“l_,l, .., .““”I.I .“ll-,..” I..II.”.,l.l_l.___... _.-.-.-.---- MitrcIi *. 1000 BANK POWERS Activities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding Companies United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20648 General Government Division B-237706 March 14,199O The Honorable Carroll Hubbard Chairman, Subcommittee on General Oversight and Investigations Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs House of Representatives I Dear Mr. Chairman: This report responds to your July 18, 1989, letter requesting informa- tion about certain securities subsidiaries of bank holding companies. These subsidiaries, authorized by the Federal Reserve Board, are com- monly called Section 20 subsidiaries, This is a reference to the provi- sions in Section 20 of the Glass-Steagall Act (12 USC. sec. 377), which permits banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System to be affiliated with firms that are not principally engaged in securities activi- ties generally forbidden to banks themselves.’ Section 20 subsidiaries can function as investment banks by underwriting (publicly distributing new issues of securities) and as broker-dealers by buying and selling securities for their own accounts or for others. As you suggested, we met with Committee staff during August and Sep- tember 1989 to discuss further the scope of our work. We agreed to develop information on activities of Section 20 subsidiaries primarily , from agency records, information in the public domain, and meetings with regulatory and industry officials. As a result of our discussions, we identified several issues that Congress and regulators need to address when considering potential modifications to the regulation of Section 20 subsidiaries. Information on Section 20 companies is contained in eight appendixes to this letter. The first three discuss specific topics raised in your request: (1) market share, pricing, and benefits to the public; (2) risk to the hold- ing company; and (3) the practical impact of the Board’s regulatory requirements, called firewalls, on bank holding companies. ‘This act prohibits member banks from underwriting and dealing in securities other than U.S. Gov- ernment and general obligation bonds of states and municipalities and certain securities issued or insured by certain specified government agencies or instrumentalities (bank-eligible securities). Page 1 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers B-237706 The remaining five appendixes present statistics on Section 20 compa- nies, discuss Section 20 company capital and capital adequacy regula- tions, and review the legal basis for domestic and international securities activities of Section 20 subsidiaries and other bank holding company units. 1 Except for certain specified securities, mainly government securities, Ba,ckground member banks of the Federal Reserve System are prohibited under the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act from engaging directly in securities underwrit- ing. However, under Section 20, member bank affiliates are permitted to participate in otherwise impermissible securities activities so long as the I affiliate is not principally engaged in this activity. In 1987, the Board began approving applications submitted by bank holding companies to allow wholly-owned nonbank subsidiaries to underwrite and deal in certain bank-ineligible securities. A majority of the subsidiaries were already engaged in permissible, or bank-eligible, securities activities such as underwriting and dealing in government bonds. As noted above, the Board determined that the types and levels of activities proposed by the bank holding companies complied with the provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act. The Board also determined that these bank-ineligible securities activities met the requirements in the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended. This statutory stand- ard requires that two separate tests be met for an activity to be permis- sible for a bank holding company. First, the Board must determine that the activity is, as a general matter, closely related to banking. Second, the Board must determine that the activity may reasonably be expected to produce public benefits that outweigh possible adverse effects. In April 1987, in its first action, the Board approved applications sub- mitted by three bank holding companies requesting authority to under- write and deal in municipal revenue bonds, mortgage-related securities, and commercial paper. Later that year it approved more applications and also added consumer-receivable-related securities, which are securi- ties backed by such assets as credit card receivables or consumer auto loans, The Board placed a limit of 5 percent of a subsidiary’s gross reve- nues on the revenues that could be generated from the bank-ineligible activities. The Board also required these companies to observe a number of prudential limitations, called firewalls, designed to insulate insured bank affiliates from the risks associated with Section 20 subsidiaries’ activities by assuring the capital adequacy of the holding company and Page 2 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powem up--&“..” B-237706 / limiting both transactions and the flow of information between a securi- / ties subsidiary and other affiliates of the parent banking organization. (The firewalls are identified in app. VII.) In January 1989, the Board approved applications by certain bank hold- ing companies to underwrite and deal in corporate debt and equity securities. In doing so, the Board imposed a tighter set of firewall restrictions. (See app. VIII.) The Board also stipulated that holding com- panies cannot initiate corporate debt and equity underwriting and deal- ing until the Board has determined that the companies have the necessary managerial and operational infrastructures to ensure compli- ance with the firewall restrictions. Companies must also submit a satis- factory capital plan that complies with the Board requirements for these activities. Further, the Board placed a l-year moratorium on equity securities activities. In September 1989, the Board raised the revenue limit for bank-ineligible activities to 10 percent for all Section 20 compa- nies In January 1990, the Board authorized several foreign banks to operate Section 20 subsidiaries. Under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Section 20 companies must register as broker-dealers. As registered broker-dealers, they are subject to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation under the secur- ities laws, must comply with SEC'S net capital rules, and must join an SEC- approved industry self-regulatory organization. The Board, as the pri- mary regulator of bank holding companies, enforces the firewall requirements. In the third quarter of 1989, the 13 Section 20 firms operating at that Results in Brief time underwrote a total of about $69 billion in bank-ineligible securities, with commercial paper representing about 98 percent of the amount underwritten. The firms accounted for about 2 percent or less of the total market for underwriting municipal revenue bonds, mortgage- backed securities, and asset-backed securities. Comparable market share data are not available for commercial paper. When activities of Section 20 companies in both bank-eligible and bank- ineligible securities are considered, Section 20 companies accounted for about 7 percent of all revenue realized by SEC-registered securities firms in the second quarter of 1989 (the latest quarter for which the compari- son can be made). Section 20 firms also accounted for about 4 percent of total securities industry capital as of June 30, 1989. Ranked by capital, 6 of the top 50 securities firms in the Nation are Section 20 firms. Page 3 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers -.....-I B-237706 Section 20 firms have the potential, when their activities are well estab- lished and if they operate at the maximum levels authorized by the Board, to make a significant impact on the structure of the securities industry. Also, to date, regulatory officials have found no evidence that any Section 20 firm has damaged the financial condition of a bank or bank holding company. However, the scope of the bank-ineligible activi- ties of Section 20 firms has been limited thus far, as the subsidiaries continue to organize their operations, develop the products and services they plan to offer, and identify the markets they will enter. Accordingly, it is too early to draw conclusions about Section 20 firms’ impact on the market, their profitability, their riskiness, or the adequacy of the regula- tory system within which they operate. In general, bank holding company officials that we interviewed thought that the revenue limitation on the activities of Section 20 subsidiaries, as well as many of the firewall provisions, are costly and place unneces- sary constraints on their competitiveness in the market. Conversely, securities industry officials said the firewalls are needed to assure fair competition and to prevent Section 20 firms from benefiting from feder- ally insured deposits maintained by their affiliated banks. Board offi- cials said the requirements are meeting the Board’s regulatory objectives. These officials also indicated that the Board will consider modifying some of the firewalls after the Section 20 firms have obtained additional operational experience. In authorizing Section 20 companies to underwrite and deal in bank-inel- igible securities, the Board required controls, such as separate corporate identity and regulation by the SEC, that we have previously recom- mended should be part of any long-term solution to the problem of how banking and securities activities should be linked.” However, there are other aspects of Section 20 company regulation, such as the exact pur- pose of some of the firewalls and their consistency with the regulation of the international activities of U.S. banks, that we believe require additional scrutiny. Objectives, Scope, and identify how the activities of Section 20 firms have affected risk levels Methodology in their respective bank holding companies; how these activities have affected the securities industry in terms of market share changes, the * pricing of securities, and benefits to the consumer; and how the Board’s “Hank Powers: Issues Related to Repeal of the Glass-Stcagall Act (GAO/GGD-88-37, dan. 22, 1988). Page 4 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers B-237706 firewalls have affected bank holding companies. As requested, we also prepared information on bank holding company finances and the legal basis for securities activities of banking organizations that provides a broader context for discussing the activities of Section 20 companies. In addition, we identified several issues that Congress and regulators need to address when considering potential modifications to the regulation of Section 20 subsidiaries. Our 1988 report on Glass-Steagall issues said that coming to grips with the question of Glass-Steagall repeal represents an opportunity to sys- tematically address changes in legal and regulatory structures that are needed to better reflect the realities of the financial market place.” This report does not represent a comprehensive study of all of the issues associated with amending or repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, nor does it attempt to present conclusions on the way the relationships between banking and securities activities should be structured. In keeping with the nature of the request, we have limited our work to an analysis of the Federal Reserve’s actions, taken under existing legislative authority, to allow banking organizations to conduct certain securities activities in separately capitalized bank holding company subsidiaries. We interviewed officials and reviewed records at the Federal Reserve System, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), SEC, and the National Association of Secur- ities Dealers, Inc. (NASD) to obtain information on the operations and reg- ulation of Section 20 companies. Our review included financial information from the reports that bank holding companies file with the Federal Reserve (Y-9 report) and information on securities activities and financial data from reports that securities firms file with the SEC (FVCUS reports). To gain better understanding of both the operation of Section 20 firms and the firewalls, we interviewed officials at six bank holding compa- nies that have established Section 20 subsidiaries and officials from three investment banking firms that compete with Section 20 firms. We also discussed aspects of Section 20 firms with representatives from several regional banking organizations that are considering setting up a Section 20 subsidiary. We interviewed officials from industry trade groups, including the American Bankers Association, Association of Bank Holding Companies, the Bank Capital Markets Association, and the Securities Industry Association. '1GAO/GGD-88-37,.January 22, 1988. Page 5 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers B-237706 We reviewed industry publications to determine how the activities of Section 20 subsidiaries compare to the total markets in which these firms have been active. Because the information available on these firms was very limited, we asked Section 20 firms authorized as of September 30, 1989, to provide us with information on their underwriting activi- ties. All 21 firms responded. Because of the limited availability of market data, we also talked with several persons whom we judgmentally determined would have knowl- edge about the markets in which Section 20 firms operate. This included officials from the Government Finance Officers Association and the Fed- eral National Mortgage Association. In keeping with the disclosure provisions of the Federal Banking Agency Audit Act, the report contains only information about individual bank holding companies that has previously been disclosed to the public by the firms or by federal agencies. As requested by the Subcommittee, we obtained comments on our draft report from industry groups as well as federal agencies. The draft was given to them for comment at the end of December 1989. The Board of Governors provided some technical suggestions and indi- cated that the Board’s staff found the draft to be satisfactory. (See app. IX.) In addition to some technical points, the comments of OCCand SEC raised several issues that are discussed in our letter. The comments of occ and SEC, along with our views, are also contained in appendixes X and XI, respectively. We also received written comments from the American Bankers Associa- tion, Association of Bank Holding Companies, Bank Capital Markets Association, Coalition for Regional Banks, and the Securities Industry Association, The principal points raised in these comments are discussed in the letter. The comments, along with our views, are also contained in appendixes XII to XVI. The National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., and the New York Stock Exchange provided informal comments that required no changes to the report. We did our work from August 1989 through January 1990 using gener- ally accepted government auditing standards. Page 6 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers . B-237796 Section 20 subsidiaries had initiated operations involving the newly i authorized bank-ineligible securities activities. Six of the 13 Section 20 subsidiaries have been doing bank-ineligible activities less than 1 year. It is therefore too early to assess the significance of Section 20 firms’ bank-ineligible securities activities. However, information we have obtained about the activities of the firms, the risks these activities pre- sent, and the firewalls adopted to safeguard against those risks does provide insight into the potential market impact of these firms and the issues that require further consideration. I Mar$et Activities of Between the second and third quarters of 1989 the volume of bank- Sectjon 20 Firms ineligible securities underwritten by Section 20 firms increased from $36.2 billion to $68.7 billion, or about 90 percent. This increase was due ! mainly to commercial paper underwriting activities, which represented about 98 percent of the total bank-ineligible securities underwritten by Section 20 firms during both quarters. During the third quarter of 1989, Section 20 firms accounted for about 1.9 percent of the total underwriting volume of the combined markets for municipal revenue bonds, mortgage-related securities, and asset- backed securities. Total market volume data for commercial paper are not available, and therefore commercial paper is not included in this cal- culation of market share. In the individual markets for municipal reve- nue bonds, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities, Section 20 firms’ activities represented 1.8, l-9, and 1.8 percent, respec- tively, of the total volume underwritten in these markets (see fig. IV.1). Industry analysts said Section 20 firms have not offered substantial price discounts to gain market share. Other measures also indicate the market presence of Section 20 firms. As of June 30, 1989, operating Section 20 firms had about $1.8 billion in capital, an increase of 28 percent over the amount invested as of March 30, 1989. The $1.8 billion in capital invested in Section 20 companies represented about 4 percent of the capital of all securities firms regis- tered with the SEC at that time. In terms of capital, 6 of the Section 20 firms appear to rank among the top 50 securities firms in the country. In the second quarter of 1989, the $1.5 billion total revenue of Section 20 firms (almost all of which is from bank-eligible activities) represented about 7 percent of the revenue of all securities firms registered with SEC. Page 7 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers t I B-237706 Ri$ks Associated Wit h Although there are risks associated with Section 20 company underwrit- Seqtion 20 and Bank ing and dealing in bank-ineligible securities, these activities also provide bank holding companies with opportunities to diversify their activities Holding Company and thus limit their risks from any single activity. It is too early to tell AcY;ivities whether Section 20 firms’ activities and placing these activities in a non- bank subsidiary have actually affected the risk levels within their hold- I ing companies. One factor tending to control risks associated with the activities of Sec- tion 20 companies is the way that the Board has authorized this expan- sion of power. The Board has limited the scope and pace of development of new activities, set capital requirements, and placed limitations and restrictions (firewalls) on ties between a Section 20 subsidiary and its affiliates, particularly bank affiliates. Also, the Board endeavored to prevent an expansion of powers beyond what the Federal Reserve and other regulatory officials could effectively oversee. It should be pointed out, however, that bank holding company officials and some regulatory officials have said that the regulatory structure may hamper the ability of the holding company as a whole to manage its exposure to a single customer or market segment and, thus, the risks that may result from such exposure. Views on Impact of the Banking officials said that the initial 5-percent limitation on the level of Rebenue Limitations anId revenue that could be generated from Section 20 firms’ bank-ineligible securities activities hampered normal business decision processes. When Fi4ewalls Differ the Board raised the revenue limit to 10 percent, the officials said that they believed Section 20 firms gained more flexibility to decide what activities to pursue primarily on the basis of business factors rather than the revenue limit. However, these officials anticipate that the higher revenue limit will cause problems in developing business strate- gies in the near future once the Section 20 firms become fully active in their underwriting and dealing activities and have started reaching the higher revenue limit set by the Board. As of June 30, 1989, the ineligible revenues generated by Section 20 firms were about 3 percent of gross revenues. Officials of regional bank holding companies said it has been difficult for many regional firms to generate a base of eligible revenues sufficient to establish Section 20 firms, They say it is necessary to transfer into a Section 20 subsidiary some activities that may not fit well together from a business perspective in order to provide a large enough subsidiary rev- enue base to make doing ineligible business worthwhile. Page 8 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers B-237706 -- Officials from both multinational and regional bank holding companies said other firewall requirements, intended to insulate bank subsidiaries and their customers from the activities of Section 20 firms, increased the operating costs for bank holding companies. They said the prohibition on interlocking directors, officers, and employees increases costs by duplicating staff functions and associated support systems and hampers the ability to effectively manage risks on a holding company-wide basis. Officials from regional bank holding companies were also concerned that restrictions on cross-marketing reduced the benefits that Section 20 companies could bring to the holding company and the individual and corporate customers of its bank subsidiaries. Banking officials said some of the firewall limits on financial ties between a Section 20 subsidiary and its banking affiliates prevent bank holding companies from undertaking certain practices that would enhance revenue and benefit their corporate and individual customers. These firewalls prohibit a bank affiliate of a Section 20 subsidiary from doing such things as clearing bank-ineligible securities-that is, process- ing and settling securities transactions, for the Section 20 firms-guar- anteeing commercial paper and revenue bonds underwritten by the Section 20 firms, or actively marketing securities underwritten by Sec- tion 20 firms to customers of the bank. They said eliminating these firewalls would not expose the banks to increased risk and would elimi- nate the need for banks to give business to competing firms. Securities industry officials were concerned that the Board’s revenue limitations may permit bank holding companies to expand rapidly by acquiring existing securities firms. They said that a high percentage of the revenue of many securities firms is derived from activities that are permissible for bank holding companies. Securities industry officials also expressed concerns that the firewall requirements are not stringent enough to insulate bank subsidiaries fully from the activities of Section 20 firms or to prevent Section 20 firms from having access to funds at a lower cost than would be availa- ble to securities firms. They said that a bank holding company, because of its association with the federal safety net, which includes deposit insurance and lender of last resort assistance from the Federal Reserve, can generally obtain funds at a lower cost compared to nonbank organi- zations They said that there is a perception in the market that during stressful times regulators may extend the federal safety net to nonbank subsidiaries within a holding company in order to ensure the viability of bank subsidiaries. Page 9 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers / I // -! k ~ B237706 Federal Reserve officials said the Board has followed a conservative approach in authorizing the establishment of Section 20 companies and that to date the firewalls have adequately protected federally insured activities done in bank holding companies that have established Section 20 companies. They said that separate capitalization and other firewall requirements applicable to a Section 20 firm and its affiliates have effectively insulated bank subsidiaries from the activities of a Section 20 firm. The Board granted bank holding companies powers to do a broader range of securities activities as a step to enhance these companies’ com- petitiveness in the financial services market. Board officials recognized that some firewalls-designed to protect federally insured activities from risks associated with Section 20 company activities-could result in higher costs to the holding company than would occur without the restrictions. The officials said that the Board plans to review the appro- priateness of the firewall requirements and noted that to date the Board has made some modifications. For example, in September 1989 the Board modified the firewall that had prohibited a Section 20 company from underwriting or dealing in certain bank-ineligible mortgage-backed securities issued by its affiliates by allowing such transactions. In November 1989, the Board made further changes to the firewalls. In a decision currently relevant to one bank holding company, the Federal Reserve permitted the Section 20 firm’s bank affiliates or parent to extend credit to customers whose debt was privately placed4 through the Section 20 firm, even if the customer used the loan to repay princi- pal on that debt.5 Such extensions of credit previously were not autho- rized by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve also allowed the parent company to buy up to half of any debt issue privately placed by its Section 20 subsidiary. Our previously cited 1988 report on issues related to repeal of the Glass- G&O Observations Steagall Act concluded that if the securities powers of banks were to be expanded (whether by an act of Congress or by regulation), a phased “In private placements, Section 20 firms would act in an agency capacity to arrange sales of securities between an issuer and a relatively small number of institutional investors. “At lcast 3 years must elapse from the time a customer’s securities are placed through the Section 20 subsidiary before such credit may be granted. Page 10 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers B-237703 approach should be used.” A phased approach is one in which authoriza- tion of new securities activities by banking organizations is done incre- mentally as needed changes to regulation and oversight are put in place. The actions taken by the Federal Reserve in allowing limited expansion of securities activities in Section 20 companies have been generally con- sistent with the approach we suggested. This contrasts sharply with the experience in the thrift industry, where many firms expanded rapidly into new activities and federal and state regulators did not exercise ade- quate supervision. We cannot yet tell how the market will judge Section 20 firms. We do not know if they will prove to be profitable, if bank holding companies will choose to use them as vehicles for substantial expansion of their securi- ties activities (perhaps by acquiring existing securities firms), or if they will prove to be a reasonably satisfactory long-run solution to bank powers issues involving securities markets. Some features of the Section 20 arrangement (such as use of a separate SEC-regulatedsubsidiary and regulation of the entire holding company by the Federal Reserve) are, in our view, essential, at least in the near term, in permitting the affiliation of the banking and securities busi- nesses. However, there are also matters that suggest the need for fur- ther review of how best to structure securities activities within a banking organization. For example, in order to comply with revenue lim- itations, banking organizations that want to underwrite and deal in cer- tain securities may have to engage in bank-eligible activities, such as dealing extensively in government bonds, not otherwise closely related to the business strategy of the firm . Our work suggests that banking and securities regulators and Congress should concentrate on seven areas in considering the need for further changes in the arrangements for Section 20 subsidiaries. 1. International perspective. Section 20 arrangements raise several ques- tions about the interrelationship of domestic and international aspects of bank holding company regulation. U.S. banking organizations operate in countries, such as the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, that do not observe the same separation of banking and securities activities as is mandated in the United States. In these “GAO/GGD-88-37, .January 2’2. 1988, pages 2 and 3. Page 11 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers B-237706 countries, subsidiaries of U.S. banks, as well as U.S. bank holding com- pany subsidiaries, can engage in securities operations (such as under- writing and dealing in corporate debt) as well as traditional banking activities within the limits set by the Federal Reserve and host country regulators. There is no organizational separation enforced for these activities. Allowing U.S. banks operating overseas to combine banking and securities activities in this manner allows them to be competitive in those markets. However, it also raises the question of exactly what it is that makes similar arrangements inappropriate in the U.S. market. The question is particularly relevant because applying Section 20 firewalls only to domestic operations would seem to provide an incentive for U.S. banking organizations to focus more on foreign markets. Therefore, it would be useful to know more about how the activities of Section 20 subsidiaries fit into the worldwide operations of a large banking organization, It is also possible that firewalls intended to protect domestic banks could eventually make it easier for foreign banking organizations than domes- tic ones to undertake a full range of securities activities in the US. mar- ket and perhaps in overseas markets as well. For example, several foreign banks applying to set up Section 20 companies asked the Federal Reserve to waive certain firewalls for them on the grounds that foreign banks were not connected to the U.S. deposit insurance system and hence the firewalls were not needed. In its January 1990 Order authoriz- ing three foreign banks to establish Section 20 subsidiaries, the Board tried, to the extent possible, to apply the firewalls to the foreign-owned Section 20 subsidiaries. However, the firewalls do not all apply to these firms in exactly the same way because foreign banks generally are not organized under the same type of holding company structure that is common in the United States, and there are limits to the restrictions that the Board can impose on foreign banks and their subsidiaries, To an unknown extent, therefore, foreign banking organizations may have greater flexibility than do domestic ones in coordinating the activities of their Section 20 firms with activities outside of the United States. 2. Organizational structure. One reason advanced for allowing Section 20 companies to engage in securities activities is the intention to strengthen banking organizations. However, it is not clear exactly whether or how the Section 20 firm will strengthen insured depository institutions that are part of the holding company. To the extent that profitable activities are moved out of the bank to provide a base of eligi- ble revenue for the Section 20 subsidiary, it follows logically that the bank itself becomes smaller, less diversified, and perhaps less profitable. Page 12 GAO/GGD-9043 Bank Powers * A.“-.---..& ..__ ---___ B-237706 Also, if Section 20 companies prove to be profitable, funds sent to the holding company parent may not be available to a bank subsidiary if the parent decides not to so invest, them . The relationship of a Section 20 company to insured bank affiliates is particularly important if the bank gets in trouble and is in danger of failing. The Federal Reserve has a source of strength policy, incorpo- rated in its Regulation Y, that a bank holding company shall serve as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary banks. However, the exact conditions under which a bank holding company can be required to use nonbanking assets to support bank subsidiaries have not been set out in detail.7 Clarification of the operational basis of this source of strength policy would help in providing a clearer perspective on how the firewalls and source of strength policy work together in strengthening banks affiliated with a Section 20 firm . In commenting on the draft of our report, occ said that we appeared to endorse the Federal Reserve’s view that ineligible securities activities should take place only within a securities subsidiary of a bank holding company. A similar comment was made by the Association of Bank Holding Companies. occ said it believes that alternative arrangements, such as securities underwriting in direct subsidiaries of federally insured banks, should be considered. In addition, the Coalition for Regional Banks said in its comments that U.S. banks should be perm itted to establish and fund Section 20 subsidiaries just as the Federal Reserve has perm itted foreign banks to do. The Coalition also said that FDIC’S regulations perm it insured state nonmember banks to establish subsidi- aries to engage in underwriting and dealing activities, and such activi- ties should not become impermissible simply because the bank is owned by a bank holding company. As stated earlier, we believe there are benefits associated with using bank holding company subsidiaries as the way to expand the securities powers of banks, at least in the near term . Although we have not endorsed any particular view of how securities activities and banking must be organized within a banking organization in the long run, we believe certain features that are provided for in the present arrange- ment should be preserved. These features are (1) separate corporate identity for the firm engaging in the ineligible activities; (2) regulation ‘The Financial Institutions Reform, Kecovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, Public Law No. 101-73, 103 Stat. 183 (1989), holds affiliated insured depository institutions liable for each others’ losses but does not extend this liability to holding companies unless they themselves are depository institutions. (Sec. 206(a)(7)). Page 13 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers B-237706 of the banking and securities affiliates by a federal bank regulator and the SEC,respectively; and (3) regulation by the Federal Reserve of the financial holding company that owns the bank and securities affiliates. If Section 20 firms were subsidiaries of a bank rather than a bank hold- ing company, the problem mentioned earlier of how to have insured banks benefit financially from the activities of Section 20 firms would be solved. (As a bank subsidiary, alI of the Section 20 firm ’s profits would then pass directly to the bank and the value of the securities firm would be consolidated with the assets of the bank were the bank to fail.) But there are also other considerations to weigh. It is by no means certain that all Section 20 firms will make money. (In 1989, some major securi- ties firms lost money.) If the Section 20 firm is a bank subsidiary, losses in that subsidiary would also pass immediately to the bank and reduce its capital. Furthermore, as a bank subsidiary, a Section 20 company would be more directly linked to the federal safety net provided by deposit insurance and Federal Reserve discount loans. Extension of the federal safety net in this way may convey unwarranted competitive advantages to firms associated with banks, and it may make market participants less concerned about the riskiness of financial ventures funded through Section 20 firms. 