ck0001540305-20221031
AAM S&P 500 HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF (SPDV)
AAM S&P EMERGING MARKETS HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF (EEMD)
AAM S&P DEVELOPED MARKETS HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF (DMDV)
AAM LOW DURATION PREFERRED AND INCOME SECURITIES ETF (PFLD)
AAM BAHL & GAYNOR SMALL/MID CAP INCOME GROWTH ETF (SMIG)
AAM TRANSFORMERS ETF (TRFM)

each a series of ETF Series Solutions
Listed on NYSE Arca, Inc.
STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
February 28, 2023
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus and should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus for the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF, and AAM Transformers ETF (each, a “Fund” and, together, the “Funds”), each a series of ETF Series Solutions (the “Trust”), dated February 28, 2023, as may be supplemented from time to time (the “Prospectus”). Capitalized terms used in this SAI that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. A copy of the Prospectus may be obtained, without charge, by calling the Funds at 1‑800‑617-0004, visiting www.aamlive.com/ETF, or writing to the Funds, c/o U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, P.O. Box 701, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-0701.
The Funds’ audited financial statements for the fiscal year or fiscal period ended October 31, 2022, as applicable, are incorporated into this SAI by reference to the Funds’ Annual Report to Shareholders (File No. 811-22668). You may obtain a copy of the Funds’ Annual Report at no charge by contacting the Funds at the address or phone number noted above.
1



TABLE OF CONTENTS
Appendix A
A-1
2


GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRUST
The Trust is an open-end management investment company consisting of multiple investment series. This SAI relates to the Funds. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on February 9, 2012. The Trust is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (together with the rules and regulations adopted thereunder, as amended, the “1940 Act”), as an open-end management investment company, and the offering of each Fund’s shares (“Shares”) is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The Trust is governed by its Board of Trustees (the “Board”).
Advisors Asset Management, Inc. (“AAM” or the “Adviser”) serves as the Funds’ investment adviser; Vident Investment Advisory, LLC (“VIA”) serves as sub-adviser to the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, and AAM Transformers ETF; and Bahl & Gaynor, Inc (“Bahl & Gaynor”) serves as sub-adviser to the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF (together with VIA, the “Sub-Advisers”). The investment objective of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, and AAM Transformers ETF is to seek investment results that, before fees and expenses, track the performance of a rules-based index, as described in the Prospectus (each, an “Index”). The investment objective of the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF is to seek current and growing dividend income, downside protection, and long-term capital appreciation.
Each Fund offers and issues Shares at their net asset value (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of Shares (each, a “Creation Unit”). Each Fund generally offers and issues Shares in exchange for a basket of securities (“Deposit Securities”) together with the deposit of a specified cash payment (“Cash Component”). The Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of a “cash in lieu” amount (“Deposit Cash”) to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security. Shares are listed on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”) and trade on the Exchange at market prices that may differ from the Shares’ NAV. Shares are also redeemable only in Creation Unit aggregations, primarily for a basket of Deposit Securities together with a Cash Component. A Creation Unit of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, and AAM Transformers ETF generally consists of 25,000 Shares. A Creation Unit of the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF generally consists of 10,000 Shares, though this may change from time to time. As a practical matter, only institutions or large investors purchase or redeem Creation Units. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, Shares are not redeemable securities.
Shares may be issued in advance of receipt of Deposit Securities subject to various conditions, including a requirement to maintain on deposit with the Trust cash at least equal to a specified percentage of the value of the missing Deposit Securities, as set forth in the Participant Agreement (as defined below). The Trust may impose a transaction fee for each creation or redemption. In all cases, such fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of the SEC applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities. As in the case of other publicly traded securities, brokers’ commissions on transactions in the secondary market will be based on negotiated commission rates at customary levels.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES, POLICIES, AND RELATED RISKS
Each Fund’s investment objective and principal investment strategies are described in the Prospectus. The following information supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Prospectus. For a description of certain permitted investments, see “Description of Permitted Investments” in this SAI.
With respect to each Fund’s investments, unless otherwise noted, if a percentage limitation on investment is adhered to at the time of investment or contract, a subsequent increase or decrease as a result of market movement or redemption will not result in a violation of such investment limitation.
Diversification
Each Fund is “diversified” within the meaning of the 1940 Act. Under applicable federal laws, to qualify as a diversified fund, each Fund, with respect to 75% of its total assets, may not invest greater than 5% of its total assets in any one issuer and may not hold greater than 10% of the securities of one issuer, other than investments in cash and cash items (including receivables), U.S. government securities, and securities of other investment companies. The remaining 25% of each Fund’s total assets does not need to be “diversified” and may be invested in securities of a single issuer, subject to other applicable laws. The diversification of a fund’s holdings is measured at the time the fund purchases a security. However, if a fund purchases a security and holds it for a period of time, the security may become a larger percentage of the fund’s total assets due to movements in the financial markets. If the market affects several securities held by a fund, the fund may have a greater percentage of its assets invested in securities of a single issuer or a small number of issuers. However, each Fund intends to satisfy the asset diversification requirements for qualification as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). See “Federal Income Taxes” below for details.
3


General Risks
The value of a Fund’s portfolio securities may fluctuate with changes in the financial condition of an issuer or counterparty, changes in specific economic or political conditions that affect a particular security or issuer and changes in general economic or political conditions. An investor in a Fund could lose money over short or long periods of time.
There can be no guarantee that a liquid market for the securities held by a Fund will be maintained. The existence of a liquid trading market for certain securities may depend on whether dealers will make a market in such securities. There can be no assurance that a market will be made or maintained or that any such market will be or remain liquid. The price at which securities may be sold and the value of Shares will be adversely affected if trading markets for a Fund’s portfolio securities are limited or absent, or if bid-ask spreads are wide.
Recent Events. Beginning in the first quarter of 2020, financial markets in the United States and around the world experienced extreme and, in many cases, unprecedented volatility and severe losses due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, a novel coronavirus. The pandemic resulted in a wide range of social and economic disruptions, including closed borders, voluntary or compelled quarantines of large populations, stressed healthcare systems, reduced or prohibited domestic or international travel, and supply chain disruptions affecting the United States and many other countries. Some sectors of the economy and individual issuers have experienced particularly large losses as a result of these disruptions, and such disruptions may continue for an extended period of time or reoccur in the future to a similar or greater extent. In response, the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have taken extraordinary actions to support the domestic economy and financial markets. Many countries, including the U.S., are subject to few restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19. It is unknown how long circumstances related to the pandemic will persist, whether they will reoccur in the future, whether efforts to support the economy and financial markets will be successful, and what additional implications may follow from the pandemic. The impact of these events and other epidemics or pandemics in the future could adversely affect Fund performance.
Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the resulting responses by the United States and other countries, and the potential for wider conflict could increase volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets and adversely affect regional and global economies. The United States and other countries have imposed broad-ranging economic sanctions on Russia, certain Russian individuals, banking entities and corporations, and Belarus as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and may impose sanctions on other countries that provide military or economic support to Russia. The sanctions restrict companies from doing business with Russia and Russian companies, prohibit transactions with the Russian central bank and other key Russian financial institutions and entities, ban Russian airlines and ships from using many other countries’ airspace and ports, respectively, and place a freeze on certain Russian assets. The sanctions also removed some Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), the electronic network that connects banks globally to facilitate cross-border payments. In addition, the United States and the United Kingdom have banned oil and other energy imports from Russia, and the European Union has banned most Russian crude oil imports and refined petroleum products, with limited exceptions. The extent and duration of Russia’s military actions and the repercussions of such actions (including any retaliatory actions or countermeasures that may be taken by those subject to sanctions, including cyber attacks) are impossible to predict, but could result in significant market disruptions, including in certain industries or sectors, such as the oil and natural gas markets, and may negatively affect global supply chains, inflation and global growth. These and any related events could significantly impact the Fund’s performance and the value of an investment in the Fund, even if the Fund does not have direct exposure to Russian issuers or issuers in other countries affected by the invasion.
Cyber Security Risk. Investment companies, such as the Funds, and their service providers may be subject to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber attacks. Cyber attacks include, among other behaviors, stealing or corrupting data maintained online or digitally, denial of service attacks on websites, the unauthorized release of confidential information or various other forms of cyber security breaches. Cyber attacks affecting a Fund or the Adviser, Sub-Adviser, custodian, transfer agent, intermediaries and other third-party service providers may adversely impact a Fund. For instance, cyber attacks may interfere with the processing of shareholder transactions, impact a Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, cause the release of private shareholder information or confidential company information, impede trading, subject a Fund to regulatory fines or financial losses, and cause reputational damage. A Fund may also incur additional costs for cyber security risk management purposes. Similar types of cyber security risks are also present for issuers of securities in which a Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers, and may cause a Fund’s investments in such portfolio companies to lose value.
Description of Permitted Investments
The following are descriptions of the Funds’ permitted investments and investment practices and the associated risk factors. A Fund will only invest in any of the following instruments or engage in any of the following investment practices if such investment or activity is consistent with a Fund’s investment objective and permitted by the Fund’s stated investment policies. Each of the permitted investments described below applies to each Fund unless otherwise noted.
4


Borrowing
Although the Funds do not intend to borrow money, a Fund may do so to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, a Fund may borrow up to one-third (1/3) of its total assets. A Fund will borrow money only for short-term or emergency purposes. Such borrowing is not for investment purposes and will be repaid by the borrowing Fund promptly. Borrowing will tend to exaggerate the effect on NAV of any increase or decrease in the market value of the borrowing Fund’s portfolio. Money borrowed will be subject to interest costs that may or may not be recovered by earnings on the securities purchased. A Fund also may be required to maintain minimum average balances in connection with a borrowing or to pay a commitment or other fee to maintain a line of credit; either of these requirements would increase the cost of borrowing over the stated interest rate.
Depositary Receipts
To the extent a Fund invests in stocks of foreign corporations, a Fund’s investment in securities of foreign companies may be in the form of depositary receipts or other securities convertible into securities of foreign issuers. American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) are dollar-denominated receipts representing interests in the securities of a foreign issuer, which securities may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the securities into which they may be converted. ADRs are receipts typically issued by U.S. banks and trust companies which evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign corporation. Generally, ADRs in registered form are designed for use in domestic securities markets and are traded on exchanges or over-the-counter in the United States. Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), and International Depositary Receipts (“IDRs”) are similar to ADRs in that they are certificates evidencing ownership of shares of a foreign issuer; however, GDRs, EDRs, and IDRs may be issued in bearer form and denominated in other currencies and are generally designed for use in specific or multiple securities markets outside the U.S. EDRs, for example, are designed for use in European securities markets, while GDRs are designed for use throughout the world. Depositary receipts will not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as their underlying securities.
The Funds will not invest in any unlisted Depositary Receipts or any Depositary Receipt that the Sub-Advisers deem to be illiquid or for which pricing information is not readily available. In addition, all Depositary Receipts generally must be sponsored. However, a Fund may invest in unsponsored Depositary Receipts under certain limited circumstances. The issuers of unsponsored Depositary Receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the United States and, therefore, there may be less information available regarding such issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the value of the Depositary Receipts. For Funds that track an Index, the use of a Depositary Receipt may increase the Fund’s tracking error relative to its Index if the Index includes the foreign security instead of the Depositary Receipt.
Derivative Instruments (AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF only)
Generally, derivatives are financial instruments whose value depends on or is derived from, the value of one or more underlying assets, reference rates, or indices or other market factors (a “reference instrument”) and may relate to stocks, bonds, interest rates, credit, currencies, commodities or related indices. Derivative instruments can provide an efficient means to gain or reduce exposure to the value of a reference instrument without actually owning or selling the instrument. A common type of derivative instrument in which the Fund invest includes futures contracts.
Derivative instruments may be used for “hedging,” which means that they may be used when the Sub-Adviser seeks to protect the Fund’s investments from a decline in value resulting from changes to interest rates, market prices, currency fluctuations or other market factors. Derivative instruments may also be used for other purposes, including to seek to increase liquidity, provide efficient portfolio management, broaden investment opportunities (including taking short or negative positions), implement a tax or cash management strategy, gain exposure to a particular security or segment of the market, modify the effective duration of the Fund’s portfolio investments and/or enhance total return. However derivative instruments are used, their successful use is not assured and will depend upon, among other factors, the Sub-Adviser’s ability to gauge relevant market movements.
Derivative instruments may be used for purposes of direct hedging. Direct hedging means that the transaction must be intended to reduce a specific risk exposure of a portfolio security or its denominated currency and must also be directly related to such security or currency. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments may be limited from time to time by policies adopted by the Board, the Adviser, or the Sub-Adviser.
Futures contracts. Generally, a futures contract is a standard binding agreement to buy or sell a specified quantity of an underlying reference instrument, such as a specific security, currency or commodity, at a specified price at a specified later date. A “sale” of a futures contract means the acquisition of a contractual obligation to deliver the underlying reference instrument called for by the contract at a specified price on a specified date. A “purchase” of a futures contract means the acquisition of a contractual obligation to acquire the underlying reference instrument called for by the contract at a specified price on a specified date. The purchase or sale of a futures contract will allow the Fund to increase or decrease its exposure to the underlying reference instrument without having to buy the actual instrument.
5


The underlying reference instruments to which futures contracts may relate include non-U.S. currencies, interest rates, stock and bond indices and debt securities, including U.S. government debt obligations. In most cases the contractual obligation under a futures contract may be offset, or “closed out,” before the settlement date so that the parties do not have to make or take delivery. The closing out of a contractual obligation is usually accomplished by buying or selling, as the case may be, an identical, offsetting futures contract. This transaction, which is effected through a member of an exchange, cancels the obligation to make or take delivery of the underlying instrument or asset. Although some futures contracts by their terms require the actual delivery or acquisition of the underlying instrument or asset, some require cash settlement.
Futures contracts may be bought and sold on U.S. and non-U.S. exchanges. Futures contracts in the U.S. have been designed by exchanges that have been designated “contract markets” by the CFTC and must be executed through a futures commission merchant (“FCM”), which is a brokerage firm that is a member of the relevant contract market. Each exchange guarantees performance of the contracts as between the clearing members of the exchange, thereby reducing the risk of counterparty default. Futures contracts may also be entered into on certain exempt markets, including exempt boards of trade and electronic trading facilities, available to certain market participants. Because all transactions in the futures market are made, offset or fulfilled by an FCM through a clearinghouse associated with the exchange on which the contracts are traded, the Fund will incur brokerage fees when it buys or sells futures contracts.
The Fund generally buys and sells futures contracts only on contract markets (including exchanges or boards of trade) where there appears to be an active market for the futures contracts, but there is no assurance that an active market will exist for any particular contract or at any particular time. An active market makes it more likely that futures contracts will be liquid and bought and sold at competitive market prices. In addition, many of the futures contracts available may be relatively new instruments without a significant trading history. As a result, there can be no assurance that an active market will develop or continue to exist.
When the Fund enters into a futures contract, it must deliver to an account controlled by the FCM (that has been selected by the Fund), an amount referred to as “initial margin” that is typically calculated as an amount equal to the volatility in market value of a contract over a fixed period. Initial margin requirements are determined by the respective exchanges on which the futures contracts are traded and the FCM. Thereafter, a “variation margin” amount may be required to be paid by the Fund or received by the Fund in accordance with margin controls set for such accounts, depending upon changes in the marked-to market value of the futures contract. The account is marked-to market daily and the variation margin is monitored by the Sub-Adviser and custodian on a daily basis. When the futures contract is closed out, if the Fund has a loss equal to or greater than the margin amount, the margin amount is paid to the FCM along with any loss in excess of the margin amount. If the Fund has a loss of less than the margin amount, the excess margin is returned to the Fund. If the Fund has a gain, the full margin amount and the amount of the gain is paid to the Fund.
Some futures contracts provide for the delivery of securities that are different than those that are specified in the contract. For a futures contract for delivery of debt securities, on the settlement date of the contract, adjustments to the contract can be made to recognize differences in value arising from the delivery of debt securities with a different interest rate from that of the particular debt securities that were specified in the contract. In some cases, securities called for by a futures contract may not have been issued when the contract was written.
Risks of futures contracts. The Fund’s use of futures contracts is subject to the risks associated with derivative instruments generally. In addition, a purchase or sale of a futures contract may result in losses to the Fund in excess of the amount that the Fund delivered as initial margin. Because of the relatively low margin deposits required, futures trading involves a high degree of leverage; as a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss, or gain, to the Fund. In addition, if the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements or close out a futures position, it may have to sell securities from its portfolio at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. Adverse market movements could cause the Fund to experience substantial losses on an investment in a futures contract.
There is a risk of loss by the Fund of the initial and variation margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which the Fund has an open position in a futures contract. The assets of the Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because the Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds and margin segregated on behalf of an FCM’s customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use the Fund’s assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM’s other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty.
The Fund may not be able to properly hedge or effect its strategy when a liquid market is unavailable for the futures contract the Fund wishes to close, which may at times occur. In addition, when futures contracts are used for hedging, there may be an imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of the underlying reference instrument on which the futures contract is based and movements in the prices of the assets sought to be hedged.
If the Sub-Adviser’s investment judgment about the general direction of market prices is incorrect, the Fund’s overall performance will be poorer than if it had not entered into a futures contract. For example, if the Fund has purchased futures to hedge against the possibility of an increase in interest rates that would adversely affect the price of bonds held in its portfolio and interest rates instead
6


decrease, the Fund will lose part or all of the benefit of the increased value of the bonds which it has hedged. This is because its losses in its futures positions will offset some or all of its gains from the increased value of the bonds.
The difference (called the “spread”) between prices in the cash market for the purchase and sale of the underlying reference instrument and the prices in the futures market is subject to fluctuations and distortions due to differences in the nature of those two markets. First, all participants in the futures market are subject to initial deposit and variation margin requirements. Rather than meeting additional variation margin requirements, investors may close futures contracts through offsetting transactions that could distort the normal pricing spread between the cash and futures markets. Second, the liquidity of the futures markets depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than making or taking delivery of the underlying instrument. To the extent participants decide to make or take delivery, liquidity in the futures market could be reduced, resulting in pricing distortion. Third, from the point of view of speculators, the margin deposit requirements that apply in the futures market are less onerous than similar margin requirements in the securities market. Therefore, increased participation by speculators in the futures market may cause temporary price distortions. When such distortions occur, a correct forecast of general trends in the price of an underlying reference instrument by the Sub-Adviser may still not necessarily result in a profitable transaction.
The CFTC and the various exchanges have established limits referred to as “speculative position limits” on the maximum net long or net short position that any person, such as the Fund, may hold or control in a particular futures contract. Trading limits are also imposed on the maximum number of contracts that any person may trade on a particular trading day. An exchange may order the liquidation of positions found to be in violation of these limits and it may impose other sanctions or restrictions. The regulation of futures, as well as other derivatives, is a rapidly changing area of law. For more information, see “Developing government regulation of derivatives” below.
Futures exchanges may also limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in certain futures contract prices during a single trading day. This daily limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price. Once the daily limit has been reached in a futures contract subject to the limit, no more trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movements during a particular trading day and does not limit potential losses because the limit may prevent the liquidation of unfavorable positions. For example, futures prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of positions and subjecting some holders of futures contracts to substantial losses.
Equity Securities
Equity securities, such as the common stocks of an issuer, are subject to stock market fluctuations and therefore may experience volatile changes in value as market conditions, consumer sentiment or the financial condition of the issuers change. A decrease in value of the equity securities in a Fund’s portfolio may also cause the value of the Fund’s Shares to decline.
An investment in the Funds should be made with an understanding of the risks inherent in an investment in equity securities, including the risk that the financial condition of issuers may become impaired or that the general condition of the stock market may deteriorate (either of which may cause a decrease in the value of a Fund’s portfolio securities and therefore a decrease in the value of Shares). Common stocks are susceptible to general stock market fluctuations and to volatile increases and decreases in value as market confidence and perceptions change. These investor perceptions are based on various and unpredictable factors, including expectations regarding government, economic, monetary and fiscal policies; inflation and interest rates; economic expansion or contraction; and global or regional political, economic, public health, or banking crises.
Holders of common stocks incur more risk than holders of preferred stocks and debt obligations because common stockholders, as owners of the issuer, generally have inferior rights to receive payments from the issuer in comparison with the rights of creditors or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks. Further, unlike debt securities, which typically have a stated principal amount payable at maturity (whose value, however, is subject to market fluctuations prior thereto), or preferred stocks, which typically have a liquidation preference and which may have stated optional or mandatory redemption provisions, common stocks have neither a fixed principal amount nor a maturity. Common stock values are subject to market fluctuations as long as the common stock remains outstanding.
When-Issued Securities: A when-issued security is one whose terms are available and for which a market exists, but which has not been issued. When a Fund engages in when-issued transactions, it relies on the other party to consummate the sale. If the other party fails to complete the sale, a Fund may miss the opportunity to obtain the security at a favorable price or yield.
When purchasing a security on a when-issued basis, a Fund assumes the rights and risks of ownership of the security, including the risk of price and yield changes. At the time of settlement, the value of the security may be more or less than the purchase price. The yield available in the market when the delivery takes place also may be higher than those obtained in the transaction itself. Because a Fund does not pay for the security until the delivery date, these risks are in addition to the risks associated with its other investments.
Decisions to enter into “when-issued” transactions will be considered on a case-by-case basis when necessary to maintain continuity in a company’s index membership. A Fund will segregate cash or liquid securities equal in value to commitments for the when-issued
7


transactions. A Fund will segregate additional liquid assets daily so that the value of such assets is equal to the amount of the commitments.
Types of Equity Securities:
Common Stocks — Common stocks represent units of ownership in a company. Common stocks usually carry voting rights and earn dividends. Unlike preferred stocks, which are described below, dividends on common stocks are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of the company’s board of directors.
Preferred Stocks — Preferred stocks are also units of ownership in a company. Preferred stocks normally have preference over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of the company. However, in all other respects, preferred stocks are subordinated to the liabilities of the issuer. Unlike common stocks, preferred stocks are generally not entitled to vote on corporate matters. Types of preferred stocks include adjustable-rate preferred stock, fixed dividend preferred stock, perpetual preferred stock, and sinking fund preferred stock.
Generally, the market values of preferred stock with a fixed dividend rate and no conversion element vary inversely with interest rates and perceived credit risk.
Rights and Warrants — A right is a privilege granted to existing shareholders of a corporation to subscribe to shares of a new issue of common stock before it is issued. Rights normally have a short life of usually two to four weeks, are freely transferable and entitle the holder to buy the new common stock at a lower price than the public offering price. Warrants are securities that are usually issued together with a debt security or preferred stock and that give the holder the right to buy proportionate amount of common stock at a specified price. Warrants are freely transferable and are traded on major exchanges. Unlike rights, warrants normally have a life that is measured in years and entitles the holder to buy common stock of a company at a price that is usually higher than the market price at the time the warrant is issued. Corporations often issue warrants to make the accompanying debt security more attractive.
An investment in warrants and rights may entail greater risks than certain other types of investments. Generally, rights and warrants do not carry the right to receive dividends or exercise voting rights with respect to the underlying securities, and they do not represent any rights in the assets of the issuer. In addition, their value does not necessarily change with the value of the underlying securities, and they cease to have value if they are not exercised on or before their expiration date. Investing in rights and warrants increases the potential profit or loss to be realized from the investment as compared with investing the same amount in the underlying securities.
Medium-Sized Companies — Investors in medium-sized companies typically take on greater risk and price volatility than they would by investing in larger, more established companies. This increased risk may be due to the greater business risks of their medium size, limited markets and financial resources, narrow product lines and frequent lack of management depth. The securities of medium-sized companies are often traded in the over-the-counter market and might not be traded in volumes typical of securities traded on a national securities exchange. Thus, the securities of medium capitalization companies are likely to be less liquid, and subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements, than securities of larger, more established companies.
Smaller-Sized Companies — Investors in smaller-sized companies typically take on greater risk and price volatility than they would by investing in larger, more established companies. This increased risk may be due to the greater business risks of their smaller size, limited markets and financial resources, narrow product lines and frequent lack of management depth. The securities of smaller-sized companies are often traded in the over-the-counter market and might not be traded in volumes typical of securities traded on a national securities exchange. Thus, the securities of smaller capitalization companies are likely to be less liquid, and subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements, than securities of larger, more established companies.
Tracking Stocks The Funds may invest in tracking stocks. A tracking stock is a separate class of common stock whose value is linked to a specific business unit or operating division within a larger company and which is designed to “track” the performance of such business unit or division. The tracking stock may pay dividends to shareholders independent of the parent company. The parent company, rather than the business unit or division, generally is the issuer of tracking stock. However, holders of the tracking stock may not have the same rights as holders of the company’s common stock.
Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”)
Each Fund may invest in shares of other investment companies (including ETFs). As the shareholder of another ETF, a Fund would bear, along with other shareholders, its pro rata portion of the other ETF’s expenses, including advisory fees. Such expenses are in addition to the expenses the Fund pays in connection with its own operations. A Fund’s investments in other ETFs may be limited by applicable law.
Disruptions in the markets for the securities underlying ETFs purchased or sold by a Fund could result in losses on investments in ETFs. ETFs also carry the risk that the price a Fund pays or receives may be higher or lower than the ETF’s NAV. ETFs are also subject to certain additional risks, including the risks of illiquidity and of possible trading halts due to market conditions or other reasons, based on the policies of the relevant exchange. ETFs and other investment companies in which the Fund may invest may be leveraged, which would increase the volatility of the Fund’s NAV.
8


Fixed-Income Securities (All Funds other than the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF and the AAM Transformers ETF)
Fixed-income securities include a broad array of short-, medium-, and long-term obligations issued by the U.S. or foreign governments, government or international agencies and instrumentalities, and corporate and private issuers of various types. The maturity date is the date on which a fixed-income security matures. This is the date on which the borrower must pay back the borrowed amount, which is known as the principal. Some fixed-income securities represent uncollateralized obligations of their issuers; in other cases, the securities may be backed by specific assets (such as mortgages or other receivables) that have been set aside as collateral for the issuer’s obligation. Fixed-income securities generally involve an obligation of the issuer to pay interest or dividends on either a current basis or at the maturity of the security, as well as the obligation to repay the principal amount of the security at maturity. The rate of interest on fixed-income securities may be fixed, floating, or variable. Some securities pay a higher interest rate than the current market rate. An investor may have to pay more than the security’s principal to compensate the seller for the value of the higher interest rate. This additional payment is a premium.
Fixed-income securities are subject to credit risk, market risk, and interest rate risk. Except to the extent values are affected by other factors such as developments relating to a specific issuer, generally the value of a fixed-income security can be expected to rise when interest rates decline and, conversely, the value of such a security can be expected to fall when interest rates rise. Some fixed-income securities also involve prepayment or call risk. This is the risk that the issuer will repay a Fund the principal on the security before it is due, thus depriving the Fund of a favorable stream of future interest or dividend payments. A fund could buy another security, but that other security might pay a lower interest rate. In addition, many fixed-income securities contain call or buy-back features that permit their issuers to call or repurchase the securities from their holders. Such securities may present risks based on payment expectations. Although a Fund would typically receive a premium if an issuer were to redeem a security, if an issuer were to exercise a call option and redeem the security during times of declining interest rates, a Fund may realize a capital loss on their investment if the security was purchased at a premium and the Fund may be forced to replace the called security with a lower yielding security.
Changes by nationally recognized securities rating organizations (“NRSROs”) in their ratings of any fixed-income security or the issuer of a fixed-income security and changes in the ability of an issuer to make payments of interest and principal may also affect the value of these investments. Changes in the value of portfolio securities generally will not affect income derived from these securities, but will affect a Fund’s NAV.
Duration is an estimate of how much a bond’s price will fluctuate in response to a change in interest rates. In general, the value of a fixed-income security with positive duration will generally decline if interest rates increase, whereas the value of a security with negative duration will generally decline if interest rates decrease. If interest rates rise by one percentage point, the price of debt securities with an average duration of five years would be expected to decline by about 5%. If rates decrease by a percentage point, the price of debt securities with an average duration of five years would be expected to rise by about 5%. The greater the duration of a bond (whether positive or negative), the greater its percentage price volatility. Only a pure discount bond – that is, one with no coupon or sinking-fund payments – has a duration equal to the remaining maturity of the bond, because only in this case does the present value of the final redemption payment represent the entirety of the present value of the bond. For all other bonds, duration is less than maturity.
A Fund may invest in variable- or floating-rate securities (including, but not limited to, floating rate notes issued by the U.S. Treasury), which bear interest at rates subject to periodic adjustment or provide for periodic recovery of principal on demand. The value of a Fund’s investment in certain of these securities may depend on a Fund’s right to demand that a specified bank, broker-dealer, or other financial institution either purchase such securities from the Fund at par or make payment on short notice to the Fund of unpaid principal and/or interest on the securities. These securities are subject to, among others, interest rate risk and credit risk.
When investing in fixed income securities, the Funds may purchase securities regardless of their rating, including fixed income securities rated below investment grade – securities rated below investment grade are often referred to as high yield securities or “junk bonds”. High yield securities or “junk bonds,” involve special risks in addition to the risks associated with investments in higher rated fixed income securities. While offering a greater potential opportunity for capital appreciation and higher yields, high yield securities may be subject to greater levels of interest rate, credit and liquidity risk, may entail greater potential price volatility, and may be less liquid than higher rated fixed income securities. High yield securities may be regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s continuing ability to meet principal and interest payments. They may also be more susceptible to real or perceived adverse economic and competitive industry conditions than higher rated securities. Fixed income securities rated in the lowest investment grade categories by the rating agencies may also possess speculative characteristics. If securities are in default with respect to the payment of interest or the repayment of principal, or present an imminent risk of default with respect to such payments, the issuer of such securities may fail to resume principal or interest payments, in which case a Fund may lose its entire investment in the high yield security. In addition, to the extent that there is no established retail secondary market, there may be thin trading of high yield securities, and this may have an impact on a Fund’s ability to accurately value high yield securities and the Fund’s assets and on the Fund’s ability to dispose of the securities. Adverse publicity and investor perception, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may decrease the values and liquidity of high yield securities especially in a thinly traded market.
9


