studying abroad has increased many-fold in the past decade. As per UNESCO data, by August 2018, over 400,000 Indian students were studying abroad. This makes India the second largest source of international students after China.

However, the past migration history of India and the affluence of the Indian diaspora in foreign countries prompts most Indians parents to presume that if their child gets a foreign education, he/she will be able to settle in that country permanently. They equate studying abroad with settling abroad. They feel that once their child goes abroad, they will be able to make a good life for themselves and settle comfortably.

In order to secure their child’s future in a foreign country, Indian parents spend obscene amounts of money or take loans that often take a lifetime to pay and somehow send their children abroad to study. Their hope is that their child will obtain residency, land up with a lucrative job and have a successful career.

We must not forget that just like India, there are many countries around the world who send their youth to study in countries such as USA, Canada, Australia, UK and New Zealand.

This has increased the number of foreign students applying for immigration in the aforementioned countries. Hence the queue and waiting period for obtaining immigration is getting longer and longer.

Let us take an example of an Indian student studying in USA. If this student started studying in the Master’s program in the year 2002, he is likely to have completed it by 2004. Like most students, he would have converted his status from F1 student visa to H1B work permit visa. He would have worked for six years on this visa assuming that the company he worked for continued to hire his services. Hence until 2010 he would be working on a H1B visa.

Let us assume that this student applied for a Green Card in 2010 under one for the following categories – EB1, EB2 and EB3 and received approval for his I-140 petition. As each of the categories has a quota of 40,000 Green Cards per year, and as the number of foreign students applying for a Green Card in these categories is very high, it takes several years to receive this much coveted card.

As per USA Government official website, petitions received/ approved until January 2015 are being issued a Green Card under the EB1 category. Petitions approved/received until July 2009 are being issued a Green Card under the EB2 and EB3 categories. Hence our student has to wait for at least another 4 years for a Green Card under the EB1 category and another 10 years under the EB2 and EB3 categories, assuming that rules do not change and processing time remains more or less the same.

There are many Indian students in USA who were trying to obtain a Green Card since the last 12-15 years after completing their studies. When their wealthy Indian parents realized that their children cannot obtain residency after the study program, they tried to intervene by investing money on behalf of the children in programs such as EB-5 Investor visa of USA to secure a Green Card for their child.

Other popular destinations for study abroad are Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Thanks to thousands of student visa consultants and agents, Canada has the highest number of Indian international students. Unfortunately due to bad advice given by local agents, who are motivated by the hefty commissions they receive from foreign education institutes, a good number of students receive a shock of their life when they realize that the course they have been enrolled into is not a Master’s program but a college diploma or certificate course. Also, the institution they are going to study in is not a recognized university but a community college. There are innumerable horror stories faced by parents and their children because of their desperation to go abroad.

Most Indian parents, whose children are ready to study abroad, fail to realize that circumstances that existed a few years ago to settle abroad are not applicable in 2020. Immigration laws and regulations change from time to time and from country to country. Unless parents plan early, sending their children abroad to study will only result in spending exorbitant amounts of money without any net gain, which is permanent settlement in that country.

There are also good number of Indian students who had gone abroad to study but were forced to return back to India because they could not get employment related to their education nor could obtain residency/permanent immigration of the country where they studied. This has led to frustration, disappointment and careers of many bright students being destroyed due to short-sightedness and lack of knowledge.

When our law firm is approached by such parents, we cannot find a viable solution for them in many cases as the child who has gone abroad for study is way past the legal age to be included in an immigration application with his/her parents under the investor class. Parents and children undertake thorough research and seek legal advice from an experienced immigration lawyer to explore the possibility of immigration after study before going abroad.

Though a new concept for Indian HNIs, their counterparts in other countries such as China, Taiwan and Korea have resorted to obtaining residency and citizenship by the investment of various countries round the world to secure their children’s education in foreign jurisdictions, giving their children a jump start in their career when they finish their education.

The most important advantage of obtaining residency and citizenship by investment is that the investor’s children can enjoy reduced tuition fees at the majority of top universities. Tuition fees for permanent residents and citizens are significantly lower, reduced by almost 60%-80%, in most foreign universities as compared to those paid by international students.

