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Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment; Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request; Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 85-68-To Permit Employee Benefit Plans To Invest in Customer Notes of Employers

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Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.




The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95). This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, the Employee Benefits Security Administration is soliciting comments on the proposed extension of Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 85-68, which permits employee benefit plans to invest in customer notes of employers.

A copy of the information collection request (ICR) can be obtained by contacting the individual shown in the Addresses section of this notice.


Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the Addresses section on or before April 26, 2004.


Gerald B. Lindrew, Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, Start Printed Page 8989DC 20210, (202) 693-8410, FAX (202) 693-4745 (these are not toll-free numbers).

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I. Background

Pursuant to section 408 of ERISA, the Department has authority to grant an exemption from the prohibitions of sections 406 and 407(a) if it can determine that the exemption is administratively feasible, in the interest of participants and beneficiaries, and protective of the rights of participants and beneficiaries of the plan. Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 85-68 describes the conditions under which a plan is permitted to acquire customer notes accepted by an employer of employees covered by the plan in the ordinary course of the employer's primary business activity. The exemption covers sales as well as contributions of customer notes by an employer to its plan. Specifically, the exemption requires that the employer provide a written guarantee to repurchase a note which becomes more than 60 days delinquent, that such notes be secured by a perfected security interest in the property financed by the note, and that the collateral be insured. This ICR requires that records pertaining to the transaction be maintained for a period of six years for the purpose of ensuring that the transactions are protective of the rights of participants and beneficiaries.

II. Review Focus

The Department of Labor (Department) is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

III. Current Actions

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval of this ICR will expire on July 31, 2004. After considering comments received in response to this notice, the Department intends to submit the ICR to OMB for continuing approval. No change to the existing ICR is proposed or made at this time.

Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

Title: Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 85-68.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of information.

OMB Number: 1210-0094.

Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions.

Respondents: 525.

Frequency: On Occasion.

Responses: 1900.

Average Response Time: [if applicable]: 1 hour.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 1900 hours.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the ICR; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: February 20, 2004.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

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[FR Doc. 04-4245 Filed 2-25-04; 8:45 am]