NEUBERGER BERMAN INCOME FUNDS

 

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

Investor Class Shares, Trust Class Shares, Institutional Class Shares, Class A Shares, Class C Shares,

Class R3 Shares, Class R6 Shares, and Class E Shares

 

DATED FEBRUARY 28, 2023, AS AMENDED AND RESTATED MARCH 3, 2023

 

Fund Investor Class Trust Class Institutional Class Class A Class C Class R3 Class R6 Class E
Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund NCRIX   NCRLX NCRAX NCRCX   NRCRX  
Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund     NERIX NERAX NERCX      
Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund     NFIIX NFIAX NFICX      
Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund NHINX   NHILX NHIAX NHICX NHIRX NRHIX NHIEX
Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund     NMHIX NMHAX NMHCX      
Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund     NMIIX NIMAX NIMCX      
Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund NMUIX   NMNLX NMNAX NMNCX      
Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund NSBIX NSBTX NSHLX NSHAX NSHCX   NRSHX  
Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund   NSTTX NSTLX NSTAX NSTCX   NRSIX  

 

 

 

1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104

Shareholder Services: 800.877.9700

Institutional Services: 800.366.6264

www.nb.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”) are mutual funds that offer shares pursuant to prospectuses dated February 28, 2023.

 

The prospectus and summary prospectus (together, the “Prospectus”) for your share class provide more information about your Fund that you should know before investing. You can get a free copy of the Prospectus, annual report and/or semi-annual report for your share class from Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“NBIA” or the “Manager”), 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104, or by calling the appropriate number listed above for your share class. You should read the Prospectus for your share class and consider the investment objective, risks, and fees and expenses of your Fund carefully before investing.

 

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus and should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus for your share class. This SAI is not an offer to sell any shares of any class of the Funds. A written offer can be made only by a Prospectus.

 

Each Fund’s financial statements, notes thereto and the report of its independent registered public accounting firm are incorporated by reference from the Fund’s annual report to shareholders into (and are therefore legally part of) this SAI.

 

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

 

The “Neuberger Berman” name and logo and “Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC” are registered service marks of Neuberger Berman Group LLC. The individual Fund names in this SAI are either service marks or registered service marks of Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC. ©2023 Neuberger Berman BD LLC, distributor. All rights reserved. ©2023 Neuberger Berman Europe Limited. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INVESTMENT INFORMATION 1
Investment Policies and Limitations 2
Cash Management and Temporary Defensive Positions 10
Additional Investment Information 10
   
PERFORMANCE INFORMATION 94
   
TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS 94
Information about the Board of Trustees 94
Information about the Officers of the Trust 100
The Board of Trustees 103
   
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SERVICES 112
Investment Manager and Administrator 112
Management and Administration Fees 115
Contractual Expense Limitations 120
Advisory Fee Waiver 123
Sub-Adviser 124
Portfolio Manager Information 125
Other Investment Companies or Accounts Managed 136
Codes of Ethics 137
Management and Control of NBIA and NBEL 137
   
DISTRIBUTION ARRANGEMENTS 138
Distributor 138
Additional Payments to Financial Intermediaries 142
Distribution Plan (Class A Only) 144
Distribution Plan (Class C Only) 144
Distribution Plan (Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund Investor Class Only) 145
Distribution Plan (Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund Trust Class Only) 146
Distribution Plan (Class R3 Only) 146
Distribution Plans 147
   
ADDITIONAL PURCHASE INFORMATION 148
Share Prices and Net Asset Value 148
Subscriptions in Kind 150
Financial Intermediaries 150
Automatic Investing and Dollar Cost Averaging 150
Sales Charges 151
   
ADDITIONAL EXCHANGE INFORMATION 151
Additional Exchange Information for the Neuberger Berman Fund Family 152
   
ADDITIONAL REDEMPTION INFORMATION 153
Suspension of Redemptions 153

 

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Redemptions in Kind 153
   
CONVERSION INFORMATION 154
   
DIVIDENDS AND OTHER DISTRIBUTIONS 155
   
ADDITIONAL TAX INFORMATION 157
Taxation of the Funds 157
Taxation of the Funds’ Shareholders 164
Special Tax Considerations Pertaining to Funds of Funds 169
   
FUND TRANSACTIONS 171
Portfolio Turnover 178
Proxy Voting 178
   
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE 179
Portfolio Holdings Disclosure Policy 179
Public Disclosure 180
Selective Disclosure Procedures 181
Portfolio Holdings Approved Recipients 181
   
REPORTS TO SHAREHOLDERS 182
   
ORGANIZATION, CAPITALIZATION AND OTHER MATTERS 183
   
CUSTODIAN AND TRANSFER AGENT 184
   
INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM 184
   
LEGAL COUNSEL 184
   
CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES 184
   
REGISTRATION STATEMENT 204
   
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS 204
   
APPENDIX A – LONG-TERM AND SHORT-TERM DEBT SECURITIES RATING DESCRIPTIONS A-1
   
APPENDIX B – PROXY VOTING POLICY FOR NEUBERGER BERMAN INVESTMENT ADVISERS LLC B-1

 

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INVESTMENT INFORMATION

 

Each Fund is a separate operating series of Neuberger Berman Income Funds (“Trust”), a Delaware statutory trust established on December 29, 1992. The Trust is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as an open-end management investment company.

 

At the close of business on June 10, 2005, Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund acquired all the assets and assumed all the liabilities of Ariel Premier Bond Fund, a series of Ariel Investment Trust. Prior to that date, Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund had no operations. Financial and performance information in this SAI prior to June 10, 2005, for each class of the Fund is that of each respective class of the Ariel Premier Bond Fund, the predecessor to Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund for performance and accounting purposes.

 

Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund commenced operations as a separate series of the Trust on September 27, 2013.

 

Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund commenced operations as a separate series of the Trust on December 29, 2009.

 

At the close of business on September 6, 2002, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund acquired all the assets and assumed all the liabilities of Lipper High Income Bond Fund, a series of The Lipper Funds, Inc., and Neuberger Berman High Yield Bond Fund, a prior series of the Trust. Prior to that date, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund had no operations.

 

Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund commenced operations as a separate series of the Trust on June 22, 2015.

 

Through February 9, 2001, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund were organized as feeder funds in a master-feeder structure rather than as funds in a multiple-class structure. As feeder funds, they were series of the Trust and Neuberger Berman Income Trust. As of that date, those feeder funds reorganized into the Funds’ Investor Class and Trust Class units of beneficial interest (“shares”), respectively.

 

At the close of business on March 8, 2013, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund acquired all the assets and assumed all the liabilities of The Empire Builder Tax Free Bond Fund (the “Predecessor Fund”) (the “Reorganization”), and shareholders of the Predecessor Fund received Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund shares in exchange for their Predecessor Fund shares. Prior to that date, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund had no operations. Financial information in this SAI prior to March 8, 2013, for the Institutional Class of Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund is that of the Builder Class of the Predecessor Fund, the predecessor to Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund for accounting purposes.

 

Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund commenced operations as a separate series of the Trust on July 11, 2003.

 

The following information supplements the discussion of the Funds’ investment objectives, policies, and limitations in the Prospectuses.

 

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The investment objective and, unless otherwise specified, the investment policies and limitations of each Fund are not fundamental. Any investment objective, policy, or limitation that is not fundamental may be changed by the trustees of the Trust (“Fund Trustees”) without shareholder approval. The fundamental investment policies and limitations of a Fund may not be changed without the approval of the lesser of:

 

(1) 67% of the shares of the Fund present at a meeting at which more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund are present or represented, or

 

(2) a majority of the outstanding shares of the Fund.

 

These percentages are required by the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (“1940 Act”), and are referred to in this SAI as a “1940 Act majority vote.”

 

The policy of a Fund permitting it to operate as a non-diversified investment company under the 1940 Act may also change by operation of law. Specifically, Rule 13a-1 under the 1940 Act provides in effect that, if a fund’s investment portfolio actually meets the standards of a diversified fund for three consecutive years, the fund’s status will change to that of a diversified fund.

 

Each Fund operates as a diversified investment company.

 

NBIA is responsible for the day-to-day management of Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund, and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund. Throughout this SAI, the term “Manager” refers to NBIA with respect to each of these Funds. NBIA has delegated to Neuberger Berman Europe Limited (“NBEL”) day-to-day investment business of Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund. Throughout this SAI, the term “Manager” refers to NBIA or NBEL, as appropriate, with respect to each of these Funds.

 

Investment Policies and Limitations

 

Except as set forth in the investment limitation on borrowing and the investment limitation on illiquid securities, any investment policy or limitation that involves a maximum percentage of securities or assets will not be considered exceeded unless the percentage limitation is exceeded immediately after, and because of, a transaction by a Fund. If events subsequent to a transaction result in a Fund exceeding the percentage limitation on illiquid securities, the Manager will take appropriate steps to reduce the percentage held in illiquid securities, as may be required by law, within a reasonable amount of time.

 

The following investment policies and limitations are fundamental and apply to all Funds unless otherwise indicated:

 

1. Borrowing. A 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.

 

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2. Commodities. A 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.

 

3. Diversification (All Funds except Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund). No Fund may, with respect to 75% of the value of its total assets, purchase the securities of any issuer (other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities (“U.S. Government and Agency Securities”), or securities issued by other investment companies) if, as a result, (i) more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of that issuer or (ii) the Fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer.

 

4. Industry Concentration. A Fund may not make any investment if, as a result, the Fund’s investments will be concentrated in any one industry 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. This limitation does not apply to U.S. Government and Agency Securities, securities of other investment companies, and state, territorial or municipal securities or such other securities as may be excluded for this purpose under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder and any applicable exemptive relief or SEC or SEC staff interpretations.

 

5. Lending. A 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.

 

6. Real Estate. A 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.

 

7. Senior Securities. A 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.

 

8. Underwriting. A 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.

 

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9. Municipal Securities (Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund). A Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes in securities of municipal issuers that provide interest income that is exempt from federal income tax and other investments that provide investment exposure to such securities; however, the Fund may invest without limit in municipal securities the interest on which may be an item of tax preference for purposes of the federal alternative minimum tax (“Tax Preference Item”).

 

Municipal Securities (Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund). The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its total assets in securities of municipal issuers.

 

A Fund’s limitation on investments in any one issuer does not limit the Fund’s ability to invest up to 100% of its total assets in a master portfolio with the same investment objective, policies and limitations as the Fund.

 

Each Fund (except Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund) has the following additional fundamental investment policy:

 

Accordingly, notwithstanding any other investment policy of the Fund, the Fund may invest all of its investable assets (cash, securities, and receivables relating to securities) in an open-end management investment company having substantially the same investment objective, policies, and limitations as the Fund.

 

Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund has the following fundamental investment policy:

 

Accordingly, notwithstanding any other investment policy of the Fund, the Fund may invest all of its investable assets in an open-end management investment company having substantially the same investment objective, policies, and limitations as the Fund.

 

With respect to the investment limitation on borrowings, Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund may pledge assets in connection with permitted borrowings.

 

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth in (1) 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. (The Fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, 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 (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 borrowings and thus subject to the 1940 Act restrictions. Each Fund also has obtained exemptive relief from the SEC to permit it to borrow money from other funds for temporary purposes.

 

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For purposes of the investment limitation on commodities, a Fund does not consider foreign currencies or forward contracts to be physical commodities. This limitation does not prohibit a Fund from purchasing securities backed by physical commodities, including interests in exchange-traded investment trusts and other similar entities, or derivative instruments. In addition, this limitation does not prohibit any Fund from purchasing physical commodities.

 

None of the foregoing limitations shall be construed to prevent a Fund from purchasing, holding or selling all or a portion of any issuance of sukuk or similarly structured investments.

 

The more narrowly industries are defined, the more likely it is that multiple industries will be affected in a similar fashion by a single economic or regulatory development.

 

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to industry concentration set forth in (4) 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. The policy in (4) above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time by the SEC, SEC staff or other relevant authority. 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; securities of foreign governments; and repurchase agreements collateralized by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry and there 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 a Fund as to how to classify issuers within or among industries. Also for purposes of the fundamental policy relating to concentration, mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities are grouped according to the nature of their collateral, and certificates of deposit (“CDs”) are interpreted to include similar types of time deposits.

 

For purposes of the investment limitation on concentration in a particular industry, each of Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund determines the “issuer” of a municipal obligation that is not a general obligation note or bond based on the obligation’s characteristics. The most significant of these characteristics is the source of funds for the repayment of principal and payment of interest on the obligation. If an obligation is backed by an irrevocable letter of credit or other guarantee, without which the obligation would not qualify for purchase under a Fund’s quality restrictions, the issuer of the letter of credit or the guarantee is considered an issuer of the obligation. If an obligation meets a Fund’s quality restrictions without credit support, the Fund treats the commercial developer or the industrial user, rather than the governmental entity or the guarantor, as the only issuer of the obligation, even if the obligation is backed by a letter of credit or other guarantee.

 

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Also, for purposes of the investment limitation on concentration in a particular industry, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund will not exclude securities the interest on which is exempt from federal income tax (“tax-exempt securities”) that are issued by municipalities to finance non-governmental projects, such as hospitals (i.e., private activity bonds (“PABs”)), from the investment limitation.

 

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to lending set forth in (5) 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.) The Fund also will be permitted by this policy to make loans of money, including to other funds. The Fund has obtained exemptive relief from the SEC to make loans to other funds for temporary purposes. The policy in (5) 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.

 

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to real estate set forth in (6) above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a Fund from owning real estate; however, the Fund could lose favorable tax treatment if too much of its income is from sources other than investments in securities. This does not prevent the Fund from investing in securities of companies that invest in real estate or real estate-related activities.

 

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to issuing senior securities set forth in (7) 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. The Fund may also 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 policy in (7) 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 underwriting set forth in (8) 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 the 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. 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 in (8) 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.

 

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With respect to the fundamental policy relating to industry concentration above, if an investment company in which a Fund invests has an industry concentration policy, the Fund will consider that investment company for purposes of the Fund’s industry concentration policy.

 

A 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.

 

The following investment policies and limitations are non-fundamental and apply to all Funds unless otherwise indicated:

 

1. Illiquid Securities. No Fund may purchase any security if, as a result, more than 15% of its net assets would be invested in illiquid securities. An illiquid investment means any investment that a 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 investment.

 

2. Borrowing (Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund). No Fund may purchase securities if outstanding borrowings of money exceed 5% of its total assets, but this restriction does not apply to borrowings of money made in connection with reverse repurchase agreements. Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund does not currently intend to borrow for leveraging or investment.

 

Borrowing (Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund). The Fund may not purchase securities if outstanding borrowings of money exceed 5% of its total assets.

 

Borrowing (Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund). No Fund may purchase securities if outstanding borrowings exceed 5% of its total assets, but this restriction does not apply to borrowings made in connection with reverse repurchase agreements.

 

3. Lending (Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund). Except for the purchase of debt securities and engaging in repurchase agreements, the Funds may not make any loans other than securities loans.

 

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Lending (Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund). Except for the purchase of debt securities, loans, loan participations or other forms of direct debt instruments and engaging in repurchase agreements, the Funds may not make any loans other than securities loans.

 

4. Margin Transactions. No Fund may purchase securities on margin from brokers or other lenders, except that a Fund may obtain such short-term credits as are necessary for the clearance of securities transactions. Margin posted as collateral in connection with derivatives transactions and short sales shall not constitute the purchase of securities on margin and shall not be deemed to violate the foregoing limitation.

 

5. Investments in Any One Issuer (Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund). At the close of each quarter of each Fund’s taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the value of the Fund’s total assets must be represented by cash and cash items, Government securities (as defined for purposes of Subchapter M of Chapter 1 of Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“Code”)), securities of other “regulated investment companies” (as defined in section 851(a) of the Code) (each, a “RIC”), and other securities limited, in respect of any one issuer, to an amount that does not exceed 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and that does not represent more than 10% of the issuer’s outstanding voting securities, and (ii) not more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets may be invested in (a) securities (other than Government securities or securities of other RICs) of any one issuer, (b) securities (other than securities of other RICs) of two or more issuers the Fund controls that are determined to be engaged in the same, similar, or related trades or businesses, or in the case of Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund (c) securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (as defined in the Code).

 

6. Geographic Concentration (Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund). The Fund will not invest 25% or more of its total assets in securities issued by governmental units located in any one state, territory, or possession of the United States (but this limitation does not apply to project notes backed by the full faith and credit of the United States).

 

7. Bonds and Other Debt Securities (Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund). Each Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in bonds and other debt securities and other investment companies that provide investment exposure to such debt securities. Although this is a non-fundamental policy, the Fund Trustees will not change this policy without at least 60 days’ notice to shareholders.

 

High-Yield Bonds (Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund). The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in high-yield bonds (generally defined as those debt securities that, at the time of investment, are rated in the lowest investment grade category (BBB by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”), Baa by Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”), or comparably rated by at least one independent credit rating agency) or lower or, if unrated, deemed by the portfolio managers to be of comparable quality) and other investment companies that provide investment exposure to such bonds. Although this is a non-fundamental policy, the Fund Trustees will not change this policy without at least 60 days’ notice to shareholders.

 

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Floating Rate Investments (Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund). The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in floating rate securities (including loans) and other investment companies that provide investment exposure to such floating rate securities. Although this is a non-fundamental policy, the Fund Trustees will not change this policy without at least 60 days’ notice to shareholders.

 

Emerging Market Debt and Other Instruments (Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund). The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in debt and other instruments of issuers that are tied economically to emerging market countries and other investments that provide investment exposure to such debt instruments. Although this is a non-fundamental policy, the Fund Trustees will not change this policy without at least 60 days’ notice to shareholders.

 

8. Investment by a Fund of Funds. If shares of a Fund are purchased by another fund in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act, for so long as shares of the Fund are held by such fund, the Fund will not purchase securities of registered open-end investment companies or registered unit investment trusts in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(F) or Section 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act.

 

For purposes of a Fund’s non-fundamental policy to invest at least 80% of its net assets in debt securities or debt instruments, as applicable, convertible debt securities are considered to be debt. A Fund currently considers preferred securities and contingent convertible securities to be either debt or equity based on the recommendation of an independent third party.

 

Senior Securities. Section 18(f)(1) of the 1940 Act prohibits an open-end investment company from issuing any class of senior security, or selling any class of senior security of which it is the issuer, except that the investment company may borrow from a bank provided that immediately after any such borrowing there is asset coverage of at least 300% for all of its borrowings. Rule 18f-4, which became effective in August 2022, permits funds to engage in “derivatives transactions” as defined by that rule that would otherwise be subject to the restrictions of Section 18 of the 1940 Act on their issuance of “senior securities.” For information on Rule 18f-4, see “Additional Investment Information -- Futures Contracts, Options on Futures Contracts, Options on Securities and Indices, Forward Currency Contracts, Options on Foreign Currencies, and Swap Agreements” below.

 

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Cash Management and Temporary Defensive Positions

 

For temporary defensive purposes, or to manage cash pending investment or payout, each of Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund, and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund may invest up to 100% of its total assets in cash or cash equivalents, U.S. Government and Agency Securities, commercial paper, money market funds and certain other money market instruments, as well as repurchase agreements collateralized by the foregoing, the income from which generally will be subject to federal, state, and local income taxes and may adopt shorter than normal weighted average maturities or durations. Yields on these securities are generally lower than yields available on certain other investments and debt securities in which Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund, and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund normally invest. These investments will produce taxable income for Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, and Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund and may produce after-tax yields that are lower than the tax-equivalent yields available on municipal securities at the time.

 

For temporary defensive purposes, or to manage cash pending investment or payout, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund may invest up to 100% of its total assets in short-term foreign or U.S. investments, such as cash or cash equivalents, commercial paper, short-term bank obligations, U.S. Government and Agency Securities, and repurchase agreements collateralized by the foregoing, the income from which generally will be subject to federal, state, and local income taxes and may adopt shorter than normal weighted average maturities or durations. Yields on these securities are generally lower than yields available on certain other investments and debt securities in which each Fund normally invests.

 

A Fund may also invest in such instruments to increase liquidity or to provide collateral to be segregated. These investments may prevent a Fund from achieving its investment objective.

 

In reliance on an SEC exemptive rule, a Fund may invest an unlimited amount of its uninvested cash and cash collateral received in connection with securities lending in shares of money market funds and unregistered funds that operate in compliance with Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act, whether or not advised by NBIA or an affiliate, under specified conditions. Among other things, the conditions preclude an investing Fund from paying a sales charge, as defined in rule 2830(b) of the NASD Conduct Rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) (“sales charge”), or a service fee, as defined in that rule, in connection with its purchase or redemption of the money market fund’s or unregistered fund’s shares, or the Fund’s investment adviser must waive a sufficient amount of its advisory fee to offset any such sales charge or service fee.

 

Additional Investment Information

 

Unless otherwise indicated, the Funds may buy the types of securities and use the investment techniques described below, subject to any applicable investment policies and limitations. However, the Funds may not buy all of the types of securities or use all of the investment techniques described below. In addition, certain securities and investment techniques may produce taxable income for the Funds. Each Fund’s principal investment strategies and the principal risks of each Fund’s principal investment strategies are discussed in the Prospectuses.

 

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Pursuant to Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act, each Fund may invest in both affiliated and unaffiliated investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), (“underlying funds”) in excess of the limits in Section 12 of the 1940 Act and the rules and regulations thereunder. When a Fund invests in underlying funds, it is indirectly exposed to the investment practices of the underlying funds and, therefore, is subject to all the risks associated with the practices of the underlying funds. This SAI is not an offer to sell shares of any underlying fund. Shares of an underlying fund are sold only through the currently effective prospectus for that underlying fund. Unless otherwise noted herein, the investment practices and associated risks detailed below also include those to which a Fund indirectly may be exposed through its investment in an underlying fund. Unless otherwise noted herein, any references to investments made by a Fund include those that may be made both directly by the Fund and indirectly by the Fund through its investments in underlying funds.

 

Asset-Backed Securities. Asset-backed securities represent direct or indirect participations in, or are secured by and payable from, pools of assets such as, among other things, motor vehicle installment sales contracts, installment loan contracts, leases of various types of real and personal property, and receivables from revolving credit (credit card) agreements, or a combination of the foregoing. These assets are securitized through the use of trusts and special purpose corporations. Credit enhancements, such as various forms of cash collateral accounts or letters of credit, may support payments of principal and interest on asset-backed securities. Although these securities may be supported by letters of credit or other credit enhancements, payment of interest and principal ultimately depends upon individuals paying the underlying loans, which may be affected adversely by general downturns in the economy. Asset-backed securities are subject to the same risk of prepayment described with respect to mortgage-backed securities and to extension risk (the risk that an issuer of a security will make principal payments slower than anticipated by the investor, thus extending the securities’ duration). The risk that recovery on repossessed collateral might be unavailable or inadequate to support payments, however, is greater for asset-backed securities than for mortgage-backed securities.

 

Certificates for Automobile ReceivablesSM (“CARSSM”) represent undivided fractional interests in a trust whose assets consist of a pool of motor vehicle retail installment sales contracts and security interests in the vehicles securing those contracts. Payments of principal and interest on the underlying contracts are passed through monthly to certificate holders and are guaranteed up to specified amounts by a letter of credit issued by a financial institution unaffiliated with the trustee or originator of the trust. Underlying installment sales contracts are subject to prepayment, which may reduce the overall return to certificate holders. Certificate holders also may experience delays in payment or losses on CARSSM if the trust does not realize the full amounts due on underlying installment sales contracts because of unanticipated legal or administrative costs of enforcing the contracts; depreciation, damage, or loss of the vehicles securing the contracts; or other factors.

 

Credit card receivable securities are backed by receivables from revolving credit card agreements (“Accounts”). Credit balances on Accounts are generally paid down more rapidly than are automobile contracts. Most of the credit card receivable securities issued publicly to date have been pass-through certificates. In order to lengthen their maturity or duration, most such securities provide for a fixed period during which only interest payments on the underlying Accounts are passed through to the security holder; principal payments received on the Accounts are used to fund the transfer of additional credit card charges made on the Accounts to the pool of assets supporting the securities. Usually, the initial fixed period may be shortened if specified events occur which signal a potential deterioration in the quality of the assets backing the security, such as the imposition of a cap on interest rates. An issuer’s ability to extend the life of an issue of credit card receivable securities thus depends on the continued generation of principal amounts in the underlying Accounts and the non-occurrence of the specified events. The non-deductibility of consumer interest, as well as competitive and general economic factors, could adversely affect the rate at which new receivables are created in an Account and conveyed to an issuer, thereby shortening the expected weighted average life of the related security and reducing its yield. An acceleration in cardholders’ payment rates or any other event that shortens the period during which additional credit card charges on an Account may be transferred to the pool of assets supporting the related security could have a similar effect on its weighted average life and yield.

 

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Credit cardholders are entitled to the protection of state and federal consumer credit laws. Many of those laws give a holder the right to set off certain amounts against balances owed on the credit card, thereby reducing amounts paid on Accounts. In addition, unlike the collateral for most other asset-backed securities, Accounts are unsecured obligations of the cardholder.

 

Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund each may invest in trust preferred securities, which are a type of asset-backed security. Trust preferred securities represent interests in a trust formed by a parent company to finance its operations. The trust sells preferred shares and invests the proceeds in debt securities of the parent. This debt may be subordinated and unsecured. Dividend payments on the trust preferred securities match the interest payments on the debt securities; if no interest is paid on the debt securities, the trust will not make current payments on its preferred securities. Unlike typical asset-backed securities, which have many underlying payors and are usually overcollateralized, trust preferred securities have only one underlying payor and are not overcollateralized. Issuers of trust preferred securities and their parents currently enjoy favorable tax treatment. If the tax characterization of trust preferred securities were to change, they could be redeemed by the issuers, which could result in a loss to a Fund.

 

Banking and Savings Institution Securities. These include CDs, time deposits, bankers’ acceptances, and other short-term and long-term debt obligations issued by commercial banks and savings institutions. The CDs, time deposits, and bankers’ acceptances in which the Funds invest typically are not covered by deposit insurance.

 

A certificate of deposit is a short-term negotiable certificate issued by a commercial bank against funds deposited in the bank and is either interest-bearing or purchased on a discount basis. A bankers’ acceptance is a short-term draft drawn on a commercial bank by a borrower, usually in connection with an international commercial transaction. The borrower is liable for payment as is the bank, which unconditionally guarantees to pay the draft at its face amount on the maturity date. Fixed time deposits are obligations of branches of U.S. banks or foreign banks that are payable at a stated maturity date and bear a fixed rate of interest. Although fixed time deposits do not have a market, there are no contractual restrictions on the right to transfer a beneficial interest in the deposit to a third party. Deposit notes are notes issued by commercial banks that generally bear fixed rates of interest and typically have original maturities ranging from eighteen months to five years.

 

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Banks are subject to extensive governmental regulations that may limit both the amounts and types of loans and other financial commitments that may be made and the interest rates and fees that may be charged. The profitability of this industry is largely dependent upon the availability and cost of capital, which can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change. Also, general economic conditions, consolidation and competition among banking and savings institutions play an important part in the operations of this industry and exposure to credit losses arising from possible financial difficulties of borrowers might affect a bank’s ability to meet its obligations. Bank obligations may be general obligations of the parent bank or may be limited to the issuing branch by the terms of the specific obligations or by government regulation.

 

In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) was passed, which significantly impacted the financial services industry, including more stringent regulation of depository institutions and their holding companies. Federal regulatory agencies are still implementing many of the Dodd-Frank Act’s provisions but increased regulation could impact the operations and profitability of depository institutions and their holding companies.

 

In addition, for Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund, securities of foreign banks and foreign branches of U.S. banks may involve investment risks in addition to those relating to domestic bank obligations. Such risks include future political and economic developments, the possible seizure or nationalization of foreign deposits, and the possible adoption of foreign governmental restrictions that might adversely affect the payment of principal and interest on such obligations. In addition, foreign banks and foreign branches of U.S. banks may be subject to less stringent reserve requirements and non-U.S. issuers generally are subject to different accounting, auditing, reporting and recordkeeping standards than those applicable to U.S. issuers.

 

Collateralized Loan Obligations. A Fund also may invest in collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”), which are another type of asset-backed security. A CLO is a trust or other special purpose entity that is comprised of or collateralized by a pool of loans, including 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. The loans generate cash flow that is allocated among one or more classes of securities (“tranches”) that vary in risk and yield. The most senior tranche has the best credit quality and the lowest yield compared to the other tranches. The equity tranche has the highest potential yield but also has the greatest risk, as it bears the bulk of defaults from the underlying loans and helps to protect the more senior tranches from risk of these defaults. However, despite the protection from the equity and other more junior tranches, more senior tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults and decreased market value due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as aversion to CLO securities as a class.

 

Normally, CLOs are privately offered and sold and are not registered under state or federal securities laws. Therefore, investments in CLOs may be characterized by a Fund as illiquid securities; however, an active dealer market may exist for CLOs allowing a CLO to qualify for transactions pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. CLOs normally charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of a Fund.

 

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The riskiness of investing in CLOs depends largely on the quality and type of the collateral loans and the tranche of the CLO in which a Fund invests. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed-income securities discussed elsewhere in this SAI and a Fund’s Prospectus (such as interest rate risk and credit risk), CLOs carry risks including, but not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from the collateral will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the quality of the collateral may decline in value or default; (iii) the Fund may invest in CLO tranches that are subordinate to other tranches; and (iv) the complex structure of the CLO may not be fully understood at the time of investment or may result in the quality of the underlying collateral not being fully understood and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results. In addition, interest on certain tranches of a CLO may be paid in-kind (meaning that unpaid interest is effectively added to principal), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments. Certain CLOs may receive credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, over-collateralization or bond insurance, but such enhancement may not always be present and may fail to protect a Fund against the risk of loss due to defaults on the collateral. Certain CLOs may not hold loans directly, but rather, use derivatives such as swaps to create “synthetic” exposure to the collateral pool of loans. Such CLOs entail the risks of derivative instruments described elsewhere in this SAI.

 

Commercial Paper. Commercial paper is a short-term debt security issued by a corporation, bank, municipality, or other issuer, usually for purposes such as financing current operations. A Fund may invest in commercial paper that cannot be resold to the public without an effective registration statement under the 1933 Act. While some restricted commercial paper normally is deemed illiquid, the Manager may in certain cases determine that such paper is liquid.

 

Commodities Related Investments. A Fund may purchase securities backed by physical commodities, including interests in exchange-traded investment trusts and other similar entities, the value of the shares of which relates directly to the value of physical commodities held by such an entity. As an investor in such an entity, a Fund would indirectly bear its pro rata share of the entity’s expenses, which may include storage and other costs relating to the entity’s investments in physical commodities.

 

In addition, a Fund will not qualify as a RIC for any taxable year in which more than 10% of its gross income consists of “non-qualifying” income, which includes gains from selling physical commodities (or options or futures contracts thereon unless the gain is realized from certain hedging transactions) and certain other non-passive income. A Fund’s investment in securities backed by, or in such entities that invest in, physical commodities would produce non-qualifying income, although investments in stock of a “controlled foreign corporation” that invests in physical commodities and annually distributes its net income and gains generally should not produce such income. To remain within the 10% limitation, a Fund may need to hold such an investment or sell it at a loss, or sell other investments, when for investment reasons it would not otherwise do so. The availability of such measures does not guarantee that a Fund would be able to satisfy that limitation.

 

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Exposure to physical commodities may subject a Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The value of such investments may be affected by overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity, such as supply and demand, drought, floods, weather, embargoes, tariffs and international economic, political and regulatory developments. Their value may also respond to investor perception of instability in the national or international economy, whether or not justified by the facts. However, these investments may help to moderate fluctuations in the value of a Fund’s other holdings, because these investments may not correlate with investments in traditional securities. Economic and other events (whether real or perceived) can reduce the demand for commodities, which may reduce market prices and cause the value of a Fund’s shares to fall. No active trading market may exist for certain commodities investments, which may impair the ability of a Fund to sell or realize the full value of such investments in the event of the need to liquidate such investments. Certain commodities are subject to limited pricing flexibility because of supply and demand factors. Others are subject to broad price fluctuations as a result of the volatility of the prices for certain raw materials and the instability of the supplies of other materials. These additional variables may create additional investment risks and result in greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. Because physical commodities do not generate investment income, the return on such investments will be derived solely from the appreciation or depreciation on such investments. Certain types of commodities instruments (such as commodity-linked swaps and commodity-linked structured notes) are subject to the risk that the counterparty to the instrument will not perform or will be unable to perform in accordance with the terms of the instrument.

 

Policies and Limitations. For the Funds’ policies and limitations on commodities, see “Investment Policies and Limitations -- Commodities” above. In addition, a Fund does not intend to sell commodities related investments when doing so would cause it to fail to qualify as a RIC.

 

Contingent Convertible Securities. Contingent convertible securities (“CoCos”) are a form of hybrid security that 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 thresholds or regulatory actions calling into question the issuer’s continued viability as a going concern. The unique equity conversion or principal write-down features of CoCos are tailored to the issuer and its regulatory requirements. CoCos typically will be issued in the form of subordinated debt instruments in order to provide the appropriate regulatory capital treatment prior to a conversion. One type of CoCo provides for mandatory conversion of the security into common stock of the issuer under certain circumstances. The mandatory conversion might relate, for example, to the issuer’s failure to maintain a capital minimum required by regulations. Because the common stock of the issuer may not pay a dividend, investors in such securities could experience reduced yields (or no yields at all) and conversion would worsen the investor’s standing in the case of an issuer’s insolvency. Another type of CoCo has characteristics designed to absorb losses, where the liquidation value of the security may be adjusted downward to below the original par value or written off entirely under certain circumstances. For instance, in the event that losses have eroded the issuer’s capital levels to below a specified threshold, the liquidation value of the security may be reduced in whole or in part. The write-down of the security’s par value may occur automatically and would not entitle holders to institute bankruptcy proceedings against the issuer. In addition, an automatic write-down could result in a reduced income rate if the dividend or interest payment associated with the security is based on the security’s par value. Such securities may, but are not required to, provide for circumstances under which the liquidation value of the security may be adjusted back up to par, such as an improvement in capitalization or earnings. In addition, CoCos may have no stated maturity and may have fully discretionary coupons that can potentially be cancelled at the issuer’s discretion or may be prohibited by the relevant regulatory authority from being paid in order to help the issuer absorb losses.

 

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Convertible Securities. A convertible security is a bond, debenture, note, preferred stock, or other security or debt obligation that may be converted into or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock of the same or a different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. Convertible securities generally have features of, and risks associated with, both equity and fixed income instruments. As such, the value of most convertible securities will vary with changes in the price of, and will be subject to the risks associated with, the underlying common stock. Additionally, convertible securities are also subject to the risk that the issuer may not be able to pay principal or interest when due and the value of the convertible security may change based on the issuer’s credit rating.

 

A convertible security entitles the holder to receive the 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, such securities ordinarily provide a stream of income with generally higher yields than common stocks of the same or similar issuers, but lower than the yield on non-convertible debt. Convertible securities are usually subordinated to comparable-tier non-convertible securities and other senior debt obligations of the issuer, but rank senior to common stock in a company’s capital structure. The value of a convertible security is a function of (1) its yield in comparison to the yields of other securities of comparable maturity and quality that do not have a conversion privilege and (2) its worth if converted into the underlying common stock.

 

The price of a convertible security often reflects variations in the price of the underlying common stock in a way that non-convertible debt may not. Convertible securities may be issued by smaller capitalization companies whose stock prices may be more volatile than larger capitalization companies. A convertible security may have a mandatory conversion feature or a call feature that subjects it to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the security’s governing instrument. If a convertible security held by a Fund is called for redemption, the Fund will be required to convert it into the underlying common stock, sell it to a third party or permit the issuer to redeem the security. Any of these actions could have an adverse effect on a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objectives.