Illiquid Investments
Each Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments, as such term is defined by Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act. A Fund may not invest in illiquid investments if, as a result of such investment, more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets would be invested in illiquid investments. Illiquid investments include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets. The inability of a Fund to dispose of illiquid investments readily or at a reasonable price could impair a Fund’s ability to raise cash for redemptions or other purposes. The liquidity of securities purchased by a Fund that are eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A, except for certain 144A bonds, will be monitored by a Fund on an ongoing basis. In the event that more than 15% of a Fund’s net assets are invested in illiquid investments, the Fund, in accordance with Rule 22e-4(b)(1)(iv), will report the occurrence to both the Board and the SEC and seek to reduce its holdings of illiquid investments within a reasonable period of time.
Investment Company Securities
The Funds may invest in the securities of other investment companies, including ETFs and money market funds, subject to applicable limitations under Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act and Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act. Investing in another pooled vehicle exposes a Fund to all the risks of that pooled vehicle. Pursuant to Section 12(d)(1), a Fund may invest in the securities of another investment company (the “acquired company”) provided that such Fund, immediately after such purchase or acquisition, does not own in the aggregate: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired company; (ii) securities issued by the acquired company having an aggregate value in excess of 5% of the value of the total assets of such Fund; or (iii) securities issued by the acquired company and all other investment companies (other than treasury stock of such Fund) having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the applicable Fund. To the extent allowed by law or regulation, the Funds may invest their assets in securities of investment companies that are money market funds in excess of the limits discussed above.
If a Fund invests in and, thus, is a shareholder of, another investment company, the Fund’s shareholders will indirectly bear the Fund’s proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory fees, in addition to both the management fees payable directly by the Fund to the Fund’s own investment adviser and the other expenses that the Fund bears directly in connection with the Fund’s own operations.
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by registered investment companies in securities of other registered investment companies, including the Funds. The acquisition of a Fund’s Shares by registered investment companies is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, except as may be permitted by exemptive rules under the 1940 Act that allow registered investment companies to invest in the Fund beyond the limits of Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions, including that the registered investment company enter into an agreement with the Fund regarding the terms of the investment.
The Funds may rely on Section 12(d)(1)(F) and Rule 12d1-3 under the 1940 Act, which provide an exemption from Section 12(d)(1) that allows a Fund to invest all of its assets in other registered funds, including ETFs, if, among other conditions: (a) the Fund, together with its affiliates, acquires no more than three percent of the outstanding voting stock of any acquired fund, and (b) the sales load charged on the Fund’s Shares is no greater than the limits set forth in Rule 2341 of the Rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”). Additionally, the Funds may rely on Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act to invest in such other funds in excess of the limits of Section 12(d)(1) if the Funds comply with the terms and conditions of such rule.
Non-U.S. Securities
The Funds may invest in non-U.S. equity securities. Investments in non-U.S. equity securities involve certain risks that may not be present in investments in U.S. securities. For example, non-U.S. securities may be subject to currency risks or to foreign government taxes. There may be less information publicly available about a non-U.S. issuer than about a U.S. issuer, and a foreign issuer may or may not be subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices comparable to those in the U.S. Other risks of investing in such securities include political or economic instability in the country involved, the difficulty of predicting international trade patterns and the possibility of imposition of exchange controls. The prices of such securities may be more volatile than those of domestic securities. With respect to certain foreign countries, there is a possibility of expropriation of assets or nationalization, imposition of withholding taxes on dividend or interest payments, difficulty in obtaining and enforcing judgments against foreign entities or diplomatic developments which could affect investment in these countries. Losses and other expenses may be incurred in converting between various currencies in connection with purchases and sales of foreign securities. Since foreign exchanges may be open on days when the Funds do not price their Shares, the value of the securities in a Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s Shares. Conversely, Shares may trade on days when foreign exchanges are closed. Each of these factors can make investments in the Funds more volatile and potentially less liquid than other types of investments.
10


Non-U.S. stock markets may not be as developed or efficient as, and may be more volatile than, those in the U.S. While the volume of shares traded on non-U.S. stock markets generally has been growing, such markets usually have substantially less volume than U.S. markets. Therefore, a Fund’s investment in non-U.S. equity securities may be less liquid and subject to more rapid and erratic price movements than comparable securities listed for trading on U.S. exchanges. Non-U.S. equity securities may trade at price/earnings multiples higher than comparable U.S. securities and such levels may not be sustainable. There may be less government supervision and regulation of foreign stock exchanges, brokers, banks and listed companies abroad than in the U.S. Moreover, settlement practices for transactions in foreign markets may differ from those in U.S. markets. Such differences may include delays beyond periods customary in the U.S. and practices, such as delivery of securities prior to receipt of payment, that increase the likelihood of a failed settlement, which can result in losses to a Fund. The value of non-U.S. investments and the investment income derived from them may also be affected unfavorably by changes in currency exchange control regulations. Foreign brokerage commissions, custodial expenses and other fees are also generally higher than for securities traded in the U.S. This may cause a Fund to incur higher portfolio transaction costs than domestic equity funds. Fluctuations in exchange rates may also affect the earning power and asset value of the foreign entity issuing a security, even one denominated in U.S. dollars. Dividend and interest payments may be repatriated based on the exchange rate at the time of disbursement, and restrictions on capital flows may be imposed.
Set forth below for certain markets in which a Fund may invest are brief descriptions of some of the conditions and risks in each such market.
Investments in Australia. The economy of Australia is heavily dependent on the price and the demand for commodities and natural resources as well as its exports from the energy, agricultural and mining sectors. As a result, the Australian economy is susceptible to fluctuations in the commodity markets. Conditions that weaken demand for Australian products worldwide could have a negative impact on the Australian economy as a whole. Australia is also increasingly dependent on the economies of its key trading partners, including China, the United States, and Japan.
Investments in Brazil. Investments in securities of Brazilian companies are subject to regulatory and economic interventions that the Brazilian government has frequently exercised in the past, including the setting of wage and price controls, blocking access to bank accounts, imposing exchange controls and limiting imports. Investments are also subject to certain restrictions on foreign investment as provided by Brazilian law. The Brazilian economy has historically been subject to high rates of inflation and a high level of debt, all of which may stifle economic growth. Despite rapid development in recent years, Brazil still suffers from high levels of corruption, crime and income disparity. There is the possibility that such conditions may lead to social unrest and political upheaval in the future, which may have adverse effects on the Fund's investments.
Investments in Certain Asian Emerging Market Countries. Many Asian economies are characterized by over-extension of credit, frequent currency fluctuation, devaluations and restrictions, rising unemployment, rapid fluctuations in inflation, reliance on exports and less efficient markets. Currency devaluation in one Asian country can have a significant effect on the entire region. The legal systems in many Asian countries are still developing, making it more difficult to obtain and/or enforce judgments.
Furthermore, increased political and social unrest in some Asian countries could cause economic and market uncertainty throughout the region. The auditing and reporting standards in some Asian emerging market countries may not provide the same degree of shareholder protection or information to investors as those in developed countries. In particular, valuation of assets, depreciation, exchange differences, deferred taxation, contingent liability and consolidation may be treated differently than under the auditing and reporting standards of developed countries.
Certain Asian emerging market countries are undergoing a period of growth and change which may result in trading volatility and difficulties in the settlement and recording of securities transactions, and in interpreting and applying the relevant law and regulations. The securities industries in these countries are comparatively underdeveloped. Stockbrokers and other intermediaries in Asian emerging market countries may not perform as well as their counterparts in the United States and other more developed securities markets. Certain Asian emerging market countries may require substantial withholding on dividends paid on portfolio securities and on realized capital gains. There can be no assurance that repatriation of a fund’s income, gains, or initial capital from these countries can occur.
Investments in China and Hong Kong. Investing in ADRs with underlying shares organized, listed or domiciled in China involves special considerations not typically associated with investing in countries with more democratic governments or more established economies or securities markets. Such risks may include: (i) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (ii) greater social, economic and political uncertainty (including the risk of war); (iii) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (iv) increasing competition from Asia’s other low-cost emerging economies; (v) higher rates of inflation; (vi) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital; (vii) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (viii) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support the economic reform programs implemented since 1978 and could return to the prior, completely centrally planned, economy; (ix) the fact that Chinese companies, particularly those located in China, may be smaller, less seasoned and newly organized; (x) the differences in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers, particularly in China where, for example, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
11


(“PCAOB”) lacks access to inspect PCAOB-registered accounting firms; (xi) the fact that statistical information regarding the economy of China may be inaccurate or not comparable to statistical information regarding the U.S. or other economies; (xii) the less extensive, and still developing, regulation of the securities markets, business entities and commercial transactions; (xiii) the fact that the settlement period of securities transactions in foreign markets may be longer; (xiv) the fact that the willingness and ability of the Chinese government to support the Chinese and Hong Kong economies and markets is uncertain; (xv) the risk that it may be more difficult, or impossible, to obtain and/or enforce a judgment than in other countries; (xvi) the rapid and erratic nature of growth, particularly in China, resulting in inefficiencies and dislocations; (xvii) the risk that, because of the degree of interconnectivity between the economies and financial markets of China and Hong Kong, any sizable reduction in the demand for goods from China, or an economic downturn in China, could negatively affect the economy and financial market of Hong Kong as well; and (xviii) the risk that certain companies in a Fund’s Index may have dealings with countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government or identified as state sponsors of terrorism.
China is also vulnerable economically to the impact of a public health crisis, which could depress consumer demand, reduce economic output, and potentially lead to market closures, travel restrictions, and quarantines, all of which would negatively impact China’s economy and could affect the economies of its trading partners.
After many years of steady growth, the growth rate of China’s economy has recently slowed. Although this slowdown was to some degree intentional, the slowdown has also slowed the once rapidly growing Chinese real estate market and left local governments with high debts with few viable means to raise revenue, especially with the fall in demand for housing. Despite its attempts to restructure its economy towards consumption, China remains heavily dependent on exports. Accordingly, China is susceptible to economic downturns abroad, including any weakness in demand from its major trading partners, including the United States, Japan, and Europe. In addition, China’s aging infrastructure, worsening environmental conditions, rapid and inequitable urbanization, quickly widening urban and rural income gap, domestic unrest and provincial separatism all present major challenges to the country. Further, China’s territorial claims, including its land reclamation projects and the establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone over islands claimed and occupied by Japan, are another source of tension and present risks to diplomatic and trade relations with certain of China’s regional trade partners.
Investments in Hong Kong are also subject to certain political risks not associated with other investments. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party in 1949, the Chinese government renounced various debt obligations incurred by China’s predecessor governments, which obligations remain in default, and expropriated assets without compensation. There can be no assurance that the Chinese government will not take similar action in the future. Investments in China and Hong Kong involve risk of a total loss due to government action or inaction. China has committed by treaty to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy and its economic, political and social freedoms for 50 years from the July 1, 1997 transfer of sovereignty from Great Britain to China. However, if China would exert its authority so as to alter the economic, political or legal structures or the existing social policy of Hong Kong, investor and business confidence in Hong Kong could be negatively affected, which in turn could negatively affect markets and business performance. In addition, the Hong Kong dollar trades at a fixed exchange rate in relation to (or, is “pegged” to) the U.S. dollar, which has contributed to the growth and stability of the Hong Kong economy. However, it is uncertain how long the currency peg will continue or what effect the establishment of an alternative exchange rate system would have on the Hong Kong economy. Because each Fund’s NAV is denominated in U.S. dollars, the establishment of an alternative exchange rate system could result in a decline in a Fund’s NAV. These and other factors could have a negative impact on each Fund’s performance.
Investments in Variable Interest Entities (“VIEs”). In seeking exposure to Chinese companies, a Fund may invest in VIE structures. VIE structures can vary, but generally consist of a U.S.-listed company with contractual arrangements, through one or more wholly-owned special purpose vehicles, with a Chinese company that ultimately provides the U.S.-listed company with contractual rights to exercise control over and obtain economic benefits from the Chinese company. Although the U.S.-listed company in a VIE structure has no equity ownership in the underlying Chinese company, the VIE contractual arrangements permit the VIE structure to consolidate its financial statements with those of the underlying Chinese company. The VIE structure enables foreign investors, such as the Funds, to obtain investment exposure similar to that of an equity owner in a Chinese company in situations in which the Chinese government has restricted the non-Chinese ownership of such company. As a result, an investment in a VIE structure subjects a Fund to the risks associated with the underlying Chinese company. In its efforts to monitor, regulate and/or control foreign investment and participation in the ownership and operation of Chinese companies, including in particular those within the technology, telecommunications and education industries, the Chinese government may intervene or seek to control the operations, structure, or ownership of Chinese companies, including VIEs, to the disadvantage of foreign investors, such as the Funds. Intervention by the Chinese government with respect to a VIE could significantly and adversely affect the Chinese company’s performance or the enforceability of the company’s contractual arrangements with the VIE and thus, the value of a Fund’s investment in the VIE. In addition to the risk of government intervention, a Fund’s investment in a VIE structure is subject to the risk that the underlying Chinese company (or its officers, directors, or Chinese equity owners) may breach the contractual arrangements with the other entities in the VIE structure, or that Chinese law changes in a way that
12


affects the enforceability of these arrangements, or those contracts are otherwise not enforceable under Chinese law, in which case a Fund may suffer significant losses on its VIE investments with little or no recourse available.
Investments in Emerging Markets. Investments in securities listed and traded in emerging markets are subject to additional risks that may not be present for U.S. investments or investments in more developed non-U.S. markets. Such risks may include: (i) greater market volatility; (ii) lower trading volume; (iii) greater social, political and economic uncertainty; (iv) governmental controls on foreign investments and limitations on repatriation of invested capital; (v) the risk that companies may be held to lower disclosure, corporate governance, auditing and financial reporting standards than companies in more developed markets; (vi) the risk that there may be less protection of property rights than in other countries; and (vii) fewer investor rights and limited legal or practical remedies available to investors against emerging market companies. Emerging markets are generally less liquid and less efficient than developed securities markets.
Investments in Europe. Most developed countries in Western Europe are members of the European Union (“EU”), and many are also members of the European Monetary Union (EMU), which requires compliance with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, and debt levels. Unemployment in certain European nations is historically high and several countries face significant debt problems. These conditions can significantly affect every country in Europe. The euro is the official currency of the EU. Each Fund, through its investments in Europe, may have significant exposure to the euro and events affecting the euro. Recent market events affecting several of the EU member countries have adversely affected the sovereign debt issued by those countries, and ultimately may lead to a decline in the value of the euro. A significant decline in the value of the euro may produce unpredictable effects on trade and commerce generally and could lead to increased volatility in financial markets worldwide.
The UK formally exited from the EU on January 31, 2020 (known as “Brexit”), and effective December 31, 2020, the UK ended a transition period during which it continued to abide by the EU’s rules and the UK’s trade relationships with the EU were generally unchanged. Following this transition period, the impact on the UK and European economies and the broader global economy could be significant, resulting in negative impacts, such as increased volatility and illiquidity, potentially lower economic growth on markets in the UK, Europe, and globally, and changes in legal and regulatory regimes to which certain Fund assets are or become subject, any of which may adversely affect the value of Fund investments.
The effects of Brexit will depend, in part, on agreements the UK negotiates to retain access to EU markets, including, but not limited to, current trade and finance agreements. Brexit could lead to legal and tax uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations, as the UK determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. The extent of the impact of the withdrawal negotiations in the UK and in global markets, as well as any associated adverse consequences, remain unclear, and the uncertainty may have a significant negative effect on the value of Fund investments. If one or more other countries were to exit the EU or abandon the use of the euro as a currency, the value of investments tied to those countries or the euro could decline significantly and unpredictably.
Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 has led to various countries imposing economic sanctions on certain Russian individuals and Russian corporate and banking entities. A number of jurisdictions have also instituted broader sanctions on Russia, including banning Russia from global payments systems that facilitate cross-border payments. In response, the government of Russia has imposed capital controls to restrict movements of capital entering and exiting the country. As a result, the value and liquidity of Russian securities and the Russian currency have experienced significant declines. Further, as of January 1, 2023, the Russian securities markets effectively have been closed for trading by foreign investors since February 28, 2022.
Russia’s military incursion and resulting sanctions could have a severe adverse effect on the region’s economies and more globally, including significant negative impacts on the financial markets for certain securities and commodities and could affect the value of the Fund’s investments. Eastern European markets are particularly sensitive to social, political, economic, and currency events in Russia and may suffer heavy losses as a result of their trading and investment links to the Russian economy and currency. Changes in regulations on trade, decreasing imports or exports, changes in the exchange rate of the euro, a significant influx of refugees, and recessions among European countries may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of other European countries including those of Eastern Europe.
Investments in India. India is an emerging market and exhibits significantly greater market volatility from time to time in comparison to more developed markets. Political and legal uncertainty, greater government control over the economy, currency fluctuations or blockage and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets may result in higher potential for losses.
Moreover, governmental actions can have a significant effect on the economic conditions in India, which could adversely affect the value and liquidity of a Fund’s investments. The securities markets in India are comparatively underdeveloped, and stockbrokers and other intermediaries may not perform as well as their counterparts in the United States and other more developed securities markets. The limited liquidity of the Indian securities markets may also affect a Fund’s ability to acquire or dispose of securities at the price and time that it desires.
13


Global factors and foreign actions may inhibit the flow of foreign capital on which India is dependent to sustain its growth. In addition, the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) has imposed limits on foreign ownership of Indian securities, which may decrease the liquidity of a Fund’s portfolio and result in extreme volatility in the prices of Indian securities. These factors, coupled with the lack of extensive accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices, as compared to the United States, may increase a Fund’s risk of loss.
Further, certain Indian regulatory approvals, including approvals from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the RBI, the central government and the tax authorities (to the extent that tax benefits need to be utilized), may be required before a Fund can make investments in the securities of Indian companies.
Investments in Japan. Economic growth in Japan is heavily dependent on international trade, government support, and consistent government policy. Slowdowns in the economies of key trading partners such as the United States, China, and countries in Southeast Asia could have a negative impact on the Japanese economy as a whole. The Japanese economy has in the past been negatively affected by, among other factors, government intervention and protectionism and an unstable financial services sector. While the Japanese economy has recently emerged from a prolonged economic downturn, some of these factors, as well as other adverse political developments, increases in government debt, changes to fiscal, monetary or trade policies, or other events, such as natural disasters, could have a negative impact on Japanese securities. Japan also has few natural resources, and any fluctuation or shortage in the commodity markets could have a negative impact on Japanese securities.
Investments in Mexico. Investment exposure to Mexican issuers involves risks that are specific to Mexico, including regulatory, political, and economic risks. The Mexican economy, among other things, is dependent upon external trade with other economies, specifically with the United States. As a result, Mexico is dependent on, among other things, the U.S. economy and any change in the price or demand for Mexican exports may have an adverse impact on the Mexican economy. Recently, Mexico has experienced an outbreak of violence related to drug trafficking. Incidents involving Mexico’s security may have an adverse effect on the Mexican economy and cause uncertainty in its financial markets. In the past, Mexico has experienced high interest rates, economic volatility and high unemployment rates.
Mexico has been destabilized by local insurrections, social upheavals, drug related violence, and the public health crisis related to the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Recurrence of these or similar conditions may adversely impact the Mexican economy. Recently, Mexican elections have been contentious and have been very closely decided. Changes in political parties or other Mexican political events may affect the economy and cause instability.
Investments in Russia and other Eastern European Countries. Many formerly communist, eastern European countries have experienced significant political and economic reform over the past decade. However, the democratization process is still relatively new in a number of the smaller states and political turmoil and popular uprisings remain threats. Investments in these countries are particularly subject to political, economic, legal, market and currency risks. The risks include uncertain political and economic policies and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets, short-term market volatility, poor accounting standards, corruption and crime, an inadequate regulatory system, unpredictable taxation, the imposition of capital controls and/or foreign investment limitations by a country and the imposition of sanctions on an Eastern European country by other countries, such as the United States. Adverse currency exchange rates are a risk, and there may be a lack of available currency hedging instruments.
These securities markets, as compared to U.S. markets, have significant price volatility, less liquidity, a smaller market capitalization and a smaller number of exchange-traded securities. A limited volume of trading may result in difficulty in obtaining accurate prices and trading. There is little publicly available information about issuers. Settlement, clearing, and registration of securities transactions are subject to risks because of insufficient registration systems that may not be subject to effective government supervision. This may result in significant delays or problems in registering the transfer of shares. It is possible that a Fund's ownership rights could be lost through fraud or negligence. While applicable regulations may impose liability on registrars for losses resulting from their errors, it may be difficult for a Fund to enforce any rights it may have against the registrar or issuer of the securities in the event of loss of share registration.
Political risk in Russia remains high, and steps that Russia may take to assert its geopolitical influence may increase the tensions in the region and affect economic growth. Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on exportation of natural resources, which may be particularly vulnerable to economic sanctions by other countries during times of political tension or crisis.
In response to recent political and military actions undertaken by Russia, the United States and certain other countries, as well as the European Union, have instituted economic sanctions against certain Russian individuals and companies. The political and economic situation in Russia, and the current and any future sanctions or other government actions against Russia, may result in the decline in the value and liquidity of Russian securities, devaluation of Russian currency, a downgrade in Russia’s credit rating, the inability to freely trade sanctioned companies (either due to the sanctions imposed or related operational issues) and/or other adverse consequences to the Russian economy, any of which could negatively impact a Fund’s investments in Russian securities. Sanctions could result in the immediate freeze of Russian securities, impairing the ability of a Fund to buy, sell, receive, or deliver
14


those securities. Both the current and potential future sanctions or other government actions against Russia also could result in Russia taking counter measures or retaliatory actions, which may impair further the value or liquidity of Russian securities and negatively impact a Fund. Any or all of these potential results could lead Russia’s economy into a recession. See above, “General Risks – Recent Events”.
Investments in South Korea. Investments in South Korean issuers involve risks that are specific to South Korea, including legal, regulatory, political, currency, security and economic risks. Substantial political tensions exist between North Korea and South Korea and recently these political tensions have escalated. The outbreak of hostilities between the two nations, or even the threat of an outbreak of hostilities, will likely adversely impact the South Korean economy. In addition, South Korea’s economic growth potential has recently been on a decline, mainly because of a rapidly aging population and structural problems.
Investments in Taiwan. Investments in Taiwanese issuers may subject a Fund to legal, regulatory, political, currency and economic risks that are specific to Taiwan. Specifically, Taiwan’s geographic proximity and history of political contention with China have resulted in ongoing tensions between the two countries. These tensions may materially affect the Taiwanese economy and its securities market. Taiwan’s economy is export-oriented, so it depends on an open world trade regime and remains vulnerable to fluctuations in the world economy. The Taiwanese economy is dependent on the economies of Asia, mainly those of Japan and China, and the United States. Reduction in spending by any of these countries on Taiwanese products and services or negative changes in any of these economies may cause an adverse impact on the Taiwanese economy.
Investments in Turkey. There are legal, regulatory, political, currency, security and economic risks specific to Turkey. Among other things, the Turkish economy is heavily dependent on relationships with certain key trading partners, including European Union countries, China and Russia, and changes in the price or demand for Turkish exports may have an adverse impact on the Turkish economy. The Turkish economy has certain other significant economic weaknesses, such as its relatively high current account deficit, which may contribute to prolonged periods of recession or lower Turkey’s sovereign debt rating. Turkey has historically experienced acts of terrorism and strained relations related to border disputes and other geopolitical events with certain neighboring countries. Turkey may be subject to considerable social and political instability, in part due to the influence asserted by its military over the national government. Unanticipated or sudden political or social developments may cause uncertainty in the Turkish stock or currency market and, as a result, adversely affect a Fund’s investments. In addition, the earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey in February 2023 could adversely affect the economy or the business operations of the companies located there, causing an adverse impact on a Fund’s investments in, or which are exposed to, Turkey. These massive earthquakes caused major damage to Turkey’s infrastructure and energy supply. In the wake of this natural disaster, the country’s financial markets fluctuated dramatically, resulting in a week-long closure of Turkey’s national exchange. The full extent of the disaster’s impact on Turkey’s economy and foreign investment in the country is difficult to estimate. The risks of natural disasters of varying degrees, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and the resulting damage, continue to exist. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.
Investments in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom’s economy relies heavily on the export of both goods and services to EU member countries, and to a lesser extent the United States and China. The United Kingdom has one of the largest economies in Europe and is heavily dependent on trade with EU member countries. Trade between the United Kingdom and the EU is highly integrated through supply chains and trade in services, as well as through multinational companies. As a result, the economy of the United Kingdom may be impacted by changes to the economic health of EU member countries, the United States and China. In 2016, the United Kingdom voted via referendum to leave the EU. After years of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU, a withdrawal agreement was reached whereby the United Kingdom formally left the EU. The precise impact on the United Kingdom’s economy as a result of its departure from the EU depends to a large degree on its ability to conclude favorable trade deals with the EU and other countries, including the United States, China, India and Japan. While new trade deals may boost economic growth, such growth may not be able to offset the increased costs of trade with the EU resulting from the United Kingdom’s loss of its membership in the EU single market. Certain sectors within the United Kingdom’s economy may be particularly affected by Brexit, including the automotive, chemicals, financial services and professional services. A particularly contentious element of the United Kingdom’s negotiated withdrawal from the EU was the treatment of Northern Ireland (which is part of the United Kingdom) following the United Kingdom’s departure. Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, Northern Ireland would maintain regulatory alignment with the EU (essentially creating a customs border in the Irish Sea) to maintain an open border with the Republic of Ireland (an EU member state) while safeguarding the rules of the EU single market. The ultimate effects of this arrangement on Northern Ireland’s economy remain to be seen.
Other Short-Term Instruments
The Funds may invest in short-term instruments, including money market instruments, on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. Money market instruments are generally short-term investments that may include but are not limited to: (i) shares of money market funds; (ii) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities (including government-sponsored enterprises); (iii) negotiable certificates of deposit (“CDs”), bankers’ acceptances, fixed time deposits and other obligations of U.S. and foreign banks (including foreign branches) and similar institutions; (iv) commercial paper rated at the date of
15


