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Existing Collection; Comment Request

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


Rule 11a-3 [17 CFR 270.11a-3] SEC File No. 270-321 OMB Control No. 3235-0358.

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. 3501-3520], the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) is soliciting comments on the collections of information summarized below. The Commission plans to submit this existing collection of information to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for extension and approval.

Rule 11a-3 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 [17 CFR 270.11a-3] is an exemptive rule that permits open-end investment companies (“funds”), other than insurance company separate accounts, and funds' principal underwriters, to make certain exchange offers to fund shareholders and shareholders of other funds in the same group of investment companies. The rule requires a fund, among other things, (i) to disclose in its prospectus and advertising literature the amount of any administrative or redemption fee Start Printed Page 25913imposed on an exchange transaction, (ii) if the fund imposes an administrative fee on exchange transactions, other than a nominal one, to maintain and preserve records with respect to the actual costs incurred in connection with exchanges for at least six years, and (iii) give the fund's shareholders a sixty day notice of a termination of an exchange offer or any material amendment to the terms of an exchange offer (unless the only material effect of an amendment is to reduce or eliminate an administrative fee, sales load or redemption fee payable at the time of an exchange).

The rule's requirements are designed to protect investors against abuses associated with exchange offers, provide fund shareholders with information necessary to evaluate exchange offers and certain material changes in the terms of exchange offers, and enable the Commission staff to monitor funds' use of administrative fees charged in connection with exchange transactions.

There are approximately 3,075 funds registered with the Commission as of December 31, 2002. The staff estimates that one-quarter of these funds imposes a non-nominal administrative fee on exchange transactions, and that the recordkeeping requirement of the rule requires approximately one hour annually of clerical time (at an estimated $16 per hour) per fund, for a total of 768.75 hours for all funds (at a total annual cost of $12,300). The staff estimates that one-quarter of the 3,075 funds terminates an exchange offer or makes a material change to its terms once each year, and that the notice requirement of the rule requires approximately one hour of professional time (at an estimated $60 per hour) and two hours of clerical time (at an estimated $16 per hour) per fund, for a total of approximately 2306.25 hours for all funds (at a total annual cost of $70,725). The burdens associated with the disclosure requirement of the rule are accounted for in the burdens associated with the Form N-1A registration statement for funds.

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. 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 requested 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[s] 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, Mail Stop 0-4, 450 5th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549.

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Dated: May 7, 2003.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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[FR Doc. 03-11993 Filed 5-13-03; 8:45 am]