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Notice

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-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”) is soliciting comments on the collections of information summarized below. The Commission plans to submit these existing collections of information to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for extension and approval.

Rule 17f-7 (17 CFR 270.17f-7) permits funds to maintain their assets in Start Printed Page 15007foreign 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 also 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 836 investment advisers [2] will make an average of 8 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 will take 6 hours, requiring a total of approximately 48 hours for each adviser. The total annual burden associated with these requirements of the rule will be approximately 40,128 hours (836 advisers × 48 hours per adviser). The staff further estimates that during each year, each of approximately 15 global custodians will 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 will take 260 hours, requiring approximately 1040 hours annually per custodian.[3] The total annual burden associated with these requirements is approximately 15,600 hours (15 custodians × 1040 hours). Therefore, the staff estimates that the total annual burden associated with all collection of information requirements of the rule is 55,728 hours (40,128 + 15,600). The total annual cost of burden hours is estimated to be $14,948,736 (40,128 × $287 for a portfolio manager, plus 15,600 hours × $220/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.

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 of this publication.

Please direct your written comments to Thomas Bayer, Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Remi Pavlik-Simon, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, VA 22312; or send an e-mail to: PRA_Mailbox@sec.gov.

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Dated: March 15, 2011.

Cathy H. Ahn,

Deputy 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 2011, 836 investment advisers managed or sponsored open-end (including ETFs) portfolios and closed-end registered funds.

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

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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 2010, 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. 2011-6364 Filed 3-17-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P