VANGUARD® EXPLORER™ FUND
STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
February 26, 2019
This Statement of Additional Information is not a prospectus but should be read in conjunction with the Fund’s current prospectus (dated February 26, 2019). To obtain, without charge, a prospectus or the most recent Annual Report to Shareholders, which contains the Fund’s financial statements as hereby incorporated by reference, please contact The Vanguard Group, Inc. (Vanguard).
Phone: Investor Information Department at 800-662-7447 Online: vanguard.com
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|Description of the Trust||B-1|
|Investment Strategies, Risks, and Nonfundamental Policies||B-4|
|Purchase and Redemption of Shares||B-21|
|Management of the Fund||B-23|
|Investment Advisory and Other Services||B-36|
|Vanguard‘s Proxy Voting Guidelines||B-46|
Vanguard Explorer Fund (the Trust) currently offers the following fund and share classes (identified by ticker symbol):
|Vanguard Explorer Fund||VEXPX||VEXRX|
|1 Individually, a class; collectively, the classes.|
The Trust has the ability to offer additional funds or classes of shares. There is no limit on the number of full and fractional shares that may be issued for a single fund or class of shares.
The Trust was organized as a Delaware corporation in 1967 and reorganized as a Maryland corporation in 1973. It was subsequently reorganized as a Delaware statutory trust in 1998. Prior to its reorganization as a Delaware statutory trust, the Trust was known as Vanguard Explorer Fund, Inc. The Trust is registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the 1940 Act) as an open-end, management investment company. Vanguard Explorer Fund (the Fund) is classified as diversified within the meaning of the 1940 Act.
Custodian. State Street Bank and Trust Company, One Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111, serves as the Fund‘s custodian. The custodian is responsible for maintaining the Fund‘s assets, keeping all necessary accounts and records of Fund assets, and appointing any foreign subcustodians or foreign securities depositories.
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Two Commerce Square, Suite 1800, 2001 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-7042, serves as the Fund‘s independent registered public accounting firm. The independent registered public accounting firm audits the Fund‘s annual financial statements and provides other related services.
Transfer and Dividend-Paying Agent. The Fund‘s transfer agent and dividend-paying agent is Vanguard, P.O. Box 2600, Valley Forge, PA 19482.
Characteristics of the Fund‘s Shares
Restrictions on Holding or Disposing of Shares. There are no restrictions on the right of shareholders to retain or dispose of the Fund’s shares, other than those described in the Fund’s current prospectus and elsewhere in this Statement of Additional Information. The Fund or class may be terminated by reorganization into another mutual fund or class or by liquidation and distribution of the assets of the Fund or class. Unless terminated by reorganization or liquidation, the Fund and share classes will continue indefinitely.
Shareholder Liability. The Trust is organized under Delaware law, which provides that shareholders of a statutory trust are entitled to the same limitations of personal liability as shareholders of a corporation organized under Delaware law. This means that a shareholder of the Fund generally will not be personally liable for payment of the Fund’s debts. Some state courts, however, may not apply Delaware law on this point. We believe that the possibility of such a situation arising is remote.
Dividend Rights. The shareholders of each class of the Fund are entitled to receive any dividends or other distributions declared by the Fund for each such class. No shares of the Fund have priority or preference over any other shares of the Fund with respect to distributions. Distributions will be made from the assets of the Fund and will be paid ratably to all shareholders of a particular class according to the number of shares of the class held by shareholders on the record date. The amount of dividends per share may vary between separate share classes of the Fund based upon differences in the net asset values of the different classes and differences in the way that expenses are allocated between share classes pursuant to a multiple class plan approved by the Fund’s board of trustees.
Voting Rights. Shareholders are entitled to vote on a matter if (1) the matter concerns an amendment to the Declaration of Trust that would adversely affect to a material degree the rights and preferences of the shares of the Fund or any class; (2) the trustees determine that it is necessary or desirable to obtain a shareholder vote; (3) a merger or consolidation, share conversion, share exchange, or sale of assets is proposed and a shareholder vote is required by the 1940 Act to approve the transaction; or (4) a shareholder vote is required under the 1940 Act. The 1940 Act requires a shareholder vote under various circumstances, including to elect or remove trustees upon the written request of shareholders representing 10% or more of the Fund’s net assets, to change any fundamental policy of the Fund (please see Fundamental Policies), and to enter into certain merger transactions. Unless otherwise required by applicable law, shareholders of the Fund receive one vote for each dollar of net asset value owned on the record date and a fractional vote for each fractional dollar of net asset value owned on the record date. However, only the shares of the Fund or class affected by a particular matter are entitled to vote on that matter. In addition, each class has exclusive voting rights on any matter submitted to shareholders that relates solely to that class, and each class has separate voting rights on any matter submitted to shareholders in which the interests of one class differ from the interests of another. Voting rights are noncumulative and cannot be modified without a majority vote by the shareholders.
