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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.


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. 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.

Because rule 17f-6 does not impose any ongoing obligations on funds or FCMs, Commission staff estimates there are no costs related to existing contracts between funds and FCMs. This 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.[1]

Thus, Commission staff estimates that any burden of the rule would be borne by funds and FCMs entering into new contracts pursuant to the rule. Commission staff estimates that approximately 761 fund complexes and 1997 funds currently effect commodities transactions and could deposit margin with FCMs in connection with those transactions pursuant to rule 17f-6.[2] Staff further estimates that of this number, 76 fund complexes and 200 funds enter into new contracts with FCMs each year.[3]

Based on conversations with fund representatives, Commission staff understands that fund complexes typically enter into contracts with FCMs on behalf of all funds in the fund complex that engage in commodities transactions. Funds covered by the contract are typically listed in an attachment, which may be amended to encompass new funds. Commission staff estimates that the burden for a fund complex to enter into a contract with an FCM that contains the contract requirements of rule 17f-6 is one hour, and further estimates that the burden to add a fund to an existing contract between a fund complex and an FCM is 6 minutes.

Accordingly, Commission staff estimates that funds and FCMs spend 96 burden hours annually complying with the information collection requirements of rule 17f-6.[4] At $378 per hour of professional (attorney) time, Commission staff estimates that the annual dollar cost for the 96 hours is $36,288.[5] These estimates are made solely for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act, and are 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. 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 Thomas Bayer, Director/Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Remi Pavlik-Simon, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, VA 22312; or send an email to:

Dated: May 4, 2012.

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.


1.  The rule requires a contract with the FCM to contain two provisions requiring 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 CFTC for its rules.

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2.  This estimate is based on the number of funds that reported on Form N-SAR from July 1, 2011-December 31, 2011, in response to items (b) through (i) of question 70, the ability to engage in futures and commodity option transactions.

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3.  These estimates are based on the assumption that 10% of fund complexes and funds enter into new FCM contracts each year. This assumption encompasses fund complexes and funds that enter into FCM contracts for the first time, as well as fund complexes and fund that change the FCM with whom they maintain margin accounts for commodities transactions.

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4.  This estimate is based upon the following calculation: (76 fund complexes × 1 hour) + (200 funds × 0.1 hours) = 96 hours.

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5.  The $378 per hour figure for an attorney is from SIFMA's Management & Professional Earnings in the Securities Industry 2011, modified by Commission staff 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. 2012-11249 Filed 5-9-12; 8:45 am]