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Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations: Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 96-62

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The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95)(44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.

Currently, the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration is soliciting comments concerning the extension of a currently approved collection of information, Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 96-62, the expedited process for approval of exemptions. A copy of the proposed information collection request (ICR) can be obtained by contacting the office listed below in the addresses section of this notice.


Written comments must be submitted on or before August 27, 2001.


Gerald B. Lindrew, Office of Policy and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-5647, Washington, D.C. 20210, (202) 219-4782, FAX (202) 219-4745. These are not toll-free numbers.

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I. Background

Section 408(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) provides that the Secretary of Labor may grant exemptions from the prohibited transaction provisions of section 406 and 407(a) of ERISA, and directs the Secretary to establish an exemption procedure with respect to such provisions. On July 31, 1996, the Department published Prohibited Transaction Exemption 96-62, which, pursuant to the exemption procedure set forth in 29 CFR 2570, subpart B, permits a plan to seek approval on an accelerated basis of otherwise prohibited transactions. A class exemption will only be granted on the conditions that the plan demonstrate to the Department that the transaction is substantially similar to those described in at least two prior individual exemptions granted by the Depatment and that it presents little, if any, opportunity for abuse or risk of loss to a plan's participants and beneficiaries. This ICR is intended to provide the Department with sufficient information to support a finding that the exemption meets the statutory standards of section 408(a) of ERISA, and to provide affected parties with the opportunity to comment on the proposed transaction, while at the same time reducing the regulatory burden associated with processing individual exemptions for transactions prohibited under ERISA.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The Department is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate 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;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

III. Current Actions

This notice requests comments on the extension of the ICR included in the regulation governing accelerating approval of a prohibited transaction class exemption. The Department is not proposing or implementing changes to the existing ICR at this time.

Type of Review; Extension of a currently approved colleciton of information.

Agency: Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.

Title: Prohibited Transaction Exemption 96-62; Accelerated Approval of an Otherwise Prohibited Transaction.

OMB Number: 1210-0098.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit, Not-for-profit institutions, Individuals.

Total Respondents: 42.

Total Responses: 42.

Frequency: On occasion.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 53.

Total Annual Costs (Operating and Maintenance): $37,884.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: June 21, 2001.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

Deputy Director, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Office of Policy and Research.

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[FR Doc. 01-16079 Filed 6-26-01; 8:45 am]