WA Ultra-Short Income Fund

September 29, 2023

LEGG MASON PARTNERS INCOME TRUST

 

Fund    Ticker Symbol  
     Class A      Class C      Class C1      Class R      Class I      Class IS  

WESTERN ASSET ULTRA-SHORT INCOME FUND (the “Fund”)

     ARMZX        LWAIX        ARMGX        —         SBAYX        ARMLX  

620 Eighth Avenue

New York, New York 10018

877-6LM-FUND/656-3863

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus and is meant to be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of the Fund, dated September 29, 2023, as amended or supplemented from time to time, and is incorporated by reference in its entirety into the Prospectus.

Additional information about the Fund’s investments is available in the Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. The annual report contains financial statements that are incorporated herein by reference (https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/764624/000119312523198517/d818696dncsr.htm). The Fund’s Prospectus and copies of the annual and semi-annual reports may be obtained free of charge by contacting banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies, investment advisers, financial consultants or advisers, mutual fund supermarkets and other financial intermediaries that have entered into an agreement with the Fund’s distributor to sell shares of the Fund (each called a “Service Agent”), by writing the Fund at Legg Mason Funds, P.O. Box 33030, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-8030, by calling the telephone number set forth above, by sending an e-mail request to [email protected] or by visiting www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfundsliterature. Franklin Distributors, LLC (“Franklin Distributors” or the “Distributor”), an indirect, wholly-owned broker/dealer subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc., serves as the Fund’s sole and exclusive distributor.

THIS SAI IS NOT A PROSPECTUS AND IS AUTHORIZED FOR DISTRIBUTION TO PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS ONLY IF PRECEDED OR ACCOMPANIED BY AN EFFECTIVE PROSPECTUS.

No person has been authorized to give any information or to make any representations not contained in the Prospectus or this SAI in connection with the offering made by the Prospectus and, if given or made, such information or representations must not be relied upon as having been authorized by the Fund or the Distributor. The Prospectus and this SAI do not constitute an offering by the Fund or by the Distributor in any jurisdiction in which such offering may not lawfully be made.


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

     1  

INVESTMENT POLICIES

     3  

Investment Objective and Strategies

     3  

Fundamental and Non-Fundamental Investment Policies—General

     3  

Diversification

     5  

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

     6  

Commodity Exchange Act Regulation—Exclusion from Commodity Pool Operator Definition

     6  

INVESTMENT PRACTICES AND RISK FACTORS

     6  

MANAGEMENT

     56  

Trustees and Officers

     56  

Qualifications of Trustees, Board Leadership Structure and Oversight and Standing Committees

     60  

Trustee Ownership of Securities

     62  

Trustee Compensation

     63  

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AND SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION

     63  

Manager

     63  

Subadviser

     64  

Expenses

     65  

Investment Professionals

     66  

Other Accounts Managed by the Investment Professionals

     66  

Investment Professionals Securities Ownership

     67  

Conflicts of Interest

     67  

Investment Professional Compensation

     68  

Custodian and Transfer Agent

     68  

Fund Counsel

     69  

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

     69  

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

     69  

Portfolio Transactions

     69  

Brokerage and Research Services

     70  

Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid

     71  

Securities of Regular Broker Dealers

     71  

Portfolio Turnover

     71  

SHARE OWNERSHIP

     72  

Principal Shareholders

     72  

DISTRIBUTOR

     74  

Dealer Commissions and Concessions

     77  

Sales Charges

     78  

Initial Sales Charges

     78  

Contingent Deferred Sales Charges

     78  

Services and Distribution Plan

     78  

PURCHASE OF SHARES

     80  

REDEMPTION OF SHARES

     83  

EXCHANGE OF SHARES

     86  

VALUATION OF SHARES

     87  

PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES

     87  

DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

     88  

General Rules/Website Disclosure

     88  

Ongoing Arrangements

     88  

Release of Limited Portfolio Holdings Information

     90  

Exceptions to the Policy

     91  

Limitations of Policy

     91  

THE TRUST

     91  

TAXES

     94  

CODES OF ETHICS

     105  


FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     105  

APPENDIX A—PROXY VOTING POLICIES

     A-1  

APPENDIX B—CREDIT RATINGS

     B-1  

APPENDIX C—PROCEDURES FOR SHAREHOLDERS TO SUBMIT NOMINEE CANDIDATES

     C-1  


GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Because the following is a combined glossary of terms used for all the Legg Mason Funds, certain terms below may not apply to your fund. Any terms used but not defined herein have the meaning ascribed to them in the applicable Fund’s prospectus.

“12b-1 Plans” means the Fund’s distribution and shareholder services plan.

“1933 Act” means the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

“1934 Act” means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

“1940 Act” means the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

“1940 Act Vote” means the vote of the lesser of: (a) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund; or (b) 67% or more of the shares of the Fund present at a shareholders’ meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding shares of that Fund are represented at the meeting in person or by proxy.

“Advisers Act” means the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended.

“Board” means the Board of Trustees or Board of Directors, as applicable.

“CEA” means the Commodity Exchange Act, as amended.

“CFTC” means the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

“Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

“Corporation” (if applicable) means the corporation listed on the cover page of this SAI.

“Directors” means the directors of the Corporation.

“Distributor” means the party that is responsible for the distribution or sale of the Fund’s shares. Franklin Distributors, LLC (“Franklin Distributors”) is the Fund’s distributor.

“FINRA” means the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.

“Franklin Resources” means Franklin Resources, Inc.

“Fund” means the Fund or Funds listed on the cover of this SAI unless stated otherwise.

“Fundamental Investment Policy” means an investment policy of the Fund that may be changed only by a 1940 Act Vote. Only those policies expressly designated as such are fundamental investment policies. All other policies and restrictions may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.

“Independent Director” or “Independent Trustee” (as applicable) means a Director of the Corporation or a Trustee of the Trust who is not an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Corporation or Trust (as applicable).

“IRAs” means Individual Retirement Accounts.

“IRS” means Internal Revenue Service.

 

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“Legg Mason” means Legg Mason, Inc.

“Legg Mason Funds” means the funds managed by Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC or an affiliate.

“Manager” or “LMPFA” means Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC.

“NAV” means net asset value.

“NRSROs” means nationally recognized (or non-U.S.) statistical rating organizations, including, but not limited to, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings, a subsidiary of S&P Global Inc. (“S&P”).

“NYSE” means the New York Stock Exchange.

“Prospectus” means the prospectus of a Fund as referenced on the cover page of this SAI.

“SAI” means this Statement of Additional Information.

“SEC” means the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Service Agent” means each bank, broker, dealer, insurance company, investment adviser, financial consultant or adviser, mutual fund supermarket and any other financial intermediaries that have entered into an agreement with the Distributor to sell shares of the Fund.

“Subadviser” or “Western Asset” means Western Asset Management Company, LLC, as referred to in the Fund’s Prospectus and this SAI.

“Trust” (if applicable) means the trust listed on the cover page of this SAI.

“Trustees” means the trustees of the Trust.

 

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INVESTMENT POLICIES

Investment Objective and Strategies

The Fund is registered under the 1940 Act as an open-end management investment company. The Fund’s Prospectus discusses the Fund’s investment objective and strategies. The following is a summary of the principal investment stratgies, certain additional strategies and investment limitations of the Fund and supplements the description of the Fund’s investment strategies in its Prospectus. Additional information regarding investment practices and risk factors with respect to the Fund may also be found below in the section entitled Investment Practices and Risk Factors.

Western Asset Ultra-Short Income Fund

 

 

Investment objective. The Fund seeks current income and capital preservation while maintaining liquidity.

 

 

Under normal circumstances, the Fund will invest its assets in debt obligations, other fixed income securities and related investments. The Fund may invest in all types of U.S. dollar denominated short-term debt instruments, including bank obligations, commercial paper and asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities (including U.S. government and privately issued mortgage-backed securities, collateralized mortgage obligations and mortgage-related derivative securities), U.S. government agency or instrumentality securities, corporate loans, corporate debt securities, structured instruments and repurchase agreements.

 

 

The Fund may invest up to 10% of its assets in below investment grade bonds (commonly known as “high yield” or “junk” bonds).

 

 

The Fund may invest up to 25% of its assets in U.S. dollar denominated securities of foreign issuers, including mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities issued by foreign entities.

 

 

The Fund will not enter into a short sale of securities if, as a result of the sale, the total market value of all securities sold short by the Fund would exceed 25% of the value of the Fund’s assets. In addition, the Fund may not (a) sell short the securities of any single issuer listed on a national securities exchange to the extent of more than 2% of the value of the fund’s net assets or (b) sell short the securities of any class of an issuer to the extent of more than 2% of the outstanding securities of the class at the time of the transaction.

Fundamental and Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

General

The Fund’s fundamental investment policies are as follows:

Borrowing. The Fund may not borrow money except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Underwriting. The Fund may not engage in the business of underwriting the securities of other issuers except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Lending. The Fund may lend money or other assets to the extent permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Senior Securities. The Fund may not issue senior securities except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Real Estate. The Fund may not purchase or sell real estate except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Commodities. The Fund may purchase or sell commodities or contracts related to commodities to the extent permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

 

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Concentration. Except as permitted by exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, the Fund may not make any investment if, as a result, the Fund’s investments will be concentrated in any one industry.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth above, the 1940 Act permits a fund to borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose, and to borrow up to 5% of the fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes. (A fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, the 1940 Act requires a fund to maintain an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings, provided that in the event that the fund’s asset coverage falls below 300%, the fund is required to reduce the amount of its borrowings so that it meets the 300% asset coverage threshold within three days (not including Sundays and holidays). Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of a fund’s total assets (including amounts borrowed), minus liabilities other than borrowings, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowing, and thus subject to the 1940 Act restrictions. Borrowing money to increase portfolio holdings is known as “leveraging.” Borrowing, especially when used for leverage, may cause the value of the Fund’s shares to be more volatile than if the Fund did not borrow. This is because borrowing tends to magnify the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of the Fund’s portfolio holdings. Borrowed money thus creates an opportunity for greater gains, but also greater losses. To repay borrowings, the Fund may have to sell securities at a time and at a price that is unfavorable to the Fund. There also are costs associated with borrowing money, and these costs would offset and could eliminate the Fund’s net investment income in any given period. Currently, the Fund does not contemplate borrowing money for leverage, but if the Fund does so, it will not likely do so to a substantial degree. The policy above will be interpreted to permit the Fund to engage in trading practices and investments that may be considered to be borrowing to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to underwriting set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from engaging in the underwriting business or from underwriting the securities of other issuers; in fact, the 1940 Act permits a fund to have underwriting commitments of up to 25% of its assets under certain circumstances. Those circumstances currently are that the amount of the fund’s underwriting commitments, when added to the value of the fund’s investments in issuers where the fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of those issuers, cannot exceed the 25% cap. A fund engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act. Under the 1933 Act, an underwriter may be liable for material omissions or misstatements in an issuer’s registration statement or prospectus. Securities purchased from an issuer and not registered for sale under the 1933 Act are considered restricted securities. There may be a limited market for these securities. If these securities are registered under the 1933 Act, they may then be eligible for sale but participating in the sale may subject the seller to underwriter liability. These risks could apply to a fund investing in restricted securities. Although it is not believed that the application of the 1933 Act provisions described above would cause the Fund to be engaged in the business of underwriting, the policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities, regardless of whether the Fund may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to lending set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from making loans; however, SEC staff interpretations currently prohibit funds from lending more than one-third of their total assets, except through the purchase of debt obligations or the use of repurchase agreements. (A repurchase agreement is an agreement to purchase a security, coupled with an agreement to sell that security back to the original seller on an agreed-upon date at a price that reflects current interest rates. The SEC frequently treats repurchase agreements as loans.) While lending securities may be a source of income to the Fund, as with other extensions of credit, there are risks of delay in recovery or even loss of rights in the underlying securities should the borrower fail financially. However, loans would be made only when the Fund’s Manager or a Subadviser believes the income justifies the attendant risks. The Fund also will be permitted by this policy to make loans of money, including to other funds. The Fund would have to obtain exemptive relief from the SEC to make loans to other funds. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from purchasing or investing in debt obligations and loans. In addition, collateral arrangements with respect to options, forward currency and futures transactions and other derivative instruments, as well as delays in the settlement of securities transactions, will not be considered loans.

 

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With respect to the fundamental policy relating to issuing senior securities set forth above, “senior securities” are defined as fund obligations that have a priority over the fund’s shares with respect to the payment of dividends or the distribution of fund assets. The 1940 Act prohibits a fund from issuing senior securities, except that the fund may borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose. A fund also may borrow up to 5% of the fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes, and these borrowings are not considered senior securities. The issuance of senior securities by a fund can increase the speculative character of the fund’s outstanding shares through leveraging. Leveraging of the Fund’s portfolio through the issuance of senior securities magnifies the potential for gain or loss on monies, because even though the Fund’s net assets remain the same, the total risk to investors is increased to the extent of the Fund’s gross assets. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent collateral arrangements with respect to swaps, options, forward or futures contracts or other derivatives, or the posting of initial or variation margin.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to real estate set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from owning real estate; however, a fund is limited in the amount of illiquid assets it may purchase. Investing in real estate may involve risks, including that real estate is generally considered illiquid and may be difficult to value and sell. Owners of real estate may be subject to various liabilities, including environmental liabilities. To the extent that investments in real estate are considered illiquid, an SEC rule limits a fund’s purchases of illiquid securities to 15% of net assets. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from investing in real estate-related companies, companies whose businesses consist in whole or in part of investing in real estate, instruments (like mortgages) that are secured by real estate or interests therein, or real estate investment trust securities.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to commodities set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from owning commodities, whether physical commodities and contracts related to physical commodities (such as oil or grains and related futures contracts), or financial commodities and contracts related to financial commodities (such as currencies and, possibly, currency futures). However, a fund is limited in the amount of illiquid assets it may purchase. To the extent that investments in commodities are considered illiquid, an SEC rule limits a fund’s purchases of illiquid securities to 15% of net assets. If the Fund were to invest in a physical commodity or a physical commodity-related instrument, the Fund would be subject to the additional risks of the particular physical commodity and its related market. The value of commodities and commodity-related instruments may be extremely volatile and may be affected either directly or indirectly by a variety of factors. There also may be storage charges and risks of loss associated with physical commodities. The policy above will be interpreted to permit investments in exchange traded funds that invest in physical and/or financial commodities.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to concentration set forth above, the 1940 Act does not define what constitutes “concentration” in an industry. The SEC staff has taken the position that investment of 25% or more of a fund’s total assets in one or more issuers conducting their principal activities in the same industry or group of industries constitutes concentration. It is possible that interpretations of concentration could change in the future. A fund that invests a significant percentage of its total assets in a single industry may be particularly susceptible to adverse events affecting that industry and may be more risky than a fund that does not concentrate in an industry. The policy above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time. In addition, the term “industry” will be interpreted to include a related group of industries. The policy also will be interpreted to permit investment without limit in the following: securities of the U.S. government and its agencies or instrumentalities; securities of state, territory, possession or municipal governments and their authorities, agencies, instrumentalities or political subdivisions; and repurchase agreements collateralized by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry. There also will be no limit on investment in issuers domiciled in a single jurisdiction or country. The policy also will be interpreted to give broad authority to the Fund as to how to classify issuers within or among industries or groups of industries. The Fund has been advised by the staff of the SEC that the staff currently views securities issued by a foreign government to be in a single industry for purposes of calculating applicable limits on concentration.

The Fund’s fundamental policies will be interpreted broadly. For example, the policies will be interpreted to refer to the 1940 Act and the related rules as they are in effect from time to time, and to interpretations and modifications of or relating to the 1940 Act by the SEC and others as they are given from time to time. When a policy provides that an investment practice may be conducted as permitted by the 1940 Act, the policy will be interpreted to mean either that the 1940 Act expressly permits the practice or that the 1940 Act does not prohibit the practice.

Diversification

 

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The Fund is currently classified as a diversified fund under the 1940 Act. This means that the Fund may not purchase securities of an issuer (other than obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities) if, with respect to 75% of its total assets, (a) more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in securities of that issuer or (b) the Fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer. With respect to the remaining 25% of its total assets, the Fund can invest more than 5% of its assets in one issuer. When the assets and revenues of an agency, authority, instrumentality or other political subdivision are separate from those of the government creating the issuing entity and only the assets and revenues of such entity back the security, such entity is deemed to be the sole issuer. Similarly, in the case of a private activity bond, if only the assets and revenues of the nongovernmental user back that bond, then such nongovernmental user is deemed to be the sole issuer. If, however, in either case, the creating government or some other entity guarantees a security, such a guarantee would be considered a separate security and is to be treated as an issue of such government or other entity. Under the 1940 Act, the Fund cannot change its classification from diversified to non-diversified without shareholder approval.

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

The Fund’s non-fundamental investment policies are as follows:

 

   

The Fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire any security if, as a result, more than 15% of its net assets would be invested in securities that are illiquid. The Fund monitors the portion of the Fund’s total assets that is invested in illiquid securities on an ongoing basis, not only at the time of investment in such securities.

 

   

If at any time another registered open-end investment company that is part of the same group of investment companies as the Fund invests in the Fund in reliance upon the provisions of subparagraph (G) of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, the Fund will not invest in other registered open-end investment companies and registered unit investment trusts in reliance upon the provisions of subparagraphs (G) or (F) of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act.

Commodity Exchange Act Regulation- Exclusion from Commodity Pool Operator Definition

The Fund is operated by persons who have claimed an exclusion, granted to operators of registered investment companies like the Fund, from registration as a “commodity pool operator” with respect to the Fund under the CEA and, therefore are not subject to registration or regulation with respect to the Fund under the CEA. As a result, the Fund is limited in its ability to trade instruments subject to the CFTC’s jurisdiction, including commodity futures (which include futures on broad-based securities indexes, interest rate futures and currency futures), options on commodity futures, and certain swaps or other investments, either directly or indirectly through investments in other investment vehicles (collectively, “Commodity Interests”).

Under this exclusion, the Fund must satisfy one of the following two trading limitations whenever it establishes a new Commodity Interest position: (1) the aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish the Fund’s Commodity Interest positions does not exceed 5% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio (after accounting for unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such investments); or (2) the aggregate net notional value of the Fund’s Commodity Interests, determined at the time the most recent position was established, does not exceed 100% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio (after accounting for unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). The Fund is not required to consider its exposure to such instruments if they are held for “bona fide hedging” purposes, as such term is defined in the rules of the CFTC. In addition to meeting one of the foregoing trading limitations, the Fund may not be marketed as a commodity pool or otherwise as a vehicle for trading in the markets for Commodity Interests.

If the Fund’s operators were to lose their ability to claim this exclusion with respect to the Fund, such persons would be required to comply with certain CFTC rules regarding commodity pools that could impose additional regulatory requirements and compliance obligations.

INVESTMENT PRACTICES AND RISK FACTORS

In addition to the investment strategies and the risks described in the Fund’s Prospectus and in this SAI under Investment Objective and Strategies, the Fund may employ other investment practices and may be subject to other risks, which are described below. The Fund may engage in the practices described below to the extent consistent with its investment objectives, strategies, policies and restrictions. However, as with any investment or investment technique, even when the Fund’s Prospectus or this discussion indicates that the Fund may engage in an activity, the Fund may not actually do so for a variety of reasons. In addition, new types of instruments and other securities may be developed and marketed from time to time.

 

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Consistent with its investment limitations, the Fund expects to invest in those new types of securities and instruments that its portfolio manager believes may assist the Fund in achieving its investment objective.

This discussion is not intended to limit the Fund’s investment flexibility, unless such a limitation is expressly stated, and therefore will be construed by the Fund as broadly as possible. Statements concerning what the Fund may do are not intended to limit any other activity.

Alternative Investment Strategies and Temporary Defensive Investments

At times the Fund’s portfolio manager may judge that conditions in the securities markets make pursuing the Fund’s typical investment strategy inconsistent with the best interest of its shareholders. At such times, the portfolio manager may temporarily use alternative strategies, primarily designed to reduce fluctuations in the value of the Fund’s assets. In implementing these defensive strategies, the Fund may invest without limit in securities that the portfolio manager believes present less risk to the Fund, including equity securities, debt and fixed income securities, preferred stocks, U.S. government and agency obligations, cash or money market instruments, certificates of deposit, demand and time deposits, bankers’ acceptance or other securities the portfolio manager considers consistent with such defensive strategies, such as, but not limited to, options or futures. During periods in which such strategies are used, the duration of the Fund may diverge from the duration range for the Fund disclosed in its Prospectus (if applicable). It is impossible to predict when, or for how long, the Fund will use these alternative strategies. As a result of using these alternative strategies, the Fund may not achieve its investment objective. Additionally, although the portfolio manager has the ability to take defensive positions, the portfolio manager may choose not to do so for a variety of reasons, even during volatile market conditions.

Bank Obligations

The Fund may invest in all types of bank obligations, including certificates of deposit (“CDs”), time deposits and bankers’ acceptances. CDs are short-term negotiable obligations of commercial banks. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Bankers’ acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers usually in connection with international transactions.

U.S. commercial banks organized under federal law are supervised and examined by the Comptroller of the Currency and are required to be members of the Federal Reserve System and to be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”). U.S. banks organized under state law are supervised and examined by state banking authorities, but are members of the Federal Reserve System only if they elect to join. Most state banks are insured by the FDIC (although such insurance may not be of material benefit to the Fund, depending upon the principal amount of CDs of each bank held by the Fund) and are subject to federal examination and to a substantial body of federal law and regulation. As a result of federal and state laws and regulations, U.S. branches of U.S. banks are, among other things, generally required to maintain specified levels of reserves, and are subject to other supervision and regulation designed to promote financial soundness. Banks may be particularly susceptible to certain economic factors, such as interest rate changes and adverse developments in the market for real estate. Fiscal and monetary policy and general economic cycles can affect the availability and cost of funds, loan demand and asset quality and thereby impact the earnings and financial conditions of banks.

Obligations of foreign branches of U.S. banks, such as CDs and time deposits, may be general obligations of the parent bank in addition to the issuing branch, or may be limited by the terms of a specific obligation and governmental regulation. Such obligations are subject to different risks than are those of U.S. banks or U.S. branches of foreign banks. These risks relate to foreign economic and political developments, foreign governmental restrictions that may adversely affect payment of principal and interest on the obligations, foreign exchange controls and foreign withholding and other taxes on interest income. Foreign branches of U.S. banks and foreign branches of foreign banks are not necessarily subject to the same or similar regulatory requirements that apply to U.S. banks, such as mandatory reserve requirements, loan limitations and accounting, auditing and financial recordkeeping requirements. In addition, less information may be publicly available about a foreign branch of a U.S. bank or about a foreign bank than about a U.S. bank.

Obligations of U.S. branches of foreign banks may be general obligations of the parent bank, in addition to the issuing branch, or may be limited by the terms of a specific obligation and by federal and state regulation as well as governmental action in the country in which the foreign bank has its head office. A U.S. branch of a foreign bank with assets in excess of $1 billion may or may not be subject to reserve requirements imposed by the Federal Reserve System or by the state in which the branch is located if the branch is licensed in that state. In addition, branches licensed by the Comptroller of the Currency and branches

 

7


licensed by certain states (“State Branches”) may or may not be required to: (a) pledge to the regulator, by depositing assets with a designated bank within the state; and (b) maintain assets within the state in an amount equal to a specified percentage of the aggregate amount of liabilities of the foreign bank payable at or through all of its agencies or branches within the state. The deposits of State Branches may not necessarily be insured by the FDIC. In addition, there may be less publicly available information about a U.S. branch of a foreign bank than about a U.S. bank.

Volatility in the banking system may impact the viability of banking and financial services institutions. In the event of failure of any of the financial institutions where the Fund maintains its cash and cash equivalents, there can be no assurance that the Fund would be able to access uninsured funds in a timely manner or at all and the Fund may incur losses. Any such event coud adversely affect the business, liquidity, financial position and performance of the Fund.

Borrowings

The Fund may engage in borrowing transactions as a means of raising cash to satisfy redemption requests, for other temporary or emergency purposes or, to the extent permitted by its investment policies, to raise additional cash to be invested by the Fund in other securities or instruments in an effort to increase the Fund’s investment returns. Reverse repurchase agreements may be considered to be a type of borrowing.

When the Fund invests borrowing proceeds in other securities, the Fund will be at risk for any fluctuations in the market value of the securities in which the proceeds are invested. Like other leveraging risks, this makes the value of an investment in the Fund more volatile and increases the Fund’s overall investment exposure. In addition, if the Fund’s return on its investment of the borrowing proceeds does not equal or exceed the interest that the Fund is obligated to pay under the terms of a borrowing, engaging in these transactions will lower the Fund’s return.

The Fund may be required to liquidate portfolio securities at a time when it would be disadvantageous to do so in order to make payments with respect to its borrowing obligations. Interest on any borrowings will be an expense to the Fund and will reduce the value of the Fund’s shares. The Fund may borrow on a secured or on an unsecured basis. If the Fund enters into a secured borrowing arrangement, a portion of the Fund’s assets will be used as collateral. During the term of the borrowing, the Fund will remain at risk for any fluctuations in the market value of these assets in addition to any securities purchased with the proceeds of the loan. In addition, the Fund may be unable to sell the collateral at a time when it would be advantageous to do so, which could result in lower returns. The Fund would also be subject to the risk that the lender may file for bankruptcy, become insolvent, or otherwise default on its obligations to return the collateral to the Fund. In the event of a default by the lender, there may be delays, costs and risks of loss involved in the Fund’s exercising its rights with respect to the collateral or those rights may be limited by other contractual agreements or obligations or by applicable law.

The 1940 Act requires the Fund to maintain an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings, provided that in the event that the Fund’s asset coverage falls below 300%, the Fund is required to reduce the amount of its borrowings so that it meets the 300% asset coverage threshold within three days (not including Sundays and holidays). Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of the Fund’s total assets, minus liabilities other than borrowings and other senior securities, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Although complying with this requirement would have the effect of limiting the amount that the Fund may borrow, it does not otherwise mitigate the risks of entering into borrowing transactions.

Collateralized Debt Obligations (“CDOs”), Collateralized Loan Obligations (“CLOs”) and Collateralized Bond Obligations (“CBOs”)

The Fund may invest in collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), which include collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CDOs are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is a trust or other special purpose entity (“SPE”) which is typically backed by a diversified pool of fixed income securities (which may include high risk, below investment grade securities). A CLO is a trust or other SPE that is typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and non-U.S. senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. Although certain CDOs may receive credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, over-collateralization or bond insurance, such enhancement may not always be present, and may fail to protect the Fund against the risk of loss on default of the collateral. Certain CDOs may use derivatives contracts to create “synthetic” exposure to assets rather than holding such assets directly, which entails the risks of derivative instruments described elsewhere in this SAI. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of the Fund.

 

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For both CBOs and CLOs, the cashflows from the SPE are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche, which bears the first loss from defaults from the bonds or loans in the SPE and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default (though such protection is not complete). Since it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CBO or CLO typically has higher ratings and lower yields than its underlying securities, and may be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO or CLO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as investor aversion to CBO or CLO securities as a class. Interest on certain tranches of a CDO may be paid in kind (paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments.

The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the CDO in which the Fund invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus, are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in CDOs may be characterized by the Fund as illiquid securities. However, an active dealer market may exist for CDOs, allowing a CDO to qualify for Rule 144A transactions. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed income securities discussed elsewhere in this SAI and the Prospectus (e.g., interest rate risk and credit risk), CDOs carry additional risks including, but not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the collateral may decline in value or default or its credit rating may be downgraded, if rated by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization; (iii) the Fund may invest in tranches of CDOs that are subordinate to other tranches; (iv) the complex structure of the security may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results; and (v) the CDO’s manager may perform poorly.

Commercial Paper

Commercial paper (including variable amount master demand notes and funding agreements) consists of short-term, unsecured promissory notes issued by corporations, partnerships, trusts and other entities to finance short-term credit needs.

Contingent Convertible Securities (“CoCos”)

CoCos are a form of hybrid debt security, typically issued by banking institutions, and are intended to either convert into equity or have their principal written down upon the occurrence of certain “triggers.” The triggers are generally linked to regulatory capital requirements or regulatory actions calling into question the issuing banking institution’s continued viability as a going-concern. CoCos’ unique equity conversion or principal write-down features are tailored to the issuing banking institution and its regulatory requirements. Some additional risks associated with CoCos include, but are not limited to:

Loss absorption risk. CoCos have fully discretionary coupons. This means coupons can potentially be cancelled or adjusted downward to below the original par value upon the occurrence of a trigger at the banking institution’s discretion or at the request of the relevant regulatory authority in order to help the bank absorb losses. A write down of the par value would occur automatically and if written down to zero, would effectively cancel the securities, causing investors (including the Fund) to lose the entire value of their investment, even as the issuer remains in business. If such an event occurs, an investor may not have any rights to repayment of the principal amount of the securities and may not entitle the holders to seek bankruptcy of the company. In addition, an automatic write-down could result in a reduced income rate if the dividend or interest payment is based on the security’s par value. Such securities may, but are not required to, provide for circumstances under which the liquidation value may be adjusted back up to par, such as an improvement in capitalization and/or earnings. Similarly, if a CoCo provides for a mandatory conversion of the security into the issuer’s equity securities in the event of certain circumstances, the Fund could experience a reduced income rate (even to zero) if such conversion event occurs and the issuer’s equity securities pay little or no dividend.

Subordination risk. CoCos will, in the majority of circumstances, be issued in the form of subordinated debt instruments in order to provide the appropriate regulatory capital treatment prior to a conversion. Accordingly, in the event of liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of an issuer prior to a conversion having occurred, the rights and claims of the holders of the CoCos, such as the Fund, against the issuer in respect of or arising under the terms of the CoCos will generally rank junior to the claims of all holders of unsubordinated obligations of the issuer. In addition, if the CoCos are converted into the issuer’s underlying equity securities following a conversion event, each holder will be subordinated due to their conversion from being the holder of a debt instrument to being the holder of an equity instrument, hence worsening the holder’s standing in a bankruptcy. In addition,

 

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some CoCos also provide for an automatic write-down if the price of the common stock is below the conversion price on the conversion date.

Market risk. The value of CoCos is unpredictable and will be influenced by many factors including, without limitation: (i) the creditworthiness of the issuer and/or fluctuations in such issuer’s applicable capital ratios; (ii) supply and demand for the CoCos; (iii) general market conditions and available liquidity; and (iv) economic, financial and political events that affect the issuer, its particular market or the financial markets in general. It is often difficult to predict when, if at all, an automatic write-down or conversion event will occur, but any indication that an automatic write-down or conversion event may occur can be expected to have a material adverse effect on the market price of affected CoCos. Accordingly, the trading behavior of CoCos may not follow the trading behavior of other types of debt and preferred securities. CoCos are a relatively new form of security and the full effects of an automatic write-down or conversion event have not been experienced broadly in the marketplace. The occurrence of an automatic write-down or conversion event may be unpredictable and the potential effects of such event on the Fund’s yield, NAV and/or market price may be adverse.

Convertible Securities

Convertible securities are fixed income securities (usually debt or preferred stock) that may be converted or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock or other equity securities of the same or a different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt or the dividend paid on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion or exchange, convertible securities ordinarily provide a stream of income with generally higher yields than those of common stocks of the same or similar issuers, but lower than the yield of nonconvertible debt. However, there can be no assurance of current income because the issuers of the convertible securities may default on their obligations. Convertible securities are usually subordinated to comparable nonconvertible debt or preferred stock, but rank senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure.

The value of a convertible security is generally related to (1) its yield in comparison with the yields of other securities of comparable maturity and quality that do not have a conversion privilege and/or (2) its worth, at market value, if converted or exchanged into the underlying common stock. A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the convertible security’s governing instrument, which may be less than the ultimate conversion or exchange value.

Convertible securities are subject to stock market and other risks associated with equity securities, as well as credit, interest rate and other risks associated with fixed income securities. As the market price of the equity security underlying a convertible security falls, the convertible security tends to trade on the basis of its yield and other fixed income characteristics. As the market price of such equity security rises, the convertible security tends to trade on the basis of its equity conversion features. Investments in convertible securities generally entail less risk than investments in common stock of the same issuer.

Synthetic Convertible Securities

A synthetic convertible security is comprised of two distinct securities that together resemble convertible securities in certain respects. Synthetic convertible securities are created by combining non-convertible bonds or preferred shares with common stocks, warrants or stock call options. The options that will form elements of synthetic convertible securities will be listed on a securities exchange. The two components of a synthetic convertible security, which will be issued with respect to the same entity, generally are not offered as a unit, and may be purchased and sold by the Fund at different times. Synthetic convertible securities differ from convertible securities in certain respects, including that each component of a synthetic convertible security has a separate market value and responds differently to market fluctuations. Investing in synthetic convertible securities involves the risk normally involved in holding the securities comprising the synthetic convertible security.

Custodial Receipts

The Fund may acquire custodial receipts or certificates underwritten by securities dealers or banks that evidence ownership of future interest payments, principal payments or both on certain municipal obligations. The underwriter of these certificates or receipts typically purchases municipal obligations and deposits the obligations in an irrevocable trust or custodial account with a custodian bank, which then issues receipts or certificates that evidence ownership of the periodic unmatured coupon payments and the final principal payment on the obligations. Although under the terms of a custodial receipt, the Fund

 

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would be typically authorized to assert its rights directly against the issuer of the underlying obligation, the Fund could be required to assert through the custodian bank those rights as may exist against the underlying issuer. Thus, in the event the underlying issuer fails to pay principal and/or interest when due, the Fund may be subject to delays, expenses and risks that are greater than those that would have been involved if the Fund had purchased a direct obligation of the issuer. In addition, in the event that the trust or custodial account in which the underlying security has been deposited is determined to be an association taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the yield on the underlying security would be reduced by any entity-level corporate taxes paid by the issuer.

Custodial receipts may also evidence ownership of future interest payments, principal payments or both on certain U.S. government obligations. Such obligations are held in custody by a bank on behalf of the owners. Custodial receipts are generally not considered obligations of the U.S. government for purposes of securities laws.

Cybersecurity Risk

Like other funds and business enterprises, the Fund, the Manager and the Subadviser and their service providers are subject to the risk of cyber incidents occurring from time to time. With the increased use of technologies such as mobile devices and Web-based or “cloud” applications, and the dependence on the Internet and computer systems to conduct business, the Fund, the Manager, the Subadviser, and other service providers are susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events (arising from external or internal sources) that may cause the Fund, the Manager and the Subadviser and/or their service providers to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption, physical damage to a computer or network system or lose operational capacity. Cybersecurity attacks include, but are not limited to, infection by malicious software, such as malware or computer viruses or gaining unauthorized access to digital systems, networks or devices that are used to service the Fund’s operations (e.g., through “hacking,” “phishing” or malicious software coding) or other means for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cybersecurity attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on the Fund’s websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate cybersecurity attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing. In addition, authorized persons could inadvertently or intentionally release confidential or proprietary information stored on the Fund’s systems.

Cybersecurity incidents affecting the Fund’s Manager, the Subadviser, and other service providers to the Fund or its shareholders (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses to both the Fund and its shareholders, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, impediments to trading, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business and the Fund to process transactions (including fulfillment of Fund share purchases and redemptions), violations of applicable privacy and other laws (including the release of private shareholder information) and attendant breach notification and credit monitoring costs, regulatory fines, penalties, litigation costs, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, forensic investigation and remediation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. Similar adverse consequences could result from cybersecurity incidents affecting issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, counterparties with which the Fund engages in transactions, governmental and other regulatory authorities, exchange and other financial market operators, banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies and other financial institutions (including financial intermediaries and other service providers) and other parties. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to safeguard against and reduce the risk of any cybersecurity incidents in the future. In addition to administrative, technological and procedural safeguards, the Fund’s Manager and the Subadviser have established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent or reduce the impact of, such cybersecurity incidents. However, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified, as well as the rapid development of new threats. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by its service providers or any other third parties whose operations may affect the Fund and its shareholders. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

New ways to carry out cyber attacks continue to develop. There is a chance that some risks have not been identified or prepared for, or that an attack may not be detected, which puts limitations on the Fund’s, the Manager’s and the Subadviser’s and/or their service providers’ ability to plan for or respond to a cyber attack.

 

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Debt and Fixed Income Securities

The Fund may invest in a variety of debt and fixed income securities, which may be issued by governmental, corporate or other issuers. Debt securities may pay fixed, floating or variable rates of interest or interest at a rate contingent upon some other factor. Variable rate securities reset at specified intervals, while floating rate securities reset whenever there is a change in a specified index rate. In most cases, these reset provisions reduce the effect of market interest rates on the value of the security. However, some securities do not track the underlying index directly, but reset based on formulas that can produce an effect similar to leveraging; others may provide for interest payments that vary inversely with market rates. The market prices of these securities may fluctuate significantly when interest rates change.

These securities share principal risks. For example, the level of interest income generated by the Fund’s fixed income investments may decline due to a decrease in market interest rates. Thus, when fixed income securities mature or are sold, they may be replaced by lower-yielding investments. Also, their values fluctuate with changes in interest rates. A decrease in interest rates will generally result in an increase in the value of the Fund’s fixed income investments. Conversely, during periods of rising interest rates, the value of the Fund’s fixed income investments will generally decline. However, a change in interest rates will not have the same impact on all fixed rate securities. For example, the magnitude of these fluctuations will generally be greater when the Fund’s duration or average maturity is longer. In addition, certain fixed income securities are subject to credit risk, which is the risk that an issuer of securities will be unable to pay principal and interest when due, or that the value of the security will suffer because investors believe the issuer is unable to pay. Recently, there have been inflationary price movements. As such, fixed income securities markets may experience heightened levels of interest rate volatility and liquidity risk.

Changing Interest Rates. In a low or negative interest rate environment, debt securities may trade at, or be issued with, negative yields, which means the purchaser of the security may receive at maturity less than the total amount invested. To the extent the Fund holds a negatively-yielding debt security or has a bank deposit with a negative interest rate, the Fund would generate a negative return on that investment. Cash positions may also subject the Fund to increased counterparty risk to the Fund’s bank. Debt market conditions are highly unpredictable and some parts of the market are subject to dislocations. In a low or negative interest rate environment, some investors may seek to reallocate assets to other income-producing assets. This may cause the price of such higher yielding instruments to rise, could further reduce the value of instruments with a negative yield, and may limit the Fund’s ability to locate fixed income instruments containing the desired risk/return profile. Changes in monetary policy may exacerbate the risks associated with changing interest rates. In the past, the U.S. government and certain foreign central banks have taken steps to stabilize markets by, among other things, reducing interest rates. In recent years, the U.S. government began implementing increases to the federal funds interest rate and there may be further rate increases. As interest rates rise, there is risk that rates across the financial system also may rise. To the extent rates increase substantially and/or rapidly, the Fund may be subject to significant losses. Changing interest rates could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed income markets to heightened volatility, increased redemptions, and potential illiquidity.

Fixed Income Securities Ratings. Securities rated in the fourth highest ratings category by a NRSRO, such as those rated BBB by S&P, or Baa by Moody’s, and unrated securities of comparable quality, are generally regarded as having adequate capacity to pay interest and repay principal but may have some speculative characteristics. Securities rated below the fourth highest ratings category by a NRSRO, including those rated below Baa by Moody’s or BBB by S&P, and unrated securities of comparable quality, are generally considered below “investment grade,” and may have speculative characteristics, including a greater possibility of default or bankruptcy of the issuers of such securities, market price volatility based upon interest rate sensitivity, questionable creditworthiness and relative liquidity of the secondary trading market. Changes in economic conditions or other circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity for lower rated securities to make principal and interest payments, including a greater possibility of default or bankruptcy of the issuer, than is the case for high rated securities. Appendix B to this SAI contains further information concerning the rating categories of NRSROs and their significance.

Derivatives — Generally

A derivative is a financial instrument that has a value based on, or derived from, the value of one or more underlying reference instruments or measures of value or interest rates (“underlying instruments”), such as a security, a commodity, a currency, an index, an interest rate or a currency exchange rate. A derivative can also have a value based on the likelihood that an event will or will not occur. Derivatives include futures contracts, forward contracts, options and swaps.

The Fund may use derivatives for any purpose, including but not limited to, to attempt to enhance income, yield or return, as a substitute for investing directly in a security or asset, or as a hedging technique in an attempt to manage risk in the

 

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Fund’s portfolio. The Fund may choose not to make use of derivatives for a variety of reasons, and no assurance can be given that any derivatives strategy employed will be successful. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments may be limited from time to time by applicable law, availability or by policies adopted by the Board, Manager or Subadviser (as applicable).

The Fund may utilize multiple derivative instruments and combinations of derivative instruments to seek to adjust the risk and return characteristics of its overall position. Combined positions will typically contain elements of risk that are present in each of its component transactions. It is possible that the combined position will not achieve its intended goal and will instead increase losses or risk to the Fund. Because combined positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.

The Fund may enter into derivatives with standardized terms that have no or few special or unusual components, which are generally traded on an exchange, as well as derivatives with more complex features, singly or in combination. Non-standardized derivatives are generally traded over the counter (“OTC”). OTC derivatives may be standardized or have customized features and may have limited or no liquidity. The Fund’s derivatives contracts may be centrally cleared or settled bilaterally directly with a counterparty. The Fund’s derivatives contracts may be cash settled or physically settled.

In addition to the instruments and strategies discussed in this section, additional opportunities in connection with derivatives and other similar or related techniques may become available to the Fund as a result of the development of new techniques, the development of new derivative instruments or a regulatory authority broadening the range of permitted transactions. The Fund may utilize these opportunities and techniques to the extent that they are consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives and permitted by its investment limitations and applicable regulatory authorities. These opportunities and techniques may involve risks different from or in addition to those summarized herein.

 

   

Risks of Derivatives Generally. The use of derivatives involves special considerations and risks, certain of which are summarized below, and may result in losses to the Fund. In general, derivatives may increase the volatility of the Fund and may involve a small investment of cash relative to the magnitude of the risk or exposure assumed. Even a small investment in derivatives may magnify or otherwise increase investment losses to the Fund.

 

   

Market risk. Derivatives can be complex, and their success depends in part upon the portfolio manager’s ability to forecast correctly future market or other trends or occurrences or other financial or economic factors or the value of the underlying instrument. Even if the portfolio manager’s forecasts are correct, other factors may cause distortions or dislocations in the markets that result in losses or otherwise unsuccessful transactions. Derivatives may behave in unexpected ways, especially in abnormal or volatile market conditions. The market value of the derivative itself or the market value of underlying instruments may change in a way that is adverse to the Fund’s interest. There is no assurance that the use of derivatives will be advantageous to the Fund or that the portfolio manager will use derivatives to hedge at an appropriate time.

 

   

Illiquidity risk. The Fund’s ability to close out or unwind a derivative prior to expiration or maturity depends on the existence of a liquid market or, in the absence of such a market, the ability and willingness of the other party to the transaction (the “counterparty”) to enter into a transaction closing out the position. If there is no market or the Fund is not successful in its negotiations, the Fund may not be able to sell or unwind the derivative position at an advantageous or anticipated time or price. This may also be the case if the counterparty becomes insolvent. The Fund may be required to make delivery of portfolio securities or other underlying instruments in order to settle a position or to sell portfolio securities or assets at a disadvantageous time or price in order to obtain cash to settle the position. While a position remains open, the Fund continues to be subject to investment risk on a derivative. The Fund may or may not be able to take other actions or enter into other transactions, including hedging transactions, to limit or reduce its exposure to the derivative. Illiquidity risk may be enhanced if a derivative transaction is particularly large. Certain derivatives, including certain OTC options and swaps, may be considered illiquid and therefore subject to the Fund’s limitation on illiquid investments.

 

   

Leverage risk. Certain derivative transactions may have a leveraging effect on the Fund, meaning that the Fund can obtain significant investment exposure in return for meeting a relatively small margin or other investment requirement. An adverse change in the value of an underlying instrument can result in losses substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. When the Fund engages in transactions that have a leveraging effect, the value of the Fund is likely to be more volatile and certain other risks also are likely to be compounded. This is because leverage generally magnifies the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of an investment. Certain derivatives have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment.

 

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Margin risk. Certain derivatives require the Fund to make initial margin payments, a form of security deposit intended to protect against nonperformance of the derivative contract. The Fund may have to post additional margin (known as “variation margin”) if the value of the derivative position changes in a manner adverse to the Fund. Derivatives may be difficult to value, which may result in increased payment requirements to counterparties or a loss of value to the Fund. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet additional margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a disadvantageous time.

 

   

Speculation risk. Derivatives used for non-hedging purposes may result in losses which are not offset by increases in the value of portfolio holdings or declines in the cost of securities or other assets to be acquired. In the event that the Fund uses a derivative as an alternative to purchasing or selling other investments or in order to obtain desired exposure to an index or market, the Fund will be exposed to the same risks as are incurred in purchasing or selling the other investments directly, as well as the risks of the derivative transaction itself, such as counterparty risk.

