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Request for Public Comment

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Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Filings and Information Services, 450 Fifth Street NW., Washington, DC 20549.


Rule 17f-1 File No. 270-236, OMB Control No. 3235-0222.

Form N-17f-1, File No. 270-316, OMB Control No. 3235-0359.

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) is soliciting for public comment the following summary of previously approved information collection requirements. The Commission plans to submit these existing collections of information to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for extension and approval.

Rule 17f-1 [17 CFR § 270.17f-1] under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Act”) is entitled: “Custody of Securities with Members of National Securities Exchanges.” Rule 17f-1 provides that any registered management investment company (“fund”) that wishes to place its assets in the custody of a national securities exchange member may do so only under a written contract that must be ratified initially and approved annually by a majority of the fund's board of directors. The written contract also must contain certain specified provisions. In addition, the rule requires an independent public accountant to examine the fund's assets in the custody of the exchange member at least three times during the fund's fiscal year. The rule requires the written contract and the certificate of each examination to be transmitted to the Commission. The purpose of the rule is to ensure the safekeeping of fund assets.

Commission staff estimates that approximately 10 funds maintain their assets with a national securities exchange member.[1] The annual burden of the rule's requirements is estimated to be approximately 4.5 hours for each of these funds.[2] Commission staff estimates the total annual burden for all funds is 45 hours.

Form N-17f-1 is entitled: “Certificate of Accounting of Securities and Similar Investments of a Management Investment Company in the Custody of Members of National Securities Exchanges.” Form N-17f-1 is the cover sheet for accountant examination certificates filed under rule 17f-1 of the Act. Rule 17f-1 requires the accountant's certificate of each examination be attached to form N-17f-1 and transmitted to the Commission promptly after each examination. The form facilitates the filing of the accountant's certificate, and increases the accessibility of the certificate to both Commission's staff and interested investors.

The annual burden of the rule's requirements is estimated to be approximately 27 minutes for each of the 10 funds estimated to maintain their assets with a national securities exchange member.[3] The total annual burden for all funds therefore is estimated to be 4.5 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. Compliance with the collections of information required by rule 17f-1 and Form N-17f-1 is mandatory for funds that place their assets in the custody of a national securities exchange member. Responses will not be kept confidential. 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.

The Commission requests written comments on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information has practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Commission's estimate of the burdens of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted in writing within 60 days of this publication.

Please direct your written comments to Kenneth A. Fogash, Acting Associate Executive Director/CIO, Office of Information Technology, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 5th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549.

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Dated: March 10, 2003.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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1.  The Commission's records show that 10 funds filed Form N-17f-1 during calendar year 2002.

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2.  The Commission staff estimates, based upon the experience of staff familiar with the information collection requirements of the rule, that each fund spends approximately 4.5 hours annually in complying with the rule's requirements: 4 hours of clerical time (1 hour to prepare the custodial contract for board review and to transmit the contract, and 1 hour each of the three times the fund transmits the accountant's certificate) and 0.5 hours for the board of directors to ratify the custodial contract.

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3.  Commission staff estimates that it takes approximately nine minutes of clerical time to prepare each Form N-17f-1. This estimate is based on Commission staff members filling out the form. Each fund is required to file Form N-17f-1 three times annually, for an average hour burden per fund of 27 minutes.

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[FR Doc. 03-6343 Filed 3-14-03; 8:45 am]