Liquidation Rights. In the event that the Fund is liquidated, shareholders will be entitled to receive a pro rata share of the Fund’s net assets. In the event that a class of shares is liquidated, shareholders of that class will be entitled to receive a pro rata share of the Fund’s net assets that are allocated to that class. Shareholders may receive cash, securities, or a combination of the two.
Preemptive Rights. There are no preemptive rights associated with the Fund‘s shares.
Conversion Rights. Fund shareholders may convert their shares to another class of shares of the same Fund upon the satisfaction of any then-applicable eligibility requirements as described in the Fund’s current prospectus.
Redemption Provisions. The Fund’s redemption provisions are described in its current prospectus and elsewhere in this Statement of Additional Information.
Sinking Fund Provisions. The Fund has no sinking fund provisions.
Calls or Assessment. The Fund’s shares, when issued, are fully paid and non-assessable.
Tax Status of the Fund
The Fund expects to qualify each year for treatment as a “regulated investment company” under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the IRC). This special tax status means that the Fund will not be liable for federal tax on income and capital gains distributed to shareholders. In order to preserve its tax status, the Fund must comply with certain requirements relating to the source of its income and the diversification of its assets. If the Fund fails to meet these requirements in any taxable year, the Fund will, in some cases, be able to cure such failure, including by paying a fund-level tax, paying interest, making additional distributions, and/or disposing of certain assets. If the Fund is ineligible to or otherwise does not cure such failure for any year, it will be subject to tax on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including any distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gains, will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. In addition, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make substantial distributions before regaining its tax status as a regulated investment company.
Dividends received and distributed by the Fund on shares of stock of domestic corporations (excluding Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)) and certain foreign corporations generally may be eligible to be reported by the Fund, and treated by individual shareholders, as “qualified dividend income” taxed at long-term capital gain rates instead of at higher ordinary income tax rates. Individuals must satisfy holding period and other requirements in order to be eligible for such treatment. Capital gains distributed by the Fund are not eligible for treatment as qualified dividend income.
Under recent tax legislation, individuals (and certain other noncorporate entities) are generally eligible for a 20% deduction with respect to taxable ordinary dividends from REITs and certain taxable income from publicly traded partnerships. Currently, there is not a regulatory mechanism for regulated investment companies to pass through the 20% deduction to shareholders. As a result, in comparison, investors investing directly in REITs or publicly traded partnerships would generally be eligible for the 20% deduction for such taxable income from these investments while investors investing in REITs or publicly traded partnerships indirectly through the Fund would not be eligible for the 20% deduction for their share of such taxable income.
Dividends received and distributed by the Fund on shares of stock of domestic corporations (excluding REITs) may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction applicable to corporate shareholders. Corporations must satisfy certain requirements in order to claim the deduction. Capital gains distributed by the Fund are not eligible for the dividends-received deduction.
The Fund may declare a capital gain dividend consisting of the excess (if any) of net realized long-term capital gains over net realized short-term capital losses. Net capital gains for a fiscal year are computed by taking into account any capital loss carryforwards of the Fund. For Fund fiscal years beginning on or after December 22, 2010, capital losses may be carried forward indefinitely and retain their character as either short-term or long-term. Under prior law, net capital losses could be carried forward for eight tax years and were treated as short-term capital losses. A Fund is required to use capital losses arising in fiscal years beginning on or after December 22, 2010, before using capital losses arising in fiscal years beginning prior to December 22, 2010.
The Fund is subject to the following fundamental investment policies, which cannot be changed in any material way without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s shares. For these purposes, a “majority” of shares means shares representing the lesser of (1) 67% or more of the Fund’s net assets voted, so long as shares representing more than 50% of the Fund’s net assets are present or represented by proxy or (2) more than 50% of the Fund’s net assets.
Borrowing. The Fund may borrow money only as permitted by the 1940 Act or other governing statute, by the Rules thereunder, or by the SEC or other regulatory agency with authority over the Fund.
