FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ACT OF BHUTAN 1992
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ACT OF BHUTAN, 1992
Be it enacted by the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Bhutan as follows:
1. Short title and extent
a. This Act may be called the Financial Institutions Act of Bhutan, 1992;
b. It shall extend to whole of the Kingdom of Bhutan
1. In applying the provisions of this Act and the regulations issued pursuant
thereto, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
a. Financial institutions shall mean persons engaged in one or more of
the following services.
(i) Depository banking:
Receiving financial resources from the public, including money
deposits creating liabilities of the institution taking deposits,
whether in the form of demand or time deposits or debt
instruments in another form, and extending credit or investing
in securities for the account of the institution.
(ii) Development or merchant banking:
Extending credit or investing in securities with funding obtained
primarily from institutional investors.
(iii) Commercial or consumer finance:
Extending credit or providing lease finance with funding
obtained primarily from institutional investors.
The provision of life and general insurance in consideration of
the payment of premiums, which activity may include the
investment of premium proceeds and investment income.
(v) Asset management :
The investment or control of money or securities by persons for
the account of third parties.
(vi) Investment advice :
Carrying on the business of giving advice about investment.
(vii) Securities underwriting :
Arranging or guaranteeing the purchase of debt or equity or
convertible securities for an issuer.
(viii) Securities dealing :
The purchase and sale of securities for one’s own account.
(ix) Securities brokerage :
The purchase or sale of securities on the order and for the
account of third parties.
(x) Investment company activities :
Investment by more than 25 persons through ownership of
shares in a company which has as its primary activity the
holding of securities for investment.
(xi) Other financial services :
Any service other than those described above that the RMA
classifies as financial services by virtue of the activity of
financial intermediation or the public interest in regulation of
(xii) Bank means a company engaged in whole or in part in the
financial services (banking activities) described in paragraph (i)
(xiii) Securities business means any of the activities described in
sub sections (vii), (viii), (ix) or (x).
b. The Companies Act shall mean, ”The Companies Act of the Kingdom
of Bhutan of 1989” as amended or replaced from time to time. For the
purposes of the financial institutions any reference therein to the
“Department” shall mean the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan
c. “Credit” means any transaction creating for a person a direct or
contingent obligation to deliver financial assets in exchange for a
claim, including, without limitation, loans, advances, discounts of bills
of exchange, lines of credit, payment orders and guarantees.
d. “Director” includes any person who occupies the position of a director,
by whatever name called and, in particular, in the case of :
(i) a company, has the meaning assigned by the Companies Act
(ii) a co-operative society, means a member of the board or other
governing body of the co-operative society;
(iii) a government agency, means a member of the board, or other
governing body of the government agency;
(iv) a partnership or joint venture, means a partner or joint
(v) a sole proprietorship means the sole proprietor; and
(vi) any other body, means any person having the direction and
control of the management of its affairs or business.
e. “Qualifying holding” means a direct or indirect holding in a person
which represents 10 percent or more of the capital or of any class of
voting rights, or which makes it possible to exercise a significant
influence over the management or operations of the undertaking in
which the holding exists;
f. “Persons” shall include an individual, a company, a partnership, a
government agency and any body of persons recognized as a
separate legal entity.
2. One or more of the activities described in Article 1 a, paragraphs (i) through
(x) may be conducted by the same legal entity; provided:
a. the provision of insurance may be conducted in conjunction with only
asset management and/or securities brokerage;
b. securities dealing conducted with depository banking may be subject
to special limitations in the interest of the protection of depositors.
3. The RMA shall not be regarded as a depository institution under this Act.
No one shall engage in any of the financial services described in Article 1, Section
1a. without a license to operate in accordance with the requirements of this Act. The
foregoing prohibition shall not apply to persons or enterprises, the activities of which
the RMA determines are of such limited scope as not to warrant inclusions
1. Persons engaged in business through offices in the Kingdom other than those
licensed to conduct banking activities as described in this Act shall be
prohibited from using the word “bank”, or translations or composite forms
thereof, in their name or business.
2. The prohibition set forth in the preceding Section 1 shall not apply to
enterprises whose name is established or recognized by Act or international
1. A license to conduct one or more of the financial services described in Article
1, Section a. may be obtained only upon written application to the RMA in the
form prescribed by the RMA. Applications by financial institutions to conduct
additional activities shall be based upon the criteria in paragraphs a, b, c, d
and f of Section 2 of this Article.
2. An application for an initial license shall include the proposed Articles of
Incorporation of the proposed institution and be supported by a business plan
for the first three years of operations. The application must, in the opinion of
the RMA, demonstrate:
a. the adequacy of proposed capital funds and other financial resources;
b. the managerial capacity of the applicant to conduct the proposed
c. that the convenience and needs of communities in the proposed
market areas will be served;
d. that the proposal will have a net positive effect on competition in the
markets to be served;
e. the reasonable likelihood that the proposed institution will become
profitable in a reasonable period of time;
f. that the institution would not violate any law or any regulation of the
g. the integrity and financial soundness of shareholders with a qualifying
3. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the RMA may require additional conditions for
granting an initial license to entities any part of whose subscribed capital
stock is owned or that are effectively controlled by persons who are not
residents of the Kingdom.
1. Within six months from the date of receipt of a complete application, the
application shall be approved or denied by the RMA.
2. The license to conduct financial services shall be granted for an indefinite
period of time.