 

Direct Debt Instruments including Loans, Loan Assignments, and Loan Participations. Direct debt includes interests in loans, notes and other interests in amounts owed to financial institutions by borrowers, such as companies and governments, including emerging market countries. Direct debt instruments are interests in amounts owed by corporate, governmental, or other borrowers (including emerging market countries) to lenders or lending syndicates. Purchasers of loans and other forms of direct indebtedness depend primarily upon the creditworthiness of the borrower for payment of principal and interest. The borrower may be in financial distress or may default. If a Fund does not receive scheduled interest or principal payments on such indebtedness, the Fund’s share price and yield could be adversely affected. Participations in debt instruments may involve a risk of insolvency of the selling bank. In addition, there may be fewer legal protections for owners of participation interests than for direct lenders. Direct indebtedness of developing countries involves a risk that the governmental entities responsible for the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to pay interest and repay principal when due. See the additional risks described under “Foreign Securities” in this SAI.

 

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Direct debt instruments may have floating interest rates. These interest rates will vary depending on the terms of the underlying loan and market conditions.

 

Loans, Loan Assignments, and Loan Participations. Floating rate securities, including loans, provide for automatic adjustment of the interest rate at fixed intervals (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, or semi-annually) or automatic adjustment of the interest rate whenever a specified interest rate or index changes. The interest rate on floating rate securities ordinarily is determined by reference to LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), a particular bank’s prime rate, the 90-day Treasury Department Bill rate, the rate of return on commercial paper or bank CDs, an index of short-term tax-exempt rates or some other objective measure. A Fund may invest in secured and unsecured loans.

 

A Fund may invest in direct debt instruments by direct investment as a lender, by taking an assignment of all or a portion of an interest in a loan previously held by another institution or by acquiring a participation interest in a loan that continues to be held by another institution. It also may be difficult for a Fund to obtain an accurate picture of a selling bank’s financial condition. Loans are subject to the same risks as other direct debt instruments discussed above and carry additional risks described in this section.

 

Direct Investments. When a Fund invests as an initial investor in a new loan, the investment is typically made at par value. Secondary purchases of loans may be made at a premium to par, at par, or at a discount to par. Therefore, a Fund’s return on a secondary investment may be lower, equal, or higher than if the Fund had made a direct investment. As an initial investor in a new loan, the Fund may be paid a commitment fee.

 

Assignments. When a Fund purchases a loan by assignment, the Fund typically succeeds to the rights of the assigning lender under the loan agreement and becomes a lender under the loan agreement. Subject to the terms of the loan agreement, a Fund typically succeeds to all the rights and obligations under the loan agreement of the assigning lender. However, assignments may be arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and potential assignors, and the rights and obligations acquired by the purchaser of an assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the assigning lender.

 

Participation Interests. A Fund’s rights under a participation interest with respect to a particular loan may be more limited than the rights of original lenders or of investors who acquire an assignment of that loan. In purchasing participation interests, a 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 interest (the “participating lender”) and only when the participating lender receives the payments from the borrower.

 

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In a participation interest, a Fund will usually have a contractual relationship only with the selling institution and not the underlying borrower. A Fund normally will have to rely on the participating lender to demand and receive payments in respect of the loans, and to pay those amounts on to the Fund; thus, a Fund will be subject to the risk that the lender may be unwilling or unable to do so. In such a case, a Fund would not likely have any rights against the borrower directly. In addition, a Fund generally will have no right to object to certain changes to the loan agreement agreed to by the participating lender.

 

In buying a participation interest, a Fund might not directly benefit from the collateral supporting the related loan and may be subject to any rights of set off the borrower has against the selling institution. In the event of bankruptcy or insolvency of the borrower, the obligation of the borrower to repay the loan may be subject to certain defenses that can be asserted by the borrower as a result of any improper conduct of the participating lender. As a result, a Fund may be subject to delays, expenses and risks that are greater than those that exist when the Fund is an original lender or assignee.

 

Creditworthiness. A Fund’s ability to receive payments in connection with loans depends on the financial condition of the borrower. The Manager will not rely solely on another lending institution’s credit analysis of the borrower, but will perform its own investment analysis of the borrower. The Manager’s analysis may include consideration of the borrower’s financial strength, managerial experience, debt coverage, additional borrowing requirements or debt maturity schedules, changing financial conditions, and responsiveness to changes in business conditions and interest rates. Indebtedness of borrowers whose creditworthiness is poor involves substantially greater risks and may be highly speculative. Borrowers that are in bankruptcy or restructuring may never pay off their indebtedness, or may pay only a small fraction of the amount owed. In connection with the restructuring of a loan or other direct debt instrument outside of bankruptcy court in a negotiated work-out or in the context of bankruptcy proceedings, equity securities or junior debt securities may be received in exchange for all or a portion of an interest in the security.

 

In buying a participation interest, a Fund assumes the credit risk of both the borrower and the participating lender. If the participating lender fails to perform its obligations under the participation agreement, a Fund might incur costs and delays in realizing payment and suffer a loss of principal and/or interest. If a participating lender becomes insolvent, a Fund may be treated as a general creditor of that lender. As a general creditor, a Fund may not benefit from a right of set off that the lender has against the borrower. A Fund will acquire a participation interest only if the Manager determines that the participating lender or other intermediary participant selling the participation interest is creditworthy.

 

Ratings. Loan interests may not be rated by independent rating agencies and therefore, investments in a particular loan participation may depend almost exclusively on the credit analysis of the borrower performed by the Manager.

 

Agents. Loans are typically administered by a bank, insurance company, finance company or other financial institution (the “agent”) for a lending syndicate of financial institutions. In a typical loan, the agent administers the terms of the loan agreement and is responsible for the collection of principal and interest and fee payments from the borrower and the apportionment of these payments to all lenders that are parties to the loan agreement. In addition, an institution (which may be the agent) may hold collateral on behalf of the lenders. Typically, under loan agreements, the agent is given broad authority in monitoring the borrower’s performance and is obligated to use the same care it would use in the management of its own property. In asserting rights against a borrower, a Fund normally will be dependent on the willingness of the lead bank to assert these rights, or upon a vote of all the lenders to authorize the action.

 

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If an agent becomes insolvent, or has a receiver, conservator, or similar official appointed for it by the appropriate regulatory authority, or becomes a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding, the agent’s appointment may be terminated and a successor agent would be appointed. If an appropriate regulator or court determines that assets held by the agent for the benefit of the purchasers of loans are subject to the claims of the agent’s general or secured creditors, a Fund might incur certain costs and delays in realizing payment on a loan or suffer a loss of principal and/or interest. A Fund may be subject to similar risks when it buys a participation interest or an assignment from an intermediary.

 

Collateral. Although most of the loans in which a Fund invests are secured, there is no assurance that the collateral can be promptly liquidated, or that its liquidation value will be equal to the value of the debt. In most loan agreements there is no formal requirement to pledge additional collateral if the value of the initial collateral declines. As a result, a loan may not always be fully collateralized and can decline significantly in value.

 

If a borrower becomes insolvent, access to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy and other laws. Borrowers that are in bankruptcy may pay only a small portion of the amount owed, if they are able to pay at all. In addition, if a secured loan is foreclosed, a Fund may bear the costs and liabilities associated with owning and disposing of the collateral. The collateral may be difficult to sell and a Fund would bear the risk that the collateral may decline in value while the Fund is holding it. There is also a possibility that a Fund will become the owner of its pro rata share of the collateral which may carry additional risks and liabilities. In addition, under legal theories of lender liability, a Fund potentially might be held liable as a co-lender. In the event of a borrower’s bankruptcy or insolvency, the borrower’s obligation to repay the loan may be subject to certain defenses that the borrower can assert as a result of improper conduct by the Agent.

 

Some loans are unsecured. If the borrower defaults on an unsecured loan, a Fund will be a general creditor and will not have rights to any specific assets of the borrower.

 

Liquidity. Loans are generally subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale. Loans are not currently listed on any securities exchange or automatic quotation system. As a result, there may not be a recognized, liquid public market for loan interests.

 

Prepayment Risk and Maturity. Because many loans are repaid early, the actual maturity of loans is typically shorter than their stated final maturity calculated solely on the basis of the stated life and payment schedule. The degree to which borrowers prepay loans, whether as a contractual requirement or at their election, may be affected by general business conditions, market interest rates, the borrower’s financial condition and competitive conditions among lenders. Such prepayments may require a Fund to replace an investment with a lower yielding security which may have an adverse effect on a Fund’s share price. Prepayments cannot be predicted with accuracy. Floating rate loans can be less sensitive to prepayment risk, but a Fund’s net asset value (“NAV”) may still fluctuate in response to interest rate changes because variable interest rates may reset only periodically and may not rise or decline as much as interest rates in general.

 

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Restrictive Covenants. A borrower must comply with various restrictive covenants in a loan agreement such as restrictions on dividend payments and limits on total debt. The loan agreement may also contain a covenant requiring the borrower to prepay the loan with any free cash flow. A breach of a covenant is normally an event of default, which provides the agent or the lenders the right to call the outstanding loan.

 

Fees and Expenses. A Fund may be required to pay and receive various fees and commissions in the process of purchasing, selling, and holding loans. The fee component may include any, or a combination of, the following elements: assignment fees, arrangement fees, non-use fees, facility fees, letter of credit fees, and ticking fees. Arrangement fees are paid at the commencement of a loan as compensation for the initiation of the transaction. A non-use fee is paid based upon the amount committed but not used under the loan. Facility fees are on-going annual fees paid in connection with a loan. Letter of credit fees are paid if a loan involves a letter of credit. Ticking fees are paid from the initial commitment indication until loan closing if for an extended period. The amount of fees is negotiated at the time of closing. In addition, a Fund incurs expenses associated with researching and analyzing potential loan investments, including legal fees.

 

Available Information. Loans normally are not registered with the SEC or any state securities commission or listed on any securities exchange. As a result, the amount of public information available about a specific loan historically has been less extensive than if the loan were registered or exchange traded. They may also not be considered “securities,” and purchasers, such as the Funds, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the strong anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.

 

Leveraged Buy-Out Transactions. Loans purchased by a Fund may represent interests in loans made to finance highly leveraged corporate acquisitions, known as “leveraged buy-out” transactions, leveraged recapitalization loans and other types of acquisition financing. The highly leveraged capital structure of the borrowers in such transactions may make such loans especially vulnerable to adverse changes in economic or market conditions.

 

Junior Loans. A Fund may invest in second lien secured loans and secured and unsecured subordinated loans, including bridge loans (“Junior Loans”). In the event of a bankruptcy or liquidation, second lien secured loans are generally paid only if the value of the borrower’s collateral is sufficient to satisfy the borrower’s obligations to the first lien secured lenders and even then, the remaining collateral may not be sufficient to cover the amount owed to a Fund. Second lien secured loans give investors priority over general unsecured creditors in the event of an asset sale.

 

Junior Loans are subject to the same general risks inherent to any loan investment, including credit risk, market and liquidity risk, and interest rate risk. Due to their lower place in the borrower’s capital structure, Junior Loans involve a higher degree of overall risk than senior loans of the same borrower.

 

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Bridge Loans. Bridge loans or bridge facilities are short-term loan arrangements (e.g., 12 to 18 months) typically made by a borrower in anticipation of intermediate-term or long-term permanent financing. Most bridge loans are structured as floating-rate debt with step-up provisions under which the interest rate on the bridge loan rises over time. Thus, the longer the loan remains outstanding, the more the interest rate increases. In addition, bridge loans commonly contain a conversion feature that allows the bridge loan investor to convert its loan interest into senior exchange notes if the loan has not been prepaid in full on or prior to its maturity date. Bridge loans may be subordinate to other debt and may be secured or unsecured. Like any loan, bridge loans involve credit risk. Bridge loans are generally made with the expectation that the borrower will be able to obtain permanent financing in the near future. Any delay in obtaining permanent financing subjects the bridge loan investor to increased risk. A borrower’s use of bridge loans also involves the risk that the borrower may be unable to locate permanent financing to replace the bridge loan, which may impair the borrower’s perceived creditworthiness. With the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, many borrowers found it more difficult to obtain loans, a situation that has been gradually improving.

 

Delayed draw term loans. A Fund may be obligated under the terms of the relevant loan documents to advance additional funds after the initial disbursement that it makes at the time of its investment. For example, the loan may not have been fully funded” at that time or the lenders may have ongoing commitments to make further advances up to a stated maximum. When a loan has been fully funded, however, repaid principal amounts normally may not be reborrowed. Interest accrues on the outstanding principal amount of the loan. The borrower normally may pay a fee during any commitment period.

 

Policies and Limitations. The Funds do not intend to invest in loan instruments that could require additional investments upon the borrower’s demand, but may invest in loans that require funding at a later date following the initial investment in the loan.

 

Each Fund’s policies limit the percentage of its assets that can be invested in the securities of one issuer or in issuers primarily involved in one industry. Legal interpretations by the SEC staff may require a Fund to treat both the lending bank and the borrower as “issuers” of a loan participation by the Fund. In combination, a Fund’s policies and the SEC staff’s interpretations may limit the amount the Fund can invest in loan participations.

 

For purposes of determining its dollar-weighted average maturity or duration, each Fund calculates the remaining maturity or duration of loans on the basis of the stated life and payment schedule.

 

Distressed Securities. A Fund may invest in distressed securities, including loans, bonds and notes may involve a substantial degree of risk. Distressed securities include securities of companies that are in financial distress and that may be in or about to enter bankruptcy.

 

A Fund may invest in issuers of distressed securities that the Manager expects will make an exchange offer or will be the subject of a plan of reorganization that a Fund will receive new securities in return for the distressed securities. A significant period of time may pass between the time at which a Fund makes its investment in these distressed securities and the time that any exchange offer or plan of reorganization is completed and there can be no assurance that such an exchange offer will be made or that such a plan of reorganization will be adopted. During this period, it is unlikely that a Fund will receive any interest payments on the distressed securities, the Fund will be subject to significant uncertainty as to whether or not the exchange offer or plan of reorganization will be completed and the Fund may be required to bear certain extraordinary expenses to protect and recover its investment. Therefore, to the extent a Fund seeks capital appreciation through investment in distressed securities, the Fund’s ability to achieve current income for its shareholders may be diminished.

 

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A Fund also will be subject to significant uncertainty as to when and in what manner and for what value the obligations evidenced by the distressed securities will eventually be satisfied (e.g., through a liquidation of the obligor’s assets, an exchange offer or plan of reorganization involving the distressed securities or a payment of some amount in satisfaction of the obligation). Even if an exchange offer is made or plan of reorganization is adopted with respect to distressed securities held by a 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 or no value. Moreover, any securities received by a Fund upon completion of an exchange offer or plan of reorganization may be restricted as to resale. Similarly, if a Fund participates in negotiations with respect to any exchange offer or plan of reorganization with respect to an issuer of distressed securities, the Fund may be restricted from disposing of such securities. To the extent that a Fund becomes involved in such proceedings, the Fund may have a more active participation in the affairs of the issuer than that assumed generally by an investor. The Funds, however, will not make investments for the purpose of exercising day-to-day management of any issuer’s affairs.

 

In certain periods, there may be little or no liquidity in the markets for distressed securities or other instruments. In addition, the prices of such securities may be subject to periods of abrupt and erratic market movements and above-average price volatility. It may be difficult to obtain financial information regarding the financial condition of a borrower or issuer, and its financial condition may be changing rapidly. It may be more difficult to value such securities and the spread between the bid and asked prices of such securities may be greater than normally expected.

 

Dollar Rolls. In a “dollar roll,” a Fund sells securities for delivery in the current month and simultaneously agrees to repurchase substantially similar (i.e., same type and coupon) securities on a specified future date from the same party. During the period before the repurchase, a Fund forgoes principal and interest payments on the securities. A Fund is compensated by the difference between the current sales price and the forward price for the future purchase (often referred to as the “drop”), as well as by the interest earned on the cash proceeds of the initial sale. Dollar rolls may increase fluctuations in a Fund’s NAV and may be viewed as a form of leverage. A “covered roll” is a specific type of dollar roll in which a Fund holds an offsetting cash position or a cash-equivalent securities position that matures on or before the forward settlement date of the dollar roll transaction. There is a risk that the counterparty will be unable or unwilling to complete the transaction as scheduled, which may result in losses to a Fund. The Manager monitors the creditworthiness of counterparties to dollar rolls.

 

Policies and Limitations. Dollar rolls are considered borrowings for purposes of a Fund’s investment policies and limitations concerning borrowings.

 

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Equity Securities. A Fund may invest, to a limited extent, in equity securities, which may include common stocks, preferred stocks, convertible securities and warrants. Common stocks and preferred stocks represent shares of ownership in a corporation. Preferred stocks usually have specific dividends and rank after bonds and before common stock in claims on assets of the corporation should it be dissolved. Increases and decreases in earnings are usually reflected in a corporation’s stock price. Convertible securities are debt or preferred equity securities convertible into common stock. Usually, convertible securities pay dividends or interest at rates higher than common stock, but lower than other securities. Convertible securities usually participate to some extent in the appreciation or depreciation of the underlying stock into which they are convertible. Warrants are options to buy a stated number of shares of common stock at a specified price anytime during the life of the warrants.

 

To the extent a Fund invests in such securities, the value of securities held by the Fund will be affected by changes in the stock markets, which may be the result of domestic or international political or economic news, changes in interest rates or changing investor sentiment. At times, the stock markets can be volatile and stock prices can change substantially. Because some investors purchase equity securities with borrowed money, an increase in interest rates can cause a decline in equity prices. The equity securities of smaller companies are more sensitive to these changes than those of larger companies. This market risk will affect a Fund’s NAV per share, which will fluctuate as the value of the securities held by the Fund changes. Not all stock prices change uniformly or at the same time and not all stock markets move in the same direction at the same time. Other factors affect a particular stock’s prices, such as poor earnings reports by an issuer, loss of major customers, major litigation against an issuer, or changes in governmental regulations affecting an industry. Adverse news affecting one company can sometimes depress the stock prices of all companies in the same industry. Not all factors can be predicted.

 

Policies and Limitations.

 

Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund normally will not invest more than 10% of its total assets in rights, warrants or common stock.

 

ESG Policies and Limitations Risk. The Funds’ application of any ESG policies and limitations described below is designed and utilized to help identify companies that demonstrate the potential to create economic value or reduce risk; however as with the use of any investment criteria in selecting a portfolio, there is no guarantee that the criteria used by a Fund will result in the selection of issuers that will outperform other issuers, or help reduce risk in the portfolio. The use of the Funds’ ESG policies and limitations could also affect the Funds’ exposure to certain sectors or industries, and could impact a Fund’s investment performance depending on whether the ESG policies and limitations used are ultimately reflected in the market.

 

Policies and Limitations. Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund has adopted a policy to prohibit the initiation of new investments in securities issued by companies that, based on NBIA’s judgment, fall into the following categories: (i) controversial weapons (e.g., manufacture of anti-personnel mines, cluster weapons, depleted uranium, nuclear weapons, white phosphorus, biological and chemical weapons), (ii) documented use of child labor and (iii) tobacco companies, which are those that derive 10% or more of revenues from the manufacture of tobacco products. The policies outlined above do not apply to securities issued by foreign governments. Further, for securities issued by quasi-sovereign entities, the parent foreign government is not considered the issuer of the security. As part of its investment process and due to NBIA’s views on ESG factors being an important component in its credit risk analysis, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund also screens foreign governments that issue sovereign securities in order to limit its exposure to those foreign governments that exhibit negative ESG factors relative to their existing weighting in the relevant benchmark. Specifically, the Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund team’s assessment seeks to screen sovereign issuers that fall into the following categories: (i) sovereign issuers which are ranked in the bottom decile and where the team has not identified any near-term and material improvement prospects, each based on its assessment and proprietary research; and (ii) sovereign issuers which are: (a) ranked in the bottom decile based on World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators Rule of Law and Voice and Accountability ratings, or (b) where top officials have been sanctioned by the UN Security Council based on human rights violations, with no near-term improvement prospects as assessed by the Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund team.

 

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Investments by the Funds in securities issued by companies that have more than 25% (10% for Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund) of revenue derived from thermal coal mining or are expanding new thermal coal power generation are subject to formal review and approval by Neuberger Berman’s Environmental, Social and Governance Committee before the initiation of any new investment positions in the securities of those companies.

 

Fixed Income Securities. Fixed income securities are subject to the risk of an issuer’s inability to meet principal and interest payments on its obligations (“credit risk”) and are subject to price volatility due to such factors as interest rate sensitivity (“interest rate risk”), market perception of the creditworthiness of the issuer, and market liquidity (“market risk”). The value of a Fund’s fixed income investments is likely to decline in times of rising market interest rates. Conversely, the value of a Fund’s fixed income investments is likely to rise in times of declining market interest rates. Typically, the longer the time to maturity of a given security, the greater is the change in its value in response to a change in interest rates. Foreign debt securities are subject to risks similar to those of other foreign securities.

 

Lower-rated securities are more likely to react to developments affecting market and credit risk than are more highly rated securities, which react primarily to movements in the general level of interest rates. Debt securities in the lowest rating categories may involve a substantial risk of default or may be in default. Changes in economic conditions or developments regarding the individual issuer are more likely to cause price volatility and weaken the capacity of the issuer of such securities to make principal and interest payments than is the case for higher-grade debt securities. An economic downturn affecting the issuer may result in an increased incidence of default. The market for lower-rated securities may be thinner and less active than for higher-rated securities. Pricing of thinly traded securities requires greater judgment than pricing of securities for which market transactions are regularly reported. Odd lots may trade at lower prices than institutional round lots.

 

Call Risk. Some debt securities in which a Fund may invest are also subject to the risk that the issuer might repay them early (“call risk”). When market interest rates are low, issuers generally call securities paying higher interest rates. For this reason, a Fund holding a callable security may not enjoy the increase in the security’s market price that usually accompanies a decline in rates. Furthermore, a Fund would have to reinvest the proceeds from the called security at the current, lower rates.

 

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Ratings of Fixed Income Securities. A Fund may purchase securities rated by S&P, Moody’s, Fitch, Inc. or any other nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) (please see the Prospectuses for further information). The ratings of an NRSRO represent its opinion as to the quality of securities it undertakes to rate. Ratings are not absolute standards of quality; consequently, securities with the same maturity, duration, coupon, and rating may have different yields. In addition, NRSROs are subject to an inherent conflict of interest because they are often compensated by the same issuers whose securities they rate. Although the Funds may rely on the ratings of any NRSRO, the Funds refer primarily to ratings assigned by S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch, Inc., which are described in Appendix A. A Fund may also invest in unrated securities that have been determined by the Manager to be comparable in quality to the rated securities in which the Fund may permissibly invest.

 

High-quality debt securities. High-quality debt securities are securities that have received from at least one NRSRO, such as S&P, Moody’s or Fitch, Inc., a rating in one of the two highest rating categories (the highest category in the case of commercial paper) or, if not rated by any NRSRO, such as U.S. Government and Agency Securities, have been determined by the Manager to be of comparable quality.

 

Investment Grade Debt Securities. Investment grade debt securities are securities that have received, from at least one NRSRO that has rated it, a rating in one of the four highest rating categories or, if not rated by any NRSRO, have been determined by the Manager to be of comparable quality. Moody’s deems securities rated in its fourth highest rating category (Baa) to have speculative characteristics; a change in economic factors could lead to a weakened capacity of the issuer to repay. If a security receives one rating in one of the four highest rating categories and another rating below the fourth highest rating category, it will be considered investment grade (except for Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, which considers bonds rated below the fourth highest rating category by at least one NRSRO to be lower-rated debt securities).

 

Lower-Rated Debt Securities. Lower-rated debt securities or “junk bonds” are those rated below the fourth highest category (including those securities rated as low as D by S&P) or unrated securities of comparable quality. Securities rated below investment grade are often considered to be speculative. See the risks described under “Lower-Rated Debt Securities” in this SAI.

 

Ratings Downgrades. Subsequent to its purchase by a Fund, an issue of debt securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced, so that the securities would no longer be eligible for purchase by that Fund.

 

In such a case, with respect to each of Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund, the Manager will engage in an orderly disposition of the downgraded securities or other securities to the extent necessary to ensure that the Fund’s holdings of securities rated below investment grade will not exceed 15% or 20% of its net assets, respectively. With respect to Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, the Manager will consider whether to continue holding the security. However, under normal conditions, the Manager will engage in an orderly disposition of the downgraded securities or other securities to the extent necessary to ensure the Fund’s holdings of securities that are considered by the Fund to be below investment grade will not exceed 5% of its net assets for Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund.

 

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Duration and Maturity. Duration is a measure of the sensitivity of debt securities to changes in market interest rates, based on the entire cash flow associated with the securities, including payments occurring before the final repayment of principal.

 

The Manager may utilize duration as a tool in portfolio selection instead of the more traditional measure known as “term to maturity.” “Term to maturity” measures only the time until a debt security provides its final payment, taking no account of the pattern of the security’s payments prior to maturity. Duration incorporates a bond’s yield, coupon interest payments, final maturity and call features into one measure. Duration therefore provides a more accurate measurement of a bond’s likely price change in response to a given change in market interest rates. The longer the duration, the greater the bond’s price movement will be as interest rates change. For any fixed income security with interest payments occurring prior to the payment of principal, duration is always less than maturity.

 

Futures, options and options on futures have durations which are generally related to the duration of the securities underlying them. Holding long futures or call option positions will lengthen a Fund’s duration by approximately the same amount as would holding an equivalent amount of the underlying securities. Short futures or put options have durations roughly equal to the negative of the duration of the securities that underlie these positions, and have the effect of reducing portfolio duration by approximately the same amount as would selling an equivalent amount of the underlying securities.

 

There are some situations where even the standard duration calculation does not properly reflect the interest rate exposure of a security. For example, floating and variable rate securities often have final maturities of ten or more years; however, their interest rate exposure corresponds to the frequency of the coupon reset. Another example where the interest rate exposure is not properly captured by duration is the case of mortgage-backed securities. The stated final maturity of such securities is generally 30 years, but current and expected prepayment rates are critical in determining the securities’ interest rate exposure. In these and other similar situations, the Manager, where permitted, will use more sophisticated analytical techniques that incorporate the economic life of a security into the determination of its interest rate exposure.

 

Foreign Securities (Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund). A Fund may invest in equity, debt, or other securities of foreign issuers and foreign branches of U.S. banks. These securities may be U.S. dollar denominated or denominated in or indexed to foreign currencies and may include (1) common and preferred stocks, (2) negotiable CDs, commercial paper, fixed time deposits, and bankers’ acceptances, (3) obligations of other corporations, and (4) obligations of foreign governments and their subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities, international agencies, and supranational entities. Foreign issuers are issuers organized and doing business principally outside the United States and include banks, non-U.S. governments, and quasi-governmental organizations. Investments in foreign securities involve sovereign and other risks, in addition to the credit and market risks normally associated with domestic securities. These risks include the possibility of adverse political and economic developments (including political or social instability, nationalization, expropriation, or confiscatory taxation); the potentially adverse effects of the unavailability of public information regarding issuers, less governmental supervision and regulation of financial markets, reduced liquidity of certain financial markets, and the lack of uniform accounting, auditing, and financial reporting standards or the application of standards that are different or less stringent than those applied in the United States; different laws and customs governing securities tracking; and possibly limited access to the courts to enforce a Fund’s rights as an investor. It may be difficult to invoke legal process or to enforce contractual obligations abroad, and it may be especially difficult to sue a foreign government in the courts of that country.

 

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Additionally, investing in foreign currency denominated securities involves the additional risks of (a) adverse changes in foreign exchange rates, (b) nationalization, expropriation, or confiscatory taxation, and (c) adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations (which could prevent cash from being brought back to the United States). Additionally, dividends and interest payable on foreign securities (and gains realized on disposition thereof) may be subject to foreign taxes, including taxes withheld from those payments. Commissions on foreign securities exchanges are often at fixed rates and are generally higher than negotiated commissions on U.S. exchanges, although a Fund endeavors to achieve the most favorable net results on portfolio transactions.

 

Foreign securities often trade with less frequency and in less volume than domestic securities and therefore may exhibit greater price volatility. Additional costs associated with an investment in foreign securities may include higher custodial fees than apply to domestic custody arrangements and transaction costs of foreign currency conversions.

 

Foreign markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures. 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. Delays in settlement could result in temporary periods when a portion of the assets of a Fund are uninvested and no return is earned thereon. The inability of a Fund to make intended security purchases due to settlement problems could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Inability to dispose of portfolio securities due to settlement problems could result in losses to a Fund due to subsequent declines in value of the securities or, if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the securities, could result in possible liability to the purchaser. The inability of a Fund to settle security purchases or sales due to settlement problems could cause the Fund to pay additional expenses, such as interest charges.

 

Securities of issuers traded on exchanges may be suspended, either by the issuers themselves, by an exchange or by government authorities. The likelihood of such suspensions may be higher for securities of issuers in emerging or less-developed market countries than in countries with more developed markets. Trading suspensions may be applied from time to time to the securities of individual issuers for reasons specific to that issuer, or may be applied broadly by exchanges or governmental authorities in response to market events. Suspensions may last for significant periods of time, during which trading in the securities and instruments that reference the securities, such as participatory notes (or “P-notes”) or other derivative instruments, may be halted. In the event that a Fund holds material positions in such suspended securities or instruments, the Fund’s ability to liquidate its positions or provide liquidity to investors may be compromised and the Fund could incur significant losses.

 

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Interest rates prevailing in other countries may affect the prices of foreign securities and exchange rates for foreign currencies. Local factors, including the strength of the local economy, the demand for borrowing, the government’s fiscal and monetary policies, and the international balance of payments, often affect interest rates in other countries. Individual foreign economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross national product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency, and balance of payments position.

 

A Fund may invest in American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) and International Depositary Receipts (“IDRs”). ADRs (sponsored or unsponsored) are receipts typically issued by a U.S. bank or trust company evidencing its ownership of the underlying foreign securities. Most ADRs are denominated in U.S. dollars and are traded on a U.S. stock exchange. However, they are subject to the risk of fluctuation in the currency exchange rate if, as is often the case, the underlying securities are denominated in foreign currency. EDRs are receipts issued by a European bank evidencing its ownership of the underlying foreign securities and are often denominated in a foreign currency. GDRs are receipts issued by either a U.S. or non-U.S. banking institution evidencing its ownership of the underlying foreign securities and are often denominated in U.S. dollars. IDRs are receipts typically issued by a foreign bank or trust company evidencing its ownership of the underlying foreign securities. Depositary receipts involve many of the same risks of investing directly in foreign securities, including currency risks and risks of foreign investing.

 

Issuers of the securities underlying sponsored depositary receipts, but not unsponsored depositary receipts, are contractually obligated to disclose material information in the United States. Therefore, the market value of unsponsored depositary receipts is less likely to reflect the effect of such information.

 

Securities of Issuers in Emerging Market Countries. The risks described above for foreign securities may be heightened in connection with investments in emerging market countries. Historically, the markets of emerging market countries have been more volatile than the markets of developed countries, reflecting the greater uncertainties of investing in less established markets and economies. In particular, emerging market countries may have less stable governments; may present the risks of nationalization of businesses, restrictions on foreign ownership and prohibitions on the repatriation of assets; and may have less protection of property rights than more developed countries. The economies of emerging market countries may be reliant on only a few industries, may be highly vulnerable to changes in local or global trade conditions and may suffer from high and volatile debt burdens or inflation rates. Local securities markets may trade a small number of securities and may be unable to respond effectively to increases in trading volume, potentially making prompt liquidation of holdings difficult or impossible at times.

 

In determining where an issuer of a security is based, the Manager may consider such factors as where the company is legally organized, maintains its principal corporate offices and/or conducts its principal operations.

 

Additional costs could be incurred in connection with a Fund’s investment activities outside the United States. Brokerage commissions may be higher outside the United States, and a Fund will bear certain expenses in connection with its currency transactions. Furthermore, increased custodian costs may be associated with maintaining assets in certain jurisdictions.

 

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Certain risk factors related to emerging market countries include:

 

Currency fluctuations. A Fund’s investments may be valued in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Certain emerging market countries’ currencies have experienced and may in the future experience significant declines against the U.S. dollar. For example, if the U.S. dollar appreciates against foreign currencies, the value of a Fund’s securities holdings would generally depreciate and vice versa. Consistent with its investment objective, a Fund can engage in certain currency transactions to hedge against currency fluctuations. See “Forward Foreign Currency Transactions.” After a Fund has distributed income, subsequent foreign currency losses may result in the Fund’s having distributed more income in a particular fiscal period than was available from investment income, which could result in a return of capital to shareholders.

 

Government regulation. The political, economic and social structures of certain developing countries may be more volatile and less developed than those in the United States. Certain emerging market countries lack uniform accounting, auditing, financial reporting and corporate governance standards, have less governmental supervision of financial markets than in the United States, and do not honor legal rights enjoyed in the United States. Certain governments may be more unstable and present greater risks of nationalization or restrictions on foreign ownership of local companies.

 

Repatriation of investment income, capital and the proceeds of sales by foreign investors may require governmental registration and/or approval in some emerging market countries. While a Fund will only invest in markets where these restrictions are considered acceptable by the Manager, a country could impose new or additional repatriation restrictions after the Fund’s investment. If this happened, a Fund’s response might include, among other things, applying to the appropriate authorities for a waiver of the restrictions or engaging in transactions in other markets designed to offset the risks of decline in that country. Such restrictions will be considered in relation to a Fund’s liquidity needs and all other positive and negative factors. Further, some attractive equity securities may not be available to a Fund, or a Fund may have to pay a premium to purchase those equity securities, due to foreign shareholders already holding the maximum amount legally permissible.

 

While government involvement in the private sector varies in degree among emerging market countries, such involvement may in some cases include government ownership of companies in certain sectors, wage and price controls or imposition of trade barriers, market manipulation and other protectionist measures. With respect to any emerging market country, there is no guarantee that some future economic or political crisis will not lead to price controls, forced mergers of companies, expropriation, or creation of government monopolies to the possible detriment of a Fund’s investments.

 

Less developed securities markets. Emerging market countries may have less well developed securities markets and exchanges. These markets have lower trading volumes than the securities markets of more developed countries. These markets may be unable to respond effectively to increases in trading volume. Consequently, these markets may be substantially less liquid than those of more developed countries, and the securities of issuers located in these markets may have limited marketability. These factors may make prompt liquidation of substantial portfolio holdings difficult or impossible at times.

 

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Settlement risks. Settlement systems in emerging market countries are generally less well organized than developed markets. Supervisory authorities may also be unable to apply standards comparable to those in developed markets. Thus, there may be risks that settlement may be delayed and that cash or securities belonging to a Fund may be in jeopardy because of failures of or defects in the systems. In particular, market practice may require that payment be made before receipt of the security being purchased or that delivery of a security be made before payment is received. In such cases, default by a broker or bank (the “counterparty”) through whom the transaction is effected might cause a Fund to suffer a loss. A Fund will seek, where possible, to use counterparties whose financial status is such that this risk is reduced. However, there can be no certainty that a Fund will be successful in eliminating this risk, particularly as counterparties operating in emerging market countries frequently lack the substance or financial resources of those in developed countries. There may also be a danger that, because of uncertainties in the operation of settlement systems in individual markets, competing claims may arise with respect to securities held by or to be transferred to a Fund.

 

Investor information. A Fund may encounter problems assessing investment opportunities in certain emerging market securities markets in light of limitations on available information, including the quality and reliability of such information, and different regulatory, accounting, auditing, financial reporting and recordkeeping standards. In such circumstances, the Manager will seek alternative sources of information, and to the extent it may not be satisfied with the sufficiency of the information obtained with respect to a particular market or security, a Fund will not invest in such market or security.

 

Taxation. Taxation of dividends received, and net capital gains realized, by non-residents on securities issued in emerging market countries varies among those countries, and, in some cases, the applicable tax rate is comparatively high. In addition, emerging market countries typically have less well-defined tax laws and procedures than developed countries, and such laws and procedures may permit retroactive taxation so that a Fund could in the future become subject to local tax liability that it had not reasonably anticipated in conducting its investment activities or valuing its assets.

 

Litigation and Enforcement. A Fund and its shareholders may encounter substantial difficulties in obtaining and enforcing judgments against non-U.S. resident individuals and companies.

