RBI vide circular dated June 7, 2023 has intimated the Trade Receivables Discounting System Platform Operators and Participants the expanded the Scope of Trade Receivables Discounting System. To ease constraints faced by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in converting their trade receivables to liquid funds, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had issued the ‘Guidelines for the Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS)’. The guidelines allow financing / discounting of MSME receivables on “without recourse” basis by permitted financiers. Currently, three entities operate TReDS platforms in the country; one more entity has also been given in-principle authorisation to operate such platform.
The Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies dated February 18, 2023 has proposed that the scope of activity to be expanded as stated below:
- Insurance facility will now be permitted on TReDS. This will encourage financing / discounting of payables of buyers irrespective of their credit ratings. Accordingly, insurance companies will be permitted to participate as a “fourth participant” on TReDS, apart from the MSME sellers, buyers and financiers.
- All entities / institutions eligible to undertake factoring business under the Factoring Regulation Act will be permitted to participate as financiers in TReDS.
- Secondary market operations will now be enabled on TReDS platforms. This would allow financiers to offload their existing portfolio to other financiers within the same TReDS platform, if required.
Based on the proposal, it has been decided to make the following enhancements to the TReDS guidelines:
a) Facilitate insurance for transactions : Financiers place their bids on the TReDS platforms keeping in view the credit rating of buyers. They are generally not inclined to bid for payables of low rated buyers. To overcome this, insurance facility is being permitted for TReDS transactions, which would aid financiers to hedge default risks.
b) Expand the pool of financiers : TReDS transactions fall under the ambit of “factoring business”, and banks, NBFC-Factors and other financial institutions (as permitted by RBI) can presently participate as financiers in TReDS. The Factoring Regulation Act, 2011 (FRA) allows certain other entities / institutions to undertake factoring transactions. Accordingly, all entities / institutions allowed to undertake factoring business under FRA and the rules / regulations made thereunder, are now permitted to participate as financiers in TReDS. This would augment availability of financiers on TReDS platforms.
c) Enable secondary market for Factoring Units (FUs) : TReDS guidelines provide for the discounted / financed FUs to have a secondary market, which is, however, not introduced yet. Given the experience gained, TReDS platform operators may, at their discretion, enable a secondary market for transfer of FUs within the same TReDS platform. Such transfers shall, however, be subject to the applicable provisions of RBI’s ‘Master Direction – Reserve Bank of India (Transfer of Loan Exposures) Directions, 2021’ dated September 24, 2021 (as updated from time to time), including the eligibility of transferor / transferee as specified in paragraph 3 of the said Master Direction.
d) Settlement of FUs not discounted / financed : On an average, 17% of FUs uploaded on TReDS platforms are not discounted / financed; for such FUs, TReDS guidelines require buyers to pay MSME sellers outside the system. To overcome the inconvenience caused to MSME sellers and buyers as well as for better reconciliation, TReDS platform operators shall now be permitted to undertake settlement of all FUs – financed / discounted or otherwise – using the NACH mechanism used for TReDS. Timeline for funds settlement shall be subject to the provisions of TReDS guidelines (under reference) as well as other relevant statutes like the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006.
e) Display of bids : TReDS platforms facilitate transparent and competitive bidding by the financiers. To make the process more transparent, the platforms may display details of bids placed for an FU to other bidders; name of the bidder shall, however, not be revealed.
The revised guidelines shall provide further impetus to TReDS platforms and will help in further improving the cash flows of MSMEs.