3. The license to conduct financial services shall not be transferable.
4. The license to conduct financial services may exclude the conduct of activities
with respect to which the RMA determines that the applicant is not qualified.
Representative offices in the Kingdom of financial institutions domiciled abroad shall
not provide financial services or make payments within the territory of the Kingdom
nor shall institutions domiciled abroad without offices in the Kingdom provide financial
services directly or through agents within the territory of the Kingdom or make
payments directly or through agents other than institutions licensed to conduct
financial services within the Kingdom.
1. The license to conduct financial services may be revoked by the RMA if it
a. the license has been obtained on the ground of false or fraudulent
statements or other material irregularities connected with the
application for the license; or
b. the licensee fails to meet any of the conditions attached to the license;
c. an infraction as specified in Article 58 has been committed; or
d. the licensee is a branch office or agency of an institution whose head
office is located abroad and that does not have a license, or has lost
its license, to operate as a financial institution in the country where its
head office is located; provided, however, that, in this event, before
revoking the license, the RMA shall consult with, or in the case of
extreme urgency simply inform, the competent authorities of the
foreign country of its intention to revoke the license; or
e. the owner or owners of the licensee have decided to dissolve or
liquidate the company, or the licensee has ceased to exist as a legally
or operationally independent entity following its dissolution, liquidation,
merger, amalgamation or division, or has ceased to engage in
2. The decision to revoke a license to operate as a financial institution shall be
communicated in writing by the RMA to the institution concerned as soon as
possible giving grounds for the revocation.
1. A licensee may request the RMA in writing to revoke its license.
2. Within ninety days after its receipt of the request, the RMA shall decide on the
3. The decision of the RMA shall be communicated in writing by the RMA to the
institution as soon as possible.
1. All decisions to revoke a license to conduct financial services shall
immediately be published in the Official Newspaper and in a newspaper of
general circulation and shall become effective on the date of such publication.
2. Starting on the day following the date of publication in the Official Newspaper
of the decision to revoke a license, the company concerned shall be
prohibited from engaging in a financial service, and as soon as possible
thereafter, shall liquidate its assets, and discharge its liabilities. Meanwhile,
the company shall be deemed to be operating as a financial institution in
order to permit an orderly winding up of its affairs under this Act.
3. A licensed financial institution shall post its license certificate at its places of
1. A register shall be kept by the RMA recording currently licensed financial
institutions; the name and the head office address of each person that
receives a license shall be entered into the register; a person whose license
to operate has been revoked shall be removed from the register.
2. Copies of the register shall be available for inspection by the public at the
head office of the RMA.
ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION
1. Financial institutions shall execute Articles of Incorporation substantially
similar in form and substance to Schedule 1 of the Companies Act.
2. Financial institutions shall comply with Part II Sections 6, 7 and 11 of the
Companies Act with respect to their registered office, service of documents
and limited liability, respectively.
3. Financial institutions shall comply with Part III Sections 19, 21, 22, 23i, 26 and
27 of the Companies Act with respect to the offer of their shares to the public,
voting rights of shares, share certificates, transfer of shares, register of
shareholders, and list of shareholders, respectively.
4. Financial institutions organized in the Kingdom shall be administered by a
Board of Directors, as the responsible policy-making and executive body.
Directors shall comply with Part VII Sections 48c and 48d, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54,
59, 60, 62, 63 and 64 of the Companies Act with respect to directors’
responsibilities, appointment, eligibility, registration, term of office,
resignation, conduct of meetings, vacancies, minutes of meetings,
remuneration, and validity of proceedings, respectively.
5. The Directors and Executive Officers of a financial institution must act
honestly and with due skill and care; must not make improper use of their
position or of information acquired by virtue of their position to gain a direct or
indirect advantage for themselves or others or to cause detriment to the
institution; and must declare in writing to the institution any shares,
debentures, or similar interest held directly or indirectly in the institution
controlled as defined in Article 48, Section 3, which will be entered into a
register open to inspection by the shareholders.
6. Shareholders meetings of financial institutions shall be conducted in
accordance with Part VIII, Sections 66 and 67 of the Companies Act.
7. The voluntary dissolution of a financial institution shall be in accordance with
Part XI Sections 74 and 76 of the Companies Act.
8. Financial institutions may also be organized as cooperatives, in which case
they shall comply with organizational and other requirements comparable to
those required by this article.
1. All banks shall be governed by articles which, in compliance with their license,
a The structure of the administrative and operational units and sub-
units, and their functions, supervisory positions, and reporting
b. The duties of each departmental head;
c. Internal committees and requirements for internal auditing;
d. The limits of the authority of agents, employees and units to conduct
lending, borrowing and investment operations.
2. The articles of financial institutions shall be maintained by the Board of
Directors, and a certified copy thereof and any amendments thereto shall be
filed with the RMA.
3. Each financial institution shall maintain on file with the RMA a duly certified
copy of the list of officials of the company who are currently authorized to
contractually engage the institution, together with a description of the limits of
the authority of such officials and specimens of their signatures.
CERTAIN ACTIVITIES REQUIRING PRIOR APPROVAL
1. A financial institution that is authorized to engage in certain financial services
activities described in the First Part, Article 1a. may apply to the RMA to
engage in other activities described in such Article.
2. Decisions on applications will be based on the criteria referred to in Section 1
of Article 4.
