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Notice

Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: Securities and Exchange Commission, Start Printed Page 16108Office of Filings, and Information Services 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC. 20549.

Extension: Form N-17f-2. SEC File No. 270-317. OMB Control No. 3235-0360.

Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 350l et seq.), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) is soliciting comments on the collection of information summarized below. The Commission plans to submit this existing collection of information to the Office of Management and Budget for extension and approval.

Form N-17f-2 is entitled “Certificate of Accounting of Securities and Similar Investments in the Custody of Management Investment Companies.” Form N-17f-2 is the cover sheet for the accountant examination certificates filed under rule 17f-2 of the Investment Company Act of 1940 by registered management investment companies (“funds”) maintaining custody of securities or other investments. Form N-17f-2 facilitates the filing of the accountant's examination certificates. The use of the form allows the certificates to be filed electronically, and increases the accessibility of the examination certificates to both the Commission's examination staff and interested investors by ensuring that the certificates are filed under the proper SEC file number and the correct name of a fund.

Under rule 17f-2, each fund is required to file Form N-17f-2 at least three times a year with the Commission. Commission staff estimates that it takes approximately 1 hour per response to prepare and file a Form N-17f-2 with the Commission. Thus, the total annual burden of Form N-17f-2's paperwork requirement is estimated to be approximately 405 burden hours.[1] The entire hour burden will be borne by clerical staff at $16 per hour, for a total cost of approximately $6,480 (405 burden hours × $16 = $6,480). The increase in burden hours from 92 to 405 is attributable to updated estimates of the burden hours that reflect additional time spent by professionals and clerical staff in their compliance efforts.

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 and forms. Complying with the collection of information requirements of the rule is mandatory for those funds that maintain custody of their own assets. The information provided to the Commission by the fund's independent public accountants about each verification of the fund's assets 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.

Written comments are invited on: (a) Whether the 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 burden 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 25, 2003.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  The Commission staff estimates that there are 135 funds that file Form N-17f-2 each year. Each fund is required to make three responses per year, and each response requires 1 hour to prepare. The hour burden is calculated as follows: 135 (respondents) × 3 (responses per fund per year) × 1 (hours per response) = 405 hours.

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[FR Doc. 03-7842 Filed 4-1-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P