The Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce (the “BEA”) requires certain U.S. Financial Service Providers (including investment advisers, funds and their general partners) that engaged in a financial services transaction with a foreign person during their 2019 fiscal year to file a report on Form BEA-180 (the “Form”). This requirement will apply to any of our U.S.-based clients that are investment advisers or general partners to an offshore fund, and certain other clients as well. Some of our clients may have been notified to complete this Form directly by the BEA, however even clients who have not been contacted may be required to submit the Form.
The Form is a 5-year benchmark survey and the deadline to file the Form electronically is October 30, 2020. Please note the deadline of September 30, 2020 for paper filers has passed. The Form requires additional transaction-specific information from Financial Service Providers that either sold financial services to foreign persons in excess of $3,000,000, or purchased financial services from foreign persons in excess of $3,000,000. Please note that sales and purchases are calculated separately, meaning if a Financial Service Provider exceeds the threshold with respect to sales but not purchases, the requirement to provide additional transaction-specific information on the Form would only apply with respect to sales transactions.
“Financial Service Provider” is broadly defined by the BEA and includes domestic investment advisers, funds and their general partners. Examples of covered financial services transactions include brokerage services, financial management services and security lending services. A direct investment in a foreign person is not a covered financial services transaction, however brokerage fees to a foreign person tied to underwriting the transaction, for example, do qualify as a covered financial service transaction if the purchase occurred in 2019. More information about each category of covered financial services transactions may be found in Section VI of the Form’s instructions.
If the BEA has contacted a Financial Service Provider directly, it must complete the Form even if it has no transactions to report.
We have outlined below a few common scenarios that may apply to our clients:
A domestic investment adviser or general partner that receives fees (including management and/or performance fees) from an offshore investment fund must complete the Form. Depending on the offshore fund structure, a management company may receive a fee either from the offshore fund itself, or directly from the underlying foreign investors in the offshore fund. In either example, the offshore fund and the underlying foreign investors, as applicable, are “foreign persons” and the investment adviser’s services are “financial services transactions” for purposes of the Form. Management companies should only report fees received from foreign investors in a U.S. fund if the fee is charged directly to a foreign investor, rather than charged to the U.S. fund itself.
If a domestic fund has engaged in any covered financial services transactions with foreign persons, the fund may also need to complete the Form.
We would like to note for our clients that entities in a parent-subsidiary relationship may be able to file as a consolidated domestic U.S. enterprise. The parent-subsidiary relationship turns on whether one entity owns more than 50% of the other’s voting securities, and the instructions specifically state that for a limited partnership, the general partner is presumed to control and have a 100% voting interest unless there is a clause to the contrary in the limited partnership agreement. As such, it is likely that many of our clients will be able to report as a consolidated enterprise, completing just one Form for the general partner and domestic fund, as applicable (and filing a separate Form on behalf of the investment adviser in bifurcated management company structures).
Failure to submit the Form or comply with any of its reporting requirements may result in a civil penalty between $2,500 and $25,000 and/or injunctive relief. Further criminal penalties may arise upon willful violation of the reporting requirements under this Form.