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 thatis a financial services provider or intermediary, or whoseconsolidated U.S. enterpriseincludes a separately organized subsidiary or part that is afinancial 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 oncombined financial services sold to, or purchased from, foreignpersons by all parts of the consolidated U.S. enterprise that arefinancial services providers or intermediaries. Because the thresholdapplies separately to sales and purchases, the mandatory reportingrequirement may apply only to sales, only to purchases, or to both.Ifboth combined sales and combined purchases of financial serviceswere $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.