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Proposed Collection; 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-6, SEC File No. 270-392, OMB Control No. 3235-0447.

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.

Rule 17f-6 (17 CFR 270.17f-6) under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a) permits registered investment companies (“funds”) to maintain assets (i.e., margin) with futures commission merchants (“FCMs”) in connection with commodity transactions effected on both domestic and foreign exchanges.[1] Prior to the rule's adoption, funds generally were required to maintain these assets in special accounts with a custodian bank.

The rule requires a written contract that contains certain provisions designed to ensure important safeguards and other benefits relating to the custody of fund assets by FCMs. To protect fund assets, the contract must require that FCMs comply with the segregation or secured amount requirements of the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and the rules under that statute. The contract also must contain a requirement that FCMs obtain an acknowledgment from any clearing organization that the fund's assets are held on behalf of the FCM's customers according to CEA provisions. Finally, FCMs are required to furnish to the Commission or its staff on request information concerning the fund's assets in order to facilitate Commission inspections.

The Commission estimates that approximately 2270 funds effect commodities transactions and could deposit margin with FCMs under Rule 17f-6 in connection with those transactions. Commission staff estimates that each fund uses and deposits margin with two different FCMs in connection with its commodity transactions.[2]

The Commission estimates that each of the 2270 funds spends an average of 1 hour annually complying with the contract requirements of the rule (i.e., executing contracts that contain the requisite provisions with additional FCMs), for a total of 2270 annual burden hours. The estimate does not include the time required by an FCM to comply with the rule's contract requirements because, to the extent that complying with the contract provisions could be considered “collections of information,” the burden hours for compliance are already included in other PRA submissions or are de minimis.[3] The estimate of average burden hours is made solely for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act, and 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. If an FCM furnishes records pertaining to a fund's assets at the request of the Commission or its staff, the records will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by relevant statutory or regulatory provisions. The rule does not require these records be retained for any specific period of time. 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 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 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 after this publication.

Please direct your written comments to Charles Boucher, Director/CIO, Securities and Exchange Commission, C/O Shirley Martinson, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, VA 22312; or send an e-mail to:

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Dated: August 19, 2009.

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

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1.  Custody of Investment Company Assets With Futures Commission Merchants and Commodity Clearing Organizations, Investment Company Act Release No. 22389 (Dec. 11, 1996) [61 FR 66207 (Dec. 17, 1996)].

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2.  This estimate is based on information conversations with representatives of the fund industry.

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3.  The rule requires a contract with the FCM to contain three provisions. Two of the provisions require the FCM to comply with existing requirements under the CEA and rules adopted under that Act. Thus, to the extent these provisions could be considered collections of information, the hours required for compliance would be included in the collection of information burden hours submitted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for its rules. The third contract provision requires that the FCM produce records or other information requested by the Commission or its staff. Commission staff has requested this type of information from an FCM so infrequently in the past that the annual burden hours are de minimis.

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[FR Doc. E9-20527 Filed 8-25-09; 8:45 am]