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Notice

Proposed Extension of Existing Collection; Comment Request

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Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, Washington, DC 20549-0213.

Extension:

Rule 17a-13; OMB Control No. 3235-0035; SEC File No. 270-27.

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 provided for in the following rule: Rule 17a-13 (17 CFR 240.17a-13) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78 et seq.). The Commission plans to submit a request for approval of extension of the existing collection of information to the Office of Management and Budget.

Rule 17a-13(b) (17 CFR 17a-13(b)) generally requires that at least once each calendar quarter, all registered brokers and dealers physically examine and count all securities held and account for all other securities not in their possession, but subject to the broker-dealer's control or direction. Any discrepancies between the broker-dealer's securities count and the firm's records must be noted and, within seven days, the unaccounted for difference must be recorded in the firm's records. Rule 17a-13(c) (17 CFR 17a-13(c)) provides that under specified conditions, the securities counts, examination, and verification of the broker-dealer's entire list of securities may be conducted on a cyclical basis rather than on a certain date. Although Rule 17a-13 does not require filing a report with the Commission, discrepancies between a broker-dealer's records and the securities counts may be required to be reported, for example, as a loss on Form X-17a-5 (17 CFR 248.617), which must be filed with the Commission under Rule 17a-5 (17 CFR 17a-5). Rule 17a-13 exempts broker-dealers that limit their business to the sale and redemption of securities of registered investment companies and interests or participation in an insurance company separate account and those who solicit accounts for federally insured savings and loan associations, provided that such persons promptly transmit all funds and securities and hold no customer funds and securities. The Rule also does not apply to certain broker-dealers required to register only because they effect transactions in securities futures products.

The information obtained from Rule 17a-13 is used as an inventory control device to monitor a broker-dealer's ability to account for all securities held, in transfer, in transit, pledged, loaned, borrowed, deposited, or otherwise subject to the firm's control or direction. Discrepancies between the securities counts and the broker-dealer's records alert the Commission and the Self Regulatory Organizations (“SROs”) to those firms having problems in their back offices.

Currently, there are approximately 5,700 broker-dealers registered with the Commission. However, given the variability in their businesses, it is difficult to quantify how many hours per year each broker-dealer spends complying with the Rule. As noted, the Rule requires a respondent to account for all securities in its possession. Many respondents hold few, if any, securities; while others hold large quantities. Therefore, the time burden of complying with the Rule will depend on respondent-specific factors, including size, number of customers, and proprietary trading activity. The staff estimates that the average time spent per respondent on the rule is 100 hours per year. This estimate takes into account the fact that more than half the 5,700 respondents—according to financial reports filed with the Commission—may spend little or no time in complying with the rule, given that they do not do a public securities business or do not hold inventories of securities. For these reasons, the staff estimates that the total compliance burden per year is 570,000 hours (5,700 respondents × 100 hours/respondent).

Written comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed 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 estimates of the burden of the proposed 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 7768through 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.

Comments should be directed to: R. Corey Booth, Director/Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Shirley Martinson, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, Virginia 22312; or comments may be sent by e-mail to: PRA_Mailbox@sec.gov. Comments must be submitted within 60 days of this notice.

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Dated: February 4, 2008.

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

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[FR Doc. E8-2443 Filed 2-8-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P