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Notice

Oppenheimer Select Managers, et al.

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Start Preamble February 6, 2003.

AGENCY:

Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”).

ACTION:

Notice of application under section 6(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Act”) for an exemption from section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act, as well as certain disclosure requirements.

Summary of Application: Applicants request an order that would permit them Start Printed Page 7155to enter into and materially amend subadvisory agreements without shareholder approval and would grant relief from certain disclosure requirements.

Applicants: Oppenheimer Select Managers (“Select Managers”) and OppenheimerFunds, Inc. (“OFI”).

Filing Dates: The application was filed on December 18, 2000 and amended on February 6, 2003.

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 March 3, 2003, 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 Commission's Secretary.

ADDRESSES:

Secretary, Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0609. Applicants, 6803 South Tucson Way, Englewood, CO 80112.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

John L. Sullivan, Senior Counsel, at (202) 942-0681, or Mary Kay Frech, Branch Chief, at (202) 942-0564 (Division of Investment Management, Office of Investment Company Regulation).

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, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0102 (tel. 202-942-8090).

Applicants' Representations

1. Select Managers, a business trust organized under the laws of Massachusetts, is registered under the Act as an open-end management investment company. Select Managers is currently comprised of six series (each a “Series”),[1] each with a different investment objective and policies. Shares of some Series may be sold as a funding option for variable life insurance policies and variable annuity contracts issued by an insurance company.

2. OFI is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. OFI currently serves as investment adviser to each Series.

3. Select Managers (on behalf of each Series) has entered into separate investment management agreements with OFI (each, an “Advisory Agreement”) that were approved by Select Manager'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 either the initial shareholder of the Series (before the Series' shares are offered to the public) or the Series' public shareholders.[2]

4. OFI may delegate day-to-day portfolio management responsibilities for a Series by entering into an investment subadvisory agreement (“Subadvisory Agreement”) with a subadviser (“Subadviser”), subject to Board approval. OFI monitors and evaluates the Subadvisers and recommends to the Board their hiring, retention or termination. Subadvisers recommended to the Board by OFI are selected and approved by the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees. Each Subadviser's fees are paid by OFI out of the management fees received by OFI under its Advisory Agreement.

5. Applicants request relief to permit OFI, subject to Board approval, to enter into and materially amend Subadvisory Agreements without shareholder approval. The requested relief will not extend to a Subadviser that is an affiliated person, as defined in section 2(a)(3) of the Act, of Select Managers or OFI, other than by reason of serving as a Subadviser to one or more of the Series (“Affiliated Subadviser”).

6. Applicants also request an exemption from the various disclosure provisions described below that may require each Series to disclose fees paid by OFI to the Subadvisers. An exemption is requested to permit the Series to disclose (as both a dollar amount and as a percentage of a Series' net assets): (a) Aggregate fees paid to OFI and Affiliated Subadvisers, and (b) aggregate fees paid to the Subadvisers other than Affiliated Subadvisers (“Aggregate Fee Disclosure”). If a Series employs an Affiliated Subadviser, the Series will provide separate disclosure of any fees paid to the 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 pursuant to a written contract that has been approved by the vote of a majority of the 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 such matter if the Act requires shareholder approval.

2. Form N-1A is the registration statement used by open-end investment companies. Item 15(a)(3) of Form N-1A requires disclosure of the method and amount of the investment adviser's compensation.

3. Rule 20a-1 under the Act requires proxies solicited with respect to an investment company to comply with Schedule 14A under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”). Items 22(c)(1)(ii), 22(c)(1)(iii), 22(c)(8), and 22(c)(9) of Schedule 14A, taken together, require a proxy statement for a shareholder meeting at which the advisory contract will be voted upon to include the “rate of compensation of the investment adviser,” the “aggregate amount of the investment adviser's fee,” a description of the “terms of the contract to be acted upon,” and, if a change in the advisory fee is proposed, the existing and proposed fees and the difference between the two fees.

4. Form N-SAR is the semi-annual report filed with the Commission by registered investment companies. Item 48 of Form N-SAR requires investment companies to disclose the rate schedule for fees paid to their investment advisers, including the Subadvisers.

5. Regulation S-X sets forth the requirements for financial statements required to be included as part of investment company registration statements and shareholder reports filed with the Commission. Sections 6-07.2(a), (b) and (c) of Regulation S-X require that investment companies include in their financial statements information about investment advisory fees.

6. Section 6(c) 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 the Act, or from any rule thereunder, if such exemption is necessary or appropriate Start Printed Page 7156in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the purposes fairly intended by the policy and provisions of the Act. Applicants believe that their requested relief meets this standard for the reasons discussed below.

7. By investing in a Series, shareholders will in effect hire OFI to manage the Series' assets through monitoring and evaluation of Subadvisers rather than by hiring its own employees to directly manage assets. Applicants contend that requiring shareholder approval of Subadvisory Agreements would impose unnecessary costs and delays on the Series and may preclude OFI from acting promptly in a manner considered advisable by the Board. Applicants note that each Advisory Agreement will remain subject to section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.

