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Monday, April 27, 2015

Elements of Indian Financial System

Structure of Indian Financial System
The formal financial system comprises financial institutions, financial markets, financial instruments and financial services. These constituents or components of Indian financial system may be briefly discussed as below:

A. Financial Institutions: Financial institutions are the participants in a financial market. They are business organizations dealing in financial resources. They collect resources by accepting deposits from individuals and institutions and lend them to trade, industry and others. They buy and sell financial instruments. They generate financial instruments as well. They deal in financial assets. They accept deposits, grant loans and invest in securities.

On the basis of the nature of activities, financial institutions may be classified as: (a) Regulatory and promotional institutions, (b) Banking institutions, and (c) Non-banking institutions.

1. Regulatory and Promotional Institutions: Financial institutions, financial markets, financial instruments and financial services are all regulated by regulators like Ministry of Finance, the Company Law Board, RBI, SEBI, IRDA, Dept. of Economic Affairs, Department of Company Affairs etc. The two major Regulatory and Promotional Institutions in India are Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Both RBI and SEBI administer, legislate, supervise, monitor, control and discipline the entire financial system.

2. Banking Institutions: Banking institutions mobilise the savings of the people. They provide a mechanism for the smooth exchange of goods and services. They extend credit while lending money. They not only supply credit but also create credit. There are three basic categories of banking institutions. They are commercial banks, co-operative banks and developmental banks.

3. Non-banking Institutions: The non-banking financial institutions also mobilize financial resources directly or indirectly from the people. They lend the financial resources mobilized. They lend funds but do not create credit. Companies like LIC, GIC, UTI, Development Financial Institutions, Organisation of Pension and Provident Funds etc. fall in this category.

B. Financial Markets: Financial markets are another part or component of financial system. Efficient financial markets are essential for speedy economic development. It facilitates the flow of savings into investment. Financial markets bridge one set of financial intermediaries with another set of players. Financial markets are the backbone of the economy. This is because they provide monetary support for the growth of the economy.

Classification of Financial Markets: There are different ways of classifying financial markets. There are mainly five ways of classifying financial markets.

1. Classification on the basis of the type of financial claim: On this basis, financial markets may be classified into debt market and equity market.
Debt market: This is the financial market for fixed claims like debt instruments.
Equity market: This is the financial market for residual claims, i.e., equity instruments.

2. Classification on the basis of maturity of claims: On this basis, financial markets may be classified into money market and capital market.
Money market: A market where short term funds are borrowed and lend is called money market. It deals in short term monetary assets with a maturity period of one year or less. Liquid funds as well as highly liquid securities are traded in the money market. Examples of money market are Treasury bill market, call money market, commercial bill market etc.
Capital market: Capital market is the market for long term funds. This market deals in the long term claims, securities and stocks with a maturity period of more than one year.

3. Classification on the basis of seasoning of claim: On this basis, financial markets are classified into primary market and secondary market.
Primary market : Primary markets are those markets which deal in the new securities. Therefore, they are also known as new issue markets.
Secondary market: Secondary markets are those markets which deal in existing securities. Existing securities are those securities that have already been issued and are already outstanding. Secondary market consists of stock exchanges.

4. Classification on the basis of structure or arrangements: On this basis, financial markets can be classified into organised markets and unorganized markets.
Organised markets: These are financial markets in which financial transactions take place within the well established exchanges or in the systematic and orderly structure.
Unorganised markets: These are financial markets in which financial transactions take place outside the well established exchange or without systematic and orderly structure or arrangements.

5. Classification on the basis of timing of delivery: On this basis, financial markets may be classified into cash/spot market and forward / future market.
Cash / Spot market: This is the market where the buying and selling of commodities happens or stocks are sold for cash and delivered immediately after the purchase or sale of commodities or securities.
Forward/Future market: This is the market where participants buy and sell stocks/commodities, contracts and the delivery of commodities or securities occurs at a pre-determined time in future.

6. Other types of financial market: Apart from the above, there are some other types of financial markets. They are foreign exchange market and derivatives market.
Foreign exchange market: Foreign exchange market is simply defined as a market in which one country’s currency is traded for another country’s currency.
Derivatives market: It is a market for derivatives. The important types of derivatives are forwards, futures, options, swaps, etc.

C. Financial Instruments (Securities): Financial instruments are the financial assets, securities and claims. They may be viewed as financial assets and financial liabilities. Financial assets represent claims for the payment of a sum of money sometime in the future (repayment of principal) and/or a periodic payment in the form of interest or dividend. Financial liabilities are the counterparts of financial assets. They represent promise to pay some portion of prospective income and wealth to others. Financial assets and liabilities arise from the basic process of financing.

D. Financial Services: The development of a sophisticated and matured financial system in the country, especially after the early nineties, led to the emergence of a new sector. This new sector is known as financial services sector. Its objective is to intermediate and facilitate financial transactions of individuals and institutional investors. The financial institutions and financial markets help the financial system through financial instruments. The financial services include all activities connected with the transformation of savings into investment. Important financial services include lease financing, hire purchase, instalment payment systems, merchant banking, factoring, forfaiting etc.