purchase “Prime-1” by Moody’s or “A‑1” by S&P or, if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Sub-Advisers; (v) non-convertible corporate debt securities (e.g., bonds and debentures) with remaining maturities at the date of purchase of not more than 397 days and that satisfy the rating requirements set forth in Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; and (vi) short-term U.S. dollar-denominated obligations of foreign banks (including U.S. branches) that, in the opinion of the Sub-Advisers, are of comparable quality to obligations of U.S. banks which may be purchased by a Fund. Any of these instruments may be purchased on a current or a forward-settled basis. Money market instruments also include shares of money market funds. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Bankers’ acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)
A REIT is a corporation or business trust (that would otherwise be taxed as a corporation) which meets the definitional requirements of the Code. The Code permits a qualifying REIT to deduct from taxable income the dividends paid, thereby effectively eliminating corporate level federal income tax. To meet the definitional requirements of the Code, a REIT must, among other things: invest substantially all of its assets in interests in real estate (including mortgages and other REITs), cash and government securities; derive most of its income from rents from real property or interest on loans secured by mortgages on real property; and, in general, distribute annually 90% or more of its taxable income (other than net capital gains) to shareholders.
REITs are sometimes informally characterized as Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs. An Equity REIT invests primarily in the fee ownership or leasehold ownership of land and buildings (e.g., commercial equity REITs and residential equity REITs); a Mortgage REIT invests primarily in mortgages on real property, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans.
REITs may be affected by changes in underlying real estate values, which may have an exaggerated effect to the extent that REITs in which a Fund invests may concentrate investments in particular geographic regions or property types. Additionally, rising interest rates may cause investors in REITs to demand a higher annual yield from future distributions, which may in turn decrease market prices for equity securities issued by REITs. Rising interest rates also generally increase the costs of obtaining financing, which could cause the value of a Fund’s investments to decline. During periods of declining interest rates, certain Mortgage REITs may hold mortgages that the mortgagors elect to prepay, which prepayment may diminish the yield on securities issued by such Mortgage REITs. In addition, Mortgage REITs may be affected by the ability of borrowers to repay when due the debt extended by the REIT and Equity REITs may be affected by the ability of tenants to pay rent.
Certain REITs have relatively small market capitalization, which may tend to increase the volatility of the market price of securities issued by such REITs. Furthermore, REITs are dependent upon specialized management skills, have limited diversification and are, therefore, subject to risks inherent in operating and financing a limited number of projects. By investing in REITs indirectly through a Fund, a shareholder will bear not only his or her proportionate share of the expenses of a Fund, but also, indirectly, similar expenses of the REITs. REITs depend generally on their ability to generate cash flow to make distributions to shareholders.
In addition to these risks, Equity REITs may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned by the trusts, while Mortgage REITs may be affected by the quality of any credit extended. Further, Equity and Mortgage REITs are dependent upon management skills and generally may not be diversified. Equity and Mortgage REITs are also subject to heavy cash flow dependency defaults by borrowers and self-liquidation. In addition, Equity and Mortgage REITs could possibly fail to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment generally available to REITs under the Code or fail to maintain their exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act. The above factors may also adversely affect a borrower’s or a lessee’s ability to meet its obligations to the REIT. In the event of default by a borrower or lessee, the REIT may experience delays in enforcing its rights as a mortgagee or lessor and may incur substantial costs associated with protecting its investments.
Repurchase Agreements
Each Fund may invest in repurchase agreements to generate income from its excess cash balances and to invest securities lending cash collateral. A repurchase agreement is an agreement under which a Fund acquires a financial instrument (e.g., a security issued by the U.S. government or an agency thereof, a banker’s acceptance or a certificate of deposit) from a seller, subject to resale to the seller at an agreed upon price and date (normally, the next Business Day). A repurchase agreement may be considered a loan collateralized by securities. The resale price reflects an agreed upon interest rate effective for the period the instrument is held by the applicable Fund and is unrelated to the interest rate on the underlying instrument.
In these repurchase agreement transactions, the securities acquired by a Fund (including accrued interest earned thereon) must have a total value in excess of the value of the repurchase agreement and are held by the Custodian until repurchased. No more than an aggregate of 15% of a Fund’s net assets will be invested in illiquid investments, including repurchase agreements having maturities longer than seven days and securities subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, or for which there are no readily available market quotations.
The use of repurchase agreements involves certain risks. For example, if the other party to the agreement defaults on its obligation to repurchase the underlying security at a time when the value of the security has declined, a Fund may incur a loss upon disposition of
16


the security. If the other party to the agreement becomes insolvent and subject to liquidation or reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code or other laws, a court may determine that the underlying security is collateral for a loan by a Fund not within the control of the Fund and, therefore, the Fund may not be able to substantiate its interest in the underlying security and may be deemed an unsecured creditor of the other party to the agreement.
Securities Lending
Each Fund may lend portfolio securities in an amount up to one-third of its total assets to brokers, dealers and other financial institutions. In a portfolio securities lending transaction, a Fund receives from the borrower an amount equal to the interest paid or the dividends declared on the loaned securities during the term of the loan as well as the interest on the collateral securities, less any fees (such as finders or administrative fees) the Fund pays in arranging the loan. A Fund may share the interest it receives on the collateral securities with the borrower. The terms of each Fund’s loans permit each Fund to reacquire loaned securities on five business days’ notice or in time to vote on any important matter. Loans are subject to termination at the option of the applicable Fund or borrower at any time, and the borrowed securities must be returned when the loan is terminated. The Funds may pay fees to arrange for securities loans.
The SEC currently requires that the following conditions must be met whenever a Fund’s portfolio securities are loaned: (1) the Fund must receive at least 100% cash collateral from the borrower; (2) the borrower must increase such collateral whenever the market value of the securities rises above the level of such collateral; (3) the Fund must be able to terminate the loan at any time; (4) the Fund must receive reasonable interest on the loan, as well as any dividends, interest or other distributions on the loaned securities, and any increase in market value; (5) the Fund may pay only reasonable custodian fees approved by the Board in connection with the loan; (6) while voting rights on the loaned securities may pass to the borrower, the Board must terminate the loan and regain the right to vote the securities if a material event adversely affecting the investment occurs; and (7) the Fund may not loan its portfolio securities so that the value of the loaned securities is more than one-third of its total asset value, including collateral received from such loans. These conditions may be subject to future modification. Such loans will be terminable at any time upon specified notice. A Fund might experience the risk of loss if the institution with which it has engaged in a portfolio loan transaction breaches its agreement with the Fund. In addition, the Funds will not enter into any portfolio security lending arrangement having a duration of longer than one year. The principal risk of portfolio lending is potential default or insolvency of the borrower. In either of these cases, a Fund could experience delays in recovering securities or collateral or could lose all or part of the value of the loaned securities. As part of participating in a lending program, the applicable Fund may be required to invest in collateralized debt or other securities that bear the risk of loss of principal. In addition, all investments made with the collateral received are subject to the risks associated with such investments. If such investments lose value, a Fund will have to cover the loss when repaying the collateral.
Any loans of portfolio securities are fully collateralized based on values that are marked-to-market daily. Any securities that a Fund may receive as collateral will not become part of the Fund’s investment portfolio at the time of the loan and, in the event of a default by the borrower, the Fund will, if permitted by law, dispose of such collateral except for such part thereof that is a security in which the Fund is permitted to invest. During the time securities are on loan, the borrower will pay a Fund any accrued income on those securities, and the Fund may invest the cash collateral and earn income or receive an agreed-upon fee from a borrower that has delivered cash-equivalent collateral.
Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Funds (All Funds other than the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF and the AAM Transformers ETF)
The Funds may invest in funds that are Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (“UCITS funds”). UCITS funds are open-ended pooled or collective investment undertakings established in accordance with the UCITS Directive adopted by EU member states. Similar to open-end investment companies, the underlying investments of a UCITS fund must be liquid enough to fulfill redemptions at the request of holders, either directly or indirectly out of the underlying investments. The assets themselves are entrusted to an independent custodian or depositary for safekeeping and must be held on a segregated basis. To the extent the Fund holds interests in a UCITS fund, it is expected that the Fund will bear two layers of asset-based management fees and expenses (directly at the Fund level and indirectly at the UCITS fund level), and the Fund may bear a single layer of incentive fees (at the UCITS fund level). UCITS funds that are listed on a securities exchange are also subject to the risks associated with ETFs described above and in the Prospectus.
U.S. Government Securities
Each Fund may invest in U.S. government securities. Securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities include U.S. Treasury securities, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury and which differ only in their interest rates, maturities, and times of issuance. U.S. Treasury bills have initial maturities of one-year or less; U.S. Treasury notes have initial maturities of one to ten years; and U.S. Treasury bonds generally have initial maturities of greater than ten years. Certain U.S. government securities are issued or guaranteed by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government including, but not limited to, obligations of U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the Small Business Administration, the Federal
17


Farm Credit Administration, the Federal Home Loan Banks, Banks for Cooperatives (including the Central Bank for Cooperatives), the Federal Land Banks, the Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Federal Financing Bank, the Student Loan Marketing Association, the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (“Farmer Mac”).
Some obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. government agencies and instrumentalities, including, for example, Ginnie Mae pass-through certificates, are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Other obligations issued by or guaranteed by federal agencies, such as those securities issued by Fannie Mae, are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the federal agency, while other obligations issued by or guaranteed by federal agencies, such as those of the Federal Home Loan Banks, are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury, while the U.S. government provides financial support to such U.S. government-sponsored federal agencies, no assurance can be given that the U.S. government will always do so, since the U.S. government is not so obligated by law. U.S. Treasury notes and bonds typically pay coupon interest semi-annually and repay the principal at maturity.
On September 7, 2008, the U.S. Treasury announced a federal takeover of Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”), placing the two federal instrumentalities in conservatorship. Under the takeover, the U.S. Treasury agreed to acquire $1 billion of senior preferred stock of each instrumentality and obtained warrants for the purchase of common stock of each instrumentality (the “Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement” or “Agreement”). Under the Agreement, the U.S. Treasury pledged to provide up to $200 billion per instrumentality as needed, including the contribution of cash capital to the instrumentalities in the event their liabilities exceed their assets. This was intended to ensure that the instrumentalities maintain a positive net worth and meet their financial obligations, preventing mandatory triggering of receivership. On December 24, 2009, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was amending the Agreement to allow the $200 billion cap on the U.S. Treasury’s funding commitment to increase as necessary to accommodate any cumulative reduction in net worth over the next three years. As a result of this Agreement, the investments of holders, including the Funds, of mortgage-backed securities and other obligations issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are protected.
The total public debt of the United States as a percentage of gross domestic product has grown rapidly since the beginning of the 2008–2009 financial downturn. Although high debt levels do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, they may create certain systemic risks if sound debt management practices are not implemented. A high national debt can raise concerns that the U.S. government will not be able to make principal or interest payments when they are due. This increase has also necessitated the need for the U.S. Congress to negotiate adjustments to the statutory debt limit to increase the cap on the amount the U.S. government is permitted to borrow to meet its existing obligations and finance current budget deficits. In August 2011, S&P lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the U.S. In explaining the downgrade at that time, S&P cited, among other reasons, controversy over raising the statutory debt limit and growth in public spending. An increase in national debt levels may also necessitate the need for the U.S. Congress to negotiate adjustments to the statutory debt ceiling to increase the cap on the amount the U.S. Government is permitted to borrow to meet its existing obligations and finance current budget deficits. Future downgrades could increase volatility in domestic and foreign financial markets, result in higher interest rates, lower prices of U.S. Treasury securities and increase the costs of different kinds of debt. Any controversy or ongoing uncertainty regarding the statutory debt ceiling negotiations may impact the U.S. long-term sovereign credit rating and may cause market uncertainty. As a result, market prices and yields of securities supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government may be adversely affected.
INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS
The Trust has adopted the following investment restrictions as fundamental policies with respect to the Funds. These restrictions cannot be changed with respect to a Fund without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. For the purposes of the 1940 Act, a “majority of outstanding shares” means the vote of the lesser of: (1) 67% or more of the voting securities of a Fund present at the meeting if the holders of more than 50% of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities are present or represented by proxy; or (2) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of a Fund.
Except with the approval of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, each of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, and AAM S&P 500 Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF may not:
1.Concentrate its investments (i.e., hold more than 25% of its total assets) in any industry or group of related industries, except that each Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that the Index concentrates in the securities of such particular industry or group of related industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and tax-exempt securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
2.Borrow money or issue senior securities (as defined under the 1940 Act), except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act.
3.Make loans, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act.
18


4.Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. This shall not prevent a Fund from investing in securities or other instruments backed by real estate, real estate investment trusts or securities of companies engaged in the real estate business.
5.Purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. This shall not prevent a Fund from purchasing or selling options and futures contracts or from investing in securities or other instruments backed by physical commodities.
6.Underwrite securities issued by other persons, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act.
7.With respect to 75% of its total assets, purchase the securities of any one issuer if, immediately after and as a result of such purchase, (a) the value of the Fund’s holdings in the securities of such issuer exceeds 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets, or (b) the Fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer (with the exception that this restriction does not apply to the Fund’s investments in the securities of the U.S. government, or its agencies or instrumentalities, or other investment companies).
Except with the approval of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF may not:
1.Concentrate its investments in an industry or group of industries (i.e., hold 25% or more of its total assets in the stocks of a particular industry or group of industries), except that the Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its underlying Index concentrates in the stocks of such particular industry or group of industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and tax-exempt securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
2.Borrow money or issue senior securities (as defined under the 1940 Act), except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
3.Make loans, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
4.Purchase or sell commodities or real estate, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
5.Underwrite securities issued by other persons, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
6.Purchase securities of an issuer if such purchase is inconsistent with the maintenance of its status as an open-end diversified company under the 1940 Act, the rules or regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
7.With respect to 75% of its total assets, purchase the securities of any one issuer if, immediately after and as a result of such purchase, (a) the value of the Fund’s holdings in the securities of such issuer exceeds 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets, or (b) the Fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer (with the exception that this restriction does not apply to the Fund’s investments in the securities of the U.S. government, or its agencies or instrumentalities, or other investment companies).
Except with the approval of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF may not:
1.Concentrate its investments in an industry or group of industries (i.e., hold 25% or more of its total assets in the stocks of a particular industry or group of industries). For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and tax-exempt securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
2.Borrow money or issue senior securities (as defined under the 1940 Act), except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
3.Make loans, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
19


4.Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. This shall not prevent the Fund from investing in securities or other instruments backed by real estate, real estate investment trusts or securities of companies engaged in the real estate business.
5.Purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. This shall not prevent the Fund from purchasing or selling options and futures contracts or from investing in securities or other instruments backed by physical commodities.
6.Underwrite securities issued by other persons, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
7.With respect to 75% of its total assets, purchase the securities of any one issuer if, immediately after and as a result of such purchase, (a) the value of the Fund’s holdings in the securities of such issuer exceeds 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets, or (b) the Fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer (with the exception that this restriction does not apply to the Fund’s investments in the securities of the U.S. government, or its agencies or instrumentalities, or other investment companies).
Except with the approval of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, the AAM Transformers ETF may not:
1.Concentrate its investments (i.e., hold more than 25% of its total assets) in any industry or group of related industries, except that the Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its underlying Index concentrates in the securities of such particular industry or group of related industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, registered investment companies, and tax-exempt securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
2.Borrow money or issue senior securities (as defined under the 1940 Act), except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
3.Make loans, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
4.Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. This shall not prevent the Fund from investing in securities or other instruments backed by real estate, real estate investment trusts or securities of companies engaged in the real estate business.
5.Purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. This shall not prevent the Fund from purchasing or selling options and futures contracts or from investing in securities or other instruments backed by physical commodities.
6.Underwrite securities issued by other persons, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.
7.With respect to 75% of its total assets, purchase the securities of any one issuer if, immediately after and as a result of such purchase, (a) the value of the Fund’s holdings in the securities of such issuer exceeds 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets, or (b) the Fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer (with the exception that this restriction does not apply to the Fund’s investments in the securities of the U.S. government, or its agencies or instrumentalities, or other investment companies).
In addition to the investment restrictions adopted as fundamental policies as set forth above, each Fund (unless otherwise indicated) observes the following non-fundamental restrictions, which may be changed without a shareholder vote.
1.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF will be invested in equity securities that (i) are included in the S&P 500 Index and (ii) have had a positive indicated annual dividend yield within the past year.
2.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF will be invested in equity securities that (i) are tied economically to the Emerging Markets (as defined in the Prospectus) and (ii) have had a positive realized annual dividend yield within the past year.
3.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF will be invested in equity securities that (i) are traded principally on an exchange in a Developed ex-U.S. & Korea Markets country (as defined in the Prospectus) and (ii) have had a positive realized annual dividend yield within the past year.
20


4.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF will be invested in preferred and income securities (as defined in the Prospectus).
5.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF will be invested in in small- and mid-capitalization companies (as defined in the Prospectus).
In determining its compliance with the fundamental investment restriction on concentration, a Fund will consider the investments of other investment companies in which such Fund invests to the extent it has sufficient information about such investment companies. With respect to a Fund’s investments in affiliated investment companies, the Fund will consider its entire investment in any investment company with a policy to concentrate, or having otherwise disclosed that it is concentrated, in a particular industry or group of related industries as being invested in such industry or group of related industries.
If a percentage limitation is adhered to at the time of investment or contract, a later increase or decrease in percentage resulting from any change in value or total or net assets will not result in a violation of such restriction, except that the percentage limitation with respect to the borrowing of money will be observed continuously.
The following descriptions of certain provisions of the 1940 Act may assist investors in understanding the above policies and restrictions:
Concentration. The SEC has defined concentration as investing 25% or more of a Fund’s total assets in an industry or group of industries, with certain exceptions.
Borrowing. The 1940 Act presently allows a Fund to borrow from a bank (including pledging, mortgaging or hypothecating assets) in an amount up to 33 1/3% of its total assets (not including temporary borrowings up to 5% of its total assets).
Senior Securities. Senior securities may include any obligation or instrument issued by a Fund evidencing indebtedness. The 1940 Act generally prohibits a fund from issuing senior securities. An exemptive rule under the 1940 Act, however, permits a fund to enter into transactions that might otherwise be deemed to be senior securities, such as derivative transactions, reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions, and short sales, subject to certain conditions.
Lending. Under the 1940 Act, a Fund may only make loans if expressly permitted by its investment policies. The Funds’ current investment policy on lending is that a Fund may not make loans if, as a result, more than 33 1/3% of its total assets would be lent to other parties, except that a Fund may: (i) purchase or hold debt instruments in accordance with its investment objective and policies; (ii) enter into repurchase agreements; and (iii) engage in securities lending as described in this SAI.
Real Estate and Commodities. The 1940 Act does not directly restrict a Fund’s ability to invest in real estate or commodities, but the 1940 Act requires every investment company to have a fundamental investment policy governing such investments.
Underwriting. Under the 1940 Act, underwriting securities involves the Funds purchasing securities directly from an issuer for the purpose of selling (distributing) them or participating in any such activity either directly or indirectly.
EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING
Shares are listed for trading and trade throughout the day on the Exchange.
There can be no assurance that a Fund will continue to meet the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of Shares. The Exchange will consider the suspension of trading in, and will initiate delisting proceedings of, the Shares if any of the requirements set forth in the Exchange rules, including compliance with Rule 6c-11(c) under the 1940 Act, are not continuously maintained or such other event shall occur or condition shall exist that, in the opinion of the Exchange, makes further dealings on the Exchange inadvisable. The Exchange will remove the Shares of a Fund from listing and trading upon termination of such Fund.
The Trust reserves the right to adjust the price levels of Shares in the future to help maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the applicable Fund.
MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST
Board Responsibilities. The management and affairs of the Trust and its series are overseen by the Board, which elects the officers of the Trust who are responsible for administering the day-to-day operations of the Trust and the Funds. The Board has approved contracts, as described below, under which certain companies provide essential services to the Trust.
21


The day-to-day business of the Trust, including the management of risk, is performed by third-party service providers, such as the Adviser, the Sub-Advisers, the Distributor, and the Administrator. The Board is responsible for overseeing the Trust’s service providers and, thus, has oversight responsibility with respect to risk management performed by those service providers. Risk management seeks to identify and address risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of a Fund. The Funds and their service providers employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify such events or circumstances, to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Each service provider is responsible for one or more discrete aspects of the Trust’s business (e.g., the Sub-Advisers is responsible for the day-to-day management of each Fund’s portfolio investments) and, consequently, for managing the risks associated with that business. The Board has emphasized to the Funds’ service providers the importance of maintaining vigorous risk management.
The Board’s role in risk oversight begins before the inception of the Funds, at which time certain of the Funds’ service providers present the Board with information concerning the investment objectives, strategies, and risks of the Funds as well as proposed investment limitations for the Funds. Additionally, the Adviser and Sub-Advisers provide the Board with an overview of, among other things, its investment philosophy, brokerage practices, and compliance infrastructure. Thereafter, the Board continues its oversight function as various personnel, including the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer, as well as personnel of the Sub-Advisers, and other service providers such as the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm, make periodic reports to the Audit Committee or to the Board with respect to various aspects of risk management. The Board and the Audit Committee oversee efforts by management and service providers to manage risks to which the Funds may be exposed.
The Board is responsible for overseeing the nature, extent, and quality of the services provided to the Funds by the Adviser and the Sub-Advisers and receives information about those services at its regular meetings. In addition, on an annual basis (following the initial two-year period), in connection with its consideration of whether to renew the Investment Advisory Agreement with the Adviser, and Sub-Advisory Agreement with the Sub-Advisers, the Board or its designee may meet with the Adviser and/or Sub-Advisers to review such services. Among other things, the Board regularly considers the Adviser’s and Sub-Advisers’ adherence to each Fund’s investment restrictions and compliance with various Fund policies and procedures and with applicable securities regulations. The Board also reviews information about each Fund’s performance and each Fund’s investments, including, for example, portfolio holdings schedules.
The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer reports regularly to the Board to review and discuss compliance issues and Fund and Adviser or Sub-Advisers risk assessments. At least annually, the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer, as well as personnel of the Adviser, provides the Board with a report reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s policies and procedures and those of its service providers, including the Adviser and the Sub-Advisers. The report addresses the operation of the policies and procedures of the Trust and each service provider since the date of the last report; any material changes to the policies and procedures since the date of the last report; any recommendations for material changes to the policies and procedures; and any material compliance matters since the date of the last report.
The Board receives reports from the Funds’ service providers regarding operational risks and risks related to the valuation and liquidity of portfolio securities. Annually, the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm reviews with the Audit Committee its audit of the Funds’ financial statements, focusing on major areas of risk encountered by the Funds and noting any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the Funds’ internal controls. Additionally, in connection with its oversight function, the Board oversees Fund management’s implementation of disclosure controls and procedures, which are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Trust in its periodic reports with the SEC are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the required time periods. The Board also oversees the Trust’s internal controls over financial reporting, which comprise policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of the Trust’s financial reporting and the preparation of the Trust’s financial statements.
From their review of these reports and discussions with the Adviser and Sub-Advisers, the Chief Compliance Officer, independent registered public accounting firm and other service providers, the Board and the Audit Committee learn in detail about the material risks of each Fund, thereby facilitating a dialogue about how management and service providers identify and mitigate those risks.
The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect a Fund can be identified and/or quantified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve a Fund’s goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Board as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information. Most of the Funds’ investment management and business affairs are carried out by or through the Adviser, Sub-Advisers, and other service providers, each of which has an independent interest in risk management but whose policies and the methods by which one or more risk management functions are carried out may differ from the Funds’ and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s ability to monitor and manage risk, as a practical matter, is subject to limitations.
22


Members of the Board. There are four members of the Board, three of whom are not interested persons of the Trust, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (the “Independent Trustees”). Mr. Michael A. Castino serves as Chairman of the Board and is an interested person of the Trust, and Mr. Leonard M. Rush serves as the Trust’s Lead Independent Trustee. As Lead Independent Trustee, Mr. Rush acts as a spokesperson for the Independent Trustees in between meetings of the Board, serves as a liaison for the Independent Trustees with the Trust’s service providers, officers, and legal counsel to discuss ideas informally, and participates in setting the agenda for meetings of the Board and separate meetings or executive sessions of the Independent Trustees.
The Board is comprised of a super-majority (75 percent) of Independent Trustees. There is an Audit Committee of the Board that is chaired by an Independent Trustee and comprised solely of Independent Trustees. The Audit Committee chair presides at the Audit Committee meetings, participates in formulating agendas for Audit Committee meetings, and coordinates with management to serve as a liaison between the Independent Trustees and management on matters within the scope of responsibilities of the Audit Committee as set forth in its Board-approved charter. There is a Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board that is chaired by an Independent Trustee and comprised solely of Independent Trustees. The Nominating and Governance Committee chair presides at the Nominating and Governance Committee meetings, participates in formulating agendas for Nominating and Governance Committee meetings, and coordinates with management to serve as a liaison between the Independent Trustees and management on matters within the scope of responsibilities of the Nominating and Governance Committee as set forth in its Board-approved charter. The Trust has determined its leadership structure is appropriate given the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Trust. The Trust made this determination in consideration of, among other things, the fact that the Independent Trustees of the Trust constitute a super-majority of the Board, the number of Independent Trustees that constitute the Board, the amount of assets under management in the Trust, and the number of funds overseen by the Board. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information to the Independent Trustees from Fund management.
Additional information about each Trustee of the Trust is set forth below. The address of each Trustee of the Trust is c/o U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, 615 E. Michigan Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
Name and
Year of Birth
Position Held with the Trust Term of Office and Length of Time Served

Principal Occupation(s) During Past 5 Years
Number of Portfolios in Fund Complex Overseen by Trustee
Other Directorships Held by Trustee During Past 5 Years
Independent Trustees
Leonard M. Rush, CPA
Born: 1946
Lead Independent Trustee and Audit Committee Chairman
Indefinite term;
since 2012
Retired; formerly Chief Financial Officer, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated (wealth management firm) (2000–2011).
57 Independent Trustee, Managed Portfolio Series (34 portfolios) (since 2011).
David A. Massart
Born: 1967
Trustee and Nominating and Governance Committee Chairman
Indefinite term; Trustee
since 2012;
Committee Chairman
since 2023
Partner and Managing Director, Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC (since 2022); Co-Founder, President, and Chief Investment Strategist, Next Generation Wealth Management, Inc. (2005-2021). 57 Independent Trustee, Managed Portfolio Series (34 portfolios) (since 2011).
Janet D. Olsen
Born: 1956
Trustee
Indefinite term;
since 2018
Retired; formerly Managing Director and General Counsel, Artisan Partners Limited Partnership (investment adviser) (2000–2013); Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc. (2012–2013); Vice President and General Counsel, Artisan Funds, Inc. (investment company) (2001–2012). 57 Independent Trustee, PPM Funds (2 portfolios) (since 2018).
Interested Trustee
Michael A. Castino
Born: 1967
Trustee and Chairman
Indefinite term; Trustee
since 2014;
Chairman
since 2013
Senior Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2013); Managing Director of Index Services, Zacks Investment Management (2011–2013).
57 None
Individual Trustee Qualifications. The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees should serve on the Board because of their ability to review and understand information about the Funds provided to them by management, to identify and request other information they may deem relevant to the performance of their duties, to question management and other service providers regarding material factors bearing on the management and administration of the Funds, and to exercise their business judgment in a manner that
23


serves the best interests of each Fund’s shareholders. The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees should serve as a Trustee based on his or her own experience, qualifications, attributes and skills as described below.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Rush should serve as a Trustee because of his substantial industry experience, including serving in several different senior executive roles at various global financial services firms, and the experience he has gained as serving as trustee of another investment company trust since 2011. He most recently served as Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated and several other affiliated entities and served as the Treasurer for Baird Funds. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer for Fidelity Investments’ four broker-dealers and has substantial experience with mutual fund and investment advisory organizations and related businesses, including Vice President and Head of Compliance for Fidelity Investments, a Vice President at Credit Suisse First Boston, a Manager with Goldman Sachs, & Co. and a Senior Manager with Deloitte & Touche. Mr. Rush has been determined to qualify as an Audit Committee Financial Expert for the Trust.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Massart should serve as a Trustee because of his substantial industry experience, including over two decades working with high net worth individuals, families, trusts, and retirement accounts to make strategic and tactical asset allocation decisions, evaluate and select investment managers, and manage complex client relationships, and the experience he has gained as serving as trustee of another investment company trust since 2011. He is currently a Partner and Managing Director at Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC. Previously, he served as President and Chief Investment Strategist of a SEC registered investment advisory firm he co-founded, as a Managing Director of Strong Private Client, and as a Manager of Wells Fargo Investments, LLC.
The Trust has concluded that Ms. Olsen should serve as a Trustee because of her substantial industry experience, including over a decade serving as a senior executive of an investment management firm and a related public company, and the experience she has gained by serving as an executive officer of another investment company from 2001 to 2012. Ms. Olsen most recently served as Managing Director and General Counsel of Artisan Partners Limited Partnership, a registered investment adviser serving primarily investment companies and institutional investors, and several affiliated entities, including its general partner, Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc. (NYSE: APAM), and as an executive officer of Artisan Funds Inc.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Castino should serve as Trustee because of the experience he gained as Chairman of the Trust since 2013, as a senior officer of U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC, doing business as U.S. Bank Global Fund Services (“Fund Services” or the “Transfer Agent”), since 2012, and in his past roles with investment management firms and indexing firms involved with ETFs, as well as his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry.
In its periodic assessment of the effectiveness of the Board, the Board considers the complementary individual skills and experience of the individual Trustees primarily in the broader context of the Board’s overall composition so that the Board, as a body, possesses the appropriate (and appropriately diverse) skills and experience to oversee the business of the funds.
Board Committees. The Board has established the following standing committees of the Board:
Audit Committee. The Board has a standing Audit Committee that is composed of each of the Independent Trustees of the Trust. The Audit Committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board. The principal responsibilities of the Audit Committee include: recommending which firm to engage as the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm and whether to terminate this relationship; reviewing the independent registered public accounting firm’s compensation, the proposed scope and terms of its engagement, and the firm’s independence; pre-approving audit and non-audit services provided by the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm to the Trust and certain other affiliated entities; serving as a channel of communication between the independent registered public accounting firm and the Trustees; reviewing the results of each external audit, including any qualifications in the independent registered public accounting firm’s opinion, any related management letter, management’s responses to recommendations made by the independent registered public accounting firm in connection with the audit, reports submitted to the Committee by the internal auditing department of the Trust’s Administrator that are material to the Trust as a whole, if any, and management’s responses to any such reports; reviewing the Funds’ audited financial statements and considering any significant disputes between the Trust’s management and the independent registered public accounting firm that arose in connection with the preparation of those financial statements; considering, in consultation with the independent registered public accounting firm and the Trust’s senior internal accounting executive, if any, the independent registered public accounting firms’ report on the adequacy of the Trust’s internal financial controls; reviewing, in consultation with the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm, major changes regarding auditing and accounting principles and practices to be followed when preparing the Funds’ financial statements; and other audit related matters. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Audit Committee met four times.
The Audit Committee also serves as the Qualified Legal Compliance Committee (“QLCC”) for the Trust for the purpose of compliance with Rules 205.2(k) and 205.3(c) of the Code of Federal Regulations, regarding alternative reporting procedures for attorneys retained or employed by an issuer who appear and practice before the SEC on behalf of the issuer (the “issuer attorneys”). An issuer attorney who becomes aware of evidence of a material violation by the Trust, or by any officer, director, employee, or agent of the Trust, may report evidence of such material violation to the QLCC as an alternative to the reporting requirements of Rule 205.3(b) (which requires reporting to the chief legal officer and potentially “up the ladder” to other entities).
24


