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Notice

Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Filings and Information Services, Washington, DC 20549.

Extension: Rule 17Ad-4(b) & (c), SEC File No. 270-264, OMB Control No. 3235-0341, Rule 17Ad-15, SEC File No. 270-360, OMB Control No. 3235-0409.

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) is soliciting comments on the collections of information summarized below. The Commission plans to submit these existing collections of information to the Office of Management and Budget for extension and approval.

Rule 17Ad-4(b) & (c) Notices Regarding Exempt Transfer Agent Status

Rule 17Ad-4(b) & (c) is used to document when transfer agents are exempt, or no longer exempt, from the minimum performance standards and certain recordkeeping provisions of the Commission's transfer agent rules. Rule 17Ad-4(c) sets forth the conditions under which a registered transfer agent loses its exempt status. Once the conditions for exemption no longer exist, the transfer agent, to keep the appropriate regulatory authority (“ARA”) apprised of its current status, must prepare, and file if the ARA for the transfer agent is the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“BGFRS”) or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), a notice of loss of exempt status under paragraph (c). The transfer agent then cannot claim exempt status under Rule 17Ad-4(b) again until it remains subject to the minimum performance standards for non-exempt transfer agents for six consecutive months. The ARAs use the information contained in the notice to determine whether a registered transfer agent qualifies for the exemption, to determine when a registered transfer agent no longer qualifies for the exemption, and to determine the extent to which that transfer agent is subject to regulation.

The BGFRS receives approximately twelve notices of exempt status and six notices of loss of exempt status annually. The FDIC receives approximately eighteen notices of exempt status and three notices of loss of exempt status annually. The Commission and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) do not require transfer agents to file notice of exempt status or loss of exempt status. Instead, transfer agents whose ARA is the Commission or OCC need only to prepare and maintain these notices. The Commission estimates that approximately sixteen notices of exempt status and loss of exempt status are prepared annually by transfer agents whose ARA is the Commission. Similarly, the OCC estimates that the transfer agents for which it is the ARA, prepare and maintain approximately fifteen notices of exempt status and loss of exempt status annually. Thus, a total of approximately seventy notices of exempt status and loss of exempt status are prepared and maintained by transfer agents annually. Of these seventy notices, approximately forty are filed with an ARA. Any additional costs associated with filing such notices would be limited primarily to postage, which would be minimal. Since the Commission estimates that no more than one-half hour is required to prepare each notice, the total annual burden to transfer agents is approximately thirty-five hours. The average cost per hours is approximately $30. Therefore, the total cost of compliance to the transfer agent community is $1,050.

Transfer agents should prepare and maintain in its possession or file with its ARA notice of exempt status or loss of exempt status for the period of the exemption or loss of exemption. When the transfer agent's status changes, the transfer agent should file a notice of exempt status or loss of exempt status reflecting that change. The notice requirement is mandatory to determine when a registered transfer agent no longer qualifies for the exemption, and to determine the extent to which that transfer agent is subject to regulation. Notices submitted according to Rule 17Ad-4(b) & (c) will not be kept confidential.

Rule 17Ad-15 Signature Guarantees

Rule 17Ad-15 requires approximately 1,093 transfer agents to establish written standards for the acceptance or rejection of guarantees of securities transfers from eligible guarantor institutions. Transfer agents are required to establish procedures to ensure that those standards are used by the transfer agent to determine whether to accept or reject guarantees from eligible guarantor institutions. Transfer agents must maintain, for a period of three years following the date of a rejection of transfer, a record of all transfers rejected, along with the reason for the Start Printed Page 30646rejection, identification of the guarantor, and whether the guarantor failed to meet the transfer agent's guarantee standard. These recordkeeping requirements assist the Commission and other regulatory agencies with monitoring transfer agents and ensuring compliance with the rule.

There are approximately 1,093 registered transfer agents. Of the 1,093 registered transfer agents, proximately 120 will receive fewer than 100 items for transfer. The staff expects that most small transfer agents will have few, if any, rejections. The staff estimates that every transfer agent will spend about 40 hours annually to comply with Rule 17Ad-15. The total annual burden for all transfer agents is 43,720 hours. The average cost per hour is approximately $30. Therefore, the total cost of compliance for all transfer agents is $1,311,600.

Please note that 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.

Written comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted in writing within 60 days of this publication.

Please direct your written comments to Michael E. Bartell, Associate Executive Director, Office of Information Technology, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20549.

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Dated: May 1, 2000.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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[FR Doc. 00-11918 Filed 5-11-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M