Neuberger Berman Income Funds

 

 

    Class A   Class C   Institutional
Class
Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund   NCRAX   NCRCX   NCRLX
Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund   NERAX   NERCX   NERIX
Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund   NFIAX   NFICX   NFIIX
Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund   NHIAX   NHICX   NHILX
Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund   NMHAX   NMHCX   NMHIX
Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund   NIMAX   NIMCX   NMIIX
Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund   NMNAX   NMNCX   NMNLX
Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund   NSHAX   NSHCX   NSHLX
Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund   NSTAX   NSTCX   NSTLX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prospectus February 28, 2023

 

These securities, like the securities of all mutual funds, have not been approved or disapproved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has not determined if this prospectus is accurate or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Contents

NEUBERGER BERMAN INCOME FUNDS

Fund Summaries
Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund   2
Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund   13
Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund   25
Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund   34
Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund   44
Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund   55
Neuberger Berman Municipal Intermediate Bond Fund   66
Neuberger Berman Short Duration Bond Fund   75
Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Fund   86
Descriptions of Certain Practices and Security Types   99
Additional Information about Principal Investment Risks   100
Information about Additional Risks and Other Practices   116
Descriptions of Indices   117
Management of the Funds   118
Financial Highlights   123
YOUR INVESTMENT
Choosing a Share Class   150
Maintaining Your Account   151
Share Prices   156
Privileges and Services   158
Sales Charges   158
Sales Charge Reductions and Waivers   160
Distributions and Taxes   163
Direct Investors   165
Buying Shares — Direct Investors   167
Selling Shares — Direct Investors   168
Market Timing Policy   168
Portfolio Holdings Policy   169
Fund Structure   169
Appendix A   A-1

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Fund Summaries

Neuberger Berman Core Bond Fund

Class A Shares (NCRAX), Class C Shares (NCRCX), Institutional Class Shares (NCRLX)

 

GOAL

The Fund seeks to maximize total return consistent with capital preservation.

 

FEES AND EXPENSES

These tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold or sell shares of the Fund. Under the Fund’s policies, you may qualify for initial sales charge discounts if you and your family invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $50,000 in Neuberger Berman funds. Certain financial intermediaries have sales charges and/or policies and procedures regarding sales charge waivers applicable to their customers that differ from those described below. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial intermediary, in “Sales Charge Reductions and Waivers” on page 160 in the Fund’s prospectus, and in Appendix A to the Fund’s prospectus. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

    Class A   Class C   Institutional Class
Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment)            
Maximum initial sales charge on purchases (as a % of offering price)   4.25   None   None
Maximum contingent deferred sales charge (as a % of lower of original purchase price or current market value)1   None   1.00   None

Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a % of the value of your investment)            
Management fees   0.45   0.45   0.33
Distribution and/or shareholder service (12b-1) fees   0.25   1.00   None
Other expenses   0.10   0.13   0.10
Total annual operating expenses   0.80   1.58   0.43
Fee waivers and/or expense reimbursement   0.02   0.04   0.05
Total annual operating expenses after fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement2   0.78   1.54   0.38

 

1 For Class A shares, a contingent deferred sales charge (“CDSC”) of 1.00% applies on certain redemptions made within 18 months following purchases of $1 million or more made without an initial sales charge. For Class C shares, the CDSC is eliminated one year after purchase.
2 Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“Manager”) has contractually undertaken to waive and/or reimburse certain fees and expenses of Class A, Class C and Institutional Class so that the total annual operating expenses (excluding interest, brokerage commissions, acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes including any expenses relating to tax reclaims, dividend and interest expenses relating to short sales, and extraordinary expenses, if any) (“annual operating expenses”) of each class are limited to 0.78%, 1.53% and 0.38% of average net assets, respectively. Each of these undertakings lasts until 10/31/2026 and may not be terminated during its term without the consent of the Board of Trustees. The Fund has agreed that each of Class A, Class C and Institutional Class will repay the Manager for fees and expenses waived or reimbursed for the class provided that repayment does not cause annual operating expenses to exceed 0.78%, 1.53% and 0.38% of the class’ average net assets, respectively. Any such repayment must be made within three years after the year in which the Manager incurred the expense.

 

Expense Example

The expense example can help you compare costs among mutual funds. The example assumes that you invested $10,000 for the periods shown, that you redeemed all of your shares at the end of those periods, that the Fund earned a hypothetical 5% total return each year, and that the Fund’s expenses were those in the table. For Class A and Institutional Class shares, your costs would be the same whether you sold your shares or continued to hold them at the end of each period. Actual performance and expenses may be higher or lower.

 

    1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years
Class A   $501   $664   $844   $1,367
Class C (assuming redemption)   $257   $486   $848   $1,868
Class C (assuming no redemption)   $157   $486   $848   $1,868
Institutional Class   $39   $122   $225   $527

 

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Portfolio Turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 164% of the average value of its portfolio. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate including to-be-announced (“TBA”) roll transactions was 226%.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

To pursue its goal, the Fund normally invests in a diversified mix of debt securities, which primarily include government bonds, corporate bonds, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities.

 

The Fund may invest in a broad array of securities, including: securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the U.S. government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities; municipal securities; foreign securities, including emerging markets; securities issued by supranational entities (e.g., World Bank, IMF); corporate bonds; mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities; inflation-linked debt securities; and commercial paper. Securities in which the Fund may invest may be issued by domestic and foreign governments, corporate entities and trusts and may be structured as fixed rate debt, floating rate debt, and debt that may not pay interest from the time of issuance. The Fund may also engage in when-issued and forward-settling securities (such as to-be-announced (“TBA”) mortgage-backed securities), which involve a commitment by the Fund to purchase securities that will be issued or settled at a later date. The Fund may enter into a TBA agreement and “roll over” such agreement prior to the settlement date by selling the obligation to purchase the securities set forth in the agreement and entering into a new TBA agreement for future delivery of pools of mortgage-backed securities.

 

The debt securities in which the Fund invests primarily are investment grade. The Fund considers debt securities to be investment grade if, at the time of investment, they are rated within the four highest categories by at least one independent credit rating agency or, if unrated, are determined by the Portfolio Managers to be of comparable quality.

 

The Fund may also invest in derivative instruments as a means of hedging risk and/or for investment or efficient portfolio management purposes, which may include altering the Fund’s exposure to currencies, interest rates, inflation, sectors and individual issuers. These derivative instruments may include futures, forward foreign currency contracts, and swaps, such as total return swaps, credit default swaps and interest rate swaps.

 

The Fund normally will not invest more than 15% of its total assets in non-U.S. dollar denominated securities and, through hedging strategies, will attempt to limit its exposure to currencies other than the U.S. dollar to 5% of its total assets.

 

Additionally, the Fund may invest in preferred securities. The Fund may also invest a significant amount of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities or other money market instruments depending on market conditions.

 

The Fund normally seeks to maintain its target average duration within one year of the average duration of the bonds in the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, and, depending on market conditions, at times, the Fund may generally seek to maintain its target average duration within a maximum of two years of the average duration of the bonds in the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index.

 

In an effort to achieve its goal, the Fund may engage in active and frequent trading.

 

The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets in bonds and other debt securities and other investment companies that provide investment exposure to such debt securities. The Fund will not alter this policy without providing shareholders at least 60 days’ notice. This test is applied at the time the Fund invests; later percentage changes caused by a change in Fund assets, market values or company circumstances will not require the Fund to dispose of a holding.

 

Investment Philosophy and Process

The Portfolio Management Team’s investment philosophy is rooted in the belief that positive results can be achieved through a consistently applied, risk-managed approach to portfolio management that leverages the strengths of its proprietary fundamental research capabilities, decision-making frameworks, and quantitative risk management tools. The Portfolio Management Team employs an integrated investment process in managing the Fund.

 

Portfolio Strategy: The Portfolio Management Team establishes the investment profile for the Fund, which it monitors on an ongoing basis, including exposures to sectors (such as government, structured debt, credit, etc.) and duration/yield curve positioning, utilizing internally generated data that are produced by specialty sector investment teams in conjunction with asset allocation tools.

 

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Strategy Implementation: Once the Portfolio Management Team establishes the investment profile for the Fund, the specialty sector investment teams and the Portfolio Management Team determine industry/sub-sector weightings and make securities selections within the types of securities that the Fund can purchase, such as investment grade securities and non-U.S. dollar denominated securities.

 

When assessing the value of a particular security, the teams utilize internally generated research and proprietary quantitatively driven tools and frameworks (including an analysis of cash flows, ability to pay principal and interest, balance sheet composition, and market positioning) to a) establish an internal outlook, b) evaluate the market’s outlook as it is reflected in asset prices, and c) contrast the two. As part of their fundamental investment analysis, the Portfolio Managers consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors they believe are financially material to individual investments, where applicable, as described below. While this analysis is inherently subjective and may be informed by internally generated and third-party metrics, data and other information, the Portfolio Managers believe that the consideration of financially material ESG factors, alongside traditional financial metrics, may improve credit analysis, security selection, relative value analysis and enhance the Fund’s overall investment process. The specific ESG factors considered and scope and application of integration may vary depending on the specific investment and/or investment type. The consideration of ESG factors does not apply to certain instruments, such as certain derivative instruments, other registered investment companies, cash and cash equivalents. The consideration of ESG factors as part of the investment process does not mean that the Fund pursues a specific “impact” or “sustainable” investment strategy.

 

The teams will generally purchase securities if their internal outlook suggests a security is undervalued by the market and sell securities if their internal outlook suggests a security is overvalued by the market. The goal is to identify and evaluate investment opportunities that others may have missed.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT RISKS

Most of the Fund’s performance depends on what happens in the market for debt instruments, the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of those developments, and the success of the Portfolio Managers in implementing the Fund’s investment strategies. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments will result in leverage, which amplifies the risks that are associated with these markets. The market’s behavior can be difficult to predict, particularly in the short term. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its goal. The Fund may take temporary defensive and cash management positions; to the extent it does, it will not be pursuing its principal investment strategies.

 

The actual risk exposure taken by the Fund in its investment program will vary over time, depending on various factors including the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of issuer, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. There can be no guarantee that the Portfolio Managers will be successful in their attempts to manage the risk exposure of the Fund or will appropriately evaluate or weigh the multiple factors involved in investment decisions, including issuer, market and/or instrument-specific analysis, valuation and environmental, social and governance factors.

 

The Fund is a mutual fund, not a bank deposit, and is not guaranteed or insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. The value of your investment may fall, sometimes sharply, and you could lose money by investing in the Fund.

 

Each of the following risks, which are described in alphabetical order and not in order of any presumed importance, can significantly affect the Fund’s performance. The relative importance of, or potential exposure as a result of, each of these risks will vary based on market and other investment-specific considerations.

 

Call Risk. Upon the issuer’s desire to call a security, or under other circumstances where a security is called, including when interest rates are low and issuers opt to repay the obligation underlying a “callable security” early, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield and may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates.

 

Commercial Paper Risk. Commercial paper is a short-term debt security issued by a corporation, bank, municipality, or other issuer. Issuers generally do not register their commercial paper with the SEC. While some unregistered commercial paper normally is deemed illiquid, the Manager may in certain cases determine that such paper is liquid. In some cases, the ratings of commercial paper issuers have been downgraded abruptly, leaving holders with little opportunity to avoid losses.

 

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that issuers, guarantors, or insurers may fail, or become less able or unwilling, to pay interest and/or principal when due. Changes in the actual or perceived creditworthiness of an issuer or a downgrade or default affecting any of the Fund’s securities could affect the Fund’s performance by affecting the credit quality or value of the Fund’s securities. Generally, the longer the maturity and the lower the credit quality of a security, the more sensitive it is to credit risk.

 

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Currency Risk. Currency risk is the risk that foreign currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or other instruments denominated in or indexed to foreign currencies, changes in currency exchange rates could adversely impact investment gains or add to investment losses. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time and can be affected unpredictably by various factors, including investor perception and changes in interest rates; intervention, or failure to intervene, by U.S. or foreign governments, central banks, or supranational entities; or by currency controls or political developments in the U.S. or abroad.

 

Derivatives Risk. Use of derivatives is a highly specialized activity that can involve investment techniques and risks different from, and in some respects greater than, those associated with investing in more traditional investments, such as stocks and bonds. Derivatives can be highly complex and highly volatile and may perform in unanticipated ways. Derivatives can create leverage, and the Fund could lose more than the amount it invests; some derivatives can have the potential for unlimited losses. Derivatives may at times be highly illiquid, and the Fund may not be able to close out or sell a derivative at a particular time or at an anticipated price. Derivatives can be difficult to value and valuation may be more difficult in times of market turmoil. The value of a derivative instrument depends largely on (and is derived from) the value of the reference instrument underlying the derivative. There may be imperfect correlation between the behavior of a derivative and that of the reference instrument underlying the derivative. An abrupt change in the price of a reference instrument could render a derivative worthless. Derivatives may involve risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the reference instrument. Suitable derivatives may not be available in all circumstances, and there can be no assurance that the Fund will use derivatives to reduce exposure to other risks when that might have been beneficial. Derivatives involve counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party to the derivative will fail to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the derivative. That risk is generally thought to be greater with over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives than with derivatives that are exchange traded or centrally cleared. When the Fund uses derivatives, it will likely be required to provide margin or collateral; these practices are intended to satisfy contractual undertakings and regulatory requirements and will not prevent the Fund from incurring losses on derivatives. The need to provide margin or collateral could limit the Fund’s ability to pursue other opportunities as they arise. Ongoing changes to regulation of the derivatives markets and actual and potential changes in the regulation of funds using derivative instruments could limit the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies. New regulation of derivatives may make them more costly, or may otherwise adversely affect their liquidity, value or performance.

 

Additional risks associated with certain types of derivatives are discussed below:

 

Forward Contracts. There are no limitations on daily price movements of forward contracts. Changes in foreign exchange regulations by governmental authorities might limit the trading of forward contracts on currencies.

 

Futures. Futures contracts are subject to the risk that an exchange may impose price fluctuation limits, which may make it difficult or impossible for a fund to close out a position when desired. In the absence of such limits, the liquidity of the futures market depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than taking or making delivery. To the extent a Fund enters into futures contracts requiring physical delivery (e.g., certain commodities contracts), the inability of the Fund to take or make physical delivery can negatively impact performance.

 

Swaps. The risk of loss with respect to swaps generally is limited to the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make or, in the case of the other party to a swap defaulting, the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive. If the Fund sells a credit default swap, however, the risk of loss may be the entire notional amount of the swap.

 

Some swaps are now executed through an organized exchange or regulated facility and cleared through a regulated clearing organization. The absence of an organized exchange or market for swap transactions may result in difficulties in trading and valuation, especially in the event of market disruptions. The use of an organized exchange or market for swap transactions is expected to result in swaps being easier to trade or value, but this may not always be the case.

 

Foreign and Emerging Market Risk. Foreign securities, including those issued by foreign governments, involve risks in addition to those associated with comparable U.S. securities. Additional risks include exposure to less developed or less efficient trading markets; social, political, diplomatic, or economic instability; trade barriers and other protectionist trade policies (including those of the U.S.); imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, organizations, companies, entities and/or individuals; significant government involvement in an economy and/or market structure; fluctuations in foreign currencies or currency redenomination; potential for default on sovereign debt; nationalization or expropriation of assets; settlement, custodial or other operational risks; higher transaction costs; confiscatory withholding or other taxes; and less stringent auditing and accounting, corporate disclosure, governance, and legal standards. As a result, foreign securities may fluctuate more widely in price, and may also be less liquid, than comparable U.S. securities. Regardless of where a company is organized or its stock is

 

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traded, its performance may be affected significantly by events in regions from which it derives its profits or in which it conducts significant operations.

 

Investing in emerging market countries involves risks in addition to and greater than those generally associated with investing in more developed foreign countries. The governments of emerging market countries may be more unstable and more likely to impose capital controls, nationalize a company or industry, place restrictions on foreign ownership and on withdrawing sale proceeds of securities from the country, intervene in the financial markets, and/or impose burdensome taxes that could adversely affect security prices. To the extent a foreign security is denominated in U.S. dollars, there is also the risk that a foreign government will not let U.S. dollar-denominated assets leave the country. In addition, the economies of emerging market countries may be dependent on relatively few industries that are more susceptible to local and global changes. Emerging market countries may also have less developed legal and accounting systems, and their legal systems may deal with issuer bankruptcies and defaults differently than U.S. law would. Securities markets in emerging market countries are also relatively small and have substantially lower trading volumes. Securities of issuers in emerging market countries may be more volatile and less liquid than securities of issuers in foreign countries with more developed economies or markets and the situation may require that the Fund fair value its holdings in those countries.

 

Securities of issuers traded on foreign exchanges may be suspended, either by the issuers themselves, by an exchange, or by governmental 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 in instruments that reference the securities, such as derivative instruments, may be halted. In the event that the 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.

 

High Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading and may have a high portfolio turnover rate, which may increase the Fund’s transaction costs, may adversely affect the Fund’s performance and may generate a greater amount of capital gain distributions to shareholders than if the Fund had a low portfolio turnover rate.

 

Inflation-Linked Debt Securities Risk. Inflation-linked debt securities are structured to provide protection against inflation. The value of the principal or the interest income paid on an inflation-linked debt security is adjusted to track changes in an official inflation measure. There can be no assurance that the inflation measure used will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. The value of inflation-linked debt securities is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. In general, the price of an inflation-linked debt security falls when real interest rates rise, and rises when real interest rates fall. Interest payments on inflation-linked debt securities will vary as the principal and/or interest is adjusted for inflation and can be unpredictable. In periods of deflation, the Fund may have no income at all from such investments.

 

The principal value of an investment in the Fund is not protected or otherwise guaranteed by virtue of the Fund’s investments in inflation-linked debt securities.

 

Interest Rate Risk. The Fund’s yield and share price will fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates. In general, the value of investments with interest rate risk, such as debt securities, will move in the direction opposite to movements in interest rates. If interest rates rise, the value of such securities may decline. Typically, the longer the maturity or duration of a debt security, the greater the effect a change in interest rates could have on the security’s price. Thus, the sensitivity of the Fund’s debt securities to interest rate risk will increase with any increase in the duration of those securities.

 

Issuer-Specific Risk. An individual security may be more volatile, and may perform differently, than the market as a whole.

 

Leverage Risk. Leverage amplifies changes in the Fund’s net asset value and may make the Fund more volatile. Derivatives and when-issued and forward-settling securities may create leverage and can result in losses to the Fund that exceed the amount originally invested and may accelerate the rate of losses. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s use of any leverage will be successful. The Fund’s investment exposure can exceed its net assets, sometimes by a significant amount.

