Microfinance

AZB & Partners is among the pioneers of legal advice in the microfinance sector and has advised a wide range of market participants through every stage of the sector’s growth. We have diverse experience with the entire lifecycle of an MFI, from its inception to its growth stage, IPO and listing as well as transitioning to a bank.

The Firm has engaged in thought leadership in this space and the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities Exchange Board of India have sought its expertise.

We work with a cross-section of market participants involved in the microfinance space including multilateral investors, development funds, banks, microfinance institutions (NBFCs and otherwise), offshore and onshore funds, social sector investment banks and advisors. Additionally, we advise some of the largest non-profits in this space as well as hybrid institutions and large listed MFIs.

In recognition of the Firm’s thought leadership in this space, select members were invited to be part of the RBI constituted Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Low Income Households and Small Businesses.  This committee set the agenda for regulation of financial inclusion and microfinance and in the subsequent drafting of critical regulations, which changed the paradigm for financial inclusion, such as Payment Banks, the Charter for Consumer Rights and prudential norms for NBFCs.

AZB & Partner’s recommendations to the Malegam Committee were also responsible for the easing of ECBs to the microfinance sector. The Firm was also pivotal in the introduction of Social Venture Funds in the SEBI Alternate Investment Fund Regulations.

Our work includes:

  • Advising on key regulatory issues faced by the sector
  • Structuring products and investments
  • Developing standardized documentation, processes and risk management systems
  • Creating appropriate structures for MFIs for raising funding and scaling up operations, including innovative funding structures, such as NCD issuances, securitization and risk participation structures
  • Securitization and sale of the asset portfolio of MFIs
  • Advising domestic and international banks and financial institutions on lending to MFIs and business correspondent arrangements
  • Advising and acting on transaction concerning mergers and acquisition, divestments, financial restructuring and private equity investments

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