1. To have legal effect, the acquisition or merger of a financial institution, or the
sale of a major portion of its assets shall require the prior authorization of the
2. Determinations shall be based upon the financial and managerial resources
and future prospects of the financial institutions concerned and the
convenience and needs of the communities to be served. No proposed
transaction shall be approved whose effect may be substantially to lessen
competition unless the anticompetitive effects are clearly outweighed by the
probable effect of meeting the convenience and needs of the communities to
3. Approval of such transactions shall be granted only if the resulting company
engaged in financial services shall be or shall have been granted a license to
operate as a financial institution.
1. To have legal effect, the transfer, in one or more transactions, to any one
person or number of persons acting in concert, of an equity interest
representing more than 20 percent of the authorized capital stock of a
financial institution shall require the prior authorization of the RMA.
2. Determinations shall be based, in the case of natural persons, upon the
competence, experience, integrity and financial ability of the person or
persons by whom such acquisition is to be made. In the case of legal
persons, the criteria of Section 2 of Article 14 shall apply.
The establishment of branches, agencies, and other such offices of financial
institutions shall be subject to prior approval of the RMA.
In carrying out credit and investment operations, financial institutions shall operate in
accordance with the principles of risk management and diversification to promote the
solvency, liquidity and profitability of institutions and shall comply with the directives
and instructions in this regard issued by the RMA.
1. Financial institutions shall keep on file the pertinent documents for every
credit operation, namely:
a. the credit application and, if relevant, the documents in which the
borrower indicates the use to be made of the borrowed funds, and the
legal status of and value assigned to any collateral provided;
b. the financial records of the borrower and any guarantors which served
as the basis for the operation; and
c. the decision of the unit, departmental director or deputy approving the
operation, with the signature of the person or persons responsible for
the decision, and in the case of a decision by the Board of Directors or
a committee thereof, a copy of the minutes of the meeting at which the
operation was approved.
2. The provision of this Article may be supplemented by regulations of the RMA,
and the documentation may be simplified or dispensed with by decision of the
RMA for operations involving small amounts or the discount or pledge of
commercial paper approved by managers of branches, agencies, and other
such offices within the limits of their authority.
Financial institutions shall observe the following maximum limits prescribed by
regulations of the RMA.
a. the maximum ratios to be maintained by financial institutions between their
risk-weighted assets and off-balance sheet items and their net worth; and
b. the maximum amount, expressed as a percentage of their net worth, that
financial institutions shall be permitted to lend to any single borrower or
related group of borrowers.
1. Each financial institution shall comply with the written directives that the RMA
may issue to it on an individual basis concerning its management and
operations provided, however, that such directives may specify only:
a. requirements concerning their minimum amount of net worth in
relation to :
(i) credit granted and investments, or specific categories thereof;
(ii) commitments of a risk bearing nature;
(iii) unhedged foreign currency positions;
(iv) liabilities or categories thereof.
b. prohibitions, restrictions or conditions concerning :
(i) specific types or forms of credit or of credit that exceeds a
(ii) specific types or forms of investment or investments that
exceed a certain amount;
(iii) specific types or forms of commitments of a risk bearing nature
or similar commitments exceeding a specific amount;
(iv) matching as to maturity of assets and liabilities and of-balance
(v) unhedged foreign currency positions or similar positions
exceeding a specific size; and
(vi) fees or expenses relating to transactions or to the maintenance
2. Institutions that engage in similar activities and that are in comparable
financial condition shall be subject to similar regulations.
1. No financial institution and no institution affiliated through a 20 percent or
more shareholding interest shall:
a. extend credit beyond limits determined by the RMA to a person or
underwrite or place securities or arrange financing from third parties to
that person to enable the person to repay his obligation to the other
b. underwrite or place securities of a person and extend credit to that
person to enable him to pay the principal, interest, or dividend on such
c. underwrite, place, or distribute securities and within 60 days of the
initial sale, purchase or recommend the purchase of such securities in
the capacity of asset manager or investment advisor.
2. No bank shall purchase from a person engaged in the securities business
with which the bank is affiliated through a 20 percent or more shareholding
interest (i) assets of that person; (ii) securities to be underwritten, placed or
distributed by that person or that have been so underwritten, placed or
distributed within the past 360 days.
3. No bank shall (i) provide credit enhancement for or (ii) extend credit to
facilitate the purchase of securities underwritten, placed or distributed by a
person with which the bank is affiliated through a more than 20 percent
4. A financial institution shall introduce suitable arrangements and procedures
so that it is not placed in a situation where its duty to one customer conflicts
with its duty to another, or where its own interest conflicts with its duty to a
1. Financial institutions engaged in extensions of credit shall at the outset and
then regularly notify their customers of the terms and conditions associated
with their deposits or loans, including the annual rate of interest and charges,
and the calculation method used.
2. The RMA may make regulations in respect of the making of deposits and
granting of credit.
Present and former officers, directors, and employees of financial institutions shall
keep secret any information they obtain or obtained in the course of their services to
the institution. Such information may be divulged only to administrative or judicial
authorities under procedures provided by law and, in the case of information
concerning the financial affairs of a customer, on the consent of such customer.
Financial institutions licensed as banks may engage in the following activities:
a. accepting deposits;
b. extending credit;
c. operating clearing systems;
d. providing money transmission services;
e. issuing guarantees and stand-by letters of credit;
f. transactions related to bills of exchange, promissory notes, and like
g. issuing means of payment (e.g. letters of credit, banker’s drafts, traveler’s
cheques, debit cards);
h. factoring (receivables financing);
i. acting as trustee and administrator of estates;
j. foreign exchange transactions;
k. financial advice;
l. purchasing and selling securities;
m. anything incidental to items a-1 or prescribed by the RMA.