 

Liquidity Risk. From time to time, the trading market for a particular investment in which the Fund invests, or a particular type of instrument in which the Fund is invested, may become less liquid or even illiquid. Illiquid investments frequently can be more difficult to purchase or sell at an advantageous price or time, and there is a greater risk that the investments may not be sold for the price at which the Fund is carrying them. Certain investments that were liquid when the Fund purchased them may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly. Additionally, market closures due to holidays or other factors may render a security or group of

 

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securities (e.g., securities tied to a particular country or geographic region) illiquid for a period of time. An inability to sell a portfolio position can adversely affect the Fund’s value or prevent the Fund from being able to take advantage of other investment opportunities. Market prices for such securities or other investments may be volatile. During periods of substantial market volatility, an investment or even an entire market segment may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly, which can adversely affect the Fund’s ability to limit losses.

 

Unexpected episodes of illiquidity, including due to market or political factors, instrument or issuer-specific factors and/or unanticipated outflows, may limit the Fund’s ability to pay redemption proceeds within the allowable time period. To meet redemption requests during periods of illiquidity, the Fund may be forced to sell securities at an unfavorable time and/or under unfavorable conditions.

 

Market Volatility Risk. Markets may be volatile and values of individual securities and other investments, including those of a particular type, may decline significantly in response to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, market, economic or other developments that may cause broad changes in market value, public perceptions concerning these developments, and adverse investor sentiment or publicity. Geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health risks may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Changes in value may be temporary or may last for extended periods. If the Fund sells a portfolio position before it reaches its market peak, it may miss out on opportunities for better performance.

 

Mortgage- and Asset-Backed Securities Risk. The value of mortgage- and asset-backed securities, including collateralized mortgage instruments, will be influenced by the factors affecting the housing market or the assets underlying the securities. These securities tend to be more sensitive to changes in interest rates than other types of debt securities. In addition, investments in mortgage- and asset-backed securities may be subject to prepayment risk and extension risk, call risk, credit risk, valuation risk, and illiquid investment risk, sometimes to a higher degree than various other types of debt securities. These securities are also subject to the risk of default on the underlying mortgages or assets, particularly during periods of market downturn, and an unexpectedly high rate of defaults on the underlying assets will adversely affect the security’s value.

 

Municipal Securities Risk. The municipal securities market could be significantly affected by adverse political and legislative changes, as well as uncertainties related to taxation or the rights of municipal security holders. Changes in the financial health of a municipality or other issuer, or an insurer of municipal securities, may make it difficult for it to pay interest and principal when due and may affect the overall municipal securities market. To the extent that the Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in the municipal securities of a particular state or U.S. territory or possession, there is greater risk that political, regulatory, economic or other developments within that jurisdiction may have a significant impact on the Fund’s investment performance. Declines in real estate prices and general business activity may reduce the tax revenues of state and local governments. Municipal issuers have on occasion defaulted on obligations, been downgraded, or commenced insolvency proceedings.

 

Because many municipal securities are issued to finance similar types of projects, especially those related to education, health care, housing, transportation, and utilities, conditions in those sectors can affect the overall municipal securities market. Interest on municipal securities paid out of current or anticipated revenues from a specific project or specific asset (so-called “private activity bonds”) are generally not backed by the creditworthiness or taxing authority of the issuing governmental entity; rather, a particular business or facility may be the only source of revenue supporting payment of interest and principal, and declines in general business activity could affect the economic viability of that business or facility.

 

Municipal bonds may be bought or sold at a market discount (i.e., a price less than the bond’s principal amount or, in the case of a bond issued with original issue discount (“OID”), a price less than the amount of the issue price plus accrued OID). If the market discount is more than a de minimis amount, and if the bond has a maturity date of more than one year from the date it was issued, then any market discount that accrues annually, or any gains earned on the disposition of the bond, generally will be subject to federal income taxation as ordinary (taxable) income rather than as capital gains. Some municipal securities may include transfer restrictions similar to restricted securities (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 the Fund may be able to sell them only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value.

 

Preferred Securities Risk. Preferred securities, which are a form of hybrid security (i.e., a security with both debt and equity characteristics), may pay fixed or adjustable rates of return. Preferred securities are subject to issuer-specific and market risks applicable generally to equity securities, however, unlike common stocks, participation in the growth of an issuer may be limited. Distributions on preferred securities are generally payable at the discretion of the issuer’s board of directors and after the company makes required payments to holders of its debt securities. For this reason, preferred securities are subject to greater credit, interest, and liquidation risk than debt securities, and the value of preferred securities will usually react more strongly than debt securities

 

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to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects. Preferred securities of smaller companies may be more vulnerable to adverse developments than preferred securities of larger companies. Preferred securities may be less liquid than common stocks.

 

Prepayment and Extension Risk. The Fund’s performance could be affected if borrowers pay back principal on certain debt securities, such as mortgage- or asset-backed securities, before (prepayment) or after (extension) the market anticipates such payments, shortening or lengthening their duration. Due to a decline in interest rates or an excess in cash flow into the issuer, a debt security might be called or otherwise converted, prepaid or redeemed before maturity. As a result of prepayment, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield, may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates, and may lose any premium it paid to acquire the security. Conversely, rising market interest rates generally result in slower payoffs or extension, which effectively increases the duration of certain debt securities, heightening interest rate risk and increasing the magnitude of any resulting price declines.

 

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. 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.

 

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 would apply to the 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 the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies or make certain investments, may make it more costly for it to operate, which, may in turn, impact performance.

 

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. Moreover, those events have, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on global markets performance and liquidity, thereby negatively affecting the value of the Fund’s investments. 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 the Fund and its investments or operations could be negatively impacted.

 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected and could 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. 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.

 

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

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Redemption Risk. The Fund may experience periods of large or frequent redemptions that could cause the Fund to sell assets at inopportune times, which could have a negative impact on the Fund’s overall liquidity, or at a loss or depressed value. Redemption risk is greater to the extent that one or more investors or intermediaries control a large percentage of investments in the Fund and the risk is heightened during periods of declining or illiquid markets. Large redemptions could hurt the Fund’s performance, increase transaction costs, and create adverse tax consequences. A general rise in interest rates has the potential to cause investors to move out of fixed income securities on a large scale, which may increase redemptions from mutual funds that hold large amounts of fixed income securities; such a move, coupled with a reduction in the ability or willingness of dealers and other institutional investors to buy or hold fixed income securities, may result in decreased liquidity and increased volatility in the fixed income markets.

 

Sector Risk. From time to time, based on market or economic conditions, the Fund may have significant positions in one or more sectors of the market. To the extent the Fund invests more heavily in particular sectors, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors. Individual sectors 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.

 

Sovereign and Supranational Entities Debt Risk. Sovereign debt securities are subject to the risk that a governmental entity may delay or refuse to pay interest or principal on its sovereign debt, due, for example, to cash flow problems, insufficient foreign currency reserves, political considerations, the size of the governmental entity’s debt position in relation to the economy, its policy toward international lenders or the failure to put in place economic reforms required by multilateral agencies. If a governmental entity defaults, it may ask for more time in which to pay or for further loans. There may be no legal process for collecting sovereign debt that a government does not pay nor are there bankruptcy proceedings through which all or part of the sovereign debt that a governmental entity has not repaid may be collected. Sovereign debt risk is increased for emerging market issuers.

 

The Fund may also invest in obligations issued or guaranteed by supranational entities, such as the World Bank. Supranational entities have no taxing authority and are dependent on their members for payments of interest and principal. If one or more members of a supranational entity fails to make necessary contributions, such entity may be unable to pay interest or repay principal on its debt securities. Political changes in principal donor nations may unexpectedly disrupt the finances of supranational entities.

 

U.S. Government Securities Risk. Although the Fund may hold securities that carry U.S. government guarantees, these guarantees do not extend to shares of the Fund itself and do not guarantee the market prices of the securities. Furthermore, not all securities issued by the U.S. government and its agencies and instrumentalities are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury carry at least some risk of non-payment or default.

 

Variable and Floating Rate Instruments Risk. The market prices of instruments with variable and floating interest rates are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than are the market prices of instruments with fixed interest rates. Variable and

 

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floating rate instruments may decline in value if market interest rates or interest rates paid by such instruments do not move as expected. Certain types of floating rate instruments, such as interests in bank loans, may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities.

 

When-Issued and Forward-Settling Securities Risk. When-issued and forward-settling securities can have a leverage-like effect on the Fund, which can increase fluctuations in the Fund’s share price; may cause the Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so, in order to satisfy its purchase obligations; and are subject to the risk that the security will not be issued or that a counterparty will fail to complete the sale or purchase of the security, in which case the Fund may lose the opportunity to purchase or sell the security at the agreed upon price and any gain in the security’s price.

 

A summary of the Fund’s additional principal investment risks is as follows:

 

Risk of Increase in Expenses. A decline in the Fund’s average net assets during the current fiscal year due to market volatility or other factors could cause the Fund’s expenses for the current fiscal year to be higher than the expense information presented in “Fees and Expenses.”

 

Operational and Cybersecurity Risk. The Fund and its service providers, and your ability to transact with the Fund, may be negatively impacted due to operational matters arising from, among other problems, human errors, systems and technology disruptions or failures, or cybersecurity incidents. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to fund assets, customer data, or proprietary information, or cause the Fund or its service providers, as well as the securities trading venues and their service providers, to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. Cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. It is not possible for the Manager or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the cybersecurity or other operational risks that may affect the Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects. Most issuers in which the Fund invests are heavily dependent on computers for data storage and operations, and require ready access to the internet to conduct their business. Thus, cybersecurity incidents could also affect issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, leading to significant loss of value.

 

Risk Management. Risk is an essential part of investing. No risk management program can eliminate the Fund’s exposure to adverse events; at best, it may only reduce the possibility that the Fund will be affected by such events, and especially those risks that are not intrinsic to the Fund’s investment program. The Fund could experience losses if judgments about risk prove to be incorrect.

 

Valuation Risk. The Fund may not be able to sell an investment at the price at which the Fund has valued the investment. Such differences could be significant, particularly for illiquid securities and securities that trade in relatively thin markets and/or markets that experience extreme volatility. If market or other conditions make it difficult to value an investment, the Fund may be required to value such investments using more subjective methods, known as fair value methodologies. Using fair value methodologies to price investments may result in a value that is different from an investment’s most recent price and from the prices used by other funds to calculate their NAVs. The Fund uses pricing services to provide values for certain securities and there is no assurance that the Fund will be able to sell an investment at the price established by such pricing services. The Fund’s ability to value its investments in an accurate and timely manner may be impacted by technological issues and/or errors by third party service providers, such as pricing services or accounting agents.

 

PERFORMANCE

The following bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart shows how the Fund’s performance has varied from year to year, as represented by the performance of the Fund’s Institutional Class. The returns in the bar chart do not reflect any applicable sales charges. If sales charges were reflected, returns would be lower than those shown. The table below the bar chart shows what the returns would equal if you averaged out actual performance over various lengths of time and compares the returns with the returns of a broad-based market index. The index, which is described in “Descriptions of Indices” in the prospectus, has characteristics relevant to the Fund’s investment strategy. Unlike the returns in the bar chart, the returns in the table reflect the maximum applicable sales charges.

 

Returns would have been lower if the Manager had not reimbursed certain expenses and/or waived a portion of the investment management fees during certain of the periods shown.

 

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Past performance (before and after taxes) is not a prediction of future results. Visit www.nb.com or call 800-366-6264 for updated performance information.

 

YEAR-BY-YEAR % RETURNS AS OF 12/31 EACH YEAR

 

 

Years

Best quarter:     Q2 ’20, 5.64%

Worst quarter:   Q1 ’22, -5.74%

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL TOTAL % RETURNS AS OF 12/31/22

 

Core Bond Fund   1 Year   5 Years   10 Years
Institutional Class Return Before Taxes   -13.61   0.25   1.12
Institutional Class Return After Taxes on Distributions   -14.79   -1.05   -0.12
Institutional Class Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares   -8.03   -0.33   0.32
Class A Return Before Taxes   -17.61   -1.01   0.28
Class C Return Before Taxes   -15.39   -0.88   -0.03
Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   -13.01   0.02   1.06
After-tax returns are shown for Institutional Class shares only and after-tax returns for other classes may vary. After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold their Fund shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts. Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares may be higher than other returns for the same period due to a tax benefit of realizing a capital loss upon the sale of Fund shares.

 

INVESTMENT MANAGER

Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“Manager”) is the Fund’s investment manager.

 

PORTFOLIO MANAGERS

The Fund is managed by Thanos Bardas (Managing Director and Co-Head of Global Investment Grade Fixed Income of the Manager), David M. Brown, CFA (Managing Director and Co-Head of Global Investment Grade Fixed Income of the Manager), Nathan Kush (Managing Director of the Manager), Olumide Owolabi (Managing Director of the Manager), and Brad Tank (Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer and Global Head of Fixed Income of the Manager). Messrs. Bardas and Brown have managed the Fund since February 2008, Mr. Tank has managed the Fund since April 2009, Mr. Kush has managed the Fund since December 2017, and Olumide Owolabi has managed the Fund since February 2023.

 

BUYING AND SELLING SHARES

You may purchase, redeem (sell) or exchange shares of the Fund on any day the New York Stock Exchange is open, at the Fund’s net asset value per share next determined after your order is received in proper form, subject to any applicable sales charge. Shares of the Fund generally are available only through certain investment providers, such as banks, brokerage firms, workplace

 

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retirement programs, and financial advisers. Contact any investment provider authorized to sell the Fund’s shares. See “Maintaining Your Account” in the prospectus for eligibility requirements for purchases of Institutional Class shares.

 

For certain investors, certain shares of the Fund may be available directly from Neuberger Berman BD LLC by regular, first class mail (Neuberger Berman Funds, P.O. Box 219189, Kansas City, MO 64121-9189), by express delivery, registered mail, or certified mail (Neuberger Berman Funds, 430 West 7th Street, Suite 219189, Kansas City, MO 64105-1407), or by wire, fax, telephone, exchange, or systematic investment or withdrawal (call 800-877-9700 for instructions). See “Maintaining Your Account” and “Direct Investors” in the prospectus for eligibility requirements for direct purchases of shares and for instructions on buying and redeeming (selling) shares directly.

 

The minimum initial investment in Class A or Class C shares is $1,000. Additional investments can be as little as $100. These minimums may be waived in certain cases.

 

The minimum initial investment in Institutional Class shares is $1 million. This minimum may be waived in certain cases.

 

TAX INFORMATION

Unless you invest in the Fund through a tax-advantaged retirement plan or account or are a tax-exempt investor, you will be subject to tax on Fund distributions to you of ordinary income and/or net capital gains. Those distributions generally are not taxable to such a plan or account or a tax-exempt investor, although withdrawals from certain retirement plans and accounts generally are subject to federal income tax.

 

PAYMENTS TO INVESTMENT PROVIDERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

If you purchase shares of the Fund through an investment provider or other financial intermediary, such as a bank, brokerage firm, workplace retirement program, or financial adviser (who may be affiliated with Neuberger Berman), the Fund and/or Neuberger Berman BD LLC and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the investment provider or other financial intermediary and its employees to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your investment provider or visit its website for more information.

 

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Neuberger Berman Emerging Markets Debt Fund

Class A Shares (NERAX), Class C Shares (NERCX), Institutional Class Shares (NERIX)

 

GOAL

The Fund seeks high total return consisting of income and capital appreciation.

 

FEES AND EXPENSES

These tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold or sell shares of the Fund. Under the Fund’s policies, you may qualify for initial sales charge discounts if you and your family invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $50,000 in Neuberger Berman funds. Certain financial intermediaries have sales charges and/or policies and procedures regarding sales charge waivers applicable to their customers that differ from those described below. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial intermediary, in “Sales Charge Reductions and Waivers” on page 160 in the Fund’s prospectus, and in Appendix A to the Fund’s prospectus. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

    Class A   Class C   Institutional Class
Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment)            
Maximum initial sales charge on purchases (as a % of offering price)   4.25   None   None
Maximum contingent deferred sales charge (as a % of lower of original purchase price or current market value)1   None   1.00   None

Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a % of the value of your investment)            
Management fees   0.82   0.82   0.70
Distribution and/or shareholder service (12b-1) fees   0.25   1.00   None
Other expenses   0.48   0.37   0.31
Total annual operating expenses   1.55   2.19   1.01
Fee waivers and/or expense reimbursement   0.39   0.28   0.22
Total annual operating expenses after fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement2   1.16   1.91   0.79

 

1 For Class A shares, a contingent deferred sales charge (“CDSC”) of 1.00% applies on certain redemptions made within 18 months following purchases of $1 million or more made without an initial sales charge. For Class C shares, the CDSC is eliminated one year after purchase.
2 Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“Manager”) has contractually undertaken to waive and/or reimburse certain fees and expenses of Class A, Class C and Institutional Class so that the total annual operating expenses (excluding interest, brokerage commissions, acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes including any expenses relating to tax reclaims, dividend and interest expenses relating to short sales, and extraordinary expenses, if any) (“annual operating expenses”) of each class are limited to 1.15%, 1.90% and 0.78% of average net assets, respectively. Each of these undertakings lasts until 10/31/2026 and may not be terminated during its term without the consent of the Board of Trustees. The Fund has agreed that each of Class A, Class C and Institutional Class will repay the Manager for fees and expenses waived or reimbursed for the class provided that repayment does not cause annual operating expenses to exceed 1.15%, 1.90% and 0.78% of the class’ average net assets, respectively. Any such repayment must be made within three years after the year in which the Manager incurred the expense.

 

Expense Example

The expense example can help you compare costs among mutual funds. The example assumes that you invested $10,000 for the periods shown, that you redeemed all of your shares at the end of those periods, that the Fund earned a hypothetical 5% total return each year, and that the Fund’s expenses were those in the table. For Class A and Institutional Class shares, your costs would be the same whether you sold your shares or continued to hold them at the end of each period. Actual performance and expenses may be higher or lower.

 

    1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years
Class A   $538   $778   $1,122   $2,091
Class C (assuming redemption)   $294   $600   $1,093   $2,454
Class C (assuming no redemption)   $194   $600   $1,093   $2,454
Institutional Class   $81   $252   $490   $1,173

 

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Portfolio Turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 55% of the average value of its portfolio.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

To pursue its goal, the Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets 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. These include debt instruments of issuers that are based in emerging markets or that receive the majority of revenue from emerging markets, in debt or derivative instruments where the underlying risk or ultimate risk is on such an emerging market issuer, or in debt or derivative instruments where the currency of risk is an emerging market currency. In determining where an issuer of a security is based, the Portfolio Managers may consider such factors as where the company is legally organized, maintains its principal corporate offices and/or conducts its principal operations. The Fund considers emerging market countries to be countries included in the JPMorgan Emerging Markets Bond Index - Global Diversified, the JPMorgan Corporate Emerging Markets Bond Index - Diversified, the JPMorgan Emerging Local Markets Index or the JPMorgan Government Bond Index - Emerging Markets Global Diversified, as well as those countries which are not defined as High Income Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries by the World Bank.

