6000 - Bank Holding Company Act
§ 225.125 Investment adviser activities.
(a) Effective February 1, 1972, the Board of Governors amended § 225.4(a) of Regulation Y to add ""serving as investment adviser, as defined in section 2(a)(20) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, to an investment company registered under that Act" to the list of activities it has determined to be so closely related to banking or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto. During the course of the Board's consideration of this amendment several questions arose as to the scope of such activity, particularly in view of certain restrictions imposed by sections 16, 20, 21 and 32 of the Banking Act of 1933 (12 U.S.C. 24, 377, 378, 78) (sometimes referred to hereinafter as the "Glass-Steagall Act provisions") and the United States Supreme Court's decision in Investment Company Institute v. Camp, 401 U.S. 617 (1971). The Board's views with respect to some of these questions are set forth below.
(b) It is clear from the legislative history of the Bank Holding Company Act Amendments of 1970 (84 Stat. 1760) that the Glass-Steagall Act provisions were not intended to be affected thereby. Accordingly, the Board regards the Glass-Steagall Act provisions and the Board's prior interpretations thereof as applicable to a holding company's activities as an investment adviser. Consistently with the spirit and purpose of the Glass-Steagall Act, this interpretation applies to all bank holding companies registered under the Bank Holding Company Act irrespective of whether they have subsidiaries that are member banks.
(c) Under § 225.4(a)(5), as amended, bank holding companies (which term, as used herein, includes both their bank and nonbank subsidiaries) may, in accordance with the provisions of § 225.4(b), act as investment advisers to various types of investment companies, such as ""open-end'' investment companies (commonly referred to as "mutual funds") and "closed-end" investment companies. Briefly, a mutual fund is an investment company which, typically, is continuously engaged in the issuance of its shares and stands ready at any time to redeem the securities as to which it is the issuer; a closed-end investment company typically does not issue shares after its initial organization except at infrequent intervals and does not stand ready to redeem its shares.
(d) The Board intends that a bank holding company may exercise all functions that are permitted to be exercised by an "investment adviser" under the Investment Company Act of 1940, except to the extent limited by the Glass-Steagall Act provisions, as described, in part, hereinafter.
(e) The Board recognizes that presently most mutual funds are organized, sponsored and managed by investment advisers with which they are affiliated and that their securities are distributed to the public by such affiliated investment advisers, or subsidiaries or affiliates thereof. However, the Board believes that (1) the Glass-Steagall Act provisions do not permit a bank holding company to perform all such functions, and (2) it is not necessary for a bank holding company to perform all such functions in order to engage effectively in the described activity.
(f) In the Board's opinion, the Glass-Steagall Act provisions, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, forbid a bank holding company to sponsor, organize or control a mutual fund. However, the Board does not believe that such restrictions apply to closed-end investment companies as long as such companies are not primarily or frequently engaged in the issuance, sale, and distribution of securities. A bank holding company should not act as investment adviser to an investment company that has a name similar to the name of the holding company or any of its subsidiary banks, unless the prospectus of the investment company contains the disclosures required in paragraph (h) of this section. In no case should a bank holding company act as investment advisor to an investment company that has either the same name as the name of the holding company or any of its subsidiary banks, or a name that contains the word "bank."
(g) In view of the potential conflicts of interests that may exist, a bank holding company and its bank and nonbank subsidiaries should not purchase in their sole discretion, in a fiduciary capacity (including as managing agent), securities of any investment company for which the bank holding company acts as investment adviser unless, the purchase is specifically authorized by the terms of the instrument creating the fiduciary relationship, by court order, or by the law of the jurisdiction under which the trust is administered.
