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Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Upon written request, Copies available from: U.S. Securities and Exchange Start Printed Page 20974Commission, Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, Washington, DC 20549-0213.


Rule 15g-2; SEC File No. 270-381; OMB Control No. 3235-0434.

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 summarized below. The Commission plans to submit this existing collection of information to the Office of Management and Budget for extension and approval.

The “Penny Stock Disclosure Rules” (Rule 15g-2, 17 CFR 240.15g-2) require broker-dealers to provide their customers with a risk disclosure document, as set forth in Schedule 15G, prior to their first non-exempt transaction in a “penny stock.” As amended, the rule requires broker-dealers to obtain written acknowledgement from the customer that he or she has received the required risk disclosure document. The amended rule also requires broker-dealers to maintain a copy of the customer's written acknowledgement for at least three years following the date on which the risk disclosure document was provided to the customer, the first two years in an accessible place.

The risk disclosure documents are for the benefit of the customers, to assure that they are aware of the risks of trading in “penny stocks” before they enter into a transaction. The risk disclosure documents are maintained by the broker-dealers and may be reviewed during the course of an examination by the Commission.

The Commission estimates that there are approximately 240 broker-dealers that could potentially be subject to current Rule 15g-2, and that each one of these firms processes an average of three new customers for penny stocks per week. Thus, each respondent processes approximately 156 penny stock disclosure documents per year. If communications in tangible form alone are used to satisfy the requirements of Rule 15g-2, then (a) the copying and mailing of the penny stock disclosure document takes no more than two minutes per customer, and (b) each customer takes no more than eight minutes to review, sign and return the penny stock disclosure document. Thus, the total existing respondent burden is approximately 10 minutes per response, or an aggregate total of 1,560 minutes per respondent. Since there are 240 respondents, the current annual burden is 374,400 minutes (1,560 minutes per each of the 240 respondents) or 6,240 hours. In addition, broker-dealers incur a recordkeeping burden of approximately two minutes per response. Since there are approximately 156 responses for each respondent, the respondents incur an aggregate recordkeeping burden of 74,880 minutes (240 respondents × 156 responses for each × 2 minutes per response) or 1,248 hours, under Rule 15g-2. Accordingly, the current aggregate annual hour burden associated with Rule 15g-2 (that is, assuming that all respondents provide tangible copies of the required documents) is approximately 7,488 hours (6,240 response hours + 1,248 recordkeeping hours).

The burden hours associated with Rule 15g-2 may be slightly reduced when the penny stock disclosure document required under the rule is provided through electronic means such as e-mail from the broker-dealer (e.g., the broker-dealer respondent may take only one minute, instead of the two minutes estimated above, to provide the penny stock disclosure document by e-mail to its customer) and return e-mail from the customer (the customer may take only seven minutes, to review, electronically sign and electronically return the penny stock disclosure document). In this regard, if each of the customer respondents estimated above communicates with his or her broker-dealer electronically, the total ongoing respondent burden is approximately 8 minutes per response, or an aggregate total of 1,248 minutes (156 customers × 8 minutes per respondent). Assuming 240 respondents, the annual burden, if electronic communications were used by all customers, is 299,520 minutes (1,248 minutes per each of the 240 respondents) or 4,992 hours. Under Rule 15g-2, the recordkeeping burden is 1,248 hours. Thus, if all broker-dealer respondents obtain and send the documents required under the rules electronically, the aggregate annual hour burden associated with Rule 15g-2 is 6,240 (1,248 hours + 4,992 hours).

In addition, if the penny stock customer requests a paper copy of the information on the Commission's Web site regarding microcap securities, including penny stocks, from his or her broker-dealer, the printing and mailing of the document containing this information takes no more than two minutes per customer. Because many investors have access to the Commission's Web site via computers located in their homes, or in easily accessible public places such as libraries, then, at most, a quarter of customers who are required to receive the Rule 15g-2 disclosure document request that their broker-dealer provide them with the additional microcap and penny stock information posted on the Commission's Web site. Thus, each broker-dealer respondent processes approximately 39 requests for paper copies of this information per year or an aggregate total of 78 minutes per respondent (2 minutes per customer × 39 requests per respondent). Since there are 240 respondents, the estimated annual burden is 18,720 minutes (78 minutes per each of the 240 respondents) or 312 hours.

We have no way of knowing how many broker-dealers and customers will chose to communicate electronically. Assuming that 50 percent of respondents continue to provide documents and obtain signatures in tangible form and 50 percent choose to communicate electronically to satisfy the requirements of Rule 15g-2, the total aggregate burden hours is 7,176 ((aggregate burden hours for documents and signatures in tangible form × 0.50 of the respondents = 3,744 hours) + (aggregate burden hours for electronically signed and transmitted documents × 0.50 of the respondents = 3,120 hours) + (312 burden hours for those customers making requests for a copy of the information on the Commission's Web site)).

Written comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information 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.

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: Comments must be submitted within 60 days of this notice.

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Start Printed Page 20975

Dated: April 10, 2008.

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

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[FR Doc. E8-8182 Filed 4-16-08; 8:45 am]