Commodities. The Fund may invest in commodities only as permitted by the 1940 Act or other governing statute, by the Rules thereunder, or by the SEC or other regulatory agency with authority over the Fund.
Diversification. With respect to 75% of its total assets, the Fund may not (1) purchase more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer or (2) purchase securities of any issuer if, as a result, more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in that issuer’s securities. This limitation does not apply to obligations of the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities.
Industry Concentration. The Fund will not concentrate its investments in the securities of issuers whose principal business activities are in the same industry.
Investment Objective. The investment objective of the Fund may not be materially changed without a shareholder vote.
Loans. The Fund may make loans to another person only as permitted by the 1940 Act or other governing statute, by the Rules thereunder, or by the SEC or other regulatory agency with authority over the Fund.
Real Estate. The Fund may not invest directly in real estate unless it is acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments. This restriction shall not prevent the Fund from investing in securities or other instruments (1) issued by companies that invest, deal, or otherwise engage in transactions in real estate or (2) backed or secured by real estate or interests in real estate.
Senior Securities. The Fund may not issue senior securities except as permitted by the 1940 Act or other governing statute, by the Rules thereunder, or by the SEC or other regulatory agency with authority over the Fund.
Underwriting. The Fund may not act as an underwriter of another issuer’s securities, except to the extent that the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriter within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 (the 1933 Act), in connection with the purchase and sale of portfolio securities.
Compliance with the fundamental policies previously described is generally measured at the time the securities are purchased. Unless otherwise required by the 1940 Act (as is the case with borrowing), if a percentage restriction is adhered to at the time the investment is made, a later change in percentage resulting from a change in the market value of assets will not constitute a violation of such restriction. All fundamental policies must comply with applicable regulatory requirements. For more details, see Investment Strategies, Risks, and Nonfundamental Policies.
None of these policies prevent the Fund from having an ownership interest in Vanguard. As a part owner of Vanguard, the Fund may own securities issued by Vanguard, make loans to Vanguard, and contribute to Vanguard’s costs or other financial requirements. See Management of the Fund for more information.
Some of the investment strategies and policies described on the following pages and in the Fund’s prospectus set forth percentage limitations on the Fund’s investment in, or holdings of, certain securities or other assets. Unless otherwise required by law, compliance with these strategies and policies will be determined immediately after the acquisition of such securities or assets by the Fund. Subsequent changes in values, net assets, or other circumstances will not be considered when determining whether the investment complies with the Fund’s investment strategies and policies.
The following investment strategies, risks, and policies supplement the Fund’s investment strategies, risks, and policies set forth in the prospectus. With respect to the different investments discussed as follows, the Fund may acquire such investments to the extent consistent with its investment strategies and policies.
Borrowing. A fund’s ability to borrow money is limited by its investment policies and limitations; by the 1940 Act; and by applicable exemptions, no-action letters, interpretations, and other pronouncements issued from time to time by the SEC and its staff or any other regulatory authority with jurisdiction. Under the 1940 Act, a fund is required to maintain continuous asset coverage (that is, total assets including borrowings, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of 300% of the amount borrowed, with an exception for borrowings not in excess of 5% of the fund’s total assets (at the time of borrowing) made for temporary or emergency purposes. Any borrowings for temporary purposes in excess of 5% of the fund’s total assets must maintain continuous asset coverage. If the 300% asset coverage should decline as a result of market fluctuations or for other reasons, a fund may be required to sell some of its portfolio holdings within three days (excluding Sundays and holidays) to reduce the debt and restore the 300% asset coverage, even though it may be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint to sell securities at that time.
Borrowing will tend to exaggerate the effect on net asset value of any increase or decrease in the market value of a fund’s portfolio. Money borrowed will be subject to interest costs that may or may not be recovered by earnings on the securities purchased with the proceeds of such borrowing. A fund also may be required to maintain minimum average balances in connection with a borrowing or to pay a commitment or other fee to maintain a line of credit; either of these requirements would increase the cost of borrowing over the stated interest rate.