(h) Under section 20 of the Glass-Steagall Act, a member bank is prohibited from being affiliated with a company that directly, or through a subsidiary, engages principally in the issue, flotation, underwriting, public sale, or distribution of securities. A bank holding company or its nonbank subsidiary may not engage, directly or indireclty, in the underwriting, public sale or distribution of securities of any investment company for which the holding company or any nonbank subsidiary provides investment advice except innce compliance with the terms of section 20, and only after obtaining the Board's approval under section 4 of the Bank Holding Company Act and subject to the limitations and disclosures required by the Board in those cases. The Board has determined, however, that the conduct of securities brokerage activities by a bank holding company or its nonbank subsidiaries, when conducted individually or in combination with investment advisory activities, is not deemed to be the underwriting, public sale, or distribution of securities prohibited by the Glass-Steagall Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld that determination. See Securities Industry Ass'n v. Board of Governors, 468 U.S. 207 (1984); see also Securities Industry Ass'n v. Board of Governors, 821 F.2d 810 (D.C. Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1005 (1988). Accordingly, the Board believes that a bank holding company or any of its nonbank subsidiaries that has been authorized by the Board under the Bank Holding Company Act to conduct securities brokerage activities (either separately or in combination with investment advisory activities) may act as agent, upon the order and for the account of customers of the holding company or its nonbank subsidiary, to purchase or sell shares of an investment company for which the bank holding company or any of its subsidiaries acts as an investment adviser. In addition, a bank holding company, or any of its nonbank subsidiaries that has been authorized by the Board under the Bank Holding Company Act to provide investment advice to third parties generally (either separately or in combination with securities brokerage services) may provide investment advice to customers with respect to the purchase or sale of shares of an investment company for which the holding company or any of its subsidiaries acts as an investment adviser. In the event that a bank holding company or any of its nonbank subsidiaries provides brokerage or investment advisory services (either separately or in combination) to customers in the situtations described above, at the time the service is provided the bank holding company should instruct its officers and employees to caution customers to read the prospectus of the investment company before investing and must advise customers in writing that the investment company's shares are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and are not deposits, obligations of, or endorsed or guaranteed in any way by, any bank, unless that happens to be the case. The holding company or nonbank subsidiary must also disclose in writing to the customer the role of the company or affiliate as adviser to the investment company. These disclosures may be made orally so long as written disclosure is provided to the customer immediately thereafter. To the extent that a bank owned by a bank holding company engages in providing advisory or brokerage services to bank customers in connection with an investment company advised by the bank holding company or a nonbank affiliate, but is not required to make disclosures comparable to the disclosures required to be made by bank holding companies providing such services, the bank holding company should require its subsidiary bank to make the disclosures required in this paragraph to be made by a bank holding company that provides such advisory or brokerage services.
(i) Acting in such capacities as registrar, transfer agent, or custodian for an investment company is not a selling activity and is permitted under § 225.4(a)(4) of Regulation Y. However, in view of potential conflicts of interests, a bank holding company which acts both as custodian and investment adviser for an investment company should exercise care to maintain at a minimal level demand deposit accounts of the investment company which are placed with a bank affiliate and should not invest cash funds of the investment company in time deposit accounts (including certificates of deposit) of any bank affiliate.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 225.125]
[Source: 37 Fed. Reg. 1464, January 29, 1972, effective February 1, 1972; amended at 57 Fed. Reg. 30391, July 9, 1992, effective August 10, 1992; 61 Fed. Reg. 45875, August 30, 1996, effective September 30, 1996; 62 Fed. Reg. 9343, February 28, 1997, effective April 21, 1997]
§ 225.126 Activities not closely related to banking.
Pursuant to section 4(c)(8) of the Bank Holding Company Act and § 225.4(a) of Regulation Y, the Board of Governors has determined that the following activities are not so closely related to banking or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto:
(a) Insurance premium funding--that is, the combined sale of mutual funds and insurance.
(b) Underwriting life insurance that is not sold in connection with a credit transaction by a bank holding company, or a subsidiary thereof.
(c) Real estate brokerage (see 1972 Fed. Res. Bulletin 428).
(d) Land development (see 1972 Fed. Res. Bulletin 429).
(e) Real estate syndication.
(f) Management consulting (see 1972 Fed. Res. Bulletin 571).
