SAN FRANCISCO- BankAmerica Corp. has received a Federal Reserve go-ahead to expand its securities broker-dealer activities, including the underwriting of debt and equity issues.

The approval allows San Francisco-based BankAmerica to join an elite group of mostly New York money center institutions, that are permitted to offer a broad range of investment banking services.

BankAmerica already had been granted limited underwriting powers last year when the Federal Reserve approved the company's application to set up a Section 20 subsidiary, a separate nonbanking unit for securities operations.

But the previous approval restricted BankAmerica's authority mainly to underwriting commercial paper. The latest order grants the company wider powers, including underwriting corporate debt and private-purpose municipal revenue bonds.

BankAmerica also will be permitted to manage equity offerings, contingent on a Federal Reserve review of its operations.

BankAmerica's Section 20 broker-dealer subsidiary is BA Securities Inc. which has offices in seven cities nationwide.

Robert T. Slaymaker, the unit's president, said BankAmerica intends to offer expanded underwriting services to corporate customers by the end of the month.

Initially, BankAmerica will restrict itself to debt issues for wholesale customers, he noted. Mr. Slaymaker said he was not able to comment on BankAmerica's plans to manage stock offerings.

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