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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 17f-6; SEC File No. 270-392; OMB Control No. 3235-0447.

Notice is hereby given that, under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a request for extension of the previously approved collection of information discussed below.

Rule 17f-6 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 [17 CFR 270.17f-6] permits registered investment companies (“funds”) to maintain assets (i.e., margin) with futures commission merchants (“FCMs”) in connection with commodity transactions effected on both domestic and foreign exchanges. Before the rule was adopted, funds generally were required to maintain such assets in special accounts with a custodian bank.[1]

Rule 17f-6 permits funds to maintain their assets with FCMs that are registered under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and that are not affiliated with the fund. The rule requires that a written contract containing the following provisions govern the manner in which the FCM maintains a fund's assets:

  • The PCM must comply with the segregation requirements of section 4d(2) of the CEA [7 U.S.C. 6d(2)] and the rules under that statute [17 CFR Chapter I] or, if applicable, the secured amount requirements of rule 30.7 under the CEA [17 CFR 30.7];
  • If the FCM places the fund's margin with another entity for clearing purposes the FCM must obtain an acknowledgement from the clearing organization that the fund's assets are held on behalf of the FCM's customers in accordance with provisions under the CEA; and
  • Upon request the FCM must furnish records about the fund's assets to the Commission or its staff.

The rule requires a written contract that contains certain provisions to ensure important safeguards and other benefits relating to the custody of fund assets by FCMs. For example, the requirement that FCMs comply with the segregation or secured amount requirements of the CEA and the rules under the statue is designed to protect fund assets held by FCMs. The contract requirement that an FCM obtain an acknowledgement from an entity that clears fund transactions that the fund's assets are held on behalf of the FCM's customers according to CEA provisions seeks to accommodate the legitimate needs of the participants in the commodity settlement process, consistent with the protection of fund assets. Finally, FCMs are required to furnish to the Commission or its staff on request information concerning the fund's assets in order to facilitate Commission inspections of funds.Start Printed Page 60479

The Commission estimates that approximately 3,031 funds could deposit margin with FCMs under rule 17f-6 in connection with their investments in futures contracts and commodity options. The Commission further estimates that each fund uses and deposits margin with 3 different FCMs in connection with its commodity transactions. Approximately 211 FCMs are eligible to hold investment company margin under the rule.2

The only paperwork burden of the rule consists of meeting the rule's contract requirements. The Commission estimates that 3,031 funds will spend an average of 1 hour complying with the contract requirements of the rule (e.g., signing contracts with additional FCMs), for a total of 3,031 burden hours. The estimate of average burden hours is made solely for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act, and is not derived from a comprehensive or even a representative survey or study of the costs of Commission rules and forms.

Complying with the collection of information requirements of the rule is necessary to obtain the benefit of relying on the rule. Although the rule requires that the FCM provide certain records upon request, these records are not made public. The rule does not require these records be retained for any specific period of time. 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 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549. Comment must be submitted to OMB within 30 days after this notice.

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Dated: October 2, 2000.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  See Custody of Investment Company Assets With Futures Commission Merchants and Commodity Clearing Organizations, Investment Company Act Release No. 22389 (Dec. 11, 1996) [61 FR 66207 (Dec. 17, 1996)].

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[FR Doc. 00-26030 Filed 10-10-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M