3. Purpose of firewalls and other limitations. In evaluating whether Sec- tion 20 company arrangements represent an appropriate way to struc- ture links between the banking and securities industries, it is important that the purpose served by each of the limitations on the powers of Sec- tion 20 companies and each of the firewalls be as clear as possible. The problems involved in pinpointing the reasons for special provisions can be illustrated by the firewall that prohibits a bank from issuing a letter of credit to support commercial paper underwritten by its Section 20 affiliate. Looking at this firewall from a risk point of view, if the guarantee is priced correctly, the bank would be no more exposed to risk by the guarantee than if the bank simply made a loan to the company for the full amount of the securities underwritten. The question of risk in this case, therefore, is one of whether, in the absence of the firewall, bank officials can be trusted to make reasonable pricing decisions. Fed- eral Reserve officials say that the desire to obtain fee income may lead the bank affiliate to be less than objective in assessing the risks involved when pricing the letter of credit. However, the bank already can issue letters of credit to support municipal general obligation bonds the bank itself underwrites, and the officials of the bank have many opportuni- ties to take risks in making other pricing decisions. Page 14 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers L -_ .-.^...,lll; “... .”-”.--... - ---. - E&Y7706 In commenting on our draft report, occ said that the report generally approved of the Federal Reserve’s 10 percent revenue lim itation, Along with the Association of Bank Holding Companies and the Coalition for Regional Banks, occ also pointed out that the “engaged principally” lan- guage of the Glass-Steagall Act is subject to different interpretations. occ said that a revenue lim it of greater than 10 percent would be legally permissible and that it is inappropriate to set a definitive level of gross revenues as the “engaged principally” standard for all cases. In addi- tion, the Coalition for Regional Banks said that a revenue lim it of 25 to 49 percent of gross revenues would be more realistic. occ suggested that alternative measures other than lim iting gross revenues should be explored for defining “engaged principally.” The Association of Bank Holding Companies and the Coalition for Regional Banks suggested that the gross revenue lim it could be applied on the basis of the consolidated revenues of the bank holding company. Our report agrees with the Board’s policy of using the revenue lim it to phase in bank-ineligible securities activities, but we do not have a posi- tion on the percentage of revenue that ultimately should be allowed under the act. W e recognize that in the long run there may be other options for interpreting the “engaged principally” clause under the Glass-Steagall Act and that if that act were changed, other ways of appropriately phasing in or lim iting the securities activities of bank holding companies could be devised. 4. Regulatory burden and the effectiveness of firewalls. A number of banking officials we talked to commented that many of the firewalls represent what can be termed regulatory “overkill.” They said that the firewalls weren’t needed because enforcement of basic banking and securities laws, such as those dealing with transactions within a holding company and conflict of interest situations, provide sufficient protection against risks or abuses. In seeking to determine the best way to structure links between the banking and securities industries, we think it would be useful for bank- ing and securities regulators to examine individual firewalls from the perspective of their cost and what they add to the general regulatory structure already in place. However, the examination must include real- istic assessmentsof the new demands associated with expanding the securities powers of banking organizations, the capabilities of federal and state regulators to detect and deter abuses, and the adequacy of penalties for violations. Page 15 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers B-237706 An illustration of what such an examination must include can be seen in efforts to prevent conflict of interest abuses by institution9 and insider abuses by employees of banking organizations. In an earlier report we said that while instances of abuse may occur, institutional abuses of conflicts of interest were not significant, widespread problems in the banking industry.” However, we also pointed out that expanding the securities powers of banking organizations could increase the potential for conflict of interest situations. We therefore concluded that given the harm that could result to consumers and ultimately to the banking sys- tem from abuses, the potential for abuse warrants close attention if banking institutions were granted expanded securities powers. There have been instances in which banking organizations that got into trouble have not followed general regulatory restrictions intended to prevent conflict of interest abuses.“’ In a similar vein, studies have also shown the incidence of insider abuses have existed in over 50 percent of the bank failuresI’ Opportunities for insider abuse could also be expected to increase as the securities powers of banking organizations are expanded.12 “A conflict of interest occurs when a person or business serving more than one interest can poten- tially benefit by favoring one interest at the expense of the others. Conflict of interest situations, which can occur in the normal course of business operations, are neither inherently wrong nor neces- sarily illegal. However, a conflict of interest situation represents an opportunity for abuse. For example, the parent within a bank holding company may favor, especially during times of stress, an affiliate in which it has more invested relative to investments in other affiliates. In such a conflict situation, managers could, for example, make imprudent or unsound loans to an affiliate, transfer bad assets from the affiliate to the bank, or require the bank to purchase service from the affiliate at inflated prices. Conflict of interest situations also exist within a securities firm. Abuses can occur, for example, when a firm buys or sells securities or provides investment advice to customers for the purpose of assisting its own trading, marketmaking, or underwriting activities rather than serving the customers’ best interests. !‘Banking: Conflict of Interest Abuses in Commercial Banking Institutions, (GAO/GGD-89-35, Jan 1989). “‘For example, in the mid 1970s severe problems developed in the mortgage banking affiliate of the Hamilton National Bank, which specialized in real estate development loans. The affiliate’s operations were funded through bank lines of credit and the sale of holding company commercial paper. When the parent holding company was unable to roll over its commercial paper, it forced Hamilton National Dank to buy a large amount of low-quality mortgages from the severely distressed mortgage banking affiliate of the holding company. These purchases far exceeded the amount permitted by law (Section 23A of the Federal &serve Act) and resulted in the subsequent failure of the bank. ’’Banking: Conflict of Interest Abuses in Commercial Banking Institutions (GAO/GGD-89-35, Jan 1989), pp.23-26.1 “‘It should be noted, however, that the fact that opportunities for insider abuse may increase does not mean that mote instances of abuse will actually occur. Factors such as good internal controls can limit the occurrcncc of actual abuses. Page 16 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers B-237706 In commenting on our draft report, occ said that the draft seemed to endorse the Federal Reserve’s system of firewalls and that we did not consider the safeguards, such as customer protection rules administered by SEC, or other regulatory and market safeguards that might show that firewalls are unnecessary and/or ineffective. In addition, banking groups felt we did not give sufficient emphasis to the burdens that firewalls and other restrictions imposed on well-run institutions. They also said we did not give sufficient emphasis to the reduced benefits for corporate and individual customers that result from the firewalls. We have not endorsed the Federal Reserve’s entire system of firewalls as an essential part of expanded securities of bank holding companies. However, we think a cautious approach to expanding powers is war- ranted. Protecting against problem situations, which experience has shown are sure to occur, is precisely a major purpose of financial mar- ket regulation. The firewalls and other restrictions provide regulators another set of tools for dealing with the types of problems that can arise when banking organizations expand their securities operations. These special provisions limit the scale of new activities and establish meas- ures that regulators can enforce relatively easily. Of course, it remains to be seen how effective the provisions will be. When bank holding com- panies can demonstrate adequate capital, effective internal controls, and ability to manage new powers in a responsible manner, consideration can be given to reducing regulatory burden by relaxing some of the firewalls in light of the other regulatory controls that are in place and provided that sufficient regulatory resources are available. In commenting on a draft of this report, the Bank Capital Markets Asso- ciation said greater emphasis should be given to the point that some firewalls could increase risk rather than reduce risk. One example the Association cited was the absolute prohibition on a bank making loans to its Section 20 affiliate if the affiliate is authorized to deal in corporate debt and equity. The Association said that this prohibition could weaken the overall structure of the banking organization during a liquidity crisis such as we experienced in October 1987. We agree with the Association’s concern in the example cited. In our 1988 report on issues related to repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, we said that to preserve the traditional liquidity role of banks, banks should be permitted to lend to their securities affiliates, but only on an arm’s- length basis.“l “‘GAOIGGD-88-37, January 1988, pages 7 and 8. Page 17 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers 5. Consumer protection. Clarification is needed as to the level of firewall protection that is adequate to protect retail bank customers with money to save or invest. Firewalls prevent banks from marketing securities underwritten by Section 20 affiliates. One purpose of this restriction is to keep customers from being confused about which products are insured and which are not. However, the possibility for such confusion already exists because a bank can sell securities products to its custom- ers from a bank-owned discount brokerage subsidiary under conditions far less stringent than those applied to Section 20 companies. In commenting on a draft of this report, the Coalition for Regional Banks said that customer confusion may be avoided by appropriate disclo- sures. We agree that disclosures are important, but they may not in all instances be sufficient to protect customers of insured depository institutions. 6. Costs and competition. The cost of operating a Section 20 company compared to a securities firm not affiliated with a bank is another area that deserves further study. Banking officials said Section 20 companies operate at a cost disadvantage due to capital requirements and various firewalls. Securities firms officials, on the other hand, said that associa- tion with banks gives Section 20 firms a cost advantage. Further investi- gation of this issue was beyond the scope of this report. 7. Reciprocal treatment of securities firms. Another issue that should be studied regarding the Section 20 arrangement is that no comparable opportunity exists for domestic securities firms to expand into domestic banking. However, determining the significance of Section 20 companies from a fairness perspective is complicated by several considerations. Under Section 23B of the Federal Reserve Act, all transactions between holding company affiliates must be conducted on an arm’s-length basis, so that a bank would not be permitted to give favorable treatment to an affiliate in issuing or pricing a letter of credit. If effective, this provision would reduce a bank’s potential competitive advantage, although banks might still enjoy a competitive advantage from economies associated with being able to combine banking and securities activities in a single holding company. This advantage could result in some combination of higher profits for banking organizations and lower prices for consumers. Another complicating factor is that securities firms possess other advan- tages over Section 20 subsidiaries and their bank holding companies. For Page 18 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers L-- B-237795 . example, securities firms can be affiliated with activities such as insur- ance, which cannot generally be undertaken within bank holding compa- nies. Also, some securities firms are affiliated with so-called nonbank banks that were authorized prior to the Competitive Equality Banking Act of 1987 (CEBA).14 In addition, a securities firm can be affiliated with an overseas bank, which may provide it a degree of flexibility in relating securities and banking activities in both domestic and foreign markets that is not available to banking organizations. Furthermore, the parent holding companies of securities firms are not subject to the same type of regulation that the Federal Reserve imposes on bank holding companies. In commenting on the draft report, SEC said it agreed with our concern that the Section 20 arrangement provides no comparable opportunity for securities firms to expand into banking activities. SEC said that con- sideration should be given to amending the Bank Holding Company Act to permit securities firms to own banks without subjecting the securities firms and their holding companies to the full regulatory system applica- ble to banks and their holding companies. Various arrangements for associating banking and securities activities within a financial holding company need to be studied. However, we also believe that any struc- ture that is adopted needs to include appropriate controls over the entire holding company comparable to the Federal Reserve’s controls over bank holding company operations. In commenting on the draft report, the Coalition for Regional Banks and the Bank Capital Markets Association both said, in essence, that if safety considerations are satisfied, maintaining competitive equality between the banking and securities industries was not an important public policy objective. We believe that competitive equality is hard to define and that attempting to maintain a concept of competitive equality should not obliterate the importance of keeping US. financial markets healthy. However, as a practical matter, fairness issues are hard to ignore when changes are considered that affect industries as highly reg- ulated as the banking and securities industries. ‘“Nonbank banks were entities with bank or bank-like charters but did not meet the Bank Ilolding Company Act’s definition of a bank (an institution that both took demand deposits and made com- mercial loans). Nonbank banks could be owned by firms that were not bank holding companies and were not subject to the provisions of the Bank Balding Company Act. CEBA expanded the definition of a bank to include most institutions with FDIC insurance and thus put an end to the ability of companies to avoid the provisions of the Bank Holding Company Act by establishing nonbank banks. CXBA also grandfathered the existing nonbank banks but placed certain restrictions on their growth and activities. Page 19 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers B-237706 As arranged with the Subcommittee, we are providing copies of this report to other interested Members of Congress, appropriate commit- tees, executive branch agencies, and the public. The major contributors to this report are listed in appendix XVII. If you have any questions on this report, please call me on 275-8678. Sincerely yours, Craig A. Simmons Director, Financial Institutions and Markets Issues Page 20 GAOKGD-90-48 Bank Powers Contents Letter 1 A’ pendix I 28 P M,arket Share, Pricing, F;Jz; Share 28 31 a d Benefits to the Benefits 31 P“, blic Appendix II 34 . Rsk to the Holding The Nature of Risks in Section 20 Firms 34 Risk to Affiliated Banks 37 Company Appendix III 40 Impact of Revenue General Comments 41 Revenue Limitation 42 Limitation and Capital Adequacy Conditions 44 Firewalls Restrictions and Prohibitions on Financial Ties Between 47 Banks and Section 20 Affiliates Corporate Separateness: Prohibition Against Banks 53 Sharing Employees and Information and Engaging in Marketing Activities Appendix IV 58 Section 20 Subsidiaries’Activities Appendix V 68 Capital Structure and The Capital Structure of a Bank Holding Company 68 Capital Adequacy Rules for Section 20 Subsidiaries and 78 C&pita1Adequacy Their Holding Companies Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms w Page 22 GAO/GGDSO48 Bank Powens Contents 4 Appendix VI 80 The IRegulatory Primary Legislative Provisions Affecting the Securities Activities of Banking Organizations 80 Framework Affecting Recent Board Actions Affecting the Securities Activities 90 the Securities of U.S. Banking Organizations SEC Regulation of Section 20 Companies 91 Activities of Banks Appendix VII Fireballs Applicable to Section 20 Firms Thart Underwrite and Deal Only in Municipal Revenue Bonds, Mortgage-Related and Asset-Backed Securities, and/or Commercial Paper Appendix VIII Firewalls Imposed by the Federal Reserve Board on Section 20 Companies Authorized to Underwrite and Deal1in Corporate Debt and Equity Securities Appendix IX Comrnents From the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Page 23 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Contents A’ pendix X 108 C mments From the GAO Comments 110 0 fice of the C mptroller of the C! rrency A pendix XI 112 Cqmments From the GAO Comments 114 Sdcurities and Exchange Commission Aependix XII 115 CQmmentsFrom the GAO Comments 118 American Bankers Association Appendix XIII 119 C&-u-nentsFrom the GAO Comments 123 B&k Capital Markets Association Appendix XIV 125 Cdmments From the GAO Comments 127 Association of Bank Holding Companies Appendix XV 128 Comments From the GAO Comments 141 Coalition for Regional Banks Y Page 24 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Contents Appkndix XVI Comknts From the Securities Industry Assc/ciation Appbndix XVII General Government Division, Washington, D.C. 145 Table I. 1: Market Share of Section 20 Subsidiaries for 28 Selected Bank-Ineligible Securities (Third Quarter 1989) Table 1.2: Volume of Bank-Ineligible Securities 29 Underwritten by Section 20 Firms During the Second and Third Quarters of 1989 Table 1.3: Share of Revenue of Section 20 Firms 30 Table 1.4: Comparison of Section 20 Firms’ Capital to the 30 Total Capital of the Securities Industry Table IV. 1: Bank Holding Companies Authorized to 60 Establish Section 20 Subsidiaries as of September 30, 1989 Table IV.2: Section 20 Subsidiaries That Had Commenced 61 Bank-Ineligible Activities as of September 30, 1989 Table IV.3: Section 20 Subsidiaries Underwriting in 61 Selected Bank-Ineligible Securities by Volume From July 1, 1988, to September 30, 1989 Table IV.4: Revenues of Section 20 Subsidiaries, From 65 July 1, 1988, to September 30, 1989 (Unaudited) Table IV.5: Section 20 Firms’ Assets as a Percent of 66 Parents’ Assets as of June 30, 1989 (Unaudited) Table IV.6: Section 20 Firms’ Capital as a Percent of 67 Parents’ Capital as of June 30, 1989 (Unaudited) Table V. 1: Capital Structure of the Parent Companies of 69 the 25 Largest Bank Holding Companies as of June 30,1989 Page 26 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Contents Table V.2: Capital Structure of the Parent Companies of 70 the 25 Largest Bank Holding Companies as of June 30,1989 Table V.3: Proportion of Parent Company Assets Invested 71 in Banking Subsidiaries for U.S. Bank Holding Companies Authorized to Set Up Section 20 Subsidiaries as of December 3 1,1988 Table V.4: Frequency of Double Leveraging in the U.S. 74 Bank Holding Companies Authorized to Set Up Section 20 Subsidiaries as of December 31, 1988 Table V.5: Hypothetical Example of the Capital Structure 75 of a Consolidated Bank Holding Company Table V.6: Equity Capital as a Percentage of Bank Holding 75 Company Assets for US. Bank Holding Companies Authorized to Set Up Section 20 Subsidiaries as of December 31,1988 Table V.7: Market Price as a Percentage of Book Value 76 Per Share for U.S. Bank Holding Companies Authorized to Set Up Section 20 Subsidiaries as of December 31, 1988 Table V.8: Primary Capital as a Percentage of 77 Consolidated Bank Holding Company Assets for U.S. Bank Holding Companies Authorized to Set Up Section 20 Subsidiaries as of December 3 1, 1988 Table VI. 1: Activities Closely Related to Banking and 91 Approved for Bank Holding Companies Contained in Regulation Y Figures Figure III. 1: Permissible Extensions of Credit to a Section 48 20 Affiliate Under the 1987 Order Figure 111.2:Permissible Extensions of Credit to a Section 49 20 Affiliate Under the 1989 Order Figure 111.3:Permissible Officer, Director, or Employee 55 Interlocks Between Section 20 Subsidiaries and Affiliates Under the 1987 and 1989 Orders Figure IV. 1: Section 20 Firms’ Market Share of 62 Underwriting for Selected Bank-Ineligible Securities, From July 1,1988, to September 30,1989 Figure IV.2: Bank-Ineligible Municipal Revenue Bonds 63 Underwritten by Section 20 Firms, From July 1, 1988, to September 30,1989 Page 26 GAO/GGD-904 Bank Powers Contents -..--.-i Figure IV.3: Bank-Ineligible Mortgage-Related Securities 63 Underwritten by Section 20 Firms, From July 1, 1988, to September 30, 1989 Figure IV.4: Bank-Ineligible Asset-Backed Securities 64 Underwritten by Section 20 Firms, From July 1, 1988, to September 30,1989 Figure IV.5: Bank-Ineligible Commercial Paper 64 Underwritten by Section 20 Firms, From July 1, 1988, to September 30, 1989 Figure IV.6: Revenues of Section 20 Firms, From July 1, 66 1988, to September 30, 1989 Figure V. 1: Simplified Structure of a Bank Holding 68 Company Figure V.2: Hypothetical Example of the Capital 73 Structure of Bank Holding Company Subsidiaries (Dollars in millions) Figure VI. 1: Possible Organization Structure for the 84 Conduct of U.S. Bank Holding Company’s International Operations Figure VI.2: Limitations on Transactions Between 86 Affiliates in U.S. Banking Organization’s International Operations Figure VI.3: Constituent Elements of U.S. Bank Holding 88 Companies Eligible to Underwrite Corporate Debt Abbreviations FDIC Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation GAO General Accounting Office MSRB Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board NASD National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. NYSE New York Stock Exchange occ Office of the Comptroller of the Currency SEC Securities and Exchange Commission SIA Securities Industry Association SRO Self-regulatory organization Subs. Subsidiaries IJS. IJnited States lQ89 First quarter, 1989 2Q89 Second quarter, 1989 3Q89 Third quarter, 1989 Page 27 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers ,, Apjpendix I l!@wketShare, Pricing, and Benefits to ’ the Public --.m This appendix discusses effects on market share, prices, and benefits to the public of Section 20 firms’ activity in the markets for commercial paper, municipal revenue bonds, asset-backed securities, and mortgage- backed securities. Since subsidiaries only began operations after June 1988, trend analyses and comprehensive discussions of impact are diffi- cult to make. 1 To the extent possible, we estimated the market share of Section 20 sub- Market Share sidiaries in underwriting bank-ineligible securities on the basis of data we compiled from the subsidiaries themselves and estimates of total market activity compiled by industry sources. We also examined other indicators of the market impact of Section 20 companies-relative shares of total revenue and capital. Urlderwriting Data We obtained market activity data from each Section 20 subsidiary that as of September 30, 1989, had received approval from the Federal Reserve to do business in any of the four categories of the securities we were requested to examine. Table I. 1 shows the relevant total under- writing activity of the securities industry and, where possible, Section 20 subsidiaries’ share of that volume in these securities for the third quarter of 1989. As noted, a comparable computation for market share cannot be made for commercial paper based on information available. 1.1: Market Share of Section 20 diaries for Selected Bank-lneliglble Dollars in millions Sedurities (Third Ouarter 1989) Total market Section 20 Section 20 -____.-- volume volume market share Mortgage-backed securitiesa $30,917.4 $600.0 1.94% Municipal revenue bonds 21,789.g 385.6 1.77 Commercial paper NAb 67,659.g NA Consumer-related receivables -2,447.8 45.0 1 .a4 %ection 20 firms deal only in obligations that are secured by or represent an interest in one to four family residential real estate and are rated as investment quality by a nationally recognized rating agency, such as Moody’s. bNA: Not available. Quarterly market volume data for commercial paper are not compiled by industry sources. Data are available for the total amount outstanding for a given pornt in time. Sources: Investment Dealer’s Digest, GAO analysis, In the third quarter of 1989, Section 20 subsidiaries underwrote a total of $68,690.5 million in bank-ineligible securities, 98.5 percent of which was commercial paper. Of the 13 Section 20 firms doing business in bank-ineligible securities during the third quarter of 1989, the greatest Page 28 GAO/SD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix I Market Share, Pricing, and Benefits to the Public number had commenced activities in the municipal revenue bond market (10) and the commercial paper market (7). The top three firms accounted for about 65 percent of the total amount of ineligible securi- ties underwritten by Section 20 firms. The total volume of underwriting activity in bank-ineligible securities of Section 20 firms grew between the second and third quarter of 1989. Table I.2 shows that between the second and third quarters of 1989, the volume of bank-ineligible securities underwritten increased by $32,535.9 million, or almost 90 percent. As mentioned above, the share of commer- cial paper was approximately 98.5 percent of all bank-ineligible securi- ties underwritten by active Section 20 firms (see app. IV). The high rate of increase reflects the fact that firms were still in a start-up period dur- ing the second quarter. In the third quarter of 1989, revenues from bank-ineligible securities activities accounted for about 1.8 percent of the total revenue of the Section 20 firms. Under the 10 percent revenue limitation, the revenue from underwriting and dealing in bank-ineligible securities could triple if total revenue for the firms stayed constant. Table I.$ Volume of Bank-Ineligible Securities Underwritten by Section 20 Dollars _-- .- in.._millions Firms During the Second and Third Number of active firms Increase Quarteri of 1999 2089 3Q89 2089 3Q89 Amount Percent ._-____ 13 13 $36,154.7 $68,690.6 $32,535.9 90.0 Totals Revenue of Section To provide additional insight into the market presence of Section 20 20 Subsidiaries firms, we examined the total revenues of Section 20 firms from all sources compared to total revenues of all securities firms. Total reve- nues include revenues generated from both bank-eligible’ and bank- ineligible activities, i.e., the four kinds of securities we examined plus the debt securities that were approved in January 1989 (see app. IV for a more detailed discussion of debt securities). Table I.3 compares the amount of revenues generated during the first and second quarters of 1989 by Section 20 subsidiaries to the total revenue during the same ‘The bank-eligible revenues include bank-eligible activities that were being done by the subsidiaries prior to commencing bank-ineligible activities, as well as bank-eligible activities that may have been transfcrrcd from bank affiliates. Page 29 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers Appendix I Market Share, Pricing, and Benefits to the Public .._. . - --.- - periods for all securities firms registered with SEC. The revenue of Sec- tion 20 firms grew from 5.2 percent of the industry total in the first quarter of 1989 to 7.2 percent in the second quarter of 1989. Table 1.3: Share of Revenue of Section 20 Fir& Dollars in millions ~....-__~ -___- ..- ~~~~.. -~~-. --- -~~ lQ89 ________2Q89 Increase Section 20 subsidiaries $890 -~ $1,461 20,,85-.-- 64.2% -..-~~~~. ~ii,7 Total securities industrv 17.147 Section 20 subsidiaries’ share of total 5.2 7.2 Source: SEC, GAO analysis. - Total Capital of Section 20 Another measure of the relative size of Section 20 companies we Subsidiaries examined is the capital invested in the firms. Table I.4 shows the total “amount of capital (ownership equity plus subordinated debt, i.e., debt with claims on assets ranked below other, more senior debt) for all of Section 20 subsidiaries as of March 31, 1989, and June 30, 1989. The table also shows total capital for all securities firms registered with SEC. As of June 30, 1989, there was a total of $1,818 million of capital in Section 20 firms. This represented 3.7 percent of total capital in the securities industry. The share of industry capital in Section 20 firms , increased in the second quarter because the capital of Section 20 firms increased almost 27.5 percent while the total for the industry increased about 3 percent. Table 1.4: Comparison of Section 20 Firms’ Capital to the Total Capital of the Dollars in millions _....