 

The Fund may invest in sovereign, supranational, quasi-sovereign (i.e., securities of issuers that are directly or indirectly wholly-owned by the government or that are explicitly guaranteed by the government) and corporate issuers. These investments may be of any maturity, duration and credit rating (including, without limit, investments in below investment grade securities commonly known as “junk bonds”) and may be denominated in any currency including the local currency of the issuer. The Fund may invest in or continue to hold securities that the Portfolio Managers believe have ratings or other factors that imply an imminent risk of default or that are in default or have defaulted with respect to the payment of interest or repayment of principal, depending on the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of the investment opportunity. The Fund also may invest a large percentage of its net assets in issuers in a single country or geographic region.

 

The Portfolio Managers implement a systematic and disciplined framework for analyzing sovereign and corporate debt securities denominated in either local currency or globally traded currencies of industrialized countries. The investment decisions made by the Portfolio Managers rely on fundamental analysis and total return expectations in an effort to identify undervalued and overvalued securities and exploit investment opportunities.

 

The Portfolio Managers seek to anticipate yield, spread and currency movements in response to changes in:

 

Economic conditions;

 

Region, country and sector fundamentals;

 

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors; and

 

Issuer specific financial performance and other issuer specific factors.

 

The Portfolio Managers seek to identify investment opportunities in emerging market countries by comparing their analysis of each country’s macroeconomic data and qualitative fundamentals (such as political stability) against market expectations for that country measured by credit spreads, local interest rate levels and exchange rate valuations. The Portfolio Managers invest in individual issuers based on their relative financial performance and other issuer-specific factors as well as the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of inefficiencies in the markets where the issuer is located that the Portfolio Managers believe result in attractive valuations. As part of their fundamental investment analysis the Portfolio Managers consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors they believe are financially material to individual investments, where applicable, as described below. While this analysis is inherently subjective and may be informed by internally generated and third-party metrics, data and other information, the Portfolio Managers believe that the consideration of financially material ESG factors, alongside traditional financial metrics, may improve credit analysis, security selection, relative value analysis and enhance the Fund’s overall investment process. The specific ESG factors considered and scope and application of integration may vary depending on the specific investment and/or investment type. The consideration of ESG factors does not apply to certain instruments, such as certain derivative instruments, other registered investment companies, cash and cash equivalents. The consideration of ESG factors as part of the investment process does not mean that the Fund pursues a specific “impact” or “sustainable” investment strategy.

 

In an effort to manage risk, the Portfolio Managers periodically review the allocation of the Fund’s investments among the different asset classes, countries or regions. They may determine to reallocate the Fund’s investments based on a top-down analysis

 

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of the global market environment, the economic environment of emerging markets, and their evaluation of the attractiveness of an asset class. This evaluation includes an analysis of the relative attractiveness of the sub-asset classes of emerging markets sovereign credit, corporate credit, currency exchange and local rates. The Portfolio Managers also monitor the Fund’s performance relative to the indices listed above and the total exposure to individual countries, issuers, and currencies.

 

The Fund may invest in debt instruments of all types. These may include, without limitation, bonds, debentures, notes, convertible securities, loans and related assignments and participations, restricted securities, and money market instruments, including money market funds denominated in U.S. dollars or other currencies. The Fund may invest in other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), if the investment companies invest principally in the types of investments in which the Fund may invest directly.

 

The Fund may utilize derivatives of all types, without limitation, including futures and forward contracts (including contracts related to currencies), swap agreements (including total return, interest rate, and credit default swaps), options, and other related or synthetic instruments with respect to individual bonds and other instruments, indices and baskets of securities, interest rates and currencies, and structured notes as part of its principal investment strategies. The Fund may use derivatives for hedging or efficient portfolio management purposes, as well as to increase the Fund’s investment exposure beyond that which it could achieve by investing directly in more conventional securities, a practice that may introduce leverage into the Fund. The Portfolio Managers may choose not to hedge the Fund’s positions. The Fund may also invest directly in foreign currencies for hedging risk and/or investment purposes.

 

In an effort to achieve its goal, the Fund may engage in active and frequent trading.

 

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. The Fund will not alter this policy without providing shareholders at least 60 days’ notice. This test is applied at the time the Fund invests; later percentage changes caused by a change in Fund assets, market values or company circumstances will not require the Fund to dispose of a holding.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT RISKS

Most of the Fund’s performance depends on what happens in the international debt and currency markets and the markets for the debt of any particular countries in which the Fund may be concentrated, the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of those developments, and the success of the Portfolio Managers in implementing the Fund’s investment strategies. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments will result in leverage, which amplifies the risks that are associated with these markets. The markets’ behavior can be difficult to predict, particularly in the short term. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its goal. The Fund may take temporary defensive and cash management positions; to the extent it does, it will not be pursuing its principal investment strategies.

 

The actual risk exposure taken by the Fund in its investment program will vary over time, depending on various factors including the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of issuer, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. There can be no guarantee that the Portfolio Managers will be successful in their attempts to manage the risk exposure of the Fund or will appropriately evaluate or weigh the multiple factors involved in investment decisions, including issuer, market and/or instrument-specific analysis, valuation and environmental, social and governance factors.

 

The Fund is a mutual fund, not a bank deposit, and is not guaranteed or insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. The value of your investment may fall, sometimes sharply, and you could lose money by investing in the Fund.

 

Each of the following risks, which are described in alphabetical order and not in order of any presumed importance, can significantly affect the Fund’s performance. The relative importance of, or potential exposure as a result of, each of these risks will vary based on market and other investment-specific considerations.

 

Call Risk. Upon the issuer’s desire to call a security, or under other circumstances where a security is called, including when interest rates are low and issuers opt to repay the obligation underlying a “callable security” early, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield and may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates.

 

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 debt securities available from China’s interbank bond market. The Chinese investment and banking systems are materially

 

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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 market infrastructure of both Hong Kong and mainland 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. Investing through Bond Connect also includes the risk that the Fund may have a limited ability to enforce rights as a bondholder as well as the risks of settlement delays and counterparty default related to the sub-custodian. Securities purchased through Bond Connect generally may not be sold, purchased, or otherwise transferred other than through Bond Connect in accordance with applicable rules.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Convertible Securities Risk. The value of a convertible security, which is a form of hybrid security (i.e., a security with both debt and equity characteristics), typically increases or decreases with the price of the underlying common stock. In general, a convertible security is subject to the market risks of stocks when the underlying stock’s price is high relative to the conversion price and is subject to the market risks of debt securities when the underlying stock’s price is low relative to the conversion price. The general market risks of debt securities that are common to convertible securities include, but are not limited to, interest rate risk and credit risk. Many convertible securities have credit ratings that are below investment grade and are subject to the same risks as an investment in lower-rated debt securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”). To the extent the Fund invests in convertible securities issued by small- or mid-cap companies, it will be subject to the risks of investing in such companies. The securities of small- and mid-cap companies may fluctuate more widely in price than the market as a whole and there may also be less trading in small- or mid-cap securities.

 

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that issuers, guarantors, or insurers may fail, or become less able or unwilling, to pay interest and/or principal when due. Changes in the actual or perceived creditworthiness of an issuer or a downgrade or default affecting any of the Fund’s securities could affect the Fund’s performance by affecting the credit quality or value of the Fund’s securities. Generally, the longer the maturity and the lower the credit quality of a security, the more sensitive it is to credit risk.

 

Currency Risk. Currency risk is the risk that foreign currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar. To the extent that the Fund is exposed directly or indirectly to foreign currencies, including through its investments, or invests in securities or other instruments denominated in or indexed to foreign currencies, changes in currency exchange rates could adversely impact investment gains or add to investment losses. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time and can be affected unpredictably by various factors, including investor perception and changes in interest rates; intervention, or failure to intervene, by U.S. or foreign governments, central banks, or supranational entities; or by currency controls or political developments in the U.S. or abroad.

 

Derivatives Risk. Use of derivatives is a highly specialized activity that can involve investment techniques and risks different from, and in some respects greater than, those associated with investing in more traditional investments, such as stocks and bonds. Derivatives can be highly complex and highly volatile and may perform in unanticipated ways. Derivatives can create leverage, and the Fund could lose more than the amount it invests; some derivatives can have the potential for unlimited losses. Derivatives may at times be highly illiquid, and the Fund may not be able to close out or sell a derivative at a particular time or at an anticipated price. Derivatives can be difficult to value and valuation may be more difficult in times of market turmoil. The value of a derivative instrument depends largely on (and is derived from) the value of the reference instrument underlying the derivative. There may be imperfect correlation between the behavior of a derivative and that of the reference instrument underlying the derivative. An abrupt change in the price of a reference instrument could render a derivative worthless. Derivatives may involve risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the reference instrument. Suitable derivatives may not be available in all circumstances, and there can be no assurance that the Fund will use derivatives to reduce exposure to other risks when that might have been beneficial. Derivatives involve counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party to the derivative will fail to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the derivative. That risk is

 

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generally thought to be greater with over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives than with derivatives that are exchange traded or centrally cleared. When the Fund uses derivatives, it will likely be required to provide margin or collateral; these practices are intended to satisfy contractual undertakings and regulatory requirements and will not prevent the Fund from incurring losses on derivatives. The need to provide margin or collateral could limit the Fund’s ability to pursue other opportunities as they arise. Ongoing changes to regulation of the derivatives markets and actual and potential changes in the regulation of funds using derivative instruments could limit the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies. New regulation of derivatives may make them more costly, or may otherwise adversely affect their liquidity, value or performance.

 

Additional risks associated with certain types of derivatives are discussed below:

 

Forward Contracts. There are no limitations on daily price movements of forward contracts. Changes in foreign exchange regulations by governmental authorities might limit the trading of forward contracts on currencies.

 

Futures. Futures contracts are subject to the risk that an exchange may impose price fluctuation limits, which may make it difficult or impossible for a fund to close out a position when desired. In the absence of such limits, the liquidity of the futures market depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than taking or making delivery. To the extent a Fund enters into futures contracts requiring physical delivery (e.g., certain commodities contracts), the inability of the Fund to take or make physical delivery can negatively impact performance.

 

Options. The use of options involves investment strategies and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. By writing put options, the Fund takes on the risk of declines in the value of the underlying instrument, including the possibility of a loss up to the entire strike price of each option it sells, but without the corresponding opportunity to benefit from potential increases in the value of the underlying instrument. When the Fund writes a put option, it assumes the risk that it must purchase the underlying instrument at a strike price that may be higher than the market price of the instrument. If there is a broad market decline and the Fund is not able to close out its written put options, it may result in substantial losses to the Fund. By writing a call option, the Fund may be obligated to deliver instruments underlying an option at less than the market price. When the Fund writes a covered call option, it gives up the opportunity to profit from a price increase in the underlying instrument above the strike price. If a covered call option that the Fund has written is exercised, the Fund will experience a gain or loss from the sale of the underlying instrument, depending on the price at which the Fund purchased the instrument and the strike price of the option. The Fund will receive a premium from writing options, but the premium received may not be sufficient to offset any losses sustained from exercised options. In the case of a covered call, the premium received may be offset by a decline in the market value of the underlying instrument during the option period. If an option that the Fund has purchased is never exercised or closed out, the Fund will lose the amount of the premium it paid and the use of those funds.

 

Swaps. The risk of loss with respect to swaps generally is limited to the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make or, in the case of the other party to a swap defaulting, the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive. If the Fund sells a credit default swap, however, the risk of loss may be the entire notional amount of the swap.

 

Some swaps are now executed through an organized exchange or regulated facility and cleared through a regulated clearing organization. The absence of an organized exchange or market for swap transactions may result in difficulties in trading and valuation, especially in the event of market disruptions. The use of an organized exchange or market for swap transactions is expected to result in swaps being easier to trade or value, but this may not always be the case.

 

Foreign and Emerging Market Risk. Foreign securities, including those issued by foreign governments, involve risks in addition to those associated with comparable U.S. securities. Additional risks include exposure to less developed or less efficient trading markets; social, political, diplomatic, or economic instability; trade barriers and other protectionist trade policies (including those of the U.S.); imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, organizations, companies, entities and/or individuals; significant government involvement in an economy and/or market structure; fluctuations in foreign currencies or currency redenomination; potential for default on sovereign debt; nationalization or expropriation of assets; settlement, custodial or other operational risks; higher transaction costs; confiscatory withholding or other taxes; and less stringent auditing and accounting, corporate disclosure, governance, and legal standards. As a result, foreign securities may fluctuate more widely in price, and may also be less liquid, than comparable U.S. securities. Regardless of where a company is organized or its stock is traded, its performance may be affected significantly by events in regions from which it derives its profits or in which it conducts significant operations.

 

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Investing in emerging market countries involves risks in addition to and greater than those generally associated with investing in more developed foreign countries. The governments of emerging market countries may be more unstable and more likely to impose capital controls, nationalize a company or industry, place restrictions on foreign ownership and on withdrawing sale proceeds of securities from the country, intervene in the financial markets, and/or impose burdensome taxes that could adversely affect security prices. To the extent a foreign security is denominated in U.S. dollars, there is also the risk that a foreign government will not let U.S. dollar-denominated assets leave the country. In addition, the economies of emerging market countries may be dependent on relatively few industries that are more susceptible to local and global changes. Emerging market countries may also have less developed legal and accounting systems, and their legal systems may deal with issuer bankruptcies and defaults differently than U.S. law would. Securities markets in emerging market countries are also relatively small and have substantially lower trading volumes. Securities of issuers in emerging market countries may be more volatile and less liquid than securities of issuers in foreign countries with more developed economies or markets and the situation may require that the Fund fair value its holdings in those countries.

 

Securities of issuers traded on foreign exchanges may be suspended, either by the issuers themselves, by an exchange, or by governmental 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 in instruments that reference the securities, such as derivative instruments, may be halted. In the event that the 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.

 

From time to time, based on market or economic conditions, the Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in one country or geographic region. If the Fund does so, there is a greater risk that economic, political, regulatory, diplomatic, social and environmental conditions in that particular country or geographic region may have a significant impact on the Fund’s performance and that the Fund’s performance will be more volatile than the performance of more geographically diversified funds.

 

High Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading and may have a high portfolio turnover rate, which may increase the Fund’s transaction costs, may adversely affect the Fund’s performance and may generate a greater amount of capital gain distributions to shareholders than if the Fund had a low portfolio turnover rate.

 

Interest Rate Risk. The Fund’s yield and share price will fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates. In general, the value of investments with interest rate risk, such as debt securities, will move in the direction opposite to movements in interest rates. If interest rates rise, the value of such securities may decline. Typically, the longer the maturity or duration of a debt security, the greater the effect a change in interest rates could have on the security’s price. Thus, the sensitivity of the Fund’s debt securities to interest rate risk will increase with any increase in the duration of those securities.

 

Issuer-Specific Risk. An individual security may be more volatile, and may perform differently, than the market as a whole.

 

Leverage Risk. Leverage amplifies changes in the Fund’s net asset value and may make the Fund more volatile. Derivatives may create leverage and can result in losses to the Fund that exceed the amount originally invested and may accelerate the rate of losses. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s use of any leverage will be successful. The Fund’s investment exposure can exceed its net assets, sometimes by a significant amount.

 

Liquidity Risk. From time to time, the trading market for a particular investment in which the Fund invests, or a particular type of instrument in which the Fund is invested, may become less liquid or even illiquid. Illiquid investments frequently can be more difficult to purchase or sell at an advantageous price or time, and there is a greater risk that the investments may not be sold for the price at which the Fund is carrying them. Certain investments that were liquid when the Fund purchased them may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly. Additionally, market closures due to holidays or other factors may render a security or group of securities (e.g., securities tied to a particular country or geographic region) illiquid for a period of time. An inability to sell a portfolio position can adversely affect the Fund’s value or prevent the Fund from being able to take advantage of other investment opportunities. Market prices for such securities or other investments may be volatile. During periods of substantial market volatility, an investment or even an entire market segment may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly, which can adversely affect the Fund’s ability to limit losses.

 

Unexpected episodes of illiquidity, including due to market or political factors, instrument or issuer-specific factors and/or unanticipated outflows, may limit the Fund’s ability to pay redemption proceeds within the allowable time period. To meet

 

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redemption requests during periods of illiquidity, the Fund may be forced to sell securities at an unfavorable time and/or under unfavorable conditions.

 

Loan Interests Risk. Loan interests generally are subject to restrictions on transfer, and the Fund may be unable to sell its loan interests at a time when it may otherwise be desirable to do so or may be able to sell them promptly only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value. Accordingly, loan interests may at times be illiquid. Loan interests may be difficult to value and may have extended settlement periods (the settlement cycle for many bank loans exceeds 7 days). Extended settlement periods may result in cash not being immediately available to the Fund. As a result, during periods of unusually heavy redemptions, the Fund may have to sell other investments or borrow money to meet its obligations. A significant portion of floating rate loans may be “covenant lite” loans that may contain fewer or less restrictive constraints on the borrower and/or may contain other characteristics that would be favorable to the borrower, limiting the ability of lenders to take legal action to protect their interests in certain situations. Interests in loans made to finance highly leveraged companies or to finance corporate acquisitions or other transactions may be especially vulnerable to adverse changes in economic or market conditions. Interests in secured loans have the benefit of collateral and, typically, of restrictive covenants limiting the ability of the borrower to further encumber its assets. There is a risk that the value of any collateral securing a loan in which the Fund has an interest may decline and that the collateral may not be sufficient to cover the amount owed on the loan. In the event the borrower defaults, the Fund’s access to the collateral may be limited or delayed by bankruptcy or other insolvency laws. Further, in the event of a default, second or lower lien secured loans, and unsecured loans, will generally be paid only if the value of the collateral exceeds the amount of the borrower’s obligations to the senior secured lenders, and the remaining collateral may not be sufficient to cover the full amount owed on the loan in which the Fund has an interest. Further, there is a risk that a court could take action with respect to a loan that is adverse to the holders of the loan and the Fund may need to retain legal counsel to enforce its rights in any resulting event of default, bankruptcy, or similar situation. Interests in loans expose the Fund to the credit risk of the underlying borrower and may expose the Fund to the credit risk of the lender.

 

The Fund may acquire a loan interest by direct investment as a lender, by obtaining an assignment of all or a portion of the interests in a particular loan that are held by an original lender or a prior assignee or by participation in a loan interest that is held by another party. As an assignee, the Fund normally will succeed to all rights and obligations of its assignor with respect to the portion of the loan that is being assigned. However, the rights and obligations acquired by the purchaser of a loan assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the original lenders or the assignor. When the Fund’s loan interest is a participation, the Fund may have less control over the exercise of remedies than the party selling the participation interest, and the Fund normally would not have any direct rights against the borrower. It is possible that the Fund could be held liable, or may be called upon to fulfill other obligations, with respect to loans in which it receives an assignment in whole or in part, or in which it owns a participation. The potential for such liability is greater for an assignee than for a participant.

