ck0001683471-20221231

RiverNorth Patriot ETF (FLDZ)
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF (SPCZ)
each a series of Listed Funds Trust
Listed on the Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
April 30, 2023
This Statement of Additional Information (the “SAI”) is not a prospectus and should be read in conjunction with the prospectus dated April 30, 2023, as may be supplemented from time to time (the “Prospectus”), of the RiverNorth Patriot ETF (the “Patriot ETF”) and the RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF (the “Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF”) (each, a “Fund” and together, the “Funds”), each a series of Listed Funds Trust (the “Trust”). 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.true-shares.com, 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 most recent fiscal period/year are incorporated into this SAI by reference to the Funds’ most recent Annual Report to Shareholders (File No. 811-23226). 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.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Non-Diversification
Management of The Trust
Proxy Voting Policies
Investment Management
Appendix A
A-1
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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRUST
The Trust is an open-end management investment company consisting of multiple investment series. This SAI relates only to the Funds. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on August 26, 2016. The Trust is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (together with the rules and regulations adopted thereunder, the “1940 Act”), as an open-end management investment company, and the offering of each Fund’s shares (collectively, the “Shares”) is registered under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”). The Trust is governed by its Board of Trustees (the “Board”).
TrueMark Investments, LLC (the “Adviser”) serves as the Funds’ investment adviser and RiverNorth Capital Management, LLC (the “Sub-Adviser”) serves as the Funds’ investment sub-adviser.
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 or other instrument in a Fund’s portfolio. Shares are listed on the Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (the “Exchange”) and trade on the Exchange at market prices that may differ from the Shares’ NAV. Shares also are redeemable only in Creation Unit aggregations, primarily for a basket of Deposit Securities together with a Cash Component. A Creation Unit of each Fund 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 OBJECTIVE, 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.
Non-Diversification
Each Fund is classified as a non-diversified investment company under the 1940 Act. A “non-diversified” classification means that a Fund is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of its total assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer. This means that a Fund may invest a greater portion of its total assets in the securities of a single issuer or a smaller number of issuers than if it was a diversified fund. This may have an adverse effect on a Fund’s performance or subject Shares to greater price volatility than more diversified investment companies. Moreover, in pursuing its objective, a Fund may hold the securities of a single issuer in an amount exceeding 10% of the value of the outstanding securities of the issuer, subject to restrictions imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).
Although each Fund is non-diversified for purposes of the 1940 Act, each Fund intends to maintain the required level of diversification and otherwise conduct its operations so as to qualify as a “regulated investment company” (“RIC”) within the of the Code. Compliance with the diversification requirements of the Code may limit the investment flexibility of a Fund and may make it less likely that a Fund will meet its investment objectives. To qualify as a RIC under the Code, a Fund must meet the Diversification Requirement described in the section titled “Federal Income Taxes” in this SAI.
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.
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Cybersecurity 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 cybersecurity 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 also may incur additional costs for cybersecurity risk management purposes. Similar types of cybersecurity risks also are 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.
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 pandemic caused by COVID‑19, a novel coronavirus. The pandemic has 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, supply chain disruptions, and so-called “stay-at-home” orders throughout much of the United States and many other countries. The fall-out from these disruptions has included the rapid closure of businesses deemed “non-essential” by federal, state, or local governments and rapidly increasing unemployment, as well as greatly reduced liquidity for certain instruments at times. Some sectors of the economy and individual issuers have experienced particularly large losses. 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. It is unknown how long circumstances related to the COVID-19 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 pandemics or epidemics 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 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 a Fund’s performance and the value of an investment in a Fund, even if the Fund does not have direct exposure to Russian issuers or issuers in other countries affected by the invasion.
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 that Fund’s investment objective and permitted by the Fund’s stated investment policies.
Borrowing
Although the Patriot ETF does not intend to borrow money, the Fund may do so to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, the Patriot ETF may borrow up to one-third (1/3) of its total assets. The Patriot ETF 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. The Patriot ETF 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.
The Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF may borrow money to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, as such may be interpreted or modified by regulatory authorities having jurisdiction, from time to time. Borrowing for investment purposes is one form of leverage. Leveraging investments, by purchasing securities with borrowed money, is a speculative technique that increases investment risk, but also increases investment opportunity. Because substantially all of the Fund’s assets will fluctuate in value, whereas the interest obligations on borrowings may be fixed, the NAV per share of the Fund will increase more when the Fund’s portfolio assets increase in value and decrease more when the Fund’s portfolio assets decrease in value than would otherwise be the case. Moreover, interest costs on borrowings may fluctuate with changing market rates of interest and may partially offset or exceed the returns on the borrowed funds. Under adverse conditions, the Fund might have to sell portfolio securities to meet interest or principal payments at a time when investment considerations would not favor such sales.
The Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF also may borrow money to facilitate management of the Fund’s portfolio by enabling the Fund to meet redemption requests when the liquidation of portfolio instruments would be inconvenient or disadvantageous. Such borrowing
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is not for investment purposes and will be repaid by the Fund promptly. As required by the 1940 Act, the Fund must maintain continuous asset coverage (total assets, including assets acquired with borrowed funds, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of 300% of all amounts borrowed. If, at any time, the value of the Fund’s assets should fail to meet this 300% coverage test, the Fund, within three days (not including Sundays and holidays), will reduce the amount of the Fund’s borrowings to the extent necessary to meet this 300% coverage requirement. Maintenance of this percentage limitation may result in the sale of portfolio securities at a time when investment considerations otherwise indicate that it would be disadvantageous to do so.
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. The Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF 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. In addition to the foregoing, the Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF is authorized to borrow money as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes in amounts not in excess of 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets. Borrowings for extraordinary or emergency purposes are not subject to the foregoing 300% asset coverage requirement.
Depositary Receipts
To the extent a Fund invests in stocks of foreign corporations, such 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 Adviser or Sub-Adviser deems 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.
Equity Securities
Equity securities, such as the common stock 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 also may cause the value of such 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 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.
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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 also are 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.
Initial Public Offerings (“IPOs”) — The Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF may invest a portion of its assets in securities of companies offering shares in IPOs. IPOs may be more volatile than other securities, and may have a magnified performance impact on funds with small asset bases. The impact of IPOs on the Fund’s performance likely will decrease as the Fund’s asset size increases, which could reduce the Fund’s total returns. IPOs may not be consistently available to the Fund for investing, particularly as the Fund’s asset base grows. Because IPO shares frequently are volatile in price, the Fund may hold IPO shares for a very short period of time. This may increase the turnover of the Fund’s portfolio and may lead to increased expenses for the Fund, such as commissions and transaction costs. By selling IPO shares, the Fund may realize taxable gains it will subsequently distribute to shareholders. In addition, the market for IPO shares can be speculative and/or inactive for extended periods of time. The limited number of shares available for trading in some IPOs may make it more difficult for the Fund to buy or sell significant amounts of shares without an unfavorable impact on prevailing prices. Holders of IPO shares can be affected by substantial dilution in the value of their shares, by sales of additional shares and by concentration of control in existing management and principal shareholders. The Fund’s investments in IPO shares may include the securities of unseasoned companies (companies with less than three years of continuous operations), which presents risks considerably greater than common stocks of more established companies. These companies may have limited operating histories and their prospects for profitability may be uncertain. These companies may be involved in new and evolving businesses and may be vulnerable to competition and changes in technology, markets and economic conditions. They may be more dependent on key managers and third parties and may have limited product lines.
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, preferred stock or the common shares of publicly listed special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) and that give the holder the right to buy a 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.
Large-Capitalization Companies — Investments in large-capitalization companies may go in and out of favor based on market and economic conditions and may underperform other market segments. Some large-capitalization companies may be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges, such as changes in technology and consumer tastes, and may not be able to attain the high growth rate of successful smaller companies, especially during extended periods of economic expansion. As such, returns on investments in stocks of large-capitalization companies could trail the returns on investments in stocks of small- and mid-capitalization companies.
Small- and Mid-Capitalization Companies — The securities of small- and mid-capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse issuer, market, political, or economic developments than securities of larger-capitalization companies. The securities of small- and mid-capitalization companies generally trade in lower volumes and are subject to greater and more unpredictable price changes than larger capitalization stocks or the stock market as a whole. Some small- or mid-capitalization companies have limited product lines, markets, and financial and managerial resources and tend to concentrate on fewer geographical markets relative to larger capitalization companies. There is typically less publicly available information concerning small- and mid-capitalization companies than for larger, more established companies. Small- and mid-capitalization companies also may be particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates, government regulation, borrowing costs, and earnings.
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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.
Illiquid Investments
A Fund may not acquire any illiquid investment if, immediately after the acquisition, the Fund would have invested more than 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment means any investment that a Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment. If illiquid investments exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets, certain remedial actions will be taken as required by Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act and the Fund’s policies and procedures.
A Fund may not be able to sell illiquid securities when the Adviser or Sub-Adviser, as applicable, considers it desirable to do so or may have to sell such securities at a price that is lower than the price that could be obtained if the securities were more liquid. In addition, the sale of illiquid securities also may require more time and may result in higher dealer discounts and other selling expenses than does the sale of securities that are not illiquid. Illiquid securities also may be more difficult to value due to the unavailability of reliable market quotations for such securities, and investment in illiquid securities may have an adverse impact on NAV.
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 the rules thereunder. 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. Under certain circumstances, including in compliance with Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act, the Funds may invest its assets in securities of investment companies, including money market funds, in excess of the limits discussed above.
Investing in another pooled vehicle exposes a Fund to all the risks of that pooled vehicle. In addition, 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.
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 purchase “Prime-1” by Moody’s or “A‑1” by S&P or, if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Sub-Adviser; (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-Adviser, 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 U.S. 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.
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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 the 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 also may 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 with commercial banks, brokers or dealers 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 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 it 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;
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(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 a 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.
Special Purpose Acquisition Companies
The Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF may invest in stock, warrants, and other securities of SPACs or similar special purpose entities that pool funds to seek potential acquisition opportunities. Unless and until an acquisition is completed, a SPAC generally invests its assets (less a portion retained to cover expenses) in U.S. Government securities, money market fund securities, and cash. If an acquisition that meets the requirements for the SPAC is not completed within a pre-established period of time, the invested funds are returned to the entity’s shareholders, less certain permitted expense, and any warrants issued by the SPAC will expire worthless. Because SPACs and similar entities are in essence blank check companies without an operating history or ongoing business other than seeking acquisitions, the value of their securities is particularly dependent on the ability of the entity’s management to identify and complete a profitable acquisition. SPACs may pursue acquisitions only within certain industries or regions, which may increase the volatility of their prices. In addition, these securities, may be traded in the over-the-counter market, may be considered illiquid and/or be subject to restrictions on resale. In addition, the Fund may invest in vehicles formed by SPAC sponsors to hold founder shares. Founder shares are generally subject to all of the risks of SPACs (including the risk that the founder shares will expire worthless to the extent an acquisition or merger is not completed). Founder shares are also subject to restrictions on transferability, which significantly reduces their liquidity. In addition, an investor in founder shares may be required to forfeit all or a portion of any founder shares it holds, including, for example, (i) if the investor does not purchase additional units of the SPAC pursuant to the terms of any forward purchase agreement it enters into; (ii) if the investor sells shares that it purchased in the IPO prior to the SPAC effecting a merger or acquisition; or (iii) if the SPAC’s sponsor forfeits its founders shares to effect a merger or acquisition.
Swap Agreements
The Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF intends to enter into swap agreements, including total return swaps. The Fund may utilize swap agreements in an attempt to gain exposure to the securities in a market without actually purchasing those securities, or to hedge a position. Swap agreements are two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a day to more than one-year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” (i.e., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested in a basket of securities representing a particular index). Total return swaps are swap agreements in which one party makes payments based on a set rate, either fixed or variable, while the other party makes payments based on the return of an underlying asset, to seek exposure to certain securities.
Forms of swap agreements include interest rate caps, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates exceed a specified rate, or “cap” interest rate floors, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates fall below a specified level, or “floor;” and interest rate collars, under which a party sells a cap and purchases a floor or vice versa in an attempt to protect itself against interest rate movements exceeding given minimum or maximum levels.
The Fund’s obligations under a swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owing to the Fund) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by segregating assets determined to be liquid. Obligations under swap agreements so covered will not be construed to be “senior securities” for purposes of the Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities. Because they are two-party contracts which may have terms of greater than seven days, swap agreements may be considered to be illiquid for purposes of the Fund’s illiquid investment limitations. The Fund will not enter into any swap agreement unless the Advisor believes that the other party to the transaction is creditworthy. The Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty.
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The Fund may enter into swap agreements to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of the underlying securities in circumstances in which direct investment is restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise impracticable. The counterparty to any swap agreement will typically be a bank, investment banking firm or broker-dealer. The counterparty will generally agree to pay the Fund the amount, if any, by which the notional amount of the swap agreement would have increased in value had it been invested in the particular stocks, plus the dividends that would have been received on those stocks. The Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty a floating rate of interest on the notional amount of the swap agreement plus the amount, if any, by which the notional amount would have decreased in value had it been invested in such stocks. Therefore, the return to the Fund on any swap agreement should be the gain or loss on the notional amount plus dividends on the stocks less the interest paid by the Fund on the notional amount.
Swap agreements typically are settled on a net basis, which means that the two payment streams are netted out, with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. Payments may be made at the conclusion of a swap agreement or periodically during its term. Other swap agreements, may require initial premium (discount) payments as well as periodic payments (receipts) related to the interest leg of the swap or to the default of a reference obligation. The Fund will earmark and reserve assets necessary to meet any accrued payment obligations when it is the buyer of a credit default swap.
Swap agreements do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets. Accordingly, the risk of loss with respect to swap agreements is limited to the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make. If a swap counterparty defaults, the Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of payments the Fund is contractually entitled to receive, if any. The net amount of the excess, if any, of the Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each equity swap will be accrued on a daily basis and an amount of cash or liquid assets, having an aggregate NAV at least equal to such accrued excess will be maintained in a segregated account by the Fund’s custodian. Inasmuch as these transactions are entered into for hedging purposes or are offset by segregated cash of liquid assets, as permitted by applicable law, the Fund and the Advisor believe that these transactions do not constitute senior securities under the 1940 Act and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to the Fund’s borrowing restrictions.
The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the swap market has become relatively liquid in comparison with the markets for other similar instruments, which are traded in the OTC market. The Advisor, under the supervision of the Board, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of Fund transactions in swap agreements.
The use of swap agreements is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. If a counterparty’s creditworthiness declines, the value of the swap would likely decline. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the Fund could eliminate its exposure under an outstanding swap agreement by entering into an offsetting swap agreement with the same or another party.
Tax Risks
As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in Shares will be taxed. The tax information in the Prospectus and this SAI is provided as general information. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in Shares.
Unless your investment in Shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an individual retirement account (“IRA”), you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when a Fund makes distributions or you sell Shares.
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 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.
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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 a Fund, 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 also has 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 also may 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.
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 transactions. A Fund will segregate additional liquid assets daily so that the value of such assets is equal to the amount of the commitments.
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 a 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 a 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 Fund will not:
1.Concentrate its investments (i.e., hold more than 25% of its total assets) in any 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, 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.
3.Make loans, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act.
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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.
In addition to the investment restriction adopted as fundamental policies as set forth above, the Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF observes the following non-fundamental restriction, which may be changed without a shareholder vote.
1.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF’s net assets (plus the amount of any borrowing for investment purposes) will be invested in Pre-Merger SPACs (along with the warrants or rights issued in connection with the IPOs of SPACs). Such policy has been adopted as a non-fundamental investment policy and may be changed without shareholder approval upon 60 days’ written notice to shareholders.
The following descriptions of certain provisions of the 1940 Act may assist investors in understanding the above policies and restrictions:
Borrowing. The 1940 Act presently allows a fund to borrow from any bank (including pledging, mortgaging or hypothecating assets) in an amount up to 33 1/3% of its total assets (not including temporary borrowings not in excess of 5% of its total assets).
Senior Securities. For purposes of fundamental policy no. 2 above, senior securities may include any obligation or instrument constituting a security issued by a Fund and evidencing indebtedness or a future payment obligation. The 1940 Act generally prohibits funds from issuing senior securities other than borrowing from a bank subject to specific asset coverage requirements. The 1940 Act prohibitions and restrictions on the issuance of senior securities are designed to protect shareholders from the potentially adverse effects of a fund’s issuance of senior securities, including, in particular, the risks associated with excessive leverage of a fund’s assets. Certain types of derivatives give rise to future payment obligations and therefore, also may be considered to be senior securities. Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act permits funds that comply with the conditions therein to enter into certain types of derivatives transactions notwithstanding the prohibitions and restrictions on the issuance of senior securities under the 1940 Act. To the extent consistent with its investment strategies, a Fund may invest in derivatives in compliance with the conditions set forth in Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act.
Lending. Under the 1940 Act, a fund may only make loans if expressly permitted by its investment policies.
Real Estate and Commodities. The 1940 Act does not directly restrict an investment company’s ability to invest in real estate or commodities, but does require that every investment company have a fundamental investment policy governing such investments.
Underwriting. Under the 1940 Act, underwriting securities involves a fund purchasing securities directly from an issuer for the purpose of selling (distributing) them or participating in any such activity either directly or indirectly.
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.
* For purposes of this policy, the issuer of the underlying security will be deemed to be the issuer of any respective depositary receipt.
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 under any of the following circumstances: (i) if any of the requirements set forth in the Exchange rules are not continuously maintained, including compliance with Rule 6c-11(c) under the 1940 Act; (ii) if, following the initial 12-month period beginning at the commencement of trading of a Fund, there are fewer than 50 beneficial owners of the Shares of such Fund; or (iii) if 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.
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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.
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-Adviser, the Distributor, or 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 various of those possible events or circumstances, to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Each service provider is responsible for one or more discrete aspects of the Trust’s business (e.g., the Adviser 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 the Sub-Adviser 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 of various personnel, including the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer, as well as personnel of the Sub-Adviser, 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-Adviser 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 Advisory Agreement (defined below) with the Adviser, and the Sub-Advisory Agreement with the Sub-Adviser, the Board or its designee may meet with the Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser to review such services. Among other things, the Board regularly considers the Adviser’s and the Sub-Adviser’s 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 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-Adviser risk assessments. At least annually, the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer 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-Adviser. 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 the Sub-Adviser, the Chief Compliance Officer, the 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, the Sub-Adviser, 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
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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.
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”). The Chairman of the Board, Paul R. Fearday, is an interested person of the Trust as that term is defined in the 1940 Act.
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. The Trust has not designated a lead Independent Trustee but 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 East Michigan Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 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
John L. Jacobs
Year of birth: 1959
Trustee and Audit Committee Chair Indefinite term; since 2017 Chairman of VettaFi, LLC (since June 2018); Founder and CEO of Q3 Advisors, LLC (financial consulting firm) (since 2015); Executive Director of Center for Financial Markets and Policy (2016–2022); Distinguished Policy Fellow and Executive Director, Center for Financial Markets and Policy, Georgetown University (2015–2022); Senior Advisor, Nasdaq OMX Group (2015–2016); Executive Vice President, Nasdaq OMX Group (2013–2015) 58 Independent Trustee, SHP ETF Trust (since 2021) (2 portfolios); Director, tZERO Group, Inc. (since 2020); Independent Trustee, Procure ETF Trust II (since 2018) (1 portfolio); Independent Trustee, Horizons ETF Trust I (2015-2019)
Koji Felton
Year of birth: 1961
Trustee Indefinite term; since 2019 Retired; formerly Counsel, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (investment firm) (2013–2015); Counsel, Dechert LLP (law firm) (2011–2013) 58 Independent Trustee, Series Portfolios Trust (since 2015) (10 portfolios)
Pamela H. Conroy
Year of birth: 1961
Trustee and Nominating and Governance Committee Chair Indefinite term; since 2019 Retired; formerly Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Compliance Officer, Institutional Capital Corporation (investment firm) (1994–2008) 58 Independent Trustee, Frontier Funds, Inc. (since 2020) (6 portfolios)
Interested Trustee**
Paul R. Fearday, CPA
Year of birth: 1979
Trustee and Chairman Indefinite term; since 2019 Senior Vice President, U.S. Bank, N.A. (since 2022); Senior Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (2008–2022) 58 None
*    The Trust is the only registered investment company in the Fund Complex.
**    Mr. Fearday is deemed to be an “interested person” of the Trust under the 1940 Act by reason of his position with the parent company of the Trust’s administrator, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC, which also provides other third-party services to the Trust.
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 serves the best interests of the Funds’ 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. Jacobs should serve as a Trustee because of his substantial industry experience. He most recently served as the CEO of Q3 Advisors, LLC and as the Distinguished Policy Fellow and Executive Director of the Center for Financial
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Markets and Policy, and as Adjunct Professor of Finance at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He also served as Senior Advisor and principal consultant to Nasdaq’s CEO and President. Mr. Jacobs has been determined to qualify as an Audit Committee Financial Expert for the Trust.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Felton should serve as a Trustee because of his substantial industry experience, including over two decades working in the asset management industry providing legal, regulatory compliance, governance and risk management advice to registered investment companies, their advisers and boards. Prior to that, he gained experience and perspective as a regulator while serving as an enforcement attorney and branch chief for the SEC. He also represented public companies and their boards of directors in securities class actions, derivative litigation and SEC investigations as a litigation associate at a national law firm. Mr. Felton currently serves as an independent trustee and chair of the nominating and governance committee of a mutual fund complex.
The Trust has concluded that Ms. Conroy should serve as a Trustee because of her substantial industry experience, including over 25 years of achievements at both a large, multi-location financial institution as well as a small, entrepreneurial firm. She has expertise in all facets of portfolio accounting, securities processing, trading operations, marketing, as well as legal and compliance.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Fearday should serve as Trustee because of the experience he gained as a senior officer of U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC, doing business as U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, since 2008, and in his past role with a national audit firm.
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 series of the Trust.
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 when and whether to terminate this relationship, as necessary; 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 Audit 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 December 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).
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 Board, if any. The Nominating and Governance Committee generally will not consider nominees recommended by shareholders. The Nominating and Governance Committee meets periodically, as necessary. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Nominating and Governance Committee met one time.
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Principal Officers of the Trust. The officers of the Trust conduct and supervise the Trust’s and each Fund’s daily business. The address of each officer of the Trust is c/o U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, 615 East Michigan Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202. Additional information about each officer of the Trust 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
Gregory C. Bakken
Year of birth: 1983
President and Principal Executive Officer Indefinite term,
February 2019
Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2006)
Travis G. Babich
Year of birth: 1980
Treasurer and Principal Financial Officer Indefinite term,
September 2019
Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2005)
Kacie G. Briody
Year of birth: 1992
Assistant Treasurer Indefinite term,
March 2019
Assistant Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2021); Officer, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (2014 to 2021)
Kent P. Barnes
Year of birth: 1968
Secretary Indefinite term,
February 2019
Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2018); Chief Compliance Officer, Rafferty Asset Management, LLC (2016 to 2018); Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (2007 to 2016)
Christi C. James
Year of birth: 1974
Chief Compliance Officer and Anti-Money Laundering Officer Indefinite term,
July 2022
Senior Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2022); Principal Consultant, ACA Group (2021 to 2022); Lead Manager, Communications Compliance, T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc. (2018 to 2021); Compliance & Legal Manager, CR Group LP (2017 to 2018)
Joshua J. Hinderliter
Year of birth: 1983
Assistant Secretary Indefinite term,
May 2022
Assistant Vice President, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (since 2022); Managing Associate, Thompson Hine LLP (2016 to 2022)
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 completely 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 Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).
As of December 31, 2022, no Trustee or officer of the Trust owned Shares of the Funds or any other fund within the Trust’s Fund Complex.
Board Compensation. Effective January 1, 2023, each Independent Trustee receives an annual stipend of $85,000 and reimbursement for all reasonable travel expenses relating to their attendance at Board Meetings. The chair of the Audit Committee receives an annual stipend of $5,000 and the chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee receives an annual stipend of $2,500. The Interested Trustee is not compensated for his service as a Trustee. Independent Trustee fees are paid from the unitary fee paid to the Adviser by the Fund. Trustee compensation disclosed in the table does not include reimbursed reasonable travel expenses relating to their attendance at Board Meetings. The following table shows the compensation earned by each Trustee during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
 Name
Aggregate Compensation
From the Fund
Total Compensation From Fund Complex*
Paid to Trustees
Interested Trustee
Paul R. Fearday
$0 $0
Independent Trustees
John L. Jacobs $0 $65,000
Koji Felton
$0 $60,000
Pamela H. Conroy
$0 $62,500
*    The Trust is the only registered investment company in the Fund Complex.
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 April 3, 2023, the Trustees and officers, as a group, owned less than 1% of Shares of the Funds, and the following shareholders were considered to be principal shareholders of the Funds:
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RiverNorth Patriot ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
National Financial Services, LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
69.13% Record
Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC
200 West Street
New York, NY 10282
15.14% Record
BOFA Securities, Inc.
One Bryant Park
New York, NY 10036
10.86% Record
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
National Financial Services, LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
94.36% Record
CODES OF ETHICS
The Trust, the Adviser, and the Sub-Adviser 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-Adviser from engaging in deceptive, manipulative or fraudulent activities in connection with securities held or to be acquired by the Funds (which also may 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 the Funds. 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, or the Sub-Adviser, 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-Adviser.
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 Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”) to make recommendations to the Adviser on the voting of proxies relating to securities held by each Fund and has adopted the ISS Proxy Voting Guidelines as part of the Adviser’s proxy voting policies (the “Proxy Voting Policies”) for such purpose. A copy of the ISS Proxy Voting 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 800-617-0004, and (2) on the SEC’s website at https://www.sec.gov.
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Investment Adviser
TrueMark Investments, LLC (“TrueMark”), a Delaware limited liability company located at 433 West Van Buren Street, 1150-E, Chicago, Illinois 60607, and is an SEC registered investment adviser. The Adviser is controlled by TrueMark Group, LLC, which in turn is controlled by Michael Loukas.
The Adviser oversees the day-to-day operations of each Fund, subject to the general supervision and oversight of the Board and the officers of the Trust. The Adviser, in addition to maintaining its overall responsibility to manage each Fund, oversees the investment and reinvestment of the assets of each Fund by the Sub-Adviser, in accordance with the investment objective, policies, and limitations of each Fund. In addition, the Adviser arranges for transfer agency, custody, fund administration, distribution, and all other services necessary for each Fund to operate. For the services it provides to the Funds, the Adviser is entitled to a unified management fee, which is calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate based on each Fund’s average daily net assets as set forth in the table below.
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Fund Management Fee
RiverNorth Patriot ETF 0.70%
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF 0.89%
Pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between the Trust, on behalf of each Fund, and the Adviser (the “Advisory Agreement”), the Adviser has agreed to pay all expenses of the Funds except the fee payable to the Adviser under the 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 (if any). The Adviser, in turn, compensates the Sub-Adviser from the management fee it receives from each Fund.
The table below shows the advisory fees paid by each Fund for the fiscal period/year ended December 31, as applicable to each Fund:
Fund
2022 2021
RiverNorth Patriot ETF $22,896 $0*
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF $15,399** N/A
*    For the fiscal period December 31, 2021 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2021.
**    for the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2022.
Sub-Adviser
RiverNorth Capital Management, LLC (“RiverNorth”), a Delaware limited liability company located at 360 South Rosemary Avenue, Suite 1420, West Palm Beach, Florida 33401, serves as the sub-adviser to each Fund. The Sub-Adviser is majority owned by RiverNorth Financial Holdings, LLC. 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 each 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 each Fund, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. For its services, the Sub-Adviser is entitled to a fee by the Adviser, which fee is calculated daily and paid monthly, as set forth in the table below.
Fund Sub-Advisory Fee
RiverNorth Patriot ETF 0.60% based on the daily net assets of the Fund
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF 0.75% of the Adviser’s net profits*
* “Net profits” refers to the amount remaining (if any) of the advisory fee following the payment of the Fund’s operating expenses by the Adviser.
The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that the Sub-Adviser will formulate and implement a continuous investment program for each Fund, in accordance with the Fund’s objective, policies and limitations and any investment guidelines established by the Adviser. The Sub-Adviser will, subject to the supervision and control of the Adviser and the Board, determine in its discretion which issuers and securities will be purchased, held, sold or exchanged by each Fund, and will place orders with and give instruction to brokers and dealers to cause the execution of such transactions. The Sub-Adviser is required to furnish, at its own expense, all investment facilities necessary to perform its obligations under the Sub-Advisory Agreement.
The table below shows the sub-advisory fees paid by the Adviser to the Sub-Adviser for the fiscal period/year ended December 31, as applicable to each Fund:
Fund
2022 2021
RiverNorth Patriot ETF $19,308 $0*
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF $0** N/A
*    For the fiscal period December 31, 2021 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2021.
**    For the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2022.
Portfolio Managers
The following individuals (collectively, the “Portfolio Managers”) are responsible for day-to-day management of a Fund’s portfolio, as indicated in the below table.
Fund Portfolio Managers
RiverNorth Patriot ETF
Patrick W. Galley and Joseph Bailey
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF
Patrick W. Galley and Eric Pestrue
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This section includes information about the Portfolio Managers, including information about compensation, other accounts managed, and the dollar range of Shares owned.
Share Ownership of the Portfolio Managers
The Funds are required to show the dollar ranges of the Portfolio Managers’ “beneficial ownership” of Shares 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 December 31, 2022, the Portfolio Managers owned the following Shares of the Funds:
Portfolio Manager RiverNorth Patriot ETF RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF
Patrick W. Galley $10,001 – $50,000 $100,001 – $500,000
Joseph Bailey $1 – $10,000 n/a
Eric Pestrue n/a $50,001 – $100,000
Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers
In addition to the Fund, the Portfolio Managers managed the following other accounts for the Sub-Adviser as of December 31, 2022, none of which were subject to a performance-based fee (unless otherwise footnoted):
Portfolio Manager
Registered
Investment Companies
Other Pooled
Investment Vehicles