__~~ Securities industry Section 20 subsidiaries Total securities industry Section 20 subsidiaries’ share of total Source: SEC, GAO analysis The capitalization of some individual Section 20 firms placed them among some of the larger securities firms registered with SEC. When ranked according to capital, 6 of the Section 20 firms were among the top 50 broker-dealers as of the end of the second quarter of 1989. Three of these 6 were among the largest 25 broker-dealers. Page 30 GAO/GGD-SO-48 Bank Powers Appendix I Market Share, Pricing, and Benefits to the PubUc Although Section 20 firms seem to have the potential to increase their market presence, there is no way to know at this point how fast this will occur or whether it will occur at all. We observed that factors influenc- ing the growth of these subsidiaries include the profitability (success) of the firms, regulatory arrangements, and domestic and international mar- ket conditions. The Federal Reserve has some impact on the level of capital-and hence market penetration- available to Section 20 companies. Under the Fed- eral Reserve’s firewalls, bank holding companies must receive approval before increasing the capital the parent invests in their Section 20 sub- sidiaries. The Federal Reserve must also approve the acquisition of firms that might be merged into the Section 20 subsidiary. Thus, these subsidiaries cannot grow by direct investment by the parent or by acqui- sition without Federal Reserve approval. The firms can, however, accu- mulate retained earnings if they are successful. The Board also encourages Section 20 firms to seek capital infusions on their own by issuing debt directly to outside investors. Data were difficult to obtain concerning the impact Section 20 subsidi- Pricing aries’ entry into the securities market has had on pricing. Officials from both the banking and the securities industries said that profit margins were thin in most areas of activity. They also pointed out that prices were not necessarily good indications of profitability. They said that while Section 20 firms’ pricing for their underwriting activities have generally followed industry trends, the profitability of each underwrit- ing will be affected by the terms and conditions of each transaction. Securities analysts could not provide us with evidence of price-cutting. One official from a Section 20 subsidiary said that the firm did not want to undercut prices and that it had little economic incentive to do so. Because of the 10 percent revenue limit, the official said they have no incentive to build market share by reducing prices below costs. This section discusses the benefits to the public of Section 20 subsidi- Benefits aries In theory, Section 20 subsidiaries may benefit customers by add- ing competition, convenience, and liquidity to the various securities markets. These benefits are particularly important for two reasons. First, the securities market is expanding due to such factors as techno- logical changes that make it easier for many firms to raise money by Page 31 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix I Market Share, Pricing, and Benefits to the Public -- issuing securities. Section 20 subsidiaries provide these firms with addi- tional sources for raising money from capital markets. Second, certain segments of the securities markets are concentrated relative to the bank- eligible segments of these markets. For example, the top five securities firms underwrote approximately 93 percent of all asset-backed securi- ties in the first 9 months of 1989. Concentration may also be present in the market for mortgage-backed securities where the top 5 firms under- wrote 60 percent of these securities during the first 9 months of 1989. The top 5 firms underwrote almost 53 percent of the municipal revenue bonds issued during the first 9 months of 1989, while the top 5 firms underwrote about 37 percent of the municipal general obligation bonds issued during the same period. Additional competition may lead to lower prices and may also lead to greater innovation and better service. How- ever, several analysts said there are significant economies of scale in securities underwriting, and therefore it was difficult to say whether Section 20 companies will make much of a difference in reducing market concentration. Regional banks in particular said they can offer better service to cus- tomers, especially middle-sized corporations, that would not usually enter the securities market. They said this would increase the sources of lower cost funds to these firms and would also enhance the liquidity of the market due to increased activity. We heard conflicting views from analysts about how significant this untapped market is. Section 20 subsidiaries have not existed long enough for us to measure actual benefits. To get some appreciation of the actual benefits Section 20 firms have brought to the marketplace thus far, we talked to indus- try specialists in some of the markets served by Section 20 firms. They all agreed that the market impact of bank-ineligible securities has been minimal. Industry specialists, however, differed on their views of the long-term effects of Section 20 subsidiaries, depending on the particular product. One underwriting analyst predicted that Section 20 subsidiaries will add to the overcapacity already found in the industry, especially in fixed- income securities such as municipal revenue bonds. He foresaw a drop in prices, which will not benefit the subsidiaries since margins are already thin. In the short run, issuers of securities would benefit. He also sug- gested that in order for securities firms to defend themselves against the competition, they will need a bigger capital base. According to the offi- cial, in the long run this growth in capital would result in a more concen- trated market, with only the largest firms surviving because of their Page 32 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix I Market Share, Pricing, and Benefits to the Public ability to raise new capital. An official of an association that represents participants in the municipal revenue bond market said issuers are becoming more sophisticated and demanding more competitive arrange- ments. They are, for example, soliciting bids for traditionally unsolicited negotiated deals. Additional competition from the Section 20 subsidi- aries will add to this trend, which he believed will eventually lead to consolidation among revenue bond underwriting. To date, Section 20 firms have been created as new firms, resulting from reorganizations within the holding company. Since Section 20 firms were newly created entities, they have added to the number of firms in the market able to reach more potential issuers and investors in the market for bank-ineligible securities. The number of market participants will not expand if bank holding companies build up their Section 20 compa- nies by acquiring existing securities firms. As noted in appendix III, some securities industry representatives believed that banks could eas- ily acquire and operate existing securities firms under the 10 percent revenue limit imposed by the Federal Reserve. Officials from the Section 20 subsidiaries suggested that these subsidi- aries offered greater convenience and innovations to clients. For exam- ple, they said bank holding companies can more closely and more quickly meet the needs of the customer, especially businesses, through “one-stop-shopping,” that is, being able to offer a variety of services to meet the financing needs of their customers through one entity. On the other hand, banking representatives said that firewalls, such as the inability of the bank to market the products of an affiliated securities firm, prevented some of the potential benefits of one-stop-shopping from being realized. A spokesperson for the securities industry doubted the validity of the one-stop-shopping concept. The representative said that historically, institutional customers obtain their financial services from more than one institution, They want to diversify their portfolios and sources of financing not only by type of investment, but also by suppliers of financial services. Page 33 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers I Appendix II Risk to the Holding Company This appendix discusses how the operations of Section 20 subsidiaries have affected the risk levels of bank holding companies. It also discusses differences between risk to the holding company and risk to an affili- ated bank. We define risk as the probability of experiencing significant financial difficulty, perhaps sufficient enough to cause the firm to fail. Underwriting and dealing in securities involves market, credit, and busi- The Nature of Risks in ness risks. Market risk is the situation where securities purchased by Section 20 Firms the Section 20 firm in an underwriting or dealing capacity fall in price due to changes in general economic conditions. Possible increases in interest rates are a major source of market risk. Credit risk represents the situation where an issuer is unable to pay interest and principal according to the terms of the debt offering. Credit risk generally applies only to the time that a Section 20 firm owns the security, in order to protect its reputation, a firm may feel obligated to absorb some losses in situations involving securities initially underwritten by the firm, if those losses occur within a short period of time after the underwriting. Busi- ness risk represents the inability to earn a profit from entering a new line of business. For example, some U.S. banking organizations have scaled back their securities activities in overseas markets in response to losses they experienced due to high costs and low spread margins. Although there are risks involved in underwriting and dealing in securi- ties, these risks need to be assessed in association with the risks of other activities of bank holding companies. Bank holding companies are already authorized to assume many risks through such activities as making and holding commercial loans, trading in government bonds, and entering into forward contracts in the foreign currency markets. In approving broader bank holding company securities powers in Sec- tion 20 holding company subsidiaries, the Federal Reserve Board deter- mined that this would allow them to diversify further their activities and generate new sources of revenue at a manageable level of risk, thus strengthening the overall banking organization, This action of the Board was consistent with the observation financial analysts have made that, considered in isolation, underwriting securities involves less risk than extending and holding loans. For example, Robert E. Litan wrote in a 1987 Brookings Institution Study: “In a typical securities offering, the underwriter bears the risk of loss for only a few days, whereas a commercial bank bears the risk of a loan default until the loan is due. In addition, by definition, the underwriter deals in assets that are liquid and Page 34 GAO/GGD-90-48 Rank Powers -- Appendix II , Risk to the Holding Company readily traded; despite the progressive securitization of commercial bank balance sheets, most bank loans remain illiquid because they are specific to the borrower.“’ , The Section 20 companies are also fully SEC-regUl&d as is any securities firm. The financial statements of the nation’s top 25 bank holding companies illustrate the scale of bank holding company activities that can generate risks. The combined balance sheet assets of these companies as of June 30, 1989, was $1.4 trillion. Of this amount, $216 billion, or about 15 per- cent of the total, was in commercial and industrial loans held by banking or nonbanking subsidiaries. Another $38 billion (about 3 percent of assets) was held in trading accounts. Off-balance sheet commitments as of that date that could also generate risks included $2.2 trillion in com- mitments to purchase foreign currencies and U.S. dollars; $1.1 trillion in interest rate swaps; over $600 billion in futures, forwards, and standby contracts;” and about $600 billion in various loan commitments and let- ters of credit. The fact that Section 20 firms allow bank holding companies the oppor- tunity to reduce risk by additional diversification does not mean that the companies will actually use the new powers to reduce risk. At the present time, experience does not allow a determination on whether the new activities, either individually or collectively, have actually increased or decreased risk to the holding company. For example, it is not possible to draw conclusions at this time about how profitable the new subsidiaries will be. To date, a number of the Section 20 firms have been examined by NASD and the Federal Reserve. We have been advised by officials of these organizations that no significant uncorrected problems in the operations of these firms have been detected. Similarly, officials at the Federal Reserve System cannot point to any known instance since the Section 20 subsidiaries have commenced bank-ineligible activities in which the activities of a Section 20 subsidiary have adversely affected a bank holding company. ‘Hobert E. Litan, What Should Hanks Do?, Washington, DC: The Bookings Institution, 1987, pp. 88- 89. 21nterest rate swaps are transactions used to hedge against or displace interest rate risks. Futures contracts are exchange traded contracts for delayed delivery of securities or money market instru- ments in which the buyer agrees to purchase and the seller agrees to deliver, at a specified future of a specified instrument at a specified price or yield. Standby contracts are optional delivery ddtc?, contracts. Page 35 GAO/MS904 Bank Powers Appendix II Risk to the Holding Company The recent thrift industry debacle demonstrated clearly the dangers associated with allowing financial institutions to engage in new activi- ties that, if not well managed or regulated, can destroy the financial health of the firms. Undercapitalized thrifts were able to expand rapidly into new activities after 1982, and thrift regulators were unprepared to supervise and control the activities of many problem institutions.:’ Federal Reserve authorization of new activities for Section 20 subsidi- aries has followed a different set of policies from those that character- ized the thrift industry. The Board has approved Section 20 subsidiaries on a case-by-case basis. This has allowed the Federal Reserve Board to assess the adequacy of each holding company’s capital and management systems before new activities could be undertaken. Furthermore, a number of specific restrictions (firewalls) were placed on the firms to limit the risk to the holding company that could result from the new activities. These included the following: l The subsidiary must be separately capitalized such that the capital meets SECstandards and industry norms and does not detract from the adequacy of the capital associated with holding company activities outside of the Section 20 subsidiary. The financial press, such as the American Banker, had reported several instances in which holding com- panies had to increase their equity capital in order to obtain Federal Reserve approval to expand the powers of a securities subsidiary. l The scale of new activities is controlled by requiring approval of all funds invested in the subsidiary and by limiting revenues from new activities to 10 percent of the revenues of the subsidiary. The revenue limitation means that 90 percent of the revenues of the subsidiary must come from activities authorized to be conducted directly by a national bank or a state member bank. The result of these limitations is that only a small portion of the revenue of the Section 20 subsidiary can be derived from heretofore ineligible activities, and only a small portion of the holding company’s capital is at risk in these new activities. l Restrictions are placed on the internal operations of the holding com- pany to limit the extent to which the bank can incur risks in support of affiliate Section 20 companies. These restrictions and their practical effect on holding company opera- tions are discussed at greater length in appendix III. “It should be emphasized, however, that by no means can all of the problems in the thrift industry bc attributed to new activities. Page 36 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers --&.- ” Appendix II Risk to the Holding Company The firewall restrictions imposed by the Federal Reserve are not, how- ever, all designed simply to protect the safety and soundness of the bank. Some of them serve other purposes as well. These other purposes include protecting customers against conflict-of-interest abuses and iso- lating selected securities activities from the federal safety net for banks, especially deposit insurance. Competitive considerations associated with having banking and nonbanking organizations participating in securities markets also played a part in the design of the firewalls. The firewalls most directly related to protecting the safety and sound- ness of the bank are those concerned with bank extensions of credit and purchases of assets in situations that involve the activities of Section 20 companies. It should be noted that many of these firewalls do not apply to the overseas activities of bank holding companies. It is, of course, too early to say whether the various provisions will work as intended to protect the holding company from excessive risks. However, the controlled expansion of Section 20 companies has given the Federal Reserve System, as regulator of the holding company, tim e to develop expertise in regulating the new activities. In a 1987 report on insulating banks from potential downside risks of Risk to Affiliated expanded activities, we concluded that risks to the bank and its insured Batiks deposits cannot be completely eliminateds4 W e pointed out, however, that risks to the bank would be m inimized by separating the nonbank activities legally, economically, and in the perception of the market. The specific means for accomplishing these objectives involved such things as separation of boards of directors and places of business; restrictions on flow of funds from the bank to the affiliate; and controls over pricing of services to affiliates, marketing arrangements, and corporate powers. The restrictions placed on Section 20 companies seem generally to con- form to the conditions that we found would be necessary for insulation. To date, there is no evidence that the activities of Section 20 companies have adversely affected bank affiliates, It should also be noted, how- ever, that such damage, were it to occur, would be most likely to occur at a tim e when either the bank or the Section 20 firm was under great “Bank Powers: Insulating Banks From the Potential Risks of Expanded Activities, (GAO/GGD-8735, Apr. 14, 1987). Page 37 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix II Risk to the Holding Company -- financial stress. To date, none of the Section 20 firms have operated under these conditions. As discussed in greater length in appendix III, holding companies believe that the Board’s limitations on the revenues a Section 20 firm can gener- ate from bank-ineligible securities activities can force them to make bus- iness decisions based strictly on regulatory considerations. For example, the revenue limitation requires a sufficient level of revenues from bank- eligible securities activities to assure that a Section 20 firm does not exceed the revenue limitation. Since the start-up costs for securities activities are significant, holding companies may opt to transfer bank- eligible securities activities from both bank and nonbank subsidiaries into the Section 20 subsidiary. Transfer of such profitable activities from a bank could negatively affect the overall performance and finan- cial condition of the bank. It would also, by definition, make the bank smaller and less diversified. Some capital may also be moved out of the bank along with the transfer of functions. Federal Reserve officials acknowledge that the indirect effect of the rev- enue limitation may be counter-productive in that a less risky activity may be transferred from a bank to a Section 20 subsidiary. However, these officials note that the 10 percent revenue limitation is based on legal, rather than financial, considerations. The Federal Reserve offi- cials also point out that the firewalls are based on the concept that risks from securities activities must be kept separate from and insulated from the bank. They said that losses, if any, from securities activities: l should not enjoy protection of deposit insurance or other aspects of the federal safety net for depository institutions; and . should not be transmitted to a bank’s income statement because volatil- ity of reported earnings may cause loss of confidence in a bank. There exists a trade-off between potential benefits and losses relative to the bank. The outcome of this trade-off depends on whether the activi- ties turn out to be profitable or only some securities activities are required to be done outside the bank. If Section 20 companies are profitable, the holding company is strength- ened. It is not clear, however, how this necessarily contributes to strengthening an affiliated bank. Funds sent to the parent by the Section Page 38 GAO/GGD9048 Bank Powers Appendix II Risk to the Holding Company 20 subsidiary are directly available to an affiliated bank only if the par- ent decides to reinvest them in the bank.” The Federal Reserve has a policy incorporated in its Regulation Y that a holding company shall serve as a source of financial and managerial strength for its banks. However, the exact conditions under which the holding company can be required to use nonbanking assets of the hold- ing company to support an affiliated bank and protect the deposit insur- ance fund have not been set out in detail. Questions can also be raised about the net effects of some of the firewalls. If it is true that there are benefits from combining banking and securities activities within one banking organization, many of these benefits would likely show up as additional profitable bank activities. By restricting the ability of the bank to participate with securities affili- ates, the firewalls may make it harder for the bank to benefit from the expanded powers. In addition, some banking officials have suggested that the management structure required to comply with firewall restrictions may make it harder to control risk exposure on a holding company-wide basis. This is discussed in appendix III. “Payments to the parent by the Section 20 subsidiary may, however, make it easier for the parent to leave more bank profits in the bank. In addition, the parent would be in a better position to inject additional capital into the bank to comply with capital requirements if asked to do so by the Federal Reserve. Page 39 GAO/GGD-99-48 Bank Powers Adpendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and F’irewalls This appendix summarizes the comments of industry officials and regu- lators about the practical impact of special regulatory restrictions the Federal Reserve Board imposed on the operations of Section 20 subsidi- aries. These restrictions, often called firewalls, can be grouped into the four following categories: l revenue limitation; . capital adequacy conditions; . restrictions and prohibitions on financial ties between banks and Section 20 affiliates;! and l prohibition against banks sharing employees or confidential informa- tion, or engaging in marketing activities on behalf of a Section 20 affiliate. Except for the revenue limitation, the firewalls supplement provisions in federal statutes that govern the relationships between banks and their affiliates and regulate securities activities. The Board has actually issued two sets of firewalls. The first set, con- tained in the 1987 Order, applies to Section 20 companies that have been authorized to underwrite and deal only in municipal revenue bonds, mortgage-related securities, consumer-receivable-related securities, and commercial paper. (This act is contained in app. VII.) The latter set of firewalls, contained in the 1989 Order, applies to Section 20 companies that are also authorized to underwrite debt and equity securities. (See app. VIII.) Our judgments about the practical impact of the firewalls were limited by the short time Section 20 subsidiaries have been operating, the lack of nonproprietary information, and limited time available to complete this assignment, We addressed the practical effects of firewalls by inter- viewing officials in the regulatory agencies and the commercial banking and investment banking industries. In the banking industry, we obtained the views of officials who operate Section 20 subsidiaries and those who are considering doing so. We included representatives of both multina- tional and regional bank holding companies in our discussions. We have summarized the general comments of the industry officials and regulators as well as some of the specific comments made about each category of firewall restrictions. ‘licstrictions that apply to insured bank affiliates generally apply in the same manner, and to the same extent, lo fcdcrdlly insured thrift affiliates and to subsidiaries of bank or thrift affiliates. Page 40 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers Appendix 111 Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls In general, banking officials with whom we spoke said that the process Gen@al Comments the Board used in approving Section 20 subsidiary activities was appro- priate. They said that the Board’s case-by-case approval process and limits on the scale of new underwriting and dealing activities allowed the Board to ensure that individual companies would carry out the new activities gradually and cautiously, while also maintaining regulatory requirements, While the banking officials with whom we spoke also saw the necessity of imposing some restrictions in order to protect the bank, its depositors, and the federal safety net, some officials expressed con- cern that the Board has gone too far in attempting to provide that pro- tection. They said the firewalls unnecessarily raised costs, created management problems, and made it harder to service customers com- petitively. A number of banking representatives believed that regula- tory tools available to bank regulators, SEC, and the Federal Reserve could sufficiently protect against abuses without the additional costs incurred with the firewall provisions. Securities industry officials with whom we spoke said that requiring bank holding companies to establish a separate underwriting subsidiary that is operationally and financially independent of insured bank affili- ates is the most appropriate way to permit bank expansion into securi- ties underwriting. However, these officials questioned the need for allowing bank holding companies to underwrite securities. In support of this view, they pointed to the low profitability in the underwriting activities that have been authorized and the generally higher profit mar- gins of regional and smaller banks that were not engaged in domestic or overseas securities activities. Some securities industry officials also questioned the effectiveness of some of the firewalls and said that Section 20 companies would benefit from special federal programs for banks such as deposit insurance. The officials also said that existing arrangements would allow bank holding companies eventually to acquire most independent broker-dealers. Comments From In its 1987 Order, the Board said that the existing regulatory framework Regulators for banks, bank holding companies, and securities firms has not yet been proven effective in protecting against potential conflicts of interest, unsound banking practices, and other adverse effects associated with commercial bank and investment bank affiliation. Accordingly, in approving expanded activities for bank holding companies, the Board determined that the existing framework should be supplemented by the additional limitations contained in the firewalls. The Board indicated, Page 4 1 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls however, that it would consider modifying some of the firewalls and other restrictions. To date, the Board has modified several firewalls. Federal Reserve offi- cials recognized that the firewalls created some inefficiencies and increased the operating costs for bank holding companies. However, they believed that the potential conflicts of interest and unfair competi- tion would be difficult to monitor and control without the firewalls. Moreover, they believe that need to minimize the transfer of risk to fed- erally insured depository institutions and the federal safety net out- weigh the benefits to the holding company of efficient operations or lower operating costs. The Board’s 1987 Order concluded that engaging in bank-ineligible Rkvenue Limitation activities would not violate Section 20 of the Glass-Steagall Act if the subsidiary derived only 5 percent to 10 percent of its gross revenues from underwriting and dealing in bank-ineligible activities. As previ- ously noted, the revenue limitation, originally set at 5 percent, was raised to 10 percent in 1989. Cdmments From Bank The revenue limit was a concern among all the bank holding company Ccimpany Officials officials with whom we spoke. Officials in multinational bank holding companies said the lo-percent limit has allowed them more flexibility than did the 5-percent limit. They reported that they currently do not have significant difficulties operating within the lo-percent limit because they have proceeded slowly. However, they projected that the lo-percent limit could become a constraint over the next few years because, as their operations continue to mature, the Section 20 firms will probably generate ineligible revenues that will approach the current revenue limit. Regional bank holding company officials said that although the new 10 percent revenue limit has eased entry for some regional bank holding companies, the revenue limit continues to con- strain their operations because of the difficulty in transferring bank- eligible activities into the Section 20 firm sufficient to support antici- pated levels of bank-ineligible activities. Both multinational and regional bank holding company officials shared the concern that the revenue limit forces managers to make decisions about how to structure their products lines and services primarily on the basis of the amount of revenue the activity would generate. This particularly concerned companies that were not primary dealers or that Page 42 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Fhwalls otherwise did not trade a large volume of government securities.z Offi- cials commented that in order for many companies not involved in extensive government securities trading to establish a Section 20 subsid- iary, it would be necessary to combine some operations that may not fit well together from a business perspective. Some officials were reluctant to consolidate nonbanking operations in the Section 20 subsidiary. While these activities would generate eligible revenue, the officials said that the SEXnet capital rule and the firewall requiring a bank holding company to deduct investments in the Section 20 subsidiary from regulatory capital make funding these operations more expensive than if the activities were done outside the subsidiary. This appears to have had the greatest impact on regional holding companies. / Cornbents From Securities One securities industry official commented that the 10 percent revenue Indubtry Officials limit effectively permits bank holding companies to rank among the top investment bank companies. This official noted that the entire invest- ment industry’s underwriting revenues were only about 8 percent of gross revenues in the first half of 1989 and said that most of the other revenues earned by the investment industry were derived from bank- eligible activities. Therefore, the official suggested that a bank holding company could buy an existing large investment bank and still be within ! the 10 percent revenue limit. While not disputing the point that banks may find acquisition of an existing securities firm an attractive expansion route, another securities industry official noted that underwriting securities is not the only activ- ity that generates bank-ineligible revenues for securities firms. For example, the official said underwriting mutual funds and insurance- related products and secondary market trading associated with bank- ineligible securities are important sources of bank-ineligible revenues to some securities firms. “Hank holding company officials have said that Section 20 subsidiaries that are not primary dealers find it difficult to generate sizeable levels of eligible revenues to measure against ineligible revenues. A number of bank holding company officials have commented to the Federal Reserve that it is diffi- cult to enter the over-thecounter 1J.S.government securities market because margins have declined, and start-up costs and ovcrh(?l,l :tw significant. Page 43 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers -I-- Appendix III I Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls $nments From Federal Reserve officials said that in principle the firewalls do not pro- ? wlators hibit a bank holding company from acquiring an investment banking f firm. However, they said it is not obvious from investment banks’ I reports of income what portion of their revenues is derived from bank- ~ eligible or bank-ineligible activities. Accordingly, they have no way of knowing whether a bank holding company could, in fact, purchase a diversified broker-dealer and operate within the firewall requirements, The officials said that they are not concerned about whether the 10 per- cent revenue limit allows Section 20 subsidiaries to rank among the larg- est investment banking firms. They said that the market should determine the size of the firm. In addition, the officials said that the Glass-Steagall Act does not specify what size bank-affiliated underwrit- ing subsidiaries should be, as long as they are not “engaged principally” in underwriting and dealing in bank-ineligible securities. At the present time, they said, the revenue limit, rather than size, is the appropriate measure of the extent to which a firm can underwrite bank-ineligible securities without being “engaged principally” in that activity. The firewalls related to capital require Section 20 subsidiaries and their Capital Adequacy parent bank holding companies to maintain adequate capital at all times. Conditions The firewalls also require that investments in a Section 20 subsidiary be deducted from the parent company’s regulatory capital for determining compliance with capital adequacy guidelines. (See app. V.) In addition, the 1989 Order requires that unsecured extensions of credit to the Sec- tion 20 subsidiary by the parent bank holding company or any of its nonbank subsidiaries also be deducted from the parent company’s regu- latory capital. Together, these restrictions are intended to ensure that a bank holding company maintains a strong capital position to support its subsidiary banks and that the resources needed for that support would not be put at risk to fund the securities activities of the Section 20 subsidiary. Comments From Bank Overall, the officials with whom we spoke did not identify significant Corbpany Officials problems with the requirement that the Section 20 subsidiary be ade- quately capitalized in accordance with industry norms. However, there was no consensus about what the industry norm really is for a Section 20 subsidiary. Broker-dealers tend to have capital that is several times u greater than SEC’s net capital requirements. The officials believed that the market determines the appropriate level of capital for a broker- dealer. Page 44 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers -..-.L- Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls Regional bank holding company officials raised concerns about deduct- ing capital investments in the Section 20 subsidiary from the regulatory capital of the parent bank holding company. They believed that the mar- ket for new capital is such that it is prohibitively expensive for regional companies to raise new capital. In that regard, the officials said the capi- tal requirement would be met primarily by moving part of the capital base from the bank subsidiary to the Section 20 subsidiary. They believed these transfers could potentially weaken the bank by reducing its capital base and by leaving its balance sheet less diversified. Officials of some multinational bank holding companies said the require- ment that unsecured extensions of credit between the parent or any of its nonbank subsidiaries and the Section 20 company be deducted from the parent company’s capital is unnecessary and costly.:J The officials said that this requirement essentially cuts the Section 20 subsidiary off from a relatively low cost of funding-the parent company’s access to the capital markets- and increased the subsidiary’s cost of raising funds relative to its competitors’ costs. For example, in order for a par- ent company loan to a Section 20 subsidiary to be exempt from the deduction from the parent’s regulatory capital, the subsidiary must col- lateralize the loan in the same manner and to the same extent that would be required under Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act.” Because competitors of Section 20 subsidiaries do not have to contend with such a restriction, and can therefore raise funds through their par- ent relatively easily, officials believed that the Section 20 subsidiary’s funding costs are higher than those of their competitors. Some officials we spoke with said that the firewalls encourage the Sec- tion 20 subsidiary to raise funds by borrowing from nonaffiliated com- panies. Under this alternative, the subsidiary simply borrows funds from unaffiliated banks at market rates. The officials said that they “This rcquircment primarily affects the bank holding companies that received expanded powers under the Doard’s 1989 Order. In the Board’s earlier Order, no limit was placed on the amount of funds that a holding company and its nonbank affiliates could lend to the Section 20 subsidiary. ‘Although Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act governs extensions of credit between member banks and affiliates, the Board specifically required that its collateral requirements apply to cxton- sions of credit between a Section 20 subsidiary and affiliates. Under this requirement, extensions of credit must be collateralized with securities valued between 100 and 130 percent of the value of the loan. For example, if 100 percent of the amount of an advance from the holding company is secured by U.S. government securities, no deduction from the holding company’s capital is required. If mar- k&able equity securities are used to secure the advance, the market value of these securities must be equal to 130 percent of the amount of the loan in order to avoid deduction from the holding com- pany’s capital. Page 45 GAO/GGD9048 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls would prefer to pay market rates to their affiliates for funds rather than pay these rates to competitors. mments From Securities Securities industry officials said that the market already awards bank ustry Officials holding companies a lower cost of funds than some of its competitors that have higher credit ratings because of the implicit extension of the federal safety net from the bank subsidiary to the entire holding com- pany. They believed that Section 20 subsidiaries should not be allowed to obtain funding through their parent bank holding companies, because such funding would jeopardize the financial resources that should be available for the bank subsidiaries and would give Section 20 subsidi- aries an unfair competitive advantage because of their ability to obtain low cost-funding. --a--. Coimments From In the Board’s 1989 Order, it noted that in view of the amount of the Regulators investment that may be required to support the activities of Section 20 firms, it was important to ensure that the holding company does not impair its financial resources through its funding of a Section 20 subsidi- ary. Under the Board’s source of strength policy, a holding company should maintain the financial flexibility and capital-raising capacity to obtain additional resources for assisting its subsidiary banks. The Board also noted that these requirements were essential because they tend to ensure that the Section 20 subsidiary maintains adequate levels of capital to support its operations on a stand-alone basis. The Board believed it essential to limit the Section 20 subsidiary’s ability to draw on the resources of the parent holding company to help ensure that the market would evaluate the financial standing of the Section 20 subsidiary on the basis of its own resources. In both the 1987 and 1989 Orders, the Board noted that with respect to investment bank officials’ claims, no evidence showed that a Section 20 subsidiary would by reason of its affiliation with federally insured banks necessarily have access to lower cost funds than its competitors that were not affiliated with banks. The Board indicated that rates paid by bank holding companies on their commercial paper have generally been the same as those paid by corporations of similar size and credit ratings. Furthermore, according to the Orders, a corporation’s funding costs are a function of a variety of economic factors, including size, capi- tal, and earnings. The Orders also noted that while the regulatory framework under which a corporation operates is a factor that might Page 46 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls affect the cost of funds, the same bank regulatory structure that pro- vides deposit insurance also imposes restraints and costs on the opera- tion of banks and their affiliates that were not imposed on other corporations. 