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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 FOIA Services, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-2736

Extension:

Rule 31a-2, SEC File No. 270-174, OMB Control No. 3235-0179

Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), 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.

Section 31(a)(1) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq.) (the “Act”) requires registered investment companies (“funds”) and certain underwriters, broker-dealers, investment advisers, and depositors to maintain and preserve records as prescribed by Commission rules. Rule 31a-1 (17 CFR 270.31a-1) under the Act specifies the books and records that Start Printed Page 40112each of these entities must maintain. Rule 31a-2 (17 CFR 270.31a-2) under the Act specifies the time periods that entities must retain certain books and records, including those required to be maintained under rule 31a-1.

The retention of records, as required by the rule, is necessary to ensure access to material business and financial information about funds and certain related entities. We periodically inspect the operations of funds to ensure they are in compliance with the Act and regulations under the Act. Due to the limits on our resources, however, each fund may only be inspected at intervals of several years. In addition, the prosecution of persons who have engaged in certain violations of the federal securities laws may not be limited by timing restrictions. For these reasons, we often need information relating to events or transactions that occurred years ago. Without the requirement to preserve books, records, and other documents, our staff would have difficulty determining whether the fund was in compliance with the law in such areas as valuation of its portfolio securities, computation of the prices investors paid, and, when purchasing and selling fund shares, types and amounts of expenses the fund incurred, kinds of investments the fund purchased, actions of affiliated persons, or whether the fund had engaged in any illegal or fraudulent activities. As part of our examinations of funds, our staff also reviews the materials that directors consider in approving the advisory contract.

There are 3,160 funds currently operating as of December 31, 2018, all of which are required to comply with rule 31a-2. The Commission staff estimates that, on average, a fund spends 220.4 hours annually to comply with the rule. The Commission therefore estimates the total annual hour burden of the rule's and form's paperwork requirements to be 696,464 hours. In addition to the burden hours, the Commission staff estimates that the average yearly cost to each fund that is subject to rule 31a-2 is about $36,510.28. The Commission estimates total annual cost is therefore about $115.4 million.

Estimates of average burden hours and costs are made solely for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act and are not derived from a comprehensive or even representative survey or study of the costs of Commission rules and forms. Compliance with the collection of information requirements of the rule is mandatory. Responses to the disclosure requirements 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 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 Charles Riddle, Acting Director and Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Candace Kenner, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549; or send an email to: PRA_Mailbox@sec.gov.

All submissions should refer to File Number 270-174. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's internet website (http://www.sec.gov). All comments received will be posted without change; we do not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly.

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Dated: August 7, 2019.

Jill M. Peterson,

Assistant Secretary.

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[FR Doc. 2019-17298 Filed 8-12-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P