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MUMBAI : India's Axis Bank has started offering structured derivative products to leading companies including Reliance Industries after a ban on these deals was lifted by the Reserve Bank of India effective Monday.

Axis Bank, India's third-largest private sector bank said the first of these transactions was executed with Reliance Industries which involved the use of Barrier FX options for their currency risk management, it said in a statement.

The bank also concluded another transaction with Supreme Petrochem Ltd.

Hundreds of Indian corporates who had entered into such tailor-made, OTC contracts with banks prior to 2008, cried foul when their bets went sour.

After the derivative losses — where banks also took a hit due to customers not honouring deals - the central bank banned exotic products, allowing only plain-vanilla currency options before lifting the bank with stricter guidelines last year.

"We expect the usage of these products to grow over time as the market matures and clients get more accustomed," said Neeraj Gambhir, Group Executive and Head – Treasury at Axis Bank.

"What has changed is the focus on risk management and customer education. Customers need to fully understand the risk reward of the transactions they are entering into. It may see a tapered pick up and growth, but the market should develop," he told Reuters.

Gambhir said the structured deals offered in India are still basic compared with those in global markets and there would need to be more customer education before smaller corporates get on board.

Axis Bank plans to focus on larger companies for the time being but is keen to be a frontrunner in structured derivatives and has put in place the necessary staff and infrastructure, he added.

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