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Proposed 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.

Extension: Rule 15a-6; SEC File No. 270-0329; and OMB Control No. 3235-0371.

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 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.

Rule 15a-6 (17 CFR 240.15a-6) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.) provides, among other things, an exemption from broker-dealer registration for foreign broker-dealers that effect trades with or for U.S. institutional investors through a U.S. registered broker-dealer, provided that the U.S. broker-dealer obtains certain information about, and consents to service of process from, the personnel of the foreign broker-dealer involved in such transactions, and maintains certain records in connection therewith.

These requirements are intended to ensure (a) that the U.S. broker-dealer will receive notice of the identity of, and has reviewed the background of, foreign personnel who will contact U.S. institutional investors, (b) that the foreign broker-dealer and its personnel effectively may be served with process in the event enforcement action is necessary, and (c) that the Commission has ready access to information concerning these persons and their U.S. securities activities.

It is estimated that approximately 2,000 respondents will incur an average burden of three hours per year to comply with this rule, for a total burden of 6,000 hours. At an average cost per hour of approximately $100, the resultant total cost of compliance for the respondents is $600,000 per year (2,000 entities x 3 hours/entity × $100/hour = $600,000).

Written comments are invited on: (a) 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; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection Start Printed Page 17721of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 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.

Direct your written comments to R. Corey Booth, Director/Chief Information Officer, Office of Information Technology, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 5th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549.

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Dated: March 29, 2004.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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[FR Doc. 04-7602 Filed 4-2-04; 8:45 am]