 

Fraudulent securities. Securities purchased by a Fund may subsequently be found to be fraudulent or counterfeit, resulting in a loss to the Fund.

 

Risks of Investing in Frontier Emerging Market Countries. Frontier emerging market countries are countries that have smaller economies or less developed capital markets than traditional emerging markets. Frontier emerging market countries tend to have relatively low gross national product per capita compared to the larger traditionally-recognized emerging markets. The frontier emerging market countries include the least developed countries even by emerging markets standards. The risks of investments in frontier emerging market countries include all the risks described above for investment in foreign securities and emerging markets, although these risks are magnified in the case of frontier emerging market countries.

 

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Risks of Variable Interest Entities. For purposes of raising capital offshore on exchanges outside of China, including on U.S. exchanges, many Chinese-based operating companies are structured as entities commonly referred to as variable interest entities (“VIEs”). In a typical VIE structure, the onshore Chinese-based operating company is the VIE and establishes an entity, which is typically offshore in a foreign jurisdiction, such as the Cayman Islands. The offshore entity lists on a foreign exchange and enters into contractual arrangements with the VIE. This structure enables Chinese companies in which the government restricts foreign ownership to raise capital from foreign investors. While the offshore entity has no legal equity ownership of the VIE, its contractual arrangements with the VIE permit the offshore entity to consolidate the VIE’s financial statements with its own for accounting purposes and provide for economic exposure to the performance of the underlying Chinese operating company. Therefore, an investor in the listed offshore entity, such as the Fund, will have exposure to the Chinese-based operating company only through its contractual arrangements with the VIE and has no legal ownership in the Chinese-based operating company. Furthermore, because the offshore entity only has specific rights provided for in these contractual arrangements with the VIE, its abilities to control the activities at the Chinese-based operating company are limited and the operating company may engage in activities that negatively impact investment value.

 

While the VIE structure has been widely adopted, it is not formally or legally recognized under Chinese law and therefore there is a risk that the Chinese government could restrict the effectiveness of such structures or negatively impact the VIE’s contractual arrangements with the listed offshore entity by making them invalid. If these contracts were found to be unenforceable under Chinese law, investors in the listed offshore entity, such as the Fund, may suffer significant losses with little or no recourse available. If the Chinese government determines that the contractual agreements involving the VIE structures do not comply with Chinese law and regulations, including those related to restrictions on foreign ownership, it could subject a VIE to numerous sanctions such as penalties, revocation of business and operating licenses, invalidation or termination of contractual arrangements and/or forfeiture or non-recognition of ownership interest. In addition, the listed offshore entity’s benefits through its contractual arrangements over a VIE may also be jeopardized if a natural person who holds the equity interest in the VIE is deemed to breach the terms of the contractual arrangement (assuming the contractual arrangement is held to be valid under Chinese laws), is subject to legal proceedings or if any physical instruments for authenticating documentation by the VIE, such as chops and seals, are used without the Chinese-based issuer’s authorization to enter into the contractual arrangements in China. Chops and seals, which are carved stamps used to sign documents, represent a legally binding commitment by the company. Moreover, any future regulatory action may limit or prohibit the ability of the offshore entity to receive the economic benefits of the Chinese-based operating company, which may cause the value of the Fund’s investment in the listed offshore entity to suffer a significant loss.

 

Sovereign Government and Supranational Debt. Investments in debt securities issued by foreign governments and their political subdivisions or agencies (“Sovereign Debt”) involve special risks. Sovereign Debt is subject to risks in addition to those relating to non-U.S. investments generally. The issuer of the debt or the governmental authorities that control the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal and/or interest when due in accordance with the terms of such debt, and a fund may have limited legal recourse in the event of a default. 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.

 

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Sovereign Debt differs from debt obligations issued by private entities in that, generally, remedies for defaults must be pursued in the courts of the defaulting party. Legal recourse is therefore somewhat diminished. Political conditions, especially a sovereign entity’s willingness to meet the terms of its debt obligations, are of considerable significance. Also, holders of commercial bank debt issued by the same sovereign entity may contest payments to the holders of Sovereign Debt in the event of default under commercial bank loan agreements.

 

A sovereign debtor’s willingness or ability to repay principal and interest due in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its non-U.S. reserves, the availability of sufficient non-U.S. 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 a sovereign debtor may be subject. Increased protectionism on the part of a country’s trading partners or political changes in those countries, could also adversely affect its exports. Such events could diminish a country’s trade account surplus, if any, or the credit standing of a particular local government or agency.

 

Sovereign debtors may also be dependent on disbursements or assistance from foreign 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 austerity measures and reforms, which measures may limit or be perceived to limit economic growth and recovery. 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.

 

The ability of some sovereign debtors to repay their obligations may depend on the timely receipt of assistance from international agencies or other governments, the flow of which is not assured. The willingness of such agencies to make these payments may depend on the sovereign debtor’s willingness to institute certain economic changes, the implementation of which may be politically difficult.

 

The occurrence of political, social or diplomatic changes in one or more of the countries issuing Sovereign Debt could adversely affect a Fund’s investments. Political changes or a deterioration of a country’s domestic economy or balance of trade may affect the willingness of countries to service their Sovereign Debt. While NBIA endeavors to manage investments in a manner that will minimize the exposure to such risks, there can be no assurance that adverse political changes will not cause the Fund to suffer a loss of interest or principal on any of its holdings.

 

Sovereign Debt 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 in entities organized and operated for the purpose of restructuring the investment characteristics of instruments issued by any of the above issuers; participations in loans between emerging market governments and financial institutions; and 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.

 

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Brady Bonds may be collateralized or uncollateralized and issued in various currencies (although most are dollar-denominated) and they are actively traded in the over-the-counter (“OTC”) secondary market. Certain Brady Bonds are collateralized in full as to principal due at maturity by zero coupon obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities having the same maturity (“Collateralized Brady Bonds”). Brady Bonds are not, however, considered to be U.S. Government Securities.

 

Dollar-denominated, Collateralized Brady Bonds may be fixed rate bonds or floating rate bonds. Interest payments on Brady Bonds are often collateralized by cash or securities in an amount that, in the case of fixed rate bonds, is equal to at least one year of rolling interest payments or, in the case of floating rate bonds, initially is equal to at least one year’s rolling interest payments based on the applicable interest rate at that time and is adjusted at regular intervals thereafter. Certain Brady Bonds are entitled to “value recovery payments” in certain circumstances, which in effect constitute supplemental interest payments but generally are not collateralized. Brady Bonds are often viewed as having three or four valuation components: (i) collateralized repayment of principal at final maturity; (ii) collateralized interest payments; (iii) uncollateralized interest payments; and (iv) any uncollateralized repayment of principal at maturity (these uncollateralized amounts constitute the “residual risk”). In the event of a default with respect to Collateralized Brady Bonds as a result of which the payment obligations of the issuer are accelerated, the Treasury Department zero coupon obligations held as collateral for the payment of principal will not be distributed to investors, nor will such obligations be sold and the proceeds distributed. The collateral will be held by the collateral agent to the scheduled maturity of the defaulted Brady Bonds, which will continue to be outstanding, at which time the face amount of the collateral will equal the principal payments which would have been due on the Brady Bonds in the normal course. In addition, in light of the residual risk of Brady Bonds and, among other factors, the history of defaults with respect to commercial bank loans by public and private entities of countries issuing Brady Bonds, investments in Brady Bonds should be viewed as speculative.

 

Supranational entities may also issue debt securities. 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 organizations are the Asian Development Bank, 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. Further, the lending activities of such entities are limited to a percentage of their total capital, reserves and net income.

 

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Fund of Funds Structure. Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act, in relevant part, prohibits a registered investment company from acquiring shares of an investment company if after such acquisition the securities represent more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired company, more than 5% of the total assets of the acquiring company, or, together with the securities of any other investment companies, more than 10% of the total assets of the acquiring company except in reliance on certain exceptions contained in the 1940 Act and the rules and regulations thereunder. Pursuant to Rule 12d1-4, a Fund is permitted to exceed the limits of Section 12 of the 1940 Act if the Fund complies with Rule 12d1-4’s conditions, including (i) limits on control and voting; (ii) required evaluations and findings; (iii) required fund of funds investment agreements; and (iv) limits on complex structures.

 

The Manager may be deemed to have a conflict of interest when determining whether to invest or maintain a Fund’s assets in affiliated underlying funds. The Manager would seek to mitigate this conflict of interest, however, by undertaking to waive a portion of fees it receives from affiliated underlying funds on the Fund’s assets invested in those affiliated underlying funds, as described below under “Voluntary Expense Limitations”.. The Manager and its affiliates may derive indirect benefits such as increased assets under management from investing Fund assets in an affiliated underlying fund, which benefits would not be present if investments were made in unaffiliated underlying funds. In addition, although the Manager will waive a portion of its fees as described below under “Voluntary Expense Limitations”,, the Fund will indirectly bear its pro rata share of an affiliated underlying fund’s other fees and expenses, and such fees and expenses may be paid to the Manager or its affiliates or a third party.

 

Futures Contracts, Options on Futures Contracts, Options on Securities and Indices, Forward Currency Contracts, Options on Foreign Currencies, and Swap Agreements (collectively, “Financial Instruments”). Financial Instruments are instruments whose value is dependent upon the value of an underlying asset or assets, which may include stocks, bonds, commodities, interest rates, currency exchange rates, or related indices. As described below, Financial Instruments may be used for “hedging” purposes, meaning that they may be used in an effort to offset a decline in value in a Fund’s other investments, which could result from changes in interest rates, market prices, currency fluctuations, or other market factors. Financial Instruments may also be used for non-hedging purposes in an effort to implement a cash management strategy, to enhance income or gain, to manage or adjust the risk profile of a Fund or the risk of individual positions, to gain exposure more efficiently than through a direct purchase of the underlying security, or to gain exposure to securities, markets, sectors or geographical areas.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act requires the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) to establish new regulations with respect to derivatives defined as security-based swaps (e.g., derivatives based on an equity or a narrowly based equity index) and swaps (e.g., derivatives based on a broad-based index or commodity), respectively, and the markets in which these instruments trade. In addition, it subjected all security-based swaps and swaps to SEC and CFTC jurisdiction, respectively.

 

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Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act regulates the use of derivatives transactions as defined by that rule for certain funds registered under the 1940 Act (“Rule 18f-4”). Due to the way derivatives transactions are defined by Rule 18f-4, it includes transactions traditionally characterized as derivatives as well as certain transactions that have not been traditionally characterized as derivatives. Unless a Fund qualifies as a “limited derivatives user” as defined in Rule 18f-4, the rule, among other things, requires the Fund to establish a derivatives risk management program, comply with certain value-at-risk (“VAR”) based leverage limits, appoint a derivatives risk manager and provide additional disclosure both publicly and to the SEC regarding its derivatives positions. Rule 18f-4 provides an exception for limited derivatives users, which Rule 18f-4 defines as any fund that limits its derivatives exposure to 10% of its net assets, excluding certain currency and interest rate hedging transactions. Limited derivatives users are exempt from Rule 18f-4’s requirements to comply with VAR-based limits, appoint a derivatives risk manager, and adopt a derivatives risk management program. A limited derivatives user must still adopt and implement policies and procedures reasonably designed to manage its derivatives risk.

 

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts. A Fund may purchase and sell futures contracts (sometimes referred to as “futures”) and options thereon for hedging purposes (i.e., to attempt to offset against changes in the prices of securities or, in the case of foreign currency futures and options thereon, to attempt to offset against changes in prevailing currency exchange rates) or non-hedging purposes.

 

A “purchase” of a futures contract (or entering into a “long” futures position) entails the buyer’s assumption of a contractual obligation to take delivery of the instrument underlying the contract at a specified price at a specified future time. A “sale” of a futures contract (or entering into a “short” futures position) entails the seller’s assumption of a contractual obligation to make delivery of the instrument underlying the contract at a specified price at a specified future time.

 

The value of a futures contract tends to increase or decrease in tandem with the value of its underlying instrument. Therefore, purchasing futures contracts will tend to increase a Fund’s exposure to positive and negative price fluctuations in the underlying instrument, much as if the Fund had purchased the underlying instrument directly. A Fund may purchase futures contracts to fix what the Manager believes to be a favorable price for securities the Fund intends to purchase. When a Fund sells a futures contract, by contrast, the value of its futures position will tend to move in a direction contrary to the market for the underlying instrument. Selling futures contracts, therefore, will tend to offset both positive and negative market price changes, much as if a Fund had sold the underlying instrument. A Fund may sell futures contracts to offset a possible decline in the value of its portfolio securities. In addition, a Fund may purchase or sell futures contracts with a greater or lesser value than the securities it wishes to hedge to attempt to compensate for anticipated differences in volatility between positions a Fund may wish to hedge and the standardized futures contracts available to it, although this may not be successful in all cases. Further, a loss incurred on a particular transaction being used as a hedge does not mean that it failed to achieve its objective, if the goal was to prevent a worse loss that may have resulted had a particular securities or cash market investment suffered a substantial loss and there were no offsetting hedge.

 

Certain futures, including index futures and futures not calling for the physical delivery or acquisition of the instrument underlying the contract, are settled on a net cash payment basis rather than by the delivery of the underlying instrument. In addition, although futures contracts by their terms may call for the physical delivery or acquisition of the instrument underlying the contract, in most cases the contractual obligation is extinguished by being closed out before the expiration of the contract. A futures position is closed out by buying (to close out an earlier sale) or selling (to close out an earlier purchase) an identical futures contract calling for delivery in the same month. This may result in a profit or loss. While futures contracts entered into by a Fund will usually be liquidated in this manner, a Fund may instead make or take delivery of the underlying instrument or utilize the cash settlement process whenever it appears economically advantageous for it to do so.

 

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Because the futures markets may be more liquid than the cash markets, the use of futures contracts permits a Fund to enhance portfolio liquidity and maintain a defensive position without having to sell portfolio securities. For example, (i) futures contracts on single stocks, interest rates and indices (including on narrow-based indices) and options thereon may be used as a maturity or duration management device and/or a device to reduce risk or preserve total return in an adverse environment for the hedged securities, and (ii) foreign currency futures and options thereon may be used as a means of establishing more definitely the effective return on, or the purchase price of, securities denominated in foreign currencies that are held or intended to be acquired by a Fund.

 

For purposes of managing cash flow, a Fund may use futures and options thereon to increase its exposure to the performance of a recognized securities index.

 

With respect to currency futures, a Fund may sell a currency futures contract or a call option thereon, or may purchase a put option on a currency futures contract, if the Manager anticipates that exchange rates for a particular currency will fall. Such a transaction will be used as a hedge (or, in the case of a sale of a call option, a partial hedge) against a decrease in the value of portfolio securities denominated in that currency. If the Manager anticipates that exchange rates for a particular currency will rise, a Fund may purchase a currency futures contract or a call option thereon to protect against an increase in the price of securities that are denominated in that currency and that the Fund intends to purchase. A Fund also may purchase a currency futures contract or a call option thereon for non-hedging purposes when the Manager anticipates that a particular currency will appreciate in value, but securities denominated in that currency do not present attractive investment opportunities and are not held in the Fund’s investment portfolio.

 

“Initial Margin” with respect to a futures contract is the amount of assets that must be deposited by a Fund with, or for the benefit of, a futures commission merchant or broker in order to initiate the Fund’s futures positions. Initial margin is the margin deposit made by a Fund when it enters into a futures contract; it is intended to assure performance of the contract by the Fund. If the value of the Fund’s futures account declines by a specified amount, the Fund will receive a margin call and be required to post assets sufficient to restore the equity in the account to the initial margin level. (This is sometimes referred to as “variation margin;” technically, variation margin refers to daily payments that a clearing member firm is required to pay to the clearing organization based upon marking to market of the firm’s portfolio.) However, if favorable price changes in the futures account cause the margin deposit to exceed the required initial margin level, the excess margin may be transferred to the Fund. The futures commission merchant or clearing member firm through which a Fund enters into and clears futures contracts may require a margin deposit in excess of exchange minimum requirements based upon its assessment of a Fund’s creditworthiness. In computing its NAV, a Fund will mark to market the value of its open futures positions. A Fund also must make margin deposits with respect to options on futures that it has written (but not with respect to options on futures that it has purchased, if the Fund has paid the required premium in full at the outset). If the futures commission merchant or broker holding the margin deposit or premium goes bankrupt, a Fund could suffer a delay in recovering excess margin or other funds and could ultimately suffer a loss.

 

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Because of the low margin deposits required, futures trading involves an extremely 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 investor. Losses that may arise from certain futures transactions are potentially unlimited, and may exceed initial margin deposits as well as deposits made in response to subsequent margin calls.

 

A Fund may enter into futures contracts and options thereon that are traded on exchanges regulated by the CFTC or on non-U.S. exchanges. U.S. futures contracts are traded on exchanges that have been designated as “contract markets” by the CFTC; futures transactions must be executed through a futures commission merchant that is a member of the relevant contract market. Futures executed on regulated futures exchanges have minimal counterparty risk to a Fund because the exchange’s clearing organization assumes the position of the counterparty in each transaction. Thus, a Fund is exposed to risk only in connection with the clearing organization and not in connection with the original counterparty to the transaction. However, if a futures customer defaults on a futures contract and the futures commission merchant carrying that customer’s account cannot cover the defaulting customer’s obligations on its futures contracts, the clearing organization may use any or all of the collateral in the futures commission merchant’s customer omnibus account — including the assets of the futures commission merchant’s other customers, such as a Fund — to meet the defaulting customer’s obligations. This is sometimes referred to as “fellow customer risk.” Trading on non-U.S. exchanges is subject to the legal requirements of the jurisdiction in which the exchange is located and to the rules of such exchange, and may not involve a clearing mechanism and related guarantees. Funds deposited in connection with such trading may also be subject to the bankruptcy laws of such other jurisdiction, which may result in a delay in recovering such funds in a bankruptcy and could ultimately result in a loss.

 

An option on a futures contract gives the purchaser the right, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in the contract (a long position if the option is a call and a short position if the option is a put) at a specified exercise price at any time during the option exercise period. The writer of the option is required upon exercise to assume a short futures position (if the option is a call) or a long futures position (if the option is a put). Upon exercise of the option, the accumulated cash balance in the writer’s futures margin account is delivered to the holder of the option. That balance represents the amount by which the market price of the futures contract at exercise exceeds, in the case of a call, or is less than, in the case of a put, the exercise price of the option. Options on futures have characteristics and risks similar to those of securities options, as discussed herein.

 

Although a Fund believes that the use of futures contracts and options may benefit it, if the Manager’s judgment about the general direction of the markets or about interest rate or currency exchange rate trends is incorrect, the Fund’s overall return would be lower than if it had not entered into any such contracts. The prices of futures contracts and options are volatile and are influenced by, among other things, actual and anticipated changes in interest or currency exchange rates, which in turn are affected by fiscal and monetary policies and by national and international political and economic events. At best, the correlation between changes in prices of futures contracts or options and of securities being hedged can be only approximate due to differences between the futures and securities markets or differences between the securities or currencies underlying a Fund’s futures or options position and the securities held by or to be purchased for the Fund. The currency futures or options market may be dominated by short-term traders seeking to profit from changes in exchange rates. This would reduce the value of such contracts used for hedging purposes over a short-term period. Such distortions are generally minor and would diminish as the contract approaches maturity.

 

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Under certain circumstances, futures exchanges may limit the amount of fluctuation in the price of a futures contract or option thereon during a single trading day; once the daily limit has been reached, no trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. Daily limits govern only price movements during a particular trading day, however; they do not limit potential losses. In fact, a daily limit may increase the risk of loss, because prices can move to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing liquidation of unfavorable futures and options positions and subjecting traders to substantial losses. If this were to happen with respect to a position held by a Fund, it could (depending on the size of the position) have an adverse impact on the Fund’s NAV. In addition, a Fund would continue to be subject to margin calls and might be required to maintain the position being hedged by the futures contract or option thereon or to maintain cash or securities in a collateral account.

 

Many electronic trading facilities that support futures trading are supported by computer-based component systems for the order, routing, execution, matching, registration or clearing of trades. A Fund’s ability to recover certain losses may be subject to limits on liability imposed by the system provider, the market, the clearing house or member firms.

 

Call Options on Securities. A Fund may write (sell) covered call options and purchase call options on securities for hedging purposes (i.e., to attempt to reduce, at least in part, the effect on the Fund’s NAV of price fluctuations of securities held by the Fund) or non-hedging purposes. When writing call options, a Fund writes only “covered” call options. A call option is “covered” if a Fund simultaneously holds an equivalent position in the security underlying the option. Portfolio securities on which a Fund may write and purchase call options are purchased solely on the basis of investment considerations consistent with the Fund’s investment objective.

 

When a Fund writes a call option, it is obligated to sell a security to a purchaser at a specified price at any time until a certain date if the purchaser decides to exercise the option. A Fund will receive a premium for writing a call option. So long as the obligation of the call option continues, a Fund may be assigned an exercise notice, requiring it to deliver the underlying security against payment of the exercise price. A Fund may be obligated to deliver securities underlying an option at less than the market price.

 

The writing of covered call options is a conservative investment technique that is believed to involve relatively little risk (in contrast to the writing of “naked” or uncovered call options, which the Funds will not do), but is capable of enhancing a Fund’s total return. When writing a covered call option, a Fund, in return for the premium, gives up the opportunity for profit from a price increase in the underlying security above the exercise price, but retains the risk of loss should the price of the security decline.

 

If a call option that a Fund has written expires unexercised, the Fund will realize a gain in the amount of the premium; however, that gain may be offset by a decline in the market value of the underlying security during the option period. If a call option that a Fund has written is exercised, the Fund will realize a gain or loss from the sale of the underlying security.

 

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When a Fund purchases a call option, it pays a premium to the writer for the right to purchase a security from the writer for a specified amount at any time until a certain date. A Fund generally would purchase a call option to offset a previously written call option or to protect itself against an increase in the price of a security it intends to purchase.

 

Put Options on Securities. A Fund may write (sell) and purchase put options on securities for hedging purposes (i.e., to attempt to reduce, at least in part, the effect on the Fund’s NAV of price fluctuations of securities held by the Fund) or non-hedging purposes. Portfolio securities on which a Fund may write and purchase put options are purchased solely on the basis of investment considerations consistent with the Fund’s investment objective.

 

When a Fund writes a put option, it is obligated to acquire a security at a certain price at any time until a certain date if the purchaser decides to exercise the option. A Fund will receive a premium for writing a put option. When writing a put option, a Fund, in return for the premium, takes the risk that it must purchase the underlying security at a price that may be higher than the current market price of the security. If a put option that a Fund has written expires unexercised, the Fund will realize a gain in the amount of the premium.

 

When a Fund purchases a put option, it pays a premium to the writer for the right to sell a security to the writer for a specified amount at any time until a certain date. A Fund generally would purchase a put option to protect itself against a decrease in the market value of a security it owns.

 

Low Exercise Price Options. A Fund may use non-standard warrants, including low exercise price options (“LEPOs”), to gain exposure to issuers in certain countries. These securities are issued by banks and other financial institutions. LEPOs are different from standard warrants in that they do not give their holders the right to receive a security of the issuer upon exercise. Rather, LEPOs pay the holder the difference in price of the underlying security between the date the LEPO was purchased and the date it is sold. By purchasing LEPOs, a Fund could incur losses because it would face many of the same types of risks as owning the underlying security directly. Additionally, LEPOs entail the same risks as other OTC derivatives. These include the risk that the counterparty or issuer of the LEPO may be unable or unwilling to make payments or to otherwise honor its obligations, that the parties to the transaction may disagree as to the meaning or application of contractual terms, or that the instrument may not perform as expected. Additionally, while LEPOs may be listed on an exchange, there is no guarantee that a liquid market will exist or that the counterparty or issuer of a LEPO will be willing to repurchase such instrument when a Fund wishes to sell it.

 

General Information About Options on Securities. The exercise price of an option may be below, equal to, or above the market value of the underlying security at the time the option is written. Options normally have expiration dates between three and nine months from the date written. American-style options are exercisable at any time prior to their expiration date. European-style options are exercisable only immediately prior to their expiration date. The obligation under any option written by a Fund terminates upon expiration of the option or, at an earlier time, when the Fund offsets the option by entering into a “closing purchase transaction” to purchase an option of the same series. If an option is purchased by a Fund and is never exercised or closed out, the Fund will lose the entire amount of the premium paid.

 

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Options are traded both on U.S. national securities exchanges and in the OTC market. Options also are traded on non-U.S. exchanges. Exchange-traded options are issued by a clearing organization affiliated with the exchange on which the option is listed; the clearing organization in effect guarantees completion of every exchange-traded option. In contrast, OTC options are contracts between a Fund and a counterparty, with no clearing organization guarantee. Thus, when a Fund sells (or purchases) an OTC option, it generally will be able to “close out” the option prior to its expiration only by entering into a closing transaction with the dealer to whom (or from whom) the Fund originally sold (or purchased) the option. There can be no assurance that a Fund would be able to liquidate an OTC option at any time prior to expiration. Unless a Fund is able to effect a closing purchase transaction in a covered OTC call option it has written, it will not be able to liquidate securities used as cover until the option expires or is exercised or until different cover is substituted. In the event of the counterparty’s insolvency, a Fund may be unable to liquidate its options position and the associated cover. The Manager monitors the creditworthiness of dealers with which a Fund may engage in OTC options transactions.

 

The premium a Fund receives (or pays) when it writes (or purchases) an option is the amount at which the option is currently traded on the applicable market. The premium may reflect, among other things, the current market price of the underlying security, the relationship of the exercise price to the market price, the historical price volatility of the underlying security, the length of the option period, the general supply of and demand for credit, and the interest rate environment. The premium a Fund receives when it writes an option is recorded as a liability on the Fund’s statement of assets and liabilities. This liability is adjusted daily to the option’s current market value.

 

Closing transactions are effected in order to realize a profit (or minimize a loss) on an outstanding option, to prevent an underlying security from being called, or to permit the sale or the put of the underlying security. Furthermore, effecting a closing transaction permits a Fund to write another call option on the underlying security with a different exercise price or expiration date or both. There is, of course, no assurance that a Fund will be able to effect closing transactions at favorable prices. If a Fund cannot enter into such a transaction, it may be required to hold a security that it might otherwise have sold (or purchase a security that it might otherwise not have bought), in which case it would continue to be at market risk on the security.

 

A Fund will realize a profit or loss from a closing purchase transaction if the cost of the transaction is less or more than the premium received from writing the call or put option. Because increases in the market price of a call option generally reflect increases in the market price of the underlying security, any loss resulting from the repurchase of a call option is likely to be offset, in whole or in part, by appreciation of the underlying security owned by the Fund; however, the Fund could be in a less advantageous position than if it had not written the call option.

 

A Fund pays brokerage commissions or spreads in connection with purchasing or writing options, including those used to close out existing positions. From time to time, a Fund may purchase an underlying security for delivery in accordance with an exercise notice of a call option assigned to it, rather than deliver the security from its inventory. In those cases, additional brokerage commissions are incurred.

 

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The hours of trading for options may not conform to the hours during which the underlying securities are traded. To the extent that the options markets close before the markets for the underlying securities close, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the options markets.

 

Additionally, volatility in the market for equity securities, which can impact a single stock or certain segments of stocks and can happen suddenly, can meaningfully increase the risk of loss associated with options.

 

Put and Call Options on Securities Indices and Other Financial Indices. A Fund may write (sell) and purchase put and call options on securities indices and other financial indices for hedging or non-hedging purposes. In so doing, a Fund can pursue many of the same objectives it would pursue through the purchase and sale of options on individual securities or other instruments.

 

Options on securities indices and other financial indices are similar to options on a security or other instrument except that, rather than settling by physical delivery of the underlying instrument, options on indices settle by cash settlement; that is, an option on an index gives the holder the right to receive, upon exercise of the option, an amount of cash if the closing level of the index upon which the option is based is greater than, in the case of a call, or is less than, in the case of a put, the exercise price of the option (except if, in the case of an OTC option, physical delivery is specified). This amount of cash is equal to the difference between the closing price of the index and the exercise price of the option times a specified multiple (multiplier), which determines the total dollar value for each point of such difference. The seller of the option is obligated, in return for the premium received, to make delivery of this amount.

 

A securities index fluctuates with changes in the market values of the securities included in the index. The gain or loss on an option on an index depends on price movements in the instruments comprising the market, market segment, industry or other composite on which the underlying index is based, rather than price movements in individual securities, as is the case with respect to options on securities. The risks of investment in options on indices may be greater than the risks of investment in options on securities.

 

The effectiveness of hedging through the purchase of securities index options will depend upon the extent to which price movements in the securities being hedged correlate with price movements in the selected securities index. Perfect correlation is not possible because the securities held or to be acquired by a Fund will not exactly match the composition of the securities indices on which options are available.

 

For purposes of managing cash flow, a Fund may purchase put and call options on securities indices to increase its exposure to the performance of a recognized securities index.

 

Securities index options have characteristics and risks similar to those of securities options, as discussed herein. Certain securities index options are traded in the OTC market and involve liquidity and credit risks that may not be present in the case of exchange-traded securities index options.

 

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Options on Foreign Currencies. A Fund may write (sell) and purchase covered call and put options on foreign currencies for hedging or non-hedging purposes. A Fund may use options on foreign currencies to protect against decreases in the U.S. dollar value of securities held or increases in the U.S. dollar cost of securities to be acquired by the Fund or to protect the U.S. dollar equivalent of dividends, interest, or other payments on those securities. In addition, a Fund may write and purchase covered call and put options on foreign currencies for non-hedging purposes (e.g., when the Manager anticipates that a foreign currency will appreciate or depreciate in value, but securities denominated in that currency do not present attractive investment opportunities and are not held in the Fund’s investment portfolio). A Fund may write covered call and put options on any currency in order to realize greater income than would be realized on portfolio securities alone.

 

Currency options have characteristics and risks similar to those of securities options, as discussed herein. Certain options on foreign currencies are traded on the OTC market and involve liquidity and credit risks that may not be present in the case of exchange-traded currency options.

 

Forward Foreign Currency Transactions. A Fund may enter into contracts for the purchase or sale of a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days in excess of two days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract (“forward currency contracts”) for hedging or non-hedging purposes. A Fund also may engage in foreign currency transactions on a spot basis (i.e., cash transaction that results in actual delivery within two days) at the spot rate prevailing in the foreign currency market.

 

A Fund may enter into forward currency contracts in an attempt to hedge against changes in prevailing currency exchange rates (i.e., as a means of establishing more definitely the effective return on, or the purchase price of, securities denominated in foreign currencies). A Fund may also enter into forward currency contracts to protect against decreases in the U.S. dollar value of securities held or increases in the U.S. dollar cost of securities to be acquired by a Fund or to protect the U.S. dollar equivalent of dividends, interest, or other payments on those securities. In addition, a Fund may enter into forward currency contracts for non-hedging purposes when the Manager anticipates that a foreign currency will appreciate or depreciate in value, but securities denominated in that currency do not present attractive investment opportunities and are not held in the Fund’s investment portfolio. The cost to a Fund of engaging in forward currency contracts varies with factors such as the currency involved, the length of the contract period, and the market conditions then prevailing.

 

Sellers or purchasers of forward currency contracts can enter into offsetting closing transactions, similar to closing transactions on futures, by purchasing or selling, respectively, an instrument identical to the instrument sold or bought, respectively. Secondary markets generally do not exist for forward currency contracts, however, with the result that closing transactions generally can be made for forward currency contracts only by negotiating directly with the counterparty. Thus, there can be no assurance that a Fund will in fact be able to close out a forward currency contract at a favorable price prior to maturity. In addition, in the event of insolvency of the counterparty, a Fund might be unable to close out a forward currency contract at any time prior to maturity. In either event, the Fund would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position, and would continue to be required to maintain a position in the securities or currencies that are the subject of the hedge or to maintain cash or securities.

 

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The precise matching of forward currency contract amounts and the value of the securities involved generally will not be possible because the value of such securities, measured in the foreign currency, will change after the forward currency contract has been established. Thus, a Fund might need to purchase or sell foreign currencies in the spot (cash) market to the extent such foreign currencies are not covered by forward currency contracts. The projection of short-term currency market movements is extremely difficult, and the successful execution of a short-term hedging strategy is highly uncertain.

 

The Manager believes that the use of foreign currency hedging techniques, including “proxy-hedges,” can provide significant protection of NAV in the event of a general increase or decrease in the value of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies. For example, the return available from securities denominated in a particular foreign currency would decline if the value of the U.S. dollar increased against that currency. Such a decline could be partially or completely offset by an increase in the value of a hedge involving a forward currency contract to sell that foreign currency or a proxy-hedge involving a forward currency contract to sell a different foreign currency whose behavior is expected to resemble the behavior of the currency in which the securities being hedged are denominated but which is available on more advantageous terms.

 

However, a hedge or a proxy-hedge cannot protect against exchange rate risks perfectly and, if the Manager is incorrect in its judgment of future exchange rate relationships, a Fund could be in a less advantageous position than if such a hedge had not been established. If a Fund uses proxy-hedging, it may experience losses on both the currency in which it has invested and the currency used for hedging if the two currencies do not vary with the expected degree of correlation. Using forward currency contracts to protect the value of a Fund’s securities against a decline in the value of a currency does not eliminate fluctuations in the prices of the underlying securities. A Fund may experience delays in the settlement of its foreign currency transactions.

 

Forward currency contracts in which a Fund may engage include foreign exchange forwards. The consummation of a foreign exchange forward requires the actual exchange of the principal amounts of the two currencies in the contract (i.e., settlement on a physical basis). Because foreign exchange forwards are physically settled through an exchange of currencies, they are traded in the interbank market directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers. A foreign exchange forward generally has no deposit requirement, and no commissions are charged at any stage for trades; foreign exchange dealers realize a profit based on the difference (the spread) between the prices at which they are buying and the prices at which they are selling various currencies. When a Fund enters into a foreign exchange forward, it relies on the counterparty to make or take delivery of the underlying currency at the maturity of the contract. Failure by the counterparty to do so would result in the loss of any expected benefit of the transaction.

 

A Fund may be required to obtain the currency that it must deliver under the foreign exchange forward through the sale of portfolio securities denominated in such currency or through conversion of other assets of the Fund into such currency. When a Fund engages in foreign currency transactions for hedging purposes, it will not enter into foreign exchange forwards to sell currency or maintain a net exposure to such contracts if their consummation would obligate the Fund to deliver an amount of foreign currency materially in excess of the value of its portfolio securities or other assets denominated in that currency.

 

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Forward currency contracts in which a Fund may engage also include non-deliverable forwards (“NDFs”). NDFs are cash-settled, short-term forward contracts on foreign currencies (each a “Reference Currency”) that are non-convertible and that may be thinly traded or illiquid. NDFs involve an obligation to pay an amount (the “Settlement Amount”) equal to the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate for the Reference Currency and the agreed upon exchange rate (the “NDF Rate”), with respect to an agreed notional amount. NDFs have a fixing date and a settlement (delivery) date. The fixing date is the date and time at which the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate and the agreed upon exchange rate is calculated. The settlement (delivery) date is the date by which the payment of the Settlement Amount is due to the party receiving payment.

 

Although NDFs are similar to forward exchange forwards, NDFs do not require physical delivery of the Reference Currency on the settlement date. Rather, on the settlement date, the only transfer between the counterparties is the monetary settlement amount representing the difference between the NDF Rate and the prevailing market exchange rate. NDFs typically may have terms from one month up to two years and are settled in U.S. dollars.

 

NDFs are subject to many of the risks associated with derivatives in general and forward currency transactions, including risks associated with fluctuations in foreign currency and the risk that the counterparty will fail to fulfill its obligations. Although NDFs have historically been traded OTC, in the future, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, they may be exchange-traded. Under such circumstances, they may be centrally cleared and a secondary market for them will exist. With respect to NDFs that are centrally-cleared, an investor could lose margin payments it has deposited with the clearing organization as well as the net amount of gains not yet paid by the clearing organization if the clearing organization breaches its obligations under the NDF, becomes insolvent or goes into bankruptcy. In the event of bankruptcy of the clearing organization, the investor may be entitled to the net amount of gains the investor is entitled to receive plus the return of margin owed to it only in proportion to the amount received by the clearing organization’s other customers, potentially resulting in losses to the investor. Even if some NDFs remain traded OTC, they will be subject to margin requirements for uncleared swaps and counterparty risk common to other swaps, as discussed below.