 

   

Counterparty risk. Derivatives involve the risk of loss resulting from the actual or potential insolvency or bankruptcy of the counterparty or the failure by the counterparty to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the contract. In the event of default by a counterparty (or its affiliates), the Fund may have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction, which may be limited by applicable law in the case of the counterparty’s (or its affiliates’) bankruptcy. The Fund may not be able to recover amounts owed to it by an insolvent counterparty.

 

   

Operational risk. There may be incomplete or erroneous documentation or inadequate collateral or margin, or transactions may fail to settle. The Fund may have only contractual remedies in the event of a counterparty default, and there may be delays, costs or disagreements as to the meaning of contractual terms and litigation in enforcing those remedies.

 

   

OTC risk. Derivative transactions that are traded OTC, such as options, swaps, forward contracts, and options on foreign currencies, are entered into directly with counterparties or financial institutions acting as market makers, rather than being traded on exchanges or centrally cleared. Because OTC derivatives and other transactions are traded between counterparties based on contractual relationships, the Fund is subject to increased risk that its counterparty will not perform its obligations under the related contracts. Although the Fund intends to enter into transactions only with counterparties which the Fund believes to be creditworthy, there can be no assurance that a counterparty will not default and that the Fund will not sustain a loss on a transaction as a result. Information available on counterparty creditworthiness may be incomplete or outdated, thus reducing the ability to anticipate counterparty defaults. The Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under an OTC derivative in the event of the default or bankruptcy of the counterparty to the OTC derivative. When a counterparty’s obligations are not fully secured by collateral, then the Fund is essentially an unsecured creditor of the counterparty. If the counterparty defaults, the Fund will have contractual remedies, but there is no assurance that a counterparty will be able to meet its obligations pursuant to such contracts or that, in the event of default, the Fund will succeed in enforcing contractual remedies. Credit/counterparty risk still exists even if a counterparty’s obligations are secured by collateral because the Fund’s interest in collateral may not be perfected or additional collateral may not be promptly posted as required. Credit/counterparty risk also may be more pronounced if a counterparty’s obligations exceed the amount of collateral held by the Fund (if any), the Fund is unable to exercise its interest in collateral upon default by the counterparty, or the termination value of the instrument varies significantly from the marked-to-market value of the instrument.

 

   

Non-U.S. derivatives risk. Derivative transactions may be conducted OTC outside of the United States or traded on foreign exchanges. Such transactions may not be regulated as effectively as similar transactions in the United States, may not involve a clearing mechanism and related guarantees and are subject to the risk of governmental actions affecting trading in, or the price of, foreign securities or currencies. The value of such positions also could be adversely affected by (1) other foreign political, legal and economic factors, (2) lesser availability than in the United States of data on which to make trading decisions, (3) delays in the Fund’s ability to act upon economic events occurring in foreign markets during non-business hours in the United States, (4) the imposition of different exercise and settlement terms, procedures, margin requirements, fees, taxes or other charges than in the United States and (5) lesser trading volume. Counterparty risk and many of the risks of OTC derivatives transactions are also applicable to derivative transactions conducted outside the United States.

 

   

Currency derivatives risk. Currency related transactions may be negatively affected by factors such as government exchange controls, blockages, and manipulations. Exchange rates may be influenced by factors extrinsic to a country’s economy. Also, there is no systematic reporting of last sale information with respect to foreign currencies. As a result, the information on

 

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which trading in currency derivatives is based may not be as complete as, and may be delayed beyond, comparable data for other types of transactions.

 

   

Turnover risk. Use of derivatives involves transaction costs, which may be significant. The Fund may be required to sell or purchase investments in connection with derivative transactions, potentially increasing the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and transaction costs. Use of derivatives also may increase the amount of taxable income to shareholders.

Risks Associated with Hedging with Derivatives. If the portfolio manager uses a hedging strategy at the wrong time or judges market conditions incorrectly, hedging strategies may reduce the Fund’s return. Successful use of derivatives to hedge positions depends on the correlation between the price of the derivative and the price of the hedged asset.

The Fund may attempt to protect against declines in the value of the Fund’s portfolio assets by entering into a variety of derivatives transactions, including selling futures contracts, entering into swaps or purchasing puts on indices or futures contracts (short hedging). Short hedging involves the risk that the prices of the futures contracts or the value of the swap or the applicable index will correlate imperfectly with price movements in the Fund’s assets. If the value of the assets held in the Fund’s portfolio declines while the Fund has used derivative instruments in a short hedge, and the prices referenced in the short hedge do not also decline, the value of the Fund’s assets would decline, and the short hedge would not hedge or mitigate the loss in the value of the assets. With respect to a derivative transaction based on an index, the risk of imperfect correlation increases as the composition of the Fund’s portfolio diverges from the assets included in the applicable index. To compensate for the imperfect correlation of movements in the price of the portfolio securities being hedged and movements in the price of the hedging instruments, the Fund may use derivative instruments in a greater dollar amount than the dollar amount of portfolio assets being hedged. It might do so if the historical volatility of the prices of the portfolio assets being hedged is more than the historical volatility of the applicable index.

If the Fund has used derivatives to hedge or otherwise reduce the Fund’s risk exposure to a particular position and then disposes of that position at a time at which it cannot also settle, terminate or close out the corresponding hedge position, this may create short investment exposure. Certain “short” derivative positions involve investment leverage, and the amount of the Fund’s potential loss is theoretically unlimited.

The Fund can use derivative instruments to establish a position in the market as a temporary substitute for the purchase of individual securities or other assets (long hedging) by buying futures contracts and/or calls on such futures contracts, indices or on securities or other assets, or entering into swaps. It is possible that when the Fund does so the market might decline. If the Fund then decides not to invest in the assets because of concerns that the market might decline further or for other reasons, the Fund will realize a loss on the hedge position that is not offset by a reduction in the price of the asset the Fund had intended to purchase.

Risk of Government Regulation of Derivatives. The regulation of derivatives transactions and funds that engage in such transactions is an evolving area of law and is subject to modification by government, self-regulatory organization and judicial action. Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act, which became effective August 19, 2022, governs the use of derivative investments and certain financing transactions (e.g. reverse repurchase agreements) by registered investment companies. Among other things, Rule 18f-4 requires funds that invest in derivative instruments beyond a specified limited amount to apply a value-at-risk based limit to their use of certain derivative instruments and financing transactions and to adopt and implement a derivatives risk management program. A fund that uses derivative instruments in a limited amount is not subject to the full requirements of Rule 18f-4. Compliance with Rule 18f-4 could restrict the Fund’s ability to engage in certain derivatives transactions and/or increase the costs of such derivatives transactions, which could adversely affect the value or performance of the Fund.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) has caused broad changes to the OTC derivatives market and granted significant authority to the SEC and the CFTC to regulate OTC derivatives and market participants. Pursuant to such authority, rules have been enacted that currently require clearing of many OTC derivatives transactions and may require clearing of additional OTC derivatives transactions in the future and that impose minimum margin and capital requirements for uncleared OTC derivatives transactions. Similar regulations have been or are being adopted in other jurisdictions around the world. The implementation of the clearing requirement has increased the costs of derivatives transactions since investors have to pay fees to clearing members and are typically required to post more margin for cleared derivatives than had historically been the case. While the new rules and regulations and central clearing of some derivatives transactions are designed to reduce systemic risk (i.e., the risk that the interdependence of large derivatives dealers could cause

 

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them to suffer liquidity, solvency or other challenges simultaneously), there is no assurance that they will achieve that result, and mandatory clearing of derivatives may expose the Fund to new kinds of costs and risks.

Additionally, new regulations may result in increased uncertainty about credit/counterparty risk and may limit the flexibility of the Fund to protect its interests in the event of an insolvency of a derivatives counterparty. In the event of a counterparty’s (or its affiliate’s) insolvency, the Fund’s ability to exercise remedies, such as the termination of transactions, netting of obligations and realization on collateral, could be stayed or eliminated under the rules of the applicable exchange or clearing corporation or under relatively new special resolution regimes adopted in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and various other jurisdictions. Such regimes provide government authorities with broad authority to intervene when a financial institution is experiencing financial difficulty. In particular, with respect to counterparties who are subject to such proceedings in the United Kingdom and the European Union, the liabilities of such counterparties to the Fund could be reduced, eliminated, or converted to equity in such counterparties (sometimes referred to as a “bail in”).

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts

Generally, a futures contract is an exchange-traded, standardized agreement that obligates the seller of the contract to sell a specified quantity of an underlying instrument or asset, such as a security, currency or commodity, to the purchaser of the contract, who has the obligation to buy the underlying instrument or asset, at a specified price and date. In the case of futures on indices, the two parties agree to take or make delivery of an amount of cash equal to the difference between the level of the index calculated for purposes of settlement and the price at which the contract originally was written. Options on futures give the purchaser the right to assume a position in a futures contract at the specified exercise price at any time during the period of the option or at the expiration of the option, depending on the terms of the option.

Futures contracts, by their terms, have stated expirations and, at a specified point in time prior to expiration, trading in a futures contract for the current delivery month will cease. As a result, an investor wishing to maintain exposure to a futures contract with the nearest expiration must close out the position in the expiring contract and establish a new position in the contract for the next delivery month, a process referred to as “rolling.” The process of rolling a futures contract can be profitable or unprofitable depending in large part on whether the futures price for the subsequent delivery month is less than or more than the price of the expiring contract.

Futures contracts and related options may be used for hedging and non-hedging purposes, such as to simulate full investment in the underlying instrument or asset while retaining a cash balance for portfolio management purposes, as a substitute for direct investment in the underlying instrument or asset, to facilitate trading, to reduce transaction costs, or to seek higher investment returns (e.g., when a futures contract or option is priced more attractively than the underlying instrument). In addition, futures strategies can be used to manage the average duration of the Fund’s fixed income portfolio, if applicable. The Fund may sell a debt futures contract or a call option thereon or purchase a put option on that futures contract to attempt to shorten the portfolio’s average duration. Alternatively, the Fund may buy a debt futures contract or a call option thereon or sell a put option thereon to attempt to lengthen the portfolio’s average duration.

At the inception of a futures contract the Fund is required to deposit “initial margin” with a futures commission merchant (“FCM”) in an amount at least equal to the amount designated by the futures exchange. Margin must also be deposited when writing a call or put option on a futures contract, in accordance with applicable exchange rules. Unlike margin in securities transactions, initial margin on futures contracts does not represent a borrowing, but rather is in the nature of a performance bond or good-faith deposit that is required to be returned to the Fund at the termination of the transaction if all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Under certain circumstances, such as periods of high volatility, the Fund may be required by an exchange or by its FCM to increase the level of its initial margin payment, and initial margin requirements might be increased generally in the future by regulatory action.

In addition to initial margin payments, during the life of the transaction “variation margin” payments are made to and from the FCM as the value of the margin and the underlying derivative transaction varies, a process known as “marking-to-market.” Variation margin is intended to represent a daily settlement of the Fund’s obligations to or from an FCM. When the Fund purchases an option on a futures contract, the premium paid plus transaction costs is all that is at risk. However, there may be circumstances when the purchase of an option on a futures contract would result in a loss to the Fund when the use of a futures contract would not, such as when there is no movement in the value of the securities or currencies being hedged. In that case, the Fund would lose the premium it paid for the option plus transaction costs. In contrast, when the Fund purchases or sells a

 

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futures contract or writes a call or put option thereon, it is subject to daily variation margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a time when such sales are disadvantageous.

Although some futures and options on futures call for making or taking delivery of the underlying instrument or asset, generally those contracts are closed out prior to delivery by offsetting purchases or sales of matching futures or options (involving the same instrument or asset and delivery month). If an offsetting purchase price is less than the original sale price, the Fund realizes a gain, or if it is more, the Fund realizes a loss. If an offsetting sale price is more than the original purchase price, the Fund realizes a gain, or if it is less, the Fund realizes a loss. The Fund will also bear transaction costs for each contract, which will be included in these calculations. Positions in futures and options on futures may be closed only on an exchange or board of trade that provides a secondary market. However, there can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market will exist for a particular contract at a particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures contract or options position.

Under certain circumstances, futures exchanges may establish daily limits on the amount that the price of a futures contract or an option on a futures contract can vary from the previous day’s settlement price; once that limit is reached, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond the limit. Daily price limits do not limit potential losses because prices could move to the daily limit for several consecutive days with little or no trading, thereby preventing liquidation of unfavorable positions. If the Fund were unable to liquidate a futures contract or an option on a futures position due to the absence of a liquid secondary market, the imposition of price limits or otherwise, it could incur substantial losses. The Fund would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position. In addition, except in the case of purchased options, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily variation margin payments.

Risks of Futures Contracts and Options Thereon. In addition to the risks found under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” futures contracts and options on futures contracts are subject to the following risks:

Successful use of futures contracts and related options depends upon the ability of the portfolio manager to assess movements in the direction of prices of securities, commodities, measures of value, or interest or exchange rates, which requires different skills and techniques than assessing the value of individual securities. Moreover, futures contracts relate not to the current price level of the underlying instrument or asset, but to the anticipated price level at some point in the future; accordingly trading of stock index futures may not reflect the trading of the securities that are used to formulate the index or even actual fluctuations in the index itself. There is, in addition, the risk that movements in the price of the futures contract will not correlate with the movements in the prices of the securities or other assets being hedged. Price distortions in the marketplace, resulting from increased participation by speculators in the futures market (among other things), may also impair the correlation between movements in the prices of futures contracts and movements in the prices of the hedged assets. If the price of the futures contract moves less than the price of assets that are the subject of the hedge, the hedge will not be fully effective; but if the price of the assets being hedged has moved in an unfavorable direction, the Fund would be in a better position than if it had not hedged at all. If the price of the assets being hedged has moved in a favorable direction, this advantage may be partially offset by losses on the futures position.

Positions in futures contracts and related options may be closed out only on an exchange or board of trade that provides a market for such contracts. Although the Fund intends to purchase and sell futures and related options only on exchanges or boards of trade where there appears to be a liquid market, there is no assurance that such a market will exist for any particular contract at any particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures position and, in the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would continue to be required to make variation margin payments, where applicable. Options have a limited life and thus can be disposed of only within a specific time period.

Purchasers of options on futures contracts pay a premium in cash at the time of purchase which, in the event of adverse price movements, could be lost. Sellers of options on futures contracts must post initial margin and are subject to additional margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. Because of the low margin deposits required, futures trading involves a high degree of leverage; as a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss, or gain, to the Fund. In addition, the Fund’s activities in the futures markets may result in a higher portfolio turnover rate (see “Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage”) and additional transaction costs in the form of added brokerage commissions.

 

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As noted above, exchanges may impose limits on the amount by which the price of a futures contract or related option is permitted to change in a single day. If the price of a contract moves to the limit for several consecutive days, the Fund may be unable during that time to close its position in that contract and may have to continue making payments of variation margin. The CFTC and domestic exchanges have also established (and continue to evaluate and revise) speculative position limits on the maximum speculative position that any person, or group of persons acting in concert, may hold or control in particular contracts. Under current rules and regulations, other accounts managed by the Manager or, if applicable, Subadviser are combined with the positions held by the Fund under the Manager’s or, if applicable, Subadviser’s management for position limit purposes, unless an exemption applies. This aggregation could preclude additional trading by the Fund in such contracts and may require positions held by the Fund to be liquidated, which may adversely affect the performance of the Fund.

When the Fund engages in futures transactions, it will also be exposed to the credit risk of its FCM. If the Fund’s FCM becomes bankrupt or insolvent, or otherwise defaults on its obligations to the Fund, the Fund may not receive all amounts owed to it in respect of its trading, even if the clearinghouse fully discharges all of its obligations. If an FCM were not to appropriately segregate client assets to the full extent required by the CEA, the Fund might not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of an FCM. In the event of an FCM’s bankruptcy, the Fund would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds segregated on behalf of an FCM’s combined customer accounts for the relevant account class, even if certain property held by an FCM is specifically traceable to the Fund (for example, U.S. Treasury bills deposited by the Fund). Such situations could arise due to various factors, or a combination of factors, including inadequate FCM capitalization, inadequate controls on customer trading and inadequate customer capital. In addition, in the event of the bankruptcy or insolvency of a clearinghouse, the Fund might experience a loss of funds deposited through its FCM as margin with the clearinghouse, a loss of unrealized profits on its open positions and the loss of funds owed to it as realized profits on closed positions. Such a bankruptcy or insolvency might also cause a substantial delay before the Fund could obtain the return of funds owed to it by an FCM who is a member of such clearinghouse.

Options

A call option gives the purchaser the right to buy, and obligates the writer to sell, an underlying investment (such as a specified security, commodity, currency, interest rate, currency exchange rate or index) at an agreed-upon price (“strike price”). A put option gives the purchaser the right to sell, and obligates the writer to buy, an underlying investment at an agreed-upon price. An American-style option may be exercised at any time during the term of the option, while a European-style option may be exercised only at the expiration of the option. Purchasers of options pay an amount, known as a premium, to the option writer in exchange for the right granted under the option contract.

The value of an option position will reflect, among other things, the current market value of the underlying instrument, the time remaining until expiration, the relationship of the strike price to the market price of the underlying instrument, the historical price volatility of the underlying instrument and general market conditions. If the purchaser does not exercise the option, it will expire and the purchaser will have only lost the premium paid. If a secondary market exists, a purchaser or the writer may terminate a put option position prior to its exercise by selling it in the secondary market at its current price. The Fund will pay a brokerage commission each time it buys or sells an option. Such commissions may be higher than those that would apply to direct purchases or sales of the underlying instrument.

Exchange-traded options in the United States are issued by a clearing organization affiliated with the exchange on which the option is listed and are standardized with respect to the underlying instrument, expiration date, contract size and strike price. In contrast, OTC options (options not traded on exchanges) are contracts between the Fund and a counterparty (usually a securities dealer or a bank) with no clearing organization guarantee. The terms of OTC options generally are established through negotiation with the other party to the option contract (the counterparty). For a discussion on options on futures see “Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts”.

Put Options. In return for receipt of the premium, the writer of a put option assumes the obligation to pay the strike price for the option’s underlying instrument if the buyer exercises the option. A put writer would generally expect to profit, although its gain would be limited to the amount of the premium it received, if the underlying instrument’s price remains greater than or equal to the strike price. If the underlying instrument’s price falls below the strike price, the put writer would expect to suffer a loss. The buyer of a put option can expect to realize a gain if the underlying instrument’s price falls enough to offset the cost of purchasing the option. Any losses suffered by the buyer would be limited to the amount of the premium plus related transaction costs.

 

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Optional delivery standby commitments are a type of put that gives the buyer of an underlying instrument the right to sell the underlying instrument back to the seller on specified terms to induce a purchase of the underlying instrument.

Call Options. In return for the receipt of the premium, the writer of a call option assumes the obligation to sell the underlying instrument at the strike price to the buyer upon exercise of the option. A call writer would generally expect to profit, although its gain would be limited to the amount of the premium it received, if the option goes unexercised, which typically occurs when the underlying instrument’s price remains less than or equal to the strike price. If the underlying instrument’s price were to rise above the strike price, the writer of the call option would generally expect to suffer a loss, which is theoretically unlimited. A call buyer’s maximum loss is the premium paid for the call option, whereas the buyer’s maximum profit is theoretically unlimited.

Straddles. A long straddle is the purchase of a call and a put option with the same expiration date and relating to the same underlying instrument where the strike price of the put is less than or equal to the strike price of the call. The Fund may enter into a long straddle when its portfolio manager believes that the underlying instrument’s price will move significantly during the term of the options. A short straddle is a combination of a call and a put written on the same underlying instrument with the same expiration date where the strike price of the put is less than or equal to the strike price of the call. In a covered short straddle, the underlying instrument is considered cover for both the put and the call that the Fund has written. The Fund may enter into a short straddle when the portfolio manager believes that it is unlikely that the underlying instrument’s prices will experience volatility during the term of the options.

Options on Indices. Puts and calls on indices are similar to puts and calls on other underlying instruments except that all settlements are in cash and gains or losses depend on changes in the level of the index rather than on price movements of individual underlying instruments. The writer of a call on an index receives a premium and the obligation to pay the purchaser an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and the strike price times a specified multiple (“multiplier”), if the closing level of the index is greater than the strike price of the call. The writer of a put on an index receives a premium and the obligation to deliver to the buyer an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and strike price times the multiplier if the closing level is less than the strike price.

Risks of Options – In addition to the risks described under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” options are also subject to the following risks:

Options on Indices Risk. The risks of investment in options on indices may be greater than options on securities and other instruments. Because index options are settled in cash, when the Fund writes a call on an index it generally cannot provide in advance for other underlying instruments because it may not be practical for the call writer to hedge its potential settlement obligations by acquiring and holding the underlying securities. The Fund can offset some of the risk of writing a call index option by holding a diversified portfolio of securities similar to those on which the underlying index is based. However, the Fund cannot, as a practical matter, acquire and hold a portfolio containing exactly the same securities as underlie the index and, as a result, bears a risk that the value of the securities held will vary from the value of the index.

If the Fund exercises an index option before the closing index value for that day is available, there is the risk that the level of the underlying index may subsequently change. If such a change causes the exercised option to fall out-of-the-money, the Fund will be required to pay the difference between the closing index value and the strike price of the option (times the applicable multiplier) to the assigned writer.

Timing Risk. The hours of trading for options may not conform to the hours during which the underlying instrument are traded. To the extent that the options markets close before the markets for the underlying instrument, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the options markets. Options are marked to market daily and their value will be affected by changes in the value of the underlying instrument, changes in the dividend rates of the underlying securities, an increase in interest rates, changes in the actual or perceived volatility of the stock market and the underlying instrument and the remaining time to the options’ expiration. Additionally, the exercise price of an option may be adjusted downward before the option’s expiration as a result of the occurrence of certain corporate or other events affecting the underlying instrument, such as extraordinary dividends, stock splits, merger or other extraordinary distributions or events. A reduction in the exercise price of an option would reduce the Fund’s capital appreciation potential on an underlying instrument.

 

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Swaps

Generally, a swap agreement involves the exchange between two parties of their respective commitments to pay or receive cash flows, e.g., an exchange of floating rate payments for fixed-rate payments. Swaps may be negotiated bilaterally and traded OTC (OTC swaps) or, for certain types of swaps, must be executed through a centralized exchange or regulated facility and be cleared through a regulated clearinghouse (cleared swaps). Swaps include but are not limited to, interest rate swaps, total return swaps, index swaps, inflation indexed swaps, currency swaps, credit default swaps and options on swaps or “swaptions”.

OTC swap agreements can be individually negotiated and structured to include exposure to a variety of different types of investments (such as individual securities, baskets of securities and securities indices) or market factors. The swapped returns are generally calculated with respect to a notional amount, that is, the nominal or face amount used to calculate the payments to be made between the parties to the OTC swap.

The Fund may enter into a swap agreement for hedging or non-hedging purposes, including but not limited to, to enhance returns, increase liquidity, protect against currency and security price fluctuations, manage duration and gain exposure to certain markets or securities in a more cost-efficient manner.

Risks of Swaps Generally. In addition to the risks found under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” swaps are subject to the following risks:

Depending on their structure, swap agreements may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investments and its share price and yield and may affect the Fund’s exposure to long- or short-term interest rates (in the United States or abroad), foreign currency values, mortgage-backed security values, corporate borrowing rates or other market factors such as security prices or inflation rates.

Swap agreements will tend to shift the Fund’s investment exposure from one type of investment to another. For example, if the Fund agrees to exchange payments in U.S. dollars for payments in foreign currency, the swap agreement would tend to decrease the Fund’s exposure to U.S. interest rates and increase its exposure to foreign currency and interest rates.

The absence of a central exchange or market for OTC swap transactions may lead, in some instances, to difficulties in trading and valuation, especially in the event of market disruptions.

Cleared Swaps. Relatively recent legislation and implementing regulation require certain swaps to be cleared through a regulated clearinghouse. Although this clearing mechanism is generally intended to reduce counterparty credit risk, it may disrupt or limit the swap market and may result in swaps being more difficult to trade or value. As swaps become more standardized, the Fund may not be able to enter into swaps that meet its investment needs. The Fund also may not be able to find a clearing member and clearinghouse willing to accept a swap for clearing. In a cleared swap, a central clearing organization will be the counterparty to the transaction. The Fund will assume the risk that the clearinghouse and the clearing member through which the Fund holds its position may be unable to or may otherwise fail to perform their obligations.

When the Fund enters into a cleared swap transaction, the Fund is subject to the credit and counterparty risk of the clearinghouse and the clearing member through which it holds its cleared position. Credit/counterparty risk of market participants with respect to centrally cleared swaps is concentrated in a few clearinghouses, and it is not clear how an insolvency proceeding of a clearinghouse would be conducted and what impact an insolvency of a clearinghouse would have on the financial system. A clearing member is obligated by contract and by applicable regulation to segregate all funds received from customers with respect to cleared derivatives transactions from the clearing member’s proprietary assets. However, all funds and other property received by a clearing broker from its customers generally are held by the clearing broker on a commingled basis in an omnibus account by account class, and the clearing member may invest those funds in certain instruments permitted under the applicable regulations. The assets of the Fund might not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the Fund’s clearing member, because the Fund would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds segregated on behalf of the clearing broker’s customers for a relevant account class. Also, the clearing member is required to transfer to the clearing organization the amount of margin required by the clearing organization for cleared derivatives, which amounts generally are held in an omnibus account at the clearing organization for all customers of the clearing member. Regulations promulgated by the CFTC require that the clearing member notify the clearinghouse of the amount of initial margin provided by the clearing member to the clearing organization that is attributable to each cleared swaps customer. However, if the clearing member does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is subject to the risk that a clearing organization will use the Fund’s assets held in an omnibus account at the clearing organization to satisfy payment obligations of a defaulting customer of

 

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the clearing member to the clearing organization. In addition, clearing members generally provide to the clearing organization the net amount of variation margin required for cleared swaps for all of its customers in the aggregate, rather than the gross amount of each customer. The Fund is therefore subject to the risk that a clearing organization will not make variation margin payments owed to the Fund if another customer of the clearing member has suffered a loss and is in default, and the risk that the Fund will be required to provide additional variation margin to the clearinghouse before the clearinghouse will move the Fund’s cleared derivatives transactions to another clearing member. In addition, if a clearing member does not comply with the applicable regulations or its agreement with the Fund, or in the event of fraud or misappropriation of customer assets by a clearing member, the Fund could have only an unsecured creditor claim in an insolvency of the clearing member with respect to the margin held by the clearing member.

In some ways, centrally cleared swaps arrangements are less favorable to the Fund than OTC swaps arrangements. For example, the Fund may be required to provide greater amounts of margin for cleared swaps than for OTC swaps. Also, in contrast to OTC swaps, following a period of notice to the Fund, a clearing member generally can require termination of existing cleared swaps at any time or increases in margin requirements above the margin that the clearing member required at the beginning of a transaction. Clearinghouses also have broad rights to increase margin requirements for existing transactions or to terminate transactions at any time. Any increase in margin requirements or termination by the clearing member or the clearinghouse could interfere with the ability of the Fund to pursue its investment strategy. Further, any increase in margin requirements by a clearing member could also expose the Fund to greater credit risk of its clearing member, because margin for cleared swaps in excess of clearinghouse margin requirements typically is held by the clearing member. While the documentation in place between the Fund and its clearing members generally provides that the clearing members will accept for clearing all transactions submitted for clearing that are within credit limits (specified in advance) for the Fund, the Fund is still subject to the risk that no clearing member will be willing or able to clear a transaction. In those cases, the transaction might have to be terminated, and the Fund could lose some or all of the benefit of the transaction, including loss of an increase in the value of the transaction and/or loss of hedging protection offered by the transaction. In addition, the documentation governing the relationship between the Fund and its clearing members is developed by the clearing members and generally is less favorable to the Fund than typical OTC swap documentation. For example, this documentation generally includes a one-way indemnity by the Fund in favor of the clearing member, indemnifying the clearing member against losses it incurs in connection with acting as the Fund’s clearing member, and the documentation typically does not give the Fund any rights to exercise remedies if the clearing member defaults or becomes insolvent.

Some types of cleared swaps are required to be executed on an exchange or on a swap execution facility (“SEF”). A SEF is a trading platform where multiple market participants can execute swaps by accepting bids and offers made by multiple other participants in the platform. While this execution requirement is designed to increase transparency and liquidity in the cleared swap market, trading on a SEF can create additional costs and risks for the Fund. For example, SEFs typically charge fees, and if the Fund executes swaps on a SEF through a broker intermediary, the intermediary may impose fees as well. Also, the Fund may indemnify a SEF, or a broker intermediary who executes cleared swaps on a SEF on the Fund’s behalf, against any losses or costs that may be incurred as a result of the Fund’s transactions on the SEF.

The Fund may enter into swap transactions with certain counterparties pursuant to master netting agreements. A master netting agreement provides that all swaps entered into between the Fund and that counterparty shall be regarded as parts of an integral agreement. If amounts are payable on a particular date in the same currency in respect of more than one swap transaction, the amount payable shall be the net amount. In addition, the master netting agreement may provide that if one party (or its affiliates) defaults generally or on any swap, the counterparty can terminate all outstanding swaps with that party. As a result, to the extent the Fund enters into master netting agreements with a counterparty, the Fund may be required to terminate a greater number of swap agreements than if it had not entered into such an agreement, which may result in losses to the Fund.

Interest Rate Swaps, Caps and Floors. Interest rate swaps are agreements between two parties to exchange interest rate payment obligations. Typically, one party’s obligation is based on a fixed interest rate while the other party’s obligation is based on an interest rate that fluctuates with changes in a designated benchmark. An interest rate cap transaction entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index exceeds a predetermined value, to receive payments on a notional principal amount from the party selling the cap. An interest rate floor transaction entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index falls below a predetermined value, to receive payments on a notional principal amount from the party selling the floor. A

 

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collar combines elements of buying a cap and a floor. Caps and floors have an effect similar to buying or writing options. Caps and floors typically have lower liquidity than swaps.

Options on Swaps (“Swaptions”). A swaption is a contract that gives the counterparty the right, but not the obligation to enter into a new swap agreement or to shorten, extend, cancel or otherwise modify an existing swap agreement, at some designated future time on specified terms. The Fund may write (sell) and purchase put and call swaptions. Swaptions are generally subject to the same risks involved in the use of options and swaps. Depending on the terms of the option agreement, the Fund will generally incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a swaption than it will incur when it purchases a swaption. When the Fund purchases a swaption, only the amount of premium the Fund paid is at risk should the option expire unexercised. However, when the Fund writes a swaption, upon exercise of the option the Fund will become obligated according to the terms of the underlying agreement, which may result in losses to the Fund in excess of the premium it received.

Credit Default Swaps and Related Investments. The Fund may enter into credit default swap contracts for investment purposes and to add leverage to its investment portfolio. As the seller in a credit default swap contract, the Fund would be required to pay the par (or other agreed-upon) value of a debt-reference obligation to the counterparty in the event of a default by a third party on the debt obligation. In return, the Fund would receive from the counterparty a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract provided that no event of default has occurred. If no default occurs, the Fund would keep the stream of payments and would have no payment obligations. As the seller, the Fund would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its net assets, the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the swap. Credit default swap contracts involve special risks and may result in losses to the Fund. Credit default swaps may in some cases be illiquid, and they increase credit risk since the Fund has exposure to both the issuer of the referenced obligation and the counterparty to the credit default swap. As there is no central exchange or market for certain credit default swap transactions, they may be difficult to trade or value, especially in the event of market disruptions. It is possible that developments in the swap market, including new or modified government regulation, could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to terminate existing credit default swap agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.

The Fund may also purchase credit default swap contracts to attempt to hedge against the risk of default of debt securities held in its portfolio, in which case the Fund would function as the counterparty referenced in the preceding paragraph. This would involve the risk that the investment may expire worthless and would only generate income in the event of an actual default by the issuer of the underlying obligation (or, as applicable, a credit downgrade or other indication of financial instability). It would also involve credit risk—that the seller may fail to satisfy its payment obligations to the Fund in the event of a default.

The Fund may invest in credit default swap index products that provide exposure to obligations of multiple issuers. The Fund can either buy the index (take on credit exposure) or sell the index (pass credit exposure to a counterparty). Such investments are subject to the associated risks with investments in credit default swaps discussed above.

Distressed Debt Securities

Distressed debt securities are debt securities that are purchased in the secondary market and are the subject of bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise in default as to the repayment of principal and/or interest at the time of acquisition by the Fund or are rated in the lower rating categories (Ca or lower by Moody’s and CC or lower by S&P) or, if unrated, are in the judgment of the portfolio manager of equivalent quality. Investment in distressed debt securities is speculative and involves significant risk. The risks associated with high yield securities are heightened when investing in distressed debt securities.

The Fund may make such investments when the portfolio manager believes it is reasonably likely that the issuer of the distressed debt securities will make an exchange offer or will be the subject of a plan of reorganization pursuant to which the Fund will receive new securities (e.g., equity securities) and/or other assets. However, there can be no assurance that such an exchange offer will be made or that such a plan of reorganization will be adopted. In addition, a significant period of time may pass between the time at which the Fund makes its investment in distressed debt securities and the time that any such exchange offer or plan of reorganization is completed. During this period, it is unlikely that the Fund will receive any interest payments on the distressed debt securities, the Fund will be subject to significant uncertainty as to whether the exchange offer or plan will be completed and the Fund may be required to bear extraordinary expenses to protect or recover its investment. Even if an exchange offer is made or a plan of reorganization is adopted with respect to the distressed debt securities held by the Fund, there can be no assurance that the securities or other assets received by the Fund in connection with such exchange offer or plan of reorganization will not have a lower value or income potential than may have been anticipated when the investment was made.

 

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Moreover, any securities received by the Fund upon completion of an exchange offer or plan of reorganization may be restricted as to resale. As a result of the Fund’s participation in negotiations with respect to any exchange offer or plan of reorganization with respect to an issuer of distressed debt securities, the Fund may be restricted from disposing of such securities.

Duration

For the simplest fixed income securities, “duration” indicates the average time at which the security’s cash flows are to be received. For simple fixed income securities with interest payments occurring prior to the payment of principal, duration is always less than maturity. For example, a current coupon “bullet” bond with a maturity of 3.5 years (i.e., a bond that pays interest at regular intervals and that will have a single principal payment of the entire principal amount in 3.5 years) might have a duration of approximately three years. In general, the lower the stated or coupon rate of interest of a fixed income security, the closer its duration will be to its final maturity; conversely, the higher the stated or coupon rate of interest of a fixed income security, the shorter its duration will be compared to its final maturity.

Determining duration becomes more complex when fixed income security features like floating or adjustable coupon payments, optionality (for example, the right of the issuer to prepay or call the security), and structuring (for example, the right of the holders of certain securities to receive priority as to the issuer’s cash flows) are considered. The calculation of “effective duration” attempts to take into account optionality and other complex features. Generally, the longer the effective duration of a security, the greater will be the expected change in the percentage price of the security with respect to a change in the security’s own yield. By way of illustration, a security with an effective duration of 3.5 years might normally be expected to go down in price by 35 bps if its yield goes up by 10 bps, while another security with an effective duration of 4.0 years might normally be expected to go down in price by 40 bps if its yield goes up by 10 bps. The assumptions that are made about a security’s features and options when calculating effective duration may prove to be incorrect. For example, many mortgage pass-through securities may have stated final maturities of 30 years, but current prepayment rates, which can vary widely under different economic conditions, may have a large influence on the pass-through security’s response to changes in yield. In these situations, the Fund’s portfolio manager may consider other analytical techniques that seek to incorporate the security’s additional features into the determination of its response to changes in its yield.

A security may change in price for a variety of reasons. For example, floating rate securities may have final maturities of ten or more years, but their effective durations will tend to be very short. If there is an adverse credit event, or a perceived change in the issuer’s creditworthiness, these securities could experience a far greater negative price movement than would be predicted by the change in the security’s yield in relation to its effective duration. As a result, investors should be aware that effective duration is not an exact measurement and may not reliably predict a security’s price sensitivity to changes in yield or interest rates.

Equity Securities

Equity securities include exchange-traded and over-the-counter common and preferred stocks, warrants and rights, and securities convertible into common stocks. Equity securities fluctuate in price based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. The value of a particular security may decline due to factors that affect a particular industry or industries, such as an increase in production costs, competitive conditions or labor shortages; or due to general market conditions, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates or generally adverse investor sentiment. The value of an equity security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole. The value of a company’s equity securities may deteriorate because of a variety of factors, including disappointing earnings reports by the issuer, unsuccessful products or services, loss of major customers, major litigation against the issuer or changes in government regulations affecting the issuer or the competitive environment.

Exchange Traded Funds (“ETFs”)

ETFs are ownership interests in investment companies, unit investment trusts, depositary receipts and other pooled investment vehicles that are traded on an exchange and that hold a portfolio of securities or other financial instruments (the “Underlying Assets”). The Underlying Assets are typically selected to correspond to the securities that comprise a particular broad based sector or international index, or to provide exposure to a particular industry sector or asset class, including precious metals or other commodities. “Short ETFs” seek a return similar to the inverse, or a multiple of the inverse, of a reference index. Short ETFs carry additional risks because their Underlying Assets may include a variety of financial instruments, including futures

 

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and options on futures, options on securities and securities indexes, swap agreements and forward contracts, and a short ETF may engage in short sales. An ETF’s losses on short sales are potentially unlimited; however, the Fund’s risk would be limited to the amount it invested in the ETF. Certain ETFs are actively managed by a portfolio manager or management team that makes investment decisions on Underlying Assets without seeking to replicate the performance of a reference index or industry sector or asset class.

Unlike shares of typical open-end management investment companies or unit investment trusts, shares of ETFs are designed to be traded throughout the trading day and bought and sold based on market price rather than net asset value. Shares can trade at either a premium or discount to net asset value. The portfolios held by ETFs are typically publicly disclosed on each trading day and an approximation of actual net asset value is disseminated throughout the trading day. An ETF will generally gain or lose value depending on the performance of the Underlying Assets. In the future, as new products become available, the Fund may invest in ETFs that do not have this same level of transparency and, therefore, may be more likely to trade at a larger discount or premium to actual net asset values.

Gains or losses on the Fund’s investment in ETFs will ultimately depend on the purchase and sale price of the ETF. An active trading market for an ETF’s shares may not develop or be maintained and trading of an ETF’s shares may be halted if the listing exchange’s officials deem such action appropriate, the shares are delisted from the exchange or the activation of market-wide “circuit breakers” (which are tied to large decreases in stock prices) halts stock trading generally. The performance of an ETF will be reduced by transaction and other expenses, including fees paid by the ETF to service providers. Investors in ETFs are eligible to receive their portion of income, if any, accumulated on the securities held in the portfolio, less fees and expenses of the ETF.

An investment in an ETF involves risks similar to investing directly in the Underlying Assets, including the risk that the value of the Underlying Assets may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of their issuers, the value of securities and other financial instruments generally, and other market factors.

If an ETF is a registered investment company (as defined in the 1940 Act), the limitations applicable to the Fund’s ability to purchase securities issued by other investment companies apply absent certain exemptive rules or other available exemptive relief. However, under Rule 12d1-4, the Fund may invest in other investment companies, including ETFs, in excess of these limits, subject to certain conditions. These restrictions may limit the Fund’s ability to invest in ETFs to the extent desired. Some ETFs are not structured as investment companies and thus are not regulated under the 1940 Act.

Foreign Securities

The risks of investing in securities of non-U.S. issuers or issuers with significant exposure to non-U.S. markets may be related, among other things, to (i) differences in size, liquidity and volatility of, and the degree and manner of regulation of, the securities markets of certain non-U.S. markets compared to the securities markets in the U.S.; (ii) economic, political and social factors; and (iii) foreign exchange matters, such as restrictions on the repatriation of capital, fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the currencies in which the Fund’s portfolio securities are quoted or denominated, exchange control regulations and costs associated with currency exchange. The political and economic structures in certain foreign countries, particularly emerging markets, are expected to undergo significant evolution and rapid development, and such countries may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of more developed countries.

Unanticipated political or social developments may affect the values of the Fund’s investments in such countries. The economies and securities and currency markets of many emerging markets have experienced significant disruption and declines. There can be no assurances that these economic and market disruptions will not continue.

Legal remedies available to investors in certain foreign countries may be less extensive than those available to investors in the U.S. or other foreign countries. Accounting standards in other countries are also not necessarily the same as in the United States. If the accounting standards in another country do not require as much detail as U.S. accounting standards, it may be harder for the portfolio manager to completely and accurately determine a company’s financial condition. In addition, the U.S. Government has from time to time in the past imposed restrictions, through penalties and otherwise, on foreign investments by U.S. investors such as the Fund. Also, brokerage commissions and other costs of buying or selling securities often are higher in foreign countries than they are in the U.S. This reduces the amount the Fund can earn on its investments.

 

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The Fund generally holds its foreign securities and cash in foreign banks and securities depositories. Some foreign banks and securities depositories may be recently organized or new to the foreign custody business. In addition, there may be limited or no regulatory oversight over their operations. Also, the laws of certain countries may put limits on the Fund’s ability to recover its assets if a foreign bank or depository or issuer of a security or any of their agents goes bankrupt. In addition, it is often more expensive for the Fund to buy, sell and hold securities in certain foreign markets than in the U.S. The increased expense of investing in foreign markets reduces the amount the Fund can earn on its investments and typically results in a higher operating expense ratio for the Fund as compared to investment companies that invest only in the United States.

Securities of some foreign companies have lower liquidity, and their prices are more volatile, than securities of comparable domestic companies. Certain foreign countries are known to experience long delays between the trade and settlement dates of securities purchased or sold resulting in increased exposure of the Fund to market and foreign exchange fluctuations brought about by such delays, and to the corresponding negative impact on Fund liquidity.

Foreign Currency Risks

The U.S. dollar value of securities denominated in a foreign currency will vary with changes in currency exchange rates, which can be volatile. Accordingly, changes in the value of the currency in which the Fund’s investments are denominated relative to the U.S. dollar will affect the Fund’s net asset value. Exchange rates are generally affected by the forces of supply and demand in the international currency markets, the relative merits of investing in different countries and the intervention or failure to intervene of U.S. or foreign governments and central banks. However, currency exchange rates may fluctuate based on factors intrinsic to a country’s economy. Some emerging market countries also may have managed currencies, which are not free floating against the U.S. dollar. In addition, emerging markets are subject to the risk of restrictions upon the free conversion of their currencies into other currencies. Any devaluations relative to the U.S. dollar in the currencies in which the Fund’s securities are quoted would reduce the Fund’s net asset value per share.

Investment in Emerging Markets

Investors are strongly advised to consider carefully the special risks involved in emerging markets, which are in addition to the usual risks of investing in developed foreign markets around the world.

The risks of investing in securities in emerging countries include: (i) less social, political and economic stability; (ii) the smaller size of the markets for such securities and lower volume of trading, which result in a lack of liquidity and in greater price volatility; (iii) certain national policies that may restrict the Fund’s investment opportunities, including restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests; (iv) foreign taxation; (v) the absence of developed structures governing private or foreign investment or allowing for judicial redress for injury to private property; and (vi) military unrest, war and terrorism.

Investors should note that upon the accession to power of authoritarian regimes, the governments of a number of emerging market countries previously expropriated large quantities of real and personal property similar to the property which may be represented by the securities purchased by the Fund. The claims of property owners against those governments were never finally settled. There can be no assurance that any property represented by securities purchased by the Fund will not also be expropriated, nationalized, or otherwise confiscated at some time in the future. If such confiscation were to occur, the Fund could lose a substantial portion or all of its investments in such countries. The Fund’s investments would similarly be adversely affected by exchange control regulation in any of those countries.

Certain countries in which the Fund may invest may have vocal groups that advocate radical religious or revolutionary philosophies or support ethnic independence. Any disturbance on the part of such individuals could carry the potential for widespread destruction or confiscation of property owned by individuals and entities foreign to such country and could cause the loss of the Fund’s investment in those countries.

Settlement mechanisms in emerging market securities may be less efficient and reliable than in more developed markets. In such emerging securities markets there may be delays and failures in share registration and delivery. In certain markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions. The inability of the Fund to make intended securities purchases due to settlement problems could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Inability to dispose of a portfolio security caused by settlement problems could result either in losses to the Fund due to subsequent declines in the value of the portfolio security or,

 

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if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the security, in possible liability to the purchaser. There may also be a danger that, because of uncertainties in the operation of settlement systems in individual markets, competing claims may arise in respect of securities held by or to be transferred to the Fund. Furthermore, compensation schemes may be non-existent, limited or inadequate to meet the Fund’s claims in any of these events.

Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and may continue to have, very negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain emerging markets. While some emerging market countries have sought to develop a number of corrective mechanisms to reduce inflation or mitigate its effects, inflation may continue to have significant effects both on emerging market economies and their securities markets. In addition, many of the currencies of emerging market countries have experienced steady devaluations relative to the U.S. dollar and major devaluations have occurred in certain countries. Economies in emerging markets generally are heavily dependent upon international trade and, accordingly, have been and may continue to be affected adversely by economic conditions, trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which they trade.