 

Lower-Rated Debt Securities Risk. Lower-rated debt securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”) and unrated debt securities determined to be of comparable quality involve greater risks than investment grade debt securities. Such securities may fluctuate more widely in price and yield and may fall in price during times when the economy is weak or is expected to become weak. These securities also may require a greater degree of judgment to establish a price and may be difficult to sell at the time and price the Fund desires. Lower-rated debt securities are considered by the major rating agencies to be predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s continuing ability to pay principal and interest and carry a greater risk that the issuer of such securities will default in the timely payment of principal and interest. Issuers of securities that are in default or have defaulted may fail to resume principal or interest payments, in which case the Fund may lose its entire investment. The creditworthiness of issuers of these securities may be more complex to analyze than that of issuers of investment grade debt securities, and the overreliance on credit ratings may present additional risks.

 

Market Volatility Risk. Markets may be volatile and values of individual securities and other investments, including those of a particular type, may decline significantly in response to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, market, economic or other developments that may cause broad changes in market value, public perceptions concerning these developments, and adverse investor sentiment or publicity. Geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health risks may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Changes in value may be temporary or may last for extended periods. If the Fund sells a portfolio position before it reaches its market peak, it may miss out on opportunities for better performance.

 

Other Investment Company Risk. To the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies, including money market funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), its performance will be affected by the performance of those other investment companies. Investments in other investment companies are subject to the risks of the other investment companies’ investments, as well as to the other investment companies’ expenses.

 

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An ETF may trade in the secondary market at a price below the value of its underlying portfolio and may not be liquid. An actively managed ETF’s performance will reflect its adviser’s ability to make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the ETF’s investment objectives. A passively managed ETF may not replicate the performance of the index it intends to track.

 

Prepayment and Extension Risk. The Fund’s performance could be affected if borrowers pay back principal on certain debt securities before (prepayment) or after (extension) the market anticipates such payments, shortening or lengthening their duration. Due to a decline in interest rates or an excess in cash flow into the issuer, a debt security might be called or otherwise converted, prepaid or redeemed before maturity. As a result of prepayment, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield, may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates, and may lose any premium it paid to acquire the security. Conversely, rising market interest rates generally result in slower payoffs or extension, which effectively increases the duration of certain debt securities, heightening interest rate risk and increasing the magnitude of any resulting price declines.

 

Private Placements and Other Restricted Securities Risk. Private placements and other restricted securities, including securities for which Fund management has material non-public information, are securities that are subject to legal and/or contractual restrictions on their sales. These securities may not be sold to the public unless certain conditions are met, which may include registration under the applicable securities laws. As a result of the absence of a public trading market, the prices of these securities may be more difficult to determine than publicly traded securities and these securities may involve heightened risk as compared to investments in securities of publicly traded companies. Private placements and other restricted securities may be illiquid, and it frequently can be difficult to sell them at a time when it may otherwise be desirable to do so or the Fund may be able to sell them only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value. Transaction costs may be higher for these securities. In addition, the Fund may get only limited information about the issuer of a private placement or other restricted security.

 

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. 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.

 

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 would apply to the 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 the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies or make certain investments, may make it more costly for it to operate, which, may in turn, impact performance.

 

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. Moreover, those events have, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on global markets performance and liquidity, thereby negatively affecting the value of the Fund’s investments. 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 the Fund and its investments or operations could be negatively impacted.

 

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected and could 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. 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Redemption Risk. The Fund may experience periods of large or frequent redemptions that could cause the Fund to sell assets at inopportune times, which could have a negative impact on the Fund’s overall liquidity, or at a loss or depressed value. Redemption risk is greater to the extent that one or more investors or intermediaries control a large percentage of investments in the Fund and the risk is heightened during periods of declining or illiquid markets. Large redemptions could hurt the Fund’s performance, increase transaction costs, and create adverse tax consequences. A general rise in interest rates has the potential to cause investors to move out of fixed income securities on a large scale, which may increase redemptions from mutual funds that hold large amounts of fixed income securities; such a move, coupled with a reduction in the ability or willingness of dealers and other institutional investors to buy or hold fixed income securities, may result in decreased liquidity and increased volatility in the fixed income markets.

 

Sector Risk. From time to time, based on market or economic conditions, the Fund may have significant positions in one or more sectors of the market. To the extent the Fund invests more heavily in particular sectors, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors. Individual sectors 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.

 

Sovereign and Supranational Entities Debt Risk. Sovereign debt securities are subject to the risk that a governmental entity may delay or refuse to pay interest or principal on its sovereign debt, due, for example, to cash flow problems, insufficient foreign currency reserves, political considerations, the size of the governmental entity’s debt position in relation to the economy, its policy toward international lenders or the failure to put in place economic reforms required by multilateral agencies. If a governmental entity defaults, it may ask for more time in which to pay or for further loans. There may be no legal process for collecting sovereign debt that a government does not pay nor are there bankruptcy proceedings through which all or part of the sovereign debt that a governmental entity has not repaid may be collected. Sovereign debt risk is increased for emerging market issuers.

 

The Fund may also invest in obligations issued or guaranteed by supranational entities, such as the World Bank. Supranational entities have no taxing authority and are dependent on their members for payments of interest and principal. If one or more members of a supranational entity fails to make necessary contributions, such entity may be unable to pay interest or repay principal on its debt securities. Political changes in principal donor nations may unexpectedly disrupt the finances of supranational entities.

 

Structured Note Risk. Structured notes are notes where the principal and/or interest is determined by reference to the performance of a specific asset, benchmark asset, financial instrument, market or interest rate. Generally, investments in such notes are used as a substitute for positions in underlying indicators and involve many of the same risks associated with a direct investment in the underlying indicator the notes seek to replicate. Structured notes may be exchange traded or traded over-the-counter and privately negotiated. Structured notes can have risks of both fixed income securities and derivatives transactions, including leverage risk. The interest and/or principal payments that may be made on a structured note may vary widely, depending on a variety of factors, including changes in the value of one or more specified reference instruments. The performance 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. 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 the Fund. Investments in structured notes, including credit-linked notes, involve risks including interest rate risk, credit risk, liquidity risk and market risk. Structured notes may be illiquid and may have a limited trading market, making it difficult to value them or sell them at an acceptable price.

 

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Variable and Floating Rate Instruments Risk. The market prices of instruments with variable and floating interest rates are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than are the market prices of instruments with fixed interest rates. Variable and floating rate instruments may decline in value if market interest rates or interest rates paid by such instruments do not move as expected. Certain types of floating rate instruments, such as interests in bank loans, may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities.

 

A summary of the Fund’s additional principal investment risks is as follows:

 

Risk of Increase in Expenses. A decline in the Fund’s average net assets during the current fiscal year due to market volatility or other factors could cause the Fund’s expenses for the current fiscal year to be higher than the expense information presented in “Fees and Expenses.”

 

Operational and Cybersecurity Risk. The Fund and its service providers, and your ability to transact with the Fund, may be negatively impacted due to operational matters arising from, among other problems, human errors, systems and technology disruptions or failures, or cybersecurity incidents. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to fund assets, customer data, or proprietary information, or cause the Fund or its service providers, as well as the securities trading venues and their service providers, to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. Cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. It is not possible for the Manager or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the cybersecurity or other operational risks that may affect the Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects. Most issuers in which the Fund invests are heavily dependent on computers for data storage and operations, and require ready access to the internet to conduct their business. Thus, cybersecurity incidents could also affect issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, leading to significant loss of value.

 

Risk Management. Risk is an essential part of investing. No risk management program can eliminate the Fund’s exposure to adverse events; at best, it may only reduce the possibility that the Fund will be affected by such events, and especially those risks that are not intrinsic to the Fund’s investment program. The Fund could experience losses if judgments about risk prove to be incorrect.

 

Valuation Risk. The Fund may not be able to sell an investment at the price at which the Fund has valued the investment. Such differences could be significant, particularly for illiquid securities and securities that trade in relatively thin markets and/or markets that experience extreme volatility. If market or other conditions make it difficult to value an investment, the Fund may be required to value such investments using more subjective methods, known as fair value methodologies. Using fair value methodologies to price investments may result in a value that is different from an investment’s most recent price and from the prices used by other funds to calculate their NAVs. The Fund uses pricing services to provide values for certain securities and there is no assurance that the Fund will be able to sell an investment at the price established by such pricing services. The Fund’s ability to value its investments in an accurate and timely manner may be impacted by technological issues and/or errors by third party service providers, such as pricing services or accounting agents.

 

PERFORMANCE

The following bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart shows how the Fund’s performance has varied from year to year, as represented by the performance of the Fund’s Institutional Class. The returns in the bar chart do not reflect any applicable sales charges. If sales charges were reflected, returns would be lower than those shown. The table below the bar chart shows what the returns would equal if you averaged out actual performance over various lengths of time and compares the returns with the returns of one or more broad-based market indices. The indices, which are described in “Descriptions of Indices” in the prospectus, have characteristics relevant to the Fund’s investment strategy. Unlike the returns in the bar chart, the returns in the table reflect the maximum applicable sales charges.

 

Returns would have been lower if the Manager had not reimbursed certain expenses and/or waived a portion of the investment management fees during certain of the periods shown.

 

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Past performance (before and after taxes) is not a prediction of future results. Visit www.nb.com or call 800-366-6264 for updated performance information.

 

YEAR-BY-YEAR % RETURNS AS OF 12/31 EACH YEAR

 

 

Years

Best quarter:     Q2 ’20, 13.22%

Worst quarter:   Q1 ’20, -16.21%

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL TOTAL % RETURNS AS OF 12/31/22

 

            Since Inception
Emerging Markets Debt Fund   1 Year   5 Years   (9/27/2013)
Institutional Class Return Before Taxes   -13.42   -1.81   0.57
Institutional Class Return After Taxes on Distributions   -14.45   -2.98   -0.71
Institutional Class Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares   -7.20   -1.36   0.37
Class A Return Before Taxes   -17.40   -3.06   -0.28
Class C Return Before Taxes   -15.11   -2.90   -0.55
50% J.P. Morgan Government Bond Index (GBI) — Emerging Markets Global Diversified, 25% J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI) — Global Diversified, and 25% J.P. Morgan Corporate Emerging Markets Bond Index (CEMBI) — Diversified (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   -13.51   -1.29   0.78
After-tax returns are shown for Institutional Class shares only and after-tax returns for other classes may vary. After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold their Fund shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts. Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares may be higher than other returns for the same period due to a tax benefit of realizing a capital loss upon the sale of Fund shares.

 

INVESTMENT MANAGER

Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“Manager”) is the Fund’s investment manager. Neuberger Berman Europe Limited (“NBEL”) is the Fund’s sub-adviser.

 

PORTFOLIO MANAGERS

The Fund is managed by Rob Drijkoningen (Managing Director of NBEL), Gorky Urquieta (Managing Director of the Manager), Bart Van der Made, CFA (Managing Director of NBEL), Raoul Luttik (Managing Director of NBEL), Jennifer Gorgoll, CFA (Managing Director of the Manager), Vera Kartseva, CFA (Senior Vice President of NBEL) and Nish Popat (Managing Director of NBEL). Mr. Drijkoningen, Mr. Urquieta, Mr. Van der Made, Mr. Luttik, Ms. Gorgoll, Ms. Kartseva and Mr. Popat have co-managed the Fund since its inception in 2013.

 

BUYING AND SELLING SHARES

You may purchase, redeem (sell) or exchange shares of the Fund on any day the New York Stock Exchange is open, at the Fund’s net asset value per share next determined after your order is received in proper form, subject to any applicable sales charge. Shares

 

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of the Fund generally are available only through certain investment providers, such as banks, brokerage firms, workplace retirement programs, and financial advisers. Contact any investment provider authorized to sell the Fund’s shares. See “Maintaining Your Account” in the prospectus for eligibility requirements for purchases of Institutional Class shares.

 

For certain investors, certain shares of the Fund may be available directly from Neuberger Berman BD LLC by regular, first class mail (Neuberger Berman Funds, P.O. Box 219189, Kansas City, MO 64121-9189), by express delivery, registered mail, or certified mail (Neuberger Berman Funds, 430 West 7th Street, Suite 219189, Kansas City, MO 64105-1407), or by wire, fax, telephone, exchange, or systematic investment or withdrawal (call 800-877-9700 for instructions). See “Maintaining Your Account” and “Direct Investors” in the prospectus for eligibility requirements for direct purchases of shares and for instructions on buying and redeeming (selling) shares directly.

 

The minimum initial investment in Class A or Class C shares is $1,000. Additional investments can be as little as $100. These minimums may be waived in certain cases.

 

The minimum initial investment in Institutional Class shares is $1 million. This minimum may be waived in certain cases.

 

TAX INFORMATION

Unless you invest in the Fund through a tax-advantaged retirement plan or account or are a tax-exempt investor, you will be subject to tax on Fund distributions to you of ordinary income and/or net capital gains. Those distributions generally are not taxable to such a plan or account or a tax-exempt investor, although withdrawals from certain retirement plans and accounts generally are subject to federal income tax.

 

PAYMENTS TO INVESTMENT PROVIDERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

If you purchase shares of the Fund through an investment provider or other financial intermediary, such as a bank, brokerage firm, workplace retirement program, or financial adviser (who may be affiliated with Neuberger Berman), the Fund and/or Neuberger Berman BD LLC and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the investment provider or other financial intermediary and its employees to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your investment provider or visit its website for more information.

 

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Neuberger Berman Floating Rate Income Fund

Class A Shares (NFIAX), Class C Shares (NFICX), Institutional Class Shares (NFIIX)

 

GOAL

The Fund seeks high current income.

 

FEES AND EXPENSES

These tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold or sell shares of the Fund. Under the Fund’s policies, you may qualify for initial sales charge discounts if you and your family invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $50,000 in Neuberger Berman funds. Certain financial intermediaries have sales charges and/or policies and procedures regarding sales charge waivers applicable to their customers that differ from those described below. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial intermediary, in “Sales Charge Reductions and Waivers” on page 160 in the Fund’s prospectus, and in Appendix A to the Fund’s prospectus. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

    Class A   Class C   Institutional Class
Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment)            
Maximum initial sales charge on purchases (as a % of offering price)   4.25   None   None
Maximum contingent deferred sales charge (as a % of lower of original purchase price or current market value)1   None   1.00   None

Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a % of the value of your investment)            
Management fees2   0.67   0.67   0.55
Distribution and/or shareholder service (12b-1) fees   0.25   1.00   None
Other expenses   0.19   0.18   0.17
Total annual operating expenses   1.11   1.85   0.72
Fee waivers and/or expense reimbursement3   0.13   0.12   0.11
Total annual operating expenses after fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement4   0.98   1.73   0.61

 

1 For Class A shares, a contingent deferred sales charge (“CDSC”) of 1.00% applies on certain redemptions made within 18 months following purchases of $1 million or more made without an initial sales charge. For Class C shares, the CDSC is eliminated one year after purchase.
2 “Management fees” have been restated to reflect current advisory fees, which are lower than prior advisory expenses.
3 “Fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement” has been restated to reflect the contractual expense limit for each Class as disclosed in note 4.
4 Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“Manager”) has contractually undertaken to waive and/or reimburse certain fees and expenses of Class A, Class C and Institutional Class so that the total annual operating expenses (excluding interest, brokerage commissions, acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes including any expenses relating to tax reclaims, dividend and interest expenses relating to short sales, and extraordinary expenses, if any) (“annual operating expenses”) of each class are limited to 0.97%, 1.72% and 0.60% of average net assets, respectively. Each of these undertakings lasts until 10/31/2026 and may not be terminated during its term without the consent of the Board of Trustees. The Fund has agreed that each of Class A, Class C and Institutional Class will repay the Manager for fees and expenses waived or reimbursed for the class provided that repayment does not cause annual operating expenses to exceed 0.97%, 1.72% and 0.60% of the class’ average net assets, respectively. Any such repayment must be made within three years after the year in which the Manager incurred the expense.

 

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Expense Example

The expense example can help you compare costs among mutual funds. The example assumes that you invested $10,000 for the periods shown, that you redeemed all of your shares at the end of those periods, that the Fund earned a hypothetical 5% total return each year, and that the Fund’s expenses were those in the table. For Class A and Institutional Class shares, your costs would be the same whether you sold your shares or continued to hold them at the end of each period. Actual performance and expenses may be higher or lower.

 

    1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years
Class A   $521   $724   $972   $1,684
Class C (assuming redemption)   $276   $545   $965   $2,138
Class C (assuming no redemption)   $176   $545   $965   $2,138
Institutional Class   $62   $195   $366   $862

 

Portfolio Turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 46% of the average value of its portfolio.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

To pursue its goal, the Fund invests mainly in floating rate senior secured loans issued in U.S. dollars by U.S. and foreign corporations, partnerships and other business entities (borrowers). These loans are often at the time of investment below investment grade securities (commonly known as “junk” or “junk bonds”). The Fund considers debt securities to be below investment grade if, at the time of investment, they are rated below the four highest categories by at least one independent credit rating agency or, if unrated, are determined by the Portfolio Managers to be of comparable quality. Floating interest rates vary with and adjust to reflect changes in a generally recognized base interest rate or the prime rate. The Fund generally seeks to focus on loans of companies that the Portfolio Managers believe have the ability to generate cash flow through a full business cycle, maintain adequate liquidity and have access to both debt and equity capital, but may invest in loans of distressed companies.

 

The Fund may also purchase fixed-rate loans, second lien loans, unsecured loans, investment grade and below investment grade fixed income securities, including investment grade short term debt obligations, convertible securities, money market instruments, repurchase agreements, and restricted securities.

 

The Portfolio Managers will seek positive returns through in-depth credit research utilizing proprietary analytics processes to assess the strength of a company’s credit profile, examples of which include but are not limited to: their ability to pay principal and interest, their cash flow and balance sheet composition, and their market position relative to competitors. As part of their fundamental investment analysis the Portfolio Managers consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors they believe are financially material to individual investments, where applicable, as described below. While this analysis is inherently subjective and may be informed by internally generated and third-party metrics, data and other information, the Portfolio Managers believe that the consideration of financially material ESG factors, alongside traditional financial metrics, may improve credit analysis, security selection, relative value analysis and enhance the Fund’s overall investment process. As part of this analysis, the Portfolio Managers also regularly engage with the management teams of issuers on issues that the Portfolio Managers believe are material to the credit risk of an issuer. The specific ESG factors considered and scope and application of integration may vary depending on the specific investment and/or investment type. The consideration of ESG factors does not apply to certain instruments, to the extent applicable, such as certain derivative instruments, other registered investment companies, cash and cash equivalents. The consideration of ESG factors as part of the investment process does not mean that the Fund pursues a specific “impact” or “sustainable” investment strategy.

