Structuring AIFs in GIFT IFSC: Issues and Considerations


SESSION: 03:30 PM - 06:00 PM (IST)

Venue: 3 North Avenue, Maker Maxity, BKC, Mumbai


SEBI released a circular on Operating Guidelines for Alternative Investment Funds (“AIFs”) in the International Financial Services Centres (“IFSC”) on Monday, November 26, 2018 (the “Circular”).

Further, on February 28, 2019, the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 was amended to include ‘trust’ as a person eligible to be set up as units in Special Economic Zones (“SEZs” such as the IFSC), to facilitate investments in SEZs.

Industry participants, however, continue to seek clarity on certain issues with respect to IFSC AIFs, including the licensing regime for IFSC AIFs (e.g. whether FDI, FVCI and FPI regimes could apply simultaneously in terms of registration), treatment of capitalization of the sponsor and manager of the IFSC AIF from a foreign exchange control perspective, arbitrability of trust disputes and whether arbitration centres set up in IFSC would be beneficial to trusts set up in IFSC, additional clarity on GST, and ability of the domestic AIFs to invest in IFSC AIFs.

In this seminar, our panel of experts, including our guest, Mr. Dipesh Shah (Chief, Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (“GIFT”), India’s first IFSC), will discuss the current issues and considerations for setting up AIFs in IFSCs.

Focus Area

  • What are the structural alternatives for India focused funds while considering an IFSC AIF?

  • What are the advantages that an IFSC AIF may derive from setting up in GIFT IFSC?

  • What are the current legal issues and considerations for IFSC AIFs?

  • What are the tax clarifications required for an effective implementation of the IFSC AIF structure?

  • What are the key questions / considerations for fund managers to set up in GIFT IFSC?

  • What are the key takeaways for those presently considering an AIF set up in IFSC?

  • What will be the impact of recent Budget?

  • Steps to set up a GIFT based platform


03:30 PM – 04:00 PM :

 Registration  + Networking

04:00 PM – 04:30 PM :

 High Tea

04:30 PM – 05:30 PM :


05:30 PM – 06:00 PM :



Nishith Desai


Nishith Desai Associates

Nishith Desai is the founder of the research & strategy driven international law firm, Nishith Desai Associates. Nishith himself is a renowned International Tax, Corporate, IP lawyer, researcher, published author and lecturer in leading academic institutions around the world. He specializes in the Financial Services sector and assisted Government of Mauritius and Government of India in launching their individual offshore financial centers. Soon after India opened up its economy to the outside world in 1991, he established the first five India Focused Funds and pioneered the roots of now burgeoning asset management industry. He played a seminal role in structuring several private equity funds in addition to structuring several domestic venture capital funds. The firm has now worked for over 1400 funds across all classes of assets.

Dipesh Shah

Chief (GIFT IFSC), Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Co. Ltd. (GIFT)

GIFT City is developing Domestic and International Financial Services hub in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Mr. Shah has over 18 years of professional experience in International Business, Project Development, Corporate Affairs, Corporate Law & Policy matters. His most prominent achievement includes setting up and operationalizing India’s 1st Smart City and International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). He has been one of the founding member of GIFT City.

In last 10 years, during his tenure, GIFT City made substantial progress in getting recognition as India’s model Smart City, starting India’s first Multi Services SEZ and only approved International Financial Services Centre. He brought in the regulatory and business changes in the GIFT IFSC to bring in Banks (now transacting more than US$ 15 Billion), International Exchanges, inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India (now daily turnover > USD 1.5 bn) and Insurance & re-insurance companies for undertaking offshore transactions. He has developed various business structures for Financial Services & related businesses in Special Economic Zone.

Richie Sancheti

Head, Investment Funds

Nishith Desai Associates

Richie Sancheti leads the Funds Practice Group at Nishith Desai Associates and is based in Mumbai. With a strong background in funds, Richie advises on optimum structures for setting up onshore and offshore investment funds. He advises fund managers in connection with the formation, carry allocation program and governance of private funds. Richie specializes in all aspects of the formation and operation of venture capital, private equity and hedge funds that are focused on investing in India. Richie has extensive experience in designing fund structures and advising on “market” terms. Richie is also a member of the firm’s international tax and private equity investment practice groups and advises clients on matters including private equity transactions.

Tushar Sachade


PwC India

Tushar Sachade is a Partner in PwC’s Tax and Regulatory Services practice.

Tushar has vast experience of over 25 years. He has worked with a large number of clients in the alternative investment space and specialises in entry strategies and fund structuring of global, institutional and startup funds from the tax and regulatory perspective. In addition, he has been closely involved in several high-profile private equity transactions on tax and regulatory structuring. Tushar has worked with a wide spectrum of funds including Private Equity funds, Venture Capital funds, Distressed Asset funds, Debt funds and Hedge funds.

Tushar has also worked with various industry bodies. He has helped IVCA and FICCI and advised them on making representations on several industry issues. He has also been interacting regularly with regulators, including SEBI, on REITs-related legislation and AIF funds. He is a regular speaker at seminars in India and overseas, and a contributor to media publications.

Rajesh Simhan

Head, International Tax

Nishith Desai Associates

Rajesh Simhan leads the International Tax & Tax Controversies Practice at research & strategy driven international law firm, Nishith Desai Associates. Over the years, the International Tax & Tax Controversies Practice at Nishith Desai Associates has been consistently recognized as the leading tax practice in the country by Chambers & Partners and the Tax Directors Handbook amongst other noteworthy sources. Rajesh, one of the foremost authorities on International Tax, is renowned for the legal services he offers to those involved in some of the most complicated tax controversies of India; including advising Vodafone in NDA’s role as special counsel to Vodafone on its landmark tax litigation relating to indirect transfer taxes in India. He has successfully represented clients before various forums including different Tribunals, Authority for Advance Rulings, and in High Courts (pan India) as well as at the Supreme Court of India in relation to disputes on international tax.