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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 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 et seq.) (“Paperwork Reduction Act”), 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 (“OMB”) for extension and approval.

Rule 18f-3 (17 CFR 270.18f-3) under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq.) 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 fund 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, Start Printed Page 33225the fund board, including a majority of the 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.

Based on an analysis of fund filings, the Commission estimates that there are approximately 5,831 multiple class funds offered by 969 registrants. The Commission estimates that each of the 969 registrants will make an average of 0.5 responses annually to prepare and approve a written 18f-3 plan.[1] The Commission estimates each response will take 6 hours, requiring a total of 3 hours per registrant per year.[2] Thus the total annual hour burden associated with these requirements of the rule is approximately 2,907 hours.[3]

Estimates of average burden hours 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. The collection of information under rule 18f-3 is mandatory. The information provided under rule 18f-3 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 OMB 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 Thomas Bayer, Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Remi Pavlik-Simon, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549; or send an email to: PRA_Mailbox@sec.gov.

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Dated: June 4, 2014.

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  The Commission estimates 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 484.5 of all 969 registrants prepare and approve a plan each year).

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2.  0.5 responses per registrant × 6 hours per response = 3 hours per registrant.

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3.  3 hours per registrant per year × 969 registrants = 2,907 hours per year.

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[FR Doc. 2014-13463 Filed 6-9-14; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P