(g) Property management (see 1972 Fed. Res. Bulletin 652).
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 225.126]
§ 225.127 Investment in corporations or projects designed primarily to promote community welfare.
(a) Under § 225.4(a)(7) of Regulation Y, a bank holding company may, in accordance with the provisions of § 225.23, engage in "making equity and debt investments in corporations or projects designed primarily to promote community welfare, such as the economic rehabilitation and development of low-income areas." The Board included that activity among those the Board has determined to be so closely related to banking or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto, in order to permit bank holding companies to fulfill their civic responsibilities. As indicated hereinafter in this interpretation, the Board intends § 225.25(b)(6) to enable bank holding companies to take an active role in the quest for solutions to the Nation's social problems. Although the interpretation primarily focuses on low- and moderate-income housing, it is not intended to limit projects under § 225.25(b)(6) to that area. Other investments primarily designed to promote community welfare are considered permissible, but have not been defined in order to provide bank holding companies flexibility in approaching community problems. For example, bank holding companies may utilize this flexibility to provide new and creative approaches to the promotion of employment opportunities for low-income persons. Bank holding companies possess a unique combination of financial and managerial resources making them particularly suited for a meaningful and substantial role in remedying our social ills. Section 225.25(b)(6) is intended to provide an opportunity for them to assume such a role.
(b) Under the authority of § 225.25(b)(6), a bank holding company may invest in community development corporations established pursuant to Federal or State law. A bank holding company may also participate in other civic projects, such as a municipal parking facility sponsored by a local civic organization as a means to promote greater public use of the community's facilities.
(c) Within the category of permissible investments under § 225.25(b)(6) are investments in projects to construct or rehabilitate multi-family low- or moderate-income housing with respect to which a mortgage is insured under sections 221(d)(3), 221(d)(4), or 236 of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1701) and investments in projects to construct or rehabilitate low- or moderate-income housing which is financed or assisted by direct loan, tax abatement, or insurance under provisions of State or local law, similar to the aforementioned Federal programs, provided that, with respect to all such projects the owner is, by statute, regulation, or regulatory authority, limited as to the rate of return on his investment in the project, as to rentals or occupancy charges for units in the project, and in such other respects as would be a "limited dividend corporation" (as defined by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development).
(d) Investments in other projects that may be considered to be designed primarily to promote community welfare include but are not limited to: (1) Projects for the construction or rehabilitation of housing for the benefit of persons of low- or moderate-income, (2) projects for the construction or rehabilitation of ancillary local commercial facilities necessary to provide goods or services principally to persons residing in low- or moderate-income housing, and (3) projects designed explicitly to create improved job opportunities for low- or moderate-income groups (for example, minority equity investments, on a temporary basis, in small or medium-sized locally-controlled businesses in low-income urban or other economically depressed areas). In the case of de novo projects, the copy of the notice with respect to such other projects which is to be furnished to Reserve Banks in accordance with the provisions of § 225.23 should be accompanied by a memorandum which demonstrates that such projects meet the objectives of § 225.25(b)(6).
(e) Investments in corporations or projects organized to build or rehabilitate high-income housing, or commercial, office, or industrial facilities that are not designed explicitly to create improved job opportunities for low-income persons shall be presumed not to be designed primarily to promote community welfare, unless there is substantial evidence to the contrary, even though to some extent the investment may benefit the community.
