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Notice

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

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Extension: Complaint & Question Forms; SEC File No. 270-485; OMB Control No. 3235-0547.

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.

Each year, the SEC receives more than 250,000 contacts from investors who have complaints or questions on a wide range of investment-related issues. These contacts generally fall into the following three categories:

(a) Complaints against SEC-regulated individuals or entities;

(b) Questions concerning the federal securities laws, companies or firms that the SEC regulates, or other investment-related questions; and

(c) Tips concerning potential violations of the federal securities laws.

Investors who submit complaints, ask questions, or provide tips do so voluntarily. To make it easier for investors to contact the agency electronically, the SEC created a series of investor complaint and question web forms. The titles of the forms are: Enforcement Complaint Form; Investor Complaint Form; Financial Privacy Notice Complaint Form; and Questions and Feedback Form. Investors can access these forms through the SEC Center for Complaints and Enforcement Tips at http://www.sec.gov/​complaint.shtml.

Although the SEC's complaint and question forms provide a structured format for incoming investor correspondence, the SEC does not require that investors use any particular form or format when contacting the agency. To the contrary, investors may submit complaints, questions, and tips through a variety of other means, including telephone, letter, facsimile, or e-mail. Approximately 20,000 investors each year voluntarily choose to use the complaint and question forms, and approximately 98% of those investors submit the forms electronically through the Internet (as opposed to printing and mailing or faxing the forms).

Investors who choose not to use the complaint and question forms receive the same level of service as those who do. The dual purpose of the forms is to make it easier for the public to contact the agency with complaints, questions, tips, or other feedback and to streamline the workflow of the SEC staff who handle those contacts.

The SEC has used—and will continue to use—the information that investors supply on the complaint and question forms to review and process the contact (which may, in turn, involve responding to questions, processing complaints, or, as appropriate, initiating enforcement investigations), to maintain a record of contacts, to track the volume of investor complaints, and to analyze trends.

The complaint forms ask investors to provide information concerning, among other things, their names, how they can be reached, the names of the individuals or entities involved, the nature of their complaint or tip, what documents they can provide, and what, if any, legal actions they have taken. The question form asks investors to provide their names, e-mail addresses, and questions.

Investor use of the SEC's complaint and question forms is strictly voluntary. Moreover, the SEC does not require investors to submit complaints, questions, tips, or other feedback. Absent the forms, investors would still have several ways to contact the agency, including telephone, facsimile, letters, and e-mail. Nevertheless, the SEC created its complaint and question forms to make it easier for investors to contact the agency with complaints, questions, or tips. The forms further streamline the workflow of SEC staff who record, process, and respond to investor contacts.

The staff of the SEC estimates that the total reporting burden for using the complaint and question forms is 5,000 hours. The calculation of this estimate depends on the number of investors who use the forms each year and the estimated time it takes to complete the forms: 20,000 respondents × 15 minutes = 5,000 burden hours.

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 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 Start Printed Page 3402through 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 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: January 13, 2005.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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[FR Doc. E5-252 Filed 1-21-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P