1 In both the 1987 and 1989 Orders, the Board specified a number of Res&rictions and firewalls designed to limit the transfer of risk in the activities of the Pro@bitions on Section 20 subsidiary to the federal safety net and to federally insured Fin* ncial Ties banks.” In the 1987 Order, banks could lend to Section 20 affiliates, sub- ject to the limitations on loans and other transactions between banks Bet k een Banks and and affiliates contained in Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Set ion 20 Affiliates Act. (See fig. III. 1.) However, under the 1989 Order, the Board required f a prohibition (see fig. 111.2)rather than a limitation on extensions of credit from banks to Section 20 affiliates (with the exception of credit incidental to clearing services with respect to U.S. government or agency securities). The 1989 Order also prohibited the purchase and sale of financial assets between banks and Section 20 affiliates, while the 1987 Order permitted these transactions. Both Orders prohibited banks from providing credit enhancements for securities issued by a Section 20 affil- iate. The Orders also prohibited banks from extending credit to custom- ers of the Section 20 affiliate for the purpose of paying principal, interest, or dividends on securities underwritten or dealt in by the Sec- tion 20 affiliate. “Note that use of the term “bank” refers to federally insured domestic bank and thrift affiliates and their direct and indirect subsidiaries. Accordingly, the term bank does not include foreign bank sub- sidiaries of the parent holding company. Page 47 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers -1 - Appendix III I Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls Figure 111.1:Permissible Extensions of Credit to a Section 20 Affiliate Under the 1987 Order paR* & s#* @ & ** s? Y@ & e d CT zie H d Domestic location w M * w w Q& Extensions of credit permitted subject I to the collateral requirements of sections 23A and 238 of the -I Federal Reserve Act I ’ Foreign location La J -SW+WS.W+ Extensions of credit on an arms length basis unrestricted Note: The provisions of the April 30, 1987, Order apply to certain bank holding companies authorized to underwrite and deal in only municipal revenue bonds, mortgage-related securities, consumer-receivable- related securities, and commercial paper. Page 48 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers . “-1 Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls Figure 111.2:Permissible Extensions of Credit to a Section 20 Affiliate Under the 1989 Order U.S. Bank Holding Company Parent :-,J-;l rj&-J ,Foreign Nonbank w w OII RU w S& Extensions of credit permitted sub]ect Domestic location to the collateral requirements of sectlons 23A and 238 of the Federal Reserve Act. II Unsecured extensions of credit are also I ’ Foreign location permltted, but the amount of the loan must LI J ba deducted from the capital of the holding company. Note: The 1989 Order applres to certain bank holding companies authorized to underwrite and deal in corporate debt securities (and conditionally authorized to underwrite and deal in corporate equrty secur- ities) rn addition to the securities authorized in the 1987 Order. For those bank holding companies, the restrictions in the 1989 Order apply rn the same manner and to the same extent wrth respect to securi- ties activities authorized in the 1987 Order. Page 49 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls Comments From Bank Some bank holding company officials with whom we spoke said that Company Officials establishing a limit on extensions of credit from banks to Section 20 affiliates is a reasonable measure to protect the bank. However, officials from multinational bank holding companies that received expanded authority under the Board’s 1989 Order commented that the prohibition against extensions of credit is unnecessary since such transactions were already limited by Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act. Some regional and multinational bank holding company officials said that firewalls prohibiting affiliated banks from entering into agreements that enhance the creditworthiness of securities underwritten or distrib- uted by the Section 20 subsidiary were unnecessary. Some officials argued that under existing law and regulations, a bank can provide let- ters of credit to issuers of certain bank-eligible securities (for example, municipal general obligation bonds) that the bank underwrites. They said the risk exposure that results from such credit enhancement, if priced correctly, is no greater than the risk associated with making a direct loan to the issuer of the security. They also commented that this restriction precludes affiliated banks from a potentially profitable source of business. Some officials commented that the inability of banks to provide credit enhancements for securities underwritten by affiliates gives some for- eign banking organizations a competitive advantage over U.S. bank holding companies. The officials said that some foreign banks operating in the IJnited States are permitted to, and do, provide such enhance- ments for securities underwritten by their affiliates.” Thus, they believed some foreign banks are able to offer a more complete line of services to customers compared to U.S. bank holding companies. The ABA, in commenting on our draft report, stated that this prohibi- tion on credit enhancements is uneconomical and creates inefficiencies and negative public perceptions. It believes customers will have to pay more for credit-enhancement services because they would have to obtain these services from another bank not involved in underwriting “The officials are referring to the 17 foreign banks that were grandfathered under Section 8 of the International Banking Act of 1978 (ISA). Under Section 8 of the IBA, any foreign bank that controls a bank that operates in the U.S. shall be subject to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1966 and subse- quent amendments in the same manner and to the same extent as if it were a bank holding company. The purpose of this provision was to bring the permissible nonbanking activities of foreign banks more in line with those of domestic bank holding companies. However, a foreign bank could continue to engage in nonbanking activities in the United States in which it was lawfully engaged prior to enactment of the IBA but the bank is generally not permitted to expand its grandfathered nonbank activities by developing new product lines or through acquisition of or merger with another company. Page 60 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls the securities. Additionally, the ABA believes the public may .draw nega- tive inferences from instances where a bank does not issue a credit enhancement for securities underwritten by its affiliate. Additionally, the ABA said that the firewall prohibition on the purchases by a bank of debt issues privately placed by its Section 20 subsidiary affiliate is unnecessary and could prove detrimental to the bank’s reputation in the community. As an example, ABA said that an underwriting subsidiary affiliate could underwrite a revenue bond offering for constructing a local airport. Normally, as a member of the community a bank would be expected to purchase a part of the offering for its own portfolio. The ABA stated that the firewall would prohibit the bank from purchasing the securities underwritten by its Section 20 affiliate and that this could reflect poorly on the bank’s reputation in the community. Some multinational bank holding company officials with whom we spoke questioned the practicality of the firewall that prohibits banks from extending credit to customers of a Section 20 affiliate for the pur- pose of paying principal and interest on ineligible securities underwrit- ten by that affiliate. The officials said this firewall imposes undue burden on banks and impedes the ability of the Section 20 affiliate to offer a full range of services to its customers. For example, customers of the Section 20 subsidiary that issued debt securities or other securities underwritten by the Section 20 subsidiary may find it to their advan- tage to swap out of the securities into a bank loan, or vice versa. IJnder this scenario, the customer would either use the proceeds of a bank loan to pay off outstanding debt or use the proceeds of a debt issue to pay off a bank loan, The officials said that while the Section 20 subsidiary may underwrite debt securities for the customer, the proceeds of which could be used to pay off loans held by bank affiliates, under the firewall pro- visions, the Section 20 subsidiary must send the customer to unaffiliated banks to secure the loan to pay off the debt issue. Thus, they said, the Section 20 subsidiary is forced to encourage some customers to develop relationships with competitors. Moreover, the officials pointed out that some foreign banks operating in the United States are able to provide this service to their customers. Some multinational company officials said that such transactions as a bank purchasing financial assets from a Section 20 affiliate are part of banks’ normal operations. They noted that these transactions were per- mitted in the 1987 Order and believed that such transactions were effec- tively regulated by Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act. Page 51 GAO/GGD-9048 Rank Powers I P Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls The officials believed that in that light, a prohibition is unnecessary. Some officials were concerned that it is not clear whether and/or how this prohibition applies to overseas affiliates and believed that this lack of clarity impedes the efficiency of their U.S. operations. Officials with whom we spoke expressed concerns about the prohibition against affiliated banks providing clearing services for the Section 20 subsidiary with respect to securities other than government securities.7 They argued that it is inefficient and costly to clear through nonaf- filiates because of the additional costs of establishing a relationship with an unaffiliated company. The officials pointed out that providing intra-day credit with respect to clearing services is a normal part of doing business with a securities company, and they did not see a need to exclude banks from earning money by providing this service to Section 20 affiliates. The officials were displeased that the holding company is forced to put money in the pockets of its competitors in the form of fees for clearing services. Cwhments From Securities Securities industry officials said that to allow banks to provide any Indiustry Officials funding at all for Section 20 affiliates would not only create a competi- tive advantage for the Section 20 subsidiary by its accessto low cost bank funds (in the form of insured deposits), but would also expose the federal safety net to the risk of the Section 20 affiliate’s activities. They said that without a prohibition against banks providing funding to Sec- tion 20 affiliates, a bank could be pressured to lend substantial amounts of federally insured funds to a Section 20 affiliate to avert that affili- ate’s demise. The officials said such exposure to the activities of the Sec- tion 20 affiliate would threaten the integrity of the entire banking system. Comments From In its 1987 Order, the Board permitted banks to lend to and engage in Regulators transactions involving the purchase and sale of financial assets with Section 20 affiliates, subject to the lim itations of Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act, because of the “lim ited range of activities authorized” in that Order. However, in its 1989 Order, the Board believed it essential to prohibit those transactions in order to lim it the risk of the expanded activities from being transferred to affiliated ‘IJnder the Board’s 1989 Order, prohibitions on extensions of credit do not apply to credit extended by a bank to a Section 20 subsidiary that is incidental to the provision of clearing services for ITS. government securities. Page 62 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls banks. The Board believed such prohibitions would also promote corpo- rate separateness by ensuring that the operations of Section 20 subsidi- aries would be carried out on a stand-alone basis and would not be financed by affiliated banks. The Board noted that Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act permit banks to lend substantial amounts of their resources-up to 10 percent of their capital-to or in support of a Section 20 affiliate. How- ever, the Board noted that its experience has shown that the restrictions of Sections 23A and 23B are not completely effective to insulate the risks of Section 20 subsidiaries from affiliated banks, and, given the complexity of their provisions, Sections 23A and 23B are subject to avoidance by creative interpretation, particularly in times of stress, For the same reasons relating to funding of the Section 20 affiliate, the Board believed that federally insured banks should not for their own account purchase financial assets from, or sell such assets to, a Section 20 affiliate. In addition, Federal Reserve officials said the firewalls are directed toward eliminating any competitive advantage that a Section 20 subsidiary may have by reason of its bank affiliation over that of a securities firm not affiliated with a bank. The prohibitions against common officers, directors, and employees in Corporate the Section 20 subsidiary and affiliated banks (interlocks); marketing by Separateness: bank affiliates on behalf of Section 20 subsidiaries; and transfers of non- Prohibition Against public information about a customer were designed to ensure that insured depository institutions are insulated both structurally and oper- Banks Sharing ationally from the activities of the Section 20 subsidiary. Employees and Information and Engaging in Marketing Activities Comments by Bank Bank holding company officials in general said that both bank holding Company Officials companies and investment banking firms have successfully managed the potential conflicts these firewalls were designed to prevent. Moreover, .Y officials said existing regulation by SEC of broker-dealers, rules of NASD and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) applicable to broker-dealers, and fiduciary requirements under common law and Page 53 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls banking regulation adequately address potential conflicts. The officials with whom we spoke said that in that light, these firewalls are unneces- sary and impede their ability to compete. Both regional and multinational bank holding company officials said the prohibition against officer, director, or employee interlocks (see fig. 111.3)make it difficult to comply with the provisions of other firewalls because it impedes the flow of necessary information between affiliates. For example, officials said that it is difficult to monitor extensions of credit by bank subsidiaries to clients of the Section 20 subsidiaries when managers in the subsidiaries must report to different individuals. (This problem is compounded by the prohibition against bank subsidiaries dis- closing information about their customers to Section 20 affiliates.) A problem could occur when the Section 20 subsidiary serves a client that has bad loans with an affiliated bank. According to some bank holding company officials, because the affiliated bank may not disclose informa- tion about the creditworthiness of its customers without prior customer consent, the holding company’s ability to adequately monitor its credit risk exposure adequately is hampered. Page 64 GAO/GGD9048 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Flrewalls U.S. Bank Holding Company Parent r % I1-111 Foreign I I Branch ’ 1 I,,-, J --t Corporation r-l c I Domestic location m~-\ww<<<~\w<<<<<<@. Interlocks permitted 111 I ’ Foreign location L- J Page 65 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls Both multinational and regional bank holding company officials said this restriction has forced them to make awkward changes in the organi- zation of a holding company. For example, some officials said they have securities operations in various subsidiaries of the holding company. Thus, the bank’s treasury department manages the bank’s liquidity; the trust department executes trades on behalf of customers; the parent company raises funds in capital markets; and the Section 20 subsidiary and overseas securities subsidiaries execute trades for customers and deal, or make a market, in various securities. The officials said the abil- ity to have one individual coordinate and manage the securities activi- ties in various parts of the holding company is essential to the efficiency and adequate risk management of the holding company. Officials said this firewall has caused personnel duplication throughout the holding company. Although both multinational and regional officials complained that this duplication has significantly raised the personnel expenses for the holding company, the problem appears to be greater for regional firms. According to regional bank holding company officials, regional firms are too small to bear the expense of such duplications of personnel. Bank holding company officials reported that the firewall prohibiting bank affiliates from engaging in marketing activities on behalf of the Section 20 subsidiary has impeded the ability of both regional and mul- tinational bank holding companies to provide a full range of financial services to their customers.8 Officials with whom we spoke said they would be able to meet the financing needs of their customers more eco- nomically, efficiently, and effectively if one person could explain the nature of the various products and services that the company has to offer. Officials said this is of particular concern when a customer needs financing that involves, for example, a combination of bank loans and debt securities, The officials pointed out that this firewall makes it diffi- cult to give proper advice on the financing vehicles that best suit their client’s needs, and then to structure and close the deal, because it requires that the client talk to several employees. The prohibition against affiliated banks disclosing nonpublic informa- tion (including an evaluation of the creditworthiness of an issuer or other customer of that bank affiliate) to the Section 20 subsidiary causes problems for both regional and multinational companies. The ‘lJnder the prohibition, bank officers may inform a customer that the services of the Section 20 sub- sidiary exist but may not distribute prospectuses and sales literature to the public. Page 66 GAO/GGD9048 Bank Powers . Appendix III Impact of Revenue Limitation and Firewalls officials said that having the customer sign a consent form usually takes care of the problem. However, they said that when a customer does not give consent, this firewall diminishes the cost savings that a Section 20 subsidiary would otherwise accrue if it were able to draw on the results of activities, such as credit investigations, that are done as a normal part of business in bank affiliates. ents From Secu rities Securities industry officials said that firewalls prohibiting Section 20 Officials subsidiaries and bank affiliates from sharing employees and nonpublic customer information and engaging in cross-marketing activities are necessary to prevent abuses and conflicts of interest. They also said that Section 20 subsidiaries would have an unfair competitive advantage over securities firms that are not affiliated with banks if they had ready access to confidential information about bank affiliates’ customers. Comrhents From Federal Reserve officials reiterated that while recognizing that the Regu/ators firewalls cause some duplications and inefficiencies, the restrictions are necessary because the potential conflicts of interest and unsound bank- ing practices would be difficult to monitor and control without the firewalls. Page 57 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Apicndix IV Sktion 20 Subsidiaries’Activities _- To date, the Board has authorized 21 bank holding companies to estab- lish Section 20 subsidiaries. This appendix provides general information about these companies. In 1987, the Board first authorized bank holding companies to under- write and deal, to a limited extent, in municipal revenue bonds, mort- gage-related securities, consumer-receivable-related (asset-backed) securities, and commercial paper.’ As of September 30, 1989, a total of 21 bank holding companies--9 multinational, 10 regional, and 2 foreign banks-have applied for and receive, “,Board approval to engage in the above bank-ineligible activities.“, x (See table IV.1 .) ‘The Board’s April 30, 1987, Order authorized certain bank holding companies to underwrite and deal in bank-ineligible municipal revenue bonds, 1 to 4 family mortgage-backed securities, and commercial paper. The Board’s #July 14, 1987, Order authorized certain bank holding companies to underwrite and deal in consumer-receivable-related-securities. The 2d Circuit upheld the Board’s 1987 Orders in Securities Industry A&n. v. Federal Reserve System, 839 F.2d, 62 (2d Cir.), cert. -- denied, 108 S Ct. 2830 (1988). In a .January 18, 1989, Order, the Board authorized certain bank holding companies to add underwriting and dealing in corporate debt securities and, conditionally, corporate equity securi- ties to their list of approved bank-ineligible activities. “The Hank of Montreal has received authority to underwrite and deal in only commercial paper. “As of February 16, 1990, the Board had authorized five additional Section 20 subsidiaries-two owned by domestic bank holding companies and three owned by foreign banks-and had received applications for two others from foreign banks. The E%deralReserve Board authorized Norwest Corporation and Sovran Financial Corporation to underwrite and deal in municipal revenue bonds, mortgage-related securities, asset-backed securities and commercial paper on December 20, 1989, and February 12, 1990, respectively. On .January 4, 1990, the Federal Reserve Board authorized three foreign banks: Canadian Imperial Dank of Com- merce, Toronlo, Ontario, Canada; The Royal Bank of Canada, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and Bar- clays Hank PIX, London, England to underwrite and deal to a limited extent in all types of debt securities in the linitod States through Section 20 subsidiaries. In addition, after appropriate manage- ment reviews were completed, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and The Royal Bank of Canada were also authorized to underwrite and deal in equity securities. The Section 20 subsidiaries of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and The Royal Bank of Canada were 17,s.securities firms purchased by the banks in 1988. Under the terms of the acquisitions autho- rized by the Hoard, the banks agreed to terminate all bank-ineligible activities that were being done at that time by the securities firms. The Section 20 subsidiary of Barclays Hank PLC was a subsidiary established by Jsarclays that had been engaged in bank-eligible securities activities prior to the Hoard’s .January 1990 action. Page 58 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers , Appendix IV Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities Although the Board first authorized Section 20 subsidiaries in April 1987, none of the subsidiaries actually commenced bank-ineligible activ- ities until after June 198S4 Thus, as of September 30,1989, most of the subsidiaries had been doing bank-ineligible activities barely more than a year, and eight of the Section 20 subsidiaries had not begun bank- ineligible activities at all. (See table IV.2.) Bank holding companies have proceeded slowly with the authorized bank-ineligible activities. Many have not pursued the full range of these activities but have concentrated instead on those bank-ineligible securi- ties that most complement their current activities. Accordingly, table IV.3 and figure IV. 1 show that Section 20 subsidiaries have underwrit- ten a relatively small volume of bank-ineligible securities. In addition, figures IV.2 through IV.5 show the volume of bank-ineligible securities underwritten by Section 20 firms, ‘The actual effective date for starting the activities was delayed by two events. First, the Congres- sional moratorium contdincd in the Competitive Equality Banking Act of 1987, Pub. L. No. 10086, 101 Stat. 552, delayed any expansion of bank powers until after March 1, 1988. Second, bank holding companies were issued a stay on commencing the new powers until the United States Court of Appeals affirmed the validity of the Hoard’s interpretation of “engaged principally,” which was based on limiting the revenues that could be generated from bank&eligible activities to 5 to 10 per- cent of gross revenues. See Securities Industry Ass’n. v. Federal Reserve System, 839 F. 2d, 62 (2d Cir.), -- cert. denied 108 S. Ct. 2830 (1988). Page 69 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix IV Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities Table N-1: Bank Holding Companies Authorized to Establish Section 20 Bank holding company Headquarters Section 20 subsidiary Su sidiaries as of September 30,188g Multinational _----~ P ___ Bankers Trust New York Corp. NY BT Securities Corp. Bank of Boston Corp. MA BancBoston Securities, Inc. Chase Manhattan Corp. NY Chase Securities, Inc. -I ._-..-___.-__._.___ Chemical Banking Corp. NY Chemical Securities, Inc. Citicorp NY Citicorp Securities Markets, -- Inc. -- __..____ --__--- ---- First Chicago Corp. IL First Chicago Capital Markets, Inc. _..._----.- .-.- --..- J.P. Morgan --_-~-. & Co., Inc. NY J.P. Morgan Securities, -__-.Inc. _.-__-_ .----. Manufacturers Hanover Corp. NY Manufacturers Hanover Securities Corp. ---___ ..--___._---.-. Security Pacific Corp. CA pccurity Pacific Securities, ____- _______-- Regional ____._ _--.. - Bank of New England Corp. MA BNE Capital Markets, Inc. Barnett Banks, Inc. FL Barnett Brokerage Service, _.___~____ Inc. ._____ CoreStates Financial CoreStates Securities Corp. .~- Corp. PA First Union Corp. NC First Union Securities,___.---. Inc. -.---A--.- Fleet/Norstar Financial Group RI Adams McEntee, Fleet/ Norstar Securities, .-~_----- Inc. -..- -- Huntington Bancshares, The Huntington Company .-__ Inc. __- OH -__- Marine Midland Banks, Inc. NY Marine Midland Capital Markets Corp. .-.-- NCNB Corp. NC NCNB Capital Markets, Inc. ~_.~. -___. ~________- PNC Financial Corp. PA PNC Securities Corp. SouthTrust Corp. AL SouthTrust _.___~ Securities, .~___ Inc.-- -__ Foreign ____- -.__ _--- The Bank of Montreal Canada Nesbitt Thomson Securities, ___~. Inc. ___~ ~-. --__ Westpac Banking Corp. Australia Westpac Pollock Government Securities. Inc. Source: Federal Reserve. J Page 60 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix IV Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities Table IN.2: Section 20 Subsidiaries That Had Commenced Bank-Ineligible Date Ineligible activity Activities as of September 30,1989 Section 20 subsidiary authorized commenced BT Securities .~_. . Corp. ~~~~~~~-.. .- .-~~ Apr. 87 2nd qtr. 88 Citicorp Securities Markets, Inc. -- Apr. 87 2nd qtr. 88 I J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc. Apr. 87 2nd qtr. 88 Chemical Securities, Inc. May 87 2nd qtr. 88 Manufacturers Hanover Securities Corp. May 87 3rd qtr. 88 Chase Securities, Inc. May 87 3rd qtr. 88 Marine __-. Midland Jul. 87 3rd qtr. 88 -._ Capital .~~~ Markets Corp.~--__ _____.._~~ BNE Capital Markets, Inc. Jul. 87 qtr.~~~89 ~~ .- ..~~ Jul, 87 ____~~... 1 st ~~~~ PNC Securities Corp. 1st qtr. 89 First Chicago Capital Markets, Inc. Aug. 88 1 st qtr. 89 ._ ___._.._~-~~~~~~~~ .~---.- ___-- Adams McEntee, Fleet/Norstar Securities, Inc. Oct. 88 4th qtr. 88 The Huntington Company Nov. 88 -___ 4th qtr. 88 -..-.. ~~~--~.. ~~~~~ Westpac Pollock Government Securities, Inc. Mar. 89 2nd qtr. 89 Note: Eight Section 20 subsidiaries had not commenced bank-ineligible activities as of September 30, 1989. Source: Federal Reserve. .____..._ --.L ___.__._.___ --- Table IV.3: Section 20 Subsidiaries Unde&iting in Selected Bank-Ineligible Dollars in millions Securities by Volume From July 1, 1988, Mortgage- to September 30,1989 Municipal related Asset-backed Commercial Period revenue bonds securities securities paw 3rd qtr 88 $150.0 $148.0 $9.4 .-~ $11,983.6 .-.-.. ~-~~~ 4thqtr 88 385.7 311.1 350.5 29,050.o 1 st qtr 89 291.7 873.6 342.0 41,366.6 ~- 2nd qtr 89 453.6 400.0 ---~ 53.0 35248.1 3rd atr 89 385.6 600.0 -- 45.0 67,659.g Y Page 61 GAO/GGD9048 Bank Powers Appendix IV Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities Fig@ IV.l: Section 20 Firms’ Market Shdre of Underwriting for Selected Bank- gible Securities, From July 1, 1988, IS Porcont of Tolal Market 30,1989 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 3rd Qtr 66 4th Qtr 55 lstQtr62 2nd atr 59 3rdOlrSQ Municipal revenue bonds Mortgage-related securities Asset-backed sea~ities Page 62 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendlx IV Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities Figure IV.2: Bank-Ineligible Municipal Revenue: Bonds Underwritten by Section 20 Firms; From July 1, 1988, to 500 Dollan In Mllllona r Septembier 30,1989 450 400 3110 300 250 200 150 100 w 0 SrdtXr 4thOtr l#tQtr 2nd Otr SrdOtr 88 w 89 89 89 Volume of Municipal Rovonrw Bonds Undrtwrltton Figure W.3: Bank-Ineligible Mortgage- Related $ecurities Underwritten by Section 20 Firms, From July 1, 1988, to (Dollars In Mllllonr) September 30,1989 SW 800 wo 400 300 200 r 3rdOtr 4thatr tat Otr 2ndOtr 3rdQtr 88 58 89 89 89 Volume of Mortgaga-Ralatad Sacurltlr Undwwrltton Page 03 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers I i I Appendix IV Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities Figqre IV.4: Bank-Ineligible Asset- Baqked Securities Underwritten by Seqtion 20 Firms, From July 1,1988, to 400 (Dollars In MIllIons) Se()tember 30,1989 WQ 800 250 200 lS0 rw 50 0 3rdQtr 4thQtr 1stOtr PndQtr 2rdQtr 88 88 69 89 89 Voluma of Aasst-Baobd Sscurltles Undsmrittsn Fiqure IV.5 Bank-Ineligible Commercial Paper Underwritten by Section 20 Firms, From July 1,1988, to September 30,1989 71 (Dollan In Billions) 70 65 60 55 SO 45 40 35 30 25 20 16 10 5 0 SrdCttr 4thUr 1stOtr 2ndtXr 2rdOtr 88 88 89 89 89 Vdumo of Commerical Papsr Undsrwrltten Page 64 GAO/&D-9048 Bank Powers 7 IL.-..- -* Appendix IV Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities To generate a base of eligible revenues against which revenues from bank-ineligible activities can be measured, bank holding companies gen- erally transfer bank-eligible activities, such as underwriting and dealing in obligations of the United States, general obligations of states and their political subdivisions, investment advisory and securities brokerage ser- vices, and placement of commercial paper and other types of securities as agent from their bank and nonbank subsidiaries into the Section 20 subsidiary. Relative to other bank-eligible activities, government securi- ties activities generate substantial revenues. Seven Section 20 subsidi- aries that are primary dealers in government securities include l BT Securities Corp; l Chase Securities, Inc.; . Chemical Securities, Inc.; l Citicorp Securities Markets, Inc.; . J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc.; l Manufacturers Hanover Securities Corp; and . Westpac Pollock Government Securities, Inc. During the second quarter of 1989, the 13 Section 20 subsidiaries that were operating during that time generated about $50 million in revenues from their bank-ineligible activities. (See table IV.4.) These revenues made up a small portion (about 3.3 percent) of the second quarter 1989 gross revenues for those subsidiaries, well within the Board’s 10 percent revenue limitation, (See fig. IV.6.) Bank holding companies have continued to capitalize their Section 20 subsidiaries as they organize their operations. In terms of assets and capital, most of the Section 20 subsidiaries are still small relative to the size of the parent holding company. (See table IV.5 and table IV.6.) 1-1-- - Table IV.4: Revenues of Section 20 Subsidiaries, From July 1, 1988, to Dollars ~~..~--~ in millions-..- ~~. ~. .-..- September 30, 1989 (Unaudited) _._..~ I_~ --___--.-I- -. -. Ineligible as Number a percent of of active Eligible Ineligible Gross gross Period firms revenues --I_. revenues revenues revenues 3rd qtr 88 7 $592 $2 $594 .34 --.---- 4th qtr 88 9 708 25 733 3.41 1st qtr 89 12 859 21 880 2.39 2nd qtr 89 ~. 13 1,452- 50 1,502 3.33 ~.- -- 3rd $r 89 13 1,349 25 1,374 1.82 Source: Federal Reserve Page 66 GAO/GGD-SO-48 Bank Powers ._ _ ; .._ --. - .x ..-- - I Appendix IV I Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities - Figtire IV.6: Revenues of Section 20 Fir@, From July 1, 1988, to September 1.6 Qroas Rwenues (Dollars In Billions) 30, :1989 1.4 SrdQtr 4thOtr 1stQr 2ndQtr ZQtr 66 69 99 Revenues from bank-ineligible activities b Revenues from bank-eligible activities This chart IS based on unaudited data. Source: Federal Reserve Table IV.5: Section 20 Firms’ Assets as a Peecent of Parents’ Assets as of June Number of Secti;n2X 30,:1989 (Unaudltcd) Percent range ~~ ..- ~~~~~~~~... - < 1 percent ~6 --~ .-. -~-- --. .~~ 1 percent < 5 percent __-___ 2 5 percent < 15 percent 2 15 percent < -~.~ 24 percent 3 TDtal ..-- ~~~~~~~~. .