Other Accounts
Number of Accounts Total Assets in the Accounts Number of Accounts Total Assets in the Accounts Number of Accounts Total Assets in the Accounts
Patrick W. Galley 13 $3.9 billion 4* $904 million 4*, ** $85.4 million
Joseph Bailey 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0
Eric Pestrue 0 $0 1* $180 million 0 $0
* Advisory fee is based on performance.
** Two accounts with $31 million in assets are subject to advisory fee based on performance.
Portfolio Manager Compensation
The Portfolio Managers receive a fixed base salary and discretionary bonus that are not tied to the performance of the Funds.
Material Conflicts of Interest
A Portfolio Manager’s management of “other accounts” may give rise to potential conflicts of interest in connection with his management of a Fund’s investments, on the one hand, and the investments of the other accounts, on the other. The other accounts may have similar investment objectives or strategies as a Fund. A potential conflict of interest may arise as a result, 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 the portfolio manager could use this information to the advantage of other accounts and to the disadvantage of a Fund. However, the Adviser and Sub-Adviser have established policies and procedures to ensure that the purchase and sale of securities among all accounts the Adviser and Sub-Adviser, respectively, manages are fairly and equitably allocated.
DISTRIBUTOR
The Trust and Foreside Fund Services, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Foreside Financial Group, LLC (doing business as ACA Group), (the “Distributor”) are parties to a distribution agreement (the “Distribution Agreement”), whereby the Distributor acts as principal underwriter for the Trust and distributes Shares of each Fund. 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 Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100, Portland, Maine 04101.
Under the Distribution Agreement, the Distributor, as agent for the Trust, will receive 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 Exchange Act and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).
The Distributor also may enter into agreements with securities dealers (“Soliciting Dealers”) who will solicit purchases of Creation Units of Shares. Such Soliciting Dealers also may 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 a 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
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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 the 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-Adviser, or their affiliates, out of their own resources and not out of Fund assets (i.e., without additional cost to a Fund or its shareholders), may pay certain broker dealers, banks and other financial intermediaries (“Intermediaries”) for certain activities related to a Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing and educational training or support. These arrangements are not financed by a Fund 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 a Fund’s 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 a Fund, including marketing and education support (such as through conferences, webinars and printed communications). The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser will 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, also may 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 rather than 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, the Sub-Adviser, 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 Board 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 its 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 FINRA’s 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 with whom the Distributor has entered into written Authorized Participant Agreements, 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-
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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 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.
TRANSFER AGENT AND ADMINISTRATOR
U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC, doing business as U.S. Bank Global Fund Services (“Fund Services” or the “Transfer Agent”), located at 615 East Michigan Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, serves as the Funds’ transfer agent and administrator.
Pursuant to a fund 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 Adviser was responsible for paying the amounts in the table below to Fund Services for the fiscal years ended December 31:
Fund
2022 2021
RiverNorth Patriot ETF $28,938 $3,796*
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF $32,339** N/A
*    For the fiscal period December 31, 2021 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2021.
**    for the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2022.
CUSTODIAN
Pursuant to a custody agreement between the Trust and U.S. Bank National Association (“U.S. Bank” or the “Custodian”) (the “Custody Agreement”), U.S. Bank, located at 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, U.S. Bank 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.
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 1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 800, Cleveland, Ohio 44115, serves as the independent registered public accounting firm for the Funds.
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 is publicly disseminated daily prior to the opening of the Exchange via the facilities of 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 in 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
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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 wrongdoing 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 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-Adviser 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-Adviser owes a fiduciary duty to its clients to seek to provide best execution on trades effected. In selecting a broker/dealer for each specific transaction, the Sub-Adviser chooses 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 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-Adviser also will 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 a Fund’s portfolio transactions in connection with such orders.
The Sub-Adviser 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-Adviser does not “pay up” for the value of any such proprietary research. Section 28(e) of the Exchange Act permits the Sub-Adviser, 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
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brokerage and research services provided by the broker or dealer. The Sub-Adviser 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-Adviser, but only if the Sub-Adviser determines 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-Adviser faces a potential conflict of interest when it uses client trades to obtain brokerage or research services. This conflict exists because the Sub-Adviser can use the brokerage or research services to manage client accounts without paying cash for such services, which reduces the Sub-Adviser’s expenses to the extent that the Sub-Adviser would have purchased such products had they not been provided by brokers. Section 28(e) permits the Sub-Adviser to use brokerage or research services for the benefit of any account it manages. Certain accounts managed by the Sub-Adviser may generate soft dollars used to purchase brokerage or research services that ultimately benefit other accounts managed by the Sub-Adviser, effectively cross subsidizing the other accounts managed by the Sub-Adviser that benefit directly from the product. The Sub-Adviser 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-Adviser is 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-Adviser 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-Adviser. 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.
The table below shows brokerage commissions paid by the Funds for the fiscal years ended December 31, as applicable to each Fund:
Fund
2022 2021
RiverNorth Patriot ETF
$973 $0*
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF
$1,474** N/A
*    For the fiscal period December 31, 2021 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2021.
**    for the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2022.
Directed Brokerage. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Funds did not pay any commissions on brokerage transactions directed to brokers pursuant to an agreement or understanding whereby the broker provides research or other brokerage services to the Sub-Adviser.
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-Adviser, or the Distributor for a commission in conformity with the 1940 Act, the Exchange 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 years ended December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, 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 or 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. As of December 31, 2022, the Funds did not hold any securities of its “regular broker-dealers.”
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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-Adviser based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services.
For the fiscal years ended December 31, the Funds’ portfolio turnover rates were:
Fund
2022 2021
RiverNorth Patriot ETF
31% 0%*
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF
43%** N/A
*    For the fiscal period December 31, 2021 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2021.
**    For the fiscal period July 11, 2022 (commencement of operations) through December 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.
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 also is 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 described in the ensuing paragraphs. 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
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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 CREATION UNITS
Each Fund issues and redeems its shares on a continuous basis, at NAV, only in a large, specified number of shares called a “Creation Unit,” either principally in-kind for securities or in cash for the value of such securities. The NAV of a Fund’s Shares is determined once each Business Day, as described below under “Determination of Net Asset Value.” The Creation Unit size may change. Authorized Participants will be notified of such change.
Purchase (Creation). The Trust issues and sells Shares only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Distributor, without a sales load (but subject to transaction fees, if applicable), at the NAV per share next determined after receipt, on any Business Day, of an order in proper form. 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. As of the date of this SAI, the NYSE observes the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day (Washington’s Birthday), Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Fund Deposit. Each Fund has adopted policies and procedures governing the process of constructing baskets of Deposit Securities (defined below), Fund Securities (defined below) and/or cash, and acceptance of the same (the “Basket Procedures”). The consideration for purchase of a Creation Unit of a Fund generally consists of either: (i) the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities (the “Deposit Securities”) per each Creation Unit, constituting a substantial replication, or a portfolio sampling representation, of the securities included in a Fund’s portfolio and the Cash Component (defined below), computed as described below, or (ii) the cash value of the Deposit Securities (“Deposit Cash”) and the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security. When accepting purchases of Creation Units for cash, a Fund may incur additional costs associated with the acquisition of Deposit Securities that would otherwise be provided by an in-kind purchaser. These additional costs may be recoverable from the purchaser of Creation Units.
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 a Fund. The “Cash Component” is an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of Shares (per Creation Unit) and the market 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 market 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).
The Funds, 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 a Fund. Such Fund Deposit is subject to any applicable adjustments as described below, to effect purchases of Creation Units of a 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 a Fund may be changed from time to time by the Adviser, in accordance with the Basket Procedures, with a view to the investment objective of such Fund. Information regarding the Fund Deposit necessary for the purchase of a Creation Unit is made available to Authorized Participants and other market participants seeking to transact in Creation Unit aggregations. The composition of the Deposit Securities also may change in response to portfolio adjustments, interest payments and corporate action events.
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 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 permit or require the substitution of Deposit Securities in lieu of Deposit Cash.
Cash Purchase. The Trust may at its discretion permit full or partial cash purchases of Creation Units of a Fund. When full or partial cash purchases of Creation Units are available or specified for a Fund, they will be effected in essentially the same manner as in-kind
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purchases thereof. In the case of a full or partial cash purchase, the Authorized Participant must pay the cash equivalent of the Deposit Securities it would otherwise be required to provide through an in-kind purchase, plus the same Cash Component required to be paid by an in-kind purchaser together with a creation transaction fee and non-standard charges, as may be applicable.
Procedures for Purchase of Creation Units. To be eligible to place orders with the Distributor 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.
All orders to purchase Shares directly from a Fund, including custom orders, 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 the Funds, the order cut-off time for orders to purchase Creation Units is 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. In addition, orders for the Patriot ETF to purchase Creation Units on the next Business Day may be submitted as a “Future Dated Trade” between 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time and 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time on the prior Business Day. Such times may be modified by the Funds 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.”
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 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, the Funds 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, such Fund also will 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 applicable Fund 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 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 such 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 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
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for losses, if any, resulting therefrom. A creation request is 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 Distributor 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. The Authorized Participant shall be liable to the applicable Fund for losses, if any, resulting from unsettled orders.
In instances where the Trust accepts Deposit Securities for the purchase of a Creation Unit, the 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 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 and additional variable charge also may be applied, as described below. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the Settlement Date.
Acceptance of Orders of Creation Units. Provided that such action does not result in a suspension of sales of Creation Units in contravention of Rule 6c-11 under the 1940 Act and the SEC’s positions thereunder, the Trust reserves the right to reject an order for Creation Units transmitted in respect of a Fund at its discretion, including, without limitation, if (a) the order is not in proper form or the Fund Deposit delivered does not consist of the securities the Custodian specified; (b) the investor(s), upon obtaining the Shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding Shares of the Fund; (c) the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, delivered by the Authorized Participant are not as disseminated through the facilities of the NSCC for that date by the Custodian; (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, be unlawful; or (f) in the event that circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Custodian, the Transfer Agent, the Distributor 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, the Transfer Agent, DTC, NSCC, Federal Reserve System, or any other participant in the creation process, and other extraordinary events. The Trust or its agents shall communicate to the Authorized Participant its rejection of an order. The Trust, the Transfer Agent, the 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. Given the importance of the ongoing issuance of Creation Units to maintaining a market price that is at or close to the underlying NAV of a Fund, the Trust does not intend to suspend the acceptance of orders for Creation Units, unless it believes doing so would be in the best interests of the Fund.
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 Unit Transaction Fee. A fixed purchase (i.e., creation) transaction fee, payable to the Funds’ 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 unit 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 unit transaction fee from time to time. The fixed creation unit transaction 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.
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In addition, a variable fee, payable to the Funds, 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 applicable Fund’s portfolio in a more tax efficient manner than could be achieved without such order.
Name of Fund
Fixed Creation Unit
Transaction Fee
Maximum Variable Transaction Fee
RiverNorth Patriot ETF
$500 2%
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF
$500 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 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 in order 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 a combination thereof, as determined by the Trust in accordance with the Basket Procedures. 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, and additional variable charge 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.
Cash Redemption. Full or partial cash redemptions of Creation Units will be effected in essentially the same manner as in-kind redemptions thereof. In the case of full or partial cash redemptions, the Authorized Participant receives the cash equivalent of the Fund Securities it would otherwise receive through an in-kind redemption, plus the same Cash Redemption Amount to be paid to an in-kind redeemer.
Redemption Transaction Fee. A fixed redemption transaction fee, payable to the Funds’ 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.
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In addition, a variable fee, payable to the Funds, 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 changes to the Funds’ 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
RiverNorth Patriot ETF
$500 2%
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF
$500 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.
Procedures for Redemption of Creation Units. Orders to redeem Creation Units of a Fund on any Business Day must be submitted in proper form to the Transfer Agent prior to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. 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 Authorized Participant Agreement. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed an Authorized 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 an Authorized 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 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.
The Trust may, in its discretion and in accordance with the Basket Procedures, exercise its option to redeem such Shares in cash, and the redeeming investor 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 also may, in its sole discretion, and in accordance with the Basket Procedures, 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) reserves 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.
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, or to purchase or sell Shares on the Exchange, on days when the NAV of the applicable Fund could be significantly affecting by events in the relevant foreign markets.
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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.
In calculating each Fund’s NAV per Share, the 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, a Fund will value such investments at fair value, as determined by the Adviser, for purposes of calculating such Fund’s NAV. Pursuant to Rule 2a-5 under the 1940 Act, the Board has designated the Adviser to perform the fair value determinations for each Fund’s portfolio holdings subject to the Board’s oversight. 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 a Fund’s portfolio investments. The Adviser’s fair value methodologies may involve obtaining inputs and prices from third-party pricing services.
When fair value pricing is employed, the prices of securities used by the Funds to calculate their 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 comply with the distribution requirements of the Code, 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 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.
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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. In particular, it does not address tax consequences to investors subject to special rules, such as investors who hold Shares through IRAs, 401(k)s, or other tax-advantaged accounts.
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.
Unless your investment in Shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Shares.
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 has elected (or will elect) and intends to qualify each year to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of 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 90% of its net investment income (generally including dividends, taxable interest, and the excess of net short-term capital gains over net long-term capital losses, less operating expenses) and at least 90% of its net tax-exempt interest income, if any (the “Distribution Requirement”) and must meet several additional requirements. Among these requirements are the following: (i) at least the sum of 90% of a 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 such Fund’s taxable year, such 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 such 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”).
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 such 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 a separate entity in determining its treatment under the rules for RICs described herein, i.e., losses in one Fund do not offset gains in another. 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, such 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 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 federal income 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 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
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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 such 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 a Fund experiences an ownership change as defined in the Code.
As of December 31, 2022, the Funds had accumulated short-term and long-term capital loss carryforwards in the amounts provided in the table below. These amounts do not expire.
Name of Fund
Short-Term Capital Loss Carryover Long-Term Capital Loss Carryover
RiverNorth Patriot ETF $178,185
RiverNorth Enhanced Pre-Merger SPAC ETF
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 and 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 eliminated. A Fund may in certain circumstances be required to liquidate Fund investments 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 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. 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.
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%.
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. If 95% or
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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, 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.
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.
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 a 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 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 such 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 current and accumulated earnings and profits for the taxable year (as calculated for federal income tax purposes), all or a portion of the distributions made for the 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 federal and state income tax purposes. Assuming a shareholder holds Shares as a capital asset, 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, the 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 of a Fund 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 the Fund. An Authorized Participant who
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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 (the “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.
Any gain or loss realized upon a creation or redemption of Creation Units will be treated as capital or ordinary gain or loss, depending on the holder’s circumstances.
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 Shareholders – Net Investment Income Tax. 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.
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 United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes. 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.
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 IRAs or other tax-advantaged retirement plans), generally will receive no benefit from any tax credit or deduction passed through by the Fund. Foreign taxes paid by a Fund will reduce the return from the Fund’s investments. If a Fund makes the election, the Fund’s shareholders will be notified annually by the Fund (or their broker) of the respective amounts per share of the Fund’s income from sources within, and taxes paid to, foreign countries and U.S. possessions. If a Fund does not hold sufficient foreign securities to meet the above threshold, then shareholders will not be entitled to claim a credit or further deduction with respect to foreign taxes paid by the Fund.
Tax Treatment of Complex Securities. 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, may affect the character of gains and losses realized by the applicable Fund (e.g., may affect whether gains or losses are ordinary or capital), accelerate recognition of income to the applicable 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 a Fund to recognize income without the applicable Fund receiving cash with which to make distributions in amounts sufficient to enable the applicable Fund to satisfy the RIC distribution requirements for avoiding income and excise taxes. Each 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 applicable Fund’s qualification for treatment as a RIC.
If a Fund owns shares in certain foreign investment entities, referred to as “passive foreign investment companies” or “PFICs,” such Fund will generally be subject to one of the following special tax regimes: (i) the Fund may be liable for U.S. federal income tax, and an additional interest charge, on a portion of any “excess distribution” from such foreign entity or any gain from the disposition of
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such shares, even if the entire distribution or gain is paid out by the Fund as a dividend to its shareholders; (ii) if the Fund were able and elected to treat a PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” or “QEF,” the Fund would be required each year to include in income, and distribute to shareholders in accordance with the distribution requirements set forth above, the Fund’s pro rata share of the ordinary earnings and net capital gains of the PFIC, whether or not such earnings or gains are distributed to the Fund; or (iii) the Fund may be entitled to mark-to-market annually shares of the PFIC, and in such event would be required to distribute to shareholders any such mark-to-market gains in accordance with the distribution requirements set forth above. 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 such Fund, if the Fund derives such income from its business of investing in stock, securities or currencies.
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 of a Fund 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.
Under legislation generally known as “FATCA” (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), a Fund is required to withhold 30% of certain ordinary dividends it pays to shareholders that fail to meet prescribed information reporting or certification requirements. In general, no such withholding will be required with respect to a U.S. person or non-U.S. person that timely provides the certifications required by a Fund or its agent on a valid IRS Form W-9 or applicable series of IRS Form W-8, respectively. Shareholders potentially subject to withholding include foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”), such as non-U.S. investment funds, and non-financial foreign entities (“NFFEs”). To avoid withholding under FATCA, an FFI generally must enter into an information sharing agreement with the IRS in which it agrees to report certain identifying information (including name, address, and taxpayer identification number) with respect to its U.S. account holders (which, in the case of an entity shareholder, may include its direct and indirect U.S. owners), and an NFFE generally must identify and provide other required information to a Fund or other withholding agent regarding its U.S. owners, if any. Such non-U.S. shareholders also may fall into certain exempt, excepted or deemed compliant categories as established by regulations and other guidance. A non-U.S. shareholder resident or doing business in a country that has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the United States to implement FATCA will be exempt from FATCA withholding provided that the shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of the agreement.
A non-U.S. entity that invests in a Fund will need to provide the fund with documentation properly certifying the entity’s status under FATCA in order to avoid FATCA withholding. Non-U.S. investors in the Funds 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.
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A Fund’s shares held in a tax-qualified retirement account will generally not be subject to federal taxation on income and capital gains distributions from the Fund until a shareholder begins receiving payments from their retirement account.
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 such Fund may differ from federal tax treatment.
Shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisers concerning their specific situations and the application of foreign, federal, state, or local taxes.
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The Annual Report for the Funds for the fiscal year ended December 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 800-617-0004, or through the Funds’ website at www.true-shares.com.
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APPENDIX A
ISS Proxy Voting Guidelines
A-1