 

A Fund may purchase securities of an issuer domiciled in a country other than the country in whose currency the securities are denominated.

 

Swap Agreements. A Fund may enter into swap agreements to manage or gain exposure to particular types of investments (including commodities, equity securities, interest rates or indices of equity securities in which the Fund otherwise could not invest efficiently).

 

Swap agreements historically have been individually negotiated and structured to include exposure to a variety of different types of investments or market factors. Swap agreements are two party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors. Swap agreements can vary in term like other fixed-income investments. Most swap agreements are currently traded over-the-counter. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange one or more payments based, for example, on the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments (such as securities, indices, or other financial or economic interests). The gross payments to be exchanged (or “swapped”) between the parties are calculated with respect to a notional amount, which is the predetermined dollar principal of the trade representing the hypothetical underlying quantity upon which payment obligations are computed. If a swap agreement provides for payment in different currencies, the parties may agree to exchange the principal amount. A swap also includes an instrument that is dependent on the occurrence, nonoccurrence or the extent of the occurrence of an event or contingency associated with a potential financial, economic or commercial consequence, such as a credit default swap.

 

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Depending on how they are used, swap agreements may increase or decrease the overall volatility of a Fund’s investments and its share price and yield. Swap agreements are subject to liquidity risk, meaning that a Fund may be unable to sell a swap agreement to a third party at a favorable price. Swap agreements may involve leverage and may be highly volatile; depending on how they are used, they may have a considerable impact on a Fund’s performance. The risks of swap agreements depend upon a Fund’s ability to terminate its swap agreements or reduce its exposure through offsetting transactions. Swaps are highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques and risk analyses different from those associated with stocks, bonds, and other traditional investments.

 

Some swaps currently are, and more in the future will be, centrally cleared. Swaps that are centrally cleared are subject to the creditworthiness of the clearing organization involved in the transaction. For example, an investor could lose margin payments it has deposited with its futures commission merchant as well as the net amount of gains not yet paid by the clearing organization if the clearing organization becomes insolvent or goes into bankruptcy. In the event of bankruptcy of the clearing organization, the investor may be entitled to the net amount of gains the investor is entitled to receive plus the return of margin owed to it only in proportion to the amount received by the clearing organization’s other customers, potentially resulting in losses to the investor.

 

To the extent a swap is not centrally cleared, the use of a swap involves the risk that a loss may be sustained as a result of the insolvency or bankruptcy of the counterparty or the failure of the counterparty to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the agreement. If a counterparty’s creditworthiness declines, the value of the swap might decline, potentially resulting in losses to a Fund. Changing conditions in a particular market area, whether or not directly related to the referenced assets that underlie the swap agreement, may have an adverse impact on the creditworthiness of the counterparty. If a default occurs by the counterparty to such a transaction, a Fund may have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction.

 

The regulation of the U.S. and non-U.S. swaps markets has undergone substantial change in recent years. Although the CFTC released final rules relating to clearing, reporting, recordkeeping and registration requirements under the legislation, many of the provisions of Dodd-Frank Act are subject to further final rule making or phase-in periods, and thus their ultimate impact remains unclear. New regulations could, among other things, restrict a Fund’s ability to engage in swap transactions (for example, by making certain types of swaps no longer available to a Fund) and/or increase the costs of such swap transactions (for example, by increasing margin or capital requirements), and a Fund might be unable to fully execute its investment strategies as a result. Limits or restrictions applicable to the counterparties with which a Fund engages in swaps also could prevent the Fund from using these instruments or affect the pricing or other factors relating to these instruments, or may change the availability of certain investments.

 

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Regulations adopted by the CFTC, SEC and banking regulators may require a Fund to post margin on OTC swaps, and exchanges will set minimum margin requirements for exchange-traded and cleared swaps. The prudential regulators issued final rules that will require banks subject to their supervision to exchange variation and initial margin in respect of their obligations arising under OTC swap agreements. The CFTC adopted similar rules that apply to CFTC-registered swap dealers that are not banks. Such rules generally require a Fund to segregate additional assets in order to meet the new variation and initial margin requirements when they enter into OTC swap agreements. The European Supervisory Authorities (“ESA”), various national regulators in Europe, the Australian Securities & Investment Commission, the Japanese Financial Services Agency and the Canadian Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions adopted rules and regulations that are similar to that of the Federal Reserve. The variation margin requirements are now effective and the initial margin requirements are being phased-in through 2022 based on average daily aggregate notional amount of covered swaps between swap dealers and swap entities. Due to these regulations, a Fund could be required to engage in greater documentation and recordkeeping with respect to swap agreements.

 

Separately, on December 8, 2020, the CFTC adopted regulations allowing investment advisers for registered investment companies and other institutional investors to apply a minimum transfer amount (“MTA”) of variation margin based upon the separately managed investment account or sleeve (“Sleeve”) that the adviser is responsible for, rather than having to calculate the MTA across all accounts of the investor. An investment manager must abide by the following conditions: (1) any such swaps are entered into with the swap dealer by an asset manager on behalf of a Sleeve owned by the legal entity pursuant to authority granted under an investment management agreement; (2) the swaps of such Sleeve are subject to a master netting agreement that does not permit netting of initial or variation margin obligations across Sleeves of the legal entity that have swaps outstanding with the swap dealer; and (3) the swap dealer applies an MTA no greater than $50,000 to the initial and variation margin collection and posting obligations required of such Sleeve. As of the date of this SAI, the banking regulators have not provided similar relief, although swaps dealers subject to a banking regulator are expected to act in a manner consistent with the relief provided by the CFTC.

 

Regulations adopted by the prudential regulators require certain banks to include in a range of financial contracts, including swap agreements, terms delaying or restricting default, termination and other rights in the event that the bank and/or its affiliates become subject to certain types of resolution or insolvency proceedings. The regulations could limit a Fund’s ability to exercise a range of cross-default rights if its counterparty, or an affiliate of the counterparty, is subject to bankruptcy or similar proceedings. Such regulations could further negatively impact a Fund’s use of swaps.

 

Swap agreements can take many different forms and are known by a variety of names including, but not limited to, interest rate swaps, mortgage swaps, total return swaps, inflation swaps, asset swaps (where parties exchange assets, typically a debt security), currency swaps, equity swaps, credit default swaps, commodity-linked swaps, and contracts for differences. A Fund may also write (sell) and purchase options on swaps (swaptions).

 

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Interest Rate Swaps, Mortgage Swaps, and Interest Rate “Caps,” “Floors,” and “Collars.” In a typical interest rate swap agreement, one party agrees to make regular payments equal to a floating rate on a specified amount in exchange for payments equal to a fixed rate, or a different floating rate, on the same amount for a specified period. Mortgage swap agreements are similar to interest rate swap agreements, except the notional principal amount is tied to a reference pool of mortgages or index of mortgages. In an interest rate cap or floor, one party agrees, usually in return for a fee, to make payments under particular circumstances. For example, the purchaser of an interest rate cap has the right to receive payments to the extent a specified interest rate exceeds an agreed level; the purchaser of an interest rate floor has the right to receive payments to the extent a specified interest rate falls below an agreed level. An interest rate collar entitles the purchaser to receive payments to the extent a specified interest rate falls outside an agreed range.

 

Among other techniques, a Fund may use interest rate swaps to offset declines in the value of fixed income securities held by the Fund. In such an instance, a Fund may agree with a counterparty to pay a fixed rate (multiplied by a notional amount) and the counterparty to pay a floating rate multiplied by the same notional amount. If long-term interest rates rise, resulting in a diminution in the value of a Fund’s portfolio, the Fund would receive payments under the swap that would offset, in whole or in part, such diminution in value; if interest rates fall, the Fund would likely lose money on the swap transaction. A Fund may also enter into constant maturity swaps, which are a variation of the typical interest rate swap. Constant maturity swaps are exposed to changes in long-term interest rate movements.

 

Total Return Swaps. A Fund may enter into total return swaps (“TRS”) to obtain exposure to a security or market without owning or taking physical custody of such security or market. A Fund may be either a total return receiver or a total return payer. Generally, the total return payer sells to the total return receiver an amount equal to all cash flows and price appreciation on a defined security or asset payable at periodic times during the swap term (i.e., credit risk) in return for a periodic payment from the total return receiver based on a designated index (e.g., the London Interbank Offered Rate, known as LIBOR or the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, known as SOFR) and spread, plus the amount of any price depreciation on the reference security or asset. The total return payer does not need to own the underlying security or asset to enter into a total return swap. The final payment at the end of the swap term includes final settlement of the current market price of the underlying reference security or asset, and payment by the applicable party for any appreciation or depreciation in value. Usually, collateral must be posted by the total return receiver to secure the periodic interest-based and market price depreciation payments depending on the credit quality of the underlying reference security and creditworthiness of the total return receiver, and the collateral amount is marked-to-market daily equal to the market price of the underlying reference security or asset between periodic payment dates.

 

TRS may effectively add leverage to a Fund’s portfolio because, in addition to its net assets, the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap. If a Fund is the total return receiver in a TRS, then the credit risk for an underlying asset is transferred to the Fund in exchange for its receipt of the return (appreciation) on that asset. If a Fund is the total return payer, it is hedging the downside risk of an underlying asset but it is obligated to pay the amount of any appreciation on that asset.

 

Inflation Swaps. In an inflation swap, one party agrees to pay the cumulative percentage increase in a price index, such as the Consumer Price Index, over the term of the swap (with some lag on the referenced inflation index) and the other party agrees to pay a compounded fixed rate. Inflation swaps may be used to protect a Fund’s NAV against an unexpected change in the rate of inflation measured by an inflation index.

 

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Currency Swaps. A currency swap involves the exchange by a Fund and another party of the cash flows on a notional amount of two or more currencies based on the relative value differential among them, such as exchanging a right to receive a payment in foreign currency for the right to receive U.S. dollars. A Fund may enter into currency swaps (where the parties exchange their respective rights to make or receive payments in specified currencies). Currency swap agreements may be entered into on a net basis or may involve the delivery of the entire principal value of one designated currency in exchange for the entire principal value of another designated currency. In such cases, the entire principal value of a currency swap is subject to the risk that the counterparty will default on its contractual delivery obligations.

 

Equity Swaps. Equity swaps are contracts that allow one party to exchange the returns, including any dividend income, on an equity security or group of equity securities for another payment stream. Under an equity swap, payments may be made at the conclusion of the equity swap or periodically during its term. A Fund may enter into equity swaps. An equity swap may be used to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of securities in circumstances in which direct investment may be restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise deemed impractical or disadvantageous. Furthermore, equity swaps may be illiquid and a Fund may be unable to terminate its obligations when desired. In addition, the value of some components of an equity swap (such as the dividends on a common stock) may also be sensitive to changes in interest rates.

 

Credit Default Swaps. In a credit default swap, the credit default protection buyer makes periodic payments, known as premiums, to the credit default protection seller. In return, the credit default protection seller will make a payment to the credit default protection buyer upon the occurrence of a specified credit event. A credit default swap can refer to a single issuer or asset, a basket of issuers or assets or index of assets, each known as the reference entity or underlying asset. A Fund may act as either the buyer or the seller of a credit default swap. A Fund may buy or sell credit default protection on a basket of issuers or assets, even if a number of the underlying assets referenced in the basket are lower-quality debt securities. In an unhedged credit default swap, a Fund buys credit default protection on a single issuer or asset, a basket of issuers or assets or index of assets without owning the underlying asset or debt issued by the reference entity. Credit default swaps involve greater and different risks than investing directly in the referenced asset, because, in addition to market risk, credit default swaps include liquidity, counterparty and operational risk.

 

Credit default swaps allow a Fund to acquire or reduce credit exposure to a particular issuer, asset or basket of assets. If a swap agreement calls for payments by a Fund, the Fund must be prepared to make such payments when due. If a Fund is the credit default protection seller, the Fund will experience a loss if a credit event occurs and the credit of the reference entity or underlying asset has deteriorated. If a Fund is the credit default protection buyer, the Fund will be required to pay premiums to the credit default protection seller. In the case of a physically settled credit default swap in which a Fund is the protection seller, the Fund must be prepared to pay par for and take possession of debt of a defaulted issuer delivered to the Fund by the credit default protection buyer. Any loss would be offset by the premium payments a Fund receives as the seller of credit default protection.

 

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Commodity-Linked Swaps. Commodity-linked swaps are two party contracts in which the parties agree to exchange the return or interest rate on one instrument for the return of a particular commodity, commodity index or commodity futures or options contract. The payment streams are calculated by reference to an agreed upon notional amount. A one-period swap contract operates in a manner similar to a forward or futures contract because there is an agreement to swap a commodity for cash at only one forward date. A Fund may engage in swap transactions that have more than one period and therefore more than one exchange of payments. A Fund may invest in total return commodity swaps to gain exposure to the overall commodity markets. In a total return commodity swap, a Fund will receive the price appreciation of a commodity index, a portion of the index, or a single commodity in exchange for paying an agreed-upon fee. If a commodity swap is for one period, a Fund will pay a fixed fee, established at the outset of the swap. However, if the term of a commodity swap is more than one period, with interim swap payments, a Fund will pay an adjustable or floating fee. With “floating” rate, the fee is pegged to a base rate such as LIBOR or SOFR, and is adjusted each period. Therefore, if interest rates increase over the term of the swap contract, a Fund may be required to pay a higher fee at each swap reset date.

 

Contracts for Differences. A Fund may purchase contracts for differences (“CFDs”). A CFD is a form of equity swap in which its value is based on the fluctuating value of some underlying instrument (e.g., a single security, stock basket or index). A CFD is a privately negotiated contract between two parties, buyer and seller, stipulating that the seller will pay to or receive from the buyer the difference between the nominal value of the underlying instrument at the opening of the contract and that instrument’s value at the end of the contract. The buyer and seller are both required to post margin, which is adjusted daily, and adverse market movements against the underlying instrument may require the buyer to make additional margin payments. The buyer will also pay to the seller a financing rate on the notional amount of the capital employed by the seller less the margin deposit. A CFD is usually terminated at the buyer’s initiative.

 

A CFD can be set up to take either a short or long position on the underlying instrument and enables a Fund to potentially capture movements in the share prices of the underlying instrument without the need to own the underlying instrument. By entering into a CFD transaction, a Fund could incur losses because it would face many of the same types of risks as owning the underlying instrument directly.

 

As with other types of swap transactions, CFDs also carry counterparty risk, which is the risk that the counterparty to the CFD transaction may be unable or unwilling to make payments or to otherwise honor its financial obligations under the terms of the contract, that the parties to the transaction may disagree as to the meaning or application of contractual terms, or that the instrument may not perform as expected. If the counterparty were to do so, the value of the contract, and of a Fund’s shares, may be reduced.

 

Options on Swaps (Swaptions). A swaption is an option to enter into a swap agreement. The purchaser of a swaption pays a premium for the option and obtains the right, but not the obligation, to enter into an underlying swap on agreed-upon terms. The seller of a swaption, in exchange for the premium, becomes obligated (if the option is exercised) to enter into an underlying swap on agreed-upon terms. Depending on the terms of the particular option agreement, a Fund generally will incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a swaption than when it purchases a swaption. When a Fund purchases a swaption, it risks losing only the amount of the premium it has paid should it decide to let the option expire unexercised.

 

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Combined Transactions. A Fund may enter into multiple transactions, which may include multiple options transactions, multiple interest rate transactions and any combination of options and interest rate transactions, instead of a single Financial Instrument, as part of a single or combined strategy when, in the judgment of the Manager, it is in the best interests of the Fund to do so. A combined transaction will usually contain elements of risk that are present in each of its component transactions. Although a Fund will normally enter into combined transactions based on the Manager’s judgment that the combined transactions will reduce risk or otherwise more effectively achieve the desired portfolio management goal, it is possible that the combined transactions will instead increase risk or hinder achievement of the desired portfolio management goal.

 

Regulatory Limitations on Using Futures, Options on Futures, and Swaps. The CFTC has adopted regulations that subject registered investment companies and/or their investment advisors to regulation by the CFTC if the registered investment company invests more than a prescribed level of its NAV in commodity futures, options on commodities or commodity futures, swaps, or other financial instruments regulated under the Commodities and Exchange Act, or if the registered investment company is marketed as a vehicle for obtaining exposure to such commodity interests. 

 

As discussed in more detail below, the Advisor has claimed an exclusion from CPO registration pursuant to CFTC Rule 4.5, with respect to all of the Funds. To remain eligible for this exclusion, a Fund must comply with certain limitations, including limits on trading in commodity interests, and restrictions on the manner in which the Fund markets its commodity interests trading activities. These limitations may restrict a Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategy, increase the costs of implementing its strategy, increase its expenses and/or adversely affect its total return.

 

To qualify for the CFTC Rule 4.5 exclusion, a Fund is permitted to engage in unlimited “bona fide hedging” (as defined by the CFTC), but if a Fund uses commodity interests other than for bona fide hedging purposes, the aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish these positions, determined at the time the most recent position was established, may not exceed 5% of the Fund’s NAV (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions and excluding the amount by which options that are “in-the-money” at the time of purchase are “in-the-money”) or, alternatively, the aggregate net notional value of non-bona fide hedging commodity interest positions, determined at the time the most recent position was established, may not exceed 100% of the Fund’s NAV (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). In addition to complying with these de minimis trading limitations, to qualify for the exclusion, a Fund must satisfy a marketing test, which requires, among other things, that a Fund not hold itself out as a vehicle for trading commodity interests.

 

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A Fund may be exposed to commodity interests indirectly in excess of the de minimis trading limitations described above. Such exposure may result from a Fund’s investment in other investment vehicles, such as real estate investment trusts, collateralized loan obligations, collateralized debt obligations and other securitization vehicles that may invest directly in commodity interests. These investment vehicles are referred to collectively as “underlying investment vehicles.” The CFTC treats a fund as a commodity pool whether it invests in commodity interests directly or indirectly through its investments in underlying investment vehicles. The CFTC staff has issued a no-action letter permitting the manager of a fund that invests in such underlying investment vehicles to defer registering as a CPO or claiming the exclusion from the CPO definition until six months from the date on which the CFTC issues additional guidance on the application of the calculation of the de minimis trading limitations in the context of the CPO exemption in CFTC Regulation 4.5 (the “Deadline”). Such guidance is expected to clarify how to calculate compliance with the de minimis trading limitations given a fund’s investments in underlying investment vehicles that may cause the fund to be deemed to be indirectly trading commodity interests. The Manager has filed the required notice to claim this no-action relief with respect to each Fund. In addition, the Manager has claimed an exclusion (under CFTC Regulation 4.5) from the CPO definition with respect to each Fund. As a result, at this time the Manager is not required to register as a CPO with respect to any Fund and need not generally comply with the regulatory requirements otherwise applicable to a registered CPO. Prior to the Deadline, however, the Manager will determine with respect to each Fund whether it must operate as a registered CPO or whether it can rely on an exemption or exclusion from the CPO definition. If the Manager determines that it can rely on the exclusion in CFTC Regulation 4.5 with respect to a Fund, then the Manager, in its management of that Fund, will comply with one of the two alternative de minimis trading limitations in that regulation. Complying with the de minimis trading limitations may restrict the Manager’s ability to use derivatives as part of a Fund’s investment strategies. Although the Manager believes that it will be able to execute each Fund’s investment strategies within the de minimis trading limitations, a Fund’s performance could be adversely affected. If the Manager determines that it cannot rely on the exclusion in CFTC Regulation 4.5 with respect to a Fund, then the Manager will serve as a registered CPO with respect to that Fund. CPO regulation would increase the regulatory requirements to which a Fund is subject and it is expected that it would increase costs for a Fund.

 

Pursuant to authority granted under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Treasury Department issued a notice of final determination stating that foreign exchange forwards and foreign exchange swaps, as defined in the Dodd-Frank Act and described above, should not be considered swaps for most purposes. Thus, foreign exchange forwards and foreign exchange swaps are not deemed to be commodity interests. Therefore, if the Manager determines that it can rely on the exclusion in CFTC Regulation 4.5 with respect to a Fund, the Fund may enter into foreign exchange forwards and foreign exchange swaps without such transactions counting against the de minimis trading limitations discussed above. Notwithstanding the Treasury Department determination, foreign exchange forwards and foreign exchange swaps (1) must be reported to swap data repositories, (2) may be subject to business conduct standards, and (3) are subject to antifraud and anti-manipulation proscriptions of swap execution facilities. In addition, for purposes of determining whether any Fund may be subject to initial margin requirements for uncleared swaps, the average daily aggregate notional amount of a foreign exchange forward or a foreign exchange swap must be included in the calculation of whether such Fund has a “material swaps exposure” as defined in the regulations.

 

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In addition, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act and regulations adopted by the CFTC in connection with implementing the Dodd-Frank Act, NDFs are deemed to be commodity interests, including for purposes of amended CFTC Regulation 4.5, and are subject to the full array of regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act. Therefore, if the Manager determines that it can rely on the exclusion in CFTC Regulation 4.5 with respect to a Fund, the Fund will limit its investment in NDFs as discussed above.

 

The staff of the CFTC has issued guidance providing that, for purposes of determining compliance with CFTC Regulation 4.5, and the de minimis trading limitations discussed above, swaps that are centrally-cleared on the same clearing organization may be netted where appropriate, but no such netting is permitted for uncleared swaps. To the extent some NDFs remain traded OTC and are not centrally-cleared, the absolute notional value of all such transactions, rather than the net notional value, would be counted against the de minimis trading limitations discussed above.

 

General Risks of Financial Instruments. The primary risks in using Financial Instruments are: (1) imperfect correlation or no correlation between changes in market value of the securities or currencies held or to be acquired by a Fund and the prices of Financial Instruments; (2) possible lack of a liquid secondary market for Financial Instruments and the resulting inability to close out Financial Instruments when desired; (3) the fact that the skills needed to use Financial Instruments are different from those needed to select a Fund’s securities; (4) the fact that, although use of Financial Instruments for hedging purposes can reduce the risk of loss, they also can reduce the opportunity for gain, or even result in losses, by offsetting favorable price movements in hedged investments; (5) the possible inability of a Fund to purchase or sell a portfolio security at a time that would otherwise be favorable for it to do so, or the possible need for a Fund to sell a portfolio security at a disadvantageous time; and (6) when traded on non-U.S. exchanges, Financial Instruments may not be regulated as rigorously as in the United States. There can be no assurance that a Fund’s use of Financial Instruments will be successful.

 

In addition, Financial Instruments may contain leverage to magnify the exposure to the underlying asset or assets.

 

A Fund’s use of Financial Instruments may be limited by the provisions of the Code and Treasury Department regulations with which it must comply to continue to qualify as a RIC. See “Additional Tax Information.” Financial Instruments may not be available with respect to some currencies, especially those of so-called emerging market countries.

 

Policies and Limitations. When hedging, the Manager intends to reduce the risk of imperfect correlation by investing only in Financial Instruments whose behavior is expected to resemble or offset that of a Fund’s underlying securities or currency. The Manager intends to reduce the risk that a Fund will be unable to close out Financial Instruments by entering into such transactions only if the Manager believes there will be an active and liquid secondary market.

 

Illiquid Securities. Generally, an illiquid security is any investment that may not reasonably be expected to 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 investment. Illiquid securities may include unregistered or other restricted securities and repurchase agreements maturing in greater than seven days. Illiquid securities may also include commercial paper under Section 4(2) of the 1933 Act, and Rule 144A securities (restricted securities that may be traded freely among qualified institutional buyers pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the securities laws); these securities are considered illiquid unless the Manager determines they are liquid. Most such securities held by the Funds are deemed liquid. Generally, foreign securities freely tradable in their principal market are not considered restricted or illiquid, even if they are not registered in the United States. Illiquid securities may be difficult for a Fund to value or dispose of due to the absence of an active trading market. The sale of some illiquid securities by a Fund may be subject to legal restrictions, which could be costly to the Fund.

 

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Policies and Limitations. For the Funds’ policies and limitations on illiquid securities, see “Investment Policies and Limitations -- Illiquid Securities” above.

 

Indexed Securities. A Fund may invest in indexed securities whose values are linked to currencies, interest rates, commodities, indices, or other financial indicators, domestic or foreign. Most indexed securities are short- to intermediate-term fixed income securities whose values at maturity or interest rates rise or fall according to the change in one or more specified underlying instruments. The value of indexed securities may increase or decrease if the underlying instrument appreciates, and they may have return characteristics similar to direct investment in the underlying instrument. An indexed security may be more volatile than the underlying instrument itself.

 

Inflation-Indexed Securities. Inflation-indexed bonds are fixed income securities whose principal value or coupon (interest payment) is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. A Fund may invest in inflation-indexed securities issued in any country. Two structures are common. The Treasury Department and some other issuers use a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Other issuers pay out the index based accruals as part of a semiannual coupon.

 

A Fund may invest in Treasury Department inflation-indexed securities, formerly called “U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities” (“U.S. TIPS”), which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. The periodic adjustment of U.S. TIPS is currently tied to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), which is calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is part of the Labor Department. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy. Inflation-indexed bonds issued by a non-U.S. government are generally adjusted to reflect a comparable inflation index, calculated by that government. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U or any non-U.S. inflation index will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. In addition, there can be no assurance that the rate of inflation in a non-U.S. country will be correlated to the rate of inflation in the United States. The three-month lag in calculating the CPI-U for purposes of adjusting the principal value of U.S. TIPS may give rise to risks under certain circumstances.

 

Interest is calculated on the basis of the current adjusted principal value. The principal value of inflation-indexed securities declines in periods of deflation, but holders at maturity receive no less than par. However, if a Fund purchases inflation-indexed securities in the secondary market whose principal values have been adjusted upward due to inflation since issuance, the fund may experience a loss if there is a subsequent period of deflation. If inflation is lower than expected during the period a Fund holds the security, the Fund may earn less on it than on a conventional bond. A Fund may also invest in other inflation-related bonds which may or may not provide a guarantee of principal. If a guarantee of principal is not provided, the adjusted principal value of the bond repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal amount.

 

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Because the coupon rate on inflation-indexed securities is lower than fixed-rate Treasury Department securities, the CPI-U would have to rise at least to the amount of the difference between the coupon rate of the fixed-rate Treasury Department issues and the coupon rate of the inflation-indexed securities, assuming all other factors are equal, in order for such securities to match the performance of the fixed-rate Treasury Department securities. Inflation-indexed securities are expected to react primarily to changes in the “real” interest rate (i.e., the nominal (or stated) rate less the rate of inflation), while a typical bond reacts to changes in the nominal interest rate. Accordingly, inflation-indexed securities have characteristics of fixed-rate Treasury Department securities having a shorter duration. Changes in market interest rates from causes other than inflation will likely affect the market prices of inflation-indexed securities in the same manner as conventional bonds.

 

Any increase in the principal value of an inflation-indexed security is taxable in the year the increase occurs, even though its holders do not receive cash representing the increase until the security matures. Because a Fund must distribute substantially all of its net investment income (including non-cash income attributable to those principal value increases) and net realized gains to its shareholders each taxable year to continue to qualify for treatment as a RIC and to minimize or avoid payment of federal income and excise taxes, a Fund may have to dispose of other investments under disadvantageous circumstances to generate cash, or may be required to borrow, to satisfy its distribution requirements.

 

The Treasury Department began issuing inflation-indexed bonds in 1997. Certain non-U.S. governments, such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, have a longer history of issuing inflation-indexed bonds, and there may be a more liquid market in certain of these countries for these securities.

 

Interfund Lending. Pursuant to an exemptive order issued by the SEC and corresponding compliance procedures adopted by the Board of Trustees, the Funds may lend money to, and borrow money from, each other pursuant to a master interfund lending agreement (“Interfund Lending Program”). Under the Interfund Lending Program, the Funds may lend or borrow money for temporary purposes directly to or from one another (an “Interfund Loan”), subject to meeting the conditions of the SEC exemptive order. All Interfund Loans consist only of uninvested cash reserves that the lending Fund otherwise would invest in short-term repurchase agreements or other short-term instruments.

 

If a Fund has outstanding bank borrowings, any Interfund Loans to the Fund would: (a) be at an interest rate equal to or lower than that of any outstanding bank loan, (b) be secured at least on an equal priority basis with at least an equivalent percentage of collateral to loan value as any outstanding bank loan that requires collateral, (c) have a maturity no longer than any outstanding bank loan (and in any event not over seven days), and (d) provide that, if an event of default occurs under any agreement evidencing an outstanding bank loan to the Fund, that event of default will automatically (without need for action or notice by the lending Fund) constitute an immediate event of default under the Interfund Lending Program, entitling the lending Fund to call the Interfund Loan (and exercise all rights with respect to any collateral), and that such call will be made if the lending bank exercises its right to call its loan under its agreement with the borrowing Fund.

 

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A Fund may make an unsecured borrowing under the Interfund Lending Program if its outstanding borrowings from all sources immediately after the borrowing under the Interfund Lending Program are equal to or less than 10% of its total assets, provided that, if the Fund has a secured loan outstanding from any other lender, including but not limited to another Fund, the Fund’s borrowing under the Interfund Lending Program would be secured on at least an equal priority basis with at least an equivalent percentage of collateral to loan value as any outstanding loan that requires collateral. If a Fund’s total outstanding borrowings immediately after an interfund borrowing under the Interfund Lending Program exceeded 10% of its total assets, the Fund may borrow through the Interfund Lending Program on a secured basis only. A Fund may not borrow under the Interfund Lending Program or from any other source if its total outstanding borrowings immediately after the borrowing would be more than 331/3% of its total assets.

 

No Fund may lend to another Fund through the Interfund Lending Program if the loan would cause the lending Fund’s aggregate outstanding loans through the Interfund Lending Program to exceed 15% of its current net assets at the time of the loan. A Fund’s Interfund Loans to any one Fund shall not exceed 5% of the lending Fund’s net assets. The duration of Interfund Loans would beis limited to the time required to receive payment for securities sold, but in no event more than seven days, and for purposes of this condition, loans effected within seven days of each other will be treated as separate loan transactions. Each Interfund Loan may be called on one business day’s notice by a lending Fund and may be repaid on any day by a borrowing Fund.

 

The limitations detailed above and the other conditions of the SEC exemptive relief application permitting interfund lending are designed to minimize the risks associated with interfund lending for both the lending Fund and the borrowing Fund. However, no borrowing or lending activity is without risk. When a Fund borrows money from another Fund, there is a risk that the Interfund Loan could be called on one day’s notice or not renewed, in which case the Fund may have to borrow from a bank at higher rates or sell portfolio securities if an Interfund Loan is not available from another Fund. There can be no assurance than an Interfund Loan will be available to any Fund either as a borrower or lender. Interfund Loans are subject to the risk that the borrowing Fund could be unable to repay the loan when due, and a delay in repayment to a lending Fund could result in a lost opportunity or additional lending costs. No Fund may borrow more than the amount permitted by its investment limitations.

 

Investments by Funds of Funds or Other Large Shareholders. A Fund may experience large redemptions or investments due to transactions in Fund shares by funds of funds, other large shareholders, or similarly managed accounts. While it is impossible to predict the overall effect of these transactions over time, there could be an adverse impact on a Fund’s performance. In the event of such redemptions or investments, a Fund could be required to sell securities or to invest cash at a time when it may not otherwise desire to do so. Such transactions may increase a Fund’s brokerage and/or other transaction costs and affect the liquidity of a Fund’s portfolio. In addition, when funds of funds or other investors own a substantial portion of a Fund’s shares, a large redemption by such an investor could cause actual expenses to increase, or could result in the Fund’s current expenses being allocated over a smaller asset base, leading to an increase in the Fund’s expense ratio. Redemptions of Fund shares could also accelerate a Fund’s realization of capital gains (which would be taxable to its shareholders when distributed to them) if sales of securities needed to fund the redemptions result in net capital gains. The impact of these transactions is likely to be greater when a fund of funds or other significant investor purchases, redeems, or owns a substantial portion of a Fund’s shares. A high volume of redemption requests can impact a Fund the same way as the transactions of a single shareholder with substantial investments.

 

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Leverage. A Fund may engage in transactions that have the effect of leverage. Although leverage creates an opportunity for increased total return, it also can create special risk considerations. For example, leverage from borrowing may amplify changes in a Fund’s NAV. Although the principal of such borrowings will be fixed, a Fund’s assets may change in value during the time the borrowing is outstanding. Leverage from borrowing creates interest expenses for a Fund. To the extent the income derived from securities purchased with borrowed funds is sufficient to cover the cost of leveraging, the net income of a Fund will be greater than it would be if leverage were not used. Conversely, to the extent the income derived from securities purchased with borrowed funds is not sufficient to cover the cost of leveraging, the net income of a Fund will be less than it would be if leverage were not used and, therefore, the amount (if any) available for distribution to the Fund’s shareholders as dividends will be reduced. Reverse repurchase agreements, securities lending transactions, when-issued and delayed-delivery transactions, certain Financial Instruments (as defined above), and short sales, among others, may create leverage.

 

Policies and Limitations. For the Funds’ policies and limitations on borrowing, see “Investment Policies and Limitations -- Borrowing” above. In addition, each Fund may borrow to purchase securities needed to close out short sales entered into for hedging purposes and to facilitate other hedging transactions.

 

LIBOR Rate Risk. Many debt securities, derivatives and other financial instruments, including some of the Fund’s investments, utilize the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) as the reference or benchmark rate for variable interest rate calculations. However, concerns have arisen regarding LIBOR’s viability as a benchmark, due to manipulation allegations dating from about 2012 and, subsequently, reduced activity in the financial markets that it measures. In 2017, the UK Financial Conduct Authority announced that after 2021 it would cease its active encouragement of UK banks to provide the quotations needed to sustain LIBOR. The ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (the “ICE”), the current administrator of LIBOR, ceased publishing most LIBOR maturities, including some U.S. dollar LIBOR maturities, on December 31, 2021, and the remaining and most liquid U.S. dollar LIBOR maturities will cease to be published after June 30, 2023. The FCA announced that it would compel the ICE to publish synthetic LIBOR values for certain maturities for U.S. dollar and Pounds Sterling ending either at the end of March or June 2023 or proposed to end at the end of September 2024 for certain U.S. dollar value of LIBOR. There is a risk that any of these LIBOR maturities may cease to be published before these dates.

 

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Also in 2017, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a group of large U.S. banks working with the Federal Reserve, announced its selection of a new Secured Overnight Funding Rate (“SOFR”), which is a broad measure of the cost of overnight borrowings secured by Treasury Department securities, as an appropriate replacement for U.S. dollar LIBOR. Bank working groups and regulators in other countries have suggested other alternatives for their markets, including the Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (“SONIA”) in England.

 

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing SOFR in April, 2018, with the expectation that it could be used on a voluntary basis in new instruments and for new transactions under existing instruments. However, SOFR is fundamentally different from LIBOR. It is a secured, nearly risk-free rate, while LIBOR is an unsecured rate that includes an element of bank credit risk. Also, while term SOFR for various maturities has begun to be adopted by some parties and for some types of transactions, SOFR is strictly an overnight rate, while LIBOR historically has been published for various maturities, ranging from overnight to one year. Thus, LIBOR may be expected to be higher than SOFR, and the spread between the two is likely to widen in times of market stress. Certain existing contracts provide for a spread adjustment when transitioning to SOFR from LIBOR, but there is no assurance that it will provide adequate compensation. Term SOFR rates for various maturities may not be available, recommended, or operationally feasible at the applicable benchmark replacement date.

