§ 240.17Ad-13Annual study and evaluation of internal accounting control.
(a)Accountant's report. Every registered transfer agent, except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, shall file annually with the Commission and the transfer agent's appropriate regulatory agency in accordance with § 240.17Ad-2(h), a report specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section prepared by an independent accountant concerning the transfer agent's system of internal accounting control and related procedures for the transfer of record ownership and the safeguarding of related securities and funds. That report shall be filed within 90 calendar days of the date of the study and evaluation set forth in paragraph (a)(1).
(1) The accountant's report shall:
(i) State whether the study and evaluation was made in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards using the criteria set forth in paragraph (a)(3) of this section;
(ii) Describe any material inadequacies found to exist as of the date of the study and evaluation and any corrective action taken, or if no material inadequacy existed, the report shall so state;
(iii) Comment on the current status of any material inadequacy described in the immediately preceding report; and
(iv) Indicate the date of the study and evaluation.
(2) The study and evaluation of the transfer agent's system of internal accounting control for the transfer of record ownership and the safeguarding of related securities and funds shall cover the following:
(i) Transferring securities related to changes of ownership (i.e., cancellation of certificates or other instruments evidencing prior ownership and issuance of certificates or instruments evidencing current ownership);
(ii) Registering changes of ownership on the books and records of the issuer;
(iii) Transferring record ownership as a result of corporate actions (e.g., issuance, retirement, redemption, liquidation, conversion, exchange, tender offer or other types of reorganization);
(iv) Dividend disbursement or interest paying-agent activities;
(v) Administering dividend reinvestment programs; and
(vi) Distributing statements respecting initial offerings of securities.
(3) For purposes of this report, the objectives of a transfer agent's system of internal accounting control for the transfer of record ownership and the safeguarding of related securities and funds should be to provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance that securities and funds are safeguarded against loss from unauthorized use or disposition and that transfer agent activities are performed promptly and accurately. For purposes of this report, a material inadequacy is a condition for which the independent accountant believes that the prescribed procedures or the degree of compliance with them do not reduce to a relatively low level the risk that errors or irregularities, in amounts that would have a significant adverse effect on the transfer agent's ability promptly and accurately to transfer record ownership and safeguard related securities and funds, would occur or not be detected within a timely period by employees in the normal course of performing their assigned functions. Occurrence of errors or irregularities more frequently than in isolated instances may be evidence that the system has a material inadequacy. A significant adverse effect on a transfer agent's ability promptly and accurately to transfer record ownership and safeguard related securities and funds could result from any condition or conditions that individually, or taken as a whole, would reasonably be expected to:
(i) Inhibit the transfer agent from promptly and accurately discharging its responsibilities under its contractual agreement with the issuer;
(ii) Result in material financial loss to the transfer agent; or
(iii) Result in a violation of § 240.17Ad-2, or 17Ad-12(a).
(b)Notice of corrective action. If the accountant's report describes any material inadequacy, the transfer agent shall, within sixty calendar days after receipt of the report, notify the Commission and its appropriate regulatory agency in writing regarding the corrective action taken or proposed to be taken.
(c)Record retention. The accountant's report and any documents required by paragraph (b) of this section shall be maintained by the transfer agent for at least three years, the first year in an easily accessible place.
(d)Exemptions. The requirements of § 240.17Ad-13 shall not apply to registered transfer agents that qualify for exemptions pursuant to this paragraph, 17Ad-13(d).
(1) A registered transfer agent shall be exempt if it performs transfer agent functions solely for:
(i) Its own securities;
(ii) Securities issued by a subsidiary in which it owns 51% or more of the subsidiary's capital stock; and
(iii) Securities issued by another corporation that owns 51% or more of the capital stock of the registered transfer agent.
(2) A registered transfer agent shall be exempt if it:
(ii) In the case of a transfer agent that performs transfer agent functions for redeemable securities issued by companies registered under section 8 of the Investment Company Act of 1940, maintains master securityholder files consisting of fewer than 1000 shareholder accounts, in the aggregate, for each of such issues for which it performs transfer agent functions.
(3) A registered transfer agent shall be exempt if it is a bank or financial institution subject to regulation by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, provided that it is not notified to the contrary by its appropriate regulatory agency and provided that a report similar in scope to the requirements of § 240.17Ad-13(a) is prepared for either the bank's board of directors or an audit committee of the board of directors.