[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 86 (Monday, May 5, 2014)]
[Pages 25629-25630]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-10142]



Proposed Collection; Comment Request

Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: U.S. Securities and 
Exchange Commission, Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, 
Washington, DC 20549-0213.

    Rule 15g-2, SEC File No. 270-381, OMB Control No. 3235-0434.

    Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (``PRA''), the Securities and Exchange 
Commission (``Commission'') is soliciting comments on the collection of 
information provided for in Rule 15g-2 (17 CFR 240.15g-2) under the 
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.) (``Exchange 
Act''). The Commission plans to submit this existing collection of 
information to the Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') for 
extension and approval.
    Rule 15g-2 (The ``Penny Stock Disclosure Rule'') requires broker-
dealers to provide their customers with a risk disclosure document, as 
set forth in Schedule 15G, prior to their first non-exempt transaction 
in a ``penny stock.'' As amended, the rule requires broker-dealers to 
obtain written acknowledgement from the customer that he or she has 
received the required risk disclosure document. The amended rule also 
requires broker-dealers to maintain a copy of the customer's written 
acknowledgement for at least three years following the date on which 
the risk disclosure document was provided to the customer, the first 
two years in an accessible place. Rule 15g-2 also requires a broker-
dealer, upon request of a customer, to furnish the customer with a copy 
of certain information set forth on the Commission's Web site.
    The risk disclosure documents are for the benefit of the customers, 
to assure that they are aware of the risks of trading in ``penny 
stocks'' before they enter into a transaction. The risk disclosure 
documents are maintained by the broker-dealers and may be reviewed 
during the course of an examination by the Commission.
    There are approximately 221 broker-dealers that could potentially 
be subject to current Rule 15g-2. The Commission estimates that 
approximately 5% of registered broker-dealers are engaged in penny 
stock transactions, and thereby subject to the Rule (5% x approximately 
4,410 registered broker-dealers = 221 broker-dealers). The Commission

[[Page 25630]]

estimates that each one of these firms processes an average of three 
new customers for penny stocks per week. Thus, each respondent 
processes approximately 156 penny stock disclosure documents per year. 
If communications in tangible form alone are used to satisfy the 
requirements of Rule 15g-2, then the copying and mailing of the penny 
stock disclosure document takes no more than two minutes. Thus, the 
total associated burden is approximately 2 minutes per response, or an 
aggregate total of 312 minutes per respondent. Since there are 221 
respondents, the current annual burden is 68,952 minutes (312 minutes 
per each of the 221 respondents) or 1,150 hours for this third party 
disclosure burden. In addition, broker-dealers incur a recordkeeping 
burden of approximately two minutes per response when filing the 
completed penny stock disclosure documents as required pursuant to the 
Rule 15(g)(2)(c), which requires a broker-dealer to preserve a copy of 
the written acknowledgement pursuant to Rule 17a-4(b) of the Exchange 
Act. Since there are approximately 156 responses for each respondent, 
the respondents incur an aggregate recordkeeping burden of 68,952 
minutes (221 respondents x 156 responses for each x 2 minutes per 
response) or 1,150 hours, under Rule 15g-2. Accordingly, the current 
aggregate annual hour burden associated with Rule 15g-2 (assuming that 
all respondents provide tangible copies of the required documents) is 
approximately 2,300 hours (1,150 third party disclosure hours + 1,150 
recordkeeping hours).
    The burden hours associated with Rule 15g-2 may be slightly reduced 
when the penny stock disclosure document required under the rule is 
provided through electronic means such as email from the broker-dealer 
(e.g., the broker-dealer respondent may take only one minute, instead 
of the two minutes estimated above, to provide the penny stock 
disclosure document by email to its customer). In this regard, if each 
of the customer respondents estimated above communicates with his or 
her broker-dealer electronically, the total ongoing respondent burden 
is approximately 1 minute per response, or an aggregate total of 156 
minutes (156 customers x 1 minutes per respondent). Assuming 221 
respondents, the annual third party disclosure burden, if electronic 
communications were used by all customers, is 34,476 minutes (156 
minutes per each of the 221 respondents) or 575 hours. If all 
respondents were to use electronic means, the recordkeeping burden 
would be 68,952 minutes or 1,150 hours (the same as above). Thus, if 
all broker-dealer respondents obtain and send the documents required 
under the rules electronically, the aggregate annual hour burden 
associated with Rule 15g-2 is 1,725 (575 hours + 1,150 hours).
    In addition, if the penny stock customer requests a paper copy of 
the information on the Commission's Web site regarding microcap 
securities, including penny stocks, from his or her broker-dealer, the 
printing and mailing of the document containing this information takes 
no more than two minutes per customer. Because many investors have 
access to the Commission's Web site via computers located in their 
homes, or in easily accessible public places such as libraries, then, 
at most, a quarter of customers who are required to receive the Rule 
15g-2 disclosure document request that their broker-dealer provide them 
with the additional microcap and penny stock information posted on the 
Commission's Web site. Thus, each broker-dealer respondent processes 
approximately 39 requests for paper copies of this information per year 
or an aggregate total of 78 minutes per respondent (2 minutes per 
customer x 39 requests per respondent). Since there are 221 
respondents, the estimated annual burden is 17,238 minutes (78 minutes 
per each of the 221 respondents) or 288 hours. This is a third party 
disclosure type of burden.
    We have no way of knowing how many broker-dealers and customers 
will choose to communicate electronically. Assuming that 50 percent of 
respondents continue to provide documents and obtain signatures in 
tangible form and 50 percent choose to communicate electronically to 
satisfy the requirements of Rule 15g-2, the total aggregate burden 
hours would be 2,301 ((aggregate burden hours for sending disclosure 
documents and obtaining signed customer acknowledgements in tangible 
form x 0.50 of the respondents = 1,150 hours) + (aggregate burden hours 
for electronically signed and transmitted documents x 0.50 of the 
respondents = 863 hours) + (288 burden hours for those customers making 
requests for a copy of the information on the Commission's Web site)).
    Written comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed 
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of 
the functions of the agency, including whether the information will 
have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency'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.
    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required 
to respond to, a collection of information under the PRA unless it 
displays a currently valid OMB control number.
    Please direct your written comments to: Thomas Bayer, Director/
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..

    Dated: April 29, 2014.
Kevin M. O'Neill,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2014-10142 Filed 5-2-14; 8:45 am]