In many cases, the amount to be invested by an investor in a particular country is just a little higher than the tuition fees he/she would pay in international student fees, especially if the investor has two or more children.

Making investments in risk-free but unconventional products in many countries of the world can help wealthy Indians to secure the foreign education and career of their children. There are excellent opportunities available for investing in countries such as USA, Canada, UK, some European countries and the Caribbean islands which guarantee subsidized education for children of investors.

In keeping with the changing trends, Indian parents can invest for a second passport or residency of a foreign country to ensure theirs and their children’s future before it’s too late.

Countries that offer Residency and/or Citizenship by Investment:

Residency to Citizenship:

USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand

Direct Citizenship:

Caribbean Islands –> St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica

Residency: Europe

Portugal, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Latvia, Turkey

Citizenship: Europe

Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria, Moldova

To know more about the subject and planning for your child’s foreign education get our e-book 

April 12, 2021

 Can you explain who are the main players of the U.S. financial market?

The U.S. financial market comprises of several players such as:

  • corporations and governments issuing securities
  • persons and corporations buying and selling a security
  • the broker-dealers and exchanges which facilitate such trading of securities
  • banks which safe keep assets, and
  • regulators who monitor the markets’ activities.

The U.S. system is more complex as there are multiple players in each of the above categories.

  1. Who are the players in each of the above categories in the U.S.?

 As we are aware, securities are issued by a company or the government to raise capital either as debt or equity. Debt and equity may be issued in various forms such as bonds, notes, debentures for debt and common or preferred shares for equity. Issues may be sold privately to investors, or sold to the public via the various markets described below.

  • An investor is a person or corporate entity that makes an investmentby buying and selling securities.

There are two sub-categories of these investors:

  1. Individual person making investment in the securities for himself
  2. Institutions which make investments on behalf of a third party who is their client, such as investment and hedge fund managers.
  • A broker-dealeris a natural person, company or other organization that engages in the business of trading securities for its own account or on behalf of its customers.

All broker-dealers must be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) or a national securities exchange or both, depending on the securities they are dealing with.

Commodity brokers include Futures Commission Merchants, Commodity Trading Advisors and Commodity Pool Operators. They must register with the National Futures Association (NFA).

A stock exchange is a physical or digital place to which brokers and dealers send, buy and sell orders in stocks/shares, bonds, and other securities.

In the USA, there are several exchanges and within the same exchange there are several markets depending on the type of securities or commodities to be traded.

The following are the U.S. Exchanges for equities, options, futures and derivatives:

  1. For Equities – There are multiple exchanges in the U.S. such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) and BATS Global Markets.
  2. Options on equities – Similar to equities, but including the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the International Securities Exchange.
  3. Futures and derivatives – The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, including its acquisitions of similar exchanges, is the sole venue for many derivative contracts that must be cleared at the same exchange.
  4. Energy related derivatives – The Intercontinental Exchange dominates energy related derivative trading, again with its own clearing arrangements. This exchange is owned by

It must also be noted that the U.S. government debt securities do not trade on exchanges. They are bought by primary dealers and resold to other broker-dealers and institutional investors.

 The next players in the security market are the banks and such other institutions that are the custodians of the securities for the safe keeping.

There are four main players:

  • Custodian banks – They offer active safekeeping and administration of clients’ securities portfolios.
  • Prime brokers – They are broker-dealers who offer custody and other services to hedge funds.
  • Transfer agents – They provide a variety of services to issuing companies, including maintaining a registry of all shareholders, paying dividends and conducting proxy campaigns.
  • Central securities depositories and clearing organisations. 