 

Various financial industry groups have planned for the transition from LIBOR to SOFR or another new benchmark, but there are obstacles to converting certain longer term securities and transactions. Transition planning is ongoing, and neither the effect of the transition process nor its ultimate success can yet be known. The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets that currently rely on the LIBOR to determine interest rates. It also could lead to a reduction in the value of some LIBOR-based investments and reduce the effectiveness of new hedges placed against existing LIBOR-based instruments. Since the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark could deteriorate during the transition period, these effects could occur prior to June 30, 2023, could occur particularly with respect to synthetic values of LIBOR, or could occur throughout the transition period.

 

Lower-Rated Debt Securities. Lower-rated debt securities or “junk” or “junk bonds” are those rated below the fourth highest category (including those securities rated as low as D by S&P) or unrated securities of comparable quality. Securities rated below investment grade are often considered to be speculative. These securities have poor protection with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Lower-rated debt securities generally offer a higher current yield than that available for investment grade issues with similar maturities, but they may involve significant risk under adverse conditions. In particular, adverse changes in general economic conditions and in the industries in which the issuers are engaged and changes in the financial condition of the issuers are more likely to cause price volatility and weaken the capacity of the issuer to make principal and interest payments than is the case for higher-grade debt securities. These securities are susceptible to default or decline in market value due to real or perceived adverse economic and business developments relating to the issuer, market interest rates and market liquidity. In addition, a Fund that invests in lower-quality securities may incur additional expenses to the extent recovery is sought on defaulted securities. Because of the many risks involved in investing in lower-rated debt securities, the success of such investments is dependent on the credit analysis of the Manager.

 

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During periods of economic downturn or rising interest rates, highly leveraged issuers may experience financial stress, which could adversely affect their ability to make payments of interest and principal and increase the possibility of default. In addition, such issuers may not have more traditional methods of financing available to them and may be unable to repay debt at maturity by refinancing. The risk of loss due to default by such issuers is significantly greater because such securities frequently are unsecured and subordinated to the prior payment of senior indebtedness.

 

At certain times in the past, the market for lower-rated debt securities has expanded rapidly, and its growth generally paralleled a long economic expansion. In the past, the prices of many lower-rated debt securities declined substantially, reflecting an expectation that many issuers of such securities might experience financial difficulties. As a result, the yields on lower-rated debt securities rose dramatically. However, such higher yields did not reflect the value of the income stream that holders of such securities expected, but rather the risk that holders of such securities could lose a substantial portion of their value as a result of the issuers’ financial restructuring or defaults. There can be no assurance that such declines will not recur.

 

The market for lower-rated debt issues generally is thinner or less active than that for higher quality securities, which may limit a Fund’s ability to sell such securities at fair value in response to changes in the economy or financial markets. Judgment may play a greater role in pricing such securities than it does for more liquid securities. Adverse publicity and investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may also decrease the values and liquidity of lower rated debt securities, especially in a thinly traded market.

 

A Fund may invest in securities whose ratings imply an imminent risk of default with respect to such payments. Issuers of securities in default may fail to resume principal or interest payments, in which case a Fund may lose its entire investment.

 

See Appendix A for further information about the ratings of debt securities assigned by S&P, Fitch, Inc., and Moody’s.

 

Master Limited Partnerships. Master limited partnerships (“MLPs”) are limited partnerships (or similar entities, such as limited liability companies) in which the ownership units (e.g., limited partnership interests) are publicly traded. MLP units are registered with the SEC and are freely traded on a securities exchange or in the OTC market. Many MLPs operate in oil and gas related businesses, including energy processing and distribution. Many MLPs are pass-through entities that generally are taxed at the unitholder level and are not subject to federal or state income tax at the entity level. Annual income, gains, losses, deductions and credits of such an MLP pass-through directly to its unitholders. Distributions from an MLP may consist in part of a return of capital. Additionally, since MLPs generally conduct business in multiple states, the Fund may be subject to income or franchise tax in each of the states in which the partnership does business. The additional cost of preparing and filing the tax returns and paying the related taxes may adversely impact the Fund’s return on its investment in MLPs. Generally, an MLP is operated under the supervision of one or more general partners. Limited partners are not involved in the day-to-day management of an MLP.

 

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Investing in MLPs involves certain risks related to investing in their underlying assets and risks associated with pooled investment vehicles. MLPs holding credit-related investments are subject to interest rate risk and the risk of default on payment obligations by debt issuers. MLPs that concentrate in a particular industry or a particular geographic region are subject to risks associated with such industry or region. Investments held by MLPs may be relatively illiquid, limiting the MLPs’ ability to vary their portfolios promptly in response to changes in economic or other conditions. MLPs may have limited financial resources, their securities may trade infrequently and in limited volume, and they may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements than securities of larger or more broadly based companies.

 

The risks of investing in an MLP are generally those inherent in investing in a partnership as opposed to a corporation. For example, state law governing partnerships is different than state law governing corporations. Accordingly, there may be fewer protections afforded investors in an MLP than investors in a corporation. For example, although unitholders of an MLP are generally limited in their liability, similar to a corporation’s shareholders, creditors typically have the right to seek the return of distributions made to unitholders if the liability in question arose before the distributions were paid. This liability may stay attached to a unitholder even after it sells its units.

 

Policies and Limitations. Under certain circumstances, an MLP could be deemed an investment company. If that occurred, a Fund’s investment in the MLP’s securities would be limited by the 1940 Act. See “Securities of Other Investment Companies.”

 

Mortgage-Backed Securities. Mortgage-backed securities, including residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities, represent direct or indirect participations in, or are secured by and payable from, pools of mortgage loans. Those securities may be guaranteed by a U.S. Government agency or instrumentality (such as by Ginnie Mae); issued and guaranteed by a government-sponsored stockholder-owned corporation, though not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States (such as by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (collectively, the “GSEs”), and described in greater detail below); or issued by fully private issuers. Private issuers are generally originators of and investors in mortgage loans and include savings associations, mortgage bankers, commercial banks, investment bankers, and special purpose entities. Private mortgage-backed securities may be backed by U.S. Government agency supported mortgage loans or some form of non-governmental credit enhancement.

 

Government-related guarantors (i.e., not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government) include Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored corporation owned by stockholders. It is subject to general regulation by the Federal Housing Finance Authority (“FHFA”). Fannie Mae purchases residential mortgages from a list of approved seller/servicers that include state and federally chartered savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks, credit unions and mortgage bankers. Fannie Mae guarantees the timely payment of principal and interest on pass-through securities that it issues, but those securities are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.

 

Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored corporation formerly owned by the twelve Federal Home Loan Banks and now owned by stockholders. Freddie Mac issues Participation Certificates (“PCs”), which represent interests in mortgages from Freddie Mac’s national portfolio. Freddie Mac guarantees the timely payment of interest and ultimate collection of principal on the PCs it issues, but those PCs are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.

 

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The Treasury Department has historically had the authority to purchase obligations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. However, in 2008, due to capitalization concerns, Congress provided the Treasury Department with additional authority to lend the GSEs emergency funds and to purchase their stock. In September 2008, those capital concerns led the Treasury Department and the FHFA to announce that the GSEs had been placed in conservatorship.

 

Since that time, the GSEs have received significant capital support through Treasury Department preferred stock purchases as well as Treasury Department and Federal Reserve purchases of their mortgage backed securities (“MBS”). While the MBS purchase programs ended in 2010, the Treasury Department announced in December 2009 that it would continue its support for the entities’ capital as necessary to prevent a negative net worth. However, no assurance can be given that the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, or FHFA initiatives will ensure that the GSEs will remain successful in meeting their obligations with respect to the debt and MBS they issue into the future.

 

In 2012, the FHFA initiated a strategic plan to develop a program related to credit risk transfers intended to reduce Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s overall risk through the creation of credit risk transfer assets (“CRTs”). CRTs come in two primary series: Structured Agency Credit Risk (“STACRs”) for Freddie Mac and Connecticut Avenue Securities (“CAS”) for Fannie Mae, although other series may be developed in the future. CRTs are typically structured as unsecured general obligations of either entities guaranteed by a government-sponsored stockholder-owned corporation, though not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States (such as by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (collectively, the “GSEs”) or special purpose entities), and their cash flows are based on the performance of a pool of reference loans. Unlike traditional residential MBS securities, bond payments typically do not come directly from the underlying mortgages. Instead, the GSEs either make the payments to CRT investors, or the GSEs make certain payments to the special purpose entities and the special purpose entities make payments to the investors. In certain structures, the special purpose entities make payments to the GSEs upon the occurrence of credit events with respect to the underlying mortgages, and the obligation of the special purpose entity to make such payments to the GSE is senior to the obligation of the special purpose entity to make payments to the CRT investors. CRTs are typically floating rate securities and may have multiple tranches with losses first allocated to the most junior or subordinate tranche. This structure results in increased sensitivity to dramatic housing downturns, especially for the subordinate tranches. Many CRTs also have collateral performance triggers (e.g., based on credit enhancement, delinquencies or defaults, etc.) that could shut off principal payments to subordinate tranches. Generally, GSEs have the ability to call all of the CRT tranches at par in 10 years.

 

In addition, the future of the GSEs is in serious question as the U.S. Government is considering multiple options, ranging on a spectrum from significant reform, nationalization, privatization, consolidation, or abolishment of the entities. Congress is considering several pieces of legislation that would reform the GSEs, proposing to address their structure, mission, portfolio limits, and guarantee fees, among other issues.

 

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The FHFA and the Treasury Department (through its agreement to purchase GSE preferred stock) have imposed strict limits on the size of GSEs’ mortgage portfolios. In August 2012, the Treasury Department amended its preferred stock purchase agreements to provide that the GSEs’ portfolios would be wound down at an annual rate of 15 percent (up from the previously agreed annual rate of 10 percent), requiring the GSEs to reach the $250 billion target by December 31, 2018. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were below the $250 billion cap for year-end 2018. On December 21, 2017, a letter agreement between the Treasury and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac changed the terms of the senior preferred stock certificates to permit the GSEs each to retain a $3 billion capital reserve, quarterly. Under the 2017 letter, each GSE paid a dividend to Treasury equal to the amount that its net worth exceeded $3 billion at the end of each quarter. On September 30, 2019, the Treasury and the FHFA, acting as conservator to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced amendments to the respective senior preferred stock certificates that will permit the GSEs to retain earnings beyond the $3 billion capital reserves previously allowed through the 2017 letter agreements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now permitted to maintain capital reserves of $25 billion and $20 billion, respectively.

 

Mortgage-backed securities may have either fixed or adjustable interest rates. Tax or regulatory changes may adversely affect the mortgage securities market. In addition, changes in the market’s perception of the issuer may affect the value of mortgage-backed securities. The rate of return on mortgage-backed securities may be affected by prepayments of principal on the underlying loans, which generally increase as market interest rates decline; as a result, when interest rates decline, holders of these securities normally do not benefit from appreciation in market value to the same extent as holders of other non-callable debt securities.

 

Because many mortgages are repaid early, the actual maturity and duration of mortgage-backed securities are typically shorter than their stated final maturity and their duration calculated solely on the basis of the stated life and payment schedule. In calculating its dollar-weighted average maturity and duration, a Fund may apply certain industry conventions regarding the maturity and duration of mortgage-backed instruments. Different analysts use different models and assumptions in making these determinations. The Funds use an approach that the Manager believes is reasonable in light of all relevant circumstances. If this determination is not borne out in practice, it could positively or negatively affect the value of a Fund when market interest rates change. Increasing market interest rates generally extend the effective maturities of mortgage-backed securities, increasing their sensitivity to interest rate changes.

 

Mortgage-backed securities may be issued in the form of collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) or collateralized mortgage-backed bonds (“CBOs”). CMOs are obligations that are fully collateralized, directly or indirectly, by a pool of mortgages; payments of principal and interest on the mortgages are passed through to the holders of the CMOs, although not necessarily on a pro rata basis, on the same schedule as they are received. CBOs are general obligations of the issuer that are fully collateralized, directly or indirectly, by a pool of mortgages. The mortgages serve as collateral for the issuer’s payment obligations on the bonds, but interest and principal payments on the mortgages are not passed through either directly (as with mortgage-backed “pass-through” securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities) or on a modified basis (as with CMOs). Accordingly, a change in the rate of prepayments on the pool of mortgages could change the effective maturity or the duration of a CMO but not that of a CBO (although, like many bonds, CBOs may be callable by the issuer prior to maturity). To the extent that rising interest rates cause prepayments to occur at a slower than expected rate, a CMO could be converted into a longer-term security that is subject to greater risk of price volatility.

 

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Governmental, government-related, and private entities (such as commercial banks, savings institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers, and other secondary market issuers, including securities broker-dealers and special purpose entities that generally are affiliates of the foregoing established to issue such securities) may create mortgage loan pools to back CMOs and CBOs. Such issuers may be the originators and/or servicers of the underlying mortgage loans, as well as the guarantors of the mortgage-backed securities. Pools created by non-governmental issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than governmental and government-related pools because of the absence of direct or indirect government or agency guarantees. Various forms of insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool, and hazard insurance and letters of credit, may support timely payment of interest and principal of non-governmental pools. Governmental entities, private insurers, and mortgage poolers issue these forms of insurance and guarantees. The Manager considers such insurance and guarantees, as well as the creditworthiness of the issuers thereof, in determining whether a mortgage-backed security meets a Fund’s investment quality standards. There can be no assurance that private insurers or guarantors can meet their obligations under insurance policies or guarantee arrangements. A Fund may buy mortgage-backed securities without insurance or guarantees, if the Manager determines that the securities meet the Fund’s quality standards. The Manager will, consistent with a Fund’s investment objective, policies and limitations and quality standards, consider making investments in new types of mortgage-backed securities as such securities are developed and offered to investors.

 

Policies and Limitations. A Fund may not purchase mortgage-backed securities that, in the Manager’s opinion, are illiquid if, as a result, more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets would be invested in illiquid securities.

 

Other Mortgage-Related Securities. Other mortgage-related securities include securities other than those described above that directly or indirectly represent a participation in, or are secured by and payable from, mortgage loans on real property, including stripped mortgage-backed securities. Other mortgage-related securities may be equity or debt securities issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, homebuilders, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks, partnerships, trusts and special purpose entities of the foregoing.

 

Municipal Obligations. Municipal obligations are issued by or on behalf of states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories and possessions and their political subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities. The interest on municipal obligations is generally exempt from federal income tax. A Fund determines the tax-exempt status of the interest on any issue of municipal obligations based on an opinion of the issuer’s bond counsel, which is not binding on the Internal Revenue Service (“Service”) or the courts, at the time the obligations are issued.

 

Municipal obligations include “general obligation” securities, which are backed by the full taxing power of the issuing governmental entity, and “revenue” securities, which are backed only by the income from a specific project, facility, or tax. Municipal obligations also include PABs, which are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to finance various privately operated facilities, and are generally supported only by revenue from those facilities, if any. They are not backed by the credit of any governmental or public authority. “Anticipation notes” are issued by municipalities in expectation of future proceeds from the issuance of bonds or from taxes or other revenues and are payable from those bond proceeds, taxes, or revenues. Municipal obligations also include tax-exempt commercial paper, which is issued by municipalities to help finance short-term capital or operating requirements.

 

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The value of municipal obligations depends on the continuing payment of interest and principal when due by the issuers of the municipal obligations (or, in the case of PABs, the revenues generated by the facility financed by the bonds or, in certain other instances, the provider of the credit facility backing the obligations or insurers issuing insurance backing the obligations).

 

A Fund may purchase municipal securities that are fully or partially backed by entities providing credit support such as letters of credit, guarantees, or insurance. The credit quality of the entities that provide such credit support will affect the market values of those securities. The insurance feature of a municipal security guarantees the full and timely payment of interest and principal through the life of an insured obligation. The insurance feature does not, however, guarantee the market value of the insured obligation or the NAV of a Fund’s shares represented by such an insured obligation. The Portfolio Managers generally look to the credit quality of the issuer of a municipal security to determine whether the security meets a Fund’s quality restrictions, even if the security is covered by insurance. However, a downgrade in the claims-paying ability of an insurer of a municipal security could have an adverse effect on the market value of the security. Certain significant providers of insurance for municipal securities can incur and, in the past have incurred, significant losses as a result of exposure to certain categories of investments, such as sub-prime mortgages and other lower credit quality investments that have experienced defaults or otherwise suffered extreme credit deterioration. Such losses can adversely impact the capital adequacy of these insurers and may call into question the insurers’ ability to fulfill their obligations under such insurance if they are called to do so, which could negatively affect a Fund. There are a limited number of providers of insurance for municipal securities and a Fund may have multiple investments covered by one insurer. Accordingly, this may make the value of those investments dependent on the claims-paying ability of that one insurer and could result in share price volatility for a Fund’s shares.

 

As with other fixed income securities, an increase in interest rates generally will reduce the value of a Fund’s investments in municipal obligations, whereas a decline in interest rates generally will increase that value.

 

Some municipal securities, including those in the high yield market, may include transfer restrictions (e.g., may only be transferred to qualified institutional buyers and purchasers meeting other qualification requirements set by the issuer). As such, it may be difficult to sell municipal securities at a time when it may otherwise be desirable to do so or a Fund may be able to sell them only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value.

 

Periodic efforts to restructure the federal budget and the relationship between the federal government and state and local governments may adversely impact the financing of some issuers of municipal securities. Some states and localities may experience substantial deficits and may find it difficult for political or economic reasons to increase taxes. Efforts are periodically undertaken that may result in a restructuring of the federal income tax system. These developments could reduce the value of all municipal securities, or the securities of particular issuers.

 

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Unlike other types of investments, municipal obligations have traditionally not been subject to the registration requirements of the federal securities laws, although there have been proposals to provide for such registration. This lack of SEC regulation has adversely affected the quantity and quality of information available to the bond markets about issuers and their financial condition. The SEC has responded to the need for such information with Rule 15c2-12 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Rule”). The Rule requires that underwriters must reasonably determine that an issuer of municipal securities undertakes in a written agreement for the benefit of the holders of such securities to file with a nationally recognized municipal securities information repository certain information regarding the financial condition of the issuer and material events relating to such securities. The SEC’s intent in adopting the Rule was to provide holders and potential holders of municipal securities with more adequate financial information concerning issuers of municipal securities. The Rule provides exemptions for issuances with a principal amount of less than $1,000,000 and certain privately placed issuances.

 

The federal bankruptcy statutes provide that, in certain circumstances, political subdivisions and authorities of states may initiate bankruptcy proceedings without prior notice to or consent of their creditors. These proceedings could result in material and adverse changes in the rights of holders of their obligations.

 

From time to time, federal legislation has affected the availability of municipal obligations for investment by a Fund. There can be no assurance that legislation adversely affecting the tax-exempt status of the interest on municipal obligations will not be enacted in the future. If that occurred, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, and Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund would reevaluate their investment objectives, policies and limitations.

 

In response to the national economic downturn, governmental cost burdens may be reallocated among federal, state and local governments. Also as a result of the downturn, many state and local governments are experiencing significant reductions in revenues and are consequently experiencing difficulties meeting ongoing expenses. Certain of these state or local governments may have difficulty paying principal or interest when due on their outstanding debt and may experience credit ratings downgrades on their debt. In addition, municipal securities backed by revenues from a project or specified assets may be adversely impacted by a municipality’s failure to collect the revenue.

 

The Service occasionally challenges the tax-exempt status of the interest on particular municipal securities. If the Service determined that interest earned on a municipal security a Fund held was taxable and the issuer thereof failed to overcome that determination, that interest would be taxable to the Fund, possibly retroactive to the time the Fund purchased the security.

 

Listed below are different types of municipal obligations:

 

General Obligation Bonds. A general obligation bond is backed by the governmental issuer’s pledge of its full faith and credit and power to raise taxes for payment of principal and interest under the bond. The taxes or special assessments that can be levied for the payment of debt service may be limited or unlimited as to rate or amount. Many jurisdictions face political and economic constraints on their ability to raise taxes. These limitations and constraints may adversely affect the ability of the governmental issuer to meet its obligations under the bonds in a timely manner.

 

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Revenue Bonds. Revenue bonds are backed by the income from a specific project, facility or tax. Revenue bonds are issued to finance a wide variety of public projects, including (1) housing, (2) electric, gas, water, and sewer systems, (3) highways, bridges, and tunnels, (4) port and airport facilities, (5) colleges and universities, and (6) hospitals. In some cases, repayment of these bonds depends upon annual legislative appropriations; in other cases, if the issuer is unable to meet its legal obligation to repay the bond, repayment becomes an unenforceable “moral obligation” of a related governmental unit. Revenue bonds issued by housing finance authorities are backed by a wider range of security, including partially or fully insured mortgages, rent subsidized and/or collateralized mortgages, and net revenues from housing projects.

 

Most PABs are revenue bonds, in that principal and interest are payable only from the net revenues of the facility financed by the bonds. These bonds generally do not constitute a pledge of the general credit of the public issuer or private operator or user of the facility. In some cases, however, payment may be secured by a pledge of real and personal property constituting the facility.

 

Resource Recovery Bonds. Resource recovery bonds are a type of revenue bond issued to build facilities such as solid waste incinerators or waste-to-energy plants. Typically, a private corporation will be involved on a temporary basis during the construction of the facility, and the revenue stream will be secured by fees or rents paid by municipalities for use of the facilities. The credit and quality of resource recovery bonds may be affected by the viability of the project itself, tax incentives for the project, and changing environmental regulations or interpretations thereof.

 

Municipal Lease Obligations. These obligations, which may take the form of a lease, an installment purchase, or a conditional sale contract, are issued by a state or local government or authority to acquire land and a wide variety of equipment and facilities. A Fund will usually invest in municipal lease obligations through certificates of participation (“COPs”), which give the Fund a specified, undivided interest in the obligation. For example, a COP may be created when long-term revenue bonds are issued by a governmental corporation to pay for the acquisition of property. The payments made by the municipality under the lease are used to repay interest and principal on the bonds. Once these lease payments are completed, the municipality gains ownership of the property. These obligations are distinguished from general obligation or revenue bonds in that they typically are not backed fully by the municipality’s credit, and their interest may become taxable if the lease is assigned. The lease subject to the transaction usually contains a “non-appropriation” clause. A non-appropriation clause states that, while the municipality will use its best efforts to make lease payments, the municipality may terminate the lease without penalty if its appropriating body does not allocate the necessary funds. Such termination would result in a significant loss to a Fund.

 

Municipal Notes. Municipal notes include the following:

 

1. Project notes are issued by local issuing agencies created under the laws of a state, territory, or possession of the United States to finance low-income housing, urban redevelopment, and similar projects. These notes are backed by an agreement between the local issuing agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). Although the notes are primarily obligations of the local issuing agency, the HUD agreement provides the full faith and credit of the United States as additional security.

 

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2. Tax anticipation notes are issued to finance working capital needs of municipalities. Generally, they are issued in anticipation of future seasonal tax revenues, such as property, income and sales taxes, and are payable from these future revenues.

 

3. Revenue anticipation notes are issued in expectation of receipt of other types of revenue, including revenue made available under certain state aid funding programs. Such appropriation of revenue is generally accounted for in the state budgetary process.

 

4. Bond anticipation notes are issued to provide interim financing until long-term bond financing can be arranged. In most cases, the long-term bonds provide the funds for the repayment of the notes.

 

5. Construction loan notes are sold to provide construction financing. After completion of construction, many projects receive permanent financing from Fannie Mae (also known as the Federal National Mortgage Association) or Ginnie Mae (also known as the Government National Mortgage Association).

 

6. Tax-exempt commercial paper is a short-term obligation issued by a state or local government or an agency thereof to finance seasonal working capital needs or as short-term financing in anticipation of longer-term financing.

 

7. Pre-refunded and “escrowed” municipal bonds are bonds with respect to which the issuer has deposited, in an escrow account, an amount of securities and cash, if any, that will be sufficient to pay the periodic interest on and principal amount of the bonds, either at their stated maturity date or on the date the issuer may call the bonds for payment. This arrangement gives the investment a quality equal to the securities in the account, usually U.S. Government Securities (defined below). A Fund can also purchase bonds issued to refund earlier issues. The proceeds of these refunding bonds are often used for escrow to support refunding.

 

Yield and Price Characteristics of Municipal Obligations. Municipal obligations generally have the same yield and price characteristics as other debt securities. Yields depend on a variety of factors, including general conditions in the money and bond markets and, in the case of any particular securities issue, its amount, maturity, duration, and rating. Market prices of fixed income securities usually vary upward or downward in inverse relationship to market interest rates.

 

Municipal obligations with longer maturities or durations tend to produce higher yields. They are generally subject to potentially greater price fluctuations, and thus greater appreciation or depreciation in value, than obligations with shorter maturities or durations and lower yields. An increase in interest rates generally will reduce the value of a Fund’s investments, whereas a decline in interest rates generally will increase that value. The ability of a Fund to achieve its investment objective also is dependent on the continuing ability of the issuers of the municipal obligations in which the Fund invests (or, in the case of PABs, the revenues generated by the facility financed by the bonds or, in certain other instances, the provider of the credit facility backing the bonds) to pay interest and principal when due.

 

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Participation Interests of Municipal Obligations. A Fund may purchase from banks participation interests in all or part of specific holdings of short-term municipal obligations. Each participation interest is backed by an irrevocable letter of credit issued by a selling bank determined by the Manager to be creditworthy. A Fund has the right to sell the participation interest back to the bank, usually after seven days’ notice, for the full principal amount of its participation, plus accrued interest, but only (1) to provide portfolio liquidity, (2) to maintain portfolio quality, or (3) to avoid losses when the underlying municipal obligations are in default. Although no Fund currently intends to acquire participation interests, each Fund reserves the right to do so in the future.

 

Policies and Limitations. Each of Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund will not purchase a participation interest unless there is an opinion of counsel or a ruling of the Service that the interest the Fund will earn on the municipal obligations in which it holds the participation interest will be excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes.

 

Purchases with a Standby Commitment to Repurchase. When a Fund purchases municipal obligations, it also may acquire a standby commitment obligating the seller to repurchase the obligations at an agreed upon price on a specified date or within a specified period. A standby commitment is the equivalent of a nontransferable “put” option held by a Fund that terminates if the Fund sells the obligations to a third party.

 

A Fund may enter into standby commitments only with banks and (if permitted under the 1940 Act) securities dealers determined to be creditworthy. A Fund’s ability to exercise a standby commitment depends on the ability of the bank or securities dealer to pay for the obligations on exercise of the commitment. If a bank or securities dealer defaults on its commitment to repurchase such obligations, a Fund may be unable to recover all or even part of any loss it may sustain from having to sell the obligations elsewhere.

 

Although no Fund currently intends to invest in standby commitments, each Fund reserves the right to do so in the future. By enabling a Fund to dispose of municipal obligations at a predetermined price prior to maturity, this investment technique allows a Fund to be fully invested while preserving the flexibility to make commitments for when-issued securities, take advantage of other buying opportunities, and meet redemptions.

 

Standby commitments are valued at zero in determining NAV. The maturity or duration of municipal obligations purchased by a Fund is not shortened by a standby commitment. Therefore, standby commitments do not affect the dollar-weighted average maturity or duration of a Fund’s investment portfolio.

 

Policies and Limitations. Each of Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund will not invest in a standby commitment unless there is an opinion of counsel or a ruling of the Service that the interest the Fund will earn on the municipal obligations subject to the standby commitment will be excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes.

 

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No Fund will acquire standby commitments with a view to exercising them when the exercise price exceeds the current value of the underlying obligations; a Fund will do so only to facilitate portfolio liquidity.

 

Residual Interest Bonds. A Fund may purchase one component of a municipal security that is structured in two parts: A variable rate security and a residual interest bond. The interest rate for the variable rate security is determined by an index or an auction process held approximately every 35 days, while the residual interest bond holder receives the balance of the income less an auction fee. These instruments are also known as inverse floaters because the income received on the residual interest bond is inversely related to the market rates. The market prices of residual interest bonds are highly sensitive to changes in market rates and may decrease significantly when market rates increase.

 

Tender Option Bonds. Tender option bonds are fixed income instruments created when the Fund transfers municipal bonds to a special purpose vehicle, which is generally organized as a trust, created by a sponsor (usually a bank, broker-dealer, or other financial institution). In exchange for depositing municipal bonds into the trust, a Fund typically receives cash and a residual interest security (often referred to as an “inverse floater,” as described below) representing the difference between the cash received and the value of the deposited (or “underlying”) municipal bonds. The trust issues two classes of certificates with varying economic interests.

 

The first class of interests are floating rate certificates (commonly called “floaters”), which generally have a fixed principal amount representing a senior interest in the underlying municipal bonds. Floaters typically pay interest at a short-term floating rate that is usually reset weekly based on a specified index. Holders of the floaters typically receive interest on a tax-exempt basis. The floaters are designed to be eligible for investment by tax-exempt money market funds and other short-term institutional investors and generally have both short-term ratings (based upon the rating of the liquidity provider, generally the same entity sponsor of the trust or an affiliate of the sponsor) and long-term ratings (based upon the ratings of the municipal bonds deposited into the trust). The floaters typically grant the holders the option, at periodic intervals prior to maturity or upon the occurrence of specified events or conditions, to tender their securities to the issuer or its agent and receive the face value (or “par” value) thereof plus accrued interest. A remarketing agent for the trust is required to attempt to resell to new investors any floaters that are tendered for repurchase and if the remarketing is unsuccessful, the trust’s liquidity provider must contribute cash to ensure that the tendering holders receive the purchase price of their securities on the repurchase date.

 

The second class of interests are residual income certificates (commonly called inverse floaters), which represent a residual, subordinate interest in the underlying municipal bonds. Inverse floaters pay interest at a rate based on the difference between the interest rate earned on the underlying municipal bonds and the interest rate paid on the floating rate certificates. As such, a Fund continues to earn all of the interest from the underlying municipal bond, less the amount of interest paid on the floaters and the expenses of the special purpose vehicle (e.g., payments to the sponsor and the liquidity provider and administrative and organizational costs). Holders of the inverse floaters typically receive interest on a tax-exempt basis.

 

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A Fund may invest in inverse floaters to seek greater income and total return. The proceeds (generally cash) of the sale of the underlying municipal bond by a Fund remaining after it buys the inverse floater can be used for any purpose. A Fund typically uses the cash received from the transaction for investment purposes, which involves leverage risk. The value of, and income earned on, an inverse floater that has a higher degree of leverage (meaning it has a larger outstanding principal amount of related floaters relative to the par value of the underlying municipal bond) will fluctuate more significantly in response to changes in interest rates and to changes in the market value of the related underlying municipal bond, than the value of, and income earned on, an inverse floater that has a lower degree of leverage.

 

A Fund’s use of tender option bonds may reduce the Fund’s return and/or increase volatility. The liquidity of a tender option bond is a function of the credit quality of both the bond issuer and the financial institution providing liquidity. As such, investments in tender option bonds expose a Fund to counterparty risk. Because the principal amount of the floaters is fixed, any change in the market value of the underlying municipal bond will impact the value of the inverse floater. Additionally, during periods of rising rates, the market values of inverse floaters will tend to decline more quickly than the market values of fixed rate securities. Further, as short-term interest rates rise, inverse floaters produce less current income (and, in extreme cases, may produce no current income). In certain instances, a Fund may enter into an agreement with the liquidity provider to reimburse the provider if it must contribute cash to the trust upon the occurrence of certain events, including mandatory tender events, which could reduce the Fund’s returns.

 

Under certain circumstances, the trust may be terminated or “collapsed” either by a Fund or upon the occurrence of certain adverse events, such as a downgrade in the credit quality of the underlying bond, the bankruptcy of a liquidity provider, or the inability of the remarketing agent to resell the floaters. Following such an event, the underlying municipal bond is generally sold for current market value and the proceeds are distributed, first to the holders of the floaters and then to the holder of the inverse floater (the Fund). The sale of the underlying municipal bond following such an event could be at an adverse price, which could result in a loss by the Fund of a substantial portion, or even all, of its investment in the related inverse floater.

 

A Fund may purchase an inverse floater created as part of a tender option bond transaction not initiated by the Fund when a third party, such as a municipal issuer or financial institution, transfers underlying municipal bonds to a special purpose vehicle.

 

There is a risk that the Service might take the position that a Fund will not be considered the owner of tender option bonds in which it invests and thus will not be entitled to treat the interest thereon as exempt from federal income tax. Additionally, the federal income tax treatment of certain other aspects of a Fund’s investments in those bonds, including the proper treatment of the associated fees, is unclear. A Fund intends to manage its portfolio to eliminate or minimize any adverse impact from the federal income tax rules applicable to these investments.

 

Natural Disasters and Adverse Weather Conditions. Certain areas of the world historically have been prone to major natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons, flooding, tidal waves, tsunamis, erupting volcanoes, wildfires or droughts, and have been economically sensitive to environmental events. Such disasters, and the resulting damage, could have a severe and negative impact on a Fund’s investment portfolio and, in the longer term, could impair the ability of issuers in which a Fund invests to conduct their businesses in the manner normally conducted. Adverse weather conditions may also have a particularly significant negative effect on issuers in the agricultural sector and on insurance companies that insure against the impact of natural disasters.

 

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Operational and Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet and the dependence on computer systems to perform necessary business functions, the Funds and their service providers, and your ability to transact with the Funds, may be negatively impacted due to operational matters arising from, among other problems, human errors, systems and technology disruptions or failures, or cybersecurity incidents. A cybersecurity incident may refer to intentional or unintentional events that allow an unauthorized party to gain access to Fund assets, customer data, or proprietary information, or cause a Fund or Fund service providers (including, but not limited to, the Funds’ manager, distributor, fund accountants, custodian, transfer agent, sub-advisers (if applicable), and financial intermediaries), as well as the securities trading venues and their service providers, to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. A cybersecurity incident could, among other things, result in the loss or theft of customer data or funds, customers or employees being unable to access electronic systems (“denial of services”), loss or theft of proprietary information or corporate data, physical damage to a computer or network system, or remediation costs associated with system repairs. Any of these results could have a substantial adverse impact on the Funds and their shareholders. For example, if a cybersecurity incident results in a denial of service, Fund shareholders could lose access to their electronic accounts and be unable to buy or sell Fund shares for an unknown period of time, and employees could be unable to access electronic systems to perform critical duties for the Funds, such as trading, NAV calculation, shareholder accounting or fulfillment of Fund share purchases and redemptions.

 

A Fund’s service providers may also be negatively impacted due to operational risks arising from factors such as processing errors and human errors, inadequate or failed internal or external processes, failures in systems and technology, changes in personnel, and errors caused by third-party service providers or trading counterparties. In particular, these errors or failures as well as other technological issues may adversely affect the Funds’ ability to calculate their NAVs in a timely manner, including over a potentially extended period.

 

The occurrence of an operational or cybersecurity incident could result in regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures, or financial loss of a significant magnitude and could result in allegations that the Fund or Fund service provider violated privacy and other laws. Similar adverse consequences could result from incidents affecting issuers of securities in which a Fund invests, counterparties with which a Fund engages in transactions, governmental and other regulatory authorities, exchange and other financial market operators, banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies, and other financial institutions and other parties. Although the Funds and their Manager endeavor to determine that service providers have established risk management systems that seek to reduce these operational and cybersecurity risks, and business continuity plans in the event there is an incident, there are inherent limitations in these systems and plans, including the possibility that certain risks may not have been identified, in large part because different or unknown threats may emerge in the future. Furthermore, the Funds do not control the operational and cybersecurity systems and plans of the issuers of securities in which the Funds invest or the Funds’ third party service providers or trading counterparties or any other service providers whose operations may affect a Fund or its shareholders.

 

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Preferred Stock. Unlike interest payments on debt securities, dividends on preferred stock are generally payable at the discretion of the issuer’s board of directors. Preferred shareholders may have certain rights if dividends are not paid but generally have no legal recourse against the issuer. Shareholders may suffer a loss of value if dividends are not paid. The market prices of preferred stocks are generally more sensitive to changes in the issuer’s creditworthiness than are the prices of debt securities.

