June 11, 2012.
Notice of an application under section 6(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Act”) for an exemption from section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.
Summary of Application:
Applicants request an order that would permit them to enter into and materially amend subadvisory agreements without shareholder approval.
Hirtle Callaghan & Co., LLC (the “Adviser”) and HC Capital Trust (the “Trust”).
Filing Dates: The application was filed on January 19, 2011, and amended on May 5, 2011, and April 27, 2012.
Hearing or Notification of Hearing:
An order granting the application will be issued unless the Commission orders a hearing. Interested persons may request a hearing by writing to the Commission's Secretary and serving applicants with a copy of the request, personally or by mail. Hearing requests should be received by the Commission by 5:30 p.m. on July 9, 2012, and should be accompanied by proof of service on the applicants, in the form of an affidavit or, for lawyers, a certificate of service. Hearing requests should state the nature of the writer's interest, the reason for the request, and the issues contested. Persons who wish to be notified of a hearing may request notification by writing to the Commission's Secretary.
Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090. Applicants: Hirtle Callaghan & Co., LLC; Five Tower Bridge, 300 Barr Harbor Drive, Suite 500, West Conshohocken, PA 19428.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Barbara T. Heussler, Senior Counsel, at (202) 551-6990, or Jennifer L. Sawin, Branch Chief, at (202) 551-6821 (Division of Investment Management, Office of Investment Company Regulation).
The following is a summary of the application. The complete application may be obtained via the Commission's Web site by searching for the file number, or an applicant using the Company name box, at http://www.sec.gov/search/search.htm or by calling (202) 551-8090.
1. The Trust, a Delaware statutory trust, is registered under the Act as an open-end management investment company and offers series of shares (each a “Series”), each of which has its own distinct investment objectives, policies and restrictions.
The Adviser, a Delaware limited liability company, is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) and serves as the investment adviser to the Trust pursuant to two separate investment advisory agreements currently in effect, one of which applies to each Series (each an “Investment Advisory Agreement” and together the “Investment Advisory Agreements”). Each Investment Advisory Agreement was initially approved by the board of trustees of the Trust (the “Board”),
including a majority of the trustees who are not “interested persons,” as defined in section 2(a)(19) of the Act, of the Trust or the Adviser (“Independent Trustees”) and by the shareholders of the applicable Subadvised Fund in accordance with sections 15(a) and 15(c) of the Act and rule 18f-2 thereunder.
2. Under the terms of each Investment Advisory Agreement, the Adviser, subject to the oversight of the Board, furnishes a continuous investment program for each Subadvised Fund. The Adviser periodically reviews each Subadvised Fund's investment policies and strategies and based on the need of a particular Subadvised Fund may recommend changes to the investment policies and strategies of the Subadvised Fund for consideration by its Board. For its services to each Subadvised Fund, the Adviser receives an investment advisory fee from that Subadvised Fund as specified in the applicable Investment Advisory Agreement. The investment advisory fees for the current Series of the Trust are calculated based on the “Average Daily Net Assets” of the particular Series.
The terms of each Investment Advisory Agreement also permit the Adviser, subject to the approval of the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, and the shareholders of the applicable Subadvised Fund, to delegate portfolio management responsibilities of all or a portion of the assets of the Subadvised Fund to one or more sub-advisers (“Sub-Advisers”). The Trust has entered into investment subadvisory agreements with various Sub-Advisers (“Sub-Advisory Agreements”) to provide investment advisory services to certain Subadvised Funds.
The Adviser may also enter into Sub-Advisory Agreements on behalf of other Subadvised Funds. Each Sub-Adviser is, and any future Sub-Adviser will be, an investment adviser as defined in section 2(a)(20) of the Act as well as registered as an investment adviser under the Advisers Act. The Adviser evaluates, allocates assets to and oversees the Sub-Advisers, and makes recommendations about their hiring, termination and replacement to the Board, at all times subject to the authority of the Board. For its services to a Subadvised Fund, each Sub-Adviser will receive from the Subadvised Fund, a monthly fee, computed and accrued daily, on the same basis (but not necessarily the same rate) as the Adviser's investment advisory fees are calculated for the particular Subadvised Fund managed by that Sub-Adviser. The Adviser is not responsible for paying sub-advisory fees to the Sub-Adviser.
3. Applicants request an order to permit the Adviser, subject to Board approval, including a majority of Independent Trustees, to select certain Sub-Advisers to manage all or a portion of the assets of a Subadvised Fund pursuant to a Sub-Advisory Agreement and materially amend Sub-Advisory Agreements without obtaining shareholder approval. The requested relief will not extend to any Sub-Adviser that is an affiliated person, as defined in section 2(a)(3) of the Act, of a Subadvised Fund, or the Adviser other than by reason of serving as a Sub-Adviser to a Subadvised Fund (“Affiliated Sub-Adviser”). Because the Sub-Advisers are paid directly by the Subadvised Funds, Applicants acknowledge that, after the requested order is issued, shareholder approval will still be sought for any amendment to a Sub-Advisory Agreement that would increase the total management and advisory fees payable by a Subadvised Fund.
Applicants' Legal Analysis
1. Section 15(a) of the Act provides, in relevant part, that it is unlawful for any person to act as an investment adviser to a registered investment company except pursuant to a written contract that has been approved by the vote of a majority of the company's outstanding voting securities. Rule 18f-2 under the Act provides that each series or class of securities in a series investment company affected by a matter must approve that matter if the Act requires shareholder approval.