Nominating and Governance Committee. The Board has a standing Nominating and Governance Committee that is composed of each of the Independent Trustees of the Trust. The Nominating and Governance Committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board. The principal responsibility of the Nominating and Governance Committee is to consider, recommend and nominate candidates to fill vacancies on the Trust’s Board, if any. The Nominating and Governance Committee generally will not consider nominees recommended by shareholders. The Nominating and Governance Committee is also responsible for, among other things, reviewing and making recommendations regarding Independent Trustee compensation and the Trustees’ annual “self-assessment.” The Nominating and Governance Committee meets periodically, as necessary. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Nominating and Governance Committee met one time.
Principal Officers of the Trust
The officers of the Trust conduct and supervise its daily business. The address of each officer of the Trust is c/o U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, 615 E. Michigan Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202. Additional information about the Trust’s officers is as follows:
Name and
Year of Birth
Position(s) Held with the Trust
Term of Office and Length of Time Served
Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years
Kristina R. Nelson
Born: 1982
President
Indefinite term;
since 2019
Senior Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2020); Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (2014–2020).
Alyssa M. Bernard
Born: 1988
Vice President Indefinite term;
since 2021
Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2021); Assistant Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (2018–2021); Attorney, Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. (2017–2018).
Cynthia L. Andrae
Born: 1971
Chief Compliance Officer and Anti-Money Laundering Officer
Indefinite term;
since 2022
(other roles since 2021)
Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2019); Compliance Officer, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (2015-2019).
Kristen M. Weitzel
Born: 1977
Treasurer
Indefinite term;
since 2014
(other roles since 2013)
Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2015).
Isabella K. Zoller
Born: 1994
Secretary
Indefinite term;
since 2021
(other roles since 2020)
Assistant Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2021); Regulatory Administration Attorney, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2019); Regulatory Administration Intern, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (2018–2019); Law Student (2016–2019).
Vladimir V. Gurevich
Born: 1983
Assistant Treasurer
Indefinite term;
since 2022
Officer, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2021); Fund Administrator, UMB Fund Services, Inc. (2015–2021).
Jason E. Shlensky
Born: 1987
Assistant Treasurer
Indefinite term;
since 2019
Assistant Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2019); Officer, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (2014–2019).
Jessica L. Vorbeck
Born: 1984
Assistant Treasurer Indefinite term;
since 2020
Officer, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2018; 2014-2017).
Trustee Ownership of Shares. The Funds are required to show the dollar amount ranges of each Trustee’s “beneficial ownership” of Shares and each other series of the Trust as of the end of the most recently completed calendar year. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the 1934 Act.
As of December 31, 2022, no Trustee owned Shares or shares of any other series of the Trust, except that Mr. Rush owned, in the aggregate, between $1 and $10,000 of shares in other series of the Trust.
Board Compensation. The Independent Trustees each receive an annual trustee fee of $202,350 for attendance at the four regularly scheduled quarterly meetings and one annual meeting, if necessary, and receive additional compensation for each additional meeting attended of $2,000, as well as reimbursement for travel and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with attendance at Board meetings. The Lead Independent Trustee receives an additional annual fee of $15,000. The Chairman of the Audit Committee receives an additional annual fee of $15,000. The Trust has no pension or retirement plan.
The following table shows the compensation earned by each Trustee for the Funds’ fiscal year or period ended October 31, 2022. Independent Trustee fees are paid by the adviser to each series of the Trust and not by the Funds. Trustee compensation does not include reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with attendance at meetings.
25


Name
Aggregate Compensation
From the Funds
Total Compensation from Fund Complex
Paid to Trustees
Interested Trustee
Michael A. Castino
$0 $0
Independent Trustees
Leonard M. Rush, CPA
$0 $228,296
Janet D. Olsen
$0 $198,296
David A. Massart
$0 $198,296

26


PRINCIPAL SHAREHOLDERS, CONTROL PERSONS, AND MANAGEMENT OWNERSHIP
A principal shareholder is any person who owns of record or beneficially 5% or more of the outstanding Shares of a Fund. A control person is a shareholder that owns beneficially or through controlled companies more than 25% of the voting securities of a company or acknowledges the existence of control. Shareholders owning voting securities in excess of 25% may determine the outcome of any matter affecting and voted on by shareholders of a Fund.
As of January 31, 2023, the Trustees and officers of the Trust as a group owned less than 1% of the Shares of the Funds, and the following shareholders were considered to be a principal shareholder of each Fund:
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
22.50% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
20.88% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
11.92% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
101 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94104
10.37% Record
Vanguard Brokerage Services
P.O. Box 1170
Valley Forge, PA 19482-1170
6.09% Record
Stifel Nicolaus & Co Inc
501 North Broadway
St Louis, MO 63102-2188
5.87% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
200 South 108th Avenue
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
5.28% Record
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
101 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94104
41.40% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
15.06% Record
Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC
200 West Street
New York, NY 10282
14.86% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
7.81% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
200 South 108th Avenue
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
5.15% Record
27



AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
101 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94104
24.11% Record
Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC
200 West Street
New York, NY 10282
19.45% Record
J.P. Morgan Chase Clearing Corporation
3 Chase Metrotech Center, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11245-0001
14.39% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
13.91% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.03% Record
Vanguard Brokerage Services
P.O. Box 1110
Valley Forge, PA 19482-1110
5.46% Record

AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
20.99% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City NJ 07311
16.66% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
101 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94104
15.02% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
12.33% Record
Stifel Nicolaus & Co Inc
501 North Broadway
St Louis, MO 63102-2188
9.16% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
7.70% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
7.69% Record

28


AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
101 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94104
38.83% Record
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Center
38 Fountain Square Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 45263
17.96% Record
U.S. Bank
60 Livingston Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55107
12.78% Record
RBC Capital Markets
200 Vesey Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10281
7.56% Record

AAM Transformers ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
96.48% Record

CODES OF ETHICS
The Trust, the Adviser, and the Sub-Advisers have each adopted codes of ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 of the 1940 Act. These codes of ethics are designed to prevent affiliated persons of the Trust, the Adviser, and the Sub-Advisers from engaging in deceptive, manipulative or fraudulent activities in connection with securities held or to be acquired by a Fund (which may also be held by persons subject to the codes of ethics). Each Code of Ethics permits personnel subject to that Code of Ethics to invest in securities for their personal investment accounts, subject to certain limitations, including limitations related to securities that may be purchased or held by a Fund. The Distributor (as defined below) relies on the principal underwriters exception under Rule 17j-1(c)(3), specifically where the Distributor is not affiliated with the Trust, the Adviser, the Sub-Advisers, and no officer, director, or general partner of the Distributor serves as an officer, director, or general partner of the Trust, the Adviser, or the Sub-Advisers.
There can be no assurance that the codes of ethics will be effective in preventing such activities. Each code of ethics may be examined at the office of the SEC in Washington, D.C. or on the Internet at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.
PROXY VOTING POLICIES
The Funds have delegated proxy voting responsibilities to the Adviser, subject to the Board’s oversight. In delegating proxy responsibilities, the Board has directed that proxies be voted consistent with each Fund’s and its shareholders’ best interests and in compliance with all applicable proxy voting rules and regulations. The Adviser has engaged Glass, Lewis & Co. (“Glass Lewis”) to make recommendations to the Adviser on the voting of proxies relating to securities held by the Funds and has adopted the Glass Lewis Guidelines as part of the Adviser’s proxy voting policies (the “Proxy Voting Policies”) for such purpose. A copy of the Glass Lewis Guidelines is set forth in Appendix A to this SAI. The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the Proxy Voting Policies. The Proxy Voting Policies have been adopted by the Trust as the policies and procedures that the Adviser will use when voting proxies on behalf of the Funds.
When available, information on how the Funds voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 will be available (1) without charge, upon request, by calling 1–800–617–0004 and (2) on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
INVESTMENT ADVISER AND SUB-ADVISERS
Investment Adviser
Advisors Asset Management, Inc., a Delaware corporation, serves as the investment adviser to the Funds. AAM is located at 18925 Base Camp Road, Suite 203, Monument, Colorado 80132. AAM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AAM Holdings, Inc., which is majority-owned by Sun Life Financial, Inc., through its subsidiaries. Sun Life Financial, Inc. is a publicly-traded company. In addition, Scott Colyer, the Adviser’s Chief Executive Officer, and Lisa Colyer, are deemed control persons of the Adviser, each by virtue of their ownership of at least 25% of AAM Holdings, Inc., directly or through one or more trusts or other entities. AAM is a registered broker dealer, member FINRA and SIPC, and SEC registered investment adviser.
29


All Funds other than AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF and AAM Transformers ETF
Pursuant to an interim investment advisory agreement (the “Interim Advisory Agreement”), AAM provides investment advice to the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, the AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, and the AAM Low Duration Preferred Income Securities ETF, subject to the direction and control of the Board and the officers of the Trust. Under the Interim Advisory Agreement, AAM arranges for sub-advisory, transfer agency, custody, fund administration, distribution, and all other services necessary for such Funds to operate. AAM provides oversight of the Sub-Advisers, defined below, monitoring of the Sub-Advisers’ buying and selling of securities for such Funds, and review of the Sub-Advisers’ performance. For the services it provides to the Funds, each Fund pays AAM a unified management fee, which is calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate of each Fund’s average daily net assets as follows:
Name of Fund Management Fee
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF 0.29  %
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF 0.49  %
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF 0.39  %
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF 0.45  %
Under the Interim Advisory Agreement, AAM has agreed to pay all expenses of the Funds, except for: the fee paid to AAM pursuant to the Interim Advisory Agreement, interest charges on any borrowings, dividends and other expenses on securities sold short, taxes, brokerage commissions and other expenses incurred in placing orders for the purchase and sale of securities and other investment instruments, acquired fund fees and expenses, accrued deferred tax liability, extraordinary expenses, and distribution (12b-1) fees and expenses.
Additionally, under the Interim Advisory Agreement, AAM, in turn, compensates the Sub-Advisers from the management fee it receives from the applicable fund. AAM shall not be liable to the Trust or any shareholder for anything done or omitted by it, except acts or omissions involving willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties imposed upon it by its agreement with the Trust.
The table below shows management fees paid by the Funds to the Adviser for the fiscal year or period ended October 31.
Name of Fund 2022 2021 2020
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF $175,436 $103,293 $82,338
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF $33,654 $31,494 $20,258
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF $8,548 $9,307 $7,447
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF $652,554 $147,387
$11,059(1)
(1) For the fiscal period November 19, 2019 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2020.
The Interim Advisory Agreement with respect to the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, the AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, and the AAM Low Duration Preferred Income Securities ETF will continue in force for up to a period of 150 days, during which period shareholders are expected to be solicited to approve a new investment advisory agreement (the “New Advisory Agreement”). The New Advisory Agreement will be materially identical to the Interim Advisory Agreement and will continue in force for an initial period of two years. Thereafter, the New Advisory Agreement will be renewable from year to year with respect to such Funds, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Adviser or the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The Interim Advisory Agreement and New Advisory Agreement automatically terminate on assignment and are terminable on a 60-day written notice either by AAM or the Trust.
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF and AAM Transformers ETF only
With respect to the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF and the AAM Transformers ETF, AAM serves as the investment advisor pursuant to the New Advisory Agreement. Under the New Advisory Agreement, AAM arranges for sub-advisory, transfer agency, custody, fund administration, distribution, and all other services necessary for such Funds to operate. AAM provides oversight of the Sub-Advisers, defined below, monitoring of the Sub-Advisers’ buying and selling of securities for the Funds, and review of the Sub-Advisers’ performance. For the services it provides to such Funds, each Fund pays AAM a unified management fee, which is calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate of each Fund’s average daily net assets as follows:
Name of Fund Management Fee
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF
0.60  %
AAM Transformers ETF
0.49  %
30


Under the New Advisory Agreement, AAM has agreed to pay all expenses of the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF and the AAM Transformers ETF, except for: the fee paid to AAM pursuant to the New Advisory Agreement, interest charges on any borrowings, dividends and other expenses on securities sold short, taxes, brokerage commissions and other expenses incurred in placing orders for the purchase and sale of securities and other investment instruments, acquired fund fees and expenses, accrued deferred tax liability, extraordinary expenses, and distribution (12b-1) fees and expenses.
AAM, in turn, compensates the Sub-Advisers from the management fee it receives from the applicable Fund. AAM shall not be liable to the Trust or any shareholder for anything done or omitted by it, except acts or omissions involving willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties imposed upon it by its agreement with the Trust.
The table below shows management fees paid by the Funds to the Adviser for the fiscal year or period ended October 31.
Name of Fund 2022 2021
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF
$407,424
$5,887(1)
AAM Transformers ETF
$6,984(2)
N/A
(1) For the fiscal period August 25, 2021 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2021.
(2) For the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2022.
Sub-Advisers
Vident Investment Advisory, LLC
The Trust, on behalf of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, and AAM Transformers ETF (collectively, the “Funds”), and the Adviser have retained Vident Investment Advisory, LLC, 1125 Sanctuary Parkway, Suite 515, Alpharetta, Georgia 30009, to serve as sub-adviser for the Funds. The Sub-Adviser was established in 2014 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vident Financial, LLC. Vident Financial, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Vident Investors’ Oversight Trust. Vince L. Birley, Mohammad Baki, and Baker Crow serve as the trustees of the Vident Investors’ Oversight Trust.
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, and AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only
Pursuant to an Interim Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement (the “Interim Sub-Advisory Agreement”) among the Adviser, the Sub-Adviser, and the Trust, on behalf of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, the AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, and the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, the Sub-Adviser is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of such Funds, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions as instructed by the Adviser or in connection with any rebalancing or reconstitution of a Fund’s respective Index, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. For the services it provides to the Funds, the Sub-Adviser is compensated by the Adviser from the management fees paid by the Funds to the Adviser.
The Interim Sub-Advisory Agreement with respect to such Funds will continue in force for a period of up to 150 days, during which period shareholders are expected to be solicited to approve a new Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement (the “New Sub-Advisory Agreement”).
The New Sub-Advisory Agreement will be materially identical to the Interim Sub-Advisory Agreement and will continue in force for an initial period of two years. Thereafter, the New Sub-Advisory Agreement will be renewable from year to year with respect to a Fund, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The New Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Board or, with respect to a Fund, by a majority of the outstanding Shares or by the Adviser on not less than 60 days’ written notice to the Sub-Adviser, or by the Sub-Adviser on 90 days’ written notice to the Adviser and the Trust. The New Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that the Sub-Adviser shall not be protected against any liability to the Trust or its shareholders by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, or gross negligence on its part in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard of its obligations or duties thereunder.
The table below shows fees earned by the Sub-Adviser for services provided to each Fund for the fiscal year or period ended October 31.
31


Name of Fund
2022 2021 2020
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF
$24,201 $13,932 $13,409
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF
$25,000 $25,000 $25,000
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF $18,000 $18,000 $18,000
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF $57,993 $22,660
$19,014(1)
(1) For the fiscal period November 19, 2019 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2020.
AAM Transformers only
Pursuant to a Sub-Advisory Agreement between the Trust, the Adviser, and the Sub-Adviser (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”), the Sub-Adviser is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of the AAM Transformers ETF (the “Fund”), including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions as instructed by the Adviser or in connection with any rebalancing or reconstitution of the Fund’s Index, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. For the services it provides to the Fund, the Sub-Adviser is compensated by the Adviser from the management fees paid by the Fund to the Adviser.
The Sub-Advisory Agreement was approved by shareholders on January 19, 2023. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will continue in force for an initial period of up to two years. Thereafter, the Sub-Advisory Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to the Fund, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Board or, with respect to the Fund, by a majority of the outstanding Shares or by the Adviser on not less than 60 days’ written notice to the Sub-Adviser, or by the Sub-Adviser on 90 days’ written notice to the Adviser and the Trust. The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that the Sub-Adviser shall not be protected against any liability to the Trust or its shareholders by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, or gross negligence on its part in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard of its obligations or duties thereunder.
The table below shows fees earned by the Sub-Adviser for services provided to the Fund for the fiscal year or period ended October 31.
Name of Fund
2022
AAM Transformers ETF
$9,205(1)
(1) For the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2022.
Bahl & Gaynor, Inc.
The Trust, on behalf of the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF (the “Fund”), and the Adviser have retained Bahl & Gaynor, Inc., located at 255 East Fifth Street, Suite 2700, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202, to serve as sub-adviser for the Fund. Bahl & Gaynor was formed in 1990 and provides investment advisory services to institutional clients, high net worth individuals, mutual funds, and the Fund.
Pursuant to a Sub-Advisory Agreement between the Adviser and the Sub-Adviser (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”), the Sub-Adviser is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of the Fund, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions as instructed by the Adviser, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. For the services it provides to the Fund, the Sub-Adviser is compensated by the Adviser from the management fees paid by the Fund to the Adviser.
The Sub-Advisory Agreement was approved by shareholders on January 19, 2023. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will continue in force for an initial period of up to two years. Thereafter, the Sub-Advisory Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to the Fund, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Board or, with respect to the Fund, by a majority of the outstanding Shares or by the Adviser on not less than 60 days’ written notice to the Sub-Adviser, or by the Sub-Adviser on 90 days’ written notice to the Adviser and the Trust. The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that the Sub-Adviser shall not be protected against any liability to the Trust or its shareholders by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, or gross negligence on its part in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard of its obligations or duties thereunder.
The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser are also parties to an agreement that sets forth compensation to be paid by the Adviser to the Sub-Adviser with respect to B&G Account Assets (as described in the Prospectus) (the “B&G Account Assets Agreement”). The B&G Account Assets Agreement will continue in force as long as the Adviser continues to serve as the investment adviser to the Fund, so long as the agreement’s continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full Board or the
32


vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The B&G Account Assets Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment and may be terminated at any time by mutual agreement of the parties. Termination of the Sub-Advisory Agreement does not affect the Adviser’s obligation to pay the compensation set forth in the B&G Account Assets Agreement.
The table below shows fees earned by the Sub-Adviser for services provided to the Fund for the fiscal year or period ended October 31.
Name of Fund
2022 2021
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF
$312,704
$105(1)
(1) For the fiscal period August 25, 2021 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2021.
PORTFOLIO MANAGERS
The AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, and AAM Transformers ETF are co-managed by Austin Wen, CFA, and Rafael Zayas, CFA, each of VIA. The AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF is co-managed by Austin Wen, CFA, and Jeff Kernagis, CFA, each of VIA. The AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF is co-managed by Scott D. Rodes and Robert S. Groenke, each of Bahl & Gaynor.
Share Ownership
The Funds are required to show the dollar ranges of the portfolio managers’ “beneficial ownership” of Shares of each Fund as of the end of the most recently completed fiscal year or a more recent date for a new portfolio manager. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the 1934 Act. As of October 31, 2022, the portfolio managers for VIA did not beneficially own Shares of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, or AAM Transformers ETF.
As of October 31, 2022, the portfolio managers for Bahl & Gaynor beneficially owned Shares of the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF as follows:
Portfolio Manager Dollar Range of Equity Securities
Scott D. Rodes $100,001 - $500,000
Robert S. Groenke $10,001 - $50,000
Other Accounts
In addition to the Funds, the portfolio managers for VIA managed the following other accounts as of October 31, 2022, none of which were subject to a performance based management fee:
Portfolio Manager Type of Accounts Total
Number of
Accounts
Total Assets of
Accounts
Austin Wen, CFA Registered Investment Companies 28 $3.961 billion
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles 2 $402 million
Other Accounts 1 $25 million
Rafael Zayas, CFA Registered Investment Companies 25 $3.764 billion
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles 25 $727 million
Other Accounts 0 $0
Jeff Kernagis, CFA
Registered Investment Companies 3 $653 million
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles 0 $0
Other Accounts 0 $0
33


In addition to the Fund, the portfolio managers for Bahl & Gaynor managed the following other accounts as of October 31, 2022, none of which were subject to a performance fee:
Portfolio Manager Type of Accounts Total
Number of
Accounts
Total Assets of
Accounts
Scott D. Rodes Registered Investment Companies 0 $0
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles 0 $0
Other Accounts 110 $383 million
Robert S. Groenke
Registered Investment Companies 0 $0
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles 0 $0
Other Accounts 11 $207 million
Compensation
The portfolio managers for VIA receive a fixed base salary and discretionary bonus that are not tied to the performance of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, and AAM Transformers ETF.
The portfolio managers for Bahl & Gaynor receive a fixed base salary and contributions to a retirement plan. No payment or portfolio manager compensation is tied to the AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF or its performance.
Conflicts of Interest
A Portfolio Manager’s management of “other accounts” may give rise to potential conflicts of interest in connection with their management of the Funds’ investments, on the one hand, and the investments of the other accounts, on the other. The other accounts may have the same investment objectives as a Fund. Therefore, a potential conflict of interest may arise as a result of the identical investment objectives, whereby a Portfolio Manager could favor one account over another. Another potential conflict could include a Portfolio Manager’s knowledge about the size, timing and possible market impact of Fund trades, whereby a Portfolio Manager could use this information to the advantage of other accounts and to the disadvantage of the Funds they manage. However, the Sub-Adviser has established policies and procedures to ensure that the purchase and sale of securities among all accounts the Sub-Adviser manages are fairly and equitably allocated.
THE DISTRIBUTOR
The Trust, the Adviser, and Quasar Distributors, LLC (the “Distributor”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Foreside Financial Group, LLC (d/b/a ACA Group), are parties to a distribution agreement (the “Distribution Agreement”), whereby the Distributor acts as principal underwriter for the Funds and distributes Shares. Shares are continuously offered for sale by the Distributor only in Creation Units. The Distributor will not distribute Shares in amounts less than a Creation Unit and does not maintain a secondary market in Shares. The principal business address of the Distributor is 111 East Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 2200, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202.
Under the Distribution Agreement, the Distributor, as agent for the Trust, will review orders for the purchase and redemption of Creation Units, provided that any subscriptions and orders will not be binding on the Trust until accepted by the Trust. The Distributor is a broker-dealer registered under the 1934 Act and a member of FINRA.
The Distributor may also enter into agreements with securities dealers (“Soliciting Dealers”) who will solicit purchases of Creation Units of Shares. Such Soliciting Dealers may also be Authorized Participants (as discussed in “Procedures for Purchase of Creation Units” below) or DTC participants (as defined below).
The Distribution Agreement will continue for two years from its effective date and is renewable annually thereafter. The continuance of the Distribution Agreement must be specifically approved at least annually (i) by the vote of the Trustees or by a vote of the shareholders of the Fund and (ii) by the vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees who have no direct or indirect financial interest in the operations of the Distribution Agreement or any related agreement, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Distribution Agreement is terminable without penalty by the Trust on 60 days’ written notice when authorized either by majority vote of its outstanding voting Shares or by a vote of a majority of its Board (including a majority of the Independent Trustees), or by the Distributor on 60 days’ written notice, and will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment. The Distribution Agreement provides that in the absence of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on the part of the Distributor, or reckless disregard by it of its obligations thereunder, the Distributor shall not be liable for any action or failure to act in accordance with its duties thereunder.
Intermediary Compensation. The Adviser, the Sub-Advisers, or their affiliates, out of their own resources and not out of Fund assets (i.e., without additional cost to the Fund or its shareholders), may pay certain broker dealers, banks and other financial intermediaries (“Intermediaries”) for certain activities related to the Funds, including participation in activities that are designed to make
34


Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange traded products, including the Funds, or for other activities, such as marketing and educational training or support. These arrangements are not financed by the Funds and, thus, do not result in increased Fund expenses. They are not reflected in the fees and expenses listed in the fees and expenses sections of the Funds’ Prospectus and they do not change the price paid by investors for the purchase of Shares or the amount received by a shareholder as proceeds from the redemption of Shares. Such compensation may be paid to Intermediaries that provide services to the Funds, including marketing and education support (such as through conferences, webinars and printed communications).
The Adviser has a separate arrangement to make payments, other than for the marketing and educational activities described above, to LPL Financial LLC (the “Firm”). Pursuant to the arrangement with the Firm, the Firm has agreed to offer certain AAM Funds to its customers and not to charge certain customers any commissions when those customers purchase or sell shares of an AAM Fund. These payments, which may be significant, are paid by the Adviser from its own resources and not from the assets of a Fund.
The Adviser and Sub-Adviser periodically assess the advisability of continuing to make these payments. Payments to an Intermediary may be significant to the Intermediary, and amounts that Intermediaries pay to your adviser, broker or other investment professional, if any, may also be significant to such adviser, broker or investment professional. Because an Intermediary may make decisions about what investment options it will make available or recommend, and what services to provide in connection with various products, based on payments it receives or is eligible to receive, such payments create conflicts of interest between the Intermediary and its clients. For example, these financial incentives may cause the Intermediary to recommend a Fund over other investments. The same conflict of interest exists with respect to your financial adviser, broker or investment professional if he or she receives similar payments from his or her Intermediary firm.
Intermediary information is current only as of the date of this SAI. Please contact your adviser, broker, or other investment professional for more information regarding any payments his or her Intermediary firm may receive. Any payments made by the Adviser, Sub-Advisers or their affiliates to an Intermediary may create the incentive for an Intermediary to encourage customers to buy Shares.
If you have any additional questions, please call 1-800-617-0004.
Distribution and Service Plan. The Trust has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan (the “Plan”) in accordance with the provisions of Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act, which regulates circumstances under which an investment company may directly or indirectly bear expenses relating to the distribution of its shares. No payments pursuant to the Plan are expected to be made during the twelve (12) month period from the date of this SAI. Rule 12b-1 fees to be paid by a Fund under the Plan may only be imposed after approval by the Board.
Continuance of the Plan must be approved annually by a majority of the Trustees of the Trust and by a majority of the Trustees who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust and have no direct or indirect financial interest in the Plan or in any agreements related to the Plan (“Qualified Trustees”). The Plan requires that quarterly written reports of amounts spent under the Plan and the purposes of such expenditures be furnished to and reviewed by the Trustees. The Plan may not be amended to increase materially the amount that may be spent thereunder without approval by a majority of the outstanding Shares of a Fund. All material amendments of the Plan will require approval by a majority of the Trustees of the Trust and of the Qualified Trustees.
The Plan provides that each Fund pays the Distributor an annual fee of up to a maximum of 0.25% of the average daily net assets of the Shares. Under the Plan, the Distributor may make payments pursuant to written agreements to financial institutions and intermediaries such as banks, savings and loan associations and insurance companies including, without limit, investment counselors, broker-dealers and the Distributor’s affiliates and subsidiaries (collectively, “Agents”) as compensation for services and reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with distribution assistance. The Plan is characterized as a compensation plan since the distribution fee will be paid to the Distributor without regard to the distribution expenses incurred by the Distributor or the amount of payments made to other financial institutions and intermediaries. The Trust intends to operate the Plan in accordance with its terms and with the FINRA rules concerning sales charges.
Under the Plan, subject to the limitations of applicable law and regulations, each Fund is authorized to compensate the Distributor up to the maximum amount to finance any activity primarily intended to result in the sale of Creation Units of the Fund or for providing or arranging for others to provide shareholder services and for the maintenance of shareholder accounts. Such activities may include, but are not limited to: (i) delivering copies of a Fund’s then current reports, prospectuses, notices, and similar materials, to prospective purchasers of Creation Units; (ii) marketing and promotional services, including advertising; (iii) paying the costs of and compensating others, including Authorized Participants (as discussed in “Procedures for Purchase of Creation Units” below) with whom the Distributor has entered into written Participant Agreements (as defined below), for performing shareholder servicing on behalf of a Fund; (iv) compensating certain Authorized Participants for providing assistance in distributing the Creation Units of a Fund, including the travel and communication expenses and salaries and/or commissions of sales personnel in connection with the distribution of the Creation Units of a Fund; (v) payments to financial institutions and intermediaries such as banks, savings and loan associations, insurance companies and investment counselors, broker-dealers, mutual fund supermarkets and the affiliates and subsidiaries of the Trust’s service providers as compensation for services or reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with
35


distribution assistance; (vi) facilitating communications with beneficial owners of Shares, including the cost of providing (or paying others to provide) services to beneficial owners of Shares, including, but not limited to, assistance in answering inquiries related to shareholder accounts; and (vii) such other services and obligations as are set forth in the Distribution Agreement. The Distributor does not retain Fund monies for profit. Instead, it keeps them in retention for future distribution related expenses. The Adviser compensates the Distributor for certain distribution related services.
THE TRANSFER AGENT, INDEX RECEIPT AGENT, AND ADMINISTRATOR
U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC, doing business as U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, located at 615 East Michigan Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, serves as the Funds’ transfer agent, administrator, and index receipt agent.
Pursuant to a Fund Administration Servicing Agreement and a Fund Accounting Servicing Agreement between the Trust and Fund Services, Fund Services provides the Trust with administrative and management services (other than investment advisory services) and accounting services, including portfolio accounting services, tax accounting services and furnishing financial reports. In this capacity, Fund Services does not have any responsibility or authority for the management of the Funds, the determination of investment policy, or for any matter pertaining to the distribution of Shares. As compensation for the administration, accounting and management services, the Adviser pays Fund Services a fee based on each Fund’s average daily net assets, subject to a minimum annual fee. Fund Services also is entitled to certain out-of-pocket expenses for the services mentioned above, including pricing expenses.
The table below shows fees earned by Fund Services for services provided to each Fund for the fiscal years or periods ended October 31.
Name of Fund
2022 2021 2020
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF $85,784 $84,812 $85,079
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF $82,178 $83,419 $80,871
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF $95,282 $80,101 $79,206
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF
$120,976 $46,380
   $29,713(1)
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF
$74,280
$10,647(2)
N/A
AAM Transformers ETF
$14,036(3)
N/A N/A
(1) For the fiscal period November 19, 2019 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2020.
(2) For the fiscal period August 25, 2021 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2021.
(3) For the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2022.
CUSTODIAN AND SECURITIES LENDING AGENT
Pursuant to a Custody Agreement, U.S. Bank National Association (the “Custodian” or “U.S. Bank”), 1555 North Rivercenter Drive, Suite 302, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212, serves as the Custodian of the Funds’ assets. The Custodian holds and administers the assets in each Fund’s portfolio. Pursuant to the Custody Agreement, the Custodian receives an annual fee from the Adviser based on the Trust’s total average daily net assets, subject to a minimum annual fee, and certain settlement charges. The Custodian also is entitled to certain out-of-pocket expenses.
The Funds may participate in securities lending arrangements whereby a Fund lends certain of its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers, and financial institutions (not with individuals) to receive additional income and increase the rate of return of its portfolio. U.S. Bank serves as the Funds’ securities lending agent and is responsible for (i) negotiating the fees (rebates) of securities loans within parameters approved by the Board; (ii) delivering loaned securities to the applicable borrower(s), a list of which has been approved by the Board; (iii) investing any cash collateral received for a securities loan in investments pre-approved by the Board; (iv) receiving the returned securities at the expiration of a loan’s term; (v) daily monitoring of the value of the loaned securities and the collateral received; (vi) notifying borrowers to make additions to the collateral, when required; (vii) accounting and recordkeeping services as necessary for the operation of the securities lending program, and (viii) establishing and operating a system of controls and procedures to ensure compliance with its obligations under the Funds’ securities lending program.
LEGAL COUNSEL
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, located at 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004-2541, serves as legal counsel for the Trust.
INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
Cohen & Company, Ltd., located at 342 North Water Street, Suite 830, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, serves as the independent registered public accounting firm for the Funds.
36


PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
The Board has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of information about each Fund’s security holdings. Each Fund’s entire portfolio holdings are publicly disseminated each day a Fund is open for business and may be available through financial reporting and news services, including publicly available internet web sites. In addition, the composition of the Deposit Securities (as defined below) is publicly disseminated daily prior to the opening of the Exchange via the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”).
DESCRIPTION OF SHARES
The Declaration of Trust authorizes the issuance of an unlimited number of funds and Shares. Each Share represents an equal proportionate interest in the applicable Fund with each other Share. Shares are entitled upon liquidation to a pro rata share in the net assets of the applicable Fund. Shareholders have no preemptive rights. The Declaration of Trust provides that the Trustees may create additional series or classes of Shares. All consideration received by the Trust for shares of any additional funds and all assets in which such consideration is invested would belong to that fund and would be subject to the liabilities related thereto. Share certificates representing Shares will not be issued. Shares, when issued, are fully paid and non-assessable.
Each Share has one vote with respect to matters upon which a shareholder vote is required, consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act and the rules promulgated thereunder. Shares of all funds of the Trust vote together as a single class, except that if the matter being voted on affects only a particular fund it will be voted on only by that fund and if a matter affects a particular fund differently from other funds, that fund will vote separately on such matter. As a Delaware statutory trust, the Trust is not required, and does not intend, to hold annual meetings of shareholders. Approval of shareholders will be sought, however, for certain changes in the operation of the Trust and for the election of Trustees under certain circumstances. Upon the written request of shareholders owning at least 10% of the Trust’s Shares, the Trust will call for a meeting of shareholders to consider the removal of one or more Trustees and other certain matters. In the event that such a meeting is requested, the Trust will provide appropriate assistance and information to the shareholders requesting the meeting.
Under the Declaration of Trust, the Trustees have the power to liquidate a Fund without shareholder approval. While the Trustees have no present intention of exercising this power, they may do so if a Fund fails to reach a viable size within a reasonable amount of time or for such other reasons as may be determined by the Board.
LIMITATION OF TRUSTEES’ LIABILITY
The Declaration of Trust provides that a Trustee shall be liable only for his or her own willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of the office of Trustee, and shall not be liable for errors of judgment or mistakes of fact or law. The Trustees shall not be responsible or liable in any event for any neglect or wrong-doing of any officer, agent, employee, adviser or principal underwriter of the Trust, nor shall any Trustee be responsible for the act or omission of any other Trustee. The Declaration of Trust also provides that the Trust shall indemnify each person who is, or has been, a Trustee, officer, employee or agent of the Trust, any person who is serving or has served at the Trust’s request as a Trustee, officer, trustee, employee or agent of another organization in which the Trust has any interest as a shareholder, creditor or otherwise to the extent and in the manner provided in the Amended and Restated By-laws. However, nothing in the Declaration of Trust shall protect or indemnify a Trustee against any liability for his or her willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of the office of Trustee. Nothing contained in this section attempts to disclaim a Trustee’s individual liability in any manner inconsistent with the federal securities laws.
BROKERAGE TRANSACTIONS
The policy of the Trust regarding purchases and sales of securities for a Fund is that primary consideration will be given to obtaining the most favorable prices and efficient executions of transactions. Consistent with this policy, when securities transactions are effected on a stock exchange, the Trust’s policy is to pay commissions which are considered fair and reasonable without necessarily determining that the lowest possible commissions are paid in all circumstances. The Trust believes that a requirement always to seek the lowest possible commission cost could impede effective portfolio management and preclude the Funds and the Sub-Advisers from obtaining a high quality of brokerage and research services. In seeking to determine the reasonableness of brokerage commissions paid in any transaction, the Sub-Advisers will rely upon its experience and knowledge regarding commissions generally charged by various brokers and on its judgment in evaluating the brokerage services received from the broker effecting the transaction. Such determinations are necessarily subjective and imprecise, as in most cases, an exact dollar value for those services is not ascertainable. The Trust has adopted policies and procedures that prohibit the consideration of sales of Shares as a factor in the selection of a broker or dealer to execute its portfolio transactions.
The Sub-Advisers owe a fiduciary duty to their clients to seek to provide best execution on trades effected. In selecting a broker/dealer for each specific transaction, the Sub-Advisers choose the broker/dealer deemed most capable of providing the services necessary to obtain the most favorable execution. “Best execution” is generally understood to mean the most favorable cost or net proceeds reasonably obtainable under the circumstances. The full range of brokerage services applicable to a particular transaction may be considered when making this judgment, which may include, but is not limited to: liquidity, price, commission, timing, aggregated
37


trades, capable floor brokers or traders, competent block trading coverage, ability to position, capital strength and stability, reliable and accurate communications and settlement processing, use of automation, knowledge of other buyers or sellers, arbitrage skills, administrative ability, underwriting and provision of information on a particular security or market in which the transaction is to occur. The specific criteria will vary depending upon the nature of the transaction, the market in which it is executed, and the extent to which it is possible to select from among multiple broker/dealers. The Sub-Advisers will also use electronic crossing networks (“ECNs”) when appropriate.
Subject to the foregoing policies, brokers or dealers selected to execute a Fund’s portfolio transactions may include such Fund’s Authorized Participants (as discussed in “Procedures for Purchase of Creation Units” below) or their affiliates. An Authorized Participant or its affiliates may be selected to execute a Fund’s portfolio transactions in conjunction with an all-cash creation unit order or an order including “cash-in-lieu” (as described below under “Purchase and Redemption of Shares in Creation Units”), so long as such selection is in keeping with the foregoing policies. As described below under “Purchase and Redemption of Shares in Creation Units—Creation Transaction Fee” and “—Redemption Transaction Fee”, each Fund may determine to not charge a variable fee on certain orders when the Adviser has determined that doing so is in the best interests of Fund shareholders, e.g., for creation orders that facilitate the rebalance of the applicable Fund’s portfolio in a more tax efficient manner than could be achieved without such order, even if the decision to not charge a variable fee could be viewed as benefiting the Authorized Participant or its affiliate selected to execute the Fund’s portfolio transactions in connection with such orders.
The Sub-Advisers may use a Fund’s assets for, or participate in, third-party soft dollar arrangements, in addition to receiving proprietary research from various full-service brokers, the cost of which is bundled with the cost of the broker’s execution services. The Sub-Advisers does not “pay up” for the value of any such proprietary research. Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act permits the Sub-Advisers, under certain circumstances, to cause a Fund to pay a broker or dealer a commission for effecting a transaction in excess of the amount of commission another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting the transaction in recognition of the value of brokerage and research services provided by the broker or dealer. The Sub-Advisers may receive a variety of research services and information on many topics, which it can use in connection with its management responsibilities with respect to the various accounts over which it exercises investment discretion or otherwise provides investment advice. The research services may include qualifying order management systems, portfolio attribution and monitoring services and computer software and access charges which are directly related to investment research. Accordingly, a Fund may pay a broker commission higher than the lowest available in recognition of the broker’s provision of such services to the Sub-Advisers, but only if the Sub-Advisers determine the total commission (including the soft dollar benefit) is comparable to the best commission rate that could be expected to be received from other brokers. The amount of soft dollar benefits received depends on the amount of brokerage transactions effected with the brokers. A conflict of interest exists because there is an incentive to: 1) cause clients to pay a higher commission than the firm might otherwise be able to negotiate; 2) cause clients to engage in more securities transactions than would otherwise be optimal; and 3) only recommend brokers that provide soft dollar benefits.
The Sub-Advisers face a potential conflict of interest when it uses client trades to obtain brokerage or research services. This conflict exists because the Sub-Advisers are able to use the brokerage or research services to manage client accounts without paying cash for such services, which reduces the Sub-Advisers’ expenses to the extent that the Sub-Advisers would have purchased such products had they not been provided by brokers. Section 28(e) permits the Sub-Advisers to use brokerage or research services for the benefit of any account it manages. Certain accounts managed by the Sub-Advisers may generate soft dollars used to purchase brokerage or research services that ultimately benefit other accounts managed by the Sub-Advisers, effectively cross subsidizing the other accounts managed by the Sub-Advisers that benefit directly from the product. The Sub-Advisers may not necessarily use all of the brokerage or research services in connection with managing a Fund whose trades generated the soft dollars used to purchase such products.
The Sub-Advisers are responsible, subject to oversight by the Adviser and the Board, for placing orders on behalf of each Fund for the purchase or sale of portfolio securities. If purchases or sales of portfolio securities of a Fund and one or more other investment companies or clients supervised by the Sub-Advisers are considered at or about the same time, transactions in such securities are allocated among the several investment companies and clients in a manner deemed equitable and consistent with its fiduciary obligations to all by the Sub-Advisers. In some cases, this procedure could have a detrimental effect on the price or volume of the security so far as a Fund is concerned. However, in other cases, it is possible that the ability to participate in volume transactions and to negotiate lower brokerage commissions will be beneficial to a Fund. The primary consideration is prompt execution of orders at the most favorable net price.
A Fund may deal with affiliates in principal transactions to the extent permitted by exemptive order or applicable rule or regulation.
38


The table below shows brokerage commissions paid in the aggregate amount by each Fund for the fiscal years or periods ended October 31.
Name of Fund
2022 2021 2020
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF $36,147 $12,494 $20,621
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF $12,488 $16,764 $8,101
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF $2,600 $2,299 $2,059
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF
$173,768 $48,812
   $4,209(1)
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF
$35,736
$551(2)
N/A
AAM Transformers ETF
$596(3)
N/A N/A
(1) For the fiscal period November 19, 2019 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2020.
(2) For the fiscal period August 25, 2021 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2021.
(3) For the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2022.

Directed Brokerage. During the fiscal year or period ended October 31, 2022, the Funds did not direct brokerage transactions to a broker because of research services provided.
Brokerage with Fund Affiliates. A Fund may execute brokerage or other agency transactions through registered broker-dealer affiliates of the Funds, the Adviser, the Sub-Advisers or the Distributor for a commission in conformity with the 1940 Act, the 1934 Act and rules promulgated by the SEC. These rules require that commissions paid to the affiliate by the Funds for exchange transactions not exceed “usual and customary” brokerage commissions. The rules define “usual and customary” commissions to include amounts which are “reasonable and fair compared to the commission, fee or other remuneration received or to be received by other brokers in connection with comparable transactions involving similar securities being purchased or sold on a securities exchange during a comparable period of time.” The Trustees, including those who are not “interested persons” of the Funds, have adopted procedures for evaluating the reasonableness of commissions paid to affiliates and review these procedures periodically.
During the fiscal year or period ended October 31, 2022, the Funds did not pay brokerage commissions to any registered broker-dealer affiliates of the Funds, the Adviser, the Sub-Adviser, or the Distributor.
Securities of “Regular Broker-Dealers. Each Fund is required to identify any securities of its “regular brokers and dealers” (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act) that it may hold at the close of its most recent fiscal year. “Regular brokers or dealers” of a Fund are the ten brokers or dealers that, during the most recent fiscal year: (i) received the greatest dollar amounts of brokerage commissions from the Fund’s portfolio transactions; (ii) engaged as principal in the largest dollar amounts of portfolio transactions of the Fund; or (iii) sold the largest dollar amounts of Shares. The Funds did not hold any securities of “regular broker dealers” as of October 31, 2022.
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER RATE
Portfolio turnover may vary from year to year, as well as within a year. High turnover rates are likely to result in comparatively greater brokerage expenses. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions is evaluated by the Sub-Advisers based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services.
The table below lists the portfolio turnover rate for each Fund for the fiscal years or periods ended October 31.
Name of Fund 2022 2021
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF 68% 69%
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF 123% 139%
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF 100% 96%
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF
154% 199%
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF
31%
5%(1)
AAM Transformers ETF
27%(2)
N/A
(1) For the fiscal period August 25, 2021 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2021.
(2) For the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2022.
BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM
The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) acts as securities depositary for Shares. Shares are represented by securities registered in the name of DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., and deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC. Except in limited circumstances set forth below, certificates will not be issued for Shares.
39


DTC is a limited-purpose trust company that was created to hold securities of its participants (the “DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) and FINRA. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers, and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (the “Indirect Participants”).
Beneficial ownership of Shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants, and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in Shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to in this SAI as “Beneficial Owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial Owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of Shares. The Trust recognizes DTC or its nominee as the record owner of all Shares for all purposes. Beneficial Owners of Shares are not entitled to have Shares registered in their names and will not receive or be entitled to physical delivery of Share certificates. Each Beneficial Owner must rely on the procedures of DTC and any DTC Participant and/or Indirect Participant through which such Beneficial Owner holds its interests, to exercise any rights of a holder of Shares.
Conveyance of all notices, statements, and other communications to Beneficial Owners is effected as follows. DTC will make available to the Trust upon request and for a fee a listing of Shares held by each DTC Participant. The Trust shall obtain from each such DTC Participant the number of Beneficial Owners holding Shares, directly or indirectly, through such DTC Participant. The Trust shall provide each such DTC Participant with copies of such notice, statement, or other communication, in such form, number and at such place as such DTC Participant may reasonably request, in order that such notice, statement or communication may be transmitted by such DTC Participant, directly or indirectly, to such Beneficial Owners. In addition, the Trust shall pay to each such DTC Participant a fair and reasonable amount as reimbursement for the expenses attendant to such transmittal, all subject to applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
Share distributions shall be made to DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., as the registered holder of all Shares. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall credit immediately DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in a Fund as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners of Shares held through such DTC Participants will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in a “street name,” and will be the responsibility of such DTC Participants.
The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspect of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial Owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in Shares, or for maintaining, supervising, or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests, or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners owning through such DTC Participants.
DTC may determine to discontinue providing its service with respect to a Fund at any time by giving reasonable notice to the Fund and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the applicable Fund shall take action either to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost or, if such replacement is unavailable, to issue and deliver printed certificates representing ownership of Shares, unless the Trust makes other arrangements with respect thereto satisfactory to the Exchange.
PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF SHARES IN CREATION UNITS
The Trust issues and redeems Shares only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Transfer Agent, without a sales load (but subject to transaction fees, if applicable), at their NAV per share next determined after receipt of an order, on any Business Day, in proper form pursuant to the terms of the Authorized Participant Agreement (“Participant Agreement”). The NAV of Shares is calculated each business day as of the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE, generally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time. The Funds will not issue fractional Creation Units. A “Business Day” is any day on which the NYSE is open for business.
Fund Deposit. The consideration for purchase of a Creation Unit of a Fund generally consists of the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities (the “Deposit Securities”) per each Creation Unit and the Cash Component (defined below), computed as described below. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of a “cash in lieu” amount (“Deposit Cash”) to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security. When accepting purchases of Creation Units for all or a portion of Deposit Cash, a Fund may incur additional costs associated with the acquisition of Deposit Securities that would otherwise be provided by an in-kind purchaser.
Together, the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, and the Cash Component constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit of the applicable Fund. The “Cash Component”
40


is an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of Shares (per Creation Unit) and the value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable. If the Cash Component is a positive number (i.e., the NAV per Creation Unit exceeds the value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable), the Cash Component shall be such positive amount. If the Cash Component is a negative number (i.e., the NAV per Creation Unit is less than the value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable), the Cash Component shall be such negative amount and the creator will be entitled to receive cash in an amount equal to the Cash Component. The Cash Component serves the function of compensating for any differences between the NAV per Creation Unit and the value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable. Computation of the Cash Component excludes any stamp duty or other similar fees and expenses payable upon transfer of beneficial ownership of the Deposit Securities, if applicable, which shall be the sole responsibility of the Authorized Participant (as defined below).
Each Fund, through NSCC, makes available on each Business Day, prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m., Eastern time), the list of the names and the required number of Shares of each Deposit Security or the required amount of Deposit Cash, as applicable, to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information at the end of the previous Business Day) for the applicable Fund. Such Fund Deposit is subject to any applicable adjustments as described below, to effect purchases of Creation Units of the applicable Fund until such time as the next-announced composition of the Deposit Securities or the required amount of Deposit Cash, as applicable, is made available.
The identity and number of Shares of the Deposit Securities or the amount of Deposit Cash, as applicable, required for a Fund Deposit for the Fund changes as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by the Sub-Advisers with a view to the investment objective of the Fund. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the component securities of an Index.
The Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of Deposit Cash to replace any Deposit Security, which shall be added to the Cash Component, including, without limitation, in situations where the Deposit Security: (i) may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery; (ii) may not be eligible for transfer through the systems of DTC for corporate securities and municipal securities; (iii) may not be eligible for trading by an Authorized Participant (as defined below) or the investor for which it is acting; (iv) would be restricted under the securities laws or where the delivery of the Deposit Security to the Authorized Participant would result in the disposition of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant becoming restricted under the securities laws; or (v) in certain other situations (collectively, “custom orders”). The Trust also reserves the right to include or remove Deposit Securities from the basket in anticipation of Index rebalancing changes. The adjustments described above will reflect changes, known to the Sub-Advisers on the date of announcement to be in effect by the time of delivery of the Fund Deposit, in the composition of the subject Index being tracked by the Fund or resulting from certain corporate actions.
Procedures for Purchase of Creation Units. To be eligible to place orders with the Transfer Agent to purchase a Creation Unit of a Fund, an entity must be (i) a “Participating Party” (i.e., a broker-dealer or other participant in the clearing process through the Continuous Net Settlement System of the NSCC (the “Clearing Process”)), a clearing agency that is registered with the SEC; or (ii) a DTC Participant (see “Book Entry Only System”). In addition, each Participating Party or DTC Participant (each, an “Authorized Participant”) must execute a Participant Agreement that has been agreed to by the Distributor, and that has been accepted by the Transfer Agent, with respect to purchases and redemptions of Creation Units. Each Authorized Participant will agree, pursuant to the terms of a Participant Agreement, on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, to certain conditions, including that it will pay to the Trust, an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Cash Component together with the creation transaction fee (described below), if applicable, and any other applicable fees and taxes.
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF. All orders to purchase Shares directly from the Fund on the next Business Day must be submitted as a “Future Dated Trade” for one or more Creation Units between 4:30 p.m. Eastern time and 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on the prior Business Day and in the manner set forth in the Participant Agreement and/or applicable order form. With respect to the Fund, the Business Day following the day on which such an order is submitted to purchase Creation Units (or an order to redeem Creation Units, as set forth below) is referred to as the “Order Placement Date.”
All Funds other than the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF. All orders to purchase Shares directly from the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF, AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF, AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF, AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF, and the AAM Transformers ETF must be placed for one or more Creation Units and in the manner and by the time set forth in the Participant Agreement and/or applicable order form. With respect to each of these Funds, the order cut-off time for orders to purchase Creation Units is 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, which time may be modified by each Fund from time-to-time by amendment to the Participant Agreement and/or applicable order form. The date on which an order to purchase Creation Units (or an order to redeem Creation Units, as set forth below) is received and accepted is referred to as the “Order Placement Date.”
All Funds. An Authorized Participant may require an investor to make certain representations or enter into agreements with respect to the order (e.g., to provide for payments of cash, when required). Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed a Participant Agreement and that, therefore, orders to purchase Shares directly from a Fund in Creation Units have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant that has executed a Participant Agreement. In such cases there may
41


be additional charges to such investor. At any given time, there may be only a limited number of broker-dealers that have executed a Participant Agreement and only a small number of such Authorized Participants may have international capabilities.
On days when the Exchange closes earlier than normal, a Fund may require orders to create Creation Units to be placed earlier in the day. In addition, if a market or markets on which a Fund’s investments are primarily traded is closed, the applicable Fund will also generally not accept orders on such day(s). Orders must be transmitted by an Authorized Participant by telephone or other transmission method acceptable to the Transfer Agent pursuant to procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement and in accordance with the applicable order form. On behalf of the Funds, the Transfer Agent will notify the Custodian of such order. The Custodian will then provide such information to the appropriate local sub-custodian(s). Those placing orders through an Authorized Participant should allow sufficient time to permit proper submission of the purchase order to the Transfer Agent by the cut-off time on such Business Day. Economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communication failure may impede the ability to reach the Transfer Agent or an Authorized Participant.
Fund Deposits must be delivered by an Authorized Participant through the Federal Reserve System (for cash) or through DTC (for corporate securities), through a subcustody agent (for foreign securities) and/or through such other arrangements allowed by the Trust or its agents. With respect to foreign Deposit Securities, the Custodian shall cause the subcustodian of the Funds to maintain an account into which the Authorized Participant shall deliver, on behalf of itself or the party on whose behalf it is acting, such Deposit Securities (or Deposit Cash for all or a part of such securities, as permitted or required), with any appropriate adjustments as advised by the Trust. Foreign Deposit Securities must be delivered to an account maintained at the applicable local subcustodian. A Fund Deposit transfer must be ordered by the Authorized Participant in a timely fashion so as to ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, to the account of the applicable Fund or its agents by no later than 12:00 p.m. Eastern time (or such other time as specified by the Trust) on the Settlement Date. If a Fund or its agents do not receive all of the Deposit Securities, or the required Deposit Cash in lieu thereof, by such time, then the order may be deemed rejected and the Authorized Participant shall be liable to the applicable Fund for losses, if any, resulting therefrom. The “Settlement Date” for a Fund is generally the second Business Day after the Order Placement Date. All questions as to the number of Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash to be delivered, as applicable, and the validity, form and eligibility (including time of receipt) for the deposit of any tendered securities or cash, as applicable, will be determined by the Trust, whose determination shall be final and binding. The amount of cash represented by the Cash Component must be transferred directly to the Custodian through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system in a timely manner so as to be received by the Custodian no later than the Settlement Date. If the Cash Component and the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, are not received by the Custodian in a timely manner by the Settlement Date, the creation order may be cancelled. Upon written notice to the Transfer Agent, such canceled order may be resubmitted the following Business Day using a Fund Deposit as newly constituted to reflect the then current NAV of the applicable Fund.
The order shall be deemed to be received on the Business Day on which the order is placed provided that the order is placed in proper form prior to the applicable cut-off time and the federal funds in the appropriate amount are deposited with the Custodian on the Settlement Date. If the order is not placed in proper form as required, or federal funds in the appropriate amount are not received on the Settlement Date, then the order may be deemed to be rejected and the Authorized Participant shall be liable to the applicable Fund for losses, if any, resulting therefrom. A creation request is considered to be in “proper form” if all procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement, order form and this SAI are properly followed.
Issuance of a Creation Unit. Except as provided in this SAI, Creation Units will not be issued until the transfer of good title to the Trust of the Deposit Securities or payment of Deposit Cash, as applicable, and the payment of the Cash Component have been completed. When the subcustodian has confirmed to the Custodian that the required Deposit Securities (or the cash value thereof) have been delivered to the account of the relevant subcustodian or subcustodians, the Transfer Agent and the Adviser shall be notified of such delivery, and the Trust will issue and cause the delivery of the Creation Units. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the second Business Day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Transfer Agent. However, the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF and AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF reserve the right to settle Creation Unit transactions on a basis other than the second Business Day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Distributor to accommodate foreign market holiday schedules, to account for different treatment among foreign and U.S. markets of dividend record dates and ex-dividend dates (that is the last day the holder of a security can sell the security and still receive dividends payable on the security), and in certain other circumstances.
Creation Units may be purchased in advance of receipt by the Trust of all or a portion of the applicable Deposit Securities as described below. In these circumstances, the initial deposit will have a value greater than the NAV of Shares on the date the order is placed in proper form since, in addition to available Deposit Securities, cash must be deposited in an amount equal to the sum of (i) the Cash Component, plus (ii) an additional amount of cash equal to a percentage of the value as set forth in the Participant Agreement, of the undelivered Deposit Securities (the “Additional Cash Deposit”), which shall be maintained in a separate non-interest bearing collateral account. The Authorized Participant must deposit with the Custodian the Additional Cash Deposit, as applicable, by 12:00 p.m. Eastern time (or such other time as specified by the Trust) on the Settlement Date. If a Fund or its agents do not receive the Additional Cash Deposit in the appropriate amount, by such time, then the order may be deemed rejected and the Authorized Participant shall be liable to the applicable Fund for losses, if any, resulting therefrom. An additional amount of cash shall be required to be deposited with
42


