This article distinguishes amongst foreign investment, Foreign Direct Investment, Foreign Portfolio investments, Qualified Foreign Investor (QFI), Foreign Institutional Investor (FII), etc.
Foreign Investment: Any investment made by a person resident outside India on a repatriable basis in capital instruments of an Indian company or to the capital of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is known as Foreign Investment.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) can be described as the investment made by an overseas investor, in a domestic economy, with the objective of establishing business activities in that country. The investment is treated as FDI only when the investor invests either as the foreign collaborator or foreign equity holder, or mandatory holder of fully convertible preference shares or mandatory holders of fully convertible debenture with the pricing being decided upfront as a figure or based on the formula that is decided upfront. The investment can be made through capital instruments (a) in an unlisted Indian company, or (b) in 10 percent or more of the post issue paid-up equity capital on a fully diluted basis of a listed Indian company. To know more about FDI read: Things to know about FDI
The Government of India has amended FDI policy to increase FDI inflow. To know more read; Sweeping amendments in FDI rules
Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI): Foreign Portfolio Investment is an investment made by a person resident outside India either directly or managed by financial professionals. FPI investments are made in capital instruments through stock and bond markets. Sometime these investments may also be made for speculation purposes. The Security Exchange Board of India(SEBI) stipulated the criteria for Foreign Portfolio Investments. According to this, any investment made by a person resident outside India in capital instruments deemed FPI where such investment is (a) less than 10 percent of the post issue paid-up equity capital on a fully diluted basis of a listed Indian company or (b) less than 10 percent of the paid-up value of each series of capital instruments of a listed Indian company. As per SEBI regulations, FPIs are not allowed to invest in unlisted shares.
Qualified Foreign Investor (QFI): QFI is an individual, group or association which is an overseas investor. QFI is too small compare to FIIs who have the capacity to make a large-scale investment. The QFI should compliant with the Financial Action Task Force standard and should be a signatory to the International Organisation of Securities Commission.
Foreign Institutional Investor: FIIs are financial institutions like a mutual fund, insurance company, reinsurance company, pension fund, investment trust, etc. According to SEBI, “an FII is an institution established or incorporated outside India which proposes to make investments in India in securities”. FIIs are required to be registered under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Foreign Institutional Investors) Regulations, 1995.