Because of the high levels of foreign-denominated debt owed by many emerging market countries, fluctuating exchange rates can significantly affect the debt service obligations of those countries. This could, in turn, affect local interest rates, profit margins and exports, which are a major source of foreign exchange earnings.

To the extent an emerging market country faces a liquidity crisis with respect to its foreign exchange reserves, it may increase restrictions on the outflow of any foreign exchange. Repatriation is ultimately dependent on the ability of the Fund to liquidate its investments and convert the local currency proceeds obtained from such liquidation into U.S. dollars. Where this conversion must be done through official channels (usually the central bank or certain authorized commercial banks), the ability to obtain U.S. dollars is dependent on the availability of such U.S. dollars through those channels and, if available, upon the willingness of those channels to allocate those U.S. dollars to the Fund. The Fund’s ability to obtain U.S. dollars may be adversely affected by any increased restrictions imposed on the outflow of foreign exchange. If the Fund is unable to repatriate any amounts due to exchange controls, it may be required to accept an obligation payable at some future date by the central bank or other governmental entity of the jurisdiction involved. If such conversion can legally be done outside official channels, either directly or indirectly, the Fund’s ability to obtain U.S. dollars may not be affected as much by any increased restrictions except to the extent of the price which may be required to be paid in U.S. dollars. Furthermore, repatriation of investment income, capital and the proceeds of sales by foreign investors may require governmental registration and/or approval in some countries.

Many emerging market countries have little experience with the corporate form of business organization and may not have well-developed corporation and business laws or concepts of fiduciary duty in the business context. The Fund may encounter substantial difficulties in obtaining and enforcing judgments against individuals and companies located in certain emerging market countries. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain or enforce legislation or remedies against governments, their agencies and sponsored entities.

Disclosure and regulatory standards in emerging markets in many respects are less stringent than in the United States and other major markets. There also may be a lower level of monitoring and regulation of emerging markets and the activities of investors in such markets; enforcement of existing regulations has been extremely limited. Additionally, accounting, auditing and financial reporting and recordkeeping standards in emerging markets may not provide the same degree of investor protection or information to investors as would generally apply in more developed markets. The Public Accounting Oversight Board, which regulates auditors of U.S. public companies, may, from time to time, be unable to inspect audit work papers in certain foreign or emerging market countries.

Trading in the securities of emerging markets presents additional credit and financial risks. The Fund may have limited access to, or there may be a limited number of, potential counterparties that trade in the securities of emerging market issuers. Governmental regulations may restrict potential counterparties to certain financial institutions located or operating in the particular emerging market. Potential counterparties may not possess, adopt or implement creditworthiness standards, financial reporting standards or legal and contractual protections similar to those in developed markets. Currency hedging techniques may not be available or may be limited. The Fund may not be able to reduce or mitigate risks related to trading with emerging market counterparties.

The risk also exists that an emergency situation may arise in one or more emerging markets as a result of which trading of securities may cease or may be substantially curtailed and prices for the Fund’s portfolio securities in such markets

 

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may not be readily available. Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act permits a registered investment company to suspend redemption of its shares for any period during which an emergency exists, as determined by the SEC. Accordingly, if the Fund believes that appropriate circumstances warrant, it may apply to the SEC for a determination that an emergency exists within the meaning of Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act. During the period commencing from the Fund’s identification of such conditions until the date of SEC action, the portfolio securities in the affected markets will be valued at fair value as determined by the Manager in accordance with the Fund’s valuation policy.

Although it might be theoretically possible to hedge for anticipated income and gains, the ongoing and indeterminate nature of the risks associated with emerging market investing (and the costs associated with hedging transactions) makes it very difficult to hedge effectively against such risks.

Europe — Recent Events

A number of countries in Europe have experienced severe economic and financial difficulties. Many non-governmental issuers, and even certain governments, have defaulted on, or been forced to restructure, their debts; many other issuers have faced difficulties obtaining credit or refinancing existing obligations; financial institutions have in many cases required government or central bank support, have needed to raise capital, and/or have been impaired in their ability to extend credit; and financial markets in Europe and elsewhere have experienced extreme volatility and declines in asset values and liquidity. These difficulties may continue, worsen or spread within and outside of Europe. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not work, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and others of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world.

In addition, the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” Following a transition period, the United Kingdom’s post-Brexit trade agreement with the European Union passed into law in December 2020, was provisionally applied effective January 1, 2021, and formally entered into force on May 1, 2021. There is significant market uncertainty regarding Brexit’s ramifications. The range and potential implications of possible political, regulatory, economic, and market outcomes cannot be fully known but could be significant, potentially resulting in increased volatility and illiquidity and lower economic growth for companies that rely significantly on Europe for their business activities and revenues. The United Kingdom has one of the largest economies in Europe and is a major trading partner with the European Union countries and the United States. Brexit may create additional and substantial economic stresses for the United Kingdom, including a contraction of the United Kingdom’s economy, decreased trade, capital outflows, devaluation of the British pound, as well as a decrease in business and consumer spending and investment. The negative impact on not only the United Kingdom and other European economies but also the broader global economy could be significant. Moreover, other countries may seek to withdraw from the European Union and/or abandon the euro, the common currency of the European Union. A number of countries in Europe have suffered terror attacks, and additional attacks may occur in the future. Europe has also been struggling with mass migration from the Middle East and Africa.

The ultimate effects of these events and other socio-political or geopolitical issues are not known but could profoundly affect global economies and markets. Whether or not the Fund invests in securities of issuers located in Europe or with significant exposure to European issuers or countries, these events could negatively affect the value and liquidity of the Fund’s investments.

Risks Related to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 resulted in the United States, other countries and certain international organizations levying broad economic sanctions against Russia. These sanctions froze certain Russian assets and prohibited, among other things, trading in certain Russian securities and doing business with specific Russian corporate entities, large financial institutions, officials and oligarchs. The sanctions also included the removal of some Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), the electronic network that connects banks globally, and imposed restrictive measures to prevent the Russian Central Bank from undermining the impact of the sanctions. The United States and other countries have also imposed economic sanctions on Belarus and may impose sanctions on other countries that support Russia’s military invasion. A number of large corporations and U.S. states have also announced plans to divest interests or otherwise curtail business dealings with certain Russian businesses. These sanctions and any additional sanctions or other intergovernmental actions that may be undertaken against Russia or other countries that support Russia’s military invasion in the

 

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future may result in the devaluation of Russian or other affected currencies, a downgrade in the sanctioned country’s credit rating, and a decline in the value and liquidity of Russian securities and securities of issuers in other countries that support the invasion. The potential for wider conflict may further decrease the value and liquidity of certain Russian securities and securities of issuers in other countries affected by the invasion. In addition, the ability to price, buy, sell, receive, or deliver such securities is also affected due to these measures. For example, the Fund may be prohibited from investing in securities issued by companies subject to such sanctions. In addition, the sanctions may require the Fund to freeze its existing investments in companies operating in or having dealings with Russia or other sanctioned countries, which would prevent the Fund from selling these investments. Any exposure that the Fund may have to Russian counterparties or counterparties in other sanctioned countries also could negatively impact the Fund’s portfolio.

Additionally, Russia has taken retaliatory actions, including preventing repatriation of capital by U.S. and other investors. The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant market disruptions, including in certain markets, industries and sectors, such as the oil and natural gas markets, and negatively affected global supply chains, food supplies, inflation and global growth. The extent and duration of Russia’s military actions and the repercussions of such actions (including sanctions, retaliatory actions and countermeasures, including cyber attacks) are impossible to predict. These and any related events could significantly impact the Fund’s performance and the value of an investment in the Fund, even beyond any direct exposure the Fund may have to Russian issuers or issuers in other countries directly affected by the invasion.

Eurodollar or Yankee Obligations

Eurodollar bank obligations are U.S. dollar denominated debt obligations issued outside the U.S. capital markets by non-U.S. branches of U.S. banks and by non-U.S. banks. Yankee obligations are U.S. dollar denominated obligations issued in the U.S. capital markets by non-U.S. issuers. Eurodollar (and to a limited extent, Yankee) obligations are subject to certain sovereign risks. One such risk is the possibility that a non-U.S. government might prevent U.S. dollar denominated funds from flowing across its borders. Other risks include: adverse political and economic developments in a non-U.S. country; the extent and quality of government regulation of financial markets and institutions; the imposition of non-U.S. withholding taxes; and expropriation or nationalization of non-U.S. issuers.

Sovereign Government and Supranational Debt Obligations

The Fund may invest in all types of debt securities of governmental issuers in all countries, including emerging markets. These sovereign debt securities may include: debt securities issued or guaranteed by governments, governmental agencies or instrumentalities and political subdivisions located in emerging market countries; debt securities issued by government owned, controlled or sponsored entities located in emerging market countries; interests issued for the purpose of restructuring the investment characteristics of instruments issued by any of the above issuers; Brady Bonds, which are debt securities issued under the framework of the Brady Plan as a means for debtor nations to restructure their outstanding external indebtedness; participations in loans between emerging market governments and financial institutions; or debt securities issued by supranational entities such as the World Bank. A supranational entity is a bank, commission or company established or financially supported by the national governments of one or more countries to promote reconstruction or development. Included among these entities are the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Supranational organizations have no taxing authority and are dependent on their members for payments of interest and principal. There is no guarantee that one or more members of a supranational organization will continue to make capital contributions. If such contributions are not made, the organization may be unable to pay interest or repay principal on its debt securities, and the Fund may lose money on such investments. Further, the lending activities of such entities are limited to a percentage of their total capital, reserves and net income.

Sovereign debt is subject to risks in addition to those relating to non-U.S. investments generally. As a sovereign entity, the issuing government may be immune from lawsuits in the event of its failure or refusal to pay the obligations when due. The debtor’s willingness or ability to repay in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its non-U.S. currency reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign currency exchange on the date a payment is due, the relative size of the debt service burden to the economy as a whole, the sovereign debtor’s policy toward principal international lenders and the political constraints to which the sovereign debtor may be subject. Sovereign debtors may also be dependent on disbursements or assistance from non-U.S. governments or multinational agencies, the country’s access to trade and other international credits, and the country’s balance of trade. Assistance may be dependent on a country’s implementation of

 

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austerity measures and reforms, economic performance and/or the timely service of such debtor’s obligations. Failure to implement such reforms, achieve such levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of such third parties’ commitments to lend funds to the governmental entity, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to service its debts in a timely manner. Some sovereign debtors have rescheduled their debt payments, declared moratoria on payments or restructured their debt to effectively eliminate portions of it, and similar occurrences may happen in the future. There is no bankruptcy proceeding by which sovereign debt on which governmental entities have defaulted may be collected in whole or in part.

Depositary Receipts

Depositary receipts demonstrate ownership of shares of a foreign issuer and are alternatives to directly purchasing the underlying foreign security. Depositary receipts may be sponsored or unsponsored and include American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) and non-voting depositary receipts (“NVDRs”). ADRs in registered form are typically issued by a U.S. bank or trust company, traded in U.S. dollars, and are designed for use in the domestic market. GDRs, EDRs, NVDRs and other similar instruments may be issued by a U.S. or non-U.S. entity and may be traded in other currencies. GDRs are tradable both in the United States and Europe and are designed for use throughout the world. EDRs are issued in bearer form and are designed for use in European securities markets.

Depositary receipts in general are subject to many of the risks associated with foreign investing (e.g., increased market, illiquidity, currency, political, information and other risks), and even where traded in U.S. dollars are subject to currency risk if the underlying security is traded in a foreign currency. Unsponsored depositary receipts are issued without the participation of the issuer of the underlying foreign security and there may be less information available about such issuers than there is with respect to domestic companies and issuers of securities underlying sponsored depositary receipts. Even if there is information available, there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts.

High Yield (“Junk”) Bonds

High yield securities are medium or lower rated securities and unrated securities of comparable quality, sometimes referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds. Generally, such securities offer a higher current yield than is offered by higher rated securities, but also are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the securities. The market values of certain of these securities also tend to be more sensitive to individual corporate developments and changes in economic conditions than higher quality bonds. In addition, medium and lower rated securities and comparable unrated securities generally present a higher degree of credit risk. The risk of loss because of default by issuers of these securities is significantly greater because medium and lower rated securities generally are unsecured and frequently subordinated to senior indebtedness. In addition, the market value of securities in lower rated categories is generally more volatile than that of higher quality securities, and the markets in which medium and lower rated securities are traded are more limited than those in which higher rated securities are traded. The existence of limited markets may make it more difficult for the Fund to obtain accurate market quotations for purposes of valuing its securities and calculating its net asset value. Moreover, the lack of a liquid trading market may restrict the availability of securities for the Fund to purchase and may also limit the ability of the Fund to sell securities at their fair value either to meet redemption requests or to respond to changes in the economy or the financial markets.

Lower rated debt obligations often have redemption features that permit an issuer to repurchase the security from the Fund before it matures. If an issuer exercises that right, the Fund may have to replace the security with a lower yielding security, resulting in a decreased return for investors. If the Fund experiences unexpected net redemptions, it may be forced to sell its higher rated bonds, resulting in a decline in the overall credit quality of the securities held by the Fund and increasing the exposure of the Fund to the risks of lower rated securities. Investments in lower rated zero coupon bonds may be more speculative and subject to greater fluctuations in value because of changes in interest rates than lower rated bonds that pay interest currently.

Subsequent to its purchase by the Fund, an issue of securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum required for purchase by the Fund (if applicable). Neither event will require sale of these securities by the Fund, but the portfolio manager will consider the event in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the security.

 

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Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities

The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid security is any security which the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the security. To the extent required by applicable law and SEC guidance, the Fund will not acquire an illiquid security if such acquisition would cause the aggregate value of illiquid securities to exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets. If at any time the portfolio manager determines that the value of illiquid securities held by the Fund exceeds 15% of the Fund’s net assets, the portfolio manager will take such steps as it considers appropriate to reduce the percentage within a reasonable period of time consistent with applicable regulatory requirements. Because illiquid investments may not be readily marketable, the Fund may not be able to dispose of them in a timely manner. As a result, the Fund may be forced to hold illiquid investments while their price depreciates. Depreciation in the price of illiquid investments may cause the net asset value of the Fund to decline.

Restricted securities are securities subject to legal or contractual restrictions on their resale, such as private placements. Such restrictions might prevent the sale of restricted securities at a time when the sale would otherwise be desirable. Under SEC regulations, certain restricted securities acquired through private placements can be traded freely among qualified purchasers. While restricted securities are generally presumed to be illiquid, it may be determined that a particular restricted security is liquid. Investing in these restricted securities could have the effect of increasing the Fund’s illiquidity if qualified purchasers become, for a time, uninterested in buying these securities.

Restricted securities may be sold only (1) pursuant to SEC Rule 144A or another exemption, (2) in privately negotiated transactions or (3) in public offerings with respect to which a registration statement is in effect under the 1933 Act. Rule 144A securities, although not registered in the U.S., may be sold to qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. As noted above, the Fund may determine that some Rule 144A securities are liquid. Where registration is required, the Fund may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses and a considerable period may elapse between the time of the decision to sell and the time the Fund may be permitted to sell a restricted security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, the Fund might obtain a less favorable price than prevailed when it decided to sell.

Illiquid securities may be difficult to value, and the Fund may have difficulty disposing of such securities promptly. The Fund does not consider non-U.S. securities to be restricted if they can be freely sold in the principal markets in which they are traded, even if they are not registered for sale in the U.S.

Liquidity Risk Management. Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act requires, among other things, that the Fund and other Legg Mason ETFs and open-end funds establish a liquidity risk management program (“LRMP”) that is reasonably designed to assess and manage liquidity risk. Rule 22e-4 defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that a fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by the fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interests in the fund. The Fund has implemented a LRMP to meet the relevant requirements. Additionally, the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, approved the designation of the Fund’s LRMP administrator to administer such program and will review no less frequently than annually a written report prepared by the LRMP administrator that addresses the operation of the LRMP and assesses its adequacy and effectiveness of implementation. Among other things, the LRMP provides for the classification of each Fund investment as a “highly liquid investment,” “moderately liquid investment,” “less liquid investment” or “illiquid investment.” The liquidity risk classifications of the Fund’s investments are determined after reasonable inquiry and taking into account relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations. To the extent that a Fund investment is deemed to be an “illiquid investment” or a “less liquid investment,” the Fund can expect to be exposed to greater illiquidity risk. There is no guarantee the LRMP will be effective in its operations, and complying with Rule 22e-4, including bearing related costs, could impact the Fund’s performance and its ability to achieve its investment objective.

Investments by Other Funds and by Other Significant Investors

Certain investment companies, including those that are affiliated with the Fund because they are managed by the Manager or an affiliate of the Manager, may invest in the Fund and may at times have substantial investments in one or more funds. Other investors also may at times have substantial investments in one or more funds.

From time to time, the Fund may experience relatively large redemptions or investments due to transactions in Fund shares by a fund or other significant investor. The effects of these transactions could adversely affect the Fund’s performance. In

 

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the event of such redemptions or investments, the Fund could be required to sell securities or to invest cash at a time when it is not advantageous to do so. Such transactions may increase brokerage and/or other transaction costs of the Fund. A large redemption could cause the Fund’s expenses to increase and could result in the Fund becoming too small to be economically viable. Redemptions of Fund shares could also accelerate the realization of taxable capital gains in the Fund if sales of securities result in capital gains. The impact of these transactions is likely to be greater when a fund or other significant investor purchases, redeems, or owns a substantial portion of the Fund’s shares.

The Manager and the Subadviser are subject to potential conflicts of interest in connection with investments in the Fund by an affiliated fund due to their affiliation. For example, the Manager or the Subadviser could have the incentive to permit an affiliated fund to become a more significant shareholder (with the potential to cause greater disruption) than would be permitted for an unaffiliated investor. Investments by an affiliated fund may also give rise to conflicts in connection with the voting of fund shares. The Manager, the Subadviser and/or its advisory affiliates intend to seek to address these potential conflicts of interest in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders, although there can be no assurance that such efforts will be successful. The Manager and the Subadviser will consider how to minimize potential adverse impacts of affiliated fund investments, and, may take such actions as each deems appropriate to address potential adverse impacts, including redemption of shares in-kind, rather than in cash.

Investments in Other Investment Companies

Subject to applicable statutory and regulatory limitations described below, the Fund may invest in shares of other investment companies, including shares of open-end and closed-end investment companies affiliated or unaffiliated with the Fund, business development companies, exchange-traded funds and unregistered investment companies.

An investment in an investment company is subject to the risks associated with that investment company’s portfolio securities. Investments in closed-end funds may entail the additional risk that the market value of such investments may be substantially less than their net asset value. To the extent the Fund invests in shares of another investment company, the Fund will indirectly bear a proportionate share of that investment company’s advisory fees and other operating expenses. These fees are in addition to the advisory fees and other operational expenses incurred directly by the Fund. In addition, the Fund could incur a sales charge in connection with purchasing an investment company security or a redemption fee upon the redemption of such security.

Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act provides that a fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire the securities of other investment companies if, as a result of such purchase or acquisition, it would own: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired investment company; (ii) securities issued by any one investment company having a value in excess of 5% of the fund’s total assets; or (iii) securities issued by all investment companies having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the fund’s total assets. These limitations are subject to certain statutory and regulatory exemptions including Rule 12d1-4, which permits the Fund to invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits, subject to certain conditions. Among other conditions, the Rule prohibits a fund from acquiring control of another investment company (other than an investment company in the same group of investment companies), including by acquiring more than 25% of its voting securities. In addition, the Rule imposes certain voting requirements when a fund’s ownership of another investment company exceeds particular thresholds. If shares of a fund are acquired by another investment company, the “acquired” fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire the securities of an investment company or private fund if immediately after such purchase or acquisition, the securities of investment companies and private funds owned by that acquired fund have an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the acquired fund, subject to certain exceptions. These restrictions may limit the Fund’s ability to invest in other investment companies to the extent desired. In addition, other unaffiliated investment companies may impose other investment limitations or redemption restrictions which may also limit the Fund’s flexibility with respect to making investments in those unaffiliated investment companies.

Investment in Affiliated Money Market Funds

The Fund may invest, to the extent permitted by applicable law, all or some of its short-term cash investments in a money market fund or similarly-managed pool advised by the Manager, Subadviser or an affiliate of the Manager that may or may not be required to register with the SEC as an investment company. In connection with any such investments, the Fund, to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, may pay its share of expenses of the fund in which it invests, which may result additional expenses for the Fund.

 

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Loans

Loans are negotiated and underwritten by a bank or syndicate of banks and other institutional investors. The Fund may acquire an interest in loans through the primary market by acting as one of a group of lenders of a loan. The primary risk in an investment in loans is that the borrower may be unable to meet its interest and/or principal payment obligations. The occurrence of such a default with regard to a loan in which the Fund had invested would have an adverse effect on the Fund’s net asset value. In addition, a sudden and significant increase in market interest rates may cause a decline in the value of these investments and in the Fund’s net asset value. Other factors, such as rating downgrades, credit deterioration, or large downward movement in stock prices, a disparity in supply and demand of certain securities or market conditions that reduce liquidity could reduce the value of loans, impairing the Fund’s net asset value. Loans may not be considered “securities” for certain purposes and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.

Loans in which the Fund may invest may be collateralized or uncollateralized and senior or subordinate. Investments in uncollateralized and/or subordinate loans entail a greater risk of nonpayment than do investments in loans which hold a more senior position in the borrower’s capital structure or that are secured with collateral. In the case of collateralized senior loans, however, there is no assurance that sale of the collateral would raise enough cash to satisfy the borrower’s payment obligation or that the collateral can or will be liquidated. As a result, the Fund might not receive payments to which it is entitled and thereby may experience a decline in the value of its investment and its net asset value. In the event of bankruptcy, liquidation may not occur and the court may not give lenders the full benefit of their senior positions. If the terms of a senior loan do not require the borrower to pledge additional collateral, the Fund will be exposed to the risk that the value of the collateral will not at all times equal or exceed the amount of the borrower’s obligations under the senior loans. To the extent that a senior loan is collateralized by stock in the borrower or its subsidiaries, such stock may lose all of its value in the event of bankruptcy of the borrower.

The Fund may also acquire an interest in loans by purchasing participations (“Participations”) in and/or assignments (“Assignments”) of portions of loans from third parties. By purchasing a Participation, the Fund acquires some or all of the interest of a bank or other lending institution in a loan to a borrower. Participations typically will result in the Fund’s having a contractual relationship only with the lender and not the borrower. The Fund will have the right to receive payments of principal, interest and any fees to which it is entitled only from the lender selling the Participation and only upon receipt by the lender of the payments from the borrower. In connection with purchasing Participations, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the borrower with the terms of the loan agreement relating to the loan, nor any rights of set-off against the borrower, and the Fund may not directly benefit from any collateral supporting the loan in which it has purchased the Participation. As a result, the Fund will assume the credit risk of both the borrower and the lender that is selling the Participation.

When the Fund purchases Assignments from lenders, the Fund will acquire direct rights against the borrower on the loan. However, since Assignments are arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and assignors, the rights and obligations acquired by the Fund as the purchaser of an Assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the lender from which the Fund is purchasing the Assignments. Certain of the Participations or Assignments acquired by the Fund may involve unfunded commitments of the lenders or revolving credit facilities under which a borrower may from time to time borrow and repay amounts up to the maximum amount of the facility. In such cases, the Fund would have an obligation to advance its portion of such additional borrowings upon the terms specified in the loan documentation.

The Fund may acquire loans of borrowers that are experiencing, or are more likely to experience, financial difficulty, including loans of borrowers that have filed for bankruptcy protection. Although loans in which the Fund will invest generally will be secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of nonpayment of scheduled interest or principal, or that such collateral could be readily liquidated. In the event of bankruptcy of a borrower, the Fund could experience delays or limitations with respect to its ability to realize the benefits of the collateral securing a senior loan.

In addition, the Fund may have difficulty disposing of its investments in loans. The liquidity of such securities is limited and the Fund anticipates that such securities could be sold only to a limited number of institutional investors. The lack of a liquid secondary market could have an adverse impact on the value of such securities and on the Fund’s ability to dispose of particular loans or Assignments or Participations when necessary to meet the Fund’s liquidity needs or in response to a specific economic event, such as a deterioration in the creditworthiness of the borrower. The lack of a liquid secondary market for loans may also

 

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make it more difficult for the Fund to assign a value to those securities for purposes of valuing the Fund’s investments and calculating its net asset value.

The issuer of a loan may offer to provide material, non-public information about the issuer to investors, such as the Fund. The Fund’s portfolio manager may avoid receiving this type of information about the issuer of a loan either held by or considered for investment by the Fund, because of prohibitions on trading in securities of issuers while in possession of such information. The decision not to receive material, non-public information may place the Fund at a disadvantage, relative to other loan investors, in assessing a loan or the loan’s issuer.

Covenant Lite Loans

Loan agreements, which set forth the terms of a loan and the obligations of the borrower and lender, contain certain covenants that mandate or prohibit certain borrower actions, including financial covenants that dictate certain minimum and maximum financial performance levels. Covenants that require the borrower to maintain certain financial metrics during the life of the loan (such as maintaining certain levels of cash flow and limiting leverage) are known as “maintenance covenants.” These covenants are included to permit the lender to monitor the performance of the borrower and declare an event of default if breached, allowing the lender to renegotiate the terms of the loan based upon the elevated risk levels or take other actions to help mitigate losses. Covenant lite loans contain fewer maintenance covenants than traditional loans, or no maintenance covenants at all, and may not include terms that allow the lender to monitor the financial performance of the borrower and declare a default if certain criteria are breached. This may expose the Fund to greater credit risk associated with the borrower and reduce the Fund’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, the Fund’s exposure to losses on such investments may be increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle.

London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) Replacement and Other Reference Rates Risk

Many debt securities, derivatives, and other financial instruments, including some of the Fund’s investments, utilize benchmark or reference rates for variable interest rate calculations, including the Euro Interbank Offer Rate, Sterling Overnight Index Average Rate, and, historically, LIBOR. Instruments in which the Fund invests may pay interest at floating rates based on such reference rates or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on such reference rates. The Fund and issuers of instruments in which the Fund invests may also obtain financing at floating rates based on such reference rates. The elimination of a reference rate or any other changes to or reforms of the determination or supervision of reference rates could have an adverse impact on the market for—or value of—any instruments or payments linked to those reference rates.

In 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) announced its intention to cease compelling banks to provide the quotations needed to sustain LIBOR after 2021. In addition, global regulators have announced that, with limited exceptions, no new LIBOR-based contracts should be entered into after 2021. In connection with the global transition away from LIBOR led by regulators and market participants, LIBOR is no longer published on a representative basis. Alternative reference rates to LIBOR have been established in most major currencies, including the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) for USD LIBOR. Markets are developing in response to these new rates but concerns around liquidity in these rates and how to appropriately adjust these rates to mitigate any economic value transfer as a result of the transition remain. The effect of any changes to—or discontinuation of—LIBOR on the Fund will vary depending on, among other things, existing fallback provisions in individual contracts and whether, how, and when industry participants develop and widely adopt new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products and instruments. In March 2022, the U.S. federal government enacted legislation to establish a process for replacing LIBOR in certain existing contracts that do not already provide for the use of a clearly defined or practicable replacement benchmark rate as described in the legislation. Generally speaking, for contracts that do not contain a fallback provision as described in the legislation, a benchmark replacement recommended by the Federal Reserve Board effectively automatically replaced the USD LIBOR benchmark in the contract upon LIBOR’s cessation at the end of June 2023. The recommended benchmark replacement is based on the SOFR published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including certain spread adjustments and benchmark replacement conforming changes. It is difficult to predict the full impact of the transition away from LIBOR on the Fund. The transition process may involve, among other things, increased volatility or illiquidity in markets for instruments that rely on LIBOR. The transition may also result in a reduction in the value of certain LIBOR-based investments held by the Fund or reduce the effectiveness of related transactions such as hedges. Any such effects of the transition away from LIBOR, as well as other unforeseen effects, could result in losses for the Fund.

 

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Mortgage-Backed and Other Asset-Backed Securities – Generally

An asset-backed security is a fixed income security that derives its value primarily from cash flows relating to a pool of assets. There are a number of different types of asset-backed and related securities, including mortgage-backed securities, securities backed by other pools of collateral (such as automobile loans, student loans, sub-prime mortgages, and credit card receivables), collateralized mortgage obligations, and collateralized debt obligations.

Asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities differ from conventional bonds in that principal is paid over the life of the securities rather than at maturity. As a result, payments of principal of and interest on mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities are made more frequently than are payments on conventional debt securities. The average life of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities is likely to be substantially less than the original maturity of the underlying asset pools as a result of prepayments or foreclosures of mortgages, as applicable. In addition, holders of mortgage-backed securities and of certain asset-backed securities (such as asset-backed securities backed by home equity loans) may receive unscheduled payments of principal at any time representing prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans or financial assets. When the holder of the security attempts to reinvest prepayments or even the scheduled payments of principal and interest, it may receive a rate of interest that is higher or lower than the rate on the mortgage-backed security or asset-backed security originally held. To the extent that mortgage-backed securities or asset-backed securities are purchased by the Fund at a premium, mortgage foreclosures and principal prepayments may result in a loss to the extent of the premium paid. To the extent the loans underlying a security representing an interest in a pool of mortgages or other assets are prepaid, the Fund may experience a loss (if the price at which the respective security was acquired by the Fund was at a premium over par, which represents the price at which the security will be redeemed upon prepayment) or a gain (if the price at which the respective security was acquired by the Fund was at a discount from par). In addition, prepayments of such securities held by the Fund will reduce the share price of the Fund to the extent the market value of the securities at the time of prepayment exceeds their par value, and will increase the share price of the Fund to the extent the par value of the securities exceeds their market value at the time of prepayment. Prepayments may occur with greater frequency in periods of declining interest rates because, among other reasons, it may be possible for borrowers to refinance their outstanding obligation at lower interest rates. When market interest rates increase, the market values of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities decline. At the same time, however, refinancing slows, which lengthens the effective maturities of these securities. As a result, the negative effect of the rate increase on the market value of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities is usually more pronounced than it is for other types of fixed income securities.

Changes in the market’s perception of the mortgages or assets backing the security, the creditworthiness of the servicing agent for the loan pool, the originator of the loans, or the financial institution providing any credit enhancement, will all affect the value of an asset-backed or mortgage-backed security, as will the exhaustion of any credit enhancement.

The risks of investing in asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities ultimately depend upon the payment of the underlying loans by the individual borrowers. In its capacity as purchaser of an asset-backed security or mortgage-backed security, the Fund would generally have no recourse to the entity that originated the loans in the event of default by the borrower. The risk of non-payment is greater for asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities that are backed by pools that contain subprime loans, but a level of risk exists for all loans. Market factors adversely affecting loan repayments may include a general economic turndown and high unemployment. Mortgage-backed securities may be adversely affected by a general slowdown in the real estate market, a drop in the market prices of real estate, or an increase in interest rates resulting in higher mortgage payments by holders of adjustable rate mortgages. Developments following the onset of COVID-19 have adversely impacted the commercial real estate markets, causing the deferral of mortgage payments, renegotiated commercial mortgage loans, commercial real estate vacancies or outright mortgage defaults, and potential acceleration of macro trends such as work from home and online shopping which may negatively impact certain industries, such as brick-and-mortar retail.

Additional information regarding different types of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities is provided below. Governmental, government-related or private entities may create pools of loan assets offering pass-through investments in addition to those described below. As new types of asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities are developed and offered to investors, the portfolio manager may, consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and policies, consider making investments in such new types of securities.

Mortgage-backed securities. Mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) represent interests in pools of mortgage loans made by lenders such as savings and loan institutions, mortgage bankers, commercial banks and others, to finance purchases of

 

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homes, commercial buildings or other real estate. The individual mortgage loans are assembled for sale to investors (such as the Fund) by various governmental or government-related agencies and private organizations, such as dealers.

Government-sponsored MBS. Some government sponsored mortgage-related securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the principal guarantor of such securities, is a wholly-owned United States government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Other government-sponsored mortgage-related securities are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Issuers of such securities include Fannie Mae (formally known as the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (formally known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation). Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored corporation which is subject to general regulation by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Pass-through securities issued by Fannie Mae are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress and subject to general regulation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Participation certificates representing interests in mortgages from Freddie Mac’s national portfolio are guaranteed as to the timely payment of interest and ultimate collection of principal by Freddie Mac. The U.S. government has provided financial support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the past, but there can be no assurances that it will support these or other government-sponsored entities in the future.

Privately issued MBS. Unlike MBS issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or certain government-sponsored entities, MBS issued by private issuers do not have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee, but may have credit enhancement provided by external entities such as banks or financial institutions or achieved through the structuring of the transaction itself.

In addition, MBS that are issued by private issuers are not subject to the underwriting requirements for the underlying mortgages that are applicable to those MBS that have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee. As a result, the mortgage loans underlying private MBS may, and frequently do, have less favorable collateral, credit risk or other underwriting characteristics than government or government-sponsored MBS and have wider variances in a number of terms including interest rate, term, size, purpose and borrower characteristics. Privately issued pools more frequently include second mortgages, high loan-to-value mortgages and manufactured housing loans. The coupon rates and maturities of the underlying mortgage loans in a private-label MBS pool may vary to a greater extent than those included in a government guaranteed pool, and the pool may include subprime mortgage loans. Subprime loans refer to loans made to borrowers with weakened credit histories or with a lower capacity to make timely payments on their loans. For these reasons, the loans underlying these securities have had in many cases higher default rates than those loans that meet government underwriting requirements.

Privately issued mortgage-backed securities are not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, mortgage-backed securities held in the Fund’s portfolio may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying mortgage loans.

Adjustable rate mortgage-backed securities. Adjustable rate mortgage-backed securities (“ARMBS”) are pass-through securities collateralized by mortgages with adjustable rather than fixed rates. Adjustable rate mortgages eligible for inclusion in a mortgage pool generally provide for a fixed initial mortgage interest rate for a set number of scheduled monthly payments. After that schedule of payments has been completed, the interest rates of the adjustable rate mortgages are subject to periodic adjustment based on changes to a designated benchmark index.

Mortgages underlying most ARMBS may contain maximum and minimum rates beyond which the mortgage interest rate may not vary over the lifetime of the mortgage. In addition, certain adjustable rate mortgages provide for additional limitations on the maximum amount by which the mortgage interest rate may adjust for any single adjustment period. In the event that market rates of interest rise more rapidly to levels above that of the maximum rate for the adjustable rate mortgages underlying an ARMBS, the ARMBS’ coupon may represent a below market rate of interest. In these circumstances, the market value of the ARMBS will likely have fallen. During periods of declining interest rates, income to the Fund derived from adjustable rate mortgages that remain in the mortgage pool underlying the ARMBS may decrease in contrast to the income on fixed rate mortgages, which will remain constant. Adjustable rate mortgages also have less potential for appreciation in value as interest rates decline than do fixed rate investments. In addition, the current yields on ARMBS may be different than market yields during interim periods between coupon reset dates.

 

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Stripped mortgage-backed securities. Stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBS”) are structured with two or more classes of securities that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of SMBS will have at least one class receiving only a small portion of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (“IO” or interest-only class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (“PO” or principal-only class). The yield to maturity on IOs, POs and other mortgage-backed securities that are purchased at a substantial premium or discount generally are extremely sensitive not only to changes in prevailing interest rates but also to the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying mortgage assets, and a rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on such securities’ yield to maturity. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities even if the securities have received the highest rating by a NRSRO.

SMBS have greater volatility than other types of securities. Although SMBS are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, the market for such securities has not yet been fully developed. Accordingly, the secondary market for SMBS may be more volatile and have lower liquidity than that for other MBS, potentially limiting the Fund’s ability to buy or sell SMBS at any particular time.

Collateralized mortgage obligations. Another type of security representing an interest in a pool of mortgage loans is known as a collateralized mortgage obligation (“CMO”). CMOs represent interests in a short-term, intermediate-term or long-term portion of a mortgage pool. Each portion of the pool receives monthly interest payments, but the principal repayments pass through to the short-term CMO first and to the long-term CMO last. A CMO permits an investor to more accurately predict the rate of principal repayments. CMOs are issued by private issuers, such as broker-dealers, and by government agencies, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Investments in CMOs are subject to the same risks as direct investments in the underlying mortgage-backed securities. In addition, in the event of a bankruptcy or other default of a broker that issued the CMO held by the Fund, the Fund could experience delays in liquidating both its position and losses. The Fund may invest in CMOs in any rating category of the recognized rating services and may invest in unrated CMOs. The Fund may also invest in “stripped” CMOs, which represent only the income portion or the principal portion of the CMO. The values of stripped CMOs are very sensitive to interest rate changes; accordingly, these instruments present a greater risk of loss than conventional mortgage-backed securities.

Tiered index bonds. Tiered index bonds are relatively new forms of mortgage-related securities. The interest rate on a tiered index bond is tied to a specified index or market rate. So long as this index or market rate is below a predetermined “strike” rate, the interest rate on the tiered index bond remains fixed. If, however, the specified index or market rate rises above the “strike” rate, the interest rate of the tiered index bond will decrease. Thus, under these circumstances, the interest rate on a tiered index bond, like an inverse floater, will move in the opposite direction of prevailing interest rates, with the result that the price of the tiered index bond would decline and may be considerably more volatile than that of a fixed-rate bond.

Other Asset-Backed Securities – Additional Information

Similar to mortgage-backed securities, other types of asset-backed securities may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government (including those whose securities are neither guaranteed nor insured by the U.S. government), foreign governments (or their agencies or instrumentalities), or non-governmental issuers. These securities include securities backed by pools of automobile loans, educational loans, home equity loans, and credit card receivables. The underlying pools of assets are securitized through the use of trusts and special purpose entities. These securities may be subject to the risks described above under “Mortgage-Backed and Other Asset-Backed Securities — Generally,” including risks associated with changes in interest rates and prepayment of underlying obligations.

Certain types of asset-backed securities present additional risks that are not presented by mortgage-backed securities. In particular, certain types of asset-backed securities may not have the benefit of a security interest in the related assets. For example, many securities backed by credit card receivables are unsecured. Even when security interests are present, the ability of an issuer of certain types of asset-backed securities to enforce those interests may be more limited than that of an issuer of mortgage-backed securities. For instance, automobile receivables generally are secured by automobiles rather than by real property. Most issuers of automobile receivables permit loan servicers to retain possession of the underlying assets. In addition, because of the large number of underlying vehicles involved in a typical issue of asset-backed securities and technical requirements under state law, the trustee for the holders of the automobile receivables may not have a proper security interest in all of the automobiles. Therefore, recoveries on repossessed automobiles may not be available to support payments on these securities.

 

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In addition, certain types of asset-backed securities may experience losses on the underlying assets as a result of certain rights provided to consumer debtors under federal and state law. In the case of certain consumer debt, such as credit card debt, debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on their credit cards (or other debt), thereby reducing their balances due. For instance, a debtor may be able to offset certain damages for which a court has determined that the creditor is liable to the debtor against amounts owed to the creditor by the debtor on his or her credit card.

Additionally, an asset-backed security is subject to risks associated with the servicing agent’s or originator’s performance. For example, a servicing agent or originator’s mishandling of documentation related to the underlying collateral (e.g., failure to properly document a security interest in the underlying collateral) may affect the rights of the security holders in and to the underlying collateral.

Asset-backed commercial paper. The Fund may purchase commercial paper, including asset-backed commercial paper (“ABCP”) that is issued by structured investment vehicles or other conduits. These conduits may be sponsored by mortgage companies, investment banking firms, finance companies, hedge funds, private equity firms and special purpose finance entities. ABCP typically refers to a debt security with an original term to maturity of up to 270 days, the payment of which is supported by cash flows from underlying assets, or one or more liquidity or credit support providers, or both. Assets backing ABCP, which may be included in revolving pools of assets with large numbers of obligors, include credit card, car loan and other consumer receivables and home or commercial mortgages, including subprime mortgages. The repayment of ABCP issued by a conduit depends primarily on the cash collections received from the conduit’s underlying asset portfolio and the conduit’s ability to issue new ABCP. Therefore, there could be losses to the Fund investing in ABCP in the event of credit or market value deterioration in the conduit’s underlying portfolio, mismatches in the timing of the cash flows of the underlying asset interests and the repayment obligations of maturing ABCP, or the conduit’s inability to issue new ABCP. To protect investors from these risks, ABCP programs may be structured with various protections, such as credit enhancement, liquidity support, and commercial paper stop-issuance and wind-down triggers. However there can be no guarantee that these protections will be sufficient to prevent losses to investors in ABCP.

Some ABCP programs provide for an extension of the maturity date of the ABCP if, on the related maturity date, the conduit is unable to access sufficient liquidity through the issue of additional ABCP. This may delay the sale of the underlying collateral and the Fund may incur a loss if the value of the collateral deteriorates during the extension period. Alternatively, if collateral for ABCP deteriorates in value, the collateral may be required to be sold at inopportune times or at prices insufficient to repay the principal and interest on the ABCP. ABCP programs may provide for the issuance of subordinated notes as an additional form of credit enhancement. The subordinated notes are typically of a lower credit quality and have a higher risk of default. A fund purchasing these subordinated notes will therefore have a higher likelihood of loss than investors in the senior notes.

Collateralized debt obligations. The Fund may invest in collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), which include collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CDOs are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is a trust or other special purpose entity (“SPE”) which is typically backed by a diversified pool of fixed income securities (which may include high risk, below investment grade securities). A CLO is a trust or other SPE that is typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and non-U.S. senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. Although certain CDOs may receive credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, over-collateralization or bond insurance, such enhancement may not always be present, and may fail to protect the Fund against the risk of loss on default of the collateral. Certain CDOs may use derivatives contracts to create “synthetic” exposure to assets rather than holding such assets directly, which entails the risks of derivative instruments described elsewhere in this SAI. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of the Fund.

For both CBOs and CLOs, the cashflows from the SPE are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche, which bears the first loss from defaults from the bonds or loans in the SPE and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default (though such protection is not complete). Since it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CBO or CLO typically has higher ratings and lower yields than its underlying securities, and may be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO or CLO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as investor aversion to CBO or CLO securities as a class. Interest

 

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on certain tranches of a CDO may be paid in kind (paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments.

The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the CDO in which the Fund invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus, are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in CDOs may be characterized by the Fund as illiquid securities. However, an active dealer market may exist for CDOs, allowing a CDO to qualify for Rule 144A transactions. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed income securities discussed elsewhere in this SAI and the Prospectus (e.g., interest rate risk and credit risk), CDOs carry additional risks including, but not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the collateral may decline in value or default or its credit rating may be downgraded, if rated by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization; (iii) the Fund may invest in tranches of CDOs that are subordinate to other tranches; (iv) the complex structure of the security may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results; and (v) the CDO’s manager may perform poorly.

Forward Roll Transactions

In a forward roll transaction, also known as a mortgage dollar roll, the Fund sells MBS for delivery in the current month and simultaneously contracts to repurchase substantially similar (same type, coupon and maturity) MBS on a specified future date. The Fund may enter into a forward roll transaction commitment with the intention of entering into an offsetting transaction whereby, rather than accepting delivery of the security on the specified future date, the Fund sells the security and then agrees to repurchase a similar security at a later time. In this case, the Fund forgoes interest on the security during the roll period and is compensated by the interest earned on the cash proceeds of the initial sale of the security and by the difference between the sale price and the lower repurchase price at the future date.

Forward roll transactions involve the risk that the market value of the securities the Fund is obligated to repurchase under the agreement may decline below the repurchase price. In the event the buyer of securities under a forward roll transaction files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, the Fund’s use of proceeds of the forward roll transaction may be restricted pending a determination by the other party, or its trustee or receiver, whether to enforce the Fund’s obligation to repurchase the securities.

Forward roll transactions may have a leveraging effect on the Fund, making the value of an investment in the Fund more volatile and increasing the Fund’s overall investment exposure. Successful use of forward roll transactions may depend on the portfolio manager’s ability to correctly predict interest rates and prepayments. There is no assurance that forward roll transactions can be successfully employed.

Municipal Securities

Municipal securities (which are also referred to herein as “municipal obligations” or “municipal bonds”) generally include debt obligations (including, but not limited to bonds, notes or commercial paper) issued by or on behalf of any of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and public authorities, certain other governmental issuers (such as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam) or other qualifying issuers, participations or other interests in these securities and other related investments. The interest paid on municipal securities is generally excluded from gross income for regular U.S. federal income tax purposes, although it may be subject to a U.S. federal alternative minimum tax (“AMT”). To the extent the Fund invests in municipal securities, it does not anticipate holding municipal securities in sufficient quantities to qualify to pay exempt-interest dividends. As a result, distributions to Fund shareholders are expected to be treated for federal income tax purposes as ordinary dividends without regard to the character of any interest that was received on municipal securities.

Municipal securities are issued to obtain funds for various public purposes, including the construction of a wide range of public facilities, such as airports, bridges, highways, housing, hospitals, mass transportation, schools, streets, water and sewer works, gas, and electric utilities. They may also be issued to refund outstanding obligations, to obtain funds for general operating expenses, or to obtain funds to loan to other public institutions and facilities and in anticipation of the receipt of revenue or the issuance of other obligations.