-~~ 13 Note, Eight Sectlon 20 subsldianes are excluded from this analysis Page 66 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix IV Section 20 Subsidiaries’ Activities Table IVd8: Section 20 Firms’ Capital as a Percent pf Parents’ Capital as of June Number of Sectiy$ 30, 1989~(Unaudlted) Percent range __ _--.. -c 1 percent 4 1 percent < 3 percent --- -______ 4 3 percent -=c6 percent 2 6 percent < 8 percent _____--- 3 Total 13 Note: Eight Section 20 subsidiaries are excluded from this analysis. Page 67 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers , Abpcndix V / apital Structure and Capital Adequacy 2 equirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms This appendix discusses the capitalization of Section 20 companies and the regulatory capital requirements that apply to these bank holding company subsidiaries, The first section discusses the concept of capital, citing some statistics of bank holding companies that had received Federal Reserve approval to set up Section 20 subsidiaries as of September 30, 1989. The second section discusses capital adequacy standards relevant to Section 20 sub- sidiaries and their holding companies. A simplified illustration of a bank holding company with banking and The Capital Structure nonbanking subsidiaries, all wholly owned, is shown in figure V. 1. The of a Hank Holding capital structure can be considered from the point of view of the parent, Company each subsidiary, and the entire holding company on a consolidated basis. Other ways of looking at capital are the market value of the capital stock and regulatory capital. Figure V.l: Simplified Structure of a Bank Holding Company A bank holding company parent is typically financed by a combination of debt and equity. Some of the funds from these sources are used to finance activities of the parent company itself. However, most of the funds arc used to support subsidiaries in the form of equity investments or loans. I ‘This is I ypicxlly rc~fc~rcd1.0as downstrcaming funds. Page 08 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank I’owers Appendix V Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms The capital structure of the parent companies of the Nation’s largest bank holding companies is summarized in table V. 1. The table compiles financial data from the parent companies of the top 25 bank holding companies as of June 30, 1989. These companies had a total of $77 bil- lion in equity capital,” $69 billion in long-term debt and other liabilities, and $48 billion in commercial paper and other short-term debt. Of the $194 billion in parent company assets, $102 billion represents funds invested in subsidiaries involved in banking-related activities, $66 bil- lion represents investments in nonbanking subsidiaries, and $26 billion represents investments in other activities of the parent. Table V.!: Capital Structure of the Parent Companjes of the 25 Largest Bank Dollars in billions Holding pompanies as of June 30,1989 Assets 1 lnv&tment& banking subsidiaries $102 ! ioan advances and -other ~._. receivables --___ (24) Equity investments (78)~ Investments s nonbanking subsidiaries 66 Loan adv&ces-and other receivables (52) Equity investments (14) Other assets -~ ~~ ~~..~_~__.__ .-~----~ 26 $194 Liabilities and equity Commercial paper and other short-term debt $48 Long-term debt and other liabilities .._____- ~~-.-~~~ ~~. ~~ 69 Eq& capital ~~~.. .--. -._ .--. ~~ ~~ 77 $194 Notes: Banklng subsldianes include both banks and bank holding companles. This table IS an aggregation of flnanclal data from the 25 largest bank holding companies. Source. Federal Reserve Form Y-9. The information contained in table V. 1 is summarized on a percentage basis in table V.2. For the top 25 bank holding companies, investments in banking subsidiaries represent just over half (53 percent) of parent company assets. As a general rule, a much greater portion of the invest- mcnt in banking subsidiaries is equity than is the case with the invest- ment, in nonbanking subsidiaries. “Vor this purpow, all types of equity capital have been added togcthu. Page 69 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix V Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies , and Section 20 Firms The proportion of parent company assets invested in banking subsidi- aries varies, of course, among bank holding companies. Table V.3 sum- marizes the variation among the 19 U.S. bank holding companies that have been authorized, as of September 30, 1989, to set up Section 20 subsidiaries. This table is comprised of data from the year ending December 31, 1988, the most current end-of-year data available during our study. The proportion of assets invested in banking subsidiaries is less than 40 percent for two of the companies and 80 percent or greater for six of the companies. Tat+e V.2: Capital Structure of the Parent Coppanies of the 25 Largest Bank Figures in percent ____- Holiding Companies as of June 30,1989 Assets --__ Investments in banking subsidiaries -- --___- 53% Loan advances and other.~-.- receivables (13) Equity investments (40) Investments in nonbanking subsidiaries 34 Loan advances .-- and other receivables (27) Equity investments (7) Other assets .-~- ~.- 13 ._____~ -- 100% Liabilities and equity - Commercial paper and other short-term debt ~.. 25% Long-term debt and other liabilities 35 Equity capital .- .~ 40 100% Notes: BankIng subsidianes include both banks and bank holding companies This table is based on an aggregation of financial data from the 25 largest bank holding companies Source: GAO analysis based on table V.l Page 70 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix V Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms Table V.3: Proportion of Parent Company Assets I vested in Bank4ng Subsidiaries Number of U.S. bank in banking for U.S. ank Holding Companies subsidiaries holding companies Authoriz d to Set Up Section 20 Parent company investments in banking authorized to set up Section 20 Subsidia ies as of December 31, 1988 !!?!!?!!!!‘B!!!~___ ~~. ~~_. ~. ~~.~~~~_~ ___ _. subsidiaries lessthan40% 2 40-59 7 60-79 4 i 80-100 6 Total 19 Notes: Information IS not available for two foreign bank holding companies. Banking subsidiaries Include both banks and bank holding companies. Source: GAO analysis based on Federal Reserve Form Y-9 Loans and equity investments received from the parent company are two important elements in the financial arrangements of bank holding company subsidiaries. Each subsidiary also has assets, liabilities, and retained earnings associated with its line of business. The principal lia- bilities of banking subsidiaries are typically deposits. Funds sent from the subsidiary to the parent company take the form of payments of interest and principal on loans and dividends on stock.:’The subsidiary may purchase services from the parent or another subsidiary or may lend money to the parent or another subsidiary. A simplified hypothetical example of the capital structure of holding company subsidiaries is shown in figure V.2, The numbers used are based on the percentages found in table V.2.” The concept of leveraging is important when the capital structure of a bank holding company subsidiary is examined. Financial leverage is the use of debt to supplement equity in a company’s capital structure. A situation called double leveraging exists when a parent company invests borrowed funds in a subsidiary as equity. An example of double leveraging is found in figure V.2. The parent’s equity investment in the bank and nonbank subsidiaries is $47 million. “This is typically referred to as upstreaming funds. ‘In this cxamplc, parent company assets, which were equal to 100 percent in table V.2, equal $100 million. IJsing this as a baseline figure, we developed the relative sizes of the bank and nonbank subsidiaries based on balance sheet data as of year end 1988 for the top 26 bank holding companies. Page 7 1 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix V Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms However, the equity capital of the parent company is only $40 million. Dividing the equity invested in the subsidiaries by the equity of the par- ent gives a ratio that measures the extent to which a company is double leveraged. Double leveraging exists when the ratio exceeds 100 percent. In this example, the ratio is 118 percent. Page 72 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix V Capital &ructure. and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 F’irms Figure V/2: Hypothetical Example of the Capital Structure of Bank Holding Company Subsidiaries (Dollars in millions) Banking Subsldalrles Nonbanking Subsldairles ” -.._ _I __ -..._ ._--.._ Note. Banking subsidiaries includes both bank and bank holding companies Source: GAO analysis based on Table V.2 and Federal Reserve Form Y-9. Page 73 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers .-- / Appendix V I Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy I Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms Table V-4 shows the extent to which the 19 U.S. bank holding companies authorized to set up Section 20 subsidiaries were double leveraged as of December 31, 1988. Three of the companies have ratios below 100 per- cent, and seven of the companies have ratios of 120 percent or greater. In order to evaluate double leveraging in a bank holding company, the Federal Reserve uses a “building block” approach when examining the capital of a bank holding company. This means that the Federal Reserve looks at both the amount and components of capital of the consolidated holding company and of the bank and nonbank subsidiaries. .I .._...-_” ..__. -- Tab e V.4: Frequency of Double Lev,I raging in the U.S. Bank Holding Number of U.S. bank holding companies Companies Authorized to Set Up Section Equity invested in subsidiaries divided by authorized to set up Section 20 20 gubsidiaries as of December 31,1988 total equity of parent subsidiaries 90%.99% 3 100-109 3 110-119 6 120-129 4 / / greater than 129 .-~~~ ~~.~~~~--..-.-..-~ 3 Total 19 Notes: Information IS not available for two foreign bank holding companies. Double leveraging exists when the equity invested in the subsidiaries as a percentage of the total equrty of the parent is greater than 100 percent. Source: GAO analysis based on Federal Reserve Form Y-9 A consolidated statement of assets, liabilities, and capital for the hypo- thetical bank holding company used in figure V.2 is shown in table V.5. Equity capital of $40 million supports $732 million in assets. Equity cap- ital represents the shareholders’ financial ownership and is the principal component of regulatory capital. The ratio of equity capital to assets in this hypothetical holding company is 5.5 percent. Page 74 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers -“---a--- Appendix V Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms Table V.!$ Hypothetical Example of the Capital S ructure of a Consolidated Bank Dollars in millions ---- -----___ - Holding E ompany Assets _____.^ -..----.-._--_-.-__ _- .I_ Assets ____._-.--. $732 -.- Liabilities and Equity Capital --- _----~.----l_-- -- .____ -._ -.-~-.~. Liabilities .._._...._.-. ~~.-- -- $629 Equity capital 40 $732 Source: GAO analysis based on table V.4 and Federal Reserve Form Y-9. The ratio of equity capital to holding company assets varies among bank holding companies. An analysis of the equity capital ratio of the 19 U.S. bank holding companies authorized to set up Section 20 subsidiaries is shown in table V.6. As of December 31, 1988, four of the companies had ratios between 4.5 percent and 5 percent, while six of the companies had ratios greater than 6.5 percent. -_.-.- Table V.zquity Capital as a Percent ge of Bank Holding Company Number of U.S. bank holding companies Assets ”or U.S. Bank Holding Companies authorized to set up Section 20 Authorixed to Set Up Section 20 Equity capital divided by total assets subsidiaries ___-.-. Subsidibries as of December 31,1988 4.5%-4.9% ._-.__.- _.._- ...- ~...~--~- 4 5.054 3 5.5-5.9 -..__II __--.-~. ___.- __.._~~-.--...-~ 3 - 6.064 3 greater than-.._. __.. ..--..- 6.4 ~.~---~ ~~. 6 Total 19 Note: Information is not available for two foreign bank holding companies. Source: GAO analysis from Federal Reserve Form Y-9. Market Value Financial market analysts often look at the capital of bank holding com- panies (or any company) from the point of view of the market value of the company. This is calculated by multiplying total shares outstanding by the price per share. The market value may be greater or less than the book value or equity shown on the company’s financial statements. The ratio of market value to book value is one indication of the company’s financial strength. The range of the market to book value ratio for 16 US. bank holding companies authorized to set up Section 20 companies is shown in Page 7.5 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers - Appendix V Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms table V.7. As of December 31, 1988, the ratios ranged from between 50 percent and 69 percent to more than 130 percent. Tabie V.7: Market Price as a Percentage of Bbok Value Per Share for U.S. Bank Number of U.S. bank holding companies HOI ing Companies Authorized to Set Up authorized to set up Section 20 Set ion 20 Subsidiaries as of December Market price divided bv book value subsidiaries 31, 1 988 50%-69% 3 70-89 2 go-109 3 1 IO-129 3 greater than 129 ____-- --.. 5 Total 16 Note: Information is not available for two foreign and three domestlc bank holding companies Source: Federal Reserve. Ihq?JAatory Capital The Federal Reserve’s basic capital standard for bank holding compa- nies is defined in terms of the holding company’s consolidated financial statements and is stated as a percentage of holding company assets. At present, bank holding companies must have what is termed primary capital equal to at least 5.5 percent of assets and total capital of at least 6 percent of assets5 Total capital is comprised of primary and secondary capital.” The primary and secondary capital ratios applied to the holding company are the same ratios that the Federal Reserve and other federal regulators apply to commercial banks. Regulatory officials can also raise the capital requirements of any individual holding company or bank if circumstances warrant. Table V.8 shows the primary capital as a percentage of the bank holding company assets for the 19 U.S. bank holding companies authorized to set up Section 20 subsidiaries. This table shows that as of December 3 1, 1988, all of the companies were at least 1 percentage point above the minimum 5.5 percent requirement, and most were well above the minimum. “Primary capital consists of common and perpetual preferred stock, surplus (excluding surplus rolat- ing to limited-life-preferred stock), undivided profits, allowance for loan and lease losses, capital reserves, minority interest in consolidated subsidiaries, and a limited amount of perpetual debt instruments and mandatory convertible instruments. “Secondary capital includes perpetual debt, perpetual preferred stock, and mandatory c~onvc~rtibk~ instruments in excess of the limits allowed as primary capital. It also includes limited-lif(:-prcfcrr(,d stock, subordinat,ed notes and debentures, and unsecured long-term debt of the parent. company and its nonbank subsidiaries. Page 76 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers I * -~.-..!--.-- +---..- Appendix V I Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms Table V.Si Primary Capital as a Percenta’ e of Consolidated Bank Number of U.S. bank holding companies Holding 8 ompany Assets for U.S. Bank authorized to set up Section 20 Holding ompanies Authorized to Set Up Primary capital divided by total assets subsidiaries Section $ 0 Subsidiaries as of December less than 6.5% _.._ ~.----~ - 6 31,1988 j 6.5-7.4 ~- 3 7.5-8.4 ~._~_._. -.-- .--- 6 8.5-9.4 ---- __-..- . . - -. 6 -.9ilO.O _. .. .~. ._ ~.._~~. ~. ~-.~- ~. _ _._ ~.4 Total 19 Note: Information is not available for two foreign bank holding companies. Source: GAO analysis from Federal Reserve Form Y-Q I3y the end of 1990, bank holding companies must also meet a new risk- based capital standard. The Federal Reserve is requiring that new risk- based capital requirements applying to banks, bank holding companies, and other federally regulated banking agencies be phased in. This stand- ard takes account of the off-balance sheet commitments, such as letters of credit and guarantees, in addition to the assets included on the bal- ance sheet. The various assets and off-balance sheet items are placed into risk categories that are then weighted by degree of risk. A bank holding company’s risk-based capital ratio is calculated by divid- ing its qualifying capital for regulatory purposes by the sum of its risk- wdighted assets. By year-end 1990, banking organizations are expected to meet a minimum interim target ratio for qualifying total capital to risk-weighted assets of 7.25 percent, and by 1992 the target ratio is 8 percent. At least one-half of these capital targets must be in the form of Tier 1 capital7 and the rest can be Tier 2 capital.# The Section 20 subsidiaries of bank holding companies are required to meet the capital standards for broker-dealers set by SEC.These require- ments are explained in the following section, together with other aspects of holding company capital regulations applicable to Section 20 subsidiaries. ‘Tier 1 capital consists of core capital elements, such as common stockholders’ equity, minority inter- ests in equity accounLsof consolidated subsidiaries, and perpetual preferred stock (limited amounts), less goodwill. “Tier 2 capital includes pcrpctual preferred stock (unlimited amounts) and related SU~@US, allowances for loan and ICWX losses, hybrid capital instruments, and term-subordindtcd debt and intormcdiatc term-preferred stock, including related surplus. Page 77 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix V Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms C$pital Adequacy Roles for Section 20 Subsidiaries and Their H@ding Companies SEjC Rules To ensure that broker-dealers can meet financial responsibilities to their customers and to other market participants, Section 20 firms and all other broker-dealers must comply with SEC’Snet capital rule, which is designed to address the liquidity of securities firms. The net capital rule requires that broker-dealers maintain a minimum capital level at all times. Capital in securities firms consists of equity and various forms of subordinated debt. The net capital rule requires broker-dealers to com- pute their capital from financial statements prepared by valuing the firm’s security positions at current market prices rather than at histori- cal values as banks are permitted to do. The rule then requires that deductions be made from capital for fixed assets, unsecured receivables, and for risk characteristics of particular assets. The risk-related deduc- tions, known as “haircuts,” reflect price fluctuations based on historical experience. When a broker-dealer’s net capital falls below required levels, the broker-dealer must immediately notify its regulators and cease operations unless additional capital is obtained. One significant difference between SEC and bank holding company capi- tal regulations should be noted. The SEC net capital rule applies only to the capital of broker-dealers registered with SEC. The rule does not extend beyond broker-dealers to parent companies, other affiliates, or holding companies on a consolidated basis unless their activities are spe- cifically subject to SEC regulations. Therefore, there is no formal regula- tory control over double leveraging or over other activities of the parent or affiliates of an SEC firm comparable to the regulation that the Federal Reserve applies to bank holding companies with Section 20 subsidiaries. A full comparison between the treatment of capital investments in broker-dealer subsidiaries made by bank holding companies and securi- ties holding companies was beyond the scope of this report. Page 78 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers Appendix V Capital Structure and Capital Adequacy Requirements for Bank Holding Companies and Section 20 Firms Bank! Holding Company In addition to ensuring that Section 20 subsidiaries meet SEC capital Rules; requirements, bank holding companies with Section 20 subsidiaries are also required to meet the Federal Reserve’s capital requirements that / apply to the consolidated holding company. The Federal Reserve Sys- tem’s capital adequacy standards for bank holding companies involve several components. First, as pointed out above, bank holding compa- , nies must have sufficient capital as a percentage of the holding com- pany’s total assets on a consolidated basis. The Board also requires holding companies to capitalize all nonbanking subsidiaries in accord- ance with industry standards and with the risk factors involved in the particular firm. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve can control the amount of investment made in any subsidiary. The aim of the Federal Reserve’s capital regulation is to ensure, to the extent feasible, that the subsidiary can support itself on a stand-alone basis while at the same time maintaining the bank holding company’s ability to serve as a source of financial strength to its subsidiary banks. In computing bank holding company capital ratios, the assets and liabili- ties of any bank holding company subsidiary that is not consolidated for supervisory or regulatory purposes are deducted from the assets, liabili- ties, and capital of the holding company. A Section 20 company, which must comply with SEC’S net capital rule, is such a subsidiary. Hence, the parent’s investment in the Section 20 subsidiary, together with the assets and liabilities of the Section 20 subsidiary, are deducted from the assets, liabilities, and capital of the bank holding company. In approving Section 20 subsidiaries, however, the Federal Reserve has held that the parent investment in the subsidiary cannot weaken the capital of the holding company. Page 79 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers ARpendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the &curities Activities of Banks This appendix highlights the legislation affecting banking organizations’ domestic and foreign activities and summarizes the actions taken by the Federal Reserve Board in allowing Section 20 companies to underwrite and deal in bank-ineligible securities. It also describes SEC’Srole in regu- lating Section 20 companies’ bank-ineligible securities activities. -P imary Legislative ing the securities activities of banking organizations. The relevant stat- P::ovisions Affecting utes are addressed in the order in which the basic statutes were enacted. t e Securities A1 tivities of Banking Otiganizations National Banki ng Act and The securities activities of banks are determined by a variety of federal State Laws and state laws. A number of state laws permit state-chartered banks to engage in some securities activities that are not permitted for national banks. The National Currency Act of 1863 and the National Bank Act of 1864, administered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (occ), cre- ated a system of national banks that today includes about 4,300 banks with about $1.8 trillion in assets. The National Bank Act precluded national banks from underwriting corporate securities directly. How- ever, the statute did not prohibit national banks from being affiliated with organizations that did securities activities. This allowed national banks the opportunity to establish state-chartered affiliates that could do securities activities. Under regulatory guidance from occ, national banks are allowed to engage in a full range of government securities activities, make private placement of corporate securities, and buy and sell all types of securities as agent for customers. National banks can also own for their invest- ment account a limited amount of corporate bonds, provided they are marketable and investment quality. In a 1987 ruling upheld in Septem- ber 1989 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, occ permitted national banks to offer mortgage pass-through certifi- cates, representing interests in mortgage loans originated by the bank. The court found the sale of such certificates within the business of Page80 GAO/GGD-904BankPowers Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks banking and not in violation of Glass-Steagall’s prohibition on under- writing securities. I -c Fedel,da1Reserve Act In 1913, Congress enacted the Federal Reserve Act, which established the Federal Reserve System and its Board of Governors. This act requires national banks to be members of the Federal Reserve System. It also contained provisions allowing state-chartered banks to join the Fed- eral Reserve System, making them member banks and subject to Board regulation, State member banks are subject to the same limitations on their securities activities that apply to national banks. The act also contains provisions that affect the transactions between a bank and its affiliates. Section 23A of this act prohibits a member bank from extending credit to, or purchasing assets from, an affiliate in excess of 10 percent of the bank’s capital and places an aggregate cap of 20 percent of capital for transactions to all affiliates. This section also requires generally that any bank loans to an affiliate be fully collateral- ized as a minimum, or up to 130 percent of the loan amount, depending on the composition of the collateral. Section 23B of this act requires that covered transactions, such as the sale of assets or services purchased under contract, between a bank and an affiliate must be on terms sub- stantially the same as those prevailing at the time for comparable trans- actions involving nonaffiliates. The limitations of Section 23B were made applicable to all FDIc-insured banks in 1987. McFadden Act Under the McFadden Act of 1927, banking activities were limited by provisions prohibiting the interstate branching by banks. However, the law reaffirmed the authority of national banks to buy and sell invest- ment securities. Glass-Steagall Act The Banking Act of 1933 significantly limited the securities activities of banks. Popularly referred to as the Glass-Steagall Act, it contains the following-four sections which deal with the separation of commercial banking from investment banking. ‘See Securities Industry Ass’n. v. Clarke, 88.5 F.2d 1934 (2d Cir. 1989) which is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court. It should be noted that mortgage-related securities activities carried out in a securities subsidiary of a bank holding company have been considered a “bank-ineligible” activity when permissible levels of such activity are calculated for Section 29 purposes. If the CCC interpreta- tion is upheld by the Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve would have to determine whether revenue from the activity constitutes bank-eligible revenue, which would increase the revenue base, as opposed to bank-ineligible revenue, which would not. Page 81 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks * Section 16 prohibits a national bank from underwriting securities other than U.S. government and general obligation bonds of states and munici- palities and certain securities issued or insured by certain specified gov- ernment agencies or instrumentalities. It does, however, allow a national bank to purchase or sell securities without recourse, solely on the order, and for the account of, customers. Section 5(c) of the act extends these prohibitions to state-chartered member banks. l Section 21 prohibits any firm engaged in the deposit-taking business, including a bank, from engaging in the business of issuing, underwriting, selling, or distributing securities, except as permitted under Section 16. + Section 20 prohibits a member bank from being affiliated with any firm engaged principally in the issue, flotation, underwriting, public sale, or distribution of securities.’ . Section 32 prohibits management and employee interlocks between member banks and firms primarily engaged in the issue, flotation, underwriting, public sale, or distribution of securities, except as permit- ted by regulation of the Federal Reserve Board. .-F----- I%$nk Holding Company The Bank llolding Company Act of 1956, as amended, administered by the Board, allows bank holding company nonbank subsidiaries to engage A& in activities that are permissible for banks as well as those that banks are not permitted to engage in. A holding company must, however, com- ply with the provisions contained in the Glass-Steagall Act. Board regu- lations promulgated under the Bank Holding Company Act are contained in its Regulation Y. Under Section 4(c)(8) of the act, the Board can authorize bank holding companies-and their subsidiaries-to engage in activities that it deter- mines are closely related to and a proper incident to banking. This sec- tion of the act also requires the Board to determine that an approved new activity may be expected to produce public benefits, such as greater convenience or increased competition, that outweigh possible adverse effects, such as unsound banking practices and conflicts of interest. In authorizing Section 20 companies, the Board used its authority under the Bank Holding Company Act to impose requirements regarding reve- nue limitations, capitalization, and firewalls. ‘This prohibition does not extend to the securities underwriting activities permissible under ktion 16 of the act, See Securities Industry Ass’n. v. Federal Reserve System, 839, F.2d 47 (2d Cir.), cert. 9, 108 S. Ct. 2830 ( 1988). Page 82 GAO/&D-9048 Bank Powers Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks Inter ational Securiti To allow U.S. banking organizations to be more competitive in foreign lh Activities of U.S. markets, the federal regulatory structure permits domestic commercial banks and bank holding companies to do a range of securities activities Com&ercial Banking overseas that is broader than those permitted in the U.S. market. One Orga+zations primary reason this occurs is that provisions contained in the Glass- Steagall Act do not apply to U.S. banks’ foreign activities. U.S. banking organizations do international securities and other activities primarily through some combination of foreign branches of the domestic parent bank, or through foreign bank and nonbank subsidiaries, Edge Act cor- poration subsidiariesrJ and joint venture companies (noncontrolling interests in foreign banks and financial companies) of the parent bank or bank holding company. An example of the organizational structures that are possible within the holding company is shown in figure VI. 1. %ection 25(a) of the Federal Reserve Act (the Edge Act) authorizes the Board of Governors to char- ter corporations for the purpose of engaging in international or foreign banking or other international and foreign operations. Page 83 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers - Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks Figure VI.1: Possible Organization Structure for the Conduct of U.S. Bank Holding Company’s International Operations I’ I I III U.S. locations I ~ ’ Overseas locations ID, Page 84 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks All of these organizational structures must comply with applicable U.S. laws regarding powers, capitalization, and transactions within the hold- ing company. In addition, all of the organizational arrangements must comply with the banking laws and regulations of the host country.4 The following statutory provisions of the Federal Reserve Act and the Bank Holding Company Act are the key guidelines for the overseas activities of member banks and bank holding companies. Section 25 of the Federal Reserve Act permits national banks to estab- lish foreign branches, invest directly in foreign banks, and exercise other powers, including limited securities activities that are usual in connection with banking in the place where foreign branches transact business5 Branches are limited by statute to underwriting and distribut- ing only government securities of the country in which the branch is located. Section 25(a) of the Federal Reserve Act authorizes national banks to own Edge Act corporations and gives Edge Act corporations a broad range of foreign investment powers. Section 4(c)( 13) of the Bank Holding Company Act allows U.S. bank holding companies to make direct foreign investments. Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act limit transactions between the domestic bank and the bank holding company parent or its affiliates. The relationships to which these limitations apply are summa- rized in figure VI.2. The restrictions do not apply to transactions taking place within the shaded box shown in figure VI.2. Everything in the shaded box is owned by the bank and, for bank regulatory purposes, can be viewed on a consolidated basis. “Ranking and securities regulatory structures and rules vary among countries. For example, the Glass-Steagall Act in the IJnited States and its equivalent, Article 65, in Japan separate the securities and banking industries and thus result in different regulatory structures than in the United Kingdom, where banks are allowed to engage in securities activities. “Under the provisions of Section 9 of the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Reserve interprets Section 26 to also apply to state-chartered member banks. Page 85 GAO/GGD-SO-48 Bank Powers Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks Figu/re Vl.2: Limitations on Transactions Between Affiliates in U.S. Banking Organization’s International Operations U.S. Bank Holding Company \ U.S. locations I II I ’ Overseas locations L- J ” :::::::::::::;:;:::::;:;::::j .i;:i:ili:;ilijl:i:iiiijiii ....~...~.~.~.