 

In addition, the Portfolio Managers adjust weightings based on their analysis of general and sector-specific economic and market conditions, while seeking to diversify across industries, companies and investment size.

 

The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets in floating rate securities (including loans) and other investment companies that provide investment exposure to such floating rate securities. The Fund will not alter this policy without providing shareholders at least 60 days’ notice. This test is applied at the time the Fund invests; later percentage changes caused by a change in Fund assets, market values or company circumstances will not require the Fund to dispose of a holding.

 

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PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT RISKS

Most of the Fund’s performance depends on what happens in the markets for loan and fixed income instruments, the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of those developments, and the success of the Portfolio Managers in implementing the Fund’s investment strategies. The markets’ behavior can be difficult to predict, particularly in the short term. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its goal. The Fund may take temporary defensive and cash management positions; to the extent it does, it will not be pursuing its principal investment strategies.

 

The actual risk exposure taken by the Fund in its investment program will vary over time, depending on various factors including the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of issuer, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. There can be no guarantee that the Portfolio Managers will be successful in their attempts to manage the risk exposure of the Fund or will appropriately evaluate or weigh the multiple factors involved in investment decisions, including issuer, market and/or instrument-specific analysis, valuation and environmental, social and governance factors.

 

The Fund is a mutual fund, not a bank deposit, and is not guaranteed or insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. The value of your investment may fall, sometimes sharply, and you could lose money by investing in the Fund.

 

Each of the following risks, which are described in alphabetical order and not in order of any presumed importance, can significantly affect the Fund’s performance. The relative importance of, or potential exposure as a result of, each of these risks will vary based on market and other investment-specific considerations.

 

Convertible Securities Risk. The value of a convertible security, which is a form of hybrid security (i.e., a security with both debt and equity characteristics), typically increases or decreases with the price of the underlying common stock. In general, a convertible security is subject to the market risks of stocks when the underlying stock’s price is high relative to the conversion price and is subject to the market risks of debt securities when the underlying stock’s price is low relative to the conversion price. The general market risks of debt securities that are common to convertible securities include, but are not limited to, interest rate risk and credit risk. Many convertible securities have credit ratings that are below investment grade and are subject to the same risks as an investment in lower-rated debt securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”). To the extent the Fund invests in convertible securities issued by small- or mid-cap companies, it will be subject to the risks of investing in such companies. The securities of small- and mid-cap companies may fluctuate more widely in price than the market as a whole and there may also be less trading in small- or mid-cap securities.

 

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that issuers, guarantors, or insurers may fail, or become less able or unwilling, to pay interest and/or principal when due. Changes in the actual or perceived creditworthiness of an issuer or a downgrade or default affecting any of the Fund’s securities could affect the Fund’s performance by affecting the credit quality or value of the Fund’s securities. Generally, the longer the maturity and the lower the credit quality of a security, the more sensitive it is to credit risk.

 

Distressed Securities Risk. Distressed securities may present a substantial risk of default, including the loss of the entire investment, or may be in default. The Fund may not receive interest payments on the distressed securities and may incur costs to protect its investment. The prices of such securities may be subject to periods of abrupt and erratic market movements and above-average price volatility and it may be difficult to value such securities. In certain periods, there may be little or no liquidity in the markets for distressed securities meaning that the Fund may be unable to exit its position.

 

Foreign Risk. Foreign securities involve risks in addition to those associated with comparable U.S. securities. Additional risks include exposure to less developed or less efficient trading markets; social, political, diplomatic, or economic instability; trade barriers and other protectionist trade policies (including those of the U.S.); imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, organizations, companies, entities and/or individuals, significant government involvement in an economy and/or market structure; fluctuations in foreign currencies or currency redenomination; potential for default on sovereign debt; nationalization or expropriation of assets; settlement, custodial or other operational risks; higher transaction costs; confiscatory withholding or other taxes; and less stringent auditing and accounting, corporate disclosure, governance, and legal standards. As a result, foreign securities may fluctuate more widely in price, and may also be less liquid, than comparable U.S. securities. World markets, or those in a particular region, may all react in similar fashion to important economic or political developments. In addition, foreign markets may perform differently than the U.S. markets. The effect of economic instability on specific foreign markets or issuers may be difficult to predict or evaluate. Regardless of where a company is organized or its stock is traded, its performance may be affected significantly by events in regions from which it derives its profits or in which it conducts significant operations.

 

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Securities of issuers traded on foreign exchanges may be suspended, either by the issuers themselves, by an exchange, or by governmental authorities. 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. In the event that the 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.

 

Interest Rate Risk. The Fund’s yield and share price will fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates. In general, the value of investments with interest rate risk, such as debt securities, will move in the direction opposite to movements in interest rates. If interest rates rise, the value of such securities may decline. Typically, the longer the maturity or duration of a debt security, the greater the effect a change in interest rates could have on the security’s price. Thus, the sensitivity of the Fund’s debt securities to interest rate risk will increase with any increase in the duration of those securities.

 

Issuer-Specific Risk. An individual security may be more volatile, and may perform differently, than the market as a whole.

 

Liquidity Risk. From time to time, the trading market for a particular investment in which the Fund invests, or a particular type of instrument in which the Fund is invested, may become less liquid or even illiquid. Illiquid investments frequently can be more difficult to purchase or sell at an advantageous price or time, and there is a greater risk that the investments may not be sold for the price at which the Fund is carrying them. Certain investments that were liquid when the Fund purchased them may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly. Additionally, market closures due to holidays or other factors may render a security or group of securities (e.g., securities tied to a particular country or geographic region) illiquid for a period of time. An inability to sell a portfolio position can adversely affect the Fund’s value or prevent the Fund from being able to take advantage of other investment opportunities. Market prices for such securities or other investments may be volatile. During periods of substantial market volatility, an investment or even an entire market segment may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly, which can adversely affect the Fund’s ability to limit losses.

 

Unexpected episodes of illiquidity, including due to market or political factors, instrument or issuer-specific factors and/or unanticipated outflows, may limit the Fund’s ability to pay redemption proceeds within the allowable time period. To meet redemption requests during periods of illiquidity, the Fund may be forced to sell securities at an unfavorable time and/or under unfavorable conditions.

 

Loan Interests Risk. Loan interests generally are subject to restrictions on transfer, and the Fund may be unable to sell its loan interests at a time when it may otherwise be desirable to do so or may be able to sell them promptly only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value. Accordingly, loan interests may at times be illiquid. Loan interests may be difficult to value and may have extended settlement periods (the settlement cycle for many bank loans exceeds 7 days). Extended settlement periods may result in cash not being immediately available to the Fund. As a result, during periods of unusually heavy redemptions, the Fund may have to sell other investments or borrow money to meet its obligations. A significant portion of floating rate loans may be “covenant lite” loans that may contain fewer or less restrictive constraints on the borrower and/or may contain other characteristics that would be favorable to the borrower, limiting the ability of lenders to take legal action to protect their interests in certain situations. Interests in loans made to finance highly leveraged companies or to finance corporate acquisitions or other transactions may be especially vulnerable to adverse changes in economic or market conditions. Interests in secured loans have the benefit of collateral and, typically, of restrictive covenants limiting the ability of the borrower to further encumber its assets. There is a risk that the value of any collateral securing a loan in which the Fund has an interest may decline and that the collateral may not be sufficient to cover the amount owed on the loan. In the event the borrower defaults, the Fund’s access to the collateral may be limited or delayed by bankruptcy or other insolvency laws. Further, in the event of a default, second or lower lien secured loans, and unsecured loans, will generally be paid only if the value of the collateral exceeds the amount of the borrower’s obligations to the senior secured lenders, and the remaining collateral may not be sufficient to cover the full amount owed on the loan in which the Fund has an interest. Further, there is a risk that a court could take action with respect to a loan that is adverse to the holders of the loan and the Fund may need to retain legal counsel to enforce its rights in any resulting event of default, bankruptcy, or similar situation. Interests in loans expose the Fund to the credit risk of the underlying borrower and may expose the Fund to the credit risk of the lender.

 

The Fund may acquire a loan interest by direct investment as a lender, by obtaining an assignment of all or a portion of the interests in a particular loan that are held by an original lender or a prior assignee or by participation in a loan interest that is held by another party. As an assignee, the Fund normally will succeed to all rights and obligations of its assignor with respect to the portion of the loan that is being assigned. However, the rights and obligations acquired by the purchaser of a loan assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the original lenders or the assignor. When the Fund’s loan interest is a participation, the Fund may have less control over the exercise of remedies than the party selling the participation interest, and the

 

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Fund normally would not have any direct rights against the borrower. It is possible that the Fund could be held liable, or may be called upon to fulfill other obligations, with respect to loans in which it receives an assignment in whole or in part, or in which it owns a participation. The potential for such liability is greater for an assignee than for a participant.

 

Lower-Rated Debt Securities Risk. Lower-rated debt securities (commonly known as “junk” or “junk bonds”) and unrated debt securities determined to be of comparable quality involve greater risks than investment grade debt securities. Such securities may fluctuate more widely in price and yield and may fall in price during times when the economy is weak or is expected to become weak. These securities also may require a greater degree of judgment to establish a price and may be difficult to sell at the time and price the Fund desires. Lower-rated debt securities are considered by the major rating agencies to be predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s continuing ability to pay principal and interest and carry a greater risk that the issuer of such securities will default in the timely payment of principal and interest. Issuers of securities that are in default or have defaulted may fail to resume principal or interest payments, in which case the Fund may lose its entire investment. The creditworthiness of issuers of these securities may be more complex to analyze than that of issuers of investment grade debt securities, and the overreliance on credit ratings may present additional risks.

 

Market Volatility Risk. Markets may be volatile and values of individual securities and other investments, including those of a particular type, may decline significantly in response to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, market, economic or other developments that may cause broad changes in market value, public perceptions concerning these developments, and adverse investor sentiment or publicity. Geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health risks may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Changes in value may be temporary or may last for extended periods. If the Fund sells a portfolio position before it reaches its market peak, it may miss out on opportunities for better performance.

 

Prepayment and Extension Risk. The Fund’s performance could be affected if borrowers pay back principal on certain debt securities before (prepayment) or after (extension) the market anticipates such payments, shortening or lengthening their duration. Due to a decline in interest rates or an excess in cash flow into the issuer, a debt security might be called or otherwise converted, prepaid or redeemed before maturity. As a result of prepayment, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield, may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates, and may lose any premium it paid to acquire the security. Conversely, rising market interest rates generally result in slower payoffs or extension, which effectively increases the duration of certain debt securities, heightening interest rate risk and increasing the magnitude of any resulting price declines.

 

Private Placements and Other Restricted Securities Risk. Private placements and other restricted securities, including securities for which Fund management has material non-public information, are securities that are subject to legal and/or contractual restrictions on their sales. These securities may not be sold to the public unless certain conditions are met, which may include registration under the applicable securities laws. As a result of the absence of a public trading market, the prices of these securities may be more difficult to determine than publicly traded securities and these securities may involve heightened risk as compared to investments in securities of publicly traded companies. Private placements and other restricted securities may be illiquid, and it frequently can be difficult to sell them at a time when it may otherwise be desirable to do so or the Fund may be able to sell them only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value. Transaction costs may be higher for these securities. In addition, the Fund may get only limited information about the issuer of a private placement or other restricted security.

 

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. 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.

 

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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 would apply to the 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 the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies or make certain investments, may make it more costly for it to operate, which, may in turn, impact performance.

 

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. Moreover, those events have, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on global markets performance and liquidity, thereby negatively affecting the value of the Fund’s investments. 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 the Fund and its investments or operations could be negatively impacted.

 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected and could 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. 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Redemption Risk. The Fund may experience periods of large or frequent redemptions that could cause the Fund to sell assets at inopportune times, which could have a negative impact on the Fund’s overall liquidity, or at a loss or depressed value. Redemption risk is greater to the extent that one or more investors or intermediaries control a large percentage of investments in the Fund and the risk is heightened during periods of declining or illiquid markets. Large redemptions could hurt the Fund’s performance, increase transaction costs, and create adverse tax consequences. A general rise in interest rates has the potential to cause investors to move out of fixed income securities on a large scale, which may increase redemptions from mutual funds that hold large amounts of fixed income securities; such a move, coupled with a reduction in the ability or willingness of dealers and other institutional investors to buy or hold fixed income securities, may result in decreased liquidity and increased volatility in the fixed income markets.

 

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Repurchase Agreement Risk. Repurchase agreements generally are for a short period of time and involve the risk that the counterparty may default on its obligation to repurchase the underlying instruments collateralizing the repurchase agreement, which may result in costs, delays, and/or losses to the Fund.

 

Sector Risk. From time to time, based on market or economic conditions, the Fund may have significant positions in one or more sectors of the market. To the extent the Fund invests more heavily in particular sectors, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors. Individual sectors 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.

 

Variable and Floating Rate Instruments Risk. The market prices of instruments with variable and floating interest rates are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than are the market prices of instruments with fixed interest rates. Variable and floating rate instruments may decline in value if market interest rates or interest rates paid by such instruments do not move as expected. Certain types of floating rate instruments, such as interests in bank loans, may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities.

 

A summary of the Fund’s additional principal investment risks is as follows:

 

Risk of Increase in Expenses. A decline in the Fund’s average net assets during the current fiscal year due to market volatility or other factors could cause the Fund’s expenses for the current fiscal year to be higher than the expense information presented in “Fees and Expenses.”

 

Operational and Cybersecurity Risk. The Fund and its service providers, and your ability to transact with the Fund, may be negatively impacted due to operational matters arising from, among other problems, human errors, systems and technology disruptions or failures, or cybersecurity incidents. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to fund assets, customer data, or proprietary information, or cause the Fund or its service providers, as well as the securities trading venues and their service providers, to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. Cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. It is not possible for the Manager or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the cybersecurity or other operational risks that may affect the Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects. Most issuers in which the Fund invests are heavily dependent on computers for data storage and operations, and require ready access to the internet to conduct their business. Thus, cybersecurity incidents could also affect issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, leading to significant loss of value.

 

Risk Management. Risk is an essential part of investing. No risk management program can eliminate the Fund’s exposure to adverse events; at best, it may only reduce the possibility that the Fund will be affected by such events, and especially those risks that are not intrinsic to the Fund’s investment program. The Fund could experience losses if judgments about risk prove to be incorrect.

 

Valuation Risk. The Fund may not be able to sell an investment at the price at which the Fund has valued the investment. Such differences could be significant, particularly for illiquid securities and securities that trade in relatively thin markets and/or markets that experience extreme volatility. If market or other conditions make it difficult to value an investment, the Fund may be required to value such investments using more subjective methods, known as fair value methodologies. Using fair value methodologies to price investments may result in a value that is different from an investment’s most recent price and from the prices used by other funds to calculate their NAVs. The Fund uses pricing services to provide values for certain securities and there is no assurance that the Fund will be able to sell an investment at the price established by such pricing services. The Fund’s ability to value its investments in an accurate and timely manner may be impacted by technological issues and/or errors by third party service providers, such as pricing services or accounting agents.

 

PERFORMANCE

The following bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart shows how the Fund’s performance has varied from year to year, as represented by the performance of the Fund’s Institutional Class. The returns in the bar chart do not reflect any applicable sales charges. If sales charges were reflected, returns would be lower than those shown. The table below the bar chart shows what the returns would equal if you averaged out actual performance over various lengths of time and compares the returns with the returns of a broad-based market index. The index, which is described in “Descriptions of Indices” in the prospectus, has characteristics relevant to the Fund’s investment strategy. Unlike the returns in the bar chart, the returns in the table reflect the maximum applicable sales charges.

 

Returns would have been lower if the Manager had not reimbursed certain expenses and/or waived a portion of the investment management fees during certain of the periods shown.

 

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Past performance (before and after taxes) is not a prediction of future results. Visit www.nb.com or call 800-366-6264 for updated performance information.

 

YEAR-BY-YEAR % RETURNS AS OF 12/31 EACH YEAR

 

 

Years

Best quarter:     Q2 ’20, 11.81%

Worst quarter:    Q1 ’20, -13.89%

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL TOTAL % RETURNS AS OF 12/31/22

 

Floating Rate Income Fund   1 Year   5 Years   10 Years
Institutional Class Return Before Taxes   -1.56   2.93   3.12
Institutional Class Return After Taxes on Distributions   -3.80   1.00   1.29
Institutional Class Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares   -0.94   1.41   1.56
Class A Return Before Taxes   -6.07   1.66   2.29
Class C Return Before Taxes   -3.72   1.78   1.96
Morningstar LSTA US Leveraged Loan Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   -0.60   3.31   3.67
After-tax returns are shown for Institutional Class shares only and after-tax returns for other classes may vary. After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold their Fund shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts. Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares may be higher than other returns for the same period due to a tax benefit of realizing a capital loss upon the sale of Fund shares.

 

INVESTMENT MANAGER

Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“Manager”) is the Fund’s investment manager.

 

PORTFOLIO MANAGERS

The Fund is managed by Joseph P. Lynch (Managing Director of the Manager) and Stephen J. Casey (Managing Director of the Manager). Mr. Lynch has managed the Fund since 2009 and Mr. Casey has managed the Fund since 2010.

 

BUYING AND SELLING SHARES

You may purchase, redeem (sell) or exchange shares of the Fund on any day the New York Stock Exchange is open, at the Fund’s net asset value per share next determined after your order is received in proper form, subject to any applicable sales charge. Shares of the Fund generally are available only through certain investment providers, such as banks, brokerage firms, workplace retirement programs, and financial advisers. Contact any investment provider authorized to sell the Fund’s shares. See “Maintaining Your Account” in the prospectus for eligibility requirements for purchases of Institutional Class shares.

 

For certain investors, certain shares of the Fund may be available directly from Neuberger Berman BD LLC by regular, first class mail (Neuberger Berman Funds, P.O. Box 219189, Kansas City, MO 64121-9189), by express delivery, registered mail, or certified mail (Neuberger Berman Funds, 430 West 7th Street, Suite 219189, Kansas City, MO 64105-1407), or by wire, fax,

 

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telephone, exchange, or systematic investment or withdrawal (call 800-877-9700 for instructions). See “Maintaining Your Account” and “Direct Investors” in the prospectus for eligibility requirements for direct purchases of shares and for instructions on buying and redeeming (selling) shares directly.

 

The minimum initial investment in Class A or Class C shares is $1,000. Additional investments can be as little as $100. These minimums may be waived in certain cases.

 

The minimum initial investment in Institutional Class shares is $1 million. This minimum may be waived in certain cases.

 

TAX INFORMATION

Unless you invest in the Fund through a tax-advantaged retirement plan or account or are a tax-exempt investor, you will be subject to tax on Fund distributions to you of ordinary income and/or net capital gains. Those distributions generally are not taxable to such a plan or account or a tax-exempt investor, although withdrawals from certain retirement plans and accounts generally are subject to federal income tax.