The two principal classifications of municipal securities are “general obligation” securities and “limited obligation” or “revenue” securities. General obligation securities are secured by a municipal issuer’s pledge of its full faith, credit, and taxing

 

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power for the payment of principal and interest. Accordingly, the capacity of the issuer of a general obligation bond to pay interest and repay principal when due is affected by the issuer’s maintenance of its tax base. Revenue securities are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise tax or other specific revenue source. Accordingly, the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal in accordance with the terms of the revenue security is a function of the economic viability of the facility or revenue source. Revenue securities include private activity bonds which are not payable from the unrestricted revenues of the issuer. Consequently, the credit quality of private activity bonds is usually directly related to the credit standing of the corporate user of the facility involved. Municipal securities may also include “moral obligation” bonds, which are normally issued by special purpose public authorities. If the issuer of moral obligation bonds is unable to meet its debt service obligations from current revenues, it may draw on a reserve fund the restoration of which is a moral commitment but not a legal obligation of the state or municipality which created the issuer.

Private Activity Bonds. Private activity bonds are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to provide funds, usually through a loan or lease arrangement, to a private entity for the purpose of financing construction of privately operated industrial facilities, such as warehouse, office, plant and storage facilities and environmental and pollution control facilities. Such bonds are secured primarily by revenues derived from loan repayments or lease payments due from the entity, which may or may not be guaranteed by a parent company or otherwise secured. Private activity bonds generally are not secured by a pledge of the taxing power of the issuer of such bonds. Therefore, repayment of such bonds generally depends on the revenue of a private entity. The continued ability of an entity to generate sufficient revenues for the payment of principal and interest on such bonds will be affected by many factors, including the size of the entity, its capital structure, demand for its products or services, competition, general economic conditions, government regulation and the entity’s dependence on revenues for the operation of the particular facility being financed.

Under U.S. federal income tax law, interest on municipal bonds issued after August 7, 1986 which are specified private activity bonds, and the proportionate share of any exempt-interest dividend paid by a regulated investment company that receives interest from such private activity bonds, will be treated as an item of tax preference for purposes of the AMT. For regular U.S. federal income tax purposes such interest is tax-exempt. Bonds issued in 2009 and 2010 generally will not be treated as private activity bonds, and interest earned on such bonds generally will not be treated as a tax preference item.

Industrial Development Bonds. Industrial development bonds (“IDBs”) are issued by public authorities to obtain funds to provide financing for privately-operated facilities for business and manufacturing, housing, sports, convention or trade show facilities, airport, mass transit, port and parking facilities, air or water pollution control facilities, and certain facilities for water supply, gas, electricity or sewerage or solid waste disposal. Although IDBs are issued by municipal authorities, the payment of principal and interest on IDBs is dependent solely on the ability of the user of the facilities financed by the bonds to meet its financial obligations and the pledge, if any, of the real and personal property being financed as security for such payments. IDBs are considered municipal securities if the interest paid is exempt from regular federal income tax. Interest earned on IDBs may be subject to the AMT.

Tender Option Bonds. In a tender option bond (“TOB”) transaction, a tender option bond trust (“TOB Trust”) issues floating rate certificates (“TOB Floaters”) and residual interest certificates (“TOB Residuals” also known as an “inverse floaters”) and utilizes the proceeds of such issuance to purchase a bond, typically a fixed-rate municipal bond (“Fixed Rate Bond”). The Fund may invest in both TOB Floaters and TOB Residuals. The Fund may purchase a TOB Residual in the secondary market or purchase a TOB Residual from a TOB Trust where the Fixed-Rate Bond held by the TOB Trust was either owned or identified by the Fund. The TOB Floaters typically have first priority on the cash flow from the Fixed Rate Bond held by the trust, and the remaining cash flow, less certain expenses, is paid to holders of the TOB Residuals. Where the Fixed-Rate Bond held by the TOB Trust was either owned or identified by the Fund, the net proceeds of the sale of the TOB Floaters, after expenses, may be received by the Fund and may be invested in additional securities. This would generate economic leverage for the Fund.

TOB Residuals in which the Fund will invest will pay interest or income that, in the opinion of counsel to the applicable TOB Trust, is exempt from regular U.S. federal income tax. Neither the Fund, nor the Manager, nor the Subadviser will conduct its own analysis of the tax status of the interest or income paid by residual interest held by the Fund, but will rely on the opinion of counsel to the applicable TOB Trust. There is a risk that the Fund will not be considered the owner of a TOB for federal income tax purposes, and in that case it would not be entitled to treat such interest as exempt from federal income tax.

 

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Typically, a liquidity provider is engaged to purchase the TOB Floaters at their original purchase price plus accrued interest upon the occurrence of certain events, such as the failure to remarket a certain percentage of the floating rate interests in a timely fashion, the downgrading (but typically not below investment grade or in connection with events indicating that bankruptcy of the issuer may be likely) of the bonds held by the TOB Trust, or certain regulatory or tax events. A Fund participating in a TOB transaction will bear the fees paid to the liquidity provider for providing the put option to the holders of the TOB Floaters. If the liquidity provider acquires the TOB Floaters upon the occurrence of an event described above, the liquidity provider generally will be entitled to an in-kind distribution of the Fixed Rate Bond held by the TOB Trust or to cause the TOB Trust to sell the securities and distribute the proceeds to the liquidity provider.

The TOB Trust may be collapsed without the consent of the Fund upon the occurrence of tender option termination events (“TOTEs”) and mandatory termination events (“MTEs”), as defined in the TOB Trust agreements. TOTEs typically include the bankruptcy or default of the issuer of the Fixed-Rate Bonds held in the TOB Trust, a substantial downgrade in the credit quality of the issuer of the Fixed-Rate Bonds held in the TOB Trust, failure of any scheduled payment of principal or interest on the Fixed-Rate Bonds, and a judgment or ruling that interest on the Fixed-Rate Bonds is subject to U.S. federal income taxation. MTEs may include, among other things, a failed remarketing of the TOB Floaters, the inability of the TOB Trust to obtain renewal of the liquidity support agreement, and a substantial decline in the market value of the Fixed-Rate Bonds held in the TOB Trust. Upon the occurrence of a TOTE or an MTE, a TOB Trust would be liquidated with the proceeds applied first to any accrued fees owed to the trustee of the TOB Trust, the remarketing agent of the TOB Floaters and the liquidity provider. In the case of an MTE, after the payment of fees, the holders of the TOB Floaters would be paid senior to the TOB Residual holders. In contrast, generally in the case of a TOTE, after payment of fees, the holders of TOB Floaters and the TOB Residual holders would be paid pro rata in proportion to the respective face values of their certificates.

The Fund may invest in a TOB Trust on either a non-recourse and recourse basis. TOB Trusts are typically supported by a liquidity facility provided by a third-party bank or other financial institution (the “liquidity provider”) that allows the holders of the TOB Floaters to tender their TOB Floaters in exchange for payment of par plus accrued interest on any business day (subject to the non-occurrence of a TOTE described above). Depending on the structure of the TOB Trust, the liquidity provider may purchase the tendered TOB Floaters, or the TOB Trust may draw upon a loan from the liquidity provider to purchase the tendered TOB Floaters.

When the Fund invests in TOB Trusts on a non-recourse basis, and the liquidity provider is required to make a payment under the liquidity facility, the liquidity provider will typically liquidate all or a portion of the fixed-income bonds held in the TOB Trust and then fund the balance, if any, of the amount owed under the liquidity facility over the liquidation proceeds (the “Liquidation Shortfall”). If the Fund invests in a TOB Trust on a recourse basis, it will typically enter into a reimbursement agreement with the liquidity provider pursuant to which the Fund is required to reimburse the liquidity provider the amount of any Liquidation Shortfall. As a result, if the Fund invests in a recourse TOB Trust, the Fund will bear the risk of loss with respect to any Liquidation Shortfall. The net economic effect of this agreement is to treat the Fund as though it had entered into a special type of reverse repurchase agreement pursuant to which the Fund is required to repurchase the municipal bonds or other securities upon the occurrence of certain events. Such an arrangement may expose the Fund to a risk of loss that exceeds its investment in the TOB and the residual interest income received by the Fund.

In a non-recourse transaction, the Fund does not expect to pay the liquidity provider in the event that it suffers a loss. However, the Fund might incur a loss if the liquidity provider liquidates the TOB Trust at an inopportune time. Even if a TOB transaction was entered into on a non-recourse basis, under certain circumstances it might be in the Fund’s interest to later agree to a recourse arrangement in order to prevent the liquidity provider from terminating the TOB Trust at that time.

Transactions in the short-term floating rate interests of TOBs are generally facilitated by a remarketing agent for the TOB Trust, which sets an interest rate for the securities periodically, usually every 7-35 days. Holders of the floating rate securities usually have the right to require the TOB Trust or a specified third party acting as agent for the TOB Trust (such as the liquidity provider) to purchase the bonds, usually at par plus accrued interest, at a certain time or times prior to maturity or upon the occurrence of specified events or conditions. The put option or tender option right is typically available to the investor on a periodic (daily, weekly or monthly) basis. Typically, the put option is exercisable on dates on which the interest rate changes. A failure to remarket typically requires the liquidity provider to purchase the floating rate interests and in turn the liquidity provider may have recourse to the TOB Trust and to the Fund, as described above. A Fund participating in a TOB transaction will also bear the fees paid to the remarketing agent and or tender agent for providing services to the TOB Trust.

 

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If the Fund purchases all or a portion of the short-term floating rate securities sold by the TOB Trust, it is usually permitted to surrender those short-term floating rate securities together with a proportionate amount of residual interests to the trustee of the TOB Trust in exchange for a proportionate amount of the municipal bonds or other securities held by the TOB Trust.

In December 2013, U.S. regulators finalized rules implementing Section 619 (the “Volcker Rule”) and Section 941 (the “Risk Retention Rules”) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), both of which place restrictions on TOB Trust sponsors and their participation in TOB transactions. TOB Trusts and related transactions are generally considered to be subject to the limitations of the Volcker Rule and, thus, may not be sponsored by a banking entity absent an applicable exemption. No exemption to the Volcker Rule exists that would allow covered banking entities to sponsor TOB Trusts in the same manner as they did prior to the Volcker Rule’s compliance date in 2017.

In response to the Volcker Rule, industry participants developed alternative structures for TOB financings in which service providers are engaged to assist with establishing, structuring and sponsoring TOB Trusts. The service providers, such as administrators, liquidity providers, trustees and remarketing agents act at the direction of, and as agent of, the Fund holding residual interests of the TOB trust. This new structure and any other strategies that may be developed to address the Volcker Rule may be more or less advantageous to the Fund than obtaining leverage through existing TOB transactions. In addition, the Fund, rather than a bank entity, may be the sponsor of the TOB Trust and undertakes certain responsibilities that previously belonged to the sponsor bank. Although the Fund may use third-party service providers to complete some of these additional responsibilities, being the sponsor of the TOB Trust may give rise to certain additional risks including compliance, securities law and operational risks.

The Risk Retention Rules, which took effect in 2016, require the sponsor of a TOB Trust to retain at least five percent of the credit risk of the underlying assets supporting the TOB Trust’s underlying securities. The Risk Retention Rules may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to engage in TOB Trust transactions or increase the costs of such transactions in certain circumstances. Other accounts managed by the subadviser may contribute bonds to a TOB Trust into which the Fund has contributed bonds. If multiple accounts/funds managed by the subadviser participate in the same TOB Trust, the economic rights and obligations under the TOB Residual will generally be shared among the funds/accounts ratably in proportion to their participation in the TOB Trust.

Separately, the Fund will treat reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions, including TOB Trust transactions, either (i) consistently with Section 18 of the 1940 Act, by maintaining asset coverage of at least 300% of the value of such transactions or (ii) as derivatives transactions for purposes of Rule 18f-4, including, as applicable, the value-at-risk based limit on leverage risk.

Municipal Leases. Municipal leases or installment purchase contracts are issued by a U.S. state or local government to acquire equipment or facilities. Municipal leases frequently have special risks not normally associated with general obligation bonds or revenue bonds. Many leases include “non-appropriation” clauses that provide that the governmental issuer has no obligation to make future payments under the lease or contract unless money is appropriated for such purpose by the appropriate legislative body on a yearly or other periodic basis. Although the obligations are typically secured by the leased equipment or facilities, the disposition of the property in the event of non-appropriation or foreclosure might, in some cases, prove difficult or, if sold, may not fully cover the Fund’s exposure.

Participation Interests. Tax-exempt participation interests in municipal obligations (such as private activity bonds and municipal lease obligations) are typically issued by a financial institution. A participation interest gives the Fund an undivided interest in the municipal obligation in the proportion that the Fund’s participation interest bears to the total principal amount of the municipal obligation. Participation interests in municipal obligations may be backed by an irrevocable letter of credit or guarantee of, or a right to put to, a bank (which may be the bank issuing the participation interest, a bank issuing a confirming letter of credit to that of the issuing bank, or a bank serving as agent of the issuing bank with respect to the possible repurchase of the participation interest) or insurance policy of an insurance company. The Fund has the right to sell the participation interest back to the institution or draw on the letter of credit or insurance after a specified period of notice, for all or any part of the full principal amount of the Fund’s participation in the security, plus accrued interest.

Issuers of participation interests will retain a service and letter of credit fee and a fee for providing the liquidity feature, in an amount equal to the excess of the interest paid on the instruments over the negotiated yield at which the participations were purchased on behalf of the Fund. The issuer of the participation interest may bear the cost of insurance backing the participation interest, although the Fund may also purchase insurance, in which case the cost of insurance will be an

 

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expense of the Fund. Participation interests may be sold prior to maturity. Participation interests may include municipal lease obligations. Purchase of a participation interest may involve the risk that the Fund will not be deemed to be the owner of the underlying municipal obligation for purposes of the ability to claim tax exemption of interest paid on that municipal obligation.

Municipal Notes. There are four major varieties of municipal notes: Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (“TRANs”); Tax Anticipation Notes (“TANs”); Revenue Anticipation Notes (“RANs”); and Bond Anticipation Notes (“BANs”). TRANs, TANs and RANs are issued by U.S. states, municipalities and other tax-exempt issuers to finance short-term cash needs or, occasionally, to finance construction. Many TRANs, TANs and RANs are general obligations of the issuing entity payable from taxes or designated revenues, respectively, expected to be received within the related fiscal period. BANs are issued with the expectation that their principal and interest will be paid out of proceeds from renewal notes or bonds to be issued prior to the maturity of the BANs. BANs are issued most frequently by both general obligation and revenue bond issuers usually to finance such items as land acquisition, facility acquisition and/or construction and capital improvement projects.

Tax-Exempt Commercial Paper. Tax-exempt commercial paper is a short-term obligation with a stated maturity of 270 days or less. It is issued by state and local governments or their agencies to finance seasonal working capital needs or as short-term financing in anticipation of longer term financing. Although tax-exempt commercial paper is intended to be repaid from general revenues or refinanced, it frequently is backed by a letter of credit, lending arrangement, note repurchase agreement or other credit facility agreement offered by a bank or financial institution.

Demand Instruments. Municipal bonds may be issued as floating- or variable-rate securities subject to demand features (“demand instruments”). Demand instruments usually have a stated maturity of more than one year but contain a demand feature (or “put”) that enables the holder to redeem the investment. Variable-rate demand instruments provide for automatic establishment of a new interest rate on set dates. Floating-rate demand instruments provide for automatic adjustment of interest rates whenever a specified interest rate (e.g., the prime rate) changes.

These floating and variable rate instruments are payable upon a specified period of notice which may range from one day up to one year. The terms of the instruments provide that interest rates are adjustable at intervals ranging from daily to up to one year and the adjustments are based upon the prime rate of a bank or other appropriate interest rate adjustment index as provided in the respective instruments. Variable rate instruments include participation interests in variable- or fixed-rate municipal obligations owned by a bank, insurance company or other financial institution or affiliated organizations. Although the rate of the underlying municipal obligations may be fixed, the terms of the participation interest may result in the Fund receiving a variable rate on its investment.

Because of the variable nature of the instruments when prevailing interest rates decline, the yield on these instruments generally will decline. On the other hand, during periods when prevailing interest rates increase, the yield on these instruments generally will increase and the instruments will have less risk of capital depreciation than instruments bearing a fixed rate of return.

Stand-By Commitments. Under a stand-by commitment a dealer agrees to purchase, at the Fund’s option, specified municipal obligations held by the Fund at a specified price and, in this respect, stand-by commitments are comparable to put options. A stand-by commitment entitles the holder to achieve same day settlement and to receive an exercise price equal to the amortized cost of the underlying security plus accrued interest, if any, at the time of exercise. The Fund will be subject to credit risk with respect to an institution providing a stand-by commitment and a decline in the credit quality of the institution could cause losses to the Fund.

The Fund will generally acquire stand-by commitments to facilitate fund liquidity. The cost of entering into stand-by commitments will increase the cost of the underlying municipal obligation and similarly will decrease such security’s yield to investors. Gains, if any, realized in connection with stand-by commitments will be taxable.

Taxable Municipal Obligations. The market for U.S. taxable municipal obligations is relatively small, which may result in a lack of liquidity and in price volatility of those securities. Interest on taxable municipal obligations is includable in gross income for regular U.S. federal income tax purposes. While interest on taxable municipal obligations may be exempt from personal taxes imposed by the U.S. state within which the obligation is issued, such interest will nevertheless generally be subject to all other U.S. state and local income and franchise taxes.

 

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Additional Risks Relating to Municipal Securities

Tax Risk. The Code imposes certain continuing requirements on issuers of tax-exempt bonds regarding the use, expenditure and investment of bond proceeds and the payment of rebates to the U.S. government. Failure by the issuer to comply after the issuance of tax-exempt bonds with certain of these requirements could cause interest on the bonds to become includable in gross income retroactive to the date of issuance.

From time to time, proposals have been introduced before the U.S. Congress for the purpose of restricting or eliminating the U.S. federal income tax exemption for interest on municipal obligations. In this regard, for bonds issued after December 31, 2017, the tax-advantaged treatment previously available to “tax credit bonds” and “advance refunding bonds” is no longer available. Further, similar proposals may be introduced in the future. In addition, the U.S. federal income tax exemption has been, and may in the future be, the subject of litigation. If one of these proposals were enacted, or if any such litigation were adversely decided, the availability of tax-exempt obligations for investment by the Fund and the value of the Fund’s investments could be affected.

Opinions relating to the validity of municipal obligations and to the exclusion of interest thereon from gross income for regular federal and/or state income tax purposes are rendered by bond counsel to the respective issuers at the time of issuance. The Fund and its service providers will rely on such opinions and will not review the proceedings relating to the issuance of municipal obligations or the bases for such opinions.

Information Risk. Information about the financial condition of issuers of municipal obligations may be less available than about corporations whose securities are publicly traded.

U.S. State and Federal Law Risk. Municipal obligations are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors, such as the U.S. federal Bankruptcy Code, and laws, if any, that may be enacted by the U.S. Congress or state legislatures extending the time for payment of principal or interest, or both, or imposing other constraints upon enforcement of such obligations or upon the ability of municipalities to levy taxes. There is also the possibility that, as a result of litigation or other conditions, the power or ability of any one or more issuers to pay, when due, the principal of and interest on its or their municipal obligations may be materially affected.

Market and Ratings Risk. The yields on municipal obligations are dependent on a variety of factors, including economic and monetary conditions, general market conditions, supply and demand, general conditions of the municipal market, size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation and the rating of the issue. Adverse economic, business, legal or political developments might affect all or substantial portions of the Fund’s municipal obligations in the same manner.

Unfavorable developments in any economic sector may have far-reaching ramifications for the municipal market overall or any state’s municipal market. Although the ratings of tax-exempt securities by ratings agencies are relative and subjective, and are not absolute standards of quality, such ratings reflect the assessment of the ratings agency, at the time of issuance of the rating, of the economic viability of the issuer of a general obligation bond or, with respect to a revenue bond, the special revenue source, with respect to the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation, but do not reflect an assessment of the market value of the obligation. See Appendix B for additional information regarding ratings. Consequently, municipal obligations with the same maturity, coupon and rating may have different yields when purchased in the open market, while municipal obligations of the same maturity and coupon with different ratings may have the same yield.

Risks Associated with Sources of Liquidity or Credit Support. Issuers of municipal obligations may employ various forms of credit and liquidity enhancements, including letters of credit, guarantees, swaps, puts and demand features, and insurance, provided by U.S. or non-U.S. entities such as banks and other financial institutions. Changes in the credit quality of the entities providing the enhancement could affect the value of the securities or the Fund’s share price. U.S. banks and certain financial institutions are subject to extensive governmental regulation which may limit both the amounts and types of loans and other financial commitments which may be made and interest rates and fees which may be charged. Non-U.S. banks and financial institutions may be less regulated than their U.S. counterparts and may be subject to additional risks, such as those relating to foreign economic and political developments and foreign governmental restrictions. The profitability of the banking industry is largely dependent upon the availability and cost of capital for the purpose of financing lending operations under prevailing money market conditions. Also, general economic conditions play an important part in the operation of the banking

 

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industry, and exposure to credit losses arising from possible financial difficulties of borrowers might affect a bank’s ability to meet its obligations under a letter of credit.

Other. Securities may be sold in anticipation of a market decline (a rise in interest rates) or purchased in anticipation of a market rise (a decline in interest rates). In addition, a security may be sold and another purchased at approximately the same time to take advantage of what the portfolio manager believes to be a temporary disparity in the normal yield relationship between the two securities. In general, the secondary market for tax-exempt securities in the Fund’s portfolio may have lower liquidity than that for taxable fixed income securities. Accordingly, the ability of the Fund to make purchases and sales of securities in the foregoing manner may be limited. Yield disparities may occur for reasons not directly related to the investment quality of particular issues or the general movement of interest rates, but instead due to such factors as changes in the overall demand for or supply of various types of tax-exempt securities or changes in the investment objectives of investors.

Risks Inherent in an Investment in Different Types of Municipal Securities

General Obligation Bonds. General obligation bonds are backed by the issuer’s pledge of its full faith, credit and taxing power for the payment of principal and interest. However, the taxing power of any governmental entity may be limited by provisions of state constitutions or laws and an entity’s credit will depend on many factors. Some such factors are the entity’s tax base, the extent to which the entity relies on federal or state aid, and other factors which are beyond the entity’s control.

Industrial Development Revenue Bonds (“IDRs”). IDRs are tax-exempt securities issued by states, municipalities, public authorities or similar entities to finance the cost of acquiring, constructing or improving various projects. These projects are usually operated by corporate entities. IDRs are not general obligations of governmental entities backed by their taxing power. Issuers are only obligated to pay amounts due on the IDRs to the extent that funds are available from the unexpended proceeds of the IDRs or receipts or revenues of the issuer. Payment of IDRs is solely dependent upon the creditworthiness of the corporate operator of the project or corporate guarantor. Such corporate operators or guarantors that are industrial companies may be affected by many factors, which may have an adverse impact on the credit quality of the particular company or industry.

Hospital and Health Care Facility Bonds. The ability of hospitals and other health care facilities to meet their obligations with respect to revenue bonds issued on their behalf is dependent on various factors. Some such factors are the level of payments received from private third-party payors and government programs and the cost of providing health care services, as well as competition from other health care facilities and providers. There can be no assurance that payments under governmental programs will be sufficient to cover the costs associated with their bonds. It also may be necessary for a hospital or other health care facility to incur substantial capital expenditures or increased operating expenses to effect changes in its facilities, equipment, personnel and services. Hospitals and other health care facilities are additionally subject to claims and legal actions by patients and others in the ordinary course of business. There can be no assurance that a claim will not exceed the insurance coverage of a health care facility or that insurance coverage will be available to a facility.

Single Family and Multi-Family Housing Bonds. Multi-family housing revenue bonds and single family mortgage revenue bonds are state and local housing issues that have been issued to provide financing for various housing projects. Multi-family housing revenue bonds are payable primarily from mortgage loans to housing projects for low to moderate income families. Single-family mortgage revenue bonds are issued for the purpose of acquiring notes secured by mortgages on residences. The ability of housing issuers to make debt service payments on their obligations may be affected by various economic and non-economic factors. Such factors include: occupancy levels, adequate rental income in multi-family projects, the rate of default on mortgage loans underlying single family issues and the ability of mortgage insurers to pay claims. All single-family mortgage revenue bonds and certain multi-family housing revenue bonds are prepayable over the life of the underlying mortgage or mortgage pool. Therefore, the average life of housing obligations cannot be determined. However, the average life of these obligations will ordinarily be less than their stated maturities. Mortgage loans are frequently partially or completely prepaid prior to their final stated maturities.

Power Facility Bonds. The ability of utilities to meet their obligations with respect to bonds they issue is dependent on various factors. These factors include the rates that they may charge their customers, the demand for a utility’s services and the cost of providing those services. Utilities are also subject to extensive regulations relating to the rates which they may charge customers. Utilities can experience regulatory, political and consumer resistance to rate increases. Utilities engaged in long-term capital projects are especially sensitive to regulatory lags in granting rate increases. Utilities are additionally subject to increased costs due to governmental environmental regulation and decreased profits due to increasing competition. Any difficulty

 

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in obtaining timely and adequate rate increases could adversely affect a utility’s results of operations. The portfolio manager cannot predict with certainty the effect of such factors on the ability of issuers to meet their obligations with respect to bonds.

Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds. Water and sewer bonds are generally payable from user fees. The ability of state and local water and sewer authorities to meet their obligations may be affected by a number of factors. Some such factors are the failure of municipalities to utilize fully the facilities constructed by these authorities, declines in revenue from user charges, rising construction and maintenance costs, impact of environmental requirements, the difficulty of obtaining or discovering new supplies of fresh water, the effect of conservation programs, the impact of “no growth” zoning ordinances and the continued availability of federal and state financial assistance and of municipal bond insurance for future bond issues.

University and College Bonds. The ability of universities and colleges to meet their obligations is dependent upon various factors. Some of these factors of which an investor should be aware are the size and diversity of their sources of revenues, enrollment, reputation, management expertise, the availability and restrictions on the use of endowments and other funds and the quality and maintenance costs of campus facilities. Also, in the case of public institutions, the financial condition of the relevant state or other governmental entity and its policies with respect to education may affect an institution’s ability to make payments on its own.

Lease Rental Bonds. Lease rental bonds are predominantly issued by governmental authorities that have no taxing power or other means of directly raising revenues. Rather, the authorities are financing vehicles created solely for the construction of buildings or the purchase of equipment that will be used by a state or local government. Thus, the bonds are subject to the ability and willingness of the lessee government to meet its lease rental payments, which include debt service on the bonds. Lease rental bonds are subject to the risk that the lessee government is not legally obligated to budget and appropriate for the rental payments beyond the current fiscal year. These bonds are also subject to the risk of abatement in many states as rents cease in the event that damage, destruction or condemnation of the project prevents its use by the lessee. Also, in the event of default by the lessee government, there may be significant legal and/or practical difficulties involved in the reletting or sale of the project.

Capital Improvement Facility Bonds. Capital improvement bonds are bonds issued to provide funds to assist political subdivisions or agencies of a state through acquisition of the underlying debt of a state or local political subdivision or agency. The risks of an investment in such bonds include the risk of possible prepayment or failure of payment of proceeds on and default of the underlying debt.

Solid Waste Disposal Bonds. Bonds issued for solid waste disposal facilities are generally payable from tipping fees and from revenues that may be earned by the facility on the sale of electrical energy generated in the combustion of waste products. The ability of solid waste disposal facilities to meet their obligations depends upon the continued use of the facility, the successful and efficient operation of the facility and, in the case of waste-to-energy facilities, the continued ability of the facility to generate electricity on a commercial basis. Also, increasing environmental regulation on the federal, state and local level has a significant impact on waste disposal facilities. While regulation requires more waste producers to use waste disposal facilities, it also imposes significant costs on the facilities.

Moral Obligation Bonds. A moral obligation bond is a type of revenue bond issued by a state or municipality pursuant to legislation authorizing the establishment of a reserve fund to pay principal and interest payments if the issuer is unable to meet its obligations. The establishment of such a reserve fund generally requires appropriation by the state legislature, which is not legally required. Accordingly, the establishment of a reserve fund is generally considered a moral commitment but not a legal obligation of the state or municipality that created the issuer.

Pre-Refunded Bonds. Pre-refunded bonds are typically secured by direct obligations of the U.S. government, or in some cases obligations guaranteed by the U.S. government, placed in an escrow account maintained by an independent trustee until maturity or a predetermined redemption date. These obligations are generally non-callable prior to maturity or the predetermined redemption date. In a few isolated instances to date, however, bonds which were thought to be escrowed to maturity have been called for redemption prior to maturity. For credit ratings purposes, pre-refunded bonds are deemed to be unrated. The Subadviser determines the credit quality of pre-refunded bonds based on the quality of the escrowed collateral and such other factors as the Subadviser deems appropriate.

 

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Airport, Port and Highway Revenue Bonds. Certain facility revenue bonds are payable from and secured by the revenue from the ownership and operation of particular facilities, such as airports, highways and port authorities. Airport operating income may be affected by the ability of airlines to meet their obligations under the agreements with airports. Similarly, payment on bonds related to other facilities is dependent on revenues from the projects, such as use fees from ports, tolls on turnpikes and bridges and rents from buildings. Therefore, payment may be adversely affected by reduction in revenues due to such factors and increased cost of maintenance or decreased use of a facility. The portfolio manager cannot predict what effect conditions may have on revenues which are required for payment on these bonds.

Special Tax Bonds. Special tax bonds are payable from and secured by the revenues derived by a municipality from a particular tax. Examples of such special taxes are a tax on the rental of a hotel room, the purchase of food and beverages, the rental of automobiles or the consumption of liquor. Special tax bonds are not secured by the general tax revenues of the municipality, and they do not represent general obligations of the municipality. Therefore, payment on special tax bonds may be adversely affected by a reduction in revenues realized from the underlying special tax. Also, should spending on the particular goods or services that are subject to the special tax decline, the municipality may be under no obligation to increase the rate of the special tax to ensure that sufficient revenues are raised from the shrinking taxable base.

Tax Allocation Bonds. Tax allocation bonds are typically secured by incremental tax revenues collected on property within the areas where redevelopment projects financed by bond proceeds are located. Such payments are expected to be made from projected increases in tax revenues derived from higher assessed values of property resulting from development in the particular project area and not from an increase in tax rates. Special risk considerations include: reduction of, or a less than anticipated increase in, taxable values of property in the project area; successful appeals by property owners of assessed valuations; substantial delinquencies in the payment of property taxes; or imposition of any constitutional or legislative property tax rate decrease.

Tobacco Settlement Revenue Bonds. Tobacco settlement revenue bonds are secured by a state or local government’s proportionate share in the Master Settlement Agreement (“MSA”). The MSA is an agreement, reached out of court in November 1998 between the attorneys general of 46 states (Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi and Texas all settled independently) and six other U.S. jurisdictions (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam), and the four largest U.S. tobacco manufacturers at that time (Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, and Lorillard). Subsequently, smaller tobacco manufacturers signed on to the MSA. The MSA basically provides for payments annually by the manufacturers to the states and jurisdictions in perpetuity, in exchange for releases of all claims against the manufacturers and a pledge of no further litigation. The MSA established a base payment schedule and a formula for adjusting payments each year. Manufacturers pay into a master escrow trust based on their market share, and each state receives a fixed percentage of the payment as set forth in the MSA. Annual payments are highly dependent on annual U.S. cigarette shipments and inflation, as well as several other factors. As a result, payments made by tobacco manufacturers could be reduced if there is a decrease in tobacco consumption over time. A market share loss by the MSA companies to non-MSA participating manufacturers would also cause a downward adjustment in the payment amounts. A participating manufacturer filing for bankruptcy could cause delays or reductions in bond payments.

Certain tobacco settlement revenue bonds are issued with “turbo” redemption features. Under this turbo structure, all available excess revenues are applied as an early redemption to the designated first turbo maturity until it is completely repaid, and then to the next turbo maturity until paid in full, and so on. The result is that the returned principal creates an average maturity that could be much shorter than the legal final maturity.

Transit Authority Bonds. Mass transit is generally not self-supporting from fare revenues. Therefore, additional financial resources must be made available to ensure operation of mass transit systems as well as the timely payment of debt service. Often such financial resources include federal and state subsidies, lease rentals paid by funds of the state or local government or a pledge of a special tax. If fare revenues or the additional financial resources do not increase appropriately to pay for rising operating expenses, the ability of the issuer to adequately service the debt may be adversely affected.

Convention Facility Bonds. Bonds in the convention facilities category include special limited obligation securities issued to finance convention and sports facilities payable from rental payments and annual governmental appropriations. The governmental agency is not obligated to make payments in any year in which the monies have not been appropriated to make such payments. In addition, these facilities are limited use facilities that may not be used for purposes other than as convention centers or sports facilities.

 

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Correctional Facility Bonds. Bonds in the correctional facilities category include special limited obligation securities issued to construct, rehabilitate and purchase correctional facilities payable from governmental rental payments and/or appropriations. An issuer’s ability to pay its lease obligations under these bonds could be adversely affected by a number of factors, including insufficient occupancy rates, unanticipated costs (such as legal claims), or the reduction or discontinuation of legislative appropriations.

Land-Secured or “Dirt” Bonds. Land-secured or “dirt” bonds are issued in connection with special taxing districts that are organized to plan and finance infrastructure development to induce residential, commercial and industrial growth and redevelopment. Obligations under these bonds are generally payable solely from taxes (using methods such as tax assessments, special taxes or tax increment financing) or other revenues attributable to the specific projects financed by the bonds, without recourse to the credit or taxing power of related or overlapping municipalities. The projects to which these bonds relate often are exposed to real estate development-related risks, such as the failure of property development, unavailability of financing, extended vacancies of properties, increased competition, limitations on rents, changes in neighborhood values, lessening demand for properties, and changes in interest rates. These real estate risks may be heightened if a project is subject to foreclosure and, in that event, the Fund, as a holder of the bonds, might be required to pay certain maintenance or operating expenses or taxes relating to the project. In addition, the bonds financing these projects may have more taxpayer concentration risk than general tax-supported bonds. Further, the fees, special taxes, or tax allocations and other revenues that are established to secure such financings generally are limited as to the rate or amount that may be levied or assessed and are not subject to increase pursuant to rate covenants or municipal or corporate guarantees. The bonds could default if a development fails to progress as anticipated or if taxpayers fail to pay the assessments, fees and taxes as provided in the financing plans of the projects.

Preferred Securities

There are two basic types of preferred securities: traditional and hybrid-preferred securities. Traditional preferred securities consist of preferred stock issued by an entity taxable as a corporation. Preferred stocks, which may offer fixed or floating rate dividends, are perpetual instruments and considered equity securities. Preferred stocks are subordinated to debt instruments in a company’s capital structure, in terms of priority to corporate income and claim to corporate assets, and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than debt instruments. Alternatively, hybrid-preferred securities may be issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest-bearing notes with preferred securities characteristics, or by an affiliated trust or partnership of the corporation, generally in the form of preferred interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities. The hybrid-preferred securities market consists of both fixed and adjustable coupon rate securities that are either perpetual in nature or have stated maturity dates.

Traditional Preferred Securities. Traditional preferred securities pay fixed or floating dividends to investors and have “preference” over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of a company’s assets. This means that a company must pay dividends on preferred stock before paying any dividends on its common stock. In order to be payable, distributions on such preferred securities must be declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Income payments on preferred securities may be cumulative, causing dividends and distributions to accumulate even if not declared by the board of directors or otherwise made payable. In such a case, all accumulated dividends must be paid before any dividend on the common stock can be paid. However, many traditional preferred stocks are non-cumulative, in which case dividends do not accumulate and need not ever be paid. There is no assurance that dividends or distributions on the traditional preferred securities in which the Fund invests will be declared or otherwise made payable. Preferred securities may also contain provisions under which payments must be stopped (i.e., stoppage is compulsory, not discretionary). The conditions under which this occurs may relate to, for instance, capitalization levels. Hence, if a company incurs significant losses that deplete retained earnings automatic payment stoppage could occur. In some cases the terms of the preferred securities provide that the issuer would be obligated to attempt to issue common shares to raise funds for the purpose of making the preferred payments. However, there is no guarantee that the issuer would be successful in placing common shares.

Preferred stockholders usually have no right to vote for corporate directors or on other matters. Shares of traditional preferred securities have a liquidation preference that generally equals the original purchase price at the date of issuance. The market value of preferred securities may be affected by, among other factors, favorable and unfavorable changes impacting the issuer or industries in which they operate, movements in interest rates and inflation, and the broader economic and credit environments, and by actual and anticipated changes in tax laws, such as changes in corporate and individual income tax rates.

 

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Because the claim on an issuer’s earnings represented by traditional preferred securities may become onerous when interest rates fall below the rate payable on such securities, the issuer may redeem the securities. Thus, in declining interest rate environments in particular, the Fund’s holdings of higher rate-paying fixed rate preferred securities may be reduced, and the Fund may be unable to acquire securities of comparable credit quality paying comparable rates with the redemption proceeds.

Hybrid-Preferred Securities. Hybrid-preferred securities are typically junior and fully subordinated liabilities of an issuer or the beneficiary of a guarantee that is junior and fully subordinated to the other liabilities of the guarantor. In addition, hybrid-preferred securities typically permit an issuer to defer the payment of income for eighteen months or more without triggering an event of default. Generally, the maximum deferral period is five years. Because of their subordinated position in the capital structure of an issuer, the ability to defer payments for extended periods of time without default consequences to the issuer, and certain other features (such as restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when full cumulative payments on the hybrid preferred securities have not been made), these hybrid-preferred securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors. Hybrid-preferred securities have many of the key characteristics of equity due to their subordinated position in an issuer’s capital structure and because their quality and value are heavily dependent on the profitability of the issuer rather than on any legal claims to specific assets or cash flows. Hybrid-preferred securities include, but are not limited to, trust preferred securities (TRUPS®); enhanced trust preferred securities (Enhanced TRUPS®); trust-originated preferred securities (TOPrS®); monthly-income preferred securities (MIPS®); quarterly-income bond securities (QUIBS®); quarterly-income debt securities (QUIDS®); quarterly-income preferred securities (QUIPSSM); corporate trust securities (CorTS®); public income notes (PINES®); and other hybrid-preferred securities. Hybrid-preferred securities are typically issued with a final maturity date. In certain instances, a final maturity date may be extended and/or the final payment of principal may be deferred at the issuer’s option for a specified time without default. No redemption can typically take place unless all cumulative payment obligations have been met, although issuers may be able to engage in open-market repurchases without regard to whether all payments have been paid.

Many hybrid-preferred securities are issued by trusts or other special purpose entities established by operating companies and are not a direct obligation of an operating company. At the time the trust or special purpose entity sells such preferred securities to investors, it purchases debt of the operating company (with terms comparable to those of the trust or special purpose entity securities), and the operating company deducts for tax purposes the interest paid on the debt held by the trust or special purpose entity. The trust or special purpose entity is generally required to be treated as transparent for U.S. federal income tax purposes such that the holders of the trust preferred securities are treated as owning beneficial interests in the underlying debt of the operating company. Accordingly, payments on the hybrid-preferred securities are generally treated as interest rather than dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, are not eligible for the dividends-received deduction for corporate taxpayers or the reduced rates of tax that apply to qualified dividend income for non-corporate taxpayers. The trust or special purpose entity in turn is a holder of the operating company’s debt and has priority with respect to the operating company’s earnings and profits over the operating company’s common stockholders, but is typically subordinated to other classes of the operating company’s debt. Typically a preferred security has a credit rating that is lower than that of its corresponding operating company’s senior debt securities.

Within the category of hybrid-preferred securities are senior debt instruments that trade in the broader preferred securities market. These debt instruments, which are sources of long-term capital for the issuers, have structural features similar to other preferred securities such as maturities ranging from 30 years to perpetuity, call features, quarterly payments, exchange listings and the inclusion of accrued interest in the trading price. Preferred securities may be subject to changes in regulations and there can be no assurance that the current regulatory treatment of preferred securities will continue.

Ratings as Investment Criteria

In general, the ratings of NRSROs represent the opinions of these agencies as to the quality of securities that they rate. Such ratings, however, are relative and subjective, are not absolute standards of quality and do not evaluate the market value risk of the securities. These ratings will be used by the Fund as initial criteria for the selection of portfolio securities, but the Fund also will rely upon the independent advice of the portfolio manager to evaluate potential investments. Among the factors that will be considered are the long-term ability of the issuer to pay principal and interest and general economic trends. Appendix B to this SAI contains further information concerning the rating categories of NRSROs and their significance.

If a security is rated by multiple NRSROs and receives different ratings the Fund will treat the security as being rated in the highest rating category received from a NRSRO.

 

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If, after purchase, the credit rating on a security is downgraded or the credit quality deteriorates, or if the maturity is extended, the Subadviser will decide whether the security should be held or sold. Upon the occurrence of certain triggering events or defaults, the investors in a security held by the Fund may become the holders of underlying assets. In that case, the Fund may become the holder of securities that it could not otherwise purchase at a time when those assets may be difficult to sell or can be sold only at a loss.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)

REITs are pooled investment vehicles which invest primarily in income producing real estate or real estate-related loans or interests. REITs are generally classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs or a combination of equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling properties that have appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income from the collection of interest payments. REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with the applicable requirements of the Code. Debt securities issued by REITs, for the most part, are general and unsecured obligations and are subject to risks associated with REITs. Like mutual funds, REITs have expenses, including advisory and administration fees paid by certain REITs and, as a result, the Fund is indirectly subject to those fees if the Fund invests in REITs.

Investing in REITs, or in real estate linked derivative instruments linked to the value of REITs, involves certain risks, including declines in the value of the underlying real estate, risks related to general and local economic conditions, possible lack of availability of mortgage funds, overbuilding, extended vacancies of properties, increased competition, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, changes in zoning laws, losses due to costs resulting from the clean-up of environmental problems, liability to third parties for damages resulting from environmental problems, casualty or condemnation losses, limitations on rents, changes in neighborhood values and in the appeal of properties to tenants. Equity REITs may also be subject to property and casualty risks as their insurance policies may not completely recover repair or replacement of assets damaged by fires, floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters. In addition, global climate change may have an adverse effect on property and security values. A rise in sea levels or an increase in flooding could cause certain properties to lose value or become unmarketable altogether. Losses related to climate change could adversely affect the value of REITs. REITs whose underlying assets are concentrated in properties used by a particular industry, such as healthcare, are also subject to industry-related risks. Certain “special purpose” REITs may invest their assets in specific real estate sectors, such as hotels, nursing homes or warehouses, and are therefore subject to the risks associated with adverse developments in any such sectors.

REITs (especially mortgage REITs) are subject to interest rate risks. When interest rates decline, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed income obligations can be expected to rise. Conversely, when interest rates rise, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed-rate obligations can be expected to decline. If the REIT invests in adjustable rate debt instruments the interest rates on which are reset periodically, yields on a REIT’s investments in such loans will gradually align themselves to reflect changes in market interest rates. This causes the value of such investments to fluctuate less dramatically in response to interest rate fluctuations than would investments in fixed-rate obligations. However, REIT shares can be more volatile than, and perform differently from, larger company securities since REITs tend to be small- to medium-sized companies in relation to the equity markets as a whole. REITs may have limited financial resources, may trade less frequently and in a limited volume and may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements than larger company securities.

REITs are dependent upon the skills of their managers and are generally not diversified. REITs may be highly leveraged, and financial covenants may affect the ability of REITs to operate effectively. REITs are generally dependent upon maintaining cash flows to repay borrowings, to cover operating costs, and to make distributions to shareholders and are subject to the risk of default by lessees and borrowers. In the event of a default by a borrower or lessee, the REIT may experience delays in enforcing its rights as a mortgagee or lessor and may incur substantial costs associated with protecting its investments. If REITs are net sellers of assets or do not reinvest principal, they are also subject to self-liquidation. In addition, REITs could possibly fail to qualify for tax-free pass-through of net income and gains under the Code or to maintain their exemptions from registration as an investment company under the 1940 Act. In the event of any such failure to qualify as a REIT under the Code, the company would be subject to corporate level taxation, significantly reducing the return to the Fund on its investment in such company.

 

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Redemption Risk

The Fund may experience periods of heavy redemptions that could cause the Fund to liquidate its assets at inopportune times or at a loss or depressed value, particularly during periods of declining or illiquid markets. Redemption risk is greater to the extent that the Fund has investors with large shareholdings, short investment horizons, or unpredictable cash flow needs. In addition, redemption risk is heightened during periods of overall market turmoil. The redemption by one or more large shareholders of their holdings in the Fund could hurt performance and/or cause the remaining shareholders in the Fund to lose money. The Fund’s redemption risk is increased if one decision maker has control of fund shares owned by separate fund shareholders, including clients or affiliates of the Fund’s Manager. If the Fund is forced to liquidate its assets under unfavorable conditions or at inopportune times, the value of your investment could decline.

