Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”).
Notice of an application under section 6(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Act”) for an exemption from section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.
Summary of Application:
Applicants request an order that would permit them to enter into and materially amend subadvisory agreements without shareholder approval.
State Farm Mutual Fund Trust (“Mutual Fund Trust”); State Farm Variable Product Trust (“Variable Product Trust”); and State Farm Investment Management Corp. (the “Adviser”).
The application was filed on March 7, 2005, and amended on September 11, 2006.
Hearing or Notification of Hearing:
An order granting the application will be issued unless the Commission orders a hearing. Interested persons may request a hearing by writing to the Commission's Secretary and serving applicants with a copy of the request, personally or by mail. Hearing requests should be received by the Commission by 5:30 p.m. on October 10, 2006, and should be accompanied by proof of service on the applicants, in the form of an affidavit or, for lawyers, a certificate of service. Hearing requests should state the nature of the writer's interest, the reason for the request, and the issues contested. Persons may request notification of a hearing by writing to the Commission's Secretary.
Secretary, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090; Applicants, One State Farm Plaza, A-3, Bloomington, Illinois 61710-0001.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John Yoder, Senior Counsel, at (202) 551-6878, or Mary Kay Frech, Branch Chief, at (202) 551-6821 (Division of Investment Management, Office of Investment Company Regulation).End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The following is a summary of the application. The complete application may be obtained for a fee at the Public Reference Desk, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington DC 20549-0102 (telephone (202) 551-5850).
1. Mutual Fund Trust and Variable Product Trust (together, the “Companies”) are Delaware business trusts registered under the Act as open-end management investment companies. The Companies offer multiple series (each a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”), each with separate investment objectives, policies Start Printed Page 55228and restrictions. Mutual Fund Trust offers its shares to the public. Variable Product Trust offers its shares to four separate accounts sponsored by life insurance affiliates of the Adviser. The Adviser is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) and serves as investment adviser to the Funds pursuant to an investment advisory agreement (“Advisory Agreements”) with each Company on behalf of each Fund. The Advisory Agreements have been approved by each Company's board of trustees (“Board”), including a majority of the trustees who are not “interested persons,” as defined in section 2(a)(19) of the Act, of the Companies, the Adviser or the Subadvisers (as defined below) (“Independent Trustees”), as well as by the shareholders of each Fund.
2. Under the terms of the Advisory Agreements, the Adviser provides investment advisory services to each Fund, supervises the investment program for each Fund, and has the authority, subject to Board approval, to enter into investment subadvisory agreements (“Subadvisory Agreements”) with one or more subadvisers (“Subadvisers”). Each Subadviser is registered as an investment adviser under the Advisers Act. The Adviser monitors and evaluates the Subadvisers and recommends to the Board their hiring, retention or termination. Subadvisers recommended to the Board by the Adviser are selected and approved by the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees. Each Subadviser has discretionary authority to invest the assets or a portion of the assets of a particular Fund. The Adviser compensates each Subadviser out of the fees paid to the Adviser under the Advisory Agreements.
3. Applicants request an order to permit the Adviser, subject to Board approval, to enter into and materially amend Subadvisory Agreements without obtaining shareholder approval. The requested relief will not extend to any Subadviser that is an affiliated person, as defined in section 2(a)(3) of the Act, of the Companies or of the Adviser, other than by reason of serving as a Subadviser to one or more of the Funds (“Affiliated Subadviser”).
Applicants' Legal Analysis
1. Section 15(a) of the Act provides, in relevant part, that it is unlawful for any person to act as an investment adviser to a registered investment company except under a written contract that has been approved by the vote of a majority of the company's outstanding voting securities. Rule 18f-2 under the Act provides that each series or class of stock in a series company affected by a matter must approve such matter if the Act requires shareholder approval.
2. Section 6(c) of the Act provides that the Commission may exempt any person, security, or transaction or any class or classes of persons, securities, or transactions from any provisions of the Act, or from any rule thereunder, if such exemption is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the purposes fairly intended by the policy and provisions of the Act. Applicants state that their requested relief meets this standard for the reasons discussed below.