 

PAYMENTS TO INVESTMENT PROVIDERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

If you purchase shares of the Fund through an investment provider or other financial intermediary, such as a bank, brokerage firm, workplace retirement program, or financial adviser (who may be affiliated with Neuberger Berman), the Fund and/or Neuberger Berman BD LLC and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the investment provider or other financial intermediary and its employees to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your investment provider or visit its website for more information.

 

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Neuberger Berman High Income Bond Fund

Class A Shares (NHIAX), Class C Shares (NHICX), Institutional Class Shares (NHILX)

 

GOAL

The Fund seeks high total return consistent with capital preservation.

 

FEES AND EXPENSES

These tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold or sell shares of the Fund. Under the Fund’s policies, you may qualify for initial sales charge discounts if you and your family invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $50,000 in Neuberger Berman funds. Certain financial intermediaries have sales charges and/or policies and procedures regarding sales charge waivers applicable to their customers that differ from those described below. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial intermediary, in “Sales Charge Reductions and Waivers” on page 160 in the Fund’s prospectus, and in Appendix A to the Fund’s prospectus. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

    Class A   Class C   Institutional Class
Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment)            
Maximum initial sales charge on purchases (as a % of offering price)   4.25   None   None
Maximum contingent deferred sales charge (as a % of lower of original purchase price or current market value)1   None   1.00   None

Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a % of the value of your investment)            
Management fees   0.75   0.75   0.63
Distribution and/or shareholder service (12b-1) fees   0.25   1.00   None
Other expenses2   0.13   0.11   0.08
Total annual operating expenses   1.13   1.86   0.71

 

1 For Class A shares, a contingent deferred sales charge (“CDSC”) of 1.00% applies on certain redemptions made within 18 months following purchases of $1 million or more made without an initial sales charge. For Class C shares, the CDSC is eliminated one year after purchase.
2 The Fund has agreed that Class A will repay Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (the “Manager”) for fees and expenses waived or reimbursed for the class provided that repayment does not cause annual operating expenses (excluding interest, brokerage commissions, acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes including any expenses relating to tax reclaims, dividend and interest expenses relating to short sales, and extraordinary expenses, if any) to exceed 1.12% of its average net assets, respectively. Any such repayment must be made within three years after the year in which the Manager incurred the expense. “Other expenses” shown above include a repayment of 0.02% for Class A.

 

Expense Example

The expense example can help you compare costs among mutual funds. The example assumes that you invested $10,000 for the periods shown, that you redeemed all of your shares at the end of those periods, that the Fund earned a hypothetical 5% total return each year, and that the Fund’s expenses were those in the table. For Class A and Institutional Class shares, your costs would be the same whether you sold your shares or continued to hold them at the end of each period. Actual performance and expenses may be higher or lower.

 

    1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years
Class A   $535   $769   $1,021   $1,741
Class C (assuming redemption)   $289   $585   $1,006   $2,180
Class C (assuming no redemption)   $189   $585   $1,006   $2,180
Institutional Class   $73   $227   $395   $883

 

Portfolio Turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 72% of the average value of its portfolio.

 

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PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

To pursue its goal, the Fund normally invests mainly in a diversified portfolio of U.S. dollar-denominated, High-Yield Bonds (as defined below), with an emphasis on debt securities rated below investment grade (commonly called “junk bonds”). For purposes of this Fund, High-Yield Bonds are generally defined as those debt securities that, at the time of investment, are rated in the lowest investment grade category (BBB by S&P Global Ratings, Baa by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), or comparably rated by at least one independent credit rating agency) or lower or, if unrated, determined by the Portfolio Managers to be of comparable quality. The Fund may invest in floating rate senior secured loans issued in U.S. dollars by U.S. and foreign corporations, partnerships, and other business entities. The Fund considers floating rate senior secured loans to be High-Yield Bonds. The Fund may invest a significant amount of its assets in loans, including in participation interests in loans.

 

The Fund normally expects to have a weighted averaged maturity between five and ten years. The Fund endeavors to manage credit risk through disciplined credit analysis and diversification of credit quality. The Fund intends to opportunistically rotate quality and sector exposures throughout the credit cycle, maintaining a higher quality bias in High-Yield Bonds when the Portfolio Managers believe an economic downturn is underway and increasing lower quality holdings of High-Yield Bonds when the Portfolio Managers believe an economic expansion is underway. With regard to interest rate risk, the Portfolio Managers are sensitive to the overall duration of the portfolio in relation to its benchmark and evaluate the duration of potential new portfolio acquisitions in conjunction with their credit analysis. The Fund invests its assets in a broad range of issuers and industries.

 

The Portfolio Managers will seek positive returns through in-depth credit research utilizing proprietary analytics processes to assess the strength of a company’s credit profile, examples of which include but are not limited to: their ability to pay principal and interest, their cash flow and balance sheet composition, and their market position relative to competitors. As part of their fundamental investment analysis the Portfolio Managers consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors they believe are financially material to individual investments, where applicable, as described below. While this analysis is inherently subjective and may be informed by internally generated and third-party metrics, data and other information, the Portfolio Managers believe that the consideration of financially material ESG factors, alongside traditional financial metrics, may improve credit analysis, security selection, relative value analysis and enhance the Fund’s overall investment process. As part of this analysis, the Portfolio Managers also regularly engage with the management teams of issuers on issues that the Portfolio Managers believe are material to the credit risk of an issuer. The specific ESG factors considered and scope and application of integration may vary depending on the specific investment and/or investment type. The consideration of ESG factors does not apply to certain instruments, such as certain derivative instruments, other registered investment companies, cash and cash equivalents. The consideration of ESG factors as part of the investment process does not mean that the Fund pursues a specific “impact” or “sustainable” investment strategy.

 

In addition, the Portfolio Managers analyze and adjust weightings based on general and sector-specific economic and market conditions, while diversifying across industries, companies and investment size.

 

The Fund may also invest in derivative instruments as a means of hedging risk and/or for investment or efficient portfolio management purposes, which may include altering the Fund’s exposure to currencies, interest rates, inflation, sectors and individual issuers. These derivative instruments may include futures, forward foreign currency contracts, and swaps, such as total return swaps, credit default swaps and interest rate swaps.

 

The Fund may invest in other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), if the investment companies invest principally in the types of investments in which the Fund may invest directly.

 

The Fund does not normally invest in or continue to hold securities that are in default or have defaulted with respect to the payment of interest or repayment of principal, but may do so depending on market or other conditions. The Fund may invest in or continue to hold securities that the Portfolio Managers believe have ratings or other factors that imply an imminent risk of default with respect to such payments. The Fund may also invest in restricted securities.

 

In an effort to achieve its goal, the Fund may engage in active and frequent trading. The Fund may invest in foreign securities, including obligations of issuers in emerging market countries, denominated in any currency, but the Fund normally will not invest more than 20% of its net assets at the time of investment in non-U.S. dollar denominated securities.

 

The Fund is suitable for investors who seek a total return in excess of the return typically offered by U.S. Treasury securities and who are comfortable with the risks associated with investing in a portfolio made up mainly of intermediate-term, U.S. dollar-denominated, High-Yield Bonds.

 

The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in High-Yield Bonds (as defined above) and other investment companies that provide investment exposure to such bonds. The Fund will

 

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not alter this policy without providing shareholders at least 60 days’ notice. This test is applied at the time the Fund invests; later percentage changes caused by a change in Fund assets, market values or company circumstances will not require the Fund to dispose of a holding.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT RISKS

Most of the Fund’s performance depends on what happens in the market for high-yield debt and loan instruments, the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of those developments, and the success of the Portfolio Managers in implementing the Fund’s investment strategies. The market’s behavior can be difficult to predict, particularly in the short term. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its goal. The Fund may take temporary defensive and cash management positions; to the extent it does, it will not be pursuing its principal investment strategies.

 

The actual risk exposure taken by the Fund in its investment program will vary over time, depending on various factors including the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of issuer, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. There can be no guarantee that the Portfolio Managers will be successful in their attempts to manage the risk exposure of the Fund or will appropriately evaluate or weigh the multiple factors involved in investment decisions, including issuer, market and/or instrument-specific analysis, valuation and environmental, social and governance factors.

 

The Fund is a mutual fund, not a bank deposit, and is not guaranteed or insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. The value of your investment may fall, sometimes sharply, and you could lose money by investing in the Fund.

 

Each of the following risks, which are described in alphabetical order and not in order of any presumed importance, can significantly affect the Fund’s performance. The relative importance of, or potential exposure as a result of, each of these risks will vary based on market and other investment-specific considerations.

 

Call Risk. Upon the issuer’s desire to call a security, or under other circumstances where a security is called, including when interest rates are low and issuers opt to repay the obligation underlying a “callable security” early, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield and may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates.

 

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that issuers, guarantors, or insurers may fail, or become less able or unwilling, to pay interest and/or principal when due. Changes in the actual or perceived creditworthiness of an issuer or a downgrade or default affecting any of the Fund’s securities could affect the Fund’s performance by affecting the credit quality or value of the Fund’s securities. Generally, the longer the maturity and the lower the credit quality of a security, the more sensitive it is to credit risk.

 

Currency Risk. Currency risk is the risk that foreign currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or other instruments denominated in or indexed to foreign currencies, changes in currency exchange rates could adversely impact investment gains or add to investment losses. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time and can be affected unpredictably by various factors, including investor perception and changes in interest rates; intervention, or failure to intervene, by U.S. or foreign governments, central banks, or supranational entities; or by currency controls or political developments in the U.S. or abroad.

 

Derivatives Risk. Use of derivatives is a highly specialized activity that can involve investment techniques and risks different from, and in some respects greater than, those associated with investing in more traditional investments, such as stocks and bonds. Derivatives can be highly complex and highly volatile and may perform in unanticipated ways. Derivatives can create leverage, and the Fund could lose more than the amount it invests; some derivatives can have the potential for unlimited losses. Derivatives may at times be highly illiquid, and the Fund may not be able to close out or sell a derivative at a particular time or at an anticipated price. Derivatives can be difficult to value and valuation may be more difficult in times of market turmoil. The value of a derivative instrument depends largely on (and is derived from) the value of the reference instrument underlying the derivative. There may be imperfect correlation between the behavior of a derivative and that of the reference instrument underlying the derivative. An abrupt change in the price of a reference instrument could render a derivative worthless. Derivatives may involve risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the reference instrument. Suitable derivatives may not be available in all circumstances, and there can be no assurance that the Fund will use derivatives to reduce exposure to other risks when that might have been beneficial. Derivatives involve counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party to the derivative will fail to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the derivative. That risk is generally thought to be greater with over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives than with derivatives that are exchange traded or centrally cleared. When the Fund uses derivatives, it will likely be required to provide margin or collateral; these practices are intended to satisfy contractual undertakings and regulatory requirements and will not prevent the Fund from incurring losses on derivatives.

 

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The need to provide margin or collateral could limit the Fund’s ability to pursue other opportunities as they arise. Ongoing changes to regulation of the derivatives markets and actual and potential changes in the regulation of funds using derivative instruments could limit the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies. New regulation of derivatives may make them more costly, or may otherwise adversely affect their liquidity, value or performance.

 

Additional risks associated with certain types of derivatives are discussed below:

 

Forward Contracts. There are no limitations on daily price movements of forward contracts. Changes in foreign exchange regulations by governmental authorities might limit the trading of forward contracts on currencies.

 

Futures. Futures contracts are subject to the risk that an exchange may impose price fluctuation limits, which may make it difficult or impossible for a fund to close out a position when desired. In the absence of such limits, the liquidity of the futures market depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than taking or making delivery. To the extent a Fund enters into futures contracts requiring physical delivery (e.g., certain commodities contracts), the inability of the Fund to take or make physical delivery can negatively impact performance.

 

Swaps. The risk of loss with respect to swaps generally is limited to the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make or, in the case of the other party to a swap defaulting, the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive. If the Fund sells a credit default swap, however, the risk of loss may be the entire notional amount of the swap.

 

Some swaps are now executed through an organized exchange or regulated facility and cleared through a regulated clearing organization. The absence of an organized exchange or market for swap transactions may result in difficulties in trading and valuation, especially in the event of market disruptions. The use of an organized exchange or market for swap transactions is expected to result in swaps being easier to trade or value, but this may not always be the case.

 

Distressed Securities Risk. Distressed securities may present a substantial risk of default, including the loss of the entire investment, or may be in default. The Fund may not receive interest payments on the distressed securities and may incur costs to protect its investment. The prices of such securities may be subject to periods of abrupt and erratic market movements and above-average price volatility and it may be difficult to value such securities. In certain periods, there may be little or no liquidity in the markets for distressed securities meaning that the Fund may be unable to exit its position.

 

Foreign and Emerging Market Risk. Foreign securities involve risks in addition to those associated with comparable U.S. securities. Additional risks include exposure to less developed or less efficient trading markets; social, political, diplomatic, or economic instability; trade barriers and other protectionist trade policies (including those of the U.S.); imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, organizations, companies, entities and/or individuals; significant government involvement in an economy and/or market structure; fluctuations in foreign currencies or currency redenomination; potential for default on sovereign debt; nationalization or expropriation of assets; settlement, custodial or other operational risks; higher transaction costs; confiscatory withholding or other taxes; and less stringent auditing and accounting, corporate disclosure, governance, and legal standards. As a result, foreign securities may fluctuate more widely in price, and may also be less liquid, than comparable U.S. securities. Regardless of where a company is organized or its stock is traded, its performance may be affected significantly by events in regions from which it derives its profits or in which it conducts significant operations.

 

Investing in emerging market countries involves risks in addition to and greater than those generally associated with investing in more developed foreign countries. The governments of emerging market countries may be more unstable and more likely to impose capital controls, nationalize a company or industry, place restrictions on foreign ownership and on withdrawing sale proceeds of securities from the country, intervene in the financial markets, and/or impose burdensome taxes that could adversely affect security prices. To the extent a foreign security is denominated in U.S. dollars, there is also the risk that a foreign government will not let U.S. dollar-denominated assets leave the country. In addition, the economies of emerging market countries may be dependent on relatively few industries that are more susceptible to local and global changes. Emerging market countries may also have less developed legal and accounting systems, and their legal systems may deal with issuer bankruptcies and defaults differently than U.S. law would. Securities markets in emerging market countries are also relatively small and have substantially lower trading volumes. Securities of issuers in emerging market countries may be more volatile and less liquid than securities of issuers in foreign countries with more developed economies or markets and the situation may require that the Fund fair value its holdings in those countries.

 

Securities of issuers traded on foreign exchanges may be suspended, either by the issuers themselves, by an exchange, or by governmental 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

 

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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 in instruments that reference the securities, such as derivative instruments, may be halted. In the event that the 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.

 

High Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading and may have a high portfolio turnover rate, which may increase the Fund’s transaction costs, may adversely affect the Fund’s performance and may generate a greater amount of capital gain distributions to shareholders than if the Fund had a low portfolio turnover rate.

 

Interest Rate Risk. The Fund’s yield and share price will fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates. In general, the value of investments with interest rate risk, such as debt securities, will move in the direction opposite to movements in interest rates. If interest rates rise, the value of such securities may decline. Typically, the longer the maturity or duration of a debt security, the greater the effect a change in interest rates could have on the security’s price. Thus, the sensitivity of the Fund’s debt securities to interest rate risk will increase with any increase in the duration of those securities.

 

Issuer-Specific Risk. An individual security may be more volatile, and may perform differently, than the market as a whole.

 

Liquidity Risk. From time to time, the trading market for a particular investment in which the Fund invests, or a particular type of instrument in which the Fund is invested, may become less liquid or even illiquid. Illiquid investments frequently can be more difficult to purchase or sell at an advantageous price or time, and there is a greater risk that the investments may not be sold for the price at which the Fund is carrying them. Certain investments that were liquid when the Fund purchased them may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly. Additionally, market closures due to holidays or other factors may render a security or group of securities (e.g., securities tied to a particular country or geographic region) illiquid for a period of time. An inability to sell a portfolio position can adversely affect the Fund’s value or prevent the Fund from being able to take advantage of other investment opportunities. Market prices for such securities or other investments may be volatile. During periods of substantial market volatility, an investment or even an entire market segment may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly, which can adversely affect the Fund’s ability to limit losses.

 

Unexpected episodes of illiquidity, including due to market or political factors, instrument or issuer-specific factors and/or unanticipated outflows, may limit the Fund’s ability to pay redemption proceeds within the allowable time period. To meet redemption requests during periods of illiquidity, the Fund may be forced to sell securities at an unfavorable time and/or under unfavorable conditions.

 

Loan Interests Risk. Loan interests generally are subject to restrictions on transfer, and the Fund may be unable to sell its loan interests at a time when it may otherwise be desirable to do so or may be able to sell them promptly only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value. Accordingly, loan interests may at times be illiquid. Loan interests may be difficult to value and may have extended settlement periods (the settlement cycle for many bank loans exceeds 7 days). Extended settlement periods may result in cash not being immediately available to the Fund. As a result, during periods of unusually heavy redemptions, the Fund may have to sell other investments or borrow money to meet its obligations. A significant portion of floating rate loans may be “covenant lite” loans that may contain fewer or less restrictive constraints on the borrower and/or may contain other characteristics that would be favorable to the borrower, limiting the ability of lenders to take legal action to protect their interests in certain situations. Interests in loans made to finance highly leveraged companies or to finance corporate acquisitions or other transactions may be especially vulnerable to adverse changes in economic or market conditions. Interests in secured loans have the benefit of collateral and, typically, of restrictive covenants limiting the ability of the borrower to further encumber its assets. There is a risk that the value of any collateral securing a loan in which the Fund has an interest may decline and that the collateral may not be sufficient to cover the amount owed on the loan. In the event the borrower defaults, the Fund’s access to the collateral may be limited or delayed by bankruptcy or other insolvency laws. Further, in the event of a default, second or lower lien secured loans, and unsecured loans, will generally be paid only if the value of the collateral exceeds the amount of the borrower’s obligations to the senior secured lenders, and the remaining collateral may not be sufficient to cover the full amount owed on the loan in which the Fund has an interest. Further, there is a risk that a court could take action with respect to a loan that is adverse to the holders of the loan and the Fund may need to retain legal counsel to enforce its rights in any resulting event of default, bankruptcy, or similar situation. Interests in loans expose the Fund to the credit risk of the underlying borrower and may expose the Fund to the credit risk of the lender.

 

The Fund may acquire a loan interest by direct investment as a lender, by obtaining an assignment of all or a portion of the interests in a particular loan that are held by an original lender or a prior assignee or by participation in a loan interest that is held by another party. As an assignee, the Fund normally will succeed to all rights and obligations of its assignor with respect to the

 

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portion of the loan that is being assigned. However, the rights and obligations acquired by the purchaser of a loan assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the original lenders or the assignor. When the Fund’s loan interest is a participation, the Fund may have less control over the exercise of remedies than the party selling the participation interest, and the Fund normally would not have any direct rights against the borrower. It is possible that the Fund could be held liable, or may be called upon to fulfill other obligations, with respect to loans in which it receives an assignment in whole or in part, or in which it owns a participation. The potential for such liability is greater for an assignee than for a participant.