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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Coverage    8
1.Board of Directors    9
Voting on Director Nominees in Uncontested Elections    9
Independence    9
ISS Classification of Directors – U.S.    10
Composition    12
Attendance    12
Overboarded Directors    12
Gender Diversity    12
Racial and/or Ethnic Diversity    12
Responsiveness    13
Accountability    13
Poison Pills    13
Unequal Voting Rights    14
Classified Board Structure    14
Removal of Shareholder Discretion on Classified Boards    14
Problematic Governance Structure    14
Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments    15
Restricting Binding Shareholder Proposals    15
Director Performance Evaluation    15
Management Proposals to Ratify Existing Charter or Bylaw Provisions    16
Problematic Audit-Related Practices    16
Problematic Compensation Practices    16
Problematic Pledging of Company Stock    17
Climate Accountability    17
Governance Failures    17
Voting on Director Nominees in Contested Elections    18
Vote-No Campaigns    18
Proxy Contests/Proxy Access    18
Other Board-Related Proposals    18
Adopt Anti-Hedging/Pledging/Speculative Investments Policy    18
Board Refreshment    18
Term/Tenure Limits    19
Age Limits    19
Board Size    19
Classification/Declassification of the Board    19
CEO Succession Planning    19
Cumulative Voting    19
Director and Officer Indemnification, Liability Protection, and Exculpation    20
Establish/Amend Nominee Qualifications    20
Establish Other Board Committee Proposals    21
Filling Vacancies/Removal of Directors    21
Independent Board Chair    21
Majority of Independent Directors/Establishment of Independent Committees    22
Majority Vote Standard for the Election of Directors    22

