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Notice

Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 77-4

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

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 other 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 program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and Start Printed Page 36806financial 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 proposed extension of a currently approved collection of information, Class Exemption 77-4 for certain transactions between investment companies and employee benefit plans. A copy of the proposed information collection request (ICR) can be obtained by contacting the person listed below in the addresses section.

DATES:

Written comments must be submitted on or before September 11, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

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, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 219-4782; FAX (202) 219-4745. These are not toll-free numbers.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 77-4 permits the purchase and sale by an employee benefit plan of shares of a registered, open-end investment company (mutual fund) when a fiduciary with respect to the plan (e.g., investment manager) is also the investment advisor for the investment company. In the absence of the exemption, certain aspects of these transactions might be prohibited by section 406 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The Department of Labor is particularly interested in comments which:

  • 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 submission of responses.

III. Current Actions

Without the relief provided by this exemption, an open-end mutual fund would be unable to sell shares to or purchase shares from a plan when the fiduciary with respect to the plan is also the investment advisor for the mutual fund. As a result, plans would be compelled to liquidate their existing investments involving such transactions and to amend their plan documents to establish new investment structures and policies.

In order to insure that the exemption is not abused and that the rights of participants and beneficiaries are protected, the Department has included in the exemption three basic disclosure requirements. The first requires at the time of the purchase or sale of such mutual fund shares that the plan's independent fiduciary receive a copy of the current prospectus issued by the open-end mutual fund and a full and detailed written statement of the investment advisory fees charges to or paid by the plan and the open-end mutual fund to the investment advisor. The second requires that the independent fiduciary approve in writing such purchases and sales. The third requires that the independent fiduciary, once notified of changes in the fees, re-approve in writing the purchase and sale of mutual fund shares.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Agency: Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.

Title: Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 77-4 for Certain Transactions Between Investment Companies and Employee Benefit Plans.

OMB Numbers: 1210-0049.

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

Total Respondents: 431.

Frequency of Response: On occasion.

Total Responses: 82,000.

Average Time Per Response: 5 minutes.

Total Annual Burden: 7,000 hours.

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: July 9, 2001.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

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

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[FR Doc. 01-17551 Filed 7-12-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P