Each bank shall ensure that at no time shall the aggregate amount of credit extended
to its ten largest borrowers, including economically dependent person, exceed thirty
percent of the aggregate book value of its loan portfolio or such lesser percentage as
the RMA shall prescribe by regulation from time to time.
1. Banks engaged in financial services shall comply with the general regulations
that the RMA shall issue when it determines that current conditions affect the
stability of the Kingdom’s monetary and financial systems. Such regulations
a. requirements concerning the minimum size of liquid resources or
specific categories of such resources in relation to the size or change
in size of assets and guarantees or specific categories thereof, or in
relation to the size or change in size of liabilities or specific categories
of liabilities, provided that banks shall be permitted to meet the
requirement of liquid resources by maintaining with the RMA deposits
of an equivalent value;
b. requirements concerning the maximum size of credits made,
investments and guarantees, or specific categories thereof;
c. prohibitions, restrictions or conditions concerning the types or forms of
credits, guarantees or investments made;
d. requirements concerning the rates of interest and other charges to be
paid by a depository institution, and the maturity and other conditions
applicable to deposits, guarantees and other liabilities denominated in
Ngultrum or in foreign currency; and
e. requirements concerning the rate of interest and other charges,
maturity and other conditions applicable to any type or form of
financing extended or received, or contingent liabilities entered into, by
a financial institution.
2. Such regulations may extend to institutions providing development or
merchant banking, commercial or consumer finance.
In relation to any distribution, dealing or market in securities, no person shall:
a. make a misstatement of material fact or false representation; or
b. do anything to create a false appearance or engage in any manipulative
device or practice not approved in the rules of the RMA.
None of the following persons shall deal or get others to deal in securities if they
have non-public price-sensitive information about the issuer, or about the plans of the
Royal Government or another person in relation to the first mentioned person:
a. officers and employees of the issuer or of the person;
b. officers and employees of the Royal Government;
c. those associated in a professional capacity with the issuer, the Royal
Government, or with the other person;
d. those who obtain the information, directly or indirectly, from the persons
mentioned in (a), (b) and (c).
In conducting securities dealing, a person or company conducting securities business
a. minimize the risks of its operations and diversify its securities activities, in
particular in accordance with any regulations issued by the RMA;
b. limit its exposure so that the securities of any one person, other than the
Royal Government or an agency thereof do not constitute more than the
percentage of its portfolio fixed by the RMA;
c. have the capital laid down in regulations issued by the RMA; and
d. have its portfolio valued in terms of market price and otherwise comply with
accounting regulations issued by the RMA.
A person carrying on securities business:
a. must ensure that a deal it recommends to or effects for a customer is suitable
for the customer;
b. must not deal in the securities of a company immediately prior to it
recommending that a customer engage in a similar transaction or engaging in
a similar transaction on a customer’s behalf;
c. must not prefer some customers over others, for example, by giving them
earlier access to information or by executing their orders first or at better
d. must not recommend dealing to customers, or deal for customers, for the
primary purpose of making commissions;
e. must provide customers with a contract note following a dealing, and with a
customer agreement setting out the information required by regulations
issued by the RMA;
f. must keep moneys of customers in a bank account separate from its own
A financial institution underwriting or offering for sale the issue of securities and any
person offering any securities to more than fifty persons must provide a prospectus,
which fairly presents the information which a prospective investor would want to
know. The prospectus must contain valuation information on the price-earnings ratio
of the company, the ratio of the price of the securities to the book value of the issuer,
and comparable information about other issuers.
In this Act and in regulations issued under it:
a. “general insurance business” means accident, sickness, fire, marine, aviation,
motor liability, or miscellaneous insurance business;
b. “life assurance” means the business of effecting contracts of insurance upon
human life, including any contract whereby the payment of money is assured
on death or the happening of any contingency dependent on human life, and
any contract which is subject to payment of premiums for a term dependent
on human life and shall be deemed to include :
(i) the granting of annuities upon human life;
(ii) the granting of health benefits where a person becomes incapacitated
for a period of not less than five years, until retirement or without limit
(iii) the granting of superannuation allowances and annuities payable out
of a fund applicable solely to the relief and maintenance of persons
engaged or who has been engaged in any particular profession, trade,
or employment or of the dependents of such persons.
1. A person conducting an insurance business shall in respect of each type of
insurance business maintain a separate account and separate accounting
records, setting out the assets and liabilities for each type.
2. The receipts of each type of insurance business shall form a separate
insurance fund and shall be applicable only for the purposes of that type of
1. The RMA may prescribe for each type of insurance business the extent to
which its assets must exceed its liabilities (the margin of solvency).
2. If the margin of solvency falls below that set by the RMA, the person must
immediately prepare plans for the restoration of its financial position and must
implement it (or its modified version) when approved by the RMA.
The RMA may require a person carrying on insurance business.
a. not to make investments of a specified kind;
b. to hold its assets in a specified form, manner, or place;
c. to charge premiums or fees within specified limits;
d. to act as the RMA considers it necessary for the purpose of protecting policy
1. A person carrying on life assurance business must appoint an actuary who
must be approved by the RMA.