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Proxy Access    22
Require More Nominees than Open Seats    22
Shareholder Engagement Policy (Shareholder Advisory Committee)    23
2.Audit-Related    24
Auditor Indemnification and Limitation of Liability    24
Auditor Ratification    24
Shareholder Proposals Limiting Non-Audit Services    24
Shareholder Proposals on Audit Firm Rotation    25
3.Shareholder Rights & Defenses    26
Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals/Nominations    26
Amend Bylaws without Shareholder Consent    26
Control Share Acquisition Provisions    26
Control Share Cash-Out Provisions    26
Disgorgement Provisions    27
Fair Price Provisions    27
Freeze-Out Provisions    27
Greenmail    27
Shareholder Litigation Rights    27
Federal Forum Selection Provisions    27
Exclusive Forum Provisions for State Law Matters    28
Fee shifting    28
Net Operating Loss (NOL) Protective Amendments    29
Poison Pills (Shareholder Rights Plans)    29
Shareholder Proposals to Put Pill to a Vote and/or Adopt a Pill Policy    29
Management Proposals to Ratify a Poison Pill    29
Management Proposals to Ratify a Pill to Preserve Net Operating Losses (NOLs)    30
Proxy Voting Disclosure, Confidentiality, and Tabulation    30
Ratification Proposals: Management Proposals to Ratify Existing Charter or Bylaw Provisions    30
Reimbursing Proxy Solicitation Expenses    31
Reincorporation Proposals    31
Shareholder Ability to Act by Written Consent    31
Shareholder Ability to Call Special Meetings    32
Stakeholder Provisions    32
State Antitakeover Statutes    32
Supermajority Vote Requirements    32
Virtual Shareholder Meetings    33
4.Capital/Restructuring    34
Capital    34
Adjustments to Par Value of Common Stock    34
Common Stock Authorization    34
General Authorization Requests    34
Specific Authorization Requests    35
Dual Class Structure    35
Issue Stock for Use with Rights Plan    35


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Preemptive Rights    35
Preferred Stock Authorization    35
General Authorization Requests    35
Recapitalization Plans    37
Reverse Stock Splits    37
Share Issuance Mandates at U.S. Domestic Issuers Incorporated Outside the U.S.    37
Share Repurchase Programs    38
Share Repurchase Programs Shareholder Proposals    38
Stock Distributions: Splits and Dividends    38
Tracking Stock    38
Restructuring    38
Appraisal Rights    38
Asset Purchases    39
Asset Sales    39
Bundled Proposals    39
Conversion of Securities    39
Corporate Reorganization/Debt Restructuring/Prepackaged Bankruptcy Plans/Reverse Leveraged Buyouts/Wrap Plans    39
Formation of Holding Company    40
Going Private and Going Dark Transactions (LBOs and Minority Squeeze-outs)    40
Joint Ventures    41
Liquidations    41
Mergers and Acquisitions    41
Private Placements/Warrants/Convertible Debentures    42
Reorganization/Restructuring Plan (Bankruptcy)    43
Special Purpose Acquisition Corporations (SPACs)    43
Special Purpose Acquisition Corporations (SPACs) - Proposals for Extensions    44
Spin-offs    44
Value Maximization Shareholder Proposals    44
5.Compensation    45
Executive Pay Evaluation    45
Advisory Votes on Executive Compensation—Management Proposals (Say-on-Pay)    45
Pay-for-Performance Evaluation    46
Problematic Pay Practices    47
Compensation Committee Communications and Responsiveness    48
Frequency of Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation ("Say When on Pay")    48
Voting on Golden Parachutes in an Acquisition, Merger, Consolidation, or Proposed Sale    48
Equity-Based and Other Incentive Plans    49
Shareholder Value Transfer (SVT)    50
Three-Year Value-Adjusted Burn Rate    50
Egregious Factors    50
Liberal Change in Control Definition    50
Repricing Provisions    51
Problematic Pay Practices or Significant Pay-for-Performance Disconnect    51
Amending Cash and Equity Plans (including Approval for Tax Deductibility (162(m))    51


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Specific Treatment of Certain Award Types in Equity Plan Evaluations    52
Dividend Equivalent Rights    52
Operating Partnership (OP) Units in Equity Plan Analysis of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)    52
Other Compensation Plans    52
401(k) Employee Benefit Plans    52
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)    53
Employee Stock Purchase Plans—Qualified Plans    53
Employee Stock Purchase Plans—Non-Qualified Plans    53
Option Exchange Programs/Repricing Options    53
Stock Plans in Lieu of Cash    54
Transfer Stock Option (TSO) Programs    54
Director Compensation    55
Shareholder Ratification of Director Pay Programs    55
Equity Plans for Non-Employee Directors    55
Non-Employee Director Retirement Plans    56
Shareholder Proposals on Compensation    56
Bonus Banking/Bonus Banking “Plus”    56
Compensation Consultants—Disclosure of Board or Company’s Utilization    56
Disclosure/Setting Levels or Types of Compensation for Executives and Directors    56
Golden Coffins/Executive Death Benefits    57
Hold Equity Past Retirement or for a Significant Period of Time    57
Pay Disparity    57
Pay for Performance/Performance-Based Awards    57
Pay for Superior Performance    58
Pre-Arranged Trading Plans (10b5-1 Plans)    58
Prohibit Outside CEOs from Serving on Compensation Committees    59
Recoupment of Incentive or Stock Compensation in Specified Circumstances    59
Severance Agreements for Executives/Golden Parachutes    59
Share Buyback Impact on Incentive Program Metrics    59
Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERPs)    60
Tax Gross-Up Proposals    60
Termination of Employment Prior to Severance Payment/Eliminating Accelerated Vesting of Unvested Equity    60
6.Routine/Miscellaneous    61
Adjourn Meeting    61
Amend Quorum Requirements    61
Amend Minor Bylaws    61
Change Company Name    61
Change Date, Time, or Location of Annual Meeting    61
Other Business    62
7.Social and Environmental Issues    63
Global Approach – E&S Shareholder Proposals    63
Endorsement of Principles    63
Animal Welfare    63

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Animal Welfare Policies    63
Animal Testing    64
Animal Slaughter    64
Consumer Issues    64
Genetically Modified Ingredients    64
Reports on Potentially Controversial Business/Financial Practices    64
Pharmaceutical Pricing, Access to Medicines, and Prescription Drug Reimportation    65
Product Safety and Toxic/Hazardous Materials    65
Tobacco-Related Proposals    66
Climate Change    66
Say on Climate (SoC) Management Proposals    66
Say on Climate (SoC) Shareholder Proposals    67
Climate Change/Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions    67
Energy Efficiency    68
Renewable Energy    68
Diversity    68
Board Diversity    68
Equality of Opportunity    69
Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Domestic Partner Benefits    69
Gender, Race/Ethnicity Pay Gap    69
Racial Equity and/or Civil Rights Audit Guidelines    69
Environment and Sustainability    70
Facility and Workplace Safety    70
General Environmental Proposals and Community Impact Assessments    70
Hydraulic Fracturing    70
Operations in Protected Areas    71
Recycling    71
Sustainability Reporting    71
Water Issues    71
General Corporate Issues    72
Charitable Contributions    72
Data Security, Privacy, and Internet Issues    72
ESG Compensation-Related Proposals    72
Human Rights, Human Capital Management, and International Operations    72
Human Rights Proposals    72
Mandatory Arbitration    73
Operations in High-Risk Markets    73
Outsourcing/Offshoring    74
Sexual Harassment    74
Weapons and Military Sales    74
Political Activities    74
Lobbying    74
Political Contributions    75
Political Expenditures and Lobbying Congruency    75
Political Ties    75

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8.Mutual Fund Proxies    77
Election of Directors    77
Closed End Funds- Unilateral Opt-In to Control Share Acquisition Statutes    77
Converting Closed-end Fund to Open-end Fund    77
Proxy Contests    77
Investment Advisory Agreements    77
Approving New Classes or Series of Shares    78
Preferred Stock Proposals    78
1940 Act Policies    78
Changing a Fundamental Restriction to a Nonfundamental Restriction    78
Change Fundamental Investment Objective to Nonfundamental    78
Name Change Proposals    78
Change in Fund's Subclassification    79
Business Development Companies—Authorization to Sell Shares of Common Stock at a Price below Net Asset Value    79
Disposition of Assets/Termination/Liquidation    79
Changes to the Charter Document    79
Changing the Domicile of a Fund    80
Authorizing the Board to Hire and Terminate Subadvisers Without Shareholder Approval    80
Distribution Agreements    80
Master-Feeder Structure    80
Mergers    80
Shareholder Proposals for Mutual Funds    80
Establish Director Ownership Requirement    80
Reimburse Shareholder for Expenses Incurred    81
Terminate the Investment Advisor    81

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Coverage
The U.S. research team provides proxy analyses and voting recommendations for the common shareholder meetings of U.S. - incorporated companies that are publicly-traded on U.S. exchanges, as well as certain OTC companies, if they are held in our institutional investor clients' portfolios. Coverage generally includes corporate actions for common equity holders, such as written consents and bankruptcies. ISS’ U.S. coverage includes investment companies (including open-end funds, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds, and unit investment trusts), limited partnerships (“LPs”), master limited partnerships (“MLPs”), limited liability companies (“LLCs”), and business development companies. ISS reviews its universe of coverage on an annual basis, and the coverage is subject to change based on client need and industry trends.

Foreign-incorporated companies

In addition to U.S.- incorporated, U.S.- listed companies, ISS’ U.S. policies are applied to certain foreign- incorporated company analyses. Like the SEC, ISS distinguishes two types of companies that list but are not incorporated in the U.S.:

U.S. Domestic Issuers – which have a majority of outstanding shares held in the U.S. and meet other criteria, as determined by the SEC, and are subject to the same disclosure and listing standards as U.S. incorporated companies (e.g. they are required to file DEF14A proxy statements) – are generally covered under standard
U.S. policy guidelines.
Foreign Private Issuers (FPIs) – which are allowed to take exemptions from most disclosure requirements (e.g., they are allowed to file 6-K for their proxy materials) and U.S. listing standards – are generally covered under a combination of policy guidelines:
FPI Guidelines (see the Americas Regional Proxy Voting Guidelines), may apply to companies incorporated in governance havens, and apply certain minimum independence and disclosure standards in the evaluation of key proxy ballot items, such as the election of directors; and/or
Guidelines for the market that is responsible for, or most relevant to, the item on the ballot.

U.S. incorporated companies listed only on non-U.S. exchanges are generally covered under the ISS guidelines for the market on which they are traded.

An FPI is generally covered under ISS’ approach to FPIs outlined above, even if such FPI voluntarily files a proxy statement and/or other filing normally required of a U.S. Domestic Issuer, so long as the company retains its FPI status.

