What Is a Qualified Institutional Buyer (QIB), and Who Qualifies?

5 mins read
by Angel One
Explore the world of Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs, their role, qualifications, and impact on the financial markets.

Many different types of investors each have a specific function to play in the ever-evolving world of the financial markets. The Qualified Institutional Buyer (QIB) is one of the most important of them, with considerable financial power and influence. However, what really is a QIB, and how can one tell them apart from other investors? This piece seeks to clarify the QIB meaning, spotlighting their credentials and pivotal role in the financial markets.

Who are Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIB)?

Qualified Institutional Buyers, as defined by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) rules, are a particular class of institutional investors that possess the knowledge, experience, and resources to make well-informed judgements in the capital markets. Mutual funds, insurance providers, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), scheduled commercial banks, and other SEBI-accredited financial institutions are included in this exclusive category. Their participation is vital because it gives the market stability, liquidity, and vital capital. To maintain a vibrant and stable financial climate, QIBs actively take part in qualified institutional placements (QIPs), secondary market transactions, and initial public offerings (IPOs).

Criteria for Qualification 

To qualify as a Qualified Institutional Buyer (QIB) in India, an entity must fall under specific categories as defined by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). These categories include a variety of financial institutions with significant assets under management and expertise in the capital markets. Here’s an enhanced outline based on the criteria from SEBI:

  • Institutional Investors: This includes mutual funds, venture capital funds, alternative investment funds, and foreign venture capital investors that are registered with SEBI.
  • Foreign Portfolio Investors: Excluding individuals, corporate bodies, and family offices, these are foreign entities investing in the Indian markets.
  • Key Financial Institutions: Public financial institutions, scheduled commercial banks, multilateral and bilateral development financial institutions, and state industrial development corporations.
  • Insurance Companies: Entities that are registered with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
  • Funds with Significant Corpus: Provident and pension funds with a minimum corpus of Rs. 25 crore, including the National Investment Fund and insurance funds managed by the Indian armed forces and the Department of Posts.
  • Systemically Important Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs): These are NBFCs that play a crucial role in the financial system due to their size and interconnectedness.

An Overview of the Rules & Regulations that Govern QIBs 

QIBs are subject to a set of regulations designed to ensure transparent and fair participation in the securities market:

  • They can invest in securities issued by companies that are listed and comply with the minimum public shareholding patterns required by the stock exchange.
  • The securities, known as ‘specified securities’, include equity shares or any other form not including warrants, fully paid at the allotment and can be converted or exchanged for equity shares within six months of allotment.
  • SEBI imposes restrictions on who can invest in or be allotted these specified securities, specifically stating that institutional buyers related to the issuers’ promoters directly or indirectly are prohibited.
  • Corporations can raise an amount through QIBs not exceeding five times the issuer’s net worth as of the end of the previous financial year.
  • Merchant bankers managing QIPs must be registered with SEBI and submit a due diligence certificate to the stock exchange, ensuring adherence to SEBI’s guidelines.
  • A minimum gap of six months is required between placements of specified securities, and certain documents and undertakings must be submitted for their listing on the stock exchange, although this is not mandatory for QIPs and preferential allotment. 

Advantages of Being a QIB

In the Indian financial market, qualified institutional buyers, or QIBs, have several important benefits. The simplified procedure for Qualified Institutional Placements (QIPs), which enables businesses to obtain capital more quickly than using conventional procedures that need SEBI’s permission, is one of the main advantages. This speed, which allows the whole procedure to be finished in 4-5 days, is essential for businesses that want funding immediately. Furthermore, the issuing corporation can save money by using this approach instead of hiring a large team of bankers, advocates, auditors, and lawyers to get clearance.  

The capacity of QIBs to acquire sizable shares in businesses gives them considerable influence and even possible control over the strategic orientations of these organisations, which is another benefit. In addition, QIBs benefit from increased liquidity and control over their investments as they may sell off significant portions of their shares at any time after listing.  


The fabric of the financial markets depends heavily on Qualified Institutional Buyers. Their capacity to make significant market investments supports the expansion of businesses as well as the general efficiency and stability of the financial system. Although QIBs have duties associated with their impact, the regulatory framework makes sure that they function within a framework that serves the interests of the larger market. The function of QIBs will surely remain a subject of interest for firms, regulators, and investors alike as the market develops.


What is QIB (Qualified Institutional Buyer) in India?

A Qualified Institutional Buyer (QIB) in India refers to an institutional investor with the expertise and financial strength to invest in the capital markets. According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), entities like mutual funds, insurance companies, and banks qualify as QIBs if they meet certain criteria, such as having a minimum corpus or being registered with the appropriate regulatory authority​​.

Who qualifies as a QIB in India?

Entities that can qualify as a QIB in India include mutual funds, venture capital funds, alternative investment funds, foreign venture capital investors registered with SEBI, scheduled commercial banks, insurance companies registered with IRDAI, provident and pension funds with a minimum corpus, and systemically important non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), among others​​.

What are the benefits of being a QIB?

QIBs enjoy several benefits, including the ability to participate in special securities offerings like Qualified Institutional Placements (QIPs) that are not available to retail investors. This access allows QIBs to invest in potentially higher-yield opportunities. Furthermore, QIBs can sell off large chunks of stock and exit investments at any point, offering greater liquidity and flexibility in their investment strategy​​.

How do QIBs participate in an IPO?

In an Initial Public Offering (IPO), QIBs are allocated a specific portion of shares, typically higher than that available to retail or non-institutional investors. This reserved allocation allows them to have significant participation in IPOs, contributing to the demand and success of the offering. Their participation is often seen as a positive signal by the market due to their financial sophistication and expertise​​.

Are there any regulatory requirements or limitations for QIBs in India?

Yes, there are regulatory requirements and limitations set by SEBI for QIBs in India to ensure fair practices and market stability. For example, QIBs must comply with specific disclosure and due diligence requirements when participating in securities offerings. Additionally, there are restrictions on the allocation of shares to QIBs in IPOs to ensure a balanced distribution among all investor categories.