Simplifying NRI investments at Zerodha

15 Nov 2023

NRI account opening reminds me of how retail broking worked before it became digital, thanks to Aadhaar, e-Sign, and Digilocker. Physical applications, couriers back & forth, ~30+ signatures, & more reasons to drop off. Many NRIs want to invest in India but don’t because of the onerous account opening process and the added notarizing & international courier costs.

To open an NRI account, you must fill out physical forms and notarize the documents by visiting banks or embassies. On average, it takes over 30 days from the time a customer expresses interest to the first trade. One person on our NRI team opens ~100 accounts per month.

Resident accounts can be opened online, and customers can trade within 24 hours. One person on the resident account opening team can open 40X the accounts compared to NRI accounts.

We at Zerodha have made it easier to operate NRI accounts by allowing trading and investing in the Non-PIS route without any dependency on the banks that run PIS accounts. We are now also maybe the only broker allowing TDS setoff in the Non-PIS route.

Hopefully, NRI onboarding will become easier. Apart from helping build on the India story globally, it can also help the rupee.

By the way, this is where our NRI customers come from. Sub 0.5% of our customers today, but potentially could be a lot more not just for us but the industry, especially in terms of investment value.

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