 

Private Companies and Pre-IPO Investments. Investments in private companies, including companies that have not yet issued securities publicly in an IPO (“Pre-IPO shares”) involve greater risks than investments in securities of companies that have traded publicly on an exchange for extended periods of time. Investments in these companies are generally less liquid than investments in securities issued by public companies and may be difficult for a Fund to value. Compared to public companies, private companies may have a more limited management group and limited operating histories with narrower, less established product lines and smaller market shares, which may cause them to be more vulnerable to competitors’ actions, market conditions and consumer sentiment with respect to their products or services, as well as general economic downturns. In addition, private companies may have limited financial resources and may be unable to meet their obligations. This could lead to bankruptcy or liquidation of such private company or the dilution or subordination of a Fund’s investment in such private company. Additionally, there is significantly less information available about private companies’ business models, quality of management, earnings growth potential and other criteria used to evaluate their investment prospects and the little public information available about such companies may not be reliable. Because financial reporting obligations for private companies are not as rigorous as public companies, it may be difficult to fully assess the rights and values of certain securities issued by private companies. A Fund may only have limited access to a private company’s actual financial results and there is no assurance that the information obtained by the Fund is reliable. Although there is a potential for pre-IPO shares to increase in value if the company does issue shares in an IPO, IPOs are risky and volatile and may cause the value of a Fund’s investment to decrease significantly. Moreover, because securities issued by private companies are generally not freely or publicly tradable, a Fund may not have the opportunity to purchase or the ability to sell these shares in the amounts or at the prices the Fund desires. The private companies a Fund may invest in may not ever issue shares in an IPO and a liquid market for their pre-IPO shares may never develop, which may negatively affect the price at which the Fund can sell these shares and make it more difficult to sell these shares, which could also adversely affect the Fund’s liquidity. Furthermore, these investments may be subject to additional contractual restrictions on resale that would prevent the Fund from selling the company’s securities for a period of time following any IPO. A Fund’s investment in a private company’s securities will involve investing in restricted securities. See “Restricted Securities and Rule 144A Securities” for risks related to restricted securities. If a Fund invests in private companies or issuers, there is a possibility that NBIA may obtain access to material non-public information about an issuer of private placement securities, which may limit NBIA’s ability to sell such securities, could negatively impact NBIA’s ability to manage the Fund since NBIA may be required to sell other securities to meet redemptions, or could adversely impact a Fund’s performance.

 

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Real Estate-Related Instruments. A Fund will not invest directly in real estate, but a Fund may invest in securities issued by real estate companies. Investments in the securities of companies in the real estate industry subject a Fund to the risks associated with the direct ownership of real estate. These risks include declines in the value of real estate, risks associated with general and local economic conditions, possible lack of availability of mortgage funds, overbuilding, extended vacancies of properties, increased competition, increase 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, limitation on rents, changes in neighborhood values and the appeal of properties to tenants, and changes in interest rates. In addition, certain real estate valuations, including residential real estate values, are influenced by market sentiments, which can change rapidly and could result in a sharp downward adjustment from current valuation levels.

 

Real estate-related instruments include securities of real estate investment trusts (also known as “REITs”), commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities and real estate financings. Such instruments are sensitive to factors such as real estate values and property taxes, interest rates, cash flow of underlying real estate assets, overbuilding, and the management skill and creditworthiness of the issuer. Real estate-related instruments may also be affected by tax and regulatory requirements, such as those relating to the environment.

 

REITs are sometimes informally characterized as equity REITs and mortgage REITs. An equity REIT invests primarily in the fee ownership or leasehold ownership of land and buildings and derives its income primarily from rental income. An equity REIT may also realize capital gains (or losses) by selling real estate properties in its portfolio that have appreciated (or depreciated) in value. A mortgage REIT invests primarily in mortgages on real estate, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans, and derives its income primarily from interest payments on the credit it has extended.

 

REITs (especially mortgage REITs) are subject to interest rate risk. Rising interest rates may cause REIT investors to demand a higher annual yield, which may, in turn, cause a decline in the market price of the equity securities issued by a REIT. Rising interest rates also generally increase the costs of obtaining financing, which could cause the value of a Fund’s REIT investments to decline. During periods when interest rates are declining, mortgages are often refinanced. Refinancing may reduce the yield on investments in mortgage REITs. In addition, because mortgage REITs depend on payment under their mortgage loans and leases to generate cash to make distributions to their shareholders, investments in such REITs may be adversely affected by defaults on such mortgage loans or leases.

 

REITs are dependent upon management skill, are not diversified, and are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, defaults by borrowers, and self-liquidation. Domestic REITs are also subject to the possibility of failing to qualify for tax-free “pass-through” of distributed net income and net realized gains under the Code and failing to maintain exemption from the 1940 Act.

 

REITs are subject to management fees and other expenses. Therefore, investments in REITs will cause a Fund to bear its proportionate share of the costs of the REITs’ operations. At the same time, a Fund will continue to pay its own management fees and expenses with respect to all of its assets, including any portion invested in REITs.

 

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Recent Market Conditions. Both U.S. and international markets have experienced significant volatility in recent months and years. As a result of such volatility, investment returns may fluctuate significantly. National economies are substantially interconnected, as are global financial markets, which creates the possibility that conditions in one country or region might adversely impact issuers in a different country or region. However, the interconnectedness of economies and/or markets may be diminishing, which may impact such economies and markets in ways that cannot be foreseen at this time.

 

Although interest rates were unusually low in recent years in the U.S. and abroad, recently, the Federal Reserve and certain foreign central banks began to raise interest rates as part of their efforts to address rising inflation. In addition, ongoing inflation pressures from tight labor markets and supply chain disruptions could continue to cause an increase in interest rates and/or negatively impact companies. It is difficult to accurately predict the pace at which interest rates might increase, or the timing, frequency or magnitude of any such increases in interest rates. Additionally, various economic and political factors could cause the Federal Reserve or other foreign central banks to change their approach in the future and such actions may result in an economic slowdown both in the U.S. and abroad. Unexpected increases in interest rates could lead to market volatility or reduce liquidity in certain sectors of the market. Deteriorating economic fundamentals may, in turn, increase the risk of default or insolvency of particular issuers, negatively impact market value, cause credit spreads to widen, and reduce bank balance sheets. Any of these could cause an increase in market volatility or reduce liquidity across various markets. Also, regulators have expressed concern that rate increases may cause investors to sell fixed income securities faster than the market can absorb them, contributing to price volatility. Over the longer term, rising interest rates may present a greater risk than has historically been the case due to the prior period of relatively low rates and the effect of government fiscal and monetary policy initiatives and potential market reaction to those initiatives, or their alteration or cessation. Historical patterns of correlation among asset classes may break down in unanticipated ways during times of high volatility, disrupting investment programs and potentially causing losses.

 

Some countries, including the U.S., have in recent years adopted more protectionist trade policies. Slowing global economic growth, the rise in protectionist trade policies, changes to some major international trade agreements, risks associated with the trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and the risks associated with ongoing trade negotiations with China, could affect the economies of many nations in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. In addition, the current strength of the U.S. dollar may decrease foreign demand for U.S. assets, which could have a negative impact on certain issuers and/or industries.

 

Regulators in the U.S. have proposed a number of changes to regulations involving the markets and issuers, some of which implicate a Fund. While it is not currently known whether any of these regulations will be adopted, due to the current scope of regulations being proposed, any changes to regulation could limit a Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies or make certain investments, may make it more costly for it to operate, or adversely impact its performance.

 

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Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, and corresponding events in late February 2022, have had, and could continue to have, severe adverse effects on regional and global economic markets for securities and commodities. Following Russia’s actions, various governments, including the United States, have issued broad-ranging economic sanctions against Russia, including, among other actions, a prohibition on doing business with certain Russian companies, large financial institutions, officials and oligarchs; the removal by certain countries and the European Union of selected Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (“SWIFT”), the electronic banking network that connects banks globally; and restrictive measures to prevent the Russian Central Bank from undermining the impact of the sanctions. The current events, including sanctions and the potential for future sanctions, including any impacting Russia’s energy sector, and other actions, and Russia’s retaliatory responses to those sanctions and actions, may continue to adversely impact the Russian economy and economies of surrounding countries and may result in the further decline of the value and liquidity of Russian securities and securities of surrounding countries, a continued weakening of currencies in the region and continued exchange closures, and may have other adverse consequences on the economies of countries in the region that could impact the value of investments in the region and impair the ability of a Fund to buy, sell, receive or deliver securities of companies in the region or a Fund’s ability to collect interest payments on fixed income securities in the region. Moreover, those events have, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on global markets performance and liquidity, thereby negatively affecting the value of a Fund’s investments beyond any direct exposure to issuers in the region. The duration of ongoing hostilities and the vast array of sanctions and related events cannot be predicted. Those events present material uncertainty and risk with respect to markets globally and the performance of a Fund and its investments or operations could be negatively impacted.

 

Certain illnesses spread rapidly and have the potential to significantly and adversely affect the global economy. Outbreaks such as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, or other similarly infectious diseases may have material adverse impacts on a Fund. Epidemics and/or pandemics, such as the coronavirus, have and may further result in, among other things, closing borders, extended quarantines and stay-at-home orders, order cancellations, disruptions to supply chains and customer activity, widespread business closures and layoffs, as well as general concern and uncertainty. The impact of this virus, and other epidemics and/or pandemics that may arise in the future, has negatively affected and may continue to affect the economies of many nations, individual companies and the global securities and commodities markets, including their liquidity, in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. The impact of any outbreak may last for an extended period of time.

 

High public debt in the U.S. and other countries creates ongoing systemic and market risks and policymaking uncertainty. There is no assurance that the U.S. Congress will act to raise the nation’s debt ceiling; a failure to do so could cause market turmoil and substantial investment risks that cannot now be fully predicted. Unexpected political, regulatory and diplomatic events within the U.S. and abroad may affect investor and consumer confidence and may adversely impact financial markets and the broader economy.

 

China’s economy, which has been sustained in recent years largely through a debt-financed housing boom, may be approaching the limits of that strategy and may experience a significant slowdown as a result of debt that cannot be repaid. Due to the size of China’s economy, such a slowdown could impact a number of other countries.

 

There is widespread concern about the potential effects of global climate change on property and security values. Certain issuers, industries and regions may be adversely affected by the impact of climate change in ways that cannot be foreseen. The impact of legislation, regulation and international accords related to climate change may negatively impact certain issuers and/or industries.

 

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A rise in sea levels, a change in weather patterns, including an increase in powerful storms and large wildfires, and/or a climate-driven increase in flooding could cause properties to lose value or become unmarketable altogether. Unlike previous declines in the real estate market, properties in affected zones may not ever recover their value. The U.S. administration appears concerned about the climate change problem and is focusing regulatory and public works projects around those concerns. Regulatory changes and divestment movements tied to concerns about climate change could adversely affect the value of certain land and the viability of industries whose activities or products are seen as accelerating climate change.

 

Losses related to climate change could adversely affect corporate issuers and mortgage lenders, the value of mortgage-backed securities, the bonds of municipalities that depend on tax or other revenues and tourist dollars generated by affected properties, and insurers of the property and/or of corporate, municipal or mortgage-backed securities. Since property and security values are driven largely by buyers’ perceptions, it is difficult to know the time period over which these market effects might unfold.

 

LIBOR Transition. Certain financial contracts around the world specify rates that are based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), which is produced daily by averaging the rates for inter-bank lending reported by a number of banks. As previously announced by the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, most maturities and currencies of LIBOR were phased out at the end of 2021, with the remaining ones to be phased out on June 30, 2023. There are risks that the financial services industry will not have a suitable substitute in place by that time and that there will not be time to perform the substantial work necessary to revise the many existing contracts that rely on LIBOR. The transition process, or a failure of the industry to transition properly, might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets that currently rely on LIBOR. It also could lead to a reduction in the value of some LIBOR-based investments and reduce the effectiveness of new hedges placed against existing LIBOR-based instruments. New York and federal legislation has been enacted to ease the transition from LIBOR, but there is no assurance whether such legislation will adequately address all issues or be subject to litigation.

 

Repurchase Agreements. In a repurchase agreement, a Fund purchases securities from a bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve System, from a foreign bank or from a U.S. branch or agency of a foreign bank, or from a securities dealer that agrees to repurchase the securities from the Fund at a higher price on a designated future date. Repurchase agreements generally are for a short period of time, usually less than a week. Costs, delays, or losses could result if the selling party to a repurchase agreement becomes bankrupt or otherwise defaults. The Manager monitors the creditworthiness of sellers. If a Fund enters into a repurchase agreement subject to foreign law and the counter-party defaults, that Fund may not enjoy protections comparable to those provided to certain repurchase agreements under U.S. bankruptcy law and may suffer delays and losses in disposing of the collateral as a result.

 

Policies and Limitations. Repurchase agreements with a maturity or demand of more than seven days are considered to be illiquid securities. No Fund may enter into a repurchase agreement with a maturity or demand of more than seven days if, as a result, more than 15% of the value of its net assets would then be invested in such repurchase agreements and other illiquid securities. A Fund may enter into a repurchase agreement only if (1) the underlying securities (excluding maturity and duration limitations, if any) are of a type that the Fund’s investment policies and limitations would allow it to purchase directly, (2) the market value of the underlying securities, including accrued interest, at all times equals or exceeds the repurchase price, and (3) payment for the underlying securities is made only upon satisfactory evidence that the securities are being held for the Fund’s account by its custodian or a bank acting as the Fund’s agent.

 

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Restricted Securities and Rule 144A Securities. A Fund may invest in “restricted securities,” which generally are securities that may be resold to the public only pursuant to an effective registration statement under the 1933 Act or an exemption from registration. Regulation S under the 1933 Act is an exemption from registration that permits, under certain circumstances, the resale of restricted securities in offshore transactions, subject to certain conditions, and Rule 144A under the 1933 Act is an exemption that permits the resale of certain restricted securities to qualified institutional buyers.

 

Since its adoption by the SEC in 1990, Rule 144A has facilitated trading of restricted securities among qualified institutional investors. To the extent restricted securities held by a Fund qualify under Rule 144A and an institutional market develops for those securities, the Fund expects that it will be able to dispose of the securities without registering the resale of such securities under the 1933 Act. However, to the extent that a robust market for such 144A securities does not develop, or a market develops but experiences periods of illiquidity, investments in Rule 144A securities could increase the level of a Fund’s illiquidity.

 

Where an exemption from registration under the 1933 Act is unavailable, or where an institutional market is limited, a Fund may, in certain circumstances, be permitted to require the issuer of restricted securities held by the Fund to file a registration statement to register the resale of such securities under the 1933 Act. In such case, the Fund will typically be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses, and a considerable period may elapse between the decision to sell and the time the Fund may be permitted to resell a security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, or the value of the security were to decline, the Fund might obtain a less favorable price than prevailed when it decided to sell. Restricted securities for which no market exists are priced by a method that the Fund Trustees believe accurately reflects fair value.

 

Reverse Repurchase Agreements. In a reverse repurchase agreement, a Fund sells portfolio securities to another party and agrees to repurchase the securities at an agreed-upon price and date, which reflects an interest payment. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the other party will fail to return the securities in a timely manner, or at all, which may result in losses to a Fund. A Fund could lose money if it is unable to recover the securities and the value of the collateral held by the Fund is less than the value of the securities. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences to a Fund. Reverse repurchase agreements also involve the risk that the market value of the securities sold will decline below the price at which a Fund is obligated to repurchase them. Reverse repurchase agreements may be viewed as a form of borrowing by a Fund. When a Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, any fluctuations in the market value of either the securities transferred to another party or the securities in which the proceeds may be invested would affect the market value of the Fund’s assets. During the term of the agreement, a Fund may also be obligated to pledge additional cash and/or securities in the event of a decline in the fair value of the transferred security. The Manager monitors the creditworthiness of counterparties to reverse repurchase agreements. For the Funds’ policies and limitations on borrowing, see “Investment Policies and Limitations -- Borrowing” above.

 

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Policies and Limitations. Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act, among other things, permits a fund to treat reverse repurchase transactions (and other similar financing transactions) either as borrowings (subject to the asset coverage requirements under the 1940 Act) or as “derivatives transactions” subject to the requirements of Rule 18f-4. Accordingly, any reverse repurchase agreements treated as a borrowing will be considered borrowings for purposes of a Fund’s investment policies and limitations concerning borrowings. Any reverse repurchase agreements treated as a derivatives transaction as defined in Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act will be subject to the requirements of that rule.

 

Risks of Investments in China through Bond Connect Programs. There are significant risks inherent in investing through China’s Bond Connect Programs (“Bond Connect”), which allow eligible foreign investors to purchase certain China onshore financial instruments available from China’s interbank bond market. The Chinese investment and banking systems are materially different in nature from many developed markets, which exposes investors to risks that are different from those in the U.S. Bond Connect uses the trading infrastructure of both Hong Kong and China. If either one or both markets involved are closed on a day the Fund is open, the Fund may not be able to add to or exit a position on such a day, which could adversely affect the Fund’s performance. Securities offered through Bond Connect may lose their eligibility for trading through Bond Connect at any time, and if such an event occurs, the Fund could sell, but could no longer purchase, such securities through Bond Connect. Securities purchased through Bond Connect generally may not be sold, purchased, or otherwise transferred other than through Bond Connect in accordance with applicable rules.

 

The Hong Kong investor compensation funds, which are set up to protect against losses as a result of defaults of licensed intermediaries or authorized financial institutions in relation to trades of exchange-traded products in Hong Kong, do not apply to trades made through the Bond Connect which currently relates only to eligible China financial instruments including China interbank bonds. A Fund may not be able to participate in corporate actions for securities purchased through Bond Connect as a result of time zone differences and operational constraints, which could cause delays in the Fund’s receipt of distribution payments. Bond Connect trades are settled in onshore Renminbi (“CNY”) although the Chinese regulator has provided for settlement through CNY conversion and hedging through recognized Hong Kong banks (“FX Settlement Banks”) specifically for that Bond Connect activity. Since CNY is the only accepted form of settlement, the Fund must therefore have timely access to a supply of offshore Renminbi in Hong Kong, which cannot be guaranteed, or, alternatively, engage a FX Settlement Bank for settlement in other currencies followed by exchange into CNY or CNY conversion and hedging which may require additional time. The unavailability of a ready supply of accepted settlement currencies could subject the Fund to losses. Further, the foreign exchange conversion and hedging transactions must comply with a “genuine and reasonable” principle and solely for the purpose of the Bond Connect investment after which a similar amount is required to be converted back into foreign currency if it is not reinvested through the Bond Connect – this may result in additional risks along with additional costs.

 

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Bond Connect is in its early stages and the actual effect on the market for trading fixed-income investments available from China’s interbank bond market with the introduction of large numbers of foreign investors is unknown. In the event of systems malfunctions, trading via Bond Connect could be disrupted. In particular, since aspects of the settlement process for one of the principal Chinese bond clearinghouses, China Central Depository & Clearing Co., Ltd. (“CDCC”), are not automated, there may be an increased risk of settlement delays, errors and counterparty default.

 

Investments made through Bond Connect are subject to order, clearance and settlement procedures that are new and untested. Further, securities purchased via Bond Connect will be held by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Central Moneymarkets Unit on behalf of ultimate investors via a book entry omnibus account in the books of a China-based custodian (typically, either the CDCC or the Shanghai Clearing House (“SCH”)). A Fund’s interest in securities purchased through Bond Connect will not be reflected directly in a book entry with CDCC or SCH and will instead only be reflected on the books of its Hong Kong sub-custodian, and the Fund will be a beneficial owner, a concept that is relatively undeveloped in Chinese law. This recordkeeping system subjects a Fund to various additional risks, including the risk that the Fund may have a limited ability to enforce its rights as a bondholder as well as the risks of settlement delays and counterparty default related to the sub-custodian.

 

Further regulations, restrictions, interpretation or guidance, such as limitations on redemptions and availability of securities, may adversely impact Bond Connect. There can be no assurance that Bond Connect will not be restricted, suspended, or abolished. There can be no assurance that further regulations will not affect the availability of securities in the program, the frequency of redemptions or other limitations. In addition, the application and interpretation of the laws and regulations of Hong Kong and China, and the rules, policies or guidelines published or applied by relevant regulators and exchanges with respect to the Bond Connect program, including tax rules governing investments via Bond Connect, are uncertain or untested, and they may have a detrimental effect on a Fund’s investments and returns. With respect to tax treatment, investments via Bond Connect could result in unexpected tax liabilities for a Fund, and there is also some uncertainty around the tax treatment of payments such as interest payable to U.S. investors. Although the Chinese government announced that interest income received by eligible foreign investors in the Chinese financial instruments held by them through Bond Connect would be exempt from enterprise income tax and value-added tax until December 31, 2025, it is currently unknown if the Chinese government will extend the exemption beyond December 31, 2025. Although it is currently anticipated that such an extension is likely to occur, if an extension did not occur, it could result in tax liabilities for a Fund.

 

Risks of Reliance on Computer Programs or Codes. Many processes used in Fund management, including security selection, rely, in whole or in part, on the use of computer programs or codes, some of which are created or maintained by the Manager or its affiliates and some of which are created or maintained by third parties. Errors in these programs or codes may go undetected, possibly for quite some time, which could adversely affect a Fund’s operations or performance. Computer programs or codes are susceptible to human error when they are first created and as they are developed and maintained.

 

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While efforts are made to guard against problems associated with computer programs or codes, there can be no assurance that such efforts will always be successful. The Funds have limited insight into the computer programs and processes of some service providers and may have to rely on contractual assurances or business relationships to protect against some errors in the service providers’ systems.

 

Sector Risk. From time to time, based on market or economic conditions, a Fund may have significant positions in one or more sectors of the market. To the extent a Fund invests more heavily in one sector, industry, or sub-sector of the market, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors, industries, or sub-sectors. An individual sector, industry, or sub-sector of the market may be more volatile, and may perform differently, than the broader market. The industries that constitute a sector may all react in the same way to economic, political or regulatory events. A Fund’s performance could also be affected if the sectors, industries, or sub-sectors do not perform as expected. Alternatively, the lack of exposure to one or more sectors or industries may adversely affect performance.

 

Communication Services Sector. The communication services sector, particularly telephone operating companies, are subject to both federal and state government regulations. Many telecommunications companies intensely compete for market share and can be impacted by technology changes within the sector such as the shift from wired to wireless communications. In September 2018, the communication services sector was redefined to also include media, entertainment and select internet-related companies. Media and entertainment companies can be subject to the risk that their content may not be purchased or subscribed to. Internet-related companies may be subject to greater regulatory oversight given increased cyberattack risk and privacy concerns. Additionally, internet-related companies may not achieve investor expectations for higher growth levels, which can result in stock price declines.

 

Consumer Discretionary Sector. The consumer discretionary sector can be significantly affected by the performance of the overall economy, interest rates, competition, and consumer confidence. Success can depend heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending. Changes in demographics and consumer tastes can also affect the demand for, and success of, consumer discretionary products.

 

Consumer Staples Sector. The consumer staples sector can be significantly affected by demographic and product trends, competitive pricing, food fads, marketing campaigns, and environmental factors, as well as the performance of the overall economy, interest rates, consumer confidence, and the cost of commodities. Regulations and policies of various domestic and foreign governments affect agricultural products as well as other consumer staples.

 

Energy Sector. The energy sector can be significantly affected by fluctuations in energy prices and supply and demand of energy fuels caused by geopolitical events, energy conservation, the success of exploration projects, weather or meteorological events, and tax and other government regulations. In addition, companies in the energy sector are at risk of civil liability from accidents resulting in pollution or other environmental damage claims. In addition, since the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has issued public warnings indicating that energy assets, specifically those related to pipeline infrastructure and production, transmission, and distribution facilities, might be future targets of terrorist activity. Further, because a significant portion of revenues of companies in this sector are derived from a relatively small number of customers that are largely composed of governmental entities and utilities, governmental budget constraints may have a significant impact on the stock prices of companies in this sector.

 

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Financials Sector. The financials sector is subject to extensive government regulation, which can limit both the amounts and types of loans and other financial commitments that companies in this sector can make, and the interest rates and fees that these companies can charge. Profitability can be largely dependent on the availability and cost of capital and the rate of corporate and consumer debt defaults, and can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change. Financial difficulties of borrowers can negatively affect the financials sector. Insurance companies can be subject to severe price competition. The financials sector can be subject to relatively rapid change as distinctions between financial service segments become increasingly blurred.

 

Health Care Sector. The health care sector is subject to government regulation and reimbursement rates, as well as government approval of products and services, which could have a significant effect on price and availability. Furthermore, the types of products or services produced or provided by health care companies quickly can become obsolete. In addition, pharmaceutical companies and other companies in the health care sector can be significantly affected by patent expirations.

 

Industrials Sector. The industrials sector can be significantly affected by general economic trends, including employment, economic growth, and interest rates, changes in consumer sentiment and spending, commodity prices, legislation, government regulation and spending, import controls, and worldwide competition. Companies in this sector also can be adversely affected by liability for environmental damage, depletion of resources, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control.

 

Information Technology Sector. The information technology sector can be significantly affected by obsolescence of existing technology, short product cycles, falling prices and profits, competition from new market entrants, and general economic conditions. The issuers of technology securities also may be smaller or newer companies, which may lack depth of management, be unable to generate funds necessary for growth or potential development, or be developing or marketing new products or services for which markets are not yet established and may never become established.

 

Materials Sector. The materials sector can be significantly affected by the level and volatility of commodity prices, the exchange value of the dollar, import and export controls, and worldwide competition. At times, worldwide production of materials has exceeded demand as a result of over-building or economic downturns, which has led to commodity price declines and unit price reductions. Companies in this sector also can be adversely affected by liability for environmental damage, depletion of resources, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control.

 

Utilities Sector. The utilities sector can be significantly affected by government regulation, interest rate changes, financing difficulties, supply and demand of services or fuel, changes in taxation, natural resource conservation, intense competition, and commodity price fluctuations.

 

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Securities Loans. A Fund may lend portfolio securities to banks, brokerage firms, and other institutional investors, provided that cash or equivalent collateral, initially equal to at least 102% (105% in the case of foreign securities) of the market value of the loaned securities, is maintained by the borrower with the Fund or with the Fund’s lending agent, who holds the collateral on the Fund’s behalf. Thereafter, cash or equivalent collateral, equal to at least 100% of the market value of the loaned securities, is to be continuously maintained by the borrower with the Fund. A Fund may invest the cash collateral and earn income, or it may receive an agreed upon amount of interest income from a borrower that has delivered equivalent collateral. During the time securities are on loan, the borrower will pay the Fund an amount equivalent to any dividends or interest paid on such securities. These loans are subject to termination at the option of the Fund or the borrower. A Fund may pay reasonable administrative and custodial fees in connection with a loan and may pay a negotiated portion of the interest earned on the cash or equivalent collateral to the borrower. A Fund does not have the right to vote on securities while they are on loan. However, it is each Fund’s policy to attempt to terminate loans in time to vote those proxies that the Fund has determined are material to the interests of the Fund. The Manager believes the risk of loss on these transactions is slight because if a borrower were to default for any reason, the collateral should satisfy the obligation. However, as with other extensions of secured credit, loans of portfolio securities involve some risk of loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower fail financially. A Fund may loan securities through third parties not affiliated with Neuberger Berman BD LLC (“Neuberger Berman”) that would act as agent to lend securities to principal borrowers.

 

Policies and Limitations. A Fund may lend portfolio securities with a value not exceeding 33-1/3% of its total assets (taken at current value) to banks, brokerage firms, or other institutional investors. The Funds have authorized State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) to effect loans of available securities of the Funds with entities on State Street’s approved list of borrowers, which includes State Street and its affiliates. The Funds may obtain a list of these approved borrowers. Borrowers are required continuously to secure their obligations to return securities on loan from a Fund by depositing collateral in a form determined to be satisfactory by the Fund Trustees. The collateral, which must be marked to market daily, must be initially equal to at least 102% (105% in the case of foreign securities) of the market value of the loaned securities, which will also be marked to market daily. Thereafter, the collateral must be equal to at least 100% of the market value of the loaned securities. See the section entitled “Cash Management and Temporary Defensive Positions” for additional information on how a Fund may invest the collateral obtained from securities lending. A Fund does not count uninvested collateral for purposes of any investment policy or limitation that requires the Fund to invest specific percentages of its assets in accordance with its principal investment program.

 

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The following tables show the dollar amounts of income and dollar amounts of fees and/or compensation paid, relating to the securities lending activities during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022 for 4 of the Funds.

 

  Emerging Markets Debt Fund
Gross income from securities lending activities $1,448
Fees and/or compensation paid by the Fund for securities lending activities and related services
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split $132
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not included in the revenue split $117
Administrative fees not included in revenue split $0
Indemnification fees not included in revenue split $0
Rebate (paid to borrower) $0
Other fees relating to the securities lending program that are not included in the revenue split $0
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities $249
Net income from securities lending activities $1,199

 

  High Income Bond Fund
Gross income from securities lending activities $255,469
Fees and/or compensation paid by the Fund for securities lending activities and related services
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split $24,944
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not included in the revenue split $5,935
Administrative fees not included in revenue split $0
Indemnification fees not included in revenue split $0
Rebate (paid to borrower) $0
Other fees relating to the securities lending program that are not included in the revenue split $0
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities $30,879
Net income from securities lending activities $224,590

 

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  Short Duration Bond Fund
Gross income from securities lending activities $8,467
Fees and/or compensation paid by the Fund for securities lending activities and related services
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split $824
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not included in the revenue split $197
Administrative fees not included in revenue split $0
Indemnification fees not included in revenue split $0
Rebate (paid to borrower) $0
Other fees relating to the securities lending program that are not included in the revenue split $0
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities $1,021
Net income from securities lending activities $7,446

 

  Strategic Income Fund
Gross income from securities lending activities $129,108
Fees and/or compensation paid by the Fund for securities lending activities and related services
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split $12,381
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not included in the revenue split $5,196
Administrative fees not included in revenue split $0
Indemnification fees not included in revenue split $0
Rebate (paid to borrower) $0
Other fees relating to the securities lending program that are not included in the revenue split $0
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities $17,577
Net income from securities lending activities $111,531

 

Securities of ETFs and Other Exchange-Traded Investment Vehicles. A Fund may invest in the securities of ETFs and other pooled investment vehicles that are traded on an exchange and that hold a portfolio of securities or other financial instruments (collectively, “exchange-traded investment vehicles”). When investing in the securities of exchange-traded investment vehicles, a Fund will be indirectly exposed to all the risks of the portfolio securities or other financial instruments they hold. The performance of an exchange-traded investment vehicle will be reduced by transaction and other expenses, including fees paid by the exchange-traded investment vehicle to service providers. ETFs are investment companies that are registered as open-end management companies or unit investment trusts. The limits that apply to a Fund’s investment in securities of other investment companies generally apply also to a Fund’s investment in securities of ETFs. See “Securities of Other Investment Companies.”

 

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Shares of exchange-traded investment vehicles are listed and traded in the secondary market. Many exchange-traded investment vehicles are passively managed and seek to provide returns that track the price and yield performance of a particular index or otherwise provide exposure to an asset class (e.g., currencies or commodities). Although such exchange-traded investment vehicles may invest in other instruments, they largely hold the securities (e.g., common stocks) of the relevant index or financial instruments that provide exposure to the relevant asset class. The share price of an exchange-traded investment vehicle may not track its specified market index, if any, and may trade below its NAV. An active secondary market in the shares of an exchange-traded investment vehicle may not develop or be maintained and may be halted or interrupted due to actions by its listing exchange, unusual market conditions, or other reasons. There can be no assurance that the shares of an exchange-traded investment vehicle will continue to be listed on an active exchange.

 

A Fund also may effect short sales of exchange-traded investment vehicles and may purchase and sell options on shares of exchange-traded investment vehicles. If a Fund effects a short sale of an exchange-traded investment vehicle, it may take long positions in individual securities held by the exchange-traded investment vehicle to limit the potential loss in the event of an increase in the market price of the exchange-traded investment vehicle sold short.

 

Securities of Other Investment Companies. As indicated above, investments by a Fund in shares of other investment companies are subject to the limitations of the 1940 Act and the rules and regulations thereunder. However, pursuant to Rule 12d1-4, a Fund is permitted to invest in shares of certain investment companies beyond the limits contained in the 1940 Act and the rules and regulations thereunder if the Fund complies with the adopted framework for fund of funds arrangements under the rule. A Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies, including open-end management companies, closed-end management companies (including business development companies (“BDCs”)) and unit investment trusts, that are consistent with its investment objectives and policies. Such an investment may be the most practical or only manner in which a Fund can invest in certain asset classes or participate in certain markets, such as foreign markets, because of the expenses involved or because other vehicles for investing in those markets may not be available at the time the Fund is ready to make an investment. When investing in the securities of other investment companies, a Fund will be indirectly exposed to all the risks of such investment companies’ portfolio securities. In addition, as a shareholder in an investment company, a Fund would indirectly bear its pro rata share of that investment company’s advisory fees and other operating expenses. Fees and expenses incurred indirectly by a Fund as a result of its investment in shares of one or more other investment companies generally are referred to as “acquired fund fees and expenses” and may appear as a separate line item in a Fund’s Prospectus fee table. For certain investment companies, such as BDCs, these expenses may be significant. The 1940 Act imposes certain restraints upon the operations of a BDC. For example, BDCs are required to invest at least 70% of their total assets primarily in securities of private companies or thinly traded U.S. public companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and high quality debt investments that mature in one year or less. As a result, BDCs generally invest in less mature private companies, which involve greater risk than well-established, publicly-traded companies. In addition, the shares of closed-end management companies may involve the payment of substantial premiums above, while the sale of such securities may be made at substantial discounts from, the value of such issuer’s portfolio securities. Historically, shares of closed-end funds, including BDCs, have frequently traded at a discount to their NAV, which discounts have, on occasion, been substantial and lasted for sustained periods of time.

 

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Certain money market funds that operate in accordance with Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act float their NAV while others seek to preserve the value of investments at a stable NAV (typically $1.00 per share). An investment in a money market fund, even an investment in a fund seeking to maintain a stable NAV per share, is not guaranteed, and it is possible for a Fund to lose money by investing in these and other types of money market funds. If the liquidity of a money market fund’s portfolio deteriorates below certain levels, the money market fund may suspend redemptions (i.e., impose a redemption gate) and thereby prevent a Fund from selling its investment in the money market fund or impose a fee of up to 2% on amounts a Fund redeems from the money market fund (i.e., impose a liquidity fee).

 

Policies and Limitations. For cash management purposes, a Fund may invest an unlimited amount of its uninvested cash and cash collateral received in connection with securities lending in shares of money market funds and unregistered funds that operate in compliance with Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act, whether or not advised by the Manager or an affiliate, under specified conditions. See “Cash Management and Temporary Defensive Positions.”

 

Otherwise, a Fund’s investment in securities of other investment companies is generally limited to (i) 3% of the total voting stock of any one investment company, (ii) 5% of the Fund’s total assets with respect to any one investment company and (iii) 10% of the Fund’s total assets in all investment companies in the aggregate. However, a Fund may exceed these limits when investing in shares of an ETF, subject to the requirements under Rule 12d1-4. In addition, each Fund may exceed these limits when investing in shares of certain other investment companies, subject to the requirements under Rule 12d1-4. See “Fund of Funds Structure.”

 

Fund of fund arrangements must comply with the provisions of the 1940 Act, Rule 12d1-4, or another rule. Pursuant to Rule 12d1-4, a Fund is permitted to exceed the limits of Section 12 of the 1940 Act if the Fund complies with Rule 12d1-4’s conditions, including (i) limits on control and voting; (ii) required evaluations and findings; (iii) required fund of funds investment agreements; and (iv) limits on complex structures.

 

Each Fund is also able to invest up to 100% of its total assets in a master portfolio with the same investment objectives, policies and limitations as the Fund.