There are three central securities depositories and they are – 

  • The main securities depository is the Depository Trust Company, a subsidiary of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC)
  • The Federal Reserve for all U.S. government bonds and notes
  • The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) for futures and other derivative contracts

There are four clearing organizations in the U.S. and they are –  

  • National Securities Clearing Corporation, a subsidiary of DTCC, for market-traded stocks and corporate bonds
  • Fixed Income Clearing Corporation, also a subsidiary of DTCC, for government bonds and mortgage-backed securities
  • Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) for all equities related options
  • Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) for energy related derivative contracts

U.S. equities, corporate and municipal bonds can be issued in certificated form, though this practice has been largely replaced due to the costs and inefficiencies of keeping them. Rather, holdings are kept as “immobilized” or “street name”, with the beneficial owners keeping them in accounts at broker-dealers and banks, just as they do for currencies.

Options, futures and other derivatives are traded based on contracts, rather than certificates. OCC, CME and ICE act as clearing agents and repositories, keeping track of book entry positions among the various clearing brokers.

U.S. government bonds and notes are un-certificated (dematerialized), which means that certificates are never issued. Instead, the clearing brokers keep book entry positions at the Federal Reserve on behalf of their various clients.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council has designated each of these institutions, with the exception of the Federal Reserve, as a systemically important financial market utility.

  • The last and most important players are the regulators.

The securities markets are overseen by –

  • the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC),
  • by individual state securities commissions established under blue sky laws, and
  • the self-regulatory organizations, which are overseen by the SEC.

Nationally, there are two commissions regulating the trading of securities:

  • The first is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which governs equities, equity options, corporate bonds, and municipal bonds.

The SEC is an independent agency of the United States federal government. It also holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws, proposing securities rules and regulating the securities industry, the nation’s stock and options exchanges, and other activities and organizations, including the electronic securities markets in the United States.

The SEC falls under the responsibility of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking.

The CFTC oversees designated contract markets (DCMs) or exchanges, swap execution facilities (SEFs), derivatives clearing organizationsswap data repositoryswap dealers, futures commission merchants, commodity pool operators and other intermediaries.

The CFTC falls under the oversight of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.

  1. Can you give us a brief history of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ?

The New York Stock Exchange dates back to May 17, 1792. On that day, 24 stockbrokers from New York City signed the Buttonwood Agreement at 68 Wall Street.

The New York Stock Exchange started with five securities, which included three government bonds and two bank stocks.

Along with American stocks, foreign-based corporations can also list their shares on the NYSE if they adhere to certain listing standards.

A series of mergers has given the New York Stock Exchange its massive size and global presence. The company started as NYSE before merging with the Euronext and adding the American Stock Exchange.

NYSE Euronext was purchased in an $11 billion deal by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in 2013. The following year, Euronext demerged from ICE via an initial public offering (IPO), but ICE retained ownership of the NYSE.

NASDAQ officially separated from the NASD and began to operate as a national securities exchange in 2006. In 2007, it combined with the Scandinavian exchange group OMX to become the NASDAQ OMX group, which is the largest exchange company globally, powering 1 in 10 of the world’s securities transactions.

Headquartered in New York, NASDAQ OMX operates 25 markets – primarily equities, and also including options, fixed income, derivatives and commodities – as well as one clearing house and five central securities depositories in the U.S. and Europe. Its cutting-edge trading technology is used by 70 exchanges in 50 countries. It is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol NDAQ and has been part of the S&P 500 since 2008.

Since 2008, a number of mergers and acquisitions have made NASDAQ one of the largest exchange companies in the world. 

  1. What is the difference between NYSE and NASDAQ?

The first difference is the place or location of doing business.

The NYSE still retains a physical trading floor on Wall Street in New York City. A significant portion of trade flows through its data center in Mahwah, New Jersey.

The NASDAQ, on the other hand, does not have a physical trading floor. At both data centers, trading takes place directly between investors seeking to buy or sell, and market makers through an elaborate system of companies electronically connected to one another.

The second difference is that for NYSE, the market opens and closes at a fixed time. It is by the auction method that NYSE stock prices are set. Before the market’s 9:30 a.m. official opening time, market participants can enter, buy and sell orders starting at 6:30 a.m. These orders are matched with the highest bidding price paired with the lowest asking price. Orders for the closing auction are accepted until 3:50 p.m., and orders can be cancelled up until 3:58 p.m

The NASDAQ is a dealer market. Market participants do not buy and sell to one another directly. Transactions go through a dealer which, in the case of the NASDAQ, is a market maker.