 

Lower-Rated Debt Securities Risk. Lower-rated debt securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”) and unrated debt securities determined to be of comparable quality involve greater risks than investment grade debt securities. Such securities may fluctuate more widely in price and yield and may fall in price during times when the economy is weak or is expected to become weak. These securities also may require a greater degree of judgment to establish a price and may be difficult to sell at the time and price the Fund desires. Lower-rated debt securities are considered by the major rating agencies to be predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s continuing ability to pay principal and interest and carry a greater risk that the issuer of such securities will default in the timely payment of principal and interest. Issuers of securities that are in default or have defaulted may fail to resume principal or interest payments, in which case the Fund may lose its entire investment. The creditworthiness of issuers of these securities may be more complex to analyze than that of issuers of investment grade debt securities, and the overreliance on credit ratings may present additional risks.

 

Market Volatility Risk. Markets may be volatile and values of individual securities and other investments, including those of a particular type, may decline significantly in response to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, market, economic or other developments that may cause broad changes in market value, public perceptions concerning these developments, and adverse investor sentiment or publicity. Geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health risks may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Changes in value may be temporary or may last for extended periods. If the Fund sells a portfolio position before it reaches its market peak, it may miss out on opportunities for better performance.

 

Other Investment Company Risk. To the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies, including money market funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), its performance will be affected by the performance of those other investment companies. Investments in other investment companies are subject to the risks of the other investment companies’ investments, as well as to the other investment companies’ expenses.

 

An ETF may trade in the secondary market at a price below the value of its underlying portfolio and may not be liquid. An actively managed ETF’s performance will reflect its adviser’s ability to make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the ETF’s investment objectives. A passively managed ETF may not replicate the performance of the index it intends to track.

 

Prepayment and Extension Risk. The Fund’s performance could be affected if borrowers pay back principal on certain debt securities before (prepayment) or after (extension) the market anticipates such payments, shortening or lengthening their duration. Due to a decline in interest rates or an excess in cash flow into the issuer, a debt security might be called or otherwise converted, prepaid or redeemed before maturity. As a result of prepayment, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield, may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates, and may lose any premium it paid to acquire the security. Conversely, rising market interest rates generally result in slower payoffs or extension, which effectively increases the duration of certain debt securities, heightening interest rate risk and increasing the magnitude of any resulting price declines.

 

Private Placements and Other Restricted Securities Risk. Private placements and other restricted securities, including securities for which Fund management has material non-public information, are securities that are subject to legal and/or contractual restrictions on their sales. These securities may not be sold to the public unless certain conditions are met, which may include registration under the applicable securities laws. As a result of the absence of a public trading market, the prices of these securities may be more difficult to determine than publicly traded securities and these securities may involve heightened risk as compared to investments in securities of publicly traded companies. Private placements and other restricted securities may be illiquid, and it frequently can be difficult to sell them at a time when it may otherwise be desirable to do so or the Fund may be able to sell them only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value. Transaction costs may be higher for these securities. In addition, the Fund may get only limited information about the issuer of a private placement or other restricted security.

 

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

 

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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. 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.

 

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 would apply to the 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 the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies or make certain investments, may make it more costly for it to operate, which, may in turn, impact performance.

 

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. Moreover, those events have, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on global markets performance and liquidity, thereby negatively affecting the value of the Fund’s investments. 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 the Fund and its investments or operations could be negatively impacted.

 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected and could 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. 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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Redemption Risk. The Fund may experience periods of large or frequent redemptions that could cause the Fund to sell assets at inopportune times, which could have a negative impact on the Fund’s overall liquidity, or at a loss or depressed value. Redemption risk is greater to the extent that one or more investors or intermediaries control a large percentage of investments in the Fund and the risk is heightened during periods of declining or illiquid markets. Large redemptions could hurt the Fund’s performance, increase transaction costs, and create adverse tax consequences. A general rise in interest rates has the potential to cause investors to move out of fixed income securities on a large scale, which may increase redemptions from mutual funds that hold large amounts of fixed income securities; such a move, coupled with a reduction in the ability or willingness of dealers and other institutional investors to buy or hold fixed income securities, may result in decreased liquidity and increased volatility in the fixed income markets.

 

Sector Risk. From time to time, based on market or economic conditions, the Fund may have significant positions in one or more sectors of the market. To the extent the Fund invests more heavily in particular sectors, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors. Individual sectors 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.

 

Variable and Floating Rate Instruments Risk. The market prices of instruments with variable and floating interest rates are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than are the market prices of instruments with fixed interest rates. Variable and floating rate instruments may decline in value if market interest rates or interest rates paid by such instruments do not move as expected. Certain types of floating rate instruments, such as interests in bank loans, may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities.

 

A summary of the Fund’s additional principal investment risks is as follows:

 

Risk of Increase in Expenses. A decline in the Fund’s average net assets during the current fiscal year due to market volatility or other factors could cause the Fund’s expenses for the current fiscal year to be higher than the expense information presented in “Fees and Expenses.”

 

Operational and Cybersecurity Risk. The Fund and its service providers, and your ability to transact with the Fund, may be negatively impacted due to operational matters arising from, among other problems, human errors, systems and technology disruptions or failures, or cybersecurity incidents. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to fund assets, customer data, or proprietary information, or cause the Fund or its service providers, as well as the securities trading venues and their service providers, to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. Cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. It is not possible for the Manager or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the cybersecurity or other operational risks that may affect the Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects. Most issuers in which the Fund invests are heavily dependent on computers for data storage and operations, and require ready access to the internet to conduct their business. Thus, cybersecurity incidents could also affect issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, leading to significant loss of value.

 

Risk Management. Risk is an essential part of investing. No risk management program can eliminate the Fund’s exposure to adverse events; at best, it may only reduce the possibility that the Fund will be affected by such events, and especially those risks that are not intrinsic to the Fund’s investment program. The Fund could experience losses if judgments about risk prove to be incorrect.

 

Valuation Risk. The Fund may not be able to sell an investment at the price at which the Fund has valued the investment. Such differences could be significant, particularly for illiquid securities and securities that trade in relatively thin markets and/or markets that experience extreme volatility. If market or other conditions make it difficult to value an investment, the Fund may be required to value such investments using more subjective methods, known as fair value methodologies. Using fair value methodologies to price investments may result in a value that is different from an investment’s most recent price and from the prices used by other funds to calculate their NAVs. The Fund uses pricing services to provide values for certain securities and there is no assurance that the Fund will be able to sell an investment at the price established by such pricing services. The Fund’s ability to value its investments in an accurate and timely manner may be impacted by technological issues and/or errors by third party service providers, such as pricing services or accounting agents.

 

PERFORMANCE

The following bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart shows how the Fund’s performance has varied from year to year, as represented by the performance of the Fund’s Institutional Class. The returns in the bar chart do not reflect any applicable sales charges. If sales charges were reflected, returns would be lower than those shown. The table below the bar chart shows what the returns would equal if you averaged out actual performance over various lengths of time and compares the returns with the returns of a broad-based market index. The index, which is described in “Descriptions of Indices” in the prospectus, has characteristics relevant to the Fund’s investment strategy. Unlike the returns in the bar chart, the returns in the table reflect the maximum applicable sales charges.

 

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Returns would have been lower/higher if Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC had not reimbursed/recouped certain expenses and/or waived a portion of the investment management fees during certain of the periods shown.

 

Past performance (before and after taxes) is not a prediction of future results. Visit www.nb.com or call 800-366-6264 for updated performance information.

 

YEAR-BY-YEAR % RETURNS AS OF 12/31 EACH YEAR

 

 

Years

Best quarter:     Q2 ’20, 9.94%

Worst quarter:     Q1 ’20, -13.37%

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL TOTAL % RETURNS AS OF 12/31/22

 

High Income Bond Fund   1 Year   5 Years   10 Years
Institutional Class Return Before Taxes   -11.72   1.78   3.18
Institutional Class Return After Taxes on Distributions   -13.75   -0.41   0.74
Institutional Class Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares   -6.91   0.47   1.31
Class A Return Before Taxes   -15.78   0.45   2.31
Class C Return Before Taxes   -13.45   0.64   2.04
ICE BofA U.S. High Yield Constrained Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   -11.21   2.10   3.94
After-tax returns are shown for Institutional Class shares only and after-tax returns for other classes may vary. After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold their Fund shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts. Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares may be higher than other returns for the same period due to a tax benefit of realizing a capital loss upon the sale of Fund shares.

 

INVESTMENT MANAGER

Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“Manager”) is the Fund’s investment manager.

 

PORTFOLIO MANAGERS

The Fund is managed by Joseph Lind (Managing Director and Co-Head of U.S. High Yield of the Manager), and Christopher Kocinski (Managing Director and Co-Head of U.S. High Yield of the Manager). Mr. Lind has co-managed the Fund since July 2018, and Mr. Kocinski has co-managed the Fund since May 2019.

 

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BUYING AND SELLING SHARES

You may purchase, redeem (sell) or exchange shares of the Fund on any day the New York Stock Exchange is open, at the Fund’s net asset value per share next determined after your order is received in proper form, subject to any applicable sales charge. Shares of the Fund generally are available only through certain investment providers, such as banks, brokerage firms, workplace retirement programs, and financial advisers. Contact any investment provider authorized to sell the Fund’s shares. See “Maintaining Your Account” in the prospectus for eligibility requirements for purchases of Institutional Class shares.

 

For certain investors, certain shares of the Fund may be available directly from Neuberger Berman BD LLC by regular, first class mail (Neuberger Berman Funds, P.O. Box 219189, Kansas City, MO 64121-9189), by express delivery, registered mail, or certified mail (Neuberger Berman Funds, 430 West 7th Street, Suite 219189, Kansas City, MO 64105-1407), or by wire, fax, telephone, exchange, or systematic investment or withdrawal (call 800-877-9700 for instructions). See “Maintaining Your Account” and “Direct Investors” in the prospectus for eligibility requirements for direct purchases of shares and for instructions on buying and redeeming (selling) shares directly.

 

The minimum initial investment in Class A or Class C shares is $1,000. Additional investments can be as little as $100. These minimums may be waived in certain cases.

 

The minimum initial investment in Institutional Class shares is $1 million. This minimum may be waived in certain cases.

 

TAX INFORMATION

Unless you invest in the Fund through a tax-advantaged retirement plan or account or are a tax-exempt investor, you will be subject to tax on Fund distributions to you of ordinary income and/or net capital gains. Those distributions generally are not taxable to such a plan or account or a tax-exempt investor, although withdrawals from certain retirement plans and accounts generally are subject to federal income tax.

 

PAYMENTS TO INVESTMENT PROVIDERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

If you purchase shares of the Fund through an investment provider or other financial intermediary, such as a bank, brokerage firm, workplace retirement program, or financial adviser (who may be affiliated with Neuberger Berman), the Fund and/or Neuberger Berman BD LLC and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the investment provider or other financial intermediary and its employees to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your investment provider or visit its website for more information.

 

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Neuberger Berman Municipal High Income Fund

Class A Shares (NMHAX), Class C Shares (NMHCX), Institutional Class Shares (NMHIX)

 

GOAL

The Fund seeks high current income exempt from federal income tax.

 

FEES AND EXPENSES

These tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold or sell shares of the Fund. Under the Fund’s policies, you may qualify for initial sales charge discounts if you and your family invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $50,000 in Neuberger Berman funds. Certain financial intermediaries have sales charges and/or policies and procedures regarding sales charge waivers applicable to their customers that differ from those described below. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial intermediary, in “Sales Charge Reductions and Waivers” on page 160 in the Fund’s prospectus, and in Appendix A to the Fund’s prospectus. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

    Class A   Class C   Institutional Class
Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment)            
Maximum initial sales charge on purchases (as a % of offering price)   4.25   None   None
Maximum contingent deferred sales charge (as a % of lower of original purchase price or current market value)1   None   1.00   None

Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a % of the value of your investment)            
Management fees   0.67   0.67   0.55
Distribution and/or shareholder service (12b-1) fees   0.25   1.00   None
Other expenses   0.55   2.12   0.29
Total annual operating expenses   1.47   3.79   0.84
Fee waivers and/or expense reimbursement   0.56   2.14   0.31
Total annual operating expenses after fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement2   0.91   1.65   0.53

 

1 For Class A shares, a contingent deferred sales charge (“CDSC”) of 1.00% applies on certain redemptions made within 18 months following purchases of $1 million or more made without an initial sales charge. For Class C shares, the CDSC is eliminated one year after purchase.
2 Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“Manager”) has contractually undertaken to waive and/or reimburse certain fees and expenses of Class A, Class C and Institutional Class so that the total annual operating expenses (excluding interest, brokerage commissions, acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes including any expenses relating to tax reclaims, dividend and interest expenses relating to short sales, and extraordinary expenses, if any) (“annual operating expenses”) of each class are limited to 0.87%, 1.62% and 0.50% of average net assets, respectively. Each of these undertakings lasts until 10/31/2026 and may not be terminated during its term without the consent of the Board of Trustees. The Fund has agreed that each of Class A, Class C and Institutional Class will repay the Manager for fees and expenses waived or reimbursed for the class provided that repayment does not cause annual operating expenses to exceed 0.87%, 1.62% and 0.50% of the class’ average net assets, respectively. Any such repayment must be made within three years after the year in which the Manager incurred the expense.

 

Expense Example

The expense example can help you compare costs among mutual funds. The example assumes that you invested $10,000 for the periods shown, that you redeemed all of your shares at the end of those periods, that the Fund earned a hypothetical 5% total return each year, and that the Fund’s expenses were those in the table. For Class A and Institutional Class shares, your costs would be the same whether you sold your shares or continued to hold them at the end of each period. Actual performance and expenses may be higher or lower.

 

    1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years
Class A   $514   $703   $1,032   $1,961
Class C (assuming redemption)   $268   $520   $1,367   $3,576
Class C (assuming no redemption)   $168   $520   $1,367   $3,576
Institutional Class   $54   $170   $370   $946

 

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Portfolio Turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 79% of the average value of its portfolio.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

To pursue its goal, the Fund normally invests primarily in high-yielding municipal securities, which may include securities of any credit quality that the Portfolio Managers believe have the potential for high yield. The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets 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”). The Fund’s dividends are generally exempt from federal income tax, although shareholders may have to pay an alternative minimum tax on income deemed to be a Tax Preference Item. A portion of the dividends you receive may also be exempt from state and local income taxes, depending on where you live.

 

Municipal securities include securities issued by U.S. states, any of their political subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, or by U.S. territories and possessions, such as Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, and their political subdivisions and public corporations.

 

The Fund may invest in debt securities of any maturity or duration and does not have a target maturity or duration. The Fund may invest in debt securities across the credit spectrum, including investment grade securities, below investment grade securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”), and unrated securities, and has no limit on the percentage of its assets that it may invest in securities of a particular credit quality. The Fund considers debt securities to be below investment grade if, at the time of investment, they are rated below the four highest categories by at least one independent credit rating agency or, if unrated, are determined by the Portfolio Managers to be of comparable quality. The Fund may invest in or continue to hold securities that the Portfolio Managers believe have ratings or other factors that imply an imminent risk of default or that are in default or have defaulted with respect to the payment of interest or repayment of principal, depending on the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of the investment opportunity.

 

The Fund seeks to reduce its exposure to credit risk by diversifying its assets among many municipal issuers and among the different types and maturities of municipal securities available. The Portfolio Managers monitor national trends in the municipal securities market, as well as a range of economic, financial and political factors. As part of the investment process, the Portfolio Managers analyze individual issues and look for securities that they believe offer compelling risk-adjusted return potential (based on some or all of the following, among other things, an analysis of cash flows, ability to pay principal and interest, balance sheet composition, and market positioning), with a secondary emphasis on duration control (i.e., monitoring and managing interest rate risk) and yield curve positioning (i.e., seeking attractive maturities on the yield curve). As part of their fundamental investment analysis the Portfolio Managers consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors they believe are financially material to individual investments, where applicable, as described below. While this analysis is inherently subjective and may be informed by internally generated and third-party metrics, data and other information, the Portfolio Managers believe that the consideration of financially material ESG factors, alongside traditional financial metrics, may improve credit analysis, security selection, relative value analysis and enhance the Fund’s overall investment process. The specific ESG factors considered and scope and application of integration may vary depending on the specific investment and/or investment type. The consideration of ESG factors does not apply to certain instruments, such as certain derivative instruments, other registered investment companies, cash and cash equivalents. The consideration of ESG factors as part of the investment process does not mean that the Fund pursues a specific “impact” or “sustainable” investment strategy.

 

The Fund may sell securities if the Portfolio Managers find an opportunity they believe is more compelling or if the Portfolio Managers’ outlook on the investment or the market changes.

 

Additionally, the Fund may invest in tender option bonds (which include inverse floaters created as part of tender option bond transactions), zero coupon municipal securities, inflation-linked debt securities, restricted securities, mortgage-related securities (e.g., single and multi-family housing bonds), and fixed, variable, and floating rate municipal securities. The Fund may also invest in other investment companies, including funds in the Neuberger Berman fund family and unaffiliated investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”, and collectively, “Underlying Funds”), if the investment companies invest principally in the types of investments in which the Fund may invest directly.

 

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The Fund may also invest in derivative instruments as a means of hedging risk and/or for investment or efficient portfolio management purposes, which may include altering the Fund’s exposure to interest rates, sectors and individual issuers and increasing the Fund’s investment exposure beyond that which it could achieve by investing directly in more conventional securities. These derivative instruments may include options, futures (including Treasury futures), inverse floating rate securities and swaps, such as total return swaps, credit default swaps and interest rate swaps. The Fund may also engage in when-issued and forward-settling transactions, which involve buying or selling securities with payment and delivery taking place at a future date. In an effort to achieve its goal, the Fund may engage in active and frequent trading.

 

The 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 a Tax Preference Item. The Fund may not change this fundamental policy without shareholder approval. This test is applied at the time the Fund invests; later percentage changes caused by a change in Fund assets or market values will not require the Fund to dispose of a holding.

 

The Fund is not an appropriate investment for tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as 401(k) plan accounts or individual retirement accounts, or for investors subject to the federal alternative minimum tax, and may not be beneficial for investors in low tax brackets.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT RISKS

Most of the Fund’s performance depends on what happens in the market for municipal debt instruments, the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of those developments, and the success of the Portfolio Managers in implementing the Fund’s investment strategies. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments will result in leverage, which amplifies the risks that are associated with these markets. The market’s behavior can be difficult to predict, particularly in the short term. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its goal. The Fund may take temporary defensive and cash management positions; to the extent it does, it will not be pursuing its principal investment strategies.

