PHOENIX - Banking regulators are close to a decision on what constitutes a retail brokerage transaction, a key adviser to the Comptroller of the Currency said.

The ruling should clear up questions about which sales are subject to joint regulatory guidelines on bank investments, David Apgar, senior policy adviser to Comptroller Eugene A. Ludwig, told a Bank Securities Association convention here.

Fundamentally, Mr. Apgar said, retail sales are investment sales made in a bank branch. But some other transactions, such as sales of investment products to unsophisticated private banking customers, may also fit in the retail category.

Bank regulators are also preparing rules allowing banks to streamline their warnings to customers that investments carry risks, and are not insured like bank deposits, Mr. Apgar said.

Banks will be able to skip these warnings on billboards, short radio ads, and on so-called location banners that simply indicate where a brokerage is located.

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