Repurchase Agreements

Under the terms of a typical repurchase agreement, the Fund would acquire one or more underlying debt securities from a counterparty (typically a bank or a broker-dealer), subject to the counterparty’s obligation to repurchase, and the Fund to resell, the securities at an agreed-upon time and price. The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements where the underlying collateral consists entirely of cash items and/or securities of the U.S. Government, its agencies, its instrumentalities, or U.S. Government sponsored enterprises. The Fund may also enter into repurchase agreements where the underlying collateral consists of other types of securities, including securities the Fund could not purchase directly. For such repurchase agreements, the underlying securities which serve as collateral may include, but are not limited to, U.S. government securities, municipal securities, corporate debt obligations, asset-backed securities (including collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”)), convertible securities and common and preferred stock and may be of below investment grade quality. The repurchase price is typically greater than the purchase price paid by the Fund, thereby determining the Fund’s yield. A repurchase agreement is similar to, and may be treated as, a secured loan, where the Fund loans cash to the counterparty and the loan is secured by the underlying securities as collateral. All repurchase agreements entered into by the Fund are required to be collateralized so that at all times during the term of a repurchase agreement, the value of the underlying securities is at least equal to the amount of the repurchase price. Also, the Fund or its custodian is required to have control of the collateral, which the portfolio manager believes will give the Fund a valid, perfected security interest in the collateral.

Repurchase agreements could involve certain risks in the event of default or insolvency of the counterparty, including possible delays or restrictions upon the Fund’s ability to dispose of the underlying securities, the risk of a possible decline in the value of the underlying securities during the period in which the Fund seeks to assert its right to them, the risk that there may be a limited market or no market for disposition of such underlying securities, the risk of incurring expenses associated with asserting those rights and the risk of losing all or part of the income from the agreement. The Fund will seek to mitigate these risks but there is no guarantee that such efforts will be successful. If the Fund enters into a repurchase agreement involving securities the Fund could not purchase directly, and the counterparty defaults, the Fund may become the holder of such securities. Repurchase agreements collateralized by securities other than U.S. government securities may be subject to greater risks and are more likely to have a term to maturity of longer than seven days. Repurchase agreements with a maturity of more than seven days are considered to be illiquid.

Repurchase agreements may be entered into or novated with a financial clearinghouse, which would become the Fund’s counterparty. The Fund would then become subject to the rules of the clearinghouse, which may limit the Fund’s rights and remedies (including recourse to collateral) or delay or restrict the rights and remedies, and expose the Fund to the risks of the clearinghouses’ insolvency.

Pursuant to an exemptive order issued by the SEC, the Fund, along with other affiliated entities managed by the Manager, may transfer uninvested cash balances into one or more joint accounts for the purpose of entering into repurchase agreements secured by cash and U.S. government securities, subject to certain conditions.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

The Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements. A reverse repurchase agreement has the characteristics of a secured borrowing by the Fund and creates leverage in the Fund’s portfolio. In a reverse repurchase transaction, the Fund sells a portfolio instrument to another person, such as a financial institution or broker-dealer, in return for cash. At the same time, the Fund agrees to repurchase the instrument at an agreed-upon time and at a price that is greater than the amount of cash that the Fund received when it sold the instrument, representing the equivalent of an interest payment by the Fund for the use of the

 

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cash. During the term of the transaction, the Fund will continue to receive any principal and interest payments (or the equivalent thereof) on the underlying instruments.

The Fund may engage in reverse repurchase agreements as a means of raising cash to satisfy redemption requests or for other temporary or emergency purposes. Unless otherwise limited in the Fund’s Prospectus or this SAI, the Fund may also engage in reverse repurchase agreements to the extent permitted by its fundamental investment policies in order to raise additional cash to be invested by the Fund’s portfolio manager in other securities or instruments in an effort to increase the Fund’s investment returns.

During the term of the transaction, the Fund will remain at risk for any fluctuations in the market value of the instruments subject to the reverse repurchase agreement as if it had not entered into the transaction. When the Fund reinvests the proceeds of a reverse repurchase agreement in other securities, the Fund will also be at risk for any fluctuations in the market value of the securities in which the proceeds are invested. Like other forms of leverage, this makes the value of an investment in the Fund more volatile and increases the Fund’s overall investment exposure. In addition, if the Fund’s return on its investment of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement does not equal or exceed the implied interest that it is obligated to pay under the reverse repurchase agreement, engaging in the transaction will lower the Fund’s return.

When the Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it is subject to the risk that the buyer under the agreement may file for bankruptcy, become insolvent or otherwise default on its obligations to the Fund. In the event of a default by the counterparty, there may be delays, costs and risks of loss involved in the Fund’s exercising its rights under the agreement, or those rights may be limited by other contractual agreements or obligations or by applicable law.

In addition, the Fund may be unable to sell the instruments subject to the reverse repurchase agreement at a time when it would be advantageous to do so, or may be required to liquidate portfolio securities at a time when it would be disadvantageous to do so in order to make payments with respect to its obligations under a reverse repurchase agreement. This could adversely affect the Fund’s strategy and result in lower fund returns.

The Fund will treat reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions either (i) consistently with Section 18 of the 1940 Act by maintaining asset coverage of at least 300% of the value of such transactions or (ii) as derivatives transactions for purposes of Rule 18f-4, including, as applicable, the value-at-risk based limit on leverage risk.

Securities Lending

The Fund may lend its portfolio securities, provided that cash or equivalent collateral, equal to at least 100% of the market value of such securities, is continuously maintained by the other party with the Fund. During the pendency of the transaction, the other party will pay the Fund an amount equivalent to any dividends or interest paid on such securities, and the Fund may invest the cash collateral and earn additional income, or it may receive an agreed upon amount of interest income from the other party who has delivered equivalent collateral. These transactions are subject to termination at the option of the Fund or the other party. The Fund may pay administrative and custodial fees in connection with these transactions and may pay a negotiated portion of the interest earned on the cash or equivalent collateral to the other party or placing agent or broker. Although voting rights or rights to consent with respect to the relevant securities generally pass to the other party, the Fund will make arrangements to vote or consent with respect to a material event affecting such securities. The risks in lending portfolio securities include possible delay in recovering or the failure to recover the securities and possible loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower fail financially. The Fund runs the risk that the counterparty to a loan transaction will default on its obligation and that the value of the collateral received may decline before the Fund can dispose of it. If the Fund receives cash as collateral and invests that cash, the Fund is subject to the risk that the collateral will decline in value before the Fund must return it to the counterparty. Subject to the foregoing, loans of fund securities are effectively borrowings by the Fund and have economic characteristics similar to reverse repurchase agreements. The Fund does not currently intend to engage in securities lending, although it may engage in transactions (such as reverse repurchase agreements) which have similar characteristics.

Short Sales

Short sales are transactions in which the Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of the security, also known as “naked” short sales. To make delivery to the buyer, the Fund must borrow the security. The Fund is then obligated to replace the borrowed security by purchasing the same security at market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. The lender of

 

51


the security is entitled to retain the proceeds from the short sale and/or other collateral until the Fund replaces the borrowed security. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay to the lender the amount of any dividends or interest paid on shares sold short. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold.

The Fund will realize a gain if the price of a security declines between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund purchases a security to replace the borrowed security. On the other hand, the Fund will incur a loss if the price of the security increases between those dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased and the amount of any loss increased by any premium or interest that the Fund may be required to pay the lender. There is also a risk that a borrowed security will need to be returned to the lender on short notice. If the request for the return of a security occurs at a time when other short sellers of the security are receiving similar requests, a “short squeeze” can occur, meaning that the Fund might be compelled, at the most disadvantageous time, to replace the borrowed security with a security purchased on the open market, possibly at prices significantly in excess of the proceeds received earlier.

Short selling is a technique that may be considered speculative and involves risks beyond the initial capital necessary to secure each transaction. It should be noted that possible losses from short sales differ from those losses that could arise from a cash investment in a security because losses from a short sale may be limitless, while the losses from a cash investment in a security cannot exceed the total amount of the investment in the security.

Short Sales Against the Box. The Fund may also make short sales “against the box,” meaning that at all times when a short position is open, the Fund owns an equal amount of such securities or owns securities convertible into or exchangeable, without payment of further consideration, for securities of the same issues as, and in an amount equal to, the securities sold short. Short sales “against the box” result in a “constructive sale” and may require the Fund to recognize any gain unless an exception to the constructive sale rule applies.

Short-Term Trading

Fund transactions will be undertaken principally to accomplish the Fund’s investment objective in relation to anticipated movements in the general level of interest rates, but the Fund may also engage in short-term trading consistent with its investment objective.

Stripped Securities

Stripped securities may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government, or by private originators of, or investors in, government securities or mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing. Stripped securities have greater volatility than other types of securities. Although mortgage securities are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, the market for such securities has not yet been fully developed. Accordingly, stripped securities may be illiquid.

Stripped securities are structured with two or more classes of securities that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of assets. A common type of stripped mortgage security will have at least one class receiving only a small portion of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (“IO” or interest-only class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (“PO” or principal-only class). The yield to maturity on IOs, POs and other mortgage-backed securities that are purchased at a substantial premium or discount generally are extremely sensitive not only to changes in prevailing interest rates but also to the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying mortgage assets, and a rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on such securities’ yield to maturity. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities even if the securities have received the highest rating by a NRSRO.

Structured Notes and Related Instruments

“Structured” notes and other related instruments, including indexed securities, are derivative debt instruments, the interest rate or principal of which is determined by an unrelated underlying instrument (for example, a currency, security, commodity or index thereof). Structured instruments are generally privately negotiated debt obligations issued by corporations, including banks, as well as by governmental agencies and frequently are assembled in the form of medium-term notes, but a

 

52


variety of forms are available and may be used in particular circumstances. The terms of such structured instruments normally provide that their principal and/or interest payments are to be adjusted upwards or downwards (but ordinarily not below zero) to reflect changes in the underlying instrument while the instruments are outstanding. As a result, the interest and/or principal payments that may be made on a structured product may vary widely. The rate of return on structured notes may be determined by applying a multiplier to the performance or differential performance of the underlying instrument or other asset(s). Application of a multiplier involves leverage that will serve to magnify the potential for gain and the risk of loss. Investment in indexed securities and structured notes involves certain risks, including the credit risk of the issuer and the normal risks of price changes in response to changes in interest rates. Further, in the case of certain indexed securities or structured notes, a decline in the underlying instrument may cause the interest rate to be reduced to zero, and any further declines in the underlying instrument may then reduce the principal amount payable on maturity. Finally, these securities may have lower liquidity than other types of securities and may be more volatile than their underlying instruments. Subordinated “structured” notes, which are subordinated to the right of payment of another class of the structured note, typically have higher yields and present greater risks than unsubordinated “structured” notes.

Subordinated Securities

Subordinated securities include securities which are subordinated or “junior” to more senior securities of the issuer, or which represent interests in pools of such subordinated or junior securities. Such securities may include so-called “high yield” or “junk” bonds (i.e., bonds that are rated below investment grade by a rating agency or that are determined by the Fund’s portfolio manager to be of equivalent quality) and preferred stock. Under the terms of subordinated securities, payments that would otherwise be made to their holders may be required to be made to the holders of more senior securities, and/or the subordinated or junior securities may have junior liens, if they have any rights at all, in any collateral (meaning proceeds of the collateral are required to be paid first to the holders of more senior securities). As a result, subordinated or junior securities will be disproportionately adversely affected by a default or even a perceived decline in creditworthiness of the issuer.

U.S. Government Securities

U.S. Government securities include (1) U.S. Treasury bills (maturity of one year or less), U.S. Treasury notes (maturity of one to ten years) and U.S. Treasury bonds (maturities generally greater than ten years); (2) obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities which are supported by any of the following: (a) the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government (such as certificates issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”)); (b) the right of the issuer to borrow an amount limited to a specific line of credit from the U.S. Government (such as obligations of the Federal Home Loan Banks); (c) the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase certain obligations of agencies or instrumentalities (such as securities issued by the Federal National Mortgage Association); or (d) only the credit of the agency or instrumentality (such as securities issued by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation); and (3) obligations issued by non-governmental entities (like financial institutions) that carry direct guarantees from U.S. government agencies as part of government initiatives in response to a market crisis or otherwise. Agencies and instrumentalities of the U.S. Government include but are not limited to: Farmers Home Administration, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Federal Housing Administration, Federal Land Banks, Federal Financing Bank, Central Bank for Cooperatives, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, Farm Credit Bank System, Federal Home Loan Banks, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Federal National Mortgage Association, General Services Administration, Government National Mortgage Association, Student Loan Marketing Association, United States Postal Service, Maritime Administration, Small Business Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, Washington D.C. Armory Board and any other instrumentality established or sponsored by the U.S. Government.

In the case of obligations not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, the Fund must look principally to the agency or instrumentality issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment and may not be able to assert a claim against the United States itself in the event the agency or instrumentality does not meet its commitments. Neither the U.S. Government nor any of its agencies or instrumentalities guarantees the market value of the securities they issue. Therefore, the market value of such securities will fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates and other factors. In addition, any downgrade of the credit rating of the securities issued by the U.S. Government may result in a downgrade of securities issued by its agencies or instrumentalities, including government-sponsored entities. From time to time, uncertainty regarding the status of negotiations in the U.S. government to increase the statutory debt ceiling could increase the risk that the U.S. government may default on payments on certain U.S. government securities, cause the credit rating of the U.S. government to be downgraded, increase volatility in the stock and bond markets, result in higher interest rates, reduce prices of U.S. Treasury securities, and/or

 

53


increase the costs of various kinds of debt. If a U.S. Government-sponsored entity is negatively impacted by legislative or regulatory action (or lack thereof), is unable to meet its obligations, or its creditworthiness declines, the performance of a fund that holds securities of the entity will be adversely impacted.

U.S. Treasury Obligations

U.S. Treasury obligations are direct debt obligations issued by the U.S. government. Treasury bills, with maturities normally from 4 weeks to 52 weeks, are typically issued at a discount as they pay interest only upon maturity. Treasury bills are non-callable. Treasury notes have a maturity between two and ten years and typically pay interest semi-annually, while Treasury bonds have a maturity of over ten years and pay interest semi- annually. U.S. Treasury obligations also include STRIPS, TIPS, and FRNs. STRIPS are Treasury obligations with separately traded principal and interest component parts of such obligations that are transferable through the federal book-entry system. The principal and interest components of U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining maturities of longer than ten years are eligible to be traded independently under the STRIPS program. Under the STRIPS program, the principal and interest components are separately issued through depository financial institutions, which then trade the component parts separately. Each interest payment and the principal payment becomes a separate zero-coupon security. STRIPS pay interest only at maturity. The interest component of STRIPS may be more volatile than that of U.S. Treasury bills with comparable maturities. TIPS are Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, the principal of which increases with inflation and decreases with deflation. The inflation adjustment is based on a three month-lagged value of the non-seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U). TIPS entitle the holder, upon maturity, to the adjusted principal or original principal, whichever is greater, thus providing a deflation floor. TIPS pay interest twice a year, at a fixed rate. The rate is applied to the adjusted principal; so, like the principal, interest payments rise with inflation and fall with deflation. However, because the interest rate is fixed, TIPS may lose value when market interest rates increase, particularly during periods of low inflation. FRNs are floating rate notes, the interest on which is indexed to the most recent 13-week Treasury bill auction High Rate, which is the highest accepted discount rate in a Treasury bill auction.

Variable and Floating Rate Securities

Variable and floating rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the obligations. The terms of such obligations provide that interest rates are adjusted periodically based upon an interest rate adjustment index as provided in the respective obligations. The adjustment intervals may be regular, and range from daily up to annually, or may be event-based, such as based on a change in the prime rate.

The Fund may invest in floating rate debt instruments (“floaters”) and engage in credit spread trades. The interest rate on a floater is a variable rate which is tied to another interest rate, such as a corporate bond index or U.S. Treasury bill rate. The interest rate on a floater resets periodically, typically every six months. While, because of the interest rate reset feature, floaters may provide the Fund with a certain degree of protection against rising interest rates, the Fund will participate in any declines in interest rates as well. A credit spread trade is an investment position relating to a difference in the prices or interest rates of two bonds or other securities or currencies, where the value of the investment position is determined by movements in the difference between the prices or interest rates, as the case may be, of the respective securities or currencies.

The Fund may also invest in inverse floating rate debt instruments (“inverse floaters”). The interest rate on an inverse floater resets in the opposite direction from the market rate of interest to which the inverse floater is indexed. An inverse floating rate security may exhibit greater price volatility than a fixed rate obligation of similar credit quality.

A floater may be considered to be leveraged to the extent that its interest rate varies by a magnitude that exceeds the magnitude of the change in the index rate of interest. The higher degree of leverage inherent in some floaters is associated with greater volatility in their market values.

The Fund may also invest in variable amount master demand notes, which permit the indebtedness thereunder to vary in addition to providing for periodic adjustments in the interest rate. The absence of an active secondary market with respect to particular variable and floating rate instruments could make it difficult for the Fund to dispose of a variable or floating rate note if the issuer were to default on its payment obligation or during periods that the Fund is not entitled to exercise its demand rights, and the Fund could, for these or other reasons, suffer a loss with respect to such instruments. In determining average-weighted portfolio maturity, an instrument will be deemed to have a maturity equal to either the period remaining until the next interest rate adjustment or the time the Fund can recover payment of principal as specified in the instrument, depending on the type of instrument involved.

 

54


When-Issued Securities and Forward Commitments

Securities may be purchased on a “when-issued” or “to be announced” or “forward delivery” basis. The payment obligation and the interest rate that will be received on the “when-issued” securities are fixed at the time the buyer enters into the commitment although settlement, i.e., delivery of and payment for the securities, takes place at a later date. In a “to be announced” transaction, the Fund commits to purchase securities for which all specific information is not known at the time of the trade.

Securities purchased on a “when-issued” or “forward delivery” basis are subject to changes in value based upon the market’s perception of the creditworthiness of the issuer and changes, real or anticipated, in the level of interest rates. The value of these securities experiences appreciation when interest rates decline and depreciation when interest rates rise. Purchasing securities on a “when-issued” or “forward delivery” basis can involve a risk that the yields available in the market on the settlement date may actually be higher or lower than those obtained in the transaction itself.

An increase in the percentage of the Fund’s assets committed to the purchase of securities on a “when-issued” basis may increase the volatility of its net asset value.

Zero Coupon, Pay-In-Kind and Deferred Interest Securities

Zero Coupon Bond. A zero coupon bond is a security that makes no fixed interest payments but instead is sold at a discount from its face value. The bond is redeemed at its face value on the specified maturity date. Zero coupon bonds may be issued as such, or they may be created by a broker who strips the coupons from a bond and separately sells the rights to receive principal and interest. The prices of zero coupon bonds tend to fluctuate more in response to changes in market interest rates than do the prices of interest-paying debt securities with similar maturities. Zero coupon bonds with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance will be treated as debt obligations that are issued originally at a discount for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Generally, the original issue discount (“OID”) is treated as interest income and is included in the Fund’s income and required to be distributed by the Fund over the term of the bond, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, upon partial or full repayment or disposition of the bond. The Fund may thus be required to pay out as an income distribution each year an amount which is greater than the total amount of cash the Fund actually received, and may have to dispose of other securities, including at times when it may be disadvantageous to do so, to generate the cash necessary for the distribution of income attributable to its zero coupon bonds.

Pay-In-Kind Securities. Pay-in-kind securities are bonds which pay interest through the issuance of additional debt or equity securities. Pay-in-kind securities have characteristics similar to those of zero coupon securities, but interest on such securities may be paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash. Similar to zero coupon obligations, pay-in-kind bonds also carry additional risk as holders of these types of securities realize no cash until the cash payment date unless a portion of such securities is sold and, if the issuer defaults, the Fund may obtain no return at all on its investment. The market price of pay-in-kind bonds is affected by interest rate changes to a greater extent, and therefore tends to be more volatile, than that of securities which pay interest in cash. Similar to zero coupon bonds, current U.S. federal income tax law requires the holder of pay-in-kind bonds to accrue income with respect to these securities prior to the receipt of cash payments. To maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and avoid liability for U.S. federal income and excise taxes, the Fund may be required to distribute income accrued with respect to these securities and may have to dispose of portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances in order to generate cash to satisfy these distribution requirements.

Deferred Interest Bonds. Deferred interest bonds are debt obligations that generally provide for a period of delay before the regular payment of interest begins and that are issued at a significant discount from face value. The original discount approximates the total amount of interest the bonds will accrue and compound over the period until the first interest accrual date at a rate of interest reflecting the market rate of the security at the time of issuance. Although this period of delay is different for each deferred interest bond, a typical period is approximately one-third of the bond’s term to maturity. Such investments benefit the issuer by mitigating its initial need for cash to meet debt service, but some also provide a higher rate of return to attract investors who are willing to defer receipt of such cash.

Zero-coupon, pay-in-kind and deferred interest securities may be subject to greater fluctuation in value and lesser liquidity in the event of adverse market conditions than comparably rated securities paying cash interest at regular interest payment periods.

 

55


MANAGEMENT

Trustees and Officers

The business and affairs of the Fund are conducted by management under the supervision and subject to the direction of its Board. The business address of each Trustee (including each Independent Trustee) is c/o Jane Trust, Franklin Templeton, 100 International Drive, 11th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. The tables below provide information about each of the Trustees and officers of the Trust.

Independent Trustees#:

 

Name and

Year of Birth

  

Position(s) with Trust

  

Term of Office*

and Length of

Time Served**

  

Principal
Occupation(s) During

the Past Five Years

  

Number of
Funds in the
Legg Mason
Funds
Complex
Overseen

by Trustee***

  

Other Board Memberships
Held by Trustee During the
Past Five Years

Robert Abeles, Jr.

Born 1945

   Trustee    Since 2013    Board Member of Excellent Education Development (since 2012); Senior Vice President Emeritus (since 2016) and formerly, Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer (2009 to 2016) at University of Southern California; and formerly, Board Member of Great Public Schools Now (2018 to 2022)    51    None

Jane F. Dasher

Born 1949

   Trustee    Since 1999    Director (since 2022) and formerly, Chief Financial Officer, Long Light Capital, LLC, formerly known as Korsant Partners, LLC (a family investment company) (since 1997)    51    Formerly, Director, Visual Kinematics, Inc. (2018 to 2022)

Anita L. DeFrantz

Born 1952

   Trustee    Since 1998    President of Tubman Truth Corp. (since 2015); Vice President (since 2017), Member of the Executive Board (since 2013) and Member of the International Olympic Committee (since 1986); and President Emeritus (since 2015) and formerly, President (1987 to 2015) and Director (1990 to 2015) of LA84 (formerly Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles)    51    None

Susan B. Kerley

Born 1951

   Trustee    Since 1992    Investment Consulting Partner, Strategic Management Advisors, LLC (investment consulting) (since 1990)    51   

Director and Trustee (since 1990) and Chairman (since 2017 and 2005 to 2012) of

various series of MainStay Family of Funds (66 funds); formerly, Chairman of the Independent Directors Council (2012 to 2014); ICI Executive Committee (2011 to 2014); and Investment Company Institute (ICI) Board of Governors (2006 to 2014)

 

56


Name and

Year of Birth

  

Position(s) with Trust

  

Term of Office*

and Length of

Time Served**

  

Principal
Occupation(s) During

the Past Five Years

  

Number of
Funds in the
Legg Mason
Funds
Complex
Overseen

by Trustee***

  

Other Board Memberships
Held by Trustee During the
Past Five Years

Michael Larson

Born 1959

   Trustee    Since 2004    Chief Investment Officer for William H. Gates III (since 1994)±    51    Ecolab Inc. (since 2012); Fomento Economico Mexicano, SAB (since 2011); Republic Services, Inc. (since 2009); and formerly, AutoNation, Inc. (2010 to 2018)

Avedick B. Poladian

Born 1951

   Trustee    Since 2007    Director and Advisor (since 2017) and formerly, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (2002 to 2016) of Lowe Enterprises, Inc. (privately held real estate and hospitality firm); and formerly, Partner, Arthur Andersen, LLP (1974 to 2002)    51    Public Storage (since 2010); Occidental Petroleum Corporation (since 2008); and formerly, California Resources Corporation (2014 to 2021)

William E.B. Siart

Born 1946

  

Trustee and

Chairman of the Board

   Since 1997 (Chairman of the Board since 2020)    Chairman of Excellent Education Development (since 2000); formerly, Chairman of Great Public Schools Now (2015 to 2020); Trustee of The Getty Trust (2005 to 2017); and Chairman of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Inc. (1998 to 2006)    51    Trustee, University of Southern California (since 1994); and formerly, Member of Board of United States Golf Association, Executive Committee Member (2017 to 2021)

Jaynie Miller Studenmund

Born 1954

   Trustee    Since 2004    Corporate Board Member and Advisor (since 2004); formerly, Chief Operating Officer of Overture Services, Inc. (publicly traded internet company that created search engine marketing) (2001 to 2004); President and Chief Operating Officer, PayMyBills (internet innovator in bill presentment/payment space) (1999 to 2001); and Executive vice president for consumer and business banking for three national financial institutions (1984 to 1997)    51    Director of Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc. and Pacific Premier Bank (since 2019); Director of EXL (operations management and analytics company) (since 2018); formerly, Director of LifeLock, Inc. (identity theft protection company) (2015 to 2017); Director of CoreLogic, Inc. (information, analytics and business services company) (2012 to 2021); and Director of Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (gaming and hospitality company) (2012 to 2018)

Peter J. Taylor

Born 1958

   Trustee    Since 2019    Retired; formerly, President, ECMC Foundation (nonprofit organization) (2014 to 2023); and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for University of California system (2009 to 2014)    51    Director of 23andMe, Inc. (genetics and health care services company) (since 2021); Director of Pacific Mutual Holding Company (since 2016);∞ Ralph M. Parson Foundation (since 2015); Edison International (since 2011); formerly, Member of the Board of Trustees of California State University system (2015 to 2022); and Kaiser Family Foundation (2012 to 2022)
Interested Trustee:            

Ronald L. Olson‡

Born 1941

   Trustee    Since 2005   

Partner of Munger, Tolles &

Olson LLP (a law partnership) (since 1968)

   51    Director of Provivi, Inc. (since 2017); and Director of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (since 1997)
Interested Trustee and Officer:         

 

57


Name and

Year of Birth

  

Position(s) with Trust

  

Term of Office*

and Length of

Time Served**

  

Principal
Occupation(s) During

the Past Five Years

  

Number of
Funds in the
Legg Mason
Funds
Complex
Overseen

by Trustee***

  

Other Board Memberships
Held by Trustee During the
Past Five Years

Jane Trust, CFA†

Born 1962

  

Trustee, President and

Chief Executive Officer

   Since 2015    Senior Vice President, Fund Board Management, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Officer and/or Trustee/Director of 126 funds associated with LMPFA or its affiliates (since 2015); President and Chief Executive Officer of LMPFA (since 2015); formerly, Senior Managing Director (2018 to 2020) and Managing Director (2016 to 2018) of Legg Mason & Co., LLC (“Legg Mason & Co.”); and Senior Vice President of LMPFA (2015)    126    None

 

#

Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust within the meaning of Section 2(a)(19) of the 1940 Act.

*

Each Trustee serves until his or her respective successor has been duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal.

**

Indicates the earliest year in which the Trustee became a board member for a fund in the Legg Mason Funds complex.

***

Information is for the calendar year ended December 31, 2022, except as otherwise noted.

±

Mr. Larson is the chief investment officer for William H. Gates III and in that capacity oversees the non-Microsoft investments of Mr. Gates and all the investments of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust (such combined investments are referred to as the “Accounts”). Since 1997, Western Asset has provided discretionary investment advice with respect to one or more Accounts. Since December 31, 2020, at no time did the value of those investment portfolios exceed 1.0% of Western Asset’s total assets under management. No changes to these arrangements are currently contemplated.

Western Asset and its affiliates provide investment advisory services with respect to registered investment companies sponsored by an affiliate of Pacific Mutual Holding Company (“Pacific Holdings”). Affiliates of Pacific Holdings receive compensation from LMPFA or its affiliates for shareholder or distribution services provided with respect to registered investment companies for which Western Asset or its affiliates serve as investment adviser.

Mr. Olson is an “interested person” of the Trust, as defined in the 1940 Act, because his law firm has provided legal services to Western Asset.

Ms. Trust is an “interested person” of the Trust, as defined in the 1940 Act, because of her position with LMPFA and/or certain of its affiliates.

 

58


Additional Officers:

 

Name, Year of

Birth

and Address

  

Position(s)
with Trust

  

Term of Office*

and Length of

Time Served**

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During the Past Five Years

Ted P. Becker

Born 1951

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

  

Chief Compliance

Officer

   Since 2007    Vice President, Global Compliance of Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Chief Compliance Officer of LMPFA (since 2006); Chief Compliance Officer of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); formerly, Director of Global Compliance at Legg Mason (2006 to 2020); Managing Director of Compliance of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

Christopher Berarducci

Born 1974

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

   Treasurer and Principal Financial Officer    Since 2019    Vice President, Fund Administration and Reporting, Franklin Templeton (since 2020), Treasurer (since 2010) and Principal Financial Officer (since 2019) of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates; formerly, Managing Director (2020), Director (2015 to 2020), and Vice President (2011 to 2015) of Legg Mason & Co.

Marc A. De Oliveira

Born 1971

Franklin Templeton

100 First Stamford Place

6th Floor

Stamford, CT 06902

   Secretary and Chief Legal Officer    Since 2020    Associate General Counsel of Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Assistant Secretary of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); formerly, Managing Director (2016 to 2020) and Associate General Counsel of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

Jeanne Kelly

Born 1951

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

   Senior Vice President    Since 2007    U.S. Fund Board Team Manager, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Senior Vice President of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2007); Senior Vice President of LMPFA (since 2006); President and Chief Executive Officer of LM Asset Services, LLC (“LMAS”) and Legg Mason Fund Asset Management, Inc. (“LMFAM”) (formerly registered investment advisers) (since 2015); formerly, Managing Director of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020), and Senior Vice President of LMFAM (2013 to 2015)

Susan Kerr

Born 1949

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

  

Chief Anti-Money

Laundering

Compliance

Officer

   Since 2013    Senior Compliance Analyst, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Chief Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2013) and Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer (since 2012), Senior Compliance Officer (since 2011) and Assistant Vice President (since 2010) of the Distributor; formerly, Assistant Vice President of Legg Mason & Co. (2010 to 2020)

Thomas C. Mandia

Born 1962

Franklin Templeton

100 First Stamford Place

6th Floor

Stamford, CT 06902

   Senior Vice President    Since 2020    Senior Associate General Counsel to Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Secretary of LMPFA (since 2006); Assistant Secretary of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); Secretary of LMAS (since 2002) and LMFAM (formerly registered investment advisers) (since 2013); formerly, Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

 

*

Each officer serves until his or her respective successor has been duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal.

**

Indicates the earliest year in which the officer took such office.

 

59


Qualifications of Trustees, Board Leadership Structure and Oversight and Standing Committees

The Board believes that each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of its other Trustees lead to the conclusion that the Board possesses the requisite skills and attributes. The Board believes that the Trustees’ abilities to review, critically evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them; to interact effectively with the Manager, the Subadviser, other service providers, counsel and independent auditors; and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties serves to support this conclusion. The Board has considered the following experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills, among others, of its members in reaching its conclusion: his or her character and integrity; such person’s length of service as a board member of certain Funds; such person’s willingness to serve and willingness and ability to commit the time necessary to perform the duties of a Trustee; as to each Trustee other than Mr. Olson and Ms. Trust, his or her status as not being an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust. In addition, the following specific experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills apply as to each Trustee: Mr. Abeles, business, accounting and finance expertise and experience as a chief financial officer, board member and/or executive officer of various businesses and other organizations; Ms. Dasher, experience as a chief financial officer of a private investment company; Ms. DeFrantz, business expertise and experience as a president, board member and/or executive officer of various businesses and non-profit and other organizations; Ms. Kerley, investment consulting experience and background and mutual fund board experience; Mr. Larson, portfolio management expertise and experience as a board member of various businesses and other organizations; Mr. Poladian, business, finance and accounting expertise and experience as a board member of various businesses and/or as a partner of a multi-national accounting firm; Mr. Siart, business and finance expertise and experience as a president, chairperson, chief executive officer and/or board member of various businesses and non-profit and other organizations; Ms. Studenmund, business and finance expertise and experience as a president, board member and/or chief operating officer of various businesses; Mr. Olson, business and legal expertise and experience as a partner of a law firm and/or board member of various businesses and non-profit and other organizations; Mr. Taylor, business and finance expertise and experience as a chief financial officer, president and/or board member of various businesses and non-profit organizations; and Ms. Trust, investment management and risk oversight experience as an executive and portfolio manager and leadership roles within Legg Mason and affiliated entities. References to the qualifications, attributes and skills of Trustees are pursuant to requirements of the SEC, do not constitute holding out of the Board or any Trustee as having any special expertise or experience, and shall not impose any greater responsibility or liability on any such person or the Board by reason thereof.

The Board is responsible for overseeing the management and operations of the Fund. Ms. Trust and Mr. Olson are each interested persons of the Fund. Independent Trustees constitute more than 75% of the Board. Mr. Siart, who is not an interested person of the Fund, serves as Chair of the Board (since 2020).

The Board has four standing committees: the Audit Committee, Governance and Nominating Committee (referred to as the Governance Committee), Executive and Contracts Committee (referred to as the Contracts Committee) and Investment and Performance Committee (referred to as the Performance Committee). Each of the Audit, Governance, Contracts and Performance Committees is chaired by an Independent Trustee and each (other than the Performance Committee) is composed of all the Independent Trustees. Where deemed appropriate, the Board constitutes ad hoc committees.

The Contracts Committee, which consists of Messrs. Abeles, Larson, Poladian, Siart and Taylor and Mses. Dasher, DeFrantz, Kerley and Studenmund, may meet from time to time between Board meetings in order to consider appropriate matters and to review the various contractual arrangements between the Trust and its affiliated persons.

The Audit Committee, which consists of Messrs. Abeles, Larson, Poladian, Siart and Taylor and Mses. Dasher, DeFrantz, Kerley and Studenmund, provides oversight with respect to the accounting and financial reporting and compliance policies and practices of the Fund and, among other things, considers the selection of an independent registered public accounting firm for the Fund and the scope of the audit and approves all services proposed to be performed by the independent registered public accounting firm on behalf of the Fund and, under certain circumstances, the Subadviser and certain affiliates.

The Governance Committee, which consists of Messrs. Abeles, Larson, Poladian, Siart and Taylor and Mses. Dasher, DeFrantz, Kerley and Studenmund, meets to select nominees for election as Trustees of the Trust and consider other matters of Board policy, including to review and make recommendations to the Board with respect to the compensation of the Independent Trustees. It is the policy of the Governance and Nominating Committee to consider nominees recommended by shareholders. Shareholders of the Trust who wish to recommend a nominee to the Governance Committee of a Trust should send recommendations to the Secretary of the Trust that include all information relating to such person that is required to be disclosed

 

60


in solicitations of proxies for the election of Trustees. Such a recommendation must be accompanied by a written consent of the individual to stand for election if nominated by the Board and to serve if elected by the shareholders of the Trust. The procedures by which shareholders of the Trust can submit nominee recommendations to the Governance Committee of the Trust are set forth in Appendix C to the SAI.

The Performance Committee, which consists of Messrs. Abeles, Larson, Poladian, Olson, Siart and Taylor and Mses. Dasher, DeFrantz, Kerley, Studenmund and Trust, is charged with, among other things, reviewing investment performance.

The Board has determined that its leadership structure is appropriate given the business and nature of the Fund. In connection with its determination, the Board considered that the Chairman of the Board is an Independent Trustee. The Chairman of the Board can play an important role in setting the agenda of the Board and also serves as a key point person for dealings between management and the other Independent Trustees. The Independent Trustees believe that the Chairman’s independence facilitates meaningful dialogue between Fund management and the Independent Trustees. The Board also considered that the chairperson of each Board committee is an Independent Trustee, which yields similar benefits with respect to the functions and activities of the various Board committees (e.g., each committee’s chairperson works with the Manager and other service providers to set agendas for the meetings of the applicable Board committees). As noted above, through the committees the Independent Trustees consider and address important matters involving the Fund, including those presenting conflicts or potential conflicts of interest for management. The Independent Trustees also regularly meet outside the presence of management and are advised by independent legal counsel. The Board has determined that its committees help ensure that the Fund has effective and independent governance and oversight. The Board also believes that its leadership structure, in which the Chair of the Board is not affiliated with Legg Mason, is appropriate. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information to the Independent Trustees from management, including the Subadviser. The Board reviews its structure on an annual basis.

As an integral part of its responsibility for oversight of the Fund in the interests of shareholders, the Board oversees risk management of the Fund’s investment programs and business affairs. The function of the Board with respect to risk management is one of oversight not active involvement in, or coordination of, day-to-day risk management activities for the Fund. The Board has emphasized to the Fund’s Manager and Subadviser the importance of maintaining vigorous risk management. The Board exercises oversight of the risk management process primarily through the Performance Committee, the Audit Committee and the Contracts Committee, and through oversight by the Board itself.

The Fund faces a number of risks, such as investment risk, counterparty risk, valuation risk, reputational risk, risk of operational failure or lack of business continuity, and legal, compliance and regulatory risk. Risk management seeks to identify and address risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of the Fund. Under the overall supervision of the Board or the applicable committee, the Fund, the Manager, the Subadviser, and the affiliates of the Manager and the Subadviser, or other service providers to the Fund employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify various of those possible events or circumstances, to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur.

Different processes, procedures and controls are employed with respect to different types of risks. Various personnel, including the Fund’s and the Manager’s CCO and the Manager’s chief risk officer, as well as various personnel of the Subadviser and other service providers such as the Fund’s independent accountants, also make periodic reports to the Performance Committee, Contracts Committee, Audit Committee and/or to the Board with respect to various aspects of risk management, as well as events and circumstances that have arisen and responses thereto.

These reports and other similar reports received by the Trustees as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information. The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the Fund can be identified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve the Fund’s goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness.

During the fiscal year ended May 31, 2023, the Board met 5 times. The Committees of the Board met as follows: the Audit Committee met 5 times, the Governance and Nominating Committee met 3 times, the Investment and Performance Committee met 5 times, and the Executive and Contracts Committee met 2 times.

 

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Trustee Ownership of Securities

The following tables show the dollar range of equity securities owned by the Trustees in the Fund and other investment companies in the Legg Mason Funds complex overseen by the Trustees as of December 31, 2022.

 

Name of Trustee

   Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in the Fund
($)
   Aggregate Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in All Registered
Investment Companies in Legg
Mason Funds Complex Overseen
by Trustee ($)

Independent Trustees:

     

Robert Abeles, Jr.

   None    None

Jane F. Dasher

   None    Over 100,000

Anita L. DeFrantz

   None    10,001 to 50,000

Susan B. Kerley

   50,001 to 100,000    Over 100,000

Michael Larson

   None    Over 100,000

Avedick B. Poladian

   None    Over 100,000

William E. B. Siart

   None    Over 100,000

Jaynie Miller Studenmund

   None    Over 100,000

Peter J. Taylor

   None    Over 100,000

Interested Trustees:

     

Ronald L. Olson

   None    Over 100,000

Jane Trust

   None    Over 100,000

As of December 31, 2022, none of the Independent Trustees or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of the Manager, the Subadviser, or the Distributor of the Fund, or of a person (other than a registered investment company) directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by or under common control with the Manager, the Subadviser, or the Distributor of the Fund.

For serving as a Trustee of the Trust, each Independent Trustee receives an annual retainer plus fees for attending each regularly scheduled meeting and special Board meeting they attend in person or by telephone. Each Independent Trustee is also reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses relating to attendance at such meetings. Those Independent Trustees who serve in leadership positions of the Board or Board committees receive additional compensation. The Board reviews the level of Trustee compensation periodically and Trustee compensation may change from time to time. Ms. Trust, an “interested person” of the Trust, as defined in the 1940 Act, does not receive compensation from the Fund for her service as Trustee. Mr. Olson, an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust, receives from Western Asset an annual retainer plus fees for attending each regularly scheduled meeting and special Board meeting he attends in person or by telephone. The Fund pays its pro rata share of the fees and expenses of the Trustees based upon asset size.

Officers of the Trust receive no compensation from the Fund, although they may be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket travel expenses for attending Board meetings.

 

62


Trustee Compensation

Information regarding compensation paid to the Trustees is shown below.

 

Name of Trustee

   Aggregate Compensation from
the Fund*($)
   Total Pension
or
Retirement
Benefits Paid
as Part of
Fund Expenses*
($)
   Total
Compensation
from Legg Mason
Funds Complex
Paid to
Trustee**
($)

Independent Trustees:

        

Robert Abeles, Jr.

   1,377    None    365,000

Jane F. Dasher

   1,241    None    330,000

Anita L. DeFrantz

   1,240    None    348,000

Susan B. Kerley

   1,336    None    354,000

Michael Larson

   1,241    None    330,000

Avedick B. Poladian

   1,241    None    330,000

William E. B. Siart

   1,725    None    454,000

Jaynie Miller Studenmund

   1,241    None    330,000

Peter J. Taylor

   1,241    None    330,000

Interested Trustees:

        

Ronald L. Olson†

   None    None    None

Jane Trust †

   None    None    None

 

*

Information is for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2023.

**

Information is for the calendar year ended December 31, 2022.

Mr. Olson and Ms. Trust are not compensated by the Trust for their services as Trustees because of their affiliations with Western Asset and the Manager, respectively.

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AND SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION

Manager

The Manager, a limited liability company organized under the laws of the State of Delaware, serves as investment manager to the Fund and provides administrative and certain oversight services to the Fund, pursuant to an investment management agreement (the “Management Agreement”). The Manager has offices at 280 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10017 and also serves as the investment manager of other Legg Mason Funds. The Manager is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, a Delaware corporation. Franklin Resources, whose principal executive offices are at One Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, California 94403, is a global investment management organization operating, together with its subsidiaries, as Franklin Templeton.

The Manager has agreed, under the Management Agreement, subject to the supervision of the Board, to provide the Fund with investment research, advice, management and supervision, furnish a continuous investment program for the Fund’s portfolio of securities and other investments consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives, policies and restrictions, and place orders pursuant to its investment determinations. The Manager is permitted to enter into contracts with subadvisers or subadministrators, subject to the Board’s approval. The Manager has entered into subadvisory agreements, as described below.

As compensation for services performed, facilities furnished and expenses assumed by the Manager, the Fund pays the Manager a fee computed daily at an annual rate of the Fund’s average daily net assets as described below. The Manager also performs administrative and management services as reasonably requested by the Fund necessary for the operation of the Fund, such as (i) supervising the overall administration of the Fund, including negotiation of contracts and fees with, and monitoring of performance and billings of, the Fund’s transfer agent, shareholder servicing agents, custodian and other independent

 

63


contractors or agents; (ii) providing certain compliance, fund accounting, regulatory reporting and tax reporting services; (iii) preparing or participating in the preparation of Board materials, registration statements, proxy statements and reports and other communications to shareholders; (iv) maintaining the Fund’s existence; and (v) maintaining the registration or qualification of the Fund’s shares under federal and state laws.

The Management Agreement will continue in effect for its initial term and thereafter from year to year, provided continuance is specifically approved at least annually (a) by the Board or by a 1940 Act Vote, and (b) in either event, by a majority of the Independent Trustees casting votes in accordance with applicable law.

The Management Agreement provides that the Manager may render services to others. The Management Agreement is terminable without penalty by the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund on not more than 60 days’ nor less than 30 days’ written notice to the Manager, or by the Manager on not less than 90 days’ written notice to the Fund as applicable, and will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act) by the Manager. No Management Agreement is assignable by the Trust except with the consent of the Manager.

The Management Agreement provides that the Manager, its affiliates performing services contemplated by the Management Agreement, and the partners, shareholders, directors, officers and employees of the Manager and such affiliates, will not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law, for any loss arising out of any investment, or for any act or omission in the execution of securities transactions for the Fund, but the Manager is not protected against any liability to the Fund to which the Manager would be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Management Agreement.

For its services under the Fund’s Management Agreement, the Manager receives an investment management fee that is calculated daily and payable monthly at an annual rate according to the following schedule:

 

   

Investment Management Fee Rate

(% of Average Daily Net Assets)

   
 

 

0.30

 
 

 

 

The table below sets forth the management fees paid by the Fund to the Manager (waived/reimbursed amounts are in parentheses), with respect to the fiscal periods indicated:

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended
May 31,

   Gross
Management
Fees ($)
   Management Fees
Waived/Expenses
Reimbursed ($)
   Net Management
Fees (After
Waivers/Expense
Reimbursements) ($)

2023

   1,689,787    (353,039)    1,336,748

2022*

   2,171,600    (202,541)    1,969,059

2021

   955,071    (309,393)    645,678

 

*

For the fiscal period ended May 31, 2022, the Manager recaptured $132 of fees that were previously waived.