 

The actual risk exposure taken by the Fund in its investment program will vary over time, depending on various factors including the Portfolio Managers’ evaluation of issuer, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. There can be no guarantee that the Portfolio Managers will be successful in their attempts to manage the risk exposure of the Fund or will appropriately evaluate or weigh the multiple factors involved in investment decisions, including issuer, market and/or instrument-specific analysis, valuation and environmental, social and governance factors.

 

The Fund is a mutual fund, not a bank deposit, and is not guaranteed or insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. The value of your investment may fall, sometimes sharply, and you could lose money by investing in the Fund.

 

Each of the following risks, which are described in alphabetical order and not in order of any presumed importance, can significantly affect the Fund’s performance. The relative importance of, or potential exposure as a result of, each of these risks will vary based on market and other investment-specific considerations.

 

Call Risk. Upon the issuer’s desire to call a security, or under other circumstances where a security is called, including when interest rates are low and issuers opt to repay the obligation underlying a “callable security” early, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield and may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates. In addition, the Fund may also realize a taxable gain or loss on such securities.

 

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that issuers, guarantors, or insurers may fail, or become less able or unwilling, to pay interest and/or principal when due. Changes in the actual or perceived creditworthiness of an issuer or a downgrade or default affecting any of the Fund’s securities could affect the Fund’s performance by affecting the credit quality or value of the Fund’s securities. Generally, the longer the maturity and the lower the credit quality of a security, the more sensitive it is to credit risk.

 

Derivatives Risk. Use of derivatives is a highly specialized activity that can involve investment techniques and risks different from, and in some respects greater than, those associated with investing in more traditional investments, such as stocks and bonds. Derivatives can be highly complex and highly volatile and may perform in unanticipated ways. Derivatives can create leverage, and the Fund could lose more than the amount it invests; some derivatives can have the potential for unlimited losses. Derivatives may at times be highly illiquid, and the Fund may not be able to close out or sell a derivative at a particular time or at an anticipated price. Derivatives can be difficult to value and valuation may be more difficult in times of market turmoil. The value of a derivative instrument depends largely on (and is derived from) the value of the reference instrument underlying the derivative. There may be imperfect correlation between the behavior of a derivative and that of the reference instrument underlying the

 

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derivative. An abrupt change in the price of a reference instrument could render a derivative worthless. Derivatives may involve risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the reference instrument. Suitable derivatives may not be available in all circumstances, and there can be no assurance that the Fund will use derivatives to reduce exposure to other risks when that might have been beneficial. Derivatives involve counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party to the derivative will fail to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the derivative. That risk is generally thought to be greater with over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives than with derivatives that are exchange traded or centrally cleared. When the Fund uses derivatives, it will likely be required to provide margin or collateral; these practices are intended to satisfy contractual undertakings and regulatory requirements and will not prevent the Fund from incurring losses on derivatives. The need to provide margin or collateral could limit the Fund’s ability to pursue other opportunities as they arise. Ongoing changes to regulation of the derivatives markets and actual and potential changes in the regulation of funds using derivative instruments could limit the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies. New regulation of derivatives may make them more costly, or may otherwise adversely affect their liquidity, value or performance.

 

Additional risks associated with certain types of derivatives are discussed below:

 

Futures. Futures contracts are subject to the risk that an exchange may impose price fluctuation limits, which may make it difficult or impossible for a fund to close out a position when desired. In the absence of such limits, the liquidity of the futures market depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than taking or making delivery. To the extent a Fund enters into futures contracts requiring physical delivery (e.g., certain commodities contracts), the inability of the Fund to take or make physical delivery can negatively impact performance.

 

Options. The use of options involves investment strategies and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. By writing put options, the Fund takes on the risk of declines in the value of the underlying instrument, including the possibility of a loss up to the entire strike price of each option it sells, but without the corresponding opportunity to benefit from potential increases in the value of the underlying instrument. When the Fund writes a put option, it assumes the risk that it must purchase the underlying instrument at a strike price that may be higher than the market price of the instrument. If there is a broad market decline and the Fund is not able to close out its written put options, it may result in substantial losses to the Fund. By writing a call option, the Fund may be obligated to deliver instruments underlying an option at less than the market price. When the Fund writes a covered call option, it gives up the opportunity to profit from a price increase in the underlying instrument above the strike price. If a covered call option that the Fund has written is exercised, the Fund will experience a gain or loss from the sale of the underlying instrument, depending on the price at which the Fund purchased the instrument and the strike price of the option. The Fund will receive a premium from writing options, but the premium received may not be sufficient to offset any losses sustained from exercised options. In the case of a covered call, the premium received may be offset by a decline in the market value of the underlying instrument during the option period. If an option that the Fund has purchased is never exercised or closed out, the Fund will lose the amount of the premium it paid and the use of those funds.

 

Swaps. The risk of loss with respect to swaps generally is limited to the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make or, in the case of the other party to a swap defaulting, the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive. If the Fund sells a credit default swap, however, the risk of loss may be the entire notional amount of the swap.

 

Some swaps are now executed through an organized exchange or regulated facility and cleared through a regulated clearing organization. The absence of an organized exchange or market for swap transactions may result in difficulties in trading and valuation, especially in the event of market disruptions. The use of an organized exchange or market for swap transactions is expected to result in swaps being easier to trade or value, but this may not always be the case.

 

Distressed Securities Risk. Distressed securities may present a substantial risk of default, including the loss of the entire investment, or may be in default. The Fund may not receive interest payments on the distressed securities and may incur costs to protect its investment. The prices of such securities may be subject to periods of abrupt and erratic market movements and above-average price volatility and it may be difficult to value such securities. In certain periods, there may be little or no liquidity in the markets for distressed securities meaning that the Fund may be unable to exit its position.

 

High Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading and may have a high portfolio turnover rate, which may increase the Fund’s transaction costs, may adversely affect the Fund’s performance and may generate a greater amount of capital gain distributions to shareholders than if the Fund had a low portfolio turnover rate.

 

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Inflation-Linked Debt Securities Risk. Inflation-linked debt securities are structured to provide protection against inflation. The value of the principal or the interest income paid on an inflation-linked debt security is adjusted to track changes in an official inflation measure. There can be no assurance that the inflation measure used will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. The value of inflation-linked debt securities is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. In general, the price of an inflation-linked debt security falls when real interest rates rise, and rises when real interest rates fall. Interest payments on inflation-linked debt securities will vary as the principal and/or interest is adjusted for inflation and can be unpredictable. In periods of deflation, the Fund may have no income at all from such investments.

 

The principal value of an investment in the Fund is not protected or otherwise guaranteed by virtue of the Fund’s investments in inflation-linked debt securities.

 

Interest Rate Risk. The Fund’s yield and share price will fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates. In general, the value of investments with interest rate risk, such as debt securities, will move in the direction opposite to movements in interest rates. If interest rates rise, the value of such securities may decline. Typically, the longer the maturity or duration of a debt security, the greater the effect a change in interest rates could have on the security’s price. Thus, the sensitivity of the Fund’s debt securities to interest rate risk will increase with any increase in the duration of those securities.

 

Inverse Floater Risk. An inverse floater earns interest at rates that vary inversely to changes in short-term interest rates. An inverse floater produces less income (and may produce no income) and may decline in value when market rates rise. An investment in an inverse floater may involve greater risk than an investment in a fixed rate security. Inverse floaters generally will underperform the market for fixed rate securities in a rising interest rate environment. An inverse floater may involve leverage, which may make the Fund’s returns more volatile, increase interest rate risk and can magnify the Fund’s losses.

 

Issuer-Specific Risk. An individual security may be more volatile, and may perform differently, than the market as a whole.

 

Leverage Risk. Leverage amplifies changes in the Fund’s net asset value and may make the Fund more volatile. Derivatives and when-issued and forward-settling securities may create leverage and can result in losses to the Fund that exceed the amount originally invested and may accelerate the rate of losses. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s use of any leverage will be successful. The Fund’s investment exposure can exceed its net assets, sometimes by a significant amount.

 

Liquidity Risk. From time to time, the trading market for a particular investment in which the Fund invests, or a particular type of instrument in which the Fund is invested, may become less liquid or even illiquid. Illiquid investments frequently can be more difficult to purchase or sell at an advantageous price or time, and there is a greater risk that the investments may not be sold for the price at which the Fund is carrying them. Certain investments that were liquid when the Fund purchased them may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly. Additionally, market closures due to holidays or other factors may render a security or group of securities (e.g., securities tied to a particular country or geographic region) illiquid for a period of time. An inability to sell a portfolio position can adversely affect the Fund’s value or prevent the Fund from being able to take advantage of other investment opportunities. Market prices for such securities or other investments may be volatile. During periods of substantial market volatility, an investment or even an entire market segment may become illiquid, sometimes abruptly, which can adversely affect the Fund’s ability to limit losses.

 

Unexpected episodes of illiquidity, including due to market or political factors, instrument or issuer-specific factors and/or unanticipated outflows, may limit the Fund’s ability to pay redemption proceeds within the allowable time period. To meet redemption requests during periods of illiquidity, the Fund may be forced to sell securities at an unfavorable time and/or under unfavorable conditions.

 

Lower-Rated Debt Securities Risk. Lower-rated debt securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”) and unrated debt securities determined to be of comparable quality involve greater risks than investment grade debt securities. Such securities may fluctuate more widely in price and yield and may fall in price during times when the economy is weak or is expected to become weak. These securities also may require a greater degree of judgment to establish a price and may be difficult to sell at the time and price the Fund desires. Lower-rated debt securities are considered by the major rating agencies to be predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s continuing ability to pay principal and interest and carry a greater risk that the issuer of such securities will default in the timely payment of principal and interest. Issuers of securities that are in default or have defaulted may fail to resume principal or interest payments, in which case the Fund may lose its entire investment. The creditworthiness of issuers of these securities may be more complex to analyze than that of issuers of investment grade debt securities, and the overreliance on credit ratings may present additional risks.

 

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Market Volatility Risk. Markets may be volatile and values of individual securities and other investments, including those of a particular type, may decline significantly in response to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, market, economic or other developments that may cause broad changes in market value, public perceptions concerning these developments, and adverse investor sentiment or publicity. Geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health risks may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Changes in value may be temporary or may last for extended periods. If the Fund sells a portfolio position before it reaches its market peak, it may miss out on opportunities for better performance.

 

Mortgage- and Asset-Backed Securities Risk. The value of mortgage- and asset-backed securities, including collateralized mortgage instruments, will be influenced by the factors affecting the housing market or the assets underlying the securities. These securities tend to be more sensitive to changes in interest rates than other types of debt securities. In addition, investments in mortgage- and asset-backed securities may be subject to prepayment risk and extension risk, call risk, credit risk, valuation risk, and illiquid investment risk, sometimes to a higher degree than various other types of debt securities. These securities are also subject to the risk of default on the underlying mortgages or assets, particularly during periods of market downturn, and an unexpectedly high rate of defaults on the underlying assets will adversely affect the security’s value.

 

Municipal Securities Risk. The municipal securities market could be significantly affected by adverse political and legislative changes, as well as uncertainties related to taxation or the rights of municipal security holders. Changes in the financial health of a municipality or other issuer, or an insurer of municipal securities, may make it difficult for it to pay interest and principal when due and may affect the overall municipal securities market. To the extent that the Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in the municipal securities of a particular state or U.S. territory or possession, there is greater risk that political, regulatory, economic or other developments within that jurisdiction may have a significant impact on the Fund’s investment performance. Declines in real estate prices and general business activity may reduce the tax revenues of state and local governments. Municipal issuers have on occasion defaulted on obligations, been downgraded, or commenced insolvency proceedings.

 

Because many municipal securities are issued to finance similar types of projects, especially those related to education, health care, housing, transportation, and utilities, conditions in those sectors can affect the overall municipal securities market. Interest on municipal securities paid out of current or anticipated revenues from a specific project or specific asset (so-called “private activity bonds”) are generally not backed by the creditworthiness or taxing authority of the issuing governmental entity; rather, a particular business or facility may be the only source of revenue supporting payment of interest and principal, and declines in general business activity could affect the economic viability of that business or facility. To the extent that the Fund earns interest income on private activity bonds, a part of its dividends will be a Tax Preference Item.

 

Municipal bonds may be bought or sold at a market discount (i.e., a price less than the bond’s principal amount or, in the case of a bond issued with original issue discount (“OID”), a price less than the amount of the issue price plus accrued OID). If the market discount is more than a de minimis amount, and if the bond has a maturity date of more than one year from the date it was issued, then any market discount that accrues annually, or any gains earned on the disposition of the bond, generally will be subject to federal income taxation as ordinary (taxable) income rather than as capital gains. Some municipal securities, including those in the high yield market, may include transfer restrictions similar to restricted securities (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 the Fund may be able to sell them only at prices that are less than what the Fund regards as their fair market value.

 

Other Investment Company Risk. To the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies, including money market funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), its performance will be affected by the performance of those other investment companies. Investments in other investment companies are subject to the risks of the other investment companies’ investments, as well as to the other investment companies’ expenses.

 

An ETF may trade in the secondary market at a price below the value of its underlying portfolio and may not be liquid. An actively managed ETF’s performance will reflect its adviser’s ability to make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the ETF’s investment objectives. A passively managed ETF may not replicate the performance of the index it intends to track.

 

The Fund is also exposed to the affiliated Underlying Funds’ expenses, which could result in the duplication of certain fees, including the administration fees that are paid to Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC (“NBIA”). NBIA is the investment manager for both the Fund and the affiliated Underlying Funds and may be deemed to have a conflict of interest in determining the allocation of the Fund to the affiliated Underlying Funds. This conflict of interest is reduced, however, because the Manager has undertaken to waive a portion of the Fund’s advisory fee equal to the advisory fee it receives from affiliated Underlying Funds on the Fund’s assets invested in those affiliated Underlying Funds.

 

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Prepayment and Extension Risk. The Fund’s performance could be affected if borrowers pay back principal on certain debt securities, such as mortgage- or asset-backed securities, before (prepayment) or after (extension) the market anticipates such payments, shortening or lengthening their duration. Due to a decline in interest rates or an excess in cash flow into the issuer, a debt security might be called or otherwise converted, prepaid or redeemed before maturity. As a result of prepayment, the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield, may not benefit from any increase in value that might otherwise result from declining interest rates, and may lose any premium it paid to acquire the security. Conversely, rising market interest rates generally result in slower payoffs or extension, which effectively increases the duration of certain debt securities, heightening interest rate risk and increasing the magnitude of any resulting price declines.

 

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. 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.

 

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 would apply to the 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 the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategies or make certain investments, may make it more costly for it to operate, which, may in turn, impact performance.

 

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. Moreover, those events have, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on global markets performance and liquidity, thereby negatively affecting the value of the Fund’s investments. 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 the Fund and its investments or operations could be negatively impacted.

 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected and could 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. 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.

 

An economic slowdown could cause municipal issuers to suffer declines in tax revenue and it may be difficult to evaluate the effect on any single issuer. Some municipal issuers may be prohibited by law from borrowing, and those that can borrow may face higher interest rates. This situation may result in disruption of municipal programs and services.

 

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

 

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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.

 

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.

 

Redemption Risk. The Fund may experience periods of large or frequent redemptions that could cause the Fund to sell assets at inopportune times, which could have a negative impact on the Fund’s overall liquidity, or at a loss or depressed value. Redemption risk is greater to the extent that one or more investors or intermediaries control a large percentage of investments in the Fund and the risk is heightened during periods of declining or illiquid markets. Large redemptions could hurt the Fund’s performance, increase transaction costs, and create adverse tax consequences. A general rise in interest rates has the potential to cause investors to move out of fixed income securities on a large scale, which may increase redemptions from mutual funds that hold large amounts of fixed income securities; such a move, coupled with a reduction in the ability or willingness of dealers and other institutional investors to buy or hold fixed income securities, may result in decreased liquidity and increased volatility in the fixed income markets.

 

Sector Risk. From time to time, based on market or economic conditions, the Fund may have significant positions in one or more sectors of the market. To the extent the Fund invests more heavily in particular sectors, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors. Individual sectors 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.

 

Tender Option Bonds and Related Securities Risk. The Fund’s use of tender option bonds may reduce the Fund’s return and/or increase volatility. Tender option bonds are created when municipal bonds are deposited into a trust or other special purpose vehicle, which issues two classes of certificates with varying economic interests. Holders of floating rate certificates receive tax-exempt interest based on short-term rates and may tender the certificates to the trust at face value. Holders of residual income certificates (“inverse floaters”) receive tax-exempt interest at a rate based on the difference between the interest rate earned on the underlying bonds and the interest paid to floating rate certificate holders, and bear the risk that the underlying bonds decline in value. Investments in tender option bonds expose the Fund to counterparty risk and leverage risk. An investment in tender option bonds typically will involve greater risk than an investment in a municipal fixed rate security, including greater risk of loss of principal. Certain tender option bonds may be illiquid. A trust may be terminated if, for example, the issuer of the underlying bond defaults on interest payments or the credit rating assigned to the issuer of the underlying bond is downgraded.

 

Tobacco Related Bonds Risk. In 1998, the largest U.S. tobacco manufacturers reached an agreement, known as the Master Settlement Agreement (“MSA”), to settle claims against them by 46 states and six other U.S. jurisdictions. The tobacco manufacturers agreed to make annual payments to the government entities in exchange for the release of all litigation claims. A number of the states have sold bonds that are backed by those future payments. The payments are based on factors, including, but not limited to, annual domestic cigarette shipments, cigarette consumption, inflation and the financial capability of participating tobacco companies. Payments could be reduced if consumption decreases, if market share is lost to non-MSA manufacturers, or if there is a negative outcome in litigation regarding the MSA, including challenges by participating tobacco manufacturers regarding the amount of annual payments owed under the MSA.

 

U.S. Government Securities Risk. Although the Fund may hold securities that carry U.S. government guarantees, these guarantees do not extend to shares of the Fund itself and do not guarantee the market prices of the securities. Furthermore, not all securities issued by the U.S. government and its agencies and instrumentalities are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury carry at least some risk of non-payment or default.

 

Variable and Floating Rate Instruments Risk. The market prices of instruments with variable and floating interest rates are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than are the market prices of instruments with fixed interest rates. Variable and floating rate instruments may decline in value if market interest rates or interest rates paid by such instruments do not move as expected. Certain types of floating rate instruments, such as interests in bank loans, may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities.

 

When-Issued and Forward-Settling Securities Risk. When-issued and forward-settling securities can have a leverage-like effect on the Fund, which can increase fluctuations in the Fund’s share price; may cause the Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so, in order to satisfy its purchase obligations; and are subject to the risk that the security will not be issued

 

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or that a counterparty will fail to complete the sale or purchase of the security, in which case the Fund may lose the opportunity to purchase or sell the security at the agreed upon price and any gain in the security’s price.