WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board last week gave London-based HSBC Holdings PLC permission to engage in securities activities through its New York subsidiary James Capel Inc..

Capel can offer investment and financial advice, provide full-service and discount brokerage services, place private securities, and buy and sell securities on behalf of customers, the Fed said.

Also, the Fed gave permission for another HSBC subsidiary, $12.8 billion-asset Marine Midland Bank of Buffalo, permission to open a branch in Orchard Park, N.Y.

The Fed rejected a local Community Reinvestment Act protest, saying a review of the bank's Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data showed that loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers increased from 1993 to 1994. Also, 20% of the bank's branches in are in lower-income communities.

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