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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 7d-2 [17 CFR 270.7d-2], SEC File No. 270-464; OMB Control No. 3235-0527.

Rule 237; SEC File No. 270-465; OMB Control No. 3235-0528.

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

In Canada, as in the United States, individuals can invest a portion of their earnings in tax-deferred retirement savings accounts (“Canadian retirement accounts”). In cases where these individuals move to the United States, these participants (“Canadian/U.S. Participants” or “participants”) may not be able to manage their Canadian retirement account investments. Most securities and most investment companies (“funds”) that are “qualified investments” for Canadian retirement accounts are not registered under the U.S. securities laws. Those securities, therefore, generally cannot be publicly offered and sold in the United States without violating the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) [1] and, in the case of securities of an unregistered fund, the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Investment Company Act”).[2] As a result of these registration requirements of the U.S. securities laws, Canadian/U.S. Participants, in the past, had not been able to purchase or exchange securities for their Canadian retirement accounts as needed to meet their changing investment goals or income needs.

In 2000, the Commission issued two rules that enabled Canadian/U.S. Participants to manage the assets in their Canadian retirement accounts by providing relief from the U.S. registration requirements for offers of securities of foreign issuers to Canadian/U.S. Participants and sales to their accounts.[3] Rule 237 under the Securities Act permits securities of foreign issuers, including securities of foreign funds, to be offered to Canadian/U.S. Participants and sold to their Canadian retirement accounts without being registered under the Securities Act. Rule 7d-2 under the Investment Company Act permits foreign funds to offer securities to Canadian/U.S. Participants and sell securities to their Canadian retirement accounts without registering as investment companies under the Investment Company Act.

The provisions of rules 237 and 7d-2 are substantially identical. Rule 237 requires written offering materials for securities that are offered and sold in reliance on the rule to disclose prominently that those securities are not registered with the Commission and may not be offered or sold in the United States unless they are registered or exempt from registration under the U.S. securities laws. Rule 7d-2 requires written offering materials for securities offered or sold in reliance on that rule to make the same disclosure concerning those securities, and also to disclose prominently that the fund that issued the securities is not registered with the Commission. Neither rule 237 nor rule 7d-2 requires any documents to be filed Start Printed Page 19134with the Commission. The burden under either rule associated with adding this disclosure to written offering documents is minimal and is non--recurring. The foreign issuer, underwriter or broker-dealer can redraft an existing prospectus or other written offering material to add this disclosure statement, or may draft a sticker or supplement containing this disclosure to be added to existing offering materials. In either case, based on discussions with representatives of the Canadian fund industry, the staff estimates that it would take an average of 10 minutes per document to draft the requisite disclosure statement. The staff estimates the annual burden as a result of the disclosure requirements of rules 7d-2 and 237 as follows.

a. Rule 7d-2

The staff estimated that there are approximately 1,300 publicly offered Canadian funds that potentially would rely on the rule to offer securities to participants and sell securities to their Canadian retirement accounts without registering under the Investment Company Act. The staff estimates that approximately 65 (5 percent) additional Canadian funds may rely on the rule each year to offer securities to Canadian/U.S. Participants and sell securities to their Canadian retirement accounts, and that each of those funds, on average, distributes 3 different written offering documents concerning those securities, for a total of 195 offering documents. The staff therefore estimates that approximately 65 respondents would make 195 responses by adding the new disclosure statement to approximately 195 written offering documents. The staff therefore estimates that the annual burden associated with the rule 7d-2 disclosure requirement would be approximately 32.5 hours (195 offering documents × 10 minutes per document). The total annual cost of these burden hours is estimated to be $2,155.08 (32.5 hours × $66.31 per hour of professional time).[4]

b. Rule 237

Canadian issuers other than funds. The Commission understands that there are approximately 3,500 Canadian issuers other than funds that may rely on rule 237 to make an initial public offering of their securities to Canadian/U.S. Participants.[5] The staff estimates that in any given year approximately 35 (or 1 percent) of those issuers are likely to rely on rule 237 to make a public offering of their securities to participants, and that each of those 35 issuers, on average, distributes 3 different written offering documents concerning those securities, for a total of 105 offering documents.

The staff therefore estimates that during each year that rule 237 is in effect, approximately 35 respondents [6] would be required to make 105 responses by adding the new disclosure statements to approximately 105 written offering documents. Thus, the staff estimates that the total annual burden associated with the rule 237 disclosure requirement would be approximately 17.5 hours (105 offering documents × 10 minutes per document). The total annual cost of burden hours is estimated to be $1,160.43 (17.5 hours × $66.31 hour of professional time).[7]

Other foreign issuers other than funds. In addition, issuers from foreign countries other than Canada could rely on rule 237 to offer securities to Canadian/U.S. Participants and sell securities to their accounts without becoming subject to the registration requirements of the Securities Act. Because Canadian law strictly limits the amount of foreign investments that may be held in a Canadian retirement account, however, the staff believes that the number of issuers from other countries that relies on rule 237, and that therefore is required to comply with the offering document disclosure requirements, is negligible.

These burden hour estimates are based upon the Commission staff's experience and discussions with the fund industry. The estimates of average burden hours are made solely for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. These estimates are not derived from a comprehensive or even a representative survey or study of the costs of Commission rules.

Written comments are invited 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 burdens of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burdens 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 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 31, 2005.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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Footnotes

3.  See Offer and Sale of Securities to Canadian Tax-Deferred Retirement Savings Accounts, Release Nos. 33-7860, 34-42905, IC-24491 (June 7, 2000) [65 FR 37672 (June 15, 2000)].

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4.  The Commission's estimate concerning the wage rate for professional time is based on salary information for the securities industry compiled by the Securities Industry Association. See Securities Industry Association, Report on Management and Professional Earnings in the Securities Industry 2003 (September 2003).

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5.  Canadian funds can rely on both rule 7d-2 and rule 237 to offer securities to participants and sell securities to their Canadian retirement accounts without violating the registration requirements of the Investment Company Act or the Securities Act. Rule 237, however, does not require any disclosure in addition to that required by rule 7d-2. Thus, the disclosure requirements of rule 237 do not impose any burden on Canadian funds in addition to the burden imposed by the disclosure requirements of rule 7d-2. To avoid double-counting this burden, the staff has excluded Canadian funds from the estimate of the hourly burden associated with rule 237.

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6.  This estimate of respondents also assumes that all respondents are foreign issuers. The number of respondents may be greater if foreign underwriters or broker-dealers draft a sticker or supplement to add the required disclosure to an existing offering document.

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7.  See supra note 4.

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[FR Doc. E5-1666 Filed 4-11-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P