2. At least every twelve months, and at such other times as the RMA requires, a
person carrying on life assurance business must have its actuary value its
assets and liabilities in relation to that type of business. The actuary’s report
must be sent immediately to the RMA.
3. If as a result of the valuation any surplus emerges, eighty percent of it (or
such higher percentage as the RMA requires) may be distributed to or
reserved for the policy holders. The remainder may be paid as a dividend to
shareholders in the case of a company or be utilized for such purposes as the
If for any financial year profits accrue from any type of general insurance business,
then after making provision for reserves and other matters for which provision is
necessary or expedient, the balance of such profits may be paid as a dividend to
shareholders in the case of a company.
At any time the RMA may require in respect of a person carrying on insurance
business to prepare a statement with respect to any type of insurance business,
annexing any certificates required in respect of particular matters.
Investment Company Activities
1. Investment companies must not advertise, offer, or sell any share in the
investment company without providing prospective investors with a
prospectus approved by the RMA.
2 In addition to the information required by Section 19 of the Companies Act
1989, the prospectus must contain:
a. a statement of the company’s investment policies and objectives,
including any limitation on imposed investments of particular types;
b. how investors can redeem their shares in the company;
c. a description, including the amount, of selling, management, and
redemption fees and charges;
d. the qualifications, background, and experience of the management of
the investment company of its investments advisor (if any);
e. the past financial performance of the investment company or of any
investment company with which the management has been
associated in the last five years;
f. such other information which RMA deems necessary for informed
decisions by prospective investors in the fund.
The RMA may require an investment company :
a. not to make investments of a specified kind;
b. to hold its investments in a specified form, manner, or place;
c. not to exceed specified fees and charges;
d. to act as the RMA considers necessary for the purpose of protecting
1. A person conducting an asset management must act in the sole interest of
the owners of the assets and at their direction (or at the direction of their
designated agent or in accordance with a direction given in accordance with
their internal procedures).
Separate accounts and accounting record must be kept for the assets being
managed of each individual or group of individuals.
The assets being managed are not the assets of the asset manager; they are
to be treated as a separate fund in the event of the insolvency of the asset
manager and do not form part of his estate.
2. A person carrying on asset management:
a. must ensure that the transactions it effects for a customer are suitable
for the customer;
b. must not prefer some customers over others or prefer its own interest
over that of its customers;
c. must not deal for a customer for primary purpose of being able to
charge its customer a fee;
d. must provide customers quarterly with a statement setting out the
changes in the value of the assets on a quarterly and year-to-year
basis, the composition of the portfolio in general terms (cash, shares,
bank deposits etc.), and such other matters as the RMA prescribes.
Article 40 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the assets of an asset manager.
1. A person giving investment advice:
a. must disclose in writing whether it is giving independent advice or
whether it has any material interest in the investment opportunity
b. in recommending a specific opportunity, must have engaged in a
reasonable search of investment opportunities available to the
customer and satisfied himself that this opportunity is suitable for the
customer and is the best opportunity available.
2. Article 40 shall apply mutatis mutandis to a person giving investment advice.
CERTAIN PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES
1. Financial institutions carrying on banking activities shall not, directly or
indirectly, without prior written authorization from the RMA:
a. purchase shares, become partner in, or acquire an interest that in the
aggregate amounts to more than twenty percent of the equity of
projects or enterprises, or come under common ownership with, or
become owned to more than twenty percent of its equity by
enterprises other than financial institutions (or such other related
activities as the RMA shall designate by regulation); and
b. permit the investments described under paragraph a. to exceed the
equivalent of 25 percent of the financial institutions’ net worth.
2. A person who has more than the holding specified in Section (1) does not
have the power to exercise any rights attached to the holding, and the court
may order him to dispose of the whole or a part of it.
3. The above prohibitions of Section 1 shall not apply in the following cases:
a. acquisition of shares or other interests by way of repayment of credit
granted, in which case the purchasing institution in question shall
dispose of all shares or interest acquired within one year, unless an
extension is granted by the RMA;
b. acquisition of shares or other interests as an agent; and
c. acquisition of shares for the purpose of reselling them to third parties
1. Financial institutions shall be prohibited from entering into contracts or
agreements or adopting practices of any kind which would secure them a
position of dominance on the money, financial or foreign exchange markets,
or from engaging in misleading, fraudulent, or manipulative practices in order
to obtain an unfair advantage for themselves or for third parties.
2. Without prejudice to the generality of Section 1, persons licensed under this
Act must not engage in:
a. eliminating or substantially damaging a competitor of the person or of
a person that is related to the person in that or any other market;
b. preventing the entry of a person into that or any other market; or
c. deterring or preventing a person from engaging in competitive conduct
in that or any other market.
A bank must not grant credit, give any guarantee or incur any other liability, against
the security of:
a. its own shares, the shares of a subsidiary, or the shares of a parent company;
b. the shares of a subsidiary of a parent company.
A financial institution shall not extend credit or provide any service or fix or vary the
consideration therefore on the condition that the customer shall obtain credit or some
service from that company or from related persons, as defined in Article 48.
BUSINESS WITH PERSONS RELATED TO A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION
1. Financial institutions may conduct business with related persons only in
accordance with the provisions of this Part.