3. Applicants assert that the shareholders are relying on the Adviser's experience to select one or more Subadvisers best suited to achieve a Fund's investment objectives. Applicants assert that, from the perspective of the investor, the role of the Subadvisers is comparable to that of the individual portfolio managers employed by traditional investment company advisory firms. Applicants state that requiring shareholder approval of each Subadvisory Agreement would impose costs and unnecessary delays on the Funds, and may preclude the Adviser from acting promptly in a manner considered advisable by the Board. Applicants note that the Advisory Agreements and any Subadvisory Agreements with an Affiliated Subadviser will remain subject to section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.
Applicants agree that any order granting the requested relief will be subject to the following conditions:
1. Before a Fund may rely on the order requested in the application, the operation of the Fund in the manner described in the application will be approved by a majority of the Fund's outstanding voting securities, as defined in the Act, or, in the case of a Fund whose public shareholders purchase shares on the basis of a prospectus containing the disclosure contemplated by condition 2 below, by the sole initial shareholder before offering the Fund's shares to the public.
2. The prospectus for each Fund will disclose the existence, substance, and effect of any order granted pursuant to the application. Each Fund will hold itself out to the public as employing the management structure described in the application. The prospectus will prominently disclose that the Adviser has ultimate responsibility (subject to oversight by the Board) to oversee the Subadvisers and recommend their hiring, termination, and replacement.
3. Within 90 days of the hiring of a new Subadviser, shareholders of the affected Fund will be furnished all information about the new Subadviser that would be included in a proxy statement. To meet this obligation, the Fund will provide shareholders within 90 days of the hiring of a new Subadviser with an information statement meeting the requirements of Regulation 14C, Schedule 14C, and Item 22 of Schedule 14A under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
4. The Adviser will not enter into a Subadvisory Agreement with any Affiliated Subadviser without that agreement, including the compensation to be paid thereunder, being approved by the shareholders of the applicable Fund.
5. At all times, at least a majority of the Board will be Independent Trustees, and the nomination of new or additional Independent Trustees will be placed within the discretion of the then-existing Independent Trustees.
6. When a Subadviser change is proposed for a Fund with an Affiliated Subadviser, the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, will make a separate finding, reflected in the applicable Board minutes, that such change is in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders and does not involve a conflict of interest from which the Adviser or the Affiliated Subadviser derives an inappropriate advantage.
7. The Adviser will provide general management services to each Fund, including overall supervisory responsibility for the general management and investment of the Fund's assets, and, subject to review and approval of the Board, will: (a) Set each Fund's overall investment strategies, (b) evaluate, select and Start Printed Page 55229recommend Subadvisers to manage all or a part of the Fund's assets, (c) when appropriate, allocate and reallocate the Fund's assets among multiple Subadvisers; (d) monitor and evaluate the performance of Subadvisers, and (e) implement procedures reasonably designed to ensure that the Subadvisers comply with each Fund's investment objective, policies and restrictions.
8. No trustee or officer of the Companies, or director or officer of the Adviser, will own directly or indirectly (other than through a pooled investment vehicle that is not controlled by such person), any interest in a Subadviser, except for: (a) Ownership of interests in the Adviser or any entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the Adviser, or (b) ownership of less than 1% of the outstanding securities of any class of equity or debt of a publicly traded company that is either a Subadviser or an entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a Subadviser.
9. The requested order will expire on the effective date of rule 15a-5 under the Act, if adopted.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Investment Management, under delegated authority.
J. Lynn Taylor,
1. Applicants also request relief with respect to future series of the Companies and any other existing or future registered open-end management investment company or series thereof that: (a) Is advised by the Adviser or a person controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Adviser (included in the term “Adviser”); (b) uses the management structure described in the application; and (c) complies with the terms and conditions of the application (included in the term “Funds”). The only existing registered open-end management investment companies that currently intend to rely on the requested order are named as applicants. If the name of any Fund contains the name of a Subadviser (as defined below), the name of the Adviser will precede the name of the Subadviser.Back to Citation
2. The term “shareholder” includes variable life insurance policy and variable annuity contract owners that are unitholders of any separate account for which a Fund serves as a funding medium.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 06-7897 Filed 9-20-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P