Any expense limitation arrangements in place during the Fund’s past three fiscal periods can be found in the Fund’s Prospectus in effect (as amended or supplemented from time to time) for such year.

Subadviser

Western Asset Management Company, LLC, organized under the laws of the State of California, serves as the subadviser to the Fund (the “Subadviser”) pursuant to a subadvisory agreement between the Manager and the Subadviser (the “Subadvisory Agreement”). The Subadviser has offices at 385 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, California 91101 and 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, New York 10018. The Subadviser is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources.

Under the Subadvisory Agreement, subject to the supervision of the Board and the Manager, the Subadviser regularly provides with respect to the portion of the Fund’s assets allocated to it by the Manager, investment research, advice,

 

64


management and supervision; furnishes a continuous investment program for the allocated assets consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives, policies and restrictions; and places orders pursuant to its investment determinations. The Subadviser may delegate to companies that the Subadviser controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, certain of the Subadviser’s duties under a Subadvisory Agreement, subject to the Subadviser’s supervision, provided the Subadviser will not be relieved of its duties or obligations under the Subadvisory Agreement as a result of any delegation.

The Subadvisory Agreement will continue in effect for its initial term and thereafter from year to year provided such continuance is specifically approved at least annually (a) by the Board or by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act), and (b) in either event, by a majority of the Independent Trustees casting votes in accordance with applicable law. The Board or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act) may terminate the Subadvisory Agreement without penalty, in each case on not more than 60 days’ nor less than 30 days’ written notice to the Subadviser. The Subadviser may terminate the respective Subadvisory Agreement, on 90 days’ written notice to the Fund and the Manager. The Subadvisory Agreement may be terminated upon the mutual written consent of the Manager and the Subadviser. The Subadvisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act) by the applicable Subadviser, and shall not be assignable by the Manager without the consent of the Subadviser.

The Subadvisory Agreement provides that the Subadviser, its affiliates performing services contemplated by the Subadvisory Agreement, and the partners, shareholders, directors, officers and employees of the Subadviser and such affiliates will not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law, for any loss arising out of any investment, or for any act or omission in the execution of securities transactions for the Fund, but the Subadviser is not protected against any liability to the Fund or the Manager to which the Subadviser would be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Subadvisory Agreement.

As compensation for its services, the Manager pays to Western Asset a fee equal to 70% of the management fee paid to the Manager by the Fund, net of any waivers and expense reimbursements.

Expenses

In addition to amounts payable under the Management Agreement and the 12b-1 Plan (as discussed in this SAI), the Fund is responsible for its own expenses, including, among other things: interest; taxes; governmental fees; voluntary assessments and other expenses incurred in connection with membership in investment company organizations; organizational costs of the Fund; costs (including interest, brokerage commissions, transaction fees or charges or acquired fund fees and expenses, if any) in connection with the purchase or sale of the Fund’s securities and other investments and any losses in connection therewith; fees and expenses of custodians, transfer agents, registrars, independent pricing vendors or other agents; legal expenses; loan commitment fees; expenses relating to the issuance and redemption or repurchase of the Fund’s shares and servicing shareholder accounts; expenses of registering and qualifying the Fund’s shares for sale under applicable federal and state law; expenses of preparing, setting in print, printing and distributing prospectuses and statements of additional information and any supplements thereto, reports, proxy statements, notices and dividends to the Fund’s shareholders; costs of stationery; website costs; costs of meetings of the Board or any committee thereof, meetings of shareholders and other meetings of the Fund; Board fees; audit fees; travel expenses of officers, Trustees and employees of the Fund, if any; the Fund’s pro rata portion of premiums on any fidelity bond and other insurance covering the Fund and its officers, Trustees and employees; and litigation expenses and any non-recurring or extraordinary expenses as may arise, including, without limitation, those relating to actions, suits or proceedings to which the Fund is a party and any legal obligation which the Fund may have to indemnify the Fund’s Trustees and officers with respect thereto.

Management may agree to implement an expense cap, waive fees and/or reimburse operating expenses for one or more classes of shares. Any such expense caps, waived fees and/or reimbursed expenses are described in the Fund’s Prospectus. The expense caps, waived fees and/or reimbursed expenses do not cover extraordinary expenses, such as (a) any expenses or charges related to litigation, derivative actions, demands related to litigation, regulatory or other government investigations and proceedings, “for cause” regulatory inspections and indemnification or advancement of related expenses or costs, to the extent any such expenses are considered extraordinary expenses for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A as the same may be amended from time to time; (b) transaction costs (such as brokerage commissions and dealer and underwriter spreads) and taxes; (c) other extraordinary expenses as determined for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A, as the same may be amended from time to time; and (d) any other exclusions enumerated in the Fund’s particular expense cap. Without limiting the foregoing, extraordinary expenses are generally those that are unusual or expected to recur only infrequently, and may include such

 

65


expenses, by way of illustration, as (i) expenses of the reorganization, restructuring, redomiciling or merger of the Fund or class or the acquisition of all or substantially all of the assets of another fund or class; (ii) expenses of holding, and soliciting proxies for, a meeting of shareholders of the Fund or class (except to the extent relating to routine items such as the election of Trustees or the approval of the independent registered public accounting firm); and (iii) expenses of converting to a new custodian, transfer agent or other service provider, in each case to the extent any such expenses are considered extraordinary expenses for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A as the same may be amended from time to time. In order to implement an expense limitation, the Manager will, as necessary, waive management fees or reimburse operating expenses. However, the Manager is permitted to recapture amounts waived and/or reimbursed to a class within two years after the fiscal year in which the Manager earned the fee or incurred the expense if the class’ total annual fund operating expenses have fallen to a level below the class’ expense limitation shown in the Fund’s Prospectus. In no case will the Manager recapture any amount that would result, on any particular business day of the Fund, in the class’ total annual fund operating expenses exceeding such expense limitation or any other lower limit then in effect. These arrangements may be reduced or terminated under certain circumstances.

Investment Professionals

Other Accounts Managed by the Investment Professionals

The table below identifies the investment professionals, the number of accounts (other than the Fund) for which the investment professionals have day-to-day management responsibilities and the total assets in such accounts, within each of the following categories: registered investment companies, other pooled investment vehicles, and other accounts. For each category, the number of accounts and total assets in the accounts where fees are based on performance are also indicated, as applicable. Unless noted otherwise, all information is provided as of May 31, 2023.

 

Investment

Professionals

  

Type of

Account

   Number of
Accounts
Managed
   Total
Assets
Managed
(Billions)
($)
   Number of
Accounts Managed
for which Advisory
Fee is
Performance-
Based
   Assets Managed for
which Advisory Fee is
Performance-Based
(Billions) ($)

John Bellows

   Registered Investment Companies    21
   50.78    None    None
   Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    23    12.04    None    None
   Other Accounts    176    54.20    6    2.89

S. Kenneth Leech

   Registered Investment Companies    94
   135.91    None
   None
   Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    316    67.52    27    2.76
   Other Accounts    617    185.42    25    14.10

Nicholas Mastroianni

   Registered Investment Companies    4
   2.03
   None    None

 

66


Investment

Professionals

  

Type of

Account

   Number of
Accounts
Managed
   Total
Assets
Managed
(Billions)
($)
   Number of
Accounts Managed
for which Advisory
Fee is
Performance-
Based
   Assets Managed for
which Advisory Fee is
Performance-Based
(Billions) ($)
   Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    2    0.45    None    None
   Other Accounts    35    12.14    None    None

Investment Professionals Securities Ownership

The table below identifies ownership of equity securities of the Fund by the investment professionals responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund as of May 31, 2023.

 

Investment Professionals

  

Dollar Range of Ownership of Securities ($)

John Bellows

S. Kenneth Leech

Nicholas Mastroianni

  

None

None

None

Conflicts of Interest

The Subadviser has adopted compliance policies and procedures to address a wide range of potential conflicts of interest that could directly impact client portfolios. For example, potential conflicts of interest may arise in connection with the management of multiple portfolios (including portfolios managed in a personal capacity). These could include potential conflicts of interest related to the knowledge and timing of a portfolio’s trades, investment opportunities and broker selection. Portfolio managers are privy to the size, timing, and possible market impact of a portfolio’s trades.

It is possible that an investment opportunity may be suitable for both a portfolio and other accounts managed by a portfolio manager, but may not be available in sufficient quantities for both the portfolio and the other accounts to participate fully. Similarly, there may be limited opportunity to sell an investment held by a portfolio and another account. A conflict may arise where the portfolio manager may have an incentive to treat an account preferentially as compared to a portfolio because the account pays a performance-based fee or the portfolio manager, the Subadviser or an affiliate has an interest in the account. The Subadviser has adopted procedures for allocation of portfolio transactions and investment opportunities across multiple client accounts on a fair and equitable basis over time. Eligible accounts that can participate in a trade generally share the same price on a pro-rata allocation basis, taking into account differences based on factors such as cash availability, investment restrictions and guidelines, and portfolio composition versus strategy.

With respect to securities transactions, the Subadviser determines which broker or dealer to use to execute each order, consistent with their duty to seek best execution of the transaction. However, with respect to certain other accounts (such as pooled investment vehicles that are not registered investment companies and other accounts managed for organizations and individuals), the Subadviser may be limited by the client with respect to the selection of brokers or dealers or may be instructed to direct trades through a particular broker or dealer. In these cases, trades for a portfolio in a particular security may be placed separately from, rather than aggregated with, such other accounts. Having separate transactions with respect to a security may temporarily affect the market price of the security or the execution of the transaction, or both, to the possible detriment of a portfolio or the other account(s) involved. Additionally, the management of multiple portfolios and/or other accounts may result in a portfolio manager devoting unequal time and attention to the management of each portfolio and/or other account. The Subadviser’s team approach to portfolio management and block trading approach seeks to limit this potential risk.

The Subadviser also maintains a gift and entertainment policy to address the potential for a business contact to give gifts or host entertainment events that may influence the business judgment of an employee. Employees are permitted to retain gifts of only a nominal value and are required to make reimbursement for entertainment events above a certain value. All gifts

 

67


(except those of a de minimis value) and entertainment events that are given or sponsored by a business contact are required to be reported in a gift and entertainment log which is reviewed on a regular basis for possible issues.

Employees of the Subadviser have access to transactions and holdings information regarding client accounts and the Subadviser’s overall trading activities. This information represents a potential conflict of interest because employees may take advantage of this information as they trade in their personal accounts. Accordingly, the Subadviser maintains a Code of Ethics that is compliant with Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act and Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act to address personal trading. In addition, the Code of Ethics seeks to establish broader principles of good conduct and fiduciary responsibility in all aspects of the Subadviser’s business. The Code of Ethics is administered by the Legal and Compliance Department and monitored through the Subadviser’s compliance monitoring program.

The Subadviser may also face other potential conflicts of interest with respect to managing client assets, and the description above is not a complete description of every conflict of interest that could be deemed to exist. The Subadviser also maintains a compliance monitoring program and engages independent auditors to conduct a SOC1/ISAE 3402 audit on an annual basis. These steps help to ensure that potential conflicts of interest have been addressed.

Investment Professional Compensation

With respect to the compensation of the Fund’s investment professionals, the Subadviser’s compensation system assigns each employee a total compensation range, which is derived from annual market surveys that benchmark each role with its job function and peer universe. This method is designed to reward employees with total compensation reflective of the external market value of their skills, experience and ability to produce desired results. Standard compensation includes competitive base salaries, generous employee benefits and a retirement plan.

In addition, the Subadviser’s employees are eligible for bonuses. These are structured to closely align the interests of employees with those of the Subadviser, and are determined by the professional’s job function and pre-tax performance as measured by a formal review process. All bonuses are completely discretionary. The principal factor considered is an investment professional’s investment performance versus appropriate peer groups and benchmarks (i.e., a securities index and with respect to the Fund, the benchmark set forth in the Fund’s Prospectus to which the Fund’s average annual total returns are compared or, if none, the benchmark set forth in the Fund’s annual report). Performance is reviewed on a 1, 3 and 5 year basis for compensation—with 3 and 5 years having a larger emphasis. The Subadviser may also measure an investment professional’s pre-tax investment performance against other benchmarks, as it determines appropriate. Because investment professionals are generally responsible for multiple accounts (including the Fund) with similar investment strategies, they are generally compensated on the performance of the aggregate group of similar accounts, rather than a specific account. Other factors that may be considered when making bonus decisions include client service, business development, length of service to the Subadviser, management or supervisory responsibilities, contributions to developing business strategy and overall contributions to the Subadviser’s business.

Finally, in order to attract and retain top talent, all investment professionals are eligible for additional incentives in recognition of outstanding performance. These are determined based upon the factors described above and include long-term incentives that vest over a set period of time past the award date.

Custodian and Transfer Agent

The Fund has entered into an agreement with The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY Mellon”), 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York 10286, to serve as custodian of the Fund. BNY Mellon, among other things, maintains a custody account or accounts in the name of the Fund, receives and delivers all assets for the Fund upon purchase and upon sale or maturity, collects and receives all income and other payments and distributions on account of the assets of the Fund and makes disbursements on behalf of the Fund. BNY Mellon neither determines the Fund’s investment policies nor decides which securities the Fund will buy or sell. For its services, BNY Mellon receives a monthly fee based upon the daily average market value of securities held in custody and also receives securities transaction charges, including out-of-pocket expenses. The Fund may also periodically enter into arrangements with other qualified custodians with respect to certain types of securities or other transactions such as repurchase agreements or derivatives transactions. BNY Mellon may also act as the Fund’s securities lending agent and in that case would receive a share of the income generated by such activities.

 

68


Franklin Templeton Investor Services, LLC (“Investor Services”) is the Fund’s shareholder servicing agent and acts as the Fund’s transfer agent and dividend-paying agent. Investor Services is located at 3344 Quality Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670-7313. Please send all correspondences relating to the Fund to Investor Services at P.O. Box 33030, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-8030.

Investor Services receives a fee for servicing Fund shareholder accounts. The Fund also will reimburse Investor Services for certain out-of-pocket expenses necessarily incurred in servicing the shareholder accounts in accordance with the terms of its servicing contract with the Fund.

In addition, Investor Services may make payments (or cause payments to be made) to financial intermediaries that provide administrative services to defined benefit plans. Investor Services does not seek reimbursement by the Fund for such payments.

For all classes of shares of the Fund, except for Class IS shares, Investor Services may also pay servicing fees, that will be reimbursed by the Fund, in varying amounts to certain financial institutions (to help offset their costs associated with client account maintenance support, statement preparation and transaction processing) that (i) maintain omnibus accounts with the Fund in the institution’s name on behalf of numerous beneficial owners of Fund shares who are either direct clients of the institution or are participants in an IRS-recognized tax-deferred savings plan (including Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans and Section 529 Plans) for which the institution, or its affiliate, provides participant level recordkeeping services (called “Beneficial Owners”); or (ii) provide support for Fund shareholder accounts by sharing account data with Investor Services through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) networking system. In addition to servicing fees received from the Fund, these financial institutions also may charge a fee for their services directly to their clients. Investor Services will also receive a fee from the Fund (other than for Class IS shares) for services provided in support of Beneficial Owners and NSCC networking system accounts.

Fund Counsel

Ropes & Gray LLP, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10036, serves as legal counsel to the Trust and the Fund.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 100 East Pratt Street, Suite 2600, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, serves as the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm.

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

Portfolio Transactions

Pursuant to the Subadvisory Agreement and subject to the general supervision of the Board and in accordance with the Fund’s investment objectives and strategies, the Subadviser is responsible for the execution of the Fund’s portfolio transactions with respect to assets allocated to the Subadviser. The Subadviser is authorized to place orders pursuant to its investment determinations for the Fund either directly with the issuer or with any broker or dealer, foreign currency dealer, futures commission merchant or others selected by it.

In certain instances, there may be securities that are suitable as an investment for the Fund as well as for one or more of the other clients of the Subadviser. Investment decisions for the Fund and for the Subadviser’s other clients are made with a view to achieving their respective investment objectives. It may develop that a particular security is bought or sold for only one client even though it might be held by, or bought or sold for, other clients. Likewise, a particular security may be bought for one or more clients when one or more clients are selling the same security. Some simultaneous transactions are inevitable when several clients receive investment advice from the same investment adviser, particularly when the same security is suitable for the investment objectives of more than one client. When two or more clients are simultaneously engaged in the purchase or sale of the same security, the securities are allocated among clients in a manner believed to be equitable to each. It is recognized that in some cases this system could adversely affect the price of or the size of the position obtainable in a security for the Fund. When purchases or sales of the same security for the Fund and for other portfolios managed by the Subadviser occur

 

69


contemporaneously, the purchase or sale orders may be aggregated in order to obtain any price advantages available to large volume purchases or sales.

Transactions on stock exchanges and other agency transactions involve the payment of negotiated brokerage commissions by the Fund. Transactions in foreign securities often involve the payment of brokerage commissions that may be higher than those in the United States. Fixed income securities are generally traded on a net basis (i.e., without a commission) through dealers acting as principal for their own account and not as brokers. This means that a dealer makes a market for securities by offering to buy at one price and selling the security at a slightly higher price. The difference between the prices is known as a “spread.” Other portfolio transactions may be executed through brokers acting as agents and the Fund will pay a spread or commission in connection with such transactions. The cost of securities purchased from underwriters includes an underwriting commission, concession or a net price. The Fund may also purchase securities directly from the issuer. The aggregate brokerage commissions paid by the Fund for the three most recent fiscal years or periods, as applicable, are set forth below under “Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid.”

Brokerage and Research Services

The general policy of the Subadviser in selecting brokers and dealers is to obtain the best results achievable in the context of a number of factors which are considered both in relation to individual trades and broader trading patterns. The Fund may not always pay the lowest commission or spread available. Rather, in placing orders on behalf of the Fund, the Subadviser also takes into account other factors bearing on the overall quality of execution, such as size of the order, difficulty of execution, the reliability of the broker/dealer, the competitiveness of the price and the commission, the research services received and whether the broker/dealer commits its own capital.

In connection with the selection of such brokers or dealers and the placing of such orders, subject to applicable law, brokers or dealers may be selected who also provide brokerage and research services (as those terms are defined in Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act) to the Fund and/or the other accounts over which the Subadviser or its affiliates exercise investment discretion. The Subadviser is authorized to pay a broker or dealer that provides such brokerage and research services a commission for executing a portfolio transaction for the Fund which is in excess of the amount of commission another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting that transaction if the Subadviser determines in good faith that such amount of commission is reasonable in relation to the value of the brokerage and research services provided by such broker or dealer. Investment research services include information and analysis on particular companies and industries as well as market or economic trends and portfolio strategy, market quotations for portfolio evaluations, analytical software and similar products and services. If a research service also assists the Subadviser in a non-research capacity (such as bookkeeping or other administrative functions), then only the percentage or component that provides assistance to the Subadviser in the investment decision making process may be paid in commission dollars. This determination may be viewed in terms of either that particular transaction or the overall responsibilities that the Subadviser and its affiliates have with respect to accounts over which they exercise investment discretion. The Subadviser may also have arrangements with brokers pursuant to which such brokers provide research services to the Subadviser in exchange for a certain volume of brokerage transactions to be executed by such brokers. While the payment of higher commissions increases the Fund’s costs, the Subadviser does not believe that the receipt of such brokerage and research services significantly reduces its expenses as Subadviser. Arrangements for the receipt of research services from brokers (so-called “soft dollar” arrangements) may create conflicts of interest. Although the Subadviser is authorized to use soft dollar arrangements in order to obtain research services, it is not required to do so, and the Subadviser may not be able or may choose not to use soft dollar arrangements because of regulatory restrictions, operational considerations or for other reasons.

Research services furnished to the Subadviser by brokers that effect securities transactions for the Fund may be used by the Subadviser in servicing other investment companies and accounts which the Subadviser manages. Similarly, research services furnished to the Subadviser by brokers that effect securities transactions for other investment companies and accounts which the Subadviser manages may be used by the Subadviser in servicing the Fund. Not all of these research services are used by the Subadviser in managing any particular account, including the Fund.

Firms that provide research and brokerage services to the Subadviser may also promote the sale of the Fund or other pooled investment vehicles advised by the Subadviser, and the Subadviser and/or its affiliates may separately compensate them for doing so. Such brokerage business is placed on the basis of brokerage and research services provided by the firm and is not based on any sales of the Fund or other pooled investment vehicles advised by the Subadviser.

 

70


The Fund contemplates that, consistent with the policy of obtaining the best net results, brokerage transactions may be conducted through “affiliated broker/dealers,” as defined in the 1940 Act. The Fund’s Board has adopted procedures in accordance with Rule 17e-1 under the 1940 Act to ensure that all brokerage commissions paid to such affiliates are reasonable and fair in the context of the market in which such affiliates operate. For the three most recent fiscal periods (as applicable), the Fund did not pay any brokerage commission to its affiliates.

Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid

The table below shows the aggregate brokerage commissions paid by the Fund during the periods indicated.

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended May 31,

   Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid ($)

2023

   43,225

 2022*

   48,177

2021

   11,522

 

*

The increase in aggregate brokerage commissions paid between the fiscal periods ended May 31, 2021 and May 31, 2022 was due to an increase in cash flow activity in the fund during the fiscal period ended May 31, 2022.

For the fiscal period ended May 31, 2023, the Fund did not direct any brokerage transactions related to research services and did not pay any brokerage commissions related to research services.

Securities of Regular Broker/Dealers

As of May 31, 2023, the value of the Fund’s holdings of the securities of its regular broker/dealers (as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the 1940 Act) were as follows:

 

Broker/Dealer

   Type of Security Owned
D=Debt E=Equity
   Market Value (000’s)
($)

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

       D        13,406

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

       D        9,682

Goldman Sachs & Co.

       D        8,542

Bank of America Corp.

       D        6,450

Portfolio Turnover

For reporting purposes, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate is calculated by dividing the lesser of purchases or sales of portfolio securities for the fiscal year by the monthly average of the value of the portfolio securities owned by the Fund during the fiscal year. In determining such portfolio turnover, all securities whose maturities at the time of acquisition were one year or less are excluded. A 100% portfolio turnover rate would occur, for example, if all of the securities in the Fund’s investment portfolio (other than short-term money market securities) were replaced once during the fiscal year.

In the event that portfolio turnover increases, this increase necessarily results in correspondingly greater transaction costs which must be paid by the Fund. To the extent the portfolio trading results in recognition of net short-term capital gains, shareholders will generally be taxed on distributions of such gains at ordinary tax rates (except shareholders who invest through IRAs and other retirement plans which are not taxed currently on accumulations in their accounts).

Portfolio turnover will not be a limiting factor should the Subadviser deem it advisable to purchase or sell securities.

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended

2023 (%)

   For the Fiscal Period Ended 2022 (%)

10

   46

 

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SHARE OWNERSHIP

Principal Shareholders

As of September 1, 2023, to the knowledge of the Trust, the following shareholders owned of record or beneficially 5% or more of the outstanding shares of the classes of the Fund as set forth below:

 

Class

  

Name and Address

   Percent of Class (%)

A

   MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC 
FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF ITS
CUSTOMERS
1 NEW YORK PLAZA FL 12
NEW YORK NY 10004-1901
       24.08

A

  

AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SVC

707 2ND AVE S
MINNEAPOLIS MN 55402-2405

       10.70

A

  

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF

OUR CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPARTMENT 4TH FL

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310

       9.84

A

   LPL FINANCIAL
OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT
4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE
SAN DIEGO CA 92121
       8.47

A

   PERSHING LLC
1 PERSHING PLZ
JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001
       8.01

A

   BNY MELLON INVESTMENT SERVICING
(US) INC
FBO PRIMERICA FINANCIAL SERVICES
760 MOORE RD
KING OF PRUSSIA PA 19406-1212
       6.85

C

   PERSHING LLC
1 PERSHING PLZ
JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001
       29.37

C

  

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF

OUR CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPARTMENT 4TH FL

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310

       6.86

 

72


Class

  

Name and Address

   Percent of Class (%)

C1

  

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC
SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS 
ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS
211 MAIN STREET
SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

       87.76

C1

  

LPL FINANCIAL
OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT
4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE
SAN DIEGO CA 92121

       7.37

I

   MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC
FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF ITS
CUSTOMERS
1 NEW YORK PLAZA FL 12
NEW YORK NY 10004-1901
       34.90

I

   NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP 
FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST
ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010
       12.32

I

   LPL FINANCIAL
OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT
4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE
SAN DIEGO CA 92121
       12.03

I

  

AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SVC

707 2ND AVE S
MINNEAPOLIS MN 55402-2405

       10.09

I

   WELLS FARGO CLEARING SVCS LLC
2801 MARKET STREET
SAINT LOUIS, MO 63103
       6.40

I

   UBS WM USA FBO
SPEC CDY A/C EXL BEN CUSTOMERS
OF UBSFSI
1000 HARBOR BLVD
WEEHAWKEN, NJ 07086
       6.32

IS

  

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP
FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST
ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010

       34.32

 

73


Class

  

Name and Address

   Percent of Class (%)

IS

   CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC 
SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS 
ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS
211 MAIN STREET
SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905
       28.51

IS

  

MERTZ GILMORE FOUNDATION

218 E 18TH ST

NEW YORK NY 10003-3694

       21.52

IS

   STIFEL NICOLAUS & CO INC
EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF CUSTOMERS
501 N BROADWAY
ST LOUIS MO 63102-2188
       10.42

As of September 1, 2023, to the knowledge of the Trust, the following shareholders owned of record or beneficially 25% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund as set forth below. Shareholders who beneficially own 25% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund or who are otherwise deemed to “control” the Fund may be able to determine or significantly influence the outcome of matters submitted to a vote of the Fund’s shareholders.

 

Name and Address

   Percent of Fund (%)

MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF ITS

CUSTOMERS

1 NEW YORK PLAZA FL 12

NEW YORK NY 10004-1901

       26.70

As of September 1, 2023, the Trustees and officers of the Trust, as a group, owned less than 1% of the outstanding shares of each class of the Fund.

DISTRIBUTOR

Franklin Distributors, LLC, an indirect, wholly-owned broker/dealer subsidiary of Franklin Resources, located at One Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, CA 94403-1906, serves as the sole and exclusive distributor of the Fund pursuant to a written agreement (as amended, the “Distribution Agreement”).

Under the Distribution Agreement, the Distributor is appointed as principal underwriter and distributor in connection with the offering and sale of shares of the Fund. The Distributor offers the shares on an agency or “best efforts” basis under which the Fund issues only the number of shares actually sold. Shares of the Fund are continuously offered by the Distributor.

The Distribution Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to the Fund if approved (a) by the Board or by a vote of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities, and (b) by the affirmative vote of a majority of Trustees who are not parties to such agreement or interested persons of any party by votes cast in person at a meeting called for such purpose.

The Distribution Agreement is terminable with respect to the Fund without penalty by the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, or by the Distributor, on not less than 60 days’ written notice to the other party (unless the notice period is waived by mutual consent). The Distribution Agreement will automatically and immediately terminate in the event of its assignment.

 

74


The Distributor may be deemed to be an underwriter for purposes of the 1933 Act. Dealer reallowances, if any, are described in the Fund’s Prospectus.

The Distributor, the Manager, their affiliates and their personnel have interests in promoting sales of the Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds, including remuneration, fees and profitability relating to services to and sales of the funds. Associated persons of the Manager, the Distributor or their affiliates (including wholesalers registered with the Distributor) may receive additional compensation related to the sale of individual Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds or categories of Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds. The Manager, the Subadviser, and their advisory or other personnel may also benefit from increased amounts of assets under management.

Service Agents also may benefit from the sales of shares of funds sold by the Distributor. For example, in connection with such sales, Service Agents may receive compensation from the Fund (with respect to the Fund as a whole or a particular class of shares) and/or from the Manager, the Distributor, and/or their affiliates, as further described below. The structure of these compensation arrangements, as well as the amounts paid under such arrangements, vary and may change from time to time. In addition, new compensation arrangements may be negotiated at any time. The compensation arrangements described in this section are not mutually exclusive, and a single Service Agent may receive multiple types of compensation.

The Distributor has agreements in place with Service Agents defining how much each firm will be paid for the sale of the Fund from sales charges, if any, paid by Fund shareholders and from 12b-1 Plan fees, if any, paid to the Distributor by the Fund. These Service Agents then pay their employees or associated persons who sell such fund shares from the sales charges and/or fees they receive. The Service Agent, and/or its employees or associated persons may receive a payment when a sale is made and will, in most cases, continue to receive ongoing payments while you are invested in the Fund. In other cases, the Distributor may retain all or a portion of such fees and sales charges.

In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates may make additional payments (which are often referred to as “revenue sharing” payments) to the Service Agents from their past profits and other available sources, including profits from their relationships with the Fund. Revenue sharing payments are a form of compensation paid to a Service Agent in addition to the sales charges paid by Fund shareholders or 12b-1 Plan fees paid by the Fund. The Manager, the Distributor and/or certain of its affiliates may revise the terms of any existing revenue sharing arrangement and may enter into additional revenue sharing arrangements with other Service Agents.

Revenue sharing arrangements are intended, among other things, to foster the sale of Fund shares and/or to compensate financial services firms for assisting in marketing or promotional activities in connection with the sale of Fund shares. In exchange for revenue sharing payments, the Manager and the Distributor generally expect to receive the opportunity for the Fund to be sold through the Service Agents’ sales forces or to have access to third-party platforms or other marketing programs, including but not limited to mutual fund “supermarket” platforms or other sales programs. To the extent that Service Agents receiving revenue sharing payments sell more shares of the Fund, the Manager and the Distributor and/or their affiliates benefit from the increase in Fund assets as a result of the fees they receive from the Fund. The Distributor, LMPFA or their affiliates consider revenue sharing arrangements based on a variety of factors and services to be provided.

Revenue sharing payments are usually calculated based on a percentage of Fund sales and/or Fund assets attributable to a particular Service Agent. Payments are at times based on other criteria or factors such as, for example, a fee per each transaction. Specific payment formulas are negotiated based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, reputation in the industry, ability to attract and retain assets, target markets, customer relationships and scope and quality of services provided. In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates may pay flat fees on a one-time or irregular basis for the initial set-up of the Fund on a Service Agent’s systems, participation or attendance at a Service Agent’s meetings, or for other reasons. Furthermore, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates at times pay certain education and training costs of Service Agents (including, in some cases, travel expenses) to train and educate the personnel of the Service Agents. In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates at times may provide access to technology and other tools and support services that facilitate the marketing and promotion of investment management portfolios sponsored by Legg Mason, Franklin Templeton and/or their affiliates. It is likely that Service Agents that execute portfolio transactions for the Fund will include those firms with which the Manager, the Distributor and/or certain of their affiliates have entered into revenue sharing arrangements.

 

75


The Fund generally pays the transfer agent for certain recordkeeping and administrative services. In addition, the Fund may pay Service Agents for certain recordkeeping, administrative, sub-accounting and networking services. These services include maintenance of shareholder accounts by the firms, such as recordkeeping and other activities that otherwise would be performed by the Fund’s transfer agent. Administrative fees may be paid to a firm that undertakes, for example, shareholder communications on behalf of the Fund. Networking services are services undertaken to support the electronic transmission of shareholder purchase and redemption orders through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”). These payments are generally based on either (1) a percentage of the average daily net assets of Fund shareholders serviced by a Service Agent or (2) a fixed dollar amount for each account serviced by a Service Agent. The Distributor, the Manager and/or their affiliates may make all or a portion of these payments.

In addition, the Fund reimburses the Distributor for NSCC fees that are invoiced to the Distributor as the party to the agreement with NSCC for the administrative services provided by NSCC to the Fund and its shareholders. These services include transaction processing and settlement through Fund/SERV, electronic networking services to support the transmission of shareholder purchase and redemption orders to and from Service Agents, and related recordkeeping provided by NSCC to the Fund and its shareholders.

If your Fund shares are purchased through a retirement plan, the Distributor, the Manager or certain of their affiliates at times also make similar payments to those described in this section to the plan’s recordkeeper or an affiliate.

Revenue sharing payments, as well as the other types of compensation arrangements described in this section, create an incentive for Service Agents and their employees or associated persons to recommend the Fund over other investments or sell shares of the Fund to customers and in doing so may create conflicts of interest between the firms’ financial interests and the interests of their customers. The total amount of these payments is substantial, may be substantial to any given recipient and may exceed the costs and expenses incurred by the recipient for any Fund-related marketing or shareholder servicing activities.

As of December 31, 2022, the Distributor, the Manager or their affiliates made revenue sharing payments to the Service Agents listed below (or their affiliates or successors). It is possible that each Service Agent listed is not receiving payments with respect to each fund sold by the Distributor. This list of intermediaries will change over time, and any additions, modifications or deletions thereto that have occurred since December 31, 2022 are not reflected.

 

Acadia Life Limited    ADP Retirement Services
Advisor Group Inc.    Allianz
American Enterprise Investment Services, Inc.    American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc.
American United Life Insurance Company    Ascensus, Inc.
Aspire Financial Services, LLC    Avantax Wealth Management
AXA Advisors, LLC    Axos Financial, Inc
BBVA Securities, Inc.    Benefit Plan Administrators, Inc.
Benjamin F. Edwards & Company, Inc.    Brighthouse Financial
Cadaret Grant & Co., Inc.    CAIS Capital, LLC
Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.    Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
Cetera Advisors LLC    Charles Schwab & Co.
Cetera Investment Services LLC    Cetera Financial Specialists LLC
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.    Citizens Securities, Inc.
Commonwealth Financial Network    CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.
CUSO Financial Services, L.P.    Deutsche Bank
Digital Retirement Solutions    DWC-The 401(K) Experts
E*TRADE Securities LLC.    Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P.
Empower Retirement    ePlan Services, Inc.
Fidelity Investments Institutional Operations Company, Inc.    First Allied Securities, Inc.
First Command Financial Planning, Inc.    FPS Services LLC.
FSC Securities Corporation    Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company
Goldman, Sachs & Co,    Group 4 Financial LLC.
Hantz Financial Services, Inc.    Investacorp, Inc.
Janney Montgomery Scott LLC    Jefferson National Life Insurance Company

 

76


John Hancock Distributors LLC    JP Morgan Securities LLC
KMS Financial Services, Inc.    LaSalle St. Securities
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation   

Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation

Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc.   

Lincoln Retirement Services Company LLC

Lombard International LLC   

LPL Financial

M&T Securities, Inc.   

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company

Merrill Lynch   

MetLife Insurance Company USA

Midland National Insurance Company   

Minnesota Life Insurance Company

MML Investors Services, LLC   

Morgan Stanley

MSCS Financial Services LLC   

National Security Life and Annuity Company

Nationwide Financial Services, Inc.   

New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation

Northwestern Mutual Investment Svcs LLC   

Ohio National Financial Services

Pacific Life Insurance Company   

Paychex Securities Corporation

Pershing, LLC   

PFS Investments, Inc.

PNC Investments LLC   

Principal Financial Group

Princor Financial Services   

Protective Life Insurance

Prudential Insurance Company of America   

Raymond James & Associates, Inc.

RBC Capital Markets LLC   

Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.

Royal Alliance Associates   

SagePoint Financial, Inc.

Sammons Financial Group, Inc.   

Securities America, Inc.

Securities Service Network, Inc.   

Sorrento Pacific Financial, LLC

Stifel Financial Corporation   

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (US)

TD Ameritrade Trust Company   

TFS Securities, Inc.

The Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company, Inc.   

The Huntington Investment Company

The Investment Center, Inc.   

TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC

TIFIN Wealth   

Transamerica Advisors Life Insurance Company

U.S. Bancorp Investments   

UBS Financial Services, Inc.

UnionBanc Investment Services, LLC   

USI Advisors, Inc.

Valor Financial Securities, LLC   

Vestwell Holdings, Inc.

Voya Financial Advisors, LLC   

Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Western International Securities, Inc.   

Woodbury Financial Services, Inc.

The Distributor, the Manager or their affiliates may also pay fees, from their own assets, to Service Agents for providing other distribution-related services as well as recordkeeping, administrative, subaccounting, and networking services (or portions thereof), and other shareholder or administrative services in connection with investments in the Fund. These payments may be considered revenue sharing payments. The Service Agents receiving such payments may not be listed above.

You should assume that your Service Agent receives revenue sharing payments and/or other compensation described in this SAI. Please contact your Service Agent for details about any payments it (and its employees) may receive from the Fund and/or from the Distributor, the Manager and/or their affiliates. You should review your Service Agent’s disclosure and/or talk to your Service Agent to obtain more information on how this compensation may have influenced your Service Agent’s recommendation of the Fund.

Dealer Commissions and Concessions

From time to time, the Distributor or the Manager, at its expense, may provide compensation or promotional incentives (“concessions”) to dealers that sell or arrange for the sale of shares of the Fund or a managed account strategy of which the Fund is part. Such concessions provided by the Distributor or the Manager may include financial assistance to dealers in connection with preapproved conferences or seminars, sales or training programs for invited registered representatives and other employees, payment for travel expenses, including lodging, incurred by registered representatives and other employees for such seminars or training programs, seminars for the public, advertising and sales campaigns regarding one or more funds, and/or other dealer-sponsored events. From time to time, the Distributor or the Manager may make expense reimbursements for special training of a dealer’s registered representatives and other employees in group meetings or to help pay the expenses of sales contests. Other concessions may be offered to the extent not prohibited by applicable laws or any self-regulatory agency, such as the FINRA.

 

77


Sales Charges

The following expenses were incurred during the fiscal periods indicated:

Initial Sales Charges

The aggregate dollar amounts of initial sales charges received on Class A shares and the amounts retained by the Distributor were as follows:

Class A Shares

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended
May 31,

   Total
Commissions ($)
   Amounts
Retained by
Distributor ($)

2023

       0        0

2022

       0        (1,318 )

2021

       0        0

Contingent Deferred Sales Charges

The aggregate dollar amounts of contingent deferred sales charges on Class C shares received and retained by the Distributor were as follows:

Class C Shares

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended
May 31,

   Amounts
Retained by 
Distributor ($)

2023

       0

2022

       0

2021

       0

Services and Distribution Plan

The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has adopted a 12b-1 Plan in accordance with Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. Under the 12b-1 Plan, the Fund may pay monthly fees to the Distributor at up to the annual rates set forth below (as a percentage of the average daily net assets of the Fund attributable to the applicable share class).

 

Class

   Rate (%)

Class A

       0.25

Class C

       1.00

Class C1

       0.75

Class R

       0.50

The Fund will provide the Board with periodic reports of amounts expended under the 12b-1 Plan and the purposes for which such expenditures were made. Fees under the 12b-1 Plan may be used to make payments to the Distributor, Service Agents and other parties with respect to the sale of Fund shares for advertising, marketing or other promotional activity, and payments for preparation, printing, and distribution of prospectuses, statements of additional information and reports for recipients other than existing shareholders. The Fund also may make payments to the Distributor, Service Agents and others for providing personal service or the maintenance of shareholder accounts. The amounts paid to each recipient may vary based upon

 

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certain factors, including, among other things, the levels of sales of shares and/or shareholder services; provided, however, that the fees paid to a recipient with respect to a particular class that may be used to cover expenses primarily intended to result in the sale of shares of that class, or that may be used to cover expenses primarily intended for personal service and/or maintenance of shareholder accounts, may not exceed the maximum amounts, if any, as may from time to time be permitted for such services under FINRA Conduct Rule 2341 or any successor rule, in each case as amended or interpreted by FINRA.

Since fees paid under the 12b-1 Plan are not tied directly to expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others), the amount of the fees paid by a class of the Fund during any year may be more or less than actual expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others). This type of distribution fee arrangement is characterized by the staff of the SEC as being of the “compensation variety” (in contrast to “reimbursement” arrangements by which a distributor’s payments are directly linked to its expenses). Thus, even if the Distributor’s expenses exceed the fees provided for by the 12b-1 Plan, the Fund will not be obligated to pay more than those fees and, if expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others) are less than the fees paid to the Distributor and others, they will realize a profit.

The 12b-1 Plan recognizes that various service providers to the Fund, such as the Manager, may make payments for distribution, marketing or sales-related expenses out of their own resources of any kind, including profits or payments received from the Fund for other purposes, such as management fees. The 12b-1 Plan provides that, to the extent that such payments might be deemed to be indirect financing of any activity primarily intended to result in the sale of shares of the Fund, the payments are deemed to be authorized by the 12b-1 Plan.

Under its terms, the 12b-1 Plan continues in effect for successive annual periods, provided continuance is specifically approved at least annually by vote of the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees who have no direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the 12b-1 Plan or in any agreements related to it (“Qualified Trustees”). The 12b-1 Plan may not be amended to increase the amount of the service and distribution fees without shareholder approval, and all amendments of the 12b-1 Plan also must be approved by the Trustees, including the Qualified Trustees, in the manner described above. The 12b-1 Plan may be terminated with respect to a class of the Fund at any time, without penalty, by vote of a majority of the Qualified Trustees or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that class (as defined in the 1940 Act).

The following service and distribution fees were incurred by the Fund pursuant to the 12b-1 Plan in effect during the fiscal period ended May 31, 2023:

 

Class

   Service and Distribution Fees Incurred ($)    Service and Distribution Fees
Waived/Reimbursed ($)

Class A

       569,798        0

Class C

       58,168        0

Class C1

       594        0

No information is presented for Class R shares of the Fund, as no shares of that class were outstanding as of May 31, 2022.

For the fiscal period ended May 31, 2023, the Distributor incurred distribution expenses for advertising, printing and mailing prospectuses, support service and overhead expenses and compensation to Service Agents and third parties as expressed in the following table. The Distributor may have made revenue sharing payments in addition to the expenses shown here.

 

Class

   Third Party Fees ($)    Financial
Consultant
Compensation 
(Amortized) ($)
   Marketing ($)    Printing ($)    Total Expenses ($)

Class A

       532,131        0        444,335        0        976,466

Class C

       52,568        5,492        2,547        0        60,607

Class C1

       543        0        190        0        733

No information is presented for Class R shares of the Fund, as no shares of that class were outstanding as of May 31, 2023.

 

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PURCHASE OF SHARES

Purchases of Fund shares are discussed under the “Buying shares” and “Exchanging shares” sections of the Fund’s Prospectus; this information is incorporated herein by reference. See the Fund’s Prospectus for a discussion of which share classes of the Fund are available for purchase, who is eligible to purchase shares of each class, and applicable investment minimums.

Investors may purchase shares from a Service Agent. However, Service Agents may not offer all classes of shares. In addition, certain investors, including retirement plans purchasing through certain Service Agents, may purchase shares directly from the Fund. When purchasing shares of the Fund, investors must specify the class of shares being purchased. Payment must be made with the purchase order. Service Agents may charge their customers an annual account maintenance fee in connection with a brokerage or other financial account through which an investor purchases or holds shares. Accounts held directly at the transfer agent are not subject to a maintenance fee.

Purchase orders received by the Fund prior to the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE on any day the Fund calculates its NAV are priced according to the NAV determined on that day (the “trade date”). Orders received by a Service Agent prior to the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE on any day the Fund calculates its NAV are priced according to the NAV determined on that day, provided the order is transmitted by the Service Agent to the Fund’s transfer agent in accordance with their agreed-upon procedures. See “Valuation of Shares” below for additional information about the NYSE’s holiday schedule. NAV is calculated separately for each share class.

Class A. Class A are sold to investors at NAV with no initial sales charge and no contingent deferred sales charge.

Class C Shares. Class C shares are not available for purchase through Distributor Accounts. Class C shares are sold at NAV without an initial sales charge on purchases but are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge payable upon certain redemptions. See “Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Provisions.”

Class C1 Shares. Class C1 shares are not available for purchase by new or existing investors (except for certain retirement plan programs authorized by the Distributor prior to August 1, 2012). Class C1 shares will continue to be available for dividend reinvestment and incoming exchanges. Class C1 shares are sold at NAV without an initial sales charge on purchases and are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge payable upon redemptions. See “Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Provisions.”

Class D Shares. Class D shares are offered to a limited group of investors who invest in the Fund through certain financial intermediary and retirement plan programs. Service Agents selling Class D shares may in the future discontinue offering Class D shares to clients of financial intermediaries. A Service Agent or financial intermediary may impose investment minimums. For more information about these programs, contact a Service Agent.

Class FI, Class R, Class I and Class IS Shares. Class FI shares are not available for purchase through Distributor Accounts. Class FI, Class R, Class I and Class IS shares are sold at NAV with no initial sales charge on purchases and no contingent deferred sales charge upon redemption.

Class I shares may be purchased directly from the Fund by the following persons: (i) current employees of the Manager and its affiliates; (ii) former employees of the Manager and its affiliates with existing accounts; (iii) current and former board members of investment companies managed by affiliates of Franklin Resources; (iv) current and former board members of Franklin Resources; and (v) the “immediate families” of such persons. “Immediate families” are such person’s spouse (including the surviving spouse of a deceased board member), parents, grandparents, and children and grandchildren (including step-relationships). For such investors, the minimum initial investment is $1,000 and the minimum for each purchase of additional shares is $50. Current employees may purchase additional Class I shares through a systematic investment plan.