The third difference is that at the NYSE, the job of maintaining markets falls upon Designated Market Makers (DMMs), formerly known as specialists.

At the NASDAQ, market makers maintain inventories of stock to buy and sell from their own accounts in transactions with individual customers and other dealers.

The forth difference is, it is more expensive to be listed on NYSE than on NASDAQ.

  1. What is the over-the-counter market (OTC) in the U.S.?

Over-the-counter (OTC) market refers to the process of how securities are traded via a broker-dealer network as opposed to a centralized exchange. Over-the-counter trading can involve equities, debt instruments and derivatives, which are financial contracts that derive their value from an underlying asset such as a commodity.

In some cases, securities might not meet the requirements to have a listing on a standard market exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Instead, these securities can be traded over-the-counter.

However, over-the-counter trading can include equities that are listed on exchanges and stocks that are not listed. Stocks that are not listed on an exchange, and trade via OTC, are typically called over-the-counter equity securities or OTC equities.

  1. Can you explain who is a broker–dealer?

A broker-dealer is a person or firm in the business of buying and selling securities for its own account or on behalf of its customers.

The term broker-dealer is used in U.S. securities regulation parlance to describe stock brokerages because most of them act as both agents and principals.

A brokerage acts as a broker (or agent) when it executes orders on behalf of its clients, whereas it acts as a dealer (or principal) when it trades for its own account.

Broker-dealers fulfil several important functions in the financial industry.

These include –

  1. providing investment advice to customers
  2. supplying liquidity through market making activities
  3. facilitating trading activities
  4. publishing investment research and
  5. raising capital for companies.

Broker-dealers range in size from small independent boutiques to large subsidiaries of giant commercial and investment banks.

There are two types of broker-dealers:

  1. a warehouse or a firm that sells its own products to customers; and
  2. an independent broker-dealer or a firm that sells products from outside sources.

There are over 3,700 broker-dealers to choose from, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

  1. How one can become a broker-dealer in the U.S.?

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main regulatory authority for broker-dealers. To register, securities professionals must pass qualifying exams administered by FINRA to demonstrate their competence in the particular securities activity in which they plan to work. An individual must pass the exams prior to engaging in those areas of practice.

There are more than 25 examinations for each type of practice that professionals working in the financial industry must take.

Some of the important examinations are:

  • Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) – general examination as a foundation course.
  • Series 3 – National Commodities Futures Exam
  • Series 6 – Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative Exam
  • Series 7 – General Securities Representative Exam 
  1. What are the major indices of the NY stock market?
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an index of 30 “blue chip” stocks of U.S. industrial companies.

  • NYSE Composite Index

The NYSE Composite Index tracks the price movements of all common stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • S&P 500 Composite Stock Price Index

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Stock Price Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks intended to be a representative sample of leading companies in leading industries within the U.S. economy.

  • Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index

The Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index is intended to measure the performance of the entire U.S. stock market

  • Russell 2000® Index

The Russell 2000® Index is a capitalization-weighted index designed to measure the performance of the 2,000 smallest publicly traded U.S. companies based on in market capitalization.  The Index is a subset of the larger Russell 3000® Index.

  • NASDAQ-100 Index

The NASDAQ-100 Index is a “modified capitalization-weighted” index designed to track the performance of the 100 largest and most actively traded non-financial domestic and international securities listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

Do you wish to invest in NYSC and NASDAQ market, visit AjmeraCapital.com – Market place for global investing from India.


April 12, 2021

Tips for Indian business persons and start-ups to enter the UK market and expand their business across Europe!

  1. Why is London, UK, an important centre for the financial markets of the world?

Ans: The UK has almost 475 years of financial market history, which has undergone major changes over time to meet the demands of the market. At the same time, the UK as a country continues to protect investors by regulating the financial market and its players quite vigilantly.

The UK stock market has survived several wars and pandemics in the last 475 years. At the present time, it provides several platforms and products to attract investors not only from within the UK and Europe but also from around the world.

