Skip to Content

Notice

Van Kampen Funds Inc. and Van Kampen Focus Portfolios; Notice of Application

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble June 29, 2000.

AGENCY:

Securities and Exchange Commission “SEC” or “Commission”).

ACTION:

Notice of application for an order under section 12(d)(1)(J) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Act”) for an exemption from sections 12(d)(1)(A), (B) and (C) of the Act and under sections 6(c) and 17(b) of the Act for an exemption from section 17(a) of the Act.

SUMMARY OF THE APPLICATION:

Applicants request an order to permit certain registered unit investment trusts to acquire shares of registered management investment companies and unit investment trusts both within and outside the same group of investment companies.

Start Printed Page 42039

FILING DATES:

The application was filed on June 17, 1997, and amended on April 12, 2000, and May 22, 2000.

HEARING OR NOTIFICATION OF HEARING:

An order granting the application will be issued unless the Commission orders a hearing. Interested persons may request a hearing by writing to the Commission's Secretary and serving applicants with a copy of the request, personally or by mail. Hearing requests should be received by the Commission by 5:30 p.m. on July 24, 2000, and should be accompanied by proof of service on applicants in the form of an affidavit or, for lawyers, a certificate of service. Hearing requests should state the nature of the writer's interest, the reason for the request, and the issues contested. Persons who wish to be notified of a hearing may request notification by writing to the Commission's Secretary.

ADDRESSES:

Secretary, Commission, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20549-0609. Applicants, One Parkview Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael W. Mundt, Branch Chief, and Nadya B. Roytblat, Assistant Director, at (202) 942-0564 (Office of Investment Company Regulation, Division of Investment Management).

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The following is a summary of the application. The complete application may be obtained for a fee at the Commission's Public Reference Branch, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20549-0102, (202) 942-8090.

Applicants' Representations

1. The Van Kampen Focus Portfolios (“Trust”) and its series (“Trust Series”) are unit investment trusts registered under the Act and sponsored by Van Kampen Funds Inc. (“Sponsor”). The Sponsor, a Delaware corporation, is an indirect subsidiary of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.

2. Applicants request relief to permit the Trust Series to invest in (a) registered investment companies that are part of the same “group of investment companies” (as that term is defined in section 12(d)(1)(G) of the Act) as the Trust (“Affiliated Funds”), and (b) registered investment companies that are not part of the same group of investment companies as the Trust (“Unaffiliated Funds,” together with the Affiliated Funds, the “Funds”). The Unaffiliated Funds may include unit investment trusts (“Unaffiliated Underlying Trusts”) and open-end or closed-end management investment companies (“Unaffiliated Underlying Funds”). Certain of the Unaffiliated Underlying Trusts or Unaffiliated Underlying Funds may be “exchanged-traded funds” that are registered under the Act as unit investment trusts or open-end management investment companies and have received exemptive relief to sell their shares on a securities exchange at negotiated prices. Applicants request that the relief also apply to future Trust Series and unit investment trusts registered under the Act and sponsored by the Sponsor that invest in the Funds. [1]

3. Applicants state that the requested relief will benefit unitholders by providing investors with a professionally selected, diversified portfolio of investment company shares through a single investment vehicle.

Applicants' Legal Analysis

A. Section 12(d)(1)

1. Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the Act prohibits a registered investment company from acquiring shares of an investment company if the securities represent more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired company, more than 5% of the total assets of the acquiring company, or, together with the securities of any other investment companies, more than 10% of the total assets of the acquiring company. Section 12(d)(1)(B) of the Act prohibits a registered open-end investment company from selling its shares to another investment company if the sale will cause the acquiring company to own more than 3% of the acquired company's voting stock, or if the sale will cause more than 10% of the acquired company's voting stock to be owned by investment companies generally. Section 12(d)(1)(C) prohibits an investment company, other investment companies having the same investment adviser, and companies controlled by such investment companies, from acquiring more than 10% of the outstanding voting stock of a registered closed-end management investment company.

2. Section 12(d)(1)(G) provides, in relevant part, that section 12(d)(1) will not apply to securities of a registered open-end investment company or unit investment trust acquired by a registered unit investment trust if the acquired company and the acquiring company are part of the same group of investment companies, provided that certain other requirements contained in section 12(d)(1)(G) are met. Applicants state that they may not rely on section 12(d)(1)(G) because a Trust Series will invest in Unaffiliated Funds in addition to Affiliated Funds.

3. Section 12(d)(1)(J) of the Act provides that the Commission may exempt any person, security, or transaction, or any class or classes of persons securities or transactions, from any provision of section 12(d)(1) if the exemption is consistent with the public interest and the protection of investors. Applicants seek an exemption under section 12(d)(1)(J) to permit a Trust Series to acquire shares of a Fund and to permit a Fund to sell shares to a Trust Series beyond the limits set forth in section 12(d)(1)(A), (B), and (C).

4. Applicants state that the proposed arrangement will not give rise to the policy concerns underlying section 12(d)(1)(A), (B), and (C), which include concerns about undue influence by a fund or funds over underlying funds, excessive layering of fees, and overly complex fund structures. Accordingly, applicants believe that the requested exemption is consistent with the public interest and the protection of investors.