2. For the purposes of this Act, persons related to a financial institution shall
a. the members of the Board of Directors and Departmental Heads;
b. the members of the Audit Committee;
c. companies controlling the institution and their principal shareholders
d. spouses or relatives, up to the third degree of consanguinity, of
members of the Board of Directors or Audit Committee, departmental
directors, administrators, or shareholders of the controlling company;
e. companies in which one of the person referred to above has a direct
or indirect equity interest equal to or exceeding ten percent of the
authorized capital stock; and
f. persons with qualifying holdings in the financial institution and any
company under their direct or indirect control.
3. For the purposes of this Article:
a. “control” with respect to a company or other business enterprise
(i) owning more than fifty percent of any class of voting securities;
(ii) having the power to elect a majority of the directors or of
another policy-making body; or
(iii) otherwise exercising a controlling influence over the
management or policies of a company or enterprise;
b. legal entities under public law controlling a public or both public and
privately owned financial institutions and their administrators as well
as any legal entity directly or indirectly controlled by them, and its
directors or administrators, shall also be considered persons related to
such financial institution; and
c. persons related to any of the companies constituting a group of
companies affiliated by virtue of share-holding or economic
dependency shall be considered related to each of the companies in
1. Financial institutions shall not grant favoured terms to related persons.
2 For the purposes of this Article, “granting favoured terms” shall mean :
a. carrying out a business which, by its nature, purpose, characteristics,
or risk, would not be carried out by the institution with other
b. collecting interest, fees, or other charges or accepting guarantees
which are lower, or paying interest which is higher, than that required
of other customers.
1. Financial institutions shall do business with related persons only if so
authorized by their Board of Directors based on a report of their departmental
heads including a description of the relationship involved, an analysis of the
transaction concerned and of the financial situation and income of the
applicant, and an assessment of the applicant’s creditworthiness.
2. Members of the Board of Directors with an interest in the transaction, or who
are related by marriage, blood, kinship, or business interests with the person
related to the financial services company shall be required to leave the
meeting during the time in which the board is deliberating and deciding on the
transaction in question.
3. Persons related to financial institutions other than directors and executive
officers whose obligations are described in Section 5 of Article 11, shall be
required to file statements of financial interest as may be prescribed from time
to time by the RMA.
ACCOUNTS, AUDITING, REPORTING REQUIREMENTS, INSPECTION
1. A financial institution must at all times keep such records in Bhutan as are
necessary to exhibit clearly and correctly the state of its affairs, to explain its
transactions and financial position, and to enable the RMA to determine
whether it has complied with the provisions of this Act.
2. The records required by Section 1 must be kept for a period of at least five
3. Not later than three months after the expiration of its financial year, a financial
institution must prepare in respect of all business transacted by it in that year,
a balance sheet and profit and loss account as of the last working day of that
year, in such form as the RMA may approve, audited in accordance with the
provisions of this Act.
4. A financial institution must send the balance sheet, profit and loss account
and auditor’s report described in Section 1b of Article 52 to the RMA within 14
days of its preparation, must publish them as the RMA directs, and must keep
a copy of them available for inspection by members of the public for at least a
year in each of its places of business in Bhutan.
5 In the event that a financial institution has an equity interest in one or more
other financial institutions equivalent to more than fifty percent of the capital of
each such other company, or the financial institution effectively controls one
of more or other financial institutions, the before mentioned accounts, records
and financial statements shall also reflect the financial condition of such other
companies on a consolidated as well as on an unconsolidated basis.
a. For the purposes of this Section, “control” shall have the meaning set
forth in Article 48, Section 3.
1. An independent auditor approved by the RMA shall be appointed by each
financial institution and shall have the following duties:
a. to assist the financial institution in keeping adequate accounts and
records of its operations and transactions in accordance with sound
b. to prepare in accordance with generally accepted auditing practices,
an annual report on the balance sheet and profit and loss account of
the financial institution and to deliver an opinion as to whether the
financial statements of the financial institution adequately reflect the
financial position of the financial institution and its solvency; and
c. to inform the Board of Directors of the financial institution and the
RMA of any irregularities or deficiencies observed in the operations,
transactions, records or accounts of the financial institution which
could result in material losses for the financial institution or its
2. In the case of a termination of the engagement of an independent auditor by a
financial institution, both the institution and the auditor shall inform the RMA of
the reasons therefore within fifteen days of the termination.
For each bank, the auditor’s report and the balance sheet for the financial year shall
be published in a newspaper of general circulation as indicated by the Board of
Directors and approved by the shareholders.
1. All financial institutions shall be subject to inspections by RMA inspectors or
by auditors appointed by it. In their inspections of financial institutions, the
RMA and its auditors may:
a. examine the assets, accounts, and related documentation, the
corporate books, and any documents in the archives of the institution;
b. require controllers, administrators, agents, deputies and employees of
the institution to provide all such information on any matter relating to
its organization and operation as they shall reasonably request.
2. The RMA may call for any information or document that it may require for the
purpose of the administration of this Act from any financial institution, and that
person must provide the information within any stated period.
3. No director, manager or other employee of a financial institution shall obstruct
the proper performance by an auditor or his duties, or a lawful examination of
an institution, or make a false misleading statement or entry in any account,
report or in any information provided to the RMA.
4. For the purposes of determining the condition of a financial institution, and its
compliance with the provisions of this Act, the RMA may examine, or cause to
be examined, a person that controls or is controlled by a financial institution.
1. Banks shall be required to prepare periodic reports using forms issued by the
RMA, providing sufficient information on their administration and operations,
liquidity, solvency, profitability, and such other information that the RMA may
require for an assessment of their financial condition.