The UK financial market is evolving to keep up with the times and is far from being a stagnant market. It is a continuous work in progress.

In addition, the UK is in the GMT time zone, which makes it easy to follow Asian and North American markets during the same day. This also makes traveling to and from London easy around the world.

  1. Can you provide us with a brief history of the UK financial market and how the London Stock Exchange (LSE) came into existence?

Ans:  The Royal Exchange was founded by English financiers, Thomas Gresham and Sir Richard Clough, and was based on the model of the Antwerp Bourse. It was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1571. At the time it was not accessible to stockbrokers because the elite class considered their behaviour as uncouth. Hence the trading of stock and commodities took place in the coffee houses of London.

Stocks grew and money was raised by the new companies and also the royal court. This was the start of organised trading in marketable securities in London, and perhaps the world.

In 1669, the Royal Exchange building was rebuilt and the exchange was re-established after being destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666. The Royal Exchange housed not only brokers but also merchants and merchandise. This was the birth of a regulated stock market.

It was in 1773 when a new and more formal “Stock Exchange” was opened in Sweeting’s Alley. An entrance fee was introduced on a daily basis and from then on, an annual fee was charged. However, as there were no trading guidelines, frauds were rampant.

On 18th May, 1801, the foundation stone was laid for a new stock exchange building. It was finished on 30th December of the same year and the words, “The Stock Exchange”, were incised on the entrance.

The first rule book of the stock exchange was introduced in February 1812 that gave detailed definition of ‘settlement and default’.

Between 1820 and 1840, the foreign market at the Exchange allowed for merchants and traders to participate, and the Royal Exchange hosted all transactions where foreign parties were involved. The constant increase in overseas business eventually meant that dealing in foreign securities had to be allowed within all of the Exchange’s premises. This was a boom period for the financial market in the UK, which eventually became an integral part of London.

After going up and down for almost 100 years, the UK stock market finally came into prominence after the Second World War and a new stock exchange tower was opened in 1972.

The year 1973 was a land mark year in the history of London financial market. Firstly, it was marked by the admittance of both women and foreign-born members on the floor. Secondly, during this year, the London Stock Exchange formally merged with the eleven British and Irish regional exchanges, including the Scottish Stock Exchange.

On 3rd January, 1984, the Financial Times and the Stock Exchange partnered together to launch the FTSE 100 Index. This is one of the most useful indices of all, and tracks the movements of the 100 leading companies listed on the Exchange.

In 1991, when the Governing Council of the Exchange was replaced by a Board of Directors drawn from the Exchange’s executive, customer and user base, the trading name of the Exchange was changed to, “The London Stock Exchange” (LSE).

From the above history, one can easily see how the LSE has continuously evolved over centuries and adapted to changing times to meet the needs of business persons and investors.

  1. What is the “Big Bang” in context of the London / UK financial market and stock exchange and what are the major changes that followed the same?

Ans: In 1986, the UK financial market introduced a series of changes. The term ‘Big Bang’ was coined to describe these deregulatory measures that included eradicating fixed commission charges, removing the distinction between stockjobbers and stockbrokers on the London Stock Exchange and changing the open outcry market to electronic trading platforms.

The Big Bang was followed by major developments in the LSE, such as, the launching of the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) for smaller companies to expand into international markets in 1995.

In 1997, Electronic Trading Service, popularly known as known as SETS, was launched to give speed and efficiency to the market. This was followed by the introduction of CREST settlement services in 2000.

In the year 2000, a very unique thing happened. The London Stock Exchange went public and became a listed company on its own stock market. LSE thus transferred its role as UK Listing Authority to the Financial Services Authority (FSA-UKLA).

EDX London, an international equity derivatives business, was created in 2003 in partnership with OM Group.

In 2004, the London Stock Exchange moved to a brand-new headquarters in Paternoster Square, close to St Paul’s Cathedral.

In 2007, the London Stock Exchange merged with Borsa Italiana, creating the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).

