What Is Foreign Direct Investment And Foreign Portfolio Investment

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) are two main types of cross-border investment.

What Is Foreign Direct Investment And Foreign Portfolio Investment

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Definition: FDI occurs when an investor based in one country acquires a controlling interest in a business entity in another country or makes an investment in that country to establish operations, such as a branch or a subsidiary. A controlling interest typically means owning more than 10% of the business’s shares or voting stock.

Characteristics of FDI:

  • Long-term commitment: Investors are typically involved with their FDI for a longer period.
  • Control and management: Investors have a significant degree of influence or control over the management of the foreign company.
  • Direct investment in assets: FDI may include building new facilities (greenfield investment), merging with or acquiring an existing local company (brownfield investment), or reinvesting profits from overseas operations.
  • Transfer of expertise: FDI often involves not just capital but also the transfer of technology, expertise, and business practices.
  • Risk and return profile: It generally involves higher risk due to higher exposure, but potential returns can be significant since the investor has direct control over the operations.

Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI)

Definition: FPI refers to investments in a foreign country’s financial assets, such as stocks or bonds, without gaining a controlling interest in the entities. These are typically more liquid than FDI.

Characteristics of FPI:

  • Short-term returns: Investors often seek quick returns and may frequently buy and sell these assets.
  • No control over management: Investors do not have a controlling stake in the companies and therefore do not have a significant influence on the management.
  • Marketability: Portfolio investments are usually made in securities that are traded in public markets, making them relatively liquid.
  • Diversification: FPI allows investors to diversify their portfolio internationally.
  • Risk and return profile: While generally less risky than FDI in terms of direct exposure, FPI is subject to market volatility and currency risk.

Key Differences:

  • Control: FDI grants control over a business, whereas FPI does not.
  • Intent: FDI is intended to manage and grow a business; FPI is generally for realizing short-term financial gains.
  • Impact on the host country: FDI can have a more profound impact on the host country’s economy, potentially creating jobs and transferring technology, while FPI’s impact is more on the financial markets than the real economy.
  • Capital Flow Volatility: FDI tends to be more stable as it represents a long-term interest in a country’s economy, whereas FPI can be more volatile, moving in and out of countries and assets with market conditions.

Both forms of investment are crucial in the global economy, enabling capital to flow to where it is most needed or where it can earn the best returns, but they play very different roles in terms of economic impact and strategic importance.

by Abdullah Sam
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