~....... : .:>:~:~Yj::j, .:.:.:.Transactions unrestricted Page 86 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers --------I Appendix Vl T h e Regulatory F r a m e w o r k A ffecting the Securities Activities of B a n k s R e g u l a tio n K i m p l e m e n ts key sections o f th e F e d e r a l R e s e r v e a n d B a n k H o l d i n g C o m p a n y A c tsfi It describes th e activities th a t b a n k s a n d b a n k h o l d i n g c o m p a n i e sm a y e n g a g ein o v e r s e a sth r o u g h fo r e i g n branches, fo r e i g n subsidiaries, a n d E d g e A c t corporations. T h e activities permitted b y R e g u l a tio n K generally e n c o m p a s sall d o m e s tic b a n k i n g p o w e r s plus s o m e a d d i tio n a l b a n k i n g p o w e r s (in th e c a s e o f b r a n c h e s ) a n d invest- m e n t b a n k i n g p o w e r s , s u c h a s underwriting a n d d e a l i n g in e q u i ty securi- tie s (in th e c a s e o f subsidiaries). Generally, U .S . b a n k i n g organizations m a y e n g a g ein activities permitted b y R e g u l a tio n K to th e extent th a t th e s e activities a r e permitted b y h o s t c o u n try regulators. S u b j e c t to prior B o a r d approval, b a n k s or b a n k h o l d i n g c o m p a n i e sm a y also e n g a g e in activities th a t a r e n o t prescribed in R e g u l a tio n K b u t a r e permissible b y th e regulations o f th e h o s t c o u n try. T o illustrate th e o p p o r tunities th a t exist o v e r s e a s for b a n k h o l d i n g c o m - p a n i e s to e n g a g ein securities activities, th e constituent e l e m e n ts o f b a n k h o l d i n g c o m p a n i e seligible to underwrite corporate d e b t a r e s h o w n in fig u r e V I.3 . E x c e p t for th e S e c tio n 2 0 firm s , all o f this underwriting m u s t ta k e p l a c e in e n titie s o f th e b a n k or its h o l d i n g c o m p a n y th a t can- n o t o p e r a te in U .S . d o m e s tic securities m a r k e ts, S e c tio n 2 0 c o m p a n i e s c a n underwrite corporate d e b t,a n d e q u i ty only a fter receiving prior a p p r o v a l from th e F e d e r a l Reserve. “Iicgulation K also implements the International B a n k i n g Act of 1 9 7 8 (which a d d r e s s e sthe IJ.S. activ- ities of foreign banks), the B a n k Export ServicesAct (which relates to export trading companies),a n d the International L e n d i n gS u p e r v i s i o nAct (which s t r e n g t h e n e dfederal supervisionof the foreign l e n d i n g of’IJ.S. bunks). A s n o t e d a b o v e ,g e n e r a lregulationsi m p l e m e n t i n gthe B a n k H o l d i n g C o m p a n y Act a r e c o n t a i n e din R e g u l a t i o nY . Page 87 G A O /G G D - 9 0 - 4 8 B a n k P o w e r s Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks Figbre Vl.3: Constituent Elements of U.S. Bank Holding Companies Eligible to Underwrite Corporate Debt U.S. Bank Holding Company I I 1* I II U.S. locations I 1 Overseas locations LI J ~~ :... Transactions unrestricted >..............,.......... * Organlzational elements eligible to underwrite corporate debt 1 Only 4 Section 20 companies authorized to underwnte corporate debt as of September 30, 1989. Page 8H GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks Regulation K contains specific limitations on some of the activities that are allowed. For example, the aggregate commitment of a banking organization and its subsidiaries to underwrite shares of an issuer can- not exceed $15 million. In addition, the total loans and extensions of credit, including underwriting commitments, to any one person by an Edge Corporation or foreign bank subsidiary of a member bank when aggregated with loans and extensions of credit by the member bank to that person cannot exceed the member bank’s limitations on loans and extensions of credit to any one person. Regulation K does not impose on the foreign operations of U.S. banking organizations many of the so-called firewall provisions that apply to nontraditional domestic activities. For example, there are no such restrictions on interlocking boards of directors or joint marketing activi- ties between a bank and nonbank affiliate. A reason for this is that many of the firewalls are designed to protect the investing public and depositors in the United States and to encourage competition in the U.S. market. Regulation K does, however, require that all U.S. banking orga- nizations’ operations be in accordance with high standards of banking or financial prudence. The Federal Reserve is reviewing Regulation K now and intends to pub- lish a revised regulation for comment by early 1990. Federal Reserve officials said that they expect a significant area of industry concern to be the quantitative limitations that Regulation K imposes on securities underwriting and dealing activities. The international activities of US. banking organizations are subject to supervisory examinations and inspections by the Federal Reserve, OCC, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).~ In addition, these U.S. bank regulators reached an agreement with the central banks and banking supervisors of 11 other industrialized countries on international guidelines for uniform, risk-based capital standards8 These guidelines are explained in appendix V. Regulators from these countries, including the IJnited States, have also agreed to broad supervisory guidelines. ‘The Federal Reserve is responsible for regulating and supervising the foreign operations of member banks and bank holding companies. The Federal Reserve also charters, regulates, and supervises Edge Act corporations. OCC charters and supervises national banks. State nonmember banks, which are regulated by FDIC, have relatively small international operations. sThe 11 other industrial countries include Belgium, Cawdda, France, Germany, Italy, .Javdn, Luxem- bourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the IJnited Kingdom. Page 89 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks The Board may use two methods to allow bank holding companies to Recent Board Actions initiate new activities that it determines are closely related to banking. Affecting the The Board can amend its regulations to determine that an activity is Securities Activities of closely related to banking. Once added to this list of permissible activi- ties, the approval process for a bank holding company to engage in this U$3.Banking activity is simplified. The Board can also approve applications submit- O#ganizations ted to it by individual holding companies seeking its approval to initiate new activities specified in their applications. As of October 1989, the Board’s Regulation Y listed 24 activities that it determined are closely related to banking and appropriate activities for holding companies to do; 6 of them are related to securities activities. (See table VI. 1.) Through its application process, the Board has also approved requests by holding companies to do 25 additional new activities that were not specifically listed in the Board’s regulations. Beginning in 1987, the Board began approving, on a case-by-case basis, applications submitted by bank holding companies seeking to under- write and deal in bank-ineligible securities through wholly owned non- bank subsidiaries. When the Board approved these additional securities powers for bank holding companies and determined that the activities of the companies were consistent with Section 20 of the Glass-Steagall Act, it used its authority under the Bank Holding Company Act to establish firewall requirements. Page 90 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers . -..- Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks Table \ Iljl: Activities Closely Related to Bankin Approved for Bank Holding Activities Securities-related --.-_____.- Compa es Contained in Regulation Y Making and servicing loans No Industrial banking No_______.._ -.--~ -.~~..-..~~-. Trust company functions ..~~.---. -~-____ Yes __- Investment or financial advice ~~ -~~__ Yes Leasing personal or real property No Community development No _______ -.__~--.--..- Data processing No Insurance agency and brokerage in connection with credit No extensions ____- Underwriting insurance - ~~.related ~~-- ..~to an extension of credit No Providing courier No -. _-- services _. - _._..... -...-. . .~~----- Management consulting to non-affiliated bank and nonbank No deposit institutions issuing and selling money orders, savings bonds, and No travelers checks -~ --.-~.- .___ _.._ _. .~~._~.~~~...~~_~ - // Real estate and personal property appraising No Arranging commercial real estate equity financing No Securit&brokerage Yes .-..__.-~~~----~ ~~~ Underwriting and dealing in government obligations and Yes money._-.market instruments _______~~_ .__ -- ~~~ ~..-~~ Foreign exchan&advisory and transactional services No -~~~ ..~~._ .______- Future commission merchant -___ Yes Investment advice on financial futures and options on futures Yes ..-_. ~. . ..~ Consumer financial counseling No Tax planning and preparation _~~~ -__- No Check-guaranty servrces No_ ..~~~-_~--.-~~~ --... .~~ Operating a collection agency No Operating a credit bureau No SECregulates Section 20 companies no differently from any other bro- SEC’Regulation of ker-dealer. A securities subsidiary registers with SEC and a self- Section 20 Companies regulatory organization (SRO), such as NASD or NYSE, depending on the type of activity it plans to pursue. SROSmonitor the activities of regis- tered securities firms, SEC,in turn, oversees the rules and activities of the SNOSand, on a selective basis, of individual firms as well. The regula- tory system is thus a mixture of self-regulation and direct regulation by SIX:.SECprovides direct oversight by doing investigations, by taking dis- ciplinary actions against firms or against an SRO itself for not doing an adequate self-regulatory job, and by implementing or changing its existing regulations. SRO rules are subject to SEC approval. Pagr 91 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix Vl The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Banks SROSevaluate members for financial health and compliance with both SECregulations and their own. Enforcement is carried out through peri- odic, unannounced examinations; investigations of alleged violations; disciplinary action against members; and assessment of penalties where appropriate. The SRO tests individuals before they can be registered as principals or representatives (except for individuals associated with firms solely engaged in government securities transactions). Principals are responsible for the management and/or supervision of the securities firm. All but three of the Section 20 companies that were authorized as of September 30, 1989, have designated NASD as their primary SRO. NASD- registered members can engage in investment banking and deal in over- the-counter securities. Three Section 20 companies have designated NBE as their primary SRO. Generally, SEC has no authority over the underwriting, dealing, or secur- ities brokerage activities of banks. The Federal Reserve enforces its firewalls applicable to Section 20 firms since these firms are affiliated with bank holding companies. SEC specifies its own regulations regarding capital and personnel but makes no mention of separating the banking and securities subsidiaries of bank holding companies. The Federal Reserve instructs its examiners not to duplicate the function of the SRO or SEC. SEC and the Federal Reserve have no formal contact with each other regarding firewalls. An SEC attempt to regulate a securities activity within a bank (i.e., not within a subsidiary corporation) was invalidated by a court ruling. Spe- cifically, in 1985, SEC adopted Rule 3b-9, which would have required banks engaging in securities business for profit to register as broker- dealers with SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia declared Rule 3b-9 unlaw- ful under the 1934 act. The court noted, however, that despite recent FDIC and Federal Reserve Board interpretations of the Glass-Steagall Act permitting banks to engage in brokerage services for nonbanking cus- tomers, the 1934 act still specifically excluded banks from rules gov- erning broker-dealers and suggested any change in this interpretation would require action by Congress. (See American Bankers Ass’n. v. Page 92 GAO/GGDSO-QS Bank Powers Appendix VI The Regulatory Framework Affecting the Securities Activities of Bauks S.E.C., 804 F.2d 739, 750 (D.C. Cir. 1986).) In 1987, SEC supported legis- lation that Congress did not enact, which would have given SEC power to regulate certain securities activities of banks.” “Both the IIouse and the Senate introduced legislation in 1988 (1I.R. 6094 and S.1886, respectively) that would have amended the Glass-Steagall Act and expand SEC’s power to regulate certain bank securities activities; Congress did not enact this legislation. Page 93 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Adpendix VII / Ij’irewaUsApplicable to Section 20 F’irms That underwrite and Deal Only in Municipal Revenue Bonds, Mortgage-Relatedand Asset- Backed - Securities, and/or Commercial Paper This appendix quotes the firewall requirements the Board established in April 1987. The Board still applies these firewalls to Section 20 compa- nies having authority to underwrite and deal only in municipal revenue bonds, mortgage-related and asset-backed securities, and/or commercial paper. “A. Types of Securities to be Underwritten 1, The underwriting subsidiaries shall limit their underwriting and deal- ing in ineligible securities to the following:’ a. Municipal revenue bonds that are rated as investment quality (i.e., in one of the top four categories) by a nationally recognized rating age&y, except that industrial development bonds in these categories shall be limited to “public ownership” industrial development bonds (i.e., those tax exempt bonds where the issuer, or the governmental unit on behalf of which the bonds are issued, is the sole owner, for federal income tax purposes, of the financed facility (such as airports and mass commuting facilities)). b. Mortgage-related securities (obligations secured by or representing an interest in l-4 family residential real estate), rated as investment quality (i.e., in one of the top 4 categories) by a nationally recognized rating agency. c. Commercial paper that is exempt from registration and prospectus requirements of the S.E.C. pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933 and that is short term, of prime quality, and issued in denominations no smaller than $100,000.” “B. Capital Investment 2. Each Applicant’s investment in an underwriting subsidiary and the assets of the underwriting subsidiary shall be excluded in determining the holding company’s consolidated primary capital under the Board’s Capital Adequacy Guidelines.” “C. Capital Adequacy 3. The underwriting subsidiary shall maintain at all times capital ade- quate to support its activity and cover reasonably expected expenses and losses in accordance with industry norms. 4. Applicants shall submit quarterly to the Federal Reserve Bank of New ‘Authority to underwrite and deal in consumer-receivable-related securities was not included in the April 1987 Order. This authority was added in a separate Order in May 1987. Page 94 GAO/GGD-9049 Bank Powers I . Appendix VII Firewalls Applicable to Section 20 Firms That Underwrite and Deal Only in Municipal Revenue Bonds, Mortgage-Related and Asset- Backed Securities, and/or Commercial Paper York FOCUS reports filed with the NASD or other self-regulatory organi- zations, and detailed information breaking down the underwriting sub- sidiaries’ business with respect to eligible and ineligible securities, in order to permit monitoring of the underwriting subsidiaries’ compliance with the provisions of this Order.” “D. Credit Extensions by Lending Affiliates to Customers of the Under- writing Subsidiary 5. No Applicant or subsidiary shall extend credit, issue or enter into a stand-by letter of credit, asset purchase agreement, indemnity, insur- ance or other facility that might be viewed as enhancing the creditworthiness or marketability of an ineligible securities issue under- written by an affiliated underwriting subsidiary. 6. No lending affiliate of an underwriting subsidiary shall knowingly extend credit to a customer secured by, or for the purpose of purchas- ing, any ineligible security that an affiliated underwriting subsidiary underwrites during the period of the underwriting, or to purchase from the underwriting subsidiary any ineligible security in which the under- writing subsidiary makes a market. This limitation extends to all cus- tomers of lending affiliates, including brokers-dealers, and unaffiliated banks, but does not include lending to a broker-dealer for the purchase of securities where an affiliated bank is the clearing bank for such bro- ker-dealer. 7. No Applicant or any of its subsidiaries may make loans to issuers of ineligible securities underwritten by an affiliated underwriting subsidi- ary for the purpose of the payment of principal and interest on such securities, To assure compliance with the foregoing, any credit lines extended to an issuer by any lending subsidiary of the bank holding company shall provide for substantially different timing, terms, condi- tions and maturities from the ineligible securities being underwritten. It would be clear, for example, that a credit has substantially different terms and timing if it is for a documented special purpose (other than the payment of principal and interest) or there is substantial participa- tion by other lenders. 8. Each Applicant shall adopt appropriate procedures, including mainte- nance of necessary documentary records, to assure that any extensions of credit to issuers of ineligible securities underwritten or dealt in by an underwriting subsidiary are on an arm’s length basis for purposes other than payment of principal and interest on the issuer’s ineligible securi- ties being underwritten or dealt in by the subsidiary. An extension of Page 96 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix VU Firewalls Applicable to Section 20 Firms That Underwrite and Deal Only in Municipal Revenue Bonds, Mortgage-Related and Asset- Backed Securities, and/or Commercial Paper credit is considered to be on an arm’s length basis if the terms and condi- tions are substantially the same as those prevailing at the time for com- parable transactions with issuers whose securities are not underwritten or dealt in by the underwriting subsidiaries. 9. The requirements relating to credit extensions to issuers noted in paragraphs 5-8 above shall also apply to extensions of credit to parties that are major users of projects that are financed by industrial revenue bonds.” “E. Limitations to Maintain Separateness of an Underwriting Affiliate’s Activity 10. There will be no officer, director, or employee interlocks between an underwriting subsidiary and any of the holding company’s bank or thrift subsidiaries. The underwriting subsidiary will have separate offices from any affiliated bank.” “F. Disclosure by the Underwriting Subsidiary 11. An underwriting subsidiary will provide each of its customers with a special disclosure statement describing the difference between the underwriting subsidiary and its banking affiliates and pointing out an affiliated bank could be a lender to an issuer and referring the customer to the disclosure documents for details. The statement shall also indicate that the obligations of the underwriting subsidiary are not those of any affiliated bank and that the bank is not responsible for securities sold by the underwriting subsidiary. The underwriting subsidiary should dis- close any material lending relationship between the issuer and a bank or lending affiliate of the underwriting subsidiary as required under the securities laws and in every case whether the proceeds of the issue will be used to repay outstanding indebtedness to affiliates. 12. No underwriting subsidiary nor any affiliated bank or thrift institu- tion will engage in advertising or enter into an agreement stating or sug- gesting that an affiliated bank is responsible in any way for the underwriting subsidiary’s obligations. 13. No bank or thrift affiliate of the underwriting subsidiary will act as agent for, or engage in marketing activities on behalf of, the underwrit- ing subsidiaries. In this regard, prospectuses and sales literature of an underwriting subsidiary may not be distributed by a bank or thrift affil- iate; nor should any such literature be made available to the public at any offices of any such affiliate, unless specifically requested by a customer.” Page 96 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers ----, . Appendix VII Firewalls Applicable to Section 20 Firms That Underwrite and Deal Only in Municipal Revenue Bonds, Mortgage-Related and Asset- Backed Securities, and/or Commercial Paper “G. Investment Advice by Bank/Thrift Affiliates 14. An affiliated bank or thrift institution may not express an opinion with respect to the advisability of the purchase of ineligible securities underwritten or dealt in by an underwriting subsidiary unless the bank or thrift affiliate notifies the customer that its affiliated underwriting subsidiary is underwriting or making a market in the security.” “H. Conflicts of Interest 15. No Applicant nor any of its subsidiaries, other than the underwriting subsidiary, shall purchase, as principal, ineligible securities that are underwritten by the underwriting subsidiary during the period of the underwriting and for 60 days after the close of the underwriting period, or shall purchase from the underwriting subsidiary any ineligible secur- ity in which the underwriting subsidiary makes a market except that, in the case of ineligible securities that are being issued in a simultaneous cross-border underwriting in which the underwriting subsidiary and a foreign affiliate or affiliates are participating, such securities may be purchased or sold pursuant to an intersyndicate agreement for the period of the underwriting where the purchase or sale results from bona fide indications of interest from customers. Such purchases or sales shall not be made for purposes of providing liquidity or capital support to the underwriting subsidiary or otherwise to evade the requirements of this Order. An underwriting subsidiary shall maintain documentation on such transactions.2 16. No Applicant nor any of its bank, thrift, or trust or investment advi- sory company subsidiaries shall purchase, as a trustee or in any other fiduciary capacity, for accounts over which they have investment dis- cretion ineligible securities (i) underwritten by the underwriting subsidiary as lead underwriter of syndicate member during the period of any underwriting or selling syn- dicate, and for a period of 60 days after the termination thereof, and (ii) from the underwriting subsidiary if it makes a market in that secur- ity, unless, in either case, such purchase is specifically authorized under the instrument creating the fiduciary relationship, by court order, or by the law of the jurisdiction under which the trust is administered. 17, An underwriting subsidiary may not underwrite or deal in any ineli- gible securities issued by its affiliates or representing interests in, or secured by, obligations originated or sponsored by its affiliate (except for grantor trusts or special purpose corporations created to facilitate ‘This firewall w&q modified, as above, in a January 1990 Board Order. Page 97 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix VU Firewalls Applicable to Section 20 Firms That Underwrite and Deal Only in Municipal Revenue Bonds, Mortgage-Related and Asset- Backed Securities, and/or Commercial Paper underwriting of securities backed by residential mortgages originated by a non-affiliated lender) unless such securities are rated by an unaffili- ated, nationally recognized rating organization or are issued or guaran- teed by the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or the Government National Mortgage Association or represent interests in securities issued or guaranteed by such agenciesZ1 18. No bank or thrift shall, directly or indirectly, for its own account, purchase financial assets of an affiliated underwriting subsidiary or a subsidiary thereof or sell such assets to the underwriting subsidiary or subsidiary thereof. This limitation shall not apply to the purchase and sale of U.S. Treasury securities or direct obligations of the Canadian fed- eral government that are not subject to repurchase or reverse repur- chase agreements between the underwriting subsidiary and its bank or thrift affiliates4 ” “I. Limitations to Address Possible Unfair Competition 19. No lending affiliate of an underwriting subsidiary may disclose to the underwriting subsidiary any nonpublic customer information con- sisting of an evaluation of the creditworthiness of an issuer or other cus- tomer of the underwriting subsidiary (other than as required by securities laws and with the issuer’s consent) and no officers or employ- ees of the underwriting subsidiary may disclose such information to its affiliates.” “J. Formation of Subsidiaries of an Underwriting Subsidiary to Engage in Underwriting and Dealing 20. Pursuant to Regulation Y, no corporate reorganization of an under- writing subsidiary, such as the establishment of subsidiaries of the underwriting subsidiary to conduct the activities, may be consummated without prior Board approval.” “This firewall was modified, as above, in a September 1989 Board Order. ,‘This firewall was modified, as above, in January 1989 and January 1990 Board Orders. Page 98 GAO/GGD-9043 Bank Powem Appen$x*VIII FirkzwallsImposed by the Federal Reserve Board on Section 20 Companies Authorized to Un#erwrite ayld Deal in Corporate Debt and El&ity Securities This appendix quotes the firewall requirements applicable to Section 20 companies authorized by the Board to underwrite and deal in corporate debt and equity securities. These requirements, first promulgated in January 1989, apply to all ineligible securities activities carried out in those Section 20 firms, not just corporate debt and equity. At the pre- sent time, no Section 20 company has been permitted to commence underwriting and dealing in corporate equities. “A. Capital Adequacy Conditions l(a). In determining compliance with the Board’s Capital Adequacy Guidelines, each Applicant shall deduct from its consolidated primary capital any investment it makes in the underwriting subsidiary that is treated as capital in the underwriting subsidiary. In accordance with the risk-based component of the Board’s Capital Guidelines, Applicant shall deduct 50 percent of the amount of any investment in the underwriting subsidiary from Tier 1 capital and 50 percent from Tier 2 capital. In calculating primary capital and risk-based capital ratios, Applicant should also exclude the underwriting subsidiary’s assets from the hold- ing company’s consolidated assets. (b). Applicant shall also deduct from its regulatory capital any credit it or a nonbank subsidiary extends directly or indirectly to the underwrit- ing subsidiary unless the extension of credit is fully secured by U.S. Treasury securities or other marketable securities and is collateralized in the same manner and to the same extent as would be required under section 23A(c) of the Federal Reserve Act if the extension of credit were made by a member bank.’ In the case of the risk-based component of the Board’s Capital Guidelines, the deductions for unsecured or not fully- secured or inadequately collateralized loans shall be taken 50 percent from Tier 1 and 50 percent from Tier 2 as described above. Notwithstanding these adjustments, Applicant should continue to main- tain adequate capital on a fully consolidated basis. 2. No Applicant nor any of its nonbank subsidiaries shall, directly or indirectly, provide any funds to, or for the benefit of, an underwriting subsidiary, whether in the form of capital, secured or unsecured exten- sions of credit, or transfer of assets, without prior notice to and approval by the Board. 3. Before commencing the new activities, each Applicant must submit to the Board acceptable plans to raise additional capital as required by this Order or demonstrate that it is strongly capitalized and will remain so after making the capital adjustments authorized or required by this ‘An extension of credit means any loan, guarantee, or other form of credit exposure, including those described in condition 6. Page 99 GAO/GGDSO-48 Bank Powers Appendix VIII Firewalls Imposed by the Federal Reserve Board on Section 20 Companies Authorized to Underwrite and Deal in C!erporate Debt and Equity Securities Order. An Applicant may not commence the proposed activities until it has received a Board determination that the capital plan satisfies the requirements of this Order and has raised the additional capital required under the plan. 4. The underwriting subsidiary shall maintain at all times capital ade- quate to support its activity and cover reasonably expected expenses and losses in accordance with industry norms.” “B. Credit Extensions to Customers of the Underwriting Subsidiary2 5. No applicant or subsidiary shall directly or indirectly extend credit, issue or enter into a stand-by letter of credit, asset purchase agreement, indemnity, guarantee, insurance or other facility that might be viewed as enhancing the creditworthiness or marketability of an ineligible securities issue underwritten or distributed by the underwriting subsidi- ary. 6. No Applicant or subsidiary (other than the underwriting subsidiary) shall knowingly extend credit to a customer directly or indirectly secured by, or for the purpose of purchasing, any ineligible security that an affiliated underwriting subsidiary underwrites during the period of the underwriting or for 30 days thereafter, or to purchase from the underwriting subsidiary any ineligible security in which the underwrit- ing subsidiary makes a market. This limitation extends to all customers of Applicant and its subsidiaries, including broker-dealers and unaffili- ated banks, but does not include lending to a broker-dealer for the pur- chase of securities where an affiliated bank is the clearing bank for such broker-dealer. 7. No Applicant or any of its subsidiaries may, directly or indirectly, extend credit to issuers of ineligible securities underwritten by an affili- ated underwriting subsidiary for the purpose of the payment of princi- pal, interest or dividends on such securities. To assure compliance with the foregoing, any credit lines extended to an issuer by any bank holding company or any subsidiary shall provide for substantially different tim- ing, terms, conditions and maturities from the ineligible securities being underwritten. It would be clear, for example, that a credit has substan- tially different terms and timing if it is for a documented special pur- pose (other than the payment of principal, interest or dividends) or there is substantial participation by other lenders. 8. Each Applicant shall adopt appropriate procedures, including mainte- nance of necessary documentary records, to assure that any extension ‘?Jnless otherwise stated, these conditions shall apply to a subsidiary of a bank or thrift institution to the same extent as they apply to the bank or thrift institution. Page 100 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix VIII Firewalls Imposed by the Federal Reserve Board on Section 20 Companies Authorized to Underwrite and Deal in Corporate Debt and Equity Securities of credit by it or any of its subsidiaries to issuers of ineligible securities underwritten or dealt in by an underwriting subsidiary are on an arm’s length basis for purposes other than payment of principal, interest, or dividends on the issuer’s ineligible securities being underwritten or dealt in by the underwriting subsidiary. An extension of credit is considered to be on an arm’s length basis if the terms and conditions are substan- tially the same as those prevailing at the time for comparable transac- tions with issuers whose securities are not underwritten or dealt in by the underwriting subsidiary. 9. In any transaction involving an underwriting subsidiary, Applicants’ thrift subsidiaries shall observe the limitations of sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act as if the thrifts were banks. 10. The requirements relating to credit extensions to issuers noted in paragraphs 5 - 9 above shall also apply to extensions of credit to parties that are major users of projects that are financed by industrial revenue bonds. 11. Applicants shall cause their subsidiary banks and thrifts to adopt policies and procedures, including appropriate limits on exposure, to govern their participation in financing transactions underwritten or arranged by an underwriting subsidiary as set forth in this Order. The Reserve Banks shall ensure that these policies and procedures are in place at Applicants’ subsidiary banks and thrifts and Applicants shall assure that loan documentation is available for review by Reserve Banks to ensure that an independent and thorough credit evaluation has been undertaken in connection with bank or thrift participation in such financing packages and that such lending complies with the require- ments of this Order and section 23B of the Federal Reserve Act. 12. Applicants should also establish appropriate policies, procedures, and limitations regarding exposure of the holding company on a consoli- dated basis to any single customer whose securities are underwritten or dealt in by the underwriting subsidiary.” “C. Limitations to Maintain Separateness of an Underwriting Affiliate’s Activity 13. There will be no officer, director, or employee interlocks between an underwriting subsidiary and any of the holding company’s bank or thrift subsidiaries. The underwriting subsidiary will have separate offices from any affiliated bank or thrift.” ” “An underwriting subsidiary may have offices in the same building as a bank or thrift affiliate if the underwriting subsidiary’s offices are clearly distinguished from those of the bank or thrift affiliate. Page 101 GAO/GGD-SO-48 Bank Powers Appendix VIII Firewalls Imposed by the Federal Reserve Board on Section 20 Companies Authorized to UnderwrIte and Deal in Corporate Debt and Equity Securities “D. Disclosure by the Underwriting Subsidiary 14. An underwriting subsidiary will provide each of its customers with a special disclosure statement describing the difference between the underwriting subsidiary and its bank and thrift affiliates and pointing out that an affiliated bank or thrift could be a lender to an issuer and referring the customer to the disclosure documents for details. In addi- tion, the statement shall state that securities sold, offered, or recom- mended by the underwriting subsidiary are not deposits, are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, are not guaranteed by an affiliated bank or thrift, and are not otherwise an obligation or responsibility of such a bank or thrift (unless such is the case). The underwriting subsidi- ary should also disclose any material lending relationship between the issuer and a bank or lending affiliate of the underwriting subsidiary as required under the securities laws and in every case whether the pro- ceeds of the issue will be used to repay outstanding indebtedness to affiliates.” “E. Marketing Activities on Behalf of an Underwriting Subsidiary 15. No underwriting subsidiary nor any affiliated bank or thrift institu- tion will engage in advertising or enter into an agreement stating or sug- gesting that an affiliated bank or thrift is responsible in any way for the underwriting subsidiary’s obligations as required under section 23B of the Federal Reserve Act. 16. No bank or thrift affiliate of the underwriting subsidiary will act as agent for, or engage in marketing activities on behalf of, the underwrit- ing subsidiaryW4In this regard, prospectuses and sales literature relating to securities being underwritten or dealt in by an underwriting subsidi- ary may not be distributed by a bank or thrift affiliate; nor should any such literature be made available to the public at any offices of any such affiliate, unless specifically requested by a customer.” “F. Investment Advice by Bank/Thrift Affiliates 17. An affiliated bank or thrift institution may not express an opinion on the value or the advisability of the purchase or the sale of ineligible securities underwritten or dealt in by an affiliated underwriting subsidi- ary unless the bank or thrift notifies the customer that the underwriting “This condition does not prevent a bank or thrift from informing its customers of the available ser- vices of the underwriting subsidiary. Page 102 GAO/GM%9048 Bank Powers Appendix VIII Fix~walls Imposed by the Federal Reserve Board on Section 20 Companies Authorized to Underwrite and Deal in Corporate Debt and Equity Securities subsidiary is underwriting, making a market, distributing or dealing in the security. 