Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Filings and Information Services, 450 5th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20549
Extension: Rule 18f-3; SEC File No. 270-385; OMB Control No. 3235-0441
Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) a request for extension and approval on the collection of information described below.
Section 18(f)(1)  of the Investment Company Act of 1940  (the “Investment Company Act”) prohibits registered open-end management investment companies (“funds”) from issuing any senior security. Rule 18f-3 under the act  exempts from section 18(f)(1) a fund that issues multiple classes of shares representing interests in the same portfolio of securities (a “multiple class fund”) if the fund satisfies the conditions of the rule. In general, each class must differ in its arrangement for shareholder services or distribution or both, and must pay the related expenses of that different arrangement.
The rule includes one requirement for the collection of information. A multiple class fund must prepare and fund directors must approve a written plan setting forth the separate arrangement and expense allocation of each class, and any related conversion features or exchange privileges (“ rule 18f-3 plan”). Approval of the plan must occur before the fund issues any shares of multiple classes, and whenever the fund materially amends the plan. In approving the plan, the fund board, including a majority of the independent directors, must determine that the plan is in the best interests of each class and the fund as a whole.
The requirement that the fund prepare and directors approve a written rule 18f-3 plan is intended to ensure that the fund compiles information relevant to the fairness of the separate arrangement and expense allocation for each class, and that directors review and approve the information. Without a blueprint that highlights material differences among classes, directors might not perceive potential conflicts of interests when they determine whether the plan is in the best interests of each class and the fund. In addition, the plan may be useful to Commission staff in reviewing the fund's compliance with the rule.
There are approximately 550 multiple class funds. Based on a review of typical rule 18f-3 plans, the Commission's staff estimates that the 550 funds together make an average of 275 responses each year to prepare and approve a written rule 18f-3 plan, requiring approximately 5.5 hours per response, and a total of 1512.5 burden hours per year in the aggregate. The estimated annual burden of 1512.5 hours represents an increase of 912.5 hours over the prior estimate of 600 hours. The increase in burden hours is attributable to more accurate estimates of the burden hours that reflect additional time spent by professionals and time spent by directors. The estimated number of multiple class funds has decreased, however, from 600 to 550.
The estimate of average burden hours is made solely for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. The estimate is not derived from a comprehensive or even a representative survey or study of the costs of Commission rules. Start Printed Page 7581Complying with this collection of information requirement is necessary to obtain the benefit of relying on rule 18f-3. Responses will not be kept confidential. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number.
Please direct general comments regarding the above information to the following persons: (i) Desk Officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503; and (ii) Michael E. Bartell, Associate Executive Director, Office of Information Technology, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20549. Comments must be submitted to OMB within 30 days of this notice.Start Signature
Dated: February 8, 2000.
Margaret H. McFarland,
4. Rule 18f-3(d).Back to Citation
5. This estimate is based on data from Form N-SAR, the semi-annual report that funds file with the Commission.Back to Citation
6. The estimate reflects the assumption that each multiple class fund prepares and approves a rule 18f-3 plan every two years when issuing a new class or amending a plan (or that 275 of all 550 funds prepare and approve a plan each year). The estimate assumes that the time required to prepare a plan is 3 hours per plan (or 825 hours for 275 funds annually), and the time required to approve a plan is an additional 2.5 hours per plan (or 687.5 hours for 275 funds annually).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 00-3445 Filed 2-14-00; 8:45 am]
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