Any low fee Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) provider for US NRI casual trader?

I am looking for a PIS NRE account provider for stock trading. I would be mostly buying and holding a few occasional stocks for the long term.

Right now there are only 4-5 banks/brokerages that I could find that offer PIS (Yes bank, ICICI, SBI, Axis, South Indian Bank, Kotak). All of these banks charge Rs 500-Rs 1000/annum to maintain the account. I think these charges are unpractical as they would simply eat into my profits (or accentuate my losses in a bad year).

South Indian Bank offers 0 Annual Fees if Rs 50000 maintained (which is a low 750$), but they can only accommodate clients in the middle east so not possible.

Another problem is that most brokerages are anyways denying US NRIs due to FATCA complications. L&T And Sundaram finance are known to accept US NRI clients but they only offer mutual funds.

Does anyone here know any low fee PIS NRE services that cater to US NRIs?

Stock investment as an NRI: Present RBI rules for NRI equity investors encourage long term investments. For a typical NRI casual investor under 35 who will buy and hold stocks over a long term, an ideal investment platform should have decent online interface and low recurrent fees. Brokerages/Accounts with Annual Maintenace Charges (AMC) are an unviable option for NRIs. High annual fees can not only significantly reduce gains from investments but are also difficult to sustain over a long term as most NRIs don't have perennial income in India to continue paying fees endlessly.

PIS NRE Account: Few months back I had made this thread on high AMCs charged by most banks for NRE PIS accounts. RBI mandates investors to open a PIS NRI bank account to invest in stocks, which are provided by only a few banks and the most popular providers (such as Axis/ICICI/SBI) charge hefty AMCs. Axis banks waives the Rs 1500 AMC for customers who maintain a minimum balance of Rs 10 lakhs (15000 USD)which is also un-practical for many NRIs.

Axis Bank's AMC waiver for a minimum balance gave me the idea of searching for banks that charged the lowest PIS AMCs in the market and attempt AMC-waiver bargain with them in exchange of a more practical deposit amount. Yes Bank and IndusInd banks offer NRE PIS with the lowest AMC of Rs 500. On contacting Yes Bank, they declined to entertain any such request. IndusInd bank, on the contrary, agreed to waive my NRE PIS AMC for < 40% of what Axis bank asks after a phone negotiation. The bank rep also assured me that this agreement will remain permanent as long as I maintain my minimum negotiated deposit.

IndusInd's bank rep was very curteous and gave timely guidance on the account opening process. After mailing all my documents to their Fort, Mumbai office, I finally got my NRE PIS account open and got my RBI permission letter allowing me to invest in stocks as an NRI. I highly recommend IndusInd bank to those interested in an NRI PIS account.

If you decide to apply, be prepared for paperwork to open account.

PIS Account opening charges: Rs 1000 + Rs 150 service tax + Minimum Deposit to be maintained for AMC waiver: Negotiable

Discount Brokerage: Out of the most popular NRI-friendly discount brokerages: Zerodha charges Rs 300 AMC for Demat accounts. The next most popular discount brokerage, SAS Online offers 0 AMC Demat + Trading, but, they clearly told me that they only allow NRIs to invest through non-PIS NRO account (which is non-repatriable) which was again a deal-breaker for me. has been a great source of information for me to understand and compare discount brokerages and lately they have been advertising as a new discount brokerage, which is also NRI friendly. They offer 0 AMC Demat + Trading in exchange of a refundable deposit of Rs 1000. are fully compatible with IndusInd NRI PIS accounts. They employ email based OTP and online account opening so filling forms and compiling paper work was simpler due to their online form upload and compiling option (final set of forms have to be notarized and snail-mailed). Customer Service replies were timely and helpful. After mailing my documents to their Mumbai office, they promptly finished all formalities for KYC, Trading & Demat account set up + online access. Prostocks user-interface looks like this.

Brokerage opening charges: Refundable Demat opening charges: Rs 1000

TLDR: If you want a long term sustainable solution to invest in indian stocks as an NRI then negotiate a 0 AMC NRE PIS account with IndusInd bank for a minimum negotiable deposit and open a brokerage account with
If you want to trade in FO, you need NRO account and for Cash segment trading, you need NRE. Just look for broker with lowest brokerage charges and who has been dealing with your preferred PIS bank. Yes, Axis and ICICI bank has max share for NRI PIS accounts.
Thanks batsy71 for posting all your research. I'm too am trying to determine the best combination of NRE-PIS and Broker with similar criterion as you (no/low AMC, and low brokerage fees). Are you still happy with your combo of IndusInd and prostocks?

I already have an NRE and NRO account with HDFC, and I'm going to attempt to negotiate with them first about waiving AMC before I start exploring other banks. HDFC seems to charge Rs 100 for processing a contract note. While doing your research, did you happen to come across any banks that charge less than that for processing the contract note from the broker?
Yes Bank is Rs 100 too as shown here:

IndusInd is Rs 100 too and then another Rs 50 on sale: Opening/Portfolio-Investment-Scheme(PIS).pdf

ICICI doest not mention it clearly anywhere but most of their fees are higher than market average so I dont expect them to be any better. There are some cryptic details on PIS/PINS charges here:

Looks like it's the same everywhere

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