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Notice

Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 30a-8; SEC File No. 270-516; OMB Control No. 3235-0574.

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 (the “Commission”) is soliciting comments on the collections 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.

Rule 3a-8 of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Act”), serves as a nonexclusive safe harbor from investment company status for certain research and development companies (“R&D companies”). The rule requires that the board of directors of an R&D company seeking to rely on the safe harbor adopt an appropriate resolution evidencing that the company is primarily engaged in a non-investment business and record that resolution contemporaneously in its minute books or comparable documents.[1] An R&D company seeking to rely on the safe harbor must retain these records only as long as such records must be maintained in accordance with state law.

Rule 3a-8 contains an additional requirement that is also a collection of information within the meaning of the PRA. The board of directors of a company that relies on the safe harbor under rule 3a-8 must adopt a written policy with respect to the company's capital preservation investments. We expect that the board of directors will base its decision to adopt the resolution discussed above, in part, on investment guidelines that the company will follow to ensure its investment portfolio is in compliance with the rule's requirements.

The collection of information imposed by rule 3a-8 is voluntary because the rule is an exemptive safe harbor, and therefore, R&D companies may choose whether or not to rely on it. The purposes of the information collection requirements in rule 3a-8 are to ensure that: (i) The board of directors of an R&D company is involved in determining whether the company should be considered an investment company and subject to regulation under the Act, and (ii) adequate records are available for Commission review, if necessary. Rule 3a-8 would not require the reporting of any information or the filing of any documents with the Commission.

Commission staff estimates that there is no annual recordkeeping burden associated with the rule's requirements. Nevertheless, the Commission requests authorization to maintain an inventory of one burden hour for administrative purposes.

There are approximately 33,000 R&D companies in the United States.[2] Rule 3a-8 impacts non-manufacturing R&D companies that would fall within the definition of investment company pursuant to section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Act [15 U.S.C. 80a-3(a)(1)(C)].[3] Of the 16,170 non-manufacturing R&D Companies, the Commission believes that companies in scientific R&D services are more likely to use the exemption provided by rule 3a-8.[4] This field comprises companies that specialize in conducting R&D for other organizations, such as many biotechnology companies.[5] It accounts for 18%, or approximately 2910 companies.[6] Given that the board resolutions and investment guidelines will generally need to be adopted only once (unless relevant circumstances change),[7] the Commission believes that all the companies that seek to rely on rule 3a-8 would have adopted their board resolutions and established written investment guidelines in 2003 when the rule was adopted. We expect that newly formed R&D companies would adopt the board resolution and investment guidelines simultaneously with their formation documents in the ordinary course of business.[8] Therefore, we estimate that rule 3a-8 will not create additional time burdens.

Written comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of Start Printed Page 71341information 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 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, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549.

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Dated: November 16, 2005.

Jonathan G. Katz,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  Rule 3a-8(a)(6). This requirement is modeled on the requirement in rule 3a-2 under the Act that provides a temporary exemption from the Act for transient investment companies. 17 CFR 270.3a-2.

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2.  See National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators 2004 (“NSB Indicators”) (available at http://www.nsf.gov/​statistics/​seind04/​).

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3.  The Act provides certain exclusions from the definition of investment company for a company that is primarily engaged in a non-investment business. 15 U.S.C. 80a-3(b)(1). For purposes of this PRA analysis, we assume that all manufacturing R&D companies are primarily engaged in the manufacturing industry and, therefore, may rely on the exclusion for companies primarily engaged in a non-investment business. For example, the top two manufacturing R&D companies in terms of dollars spent are Ford Motor Company and General Motors, which are primarily engaged in motor vehicle manufacturing. See NSB Indicators, supra note 2.

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4.  We believe that R&D Companies in this field are most likely to rely on the rule because they often raise and invest large amounts of capital to fund their research and product development and may make strategic investments in other R&D companies to develop products jointly. These activities may cause the R&D companies to fall within the definition of investment company and fail to qualify for statutory exclusions under the Act when using the Commission's traditional analysis. See Certain Research and Development Companies, Release No. 26077 (Jun. 16, 2003) [68 FR 37045 (Jun. 20, 2003)], at n. 12 and accompanying text (“Rule 3a-8 Release”).

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5.  See NSB Indicators, supra note 2.

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7.  In the event of changed circumstances, the Commission believes that the board resolution and investment guidelines will be amended and recorded in the ordinary course of business and would not create additional time burdens.

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8.  In order for these companies to raise sufficient capital to fund their product development stage, we believe they will need to present potential investors with investment guidelines. Investors would want to be assured that the company's funds are invested consistent with the goals of capital preservation and liquidity.

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[FR Doc. E5-6540 Filed 11-25-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P