Nilanjan Dey

Kolkata, June 8

THE number of accounts with debt instruments at National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) is now stands over the one-lakh mark.

At last count, this figure, which had been inching ahead, was roughly 1.22 lakh. This, however, is still a small percentage of the total number of investor accounts with NSDL at 64.8 lakh.

The depository currently services a big chunk of the market. Some of the other numbers being thrown up by it are: 218 depository participants, 5,632 companies and 6,973 bonds/debt in demat custody. The latter account for over Rs 2,80,000 crore.

Investors' overriding interest in dematerialised equity has actually overshadowed NSDL's brush with debt, while many of them are not yet fully aware of the potential on this front, sources indicate.

In terms of size, debt is a burgeoning segment, characterised by a variety of instruments, ranging from debentures to commercial papers.

The depository has catalogued these securities, dividing the register on the basis of the identity of the issuer entity. A quick look at the register indicates the presence of a large issuer base, marked by big and small companies, all of which have contributed to the increase in the number of accounts with debt papers.

Sources say NSDL follows a simple but effective system vis-à-vis debt, which is not very different from equity. It identifies each instrument with a unique ISIN. All special features, including rates of interest and maturity periods, are recognised by the system.

The system also allows a newly issued security to be offered immediately in the dematerialised mode.

Also, such a security can be credited into an investor's account straight away as well after the allotment process is completed. The procedure for interest disbursement for securities maintained in the demat mode is also not complicated.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 9, 2005)
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