In all cases – including with respect to other companies with cross-market features that may lead to ballot items related to multiple markets – items that are on the ballot solely due to the requirements of another market (listing, incorporation, or national code) may be evaluated under the policy of the relevant market, regardless of the
“assigned” primary market coverage.

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1.Board of Directors
Voting on Director Nominees in Uncontested Elections

Four fundamental principles apply when determining votes on director nominees:

Independence: Boards should be sufficiently independent from management (and significant shareholders) to ensure that they are able and motivated to effectively supervise management's performance for the benefit of all shareholders, including in setting and monitoring the execution of corporate strategy, with appropriate use of shareholder capital, and in setting and monitoring executive compensation programs that support that strategy. The chair of the board should ideally be an independent director, and all boards should have an independent leadership position or a similar role in order to help provide appropriate counterbalance to executive management, as well as having sufficiently independent committees that focus on key governance concerns such as audit, compensation, and nomination of directors.

Composition: Companies should ensure that directors add value to the board through their specific skills and expertise and by having sufficient time and commitment to serve effectively. Boards should be of a size appropriate to accommodate diversity, expertise, and independence, while ensuring active and collaborative participation by all members. Boards should be sufficiently diverse to ensure consideration of a wide range of perspectives.

Responsiveness: Directors should respond to investor input, such as that expressed through significant opposition to management proposals, significant support for shareholder proposals (whether binding or non-binding), and tender offers where a majority of shares are tendered.

Accountability: Boards should be sufficiently accountable to shareholders, including through transparency of the company's governance practices and regular board elections, by the provision of sufficient information for shareholders to be able to assess directors and board composition, and through the ability of shareholders to remove directors.

General Recommendation: Generally vote for director nominees, except under the following circumstances (with new nominees1 considered on case-by-case basis):

Independence
Vote against2 or withhold from non-independent directors (Executive Directors and Non-Independent Non- Executive Directors per ISS’ Classification of Directors) when:
Independent directors comprise 50 percent or less of the board;
The non-independent director serves on the audit, compensation, or nominating committee;
The company lacks an audit, compensation, or nominating committee so that the full board functions as that committee; or
The company lacks a formal nominating committee, even if the board attests that the independent directors fulfill the functions of such a committee.

1 A "new nominee" is a director who is being presented for election by shareholders for the first time. Recommendations on new nominees who have served for less than one year are made on a case-by-case basis depending on the timing of their appointment and the problematic governance issue in question.
2 In general, companies with a plurality vote standard use “Withhold” as the contrary vote option in director elections; companies with a majority vote standard use “Against”. However, it will vary by company and the proxy must be checked to determine the valid contrary vote option for the particular company.

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ISS Classification of Directors – U.S.
1.Executive Director
1.1.Current officer1 of the company or one of its affiliates2.
2.Non-Independent Non-Executive Director
Board Identification
2.1.Director identified as not independent by the board.
Controlling/Significant Shareholder
2.2.Beneficial owner of more than 50 percent of the company's voting power (this may be aggregated if voting power is distributed among more than one member of a group).
Current Employment at Company or Related Company
2.3.Non-officer employee of the firm (including employee representatives).
2.4.Officer1, former officer, or general or limited partner of a joint venture or partnership with the company.
Former Employment
2.5.Former CEO of the company. 3, 4
2.6.Former non-CEO officer1 of the company or an affiliate2 within the past five years.
2.7.Former officer1 of an acquired company within the past five years.4
2.8.Officer1 of a former parent or predecessor firm at the time the company was sold or split off within the past five years.
2.9.Former interim officer if the service was longer than 18 months. If the service was between 12 and 18 months an assessment of the interim officer’s employment agreement will be made.5
Family Members
2.10.Immediate family member6 of a current or former officer1 of the company or its affiliates2 within the last five years.
2.11.Immediate family member6 of a current employee of company or its affiliates2 where additional factors raise concern (which may include, but are not limited to, the following: a director related to numerous employees; the company or its affiliates employ relatives of numerous board members; or a non- Section 16 officer in a key strategic role).
Professional, Transactional, and Charitable Relationships
2.12.Director who (or whose immediate family member6) currently provides professional services7 in excess of $10,000 per year to: the company, an affiliate2, or an individual officer of the company or an affiliate; or who is (or whose immediate family member6 is) a partner, employee, or controlling shareholder of an organization which provides the services.
2.13.Director who (or whose immediate family member6) currently has any material transactional relationship8 with the company or its affiliates2; or who is (or whose immediate family member6 is) a partner in, or a controlling shareholder or an executive officer of, an organization which has the material transactional relationship8 (excluding investments in the company through a private placement).
2.14.Director who (or whose immediate family member6) is a trustee, director, or employee of a charitable or non-profit organization that receives material grants or endowments8 from the company or its affiliates2.
Other Relationships
2.15.Party to a voting agreement9 to vote in line with management on proposals being brought to shareholder vote.
2.16.Has (or an immediate family member6 has) an interlocking relationship as defined by the SEC involving members of the board of directors or its Compensation Committee.10
2.17.Founder11 of the company but not currently an employee.
2.18.Director with pay comparable to Named Executive Officers.
2.19.Any material12 relationship with the company.
3.Independent Director
3.1.No material12 connection to the company other than a board seat.

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Footnotes:
1.The definition of officer will generally follow that of a “Section 16 officer” (officers subject to Section 16 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934) and includes the chief executive, operating, financial, legal, technology, and accounting officers of a company (including the president, treasurer, secretary, controller, or any vice president in charge of a principal business unit, division, or policy function). Current interim officers are included in this category. For private companies, the equivalent positions are applicable. A non-employee director serving as an officer due to statutory requirements (e.g. corporate secretary) will generally be classified as a Non-Independent Non-Executive Director under “Any material relationship with the company.” However, if the company provides explicit disclosure that the director is not receiving additional compensation exceeding $10,000 per year for serving in that capacity, then the director will be classified as an Independent Director.
2.“Affiliate” includes a subsidiary, sibling company, or parent company. ISS uses 50 percent control ownership by the parent company as the standard for applying its affiliate designation. The manager/advisor of an externally managed issuer (EMI) is considered an affiliate.
3.Includes any former CEO of the company prior to the company’s initial public offering (IPO).
4.When there is a former CEO of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) serving on the board of an acquired company, ISS will generally classify such directors as independent unless determined otherwise taking into account the following factors: the applicable listing standards determination of such director’s independence; any operating ties to the firm; and the existence of any other conflicting relationships or related party transactions.
5.ISS will look at the terms of the interim officer’s employment contract to determine if it contains severance pay, long-term health and pension benefits, or other such standard provisions typically contained in contracts of permanent, non-temporary CEOs. ISS will also consider if a formal search process was under way for a full-time officer at the time.
6.“Immediate family member” follows the SEC’s definition of such and covers spouses, parents, children, step-parents, step- children, siblings, in-laws, and any person (other than a tenant or employee) sharing the household of any director, nominee for director, executive officer, or significant shareholder of the company.
7.Professional services can be characterized as advisory in nature, generally involve access to sensitive company information or to strategic decision-making, and typically have a commission- or fee-based payment structure. Professional services generally include but are not limited to the following: investment banking/financial advisory services, commercial banking (beyond deposit services), investment services, insurance services, accounting/audit services, consulting services, marketing services, legal services, property management services, realtor services, lobbying services, executive search services, and IT consulting services. The following would generally be considered transactional relationships and not professional services: deposit services, IT tech support services, educational services, and construction services. The case of participation in a banking syndicate by a non-lead bank should be considered a transactional (and hence subject to the associated materiality test) rather than a professional relationship. “Of Counsel” relationships are only considered immaterial if the individual does not receive any form of compensation (in excess of $10,000 per year) from, or is a retired partner of, the firm providing the professional service. The case of a company providing a professional service to one of its directors or to an entity with which one of its directors is affiliated, will be considered a transactional rather than a professional relationship. Insurance services and marketing services are assumed to be professional services unless the company explains why such services are not advisory.
8.A material transactional relationship, including grants to non-profit organizations, exists if the company makes annual payments to, or receives annual payments from, another entity, exceeding the greater of: $200,000 or 5 percent of the recipient’s gross revenues, for a company that follows NASDAQ listing standards; or the greater of $1,000,000 or 2 percent of the recipient’s gross revenues, for a company that follows NYSE listing standards. For a company that follows neither of the preceding standards, ISS will apply the NASDAQ-based materiality test. (The recipient is the party receiving the financial proceeds from the transaction).
9.Dissident directors who are parties to a voting agreement pursuant to a settlement or similar arrangement may be classified as Independent Directors if an analysis of the following factors indicates that the voting agreement does not compromise their alignment with all shareholders’ interests: the terms of the agreement; the duration of the standstill provision in the agreement; the limitations and requirements of actions that are agreed upon; if the dissident director nominee(s) is subject to the standstill; and if there any conflicting relationships or related party transactions.
10.Interlocks include: executive officers serving as directors on each other’s compensation or similar committees (or, in the absence of such a committee, on the board); or executive officers sitting on each other’s boards and at least one serves on the other’s compensation or similar committees (or, in the absence of such a committee, on the board).
11.The operating involvement of the founder with the company will be considered; if the founder was never employed by the company, ISS may deem him or her an Independent Director.

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12.For purposes of ISS’s director independence classification, “material” will be defined as a standard of relationship (financial, personal, or otherwise) that a reasonable person might conclude could potentially influence one’s objectivity in the boardroom in a manner that would have a meaningful impact on an individual's ability to satisfy requisite fiduciary standards on behalf of shareholders.

Composition

Attendance at Board and Committee Meetings: Generally vote against or withhold from directors (except nominees who served only part of the fiscal year3) who attend less than 75 percent of the aggregate of their board and committee meetings for the period for which they served, unless an acceptable reason for absences is disclosed in the proxy or another SEC filing. Acceptable reasons for director absences are generally limited to the following:

Medical issues/illness;
Family emergencies; and
Missing only one meeting (when the total of all meetings is three or fewer).

In cases of chronic poor attendance without reasonable justification, in addition to voting against the director(s) with poor attendance, generally vote against or withhold from appropriate members of the nominating/governance committees or the full board.

If the proxy disclosure is unclear and insufficient to determine whether a director attended at least 75 percent of the aggregate of his/her board and committee meetings during his/her period of service, vote against or withhold from the director(s) in question.


Overboarded Directors: Generally vote against or withhold from individual directors who:

Sit on more than five public company boards; or
Are CEOs of public companies who sit on the boards of more than two public companies besides their own— withhold only at their outside boards4.


Gender Diversity: Generally vote against or withhold from the chair of the nominating committee (or other directors on a case-by-case basis) at companies where there are no women on the company's board. An exception will be made if there was at least one woman on the board at the preceding annual meeting and the board makes a firm commitment to return to a gender-diverse status within a year.


Racial and/or Ethnic Diversity: For companies in the Russell 3000 or S&P 1500 indices, generally vote against or withhold from the chair of the nominating committee (or other directors on a case-by-case basis) where the board has no apparent racially or ethnically diverse members5. An exception will be made if there was racial and/or ethnic diversity on the board at the preceding annual meeting and the board makes a firm commitment to appoint at least one racial and/or ethnic diverse member within a year.
3 Nominees who served for only part of the fiscal year are generally exempted from the attendance policy.
4 Although all of a CEO’s subsidiary boards with publicly-traded common stock will be counted as separate boards, ISS will not recommend a withhold vote for the CEO of a parent company board or any of the controlled (>50 percent ownership) subsidiaries of that parent but may do so at subsidiaries that are less than 50 percent controlled and boards outside the parent/subsidiary relationships.
5 Aggregate diversity statistics provided by the board will only be considered if specific to racial and/or ethnic diversity.

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Responsiveness

Vote case-by-case on individual directors, committee members, or the entire board of directors as appropriate if:

The board failed to act on a shareholder proposal that received the support of a majority of the shares cast in the previous year or failed to act on a management proposal seeking to ratify an existing charter/bylaw provision that received opposition of a majority of the shares cast in the previous year. Factors that will be considered are:
Disclosed outreach efforts by the board to shareholders in the wake of the vote;
Rationale provided in the proxy statement for the level of implementation;
The subject matter of the proposal;
The level of support for and opposition to the resolution in past meetings;
Actions taken by the board in response to the majority vote and its engagement with shareholders;
The continuation of the underlying issue as a voting item on the ballot (as either shareholder or management proposals); and
Other factors as appropriate.
The board failed to act on takeover offers where the majority of shares are tendered;
At the previous board election, any director received more than 50 percent withhold/against votes of the shares cast and the company has failed to address the issue(s) that caused the high withhold/against vote.

Vote case-by-case on Compensation Committee members (or, in exceptional cases, the full board) and the Say on Pay proposal if:
The company’s previous say-on-pay received the support of less than 70 percent of votes cast. Factors that will be considered are:
The company's response, including:
Disclosure of engagement efforts with major institutional investors, including the frequency and timing of engagements and the company participants (including whether independent directors participated);
Disclosure of the specific concerns voiced by dissenting shareholders that led to the say-on-pay opposition;
Disclosure of specific and meaningful actions taken to address shareholders' concerns;
Other recent compensation actions taken by the company;
Whether the issues raised are recurring or isolated;
The company's ownership structure; and
Whether the support level was less than 50 percent, which would warrant the highest degree of responsiveness.
The board implements an advisory vote on executive compensation on a less frequent basis than the frequency that received the plurality of votes cast.
Accountability
Problematic Takeover Defenses, Capital Structure, and Governance Structure
Poison Pills: Generally vote against or withhold from all nominees (except new nominees1, who should be considered case- by-case) if:
The company has a poison pill with a deadhand or slowhand feature6;
6 If a short-term pill with a deadhand or slowhand feature is enacted but expires before the next shareholder vote, ISS will generally still recommend withhold/against nominees at the next shareholder meeting following its adoption.

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The board makes a material adverse modification to an existing pill, including, but not limited to, extension, renewal, or lowering the trigger, without shareholder approval; or
The company has a long-term poison pill (with a term of over one year) that was not approved by the public shareholders7.
Vote case-by-case on nominees if the board adopts an initial short-term pill6 (with a term of one year or less) without shareholder approval, taking into consideration:
▪ The disclosed rationale for the adoption;
▪ The trigger;
▪ The company's market capitalization (including absolute level and sudden changes);
▪ A commitment to put any renewal to a shareholder vote; and
▪ Other factors as relevant.

Unequal Voting Rights: Generally vote withhold or against directors individually, committee members, or the entire board (except new nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case), if the company employs a common stock structure with unequal voting rights8.

Exceptions to this policy will generally be limited to:

Newly-public companies9 with a sunset provision of no more than seven years from the date of going public;
Limited Partnerships and the Operating Partnership (OP) unit structure of REITs;
Situations where the super-voting shares represent less than 5% of total voting power and therefore considered to be de minimis; or
The company provides sufficient protections for minority shareholders, such as allowing minority shareholders a regular binding vote on whether the capital structure should be maintained.

Classified Board Structure: The board is classified, and a continuing director responsible for a problematic governance issue at the board/committee level that would warrant a withhold/against vote recommendation is not up for election. All appropriate nominees (except new) may be held accountable.

Removal of Shareholder Discretion on Classified Boards: The company has opted into, or failed to opt out of, state laws requiring a classified board structure.