2. Section 6(c) of the Act provides that the Commission may exempt any person, security, or transaction or any class or classes of persons, securities, or transactions from any provisions of the Act, or from any rule thereunder, if such exemption is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the purposes fairly intended by the policy and provisions of the Act. Applicants state that the requested relief meets this standard for the reasons discussed below.
3. Applicants assert that the shareholders expect the Adviser, subject to the review and approval of the Board, to select the Sub-Advisers who are best suited to achieve the Subadvised Fund's investment objective. Applicants assert that, from the perspective of the shareholder, the role of the Sub-Adviser is substantially equivalent to the role of the individual portfolio managers employed by an investment adviser to a traditional investment company. Applicants state that requiring shareholder approval of each Sub-Advisory Agreement would impose unnecessary delays and expenses on the Subadvised Funds, and may preclude the Adviser from acting promptly in a manner considered advisable by the Board. Applicants note that the Investment Advisory Agreement and Sub-Advisory Agreement with an Affiliated Sub-Adviser (if any) will continue to be subject to the shareholder approval requirement of section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.
4. If new Sub-Advisers are hired, the Subadvised Funds will inform shareholders of the hiring of a new Sub-Adviser pursuant to the following procedures (“Modified Notice and Access Procedures”): (a) Within 90 days after a new Sub-Adviser is hired for any Subadvised Fund, that Subadvised Fund will send its shareholders either a Multi-manager Notice or a Multi-manager Notice and Multi-manager Information Statement; 
and (b) the Subadvised Fund will make the Multi-manager Information Statement available on the Web site identified in the Multi-manager Notice no later than when the Multi-manager Notice (or Multi-manager Notice and Multi-manager Information Statement) is first sent to shareholders, and will maintain it on that Web site for at least 90 days. In the circumstances described in this application, a proxy solicitation to approve the appointment of new Sub-Advisers provides no more meaningful information to shareholders than the proposed Multi-manager Information Statement. Moreover, as indicated above, the applicable Board would comply with the requirements of section 15(a) and 15(c) of the Act before entering into or amending Sub-Advisory Agreements.
Applicants agree that any order granting the requested relief will be subject to the following conditions:
1. Before a Subadvised Fund may rely on the requested order, the operation of the Subadvised Fund in the manner described in the application will have been approved by a majority of the Subadvised Fund's outstanding voting securities as defined in the Act or, in the case of a Subadvised Fund whose public shareholders purchase shares on the basis of a prospectus containing the disclosure contemplated by condition 2 below, by the initial shareholder(s) before such Subadvised Fund's shares are offered to the public.
2. The prospectus for each Subadvised Fund will disclose the existence, substance, and effect of any order granted pursuant to this application. In addition, each Subadvised Fund will hold itself out to the public as employing a multi-manager structure as described in the application. The prospectus will prominently disclose that the Adviser has ultimate responsibility, subject to oversight by the Board, to oversee the Sub-Advisers and recommend their hiring, termination, and replacement.
3. Subadvised Funds will inform shareholders of the hiring of a new Sub-Adviser within 90 days after the hiring of the new Sub-Adviser pursuant to the Modified Notice and Access Procedures.
4. The Adviser will not enter into a Sub-Advisory Agreement with any Affiliated Sub-Adviser without that agreement, including the compensation to be paid thereunder, being approved by the shareholders of the applicable Subadvised Fund.
5. At all times, at least a majority of the Board will be Independent Trustees, and the nomination of new or additional Independent Trustees will be placed within the discretion of the then-existing Independent Trustees.
6. Whenever a Sub-Adviser change is proposed for a Subadvised Fund with an Affiliated Sub-Adviser, the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, will make a separate finding, reflected in the Board minutes, that the change is in the best interests of the Subadvised Fund and its shareholders, and does not involve a conflict of interest from which the Adviser or the Affiliated Sub-Adviser derives an inappropriate advantage.
7. The Adviser will provide general management services to each Subadvised Fund, including overall supervisory responsibility for the general management and investment of the Subadvised Fund's assets, and subject to review and approval of the Board, will: (i) Set the Subadvised Fund's overall investment strategies; (ii) evaluate, select and recommend Sub-Advisers to manage all or a portion of the Subadvised Fund's assets; (iii) allocate and, when appropriate, reallocate the Subadvised Fund's assets among Sub-Advisers; (iv) monitor and evaluate the Sub-Advisers' performance; and (v) implement procedures reasonably designed to ensure that the Sub-Advisers comply with the Subadvised Fund's investment objective, policies and restrictions.
8. No trustee or officer of the Trust or of a Subadvised Fund or director or officer of the Adviser will own directly or indirectly (other than through a pooled investment vehicle that is not controlled by such person) any interest in a Sub-Adviser, except for (i) ownership of interests in the Adviser or any entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the Adviser; or (ii) ownership of less than 1% of the outstanding securities of any class of equity or debt of a publicly traded company that is either a Sub-Adviser or an entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a Sub-Adviser.
9. In the event the Commission adopts a rule under the Act providing substantially similar relief to that in the order requested in the application, the requested order will expire on the effective date of that rule.
10. Subadvised Funds pay fees to a Sub-Adviser directly from Fund assets. Any changes to a Sub-Advisory Agreement that would result in an increase in the total management and advisory fees payable by a Subadvised Fund will be approved by the shareholders of that Subadvised Fund.
For the Commission, by the Division of Investment Management, under delegated authority.
Kevin M. O'Neill,
[FR Doc. 2012-14630 Filed 6-14-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P