Class IS shares may be purchased only by retirement plans with omnibus accounts held on the books of the Fund, certain rollover IRAs and Institutional Investors, Clients of Eligible Financial Intermediaries and other investors authorized by the Distributor. In order to purchase Class IS shares, an investor must hold its shares in an account that is not subject to payment of fees for recordkeeping services, account servicing, networking, or similar services to Service Agents.

 

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Class 1 Shares. Class 1 shares are closed to all purchases and incoming exchanges. Investors owning Class 1 shares may continue to maintain their then-current Class 1 shares but are no longer permitted to add to their Class 1 share positions, except through reinvestments of dividends.

* * * * *

Under certain circumstances, an investor who purchases Fund shares pursuant to a fee-based advisory account program of an Eligible Financial Intermediary as authorized by the Distributor may be afforded an opportunity to make a conversion between one or more share classes owned by the investor in the same Fund to Class I shares of that Fund. Such a conversion in these particular circumstances does not cause the investor to realize taxable gain or loss.

For additional information regarding applicable investment minimums and eligibility requirements for purchases of Fund shares, please see the Fund’s Prospectus.

Systematic Investment Plan

Shareholders may make additions to their accounts at any time by purchasing shares through a service known as the Systematic Investment Plan. Under the Systematic Investment Plan, shareholders may arrange for automatic periodic investments of $25 or more in certain share classes by authorizing the Distributor or the transfer agent to charge the shareholder’s account held with a bank or other financial institution, as indicated by the shareholder, to provide for systematic additions to the shareholder’s Fund account. Shareholders have the option of selecting the frequency of the investment as long as the investment equals a minimum of $25 per month. Shareholders may terminate participation in the Systematic Investment Plan at any time without charge or penalty. Additional information is available from the Fund or your Service Agent.

Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Provisions

Class A Shares.

 

   

Class A shares that were purchased without an initial sales charge but are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. A contingent deferred sales charge may be imposed on certain redemptions of these shares. Class A shares that are contingent deferred sales charge shares are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge if redeemed within 18 months of purchase.

 

   

Class A shares that are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. If Class A shares of the Fund are exchanged for shares of another fund sold by the Distributor that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, you may pay a contingent deferred sales charge if the shares acquired by exchange are redeemed within 18 months of purchase.

Class C Shares.

 

   

Class C shares that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. A contingent deferred sales charge will be imposed if shares are redeemed within 12 months of purchase.

 

   

Class C shares that are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. If Class C shares of the Fund are exchanged for shares of another fund sold by the Distributor that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, you may pay a contingent deferred sales charge if the shares acquired by exchange are redeemed within 12 months from the date of such exchange.

Class C1 Shares.

 

   

Class C1 shares that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. A contingent deferred sales charge will be imposed if shares are redeemed within 12 months of purchase. If Class C1 shares of the Fund are exchanged for Class C1 shares (or, if not available, Class C shares) of another fund sold by the Distributor, any contingent deferred sales charge that applies to the Class C1 shares of the other fund will apply to the Class C1 shares (or Class C shares, as applicable) acquired in exchange for the Class C1 shares of the Fund, and that contingent deferred sales charge will be measured from the date the shares exchanged were initially acquired.

 

   

Class C1 shares that are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. Class C1 shares of the Fund are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, but if Class C1 shares of the Fund are exchanged for Class C1 shares (or, if not

 

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available, Class C shares) of another fund sold by the Distributor that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, any contingent deferred sales charge that applies to the Class C1 shares of the other fund will apply to the Class C1 shares (or Class C shares, as applicable) acquired in exchange for the Class C1 shares of the Fund, and that contingent deferred sales charge will be measured from the date of such exchange.

Any applicable contingent deferred sales charge will be assessed on the NAV at the time of purchase or redemption, whichever is less.

In determining the applicability of any contingent deferred sales charge, it will be assumed that a redemption is made first of shares representing capital appreciation, next of shares representing the reinvestment of dividends and capital gain distributions, next of shares that are not subject to the contingent deferred sales charge and finally of other shares held by the shareholder for the longest period of time. Unless otherwise noted above, the length of time that contingent deferred sales charge shares acquired through an exchange have been held will be calculated from the date the shares exchanged were initially acquired in one of the other funds sold by the Distributor. For federal income tax purposes, the amount of the contingent deferred sales charge will reduce the gain or increase the loss, as the case may be, on the amount realized on redemption. The Distributor receives contingent deferred sales charges in partial consideration for its expenses in selling shares.

Waivers of Contingent Deferred Sales Charge

The contingent deferred sales charge will be waived on:

 

i.

exchanges (see “Exchange of Shares”);

 

ii.

redemptions through a systematic withdrawal plan, up to 1% monthly, 3% quarterly, 6% semiannually or 12% annually of your account’s net asset value depending on the frequency of your plan (see “Systematic Withdrawal Plan”);

 

iii.

redemptions of shares within 12 months following the death or disability (as defined by the Code) of the shareholder;

 

iv.

mandatory post-retirement distributions from retirement plans or IRAs commencing on or after attainment of a specific age required by law (except that shareholders of certain retirement plans or IRAs established prior to May 23, 2005 will be eligible to obtain a waiver of the contingent deferred sales charge on all funds held in those accounts at age 59 1/2 and may be required to demonstrate such eligibility at the time of redemption);

 

v.

involuntary redemptions;

 

vi.

redemptions of shares to effect a combination of the Fund with any investment company by merger, acquisition of assets or otherwise;

 

vii.

effective May 1, 2020, on redemptions with respect to investors where the Distributor did not pay the Service Agent a commission;

 

viii.

tax-free returns of an excess contribution to any retirement plan; and

 

ix.

certain redemptions of shares of the Fund in connection with lump-sum or other distributions made by eligible retirement plans or redemption of shares by participants in certain “wrap fee” or asset allocation programs sponsored by broker/dealers and other financial institutions that have entered into agreements with the Distributor or the Manager.

The contingent deferred sales charge is also waived on Class C shares purchased by retirement plans with omnibus accounts held on the books of the Fund. Different Service Agents may offer different contingent deferred sales charge waivers. For more information, see the appendix to the Prospectus titled “Appendix: Waivers and Discounts Available from Certain Service Agents.”

A shareholder who has redeemed shares from another fund sold by the Distributor may, under certain circumstances, reinvest all or part of the redemption proceeds within 90 days in another fund sold by the Distributor and receive pro rata credit for any contingent deferred sales charge imposed on the prior redemption.

To have a contingent deferred sales charge waived, you or your Service Agent must let the Fund know at the time you redeem shares that you qualify for such a waiver. Contingent deferred sales charge waivers will be granted subject to confirmation by the Distributor or the transfer agent of the shareholder’s status or holdings, as the case may be.

 

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Grandfathered Retirement Program with Exchange Features

Certain retirement plan programs with exchange features in effect prior to November 20, 2006 (collectively, the “Grandfathered Retirement Program”) that are authorized by the Distributor to offer eligible retirement plan investors the opportunity to exchange all of their Class C shares or Class C1 shares, if applicable, for Class A shares of an applicable Legg Mason fund, are permitted to maintain such share class exchange features for current and prospective retirement plan investors.

Under the Grandfathered Retirement Program, Class C shares and Class C1 shares of the Fund may be purchased by plans investing less than $3,000,000. Class C shares and Class C1 shares are eligible for exchange into Class A shares not later than eight years after the plan joins the program. They are eligible for exchange in the following circumstances: For participating plans established with the Fund or another fund in the Legg Mason family of funds (including funds for which LMPFA or any predecessor serves or has served as investment manager or administrator) prior to June 2, 2003, if such plan’s total Class C and Class C1 holdings in all non-money market Legg Mason funds equal at least $1,000,000 at the end of the fifth year after the date the participating plan enrolled in the Grandfathered Retirement Program, the participating plan will be permitted to exchange all of its Class C shares and Class C1 shares for Class A shares of the Fund. For participating plans established with the Fund or another fund in the Legg Mason family of funds (including funds for which LMPFA or any predecessor serves or has served as investment manager or administrator) on or after June 2, 2003, if such plan’s total Class C and Class C1 holdings in all non-money market Legg Mason funds equal at least $3,000,000 at the end of the fifth year after the date the participating plan enrolled in the Grandfathered Retirement Program, the participating plan will be permitted to exchange all of its Class C shares and Class C1 shares for Class A shares of the Fund.

Unless the exchange offer has been rejected in writing, the exchange will automatically occur within approximately 30 days after the fifth anniversary date. If the participating plan does not qualify for the five-year exchange to Class A shares, a review of the participating plan’s holdings will be performed each quarter until either the participating plan qualifies or the end of the eighth year.

Any participating plan that has not previously qualified for an exchange into Class A shares will be offered the opportunity to exchange all of its Class C shares and Class C1 shares for Class A shares of the same fund regardless of asset size at the end of the eighth year after the date the participating plan enrolled in the Grandfathered Retirement Program. Unless the exchange has been rejected in writing, the exchange will automatically occur on or about the eighth anniversary date. Once an exchange has occurred, a participating plan will not be eligible to acquire additional Class C shares and Class C1 shares but instead may acquire Class A shares of the same fund. Any Class C shares and Class C1 shares not converted will continue to be subject to the distribution fee.

For further information regarding the Grandfathered Retirement Program, contact your Service Agent or the transfer agent. Participating plans that enrolled in the Grandfathered Retirement Program prior to June 2, 2003 should contact the transfer agent for information regarding Class C shares and Class C1 shares exchange privileges applicable to their plan.

Determination of Public Offering Price

The Fund offers its shares to the public on a continuous basis. The public offering price for each class of shares of the Fund is equal to the net asset value per share at the time of purchase.

REDEMPTION OF SHARES

Redemptions of Fund shares are discussed under the “Exchanging shares” and “Redeeming shares” sections of the Fund’s Prospectus; this information is incorporated herein by reference.

The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed:

 

i.

for any period during which the NYSE is closed (other than for customary weekend and holiday closings);

 

ii.

when trading in the markets the Fund normally utilizes is restricted, or an emergency exists, as determined by the SEC, so that disposal of the Fund’s investments or determination of NAV is not reasonably practicable; or

 

iii.

for such other periods as the SEC by order may permit for protection of the Fund’s shareholders.

 

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In the case of any such suspension, you may either withdraw your request for redemption or receive payment based upon the NAV next determined after the suspension is lifted.

The Fund’s transfer agent, acting on behalf of the Fund, may place a temporary hold for up to 25 business days on the disbursement of redemption proceeds from an account held directly with the Fund if the transfer agent, in consultation with the Fund, reasonably believes that financial exploitation of a Specified Adult (as defined below) has occurred, is occurring, has been attempted, or will be attempted. In order to delay payment of redemption proceeds under these circumstances, the Fund and the transfer agent must adopt certain policies and procedures and otherwise comply with the terms and conditions of no-action relief provided by the SEC staff. Financial exploitation means: (i) the wrongful or unauthorized taking, withholding, appropriation, or use of a Specified Adult’s funds or securities; or (ii) any act or omission by a person, including through the use of a power of attorney, guardianship, or any other authority regarding a Specified Adult, to (a) obtain control, through deception, intimidation or undue influence, over the Specified Adult’s money, assets or property, or (b) convert the Specified Adult’s money, assets or property. The transfer agent and/or the Fund may not be aware of factors suggesting financial exploitation of a Specified Adult and may not be able to identify Specified Adults in all circumstances. Furthermore, the transfer agent is not required to delay the disbursement of redemption proceeds and does not assume any obligation to do so. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “Specified Adult” refers to an individual who is a natural person (i) age 65 and older, or (ii) age 18 and older and whom the Fund’s transfer agent reasonably believes has a mental or physical impairment that renders the individual unable to protect his or her own interests.

Unless otherwise instructed, redemption proceeds will be mailed to an investor’s address of record. The transfer agent may require additional supporting documents for redemptions made by corporations, executors, administrators, trustees or guardians. A redemption request will not be deemed properly received until the transfer agent receives all required documents in proper form.

If a shareholder holds shares in more than one class, any request for redemption must specify the class being redeemed. In the event of a failure to specify which class, or if the investor owns fewer shares of the class than specified, the redemption request will be delayed until the transfer agent receives further instructions. Redemption proceeds for shares purchased by check, other than a certified or official bank check, will be remitted upon clearance of the check, which may take up to ten days. Each Service Agent is responsible for transmitting promptly orders for its customers.

The Service Agent may charge you a fee for executing your order. The amount and applicability of such a fee is determined and should be disclosed to its customers by each Service Agent.

The Fund reserves the right to modify or terminate telephonic, electronic or other redemption services described in the Prospectus and this SAI at any time.

Systematic Withdrawal Plan

The Systematic Withdrawal Plan permits you to have a specified dollar amount automatically withdrawn from your account on a regular basis (i.e., on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis). The Systematic Withdrawal Plan is available to those shareholders who own shares directly with the Fund. You should contact your Service Agent to determine if it offers a similar service.

Class A, Class C, Class C1 and Class D Shareholders. Class A, Class C, Class C1 and Class D shareholders having an account with a balance of $5,000 or more may elect to make withdrawals of a minimum of $50 per transaction per month. For retirement plans subject to mandatory distribution requirements, the minimum withdrawal amounts will not apply. There are two ways to receive payment of proceeds of redemptions made through the Systematic Withdrawal Plan: (1) Check mailed by the Fund’s transfer agent—Fund shares will be redeemed on the day of the month indicated on your account application, (or if no day is indicated, on the 20th day of the month) or the next business day and a check for the proceeds will be mailed within three business days. Available processing dates currently are the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th days of the month; or (2) electronic transfer (ACH) to checking or savings account—redemptions of Fund shares may occur on any business day of the month and the checking or savings account will be credited with the proceeds in approximately two business days. You may change the amount to be paid to you or terminate the Systematic Withdrawal Plan at any time, without charge or penalty, by contacting the Fund or your Service Agent. The Fund, its transfer agent, and the Distributor also reserve the right to modify or terminate the Systematic Withdrawal Plan at any time. See “Waivers of Contingent Deferred Sales Charge,” above, for information about application of the contingent deferred sales charge to withdrawals under the Systematic Withdrawal Plan.

 

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Class FI, Class I and Class IS Shareholders. Certain shareholders of the Fund’s Class FI, Class I and Class IS shares with an initial NAV of $1,000,000 or more, or certain other shareholders authorized by the Distributor, may be eligible to participate in the Systematic Withdrawal Plan. Receipt of payment of proceeds of redemptions made through the Systematic Withdrawal Plan will be wired through electronic transfer (ACH) to your checking or savings account—redemptions of Fund shares may occur on any business day of the month and the checking or savings account will be credited with the proceeds in approximately two business days. Requests to change or discontinue the Systematic Withdrawal Plan may be made at the Fund’s website, www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfunds, by calling the Fund at 877-6LM-FUND/656-3863, or by writing to the Fund or your Service Agent. You may change the amount to be paid to you or terminate the Systematic Withdrawal Plan at any time, without charge or penalty, by notifying the Fund or your Service Agent. The Fund, its transfer agent, and the Distributor also reserve the right to modify or terminate the Systematic Withdrawal Plan at any time.

In General. The amounts paid to you each redemption period are obtained by redeeming sufficient shares from your account to provide the withdrawal amount that you have specified.

Redemptions will be made at the NAV per share, determined as of the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on the day corresponding to the redemption option designated by the investor, less any applicable contingent deferred sales charge. If the NYSE is not open for business on that day, the shares will be redeemed at the per share NAV determined as of the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE on the next day the NYSE is open, less any applicable contingent deferred sales charge. See “Valuation of Shares” below for additional information about the NYSE’s holiday schedule.

Withdrawal payments are treated as a sale of shares rather than as a dividend or other distribution. A payment is taxable to the extent that the total amount of the payment exceeds the tax basis in the shares deemed sold. Other taxes or tax-related consequences may apply, and you should consult your tax professional before establishing a Systematic Withdrawal Plan. If the periodic withdrawals exceed reinvested dividends and other distributions, the amount of your original investment may be correspondingly reduced.

Ordinarily, you should not purchase additional shares of a fund in which you have an account if you maintain a Systematic Withdrawal Plan because there are tax disadvantages associated with such purchases and withdrawals.

Redemptions In Kind

The Fund reserves the right, under certain conditions, to honor any request for a redemption by making payment in whole or in part by delivering securities valued in accordance with the procedures described under “Share price” in the Fund’s Prospectus. Because redemption in kind may be used at times of unusual illiquidity in the markets, these valuation methods may include fair value estimations. If payment is made in securities, a shareholder should expect to incur brokerage expenses in converting those securities into cash, and the market price of those securities will be subject to fluctuation until they are sold. In addition, a redemption is generally a taxable event for shareholders, regardless of whether the redemption is satisfied in cash or in kind. The securities delivered may not be representative of the entire Fund portfolio, may represent only one issuer or a limited number of issuers and may be securities that the Fund would otherwise sell. The Fund will not use securities to pay redemptions by the Distributor or other affiliated persons of the Fund, except as permitted by law, SEC rules or orders, or interpretive guidance from the SEC staff or other proper authorities.

Shares Purchased and Redeemed Through Another Service Agent

The Fund has authorized certain Service Agents to receive on its behalf purchase and redemption orders. Such Service Agents are authorized to designate plan administrator intermediaries to receive purchase and redemption orders on the Fund’s behalf. The Fund will be deemed to have received a purchase or redemption order when an authorized Service Agent or, if applicable, a Service Agent’s authorized designee, receives the order. Orders will be priced at the Fund’s NAV next computed after they are received by an authorized Service Agent or the Service Agent’s authorized designee and accepted by the Fund.

Transferring Fund Shares to Another Service Agent

You may transfer Fund shares only to a Service Agent that has entered into an agreement with the Distributor or one of its affiliates with respect to the Fund. Some Service Agents may have agreements with the Distributor or one of its affiliates with respect to some funds and not others. Depending on the Service Agent to which you transfer the shares, certain shareholder

 

85


services may not be available for the transferred shares. After the transfer, you may purchase additional Fund shares. All future trading of Fund shares, including exchanges, is subject to the rules of the Service Agent and its continued agreement with the Distributor that permits such trading.

You should contact your Service Agent or the appropriate fund for further information on transferring Fund shares.

EXCHANGE OF SHARES

Exchanges of Fund shares are discussed under the “Buying shares,” “Exchanging shares,” and “Redeeming shares” sections of the Fund’s Prospectus; this information is incorporated herein by reference. The exchange privilege enables shareholders to acquire shares of the same class in another Legg Mason fund. This privilege is available to shareholders residing in any state in which the Fund shares being acquired may legally be sold. Prior to any exchange, the shareholder should obtain and review a copy of the current prospectus of each fund into which an exchange is being considered. The Prospectus describes the requirements for exchanging shares of the Fund and may be obtained as described on the cover page of this SAI.

Upon receipt of proper instructions and all necessary supporting documents, shares submitted for exchange are redeemed at the then-current NAV, and the proceeds, net of any applicable sales charge, are immediately invested in shares of the fund being acquired at that fund’s then current NAV. The Distributor reserves the right to reject any exchange request. The exchange privilege may be modified or terminated at any time after written notice to shareholders.

Class A Exchanges. Investors that hold Class A shares of the Fund may exchange those shares for Class A shares of other funds, subject to any applicable initial sales charge or contingent deferred sales charge if the shares being exchanged were not subject to a sales charge.

Class C Exchanges. Class C shares of the Fund may be exchanged for other Class C shares without imposition of any charge but subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, if applicable. Upon an exchange, the new Class C shares will be deemed to have been purchased on the same date as the Class C shares of the Fund that have been exchanged. Class C shares of the Fund may be exchanged for Class A shares of the Fund, subject to a contingent deferred sales charges of 1.00% if exchanged within one year of purchase.

Class C1 Exchanges. Investors that hold Class C1 shares may exchange those shares for Class A shares of the Fund or Class C1 shares of other Legg Mason funds, or if a fund does not offer Class C1, for Class C shares. However, once an investor exchanges Class C1 shares for Class C shares, the investor would not be permitted to exchange from Class C shares back to Class C1 shares.

Class D Exchanges. Class D shares of the Fund may not be exchanged.

Class P Exchanges. Class P shares may exchange those shares for Class P shares of other Legg Mason funds.

Class R, Class I and Class IS Exchanges. Class R, Class I and Class IS shareholders of the Fund who wish to exchange all or a portion of their shares for shares of the respective class in another fund may do so without imposition of any charge but subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, if applicable.

Class 1 Exchanges. Class 1 shareholders who wish to exchange all or a portion of their shares may exchange Class 1 shares for Class A shares of certain funds available for exchange. Ask your Service Agent about the funds available for exchange.

Certain retirement plan programs with exchange features in effect prior to November 20, 2006, as approved by the Distributor, will remain eligible for exchange from Class C shares or Class C1 shares to Class A shares in accordance with the program terms. See “Grandfathered Retirement Program with Exchange Features” for additional information.

For exchange purposes, Legg Mason funds include those that are series of Legg Mason Partners Investment Trust, Legg Mason Partners Income Trust, Legg Mason Partners Money Market Trust, Legg Mason Global Asset Management Trust and Western Asset Funds, Inc. Please contact your Service Agent or the Fund for more information.

 

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Additional Information Regarding the Exchange Privilege

The Fund is not designed to provide investors with a means of speculation on short-term market movements. A pattern of frequent exchanges by investors can be disruptive to efficient portfolio management and, consequently, can be detrimental to the Fund and its shareholders. See “Frequent trading of fund shares” in the Prospectus.

During times of drastic economic or market conditions, the Fund may suspend the exchange privilege temporarily without notice and treat exchange requests based on their separate components—redemption orders with a simultaneous request to purchase the other fund’s shares. In such a case, the redemption request would be processed at the Fund’s next determined NAV but the purchase order would be effective only at the NAV next determined after the fund being purchased formally accepts the order, which may result in the purchase being delayed.

Certain shareholders may be able to exchange shares by telephone. See the Fund’s Prospectus for additional information. Exchanges will be processed at the NAV next determined. Redemption procedures discussed above are also applicable for exchanging shares, and exchanges will be made upon receipt of all supporting documents in proper form. If the account registration of the shares of the fund being acquired is identical to the registration of the shares of the fund exchanged, no signature guarantee is required.

The exchange privilege may be modified or terminated at any time and is available only in those jurisdictions where such exchanges legally may be made. An exchange is treated as a sale of the shares exchanged and could result in taxable gain or loss to the shareholder making the exchange. Other taxes or tax-related consequences may apply, and you should consult your tax professional before requesting an exchange.

VALUATION OF SHARES

The NAV per share of each class of the Fund is generally calculated as of the close of regular trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day on which the NYSE is open. As of the date of this SAI, the NYSE is normally open for trading every weekday except in the event of an emergency or for the following holidays (or the days on which they are observed): New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Because of the differences in distribution fees and class specific expenses, the per share NAV of each class of the Fund will differ. Please see the Fund’s Prospectus for a description of the procedures used by the Fund in valuing its assets.

PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES

The Manager delegates to the Subadviser the responsibility for voting proxies for the Fund through its contracts with the Subadviser. The Subadviser may use its own proxy voting policies and procedures to vote proxies of the Fund if the Fund’s Board reviews and approves the use of those policies and procedures. Accordingly, the Manager does not expect to have proxy-voting responsibility for the Fund.

Should the Manager become responsible for voting proxies for any reason, such as the inability of the Subadviser to provide investment advisory services, the Manager shall utilize the proxy voting guidelines established by the most recent Subadviser to vote proxies until a new subadviser is retained and the use of its proxy voting policies and procedures is authorized by the Board. In the case of a material conflict between the interests of the Manager (or its affiliates if such conflict is known to persons responsible for voting at the Manager) and any fund, the Board of Directors of the Manager shall consider how to address the conflict and/or how to vote the proxies. The Manager shall maintain records of all proxy votes in accordance with applicable securities laws and regulations.

The Manager shall be responsible for gathering relevant documents and records related to proxy voting from the Subadviser and providing them to the Fund as required for the Fund to comply with applicable rules under the 1940 Act. The Manager shall also be responsible for coordinating the provision of information to the Board with regard to the proxy voting policies and procedures of the Subadviser, including the actual proxy voting policies and procedures of the Subadviser, changes to such policies and procedures, and reports on the administration of such policies and procedures.

The Subadviser’s proxy voting policies and procedures govern in determining how proxies relating to the Fund’s portfolio securities are voted. A copy of the proxy voting policies and procedures is attached as Appendix A to this SAI.

 

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Information regarding how the Fund voted proxies (if any) relating to portfolio securities during the most recent twelve month period ended June 30 is available without charge (1) by calling 877-6LM-FUND/656-3863, (2) on www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfundsliterature (click on the name of the Fund), and (3) on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

The Fund’s Board has adopted policies and procedures (the “policy”) developed by the Manager with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities and any ongoing arrangements to make available information about the Fund’s portfolio securities for the Legg Mason Funds. The Manager believes the policy is in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders and that it strikes an appropriate balance between the desire of investors for information about fund portfolio holdings and the need to protect the Fund from potentially harmful disclosures.

General Rules/Website Disclosure

The policy provides that information regarding the Fund’s portfolio holdings may be shared at any time with employees of the Manager, the Fund’s Subadviser and other affiliated parties involved in the management, administration or operations of the Fund (referred to as fund-affiliated personnel). With respect to non-money market funds, the Fund’s complete list of holdings (including the size of each position) may be made available to investors, potential investors, third parties and Franklin Templeton personnel that are not fund-affiliated personnel (i) upon the filing of portfolio holdings reports in accordance with SEC rules, provided that such filings are not made until 15 calendar days following the end of the period covered by the applicable holdings report or (ii) no sooner than 8 business days after month end, provided that such information has been made available through public disclosure. Typically, public disclosure is achieved by required filings with the SEC and/or posting the information to the Fund’s Internet site that is accessible by the public, or through public release by a third party vendor.

The Fund currently discloses its complete portfolio holdings 8 business days after month-end. The Fund discloses this information on the Fund’s website: www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfundsliterature (click on the name of the Fund).

Ongoing Arrangements

Under the policy, the Fund may release portfolio holdings information on a regular basis to a custodian, sub-custodian, fund accounting agent, proxy voting provider, rating agency or other vendor or service provider for a legitimate business purpose, where the party receiving the information is under a duty of confidentiality, including a duty to prohibit the sharing of non-public information with unauthorized sources and trading upon non-public information. The Fund may enter into other ongoing arrangements for the release of portfolio holdings information, but only if such arrangements serve a legitimate business purpose and are with a party who is subject to a confidentiality agreement and restrictions on trading upon non-public information. None of the Fund, Legg Mason or any other affiliated party may receive compensation or any other consideration in connection with such arrangements. Ongoing arrangements to make available information about the Fund’s portfolio securities will be reviewed at least annually by the Fund’s Board.

Set forth below is a list, as of December 31, 2022, of those parties with whom the Manager, on behalf of the Fund, has authorized ongoing arrangements that include the release of portfolio holdings information in accordance with the policy, as well as the maximum frequency of the release under such arrangements, and the minimum length of the lag, if any, between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed. The ongoing arrangements may vary for each party, and it is possible that not every party will receive information for the Fund. The parties identified below as recipients are service providers, fund rating agencies, consultants and analysts.

 

Recipient

   Frequency    Delay Before
Dissemination

1919 Investment Counsel, LLC

   Daily    None

Barclays Bank PLC

   Daily    None

Best Alternative Outsourcing Services LLP

   Daily    None

 

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Recipient

   Frequency    Delay Before
Dissemination

Bloomberg AIM

   Daily    None

Bloomberg L.P.

   Daily    None

Bloomberg Portfolio Analysis

   Daily    None

Brown Brothers Harriman

   Daily    None

Charles River

   Daily    None

Citco

   Daily    None

Emerging Portfolio Fund Research, Inc. (EPFR), an Informa Company

   Monthly    None

Enfusion Systems

   Daily    None

ENSO LP

   Daily    None

eVestment Alliance

   Quarterly    8-10 Days

FactSet

   Daily    None

HSBC Global Asset Management

   Daily    None

Institutional Shareholder Services

   Daily    None

ITG

   Daily    None

Kailash Concepts

   Monthly    None

Middle Office Solutions, LLC

   Daily    None

Morgan Stanley Capital Inc.

   Daily    None

Morningstar

   Daily    None

NaviSite, Inc.

   Daily    None

StarCompliance

   Daily    None

State Street Bank and Trust Company

   Daily    None

SunGard/Protegent (formerly Dataware)

   Daily    None

The Bank of New York Mellon

   Daily    None

The Northern Trust Company

   Daily    None

The Northern Trust Melbourne

   Daily    None

Thomson

   Semi-annually    None

Thomson Reuters

   Daily    None

VPD Financial Software Consulting

   Daily    None

Portfolio holdings information for the Fund may also be released from time to time pursuant to ongoing arrangements with the following parties:

 

Recipient

   Frequency    Delay Before Dissemination

Broadridge

   Daily    None

Deutsche Bank

   Monthly    6-8 Business Days

 

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Recipient

   Frequency    Delay Before Dissemination

DST International plc (DSTi)

   Daily    None

Electra Information Systems

   Daily    None

Fidelity

   Quarterly    5 Business Days

Fitch

   Monthly    6-8 Business Days

Frank Russell

   Monthly    1 Day

Glass Lewis & Co.

   Daily    None

Informa Investment Solutions

   Quarterly    8-10 Days

Interactive Data Corp

   Daily    None

Liberty Hampshire

   Weekly and Month End    None

RBC Investor and Treasury Services

   Daily    None

S&P (Rating Agency)

   Weekly Tuesday Night    1 Business Day

SunTrust

   Weekly and Month End    None

Excluded from the lists of ongoing arrangements set forth above are ongoing arrangements where either (i) the disclosure of portfolio holdings information occurs concurrently with or after the time at which the portfolio holdings information is included in a public filing with the SEC that is required to include the information, or (ii) the Fund’s portfolio holdings information is made available no earlier than the day next following the day on which the Fund makes the information available on its website, as disclosed in the Fund’s Prospectus. The approval of the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer, or designee, must be obtained before entering into any new ongoing arrangement or altering any existing ongoing arrangement to make available portfolio holdings information, or with respect to any exceptions from the policy.

Release of Limited Portfolio Holdings Information

In addition to the ongoing arrangements described above, the Fund’s complete or partial list of holdings (including size of positions) may be released to another party on a one-time basis, provided the party receiving the information has executed a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement and provided that the specific release of information has been approved by the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer or designee as consistent with the policy. By way of illustration and not of limitation, release of non-public information about the Fund’s portfolio holdings may be made (i) to a proposed or potential adviser or Subadviser(s) or other investment manager asked to provide investment management services to the Fund, or (ii) to a third party in connection with a program or similar trade.

In addition, the policy permits the release to investors, potential investors, third parties and Franklin Templeton personnel that are not fund-affiliated personnel of limited portfolio holdings information in other circumstances, including:

 

   

The Fund’s top ten securities, current as of month-end, and the individual size of each such security position may be released at any time following month-end with simultaneous public disclosure.

 

   

The Fund’s top ten securities positions (including the aggregate but not individual size of such positions) may be released at any time with simultaneous public disclosure.

 

   

A list of securities (that may include fund holdings together with other securities) followed by an investment professional (without position sizes or identification of particular funds) may be disclosed to sell-side brokers at any time for the purpose of obtaining research and/or market information from such brokers.

 

   

A trade in process may be discussed only with counterparties, potential counterparties and others involved in the transaction (i.e., brokers and custodians).

   

The Fund’s sector weightings, yield and duration (for fixed income and money market funds), performance attribution (e.g., analysis of the Fund’s out-performance or underperformance of its benchmark based on its portfolio holdings) and other

 

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summary and statistical information that does not include identification of specific portfolio holdings may be released, even if non-public, if such release is otherwise in accordance with the policy’s general principles.

 

   

A small number of the Fund’s portfolio holdings (including information that the Fund no longer holds a particular holding) may be released, but only if the release of the information could not reasonably be seen to interfere with current or future purchase or sales activities of the Fund and is not contrary to law.

 

   

The Fund’s portfolio holdings may be released on an as-needed basis to its legal counsel, counsel to its Independent Trustees and its independent public accounting firm, in required regulatory filings or otherwise to governmental agencies and authorities.

Exceptions to the Policy

The Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer, or designee, may, as is deemed appropriate, approve exceptions from the policy. Exceptions are granted only after a thorough examination and consultation with the Manager’s legal department, as necessary. Exceptions from the policy are reported annually to the Fund’s Board.

Limitations of Policy

The Fund’s portfolio holdings policy is designed to prevent sharing of portfolio information with third parties that have no legitimate business purpose for accessing the information. The policy may not be effective to limit access to portfolio holdings information in all circumstances, however. For example, the Manager or the Subadviser may manage accounts other than the Fund that have investment objectives and strategies similar to those of the Fund. Because these accounts, including the Fund, may be similarly managed, portfolio holdings may be similar across the accounts. In that case, an investor in another account managed by the Manager or the Subadviser may be able to infer the portfolio holdings of the Fund from the portfolio holdings in that investor’s account.

THE TRUST

The certificate of trust to establish the Trust was filed with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation of Maryland on October 4, 2006. The Fund is a series of the Trust. As of April 16, 2007, the Fund was redomiciled as a series of the Trust. Prior thereto, the Fund was a Massachusetts business trust known as Legg Mason Partners Adjustable Rate Income Fund. From October 5, 2009 to August 1, 2012, the Fund was known as Legg Mason Western Asset Adjustable Rate Income Fund. From August 2, 2012 to April 21, 2020, the Fund was known as Western Asset Adjustable Rate Income Fund.

The Trust is a Maryland statutory trust. A Maryland statutory trust is an unincorporated business association that is established under, and governed by, Maryland law. Maryland law provides a statutory framework for the powers, duties, rights and obligations of the trustees and shareholders of a statutory trust, while the more specific powers, duties, rights and obligations of the trustees and the shareholders are determined by the trustees as set forth in a trust’s declaration of trust. The Trust’s Declaration of Trust (the “Declaration”) provides that by becoming a shareholder of the Fund, each shareholder shall be expressly held to have agreed to be bound by the provisions of the Declaration and any other governing instrument of the Trust, such as the by-laws of the Trust, which contain additional rules governing the conduct of the business of the Trust.

Some of the more significant provisions of the Declaration are summarized below. The following summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the applicable provisions of the Declaration.

Shareholder Voting

Under the Declaration, the Trustees have broad authority to direct the business and affairs of the Trust. The Declaration provides for shareholder voting as required by the 1940 Act or other applicable laws but otherwise permits, consistent with Maryland law, actions by the Trustees without seeking the consent of shareholders. For example, the Trustees are empowered to amend the Declaration or authorize the merger or consolidation of the Trust into another trust or entity, reorganize the Trust or any series or class into another trust or entity or a series or class of another entity, sell all or substantially all of the assets of the Trust or any series or class to another entity, or a series or class of another entity, terminate the Trust or any series or class, or adopt or amend the by-laws of the Trust, in each case without shareholder approval if the 1940 Act would not require such approval.

 

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The Fund is not required to hold an annual meeting of shareholders, but the Fund will call special meetings of shareholders whenever required by the 1940 Act or by the terms of the Declaration. The Declaration provides for “dollar-weighted voting” which means that a shareholder’s voting power is determined, not by the number of shares he or she owns, but by the dollar value of those shares determined on the record date. All shareholders of record of all series and classes of the Trust vote together, except where required by the 1940 Act to vote separately by series or by class, or when the Trustees have determined that a matter affects only the interests of one or more series or classes of shares. There is no cumulative voting on any matter submitted to a vote of the shareholders.

Election and Removal of Trustees

The Declaration provides that the Trustees may establish the number of Trustees and that vacancies on the Board may be filled by the remaining Trustees, except when election of Trustees by the shareholders is required under the 1940 Act. When a vote of shareholders is required to elect Trustees, the Declaration provides that such Trustees shall be elected by a plurality of votes cast by shareholders at a meeting at which a quorum is present. The Declaration also provides that a mandatory retirement age may be set by action of two-thirds of the Trustees and that Trustees may be removed, with or without cause, by a vote of shareholders holding two-thirds of the voting power of the Trust, or by a vote of two-thirds of the remaining Trustees. The provisions of the Declaration relating to the election and removal of Trustees may not be amended without the approval of two-thirds of the Trustees.

Amendments to the Declaration

The Trustees are authorized to amend the Declaration without the vote of shareholders, but no amendment may be made that impairs the exemption from personal liability granted in the Declaration to persons who are or have been shareholders, Trustees, officers or, employees of the Trust or that limits the rights to indemnification, advancement of expenses or insurance provided in the Declaration with respect to actions or omissions of persons entitled to indemnification, advancement of expenses or insurance under the Declaration prior to the amendment.

Issuance and Redemption of Shares

The Fund may issue an unlimited number of shares for such consideration and on such terms as the Trustees may determine. All shares offered pursuant to the Prospectus of the Fund, when issued, will be fully paid and non-assessable. Shareholders are not entitled to any appraisal rights with respect to their shares and, except as the Trustees may determine, shall have no preemptive, conversion, exchange or similar rights. The Fund may involuntarily redeem a shareholder’s shares upon certain conditions as may be determined by the Trustees, including, for example, if the shareholder fails to provide the Fund with identification required by law, or if the Fund is unable to verify the information received from the shareholder. Additionally, as discussed below, shares may be redeemed in connection with the closing of small accounts.

Disclosure of Shareholder Holdings

The Declaration specifically requires shareholders, upon demand, to disclose to the Fund such information with respect to their ownership of shares of the Fund, whether direct or indirect, as the Trustees may deem necessary in order to comply with various laws or regulations or for such other purpose as the Trustees may decide. The Fund may disclose such ownership information if required by law or regulation, or as the Trustees otherwise decide.

Small Accounts

The Declaration provides that the Fund may close out a shareholder’s account by redeeming all of the shares in the account if the account falls below a minimum account size (which may vary by class) that may be set by the Trustees from time to time. Alternately, the Declaration permits the Fund to assess a fee for small accounts (which may vary by class) and redeem shares in the account to cover such fees, or convert the shares into another share class that is geared to smaller accounts.

Series and Classes

The Declaration provides that the Trustees may establish series and classes in addition to those currently established and that the Trustees may determine the rights and preferences, limitations and restrictions, including qualifications for ownership, conversion and exchange features, minimum purchase and account size, expenses and charges, and other features of the series and classes. The Trustees may change any of those features, terminate any series or class, combine series with

 

92


other series in the Trust, combine one or more classes of a series with another class in that series or convert the shares of one class into shares of another class.

Each share of the Fund, as a series of the Trust, represents an interest in the Fund only and not in the assets of any other series of the Trust.

Shareholder, Trustee and Officer Liability

The Declaration provides that shareholders are not personally liable for the obligations of the Fund and requires the Fund to indemnify a shareholder against any loss or expense claimed solely because of the shareholder’s being or having been a shareholder. The Fund will assume the defense of any claim against a shareholder for personal liability at the request of the shareholder. The Declaration further provides that a Trustee acting in his or her capacity as a Trustee is not personally liable to any person, other than the Trust or its shareholders, in connection with the affairs of the Trust. Each Trustee is required to perform his or her duties in good faith and in a manner he or she believes to be in the best interests of the Trust. All actions and omissions of Trustees are presumed to be in accordance with the foregoing standard of performance, and any person alleging the contrary has the burden of proving that allegation.

The Declaration limits a Trustee’s liability to the Trust or any shareholder to the fullest extent permitted under current Maryland law by providing that a Trustee is liable to the Trust or its shareholders for monetary damages only (a) to the extent that it is proved that he or she actually received an improper benefit or profit in money, property, or services or (b) to the extent that a judgment or other final adjudication adverse to the Trustee is entered in a proceeding based on a finding in the proceeding that the Trustee’s action, or failure to act, was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty and was material to the cause of action adjudicated in the proceeding. The Declaration requires the Trust to indemnify any persons who are or who have been Trustees, officers or employees of the Trust to the fullest extent permitted by law against liability and expenses in connection with any claim or proceeding in which he or she is involved by virtue of having been a Trustee, officer or employee. Subject to applicable federal law, expenses related to the defense against any claim to which indemnification may apply shall be advanced by the Trust upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the recipient of those expenses to repay the advanced amount if it is ultimately found that he or she is not entitled to indemnification. In making any determination as to whether a person has engaged in conduct for which indemnification is not available, or as to whether there is reason to believe that such person ultimately will be found entitled to indemnification, such person shall be afforded a rebuttable presumption that he or she did not engage in conduct for which indemnification is not available.

The Declaration provides that any Trustee who serves as chair of the Board, a member or chair of a committee of the Board, lead independent Trustee, audit committee financial expert, or in any other similar capacity will not be subject to any greater standard of care or liability because of such position.

Derivative Actions

The Declaration provides a detailed process for the bringing of derivative actions by shareholders in order to permit legitimate inquiries and claims while avoiding the time, expense, distraction, and other harm that can be caused to the Fund or its shareholders as a result of spurious shareholder demands and derivative actions. Prior to bringing a derivative action, a demand by no fewer than three unrelated shareholders must be made on the Trustees. The Declaration details information, certifications, undertakings and acknowledgements that must be included in the demand. The Trustees are not required to consider a demand that is not submitted in accordance with the requirements contained in the Declaration. The Declaration also requires that, in order to bring a derivative action, the complaining shareholders must be joined in the action by shareholders owning, at the time of the alleged wrongdoing, at the time of demand, and at the time the action is commenced, shares representing at least 5% of the voting power of the affected funds. The Trustees have a period of 90 days, which may be extended for an additional period not to exceed 60 days, to consider the demand. If a majority of the Trustees who are considered independent for the purposes of considering the demand determine that a suit should be maintained, then the Trust will commence the suit and the suit will proceed directly and not derivatively. If a majority of the independent Trustees determines that maintaining the suit would not be in the best interests of the Fund, the Trustees are required to reject the demand and the complaining shareholders may not proceed with the derivative action unless the shareholders are able to sustain the burden of proof to a court that the decision of the Trustees not to pursue the requested action was not consistent with the standard of performance required of the Trustees in performing their duties. If a demand is rejected, the complaining shareholders will be responsible for the costs and expenses (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by the Trust in connection with

 

93


the consideration of the demand, if, in the judgment of the independent Trustees, the demand was made without reasonable cause or for an improper purpose. If a derivative action is brought in violation of the Declaration, the shareholders bringing the action may be responsible for the Fund’s costs, including attorneys’ fees.

The Declaration further provides that the Fund shall be responsible for payment of attorneys’ fees and legal expenses incurred by a complaining shareholder only if required by law, and any attorneys’ fees that the Fund is obligated to pay shall be calculated using reasonable hourly rates. The Declaration also requires that actions by shareholders against the Trust or the Fund be brought only in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Baltimore Division), or if such action may not be brought in that court, then such action shall be brought in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City and that the right to jury trial be waived to the fullest extent permitted by law.

The Declaration further provides that no provision of the Declaration will be effective to require a waiver of compliance with any provision of the 1933 Act, the 1934 Act or the 1940 Act, or of any valid rule, regulation or order of the Commission thereunder.

TAXES

The following is a summary of certain material U.S. federal (and, where noted, state and local) income tax considerations affecting the Fund and its shareholders. This discussion is very general and does not address all the potential U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be applicable to the Fund or to all categories of investors, some of which may be subject to special tax rules. This summary is based upon the Code, its legislative history, Treasury regulations (including temporary and proposed regulations), published rulings, and court decisions, each as of the date of this SAI and all of which are subject to change, possibly with retroactive effect, which could affect the continuing accuracy of this discussion. This discussion assumes that each shareholder holds its shares of the Fund as capital assets for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Current and prospective shareholders are urged to consult their own tax professionals with respect to the specific U.S. federal, state, local, and foreign tax consequences of investing in the Fund.

Tax Treatment of the Fund

The Fund has elected to be treated, and intends to qualify each year, as a “regulated investment company” under Subchapter M of the Code. To qualify as such, the Fund must, among other things: (a) derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, other income (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures, or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (i.e., partnerships (x) the interests in which are traded on an established securities market or are readily tradable on a secondary market or the substantial equivalent thereof, and (y) that derive less than 90% of their income from sources described in this subparagraph (a) other than qualified publicly traded partnerships); and (b) diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund’s assets consists of cash, securities of other regulated investment companies, U.S. government securities, and other securities, with such other securities limited, in respect of any one issuer, to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of the Fund’s assets and not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer and (ii) not more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s assets is invested, including through corporations in which the Fund owns a 20% or larger voting stock interest, (x) in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other regulated investment companies) of any one issuer, (y) in the securities (other than the securities of other regulated investment companies) of any two or more issuers that the Fund controls and that are treated as engaged in the same, similar, or related trades or businesses, or (z) in the securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships,” which generally include master limited partnerships.

In general, for purposes of the 90% gross income test described above, income derived from a partnership will be treated as qualifying income only to the extent such income is attributable to items of income of the partnership which would be qualifying income if realized directly by the Fund. However, 100% of the net income derived from an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership will be treated as qualifying income. In general, qualified publicly traded partnerships will be treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes because they meet a passive income requirement under the Code. In addition, although in general the passive loss rules of the Code do not apply to regulated investment companies, such rules do apply to a regulated investment company with respect to items attributable to interests in qualified publicly traded partnerships.

