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Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

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

Extension:

Rule 17f-7; SEC File No. 270-470; OMB Control No. 3235-0529.

Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) a request for extension of the previously approved collection of information discussed below.

Rule 17f-7 (17 CFR 270.17f-7) permits funds to maintain their assets in foreign securities depositories based on conditions that reflect the operations and role of these depositories.[1] Rule 17f-7 contains some “collection of information” requirements. An eligible securities depository has to meet minimum standards for a depository. The fund or its investment adviser generally determines whether the depository complies with those requirements based on information provided by the fund's primary custodian (a bank that acts as global custodian). The depository custody arrangement has to meet certain risk limiting requirements. The fund can obtain indemnification or insurance arrangements that adequately protect the fund against custody risks. The fund or its investment adviser generally determines whether indemnification or insurance provisions are adequate. If the fund does not rely on indemnification or insurance, the fund's contract with its primary custodian is required to state that the custodian will provide to the fund or its investment adviser a custody risk analysis of each depository, monitor risks on a continuous basis, and promptly notify the fund or its adviser of material changes in risks. The primary custodian and other custodians Start Printed Page 53459also are required to agree to exercise reasonable care.

The collection of information requirements in rule 17f-7 are intended to provide workable standards that protect funds from the risks of using securities depositories while assigning appropriate responsibilities to the fund's primary custodian and investment adviser based on their capabilities. The requirement that the depository meet specified minimum standards is intended to ensure that the depository is subject to basic safeguards deemed appropriate for all depositories. The requirement that the custody contract state that the fund's primary custodian will provide an analysis of the custody risks of depository arrangements, monitor the risks, and report on material changes is intended to provide essential information about custody risks to the fund's investment adviser as necessary for it to approve the continued use of the depository. The requirement that the primary custodian agree to exercise reasonable care is intended to provide assurances that its services and the information it provides will meet an appropriate standard of care. The alternative requirement that the funds obtain adequate indemnification or insurance against the custody risks of depository arrangements is intended to provide another, potentially less burdensome means to protect assets held in depository arrangements.

The staff estimates that each of approximately 828 investment advisers [2] would make an average of 7 responses annually under the rule to address depository compliance with minimum requirements, any indemnification or insurance arrangements, and reviews of risk analyses or notifications. The staff estimates each response would take 5.5 hours, requiring a total of approximately 38.5 hours for each adviser. The total annual burden associated with these requirements of the rule would be approximately 31,878 hours (828 advisers × 38.5 hours per adviser). The staff further estimates that during each year, each of approximately 15 global custodians would make an average of 4 responses to analyze custody risks and provide notice of any material changes to custody risk under the rule. The staff estimates that each response would take 250.25 hours, requiring approximately 1001 hours annually per custodian.[3] The total annual burden associated with these requirements of the new rule would be approximately 15,015 hours (15 custodians × 1001 hours). Therefore, the staff estimates that the total annual burden associated with all collection of information requirements of the rule would be 46,893 hours (31,878 + 15,015). The total annual cost of burden hours is estimated to be $10,081,302 (31,878 × $239 for a portfolio manager, plus 15,015 hours × $164/hour for a trust administrator's time).[4] The estimate of average burden hours is made solely for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. The estimate is not derived from a comprehensive or even a representative survey or study of the costs of Commission rules and forms. Compliance with the collection of information requirements of the rule is necessary to obtain the benefit of relying on the rule's permission for funds to maintain their assets in foreign custodians.

Please direct general comments regarding the above information to the following persons: (i) Desk Officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10102, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503 or e-mail to: Kimberly_P._Nelson@omb.eop.gov; and (ii) Lewis W. Walker, Acting Director/CIO, Securities and Exchange Commission, C/O Shirley Martinson, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, VA 22312; or send an e-mail to: PRA_Mailbox@sec.gov. Comments must be submitted to OMB within 30 days of this notice.

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Dated: September 8, 2008.

Florence E. Harmon,

Acting Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  Custody of Investment Company Assets Outside the United States, Investment Company Act Release No. IC-23815 (April 29, 1999) (64 FR 24489 (May 6, 1999)).

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2.  At the start of 2008, there were more than 9,300 open-end (including ETFs) portfolios and closed-end funds. These entities were managed or sponsored by more than 828 investment advisers.

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3.  These estimates are based on conversations with representatives of the fund industry and global custodians.

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4.  The salaries for a portfolio manager and a trust administrator are from SIFMA's Management & Professional Earnings in the Securities Industry 2007, modified to account for an 1800-hour work-year and multiplied by 5.35 to account for bonuses, firm size, employee benefits and overhead.

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[FR Doc. E8-21534 Filed 9-15-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P