the Trust, pending delivery of the missing Deposit Securities to the extent necessary to maintain the Additional Cash Deposit with the Trust in an amount at least equal to the applicable percentage, as set forth in the Participant Agreement, of the daily market value of the missing Deposit Securities. The Participant Agreement will permit the Trust to buy the missing Deposit Securities at any time. Authorized Participants will be liable to the Trust for the costs incurred by the Trust in connection with any such purchases. These costs will be deemed to include the amount by which the actual purchase price of the Deposit Securities exceeds the value of such Deposit Securities on the day the purchase order was deemed received by the Transfer Agent plus the brokerage and related transaction costs associated with such purchases. The Trust will return any unused portion of the Additional Cash Deposit once all of the missing Deposit Securities have been properly received by the Custodian or purchased by the Trust and deposited into the Trust. In addition, a transaction fee, as described below under “Creation Transaction Fee,” may be charged. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the Settlement Date.
Acceptance of Orders of Creation Units. The Trust reserves the right to reject an order for Creation Units transmitted to it by the Transfer Agent with respect to a Fund including, without limitation, if (a) the order is not in proper form; (b) the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, delivered by the Participant are not as disseminated through the facilities of the NSCC for that date by the Custodian; (c) the investor(s), upon obtaining Shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding Shares of the applicable Fund; (d) the acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (e) the acceptance or receipt of the order for a Creation Unit would, in the opinion of counsel to the Trust, be unlawful; or (f) in the event that circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Custodian, the Transfer Agent and/or the Adviser make it for all practical purposes not feasible to process orders for Creation Units.
Examples of such circumstances include acts of God or public service or utility problems such as fires, floods, extreme weather conditions and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the Trust, the Distributor, the Custodian, a sub-custodian, the Transfer Agent, DTC, NSCC, Federal Reserve System, or any other participant in the creation process, and other extraordinary events. The Transfer Agent shall notify a prospective creator of a Creation Unit and/or the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of the creator of a Creation Unit of its rejection of the order of such person. The Trust, the Transfer Agent, the Custodian, any sub-custodian and the Distributor are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of Fund Deposits nor shall either of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification. The Trust, the Transfer Agent, the Custodian and the Distributor shall not be liable for the rejection of any purchase order for Creation Units.
All questions as to the number of Shares of each security in the Deposit Securities and the validity, form, eligibility and acceptance for deposit of any securities to be delivered shall be determined by the Trust, and the Trust’s determination shall be final and binding.
Creation Transaction Fee. A fixed purchase (i.e., creation) transaction fee, payable to the Fund’s custodian, may be imposed for the transfer and other transaction costs associated with the purchase of Creation Units (“Creation Order Costs”). The standard fixed creation transaction fee for each Fund, regardless of the number of Creation Units created in the transaction, can be found in the table below. Each Fund may adjust the standard fixed creation transaction fee from time to time. The fixed creation fee may be waived on certain orders if the applicable Fund’s custodian has determined to waive some or all of the Creation Order Costs associated with the order or another party, such as the Adviser, has agreed to pay such fee.
In addition, a variable fee, payable to the applicable Fund, of up to the maximum percentage listed in the table below of the value of the Creation Units subject to the transaction may be imposed for cash purchases, non-standard orders, or partial cash purchases of Creation Units. The variable charge is primarily designed to cover additional costs (e.g., brokerage, taxes) involved with buying the securities with cash. Each Fund may determine to not charge a variable fee on certain orders when the Adviser has determined that doing so is in the best interests of Fund shareholders, e.g., for creation orders that facilitate the rebalance of the Fund’s portfolio in a more tax efficient manner than could be achieved without such order.
Name of Fund Fixed Creation
Transaction Fee
Maximum Variable
Transaction Fee
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF $300 2%
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF $1,000 2%
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF $500 2%
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF
$500 2%
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF $300 2%
AAM Transformers ETF $300 2%
Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services. Investors are responsible for the fixed costs of transferring the Fund Securities from the Trust to their account or on their order.
Risks of Purchasing Creation Units. There are certain legal risks unique to investors purchasing Creation Units directly from a Fund. Because Shares may be issued on an ongoing basis, a “distribution” of Shares could be occurring at any time. Certain activities that a
43


shareholder performs as a dealer could, depending on the circumstances, result in the shareholder being deemed a participant in the distribution in a manner that could render the shareholder a statutory underwriter and subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the Securities Act. For example, a shareholder could be deemed a statutory underwriter if it purchases Creation Units from a Fund, breaks them down into the constituent Shares, and sells those Shares directly to customers, or if a shareholder chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new Shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary-market demand for Shares. Whether a person is an underwriter depends upon all of the facts and circumstances pertaining to that person’s activities, and the examples mentioned here should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could cause you to be deemed an underwriter.
Dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as opposed to engaging in ordinary secondary-market transactions), and thus dealing with Shares as part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the Securities Act, will be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act.
Redemption. Shares may be redeemed only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by a Fund through the Transfer Agent and only on a Business Day. EXCEPT UPON LIQUIDATION OF A FUND, THE TRUST WILL NOT REDEEM SHARES IN AMOUNTS LESS THAN CREATION UNITS. Investors must accumulate enough Shares in the secondary market to constitute a Creation Unit to have such Shares redeemed by the Trust. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the public trading market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit. Investors should expect to incur brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of Shares to constitute a redeemable Creation Unit.
With respect to the Funds, the Custodian, through the NSCC, makes available prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m., Eastern time) on each Business Day, the list of the names and Share quantities of each Fund’s portfolio securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”). Fund Securities received on redemption may not be identical to Deposit Securities.
Redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit are paid either in-kind or in cash, or combination thereof, as determined by the Trust. With respect to in-kind redemptions of a Fund, redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit will consist of Fund Securities—as announced by the Custodian on the Business Day of the request for redemption received in proper form plus cash in an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of Shares being redeemed, as next determined after a receipt of a request in proper form, and the value of the Fund Securities (the “Cash Redemption Amount”), less a fixed redemption transaction fee, as applicable, as set forth below. In the event that the Fund Securities have a value greater than the NAV of Shares, a compensating cash payment equal to the differential is required to be made by or through an Authorized Participant by the redeeming shareholder. Notwithstanding the foregoing, at the Trust’s discretion, an Authorized Participant may receive the corresponding cash value of the securities in lieu of the in-kind securities value representing one or more Fund Securities.
Redemption Transaction Fee. A fixed redemption transaction fee, payable to the Fund’s custodian, may be imposed for the transfer and other transaction costs associated with the redemption of Creation Units (“Redemption Order Costs”). The standard fixed redemption transaction fee for each Fund, regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed in the transaction, can be found in the table below. Each Fund may adjust the redemption transaction fee from time to time. The fixed redemption fee may be waived on certain orders if the applicable Fund’s custodian has determined to waive some or all of the Redemption Order Costs associated with the order or another party, such as the Adviser, has agreed to pay such fee.
In addition, a variable fee, payable to the applicable Fund, of up to the maximum percentage listed in the table below of the value of the Creation Units subject to the transaction may be imposed for cash redemptions, non-standard orders, or partial cash redemptions (when cash redemptions are available) of Creation Units. The variable charge is primarily designed to cover additional costs (e.g., brokerage, taxes) involved with selling portfolio securities to satisfy a cash redemption. Each Fund may determine to not charge a variable fee on certain orders when the Adviser has determined that doing so is in the best interests of Fund shareholders, e.g., for redemption orders that facilitate the rebalance of the Fund’s portfolio in a more tax efficient manner than could be achieved without such order.
Name of Fund Fixed Redemption
Transaction Fee
Maximum Variable
Transaction Fee
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF $300 2%
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF $1,000 2%
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF $500 2%
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF
$500 2%
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF $300 2%
AAM Transformers ETF $300 2%
44


Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services. Investors are responsible for the fixed costs of transferring the Fund Securities from the Trust to their account or on their order.
Procedures for Redemption of Creation Units.
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF. Orders to redeem Creation Units of the Fund on the next Business Day must be submitted in proper form to the Transfer Agent as a “Future Dated Trade” for one or more Creation Units between 4:30 p.m. Eastern time and 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on the prior Business Day and in the manner set forth in the Participant Agreement and/or applicable order form.
All Funds other than the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF. Orders to redeem Creation Units of the Funds must be submitted in proper form to the Transfer Agent prior to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time.
All Funds. A redemption request is considered to be in “proper form” if (i) an Authorized Participant has transferred or caused to be transferred to the Trust’s Transfer Agent the Creation Unit(s) being redeemed through the book-entry system of DTC so as to be effective by the time as set forth in the Participant Agreement and (ii) a request in form satisfactory to the Trust is received by the Transfer Agent from the Authorized Participant on behalf of itself or another redeeming investor within the time periods specified in the Participant Agreement. If the Transfer Agent does not receive the investor’s Shares through DTC’s facilities by the times and pursuant to the other terms and conditions set forth in the Participant Agreement, the redemption request shall be rejected.
The Authorized Participant must transmit the request for redemption, in the form required by the Trust, to the Transfer Agent in accordance with procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed a Participant Agreement, and that, therefore, requests to redeem Creation Units may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant who has executed a Participant Agreement. Investors making a redemption request should be aware that such request must be in the form specified by such Authorized Participant. Investors making a request to redeem Creation Units should allow sufficient time to permit proper submission of the request by an Authorized Participant and transfer of the Shares to the Trust’s Transfer Agent; such investors should allow for the additional time that may be required to effect redemptions through their banks, brokers or other financial intermediaries if such intermediaries are not Authorized Participants.
Additional Redemption Procedures. In connection with taking delivery of Shares of Fund Securities upon redemption of Creation Units, a redeeming shareholder or Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such shareholder must maintain appropriate custody arrangements with a qualified broker-dealer, bank, or other custody providers in each jurisdiction in which any of the Fund Securities are customarily traded, to which account such Fund Securities will be delivered. Deliveries of redemption proceeds generally will be made within two business days of the trade date.
However, due to the schedule of holidays in certain countries, the different treatment among foreign and U.S. markets of dividend record dates and dividend ex-dates (that is the last date the holder of a security can sell the security and still receive dividends payable on the security sold), and in certain other circumstances, the delivery of in-kind redemption proceeds with respect to the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF and AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF may take longer than two Business Days after the day on which the redemption request is received in proper form. If neither the redeeming Shareholder nor the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such redeeming Shareholder has appropriate arrangements to take delivery of the Fund Securities in the applicable foreign jurisdiction and it is not possible to make other such arrangements, or if it is not possible to effect deliveries of the Fund Securities in such jurisdiction, the Trust may, in its discretion, exercise its option to redeem such Shares in cash, and the redeeming Shareholders will be required to receive its redemption proceeds in cash.
In addition, an investor may request a redemption in cash that a Fund may, in its sole discretion, permit. In either case, the investor will receive a cash payment equal to the NAV of its Shares based on the NAV of Shares of the applicable Fund next determined after the redemption request is received in proper form (minus a redemption transaction fee, if applicable, and additional charge for requested cash redemptions specified above, to offset the Trust’s brokerage and other transaction costs associated with the disposition of Fund Securities). A Fund may also, in its sole discretion, upon request of a shareholder, provide such redeemer a portfolio of securities that differs from the exact composition of the Fund Securities but does not differ in NAV.
Redemptions of Shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable federal and state securities laws and the Funds (whether or not it otherwise permits cash redemptions) reserve the right to redeem Creation Units for cash to the extent that the Trust could not lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or could not do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws. An Authorized Participant or an investor for which it is acting subject to a legal restriction with respect to a particular security included in the Fund Securities applicable to the redemption of Creation Units may be paid an equivalent amount of cash. The Authorized Participant may request the redeeming investor of the Shares to complete an order form or to enter into agreements with respect to such matters as compensating cash payment. Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” (“QIB”) as such term is defined under Rule 144A of the Securities Act, will not be able to receive Fund Securities that are restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A. An Authorized Participant may be required by the Trust to provide a written confirmation with respect to QIB status to receive Fund Securities.
45


Because the portfolio securities of the Funds may trade on other exchanges on days that the Exchange is closed or are otherwise not Business Days for such Fund, shareholders may not be able to redeem their Shares of the applicable Fund, or to purchase or sell Shares of the applicable Fund on the Exchange, on days when the NAV of the applicable Fund could be significantly affected by events in the relevant foreign markets.
The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to a Fund (1) for any period during which the Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the Exchange is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the Shares of the applicable Fund or determination of the NAV of the Shares is not reasonably practicable; or (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC.
DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE
NAV per Share for a Fund is computed by dividing the value of the net assets of the applicable Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of Shares outstanding, rounded to the nearest cent. Expenses and fees, including the management fees, are accrued daily and taken into account for purposes of determining NAV. The NAV of each Fund is calculated by Fund Services and determined at the scheduled close of the regular trading session on the NYSE (ordinarily 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day that the NYSE is open, provided that fixed-income assets may be valued as of the announced closing time for trading in fixed-income instruments on any day that the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) announces an early closing time.
Pursuant to Rule 2a-5 under the 1940 Act, the Board has appointed the Adviser as the Funds’ valuation designee (the “Valuation Designee”) to perform all fair valuations of each Fund’s portfolio investments, subject to the Board’s oversight. As the Valuation Designee, the Adviser has established procedures for its fair valuation of each Fund’s portfolio investments. These procedures address, among other things, determining when market quotations are not readily available or reliable and the methodologies to be used for determining the fair value of investments, as well as the use and oversight of third-party pricing services for fair valuation. The Adviser’s fair value determinations will be carried out in compliance with Rule 2a-5 and based on fair value methodologies established and applied by the Adviser and periodically tested to ensure such methodologies are appropriate and accurate with respect to each Fund’s portfolio investments. The Adviser’s fair value methodologies may involve obtaining inputs and prices from third-party pricing services.
In calculating each Fund’s NAV per Share, each Fund’s investments are generally valued using market quotations to the extent such market quotations are readily available. If market quotations are not readily available or are deemed to be unreliable by the Adviser, the Adviser will fair value such investments and use the fair value to calculate each Fund’s NAV. When fair value pricing is employed, the prices of securities used by the Adviser to calculate each Fund’s NAV may differ from quoted or published prices for the same securities. Due to the subjective and variable nature of fair value pricing, it is possible that the fair value determined for a particular security may be materially different (higher or lower) from the price of the security quoted or published by others, or the value when trading resumes or is realized upon its sale. There may be multiple methods that can be used to value a portfolio investment when market quotations are not readily available. The value established for any portfolio investment at a point in time might differ from what would be produced using a different methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations.
DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS
The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Dividends, Distributions and Taxes.”
General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, are declared and paid at least annually by each Fund. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but a Fund may make distributions on a more frequent basis to improve index tracking for the Fund or for the Fund to comply with the distribution requirements of the Code to preserve a Fund’s eligibility for treatment as a RIC, in all events in a manner consistent with the provisions of the 1940 Act.
Dividends and other distributions on Shares are distributed, as described below, on a pro rata basis to Beneficial Owners of such Shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants to Beneficial Owners then of record with proceeds received from the Trust.
Each Fund makes additional distributions to the extent necessary (i) to distribute the entire annual taxable income of the applicable Fund, plus any net capital gains and (ii) to avoid imposition of the excise tax imposed by Section 4982 of the Code. Management of the Trust reserves the right to declare special dividends if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve a Fund’s eligibility for treatment as a RIC or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income.
Dividend Reinvestment Service. The Trust will not make the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service available for use by Beneficial Owners for reinvestment of their cash proceeds, but certain individual broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by Beneficial Owners of the Funds through DTC Participants for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Investors should contact their brokers to ascertain the availability and description of these services. Beneficial
46


Owners should be aware that each broker may require investors to adhere to specific procedures and timetables to participate in the dividend reinvestment service and investors should ascertain from their brokers such necessary details. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole Shares issued by the Trust of the applicable Fund at NAV per Share. Distributions reinvested in additional Shares will nevertheless be taxable to Beneficial Owners acquiring such additional Shares to the same extent as if such distributions had been received in cash.
FEDERAL INCOME TAXES
The following is only a summary of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations generally affecting a Fund and its shareholders that supplements the discussion in the Prospectus. No attempt is made to present a comprehensive explanation of the federal, state, local or foreign tax treatment of a Fund or its shareholders, and the discussion here and in the Prospectus is not intended to be a substitute for careful tax planning.
The following general discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax consequences is based on provisions of the Code and the regulations issued thereunder as in effect on the date of this SAI. New legislation, as well as administrative changes or court decisions, may significantly change the conclusions expressed herein, and may have a retroactive effect with respect to the transactions contemplated herein.
Shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisers regarding the application of the provisions of tax law described in this SAI in light of the particular tax situations of the shareholders and regarding specific questions as to federal, state, foreign or local taxes.
Taxation of the Funds. Each Fund intends to elect and intends to continue to qualify each year to be treated as a separate RIC under the Code. As such, the Funds should not be subject to federal income taxes on their net investment income and capital gains, if any, to the extent that they timely distribute such income and capital gains to their shareholders. To qualify for treatment as a RIC, a Fund must distribute annually to its shareholders at least the sum of 90% of its net investment income (generally including the excess of net short-term capital gains over net long-term capital losses) and 90% of its net tax-exempt interest income, if any (the “Distribution Requirement”) and also must meet several additional requirements. Among these requirements are the following: (i) at least 90% of the applicable Fund’s gross income each taxable year must be derived from dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or foreign currencies and net income derived from interests in qualified publicly traded partnerships (the “Qualifying Income Requirement”); and (ii) at the end of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, the Fund’s assets must be diversified so that (a) at least 50% of the value of the Fund’s total assets is represented by cash and cash items, U.S. government securities, securities of other RICs, and other securities, with such other securities limited, in respect to any one issuer, to an amount not greater in value than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and to not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, including the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership, and (b) not more than 25% of the value of its total assets is invested, including through corporations in which the Fund owns a 20% or more voting stock interest, in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other RICs) of any one issuer, the securities (other than securities of other RICs) of two or more issuers which the applicable Fund controls and which are engaged in the same, similar, or related trades or businesses, or the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships (the “Diversification Requirement”). The determination of the value and the identity of the issuer of derivative investments that the Fund may invest in are often unclear for purposes of the Diversification Requirement described above. Although each Fund intends to carefully monitor its investments to ensure that it is adequately diversified under the Diversification Requirement, there are no assurances that the IRS will agree with a Fund’s determination of the issuer under the Diversification Requirement with respect to such derivatives.
It may not be possible for a Fund to fully implement a replication strategy or a representative sampling strategy while satisfying the Diversification Requirement. A Fund’s efforts to satisfy the Diversification Requirement may affect the Fund’s execution of its investment strategy and may cause the Fund’s return to deviate from that of the Index, and the Fund’s efforts to represent the Index using a sampling strategy, if such a strategy is used at any point, may cause it inadvertently to fail to satisfy the Diversification Requirement.
To the extent a Fund makes investments that may generate income that is not qualifying income, including certain derivatives, the Fund will seek to restrict the resulting income from such investments so that the Fund’s non-qualifying income does not exceed 10% of its gross income.
Although the Funds intend to distribute substantially all of their net investment income and may distribute their capital gains for any taxable year, the Funds will be subject to federal income taxation to the extent any such income or gains are not distributed. Each Fund is treated as a separate corporation for federal income tax purposes. A Fund therefore is considered to be a separate entity in determining its treatment under the rules for RICs described herein. The requirements (other than certain organizational requirements) for qualifying RIC status are determined at the fund level rather than at the Trust level.
If a Fund fails to satisfy the Qualifying Income Requirement or the Diversification Requirement in any taxable year, the applicable Fund may be eligible for relief provisions if the failures are due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect and if a penalty tax is paid with respect to each failure to satisfy the applicable requirements. Additionally, relief is provided for certain de minimis failures of the
47


Diversification Requirement where a Fund corrects the failure within a specified period of time. To be eligible for the relief provisions with respect to a failure to meet the Diversification Requirement, a Fund may be required to dispose of certain assets. If these relief provisions were not available to a Fund and it were to fail to qualify for treatment as a RIC for a taxable year, all of its taxable income would be subject to tax at the regular 21% corporate rate without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and its distributions (including capital gains distributions) generally would be taxable to the shareholders of the applicable Fund as ordinary income dividends, subject to the dividends received deduction for corporate shareholders and the lower tax rates on qualified dividend income received by non-corporate shareholders, subject to certain limitations. To requalify for treatment as a RIC in a subsequent taxable year, a Fund would be required to satisfy the RIC qualification requirements for that year and to distribute any earnings and profits from any year in which the applicable Fund failed to qualify for tax treatment as a RIC. If a Fund failed to qualify as a RIC for a period greater than two taxable years, it would generally be required to pay a Fund-level tax on certain net built in gains recognized with respect to certain of its assets upon a disposition of such assets within five years of qualifying as a RIC in a subsequent year. The Board reserves the right not to maintain the qualification of a Fund for treatment as a RIC if it determines such course of action to be beneficial to shareholders. If a Fund determines that it will not qualify as a RIC, the applicable Fund will establish procedures to reflect the anticipated tax liability in the Fund’s NAV.
A Fund may elect to treat part or all of any “qualified late year loss” as if it had been incurred in the succeeding taxable year in determining the Fund’s taxable income, net capital gain, net short-term capital gain, and earnings and profits. The effect of this election is to treat any such “qualified late year loss” as if it had been incurred in the succeeding taxable year in characterizing Fund distributions for any calendar year. A “qualified late year loss” generally includes net capital loss, net long-term capital loss, or net short-term capital loss incurred after October 31 of the current taxable year (commonly referred to as “post-October losses”) and certain other late-year losses.
Capital losses in excess of capital gains (“net capital losses”) are not permitted to be deducted against a RIC’s net investment income. Instead, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, potentially subject to certain limitations, a Fund may carry a net capital loss from any taxable year forward indefinitely to offset its capital gains, if any, in years following the year of the loss. To the extent subsequent capital gains are offset by such losses, they will not result in U.S. federal income tax liability to the applicable Fund and may not be distributed as capital gains to its shareholders. Generally, a Fund may not carry forward any losses other than net capital losses. The carryover of capital losses may be limited under the general loss limitation rules if the Fund experiences an ownership change as defined in the Code.
The table below shows the capital loss carryforward amounts for each Fund as of the fiscal year or period ended October 31, 2022. These amounts do not expire.
Name of Fund Short-Term Capital Loss Carry Forward Long-Term Capital Loss Carry Forward
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF $162,640 $1,440,843
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF $721,833 $556,099
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF $255,089 $106,697
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF $10,352,067 $269,915
AAM Bahl & Gaynor Small/Mid Cap Income Growth ETF
$3,134,509 $301,339
AAM Transformers ETF $104,681 N/A
A Fund will be subject to a nondeductible 4% federal excise tax on certain undistributed income if it does not distribute to its shareholders in each calendar year an amount at least equal to 98% of its ordinary income for the calendar year plus 98.2% of its capital gain net income for the one-year period ending on October 31 of that year, subject to an increase for any shortfall in the prior year’s distribution. For this purpose, any ordinary income or capital gain net income retained by a Fund and subject to corporate income tax will be considered to have been distributed. The Funds intend to declare and distribute dividends and distributions in the amounts and at the times necessary to avoid the application of the excise tax, but can make no assurances that all such tax liability will be completely eliminated. A Fund may in certain circumstances be required to liquidate Fund investments in order to make sufficient distributions to avoid federal excise tax liability at a time when the investment adviser might not otherwise have chosen to do so, and liquidation of investments in such circumstances may affect the ability of the Fund to satisfy the requirement for qualification as a RIC.
If a Fund meets the Distribution Requirement but retains some or all of its income or gains, it will be subject to federal income tax to the extent any such income or gains are not distributed. A Fund may designate certain amounts retained as undistributed net capital gain in a notice to its shareholders, who (i) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their proportionate shares of the undistributed amount so designated, (ii) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the income tax paid by the Fund on that undistributed amount against their federal income tax liabilities and to claim refunds to the extent such credits exceed their tax liabilities, and (iii) will be entitled to increase their tax basis, for federal income tax
48


purposes, in their Shares by an amount equal to the excess of the amount of undistributed net capital gain included in their respective income over their respective income tax credits.
Taxation of Shareholders – Distributions. Each Fund intends to distribute annually to its shareholders substantially all of its investment company taxable income (computed without regard to the deduction for dividends paid), its net tax-exempt income, if any, and any net capital gain (net recognized long-term capital gains in excess of net recognized short-term capital losses, taking into account any capital loss carryforwards). The distribution of investment company taxable income (as so computed) and net realized capital gain will be taxable to Fund shareholders regardless of whether the shareholder receives these distributions in cash or reinvests them in additional Shares.
Each Fund (or your broker) will report to shareholders annually the amounts of dividends paid from ordinary income, the amount of distributions of net capital gain, the portion of dividends which may qualify for the dividends received deduction for corporations, and the portion of dividends which may qualify for treatment as qualified dividend income, which, subject to certain limitations and requirements, is taxable to non-corporate shareholders at rates of up to 20%. Distributions from a Fund’s net capital gain will be taxable to shareholders at long-term capital gains rates, regardless of how long shareholders have held their Shares.
Qualified dividend income includes, in general, subject to certain holding period and other requirements, dividend income from taxable domestic corporations and certain foreign corporations. Subject to certain limitations, eligible foreign corporations include those incorporated in possessions of the United States, those incorporated in certain countries with comprehensive tax treaties with the United States, and other foreign corporations if the stock with respect to which the dividends are paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. Dividends received by a Fund from an underlying fund taxable as a RIC or from a REIT may be treated as qualified dividend income generally only to the extent so reported by such underlying fund or REIT, however, dividends received by a Fund from a REIT are generally not treated as qualified dividend income. If 95% or more of a Fund’s gross income (calculated without taking into account net capital gain derived from sales or other dispositions of stock or securities) consists of qualified dividend income, the Fund may report all distributions of such income as qualified dividend income.
Fund dividends will not be treated as qualified dividend income if a Fund does not meet holding period and other requirements with respect to dividend paying stocks in its portfolio, and the shareholder does not meet holding period and other requirements with respect to the Shares on which the dividends were paid. Distributions by a Fund of its net short-term capital gains will be taxable as ordinary income. Distributions from a Fund’s net capital gain will be taxable to shareholders at long-term capital gains rates, regardless of how long shareholders have held their Shares. Distributions may be subject to state and local taxes.
In the case of corporate shareholders, certain dividends received by a Fund from U.S. corporations (generally, dividends received by the Fund in respect of any share of stock (1) with a tax holding period of at least 46 days during the 91-day period beginning on the date that is 45 days before the date on which the stock becomes ex-dividend as to that dividend and (2) that is held in an unleveraged position) and distributed and appropriately so reported by the Fund may be eligible for the 50% dividends received deduction. Certain preferred stock must have a holding period of at least 91 days during the 181-day period beginning on the date that is 90 days before the date on which the stock becomes ex-dividend as to that dividend to be eligible. Capital gain dividends distributed to a Fund from other RICs are not eligible, and dividends distributed to a Fund from REITs are generally not eligible for the dividends received deduction. To qualify for the deduction, corporate shareholders must meet the minimum holding period requirement stated above with respect to their Shares, taking into account any holding period reductions from certain hedging or other transactions or positions that diminish their risk of loss with respect to their Shares, and, if they borrow to acquire or otherwise incur debt attributable to Shares, they may be denied a portion of the dividends received deduction with respect to those Shares. Since the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF and AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF invest primarily in securities of non-U.S. issuers, it is not expected that a significant portion of the dividends received from these Funds will qualify for the dividends-received deduction for corporations.
Although dividends generally will be treated as distributed when paid, any dividend declared by a Fund in October, November or December and payable to shareholders of record in such a month that is paid during the following January will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as received by shareholders on December 31 of the calendar year in which it was declared.
U.S. individuals with adjusted gross income (subject to certain adjustments) exceeding certain threshold amounts ($250,000 if married filing jointly or if considered a “surviving spouse” for federal income tax purposes, $125,000 if married filing separately, and $200,000 in other cases) are subject to a 3.8% tax on all or a portion of their “net investment income,” which includes taxable interest, dividends, and certain capital gains (generally including capital gain distributions and capital gains realized on the sale of Shares). This 3.8% tax also applies to all or a portion of the undistributed net investment income of certain shareholders that are estates and trusts.
Shareholders who have not held Shares for a full year should be aware that a Fund may report and distribute, as ordinary dividends or capital gain dividends, a percentage of income that is not equal to the percentage of the Fund’s ordinary income or net capital gain, respectively, actually earned during the applicable shareholder’s period of investment in the Fund. A taxable shareholder may wish to
49


avoid investing in a Fund shortly before a dividend or other distribution, because the distribution will generally be taxable even though it may economically represent a return of a portion of the shareholder’s investment.
To the extent that a Fund makes a distribution of income received by the Fund in lieu of dividends (a “substitute payment”) with respect to securities on loan pursuant to a securities lending transaction, such income will not constitute qualified dividend income to individual shareholders and will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction for corporate shareholders.
If a Fund’s distributions exceed its earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made for a taxable year may be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders. A return of capital distribution will generally not be taxable, but will reduce each shareholder’s cost basis in a Fund and result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when the Shares on which the distribution was received are sold. After a shareholder’s basis in the Shares has been reduced to zero, distributions in excess of earnings and profits will be treated as gain from the sale of the shareholder’s Shares.
Taxation of Shareholders – Sale or Exchange of Shares. A sale or exchange of Shares may give rise to a gain or loss. For tax purposes, an exchange of your Fund shares of a different fund is the same as a sale. In general, provided that a shareholder holds Shares as capital assets, any gain or loss realized upon a taxable disposition of Shares will be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if Shares have been held for more than 12 months. Otherwise, such gain or loss on the taxable disposition of Shares will generally be treated as short-term capital gain or loss. Any loss realized upon a taxable disposition of Shares held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss, rather than short-term capital loss, to the extent of any amounts treated as distributions to the shareholder of long-term capital gain (including any amounts credited to the shareholder as undistributed capital gains). All or a portion of any loss realized upon a taxable disposition of Shares may be disallowed if substantially identical Shares are acquired (through the reinvestment of dividends or otherwise) within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition. In such a case, the basis of the newly acquired Shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.
The cost basis of Shares acquired by purchase will generally be based on the amount paid for Shares and then may be subsequently adjusted for other applicable transactions as required by the Code. The difference between the selling price and the cost basis of Shares generally determines the amount of the capital gain or loss realized on the sale or exchange of Shares. Contact the broker through whom you purchased your Shares to obtain information with respect to the available cost basis reporting methods and elections for your account.
An Authorized Participant who exchanges securities for Creation Units generally will recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered plus the amount of cash paid for such Creation Units. The ability of Authorized Participants to receive a full or partial cash redemption of Creation Units of a Fund may limit the tax efficiency of such Fund. An Authorized Participant who redeems Creation Units will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the sum of the aggregate market value of any securities received plus the amount of any cash received for such Creation Units. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units cannot currently be deducted under the rules governing “wash sales” (for a person who does not mark-to-market its portfolio) or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
The Trust, on behalf of the Funds, has the right to reject an order for Creation Units if the purchaser (or a group of purchasers) would, upon obtaining the Creation Units so ordered, own 80% or more of the outstanding Shares and if, pursuant to Section 351 of the Code, a Fund would have a basis in the deposit securities different from the market value of such securities on the date of deposit. The Trust also has the right to require the provision of information necessary to determine beneficial Share ownership for purposes of the 80% determination. If a Fund does issue Creation Units to a purchaser (or a group of purchasers) that would, upon obtaining the Creation Units so ordered, own 80% or more of the outstanding Shares, the purchaser (or a group of purchasers) will not recognize gain or loss upon the exchange of securities for Creation Units.
Authorized Participants purchasing or redeeming Creation Units should consult their own tax advisers with respect to the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction and whether the wash sales rule applies and when a loss may be deductible.
Taxation of Fund Investments. Certain of a Fund’s investments may be subject to complex provisions of the Code (including provisions relating to hedging transactions, straddles, integrated transactions, foreign currency contracts, forward foreign currency contracts, and notional principal contracts) that, among other things, may affect a Fund’s ability to qualify as a RIC, affect the character of gains and losses realized by the Fund (e.g., may affect whether gains or losses are ordinary or capital), accelerate recognition of income to the Fund and defer losses. These rules could therefore affect the character, amount and timing of distributions to shareholders. These provisions also may require a Fund to mark to market certain types of positions in its portfolio (i.e., treat them as if they were closed out) which may cause the Fund to recognize income without the Fund receiving cash with which to make distributions in amounts sufficient to enable the Fund to satisfy the RIC distribution requirements for avoiding income and excise taxes. A Fund intends to monitor its transactions, intends to make appropriate tax elections, and intends to make appropriate entries in its books and records to mitigate the effect of these rules and preserve the Fund’s qualification for treatment as a RIC. To the extent a
50