18. No Applicant nor any of its bank, thrift, or trust or investment advi- sory subsidiaries shall purchase, as a trustee or in any other fiduciary capacity, for accounts over which they have investment discretion ineli- gible securities (a) underwritten by the underwriting subsidiary as lead underwriter or syndicate member during the period of any underwriting or selling syndicate, and for a period of 60 days after the termination thereof, and (b) from the underwriting subsidiary if it makes a market in that security, unless, in either case, such purchase is specifically authorized under the instrument creating the fiduciary relationship, by court order, or by the law of the jurisdiction under which the trust is administered.” “G. Extensions of Credit and Purchases and Sales of Assets 19. No Applicant nor any of its subsidiaries, other than the underwriting subsidiary, shall purchase, as principal, ineligible securities that are underwritten by the underwriting subsidiary during the period of the underwriting and for 60 days after the close of the underwriting period, or shall purchase from the underwriting subsidiary any ineligible secur- ity in which the underwriting subsidiary makes a market except that, in the case of ineligible securities that are being issued in a simultaneous cross-border underwriting in which the underwriting subsidiary and a foreign affiliate or affiliates are participating, such securities may be purchased or sold pursuant to an intersyndicate agreement for the period of the underwriting where the purchase or sale results from bona fide indications of interest from customers. Such purchases or sales shall not be made for purposes of providing liquidity or capital support to the underwriting subsidiary or otherwise to evade the requirements of this Order. An underwriting subsidiary shall maintain documentation on such transactions.” 20. An underwriting subsidiary may not underwrite or deal in any ineli- gible securities issued by its affiliates or representing interests in, or secured by, obligations originated or sponsored by its affiliates (except for grantor trusts or special purpose corporations created to facilitate underwriting of securities backed by residential mortgages originated by a non-affiliated lender) unless the securities are rated by an unaffiliated, nationally recognized rating organization or are issued or guaranteed by the Federal National Mortgage Corporation, or the Government National “This firewall was modified, as above, in a January 1990 Board Order. Page 103 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix VIII Flrewalls Imposed by the Federal Reserve Board on Section 20 Companies Authorized t,o Underwrite and Deal in Corporate Debt and Equity Securities Mortgage Association or represent interests in securities issued or guar- anteed by such agencies.” 21(a). Applicants shall assure that no bank or thrift subsidiary shall, directly or indirectly, extend credit in any manner to an affiliated underwriting subsidiary or a subsidiary thereof; or issue a guarantee, acceptance, or letter of credit, including an endorsement or standby let- ter of credit, for the benefit of the underwriting subsidiary or a subsidi- ary thereof. (b). This prohibition shall not apply to an extension of credit by a ba.nk or thrift to an underwriting subsidiary that is incidental to the provision of clearing services by the bank or thrift to the underwriting subsidiary with respect to securities of the United States or Canada or their agen- cies, or securities on which the principal and interest are fully guaran- teed by the United States or Canada or their agencies, if the extension of credit is fully secured by such securities, is on market terms, and is repaid on the same calendar day. If the intra-day clearing of such securi- ties cannot be completed because of a bona fide fail or operational prob- lem incidental to the clearing process that is beyond the control of the bank or thrift and the underwriting subsidiary, the bank or thrift may continue the intra-day extension of credit overnight provided the exten- sion of credit is fully secured as to principal and interest as described above, is on market terms, and is repaid as early as possible on the next business day.7 22. No bank or thrift shall, directly or indirectly, for its own account, purchase financial assets of an affiliated underwriting subsidiary or a subsidiary thereof or sell such assets to the underwriting subsidiary or subsidiary thereof. This limitation shall not apply to the purchase and sale of lJ.S. Treasury securities or direct obligations of the Canadian fed- eral government that are not subject to repurchase or reverse repur- chase agreements between the underwriting subsidiary and its bank or thrift affiliates.“” “II. Limitations on Transfers of Information 23. No bank or thrift shall disclose to an underwriting subsidiary, nor shall an underwriting subsidiary disclose to an affiliated bank or thrift, any nonpublic customer information (including an evaluation of the “This firewall was modified, as above, in a September 1989 Board Order ‘This fircwall was modified, as above, in a January 1990 Board Order. H?‘his firewall was modified, as above, in a January 1990 Board Order. Page 104 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers 1 -.-A..-..-_i--- A p p e n d i x V III Firewalls Im p o s e d by the Federal R e s e r v e B o a r d o n Section 2 0 C o m p a n i e s Authorized to Underwrite a n d D e a l in Corporate Debt a n d Equity Securities creditworthiness o f a n issuer or o th e r customer o f th a t b a n k or thrift, or underwriting subsidiary) without th e c o n s e n t o f th a t customer.” “I. R e p o r ts 2 4 . Applicants shall s u b m i t q u a r terly to th e appropriate F e d e r a l R e s e r v e B a n k E Q C U Sreports filed with th e N A S D or o th e r self-regulatory organizations, a n d d e tailed information b r e a k i n g d o w n th e underwriting subsidiaries’b u s i n e s swith respect to eligible a n d ineligible securities, in o r d e r to permit m o n i toring o f th e underwriting subsidiaries’c o m p l i a n c e with th e provisions o f this O rder.!’” “J. Transfer o f A c tivities a n d F o r m a tio n o f Subsidiarieso f a n U n d e r - writing Subsidiary to E n g a g ein Underwriting a n d D e a l i n g 2 5 . T h e B o a r d ’s a p p r o v a l o f th e p r o p o s e d underwriting a n d d e a l i n g activities extends only to th e subsidiaries d e s c r i b e d a b o v e for w h i c h a p p r o v a l h a s b e e n s o u g h t in th e instant applications. T h e activities m a y n o t b e c o n d u c te d b y Applicants in a n y o th e r subsidiary without prior B o a r d review. P u r s u a n t to R e g u l a tio n Y , n o corporate reorganization o f a n underwriting subsidiary, s u c h a s th e establishment o f subsidiaries o f th e underwriting subsidiary to c o n d u c t th e activities, m a y b e c o n s u m - m a te d without prior B o a r d approval.” “K . Limitations o n Reciprocal A r r a n g e m e n ts a n d Discriminatory Treatment 2 6 . N o Applicant n o r a n y o f its subsidiaries m a y , directly or indirectly e n ter into a n y reciprocal a r r a n g e m e n t. A reciprocal a r r a n g e m e n t m e a n s a n y a g r e e m e n t,u n d e r s ta n d i n g , or o th e r a r r a n g e m e n t u n d e r w h i c h o n e b a n k h o l d i n g c o m p a n y (or subsidiary th e r e o f) a g r e e sto e n g a g ein a transaction with, or o n b e h a l f o f, a n o th e r b a n k h o l d i n g c o m p a n y (or subsidiary th e r e o f), in e x c h a n g efor th e a g r e e m e n to f th e s e c o n d b a n k h o l d i n g c o m p a n y (or a n y subsidiary th e r e o f) to e n g a g ein a transaction with, or o n b e h a l f o f, th e first b a n k h o l d i n g c o m p a n y (or a n y subsidiary th e r e o f) for th e p u r p o s e o f e v a d i n g a n y r e q u i r e m e n t o f this O rder or a n y prohibition o n transactions b e tween, or for th e b e n e fit o f, a ffiliates o f b a n k s established p u r s u a n t to fe d e r a l b a n k i n g l a w or regulation. 2 7 . N o b a n k or thrift a ffiliate o f a n underwriting subsidiary shall, directly or indirectly: “T h e 1 3 o a r dwill m a k e available in the future a form o n w h i c h this information s h o u l d b e submitted. Page 10B G A O /G G D - 9 0 4 8 B a n k P o w e r s Appendix VIII Firewalls Imposed by the Federal Reserve Board on Section 20 Companies Authorized to Underwrite and Deal in Corporate Debt and Equity Securities (a) acting alone or with others, extend or deny credit or services (includ- ing clearing services), or vary the terms or conditions thereof, if the effect of such action would be to treat an unaffiliated securities firm less favorably than its affiliated underwriting subsidiary, unless the bank or thrift demonstrates that the extension or denial is based on objective criteria and is consistent with sound business practices; or (b) extend or deny credit or services or vary the terms or conditions thereof with the intent of creating a competitive advantage for an underwriting subsidiary of an affiliated bank holding company.” “I,. Requirement for Supervisory Review Before Commencement of Activities 28. An Applicant may not commence the proposed debt and equity securities underwriting and dealing activities until the Board has deter- mined that the Applicant has established policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the requirements of this Order, including com- puter, audit and accounting systems, internal risk management controls and the necessary operational and managerial infrastructure. In this regard, the Board will review in one year whether Applicants may com- mence underwriting and dealing in equity securities based on a determi- nation by the Board that they have established the managerial and operational infrastructure and other policies and procedures necessary to comply with the requirements of this Order.” Page 106 GAO/GGD-904 Bank Powers Cements From the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM WASHINGTON, D. C. 20551 January 23, 1990 Mr. Richard L. Fogel Assistant Comptroller General United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Fogel: This is in response to your letter of December 22nd to Chairman Greenspan enclosing for our review and comment a draft report "Bank Powers: Activities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding Companies*. Our staff subsequently conveyed some suggestions for editorial and technical changes to your staff in oral discussions and we understand that these changes will be incorporated in the final report. Except for these suggestions for language changes, the staff found the report to be satisfactory. If you have any further questions with respect to this matter, please call Robert S. Plotkin, Assistant Director, 452-2782. Very truly yours, rederick M. Struble Associate Director Page 107 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers A$pendix X @mments From the Office of the Comptroller * df the Currency Notie: GAO comments sudplementing those in the repbrt text appear at the end of this appendix. 0 Comptroller of the Currency Adminlstrator of National Banks Washington, D.C. 20219 February 7, 1990 Mr. Richard L. Fogel Assistant Comptroller General General Government Division United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Fogel: We have reviewed your draft of a proposed report entitled Bank Powe s. ctivities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding COlW&ig. The study reviews the principal legislation affecting the securities powers of bank affiliates. It discusses the reasoning behind the Federal Reserve Board's (Board) decision to allow banks to underwrite "ineligible securities" on a limited basis under Section 20 of the Glass-Steagall Act. It examines the conflicts of interest that arise when investment and commercial banking are combined. It discusses the firewalls that have been established by the Board to ensure the safety and soundness of the banking system, to control conflict of interest abuse, and to insulate the deposit insurance fund from risks associated with securities transactions. The study also includes statistics on the volume of securities activities, as well as on the market penetration of Section 20 subsidiaries, and identifies seven areas requiring further study. We interpret the statement on page 19 that the use of a "separate SEC-regulated subsidiary and regulation of the entire holding company by the Federal Reserve [are] essential in permitting the affiliation of the banking and securities businesses" to be an endorsement of the Federal Reserve's view that ineligible securities activities should take place only within a securities affiliate of a bank holding company. We recommend that the draft acknowledge that there are reasonable alternatives to the affiliate structure, e.g. securities underwriting in direct subsidiaries of federally insured banks. A proper choice among alternative organizational structures could be made once the costs and benefits of each are weighed. Looking at alternative organizational structures might be included in your list of topics for further study. Page 108 GAO/GGD-SO-48 Bank Powers Appendix X Comments From the Office of the Cum&roller of the Currency Similarly, the study seems to endorse the Federal Reserve's system of firewalls as an effective means of preventing underwriting risks from being transmitted from the securities affiliate to the federally insured bank. There is no discussion of safeguards, such as customer protection rules administered by the SEC, that might See con lent 2 show firewalls to be unnecessary and/or ineffective. We recommend Now on ) 1.517 that the discussion on pages 22 and 23 of the draft be adjusted to recognize that the need for particular firewalls be examined in light of their cost and of other regulatory and market safeguards. In addition, the report generally approves the Federal Reserve's 10 percent limit on income from bank-ineligible securities activities. We have previously stated that we believe that some greater level of bank-ineligible activity would be legally permissible under Section 20 and that it is inappropriate to set a definitive level of gross income as the "engaged principally" standard for all cases. We have also stated that tests other than gross income are legally permissible and should be explored for determining the meaning of "engaged principally" under Section 20. ent 3 We recommend that the draft recognize the possibility of alternative approaches for defining "engaged principally" under Section 20. One of the stated objectives of the report is to "identify how the activities of Section 20 firms have affected risk levels in their respective bank holding companies." Appendix II would better meet that objective by describing the risks associated with securities underwriting and how they compare with traditional risks and by See cordment 4. evaluating the impact and effects of diversification. We also had some comments of a technical nature that were provided separately for your consideration in putting the draft into final report form. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Sincerely, Judith% Walter Senior Deputy Comptroller for Administration Page 109 GAO/MD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix X Comments From the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency The following are GAO'S comments on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s letter dated February 7, 1990. G ’ 0 Comments 1. We have recognized some benefits associated with the holding com- A pany structure, including the ability to generally accommodate the I expanded powers of banking organizations while organizationally insu- lating federally insured activities from the risks associated with the expanded powers. However, we have not endorsed the holding company structure as the only structure appropriate in the long run to be used with the expansion of securities powers that may be approved for bank- ing organizations. We have modified our discussion of these points in the report on pages 12 to 14. 2. Our report recognizes that the general intent of the firewalls-insu- lating federally insured institutions from the risks associated with the activities of securities affiliates -is appropriate and that they provide a basis for maintaining regulatory controls as new powers are being phased in. Our work did not include assessing the effectiveness of the firewalls. Therefore, we have no basis for endorsing the present set of firewalls as a permanent feature of how banking organizations are organized. Our draft report discussed the need to further study the pur- pose of the firewalls and the potential regulatory burden they could impose. We expanded our discussion of this point on pages 15 to 17 of the report. 3. We agree with the Board’s policy of the revenue limit as an approach to phasing in bank-ineligible securities activities. However, we have not endorsed any definitive level of gross revenues as the most proper inter- pretation of the “engaged principally” clause. The report has been modi- fied to recognize that alternative approaches for defining “engaged principally” under Section 20 of the Glass-Steagall Act could be explored once experience can be relied upon to determine the impact of such approaches, and once the purpose of the firewalls and other limitations are further clarified. See pages 14 and 15. 4. A more detailed discussion of the risk characteristics of securities activities, particularly when done within bank holding companies, would no doubt be useful for readers. However, we do not believe the report needs to be modified to incorporate additional material in this area. Appendix II discusses the nature of the risks associated with Sec- tion 20 subsidiary securities activities and recognizes that these activi- ties could allow bank holding companies the opportunity to reduce risk Page 110 GAO/GGD-904 Bank Powers Appendlx X Comments From the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency through diversification of activities. Our report also notes that the lim- ited time that Section 20 firms have been active does not allow a deter- mination on whether the new activities have actually increased or decreased risk to the holding company. See pages 37 to 39. Y Page 111 GAO/&D-99-48 Bank Powers , Arjpendix XI Cbmments From the Securities and &change Commission sudplementlng those In the repbrt text appear at the end of this appendix. UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION WASHINGTON. DC. 20549 January 26, 1990 Richard L. Fogel Assistant Comptroller General General Government Division U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Fogel: Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the General Accounting Office's December 22, 1989 draft report entitled, Bank g ers. Activities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding !Zokanie~. My Office and the staff of the Divisions of Market Regulation, Enforcement, and Investment Management have reviewed the draft report. Based upon that review, a number of technical suggestions have been orally provided. This letter comments on several issues addressed in the draft report which are of particular concern to the Commission. I agree with your conclusion that requiring banks to conduct bank-ineligible securities activities in subsidiaries, subject to the regulatory scheme for broker-dealers which Congress designed for the protection of investors, is an essential condition to permitting the affiliation of banking and securities firms. The Commission has supported this requirement and has recommended that any legislation to expand the securities powers of banks require banks to conduct most of their new and existing securities activities in separate entities subject to full Commission regulation. I also agree with your observation that another concern raised by the Section 20 arrangement is that no completely comparable opportunity exists for securities firms to expand into banking activities. Although securities firms could engage in certain banking activities if the firms and their parent holding companies complied with the same banking regulations applicable to banks and bank holding companies engaging in those activities, this would be impracticable. It would be much more difficult for securities firms, which are not organized within a bank holding company structure, to comply with these regulations, than it is for banks, which are already organized within that structure. See comment 1 Accordingly, consideration should be given to amending the Bank Holding Company Act to permit securities firms to own banks Page 112 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers .,.-..-l^..l _-._ A p p e n d i xX I C o m m e n tsF ro m th e S e c u ri ti e sa n d E x c h a n g eC o m m i s s i o n R i c h a rd L . F o g e l Pa g e 2 w i th o u t s u b j e c ti n g th e s e fi rm s a n d th e i r h o l d i n g c o m p a n i e sto th e fu l l re g u l a to ry s y s te m a p p l i c a b l e to b a n k s a n d b a n k h o l d i n g companies. In o rd e r to a c c o m m o d a yteo u r ti m e s c h e d u l e , th e s ta ff has not s u b m i tte d th i s c o m m e n lt e tte r to th e C o m m i s s i o nfo r i ts re v i e w . A g a i n , I a p p re c i a te th i s o p p o rtu n i ty to c o m m e n ot n th e d ra ft re p o rt. S i n c e re l y , !i i i i h ? k ;% + ~ G e n e ra l C o u n s e l Y Page113 G A O /G G D -9 0 4 8 B a n k P o w e rs Appendix Xl Comments From the Securities and Exchange Commission ---- The following are GAO’S comments on the Securities and Exchange Com- mission’s letter dated January 26, 1990. \GAO Comments iates within the same financial holding company needs to provide for regulatory controls over the entire holding company comparable to the , Federal Reserve’s controls over bank holding companies. A discussion of I this point has been included in the letter. See pages 18 to 20. Page 114 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix XII Cbrpments From the American Bankers Association Note: GA@ comments supplemei7tlng those In the report texi appear at the AMERICAN I 170 Conncctlc”, Avenue. N w end of thij appendix. BANKERS Washin&wm DC ASSOCIATION 20036 AGENCY REMlIONS, BIIECTOI. TRUST AND SECURITIES ,.me, D McLaughll” .ZCl21663.5324 January 8, 1990 Richard L. Fogel Assistant Comptroller General General Government Division United States General Accounting Office Washington, DC 20548 RE: Draft Report -- Bank Powers: Activities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding Companies Dear Mr. Fogel: The American Bankers Association ("ABAr) appreciates the opportunity to review and comment on the General Accounting Offices ("GAO") draft report on bank-ineligible securities activities carried out by wholly-owned subsidiaries of bank holding companies. At the outset, the GAO is to be commended on the thorough effort given to compiling the report. As the GAO has recognized, the nature and extent to which banks conduct securities activities through Section 20 subsidiaries is only just evolving. In consideration of the infancy of those activities and in recognition that the viewpoints of various persons will change as comfort levels increase, the ABA believes that the report sets out fairly the current thoughts of interested persons regarding those activities. See comment 1 The ABA does, however, wish to offer the following comments and sug estions regarding the report. First and foremost, the ABA be1 Steves it is important that the report note that the securities industry has recently announced that it no longer opposes repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Accordingly, the report should state that positions articulated by the securities industry and contained in the report may have changed. See comment 2 Another issue involves the competitive concerns between the banking and securities industries. The GAO, in its report, has expressed the opinion that the case for continued maintenance of the firewalls may be much stronger when viewed in terms of Now pp. 18-20. competitive concerns (pp. 21 and 24). ABA agrees that the extensive list of burdensome firewalls does keep many banks from competing in securities services. On the other hand, the report cites, as evidence of competitive disadvantages to securities Page116 GAO/GGD90-48BankPowem Appendix XII Comments From the American Bankers Association 1 AMERICAN CONTINUING OUR ILTKR Of BANKERS ASSOCIATION January 8, 1990 firms, the fact that securities firms competing with Section 20 subsidiaries are not affiliated with banks and have no comparable opportunity to expand into banking. The ABA disagrees and would direct the GAO's attention to the fact that several securities firms own banks. A discussion of these firms' banking activities would be helpful to clear understanding of the issues involved. With regard to the report's discussion on the firewall Seb comment 3. prohibiting banks from supplying any form of credit enhancement for ineligible securities to be underwritten by the underwriting Now pp. 50-52. subsidiary (p. 70), mention should also be made that this prohibition is uneconomical and creates market inefficiencies and negative public perceptions. Specifically, customers seeking credit enhancements for their securities to be underwritten by a bank holding company subsidiary will have to go to another bank and inevitably will pay more for the credit enhancement feature. In addition, the public may draw negative inferences regarding the worth of the underwritten securities if the bank does not issue the credit enhancement for securities being underwritten by its affiliate. The discussion regarding the prohibition on cross-marketing Ni$w pp. 56 and 57. (p. 79) should include the thought that this prohibition is both Se’e comment 3. uneconomical and inefficient. For example, customers that have a long history of dealing with specific corporate lending personnel will not be able to use the same bank holding company personnel for its underwriting needs and will have to negotiate separately for those needs with other bank holding company personnel. Inefficiencies are created when such a situation occurs. As a result, customers may choose to go elsewhere where their financial needs can be addressed in one package. Competitors can offer all these services and more. See comment 3 The firewall discussion should also include a discussion regarding the affiliate purchase restriction firewall. Specifically, that firewall prevents, under certain conditions, bank holding companies and their affiliates from purchasing, as principal, ineligible securities that are underwritten by the Section 20 subsidiary. While that prohibition has been somewhat modified, as the report recognizes, in that bank holding companies and their nonbank affiliates may purchase less than 50% of any debt issue privately placed by the Section 20 subsidiary, the prohibition is nevertheless unnecessary and may, in fact, prove detrimental to the bank's reputation in the community. For example, an underwriting subsidiary may be engaged in a large revenue bond offering in connection with construction at the .- - Page116 GAO/GGD-90-48BankPowers Appendix XII Comments From the American Bankers Association AMERICAN CONTINUINGOUR LETTLROF BANKERS ASSOCIATION January 8, 1990 .’ SHLETNO 3 .' ,, local airport. Normally, a bank, as a member of that community, would be expected to purchase part of that offering for its own portfolio. However, the prohibition against purchasing securities underwritten by the underwriting subsidiary would deprive the bank from participating in the project and, consequently, may reflect poorly on the bank's reputation in the community. In conclusion, the ABA appreciates the opportunity to review and comment on the GAO's draft report. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Sincerely, 7,,,.,-‘3 T-c L<.,lT‘~‘\... /y;\q c James D. McLaughlin Page 117 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers - * Appendix XII Comments From the American Bankers Association The following are GAO'S comments on the American Bankers Associa- tion’s letter dated January 8, 1990. tained in appendix XVI. 2. We clarified our report to show that U.S. securities firms generally cannot own US. banks without themselves becoming bank holding com- panies. However, we pointed out that securities firms own some non- bank banks and do have opportunities to be affiliated with banks located outside the US. See pages 18 and 19. 3. Our discussion of the regulatory burden of firewalls has been expanded. (See pp. 15 to 17.) Also, the points made by the ABA have been incorporated into relevant portions of appendix III. Page 118 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appenc$x XIII Cb&rnents From the Bank Capital Ma&kets Association Note GAO comments supplemdntlng those in the report texit appear at the end of thib appendix. BANK CAPITAL MARKETS ASSOCIATION NATIONAL iW!SS BIJILDINO. SUITE 200. WASHINOTON. DC 20045(202) 347-5510 THOMAS P. RIDEOUT lxF,c~ DIRscrOR December 27, 1989 Mr. Richard L. Fogel Assistant Comptroller General General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Fogel: We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the GAO draft report entitled Banb Powers. . Activities of Securitiee Iioldina Ce We believe the report provides useful background information on the so- called Section 20 securities affiliates authorized by the Federal Reserve Board in 1987 and 1989. With regard to the continuing debate over the need to repeal or reform the Glass-Steagall Act, we also believe it is noteworthy that the GAO did not uncover any evidence of abuse or threats to the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund on the part of Section 20 affiliates although to us, these results are not surprising. See comfbent 1 Most of the information developed by the GAO is summarized in the eight appendices to the report. We have no particular quarrel with the information presented although the discussion does focus exclusively on the commercial banking industry. We think the report would be more useful for public policy purposes if it included comparable information on the securities industry where appropriate. See cominent 2 Towards that end, we suggest an additional appendix that would review levels of concentration in securities underwriting and analyze the extent to which these concentration ratios could be diminished if banking organizations were permitted to compete. Certainly the high levels of concentration in securities underwriting was a major public policy concern on the part of the House and Senate Banking Committees in 1988 when both Committees approved legislation to modernize the Glass-Steagall Act. See comment 3. Another appendix should be included to describe the current financial structure of securities holding companies and in particular, the degree of double-leveraging between the parent and its broker-dealer subsidiaries. The amount of double-leveraging allowed securities firms is clearly relevant to the debate over many of the restraints the securities industry seeks to impose on bank holding companies in the name of competitive equity. For example, Page119 GAO/GGD-904BankPowers Appendix XIII CommentsFromtheBankCapital Markets Association the requirement that bank holding companies must deduct their capital investment in their securities subsidiaries from their own capital base is often justified on the theory that it keeps bank-affiliated securities firm6 from gaining a competitive advantage over unaffiliated securities firms. We believe a careful review of the financial structure of non-bank affiliated securities firms will lead to precisely the opposite conclusion -- the FED's current capital rules place bank affiliated securities firms at a competitive disadvantaqe. !3+ commcnf 4 Although the report reaches no specific conclusions, it does spell out seven areas that the regulators and the Congress should consider in determining financial restructuring policy. We would suggest an eighth point whose theme is implicit in much of the material in the appendices but is nowhere made explicit. The point is this: At some level. firewaLls have a werverse effect. Rather than ina r&k. thev actuallv increase risk. As examples, we would cite many of the operational firewalls that require separate staffs and prevent banking organizations from utilizing their most experienced personnel to oversee the combined banking/securities activities. Another example is the absolute prohibition on a bank making loans to its securities affiliate. This prohibition could weaken the overall structure of the banking organization during a liquidity crisis such aa we experienced in October of 1987. Also, the requirement that securities activities be conducted in separate affiliate6 (as opposed to a subsidiary of the bank) can actually weaken the bank by moving profitable activities from its balance sheet. The aaccts cf the nccurit.ies affiliate are al60 placed beyond the reach of the FDIC in the event the bank itself fails. Se@ comrrwnl 4 On a more general level, we would argue that excessive firewalls will discourage many banking organizations from diversifying their activities, thereby incurring more risk. If banks are not allowed to follow the natural evolution of the banking business into the securities markets, they will be compelled into making riskier loans to marginal borrowers in order to recapture their lost profits. This is a formula for m risk, not m risk. Page120 ---7--- Appendix XIII Comments From the Bank Capital Markets Association After the debacle of the thrift industry, it is clear that the Congress and the regulators need to look at financial legislation in the light of its risk to the tax- payers. It does not follow, however, that the most cautious policy is necessarily the safest. Indeed, there are cases where doing nothing can be the riskiest of all policies. We think Glass-Steagall reform is clearly one of those cases. Relaxing most of the Federal Reserve Board's fire-walls imposed on Section 20 securities affiliates will strengthen and not weaken our financial system and provide less risk to the nation's tax-payers. See corriment 5 W e also have some observations on two of your seven points listed on pages 19 through 24. Point 2 starts with Now pp ~1O-20 the unassailable proposition that "It is important to be as Point 2 10 the draft IS now clear as possible about the purpose of firewalls. It then point 3, knd beglns on p. goes on to discuss the prohibition against a bank issuing 14 guarantees on issues underwritten by its securities affiliate. The report correctly states that "On risk grounds, the need for the firewall can be questioned. If the guarantee is priced correctly, the bank would be no more exposed to risk by the guarantee than if the bank simply made a loan to the company. 