2. The reports shall be prepared in accordance with the accounting standards
established by the RMA.
3. In the event that the bank has an equity interest in one or more other
companies engaged in financial services equivalent to more than twenty
percent of the amount of its authorized capital stock, the reports shall also
provide the required information with respect to such other companies on a
consolidated basis, as well as on an unconsolidated basis.
1. Each bank shall have an Audit Committee consisting of three members
appointed by the shareholders. The Audit Committee shall:
a. monitor compliance with the laws and regulations applicable to the
bank and report to the Board of Directors such situations as it feels
should be reported; and
b. deliver opinions on any matters submitted to it by the Board of
2. The Audit Committee shall meet ordinarily once per quarter and
extraordinarily when convened by the Board of Directors. Decisions shall be
taken by majority of the members present and no abstentions shall be
3. The Audit Committee may be assisted by experts specially appointed or
engaged for this purpose.
4. Directors, managers and other officers of a bank must notify the Audit
Committee of any error or misstatement of which they become aware in any
account, report or information provided under this Part.
The provisions of this Part shall apply to branch offices of foreign financial institutions
in respect of all business transacted through places of business in Bhutan. Statutory
or regulatory provisions requiring financial statements may be satisfied for the branch
office by financial statements prepared on a proforma basis. An Audit Committee or
other administrative organ of the foreign bank may function as the Audit Committee
of the branch for the purposes of this Act.
INFRACTIONS AND PENALTIES
1. The actions and penalties provided for infractions described in this Part shall
be determined in particular cases by the RMA. Any party aggrieved may
appeal such administrative determination to the courts of law (in accordance
with the then applicable procedures).
2. If the RMA determines that there has been an infraction by a financial
institution, by one or more of its officers or directors, or by any other person
with respect to (i) the violation of a provision of this Act or of a regulation of
the RMA pursuant thereto; (ii) the breach of fiduciary duty in transactions
covered by this Act; or (iii) the unsafe or unsound operation of a financial
institution, it may take the following actions or impose the following penalties:
a. Issue warnings;
b. Conclude written agreements for the company to undertake remedial
measures, including those limiting the operations of the institution
engaged in financial services;
c. Issue orders to cease and desist from such infractions;
d. Impose fines up to Nu. 5000 per day for each day that the infraction
e. Suspend temporarily or permanently officers or directors from duties in
the financial institutions;
f. Order conservatorship in the case of bank in accordance with the
provisions of part X;
g. Revoke the license to operate.
3. The administrative penalties provided in this Article shall not preclude
application of other civil penalties or criminal penalties as provided in other
applicable legislations in force.
4. Penalties shall be applied in accordance with the seriousness of the offence
and its impact on the financial institution’s assets.
5. The failure of a person to comply with any direction or requirement, or
contravention of any prohibition imposed on it under this Article shall be of
itself a ground for revocation of a license.
6. These penalties shall apply to any individual or legal entity which violates this
Act by engaging, without a license, in activities for which a license is required
under this Act.
7. Any fines imposed in accordance with this Article shall be paid to the Royal
1. A person who is guilty of an offence under this Act is punishable by
imprisonment of not more than 60 months or fine of not more than Nu.
25,000/- or both.
2. Such offence is committed by a person who :
a. does an act or thing that he is forbidden to do by or under provision of
b. does not do an act or thing that he is required or directed to do by or
under a provision of this Act;
c. otherwise contravenes or fails to comply with a provision of this Act.
A financial institution shall reveal to the RMA any evidence of serious criminal activity
either in the Kingdom or abroad which it suspects is associated with the use of a
bank account or its proceeds, or if it suspects that investments are the product of
serious criminal activity either in the Kingdom or abroad.
1. The RMA may place a financial institution under conservatorship:
a. when the RMA is satisfied that its business is being conducted in an
unlawful or imprudent manner, or that it is otherwise in an unsound
b. when the continuation of its activities is not in the best interest of its
customers : or
c. when the RMA has served a notice revoking its license.
The decision ordering conservatorship shall indicate:
a. the reasons for the conservatorship;
b. the name of the conservator appointed, who may or may not be an
official of the RMA;
c. the duration of the conservatorship;
d. the possible freezing of deposits or other customer funds in the
e. measures applicable to the officers and directors of the institution,
including sequestration of their personal assets to guarantee payment
of possible losses to third parties.
1. The conservatorship shall take effect on the date of posting of public notice or
publication in the Official Newspaper of the decision ordering conservatorship.
2. Acts on behalf or for the account of the institution that occur without the prior
approval of the conservator after the date of such publication shall be null and
void unless the conservator otherwise decides.
3. The appointment of the conservator shall, until the end of conservatorship,
suspend the terms of office of the administrators. They shall return to their
duties only if they are not disqualified by the RMA.
4. The conservator shall as soon as possible apply for the necessary changes in
the list of authorized officials of the institution that is kept by the RMA.
5. During the period of the conservatorship, no execution of any judgment can
be effected against the property of the institution.
The conservator appointed by the RMA shall have broad managerial powers and
shall be authorized to adopt any measures required to normalize the situation of the
institution, including the closure of branches, agencies, and other such offices and
dismissal of officers and employees deemed by him to be redundant or unfit to
perform their duties.
If required for the rehabilitation of the institution, the conservator may at any time
declare deposits and investments by the public in the institution to be totally or
partially blocked for a maximum period of one year, provided that measures are
taken which, in the opinion of the conservator, will preserve the approximate value of
these deposits and investments.