Problematic Governance Structure: For companies that hold or held their first annual meeting9 of public shareholders after Feb. 1, 2015, generally vote against or withhold from directors individually, committee members, or the entire board (except new nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case) if, prior to or in connection with the company's public offering, the company or its board adopted the following bylaw or charter provisions that are considered to be materially adverse to shareholder rights:

Supermajority vote requirements to amend the bylaws or charter;
A classified board structure; or
Other egregious provisions.






7 Approval prior to, or in connection, with a company’s becoming publicly-traded, or in connection with a de-SPAC transaction, is insufficient.
8 This generally includes classes of common stock that have additional votes per share than other shares; classes of shares that are not entitled to vote on all the same ballot items or nominees; or stock with time-phased voting rights (“loyalty shares”).
9 Includes companies that emerge from bankruptcy, SPAC transactions, spin-offs, direct listings, and those who complete a traditional initial public offering.

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A provision which specifies that the problematic structure(s) will be sunset within seven years of the date of going public will be considered a mitigating factor.
Unless the adverse provision is reversed or removed, vote case-by-case on director nominees in subsequent years.
Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments: Generally vote against or withhold from directors individually, committee members, or the entire board (except new nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case) if the board amends the company's bylaws or charter without shareholder approval in a manner that materially diminishes shareholders' rights or that could adversely impact shareholders, considering the following factors:
The board's rationale for adopting the bylaw/charter amendment without shareholder ratification;
Disclosure by the company of any significant engagement with shareholders regarding the amendment;
The level of impairment of shareholders' rights caused by the board's unilateral amendment to the bylaws/charter;
The board's track record with regard to unilateral board action on bylaw/charter amendments or other entrenchment provisions;
The company's ownership structure;
The company's existing governance provisions;
The timing of the board's amendment to the bylaws/charter in connection with a significant business development; and
Other factors, as deemed appropriate, that may be relevant to determine the impact of the amendment on shareholders.
Unless the adverse amendment is reversed or submitted to a binding shareholder vote, in subsequent years vote case-by-case on director nominees. Generally vote against (except new nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case) if the directors:
Classified the board;
Adopted supermajority vote requirements to amend the bylaws or charter; or
Eliminated shareholders' ability to amend bylaws;
Adopted a fee-shifting provision; or
Adopted another provision deemed egregious.
Restricting Binding Shareholder Proposals: Generally vote against or withhold from the members of the governance committee if:
The company’s governing documents impose undue restrictions on shareholders’ ability to amend the bylaws. Such restrictions include but are not limited to: outright prohibition on the submission of binding shareholder proposals or share ownership requirements, subject matter restrictions, or time holding requirements in excess of SEC Rule 14a-8. Vote against or withhold on an ongoing basis.
Submission of management proposals to approve or ratify requirements in excess of SEC Rule 14a-8 for the submission of binding bylaw amendments will generally be viewed as an insufficient restoration of shareholders' rights. Generally continue to vote against or withhold on an ongoing basis until shareholders are provided with an unfettered ability to amend the bylaws or a proposal providing for such unfettered right is submitted for shareholder approval.
Director Performance Evaluation: The board lacks mechanisms to promote accountability and oversight, coupled with sustained poor performance relative to peers. Sustained poor performance is measured by one-, three-, and five-year total shareholder returns in the bottom half of a company’s four-digit GICS industry group (Russell 3000 companies only). Take into consideration the company’s operational metrics and other factors as warranted. Problematic provisions include but are not limited to:
A classified board structure;
A supermajority vote requirement;

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Either a plurality vote standard in uncontested director elections, or a majority vote standard in contested elections;
The inability of shareholders to call special meetings;
The inability of shareholders to act by written consent;
A multi-class capital structure; and/or
A non-shareholder-approved poison pill.
Management Proposals to Ratify Existing Charter or Bylaw Provisions: Vote against/withhold from individual directors, members of the governance committee, or the full board, where boards ask shareholders to ratify existing charter or bylaw provisions considering the following factors:
The presence of a shareholder proposal addressing the same issue on the same ballot;
The board's rationale for seeking ratification;
Disclosure of actions to be taken by the board should the ratification proposal fail;
Disclosure of shareholder engagement regarding the board’s ratification request;
The level of impairment to shareholders' rights caused by the existing provision;
The history of management and shareholder proposals on the provision at the company’s past meetings;
Whether the current provision was adopted in response to the shareholder proposal;
The company's ownership structure; and
Previous use of ratification proposals to exclude shareholder proposals.
Problematic Audit-Related Practices
Generally vote against or withhold from the members of the Audit Committee if:
The non-audit fees paid to the auditor are excessive;
The company receives an adverse opinion on the company’s financial statements from its auditor; or
There is persuasive evidence that the Audit Committee entered into an inappropriate indemnification agreement with its auditor that limits the ability of the company, or its shareholders, to pursue legitimate legal recourse against the audit firm.
Vote case-by-case on members of the Audit Committee and potentially the full board if:
Poor accounting practices are identified that rise to a level of serious concern, such as: fraud; misapplication of GAAP; and material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures. Examine the severity, breadth, chronological sequence, and duration, as well as the company’s efforts at remediation or corrective actions, in determining whether withhold/against votes are warranted.
Problematic Compensation Practices
In the absence of an Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Say on Pay) ballot item or in egregious situations, vote against or withhold from the members of the Compensation Committee and potentially the full board if:
There is an unmitigated misalignment between CEO pay and company performance (pay for performance);
The company maintains significant problematic pay practices; or
The board exhibits a significant level of poor communication and responsiveness to shareholders.
Generally vote against or withhold from the Compensation Committee chair, other committee members, or potentially the full board if:
The company fails to include a Say on Pay ballot item when required under SEC provisions, or under the company’s declared frequency of say on pay; or
The company fails to include a Frequency of Say on Pay ballot item when required under SEC provisions.
Generally vote against members of the board committee responsible for approving/setting non-employee director compensation if there is a pattern (i.e. two or more years) of awarding excessive non-employee director compensation without disclosing a compelling rationale or other mitigating factors.

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Problematic Pledging of Company Stock: Vote against the members of the committee that oversees risks related to pledging, or the full board, where a significant level of pledged company stock by executives or directors raises concerns. The following factors will be considered:
The presence of an anti-pledging policy, disclosed in the proxy statement, that prohibits future pledging activity;
The magnitude of aggregate pledged shares in terms of total common shares outstanding, market value, and trading volume;
Disclosure of progress or lack thereof in reducing the magnitude of aggregate pledged shares over time;
Disclosure in the proxy statement that shares subject to stock ownership and holding requirements do not include pledged company stock; and
Any other relevant factors.
Climate Accountability
For companies that are significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, through their operations or value chain10, generally vote against or withhold from the incumbent chair of the responsible committee (or other directors on a case-by-case basis) in cases where ISS determines that the company is not taking the minimum steps needed to understand, assess, and mitigate risks related to climate change to the company and the larger economy.
Minimum steps to understand and mitigate those risks are considered to be the following. Both minimum criteria will be required to be in alignment with the policy:
Detailed disclosure of climate-related risks, such as according to the framework established by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), including:
Board governance measures;
Corporate strategy;
Risk management analyses; and
Metrics and targets.
Appropriate GHG emissions reduction targets.
At this time, “appropriate GHG emissions reductions targets” will be medium-term GHG reduction targets or Net Zero-by-2050 GHG reduction targets for a company's operations (Scope 1) and electricity use (Scope 2). Targets should cover the vast majority of the company’s direct emissions.
Governance Failures
Under extraordinary circumstances, vote against or withhold from directors individually, committee members, or the entire board, due to:
Material failures of governance, stewardship, risk oversight11, or fiduciary responsibilities at the company;
Failure to replace management as appropriate; or
Egregious actions related to a director’s service on other boards that raise substantial doubt about his or her ability to effectively oversee management and serve the best interests of shareholders at any company.

10 Companies defined as “significant GHG emitters” will be those on the current Climate Action 100+ Focus Group list.
11 Examples of failure of risk oversight include but are not limited to: bribery; large or serial fines or sanctions from regulatory bodies; demonstrably poor risk oversight of environmental and social issues, including climate change; significant adverse legal judgments or settlement; or hedging of company stock.

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Voting on Director Nominees in Contested Elections
Vote-No Campaigns
General Recommendation: In cases where companies are targeted in connection with public “vote-no” campaigns, evaluate director nominees under the existing governance policies for voting on director nominees in uncontested elections. Take into consideration the arguments submitted by shareholders and other publicly available information.
Proxy Contests/Proxy Access
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on the election of directors in contested elections, considering the following factors:
Long-term financial performance of the company relative to its industry;
Management’s track record;
Background to the contested election;
Nominee qualifications and any compensatory arrangements;
Strategic plan of dissident slate and quality of the critique against management;
Likelihood that the proposed goals and objectives can be achieved (both slates); and
Stock ownership positions.
In the case of candidates nominated pursuant to proxy access, vote case-by-case considering any applicable factors listed above or additional factors which may be relevant, including those that are specific to the company, to the nominee(s) and/or to the nature of the election (such as whether there are more candidates than board seats).
Other Board-Related Proposals
Adopt Anti-Hedging/Pledging/Speculative Investments Policy
General Recommendation: Generally vote for proposals seeking a policy that prohibits named executive officers from engaging in derivative or speculative transactions involving company stock, including hedging, holding stock in a margin account, or pledging stock as collateral for a loan. However, the company’s existing policies regarding
responsible use of company stock will be considered.
Board Refreshment
Board refreshment is best implemented through an ongoing program of individual director evaluations, conducted annually, to ensure the evolving needs of the board are met and to bring in fresh perspectives, skills, and diversity as needed.



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Term/Tenure Limits
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on management proposals regarding director term/tenure limits, considering:
The rationale provided for adoption of the term/tenure limit;
The robustness of the company’s board evaluation process;
Whether the limit is of sufficient length to allow for a broad range of director tenures;
Whether the limit would disadvantage independent directors compared to non-independent directors; and
Whether the board will impose the limit evenly, and not have the ability to waive it in a discriminatory manner.
Vote case-by-case on shareholder proposals asking for the company to adopt director term/tenure limits, considering:
The scope of the shareholder proposal; and
Evidence of problematic issues at the company combined with, or exacerbated by, a lack of board refreshment.
Age Limits
General Recommendation: Generally vote against management and shareholder proposals to limit the tenure of independent directors through mandatory retirement ages. Vote for proposals to remove mandatory age limits.
Board Size
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals seeking to fix the board size or designate a range for the board size.
Vote against proposals that give management the ability to alter the size of the board outside of a specified range without shareholder approval.
Classification/Declassification of the Board
General Recommendation: Vote against proposals to classify (stagger) the board.
Vote for proposals to repeal classified boards and to elect all directors annually.
CEO Succession Planning
General Recommendation: Generally vote for proposals seeking disclosure on a CEO succession planning policy, considering, at a minimum, the following factors:
The reasonableness/scope of the request; and
The company’s existing disclosure on its current CEO succession planning process.
Cumulative Voting
General Recommendation: Generally vote against management proposals to eliminate cumulate voting, and for shareholder proposals to restore or provide for cumulative voting, unless:

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The company has proxy access12, thereby allowing shareholders to nominate directors to the company’s
ballot; and
The company has adopted a majority vote standard, with a carve-out for plurality voting in situations where there are more nominees than seats, and a director resignation policy to address failed elections.
Vote for proposals for cumulative voting at controlled companies (insider voting power > 50%).
Director and Officer Indemnification, Liability Protection, and Exculpation
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals on director and officer indemnification, liability protection, and exculpation13.
Consider the stated rationale for the proposed change. Also consider, among other factors, the extent to which the proposal would:
Eliminate directors' and officers' liability for monetary damages for violating the duty of care.
Eliminate directors' and officers' liability for monetary damages for violating the duty of loyalty.
Expand coverage beyond just legal expenses to liability for acts that are more serious violations of fiduciary obligation than mere carelessness.
Expand the scope of indemnification to provide for mandatory indemnification of company officials in connection with acts that previously the company was permitted to provide indemnification for, at the discretion of the company's board (i.e., "permissive indemnification"), but that previously the company was not required to indemnify.
Vote for those proposals providing such expanded coverage in cases when a director’s or officer’s legal defense was unsuccessful if both of the following apply:
If the individual was found to have acted in good faith and in a manner that the individual reasonably believed was in the best interests of the company; and
If only the individual’s legal expenses would be covered.
Establish/Amend Nominee Qualifications
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals that establish or amend director qualifications. Votes should be based on the reasonableness of the criteria and the degree to which they may preclude dissident nominees from joining the board.

Vote case-by-case on shareholder resolutions seeking a director nominee who possesses a particular subject matter expertise, considering:
The company’s board committee structure, existing subject matter expertise, and board nomination provisions relative to that of its peers;


12 A proxy access right that meets the recommended guidelines.
13 Indemnification: the condition of being secured against loss or damage.
Limited liability: a person's financial liability is limited to a fixed sum, or personal financial assets are not at risk if the individual
loses a lawsuit that results in financial award/damages to the plaintiff.
Exculpation: to eliminate or limit the personal liability of a director or officer to the corporation or its shareholders for
monetary damages for breach of fiduciary duty as a director or officer.

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The company’s existing board and management oversight mechanisms regarding the issue for which board
oversight is sought;
The company’s disclosure and performance relating to the issue for which board oversight is sought and any significant related controversies; and
The scope and structure of the proposal.
Establish Other Board Committee Proposals
General Recommendation: Generally vote against shareholder proposals to establish a new board committee, as such proposals seek a specific oversight mechanism/structure that potentially limits a company’s flexibility to determine an appropriate oversight mechanism for itself. However, the following factors will be considered:
Existing oversight mechanisms (including current committee structure) regarding the issue for which board oversight is sought;
Level of disclosure regarding the issue for which board oversight is sought;
Company performance related to the issue for which board oversight is sought;
Board committee structure compared to that of other companies in its industry sector; and
The scope and structure of the proposal.
Filling Vacancies/Removal of Directors
General Recommendation: Vote against proposals that provide that directors may be removed only for cause.
Vote for proposals to restore shareholders’ ability to remove directors with or without cause.
Vote against proposals that provide that only continuing directors may elect replacements to fill board vacancies.
Vote for proposals that permit shareholders to elect directors to fill board vacancies.
Independent Board Chair
General Recommendation: Generally vote for shareholder proposals requiring that the board chair position be filled by an independent director, taking into consideration the following:
The scope and rationale of the proposal;
The company's current board leadership structure;
The company's governance structure and practices;
Company performance; and
Any other relevant factors that may be applicable.
The following factors will increase the likelihood of a “for” recommendation:
A majority non-independent board and/or the presence of non-independent directors on key board committees;
A weak or poorly-defined lead independent director role that fails to serve as an appropriate counterbalance to a combined CEO/chair role;
The presence of an executive or non-independent chair in addition to the CEO, a recent recombination of the role of CEO and chair, and/or departure from a structure with an independent chair;
Evidence that the board has failed to oversee and address material risks facing the company;
A material governance failure, particularly if the board has failed to adequately respond to shareholder concerns or if the board has materially diminished shareholder rights; or
Evidence that the board has failed to intervene when management’s interests are contrary to shareholders'
interests.

