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Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”).
Notice of application for an exemption under section 6(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Act”) from section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.
Summary of the Application: The order would permit applicants to enter into and materially amend subadvisory agreements without shareholder approval.
Applicants: Conseco Fund Group (“CFG”), Conseco Series Trust (“CST” together with CFG, the “Trusts”), and Conseco Capital Management, Inc. (the “Adviser”). Start Printed Page 2001
Filing Dates: The application was filed on March 6, 2001, and amended on December 26, 2001.
Hearing or Notification of Hearing: An order granting the application will be issued unless the SEC orders a hearing. Interested persons may request a hearing by writing to the SEC's Secretary and serving applicants with a copy of the request, personally or by mail. Hearing requests should be received by the SEC by 5:30 p.m. on February 4, 2002, 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 may request notification of a hearing by writing to the SEC's Secretary.
Secretary, SEC, 450 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20549-0609. Applicants, 11825 North Pennsylvania Street, Carmel, IN 46032.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Bruce R. MacNeil, Senior Counsel, at (202) 942-0634, or Nadya B. Roytblat, Assistant Director, at (202) 942-0564 (Division of Investment Management, Office of Investment Company Regulation).End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The following is a summary of the application. The complete application may be obtained for a fee at the SEC's Public Reference Branch, 450 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20549-0102 (telephone (202) 942-8090).
1. The Trusts, each a Massachusetts business trust, are registered under the Act as open-end management investment companies. Each Trust is organized as a series investment company and offers shares of multiple series (each series, a “Fund,” and together, the “Funds”), each with its own investment objectives, policies, and restrictions. The Adviser serves as the investment adviser to the Funds and is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”).
2. The Adviser serves as investment adviser to the Funds pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between each Trust and the Adviser that was approved by the respective Trust's board of trustees (“Board”), including a majority of the trustees who are not “interested persons,” as defined in section 2(a)(19) of the Act (“Independent Trustees”), and each Fund's shareholders (“Advisory Agreement”). The Advisory Agreement permits the Adviser to enter into separate investment advisory agreements (“Subadvisory Agreements”) with subadvisers (“Subadvisers”) to whom the Adviser may delegate responsibility for providing investment advice and making investment decisions for a Fund. Each Subadviser is an investment adviser registered under the Advisers Act. The Adviser monitors and evaluates the Subadvisers and recommends to the Board their hiring, termination, and replacement. The Adviser compensates the Subadvisers out of the fees paid to the Adviser by the Fund.
3. Applicants request relief to permit the Adviser to enter into and materially amend Subadvisory Agreements without obtaining shareholder approval. The requested relief will not extend to any Subadviser that is an affiliated person, as defined in section 2(a)(3) of the Act, of the Trust or the Adviser, other than by reason of serving as a Subadviser to one or more of the Funds (“Affiliated Subadviser”).
Applicants' Legal Analysis
1. Section 15(a) of the Act provides, in relevant part, that it is unlawful for any person to act as an investment adviser to a registered investment company except under a written contract that has been approved by a majority of the investment company's outstanding voting securities. Rule 18f-2 under the Act provides that each series or class of stock in a series company affected by a matter must approve the matter if the Act requires shareholder approval.
2. Section 6(c) of the Act authorizes the SEC to exempt persons or transactions from the provisions of the Act to the extent that the exemption is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the purposes fairly intended by the policies and provisions of the Act. Applicants state that the requested relief meets this standard for the reasons discussed below.
3. Applicants assert that the Funds' shareholders rely on the Adviser to select the Subadvisers best suited to achieve a Fund's investment objectives. Applicants assert that, from the perspective of the investor, the role of the Subadvisers is comparable to that of individual portfolio managers employed by other investment advisory firms. Applicants contend that requiring shareholder approval of each Subadvisory Agreement would impose costs and unnecessary delays on the Funds, and may preclude the Adviser from acting promptly in a manner considered advisable by the Board. Applicants also note that the Advisory Agreement will remain subject to section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.
Applicants agree that any order granting the requested relief will be subject to the following conditions:
1. Before a Fund may rely on the requested order, the operation of the Fund in the manner described in the application will be approved by the vote of a majority of its outstanding voting securities, as defined in the Act, or, in the case of a Fund whose public shareholders purchased shares on the basis of a prospectus containing the disclosure contemplated by condition number 2 below, by the initial shareholder(s) before offering shares of that Fund to the public.
2. Each Fund will disclose in its prospectus the existence, substance, and effect of any order granted pursuant to the application. In addition, each Fund relying on the requested order will hold itself out to the public as employing the management structure described in the application. The prospectus will prominently disclose that the Adviser has ultimate responsibility (subject to oversight of the Board) to oversee Subadvisers and recommend their hiring, termination, and replacement.
3. At all times, a majority of each Trust's Board will be Independent Trustees, and the nomination of new or additional Independent Trustees will be at the discretion of the then existing Independent Trustees.
4. The Adviser will not enter into a Subadvisory Agreement with any Affiliated Subadviser without that agreement, including the compensation to be paid thereunder, being approved by the shareholders of the applicable Fund.
5. When a change of Subadviser is proposed for a Fund with an Affiliated Subadviser, the Board of the corresponding Trust, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, Start Printed Page 2002will make a separate finding, reflected in the Board's minutes, that the change is in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders and does not involve a conflict of interest from which the Adviser or the Affiliated Subadviser derives an inappropriate advantage.
6. Within 90 days of the hiring of any new Subadviser, shareholders will be furnished all information about the new Subadviser that would be contained in a proxy statement, including any change in such disclosure caused by the addition of a new Subadviser. Each Fund will meet this condition by providing shareholders, within 90 days of the hiring of a Subadviser, an information statement meeting the requirements of Regulation 14C, Schedule 14C, and Item 22 of Schedule 14A under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
7. The Adviser will provide general management services to each Fund, including overall supervisory responsibility for the general management and investment of each Fund's assets, and, subject to review and approval by the Board, will (a) set the Fund's overall investment strategies; (b) evaluate, select, and recommend Subadviser(s) to manage all or a part of the Fund's assets; (c) monitor and evaluate the performance of Subadviser(s); (d) ensure that Subadvisers comply with each Subadvised Fund's investment objectives, restrictions, and policies by, among other things, implementing procedures reasonably designed to ensure compliance; and (e) allocate and, when appropriate, reallocate a Fund's assets among its Subadvisers when a Fund has more than one Subadviser.
8. No trustee or officer of the Trust or director or officer of the Adviser will own, directly or indirectly (other than through a pooled investment vehicle that is not controlled by any such trustee, director or officer) any interest in a Subadviser except for: (a) Ownership of interests in the Adviser or any entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the Adviser, or (b) ownership of less than 1% of the outstanding securities of any class of equity or debt securities of any publicly-traded company that is either a Subadviser or an entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a Subadviser.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Investment Management, under delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
1. The applicants also request that any relief granted pursuant to the application also apply to future series of the Trusts and any other registered open-end management investment companies and their series that: (a) Are advised by the Adviser or any person controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Adviser; (b) use the multi-manager structure described in the application; and (c) comply with the terms and conditions in the application (“Future Funds,” included in the term “Funds”). The Trusts are the only existing investment companies that currently intend to rely on the requested order. No Fund will contain in its name the name of a Subadviser (as defined below).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 02-941 Filed 1-14-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P