Fund invests in an underlying fund that is taxable as a RIC, the rules applicable to the tax treatment of complex securities will also apply to the underlying funds that also invest in such complex securities and investments.
Foreign Investments. Dividends and interest received by a Fund from sources within foreign countries may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by such countries. Tax treaties between certain countries and the U.S. may reduce or eliminate such taxes.
If more than 50% of the value of a Fund’s assets at the close of any taxable year consists of stock or securities of foreign corporations, which for this purpose may include obligations of foreign governmental issuers, the Fund may elect, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, to treat any foreign income or withholding taxes paid by the Fund as paid by its shareholders. For any year that a Fund is eligible for and makes such an election, each shareholder of the Fund will be required to include in income an amount equal to his or her allocable share of qualified foreign income taxes paid by the Fund, and shareholders will be entitled, subject to certain holding period requirements and other limitations, to credit their portions of these amounts against their U.S. federal income tax due, if any, or to deduct their portions from their U.S. taxable income, if any. No deductions for foreign taxes paid by a Fund may be claimed, however, by non-corporate shareholders who do not itemize deductions. No deduction for such taxes will be permitted to individuals in computing their alternative minimum tax liability. Shareholders that are not subject to U.S. federal income tax, and those who invest in a Fund through tax-advantaged accounts (including those who invest through individual retirement accounts or other tax-advantaged retirement plans), generally will receive no benefit from any tax credit or deduction passed through by such Fund. Each Fund does not expect to satisfy the requirements for passing through to its shareholders any share of foreign taxes paid by the Fund, with the result that shareholders will not include such taxes in their gross incomes and will not be entitled to a tax deduction or credit for such taxes on their own tax returns. Foreign taxes paid by a Fund will reduce the return from the Fund’s investments.
If a Fund holds shares in a “passive foreign investment company” (“PFIC”), it may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a portion of any “excess distribution” or gain from the disposition of such shares even if such income is distributed as a taxable dividend by the Fund to its shareholders. Additional charges in the nature of interest may be imposed on a Fund in respect of deferred taxes arising from such distributions or gains.
Each Fund may be eligible to treat a PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” (“QEF”) under the Code in which case, in lieu of the foregoing requirements, the Fund will be required to include in income each year a portion of the ordinary earnings and net capital gains of the qualified electing fund, even if not distributed to the Fund, and such amounts will be subject to the 90% and excise tax distribution requirements described above. To make this election, a Fund would be required to obtain certain annual information from the PFICs in which it invests, which may be difficult or impossible to obtain. Alternatively, a Fund may make a mark-to-market election that will result in such Fund being treated as if it had sold and repurchased its PFIC stock at the end of each year. In such case, a Fund would report any gains resulting from such deemed sales as ordinary income and would deduct any losses resulting from such deemed sales as ordinary losses to the extent of previously recognized gains. The election must be made separately for each PFIC owned by a Fund and, once made, is effective for all subsequent taxable years, unless revoked with the consent of the IRS. By making the election, a Fund could potentially ameliorate the adverse tax consequences with respect to its ownership of shares in a PFIC, but in any particular year may be required to recognize income in excess of the distributions it receives from PFICs and its proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock. A Fund may have to distribute this excess income to satisfy the 90% distribution requirement and to avoid imposition of the 4% excise tax. To distribute this income and avoid a tax at the fund level, a Fund might be required to liquidate portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss. Each Fund intends to make the appropriate tax elections, if possible, and take any additional steps that are necessary to mitigate the effect of these rules. Amounts included in income each year by a Fund arising from a QEF election, will be “qualifying income” under the Qualifying Income Requirement (as described above) even if not distributed to the Fund, if the Fund derives such income from its business of investing in stock, securities or currencies.
Additional Tax Information Concerning REITs. The Funds may invest in entities treated as REITs for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
Investments in REIT equity securities may require a Fund to accrue and distribute income not yet received. To generate sufficient cash to make the requisite distributions, a Fund may be required to sell securities in its portfolio (including when it is not advantageous to do so) that it otherwise would have continued to hold. A Fund’s investments in REIT equity securities may at other times result in a Fund’s receipt of cash in excess of the REIT’s earnings; if a Fund distributes these amounts, these distributions could constitute a return of capital to such Fund’s shareholders for federal income tax purposes. Dividends paid by a REIT, other than capital gain distributions, will be taxable as ordinary income up to the amount of the REIT’s current and accumulated earnings and profits. Capital gain dividends paid by a REIT to a Fund will be treated as long-term capital gains by a Fund and, in turn, may be distributed by a Fund to its shareholders as a capital gain distribution. Dividends received by a Fund from a REIT generally will not constitute qualified dividend income or qualify for the dividends received deduction. If a REIT is operated in a manner such that it fails to qualify as a REIT, an investment in the REIT would become subject to double taxation, meaning the taxable income of the REIT would be subject to federal income tax at the regular corporate rate without any deduction for dividends paid to shareholders and the dividends would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income (or possibly as qualified dividend income) to the extent of the REIT’s current and accumulated earnings and profits.
51


REITs in which a Fund invests often do not provide complete and final tax information to a Fund until after the time that such Fund issues a tax reporting statement. As a result, a Fund may at times find it necessary to reclassify the amount and character of its distributions to you after it issues your tax reporting statement. When such reclassification is necessary, you will be sent a corrected, final Form 1099-DIV to reflect the reclassified information. If you receive a corrected Form 1099-DIV, use the information on this corrected form, and not the information on the previously issued tax reporting statement, in completing your tax returns.
“Qualified REIT dividends” (i.e., ordinary REIT dividends other than capital gain dividends and portions of REIT dividends designated as qualified dividend income eligible for capital gain tax rates) are eligible for a 20% deduction by non-corporate taxpayers. This deduction, if allowed in full, equates to a maximum effective tax rate of 29.6% (37% top rate applied to income after 20% deduction). Distributions by a Fund to its shareholders that are attributable to qualified REIT dividends received by such Fund and which the Fund properly reports as “section 199A dividends,” are treated as “qualified REIT dividends” in the hands of non-corporate shareholders. A section 199A dividend is treated as a qualified REIT dividend only if the shareholder receiving such dividend holds the dividend-paying RIC shares for at least 46 days of the 91-day period beginning 45 days before the shares become ex-dividend, and is not under an obligation to make related payments with respect to a position in substantially similar or related property. A Fund is permitted to report such part of its dividends as section 199A dividends as are eligible, but is not required to do so.
Backup Withholding. Each Fund will be required in certain cases to withhold (as “backup withholding”) on amounts payable to any shareholder who (1) fails to provide a correct taxpayer identification number certified under penalty of perjury; (2) is subject to backup withholding by the IRS for failure to properly report all payments of interest or dividends; (3) fails to provide a certified statement that he or she is not subject to “backup withholding”; or (4) fails to provide a certified statement that he or she is a U.S. person (including a U.S. resident alien). The backup withholding rate is currently 24%. Backup withholding is not an additional tax and any amounts withheld may be credited against the shareholder’s ultimate U.S. tax liability. Backup withholding will not be applied to payments that have been subject to the 30% withholding tax on shareholders who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of the U.S.
Non-U.S. Shareholders. Any non-U.S. investors in a Fund may be subject to U.S. withholding and estate tax and are encouraged to consult their tax advisers prior to investing in the Fund. Foreign shareholders (i.e., nonresident alien individuals and foreign corporations, partnerships, trusts and estates) are generally subject to U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30% (or a lower tax treaty rate) on distributions derived from taxable ordinary income. Each Fund may, under certain circumstances, report all or a portion of a dividend as an “interest-related dividend” or a “short-term capital gain dividend,” which would generally be exempt from this 30% U.S. withholding tax, provided certain other requirements are met. Short-term capital gain dividends received by a nonresident alien individual who is present in the U.S. for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the taxable year are not exempt from this 30% withholding tax. Gains realized by foreign shareholders from the sale or other disposition of Shares generally are not subject to U.S. taxation, unless the recipient is an individual who is physically present in the U.S. for 183 days or more per year. Foreign shareholders who fail to provide an applicable IRS form may be subject to backup withholding on certain payments from a Fund. Backup withholding will not be applied to payments that are subject to the 30% (or lower applicable treaty rate) withholding tax described in this paragraph. Different tax consequences may result if the foreign shareholder is engaged in a trade or business within the United States. In addition, the tax consequences to a foreign shareholder entitled to claim the benefits of a tax treaty may be different than those described above.
Unless certain non-U.S. entities that hold Shares comply with IRS requirements that will generally require them to report information regarding U.S. persons investing in, or holding accounts with, such entities, a 30% withholding tax may apply to Fund distributions payable to such entities. A non-U.S. shareholder may be exempt from the withholding described in this paragraph under an applicable intergovernmental agreement between the U.S. and a foreign government, provided that the shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of the agreement.
For foreign shareholders to qualify for an exemption from backup withholding, described above, the foreign shareholder must comply with special certification and filing requirements. Foreign shareholders in a Fund should consult their tax advisers in this regard.
Tax-Exempt Shareholders. Certain tax-exempt shareholders, including qualified pension plans, IRAs, salary deferral arrangements, 401(k) plans, and other tax-exempt entities, generally are exempt from federal income taxation except with respect to their unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”). Tax-exempt entities are not permitted to offset losses from one unrelated trade or business against the income or gain of another unrelated trade or business. Certain net losses incurred prior to January 1, 2018 are permitted to offset gain and income created by an unrelated trade or business, if otherwise available. Under current law, each Fund generally serves to block UBTI from being realized by its tax-exempt shareholders with respect to their shares of Fund income. However, notwithstanding the foregoing, tax-exempt shareholders could realize UBTI by virtue of their investment in a Fund if, for example, (i) the Fund invests in residual interests of Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (“REMICs”), (ii) the Fund invests in a REIT that is a taxable mortgage pool (“TMP”) or that has a subsidiary that is a TMP or that invests in the residual interest of a REMIC, or (iii) Shares constitute debt-financed property in the hands of the tax-exempt shareholders within the meaning of section 514(b) of the Code. Charitable remainder trusts are subject to special rules and should consult their tax advisers. The IRS has issued guidance with respect to these issues and prospective shareholders, especially charitable remainder trusts, are strongly encouraged to consult with their tax advisers regarding these issues.
52


Certain Potential Tax Reporting Requirements. Under U.S. Treasury regulations, if a shareholder recognizes a loss on disposition of Shares of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder (or certain greater amounts over a combination of years), the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases excepted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a RIC are not excepted. Significant penalties may be imposed for the failure to comply with the reporting requirements. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their tax advisers to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.
Other Issues. In those states which have income tax laws, the tax treatment of a Fund and of Fund shareholders with respect to distributions by the Fund may differ from federal tax treatment.
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The annual report for the Funds for the fiscal year or period ended October 31, 2022 is a separate document and the financial statements and accompanying notes appearing therein are incorporated by reference into this SAI. You may request a copy of the Funds’ Annual Report at no charge by calling 1-800-617-0004 or through the Funds’ website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
ADDITIONAL NOTICES
The S&P 500 Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index, S&P Emerging Markets Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index, and S&P Developed Ex-U.S. Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index (each, an “S&P Index”) are each a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a division of S&P Global, or its affiliates (“SPDJI”), and has been licensed for use by the Adviser. Standard & Poor’s®, S&P®, and S&P 500® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”); Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (“Dow Jones”); and these trademarks have been licensed for use by SPDJI and sublicensed for certain purposes by the Adviser. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. The Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P, any of their respective affiliates (collectively, “S&P Dow Jones Indices”). S&P Dow Jones Indices makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Funds or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Funds particularly. Past performance of an index is not an indication or guarantee of future results. S&P Dow Jones Indices’ only relationship to the Adviser with respect to each S&P Index is the licensing of each S&P Index and certain trademarks, service marks and/or trade names of S&P Dow Jones Indices and/or its licensors. Each S&P Index is determined, composed and calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices without regard to the Adviser or the Funds. S&P Dow Jones Indices has no obligation to take the needs of the Adviser or the owners of the Funds into consideration in determining, composing or calculating each S&P Index. S&P Dow Jones Indices is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the prices, and number of shares of the Funds or the timing of the issuance or sale of shares of the Funds or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which shares of the Funds are to be converted into cash, surrendered or redeemed, as the case may be. S&P Dow Jones Indices has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Funds. There is no assurance that investment products based on each S&P Index will accurately track index performance or provide positive investment returns. S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC is not an investment or tax advisor. A tax advisor should be consulted to evaluate the impact of any tax-exempt securities on portfolios and the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by S&P Dow Jones Indices to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
S&P DOW JONES INDICES DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF EACH S&P INDEX OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO OR ANY COMMUNICATION, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ORAL OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION (INCLUDING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS) WITH RESPECT THERETO. S&P DOW JONES INDICES SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR DELAYS THEREIN. S&P DOW JONES INDICES MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE OR AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY THE ADVISER, OWNERS OF THE FUNDS, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF EACH S&P INDEX OR WITH RESPECT TO ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT WHATSOEVER SHALL S&P DOW JONES INDICES BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OF PROFITS, TRADING LOSSES, LOST TIME OR GOODWILL, EVEN IF THEY HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE. THERE ARE NO THIRD-PARTY BENEFICIARIES OF ANY AGREEMENTS OR ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN S&P DOW JONES INDICES AND THE ADVISER, OTHER THAN THE LICENSORS OF S&P DOW JONES INDICES.
Source ICE Data Indices, LLC (“ICE Data”), is used with permission. “ICESM/®” is a service/trade mark of ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates and has been licensed, along with the ICE 0-5 Year Duration Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index (“Index”) for use by the Adviser in connection with the Fund. Neither the Adviser, ETF Series Solutions (the “Trust”), nor the Fund,
53


as applicable, is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by ICE Data Indices, LLC, its affiliates or its Third Party Suppliers (“ICE Data and its Suppliers”). ICE Data and its Suppliers make no representations or warranties regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally, in the Fund particularly, the Trust or the ability of the Index to track general stock market performance. ICE Data’s only relationship to the Adviser is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names and the Index or components thereof. The Index is determined, composed and calculated by ICE Data without regard to the Adviser or the Fund or its holders. ICE Data has no obligation to take the needs of the Adviser or the holders of the Fund into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Index. ICE Data is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of the Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Fund is to be priced, sold, purchased, or redeemed. Except for certain custom index calculation services, all information provided by ICE Data is general in nature and not tailored to the needs of the Adviser or any other person, entity or group of persons. ICE Data has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing, or trading of the Fund. ICE Data is not an investment advisor. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by ICE Data to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
ICE DATA AND ITS SUPPLIERS DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS AND/OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE, INCLUDING THE INDICES, INDEX DATA AND ANY INFORMATION INCLUDED IN, RELATED TO, OR DERIVED THEREFROM (“INDEX DATA”). ICE DATA AND ITS SUPPLIERS SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS OR COMPLETENESS OF THE INDICES AND THE INDEX DATA, WHICH ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” BASIS AND YOUR USE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
54


APPENDIX A

A-1

United States































ck0001540305-20221031_g7.jpg
2023 Policy Guidelines


www.glasslewis.com


ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg

Table of Contents
About Glass Lewis    6
Guidelines Introduction    7
Summary of Changes for 2023    7
A Board of Directors that Serves Shareholder Interest    12
Election of Directors    12
Independence    12
Committee Independence    15
Independent Chair    16
Performance    17
Board Responsiveness    18
The Role of a Committee Chair    19
Audit Committees and Performance    20
Standards for Assessing the Audit Committee    20
Compensation Committee Performance    23
Nominating and Governance Committee Performance    25
Board-level Risk Management Oversight    28
Board Oversight of Environmental and Social Issues    29
Cyber Risk Oversight    30
Board Accountability for Environmental and Social Performance    30
Director Commitments    31
Other Considerations    32
Controlled Companies    33
Significant Shareholders    35
Governance Following an IPO, Spin-off, or Direct Listing    35
Governance Following a Business Combination with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company    36
Dual-Listed or Foreign-Incorporated Companies    37
OTC-listed Companies    37
Mutual Fund Boards    38
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
2

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
Declassified Boards    39
Board Composition and Refreshment    40
Board Diversity    41
State Laws on Gender Diversity    41
Board Underrepresented Community Diversity    41
State Laws on Diversity    42
Disclosure of Director Diversity and Skills    42
Stock Exchange Diversity Disclosure Requirements    43
Proxy Access    43
Majority Vote for Election of Directors    44
The Plurality Vote Standard    44
Advantages of a Majority Vote Standard    44
Conflicting and Excluded Proposals    44
Transparency and Integrity in Financial Reporting    47
Auditor Ratification    47
Voting Recommendations on Auditor Ratification    48
Pension Accounting Issues    49
The Link Between Compensation and Performance    50
Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Say-on-Pay)    50
Say-on-Pay Voting Recommendations    51
Company Responsiveness    52
Pay for Performance    53
Short-Term Incentives    54
Long-Term Incentives    55
Grants of Front-Loaded Awards    56
Linking Executive Pay to Environmental and Social Criteria    57
One-Time Awards    58
Contractual Payments and Arrangements    59
Sign-on Awards and Severance Benefits    59
Change in Control    58
Excise Tax Gross-ups    60
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
3

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
Amended Employment Agreements    60
Recoupment Provisions (Clawbacks)    60
Hedging of Stock    60
Pledging of Stock    61
Compensation Consultant Independence    61
CEO Pay Ratio    62
Frequency of Say-on-Pay    63
Vote on Golden Parachute Arrangements    63
Equity-Based Compensation Plan Proposals    63
Option Exchanges and Repricing    65
Option Backdating, Spring-Loading and Bullet-Dodging    65
Director Compensation Plans    67
Employee Stock Purchase Plans    67
Executive Compensation Tax Deductibility — Amendment to IRC 162(M)    67
Governance Structure and the Shareholder Franchise    69
Anti-Takeover Measures    69
Poison Pills (Shareholder Rights Plans)    69
NOL Poison Pills    69
Fair Price Provisions    70
Quorum Requirements    71
Director and Officer Indemnification    71
Officer Exculpation    71
Reincorporation    72
Exclusive Forum and Fee-Shifting Bylaw Provisions    73
Authorized Shares    73
Advance Notice Requirements    74
Virtual Shareholder Meetings    75
Voting Structure    76
Multi-Class Share Structures    76
Cumulative Voting    76
Supermajority Vote Requirements    77
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
4

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
Transaction of Other Business    77
Anti-Greenmail Proposals    78
Mutual Funds: Investment Policies and Advisory Agreements    78
Real Estate Investment Trusts    78
Preferred Stock Issuances at REITs    79
Business Development Companies    79
Authorization to Sell Shares at a Price Below Net Asset Value    79
Auditor Ratification and Below-NAV Issuances    80
Special Purpose Acquisition Companies    80
Extension of Business Combination Deadline    80
SPAC Board Independence    81
Director Commitments of SPAC Executives    81
Shareholder Proposals    81
Overall Approach to Environmental, Social & Governance Issues    82
Connect with Glass Lewis    84
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
5

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
About Glass Lewis
Glass Lewis is the world’s choice for governance solutions. We enable institutional investors and publicly listed companies to make sustainable decisions based on research and data. We cover 30,000+ meetings each year, across approximately 100 global markets. Our team has been providing in-depth analysis of companies since 2003, relying solely on publicly available information to inform its policies, research, and voting recommendations.
Our customers include the majority of the world’s largest pension plans, mutual funds, and asset
managers, collectively managing over $40 trillion in assets. We have teams located across the United States,
Europe, and Asia-Pacific giving us global reach with a local perspective on the important governance issues.
Investors around the world depend on Glass Lewis’ Viewpoint platform to manage their proxy voting, policy implementation, recordkeeping, and reporting. Our industry leading Proxy Paper product provides comprehensive environmental, social, and governance research and voting recommendations weeks ahead of voting deadlines. Public companies can also use our innovative Report Feedback Statement to deliver their opinion on our proxy research directly to the voting decision makers at every investor client in time for voting decisions to be made or changed.
The research team engages extensively with public companies, investors, regulators, and other industry stakeholders to gain relevant context into the realities surrounding companies, sectors, and the market in general. This enables us to provide the most comprehensive and pragmatic insights to our customers.







ck0001540305-20221031_g9.jpg
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
6

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg

Guidelines Introduction
Summary of Changes for 2023
Glass Lewis evaluates these guidelines on an ongoing basis and formally updates them on an annual basis. This year we’ve made noteworthy revisions in the following areas, which are summarized below but discussed in greater detail in the relevant section of this document:
Update: 15 December 2022. We have clarified on pages 8 and 42 that we will generally recommend against a nominating and governance committee chair at companies in the Russell 1000 index if the company has not provided any disclosure of director diversity and skills in any of our tracked categories, rather than any disclosure in each category.
Board Diversity
Gender Diversity
We are transitioning from a fixed numerical approach to a percentage-based approach for board gender diversity, as announced in 2022.
Beginning with shareholder meetings held after January 1, 2023, we will generally recommend against the chair of the nominating committee of a board that is not at least 30 percent gender diverse at companies within the Russell 3000 index. For companies outside the Russell 3000 index, our existing policy requiring a minimum of one gender diverse director will remain in place.
Additionally, when making these voting recommendations, we will carefully review a company’s disclosure of its diversity considerations and may refrain from recommending that shareholders vote against directors when boards have provided a sufficient rationale or plan to address the lack of diversity on the board, including a timeline to appoint additional gender diverse directors (generally by the next annual meeting).
Underrepresented Community Diversity
We have expanded our policy on measures of diversity beyond gender. Beginning in 2023, we will generally recommend against the chair of the nominating committee of a board with fewer than one director from an underrepresented community on the board at companies within the Russell 1000 index.
We define “underrepresented community” as an individual who self-identifies as Black, African American, North African, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaskan Native, or who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. For the purposes of this evaluation, we will rely solely on self-identified demographic information as disclosed in company proxy statements.
Additionally, when making these voting recommendations we will carefully review a company’s disclosure of its diversity considerations, and may refrain from recommending that shareholders vote against directors when boards have provided a sufficient rationale or plan to address the lack of diversity on the board, including a

2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
7

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
timeline to appoint additional directors from an underrepresented community (generally by the next annual meeting).
State Laws on Diversity
We have revised our discussion regarding state laws on diversity following recent changes to the status of certain state laws. Over the past several years, some U.S. states have encouraged board diversity through legislation. Most notably, companies headquartered in California were subject to mandatory board composition requirements during early 2022.
Subsequently, California’s Senate Bill 826 and Assembly Bill 979 regarding board gender and “underrepresented community” diversity, respectively, were both deemed to violate the equal protection clause of the California state constitution. These laws are currently in the appeals process.
Accordingly, where we previously recommended in accordance with mandatory board composition requirements set forth in California’s SB 826 and AB 979, we will refrain from providing recommendations pursuant to these state board composition requirements until further notice while we continue to monitor the appeals process. However, we will continue to monitor compliance with these requirements.
Disclosure of Director Diversity and Skills
We have revised our discussion on disclosure of director diversity and skills in company proxy statements. At companies in the Russell 1000 index that have not provided any disclosure in any of our tracked categories, we will generally recommend voting against the chair of the nominating and/or governance committee.
Additionally, beginning in 2023, when companies in the Russell 1000 index have not provided any disclosure of individual or aggregate racial/ethnic minority demographic information, we will generally recommend voting against the chair of the governance committee.
Board Oversight of Environmental and Social Issues
We have updated our guidelines with respect to board-level oversight of environmental and social (E&S) issues. For shareholder meetings held after January 1, 2023, we will generally recommend voting against the governance committee chair of a company in the Russell 1000 index that fails to provide explicit disclosure concerning the board’s role in overseeing environmental and social issues. While we believe that it is important that these issues are overseen at the board level and that shareholders are afforded meaningful disclosure of these oversight responsibilities, we believe that companies should determine the best structure for this oversight. In our view, this oversight can be effectively conducted by specific directors, the entire board, a separate committee, or combined with the responsibilities of a key committee. Furthermore, beginning in 2023 we will expand our tracking of board-level oversight of environmental and social issues to all companies within the Russell 3000 index.
When evaluating a board’s role in overseeing environmental and social issues, we will examine a company’s proxy statement and governing documents (such as committee charters) to determine if directors maintain a meaningful level of oversight and accountability for a company’s material environmental and social risks.
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
8

