76 South Main St.
Akron, Ohio 44308
Nancy C. Ashcom
Corporate Secretary 330-384-5504
May 14, 1999
Mr. Jonathan G. Katz
Securities and Exchange Commission
450 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20549-0609
Re:File No. S7-11-99
Dear Mr. Katz:
FirstEnergy Corp., an issuer transfer agent through its subsidiary, FirstEnergy Securities Transfer Company, appreciates the opportunity to comment on the above proposed changes to Rule 17Ac2-2. In general, we support the proposed rule changes, in particular the changes concerning the reporting requirements for lost shareholders. However, we ask that you consider the following concerns and questions:
Clarification is requested as to whether the number of transfers received should include both routine and non-routine transfers.
The FirstEnergy dividend reinvestment plan and direct purchase plan are one and the same plan, which is not uncommon. Today's dividend reinvestment plans provide much flexibility, including the ability to pay cash dividends on shares held in a dividend reinvestment plan account. As a result, there is no need, for recordkeeping purposes, to segregate a dividend reinvestment plan from a direct purchase plan. Clarification is requested concerning the responses to 5b and 5c for companies with combined plans.
The proposed rule changes the reporting period to the 12 months ending June 30. Although this period would not cause a significant burden in regard to tracking the number of transfers received, it would cause a significant burden in regard to tracking the total amount of dividends paid. We first question the need for payment information, given that the intent of Form TA-2 is to retrieve information on transfer activities. Assuming that you continue to see a need to request this information, we question the 12-month reporting period ending June 30. It would appear to make much more sense for the
12-month period to end on a calendar year, or December 31. In this case, the information for Item 8c could then easily be retrieved from IRS Form 1099 reporting. Retrieving this information for a 12-month period ending June 30 would be much more difficult, especially for a transfer agent handling many issues. The cost of modifying our system to respond to Item 8c is currently undeterminable, but it could result in the use of significant resources.
We respectfully request that you give serious consideration to our concerns and questions, in particular our concerns on Item 8c, in that your statement in the proposed rule represents that "the proposed amendments should not result in any new significant burden to transfer agents". If you have any questions or need additional information, please call me.
Nancy C. Ashcom
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