(f) Section 6 of the Depository Institutions Disaster Relief Act of 1992 permits state member banks (12 U.S.C. 338a) and national banks (12 U.S.C. 24 (Eleventh)) to invest in the stock of community development corporations that are designed primarily to promote the public welfare of low- and moderate-income communities and persons in the areas of housing, services and employment. The Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have adopted rules that permit state member banks and national banks to make certain investments without prior approval. The Board believes that these rules are consistent with the Board's interpretation of, and decisions regarding, the scope of community welfare activities permissible for bank holding companies. Accordingly, approval received by a bank holding company to conduct activities designed to promote the community welfare under section 4(c)(8) of the Bank Holding Company Act (12 U.S.C. 1843(c)(8)) and § 225.25(b)(6) of the Board's Regulation Y (12 CFR 225.25(b)(6)) includes approval to engage, either directly or through a subsidiary, in the following activities, up to five percent of the bank holding company's total consolidated capital stock and surplus, without additional Board or Reserve Bank approval:
(1) Invest in and provide financing to a corporation or project or class of corporations or projects that the Board previously has determined is a public welfare project pursuant to paragraph 23 of section 9 of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 338a);
(2) Invest in and provide financing to a corporation or project that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency previously has determined, by order or regulation, is a public welfare investment pursuant to section 5136 of the Revised Statutes (12 U.S.C. 24 (Eleventh));
(3) Invest in and provide financing to a community development financial institution pursuant to section 103(5) of the Community Development Banking and Financial Institutions Act of 1994 (12 U.S.C. 4702(5));
(4) Invest in, provide financing to, develop, rehabilitate, manage, sell, and rent residential property if a majority of the units will be occupied by low- and moderate-income persons or if the property is a "qualified low-income building" as defined in section 42(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 42(c)(2));
(5) Invest in, provide financing to, develop, rehabilitate, manage, sell, and rent nonresidential real property or other assets located in a low- or moderate-income area provided the property is used primarily for low- and moderate-income persons;
(6) Invest in and provide financing to one or more small businesses located in a low- and moderate-income area to stimulate economic development;
(7) Invest in, provide financing to, develop, and otherwise assist job training or placement facilities or programs designed primarily for low- and moderate-income persons;
(8) Invest in and provide financing to an entity located in a low- and moderate-income area if that entity creates long-term employment opportunities, a majority of which (based on full time equivalent positions) will be held by low- and moderate-income persons; and
(9) Provide technical assistance, credit counseling, research, and program development assistance to low- and moderate-income persons, small businesses, or nonprofit corporations to help achieve community development.
(g) For purposes of paragraph (f) of this section, low- and moderate-income persons or areas means individuals and communities whose incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the median income of the area involved, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Small businesses are businesses that are smaller than the maximum size eligibility standards established by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the Small Business Investment Company and Development Company Programs or the SBA section 7A loan program; and specifically include those businesses that are majority-owned by members of minority groups or by women.
(h) For purposes of paragraph (f) of this section, five percent of the total consolidated capital stock and surplus of a bank holding company includes its total investment in projects described in paragraph (f) of this section, when aggregated with similar types of investments made by depository institutions controlled by the bank holding company. The term total consolidated capital stock and surplus of the bank holding company means total equity capital and the allowance for loan and lease losses. For bank holding companies that file the FR Y--9C (Consolidated Financial Statements for Bank Holding Companies), these items are readily ascertained from Schedule HC--Consolidated Balance Sheet (total equity capital (line 27h) and allowance for loan and lease losses (line 4b)). For bank holding companies filing the FR Y--SP (Parent Company Only Financial Statements for Small Bank Holding Companies), an approximation of these items is ascertained from the Balance Sheet (total equity capital (line 16e)) and allowance for loan and lease losses (line 3b)) and from the Report of Condition for Insured Banks (Schedule RC--Balance Sheet (line 4b)).
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 225.127]
[Source: 37 Fed. Reg. 11316, June 7, 1972; 37 Fed. Reg. 13336, July 7, 1972; as amended at 59 Fed. Reg. 63713, December 9, 1994, effective January 9, 1995]
§ 225.129 Activities closely related to banking.
Courier activities. The Board's amendment of § 225.4(a), which adds courier services to the list of closely related activities is intended to permit holding companies to transport time critical materials of limited intrinsic value of the types utilized by banks and bank-related firms in performing their business activities. Such transportation activities are of particular importance in the check clearing process of the banking system, but are also important to the performance of other activities, including the processing of financially related economic data. The authority is not intended to permit holding companies to engage generally in the provision of transportation services.
