October 3, 2016.
Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”).
Notice of an application for an order pursuant to: (a) Section 6(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Act”) granting an exemption from sections 18(f) and 21(b) of the Act; (b) section 12(d)(1)(J) of the Act granting an exemption from section 12(d)(1) of the Act; (c) sections 6(c) and 17(b) of the Act granting an exemption from sections 17(a)(1), 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3) of the Act; and (d) section 17(d) of the Act and rule 17d-1 under the Act to permit certain joint arrangements and transactions. Applicants request an order that would permit certain registered open-end management investment companies to participate in a joint lending and borrowing facility.
Legg Mason Global Asset Management Trust, Legg Mason Global Asset Management Variable Trust, Legg Mason Partners Income Trust, Legg Mason Partners Institutional Trust, Legg Mason Partners Money Market Trust, Legg Mason Partners Premium Money Market Trust, Legg Mason Partners Variable Income Trust, Master Portfolio Trust, and Western Asset Funds, Inc., registered under the Act as open-end management investment companies with one or more series, and Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC (the “Adviser”), registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
The application was filed on November 27, 2015, and amended on May 5, 2016.
Hearing or Notification of Hearing:
An order granting the requested relief 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, Start Printed Page 69888personally or by mail. Hearing requests should be received by the Commission by 5:30 p.m. on October 28, 2016 and should be accompanied by proof of service on the applicants, in the form of an affidavit, or, for lawyers, a certificate of service. Pursuant to Rule 0-5 under the Act, hearing requests should state the nature of the writer's interest, any facts bearing upon the desirability of a hearing on the matter, 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.
Secretary, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090; Applicants, c/o: Bryan Chegwidden, Esq., Rope & Gray LLP, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, and Robert I. Frenkel, Legg Mason & Co., LLC, 100 First Stamford Place, Stamford, CT 06902.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Judy T. Lee, Senior Special Counsel, at (202) 551-6259 or Sara Crovitz, Assistant Chief Counsel, at (202) 551-6720 (Division of Investment Management, Chief Counsel's Office).
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Start Supplemental Information
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.
Summary of the Application
1. Applicants request an order that would permit the applicants to participate in an interfund lending facility where each Fund could lend money directly to and borrow money directly from other Funds to cover unanticipated cash shortfalls, such as unanticipated redemptions or trade fails.
The Funds will not borrow under the facility for leverage purposes and the loans' duration will be no more than 7 days.
2. Applicants anticipate that the proposed facility would provide a borrowing Fund with a source of liquidity at a rate lower than the bank borrowing rate at times when the cash position of the Fund is insufficient to meet temporary cash requirements. In addition, Funds making short-term cash loans directly to other Funds would earn interest at a rate higher than they otherwise could obtain from investing their cash in repurchase agreements or certain other short term money market instruments. Thus, applicants assert that the facility would benefit both borrowing and lending Funds.
3. Applicants agree that any order granting the requested relief will be subject to the terms and conditions stated in the Application. Among others, the Adviser, through a designated committee, would administer the facility as a disinterested fiduciary as part of its duties under the investment management and administrative agreements with the Funds and would receive no additional fee as compensation for its services in connection with the administration of the facility. The facility would be subject to oversight and certain approvals by the Funds' Board, including, among others, approval of the interest rate formula and of the method for allocating loans across Funds, as well as review of the process in place to evaluate the liquidity implications for the Funds. A Fund's aggregate outstanding interfund loans will not exceed 15% of its net assets, and the Fund's loan to any one Fund will not exceed 5% of the lending Fund's net assets.
4. Applicants assert that the facility does not raise the concerns underlying section 12(d)(1) of the Act given that the Funds are part of the same group of investment companies and there will be no duplicative costs or fees to the Funds.
Applicants also assert that the proposed transactions do not raise the concerns underlying sections 17(a)(1), 17(a)(3), 17(d) and 21(b) of the Act as the Funds would not engage in lending transactions that unfairly benefit insiders or are detrimental to the Funds. Applicants state that the facility will offer both reduced borrowing costs and enhanced returns on loaned funds to all participating Funds and each Fund would have an equal opportunity to borrow and lend on equal terms based on an interest rate formula that is objective and verifiable. With respect to the relief from section 17(a)(2) of the Act, applicants note that any collateral pledged to secure an interfund loan would be subject to the same conditions imposed by any other lender to a Fund that imposes conditions on the quality of or access to collateral for a borrowing (if the lender is another Fund) or the same or better conditions (in any other circumstance).
5. Applicants also believe that the limited relief from section 18(f)(1) of the Act that is necessary to implement the facility (because the lending Funds are not banks) is appropriate in light of the conditions and safeguards described in the application and because the Funds would remain subject to the requirement of section 18(f)(1) that all borrowings of a Fund, including combined interfund loans and bank borrowings, have at least 300% asset coverage.
6. Section 6(c) of the Act permits the Commission to exempt any persons or transactions from any provision of the Act 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. Section 12(d)(1)(J) 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 provision of section 12(d)(1) if the exemption is consistent with the public interest and the protection of investors. Section 17(b) of the Act authorizes the Commission to grant an order permitting a transaction otherwise prohibited by section 17(a) if it finds that (a) the terms of the proposed transaction are fair and reasonable and do not involve overreaching on the part of any person concerned; (b) the proposed transaction is consistent with the policies of each registered investment company involved; and (c) the proposed transaction is consistent with the general purposes of the Act. Rule 17d-1(b) under the Act provides that in passing upon an application filed under the rule, the Commission will consider whether the participation of the registered investment company in a joint enterprise, joint arrangement or profit sharing plan on the basis proposed is consistent with the provisions, policies and purposes of the Act and the extent to which such Start Printed Page 69889participation is on a basis different from or less advantageous than that of the other participants.
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For the Commission, by the Division of Investment Management, under delegated authority.
Robert W. Errett,
[FR Doc. 2016-24286 Filed 10-6-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P