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Majority of Independent Directors/Establishment of Independent Committees
General Recommendation: Vote for shareholder proposals asking that a majority or more of directors be independent unless the board composition already meets the proposed threshold by ISS’ definition of Independent Director (See ISS' Classification of Directors.)
Vote for shareholder proposals asking that board audit, compensation, and/or nominating committees be composed exclusively of independent directors unless they currently meet that standard.
Majority Vote Standard for the Election of Directors
General Recommendation: Generally vote for management proposals to adopt a majority of votes cast standard for directors in uncontested elections. Vote against if no carve-out for a plurality vote standard in contested elections is included.
Generally vote for precatory and binding shareholder resolutions requesting that the board change the company’s bylaws to stipulate that directors need to be elected with an affirmative majority of votes cast, provided it does not conflict with the state law where the company is incorporated. Binding resolutions need to allow for a carve- out for a plurality vote standard when there are more nominees than board seats.
Companies are strongly encouraged to also adopt a post-election policy (also known as a director resignation policy) that will provide guidelines so that the company will promptly address the situation of a holdover director.
Proxy Access
General Recommendation: Generally vote for management and shareholder proposals for proxy access with the following provisions:
Ownership threshold: maximum requirement not more than three percent (3%) of the voting power;
Ownership duration: maximum requirement not longer than three (3) years of continuous ownership for each member of the nominating group;
Aggregation: minimal or no limits on the number of shareholders permitted to form a nominating group;
Cap: cap on nominees of generally twenty-five percent (25%) of the board.
Review for reasonableness any other restrictions on the right of proxy access. Generally vote against proposals that are more restrictive than these guidelines.
Require More Nominees than Open Seats
General Recommendation: Vote against shareholder proposals that would require a company to nominate more candidates than the number of open board seats.



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Shareholder Engagement Policy (Shareholder Advisory Committee)
General Recommendation: Generally vote for shareholder proposals requesting that the board establish an internal mechanism/process, which may include a committee, in order to improve communications between directors and shareholders, unless the company has the following features, as appropriate:
Established a communication structure that goes beyond the exchange requirements to facilitate the exchange of information between shareholders and members of the board;
Effectively disclosed information with respect to this structure to its shareholders;
Company has not ignored majority-supported shareholder proposals, or a majority withhold vote on a director nominee; and
The company has an independent chair or a lead director, according to ISS’ definition. This individual must be made available for periodic consultation and direct communication with major shareholders.

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2.Audit-Related
Auditor Indemnification and Limitation of Liability
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on the issue of auditor indemnification and limitation of liability.
Factors to be assessed include, but are not limited to:
The terms of the auditor agreement—the degree to which these agreements impact shareholders' rights;
The motivation and rationale for establishing the agreements;
The quality of the company’s disclosure; and
The company’s historical practices in the audit area.

Vote against or withhold from members of an audit committee in situations where there is persuasive evidence that the audit committee entered into an inappropriate indemnification agreement with its auditor that limits the ability of the company, or its shareholders, to pursue legitimate legal recourse against the audit firm.

Auditor Ratification
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals to ratify auditors unless any of the following apply:
An auditor has a financial interest in or association with the company, and is therefore not independent;
There is reason to believe that the independent auditor has rendered an opinion that is neither accurate nor
indicative of the company’s financial position;
Poor accounting practices are identified that rise to a serious level of concern, such as fraud or misapplication of GAAP; or
Fees for non-audit services (“Other” fees) are excessive.
Non-audit fees are excessive if:
Non-audit (“other”) fees > audit fees + audit-related fees + tax compliance/preparation fees
Tax compliance and preparation include the preparation of original and amended tax returns and refund claims, and tax payment planning. All other services in the tax category, such as tax advice, planning, or consulting, should be added to “Other” fees. If the breakout of tax fees cannot be determined, add all tax fees to “Other” fees.
In circumstances where "Other" fees include fees related to significant one-time capital structure events (such as initial public offerings, bankruptcy emergence, and spin-offs) and the company makes public disclosure of the amount and nature of those fees that are an exception to the standard "non-audit fee" category, then such fees may be excluded from the non-audit fees considered in determining the ratio of non-audit to audit/audit-related fees/tax compliance and preparation for purposes of determining whether non-audit fees are excessive.
Shareholder Proposals Limiting Non-Audit Services
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on shareholder proposals asking companies to prohibit or limit their auditors from engaging in non-audit services.



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Shareholder Proposals on Audit Firm Rotation
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on shareholder proposals asking for audit firm rotation, taking into account:
The tenure of the audit firm;
The length of rotation specified in the proposal;
Any significant audit-related issues at the company;
The number of Audit Committee meetings held each year;
The number of financial experts serving on the committee; and
Whether the company has a periodic renewal process where the auditor is evaluated for both audit quality and competitive price.


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3.Shareholder Rights & Defenses
Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals/Nominations
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on advance notice proposals, giving support to those proposals which allow shareholders to submit proposals/nominations as close to the meeting date as reasonably possible and within the broadest window possible, recognizing the need to allow sufficient notice for company, regulatory, and shareholder review.
To be reasonable, the company’s deadline for shareholder notice of a proposal/nominations must be no earlier than 120 days prior to the anniversary of the previous year’s meeting and have a submittal window of no shorter than 30 days from the beginning of the notice period (also known as a 90-120-day window). The submittal window is the period under which shareholders must file their proposals/nominations prior to the deadline.
In general, support additional efforts by companies to ensure full disclosure in regard to a proponent’s economic and voting position in the company so long as the informational requirements are reasonable and aimed at providing shareholders with the necessary information to review such proposals.
Amend Bylaws without Shareholder Consent
General Recommendation: Vote against proposals giving the board exclusive authority to amend the bylaws.
Vote case-by-case on proposals giving the board the ability to amend the bylaws in addition to shareholders, taking into account the following:
Any impediments to shareholders' ability to amend the bylaws (i.e. supermajority voting requirements);
The company's ownership structure and historical voting turnout;
Whether the board could amend bylaws adopted by shareholders; and
Whether shareholders would retain the ability to ratify any board-initiated amendments.
Control Share Acquisition Provisions
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals to opt out of control share acquisition statutes unless doing so would enable the completion of a takeover that would be detrimental to shareholders.
Vote against proposals to amend the charter to include control share acquisition provisions.
Vote for proposals to restore voting rights to the control shares.
Control share acquisition statutes function by denying shares their voting rights when they contribute to ownership in excess of certain thresholds. Voting rights for those shares exceeding ownership limits may only be restored by approval of either a majority or supermajority of disinterested shares. Thus, control share acquisition statutes effectively require a hostile bidder to put its offer to a shareholder vote or risk voting disenfranchisement if the bidder continues buying up a large block of shares.
Control Share Cash-Out Provisions
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals to opt out of control share cash-out statutes.



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Control share cash-out statutes give dissident shareholders the right to "cash-out" of their position in a company at the expense of the shareholder who has taken a control position. In other words, when an investor crosses a preset threshold level, remaining shareholders are given the right to sell their shares to the acquirer, who must buy them at the highest acquiring price.
Disgorgement Provisions
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals to opt out of state disgorgement provisions.
Disgorgement provisions require an acquirer or potential acquirer of more than a certain percentage of a company's stock to disgorge, or pay back, to the company any profits realized from the sale of that company's stock purchased 24 months before achieving control status. All sales of company stock by the acquirer occurring within a certain period of time (between 18 months and 24 months) prior to the investor's gaining control status are subject to these recapture-of-profits provisions.
Fair Price Provisions
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals to adopt fair price provisions (provisions that stipulate that an acquirer must pay the same price to acquire all shares as it paid to acquire the control shares), evaluating factors such as the vote required to approve the proposed acquisition, the vote required to repeal the fair price provision, and the mechanism for determining the fair price.
Generally vote against fair price provisions with shareholder vote requirements greater than a majority of disinterested shares.
Freeze-Out Provisions
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals to opt out of state freeze-out provisions. Freeze-out provisions force an investor who surpasses a certain ownership threshold in a company to wait a specified period of time before gaining control of the company.
Greenmail
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals to adopt anti-greenmail charter or bylaw amendments or otherwise restrict a company’s ability to make greenmail payments.
Vote case-by-case on anti-greenmail proposals when they are bundled with other charter or bylaw amendments.
Greenmail payments are targeted share repurchases by management of company stock from individuals or groups seeking control of the company. Since only the hostile party receives payment, usually at a substantial premium over the market value of its shares, the practice discriminates against all other shareholders.
Shareholder Litigation Rights
Federal Forum Selection Provisions
Federal forum selection provisions require that U.S. federal courts be the sole forum for shareholders to litigate claims arising under federal securities law.

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General Recommendation: Generally vote for federal forum selection provisions in the charter or bylaws that specify "the district courts of the United States" as the exclusive forum for federal securities law matters, in the absence of serious concerns about corporate governance or board responsiveness to shareholders.
Vote against provisions that restrict the forum to a particular federal district court; unilateral adoption (without a shareholder vote) of such a provision will generally be considered a one-time failure under the Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments policy.
Exclusive Forum Provisions for State Law Matters
Exclusive forum provisions in the charter or bylaws restrict shareholders’ ability to bring derivative lawsuits against the company, for claims arising out of state corporate law, to the courts of a particular state (generally the state of incorporation).
General Recommendation: Generally vote for charter or bylaw provisions that specify courts located within the state of Delaware as the exclusive forum for corporate law matters for Delaware corporations, in the absence of serious concerns about corporate governance or board responsiveness to shareholders.
For states other than Delaware, vote case-by-case on exclusive forum provisions, taking into consideration:
The company's stated rationale for adopting such a provision;
Disclosure of past harm from duplicative shareholder lawsuits in more than one forum;
The breadth of application of the charter or bylaw provision, including the types of lawsuits to which it would apply and the definition of key terms; and
Governance features such as shareholders' ability to repeal the provision at a later date (including the vote standard applied when shareholders attempt to amend the charter or bylaws) and their ability to hold directors accountable through annual director elections and a majority vote standard in uncontested elections.
Generally vote against provisions that specify a state other than the state of incorporation as the exclusive forum for corporate law matters, or that specify a particular local court within the state; unilateral adoption of such a provision will generally be considered a one-time failure under the Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments policy.
Fee shifting
Fee-shifting provisions in the charter or bylaws require that a shareholder who sues a company unsuccessfully pay all litigation expenses of the defendant corporation and its directors and officers.
General Recommendation: Generally vote against provisions that mandate fee-shifting whenever plaintiffs are not completely successful on the merits (i.e., including cases where the plaintiffs are partially successful).
Unilateral adoption of a fee-shifting provision will generally be considered an ongoing failure under the Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments policy.



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Net Operating Loss (NOL) Protective Amendments
General Recommendation: Vote against proposals to adopt a protective amendment for the stated purpose of protecting a company's net operating losses (NOL) if the effective term of the protective amendment would exceed the shorter of three years and the exhaustion of the NOL.
Vote case-by-case, considering the following factors, for management proposals to adopt an NOL protective amendment that would remain in effect for the shorter of three years (or less) and the exhaustion of the NOL:
The ownership threshold (NOL protective amendments generally prohibit stock ownership transfers that would result in a new 5-percent holder or increase the stock ownership percentage of an existing 5-percent holder);
The value of the NOLs;
Shareholder protection mechanisms (sunset provision or commitment to cause expiration of the protective amendment upon exhaustion or expiration of the NOL);
The company's existing governance structure including: board independence, existing takeover defenses, track record of responsiveness to shareholders, and any other problematic governance concerns; and
Any other factors that may be applicable.
Poison Pills (Shareholder Rights Plans)
Shareholder Proposals to Put Pill to a Vote and/or Adopt a Pill Policy
General Recommendation: Vote for shareholder proposals requesting that the company submit its poison pill to a shareholder vote or redeem it unless the company has: (1) A shareholder-approved poison pill in place; or (2) The company has adopted a policy concerning the adoption of a pill in the future specifying that the board will only adopt a shareholder rights plan if either:
Shareholders have approved the adoption of the plan; or
The board, in its exercise of its fiduciary responsibilities, determines that it is in the best interest of shareholders under the circumstances to adopt a pill without the delay in adoption that would result from seeking stockholder approval (i.e., the “fiduciary out” provision). A poison pill adopted under this fiduciary out will be put to a shareholder ratification vote within 12 months of adoption or expire. If the pill is not approved by a majority of the votes cast on this issue, the plan will immediately terminate.
If the shareholder proposal calls for a time period of less than 12 months for shareholder ratification after adoption, vote for the proposal, but add the caveat that a vote within 12 months would be considered sufficient implementation.
Management Proposals to Ratify a Poison Pill
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on management proposals on poison pill ratification, focusing on the features of the shareholder rights plan. Rights plans should contain the following attributes:
No lower than a 20 percent trigger, flip-in or flip-over;
A term of no more than three years;
No deadhand, slowhand, no-hand, or similar feature that limits the ability of a future board to redeem the pill;
Shareholder redemption feature (qualifying offer clause); if the board refuses to redeem the pill 90 days after a qualifying offer is announced, 10 percent of the shares may call a special meeting or seek a written consent to vote on rescinding the pill.

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In addition, the rationale for adopting the pill should be thoroughly explained by the company. In examining the request for the pill, take into consideration the company’s existing governance structure, including: board independence, existing takeover defenses, and any problematic governance concerns.
Management Proposals to Ratify a Pill to Preserve Net Operating Losses (NOLs)
General Recommendation: Vote against proposals to adopt a poison pill for the stated purpose of protecting a company's net operating losses (NOL) if the term of the pill would exceed the shorter of three years and the exhaustion of the NOL.
Vote case-by-case on management proposals for poison pill ratification, considering the following factors, if the term of the pill would be the shorter of three years (or less) and the exhaustion of the NOL:
The ownership threshold to transfer (NOL pills generally have a trigger slightly below 5 percent);
The value of the NOLs;
Shareholder protection mechanisms (sunset provision, or commitment to cause expiration of the pill upon exhaustion or expiration of NOLs);
The company's existing governance structure, including: board independence, existing takeover defenses, track record of responsiveness to shareholders, and any other problematic governance concerns; and
Any other factors that may be applicable.
Proxy Voting Disclosure, Confidentiality, and Tabulation
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals regarding proxy voting mechanics, taking into consideration whether implementation of the proposal is likely to enhance or protect shareholder rights. Specific issues covered under the policy include, but are not limited to, confidential voting of individual proxies and ballots, confidentiality of running vote tallies, and the treatment of abstentions and/or broker non-votes in the company's vote-counting methodology.
While a variety of factors may be considered in each analysis, the guiding principles are: transparency, consistency, and fairness in the proxy voting process. The factors considered, as applicable to the proposal, may include:
The scope and structure of the proposal;
The company's stated confidential voting policy (or other relevant policies) and whether it ensures a "level playing field" by providing shareholder proponents with equal access to vote information prior to the annual meeting;
The company's vote standard for management and shareholder proposals and whether it ensures consistency and fairness in the proxy voting process and maintains the integrity of vote results;
Whether the company's disclosure regarding its vote counting method and other relevant voting policies with respect to management and shareholder proposals are consistent and clear;
Any recent controversies or concerns related to the company's proxy voting mechanics;
Any unintended consequences resulting from implementation of the proposal; and
Any other factors that may be relevant.
Ratification Proposals: Management Proposals to Ratify Existing Charter or Bylaw Provisions
General Recommendation: Generally vote against management proposals to ratify provisions of the company’s
existing charter or bylaws, unless these governance provisions align with best practice.