Once again we can see that following the ‘Big Bang’, other major changes were introduced by LSE to incorporate technology and meet the growing demands of the investors. Not only that, but in order to allow small and medium sized companies to raise funds at the LSE, more than one exchange was created. This made LSE the most popular exchange around the world and many foreign companies launched their IPOs and listed on LSE.

  1. What are the various trading platforms or exchanges on the London Stock Exchange?

Ans: There is the Main Market of LSE and it is divided in to three segments – Premium, Standard and High Growth Segment. Each exchange is designed to cater to different sizes and types of companies to raise capital.

Premium Main Market is for the world’s leading companies with potential to join the FTSE UK Indices.

Standard Main Market is for core European listing standards for international issuers.

High Growth Segment is designed for innovative, high growth companies allowing additional flexibilities.

On the other hand, Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is a platform for small and medium size growth companies in need of access to capital to realise their growth and innovation potential. Growing companies from around the world and at different stages of development can join AIM.

For each of these markets, one needs to fulfil entry, listing, trading and compliance requirements.

Hence, rather than having just one market and platform, there are several markets and platforms available for different companies where they can raise the capital. This gives investors the choice and option to invest in different companies depending on their type and size. The indices corresponding with each platform gives investors a fair indication of the movement of the market so that they can make an informed decision about their investments.

  1. What will be effect of BREXIT on LSEG and its members?

Ans: Procedurally, the UK will officially cease to be a member of the EU as of 31st December, 2020. If there is no trade deal before this date, the UK will automatically drop out of the EU’s main trading arrangements (the single market and the customs union). In view of a negotiation stalemate, LSEG has already prepared a contingency plan. London based CBOE has set up an Amsterdam hub, while London based Aquis Exchange has set up a Paris hub.

LSEG has also launched the Turquoise platform which will give access to 19 European stock markets from a single account. Through this platform, LSEG offers market participants – including retail investors, institutions and SMEs, access to Europe’s capital markets. This platform has won the Financial News 2015 Award for Excellence in Trading and Technology for the Most Innovative Trading Product/Service.

  1. What is the size of the LSE market and how has it performed before, during and after COVID-19?

Ans:  If we talk about the Main Market, it is home to around 1,100 companies with a combined market cap of £3 trillion. The FTSE 100 cap is 1.81 trillion. Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FTSE 100 Index was at 7610 points. During the pandemic, the performance of LSE plummeted like every other market in the world and it went down to 4993 points. UK stocks recovered in November 2020 and in December 2020, it went up to 6578 points.

On the other hand, the FTSE AIM 100 Index was at 4973 points before the pandemic and during the pandemic it went down to 3006 points. In December 2020, it recovered beyond the pre-pandemic time and went up to 5470 points.

The FTSE Techmark 100 Index was at 6100 points before the start of the pandemic. It went down to 3800 points during the peak of the pandemic. In December 2020, it bounced back to 6200 points.

However, in the coming months, two main factors are likely to affect the market. The first – the nature of deal made with the EU following BREXIT, and second – the resurgence of the current pandemic and the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in controlling this resurgence.

  1. How much foreign investment has come into the UK in the past few years?

Ans: According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2020, FDI inflows to the United Kingdom fell for the second year in a row, reaching USD 59 billion in 2019, compared to USD 65 billion in 2018 and USD 101 billion in 2017.

FDI stock in 2019 was about USD 2 trillion, compared to USD 1430 billion in 2018. The United Kingdom was the 8th recipient of global FDI flows.

The BREXIT process has raised concerns among some investors about the increase in trade costs with Europe and the volatility of the pound sterling.

London remains the financial capital of Europe, home to the European headquarters of almost 60% of companies on the Fortune 500 ranking. Furthermore, Great Britain maintains a strong currency, despite its recent depreciation, and the country remains one of the most important European consumer markets.

The United Kingdom was eighth out of 190 economies in the Doing Business 2020 ranking established by the World Bank, gaining a position compared to the previous year.

  1. How is the real estate market doing in the UK?

Ans: As the UK has one of the largest financial markets in the world, it is home to several multinational companies. It is also home to many rich and famous personalities of the world. Hence, after the financial market, the UK real estate market has become one of the most favoured destinations for foreign investment, both into commercial as well as residential properties. This makes the UK, and in particular the city of London, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world.