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
Director Commitments
We have revised our discussion of director commitments. We have clarified that we will generally recommend that shareholders vote against a director who serves as an executive officer (other than executive chair) of any public company while serving on more than one external public company board, a director who serves as an executive chair of any public company while serving on more than two external public company boards, and any other director who serves on more than five public company boards.
Cyber Risk Oversight
We have included a new discussion on our approach to cyber risk oversight. Given current regulatory focus on and the potential adverse outcomes from cyber-related issues, it is our view that cyber risk is material for all companies. We, therefore, believe that it is critical that companies evaluate and mitigate these risks to the greatest extent possible. With that view, we encourage all issuers to provide clear disclosure concerning the role of the board in overseeing issues related to cybersecurity. We also believe that disclosure concerning how companies are ensuring directors are fully versed on this rapidly evolving and dynamic issue can help shareholders understand the seriousness with which companies take this issue.
We will generally not make recommendations on the basis of a company’s oversight or disclosure concerning cyber-related issues. However, we will closely evaluate a company’s disclosure in this regard in instances where cyber-attacks have caused significant harm to shareholders and may recommend against appropriate directors should we find such disclosure or oversight to be insufficient.
Board Accountability for Climate-related Issues
We have included a new discussion on director accountability for climate-related issues. In particular, we believe that clear and comprehensive disclosure regarding climate risks, including how they are being mitigated and overseen, should be provided by those companies whose own GHG emissions represent a financially material risk, such as those companies identified by groups including Climate Action 100+.
Accordingly, for companies with material exposure to climate risk stemming from their own operations, we believe they should provide thorough climate-related disclosures in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”). We also believe the boards of these companies should have explicit and clearly defined oversight responsibilities for climate-related issues. As such, in instances where we find either of these disclosures to be absent or significantly lacking, we may recommend voting against responsible directors.
Officer Exculpation
We have included a new section regarding officer exculpation. In August 2022, the Delaware General Assembly amended Section 102(b)(7) of the Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”) to authorize corporations to adopt a provision in their certificate of incorporation to eliminate or limit monetary liability of certain corporate officers for breach of fiduciary duty of care. The amendment authorizes corporations to provide for exculpation of the following officers: (i) the corporation’s president, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief legal officer, controller, treasurer or chief accounting officer, (ii) “named executive
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
9

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
officers” identified in the corporation’s SEC filings, and (iii) individuals who have agreed to be identified as officers of the corporation.
Corporate exculpation provisions under the DGCL apply only to claims for breach of the duty of care, and not to breaches of the duty of loyalty. Exculpation provisions also do not apply to acts or omissions not in good faith or that involve intentional misconduct, knowing violations of the law, or transactions involving the receipt of any improper personal benefits. Furthermore, officers may not be exculpated from claims brought against them by, or in the right of, the corporation (i.e., derivative actions).
Under Section 102(b)(7), a corporation must affirmatively elect to include an exculpation provision in its certificate of incorporation. We will closely evaluate proposals to adopt officer exculpation provisions on a case-by-case basis. We will generally recommend voting against such proposals eliminating monetary liability for breaches of the duty of care for certain corporate officers, unless compelling rationale for the adoption is provided by the board, and the provisions are reasonable.
Long-Term Incentives
We revised our threshold for the minimum percentage of the long-term incentive grant that should be performance-based from 33% to 50%, in line with market trends. Beginning in 2023, Glass Lewis will raise concerns in our analysis with executive pay programs that provide less than half of an executive’s long-term incentive awards that are subject to performance-based vesting conditions. As with past year, we may refrain from a negative recommendation in the absence of other significant issues with the program’s design or operation, but a negative trajectory in the allocation amount may lead to an unfavorable recommendation.
Clarifying Amendments
The following clarifications of our existing policies are included this year:
Board Responsiveness
We have clarified our discussion of board responsiveness. Specifically, we have clarified that when 20% or more of shareholders vote contrary to management, we believe that boards should engage with shareholders and demonstrate some initial level of responsiveness. When a majority or more of shareholders vote contrary to management, we believe that boards should engage with shareholders and provide a more robust response to fully address shareholder concerns. Furthermore, we have clarified our approach at controlled companies and companies that have multi-class share structures with unequal voting rights, where we will carefully examine the level of disapproval attributable to unaffiliated shareholders and will generally evaluate vote results on a “one share, one vote” basis.
Compensation Committee Performance
We have clarified our approach when certain outsized awards (so called “mega-grants”) have been granted and the awards present concerns such as excessive quantum, lack of sufficient performance conditions, and/or are
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
10

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
excessively dilutive, among others. We will generally recommend against the chair of the compensation committee when such outsized awards have been granted and include any of the aforementioned concerns.
Company Responsiveness (for Say-on-Pay Analysis)
With regard to our discussion of company responsiveness, we have clarified that we will also scrutinize high levels of disapproval from disinterested shareholders when assessing the support levels for previous years' say-on-pay votes. When evaluating a company's response to low support levels, we also expanded our discussion of what we consider robust disclosure, including discussion of rationale for not implementing change to pay decisions that drove low support and intentions going forward.
One-Time Awards
We have expanded our discussion regarding what we consider reasonable disclosure in terms of one-time awards. Specifically, we have included that we expect discussion surrounding the determination of quantum and structure for such awards.
Grants of Front-Loaded Awards
Adding to our discussion relating to front-loaded awards, we have included language touching on the topic of the rise in the use of "mega-grants". Furthermore, we expanded on our concerns regarding the increased restraint placed upon the board to respond to unforeseen factors when front-loaded awards are used. Finally, we provided clarification surrounding situations where front-loaded awards are intended to cover only the time-based or performance-based portion of an executive's long-term incentive awards.
Pay for Performance
We included mention of the new pay versus performance disclosure requirements announced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in August of 2022. In our revised discussion of our Pay-for-Performance methodology, we have made clear that the methodology is not impacted by new rules. There is no change to the methodology for the 2023 Proxy Season. However, we note that the disclosure requirements from the new rule may be reviewed in our evaluation of executive pay programs on a qualitative basis.
Short- and Long-Term Incentives
We have added new discussion to codify our views on certain exercise of compensation committee discretion on incentive payouts. Glass Lewis recognizes the importance of the compensation committee’s judicious and responsible exercise of discretion over incentive pay outcomes to account for significant events that would otherwise be excluded from performance results of selected metrics of incentive programs. We believe that companies should provide thorough discussion of how such events were considered in the committee’s decisions to exercise discretion or refrain from applying discretion over incentive pay outcomes.
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
11

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
Recoupment Provisions
We have revised our discussion on clawback policies to reflect new regulatory developments for exchange-listed companies. On October 26, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved final rules regarding clawback policies based on which the national exchanges are to create new listing requirements. During period between the announcement of the final rules and the effective date of listing requirements, Glass Lewis will continue to raise concerns for companies that maintain clawback policies that only meet the requirements set forth by Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. However, disclosure from such companies of early effort to meet the standards of the final rules may help to mitigate concerns.
A Board of Directors that Serves
Shareholder Interest
Election of Directors
The purpose of Glass Lewis’ proxy research and advice is to facilitate shareholder voting in favor of governance structures that will drive performance, create shareholder value and maintain a proper tone at the top. Glass Lewis looks for talented boards with a record of protecting shareholders and delivering value over the medium- and long-term. We believe that a board can best protect and enhance the interests of shareholders if it is sufficiently independent, has a record of positive performance, and consists of individuals with diverse backgrounds and a breadth and depth of relevant experience.

Independence
The independence of directors, or lack thereof, is ultimately demonstrated through the decisions they make. In assessing the independence of directors, we will take into consideration, when appropriate, whether a director has a track record indicative of making objective decisions. Likewise, when assessing the independence of directors we will also examine when a director’s track record on multiple boards indicates a lack of objective decision-making. Ultimately, we believe the determination of whether a director is independent or not must take into consideration both compliance with the applicable independence listing requirements as well as judgments made by the director.
We look at each director nominee to examine the director’s relationships with the company, the company’s executives, and other directors. We do this to evaluate whether personal, familial, or financial relationships (not including director compensation) may impact the director’s decisions. We believe that such relationships make it difficult for a director to put shareholders’ interests above the director’s or the related party’s interests. We also believe that a director who owns more than 20% of a company can exert disproportionate influence on the board, and therefore believe such a director’s independence may be hampered, in particular when serving on the audit committee.
Thus, we put directors into three categories based on an examination of the type of relationship they have with the company:
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
12

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
Independent Director — An independent director has no material financial, familial or other current relationships with the company, its executives, or other board members, except for board service and standard fees paid for that service. Relationships that existed within three to five years1 before the inquiry are usually considered “current” for purposes of this test. For material financial relationships with the company, we apply a three-year look back, and for former employment relationships with the company, we apply a five-year look back.
Affiliated Director — An affiliated director has, (or within the past three years, had) a material financial, familial or other relationship with the company or its executives, but is not an employee of the company.2 This includes directors whose employers have a material financial relationship with the company.3 In addition, we view a director who either owns or controls 20% or more of the company’s voting stock, or is an employee or affiliate of an entity that controls such amount, as an affiliate.4
We view 20% shareholders as affiliates because they typically have access to and involvement with the management of a company that is fundamentally different from that of ordinary shareholders. More importantly, 20% holders may have interests that diverge from those of ordinary holders, for reasons such as the liquidity (or lack thereof) of their holdings, personal tax issues, etc.
Glass Lewis applies a three-year look back period to all directors who have an affiliation with the company other than former employment, for which we apply a five-year look back.
Definition of “Material”: A material relationship is one in which the dollar value exceeds:
$50,000 (or where no amount is disclosed) for directors who are paid for a service they have agreed to perform for the company, outside of their service as a director, including professional or other services. This threshold also applies to directors who are the majority or principal owner of a firm that receives such payments; or
$120,000 (or where no amount is disclosed) for those directors employed by a professional services firm such as a law firm, investment bank, or consulting firm and the company pays the firm, not the

1 NASDAQ originally proposed a five-year look-back period but both it and the NYSE ultimately settled on a three-year look- back prior to finalizing their rules. A five-year standard for former employment relationships is more appropriate, in our view, because we believe that the unwinding of conflicting relationships between former management and board members is more likely to be complete and final after five years. However, Glass Lewis does not apply the five-year look-back period to directors who have previously served as executives of the company on an interim basis for less than one year.
2 If a company does not consider a non-employee director to be independent, Glass Lewis will classify that director as an affiliate.
3 We allow a five-year grace period for former executives of the company or merged companies who have consulting agreements with the surviving company. (We do not automatically recommend voting against directors in such cases for the first five years.) If the consulting agreement persists after this five-year grace period, we apply the materiality thresholds outlined in the definition of “material.”
4 This includes a director who serves on a board as a representative (as part of his or her basic responsibilities) of an investment firm with greater than 20% ownership. However, while we will generally consider him/her to be affiliated, we will not recommend voting against unless (i) the investment firm has disproportionate board representation or (ii) the director serves on the audit committee.

2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
13

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
individual, for services.5 This dollar limit would also apply to charitable contributions to schools where a board member is a professor; or charities where a director serves on the board or is an executive;6 and any aircraft and real estate dealings between the company and the director’s firm; or
1% of either company’s consolidated gross revenue for other business relationships (e.g., where the director is an executive officer of a company that provides services or products to or receives services or products from the company).7
Definition of “Familial” — Familial relationships include a person’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and anyone (other than domestic employees) who shares such person’s home. A director is an affiliate if: i) he or she has a family member who is employed by the company and receives more than $120,000 in annual compensation; or, ii) he or she has a family member who is employed by the company and the company does not disclose this individual’s compensation.
Definition of “Company” — A company includes any parent or subsidiary in a group with the company or any entity that merged with, was acquired by, or acquired the company.
Inside Director — An inside director simultaneously serves as a director and as an employee of the company. This category may include a board chair who acts as an employee of the company or is paid as an employee of the company. In our view, an inside director who derives a greater amount of income as a result of affiliated transactions with the company rather than through compensation paid by the company (i.e., salary, bonus, etc. as a company employee) faces a conflict between making decisions that are in the best interests of the company versus those in the director’s own best interests.
Therefore, we will recommend voting against such a director.
Additionally, we believe a director who is currently serving in an interim management position should be considered an insider, while a director who previously served in an interim management position for less than one year and is no longer serving in such capacity is considered independent. Moreover, a director who previously served in an interim management position for over one year and is no longer serving in such capacity is considered an affiliate for five years following the date of the director’s resignation or departure from the interim management position.



5 We may deem such a transaction to be immaterial where the amount represents less than 1% of the firm’s annual revenues and the board provides a compelling rationale as to why the director’s independence is not affected by the relationship.
6 We will generally take into consideration the size and nature of such charitable entities in relation to the company’s size and industry along with any other relevant factors such as the director’s role at the charity. However, unlike for other types of related party transactions, Glass Lewis generally does not apply a look-back period to affiliated relationships involving charitable contributions; if the relationship between the director and the school or charity ceases, or if the company discontinues its donations to the entity, we will consider the director to be independent.
7 This includes cases where a director is employed by, or closely affiliated with, a private equity firm that profits from an acquisition made by the company. Unless disclosure suggests otherwise, we presume the director is affiliated.
8 Pursuant to SEC rule Item 404 of Regulation S-K under the Securities Exchange Act, compensation exceeding $120,000 is the minimum threshold deemed material for disclosure of transactions involving family members of directors.
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
14

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
Voting Recommendations on the Basis of Board Independence
Glass Lewis believes a board will be most effective in protecting shareholders’ interests if it is at least two-thirds independent. We note that each of the Business Roundtable, the Conference Board, and the Council of Institutional Investors advocates that two-thirds of the board be independent. Where more than one-third of the members are affiliated or inside directors, we typically8 recommend voting against some of the inside and/or affiliated directors in order to satisfy the two-thirds threshold.
In the case of a less than two-thirds independent board, Glass Lewis strongly supports the existence of a presiding or lead director with authority to set the meeting agendas and to lead sessions outside the insider chair’s presence.
In addition, we scrutinize avowedly “independent” chairs and lead directors. We believe that they should be unquestionably independent or the company should not tout them as such.

Committee Independence
We believe that only independent directors should serve on a company’s audit, compensation, nominating, and governance committees.9 We typically recommend that shareholders vote against any affiliated or inside director seeking appointment to an audit, compensation, nominating, or governance committee, or who has served in that capacity in the past year.
Pursuant to Section 952 of the Dodd-Frank Act, as of January 11, 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved new listing requirements for both the NYSE and NASDAQ which require that boards apply enhanced standards of independence when making an affirmative determination of the independence of compensation committee members. Specifically, when making this determination, in addition to the factors considered when assessing general director independence, the board’s considerations must include: (i) the source of compensation of the director, including any consulting, advisory or other compensatory fee paid by the listed company to the director (the “Fees Factor”); and (ii) whether the director is affiliated with the listing company, its subsidiaries, or affiliates of its subsidiaries (the “Affiliation Factor”).
Glass Lewis believes it is important for boards to consider these enhanced independence factors when assessing compensation committee members. However, as discussed above in the section titled Independence, we apply our own standards when assessing the independence of directors, and these standards also take into account consulting and advisory fees paid to the director, as well as the director’s affiliations with the company and its subsidiaries and affiliates. We may recommend voting against compensation committee members who are not independent based on our standards.



8 With a staggered board, if the affiliates or insiders that we believe should not be on the board are not up for election, we will express our concern regarding those directors, but we will not recommend voting against the other affiliates or insiders who are up for election just to achieve two-thirds independence. However, we will consider recommending voting against the directors subject to our concern at their next election if the issue giving rise to the concern is not resolved.
9 We will recommend voting against an audit committee member who owns 20% or more of the company’s stock, and we believe that there should be a maximum of one director (or no directors if the committee is composed of less than three directors) who owns 20% or more of the company’s stock on the compensation, nominating, and governance committees.
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
15

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
Independent Chair
Glass Lewis believes that separating the roles of CEO (or, more rarely, another executive position) and chair creates a better governance structure than a combined CEO/chair position. An executive manages the business according to a course the board charts. Executives should report to the board regarding their performance in achieving goals set by the board. This is needlessly complicated when a CEO chairs the board, since a CEO/chair presumably will have a significant influence over the board.
While many companies have an independent lead or presiding director who performs many of the same functions of an independent chair (e.g., setting the board meeting agenda), we do not believe this alternate form of independent board leadership provides as robust protection for shareholders as an independent chair.
It can become difficult for a board to fulfill its role of overseer and policy setter when a CEO/chair controls the agenda and the boardroom discussion. Such control can allow a CEO to have an entrenched position, leading to longer-than-optimal terms, fewer checks on management, less scrutiny of the business operation, and limitations on independent, shareholder-focused goal-setting by the board.
A CEO should set the strategic course for the company, with the board’s approval, and the board should enable the CEO to carry out the CEO’s vision for accomplishing the board’s objectives. Failure to achieve the board’s objectives should lead the board to replace that CEO with someone in whom the board has confidence.
Likewise, an independent chair can better oversee executives and set a pro-shareholder agenda without the management conflicts that a CEO and other executive insiders often face. Such oversight and concern for shareholders allows for a more proactive and effective board of directors that is better able to look out for the interests of shareholders.
Further, it is the board’s responsibility to select a chief executive who can best serve a company and its shareholders and to replace this person when his or her duties have not been appropriately fulfilled. Such a replacement becomes more difficult and happens less frequently when the chief executive is also in the position of overseeing the board.
Glass Lewis believes that the installation of an independent chair is almost always a positive step from a corporate governance perspective and promotes the best interests of shareholders. Further, the presence of an independent chair fosters the creation of a thoughtful and dynamic board, not dominated by the views of senior management. Encouragingly, many companies appear to be moving in this direction — one study indicates that only 10 percent of incoming CEOs in 2014 were awarded the chair title, versus 48 percent in 2002.10 Another study finds that 53 percent of S&P 500 boards now separate the CEO and chair roles, up from 37 percent in 2009, although the same study found that only 34 percent of S&P 500 boards have truly independent chairs.11
We do not recommend that shareholders vote against CEOs who chair the board. However, we typically recommend that our clients support separating the roles of chair and CEO whenever that question is posed in a

10 Ken Favaro, Per-Ola Karlsson and Gary L. Nelson. “The $112 Billion CEO Succession Problem.” (Strategy+Business, Issue 79, Summer 2015).
11 Spencer Stuart Board Index, 2019, p. 6.
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
16

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
proxy (typically in the form of a shareholder proposal), as we believe that it is in the long-term best interests of the company and its shareholders.
Further, where the company has neither an independent chair nor independent lead director, we will recommend voting against the chair of the governance committee.
Performance
The most crucial test of a board’s commitment to the company and its shareholders lies in the actions of the board and its members. We look at the performance of these individuals as directors and executives of the company and of other companies where they have served.
We find that a director’s past conduct is often indicative of future conduct and performance. We often find directors with a history of overpaying executives or of serving on boards where avoidable disasters have occurred serving on the boards of companies with similar problems. Glass Lewis has a proprietary database of directors serving at over 8,000 of the most widely held U.S. companies. We use this database to track the performance of directors across companies.
Voting Recommendations on the Basis of Performance
We typically recommend that shareholders vote against directors who have served on boards or as executives of companies with records of poor performance, inadequate risk oversight, excessive compensation, audit- or accounting-related issues, and/or other indicators of mismanagement or actions against the interests of shareholders. We will reevaluate such directors based on, among other factors, the length of time passed since the incident giving rise to the concern, shareholder support for the director, the severity of the issue, the director’s role (e.g., committee membership), director tenure at the subject company, whether ethical lapses accompanied the oversight lapse, and evidence of strong oversight at other companies.
Likewise, we examine the backgrounds of those who serve on key board committees to ensure that they have the required skills and diverse backgrounds to make informed judgments about the subject matter for which the committee is responsible.
We believe shareholders should avoid electing directors who have a record of not fulfilling their responsibilities to shareholders at any company where they have held a board or executive position. We typically recommend voting against:
1.A director who fails to attend a minimum of 75% of board and applicable committee meetings,
calculated in the aggregate.12
2.A director who belatedly filed a significant form(s) 4 or 5, or who has a pattern of late filings if the late
filing was the director’s fault (we look at these late filing situations on a case-by-case basis).
3.A director who is also the CEO of a company where a serious and material restatement has occurred after the CEO had previously certified the pre-restatement financial statements.


12 However, where a director has served for less than one full year, we will typically not recommend voting against for failure to attend 75% of meetings. Rather, we will note the poor attendance with a recommendation to track this issue going forward. We will also refrain from recommending to vote against directors when the proxy discloses that the director missed the meetings due to serious illness or other extenuating circumstances.
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
17

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
4.A director who has received two against recommendations from Glass Lewis for identical reasons within the prior year at different companies (the same situation must also apply at the company being analyzed).
Furthermore, with consideration given to the company’s overall corporate governance, pay-for-performance alignment and board responsiveness to shareholders, we may recommend voting against directors who served throughout a period in which the company performed significantly worse than peers and the directors have not taken reasonable steps to address the poor performance.
Board Responsiveness
Glass Lewis believes that boards should be responsive to shareholders when a significant percentage of shareholders vote contrary to the recommendation of management, depending on the issue.
When 20% of more of shareholders vote contrary to management, we believe that boards should engage with shareholders on the issue and demonstrate some initial level of responsiveness. These include instances when 20% or more of shareholders:
(i)    withhold votes from (or vote against) a director nominee;
(ii)    vote against a management-sponsored proposal; or
(iii)    vote for a shareholder proposal.
In our view, a 20% threshold is significant enough to warrant a close examination of the underlying issues and an evaluation of whether the board responded appropriately following the vote, particularly in the case of a compensation or director election proposal. While the 20% threshold alone will not automatically generate a negative vote recommendation from Glass Lewis on a future proposal (e.g., to recommend against a director nominee, against a say-on-pay proposal, etc.), it may be a contributing factor to our recommendation to vote against management’s recommendation in the event we determine that the board did not respond appropriately.
When a majority of shareholders vote contrary to management, we believe that boards should engage with shareholders on the issue and provide a more robust response to fully address shareholder concerns. These include instances when a majority or more of shareholders:
(i)    withhold votes from (or vote against) a director nominee;
(ii)    vote against a management-sponsored proposal; or
(iii)    vote for a shareholder proposal.
In the case of shareholder proposals, we believe clear action is warranted when such proposals receive support from a majority of votes cast (excluding abstentions and broker non-votes). In our view, this may include fully implementing the request of the shareholder proposal and/or engaging with shareholders on the issue and providing sufficient disclosures to address shareholder concerns.
At controlled companies and companies that have multi-class share structures with unequal voting rights, we will carefully examine the level of approval or disapproval attributed to unaffiliated shareholders when determining whether board responsiveness is warranted. In the case of companies that have multi-class share structures with unequal voting rights, we will generally examine the level of approval or disapproval attributed
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
18

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
to unaffiliated shareholders on a “one share, one vote” basis. At controlled and multi-class companies, when at least 20% or more of unaffiliated shareholders vote contrary to management, we believe that boards should engage with shareholders and demonstrate some initial level of responsiveness, and when a majority or more of unaffiliated shareholders vote contrary to management, we believe that boards should engage with shareholders and provide a more robust response to address shareholder concerns.
As a general framework, our evaluation of board responsiveness involves a review of publicly available disclosures (e.g., the proxy statement, annual report, 8-Ks, company website, etc.) released following the date of the company’s last annual meeting up through the publication date of our most current Proxy Paper. Depending on the specific issue, our focus typically includes, but is not limited to, the following:
At the board level, any changes in directorships, committee memberships, disclosure of related party transactions, meeting attendance, or other responsibilities;
Any revisions made to the company’s articles of incorporation, bylaws or other governance documents;
Any press or news releases indicating changes in, or the adoption of, new company policies, business practices or special reports; and
Any modifications made to the design and structure of the company’s compensation program, as well as an assessment of the company’s engagement with shareholders on compensation issues as discussed in the Compensation Discussion & Analysis (CD&A), particularly following a material vote against a company’s say-on-pay.
Proxy statement disclosure discussing the board’s efforts to engage with shareholders and the actions taken to address shareholder concerns.
Our Proxy Paper analysis will include a case-by-case assessment of the specific elements of board responsiveness that we examined along with an explanation of how that assessment impacts our current voting recommendations.
The Role of a Committee Chair
Glass Lewis believes that a designated committee chair maintains primary responsibility for the actions of his or her respective committee. As such, many of our committee-specific voting recommendations are against the applicable committee chair rather than the entire committee (depending on the seriousness of the issue). In cases where the committee chair is not up for election due to a staggered board, and where we have identified multiple concerns, we will generally recommend voting against other members of the committee who are up for election, on a case-by-case basis.
In cases where we would ordinarily recommend voting against a committee chair but the chair is not specified, we apply the following general rules, which apply throughout our guidelines:
If there is no committee chair, we recommend voting against the longest-serving committee member or, if the longest-serving committee member cannot be determined, the longest-serving board member serving on the committee (i.e., in either case, the “senior director”); and
If there is no committee chair, but multiple senior directors serving on the committee, we recommend voting against both (or all) such senior directors.

2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
19

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
In our view, companies should provide clear disclosure of which director is charged with overseeing each committee. In cases where that simple framework is ignored and a reasonable analysis cannot determine which committee member is the designated leader, we believe shareholder action against the longest serving committee member(s) is warranted. Again, this only applies if we would ordinarily recommend voting against the committee chair but there is either no such position or no designated director in such role.
Audit Committees and Performance
Audit committees play an integral role in overseeing the financial reporting process because stable capital markets depend on reliable, transparent, and objective financial information to support an efficient and effective capital market process. Audit committees play a vital role in providing this disclosure to shareholders.
When assessing an audit committee’s performance, we are aware that an audit committee does not prepare financial statements, is not responsible for making the key judgments and assumptions that affect the financial statements, and does not audit the numbers or the disclosures provided to investors. Rather, an audit committee member monitors and oversees the process and procedures that management and auditors perform. The 1999 Report and Recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Improving the Effectiveness of Corporate Audit Committees stated it best:
A proper and well-functioning system exists, therefore, when the three main groups responsible for financial reporting — the full board including the audit committee, financial management including the internal auditors, and the outside auditors — form a ‘three legged stool’ that supports responsible financial disclosure and active participatory oversight. However, in the view of the Committee, the audit committee must be ‘first among equals’ in this process, since the audit committee is an extension of the full board and hence the ultimate monitor of the process.
Standards for Assessing the Audit Committee
For an audit committee to function effectively on investors’ behalf, it must include members with sufficient knowledge to diligently carry out their responsibilities. In its audit and accounting recommendations, the Conference Board Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise said “members of the audit committee must be independent and have both knowledge and experience in auditing financial matters.”13
We are skeptical of audit committees where there are members that lack expertise as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or corporate controller, or similar experience. While we will not necessarily recommend voting against members of an audit committee when such expertise is lacking, we are more likely to recommend voting against committee members when a problem such as a restatement occurs and such expertise is lacking.
Glass Lewis generally assesses audit committees against the decisions they make with respect to their oversight and monitoring role. The quality and integrity of the financial statements and earnings reports, the completeness of disclosures necessary for investors to make informed decisions, and the effectiveness of the internal controls should provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are materially free from



13 Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise. The Conference Board. 2003.
2023 Policy Guidelines — United States
20

ck0001540305-20221031_g8.jpg
errors. The independence of the external auditors and the results of their work all provide useful information by which to assess the audit committee.
When assessing the decisions and actions of the audit committee, we typically defer to its judgment and generally recommend voting in favor of its members. However, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against the following:
1.All members of the audit committee when options were backdated, there is a lack of adequate controls in place, there was a resulting restatement, and disclosures indicate there was a lack of documentation with respect to the option grants.
2.The audit committee chair, if the audit committee does not have a financial expert or the committee’s financial expert does not have a demonstrable financial background sufficient to understand the financial issues unique to public companies.
3.The audit committee chair, if the audit committee did not meet at least four times during the year.
4.The audit committee chair, if the committee has less than three members.
5.Any audit committee member who sits on more than three public company audit committees, unless the audit committee member is a retired CPA, CFO, controller or has similar experience, in which case the limit shall be four committees, taking time and availability into consideration including a review of the audit committee member’s attendance at all board and committee meetings.14
6.All members of an audit committee who are up for election and who served on the committee at the time of the audit, if audit and audit-related fees total one-third or less of the total fees billed by the auditor.
7.The audit committee chair when tax and/or other fees are greater than audit and audit-related fees paid to the auditor for more than one year in a row (in which case we also recommend against ratification of the auditor).
8.The audit committee chair when fees paid to the auditor are not disclosed.
9.All members of an audit committee where non-audit fees include fees for tax services (including, but not limited to, such things as tax avoidance or shelter schemes) for senior executives of the company. Such services are prohibited by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).
10.All members of an audit committee that reappointed an auditor that we no longer consider to be independent for reasons unrelated to fee proportions.
11.All members of an audit committee when audit fees are excessively low, especially when compared with other companies in the same industry.
12.The audit committee chair if the committee failed to put auditor ratification on the ballot for shareholder approval. However, if the non-audit fees or tax fees exceed audit plus audit-related fees in either the current or the prior year, then Glass Lewis will recommend voting against the entire audit committee.





14 Glass Lewis may exempt certain audit committee members from the above threshold if, upon further analysis of relevant factors such as the director’s experience, the size, industry-mix and lo