Market regulator SEBI on Wednesday extended the timeline for implementing Phase I of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as an alternative payment method for retail investors buying shares in a public issue. This means Phase II, which involves doing way with the need to physically move forms to block funds, will not kick in this month as originally scheduled. After receiving feedback from various stakeholders, SEBI said, it decided to extend the deadline by three months to June 30, to ensure a smooth transition to UPI. “The implementation of Phase II and III shall continue unchanged from the date of completion of Phase I,” the circular read. Currently, retail investors can invest in an IPO through bank ASBA (application supported by block amount) or through broker ASBA, in which the broker does the bidding and hands over the application form to the investor’s bank, PTI reports. ASBA is a process SEBI developed for applying to an IPO, in which the applicant's account isn’t debited until shares are allotted to them. Once fully implemented, UPI will do away with the need to physically move forms from intermediaries to banks to block funds, and the cut listing time for an IPO from six days to three, it claims. SEBI's three-phase rollout plan On November 1, 2018, SEBI had said that it would launch UPI as an alternative payment option for buying shares in an IPO in three phases, starting January 1, 2019. Phase I was set to end this month but will now continue…
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