17 CFR § 270.17f-1 - Custody of securities with members of national securities exchanges.
(a) No registered management investment company shall place or maintain any of its securities or similar investments in the custody of a company which is a member of a national securities exchange as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (whether or not such company trades in securities for its own account) except pursuant to a written contract which shall have been approved, or if executed before January 1, 1941, shall have been ratified not later than that date, by a majority of the board of directors of such investment company.
(b) The contract shall require, and the securities and investments shall be maintained in accordance with the following:
(1) The securities and similar investments held in such custody shall at all times be individually segregated from the securities and investments of any other person and marked in such manner as to clearly identify them as the property of such registered management company, both upon physical inspection thereof and upon examination of the books of the custodian. The physical segregation and marking of such securities and investments may be accomplished by putting them in separate containers bearing the name of such registered management investment company or by attaching tags or labels to such securities and investments.
(2) The custodian shall have no power or authority to assign, hypothecate, pledge or otherwise to dispose of any such securities and investments, except pursuant to the direction of such registered management company and only for the account of such registered investment company.
(3) Such securities and investments shall be subject to no lien or charge of any kind in favor of the custodian or any persons claiming through the custodian.
(4) Such securities and investments shall be verified by actual examination at the end of each annual and semi-annual fiscal period by an independent public accountant retained by the investment company, and shall be examined by such accountant at least one other time, chosen by the accountant, during each fiscal year. A certificate of such accountant stating that an examination of such securities has been made, and describing the nature and extent of the examination, shall be attached to a completed Form N-17f-1 (17 CFR 274.219) and transmitted to the Commission promptly after each examination.
(5) Such securities and investments shall, at all times, be subject to inspection by the Commission through its employees or agents.
(6) The provisions of paragraphs (b) (1), (2) and (3) of this section shall not apply to securities and similar investments bought for or sold to such investment company by the company which is custodian until the securities have been reduced to the physical possession of the custodian and have been paid for by such investment company: Provided, That the company which is custodian shall take possession of such securities at the earliest practicable time. Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed to relieve any company which is a member of a national securities exchange of any obligation under existing law or under the rules of any national securities exchange.
(c) A copy of any contract executed or ratified pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section shall be transmitted to the Commission promptly after execution or ratification unless it has been previously transmitted.
(d) Any contract executed or ratified pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section shall be ratified by the board of directors of the registered management investment company at least annually thereafter.