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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Investment Advisers Act of 1940 – Section 206 and Rule 206(4)-3
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

December 12, 2011

RESPONSE OF THE OFFICE OF CHIEF COUNSEL
DIVISION OF INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

Our Ref. No. 201111211049
File No. 801-72865

We would not recommend enforcement action to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) under Section 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) and Rule 206(4)-3 thereunder if any investment adviser that is required to be registered pursuant to Section 203 of the Advisers Act pays to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (successor by merger to Wachovia Bank, N.A.) (“Wells Fargo Bank” or the “Settling Firm”) or any of its associated persons, as defined in Section 202(a)(17) of the Advisers Act, a cash solicitation fee, directly or indirectly, for the solicitation of advisory clients in accordance with Rule 206(4)-3,1 notwithstanding an injunctive order issued by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (the “Judgment”) that otherwise would preclude such an investment adviser from paying such a fee, directly or indirectly, to the Settling Firm or certain related persons.2

Our position is based on the facts and representations in your letter dated December 12, 2011, particularly the representations of the Settling Firm that:

  1. it will conduct any cash solicitation arrangement entered into with any investment adviser registered or required to be registered under Section 203 of the Advisers Act in compliance with the terms of Rule 206(4)-3, except for the investment adviser’s payment of cash solicitation fees, directly or indirectly, to the Settling Firm, which is subject to the Judgment;
  2. the Judgment does not bar or suspend the Settling Firm or any person currently associated with the Settling Firm from acting in any capacity under the federal securities laws;3
     
  3. it will comply with the terms of the Judgment, including, but not limited to, the payment of disgorgement, pre‑judgment interest and the civil penalty; and
     
  4. for ten years from the date of the entry of the Judgment, the Settling Firm or any investment adviser with which it has a solicitation arrangement subject to Rule 206(4)-3 will disclose the Judgment in a written document that is delivered to each person whom the Settling Firm solicits (a) not less than 48 hours before the person enters into a written or oral investment advisory contract with the investment adviser or (b) at the time the person enters into such a contract, if the person has the right to terminate such contract without penalty within five (5) business days after entering into the contract.

This position applies only to the Judgment and not to any other basis for disqualification under Rule 206(4)-3 that may exist or arise with respect to the Settling Firm or any of its associated persons.

Adam Glazer
Senior Counsel


1 Rule 206(4)-3 prohibits any investment adviser that is required to be registered under the Advisers Act from paying a cash fee, directly or indirectly, to any solicitor with respect to solicitation activities if, among other things, the solicitor is subject to an order, judgment or decree described in Section 203(e)(4) of the Advisers Act.

2 Securities and Exchange Commission v. Wachovia Bank, N.A., n/k/a Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 11-CV-7135 (D.N.J.) (Dec. 9, 2011).

3 Section 9(a)(2) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Investment Company Act”) provides, in pertinent part, that a person may not serve or act as, among other things, an investment adviser or depositor of any investment company registered under the Investment Company Act or a principal underwriter for any registered open-end investment company or registered unit investment trust if, among other things, that person, by reason of any misconduct, is permanently or temporarily enjoined from acting, among other things, as an underwriter, broker, dealer or investment adviser, or from engaging in or continuing any conduct or practice in connection with any such activity, or in connection with the purchase or sale of any security. Section 9(a)(3) extends the prohibition to any company any affiliated person of which is disqualified pursuant to Section 9(a)(2).

The entry of the Judgment, absent the issuance of an order by the Commission pursuant to Section 9(c) of the Investment Company Act that exempts the Settling Firm from the provisions of Section 9(a) of the Investment Company Act, would effectively prohibit the Settling Firm and companies of which it is an affiliated person from acting in any of the capacities set forth in Section 9(a) of the Investment Company Act. You state that, pursuant to Section 9(c) of the Investment Company Act, the Settling Firm and certain affiliated persons, on behalf of themselves and future affiliated persons, submitted an application to the Commission requesting (i) an order of temporary exemption from Section 9(a) of the Investment Company Act and (ii) a permanent order exempting such persons from the provisions of Section 9(a) of the Investment Company Act.

On December 9, 2011, the Commission issued an order granting the Settling Firm, certain affiliated persons and future affiliated persons a temporary exemption from Section 9(a) of the Investment Company Act pursuant to Section 9(c) of the Investment Company Act, with respect to the Judgment, until the date the Commission takes final action on the application for a permanent order. In re Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., SEC Rel. No. IC‑29881 (Dec. 9, 2011). Therefore, the Settling Firm, certain affiliated persons and future affiliated persons are not currently barred or suspended from acting in any capacity specified in Section 9(a) of the Investment Company Act as a result of the Judgment.

Incoming Letter

The Incoming Letter is in Acrobat format.

 

http://www.sec.gov/divisions/investment/noaction/2011/wellsfargobank121211.htm


Modified: 12/12/2011