The extraordinary provisions set forth in Part X shall apply only as long as the causes
which gave rise to them persist.
During this period, the RMA may provide financial support to the institution under
conditions to be specified in order to make up any temporary liquidity deficiency.
Funds provided by the RMA to the institution during the conservatorship shall be
senior to and shall have priority over all other liabilities of the institution.
If during or at the end of the conservatorship the RMA deems the rehabilitation of the
institution to be more costly than its dissolution it shall declare the institution insolvent
and liquidate it. In assessing the cost of rehabilitation, the RMA shall take into
account the availability of other sources of the financial services provided by the
institution in conservatorship.
The conservatorship shall cease:
a. at the end of the term established if there is no extension; or
b. if the RMA deems that the institution can operate normally; or
c. upon liquidation of the institution in accordance with the law.
TRANSITORY AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
1. The RMA may, after consulting such persons as it thinks appropriate, make
regulations pursuant to this Act for regulating the circumstances and manner
a. the licensing of banks, securities business and other persons required
to be licensed under this Act;
b. the operation of licensed institutions; and
c. the administration of this Act.
2. Without prejudice to the generality of Section 1, regulations may make
provision for any of the following purposes :
a. notifying the criteria and information required for the licensing of a
person under this Act; and
b. prescribing anything which under this Act can be prescribed.
The provisions of the Companies Act that shall apply to financial institutions are
specifically incorporated by reference in Article 11 of this Act.
1. Companies that engage in financial services described in Article 1, Section 1a
at the time that this Act enters into force, shall be deemed to be licensed to
operate as a financial institution as if its license had been issued pursuant to
the provisions of this Act. The RMA shall specify which activities the financial
institution may engage in.
2. A financial institution whose organizational structure, financial condition or
operations do not conform to the requirements of this Act shall come into
compliance with this Act and regulations issued pursuant thereto within one
year from the enactment of this Act or of the issuance of such regulation.
1. Any person who offers or sells a security in violation of the provisions of
Articles 27, 28, 31 or 39 of this Act shall be liable to the person purchasing
such security from him who may seek to recover the consideration paid for
such security with interest thereon, less the amount of any income received
thereon, upon the tender of such security, or for damages if he no longer
owns the security, in any court of competent jurisdiction in an action against a
person who is not a financial institution, or in accordance with the procedures
of Section 2 of this Article.
2. In the absence of specific contractual provisions to the contrary, all disputes
arising out of or in connection with transactions between financial institutions
and their customers shall be submitted for resolution in the first instance in
accordance with procedures to be issued by the RMA.
a. Compliance with procedures under Section 2 shall be a condition
precedent to the later submission of the matter by a party to the courts
All regulations, orders and guidelines issued by the RMA that apply to more than one
financial institution shall become effective upon posting of a public notice or upon
publication in the Official Newspaper of the Kingdom or on such later date as such
regulation, order or guideline shall specify.
1. The RMA, after consultation with the Royal Government and such other
persons as it deems appropriate, may make regulations in relation to the
provision of financial services in the following areas:
a. bills of exchange, cheques, and other negotiable instruments;
b. credit and guarantee agreements, including financial leasing;
c. debt recovery, including the establishment of a system of conciliation
and arbitration for disputes arising out of the provision of credit,
guarantees, and security;
d. the granting, enforcement, and registration of security agreements;
e. any ancillary matters.
2. Such regulations shall:
a. facilitate commercial transactions and the efficient and speedy
resolutions of disputes arising out of them;
b. be consistent with international conventions and the principles of
commercial law in modern legal systems;
c. ensure that the terms of contracts drawn by those providing financial
services will be full and fair and in so clear a form that they are easy to
read and understand; and
d. ensure that the customer is given a fair and balanced explanation of
those terms, especially the basis of calculating the amount of charges
including interest and of the possible consequences of granting
guarantees and security.
The Royal Monetary Authority Act 1982 is amended as follows:
1. Delete the definitions of “bank”, “banking business”, “financial institution” and
“credit institution” in Section 2, and substitute therefore the definitions of
“bank” and “financial institution” contained in Article 1, Section 1a. of the
2. Delete “banking business” in Section 6 (c) and substitute “banks” and other
financial institutions subject to the Financial Institutions Act of 1992”.
3. Delete “five” million in Section 9 (1) where first occurring and substitute “one
4. Delete “two times” in Section 11 (1) where occurring and substitute “three
5. Insert after “be” where occurring in Section 21 (4) the words “the only”.
6. Delete the title of Section 42 “Acquisition of evidence of indebtedness issued
by the government” and substitute “Acquisition and Issuance of evidence of
indebtedness” and reframe the Section as follows:
Section 42. The authority may:
a. Purchase, hold and sell notes, bills, securities or other evidence of
indebtedness issued or guaranteed by the Government bodies, which
were publicly for sale or form part of an acquisition by the authority;
b. itself issue notes, bills, securities and other evidences of
indebtedness, whether in Ngultrum or in other currencies, and may
hold, sell or purchase the same.
7. Delete Part XII of the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan Act in its entirety.
This Act shall enter into force on 1 November 1992. Legislation which is inconsistent
with the provisions of this Act shall be revoked. The legislations establishing the
existing financial institutions shall be deemed to have been revoked and they will be
required to execute Articles of Association in accordance with the provisions of
Article 11 of this Act.