5. Applicants state that the proposed arrangement will not result in undue influence by a Trust Series or its affiliates over Funds. To limit the control that a Trust Series may have over an Unaffiliated Fund, applicants propose a condition prohibiting the Sponsors, the Trust Series, and certain affiliate (individually or in the aggregate) from controlling an Unaffiliated Fund within the meaning of section 2(a)(9) of the Act. To limit further the potential for undue influence over Unaffiliated Funds, applicants propose conditions 2 through 6, stated below, to preclude a Trust Series and its affiliated entities from taking advantage of an Unaffiliated Fund with respect to transactions between the entities and to ensure that transactions will be on an arm's length basis.

6. As an additional assurance that an Unaffiliated Fund understands the implications of an investment by a Trust Series under the requested order, a Trust Series and Unaffiliated Fund will execute an agreement prior to the investment stating that the Unaffiliated Fund understands the terms and conditions of the order and agrees to fulfill its responsibilities under the order. Applicants note that an Unaffiliated Fund may choose to reject an investment from the Trust Series.

7. Applicants do not believe that the proposed arrangement will involve excessive layering of fees. Applicants state that a condition to the order would provide that the aggregate sales charges, distribution-related fees and/or service Start Printed Page 42040fees of a Trust Series and any Fund in which it invests will not exceed the limits set forth in rule 2830 of the Conduct Rules of the National Association of Securities Dealers (“NASD Conduct Rules”). In addition, the trustee to a Trust Series (“Trustee”) will waive or offset fees otherwise payable by the Trust Series in an amount at least equal to any compensation (including fees paid pursuant to a plan adopted by an Unaffiliated Underlying Fund under rule 12b-1 under the Act (“12b-1 Fees”)) received by the Sponsor or Trustee, or an affiliated person of the sponsor or Trustee, from an Unaffiliated Fund in connection with the investment by a Trust Series in the Unaffiliated Fund.

8. Applicants state that the proposed arrangement will not create an overly complex fund structure. Applicants note that a Fund will be prohibited from acquiring securities of any investment company in excess of the limits contained in section 12(d)(1)(A). Applicants also represent that a Trust Series' prospectus and sales literature will contain concise, “plain English” disclosure designed to inform investors of the unique characteristics of the trust of funds structure, including, but not limited to, its expense structure and the additional expenses of investing in Funds.

B. Section 17(a)

1. Section 17(a) of the Act generally prohibits sales or purchases of securities between a registered investment company and any affiliated person of the company. Section 2(a)(3) of the Act defines an “affiliated person” of another person to include (a) any person directly or indirectly owning, controlling, or holding with power to vote, 5% or more of the outstanding voting securities of the other person; (b) any person 55% or more of whose outstanding voting securities are directly or indirectly owned, controlled, or held with power to vote by the other person; and (c) any person directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the other person.

2. Applicants state that a Trust Series and Affiliated Funds might be deemed to be under the common control of the Sponsor or an entity controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Sponsor. Applicants also state that a Trust Series and a Fund might become affiliated persons if the Trust Series acquires more than 5% of the Fund's outstanding voting securities. In light of these possible affiliations, section 17(a) could prevent a Fund from selling shares to and redeeming shares from a Trust Series.

3. Section 17(b) of the Act authorizes the Commission to grant an order permitting a transaction otherwise prohibited by section 17(a) if it finds that (a) the terms of the proposed transaction are fair and reasonable and do not involve overreaching on the part of any person concerned; (b) the proposed transaction is consistent with the policies of each registered investment company involved; and (c) the proposed transaction is consistent with the general purposes of the Act. Section 6(c) of the Act permits the Commission to exempt any person or transactions from any provision of the Act if such exemption is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the purposes fairly intended by the policy and provisions of the Act.

4. Applicants submit that the proposed arrangement satisfies the standards for relief under sections 17(a) and 6(c) of the Act. Applicants state that the terms of the arrangement are fair and reasonable and do not involve overreaching. Applicants note that the consideration paid for the sale and redemption of shares of the Funds will be based on the net asset values of the Funds. Applicants state that the proposed arrangement will be consistent with the policies of each Trust Series, as set forth in each Trust Series' registration statement, and with the general purposes of the Act.

Applicant's Conditions

Applicants agree that the requested order will be subjected to the following conditions:

1. (a) The Sponsor, (b) any person controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Sponsor, and (c) any investment company and any issuer that would be an investment company but for section 3(c)(1) or section 3(c)(7) of the Act sponsored or advised by the Sponsor or any person controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Sponsor (collectively, the “Group”) will not control (individually or in the aggregate) an Unaffiliated Fund within the meaning of section 2(a)(9) of the Act. If, as a result of a decrease in the outstanding voting securities of an Unaffiliated Fund, the Group, in the aggregate, becomes a holder of more than 25% of the outstanding voting securities of the Unaffiliated Fund, the Group will vote its shares in the same proportion as the vote of all other holders of the Unaffiliated Fund's shares.