 

94


The Fund’s investments in partnerships, if any, including in qualified publicly traded partnerships, may result in the Fund being subject to U.S. federal, state, local, or foreign income, franchise, or withholding tax liabilities.

For purposes of the diversification test described above, the term “outstanding voting securities of such issuer” will include the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership. Also, for purposes of the diversification test, the identification of the issuer (or, in some cases, issuers) of a particular Fund investment can depend on the terms and conditions of that investment. In some cases, identification of the issuer (or issuers) is uncertain under current law, and an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to issuer identification for a particular type of investment may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to meet the diversification test.

As a regulated investment company, the Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of its taxable investment income and capital gains that it distributes, provided that it satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. To satisfy the minimum distribution requirement, the Fund must distribute at least the sum of (i) 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (i.e., generally, its taxable income other than the excess of its net long-term capital gain over its net short-term capital loss, plus or minus certain other adjustments, and calculated without regard to the deduction for dividends paid), and (ii) 90% of its net tax-exempt income for the taxable year. The Fund will be subject to income tax at the regular corporate tax rate on any taxable income or gains that it does not distribute.

If, for any taxable year, the Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company under the Code or were to fail to meet the distribution requirement, it would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation, and distributions would not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income. In addition, in the event of a failure to qualify, the Fund’s distributions, including any distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gains, would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary dividend income for U.S. federal income tax purposes to the extent of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits. However, such dividends would be eligible, subject to any generally applicable limitations, (i) to be treated as qualified dividend income in the case of shareholders taxed as individuals and (ii) for the dividends-received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. Moreover, if the Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company in any year, it would be required to pay out its earnings and profits accumulated in that year in order to qualify again as a regulated investment company. If the Fund were to fail to meet the income, diversification, or distribution test described above, the Fund could in some cases cure such failure, including by paying a Fund-level tax, paying interest, making additional distributions, or disposing of certain assets. In particular, if in the first instance, the Fund does not satisfy the diversification test as of a particular quarter end, it will have up to 30 days after that quarter end to adjust its holdings in order to comply with the test retroactively. Portfolio transactions executed by the Fund in order to comply with the diversification test will increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover and trading costs and may increase the amount of taxes payable by shareholders to the extent any capital gains are realized as a result of such transactions. If the Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company for a period greater than two taxable years, the Fund would generally be required to recognize any net built-in gains with respect to certain of its assets upon a disposition of such assets within five years of qualifying as a regulated investment company in a subsequent year.

If the Fund were to fail to distribute in a calendar year at least the sum of (i) 98% of its ordinary income for that year and (ii) 98.2% of its capital gain net income (i.e., the excess of all gains from sales or exchanges of capital assets over the losses from such sales or exchanges) for the one-year period ending October 31 of that year (or November 30 or December 31 of that year if the Fund is permitted to elect and so elects), it would be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax. For this purpose, however, any ordinary income or capital gain net income that is retained by the Fund and subject to corporate income tax will be considered to have been distributed by year end. In addition, the minimum amounts that must be distributed in any year to avoid the excise tax will be increased or decreased to reflect any underdistribution or overdistribution, as the case may be, from the previous year. For purposes of the required excise tax distribution, a regulated investment company’s ordinary gains and losses from the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition of property that would otherwise be taken into account after October 31 of a calendar year (or November 30 of that year if the regulated investment company makes the election described above) generally are treated as arising on January 1 of the following calendar year; in the case of a fund with a December 31 year end that makes the election described above, no such gains or losses will be so treated. The Fund anticipates that it will pay such dividends and will make such distributions as are necessary to avoid the application of this excise tax, but there can be no assurance that it will be able to do so. In determining its net capital gain (i.e., net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses, including any capital loss carryforwards), its taxable income, and its earnings and profits, a regulated investment company generally is permitted to elect to treat part or all of any post-October capital loss (defined as any net capital loss

 

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attributable to the portion of the taxable year after October 31, or if there is no such loss, the net long-term capital loss or net short-term capital loss attributable to such portion of the taxable year), or late-year ordinary loss (generally, the sum of its (i) net ordinary loss from the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition of property, attributable to the portion of the taxable year after October 31 and its (ii) other net ordinary loss attributable to the portion of the taxable year after December 31) as if incurred in the succeeding taxable year.

Tax Treatment of the Fund’s Investments

The Fund’s transactions in zero coupon securities, foreign currencies, forward contracts, options, and futures contracts (including options and futures contracts on foreign currencies), if any, will be subject to special provisions of the Code (including provisions relating to “hedging transactions” and “straddles”) that, among other things, may affect the character of gains and losses realized by the Fund (i.e., may affect whether gains or losses are ordinary or capital), accelerate recognition of income to the Fund, and defer Fund losses. These rules could therefore affect the character, amount, and timing of distributions to shareholders. These provisions also (a) will require the Fund to “mark to market” certain types of the positions in its portfolio (i.e., require the Fund to treat all unrealized gains and losses with respect to those positions as though they were realized at the end of each year) and (b) may cause the Fund to recognize income prior to or without receiving cash with which to pay dividends or make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the distribution requirements for avoiding income and excise taxes. In order to distribute this income and avoid a tax at the Fund level, the Fund might be required to sell portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss.

As a result of entering into swap contracts, if any, the Fund may make or receive periodic net payments. The Fund may also make or receive a payment when a swap is terminated prior to maturity through an assignment of the swap or other closing transaction. Periodic net payments will generally constitute ordinary income or deductions, while termination of a swap will generally result in capital gain or loss (which will be a long-term capital gain or loss if the Fund has been a party to the swap for more than one year). With respect to certain types of swaps, the Fund may be required to recognize currently income or loss with respect to future payments on such swaps or may elect under certain circumstances to mark such swaps to market annually for tax purposes as ordinary income or loss.

Any investments by the Fund in so-called “section 1256 contracts,” such as regulated futures contracts, most foreign currency forward contracts traded in the interbank market, and options on most stock indexes, are subject to special tax rules. Any section 1256 contracts held by the Fund at the end of its taxable year (and, for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain later dates as prescribed under the Code) are required to be marked to their market value, and any unrealized gain or loss on those positions will be included in the Fund’s income as if each position had been sold for its fair market value at the end of the taxable year. The resulting gain or loss will be combined with any gain or loss realized by the Fund from positions in section 1256 contracts closed during the taxable year. Provided such positions were held as capital assets and were neither part of a “hedging transaction” nor part of a “straddle,” 60% of the resulting net gain or loss will be treated as long-term capital gain or loss, and 40% of such net gain or loss will be treated as short-term capital gain or loss, regardless of the period of time the positions were actually held by the Fund.

In general, option premiums received by the Fund are not immediately included in the income of the Fund. Instead, the premiums are recognized when the option contract expires, the option is exercised by the holder, or the Fund transfers or otherwise terminates the option (e.g., through a closing transaction). If a call option written by the Fund is exercised and the Fund sells or delivers the underlying security, the Fund generally will recognize capital gain or loss equal to (a) sum of the strike price and the option premium received by the Fund minus (b) the Fund’s basis in the security. Such gain or loss generally will be short-term or long-term depending upon the holding period of the underlying security. If securities are purchased by the Fund pursuant to the exercise of a put option written by it, the Fund generally will subtract the premium received for purposes of computing its cost basis in the securities purchased. Gain or loss arising in respect of a termination of the Fund’s obligation under an option other than through the exercise of the option will be short-term gain or loss depending on whether the premium income received by the Fund is greater or less than the amount paid by the Fund (if any) in terminating the transaction. Thus, for example, if an option written by the Fund expires unexercised, the Fund generally will recognize short-term gain equal to the premium received.

In general, gain or loss on a short sale is recognized when the Fund closes the sale by delivering the borrowed property to the lender, not when the borrowed property is sold. Gain or loss from a short sale is generally considered as capital gain or loss to the extent that the property used to close the short sale constitutes a capital asset in the Fund’s hands. Except with respect to certain situations where the property used by the Fund to close a short sale has a long-term holding period on the date

 

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of the short sale, special rules generally treat the gains on short sales as short-term capital gains. These rules may also terminate the running of the holding period of “substantially identical property” held by the Fund. Moreover, a loss on a short sale will be treated as a long-term capital loss if, on the date of the short sale, “substantially identical property” has been held by the Fund for more than one year.

The Fund may purchase debt obligations with original issue discount (“OID”), market discount, or acquisition discount. Some debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance (and all zero-coupon debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance) will be treated as debt obligations that are issued with OID. Generally, the amount of the OID is treated as interest income and is included in taxable income (and is accordingly required to be distributed by the Fund) over the term of the debt security, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, usually when the debt security matures. Periodic adjustments for inflation in the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds also may be treated as OID that is includible in the Fund’s gross income on a current basis.

Some debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance that are acquired in the secondary market may be treated as having “market discount.” Very generally, market discount is the excess of the stated redemption price of a debt obligation (or in the case of an obligation issued with OID, its “revised issue price”) over the purchase price of such obligation. Under the Code, (i) generally, any gain recognized on the disposition of, and any partial payment of principal on, a debt security having market discount is treated as ordinary income to the extent the gain, or principal payment, does not exceed the “accrued market discount” on such debt security, (ii) alternatively, the Fund may elect to accrue market discount currently, in which case the Fund will be required to include the accrued market discount in the Fund’s income (as ordinary income) and thus distribute it over the term of the debt security, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, upon partial of full repayment or disposition of the debt security, and (iii) the rate at which the market discount accrues, and thus is included in the Fund’s income, will depend upon which of the permitted accrual methods the Fund elects.

Some debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of one year or less from the date of issuance that are acquired by the Fund may be treated as having OID or, in certain cases, “acquisition discount” (very generally, the excess of the stated redemption price over the purchase price). The Fund will be required to include the OID or acquisition discount in income (as ordinary income) and thus distribute it over the term of the debt security, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, upon partial or full repayment or disposition of the debt security. The rate at which OID or acquisition discount accrues, and thus is included in the Fund’s income, will depend upon which of the permitted accrual methods the Fund elects.

Because the OID, market discount, or acquisition discount earned by the Fund in a taxable year may exceed the total amount of cash interest the Fund receives from the relevant debt obligations, the Fund may have to dispose of one or more of its investments, including at a time when it is not advantageous to do so, and use the proceeds thereof to make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the distribution requirements. The Fund may realize capital gains or losses from such dispositions, which would increase or decrease the Fund’s investment company taxable income and/or net capital gain.

In addition, payment-in-kind securities held by the Fund, if any, will give rise to income which is required to be distributed and is taxable even though the Fund receives no interest payment in cash on the security during the year.

Very generally, where the Fund purchases a bond at a price that exceeds the redemption price at maturity (i.e., a premium), the premium is amortizable over the remaining term of the bond. In the case of a taxable bond, if the Fund makes an election applicable to all such bonds it purchases, which election is irrevocable without consent of the IRS, the Fund reduces the current taxable income from the bond by the amortized premium and reduces its tax basis in the bond by the amount of such offset; upon the disposition or maturity of such bonds acquired on or after January 4, 2013, the Fund is permitted to deduct any remaining premium allocable to a prior period. In the case of a tax-exempt bond, tax rules require the Fund to reduce its tax basis by the amount of amortized premium.

The Fund may invest in debt obligations that are in the lowest rating categories or are unrated, including debt obligations of issuers not currently paying interest or that are in default. Investments in debt obligations that are at risk of or in default present special tax issues for the Fund. Tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when the Fund may cease to accrue interest, OID or market discount, when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless securities, and how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and income. These and other related issues will be addressed by the Fund when, as, and if it invests in such securities, in order to seek to ensure that it distributes

 

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sufficient income to preserve its eligibility for treatment as a regulated investment company and does not become subject to U.S. federal income or excise tax.

A portion of the interest paid or accrued on high yield obligations may not (and interest paid on debt obligations, if any, that are considered for tax purposes to be payable in the equity of the issuer or a related party will not) be deductible to the issuer. If a portion of the interest paid or accrued on certain high yield discount obligations is not deductible by the issuer, that portion will be treated as a dividend for purposes of the corporate dividends-received deduction. In such cases, if the issuer of the high yield discount obligations is a domestic corporation, dividend payments by the Fund may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction to the extent of the deemed dividend portion of such accrued interest.

The Fund may be required to treat amounts as taxable income or gain, subject to the distribution requirements referred to above, even though no corresponding amounts of cash are received concurrently, as a result of (1) mark-to-market rules, constructive sale rules or rules applicable to passive foreign investment companies (“PFICs”), to partnerships or trusts in which the Fund invests or to certain options, futures, or forward contracts, or “appreciated financial positions,” (2) the inability to obtain cash distributions or other amounts due to currency controls or restrictions on repatriation imposed by a foreign country with respect to the Fund’s investments (including through depositary receipts) in issuers in such country, or (3) tax rules applicable to debt obligations acquired with OID, including zero-coupon or deferred payment bonds and pay-in-kind debt obligations, or to market discount if the Fund elects to accrue such market discount currently. In order to distribute this income and avoid a tax on the Fund, the Fund might be required to liquidate portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss. The Fund might also meet the distribution requirements by borrowing the necessary cash, thereby incurring interest expenses.

Mortgage-Related Securities

The Fund may invest directly or indirectly in residual interests in real estate mortgage investment conduits (“REMICs”) (including by investing in residual interests in collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) with respect to which an election to be treated as a REMIC is in effect) or equity interests in taxable mortgage pools (“TMPs”). Under a notice issued by the IRS in October 2006 and Treasury regulations that have yet to be issued but may apply retroactively, a portion of the Fund’s income (including income allocated to the Fund from an entity treated as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes (a “REIT”) or other pass-through entity) that is attributable to a residual interest in a REMIC or an equity interest in a TMP may be an “excess inclusion” under the Code, which will be subject to U.S. federal income tax in all events. This notice also provides, and the regulations are expected to provide, that excess inclusion income of a regulated investment company will be allocated to shareholders of the regulated investment company in proportion to the dividends received by such shareholders, with the same general consequences as if the shareholders held the related interest directly. As a result, a fund investing in such interests may not be a suitable investment for certain investors, as noted below.

In general, excess inclusion income allocated to shareholders (i) cannot be offset by net operating losses (subject to a limited exception for certain thrift institutions), (ii) will constitute unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) to entities (including qualified pension plans, individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, Keogh plans and certain other tax-exempt entities) subject to tax on UBTI, thereby potentially requiring such an entity that is allocated excess inclusion income, and otherwise might not be required to file a tax return, to file a tax return and pay tax on such income and (iii) in the case of a non-U.S. shareholder, will not qualify for any reduction in U.S. federal withholding tax. Charitable remainder trusts are generally subject to a 100% federal excise tax on UBTI, which may include excess inclusion income allocated to them. A shareholder will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on such inclusions notwithstanding any exemption from such income tax otherwise available under the Code.

Foreign Investments

Dividends, interest or other income (including, in some cases, capital gains) received by the Fund from investments in foreign securities may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries. Even if the Fund is entitled to seek a refund in respect of such taxes, it may choose not to. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes in some cases. The Fund does not expect to be eligible to elect to pass foreign taxes through to its shareholders, who therefore will not be entitled to credits or deductions on their own tax returns for foreign taxes paid by the Fund. Foreign taxes paid by the Fund may reduce the return from the Fund’s investments.

 

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Under certain circumstances, if the Fund receives a refund of foreign taxes paid in respect of a prior year, the value of Fund shares could be affected or any foreign tax credits or deductions passed through to shareholders in respect of the Fund’s foreign taxes for the current year could be reduced.

Under Section 988 of the Code, gains or losses attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the time the Fund accrues income or receivables or expenses or other liabilities denominated in a foreign currency and the time the Fund actually collects such income or pays such liabilities are generally treated as ordinary income or ordinary loss. Similarly, gains or losses on foreign currency, foreign currency forward contracts, certain foreign currency options or futures contracts and the disposition of debt securities denominated in foreign currency, to the extent attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the acquisition and disposition dates, are also treated as ordinary income or loss unless the Fund were to elect otherwise.

Passive Foreign Investment Companies. If the Fund purchases equity interests (including certain interests treated as equity interests) in foreign entities treated as PFICs for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and does not timely make certain elections, it may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a portion of any “excess distribution” or gain from the disposition of such shares even if such income is distributed as a taxable dividend by the Fund to its shareholders. Additional charges in the nature of interest may be imposed on the Fund in respect of deferred taxes arising from such distributions or gains.

In general, a PFIC is any foreign corporation in which (i) 75% or more of the gross income for the taxable year is passive income, or (ii) the average percentage of the assets (generally by value, but by adjusted tax basis in certain cases) that produce, or are held for the production of, passive income is at least 50%. Generally, passive income for this purpose means dividends, interest (including income equivalent to interest), royalties, rents, annuities, the excess of gains over losses from certain property transactions and commodities transactions, income from certain notional principal contracts, and foreign currency gains. Passive income for this purpose does not include certain types of passive income excepted by the Code and other guidance.

If the Fund were to invest in a PFIC and timely elect to treat the PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” under the Code for the first year of its holding period in the PFIC stock, in lieu of the foregoing requirements, the Fund would generally be required to include in income each year a portion of the ordinary earnings and net capital gains of the qualified electing fund, even if not distributed to the Fund, and such amounts would be subject to the 90% and excise tax distribution requirements described above. In order to distribute this income and avoid a tax at the Fund level, the Fund might be required to liquidate portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss. In order to make the “qualified electing fund” election, the Fund would be required to obtain certain annual information from the PFICs in which it invests, which may be difficult or impossible to obtain. Dividends paid by PFICs will not be eligible to be treated as “qualified dividend income.”

If the Fund were to invest in a PFIC and make a mark-to-market election, the Fund would be treated as if it had sold and repurchased its stock in that PFIC at the end of each year. In such case, the Fund would report any such gains as ordinary income and would deduct any such losses as ordinary losses to the extent of previously recognized gains. Such an election must be made separately for each PFIC owned by the Fund and, once made, would be effective for all subsequent taxable years of the Fund, unless revoked with the consent of the IRS. By making the election, the Fund could potentially ameliorate the adverse tax consequences with respect to its ownership of shares in a PFIC, but in any particular year might be required to recognize income in excess of the distributions it receives from PFICs and its proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock. The Fund might have to distribute such excess income and gain to satisfy the 90% distribution requirement and to avoid imposition of the 4% excise tax. In order to distribute this income and avoid a tax at the Fund level, the Fund might be required to liquidate portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss.

Capital Loss Carryforwards

As of May 31, 2023, as set forth below, the listed capital losses may be carried forward indefinitely to offset future taxable capital gains. These capital losses have been deferred as either short-term or long-term losses and will be deemed to occur on the first day of the next taxable year in the same character as they were originally deferred.

 

Amount of Capital Loss Carryforward ($)

10,667,979

 

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Taxation of U.S. Shareholders

Dividends and Distributions. Dividends and other distributions by the Fund are generally treated under the Code as received by the shareholders at the time the dividend or distribution is made. However, if any dividend or distribution is declared by the Fund in October, November, or December of any calendar year and payable to shareholders of record on a specified date in such a month but is actually paid during the following January, such dividend or distribution will be deemed to have been received by each shareholder on December 31 of the year in which the dividend was declared.

The Fund intends to distribute annually substantially all of its investment company taxable income (determined without regard to the dividends-paid deduction), and any net capital gain. However, if the Fund retains for investment an amount equal to all or a portion of its net capital gain, it will be subject to a corporate tax on the amount retained. In that event, the Fund may designate such retained amounts as undistributed capital gains in a notice to its shareholders who (a) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gains, their proportionate shares of the undistributed amount, (b) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the income tax paid by the Fund on the undistributed amount against their U.S. federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds to the extent their credits exceed their liabilities, if any, and (c) will be entitled to increase their tax basis, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in their shares by an amount equal to their share of the excess of the amount of undistributed net capital gain included in their income over the income tax paid by the Fund on the undistributed amount. Organizations or persons not subject to U.S. federal income tax on such capital gains will be entitled to a refund of their pro rata share of such taxes paid by the Fund upon timely filing appropriate returns or claims for refund with the IRS.

Distributions of net investment income and of net realized short-term capital gains, whether paid in cash or in shares, are taxable to a U.S. shareholder as ordinary income or, if certain conditions are met, as “qualified dividend income,” taxable to individual and certain other non-corporate shareholders at the rates applicable to long-term capital gain. Distributions of net capital gain, if any, that the Fund reports as capital gain dividends are taxable as long-term capital gains, whether paid in cash or in shares, and regardless of how long a shareholder has held shares of the Fund. The IRS and the Department of the Treasury have issued regulations that impose special reporting of capital gain dividends by the Fund in order to allow capital gain dividends to be taxable at reduced rates in the hands of certain non-corporate taxpayers who hold shares of the Fund through entities treated as partnerships.

In general, dividends may be reported by the Fund as qualified dividend income if they are attributable to qualified dividend income received by the Fund. Qualified dividend income generally means dividend income received from the Fund’s investments in common and preferred stock of U.S. corporations and stock of certain qualified foreign corporations, provided that certain holding period and other requirements are met by both the Fund and the shareholders. If 95% or more of the Fund’s gross income (calculated without taking into account net capital gain derived from sales or other dispositions of stock or securities) consists of qualified dividend income, the Fund may report all distributions of such income as qualified dividend income.

A foreign corporation is treated as a qualified foreign corporation for this purpose if it is incorporated in a possession of the United States or it is eligible for the benefits of certain income tax treaties with the United States and meets certain additional requirements. Certain foreign corporations that are not otherwise qualified foreign corporations will be treated as qualified foreign corporations with respect to dividends paid by them if the stock with respect to which the dividends are paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. PFICs are not qualified foreign corporations for this purpose. Dividends received by the Fund from REITs generally are not expected to qualify for treatment as qualified dividend income.

A dividend that is attributable to qualified dividend income of the Fund that is paid by the Fund to a shareholder will not be taxable as qualified dividend income to such shareholder (1) if the dividend is received with respect to any share of the Fund held for fewer than 61 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date which is 60 days before the date on which such share became ex-dividend with respect to such dividend, (2) to the extent that the shareholder is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property, or (3) if the shareholder elects to have the dividend treated as investment income for purposes of the limitation on deductibility of investment interest. The “ex-dividend” date is the date on which the owner of the share at the commencement of such date is entitled to receive the next issued dividend payment for such share even if the share is sold by the owner on that date or thereafter.

 

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Certain dividends received by the Fund from U.S. corporations (generally, dividends received by the Fund in respect of any share of stock (1) with a tax holding period of at least 46 days during the 91-day period beginning on the date that is 45 days before the date on which the stock becomes ex-dividend as to that dividend and (2) that is held in an unleveraged position) and distributed and appropriately so reported by the Fund may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction generally available to corporations under the Code. Certain preferred stock must have a holding period of at least 91 days during the 181-day period beginning on the date that is 90 days before the date on which the stock becomes ex-dividend as to that dividend in order to be eligible. Capital gain dividends distributed to the Fund from other regulated investment companies are not eligible for the dividends-received deduction. In order to qualify for the deduction, corporate shareholders must meet the minimum holding period requirement stated above with respect to their Fund shares, taking into account any holding period reductions from certain hedging or other transactions or positions that diminish their risk of loss with respect to their Fund shares, and, if they borrow to acquire or otherwise incur debt attributable to Fund shares, they may be denied a portion of the dividends-received deduction with respect to those shares. Any corporate shareholder should consult its tax professional regarding the possibility that its tax basis in its shares may be reduced, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, by reason of “extraordinary dividends” received with respect to the shares and, to the extent such basis would be reduced below zero, current recognition of income may be required.

The Fund does not anticipate that a significant portion of its dividends paid will qualify for the dividends-received deduction or be treated as qualified dividend income.

For tax years beginning before January 1, 2026, a non-corporate taxpayer is generally eligible for a deduction of up to 20% of the taxpayer’s “qualified REIT dividends.” If the Fund receives dividends (other than capital gain dividends) in respect of REIT shares, the Fund may report its own dividends as eligible for the 20% deduction, to the extent the Fund’s income is derived from such qualified REIT dividends, as reduced by allocable Fund expenses. In order for the Fund’s dividends to be eligible for this deduction when received by a non-corporate shareholder, the Fund must meet certain holding period requirements with respect to the REIT shares on which the Fund received the eligible dividends, and the non-corporate shareholder must meet certain holding period requirements with respect to the Fund shares.

Under Section 163(j) of the Code, a taxpayer’s business interest expense is generally deductible to the extent of the taxpayer’s business interest income plus certain other amounts. If the Fund earns business interest income, it may report a portion of its dividends as “Section 163(j) interest dividends,” which its shareholders may be able to treat as business interest income for purposes of Section 163(j) of the Code. The Fund’s “Section 163(j) interest dividend” for a tax year will be limited to the excess of its business interest income over the sum of its business interest expense and other deductions properly allocable to its business interest income. In general, the Fund’s shareholders may treat a distribution reported as a Section 163(j) interest dividend as interest income only to the extent the distribution exceeds the sum of the portions of the distribution reported as other types of tax-favored income. To be eligible to treat a Section 163(j) interest dividend as interest income, a shareholder may need to meet certain holding period requirements in respect of the Fund shares and must not have hedged its position in the Fund shares in certain ways.

The Code generally imposes a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on the net investment income of U.S. individuals to the extent their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. The 3.8% tax also applies to all or a portion of the undistributed net investment income of certain shareholders that are estates and trusts. For these purposes, “net investment income” generally includes, among other things, (i) distributions paid by the Fund of net investment income and capital gains as described above, and (ii) any net gain from the sale, redemption, exchange or other taxable disposition of Fund shares.

Certain tax-exempt educational institutions will be subject to a 1.4% tax on net investment income. For these purposes, certain dividends and capital gain distributions, and certain gains from the disposition of Fund shares (among other categories of income), are generally taken into account in computing a shareholder’s net investment income.

Distributions in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will, as to each shareholder, be treated as a tax-free return of capital to the extent of the shareholder’s basis in his or her shares of the Fund, and as a capital gain thereafter (if the shareholder holds his or her shares of the Fund as capital assets). One or more of the Fund’s distributions during the year may include such a return of capital distribution. Each shareholder who receives distributions in the form of additional shares will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as if receiving a distribution in an amount equal to the amount of money that the shareholder would have received if he or she had instead elected to receive cash distributions. The shareholder’s aggregate tax basis in shares of the Fund will be increased by such amount.

 

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Investors considering buying shares just prior to a capital gain distribution should be aware that, although the price of shares purchased at that time may reflect the amount of the forthcoming distribution, such distribution may nevertheless be taxable to them.

If Fund shares are held through a qualified retirement plan entitled to tax-advantaged treatment for federal income tax purposes, distributions will generally not be taxable currently. Special tax rules apply to such retirement plans. You should consult your tax professional regarding the tax treatment of distributions (which may include amounts attributable to Fund distributions) which may be taxable when distributed from the retirement plan.

Sale, Exchange or Redemption of Shares. Upon the sale or exchange of his or her shares, a shareholder will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and his or her basis in the shares. A redemption of shares by the Fund will be treated as a sale for this purpose. Such gain or loss will be treated as capital gain or loss if the shares are capital assets in the shareholder’s hands, and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the shareholder held such shares for more than one year and short-term capital gain or loss if the shareholder held such shares for one year or less. Any loss realized on a sale or exchange will be disallowed to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced, including by reinvesting dividends or capital gains distributions in the Fund, within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition of the shares. In such a case, the basis of the shares acquired will be increased to reflect the disallowed loss. Any loss realized by a shareholder on the sale of Fund shares held by the shareholder for six months or less will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any distributions or deemed distributions of long-term capital gains received by the shareholder (including amounts credited to the shareholder as undistributed capital gains) with respect to such shares during that six-month period.

If a shareholder incurs a sales charge in acquiring shares of the Fund, disposes of those shares within 90 days and then by January 31 of the calendar year following the year of disposition acquires shares in a mutual fund for which the otherwise applicable sales charge is reduced by reason of a reinvestment right (e.g., an exchange privilege), the original sales charge will not be taken into account in computing gain or loss on the original shares to the extent the subsequent sales charge is reduced. Instead, the disregarded portion of the original sales charge will be added to the tax basis of the newly acquired shares. Furthermore, the same rule also applies to a disposition of the newly acquired shares made within 90 days of the second acquisition. This provision prevents a shareholder from immediately deducting the sales charge by shifting his or her investment within a family of mutual funds.

If a shareholder recognizes a loss with respect to the Fund’s shares of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder (or certain greater amounts over a combination of years), the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases excepted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a regulated investment company are not excepted. The fact that a loss is so reportable does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper.

If a shareholder’s shares are redeemed to pay a fee because the shareholder’s account balance is less than a certain threshold, the redemption will be treated as a taxable sale or exchange of shares, as described above. Such a fee generally will not be deductible by a shareholder that is an individual for any taxable year beginning before January 1, 2026, and, for other taxable years, the deductibility of such a fee by a shareholder that is an individual may be subject to generally applicable limitations on miscellaneous itemized deductions.

Basis Reporting. The Fund, or, in the case of a shareholder holding shares through a Service Agent, the Service Agent, will report to the IRS the amount of proceeds that a shareholder receives from a redemption or exchange of Fund shares. For redemptions or exchanges of shares acquired on or after January 1, 2012, the Fund will also report the shareholder’s basis in those shares and the character of any gain or loss that the shareholder realizes on the redemption or exchange (i.e., short-term or long-term), and certain related tax information. If a shareholder has a different basis for different shares of the Fund in the same account (e.g., if a shareholder purchased Fund shares held in the same account when the shares were at different prices), the Fund will by default report the basis of the shares redeemed or exchanged using the average basis method, under which the basis per share is the average of the bases of all the shareholder’s Fund shares in the account. For these purposes, shares acquired prior to January 1, 2012 and shares acquired on or after January 1, 2012 will generally be treated as held in separate accounts.

 

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A shareholder may instruct the Fund to use a method other than average basis for an account. If redemptions, including in connection with payment of an account fee, or exchanges have occurred in an account to which the average basis method applied, the basis of the Fund shares remaining in the account will continue to reflect the average basis notwithstanding the shareholder’s subsequent election of a different method. For further assistance, shareholders who hold their shares directly with the Fund may call the Fund at 877-6LM-FUND/656-3863. Shareholders who hold shares through a Service Agent should contact the Service Agent for further assistance or for information regarding the Service Agent’s default method for calculating basis and procedures for electing to use an alternative method. Shareholders should consult their tax professionals concerning the tax consequences of applying the average basis method or electing another method of basis calculation and should consider electing such other method prior to making redemptions or exchanges in their accounts.

Backup Withholding. The Fund may be required in certain circumstances to apply backup withholding on dividends, distributions and redemption proceeds payable to non-corporate shareholders who fail to provide the Fund with their correct taxpayer identification numbers or to make required certifications, or who have been notified by the IRS that they are subject to backup withholding. Certain shareholders are exempt from backup withholding. Backup withholding is not an additional tax and any amount withheld may be credited against a shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability.

Notices. Shareholders will receive, if appropriate, various written notices after the close of the Fund’s taxable year regarding the U.S. federal income tax status of certain dividends, distributions and redemption proceeds that were paid (or that are treated as having been paid) by the Fund during the preceding taxable year. In certain cases, the Fund may be required to amend the tax information reported to you with respect to a particular year. In this event, you may be required to file amended U.S. federal income or other tax returns with respect to such amended information and, if applicable, to pay additional taxes (including potentially interest and penalties) or to seek a tax refund and may incur other related costs.

Other Taxes

Dividends, distributions and redemption proceeds may also be subject to additional state, local and foreign taxes depending on each shareholder’s particular situation. Generally, shareholders will have to pay state or local taxes on Fund dividends and other distributions, although distributions derived from interest on U.S. government obligations (but not distributions of gain from the sale of such obligations) may be exempt from certain state and local taxes.

Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders

Ordinary dividends and certain other payments made by the Fund to shareholders that are not “United States persons” within the meaning of the Code (“non-U.S. shareholders”) are generally subject to withholding tax at a 30% rate (or a reduced rate under an applicable treaty). In order to obtain a reduced rate of withholding under a treaty, a non-U.S. shareholder will be required to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN or similar form certifying its entitlement to benefits under the treaty. A non-U.S. shareholder who fails to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN or other applicable form may be subject to backup withholding at the appropriate rate. Backup withholding will not be applied to payments that have already been subject to the 30% withholding tax.

The 30% withholding tax described in the preceding paragraph generally will not apply to redemption proceeds or to distributions to non-U.S. shareholders that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends, short-term capital gain dividends, and interest-related dividends, each as defined and subject to certain conditions described below.

In general, (1) “short-term capital gain dividends” are distributions of net short-term capital gains in excess of net long-term capital losses and (2) “interest-related dividends” are distributions derived from U.S.-source interest income of types similar to those not subject to U.S. federal income tax if earned directly by an individual non-U.S. shareholder, in each case to the extent such distributions are properly reported as such by the Fund in a written notice to shareholders. The exceptions to withholding for capital gain dividends and short-term capital gain dividends do not apply to (A) distributions to an individual non-U.S. shareholder who is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the distribution and (B) distributions attributable to gain that is treated as effectively connected with the conduct by the non-U.S. shareholder of a trade or business within the United States, under special rules regarding the disposition of “United States real property interests” (“USRPIs”) as described below. The exception to withholding for interest-related dividends does not apply to distributions to a non-U.S. shareholder (A) that has not provided a satisfactory statement that the beneficial owner is not a U.S. person, (B) to the extent that the dividend is attributable to certain interest on an obligation if the non-U.S. shareholder is the issuer or is a 10% shareholder of the issuer, (C) that is within certain foreign countries that have inadequate information

 

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exchange with the United States, or (D) to the extent the dividend is attributable to interest paid by a person that is a related person of the non-U.S. shareholder and the non-U.S. shareholder is a controlled foreign corporation.

If income from the Fund is effectively connected with a trade or business conducted within the United States by a non-U.S. shareholder, the non-U.S. shareholder will in general be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the income at the rates applicable to U.S. citizens, residents or domestic corporations, as applicable, whether the income is received in cash or reinvested in shares of the Fund, and, in the case of a non-U.S. shareholder that is a foreign corporation, the non-U.S. shareholder may also be subject to a branch profits tax. If a non-U.S. shareholder is eligible for the benefits of a tax treaty, its effectively connected income or gain will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net income basis only if the income or gain is also attributable to a permanent establishment maintained by the shareholder in the United States. More generally, the U.S. federal income tax consequences of an investment in the Fund for non-U.S. shareholders who are residents in a country with an income tax treaty with the United States may be different from those described herein, and those shareholders are urged to consult their tax professionals.

A non-U.S. shareholder is not, in general, subject to U.S. federal income tax on gains (and is not allowed a deduction for losses) realized on the sale of shares of the Fund unless (i) such gain is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business carried on by the non-U.S. shareholder within the United States, (ii) in the case of a non-U.S. shareholder that is an individual, the holder is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the sale and certain other conditions are met or (iii) the special rules relating to gain attributable to the sale or exchange of USRPIs apply to the non-U.S. shareholder’s sale of shares of the Fund.

Special rules would apply if the Fund were a qualified investment entity (“QIE”) because it is either a “United States real property holding corporation” (“USRPHC”) or would be a USRPHC but for the operation of certain exceptions to the definition of USRPIs described below. Very generally, a USRPHC is a domestic corporation that holds USRPIs the fair market value of which equals or exceeds 50% of the sum of the fair market values of the corporation’s USRPIs, interests in real property located outside the United States, and other trade or business assets. USRPIs are generally defined as any interest in U.S. real property and any interest (other than solely as a creditor) in a USRPHC or, very generally, an entity that has been a USRPHC in the last five years. A regulated investment company that holds, directly or indirectly, significant interests in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) may be a USRPHC. Interests in domestically controlled QIEs, including REITs and regulated investment companies that are QIEs, not-greater-than-10% interests in publicly traded classes of stock in REITs and not-greater-than-5% interests in publicly traded classes of stock in regulated investment companies generally are not USRPIs, but these exceptions do not apply for purposes of determining whether the Fund is a QIE. If an interest in the Fund were a USRPI, the Fund would be required to withhold U.S. tax on the proceeds of a share redemption by a greater-than-5% non-U.S. shareholder, in which case such non-U.S. shareholder generally would also be required to file U.S. federal income tax returns and pay any additional taxes due in connection with the redemption.

If the Fund were a QIE, under a special “look through” rule, any distributions by the Fund to a non-U.S. shareholder (including, in certain cases, distributions made by the Fund in redemption of its shares) attributable directly or indirectly to (i) distributions received by the Fund from a lower-tier regulated investment company or REIT that the Fund is required to treat as USRPI gain in its hands and (ii) gains realized on the disposition of USRPIs by the Fund would retain their character as gains realized from USRPIs in the hands of the non-U.S. shareholder and would be subject to U.S. tax withholding. In addition, such distributions could result in the non-U.S. shareholder being required to file a U.S. federal income tax return and pay tax on the distributions at regular U.S. federal income tax rates. The consequences to a non-U.S. shareholder, including the rate of such withholding and character of such distributions (e.g., as ordinary income or USRPI gain), would vary depending upon the extent of the non-U.S. shareholder’s current and past ownership of the Fund.

Under legislation commonly known as “FATCA,” the Fund is required to withhold 30% of certain ordinary dividends it pays to shareholders that fail to meet prescribed information reporting or certification requirements. In general, no such withholding will be required with respect to a U.S. person or non-U.S. individual that timely provides the certifications required by the Fund or its agent on a valid IRS Form W-9 or applicable IRS Form W-8, respectively. Shareholders potentially subject to withholding include foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”), such as non-U.S. investment funds, and non-financial foreign entities (“NFFEs”). To avoid withholding under FATCA, an FFI generally must enter into an information sharing agreement with the IRS in which it agrees to report certain identifying information (including name, address, and taxpayer identification number) with respect to its U.S. account holders (which, in the case of an entity shareholder, may include its direct and indirect U.S. owners),

 

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and an NFFE generally must identify and provide other required information to the Fund or other withholding agent regarding its U.S. owners, if any. Such non-U.S. shareholders also may fall into certain exempt, excepted or deemed compliant categories as established by regulations and other guidance. A non-U.S. shareholder in a country that has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the U.S. to implement FATCA will be exempt from FATCA withholding provided that the shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of such agreement.

A non-U.S. entity that invests in the Fund will need to provide the Fund with documentation properly certifying the entity’s status under FATCA in order to avoid FATCA withholding.

Non-U.S. investors should consult their own tax professionals regarding the impact of these requirements on their investment in the Fund.

CODES OF ETHICS

Pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act, the Fund, the Manager, the Subadviser and the Distributor each has adopted a code of ethics that permits its personnel to invest in securities for their own accounts, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund. All personal securities transactions by employees must adhere to the requirements of the codes of ethics. Copies of the codes of ethics applicable to personnel of the Fund, the Manager, the Subadviser, the Distributor and the Independent Trustees are on file with the SEC.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The Fund’s Annual Report to shareholders for the fiscal period ended May 31, 2023, contains the Fund’s audited financial statements, accompanying notes and the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, all of which are incorporated by reference into this SAI (https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/764624/000119312523198517/d818696dncsr.htm). These audited financial statements are available free of charge upon request by calling the Fund at 877-6LM-FUND/656-3863.

 

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Appendix A

Proxy Voting Policies

Western Asset Management Company, LLC

Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures

NOTE

The policy below relating to proxy voting and corporate actions is a global policy for Western Asset Management Company, LLC (“Western Asset” or the “Firm”) and all Western Asset affiliates, including Western Asset Management Company Limited (“Western Asset Limited”), Western Asset Management Company Ltd (“Western Asset Japan”) and Western Asset Management Company Pte. Ltd. (“Western Asset Singapore”), as applicable. As compliance with the policy is monitored by Western Asset, the policy has been adopted from the US Compliance Manual and all defined terms are those defined in the US Compliance Manual rather than the compliance manual of any other Western Asset affiliate.

BACKGROUND

An investment adviser is required to adopt and implement policies and procedures that we believe are reasonably designed to ensure that proxies are voted in the best interest of clients, in accordance with fiduciary duties and Rule 206(4)-6 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”). The authority to vote the proxies of our clients is established through investment management agreements or comparable documents. In addition to SEC requirements governing advisers, long-standing fiduciary standards and responsibilities have been established for ERISA accounts. Unless a manager of ERISA assets has been expressly precluded from voting proxies, the Department of Labor has determined that the responsibility for these votes lies with the investment manager.

POLICY

As a fixed income only manager, the occasion to vote proxies is very rare. However, the Firm has adopted and implemented policies and procedures that we believe are reasonably designed to ensure that proxies are voted in the best interest of clients, in accordance with our fiduciary duties and Rule 206(4)-6 under the Advisers Act. In addition to SEC requirements governing advisers, our proxy voting policies reflect the long-standing fiduciary standards and responsibilities for ERISA accounts. Unless a manager of ERISA assets has been expressly precluded from voting proxies, the Department of Labor has determined that the responsibility for these votes lies with the investment manager.

While the guidelines included in the procedures are intended to provide a benchmark for voting standards, each vote is ultimately cast on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the Firm’s contractual obligations to our clients and all other relevant facts and circumstances at the time of the vote (such that these guidelines may be overridden to the extent the Firm deems appropriate).

In exercising its voting authority, Western Asset will not consult or enter into agreements with officers, directors or employees of Franklin Resources (Franklin Resources includes Franklin Resources, Inc. and organizations operating as Franklin Resources) or any of its affiliates (other than Western Asset affiliated companies) regarding the voting of any securities owned by its clients.

PROCEDURES

Responsibility and Oversight

The Regulatory Affairs Group is responsible for administering and overseeing the proxy voting process. The gathering of proxies is coordinated through the Corporate Actions area of Investment Operations Group (“Corporate Actions”). Research analysts and portfolio managers are responsible for determining appropriate voting positions on each proxy utilizing any applicable guidelines contained in these procedures.

Client Authority

The Investment Management Agreement for each client is reviewed at account start-up for proxy voting instructions. If an agreement is silent on proxy voting, but contains an overall delegation of discretionary authority or if the account represents

 

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assets of an ERISA plan, Western Asset will assume responsibility for proxy voting. The Regulatory Affairs Group maintains a matrix of proxy voting authority.

Proxy Gathering

Registered owners of record, client custodians, client banks and trustees (“Proxy Recipients”) that receive proxy materials on behalf of clients should forward them to Corporate Actions. Proxy Recipients for new clients (or, if Western Asset becomes aware that the applicable Proxy Recipient for an existing client has changed, the Proxy Recipient for the existing client) are notified at start-up of appropriate routing to Corporate Actions of proxy materials received and reminded of their responsibility to forward all proxy materials on a timely basis. If Western Asset personnel other than Corporate Actions receive proxy materials, they should promptly forward the materials to Corporate Actions.

Proxy Voting

Once proxy materials are received by Corporate Actions, they are forwarded to the Regulatory Affairs Group for coordination and the following actions:

 

   

Proxies are reviewed to determine accounts impacted.

 

   

Impacted accounts are checked to confirm Western Asset voting authority.

 

   

The Regulatory Affairs Group reviews proxy issues to determine any material conflicts of interest. (See Conflicts of Interest section of these procedures for further information on determining material conflicts of interest.)

 

   

If a material conflict of interest exists, (i) to the extent reasonably practicable and permitted by applicable law, the client is promptly notified, the conflict is disclosed and Western Asset obtains the client’s proxy voting instructions, and (ii) to the extent that it is not reasonably practicable or permitted by applicable law to notify the client and obtain such instructions (e.g., the client is a mutual fund or other commingled vehicle or is an ERISA plan client), Western Asset seeks voting instructions from an independent third party.

 

   

The Regulatory Affairs Group provides proxy material to the appropriate research analyst or portfolio manager to obtain their recommended vote. Research analysts and portfolio managers determine votes on a case-by-case basis taking into account the voting guidelines contained in these procedures. For avoidance of doubt, depending on the best interest of each individual client, Western Asset may vote the same proxy differently for different clients. The analyst’s or portfolio manager’s basis for their decision is documented and maintained by the Regulatory Affairs Group.

 

   

Portfolio Compliance Group votes the proxy pursuant to the instructions received in (d) or (e) and returns the voted proxy as indicated in the proxy materials.

Timing

Western Asset’s Legal and Compliance Department personnel act in such a manner to ensure that, absent special circumstances, the proxy gathering and proxy voting steps noted above can be completed before the applicable deadline for returning proxy votes.

Recordkeeping

Western Asset maintains records of proxies voted pursuant to Rule 204-2 of the Advisers Act and ERISA DOL Bulletin 94-2. These records include:

 

   

A copy of Western Asset’s proxy voting policies and procedures.

 

   

Copies of proxy statements received with respect to securities in client accounts.

 

   

A copy of any document created by Western Asset that was material to making a decision how to vote proxies.

 

   

Each written client request for proxy voting records and Western Asset’s written response to both verbal and written client requests.