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Unlocking the Potential of Royalty Investments for NRIs

Exploring Passive Income Opportunities
min read
February 3, 2024

The Strategic Avenue of Royalty-based Investments for NRIs

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) looking for ingenious ways to diversify their investment portfolio and earn steady revenue streams often overlook the potential of royalty-based investments. A royalty is a legally binding payment made to an individual or company for the ongoing use of their original work, such as music, literature, or patented technology. This investment class can present a unique opportunity for NRIs to claim a slice of earnings from the utilization of these creative or intellectual properties, which continue to earn income over time.

What Are Royalty-based Investments?

At its core, a royalty-based investment allows the investor to receive a percentage of the revenue or profit made from the asset. NRIs can invest in royalties from various domains including arts, music, publishing, mining, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and patents. Such investments are appealing since they potentially offer regular and sometimes increasing cash flows over the years without the need for additional investment or upkeep.

The Mechanics of Royalty Investments

To invest in royalties, NRIs typically acquire interests in the asset through a royalty agreement which details the payment structure. These agreements are contracts stipulating the conditions under which royalties are paid, typically calculated as a percentage of gross or net revenues derived from the use of an asset. The frequency of payments can also vary; some pay quarterly while others may pay annually.

Why Consider Royalty-based Investments?

The allure of royalty-based investments lies in their passive nature. Once an initial investment is made, NRIs can benefit from potential income without active involvement in the day-to-day operations or management of the underlying asset. Moreover, royalty income can sometimes increase if the asset's use or market grows over time, translating to a higher return on investment.

Potential Benefits for NRIs

Royalty investments can offer tax advantages, lower volatility compared to traditional equity investments, and serve as a hedge against inflation. This asset class also allows for global exposure since NRIs can invest in royalties generated anywhere in the world, thereby participating in international markets and industries.

Consideration of Market Trends

Investing in royalties requires an understanding of market trends and the potential longevity and profitability of the asset. For example, a patent for a groundbreaking pharmaceutical product may yield high returns due to exclusive rights and demand, whereas royalties from a one-hit-wonder in the music industry might not provide long-term stability.

Risks and Challenges

Like any investment, royalty-based opportunities come with their own set of risks. The revenue from royalties can be variable, and legal disputes over intellectual property rights can impact returns. Exchange rate fluctuations can also affect the income for NRIs investing in foreign royalties. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct thorough due diligence and possibly engage the services of legal and financial advisors.

Legal and Tax Implications

Taxation on royalty earnings can be complex for NRIs. Different nations have varying tax treaties affecting how royalties are taxed. In some cases, taxes may be withheld at the source, and investors might be entitled to tax credits in their country of residence. Knowledge of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and the investor's country of residence becomes critical.

The Path Forward for NRIs

Before diving into royalty-based investments, NRIs should start by identifying their investment goals, risk appetite, and the industries or sectors that align with their objectives. Next steps might involve using online platforms that facilitate royalty investments or engaging with industry-specific intermediaries who can provide access to legal and lucrative opportunities.


Royalty-based investments are a distinctive and potentially profitable avenue for NRIs to consider. With the right strategy and due diligence, they could be an excellent addition to an investment portfolio, offering diversification, passive income, and possibly a touch of glamour associated with the entertainment or invention-related royalties. However, the investor must remain mindful of the risks involved and the legal and tax implications of such investments.

Aayush is a strategic growth marketer with over 6 years of experience working in the US and European markets for various financial services companies. He has a proven track record of success in helping businesses grow, increase revenue, and improve marketing strategies.

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