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Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations; Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 98-54-Foreign Exchange Transactions Executed Pursuant to Standing Instructions

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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, Start Printed Page 70158collection 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 the information collection provisions of Prohibited Transaction Exemption 98-54 (PTE 98-54).

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 January 31, 2005.


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

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I. Background

PTE 98-54 permits certain foreign exchange transactions between employee benefit plans and certain banks, broker-dealers, and domestic affiliates thereof, which are parties in interest with respect to such plans, pursuant to standing instructions. In the absence of an exemption, foreign exchange transactions pursuant to standing instructions would be prohibited under circumstances where the bank or broker-dealer is a party in interest or disqualified person with respect to the plan under the Employee Retirement Income Securities Act (ERISA) or the Internal Revenue Code (Code).

The class exemption has five basic information collection requirements. The first requires the bank or broker-dealer to maintain written policies and procedures for handling foreign exchange transactions for plans for which it is a party in interest which ensure that the party acting for the bank or broker-dealer knows it is dealing with a plan. The second requires that the transactions are performed in accordance with a written authorization executed in advance by an independent fiduciary of the plan. The third requires that the bank or broker-dealer provides the authorizing fiduciary with a copy of its written policies and procedures for foreign exchange transactions involving income item conversions and de minimis purchase and sale transactions prior to the execution of a transaction. The fourth requires the bank or broker-dealer to furnish the authorizing fiduciary a written confirmation statement with respect to each covered transaction within five days of execution. The fifth requires that the bank or broker-dealer maintains records necessary for plan fiduciaries, participants, and the Department and Internal Revenue Service to determine whether the conditions of the exemption are being met for period of six years form the date of execution of a transaction.

By requiring that records pertaining to the exempted transaction be maintained for six years, this ICR insures that the exemption is not abused, the rights of the participants and beneficiaries are protected, and that compliance with the exemption's conditions can be confirmed. The exemption affects participants and beneficiaries of the plans that are involved in such transactions as well as certain banks, broker-dealers, and domestic affiliates thereof .

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 February 28, 2005. 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.

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

Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

Title: Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 98-54 relating to Certain Employee Benefit Plan Foreign Exchange Transactions Executed Pursuant to Standing Instructions.

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

OMB Number: 1210-0111.

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

Respondents: 35.

Responses: 8,400.

Average Response Time: 30 minutes.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 4,200.

Total Annualized Capital/Startup Costs: $0.

Total Annual Costs (operating/maintaining systems or purchasing services): $0.

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Dated: November 24, 2004.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

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

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[FR Doc. 04-26546 Filed 12-1-04; 8:45 am]