[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 250 (Monday, December 30, 2013)]
[Pages 79408-79410]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-31106]



Agency Information Collection Activities; Notice of Intent To 
Renew Collection: Procedural Requirements for Requests for 
Interpretative, No-Action, and Exemptive Letters

AGENCY: Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) seeks public 
comment on the proposed renewal of a collection of information by the 
agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Federal agencies are 
required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each 
proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension 
of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for 
public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments 
on requirements relating to requests for and issuance of exemptive, no-
action, and interpretative letters.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before February 28, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by ``Collection 3038-
0049-Renewal,'' by any of the following methods:
     The Agency's Web site, at http://comments.cftc.gov/. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments through the Web site.
     Mail: Melissa D. Jurgens, Secretary of the Commission, 
Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st 
Street NW., Washington, DC 20581.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: Same as mail, above.
    Please submit your comments using only one method. All comments 
must be submitted in English, or if not, accompanied by an English 
translation. Comments will be posted as received to www.cftc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christopher W. Cummings, Special 
Counsel, Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight, (202) 418-
5228, email: [email protected]; Jocelyn Partridge, Special Counsel, 
Division of Clearing and Risk, (202) 418-5926, email: 
[email protected]; Riva Spear Adriance, Senior Special Counsel, 
Division of Market Oversight, (202) 418-5494, email: 
[email protected]; or Beverly E. Loew, Assistant General Counsel, 
Office of General Counsel, (202) 418-5648, email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the PRA, Federal agencies must obtain 
approval from the Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') for each 
collection of information they conduct or sponsor. ``Collection of 
Information'' is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3. The 
definition includes agency requests or requirements that members of the 
public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third 
party. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not 
required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays 
a valid OMB control number. Sections 3506(c)(2)(A) and 3507(h) of the 
PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A) and 3507(h), require a Federal agency to 
provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register whenever it seeks to 
renew a collection of information previously

[[Page 79409]]

approved by OMB, seeking public comment before submitting the 
collection to OMB for renewal. To comply with this requirement, the 
CFTC is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information 
listed below.
    Abstract: This collection covers the procedural requirements for 
requests for, and issuance of, interpretative, no-action, and exemptive 
letters according to the provisions of section 140.99 of the 
Commission's regulations.\1\ The current collection, for which a three-
year extension is being sought, has been assigned OMB control number 
3038-0049. The collection requirements contained herein are voluntary. 
The requirements are observed by parties that wish to apply most 
frequently for a benefit from agency staff in the form of regulatory 
relief described in section 140.99. Relief sought often relieves the 
persons obtaining it from some or all of the burdens associated with 
other collections of information.

    \1\ 17 CFR 140.99. An archive containing CFTC staff letters may 
be found at http://www.cftc.gov/LawRegulation/CFTCStaffLetters/index.htm.

    Burden Statement: There has been an increase in requests for no-
action and interpretive letters in particular, following the 
implementation of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 
(``Dodd-Frank Act'') by the Commission. Accordingly, as elaborated 
below, the burden hours for this collection are being increased from 
the last renewal of this collection.
    The burden increase is related to several factors. First, there 
have been an increased number of respondents for this collection in the 
form of requestors that must comply with the collection requirements 
contained in section 140.99 in order for the request to be considered 
by staff.
    Second, burden increase is attributable to collection requirements 
contained within issued exemptive and no-action letters providing 
regulatory relief. Historically, most exemptive, no-action, and 
interpretive letters were sought by and issued to an individual party 
(or fewer than ten persons) that may have been subject to discrete 
collections of information in a letter in order to obtain the benefit 
of it, which collections were excepted from the application of the PRA. 
Since the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, however, these letters 
more frequently have been sought by and issued to large groups of 
similarly situated persons, typically to entire industries or industry 
subgroups. Because of the increase in respondents, the PRA exception is 
not applicable to this proposed renewal.
    Thus, the proposed renewal accounts for relief issued by staff 
under regulation 140.99 that contain information collections, which 
often involves providing notice and certifications to the division or 
office staff issuing the letter. The proposed renewal also accounts for 
relief from compliance with an existing collection of information, and 
occasionally from a regulatory obligation that does not contain a 
collection of information, with substituted compliance obligations in 
the form of an information collection in the letter providing the 
    Third, there has been an increase in burden attributable to adding 
collection requirements into this collection that are related to this 
collection, such as compliance with requirements for requesting 
confidential treatment of letters that may be granted under section 
140.98 of the Commission's regulations, but could be effected through 
separate collections. It was determined not to establish separate 
collections for the related matters in order to streamline the 
analysis, compliance, and renewal processes for the Commission and all 
entities that may submit requests for exemptive, no-action, and 
interpretive letters that include burden associated with the related 
    Therefore, in order to establish estimates with respect to no-
action and exemptive letters that may be issued during the 3-year 
renewal period for which the Commission is applying, a sampling was 
taken of exemptive and no-action letters over a six month period from 
December 4, 2012, through June 4, 2013. This time period was chosen 
because it is believed that it reasonably represents the shift in the 
manner in which these letters are sought and issued since the last 
renewal of this collection of information.
    During this period, encompassing no-action letters 12-40 through 
13-22, 58 no-action letters were issued. Thirty contained no 
collections of information, or collections that do not require an OMB 
control number, for example because they involved the submission of 
information by fewer than 10 persons,\2\ or they involved notice 
filings solely requiring a respondent to identify itself as relying on 
the relief, which notice is not considered to be an information 
collection under the PRA.\3\ Twenty-eight contained collections of 
information, a number of which require certification requirements that 
will permit monitoring for compliance with statutory or regulatory 
requirements not subject to the relief issued.\4\

    \2\ See, e.g., 44 U.S.C. 3502(3)(A)(1).
    \3\ See, e.g., 5 CFR 1320.3(h)(1).
    \4\ Id.

