Survey of U.S. Financial Services Providers’ Transactions with Foreign Persons Due November 1, 2015

International Trade & Customs Update

Date: October 22, 2015

Key Notes:

  • Applicable to U.S. financial services providers and certain transactions with foreign persons in excess of $3 million
  • Data collection is for statistical and analytical purposes only
  • Response is mandatory; data is held as strictly confidential

A previously little-known U.S. Department of Commerce agency, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), continues to assert its presence in 2015 with the issuance of Form BE-180, another mandatory survey and questionnaire. BE-180 is a five-year benchmark survey targeting U.S. financial services providers that seeks information regarding certain transactions with foreign persons in excess of $3 million during fiscal year 2014. A response to the survey is due by November 1, 2015 and must be submitted by any U.S. financial services company,[1] even if it was not contacted directly by BEA, with covered transactions in fiscal year 2014. If sales or purchases of financial services were greater than $3 million, the U.S. company is required to provide data by type of service, type of affiliation with the counterparty and country. If sales and purchases together were $3 million or less, the U.S. company is required to provide aggregate data only.

Specifically, a BE-180 must be submitted by each U.S. financial services company that is a financial services provider or intermediary, or whose consolidated U.S. enterprise includes a separately organized subsidiary or part that is a financial services provider or intermediary, and

  • Had combined sales to foreign persons of financial services in excess of $3 million for fiscal year 2014, or
  • Had combined purchases from foreign persons of financial services in excess of $3 million for fiscal year 2014, or
  • Had combined sales and combined purchases of financial services of $3 million or less, and was notified by the BEA about the survey.

The $3 million threshold for mandatory reporting is based on combined financial services sold to, or purchased from, foreign persons by all parts of the consolidated U.S. enterprise that are financial services providers or intermediaries. Because the threshold applies separately to sales and purchases, the mandatory reporting requirement may apply only to sales, only to purchases, or to both. If both combined sales and combined purchases of financial services were $3 million or less, and the U.S. financial services company was not notified by the BEA, the company is requested to voluntarily provide an estimate of the total sales and/or purchases for fiscal year 2014. If a U.S. financial services company was contacted by BEA regarding the survey but the company did not have any covered transactions with foreign persons, a submission is still required indicating that it did not have any covered transactions during 2014.

The survey covers payments to, and receipts from, affiliated and unaffiliated foreign persons for the following types of financial services:

  • Brokerage services related to equity transactions
  • Other brokerage services
  • Underwriting and private placement services related to equity or debt transactions
  • Financial management services
  • Credit-related services (except credit card services)
  • Credit card services
  • Financial advisory and custody services
  • Securities lending services
  • Electronic funds transfer services
  • Other financial services[2]

U.S. financial services companies must report covered transactions that involve a foreign person regardless of whether the service was performed in the United States or abroad. Because these reporting requirements are determined by whom the transactions are with and not by where the services are performed or the location of the buyer and seller at the time of the transaction,[3] reportable transactions may include those conducted over the Internet or other networks (e.g., brokerage or financial advisory services sold to foreign persons over the Internet).

The BE-180 survey is authorized by the International Investment and Trade in Services Survey Act. The data can only be used for analytical and statistical purposes regarding U.S. international transactions. The information will also be used to formulate U.S. policy and to analyze the impact of that policy and foreign countries’ policies on such international transactions. The survey data cannot be presented in a manner that allows the respondent to be individually identified without prior written permission. The information cannot be used for taxation, investigation or regulation. Copies retained in BEA files are immune from legal process. Persons who fail to report may be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 and not more than $32,500, and to injunctive relief commanding such person to comply, or both. In most instances, however, an initial failure to file will result in a warning letter and request to comply with the filing requirements.


For more information, please contact:

Irving C. Apar

Frank D. Chaiken

David M. Schwartz

Scott E. Diamond

This advisory bulletin may be reproduced, in whole or in part, with the prior permission of Thompson Hine LLP and acknowledgment of its source and copyright. This publication is intended to inform clients about legal matters of current interest. It is not intended as legal advice. Readers should not act upon the information contained in it without professional counsel.

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[1] Companies and/or subsidiaries and other separable parts of companies in the following industries are regarded as financial services providers: depository credit intermediation and related activities (including commercial banking, bank holding companies, financial holding companies, savings institutions, check cashing and debit card issuing); nondepository credit intermediation (including credit card issuing, sales financing and consumer lending); securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments and related activities (including security and commodity futures brokers, dealers, exchanges, traders, underwriters, investment bankers and providers of securities custody services); insurance carriers and related activities (including agents, brokers and services providers); investment advisers and managers and funds, trusts and other financial vehicles (including mutual funds, pension funds, real estate investment trusts, investors, stock quotation services, etc.).

[2] Other financial services include asset pricing services, security exchange listing fees, demand deposit fees, securities rating services, check processing fees, mutual fund exit fees, load charges, 12b-1 service fees, hedge fund exit fees, security redemption or transfer service fees, ATM network service fees, securities or futures clearing and settling service fees, and brokerage services not already covered under these categories, such as arranging joint ventures.

[3] Transactions with international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund are reportable, as these organizations are considered foreign entities even though headquartered in the United States.