8. Applicants assert that many Subadvisers charge their customers for advisory services according to a “posted” rate schedule. Applicants state that while Subadvisers are willing to negotiate fees lower than those posted in the schedule, particularly with large institutional clients, they are reluctant to do so when the fees are disclosed to other prospective and existing customers. Applicants submit that the relief will encourage Subadvisers to negotiate lower subadvisory fees with OFI, the benefits of which are likely to be passed on to the Series' shareholders.

Applicants' Conditions

Applicants agree that any order of the Commission granting the requested relief will be subject to the following conditions:

1. OFI will provide general management and administrative services to each Series, including overall supervisory responsibility of the general management and investment of the Series' assets and, subject to review and approval of the Board, will (i) set the Series' overall investment strategies, (ii) evaluate, select and recommend Subadvisers to manage all or a portion of a Series' assets, (iii) allocate and, when appropriate, reallocate the Series' assets among multiple Subadvisers, (iv) monitor and evaluate Subadviser performance, and (v) implement procedures reasonably designed to ensure that Subadvisers comply with the relevant Series' investment objective, policies and restrictions.

2. Before a Series may rely on the order requested herein, the operation of the Series in the manner described in the application will be approved by a majority of each Series' outstanding voting securities as defined in the Act, or, in the case of a Series whose public shareholders purchase shares on the basis of a prospectus containing the disclosure contemplated by condition 3 below, by the initial shareholder before such Series' shares are offered to the public.

3. The prospectus for each Series will disclose the existence, substance and effect of any order granted pursuant to the application. In addition, each Series will hold itself out to the public as employing the “Manager of Managers” structure described in the application. The prospectus will prominently disclose that OFI has ultimate responsibility, subject to oversight by the Board, to oversee the Subadvisers and recommend their hiring, termination and replacement.

4. Within ninety days of the hiring of a new Subadviser, OFI will furnish shareholders of the applicable Series all information about the new Subadviser that would be included in a proxy statement, except as modified to permit Aggregate Fee Disclosure. This information will include Aggregate Fee Disclosure and any change in such disclosure caused by the addition of a new Subadviser. To meet this obligation, OFI will provide shareholders of the applicable Series, within ninety days of the hiring of a new Subadviser, with an information statement meeting the requirements of Regulation 14C, Schedule 14C, and Item 22 of Schedule 14A under the 1934 Act, except as modified by the order to permit Aggregate Fee Disclosure.

5. No trustee or officer of the Series nor director or officer of OFI will own directly or indirectly (other than through a pooled investment vehicle that is not controlled by such person) any interest in a Subadviser except for (i) ownership of interests in OFI or any entity that controls, is controlled by or is under common control with OFI; or (ii) ownership of less than 1% of the outstanding securities of any class of equity or debt of a publicly traded company that is either a Subadviser or an entity that controls, in controlled by or is under common control with a Subadviser.

6. At all times, a majority of the Board will be Independent Trustees, and the nomination of new or additional Independent Trustees will be placed within the discretion of the then-existing Independent Trustees.

7. When a Subadviser change is proposed for a Series with an Affiliated Subadviser, the Series' Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, will make a separate finding, reflected in the applicable Board minutes, that such change is in the best interests of the Series and its shareholders and does not involve a conflict of interest from which OFI or the Affiliated Subadviser derives an inappropriate advantage.

8. Each Series will disclose in its registration statement the Aggregate Fee Disclosure.

9. At all times, independent counsel knowledgeable about the Act and the duties of Independent Trustees will be engaged to represent each Series' Independent Trustees. The selection of such counsel will be placed within the discretion of the Independent Trustees.

10. OFI will provide the Board, no less frequently than quarterly, with information about OFI's profitability on a per-Series basis. This information will reflect the impact on profitability of the hiring or termination of any Subadvisers during the applicable quarter.

11. When a Subadviser is hired or terminated, OFI will provide the Board with information showing the expected impact on OFI's profitability.

12. OFI will not enter into a Subadvisory Agreement with any Affiliated Subadviser without such agreement, including the compensation to be paid thereunder, being approved by the shareholders of the applicable Series.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Investment Management, under delegated authority.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  Applicants also request relief with respect to future series of Select Managers and any future registered open-end management investment companies or series thereof that (a) are advised by OFI or an entity controlling, controlled by or under common control with OFI, (b) use the multi-manager structure as described in the application, and (c) comply with the terms and conditions stated in the application (included in the term “Series”). Select Managers is the only existing investment company that currently intends to rely on the order. If the name of any Series contains the name of a Subadviser (as defined below), it will be preceded by OFI.

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2.  The term “shareholder” includes variable life insurance policy and variable annuity contract owners that are unitholders of any separate account for which a Series serves as a funding medium.

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[FR Doc. 03-3489 Filed 2-11-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P