Fresh push for retail investment in g-secs, NSE launches app, website

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To encourage and increase participation of retail investors in government securities (G-secs) bidding, the National Stock Exchange on Monday launched a mobile application and web-based platform, NSE goBID.

NSEgoBID will help retail investors participate, on a “non- competitive” basis, in the auction of g-secs and Treasury Bills (T-bills) conducted periodically by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).  

Retail investors could put money in T-Bills of 91 days, 182 days and 364 days, and various government bonds from one year to almost 40 years through the app. Investment can be made almost every week after a one-time registration, the NSE said in a statement.

The NSE goBID app will be available to all the investors registered with NSE’s trading members. It will allow retail investors to make payment directly from their bank accounts using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and internet banking.

On the sidelines of the launch, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman Ajay Tyagi said retail investment in government securities was still negligible. "In the past one year, only Rs 600 million has been invested by retail investors, which is nothing," he said.

Terming the app launch a good step, Tyagi said the platform should be adequately publicised as government yields give better returns than fixed deposits of banks.

The RBI on November 23, 2017, had permitted stock exchanges to act as aggregators in the process of non-competitive bidding in government securities.

Despite various initiatives in the past, retail participation in the G-sec and corporate bond market has not taken off in a big way. Investors in the sector currently account for only three per cent of outstanding corporate bond issuances.

Experts say with the g-sec yield turning attractive and stock markets turning choppy, it is an opportune time for retail investors to look at the debt markets. Currently, the yields for one-year, five-year and 10-year T-Bills yield are 7.33 per cent, 7.65 per cent and 7.82 per cent, respectively. 

Investment in g-secs is risk-free as it is supported by sovereign guarantee.

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