Upon written request, copies available from: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, Washington, DC 20549-0213.
Rule 18f-3, SEC File No. 270-385, OMB Control No. 3235-0441.
Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “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.
Section 18(f)(1)  of the Investment Company Act of 1940  (the “Investment Company Act” or “Act”) prohibits registered open-end management investment companies (“funds”) from issuing any senior security. Rule 18f-3 under the Act  exempts from section 18(f)(1) a fund that issues multiple classes of shares representing interests in the same portfolio of securities (a “multiple class fund”) if the fund satisfies the conditions of the rule. In general, each class must differ in its arrangement for shareholder services or distribution or both, and must pay the related expenses of that different arrangement.
The rule includes one requirement for the collection of information. A multiple class fund must prepare, and Start Printed Page 66278fund directors must approve, a written plan setting forth the separate arrangement and expense allocation of each class, and any related conversion features or exchange privileges (“rule 18f-3 plan”). Approval of the plan must occur before the fund issues any shares of multiple classes and whenever the fund materially amends the plan. In approving the plan, a majority of the fund board, including a majority of the fund's independent directors, must determine that the plan is in the best interests of each class and the fund as a whole.
The requirement that the fund prepare and directors approve a written rule 18f-3 plan is intended to ensure that the fund compiles information relevant to the fairness of the separate arrangement and expense allocation for each class, and that directors review and approve the information. Without a blueprint that highlights material differences among classes, directors might not perceive potential conflicts of interests when they determine whether the plan is in the best interests of each class and the fund. In addition, the plan may be useful to Commission staff in reviewing the fund's compliance with the rule.
There are approximately 5,300 multiple class funds offered by 1,120 registrants. Based on a review of typical rule 18f-3 plans, the Commission's staff estimates that the 1,120 registrants together make an average of 560 responses each year to prepare and approve a written rule 18f-3 plan, requiring approximately 10 hours per response and a total of 5,600 burden hours per year in the aggregate. The staff estimates that preparation of the rule 18f-3 plan may require 6 hours of the services of an attorney employed by the fund, at a cost of approximately $295 per hour for professional time, and approval of the plan may require 4 hours of the services of the board of directors, at a cost of approximately $2000 per hour. The staff therefore estimates that the aggregate annual cost of complying with the paperwork requirements of the rule is approximately $5,471,200 ((6 hours × 560 responses × $295 = $991,200) + (4 hours × 560 responses × $2000 = $4,480,000)).
The estimated annual burden of 5,600 hours represents a decrease of 110 hours over the prior estimate of 5,710 hours. The decrease in burden hours is attributable to a change in the estimate of the number of responses that are submitted pursuant to the rule.
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. Complying with this collection of information requirement is mandatory. Responses will not be kept confidential. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number.
Written comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collections of information are 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 estimate of the burdens of the collections of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burdens of the collections 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.
Please direct your written comments to 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.Start Signature
Dated: October 30, 2008.
Florence E. Harmon,
4. Rule 18f-3(d).Back to Citation
5. This estimate is based on data from Form N-SAR, the semi-annual report that funds file with the Commission. In previous years, the staff estimated that each multiple class fund prepared and approved a rule 18f-3 plan. However, the staff has revised this estimate to reflect its belief that most registrants prepare and approve a single rule 18f-3 plan for all series funds offered by the registrants.Back to Citation
6. The estimate reflects the assumption that each registrant prepares and approves a rule 18f-3 plan every two years when issuing a new fund or new class or amending a plan (or that 560 of all 1,120 registrants prepare and approve a plan each year). The estimate assumes that the time required to prepare a plan is 6 hours per plan (or 3360 hours for 560 registrants annually), and the time required to approve a plan is an additional 4 hours per plan (or 2240 hours for 560 registrants annually).Back to Citation
7. This hourly rate estimate is derived from annual salaries reported in: Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Management and 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.Back to Citation
8. This hourly rate estimate is derived from fund representatives.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E8-26572 Filed 11-6-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P