During the course of the Board's proceedings pertaining to courier services, objections were made that courier activities were not a proper incident to banking because of the possibility that holding companies would or had engaged in unfair competitive practices. The Board believes that adherence to the following principles will eliminate or reduce to an insignificant degree any possibility of unfair competition:
a. A holding company courier subsidiary established under § 4(c)(8) should be a separate, independent corporate entity, not merely a servicing arm of a bank.
b. As such, the subsidiary should exist as a separate, profit-oriented operation and should not be subsidized by the holding company system.
c. Services performed should be explicitly priced, and shall not be paid for indirectly, for example, on the basis of deposits maintained at or loan arrangements with affiliated banks.
Accordingly, entry of holding companies into courier activities on the basis of section 4(c)(8) will be conditioned as follows:
1. The courier subsidiary shall perform services on an explicit fee basis and shall be structured as an individual profit center designed to be operated on a profitable basis. The Board may regard operating losses sustained over an extended period as being inconsistent with continued authority to engage in courier activities.
2. Courier services performed on behalf of an affiliate's customer (such as the carriage of incoming cash letters) shall be paid for by the customer. Such payments shall not be made indirectly, for example, on the basis of imputed earnings on deposits maintained at or of loan arrangements with subsidiaries of the holding company.
Concern has also been expressed that bank-affiliated courier services will be utilized to gain a competitive advantage over firms competing with other holding company affiliates. To reduce the possibility that courier affiliates might be so employed, the Board will impose the following third condition:
3. The courier subsidiary shall, when requested by any bank or any data processing firm providing financially-related data processing services which firm competes with a banking or data processing subsidiary of Applicant, furnish comparable service at comparable rates, unless compliance with such request would be beyond the courier subsidiary's practical capacity. In this regard, the courier subsidiary should make known to the public its minimum rate schedule for services and its general pricing policies thereto. The courier subsidiary is also expected to maintain for a reasonable period of time (not less than two years) each request denied with the reasons for such denial.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 225.129]
§ 225.130 Issuance and sale of short-term debt obligations by bank holding companies.
For text of interpretation, see § 250.221 of this chapter.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 225.130]
[Source: 38 Fed. Reg. 35231, December 26, 1973]
§ 250.221 Issuance and sale of short-term debt obligations by bank holding companies.
(a) The opinion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has been requested recently with respect to the proposed sale of "thrift notes" by a bank holding company for the purpose of supplying capital to its wholly owned nonbanking subsidiaries.
(b) The thrift notes would bear the name of the holding company, which in the case presented, was substantially similar to the name of its affiliated banks. It was proposed that they be issued in denominations of $50 to $100 and initially be of 12-month or less maturities. There would be no maximum amount of the issue. Interest rates would be variable according to money market conditions but would presumably be at rates somewhat above those permitted by Regulation Q ceilings. There would be no guarantee or indemnity of the notes by any of the banks in the holding company system and, if required to do so, the holding company would place on the face of the notes a negative representation that the purchase price was not a deposit, nor an indirect obligation of banks in the holding company system, nor covered by deposit insurance.
(c) The notes would be generally available for sale to members of the public, but only at offices of the holding company and its nonbanking subsidiaries. Although offices of the holding company may be in the same building or quarters as its banking offices, they would be physically separated from the banking offices. Sales would be made only by officers or employees of the holding company and its nonbanking subsidiaries. Initially, the notes would only be offered in the State in which the holding company was principally doing business, thereby complying with the exemption provided by section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77c) for "intra-state" offerings. If it was decided to offer the notes on an interstate basis, steps would be taken to register the notes under the Securities Act of 1933. Funds from the sale of the notes would be used only to supply the financial needs of the nonbanking subsidiaries of the holding company. These nonbank subsidiaries are, at present, a small loan company, a mortgage banking company and a factoring company. In no instance, would the proceeds from the sale of the notes be used in the bank subsidiaries of the holding company nor to maintain the availability of funds in its bank subsidiaries.