    Other contained substituted compliance obligations in the form of 
collections that were intended to be no more burdensome than the 
collection requirements provided for in the regulations, from which the 
no-action letters provided relief. Of the few letters that contained 
conditions allowing for substituted compliance that included a 
collection of information but relieved regulatory burden not associated 
with a collection of information, the increased collection burden was 
offset by the overall decrease in collection burden resulting from 
other letters issued pursuant to section 140.99. Nonetheless, to ensure 
flexibility over the next three years, burden hours were estimated to 
cover circumstances in which a collection contained in a no-action or 
exemptive letter may add to, rather than offset or decrease, regulatory 
burdens containing collections of information.
    Finally, although there has been an increase in requests for no-
action relief and interpretive letters, Commission staff does not 
anticipate that this increase will be permanent. Thus, burden estimates 
have been bifurcated. Burden hours have been estimated at an increased 
level for the first year following the renewal of this collection, and 
then pared for the second and third years, so as not to artificially 
inflate the Commission's burden budget, or the burden budget that is 
maintained government-wide by OMB.
    Past experience was used to estimate the number of no-action, 
interpretive, and exemptive letters that may be received over the 
three-years for which this renewal is being sought. The number of 
letters received over the past five years are as follows:

                                                 No-     Inter-   Exemp-
                Letters Issued                  action  pretive    tive
2013.........................................       64        0        0
2012.........................................       70        1       11
2011.........................................        8        0        1
2010.........................................        9       23        4
2009.........................................       11       35        3

    Burden Estimates. For the proposed renewal period, the respondent 
burden calculated with consideration to past experience is estimated to 
be 28,478 hours. These estimates include burden hours for complying 
with the information requirements for exemptive, no-action, and 
interpretative letters contained in section 140.99(c) of the 
Commission's regulations, effecting filing as provided in section 
140.99(d), providing notice of material change in

[[Page 79410]]

circumstances that may affect any relief granted pursuant to section 
140.99(e), and complying with notice and other conditions that may be 
contained in grant of exemptive or no-action relief issued by staff; 
and preparing and submitting withdrawals of requests for exemptive, no-
action, and interpretative letters pursuant to section 140.99(f). The 
estimates also include burden hours for preparing a confidential 
treatment request pursuant to and responding to any process contained 
in associated section 140.98(b) of the Commission's regulations, and 
complying with the documentation requirements contained in section 
41.3(b), related to exemption requests from certain intermediaries.
    Respondents/Affected Entities: Registered entities, intermediaries, 
eligible contract participants, parties clarifying their status as such 
or seeking relief from registration or discrete regulatory burdens 
associated with their status.
    Estimated number of respondents: 12,428.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 28,478 hours.
    Frequency of collection: Occasionally.
    The Commission estimates the burden of this collection of 
information as follows:

                                     Estimated      Reports or                       Estimated
                                      annual          records      Total annual   average number     Estimated
                                  respondents or  annually--each     responses     of hours per    annual burden
                                   recordkeepers    respondent                       response          hours
    Sec.   140.99(c)--                        40               1              40            9.00             360
     information requirements
     for letters................
    Sec.   140.99(d)--filing                  40               1              40            0.38              15
    Sec.   140.99(e)--staff
        change of facts and                    7               1               7            2.25              16
        notice and other                   4,500               1           4,500            1.50           6,750
    Sec.   140.99(f)--withdrawal               6               1               6            0.75               5
     of requests................
    Sec.   140.98(b)--                         5               1               5            1.80               9
     confidential treatment
    Sec.   41.3(b)--securities                10               1              10            3.75              38
     brokers and dealers
     requesting exemptive
     orders; documentation
    Sec.   140.99(c)--                        25               1              25            9.00             225
     information requirements
     for letters................
    Sec.   140.99(d)--filing                  25               1              25            0.38               9
    Sec.   140.99(e)--staff
        change of facts and                    4               1               4            2.25               9
        notice and other                   1,500               1           1,500            1.50           2,250
    Sec.   140.99(f)--withdrawal               3                               0                               0
     of requests................
    Sec.   140.98(b)--                         3               1               3            1.80               5
     confidential treatment
    Sec.   41.3(b)--securities                10               1              10            3.75              38
     brokers and dealers
     requesting exemptive
     orders; documentation
            SUBTOTAL REPORTING..           6,178              13           6,175              38           9,728
    Sec.   140.99(e)--staff
        notice and other                   4,500               4          18,000            0.75          13,500
    Sec.   140.99(e)--staff
        notice and other                   1,750               4           7,000            0.75           5,250
            SUBTOTAL                       6,250               8          25,000               2          18,750
            GRAND TOTAL.........          12,428              21          31,175              40          28,478

    There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs 
associated with this collection.
    This estimate is based on the number of requests for such letters 
in the last three years. Although the burden varies with the type, 
size, and complexity of the request submitted, such request may involve 
analytical work and analysis, as well as the work of drafting the 
request itself.
    Comment Solicitation: With respect to this collection of 
information, the CFTC invites comments on:
     Whether the proposed collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the 
Commission, including whether the information will have a practical 
     The accuracy of the Commission's estimate of the burden of 
the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
     Ways to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of 
the information to be collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden of collection of information 
on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate 
automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting 
electronic submission of responses.

    Dated: December 23, 2013.
Christopher J. Kirkpatrick,
Deputy Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2013-31106 Filed 12-27-13; 8:45 am]