As per the UK Statistic Department report, the UK is the biggest commercial real estate market in Europe, followed by Germany and France.

In the UK, commercial property investments have increased since 2016, reaching 512 billion British pounds in 2018. This dynamic of the market is impacted by multiple factors.

Unsurprisingly, London is the biggest office real estate market in the UK, with a total of over 270 million square feet of office stock as of the third quarter of 2019.

These processes also affect the residential sector; increasing demand and subsequently house prices around bigger cities, and thus, causing concerns about affordable housing. The average house prices in London at 479,000 British pounds were nearly twice as high as in South West England.

  1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the real estate market in the UK?

Ans: COVID-19 has affected the market considerably and in order to encourage the residential real estate market, the UK government has introduced the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday.

Under this holiday, both UK and foreign citizens will be exempt from paying stamp duty until 31st March, 2021.

UK real estate is an attractive asset for international buyers, particularly when we look at the top end of the market. For example, in 2019 alone, non-UK residents were responsible for over half (55%) of all prime central London (PCL) property transactions. Its historical resilience and rate of capital growth over long-term periods ensures consistent market demand for bricks and mortar in London.

COVID-19 has not dampened this demand, particularly when it comes to buyers based in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Singapore. According to Beauchamp Estates, the amount of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese investment it handled into PCL property between December 2019 and June 2020 totalled $374 million. It also found that this group of buyers accounted for 20% of deals above 10 million pounds in the capital.

On top of this, the political situation in Hong Kong is compelling investors in the jurisdiction to consider stable markets with assets that can deliver modest capital growth in the medium to long term. The PCL property market is a popular destination, and based on the current circumstances, there is good reason to expect an influx of investment from these investors in the coming months.

Additionally, during the pandemic, many ultra HNI investors who wanted to invest more than 5 million pounds saw a bargain in investing in the London residential market and the demand went up by 30%. Many brokers offering prime Central London properties witnessed the busiest summer months during 2020. Properties with asking price of 6 million pounds in the year 2019 were sold for 4.65 million pounds during the pandemic.

On the other hand, because of the travel restrictions, the influx of foreign investors to the UK was reduced considerably during the pandemic resulting in bargain prices for local buyers as well in the lower to middle range residential sector.

  1. How can Indian business persons and start-ups enter the UK market and expand their business across Europe?

Ans: Last year, the UK government introduced the UK Start-Up Visa program and the Innovator Visa program to attract entrepreneurs, innovators and start –up founders to the country.

Under the Start-Up Visa Program of the UK, any start-up in the world can present their innovative idea to a Home Office designated organisation. If the idea is accepted, the start-up can set up a company in the UK. In general, the business idea must be innovative, viable and a scalable business venture. Indian start-ups have a good prospect of qualifying under this program.

Under the Innovator Visa program, a revenue generating company having an innovative business proposal and ready to invest a minimum of 50,000 British pounds, may qualify for the Innovator Visa of the UK. The endorsing body must confirm that the business is active, trading and sustainable.

Obtaining this Innovator Visa can eventually lead to an indefinite right to live in the UK, and  subsequently to citizenship.

  1. What are the new announcements made by the UK government to attract international students and professionals?

Ans: As the UK moves towards BREXIT, the government has announced new immigration rules to attract international professionals to the UK. Under these rules, foreign nationals should have a job offer from a government approved UK company and meet education, experience, language, minimum pay and other security requirements.

There are two types of visas available for skilled workers and professionals:

  1. Temporary visa (Work permit)
  2. Permanent visa (Indefinite right to live in the UK)
  3. Does the UK have any investment based program for granting residency?

Ans: The UK immigration rules are set to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and people of talent. The investor category is designed to allow wealthy individuals, who make a substantial financial investment in the UK, to obtain permission from the UK to enter as an investor under the Tier 1 category.

It requires an investment of at least 2,000,000 British pounds either in British corporate bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. This is one of the fastest and most secure ways to obtain UK residency. One can be approved in as little as 10 weeks!