 

Short Sales. A Fund may use short sales for hedging and non-hedging purposes. To effect a short sale, a Fund borrows a security from or through a brokerage firm to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund is then obliged to replace the borrowed security by purchasing it at the market price at the time of replacement. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay the lender any dividends on the borrowed security and may be required to pay loan fees or interest. Short sales, at least theoretically, present a risk of unlimited loss on an individual security basis, particularly in cases where the Fund is unable, for whatever reason, to close out its short position, since the Fund may be required to buy the security sold short at a time when the security has appreciated in value, and there is potentially no limit to the amount of such appreciation.

 

A Fund may realize a gain if the security declines in price between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security. A 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 will be increased, by the amount of any premium or interest a Fund is required to pay in connection with a short sale. A short position may be adversely affected by imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of the securities sold short and the securities being hedged.

 

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A Fund may also make short sales against-the-box, in which it sells short securities only if it owns or has the right to obtain without payment of additional consideration an equal amount of the same type of securities sold. The effect of short selling is similar to the effect of leverage. Short selling may amplify changes in a Fund’s NAV. Short selling may also produce higher than normal portfolio turnover, which may result in increased transaction costs to a Fund.

 

Policies and Limitations. A Fund’s ability to engage in short sales may be impaired by any temporary prohibitions on short selling imposed by domestic and certain foreign government regulators. Any short sale borrowing is defined as a derivatives transaction under Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act and will be subject to the requirements of that rule.

 

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. A Fund may invest in stock, warrants or other securities of special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) or similar special purpose entities that pool funds to seek potential acquisition opportunities. Unless and until an acquisition is completed, a SPAC or similar entity generally maintains assets (less a portion retained to cover expenses) in a trust account comprised of U.S. Government securities, money market securities, and cash. If an acquisition is not completed within a pre-established period of time, the invested funds are returned to the entity’s shareholders. Because SPACs and similar entities are in essence blank-check companies without an operating history or ongoing business other than seeking acquisitions, the value of their securities is particularly dependent on the ability of the entity’s management to identify and complete a profitable acquisition. More recently, SPACs have provided an opportunity for startups to go public without going through the traditional IPO process. This presents the risk that startups may become publicly traded with potentially less due diligence than what is typical in a traditional IPO through an underwriter. Since SPAC sponsors often stand to earn equity in the company if a deal is completed, SPAC sponsors may have a potential conflict of interest in completing a deal that may be unfavorable for other investors in the SPAC. SPACs may allow shareholders to redeem their pro rata investment immediately after the SPAC announces a proposed acquisition, sometimes including interest, which may prevent the entity’s management from completing the transaction. Some SPACs may pursue acquisitions only within certain industries or regions, which may increase the volatility of their prices. In addition, investments in SPACs may include private placements, including PIPEs, and, accordingly, may be considered illiquid and/or be subject to restrictions on resale.

 

Stripped Mortgage Backed Securities (SMBS). SMBS are derivative multi-class mortgage securities. SMBS may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government, or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose entities of the foregoing.

 

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SMBS are usually structured with two classes that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of SMBS will have one class receiving some of the interest and most of the principal from the mortgage assets, while the other class will receive most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (the interest-only or “IO” class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (the principal-only or “PO” class). The yield to maturity on an IO class is extremely sensitive 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 a Fund’s yield to maturity from these securities. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, a Fund may fail to recoup some or all of its initial investment in these securities even if the security is in one of the highest rating categories.

 

Although SMBS are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, these securities were only recently developed. As a result, established trading markets have not yet developed and, accordingly, these securities may be deemed “illiquid” and subject to a Fund’s limitations on investments in illiquid securities.

 

Stripped Securities. Stripped securities are the separate income or principal components of a debt security. The risks associated with stripped securities are similar to those of other debt securities, although stripped securities may be more volatile, and the value of certain types of stripped securities may move in the same direction as interest rates. Treasury Department securities that have been stripped by a Federal Reserve Bank are obligations issued by the Treasury Department.

 

Privately stripped government securities are created when a dealer deposits a Treasury Department security or other U.S. Government security with a custodian for safekeeping. The custodian issues separate receipts for the coupon payments and the principal payment, which the dealer then sells. These coupons are not obligations of the Treasury Department.

 

Structured Notes. A Fund may invest in structured notes, such as participatory notes, credit linked notes and securities (“CLNs”), exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) and other related instruments. These instruments are notes where the principal and/or interest rate or value of the structured note is determined by reference to the performance of an underlying indicator. Underlying indicators may include a security or other financial instrument, asset, currency, interest rate, credit rating, commodity, volatility measure or index. Generally, investments in such notes are used as a substitute for positions in underlying indicators. The interest and/or principal payments that may be made on a structured note may vary widely, depending on a variety of factors, including the volatility of the underlying indicator. The performance results of structured notes will not replicate exactly the performance of the underlying indicator that the notes seek to replicate due to transaction costs and other expenses. Issuers of structured notes can vary and may include corporations, banks, broker-dealers and limited purpose trusts or other vehicles. Structured notes may be exchange traded or traded OTC and privately negotiated.

 

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Investments in structured notes involve many of the same risks associated with a direct investment in the underlying indicator the notes seek to replicate. Structured notes may be considered hybrid instruments as they may exhibit features of both fixed income securities and derivatives. The return on a structured note that is linked to a particular underlying indicator that pays dividends generally is increased to the extent of any dividends paid in connection with the underlying indicator. However, the holder of a structured note typically does not receive voting rights and other rights as it would if it directly owned the underlying indicator. In addition, structured notes are subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the issuer of the structured note will not fulfill its contractual obligation to complete the transaction with a Fund. Structured notes constitute general unsecured contractual obligations of the issuer of the note and a Fund is relying on the creditworthiness of such issuer and has no rights under a structured note against the issuer of an underlying indicator. Structured notes involve transaction costs. Structured notes may be considered illiquid and, therefore, structured notes considered illiquid will be subject to a Fund’s percentage limitation on investments in illiquid securities.

 

CLNs are typically issued by a limited purpose trust or other vehicle (the “CLN trust”) that, in turn, invests in a derivative or basket of derivatives instruments, such as credit default swaps, interest rate swaps and/or other securities, in order to provide exposure to certain high yield, sovereign debt, emerging markets, or other fixed income markets. Generally, investments in CLNs represent the right to receive periodic income payments (in the form of distributions) and payment of principal at the end of the term of the CLN. However, these payments are conditioned on the CLN trust’s receipt of payments from, and the CLN trust’s potential obligations, to the counterparties to the derivative instruments and other securities in which the CLN trust invests. For example, the CLN trust may sell one or more credit default swaps, under which the CLN trust would receive a stream of payments over the term of the swap agreements provided that no event of default has occurred with respect to the referenced debt obligation upon which the swap is based. If a default were to occur, the stream of payments may stop and the CLN trust would be obligated to pay the counterparty the par (or other agreed upon value) of the referenced debt obligation. This, in turn, would reduce the amount of income and principal that a Fund would receive as an investor in the CLN trust.

 

A Fund may enter in CLNs to gain access to sovereign debt and securities in emerging markets, particularly in markets where the Fund is not able to purchase securities directly due to domicile restrictions or tax restrictions or tariffs. In such an instance, the issuer of the CLN may purchase the reference security directly and/or gain exposure through a credit default swap or other derivative.

 

A Fund’s investments in CLNs are subject to the risks associated with the underlying reference obligations and derivative instruments, including, among others, credit risk, default risk, counterparty risk, interest rate risk, leverage risk and management risk.

 

Structured notes may also include exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”), which are typically unsecured and unsubordinated like other structured notes. ETN returns are based upon the performance of one or more underlying indicators and typically, no periodic coupon payments are distributed and no principal protections exists, even at maturity. ETNs are listed on an exchange and traded in the secondary market. An ETN can be held until maturity, at which time the issuer pays the investor a cash amount equal to the principal amount, subject to the day’s market benchmark or strategy factor. When a Fund invests in ETNs, it will bear its proportionate share of any fees and expenses borne by the ETN. Because fees reduce the amount of return at maturity or upon redemption, if the value of the underlying indicator decreases or does not increase significantly, a Fund may receive less than the principal amount of its investment at maturity or upon redemption. In addition, the value of an ETN also may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in underlying indicator, changes in the applicable interest rates, and economic, legal, political, or geographic events that affect the underlying indicator. Some ETNs that use leverage can, at times, be relatively illiquid, and thus they may be difficult to purchase or sell at a fair price. Leveraged ETNs are subject to the same risk as other instruments that use leverage in any form. There may be restrictions on a Fund’s right to redeem its investment in an ETN, which are generally meant to be held until maturity. A decision by a Fund to sell ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market. In addition, although an ETN may be listed on an exchange, the issuer may not be required to maintain the listing, and there can be no assurance that a secondary market will exist for an ETN.

 

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Sukuk. Sukuk are financial certificates which are structured to comply with Shariah law and its investment principles, which prohibit the charging or payment of interest. Sukuk represent undivided shares in the ownership of tangible assets relating to a specific investment activity. The sukuk issuer, often a special purpose vehicle established to issue the sukuk, holds title to an asset or pool of assets. The sukuk represent an interest in that asset, so the income to the investor comes from a share in revenues generated from the asset, not from interest on the investor’s money. The sukuk investor’s investment in the sukuk does not represent a debt by the issuer of the underlying asset to the entity that issued the sukuk. The issuer of the sukuk agrees in advance to repurchase the sukuk from the investor on a certain date at a certain price.

 

As unsecured investments, sukuk are backed only by the credit of the issuing entity, which may be a special purpose vehicle that holds no other assets. They are thus subject to the risk that the issuer may not be able to repurchase the instrument at the agreed upon date for the agreed upon price, if at all. Furthermore, since the purchasers of sukuk are investors in the underlying asset, they are subject to the risk that the asset may not perform as expected, and the flow of income from the investments may be slower than expected or may cease altogether. In the event of default, the process may take longer to resolve than conventional bonds. Evolving interpretations of Islamic law by courts or prominent scholars may affect the free transferability of sukuk in ways that cannot now be foreseen. In that event, a Fund may be required to hold its sukuk for longer than intended, even if their condition is deteriorating.

 

While the sukuk market has grown significantly in recent years, there may be times when the market is illiquid and it is difficult for a Fund to make an investment in or dispose of sukuk. Furthermore, the global sukuk market is significantly smaller than the conventional bond markets and restrictions imposed by the Shariah board of the issuing entity may limit the investable universe of the Fund. Although a Fund may invest in sukuk, other investments by the Fund, and the Fund as a whole, will not conform to Shariah law.

 

Terrorism Risks. The terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, had a disruptive effect on the U.S. economy and financial markets. Terrorist attacks and other geopolitical events have led to, and may in the future lead to, increased short-term market volatility and may have long-term effects on U.S. and world economies and financial markets. Those events could also have an acute effect on individual issuers, related groups of issuers, or issuers concentrated in a single geographic area. A similar disruption of the financial markets or other terrorist attacks could adversely impact interest rates, auctions, secondary trading, ratings, credit risk, inflation and other factors relating to portfolio securities and adversely affect Fund service providers and the Funds’ operations.

 

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U.S. Government and Agency Securities. “U.S. Government Securities” are obligations of the Treasury Department backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. During times of market turbulence, investors may turn to the safety of securities issued or guaranteed by the Treasury Department, causing the prices of these securities to rise and their yields to decline. As a result of this and other market influences, yields of short-term Treasury Department debt instruments are currently near historical lows.

 

“U.S. Government Agency Securities” are issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies or by instrumentalities of the U.S. Government, such as Ginnie Mae (also known as the Government National Mortgage Association), Fannie Mae (also known as the Federal National Mortgage Association), Freddie Mac (also known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), SLM Corporation (formerly, the Student Loan Marketing Association) (commonly known as “Sallie Mae”), Federal Home Loan Banks (“FHLB”), and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Some U.S. Government Agency Securities are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States, while others may be supported by the issuer’s ability to borrow from the Treasury Department, subject to the Treasury Department’s discretion in certain cases, or only by the credit of the issuer. Accordingly, there is at least a possibility of default. U.S. Government Agency Securities include U.S. Government agency mortgage-backed securities. (See “Mortgage-Backed Securities” above.) The market prices of U.S. Government Agency Securities are not guaranteed by the U.S. Government and generally fluctuate inversely with changing interest rates.

 

U.S. Government Agency Securities are deemed to include (i) securities for which the payment of principal and interest is backed by an irrevocable letter of credit issued by the U.S. Government, its agencies, authorities or instrumentalities and (ii) participations in loans made to foreign governments or their agencies that are so guaranteed. The secondary market for certain of these participations is extremely limited. In the absence of a suitable secondary market, such participations may therefore be regarded as illiquid.

 

A Fund may invest in separately traded principal and interest components of securities issued or guaranteed by the Treasury Department. The principal and interest components of selected securities are traded independently under the Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities (“STRIPS”) program. Under the STRIPS program, the principal and interest components are individually numbered and separately issued by the Treasury Department at the request of depository financial institutions, which then trade the component parts independently. The market prices of STRIPS generally are more volatile than that of Treasury Department bills with comparable maturities.

 

Policies and Limitations. Under normal circumstances, each of Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund and Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in U.S. Government and Agency Securities.

 

Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund have no specific limits or requirements relating to the amount of assets invested in U.S. Government and Agency Securities; however, each of these Funds must invest according to its investment objective and policies.

 

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Variable or Floating Rate Securities; Demand and Put Features. Variable rate and floating rate securities provide for automatic adjustment of the interest rate at fixed intervals (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, or semi-annually) or automatic adjustment of the interest rate whenever a specified interest rate or index changes. The interest rate on variable and floating rate securities (collectively, “Adjustable Rate Securities”) ordinarily is determined by reference to a particular bank’s prime rate, the 90-day Treasury Department Bill rate, the rate of return on commercial paper or bank CDs, an index of short-term tax-exempt rates or some other objective measure.

 

Adjustable Rate Securities frequently permit the holder to demand payment of the obligations’ principal and accrued interest at any time or at specified intervals not exceeding one year. The demand feature usually is backed by a credit instrument (e.g., a bank letter of credit) from a creditworthy issuer and sometimes by insurance from a creditworthy insurer. Without these credit enhancements, some Adjustable Rate Securities might not meet a Fund’s quality standards. Accordingly, in purchasing these securities, a Fund relies primarily on the creditworthiness of the credit instrument issuer or the insurer. A Fund can also buy fixed rate securities accompanied by a demand feature or by a put option, which permits the Fund to sell the security to the issuer or third party at a specified price. A Fund may rely on the creditworthiness of issuers of the credit enhancements in purchasing these securities.

 

Policies and Limitations. No Fund may invest more than 5% of its total assets in securities backed by credit instruments from any one issuer or by insurance from any one insurer. For purposes of this limitation, each Fund excludes securities that do not rely on the credit instrument or insurance for their ratings, i.e., stand on their own credit. For purposes of determining its dollar-weighted average maturity, a Fund calculates the remaining maturity of variable and floating rate instruments as provided in Rule 2a-7. In calculating its dollar-weighted average maturity and duration, a Fund is permitted to treat certain Adjustable Rate Securities as maturing on a date prior to the date on which the final repayment of principal must unconditionally be made. In applying such maturity shortening devices, the Manager considers whether the interest rate reset is expected to cause the security to trade at approximately its par value.

 

Warrants and Rights. Warrants and rights may be acquired by a Fund in connection with other securities or separately. Warrants are securities permitting, but not obligating, their holder to subscribe for other securities or commodities and provide a Fund with the right to purchase at a later date other securities of the issuer. Rights are similar to warrants but typically are issued by a company to existing holders of its stock and provide those holders the right to purchase additional shares of stock at a later date. Rights also normally have a shorter duration than warrants. Warrants and rights do not carry with them the right to dividends or voting rights with respect to the securities that they entitle their holder to purchase, and they do not represent any rights in the assets of the issuer. Warrants and rights may be more speculative than certain other types of investments and entail risks that are not associated with a similar investment in a traditional equity instrument. While warrants and rights are generally considered equity securities, because the value of a warrant or right is derived, at least in part, from the value of the underlying securities, they may be considered hybrid instruments that have features of both equity securities and derivative instruments. However, there are characteristics of warrants and rights that differ from derivatives, including that the value of a warrant or right does not necessarily change with the value of the underlying securities. The purchase of warrants and rights involves the risk that a Fund could lose the purchase value of the warrants or rights if the right to subscribe to additional shares is not exercised prior to the warrants’ or rights’ expiration date because warrants and rights cease to have value if they are not exercised prior to their expiration date. Also, the purchase of warrants and rights involves the risk that the effective price paid for the warrants or rights added to the subscription price of the related security may exceed the value of the subscribed security’s market price such as when there is no movement in the price of the underlying security. The market for warrants or rights may be very limited and it may be difficult to sell them promptly at an acceptable price.

 

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Policies and Limitations.

 

Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund normally will not invest more than 10% of its total assets in rights, warrants or common stock.

 

When-Issued and Delayed-Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments. A Fund may purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis and may purchase or sell securities on a forward commitment basis. These transactions involve a commitment by a Fund to purchase or sell securities at a future date (ordinarily within two months, although a Fund may agree to a longer settlement period). These transactions may involve mortgage-backed securities, such as GNMA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac certificates. The price of the underlying securities (usually expressed in terms of yield) and the date when the securities will be delivered and paid for (the settlement date) are fixed at the time the transaction is negotiated. When-issued and delayed-delivery purchases and forward commitment transactions are negotiated directly with the other party, and such commitments are not traded on exchanges.

 

When-issued and delayed-delivery purchases and forward commitment transactions enable a Fund to “lock in” what the Manager believes to be an attractive price or yield on a particular security for a period of time, regardless of future changes in interest rates. For instance, in periods of rising interest rates and falling prices, a Fund might sell securities it owns on a forward commitment basis to limit its exposure to falling prices. In periods of falling interest rates and rising prices, a Fund might purchase a security on a when-issued, delayed-delivery or forward commitment basis and sell a similar security to settle such purchase, thereby obtaining the benefit of currently higher yields. When-issued, delayed-delivery and forward commitment transactions are subject to the risk that the counterparty may fail to complete the purchase or sale of the security. If this occurs, a Fund may lose the opportunity to purchase or sell the security at the agreed upon price. To reduce this risk, a Fund will enter into transactions with established counterparties and the Manager will monitor the creditworthiness of such counterparties.

 

The value of securities purchased on a when-issued, delayed-delivery or forward commitment basis and any subsequent fluctuations in their value are reflected in the computation of a Fund’s NAV starting on the date of the agreement to purchase the securities. Because a Fund has not yet paid for the securities, this produces an effect similar to leverage. A Fund does not earn interest on securities it has committed to purchase until the securities are paid for and delivered on the settlement date. Because a Fund is committed to buying them at a certain price, any change in the value of these securities, even prior to their issuance, affects the value of the Fund’s interests. The purchase of securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis also involves a risk of loss if the value of the security to be purchased declines before the settlement date. When a Fund makes a forward commitment to sell securities it owns, the proceeds to be received upon settlement are included in that Fund’s assets. Fluctuations in the market value of the underlying securities are not reflected in a Fund’s NAV as long as the commitment to sell remains in effect.

 

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When-issued, delayed-delivery and forward commitment transactions may cause a Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so in order to satisfy its purchase or sale obligations.

 

A Fund will purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis or purchase or sell securities on a forward commitment basis only with the intention of completing the transaction and actually purchasing or selling the securities. If deemed advisable as a matter of investment strategy, however, a Fund may dispose of or renegotiate a commitment after it has been entered into. A Fund also may sell securities it has committed to purchase before those securities are delivered to the Fund on the settlement date. A Fund may realize capital gains or losses in connection with these transactions. Depending on the terms of the when-issued, delayed-delivery and forward commitment transactions, these transactions may meet the definition of a derivatives transaction under Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act and, if they do, they will be subject to the requirements of that rule.

 

Each Fund may also enter into a TBA agreement and “roll over” such agreement prior to the settlement date by selling the obligation to purchase the pools set forth in the agreement and entering into a new TBA agreement for future delivery of pools of mortgage-backed securities. TBA mortgage-backed securities may increase prepayment risks because the underlying mortgages may be less favorable than anticipated by a Fund.

 

Zero Coupon Securities, Step Coupon Securities, Pay-in-Kind Securities and Discount Obligations. A Fund may invest in zero coupon securities, step coupon securities and pay-in-kind securities. These do not entitle the holder to any periodic payment of interest prior to maturity or that specify a future date when the securities begin to pay current interest. A Fund may also acquire certain debt securities at a discount. These discount obligations involve special risk considerations. Zero coupon securities and step coupon securities are debt obligations that are issued and traded at a discount from their face amount or par value (known as “original issue discount” or “OID”). OID varies depending on prevailing interest rates, the time remaining until cash payments begin, the liquidity of the security, and the perceived credit quality of the issuer.

 

Zero coupon securities and step coupon securities are redeemed at face value when they mature. Accrued OID must be included in a Fund’s gross income for federal tax purposes ratably each taxable year prior to the receipt of any actual payments. Pay-in-kind securities pay “interest” through the issuance of additional securities.

 

Because each Fund must distribute substantially all of its net investment income (including non-cash income attributable to OID and “interest” on pay-in-kind securities) and net realized gains to its shareholders each taxable year to continue to qualify for treatment as a RIC and to minimize or avoid payment of federal income and excise taxes, a Fund may have to dispose of portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances to generate cash, or may be required to borrow, to satisfy the distribution requirements. See “Additional Tax Information – Taxation of the Funds.”

 

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The market prices of zero coupon securities, step coupon securities, pay-in-kind securities and discount obligations generally are more volatile than the prices of securities that pay cash interest periodically. Those securities and obligations are likely to respond to changes in interest rates to a greater degree than other types of debt securities having a similar maturity and credit quality.

 

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

 

Each Fund’s performance figures are based on historical results and are not intended to indicate future performance. The yield and total return of each Fund will vary. The share price of each Fund will vary, and an investment in a Fund, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than an investor’s original cost.

 

TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS

 

The following tables set forth information concerning the Fund Trustees and Officers of the Trust. All persons named as Fund Trustees and Officers also serve in similar capacities for other funds administered or managed by NBIA. A Fund Trustee who is not an “interested person” of NBIA (including its affiliates) or the Trust is deemed to be an independent Fund Trustee (“Independent Fund Trustee”).

 

Information about the Board of Trustees

 


Name, (Year of Birth), and Address(1)
Position(s) and Length of Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s)(3)
Number of Funds in Fund Complex Overseen by Fund Trustee Other Directorships Held Outside Fund Complex by Fund Trustee(3)
Independent Fund Trustees
Michael J. Cosgrove (1949) Trustee since 2015 President, Carragh Consulting USA, since 2014; formerly, Executive, General Electric Company, 1970 to 2014, including President, Mutual Funds and Global Investment Programs, GE Asset Management, 2011 to 2014, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mutual Funds and Intermediary Business, GE Asset Management, 2007 to 2011, President, Institutional Sales and Marketing, GE Asset Management, 1998 to 2007, and Chief Financial Officer, GE Asset Management, and Deputy Treasurer, GE Company, 1988 to 1993. 49 Member of Advisory Board, Burke Neurological Institute, since 2021; Parish Councilor, St. Pius X, since 2021; formerly, Director, America Press, Inc. (not-for-profit Jesuit publisher), 2015 to 2021; formerly, Director, Fordham University, 2001 to 2018; formerly, Director, The Gabelli Go Anywhere Trust, June 2015 to June 2016; formerly, Director, Skin Cancer Foundation (not-for-profit), 2006 to 2015; formerly, Director, GE Investments Funds, Inc., 1997 to 2014; formerly, Trustee, GE Institutional Funds, 1997 to 2014; formerly, Director, GE Asset Management, 1988 to 2014; formerly, Director, Elfun Trusts, 1988 to 2014; formerly, Trustee, GE Pension & Benefit Plans, 1988 to 2014; formerly, Member of Board of Governors, Investment Company Institute.

 

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Name, (Year of Birth), and Address(1)
Position(s) and Length of Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s)(3)
Number of Funds in Fund Complex Overseen by Fund Trustee Other Directorships Held Outside Fund Complex by Fund Trustee(3)
Marc Gary (1952) Trustee since 2015 Executive Vice Chancellor Emeritus, The Jewish Theological Seminary, since 2020; formerly, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, The Jewish Theological Seminary, 2012 to 2020; formerly, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Fidelity Investments, 2007 to 2012; formerly, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, BellSouth Corporation, 2004 to 2007; formerly, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, BellSouth Corporation, 2000 to 2004; formerly, Associate, Partner, and National Litigation Practice Co-Chair, Mayer, Brown LLP, 1981 to 2000; formerly, Associate Independent Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel, 1990 to 1992. 49 Chair and Director, USCJ Supporting Foundation, since 2021; Director, UJA Federation of Greater New York, since 2019; Trustee, The Jewish Theological Seminary, since 2015; Director, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (not-for-profit), since 2005; formerly, Director, Legility, Inc. (privately held for-profit company), 2012 to 2021; formerly, Director, Equal Justice Works (not-for-profit), 2005 to 2014; formerly, Director, Corporate Counsel Institute, Georgetown University Law Center, 2007 to 2012; formerly, Director, Greater Boston Legal Services (not-for-profit), 2007 to 2012.
Martha Clark Goss (1949) Trustee since 2007 Formerly, President, Woodhill Enterprises Inc./Chase Hollow Associates LLC (personal investment vehicle), 2006 to 2020; formerly, Consultant, Resources Global Professionals (temporary staffing), 2002 to 2006; formerly, Chief Financial Officer, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc., 1995 to 1999; formerly, Enterprise Risk Officer, Prudential Insurance, 1994 to 1995; formerly, President, Prudential Asset Management Company, 1992 to 1994; formerly, President, Prudential Power Funding (investments in electric and gas utilities and alternative energy projects), 1989 to 1992; formerly, Treasurer, Prudential Insurance Company, 1983 to 1989. 49 Director, American Water (water utility), since 2003; Director, Allianz Life of New York (insurance), since 2005; formerly, Director, Berger Group Holdings, Inc. (engineering consulting firm), 2013 to 2018; formerly, Director, Financial Women’s Association of New York (not-for-profit association), 1987 to 1996 and 2003 to 2019; Trustee Emerita, Brown University, since 1998; Director, Museum of American Finance (not-for-profit), since 2013; formerly, Non-Executive Chair and Director, Channel Reinsurance (financial guaranty reinsurance), 2006 to 2010; formerly, Director, Ocwen Financial Corporation (mortgage servicing), 2005 to 2010; formerly, Director, Claire’s Stores, Inc. (retailer), 2005 to 2007; formerly, Director, Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. (engineering consulting firm), 2007 to 2010; formerly, Director, Bank Leumi (commercial bank), 2005 to 2007; formerly, Advisory Board Member, Attensity (software developer), 2005 to 2007; formerly, Director, Foster Wheeler Manufacturing, 1994 to 2004; formerly, Director, Dexter Corp., (Manufacturer of Non-Wovens, Plastics, and Medical Supplies), 1992 to 2001.

 

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Name, (Year of Birth), and Address(1)
Position(s) and Length of Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s)(3)
Number of Funds in Fund Complex Overseen by Fund Trustee Other Directorships Held Outside Fund Complex by Fund Trustee(3)
Michael M. Knetter (1960) Trustee since 2007 President and Chief Executive Officer, University of Wisconsin Foundation, since 2010; formerly, Dean, School of Business, University of Wisconsin - Madison; formerly, Professor of International Economics and Associate Dean, Amos Tuck School of Business - Dartmouth College, 1998 to 2002. 49 Director, 1 William Street Credit Income Fund, since 2018; Board Member, American Family Insurance (a mutual company, not publicly traded), since March 2009; formerly, Trustee, Northwestern Mutual Series Fund, Inc., 2007 to 2011; formerly, Director, Wausau Paper, 2005 to 2011; formerly, Director, Great Wolf Resorts, 2004 to 2009.
Deborah C. McLean (1954) Trustee since 2015 Member, Circle Financial Group (private wealth management membership practice), since 2011; Managing Director, Golden Seeds LLC (an angel investing group), since 2009; Adjunct Professor (Corporate Finance), Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, since 2008; formerly, Visiting Assistant Professor, Fairfield University, Dolan School of Business, Fall 2007; formerly, Adjunct Associate Professor of Finance, Richmond, The American International University in London, 1999 to 2007. 49 Board Member, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, since 2020; Board Member, Norwalk Community College Foundation, since 2014; Dean’s Advisory Council, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, since 2014; formerly, Director and Treasurer, At Home in Darien (not-for-profit), 2012 to 2014; formerly, Director, National Executive Service Corps (not-for-profit), 2012 to 2013; formerly, Trustee, Richmond, The American International University in London, 1999 to 2013.

 

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Name, (Year of Birth), and Address(1)
Position(s) and Length of Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s)(3)
Number of Funds in Fund Complex Overseen by Fund Trustee Other Directorships Held Outside Fund Complex by Fund Trustee(3)
George W. Morriss (1947) Trustee since 2007 Formerly, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, 2012 to 2018; formerly, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, People’s United Bank, Connecticut (a financial services company), 1991 to 2001. 49 Director, 1WS Credit Income Fund; Chair, Audit Committee, since 2018; Director and Chair, Thrivent Church Loan and Income Fund, since 2018; formerly, Trustee, Steben Alternative Investment Funds, Steben Select Multi-Strategy Fund, and Steben Select Multi-Strategy Master Fund, 2013 to 2017; formerly, Treasurer, National Association of Corporate Directors, Connecticut Chapter, 2011 to 2015; formerly, Manager, Larch Lane Multi-Strategy Fund complex (which consisted of three funds), 2006 to 2011; formerly, Member, NASDAQ Issuers’ Affairs Committee, 1995 to 2003.

 

97

 

 


Name, (Year of Birth), and Address(1)
Position(s) and Length of Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s)(3)
Number of Funds in Fund Complex Overseen by Fund Trustee Other Directorships Held Outside Fund Complex by Fund Trustee(3)
Tom D. Seip (1950) Trustee since 2000; Chairman of the Board since 2008; formerly Lead Independent Trustee from 2006 to 2008 Formerly, Managing Member, Ridgefield Farm LLC (a private investment vehicle), 2004 to 2016; formerly, President and CEO, Westaff, Inc. (temporary staffing), May 2001 to January 2002; formerly, Senior Executive, The Charles Schwab Corporation, 1983 to 1998, including Chief Executive Officer, Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc.; Trustee, Schwab Family of Funds and Schwab Investments, 1997 to 1998; and Executive Vice President-Retail Brokerage, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., 1994 to 1997. 49 Trustee, University of Maryland, Shore Regional Health System, since 2020; formerly, Director, H&R Block, Inc. (tax services company), 2001 to 2018; formerly, Director, Talbot Hospice Inc., 2013 to 2016; formerly, Chairman, Governance and Nominating Committee, H&R Block, Inc., 2011 to 2015; formerly, Chairman, Compensation Committee, H&R Block, Inc., 2006 to 2010; formerly, Director, Forward Management, Inc. (asset management company), 1999 to 2006.
James G. Stavridis (1955) Trustee since 2015 Vice Chairman Global Affairs, The Carlyle Group, since 2018; Commentator, NBC News, since 2015; formerly, Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 2013 to 2018; formerly, Admiral, United States Navy, 1976 to 2013, including Supreme Allied Commander, NATO and Commander, European Command, 2009 to 2013, and Commander, United States Southern Command, 2006 to 2009. 49 Director, Fortinet (cybersecurity), since 2021; Director, Ankura, since 2020; Director, Vigor Shipyard, since 2019; Director, Rockefeller Foundation, since 2018; Director, American Water (water utility), since 2018; Director, NFP Corp. (insurance broker and consultant), since 2017; Director, Onassis Foundation, since 2014; Director, Michael Baker International (construction) since 2014; Director, Vertical Knowledge, LLC, since 2013; formerly, Director, BMC Software Federal, LLC, 2014 to 2019; formerly, Director, U.S. Naval Institute, 2014 to 2019; formerly, Director, Navy Federal Credit Union, 2000 to 2002.

 

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Name, (Year of Birth), and Address(1)
Position(s) and Length of Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s)(3)
Number of Funds in Fund Complex Overseen by Fund Trustee Other Directorships Held Outside Fund Complex by Fund Trustee(3)
Fund Trustees who are “Interested Persons”

Joseph V. Amato* (1962)

Chief Executive Officer and President since 2018 and Trustee since 2009 President and Director, Neuberger Berman Group LLC, since 2009; President and Chief Executive Officer, Neuberger Berman BD LLC and Neuberger Berman Holdings LLC (including its predecessor, Neuberger Berman Inc.), since 2007; Chief Investment Officer (Equities) and President (Equities), NBIA (formerly, Neuberger Berman Fixed Income LLC and including predecessor entities), since 2007, and Board Member of NBIA since 2006; formerly, Global Head of Asset Management of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s (“LBHI”) Investment Management Division, 2006 to 2009; formerly, member of LBHI’s Investment Management Division’s Executive Management Committee, 2006 to 2009; formerly, Managing Director, Lehman Brothers Inc. (“LBI”), 2006 to 2008; formerly, Chief Recruiting and Development Officer, LBI, 2005 to 2006; formerly, Global Head of LBI’s Equity Sales and a Member of its Equities Division Executive Committee, 2003 to 2005; President and Chief Executive Officer, twelve registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator. 49 Member of Board of Advisors, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, since 2001; Member of New York City Board of Advisors, Teach for America, since 2005; Trustee, Montclair Kimberley Academy (private school), since 2007; Member of Board of Regents, Georgetown University, since 2013.

 

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(1) The business address of each listed person is 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10104.

 

(2) Pursuant to the Trust’s Amended and Restated Trust Instrument, (“Trust Instrument”) subject to any limitations on the term of service imposed by the By-Laws or any retirement policy adopted by the Fund Trustees, each Fund Trustee shall hold office for life or until his or her successor is elected or the Trust terminates; except that (a) any Fund Trustee may resign by delivering a written resignation; (b) any Fund Trustee may be removed with or without cause at any time by a written instrument signed by at least two-thirds of the other Fund Trustees; (c) any Fund Trustee who requests to be retired, or who has become unable to serve, may be retired by a written instrument signed by a majority of the other Fund Trustees; and (d) any Fund Trustee may be removed at any shareholder meeting by a vote of at least two-thirds of the outstanding shares.

 

(3) Except as otherwise indicated, each individual has held the positions shown during at least the last five years.

 

* Indicates a Fund Trustee who is an “interested person” within the meaning of the 1940 Act. Mr. Amato is an interested person of the Trust by virtue of the fact that he is an officer of NBIA and/or its affiliates.

 

Information about the Officers of the Trust

 

Name, (Year of Birth), and Address (1) Position(s) and Length of
Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s) (3)
Claudia A. Brandon (1956) Executive Vice President since 2008 and Secretary since 1985 Senior Vice President, Neuberger Berman, since 2007 and Employee since 1999; Senior Vice President, NBIA, since 2008 and Assistant Secretary since 2004; formerly, Vice President, Neuberger Berman, 2002 to 2006; formerly, Vice President — Mutual Fund Board Relations, NBIA, 2000 to 2008; formerly, Vice President, NBIA, 1986 to 1999 and Employee, 1984 to 1999; Executive Vice President and Secretary, thirty-three registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.
Agnes Diaz (1971) Vice President since 2013 Senior Vice President, Neuberger Berman, since 2012; Senior Vice President, NBIA, since 2012 and Employee since 1996; formerly, Vice President, Neuberger Berman, 2007 to 2012; Vice President, twelve registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.
Anthony DiBernardo (1979) Assistant Treasurer since 2011 Senior Vice President, Neuberger Berman, since 2014; Senior Vice President, NBIA, since 2014, and Employee since 2003; formerly, Vice President, Neuberger Berman, 2009 to 2014; Assistant Treasurer, twelve registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.

 

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Name, (Year of Birth), and Address (1) Position(s) and Length of
Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s) (3)
Savonne L. Ferguson (1973) Chief Compliance Officer since 2018 Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer (Mutual Funds) and Associate General Counsel, NBIA, since November 2018; formerly, Vice President, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., 2018; formerly, Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel, T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., 2014 to 2018; formerly, Vice President and Director of Regulatory Fund Administration, PNC Capital Advisors, LLC, 2009 to 2014; formerly, Secretary, PNC Funds and PNC Advantage Funds, 2010 to 2014; Chief Compliance Officer, thirty-three registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.