2. A Trust Series and its Sponsor, promoter, and principal underwriter, and any person controlling, controlled by, or under common control with any of those entities (each a “Trust Series Affiliate”) will not cause any existing or potential investment by the Trust Series in shares of an Unaffiliated Fund to influence the terms of any services or transactions between the Trust Series or a Trust Series Affiliate and the Unaffiliated Fund or its investment adviser, sponsor, promoter, and principal underwriter, and any person controlling, controlled by, or under common control with any of those entities.

3. Once an investment by a Trust Series in the securities of an Unaffiliated Underlying Fund exceeds the limits of section 12(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, the board of directors of the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund, including a majority of the disinterested directors, will determine that any consideration paid by the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund to a Trust Series or a Trust Series Affiliate in connection with any services or transactions: (a) Is fair and reasonable in relation to the nature and quality of the services and benefits received by the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund; (b) is within the range of consideration that the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund would be required to pay to another unaffiliated entity in connection with the same services or transactions; and (c) does not involve overreaching on the part of any person concerned.

4. No Trust Series or Trust Series Affiliate will cause an Underlying Fund to purchase a security from any underwriting or selling syndicate in which a principal underwriter is the Sponsor or a person of which the Sponsor is an affiliated person (each an “Underwriting Affiliate”). An offering during the existence of an underwriting or selling syndicate of which a principal underwriter is an Underwriting Affiliate is considered an “Affiliated Underwriting.”

5. The board of directors of an Unaffiliated Underlying Fund, including a majority of the disinterested directors, will adopt procedures reasonably designed to monitor any purchases by the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund of securities in Affiliated Underwritings once an investment by a Trust Series in the securities of the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund exceeds the limits of section 12(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, including any purchases made directly from an Underwriting Affiliate. The board of directors will review these purchases periodically, but no less frequently than Start Printed Page 42041annually, to determine whether the purchases were influenced by the investment by the Trust Series in shares of the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund. The board of directors will consider, among other things, (a) whether the purchases were consistent with the investment objectives and policies of the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund; (b) how the performance of securities purchased in an Affiliated Underwriting compares to the performance of comparable securities purchased during a comparable period of time in underwritings other than Affiliated Underwritings or to a benchmark such as a comparable market index; and (c) whether the amount of securities purchased by the Unaffiliated Underlying Fund in Affiliated Underwritings and the amount purchased directly from Underwriting Affiliates have changed significantly from prior years. The board of directors shall take any appropriate actions based on its review, including, if appropriate, the institution of procedures designed to assure that purchases of securities from Affiliated Underwritings are in the best interests of shareholders.

6. An Unaffiliated Underlying Fund shall maintain and preserve permanently in an easily accessible place a written copy of the procedures described in the preceding condition, and any modifications, and shall maintain and preserve for a period not less than 6 years from the end of the fiscal year in which any purchase from an Affiliated Underwriting occurred, the first 2 years in an easily accessible place, a written record of each purchase made once an investment by a Trust Series in the securities of an Unaffiliated Underlying Fund exceeded the limits of section 12(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, setting forth from whom the securities were acquired, the identity of the underwriting syndicate's members, the terms of the purchase, and the information or materials upon which the board's determinations were made.

7. Prior to an investment in an Underlying Fund in excess of the limit in section 12(d)(1)(A)(i), the Trust Series and the Underlying Fund will execute an agreement stating, without limitation, that the Underlying Fund understands the terms and conditions of the order and agrees to fulfill its responsibilities under the order. At the time of its investment in shares of an Unaffiliated Fund in excess of the limit in section 12(d)(1)(A)(i), a Trust Series will notify the Unaffiliated Fund of the investment. At such time, the Trust Series also will transmit to the Unaffiliated Fund a list of the names of each Trust Series Affiliate and Underwriting Affiliate. The Trust Series will notify the Underlying Fund of any changes to the list as soon as reasonably practicable after a change occurs. The Underlying Fund and the Trust Series will maintain and preserve a copy of the order, the agreement, and the list with any updated information for a period not less than 6 years from the end of the fiscal year in which any investment occurred, the first 2 years in an easily accessible place.

8. The Trustee will waive or offset fees otherwise payable by a Trust Series in an amount at least equal to any compensation (including 12b-1 Fees) received by the Sponsor or Trustee, or an affiliated person of the Sponsor or Trustee, from an Unaffiliated Fund in connection with the investment by a Trust Series in the Unaffiliated Fund.

9. Any sales charges, distribution-related fees and/or service fees charged with respect to units of a Trust Series, when aggregated with any sales charges, distribution-related fees and/or service fees paid by the Trust Series with respect to its acquisition, holding, or disposition of shares of a Fund, will not exceed the limits set forth in rule 2830 of the NASD Conduct Rules.

10. No Fund will acquire securities of any other investment company in excess of the limits contained in section 12(d)(1)(A) of the Act.

Start Signature

For the SEC, by the Division of Investment Management, pursuant to delegated authority.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  All investment companies that currently intend to rely on the requested order are named as applicants. Any other investment company that relies on the order in the future will comply with the terms and conditions of the application.

Back to Citation

[FR Doc. 00-17143 Filed 7-6-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M