(d) The sale of the thrift notes, in the specific manner proposed, is an activity described in section 20 of the Banking Act of 1933 (12 U.S.C. 377), that is, "the issue, flotation, underwriting, public sale or distribution * * * of * * * notes, or other securities". Briefly stated, this statute prohibits a member bank to be affiliated with a company "engaged principally" in such activity. Since the continued issuance and sale of such securities would be necessary to permit maintenance of the holding company's activities without substantial contraction and would be an integral part of its operations, the Board concluded that the issuance and sale of such notes would constitute a principal activity of a holding company within the spirit and purpose of the statute. (For prior Board decisions in this connection, see 1934 Federal Reserve Bulletin 485, 12 CFR 218.104, 12 CFR 218.105 and 12 CFR 218.101.)
(e) In reaching this conclusion, the Board distinguished the proposed activity from the sale of short-term notes commonly known as "commercial paper", which is a recognized form of financing for bank holding companies. For purposes of this interpretation, "commercial paper" may be defined as notes, with maturities not exceeding nine months, the proceeds of which are to be used for current transactions, which are usually sold to sophisticated institutional investors, rather than to members of the general public, in minimum denominations of $10,000 (although sometimes they may be sold in minimum denominations of $5,000). Commercial paper is exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933 by reason of the exemption provided by section 3(a)(3) thereof (15 U.S.C. 77c). That exemption is inapplicable where the securities are sold to the general public (17 CFR 231.4412). The reasons for such exemption, taken together with the abuses that gave rise to the passage of the Banking Act of 1933 ("the Glass-Steagall Act") have led the Board to conclude that the issuance of commercial paper by a bank holding company is not an activity intended to be included within the scope of section 20.
§ 225.131 Activities closely related to banking.
(a) Bank management consulting advice. The Board's amendment of § 225.4(a), which adds bank management consulting advice to the list of closely related activities, describes in general terms the nature of such activity. This interpretation is intended to explain in greater detail certain of the terms in the amendment.
(b) It is expected that bank management consulting advice would include, but not be limited to, advice concerning: bank operations, systems and procedures; computer operations and mechanization; implementation of electronic funds transfer systems; site planning and evaluation; bank mergers and the establishment of new branches; operation and management of a trust department; international banking; foreign exchange transactions; purchasing policies and practices; cost analysis, capital adequacy and planning; auditing; accounting procedures; tax planning; investment advice (as authorized in § 225.4(a)(5)); credit policies and administration, including credit documentation, evaluation, and debt collection; product development, including specialized lending provisions; marketing operations, including research, market development and advertising programs; personnel operations, including recruiting, training, evaluation and compensation; and security measures and procedures.
(c) In permitting bank holding companies to provide management consulting advice to nonaffiliated "banks", the Board intends such advice to be given only to an institution that both accepts deposits that the depositor has a legal right to withdraw on demand and engages in the business of making commercial loans. It is also intended that such management consulting advice may be provided to the "operations subsidiaries" of a bank, since such subsidiaries perform functions that a bank is empowered to perform directly at locations at which the bank is authorized to engage in business (§ 250.141 of this chapter).
(d) Although a bank holding company providing management consulting advice is prohibited by the regulation from owning or controlling, directly or indirectly, any equity securities in a client bank, this limitation does not apply to shares of a client bank acquired, directly or indirectly, as a result of a default on a debt previously contracted. This limitation is also inapplicable to shares of a client bank acquired by a bank holding company, directly or indirectly, in a fiduciary capacity; Provided, That the bank holding company or its subsidiary does not have sole discretionary authority to vote such shares or shares held with sole voting rights constitute not more than five percent of the outstanding voting shares of a client bank.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 225.131]
[Source: 39 Fed. Reg. 8318, March 5, 1974, effective February 26, 1974; 39 Fed. Reg. 21120, June 19, 1974]