The Bureau of Economic Analysis (the “BEA”), a little-known division of the U.S. Commerce Department responsible for calculating economic statistics such as the GDP, recently published the most recent version of its 5-year benchmark survey Form BE-180 on transactions with foreign persons. This survey requires all financial services providers (“FSPs”) like banks, investment advisors, managers, funds, trusts, and other financial vehicles (including mutual funds, pension funds, real estate investments trusts, investors, and stock quotation services) to report certain financial services transactions with foreign persons in excess of $3 million during their 2014 fiscal year.
At the last collection of the Form BE-180 survey in 2009, BEA required only those FSPs that it had notified in advance to file Form BE-180. This time, however, FSPs with sales of financial services to or from foreign persons in excess of $3 million are required to file, regardless of whether they have been previously contacted by BEA or not. This requirement may catch some FSPs unaware, especially as some may face a deadline to report of as early as November 1, 2015.
The following types of activities and industries are considered FSPs for the purposes of Form BE-180: depository credit intermediation and related activities; non-depository credit intermediation; securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities; insurance carriers and related activities; and investment advisors and managers and funds, trusts, and other financial vehicles.
FSPs are required to report if they: 1) are contacted by BEA regardless of the amount of transactions the FSP may have had with foreign persons, or 2) if the FSP had aggregate sales to, or purchases from, “foreign persons” of “financial services” in excess of $3 million during its 2014 fiscal year. Contacted FSPs that don’t meet the $3 million threshold are required to make a partial filing, i.e., to answer only the portions of the form calling for aggregate data.
A foreign person is defined as any person resident outside the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of a country other than the United States. Financial services for purposes of this $3 million threshold are defined to include: trading, issuing, dealing, underwriting, lending, and custody of financial instruments; financial advisory or management services; credit card services; credit-related services (including establishing, maintaining, or arranging credit, letters of credit, lines of credit, or mortgages.); financial rating services; electronic funds transfer services; and insurance services.
While BEA has set a nominal due date of October 1, 2015, all respondents are eligible for an automatic extension. FSPs notified by BEA of the need to respond and having a BE-180 identification number below 140012490 and FSPs that have not been notified of the need to respond may respond by November 1, 2015. FSPs notified by BEA of the need to respond and having a BE-180 identification number above 140012490 may respond by December 1, 2015. BEA will consider requests for additional extensions of 30 days for parties notified of the need to report and 60 days for parties not previously notified if submitted before November 1, 2105.
BEA estimates that Form BE-180 will take roughly 10 hours per submission. With the deadlines approaching quickly, all FSPs should rapidly assess whether they are required to file and move to do so with alacrity if they are.