1( The report then suggests that on competitive grounds the case for the firewall may be stronger and that its removal may place securities firms at a competitive disadvantage. It is' hard to follow this logic. If the guarantee is competitively priced (as would be required under Section 23B of the Federal Reserve Act), it does not afford the bank's securities affiliate any competitive advantage over a securities firm not affiliated with a bank. See COImment 6 W e suggest this point be dropped. The conclusion is not supported by the example cited. More importantly, the notion that competitive equity arguments should be given major weight in imposing firewall restrictions on an entire industry is suspect, especially when raised by a rival industry seeking to insulate itself from outside competition. If safety conditions are satisfied, public policy ought to act on the presumption that more competition is in the public interest. Restricting competition in the name of competitive equity is a dangerous game that is bound end in a weaker and less productive financial system. Now pp 15-17 Point number 4 on page 22 refers to a prior GAO report concluding that institutional abuses or conflict8 of Y Page 121 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix XIII Comments From the Bank Capital Markets Association - . . interest were not a widespread problem in the banking industry. We certainly agree. The report goes on, however, to state that "given the harm that could result to consumers and, ultimately, to banking safety and soundness from abuses, the potential for future abuses warrants close attention if banking institutions were granted expanded securities powers." We believe this sentence is unduly alarmist and not justified by GAO’s own evidence. Certainly the Congress and the regulators should think about potential abuses, but they should also think about potential benefits from expanded competition, especially when the probability of gain far exceeds the possibility of any loss. Considering only the possibility of potential abuse is a formula for enacting excessive and counter-productive firewalls. We urge that See comment 7 point four be dropped or at the very least be re-written to include a more balanced treatment of the likely gains resulting from expanded bank securities powers. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on your draft report. Thomas P. Rideout Executive Director Page 122 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers ’ Appendix XIII Comments From the Bank Capital Markets Association The follc ving are GAO'S comments on the Bank Capital Markets Associa- tion’s letter dated December 27, 1989. 1, Given the nature of the request, most of the information in the report GAO’Comments is concerned with the operations of Section 20 firms and bank holding companies. W e agree that additional information about the securities industry would be useful; however, in order to meet our requester’s information needs in a timely manner, we were unable to develop this information, Nevertheless, at various points, the report does discuss the nature of risks in the securities industry, market share, and capital ade- quacy regulation in the securities industry. 2. On the basis of data availability, we have included information on the levels of concentration in the securities markets in which Section 20 firms have initiated underwriting activities. (See app. I.) Since Section 20 firms have been operating for a relatively short time, it is still too early to determine the impact they could have on the securities market. The discussion in appendix I also points out that it is not necessarily the case that expanding the securities powers of banks over the long run will reduce market concentration in underwriting markets. See pages 31 and 32. 3. Our work did not include an analysis of the financial structure of securities holding companies. However, at several places in the report we do point out that the holding companies of securities firms are not subject to the same capital regulation as bank holding companies. See page 78. 4. Our draft report recognized banking officials’ concerns about the reg- ulatory burden imposed by the firewalls and that it would be useful to examine individual firewalls from the perspective of what can and can- not be accomplished under the current regulatory structure. The report has, however, been modified to include an expanded discus- sion of regulatory burden and the possibility that firewalls could increase risk. (See pp. 15-17.) As noted, we agree that the prohibition on a bank making loans to its securities affiliates could weaken the overall structure of a banking organization during a liquidity crisis. See page 17. 5. Our discussion is intended to help focus attention on the purpose of the firewalls, and we think that competitive aspects are of concern to Page 123 GAO/GGD9048 Bank Powers Appendix XIII Comments From the Bank Capital Markets Association many people. We have modified the discussion to take account of Sec- tion 23R of the Federal Reserve Act, but the existence of this provision does not necessarily take care of all competitive considerations, in part because the provision may be ignored if the firm experiences financial stress. In addition there may be economies of combining banking and securities activities that would benefit the banking organization. See pages 18 and 19. 6. The report was modified to include a discussion of whether it was appropriate to consider competitive equality. See pages 18 and 19. 7. We agree that potential benefits should be considered in determining the appropriateness of firewalls. However, we also believe that it is rea- sonable to be cautious in phasing in powers in new areas where the potential exists for conflicts of interest or abuses such as insider trad- ing. The discussion of this point has been modified to clarify our view. See pages 15 to 17. Page 124 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers Gdnments From the Association of Bank Holding Companies __-_. .--.r~.- Note Gk$O comments - supplem~ntrng those in the r ASSOCIATION of BANK HOLDING COMPANIES RICHAm u WHITIN OENERll COUNSEL. SECRETAW IMFIFTEENTH STREET. Nw WYASHINOTON Dc *cm5 ,202,39.? t150 January 5, 1990 Mr. Richard L. Fozel Assistant Comptroller General General Government Division General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Fozel: Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment upon your draft report on bank ineligible securities activities carried out by wholly-owned subsidiaries of bank holding companies. As you know, although the authority for bank holding companies to engage in such activities was granted only recently, this development provides a significant opportunity for bank holding companies to serve their customers, diversify their product base and business risks, and compete more effectively in the financial services sector. Accordingly, we commend you for addressing this important topic and for noting that such activities have not “damaged the financial condition of a bank or bank holding company.” We hope that your conclusions will quell the criticism from opponents to the conduct of ineligible securities activities by subsidiaries of bank holding companies. See comment 1 In general, we agree with your report and the conclusions therein. We do have, however, a few comments. First, on page 12, we would suggest that you Now p 8. insert the phrase “without limitation or regulation” after the word “dealing” in the second line after the subheading “Risks Associated With Section 20 and Bank Holding Company Activities.” Without this addition, the sentence seems to imply that such risks cannot be managed and can be counter-balanced only by the opportunities or benefits from the conduct of such activities by subsidiaries of bank holding companies. See comment 2. Second, the background discussion on pages 2-5 of the report should make Now pp 2 and 3 clear that the limitations on gross revenues from ineligible activities were imposed as a result of the Federal Reserve Board’s interpretation of the “engaged principally” language of section 20 of the Glass-Steagall Act. Further, it should be noted that that language is subject to different interpretations, including authorization to allow Section 20 subsidiaries of bank holding companies to contribute to over twenty-five percent of the organization’s revenues. It is possible that the Federal Reserve Board’s current interpretation could change over time. Page 126 GAO/GGD-90-48Bank Powers Appendix XIV Comments From the Association of Bank Holding Companies ASSOCIATION of BANK HOLDING COMPANIES Mr. Richard L. Fozel -2- January 5, 1990 Finally, recognizing that the section 20 language could accommodate a 4 comment 3 greater volume of ineligible activities, we believe your list of additional areas that should be considered by the Congress (see pp. 19-24) should include whether Now pp. 1 O-20 greater ineligible securities activities, when subject to appropriate regulation, in fact would result in any increased risks to the banking system. In conclusion, we appreciate the chance to comment on your study. You and your staff are to be commended on a job well done. Sincerely, I;l*krdh.~ Richard M. Whiting Page 126 GAO/GGD9048 Bank Powers , ’ Appendtv XIV Comments From the Association of Bank Holding Companies The following are GAO'S comments on the Association of Bank Holding Companies’letter dated January 5, 1990. GA( Comments cannot be managed. W e have modified the discussion in the report to make it clear that although there have been benefits associated with using the holding company structure, having independent bank holding company subsidiaries is not necessarily the only way to structure the expanded securities activities for banking organizations in the long run. See pages 12 to 14. 2. W e think the report is clear on this point. Although the question of whether to raise the revenue lim it further is not an issue currently before the Board, we recognize the Board’s continuing authority to reex- amine lim itations established on Section 20 subsidiaries. 3. Our discussion of regulatory burden on pages 15 to 17 has been modi- fied to recognize that expanded securities activities is one of the restric- tions that, like revenue lim its and some of the firewalls, m ight be modified in the future. Page 127 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix XV @mments From. the Coalition for Regional Banks Not&: GAO comments supplementing those in the report text appear at the end~of this appendix Coalition for Regional Banks llw &our4 Oroup ol Counul lb00 Lofayom C*ntor ARNOLD 81 PORTER sun0 Is0 1200 New Hampshire, N.W. 11 IS 21 al Stml, N.W. W48hlngton. D.C. 20036 WashIngton, D.C. 200363308 Phone: 202/728-3554 Phone: 202/7211-11409 January 18, 1990 Mr. Richard L. Fogs1 Assistant Comptroller General United States General Accounting Office Waehington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Fogel: The Coalition for Regional Banks appreciates the opportunity to comment on the draft GAO Report entitled "Bank Powers: Activities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding Companies.Vq The Report provides a useful and objective discussion of the regulatory framework applicable to section 20 subsidiaries of bank holding companies and the effect of the so-called V1firewall@' restrictions imposed by the Federal Reserve Board on such activities. We believe that the Report would provide a more complete view if greater emphasis were given to the disproportionate impact of the firewalls on regional banking organizations and we have enclosed specific comments in this regard. We appreciated the opportunity to meet with the GAO staff in the formulation of the Report. On behalf of the Coalition for Regional Banks, I am submitting the enclosed comments on specific points made in the Report. Sincerely 'n Melanie L.-Fein Arnold 61 Porter Counsel to The Coalition For Regional Banks Enclosure cc: Stephen C. Swaim Edward Wroblewski Page128 GAO/GGD-9048BankPowers Appendix XV Comments Fmm the Coalition for Regional Banks , Comments on the GAO Report Entitled "Bank Powers: Activities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding Companies" See comr ncnt 1 1. The Coalition for Regional Banks believes that the Report should emphasize more clearly the disproportionate effect on regional bank holding companies of the gross revenue limit applicable to section 20 subsidiaries. As a result of the ten portent gross revenue limit, a section 20 oubsidiary muet have a substantial volume of revenue from bank-eligible activities in order to engage in any significant volume of ineligible underwriting and dealing activity. The only major source of eligible revenues is from underwriting and dealing in U.S. government securities. The structure of the U.S. government securities market, however, generally precludes bank holding companieo from major involvement in this market unless they qualify as primary dealers, which most regional bank holding companies do not. 1 1 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York designates certain large banks and securities firms as primary dealers. There are currently approximately 43 primary dealers, of which seven are domestic banks and several more are nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies. Each primary dealer is required to maintain at least a minimum one percent share of the total primary dealer tranmactions with customers, to submit competitive bids at every Treasury auction, and to maintain capital of at least $50 million. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York [Footnote continued on next page] Page 129 GAO/GGD90-48BankPowers Appendix XV Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks -2- Regional bank holding companies that are not affiliated with primary dealers in U.S. government securities operate under a severe competitive disadvantage relative to section 20 subsidiaries that are primary dealers because they lack the large base of eligible revenues from underwriting government eecurities. For example, a8 shown in the attached chart, a section 20 subsidiary of a regional bank holding company with gross eligible revenues of $15 million per year could generate ineligible revenues of no more than approximately $1.67 million, resulting in a minuecule market share. Interest income on positions would account for a eignificant portion of thie amount, thereby limiting even further the ability of a l ection 20 l ubeidiary to engage in underwriting activitie8. Depending on the eize of each issue, the groee revenue limit would permit a regional section 20 [Footnote continued from previous page] has limited the number of primary dealers to a maximum of approximately 50 firms. See Federal Reserve Bank of New York, "Criteria and Procedures Applied to Firms Intereeted in Becoming and Remaining Primary Dealers," Prese Release of November 17, 1988. Primary dealers control 75 percent of the market in government eocuritiee with 200-300 secondary dealers accounting for the remaining 25 percent. The combined average daily trading volume of all primary dealers in August, 1988, was $100.1 billion for immediate delivery, 75 Fed. Rae. Bull. A31 (1989). This figure doee not include a large volume of activity consieting of securities sold under repurchase agreements. Page 130 GAO/GGD90-48 Bank Powers Appendix XV Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks - 3 - subsidiary to engage in only a very few underwriting transactions. In order to hold itself out as a creditable underwriter and dealer in ineligible securities, a section 20 subsidiary must be able to respond to request6 for bide on underwriting deals and to participate regularly in the underwriting and dealing markets. Under a ten percent limit, a regional section 20 eubeidiary may quickly exhaust its quota for ineligible underwriting revenue and be unable to participate in underwriting8 of local municipal projects of major regional importance. The ten percent gross revenue limit thus makes it difficult or impossible for many regional bank holding companies to participate meaningfully or competitively in the ineligible securities underwriting markets. A 25 to 49 percent gross revenue limit would be more reali8tic. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Comptroller of the Currency have stated their legal opinions that the Glass-Steagall Act permits such a latitude of underwriting and dealing activities. Uore meaningful participation by regional bank holding companies aloo would be possible if the Board applied the gross revenue limit baaed on a bank holding company'8 total consolidated revenues rather than revenues of the section 20 subsidiary only. Such an w Page 131 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix Xv Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks -4- approach would be consistent with the Glass-Steagall Act as well a8 previous interpretations by the Board. See domment 1, 2. The Coalition for Regional Banks also believes that the Report should place greater emphasis on the disproportionate effect of the firewalls generally on regional banking organizations. This disproportionate effect is evidenced by the percentage of regional banking firms that have actually activated their section 20 subsidiaries. Of the nine multinational banking firms with section 20 approval, seven, or 77 percent of the total, have begun their bank-ineligible activities. In contrast, of the ten regional banking firms with section 20 approval, only five, or 50% of the total, have begun their bank- ineligible activities (Tables IV.1 and IV.2 of the Report). Because of their smaller size, regional companies are lees able to ab8orb the additional organizational and operational costs required to comply with the firewalls. The prohibition on officer and director interlocks, for example, typically means that regional bank holding companies engaged in underwriting activities must either hire duplicative management personnel or dilute existing management. Moreover, because of their **relationship banking" approach to customers, the cross-marketing restrictions may have a Page 132 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendlx XV Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks -5- more significant adverse impact on regional banking organizations and their customers. In O@relationship banking", the customer has the convenience of looking to his individual relationship manager for all of his financing needs, a benefit that is not possible under the firewall restrictions. See com(ment 1 3. On page 14, the Report states that regional Now p Ed bank holding company ofiicials stated that it is necesuary to transfer into a Section 20 subsidiary 8ome activities that may not Sit well together from a buainess perspective in order to provide a large enough subsidiary revenue base to make doing ineligible business worthwhile. We would point out that, in addition to incompatibility, it is unfeasible to locate most non-securities related activities in a section 20 subsidiary due to the net capital rule of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mor8over, the Federal Reserve Board requires a bank holding company to deduct from its regulatory capital any capital supporting the section 20 subsidiary and imposes other restrictions, such as cross-marketing and interlock8 prohibitions, that make the conduct of activitier through the section 20 subsidiary expensive and impractical from a business point of view. This Now p. 44. point is made in Appendix III (p. 59) but should be emphasized in the body of the Report. We would note that the SEC's net capital rule provides an adequate Page133 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix XV Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks -6- safeguard to ensure the solvency of a section 20 subsidiary and thus the Board's capital deduction is unnecensary and costly. 4. The Coalition for Regional Banks believes See f$omment 2 that banks should be permitted to establish and fund section 20 subsidiaries in the same manner that the Board has permitted foreign banks to do so. g@$ Board Order dated January 4, 1990, approving section 20 applications by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Royal Bank of Canada, and Barclays Bank PIE. The FDIC's regulations permit insured state nonmember banks to establish subsidiaries to engage in underwriting and dealing activities. 12 C.F.R. 337.4. Such activities should not become impermissible simply because a bank is ownad by a bank holding company. The Board*8 authority to regulate the activities of subsidiaries of holding company banks is doubtful in any event. Allowing banks to operato separate section 20 subsidiaries would afford domemtic banks competitive parity with foreign banks and would enable domestic banks to diversify their income and risks on a consolidated basis. See comment 3 5. on page@ 59-60, the Report cites a security Now p. 46 industry official18 comments that "the entire investment industry's revenues from underwriting were only about eight percent of gross revenues in the first half of 1989" and therefore a bank holding company could acquire Page 134 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix XV CommentsFromtheCoalitionfor RegIonalBanks - -7- a large existing securities firm and still be within the ten percent qross revenue limit. This statement may be mialsadinq because the Board's gross revenue limit is applicable not only to underwriting activities but dealing as well. It would be useful for the GAO to ascertain and report the percentage of the investment indu8try'm revenues that are derived from dealing activities in addition to underwriting activities. In any event, regional bank holding companies generally are not interested in acquiring existing securities firms given the poor condition of such firms qanorally. See comment 1. 6. On page 13, the draft Report states that Nowp 8. bank holding company officials and some regulatory officials have said that the regulatory structure may hamper the ability of the holding company as a whole to manage its exposure to a single customer or market segment and, thus, the risks that may result from such exposure. We would note that, while the separate subsidiary requirement, interlocks restrictions, and other firawalla may interfere with management's ability to moat efficiently monitor and control risk exposure, bank holding companies are not undertaking undue risks as a result of the firewalls but rather are managing such risks through burdensome policies and procedures that Page136 GAO/GGD-9048BankPowers AppendixXV CommentsFromtheCoaUionfor RegionalBanks -8- otherwise would be unnecessary in the absence of certain of the firewalls. 7. In a number of places, the Report refers to concerns by securities industry officials that bank holding company section 20 activities will enable bank holding companies to compete unfairly with securities firms (n.g., p. 15). The Report states that, while the need for the firawalls may be legitimately questioned, elimination of the firewalls may place eacuritiss firms at a competitive disadvantage: [o]n competitive grounds, however, the case for the firswall may be much l tronqer. Securities firma competing with Section 20 firms are not affiliated with a bank and therefore could be placed at a competitive disadvantage if the firewalls were eliminated. (P. 21). The Coalition for Regional Banks believes that competition between securities firms and banking organizations is not a valid Glass-Steaqall concern. The Glams-Steagall Act was not intended as a device to insulate the securities industry from competition. Even if bank holding company section 20 subsidiaries did have a competitive advantaqo over securities firms (which they do not), public policy would not dictate that inefficient and burdensome restraints be imposed on section 20 subsidiaries. Page136 GAO/GGD-90-48BankPowers ,.- Appendix~ CommenteFrom LheCodtion for Regional Bar&e -9- See comment 6. 8. In several instances (pp. 15-16, 24, and 73), N O W pp.~9, 18,46, and 52. the Report quotes securities indu8try officials as objecting to the section 20 eubeidiaries' access to low cost funds in the form of ineured deposits from their affiliated banks. The securities industry position is misleading for two reasons. First, under the Board's most recent firewalls, banks may not provide any funds to their section 20 affiliates. Even if they could, a bank loan to an affiliate muet comply with the quantitative limitatione and collateral requirements of section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act. A oection 20 subsidiary mu8t seek bank borrowings from unaffiliated banks. Second, 8ecuritie8 iinns have acce8s to theue so-called "low cost funds." They are permitted to borrow from banks and are not subject to section 23A IiXliit8. From a parity perspective, a non-bank- affiliated eecurities firm enjoy8 the same access to nlo~ co8t funds" as does a bank-affiliated section 20 affiliate. The Board itself has rejected the argument that section 20 subeidiarie8 hav8 acCe88 to lower cost funds than their securities indu8try competitors, au Now pp. 46 and 47. noted in Appendix III (p. 66). Moreover, banking organizations operate subject to numerous regulatory restriction8 that impose a "regulatory tax@' on their operations. In addition to the section 20 firewalls that impo8e Costly Paye137 GAO/GGD-9043BankPowers Appendix XV Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks - 10 - inefficiencies, banks are subject to disadvantages resulting from the cost of deposit insurance premiums, foregone interest on required reserves, and capital requirements higher than would be maintained in the absence of regulation and deposit insurance. $&s "Regulatory Burden Handicaps Low-Risk Banking," Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, micaao Fed Letter, January, 1988, No. 5. We also would note that a number of securities firms do in fact have bank affiliates and are not subject to the full range of firewalls applicable to 8ection 20 8ub8idiaries. See,comment 7. 9. The Report on page 23 refer8 to potential No? p. 18. customer confusion about whether inveetment products are in8Ured or not. We would point out that customer confusion may be avoided by appropriate disclosures. Banks are not exempt from the anti-fraud provisions of the 8ecuritiee law8 and the Securities and Exchange Commi88ion recently has initiated a program to aggressively monitor bank compliance with 8uCh laws. See comment 8. 10. On page 70, the Report states that bank Now p. 50. holding company official8 etated that some foreign bank8 operating in the United States are permitted to provide credit enhancements for securitiee underwritten by their affiliates. We are unaware of any such activities or authority for such activities by foreign banks. It Y Page 138 GAO/GGD-9048 Bank Powers Appendix XV Comments From the Coalition for RegIonal Banks - 11 - would be useful for the Report to identify under what authority such foreign banks are purportedly providing credit enhancements. Page139 GAO/GGD-904BankPowers Appendix XV Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks I YAXIYUY PERYlSSlBLf “NOERYR,,,6N AMOUNTS IN BAN8 INCLIGl9LE YUNICIPAL BONDS. OR CORPORATE DEBT OR COYYON STOCK, BASED UPON 5%. 10% AND 25% GROSS REVENUE LIUIT (Ill MillIons Of Dollars) P.mi,slbleA Typical6 Mar lmu Tot.IC In~li9lDlm -L “oderwrl t ,rrg = *nnua I *s,usncus = YPr-*el cross Sprflad UnderwrItten ’ (1966) Stlal-0 Revenues AlnO”nt so.79 I. 1x s b5.6 s 75,000 0.09% $1 .67 $139.2 O.lSY $5.00 $416.7 0.56X d.nrporato ‘,X so.79 0.7% $112.9 $236.460 0.05% ~ I&b, IOU 11.67 1238.1 0.10x 25u 15.00 5714.3 0.30% ( Oll”“O,l s11,1* 5% so.79 5x S 15.6 S 29.600 0.05x 10% $1 .67 s 33.4 0.11% 25% 15.00 $100.0 0.34% Page 140 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Appendix XV Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks The following are GAO’S comments on the Coalition for Regional Banks’ letter dated January 18, 1990. 1. In appendix III of the report, we discuss the practical impact the fire- GAO Comments wall requirements have on banking organizations, including regional bank holding companies. We believe the report reflects the concerns and perspectives that regional banking organizations have concerning the firewalls. 2. The Board’s approval of foreign banking organizations’ applications to establish Section 20 subsidiaries occurred after we completed our audit; therefore, we did not have the opportunity to study the Board’s approval in any detail. However, as noted in the report letter (see pages 12 through 14), we believe that the appropriate long-run structure to accommodate expanded activities authorized for banking organizations is a topic that should be studied further. 3. We did not obtain information on securities industry revenues gener- ated from dealing activities, since the Section 20 firms that have initi- ated the new activities have primarily conducted underwriting activities. However, a banking organization’s decision to acquire an existing securities firm would be affected not only by the amount of rev- enue generated from bank-ineligible activities, but by other business considerations, such as the firm’s profitability and how well the firm would fit into the banking organization’s strategic business plans. 4. The text has been modified to better illustrate the need for determin- ing the purpose served by each firewall. 5. We agree that while provisions contained in the Glass-Steagall Act generally tend to establish a degree of separation between the banking and securities industries, it does not appear that the act was intended to blunt competition among providers of financial services. 6. We agree that under either the firewall requirements or provisions contained in the Federal Reserve Act, loans made by a bank to an affili- ate are required to be on essentially the same terms as those that exist in the markets for similar transactions. Therefore, it appears that the Federal Reserve’s objective is to assure that a Section 20 subsidiary does not unduly benefit from being affiliated with an insured institution. Additionally, securities firms affiliated with a bank holding company, as Page 141 GAO/GGD-SO-48 Bank Powers Appendix XV Comments From the Coalition for Regional Banks defined in the Board’s regulations, would also be required to comply with the Board’s firewalls. 7. We agree that adequate and appropriate disclosure, properly regu- lated, would be an effective mechanism to assure that a customer can clearly distinguish between federally insured and uninsured products and services that may be available from a federally insured institution. 8. The Bank Holding Company Act, as amended, defined a bank holding company as a company, including a foreign banking organization, that has direct or indirect control of a bank. Under Section 4(a)(2) of the act, certain foreign banking organizations qualify for grandfathered privi- leges under Section 8 of the International Banking Act of 1978 (IBA). Under Section 8 of the IBA, any foreign bank that controls a bank that operates in the United States shall be subject to the Bank Holding Com- pany Act of 1956 and subsequent amendments in the same manner and to the same extent as if it were a bank holding company. The purpose of this provision was to bring the permissible nonbanking activities of for- eign banks more in line with those of domestic bank holding companies. However, a foreign bank could continue to engage in nonbanking activi- ties in the United States in which it was lawfully engaged before enact- ment of the IBA. Page 142 GAO/GGD-SO-48 Bank Powers *pdix XVI Cotients From the Securities In&&y Association --c RITIES INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION 12021 296-9410 Facslmfle, (2021 296-9775 1850 M Street, N. W.. Wash!ngton. 0.C 20036 January 8, 1990 MK. Richard L. Fogel Assistant Comptroller General United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Fogel: Let me begin by thanking you for providing us with a copy of your draft report "Banking Powers: Activities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding Companies". This is a very difficult subject to analyze because there are no readily available data sources on specific securities products, and there has been little experience with the Section 20 Subsidiaries. You have done a superb job in consolidating the available information in the appendices. The basic information concerning the industry comes from the SEC Focus Report. This basic regulatory document has not been changed since the mid-1970's, and contains a simple one page income statement. Obviously, the industry has changed substantially since that time, and continues to change. The industry and the regulators would be able to get a better picture if revenues and profitability were reported by product line. The Commission does little analysis of the industry, and frankly, that analysis is left to this association. Changes in the Focus Report could provide significantly better information, and make industry and product line analysis more meaningful. Given the limited data and experience we certainly agree that it is too early to draw conclusions as to the competitive impact of the Section 20 Subsidiaries, or how real or necessary the firewalls are. $:A has long supported a legislative solution to intersect.on between investment and commerical banking. Your report raises the issues that need to be analyzed before the Congress can undertake a redefinition of national policy in the banking and securities industries. We look forward to working with you and the Congress towards that redefinition. ijfij?&d@ Director of Government Relations Page 143 GAO/GGD-9048BankPowers Adpendix XVII r i L- D+fIajor Contributors to This Report Stephen C. Swaim, Assistant Director, 452-2834 Gkneral Government Edward S. Wroblewski, Evaluator-in-Charge Division, Washington, Karen R. Wiseman, Evaluator D1.C. Gayle L. DeLong, Evaluator Lou V. B. Smith, Evaluator Kristi A. Peterson, Evaluator Page 144 GAO/GGD-90-48 Bank Powers Page 145 GAO/GGD-99-48 Bank Powers / c Page 146 GAO/GGD-904BankPowers . Page147 GAO/GGD-go-48 BankPowers IkelaM GAO products Qommercial Banking (GAo/cxm-89-36, Jan. 27, 1989). Bank Powers: Issues Related to Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (GAO/ GGD-88-37, Jan. 22, 1988). Issues Related to Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (GAojT-GGD-88-9, Feb. 10, 1988). Using “Firewalls” in a Post Glass-Steagall Banking Environment (GAO/T- GGD-88-26, Apr. 13, 1988). International Finance: U.S. Commercial Banks’ Securities Activities in London (GAO/NSLAD-88-238, Sept. 8, 1988). Safeguards That Need to Accompany Changes to Glass-Steagall Laws (GAO/T-~~~-88-61, Sept. 13, 1988) CommerciaI Banking: Lending to Troubled Sectors (GAo/GGD-~~-~~~BR, Sept. 26, 1988). Bank Powers: Insulating Banks From the Potential Risks of Expanded Activities (GAO/GGD-87-36, Apr. 14, 1987). Financial Markets: Preliminary Observation on the October 1987 Crash The Securities (GAO/GGD-8838, Jan. 26, 1988). ILndustry Securities and Futures: How the Markets Developed and How They Are Regulated (GAO/GGD-86-26, May 15, 1986). Securities Regulation: Securities and Exchange Commission Oversight of Self-Regulation (GAO/GGD-86-83, Sept. 30, 1986). Financial Services 1988). Activity Financial Services Information on Nonbank Banks (GAO/GGD-86-46FS, Mar. 21, 1986). Y ~2as263) Page148 GAO/GGD9048BankPowers I~t~quests for copies of (;A() reports should be sent to: 1J.S. (kweral Accounting Office Post Office Hox 6016 Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877 ‘l’etephout? 202-275-6241 The first five copies of each report are free. Additional copies are $2.00 each. There is a 25% discount on orders for 100 or more copies mailed to a single address. Orders must be prepaid by cash or by check or money order made out, to the Superintendent of Documents. -----
Bank Powers: Activities of Securities Subsidiaries of Bank Holding Companies
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-03-14.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)