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In addition, voting against/withhold from individual directors, members of the governance committee, or the full board may be warranted, considering:
The presence of a shareholder proposal addressing the same issue on the same ballot;
The board's rationale for seeking ratification;
Disclosure of actions to be taken by the board should the ratification proposal fail;
Disclosure of shareholder engagement regarding the board’s ratification request;
The level of impairment to shareholders' rights caused by the existing provision;
The history of management and shareholder proposals on the provision at the company’s past meetings;
Whether the current provision was adopted in response to the shareholder proposal;
The company's ownership structure; and
Previous use of ratification proposals to exclude shareholder proposals.
Reimbursing Proxy Solicitation Expenses
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals to reimburse proxy solicitation expenses.
When voting in conjunction with support of a dissident slate, vote for the reimbursement of all appropriate proxy solicitation expenses associated with the election.
Generally vote for shareholder proposals calling for the reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred in connection with nominating one or more candidates in a contested election where the following apply:
The election of fewer than 50 percent of the directors to be elected is contested in the election;
One or more of the dissident’s candidates is elected;
Shareholders are not permitted to cumulate their votes for directors; and
The election occurred, and the expenses were incurred, after the adoption of this bylaw.
Reincorporation Proposals
General Recommendation: Management or shareholder proposals to change a company's state of incorporation should be evaluated case-by-case, giving consideration to both financial and corporate governance concerns including the following:
Reasons for reincorporation;
Comparison of company's governance practices and provisions prior to and following the reincorporation; and
Comparison of corporation laws of original state and destination state.
Vote for reincorporation when the economic factors outweigh any neutral or negative governance changes.
Shareholder Ability to Act by Written Consent
General Recommendation: Generally vote against management and shareholder proposals to restrict or prohibit shareholders' ability to act by written consent.
Generally vote for management and shareholder proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to act by written consent, taking into account the following factors:
Shareholders' current right to act by written consent;
The consent threshold;
The inclusion of exclusionary or prohibitive language;

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Investor ownership structure; and
Shareholder support of, and management's response to, previous shareholder proposals.
Vote case-by-case on shareholder proposals if, in addition to the considerations above, the company has the following governance and antitakeover provisions:
An unfettered14 right for shareholders to call special meetings at a 10 percent threshold;
A majority vote standard in uncontested director elections;
No non-shareholder-approved pill; and
An annually elected board.
Shareholder Ability to Call Special Meetings
General Recommendation: Vote against management or shareholder proposals to restrict or prohibit shareholders’ ability to call special meetings.
Generally vote for management or shareholder proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to call special meetings taking into account the following factors:
Shareholders’ current right to call special meetings;
Minimum ownership threshold necessary to call special meetings (10 percent preferred);
The inclusion of exclusionary or prohibitive language;
Investor ownership structure; and
Shareholder support of, and management’s response to, previous shareholder proposals.
Stakeholder Provisions
General Recommendation: Vote against proposals that ask the board to consider non-shareholder constituencies or other non-financial effects when evaluating a merger or business combination.
State Antitakeover Statutes
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals to opt in or out of state takeover statutes (including fair price provisions, stakeholder laws, poison pill endorsements, severance pay and labor contract provisions, and anti-greenmail provisions).
Supermajority Vote Requirements
General Recommendation: Vote against proposals to require a supermajority shareholder vote.
Vote for management or shareholder proposals to reduce supermajority vote requirements. However, for companies with shareholder(s) who have significant ownership levels, vote case-by-case, taking into account:
Ownership structure;
Quorum requirements; and
Vote requirements.




14 "Unfettered" means no restrictions on agenda items, no restrictions on the number of shareholders who can group together to reach the 10 percent threshold, and only reasonable limits on when a meeting can be called: no greater than 30 days after the last annual meeting and no greater than 90 prior to the next annual meeting.

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Virtual Shareholder Meetings
General Recommendation: Generally vote for management proposals allowing for the convening of shareholder meetings by electronic means, so long as they do not preclude in-person meetings. Companies are encouraged to disclose the circumstances under which virtual-only15 meetings would be held, and to allow for comparable rights and opportunities for shareholders to participate electronically as they would have during an in-person meeting.
Vote case-by-case on shareholder proposals concerning virtual-only meetings, considering:
Scope and rationale of the proposal; and
Concerns identified with the company’s prior meeting practices.







































15 Virtual-only shareholder meeting” refers to a meeting of shareholders that is held exclusively using technology without a
corresponding in-person meeting.

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4.Capital/Restructuring
Capital
Adjustments to Par Value of Common Stock
General Recommendation: Vote for management proposals to reduce the par value of common stock unless the action is being taken to facilitate an anti-takeover device or some other negative corporate governance action.
Vote for management proposals to eliminate par value.
Common Stock Authorization
General Authorization Requests
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals to increase the number of authorized shares of common stock that are to be used for general corporate purposes:

If share usage (outstanding plus reserved) is less than 50% of the current authorized shares, vote for an increase of up to 50% of current authorized shares.
If share usage is 50% to 100% of the current authorized, vote for an increase of up to 100% of current authorized shares.
If share usage is greater than current authorized shares, vote for an increase of up to the current share usage.
In the case of a stock split, the allowable increase is calculated (per above) based on the post-split adjusted authorization.
Generally vote against proposed increases, even if within the above ratios, if the proposal or the company’s prior or ongoing use of authorized shares is problematic, including, but not limited to:
The proposal seeks to increase the number of authorized shares of the class of common stock that has superior voting rights to other share classes;
On the same ballot is a proposal for a reverse split for which support is warranted despite the fact that it would result in an excessive increase in the share authorization;
The company has a non-shareholder approved poison pill (including an NOL pill); or
The company has previous sizeable placements (within the past 3 years) of stock with insiders at prices substantially below market value, or with problematic voting rights, without shareholder approval.
However, generally vote for proposed increases beyond the above ratios or problematic situations when there is disclosure of specific and severe risks to shareholders of not approving the request, such as:
In, or subsequent to, the company's most recent 10-K filing, the company discloses that there is substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern;
The company states that there is a risk of imminent bankruptcy or imminent liquidation if shareholders do not approve the increase in authorized capital; or
A government body has in the past year required the company to increase its capital ratios.
For companies incorporated in states that allow increases in authorized capital without shareholder approval, generally vote withhold or against all nominees if a unilateral capital authorization increase does not conform to the above policies.

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Specific Authorization Requests
General Recommendation: Generally vote for proposals to increase the number of authorized common shares where the primary purpose of the increase is to issue shares in connection with transaction(s) (such as acquisitions, SPAC transactions, private placements, or similar transactions) on the same ballot, or disclosed in the proxy statement, that warrant support. For such transactions, the allowable increase will be the greater of:
twice the amount needed to support the transactions on the ballot, and
the allowable increase as calculated for general issuances above.
Dual Class Structure
General Recommendation: Generally vote against proposals to create a new class of common stock unless:
The company discloses a compelling rationale for the dual-class capital structure, such as:
The company's auditor has concluded that there is substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern; or
The new class of shares will be transitory;
The new class is intended for financing purposes with minimal or no dilution to current shareholders in both the short term and long term; and
The new class is not designed to preserve or increase the voting power of an insider or significant shareholder.
Issue Stock for Use with Rights Plan
General Recommendation: Vote against proposals that increase authorized common stock for the explicit purpose of implementing a non-shareholder-approved shareholder rights plan (poison pill).
Preemptive Rights
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on shareholder proposals that seek preemptive rights, taking into consideration:
The size of the company;
The shareholder base; and
The liquidity of the stock.
Preferred Stock Authorization
General Authorization Requests
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals to increase the number of authorized shares of preferred stock that are to be used for general corporate purposes:
If share usage (outstanding plus reserved) is less than 50% of the current authorized shares, vote for an increase of up to 50% of current authorized shares.
If share usage is 50% to 100% of the current authorized, vote for an increase of up to 100% of current authorized shares.
If share usage is greater than current authorized shares, vote for an increase of up to the current share usage.


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In the case of a stock split, the allowable increase is calculated (per above) based on the post-split adjusted authorization.
If no preferred shares are currently issued and outstanding, vote against the request, unless the company discloses a specific use for the shares.
Generally vote against proposed increases, even if within the above ratios, if the proposal or the company’s prior or ongoing use of authorized shares is problematic, including, but not limited to:
If the shares requested are blank check preferred shares that can be used for antitakeover purposes;16
The company seeks to increase a class of non-convertible preferred shares entitled to more than one vote per share on matters that do not solely affect the rights of preferred stockholders "supervoting shares");
The company seeks to increase a class of convertible preferred shares entitled to a number of votes greater than the number of common shares into which they are convertible ("supervoting shares") on matters that do not solely affect the rights of preferred stockholders;
The stated intent of the increase in the general authorization is to allow the company to increase an existing designated class of supervoting preferred shares;
On the same ballot is a proposal for a reverse split for which support is warranted despite the fact that it would result in an excessive increase in the share authorization;
The company has a non-shareholder approved poison pill (including an NOL pill); or
The company has previous sizeable placements (within the past 3 years) of stock with insiders at prices substantially below market value, or with problematic voting rights, without shareholder approval.
However, generally vote for proposed increases beyond the above ratios or problematic situations when there is disclosure of specific and severe risks to shareholders of not approving the request, such as:
In, or subsequent to, the company's most recent 10-K filing, the company discloses that there is substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern;
The company states that there is a risk of imminent bankruptcy or imminent liquidation if shareholders do not approve the increase in authorized capital; or
A government body has in the past year required the company to increase its capital ratios.
For companies incorporated in states that allow increases in authorized capital without shareholder approval, generally vote withhold or against all nominees if a unilateral capital authorization increase does not conform to the above policies.
Specific Authorization Requests
General Recommendation: Generally vote for proposals to increase the number of authorized preferred shares where the primary purpose of the increase is to issue shares in connection with transaction(s) (such as acquisitions, SPAC transactions, private placements, or similar transactions) on the same ballot, or disclosed in the proxy statement, that warrant support. For such transactions, the allowable increase will be the greater of:
twice the amount needed to support the transactions on the ballot, and
the allowable increase as calculated for general issuances above.





16 To be acceptable, appropriate disclosure would be needed that the shares are “declawed”: i.e., representation by the board that it will not, without prior stockholder approval, issue or use the preferred stock for any defensive or anti-takeover purpose or for the purpose of implementing any stockholder rights plan.

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Recapitalization Plans
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on recapitalizations (reclassifications of securities), taking into account the following:
More simplified capital structure;
Enhanced liquidity;
Fairness of conversion terms;
Impact on voting power and dividends;
Reasons for the reclassification;
Conflicts of interest; and
Other alternatives considered.
Reverse Stock Splits
General Recommendation: Vote for management proposals to implement a reverse stock split if:
The number of authorized shares will be proportionately reduced; or
The effective increase in authorized shares is equal to or less than the allowable increase calculated in accordance with ISS' Common Stock Authorization policy.
Vote case-by-case on proposals that do not meet either of the above conditions, taking into consideration the following factors:
Stock exchange notification to the company of a potential delisting;
Disclosure of substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern without additional financing;
The company's rationale; or
Other factors as applicable.
Share Issuance Mandates at U.S. Domestic Issuers Incorporated Outside the U.S.
General Recommendation: For U.S. domestic issuers incorporated outside the U.S. and listed solely on a U.S. exchange, generally vote for resolutions to authorize the issuance of common shares up to 20 percent of currently issued common share capital, where not tied to a specific transaction or financing proposal.
For pre-revenue or other early-stage companies that are heavily reliant on periodic equity financing, generally vote for resolutions to authorize the issuance of common shares up to 50 percent of currently issued common share capital. The burden of proof will be on the company to establish that it has a need for the higher limit.
Renewal of such mandates should be sought at each year’s annual meeting.
Vote case-by-case on share issuances for a specific transaction or financing proposal.


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Share Repurchase Programs
General Recommendation: For U.S.-incorporated companies, and foreign-incorporated U.S. Domestic Issuers that are traded solely on U.S. exchanges, vote for management proposals to institute open-market share repurchase plans in which all shareholders may participate on equal terms, or to grant the board authority to conduct open- market repurchases, in the absence of company-specific concerns regarding:
Greenmail;
The use of buybacks to inappropriately manipulate incentive compensation metrics;
Threats to the company's long-term viability; or
Other company-specific factors as warranted.

Vote case-by-case on proposals to repurchase shares directly from specified shareholders, balancing the stated rationale against the possibility for the repurchase authority to be misused, such as to repurchase shares from insiders at a premium to market price.
Share Repurchase Programs Shareholder Proposals
General Recommendation: Generally vote against shareholder proposals prohibiting executives from selling shares of company stock during periods in which the company has announced that it may or will be repurchasing shares of its stock. Vote for the proposal when there is a pattern of abuse by executives exercising options or selling shares during periods of share buybacks.
Stock Distributions: Splits and Dividends
General Recommendation: Generally vote for management proposals to increase the common share authorization for stock split or stock dividend, provided that the effective increase in authorized shares is equal to or is less than the allowable increase calculated in accordance with ISS' Common Stock Authorization policy.
Tracking Stock
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on the creation of tracking stock, weighing the strategic value of the transaction against such factors as:
Adverse governance changes;
Excessive increases in authorized capital stock;
Unfair method of distribution;
Diminution of voting rights;
Adverse conversion features;
Negative impact on stock option plans; and
Alternatives such as spin-off.
Restructuring
Appraisal Rights
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals to restore or provide shareholders with rights of appraisal.

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Proxy Voting Guidelines
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Asset Purchases
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on asset purchase proposals, considering the following factors:
Purchase price;
Fairness opinion;
Financial and strategic benefits;
How the deal was negotiated;
Conflicts of interest;
Other alternatives for the business;
Non-completion risk.
Asset Sales
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on asset sales, considering the following factors:
Impact on the balance sheet/working capital;
Potential elimination of diseconomies;
Anticipated financial and operating benefits;
Anticipated use of funds;
Value received for the asset;
Fairness opinion;
How the deal was negotiated;
Conflicts of interest.
Bundled Proposals
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on bundled or “conditional” proxy proposals. In the case of items that are conditioned upon each other, examine the benefits and costs of the packaged items. In instances when the joint effect of the conditioned items is not in shareholders’ best interests, vote against the proposals. If the combined effect is positive, support such proposals.
Conversion of Securities
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals regarding conversion of securities. When evaluating these proposals, the investor should review the dilution to existing shareholders, the conversion price relative to market value, financial issues, control issues, termination penalties, and conflicts of interest.
Vote for the conversion if it is expected that the company will be subject to onerous penalties or will be forced to file for bankruptcy if the transaction is not approved.
Corporate Reorganization/Debt Restructuring/Prepackaged Bankruptcy Plans/Reverse Leveraged Buyouts/Wrap Plans
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals to increase common and/or preferred shares and to issue shares as part of a debt restructuring plan, after evaluating:
Dilution to existing shareholders' positions;