Corey A. Issing (1978)

Chief Legal Officer since 2016 (only for purposes of sections 307 and 406 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002) General Counsel — Mutual Funds since 2016 and Managing Director, NBIA, since 2017; formerly, Associate General Counsel, 2015 to 2016; formerly, Counsel, 2007 to 2015; formerly, Senior Vice President, 2013 to 2016; formerly, Vice President, 2009 to 2013; Chief Legal Officer (only for purposes of sections 307 and 406 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002), thirty-three registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.
Sheila R. James (1965) Assistant Secretary since 2002
Senior Vice President, Neuberger Berman, since 2023 and Employee since 1999; Senior Vice President, NBIA, since 2023; formerly, Vice President, Neuberger Berman, 2008 to 2023; Assistant Vice President, Neuberger Berman, 2007; Employee, NBIA, 1991 to 1999; Assistant Secretary, thirty-three registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.

 

101

 

 

Name, (Year of Birth), and Address (1) Position(s) and Length of
Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s) (3)
Brian Kerrane (1969) Chief Operating Officer since 2015 and Vice President since 2008 Managing Director, Neuberger Berman, since 2013; Chief Operating Officer — Mutual Funds and Managing Director, NBIA, since 2015; formerly, Senior Vice President, Neuberger Berman, 2006 to 2014; Vice President, NBIA, 2008 to 2015 and Employee since 1991; Chief Operating Officer, twelve registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator; Vice President, thirty-three registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.

Anthony Maltese (1959)

Vice President since 2015 Senior Vice President, Neuberger Berman, since 2014 and Employee since 2000; Senior Vice President, NBIA, since 2014; Vice President, twelve registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.
Josephine Marone (1963) Assistant Secretary since 2017 Senior Paralegal, Neuberger Berman, since 2007 and Employee since 2007; Assistant Secretary, thirty-three registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.
Owen F. McEntee, Jr. (1961) Vice President since 2008 Vice President, Neuberger Berman, since 2006; Vice President, NBIA, since 2006 and Employee since 1992; Vice President, twelve registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.
John M. McGovern (1970) Treasurer and Principal Financial and Accounting Officer since 2005 Managing Director, Neuberger Berman, since 2022; Senior Vice President, Neuberger Berman, 2007 to 2021; Senior Vice President, NBIA, since 2007 and Employee since 1993; formerly, Vice President, Neuberger Berman, 2004 to 2006; formerly, Assistant Treasurer, 2002 to 2005; Treasurer and Principal Financial and Accounting Officer, twelve registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.

 

102

 

 

Name, (Year of Birth), and Address (1) Position(s) and Length of
Time Served (2)
Principal Occupation(s) (3)
Frank Rosato (1971) Assistant Treasurer since 2005 Vice President, Neuberger Berman, since 2006; Vice President, NBIA, since 2006 and Employee since 1995; Assistant Treasurer, twelve registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.
Daniel Tracer (1987) Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer since 2023
Senior Vice President and Head of Financial Regulation, Neuberger Berman, since February 2023; Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York, 2016 to 2023; Trial Attorney, Department of Justice Antitrust Division, 2012 to 2015; Senior Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer, five registered investment companies for which NBIA acts as investment manager and/or administrator.

 

(1) The business address of each listed person is 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10104.

 

(2) Pursuant to the By-Laws of the Trust, each officer elected by the Fund Trustees shall hold office until his or her successor shall have been elected and qualified or until his or her earlier death, inability to serve, or resignation. Officers serve at the pleasure of the Fund Trustees and may be removed at any time with or without cause.

 

(3) Except as otherwise indicated, each individual has held the positions shown during at least the last five years.

 

The Board of Trustees

 

The Board of Trustees (“Board”) is responsible for managing the business and affairs of the Trust. Among other things, the Board generally oversees the portfolio management of each Fund and reviews and approves each Fund’s investment advisory and sub-advisory contracts and other principal contracts.

 

The Board has appointed an Independent Fund Trustee to serve in the role of Chairman of the Board. The Chair’s primary responsibilities are (i) to participate in the preparation of the agenda for meetings of the Board and in the identification of information to be presented to the Board; (ii) to preside at all meetings of the Board; (iii) to act as the Board’s liaison with management between meetings of the Board; and (iv) to act as the primary contact for board communications. The Chair may perform such other functions as may be requested by the Board from time to time. Except for any duties specified herein or pursuant to the Trust’s Declaration of Trust or By-laws, the designation as Chair does not impose on such Independent Fund Trustee any duties, obligations or liability that is greater than the duties, obligations or liability imposed on such person as a member of the Board, generally.

 

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As described below, the Board has an established committee structure through which the Board considers and addresses important matters involving the Funds, including those identified as presenting conflicts or potential conflicts of interest for management. The Independent Fund Trustees also regularly meet outside the presence of management and are advised by experienced independent legal counsel knowledgeable in matters of investment company regulation. The Board periodically evaluates its structure and composition as well as various aspects of its operations. The Board believes that its leadership structure, including its Independent Chair and its committee structure, is appropriate in light of, among other factors, the asset size of the fund complex overseen by the Board, the nature and number of funds overseen by the Board, the number of Fund Trustees, the range of experience represented on the Board, and the Board’s responsibilities.

 

Additional Information About Fund Trustees

 

In choosing each Fund Trustee to serve, the Board was generally aware of each Fund Trustee’s skills, experience, judgment, analytical ability, intelligence, common sense, previous profit and not-for-profit board membership and, for each Independent Fund Trustee, his or her demonstrated willingness to take an independent and questioning stance toward management. Each Fund Trustee also now has considerable familiarity with the Trust and each Fund of the Trust, their investment manager, sub-advisers, administrator and distributor, and their operations, as well as the special regulatory requirements governing regulated investment companies and the special responsibilities of investment company directors, and in the case of each Trustee who has served on the Board over multiple years, as a result of his or her substantial prior service as a Trustee of the Trust. No particular qualification, experience or background establishes the basis for any Fund Trustee’s position on the Board and the Governance and Nominating Committee and individual Board members may have attributed different weights to the various factors.

 

In addition to the information set forth in the table above and other relevant qualifications, experience, attributes or skills applicable to a particular Fund Trustee, the following provides further information about the qualifications and experience of each Fund Trustee.

 

Independent Fund Trustees

 

Michael J. Cosgrove: Mr. Cosgrove is President of an asset management consulting firm. He has experience as President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Financial Officer of the asset management division of a major multinational corporation. He also has experience as a President of institutional sales and marketing for the asset management division of the same corporation, where he was responsible for all distribution, marketing, and development of mutual fund products. He also has served as a member of the boards of various not-for-profit organizations. He has served as a Fund Trustee for multiple years.

 

Marc Gary: Mr. Gary has legal and investment management experience as executive vice president and general counsel of a major asset management firm. He also has experience as executive vice president and general counsel at a large corporation, and as national litigation practice chair at a large law firm. He has served as a member of the boards of various profit and not-for-profit organizations. He formerly served as the executive vice chancellor and COO of a religious seminary where he oversaw the seminary’s institutional budget. He has served as a Fund Trustee for multiple years.

 

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Martha Clark Goss: Ms. Goss has experience as chief operating and financial officer of an insurance holding company. She has experience as an investment professional, head of an investment unit and treasurer for a major insurance company, experience as the Chief Financial Officer of two consulting firms, and experience as a lending officer and credit analyst at a major bank. She has experience managing a personal investment vehicle. She has served as a member of the boards of various profit and not-for-profit organizations, including five NYSE listed companies, and a university. She has served as a Fund Trustee for multiple years.

 

Michael M. Knetter: Dr. Knetter has organizational management experience as a dean of a major university business school and as President and CEO of a university supporting foundation. He also has responsibility for overseeing management of the university’s endowment. He has academic experience as a professor of international economics. He has served as a member of the boards of various public companies and another mutual fund. He has served as a Fund Trustee for multiple years.

 

Deborah C. McLean: Ms. McLean has experience in the financial services industry. She is currently involved with a high net worth private wealth management membership practice and an angel investing group, where she is active in investment screening and deal leadership and execution. For many years she has been engaged in numerous roles with a variety of not-for-profit and private company boards and has taught corporate finance at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She commenced her professional training at a major financial services corporation, where she was employed for multiple years. She has served as a Fund Trustee for multiple years.

 

George W. Morriss: Mr. Morriss has experience in senior management and as chief financial officer of a financial services company. He has investment management experience as a portfolio manager managing personal and institutional funds. He has served as a member of a committee of representatives from companies listed on NASDAQ. He has served on the board of another mutual fund complex. He has served as a member of the board of funds of hedge funds. He has an advanced degree in finance. He has served as a Fund Trustee for multiple years.

 

Tom D. Seip: Mr. Seip has experience in senior management and as chief executive officer and director of a financial services company overseeing other mutual funds and brokerage. He has experience as director of an asset management company. He has experience in management of a private investment partnership. He has served as a Fund Trustee for multiple years and as Independent Chair and/or Lead Independent Trustee of the Board.

 

James G. Stavridis: Admiral Stavridis has organizational management experience as a dean of a major university school of law and diplomacy. He also held many leadership roles with the United States Navy over the span of nearly four decades, including serving as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and serving at the Pentagon at different periods of time as a strategic and long range planner on the staffs of the chief of Naval Operations, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as Commander, U.S. Southern Command. He has also served as an advisor to private and public companies on geopolitical and cybersecurity matters. He has served as a Fund Trustee for multiple years.

 

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Fund Trustees who are “Interested Persons”

 

Joseph V. Amato: Mr. Amato has investment management experience as an executive with Neuberger Berman and another financial services firm. Effective July 1, 2018, Mr. Amato serves as Managing Director of Neuberger Berman and President–Mutual Funds of NBIA. He also serves as Neuberger Berman’s Chief Investment Officer for equity investments. He has experience in leadership roles within Neuberger Berman and its affiliated entities. He has served as a member of the board of a major university business school. He has served as a trustee for the Neuberger Berman fund complex for multiple years.

 

Information About Committees

 

The Board has established several standing committees to oversee particular aspects of the Funds’ management. The standing committees of the Board are described below.

 

Audit Committee. The Audit Committee’s purposes are: (a) in accordance with exchange requirements and Rule 32a-4 under the 1940 Act, to oversee the accounting and financial reporting processes of the Funds and, as the Committee deems appropriate, to inquire into the internal control over financial reporting of service providers; (b) in accordance with exchange requirements and Rule 32a-4 under the 1940 Act, to oversee the quality and integrity of the Funds’ financial statements and the independent audit thereof; (c) in accordance with exchange requirements and Rule 32a-4 under the 1940 Act, to oversee, or, as appropriate, assist Board oversight of, the Funds’ compliance with legal and regulatory requirements that relate to the Funds’ accounting and financial reporting, internal control over financial reporting and independent audits; (d) to approve prior to appointment by the Board, the engagement of the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm and, in connection therewith, to review and evaluate the qualifications, independence and performance of the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm; (e) to act as a liaison between the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm and the full Board; (f) to oversee the operation of policies and procedures reasonably designed to ensure that each portfolio holding is valued in an appropriate and timely manner, reflecting information known to management (including management’s internal Valuation Committee) about the issuer, current market conditions, and other material factors (“Pricing Policy”); (g) to consider and evaluate, and recommend to the Board when the Committee deems it appropriate, amendments to the Pricing Policy proposed by management, counsel, the auditors, the Committee itself or others; and (h) to oversee fair value determinations performed by the Manager as the Funds’ valuation designee and, in connection therewith, to receive and review the reports and notifications required to be provided by the valuation designee pursuant to Rule 2a-5 under the 1940 Act and to request such information from the valuation designee as the Committee deems necessary to oversee the performance of fair valuation determinations by the valuation designee. Its members are Michael J. Cosgrove (Chair), Martha C. Goss (Vice Chair), and Deborah C. McLean. All members are Independent Fund Trustees. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Committee met 7 times.

 

Contract Review Committee. The Contract Review Committee is responsible for reviewing and making recommendations to the Board regarding whether to approve or renew the Trust’s principal contractual arrangements, Rule 12b-1 plans, and such other agreements or plans involving the Trust as the Board determines from time to time. The Contract Review Committee oversees and guides the process by which the Independent Trustees annually consider whether to approve or renew such contracts and plans. Its members are Marc Gary, Deborah C. McLean (Chair), George W. Morriss (Vice Chair) and Michael J. Cosgrove. All members are Independent Fund Trustees. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Committee met 5 times.

 

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Ethics and Compliance Committee. The Ethics and Compliance Committee generally: (a) coordinates the Board’s oversight of the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) in connection with the implementation of the Trust’s program for compliance with Rule 38a-1 and the Trust’s implementation and enforcement of its compliance policies and procedures; (b) oversees the compliance with the Trust’s Code of Ethics, which restricts the personal securities transactions, including transactions in Fund shares, of employees, officers, and trustees; (c) considers and evaluates management’s framework for identifying, prioritizing, and managing compliance risks; (d) oversees arrangements for securities lending, if any, in a manner consistent with applicable regulatory requirements, with special emphasis on any arrangements in which a Fund deals with the manager or any affiliate of the manager as principal or agent; (e) oversees the program by which the manager seeks to monitor and improve the quality of execution for portfolio transactions; and (f) considers and evaluates management’s reports regarding internal audit reviews involving compliance matters; payments made to third-party intermediaries; and proxy voting policies, guidelines and procedures. The Committee shall not assume oversight duties to the extent that such duties have been assigned by the Board expressly to another Committee of the Board (such as oversight of internal controls over financial reporting, which has been assigned to the Audit Committee) or to the Board as a whole. The Committee’s primary function is oversight. Each investment adviser, subadviser, principal underwriter, administrator, custodian and transfer agent, as applicable (collectively, “Service Providers”) is responsible for its own compliance with the federal securities laws and for devising, implementing, maintaining and updating appropriate policies, procedures and codes of ethics to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations and their contracts with the Funds. The CCO is responsible for administering each Fund’s compliance program, including devising and implementing appropriate methods of testing compliance by the Fund and its Service Providers. Its members are Marc Gary (Chair), James G. Stavridis (Vice Chair), Michael M. Knetter, and Tom D. Seip. All members are Independent Fund Trustees. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Committee met 4 times. The entire Board will receive at least annually a report on the compliance programs of the Trust and service providers and the required annual reports on the administration of the Code of Ethics and the required annual certifications from the Trust, NBIA and NBEL.

 

Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is responsible for acting in an emergency when a quorum of the Board is not available; the Committee has all the powers of the Board when the Board is not in session to the extent permitted by Delaware law. Its members are Joseph V. Amato (Vice Chair), Michael J. Cosgrove, Marc Gary, Martha C. Goss, Michael M. Knetter, Deborah C. McLean, George W. Morriss, and Tom D. Seip (Chair). All members, except for Mr. Amato, are Independent Fund Trustees. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Committee did not meet.

 

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Governance and Nominating Committee. The Governance and Nominating Committee is responsible for: (a) considering and evaluating the structure, composition and operation of the Board and each committee thereof, including the operation of the annual self-evaluation by the Board; (b) evaluating and nominating individuals to serve as Fund Trustees including as Independent Fund Trustees, as members of committees, as Chair of the Board and as officers of the Trust; (c) recommending for Board approval any proposed changes to Committee membership and recommending for Board and Committee approval any proposed changes to the Chair and Vice Chair appointments of any Committee following consultation with members of each such Committee; and (d) considering and making recommendations relating to the compensation of Independent Fund Trustees. Its members are Martha C. Goss (Chair), Michael M. Knetter, Tom D. Seip, and James G. Stavridis (Vice Chair). All members are Independent Fund Trustees. The selection and nomination of candidates to serve as independent trustees is committed to the discretion of the current Independent Fund Trustees. The Committee will consider nominees recommended by shareholders; shareholders may send resumes of recommended persons to the attention of Claudia A. Brandon, Secretary, Neuberger Berman Income Funds, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Committee met 4 times.

 

Investment Performance Committee. The Investment Performance Committee is responsible for overseeing and guiding the process by which the Board reviews Fund performance and interfacing with management personnel responsible for investment risk management. Each Fund Trustee is a member of the Committee. Michael M. Knetter and Deborah C. McLean are the Chair and the Vice Chair, respectively, of the Committee. All members, except for Mr. Amato, are Independent Fund Trustees. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Committee met 4 times.

 

Risk Management Oversight

 

As an integral part of its responsibility for oversight of the Funds in the interests of shareholders, the Board oversees risk management of the Funds’ administration and operations. The Board views risk management as an important responsibility of management.

 

A Fund faces a number of risks, such as investment risk, counterparty risk, valuation risk, liquidity risk, reputational risk, risk of operational failure or lack of business continuity, cybersecurity risk, 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 a Fund. Under the overall supervision of the Board, the Funds, the Funds’ investment manager, a Fund’s sub-adviser (as applicable), and the affiliates of the investment manager and the sub-adviser, or other service providers to the Funds, 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.

 

The Board exercises oversight of the investment manager’s risk management processes primarily through the Board’s committee structure. The various committees, as appropriate, and/or, at times, the Board, meet periodically with the Chief Risk Officer, head of operational risk, the Chief Information Security Officer, the Chief Compliance Officer, the Treasurer, the Chief Investment Officers for equity, alternative and fixed income, the heads of Internal Audit, and the Funds’ independent auditor. The committees or the Board, as appropriate, review with these individuals, among other things, the design and implementation of risk management strategies in their respective areas, and events and circumstances that have arisen and responses thereto.

 

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The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the Funds 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 Funds’ goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Fund Trustees as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information. Furthermore, it is in the very nature of certain risks that they can be evaluated only as probabilities, and not as certainties. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s risk management oversight is subject to substantial limitations, and no risk management program can predict the likelihood or seriousness of, or mitigate the effects of, all potential risks. 

 

Compensation and Indemnification

 

The Trust’s Trust Instrument provides that the Trust will indemnify its Fund Trustees and officers against liabilities and expenses reasonably incurred in connection with litigation in which they may be involved because of their offices with the Trust, unless it is adjudicated that they (a) engaged in bad faith, willful misfeasance, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of their offices, or (b) did not act in good faith in the reasonable belief that their action was in the best interest of the Trust. In the case of settlement, such indemnification will not be provided unless it has been determined (by a court or other body approving the settlement or other disposition, by a majority of disinterested trustees based upon a review of readily available facts, or in a written opinion of independent counsel) that such officers or Fund Trustees have not engaged in willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of their duties.

 

Officers and Fund Trustees who are interested persons of the Trust, as defined in the 1940 Act, receive no salary or fees from the Trust.

 

Effective January 1, 2022, for serving as a trustee of the Neuberger Berman Funds, each Independent Fund Trustee and any Fund Trustee who is an “interested person” of the Trust but who is not an employee of NBIA or its affiliates receives an annual retainer of $180,000, paid quarterly, and a fee of $15,000 for each of the regularly scheduled meetings he or she attends in-person or by telephone. For any additional special in-person or telephonic meeting of the Board, the Governance and Nominating Committee will determine whether a fee is warranted. To compensate for the additional time commitment, the Chair of the Audit Committee, the Chair of the Contract Review Committee, and Chair of the Closed-End Fund Committee (effective January 1, 2023) receive $25,000 per year and each Chair of the other Committees receives $15,000 per year, with the exception of the Chair of the Executive Committee who receives no additional compensation for this role. No additional compensation is provided for service on a Board committee. The Chair of the Board who is also an Independent Fund Trustee receives an additional $70,000 per year.

 

The Neuberger Berman Funds reimburse Independent Fund Trustees for their travel and other out-of-pocket expenses related to attendance at Board meetings. The Independent Fund Trustee compensation is allocated to each fund in the fund family based on a method the Board finds reasonable.

 

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The following table sets forth information concerning the compensation of the Fund Trustees. The Trust does not have any retirement plan for the Fund Trustees.

 

TABLE OF COMPENSATION
FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDED 10/31/2022

 

Name and Position with the Trust Aggregate
Compensation
from the Trust

Total Compensation from Investment
Companies in the Neuberger Berman
Fund Complex Paid to Fund Trustees

Independent Fund Trustees    
Michael J. Cosgrove Trustee $47,336 $255,000
Marc Gary Trustee $46,407 $250,000

Martha C. Goss Trustee

$46,407 $250,000

Michael M. Knetter Trustee

$46,407 $250,000
Deborah C. McLean Trustee $48,026 $258,750

George W. Morriss Trustee

$47,336 $255,000
Tom D. Seip Chairman of the Board and Trustee $55,666 $300,000
James G. Stavridis Trustee $43,621 $235,000
Peter P. Trapp Trustee1 $10,532 $55,000
Fund Trustees who are “Interested Persons”

Joseph V. Amato President, Chief Executive Officer and Trustee

$0 $0

 

1 Mr. Trapp retired from his position as Trustee effective December 31, 2021.

  

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Ownership of Equity Securities by the Fund Trustees

 

The following table sets forth the dollar range of securities owned by each Fund Trustee in each Fund as of December 31, 2022.

 

  Core Bond Emerging Markets Debt Floating Rate Income High Income Bond Municipal High Income Municipal Impact Municipal Intermediate Bond Short Duration Bond Strategic Income
Independent Fund Trustees
Michael J. Cosgrove A A A A A A A A B
Marc Gary A A A A A A A A A
Martha C. Goss A A A A A A A A A
Michael M. Knetter A A A A A A A A A
Deborah C. McLean A A A A A A A A A
George W. Morriss A A A A A A A A A
Tom D. Seip A A A A A A A A A
James G. Stavridis C A A B A A A A B
Fund Trustees who are “Interested Persons”
Joseph V. Amato A A A E A A A A A

 

A = None; B = $1-$10,000; C = $10,001 - $50,000; D = $50,001-$100,000; E = over $100,000

 

The following table sets forth the aggregate dollar range of securities owned by each Fund Trustee in all the funds in the fund family overseen by the Fund Trustee, valued as of December 31, 2022.

 

Name of Fund Trustee Aggregate Dollar Range of Equity Securities Held in all
Registered Investment Companies Overseen by Fund
Trustee in Family of Investment Companies
Independent Fund Trustees
Michael J. Cosgrove E
Marc Gary E
Martha C. Goss E
Michael M. Knetter E
Deborah C. McLean E
George W. Morriss E
Tom D. Seip E
James G. Stavridis E
Fund Trustees who are “Interested Persons”
Joseph V. Amato E

 

A = None; B = $1-$10,000; C = $10,001 - $50,000; D = $50,001-$100,000; E = over $100,000

 

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As of January 31, 2023, the Fund Trustees and officers of the Trust, as a group, owned beneficially or of record less than 1% of the outstanding shares of each Class of each Fund.

 

Independent Fund Trustees’ Ownership of Securities

 

No Independent Fund Trustee (including his/her immediate family members) owns any securities (not including shares of registered investment companies) in any Neuberger Berman entity.

 

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SERVICES

 

Investment Manager and Administrator

 

NBIA serves as the investment manager to each Fund pursuant to management agreements with the Trust, one for Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund and Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund dated May 4, 2009, and one for Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund dated May 4, 2009 (each a “Management Agreement” and collectively, the “Management Agreements”).

 

Each Management Agreement provides, in substance, that NBIA will make and implement investment decisions for each Fund in its discretion and will continuously develop an investment program for each Fund’s assets. Each Management Agreement permits NBIA to effect securities transactions on behalf of each Fund through associated persons of NBIA. Each Management Agreement also specifically permits NBIA to compensate, through higher commissions, brokers and dealers who provide investment research and analysis to the Funds.

 

NBIA provides to each Fund, without separate cost, office space, equipment, and facilities and the personnel necessary to perform executive, administrative, and clerical functions. NBIA pays all salaries, expenses, and fees of the officers, trustees and employees of the Trust who are officers, directors, or employees of NBIA. One director of NBIA, who also serves as an officer of NBIA, presently serves as a Fund Trustee and/or officer of the Trust. See “Trustees and Officers.” Each Fund pays NBIA a management fee based on the Fund’s average daily net assets, as described below.

 

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NBIA engages NBEL as sub-adviser to Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund to choose the Fund’s investments and handle its day-to-day investment business. See “Sub-Adviser” below.

 

NBIA also provides facilities, services, and personnel as well as accounting, record keeping and other services to each Fund pursuant to nine administration agreements with the Trust, one for the Investor Class dated May 4, 2009, one for the Trust Class of Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund dated May 4, 2009, one for the Institutional Class dated May 4, 2009, one for the Trust Class of Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund dated May 4, 2009, one for Class A dated May 4, 2009, one for Class C dated May 4, 2009, one for Class R3 dated May 15, 2009, one for Class R6 dated March 14, 2013, and one for Class E dated July 2, 2021 (each an “Administration Agreement” and collectively, the “Administration Agreements”). For such administrative services, each Class of a Fund pays NBIA a fee based on the Class’s average daily net assets, as described below.

 

Under each Administration Agreement, NBIA provides to each Class and its shareholders certain shareholder, shareholder-related, and other services that are not furnished by the Fund’s shareholder servicing agent or third party investment providers. NBIA provides the direct shareholder services specified in the Administration Agreements and assists the shareholder servicing agent or third party investment providers in the development and implementation of specified programs and systems to enhance overall shareholder servicing capabilities. NBIA or the third party investment provider solicits and gathers shareholder proxies, performs services connected with the qualification of each Fund’s shares for sale in various states, and furnishes other services the parties agree from time to time should be provided under the Administration Agreements.

 

The services provided by NBIA under the Management Agreements and Administration Agreements include, among others, overall responsibility for providing all supervisory, management, and administrative services reasonably necessary for the operation of the Funds, which may include, among others, compliance monitoring, operational and investment risk management, legal and administrative services and portfolio accounting services. These services also include, among other things: (i) coordinating and overseeing all matters relating to the operation of the Funds, including overseeing the shareholder servicing agent, custodian, accounting services agent, independent auditors, legal counsel and other agents and contractors engaged by the Funds; (ii) assuring that all financial, accounting and other records required to be prepared and preserved by each Fund are prepared and preserved by it or on its behalf in accordance with applicable laws and regulations; (iii) assisting in the preparation of all periodic reports by the Funds to shareholders; (iv) assisting in the preparation of all reports and filings required to maintain the registration and qualification of each Fund and its shares, or to meet other regulatory or tax requirements applicable to the Fund under federal and state securities and tax laws; and (v) furnishing such office space, office equipment and office facilities as are adequate for the needs of the Funds.

 

NBIA also plays an active role in the daily pricing of Fund shares, provides information to the Board necessary to its oversight of certain valuation functions, and annually conducts due diligence on the outside independent pricing services. NBIA prepares reports and other materials necessary and appropriate for the Board’s ongoing oversight of each Fund and its service providers; prepares an extensive report in connection with the Board’s annual review of the Management Agreement, Sub-Advisory Agreement, Distribution Agreements and Rule 12b-1 Plans and, in connection therewith, gathers and synthesizes materials from the Subadviser; and monitors the Subadviser’s implementation of its compliance program and code of ethics as they relate to the applicable Funds.

 

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Each Management Agreement continues until October 31, 2023. Each Management Agreement is renewable thereafter from year to year with respect to a Fund, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote of a majority of the Independent Fund Trustees, and (2) by the vote of a majority of the Fund Trustees or by a 1940 Act majority vote of the outstanding shares of that Fund. Each Administration Agreement continues until October 31, 2023. Each Administration Agreement is renewable thereafter from year to year with respect to a Fund, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote of a majority of the Independent Fund Trustees, and (2) by the vote of a majority of the Fund Trustees or by a 1940 Act majority vote of the outstanding shares of that Fund.

 

Each Management Agreement is terminable, without penalty, with respect to a Fund on 60 days’ written notice either by the Trust or by NBIA. Each Administration Agreement is terminable, without penalty, with respect to a Fund on 60 days’ written notice either by the Trust or by NBIA. Each Agreement terminates automatically if it is assigned.

 

From time to time, NBIA or a Fund may enter into arrangements with registered broker-dealers or other third parties pursuant to which it pays the broker-dealer or third party a per account fee or a fee based on a percentage of the aggregate NAV of Fund shares purchased by the broker-dealer or third party on behalf of its customers, in payment for administrative and other services rendered to such customers.

 

NBIA may engage one or more of foreign affiliates that are not registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (“participating affiliates”) in accordance with applicable SEC no-action letters. As participating affiliates, whether or not registered with the SEC, the affiliates may provide designated investment personnel to associate with NBIA as “associated persons” of NBIA and perform specific advisory services for NBIA, including services for the Funds, which may involve, among other services, portfolio management and/or placing orders for securities and other instruments. The designated employees of a participating affiliate act for NBIA and are subject to certain NBIA policies and procedures as well as supervision and periodic monitoring by NBIA. The Funds will pay no additional fees and expenses as a result of any such arrangements. NBEL, Neuberger Berman Singapore Pte. Limited and Neuberger Berman Asset Management Ireland Limited are considered participating affiliates of NBIA pursuant to applicable regulatory guidance.

 

Third parties may be subject to federal or state laws that limit their ability to provide certain administrative or distribution related services. NBIA and the Funds intend to contract with third parties for only those services they may legally provide. If, due to a change in laws governing those third parties or in the interpretation of any such law, a third party is prohibited from performing some or all of the above-described services, NBIA or a Fund may be required to find alternative means of providing those services. Any such change is not expected to impact the Funds or their shareholders adversely.

 

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From time to time, NBIA or its affiliates may invest “seed” capital in a Fund. These investments are generally intended to enable the Fund to commence investment operations and achieve sufficient scale and may be withdrawn, in whole or in part, at such time as NBIA or its affiliates determine to be appropriate. NBIA and its affiliates may, from time to time, hedge some or all of the investment exposure of the seed capital invested in the Fund.

 

Management and Administration Fees

 

For investment management services, Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.18% of the first $2 billion of the Fund’s average daily net assets and 0.15% of average daily net assets in excess of $2 billion. Prior to January 15, 2020, for investment management services, Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund paid NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.25% of the first $500 million of the Fund’s average daily net assets, 0.225% of the next $500 million, 0.20% of the next $500 million, 0.175% of the next $500 million, and 0.15% of average daily net assets in excess of $2 billion.

 

For investment management services, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.55% of average daily net assets.

 

For investment management services, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.40% of average daily net assets. Prior to January 15, 2021, for investment management services, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund paid NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.50% of average daily net assets.

 

For investment management services, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.48% of average daily net assets.

 

For investment management services, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.400% of the first $500 million of the Fund’s average daily net assets, 0.375% of the next $500 million, 0.350% of the next $500 million, 0.325% of the next $500 million, and 0.300% of average daily net assets in excess of $2 billion.

 

For investment management services, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.25% of the first $500 million of the Fund’s average daily net assets, 0.225% of the next $500 million, 0.20% of the next $500 million, 0.175% of the next $500 million, and 0.15% of average daily net assets in excess of $2 billion.

 

For investment management services, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.14% of the Fund’s average daily net assets. Prior to September 12, 2019, for investment management services, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund paid NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.23% of the first $500 million of the Fund’s average daily net assets, 0.225% of the next $500 million, 0.20% of the next $500 million, 0.175% of the next $500 million and 0.15% of average daily net assets in excess of $2 billion.

 

For investment management services, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.17% of the first $2 billion of the Fund’s average daily net assets and 0.15% in excess of $2 billion. Prior to February 28, 2020, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund paid NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.20% of the first $1.5 billion of the Fund’s average daily net assets, 0.175% of the next $500 million, and 0.150% of average daily net assets in excess of $2 billion. 

 

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For investment management services, Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.40% of the Fund’s average daily net assets. 

 

Investor Class. For administrative services, the Investor Class of Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund each pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.27% of that Class’s average daily net assets, plus certain out-of-pocket expenses for technology used for shareholder servicing and shareholder communications subject to the prior approval of an annual budget by the Fund Trustees, including a majority of the Independent Fund Trustees, and periodic reports to the Board on actual expenses. With a Fund’s consent, NBIA may subcontract to third parties, including investment providers, some of its responsibilities to that Fund under the Administration Agreement. In addition, a Fund may compensate third parties, including investment providers, for recordkeeping, accounting and other services. (For the Investor Class of Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, a portion of this compensation may be derived from the Rule 12b-1 fee paid to the Distributor by this Class of the Fund; see “Distribution Arrangements” below.)

 

The Investor Class of Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund accrued management and administration fees of the following amounts (before any reimbursement of the Funds, described below) for the fiscal years ended October 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020:

 

Investor Class 2022 2021 2020
Core Bond Fund $53,363 $63,373 $58,689
High Income Bond Fund $493,057 $579,705 $598,485
Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund $43,619 $51,439 $53,148
Short Duration Bond Fund $79,409 $89,393 $94,492

 

Institutional Class. For administrative services, the Institutional Class of each Fund pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.15% of that Class’s average daily net assets, plus certain out-of-pocket expenses for technology used for shareholder servicing and shareholder communications subject to the prior approval of an annual budget by the Fund Trustees, including a majority of the Independent Fund Trustees, and periodic reports to the Board on actual expenses. With a Fund’s consent, NBIA may subcontract to third parties, including investment providers, some of its responsibilities to that Fund under the Administration Agreement and may compensate each such third party that provides such services. In addition, a Fund may compensate third parties, including investment providers, for recordkeeping, accounting and other services.

 

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The Institutional Class of each Fund accrued management and administration fees of the following amounts (before any reimbursement of the Funds, described below) for the fiscal years ended October 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020:

 

Institutional Class 2022 2021 2020
Core Bond Fund $1,701,737 $1,734,810 $1,314,534
Emerging Markets Debt Fund $1,101,153 $1,387,453 $1,095,285
Floating Rate Income Fund $2,435,155 $1,360,815 $1,115,950
High Income Bond Fund $5,566,805 $7,162,950 $7,927,208
Municipal High Income Fund $665,906 $697,121 $658,201
Municipal Impact Fund $334,013 $275,577 $241,394
Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund $555,110 $643,470 $566,292
Short Duration Bond Fund $416,720 $200,547 $193,075
Strategic Income Fund $13,215,534 $13,284,387 $12,474,363

 

Trust Class. For administrative services, the Trust Class of Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund each pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.50% and 0.40%, respectively, of its average daily net assets, plus certain out-of-pocket expenses for technology used for shareholder servicing and shareholder communications subject to the prior approval of an annual budget by the Board, including a majority of the Independent Fund Trustees, and periodic reports to the Board on actual expenses. With a Fund’s consent, NBIA may subcontract to third parties, including investment providers, some of its responsibilities to that Fund under the Administration Agreement and may compensate each such third party that provides such services. (For the Trust Class of Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund, a portion of this compensation may be derived from the Rule 12b-1 fee paid to the Distributor by this Class of the Fund; see “Distribution Arrangements” below.)

 

The Trust Class of Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund accrued management and administration fees of the following amounts (before any reimbursement of the Funds, described below) for the fiscal years ended October 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020:

 

Trust Class 2022 2021 2020
Short Duration Bond Fund $17,361 $18,395 $14,524
Strategic Income Fund $67,013 $76,448 $71,927

 

Class A and Class C. For administrative services, Class A and Class C of Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund each pays NBIA a fee at the annual rate of 0.27% of that Class’s average daily net assets, plus certain out-of-pocket expenses for technology used for shareholder servicing and shareholder communications, subject to the prior approval of an annual budget by the Fund Trustees, including a majority of the Independent Fund Trustees, and periodic reports to the Board on actual expenses. With a Fund’s consent, NBIA may subcontract to third parties, including investment providers, some of its responsibilities to that Fund under the Administration Agreement, and may compensate each such third party that provides such services. (A portion of this compensation may be derived from the Rule 12b-1 fee paid to the Distributor by Class A and Class C of each Fund; see “Distribution Arrangements” below.)

 

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Class A of Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund, Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund, Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund and Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund accrued management and administration fees of the following amounts (before any reimbursement of the Funds, described below) for the fiscal years ended October 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020:

 

Class A 2022 2021 2020
Core Bond Fund $95,208