Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”).
Notice of an application under section 6(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Act”) for an exemption from section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.
Summary of Application: The requested order would permit certain registered open-end management investment companies to enter into and materially amend subadvisory agreements without shareholder approval.
Applicants: Allegiant Funds and Allegiant Advantage Fund (the “Trusts’) and Allegiant Asset Management Company (the “Adviser”).
Filing Dates: The application was filed on August 25, 2005 and amended on June 28, 2006 and November 8, 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 December 8, 2006, and should be accompanied by proof of service on 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 reasons for the request, and the issues contested. Persons who wish to be notified of a hearing may request notification by writing to the Commission's Secretary.
Secretary, Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090. Applicants, c/o Audrey C. Talley, Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP, One Logan Square, 18th & Cherry Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19103.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lewis B. Reich, Senior Counsel, at (202) 551-6919, or Stacy L. Fuller, 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 from the Commission's Public Reference Branch, 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549-0102 (telephone (202) 551-5850).
1. The Trusts, Massachusetts business trusts, are registered under the Act as open-end management investment companies. Each Trust currently offers one or more series (“Funds”), each of which has its own investment objectives, policies and restrictions.
2. The Adviser is registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) and serves as investment adviser to each Fund pursuant to an investment advisory agreement with the respective Trust (“Advisory Agreement”) that was approved by the board of trustees of the Trust (the “Board”), including a majority of the trustees who are not “interested persons,” as defined in section 2(a)(19) of the Act (“Independent Trustees”), and the shareholders of each Fund. Under the Advisory Agreement, the Adviser receives a fee from each Fund payable monthly at an annual rate based on the average daily net assets of the Fund. Under the Advisory Agreement, the Adviser may delegate investment advisory responsibilities to one or more subadvisers (“Subadvisers”) who have discretionary authority to invest all or a portion of the Fund's assets pursuant to a separate subadvisory agreement (“Subadvisory Agreement”). The Adviser selects Subadvisers based on the Adviser's continuing evaluation of their skills in managing assets pursuant to particular investment styles. Each Subadviser is and will be an investment adviser registered under the Advisers Act. For its services to a Fund, the Adviser pays each Subadviser out of the investment advisory fee the Adviser receives from the Fund.
3. Applicants request relief to permit the Adviser, subject to Board approval, to enter into and materially amend Subadvisory Agreements without shareholder approval. The requested relief will not extend to a Subadviser that is an affiliated person, as defined in section 2(a)(3) of the Act, of a Fund or the Adviser, other than by reason of serving as a Subadviser to one or more of the Funds (an “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 pursuant to 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. Start Printed Page 66993
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 provision of the Act, or from any rule thereunder, if and to the extent that such exemption is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the purposes fairly intended by the policies and provisions of the Act. Applicants believe that their requested relief meets this standard.
3. Applicants state that the Funds' shareholders rely on the Adviser, subject to oversight by the Board, to select the 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 individual portfolio managers employed by traditional investment advisory firms. Applicants contend that requiring shareholder approval of Subadvisory Agreements 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 also note that the Advisory Agreement will remain subject to the shareholder approval requirements in 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. Each Fund will disclose in its prospectus the existence, substance, and effect of any order granted pursuant to this application. In addition, 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. 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 at the discretion of the then-existing Independent Trustees.
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. 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 Board minutes, that the 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.
6. Within 90 days of the hiring of a new Subadviser, the Adviser will furnish shareholders of the affected Fund with all information about the new Subadviser that would be included in a proxy statement. The Adviser will meet this condition by providing shareholders of the applicable Fund 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.
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 by the Board, will (i) set the Fund's overall investment strategies, (ii) evaluate, select and recommend Subadvisers to manage all or a part of the Fund's assets, (iii) allocate and, when appropriate, reallocate the Fund's assets among multiple Subadvisers, (iv) monitor and evaluate the performance of the Subadvisers, and (v) 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 Funds, 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.
Nancy M. Morris,
1. Applicants also request relief with respect to future series of each Trust 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; (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 or the name of the entity controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Adviser that serves as the primary adviser to the Fund will precede the name of the Subadviser.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E6-19441 Filed 11-16-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P