The SEC takes the position that transactions that have a leveraging effect on the capital structure of a fund or are economically equivalent to borrowing can be viewed as constituting a form of borrowing by the fund for purposes of the
1940 Act. These transactions can include entering into reverse repurchase agreements; engaging in mortgage-dollar-roll transactions; selling securities short (other than short sales “against-the-box”); buying and selling certain derivatives (such as futures contracts); selling (or writing) put and call options; engaging in sale-buybacks; entering into firm-commitment and standby-commitment agreements; engaging in when-issued, delayed-delivery, or forward-commitment transactions; and participating in other similar trading practices. (Additional discussion about a number of these transactions can be found on the following pages.) A borrowing transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a fund, if the fund maintains an offsetting financial position; segregates liquid assets (with such liquidity determined by the advisor in accordance with procedures established by the board of trustees) equal (as determined on a daily mark-to-market basis) in value to the fund’s potential economic exposure under the borrowing transaction; or otherwise “covers” the transaction in accordance with applicable SEC guidance (collectively, “covers” the transaction). A fund may have to buy or sell a security at a disadvantageous time or price in order to cover a borrowing transaction. In addition, segregated assets may not be available to satisfy redemptions or to fulfill other obligations.
Common Stock. Common stock represents an equity or ownership interest in an issuer. Common stock typically entitles the owner to vote on the election of directors and other important matters, as well as to receive dividends on such stock. In the event an issuer is liquidated or declares bankruptcy, the claims of owners of bonds, other debt holders, and owners of preferred stock take precedence over the claims of those who own common stock.
Convertible Securities. Convertible securities are hybrid securities that combine the investment characteristics of bonds and common stocks. Convertible securities typically consist of debt securities or preferred stock that may be converted (on a voluntary or mandatory basis) within a specified period of time (normally for the entire life of the security) into a certain amount of common stock or other equity security of the same or a different issuer at a predetermined price. Convertible securities also include debt securities with warrants or common stock attached and derivatives combining the features of debt securities and equity securities. Other convertible securities with features and risks not specifically referred to herein may become available in the future. Convertible securities involve risks similar to those of both fixed income and equity securities. In a corporation’s capital structure, convertible securities are senior to common stock but are usually subordinated to senior debt obligations of the issuer.
The market value of a convertible security is a function of its “investment value” and its “conversion value.” A security’s “investment value” represents the value of the security without its conversion feature (i.e., a nonconvertible debt security). The investment value may be determined by reference to its credit quality and the current value of its yield to maturity or probable call date. At any given time, investment value is dependent upon such factors as the general level of interest rates, the yield of similar nonconvertible securities, the financial strength of the issuer, and the seniority of the security in the issuer’s capital structure. A security’s “conversion value” is determined by multiplying the number of shares the holder is entitled to receive upon conversion or exchange by the current price of the underlying security. If the conversion value of a convertible security is significantly below its investment value, the convertible security will trade like nonconvertible debt or preferred stock and its market value will not be influenced greatly by fluctuations in the market price of the underlying security. In that circumstance, the convertible security takes on the characteristics of a bond, and its price moves in the opposite direction from interest rates. Conversely, if the conversion value of a convertible security is near or above its investment value, the market value of the convertible security will be more heavily influenced by fluctuations in the market price of the underlying security. In that case, the convertible security’s price may be as volatile as that of common stock. Because both interest rates and market movements can influence its value, a convertible security generally is not as sensitive to interest rates as a similar debt security, nor is it as sensitive to changes in share price as its underlying equity security. Convertible securities are often rated below investment-grade or are not rated, and they are generally subject to a high degree of credit risk.
Although all markets are prone to change over time, the generally high rate at which convertible securities are retired (through mandatory or scheduled conversions by issuers or through voluntary redemptions by holders) and replaced with newly issued convertible securities may cause the convertible securities market to change more rapidly than other markets. For example, a concentration of available convertible securities in a few economic sectors could elevate the sensitivity of the convertible securities market to the volatility of the equity markets and to the specific risks of those sectors. Moreover, convertible securities with innovative structures, such as mandatory-conversion securities and equity-linked securities, have increased the sensitivity of the convertible securities market to the volatility of the equity markets and to the special risks of those innovations, which may include risks different from, and possibly greater than, those
associated with traditional convertible securities. A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price set in the governing instrument of the convertible security. If a convertible security held by a fund is subject to such redemption option and is called for redemption, the fund must allow the issuer to redeem the security, convert it into the underlying common stock, or sell the security to a third party.
Cybersecurity Risks. The increased use of technology to conduct business could subject a fund and its third-party service providers (including, but not limited to, investment advisors and custodians) to risks associated with cybersecurity. In general, a cybersecurity incident can occur as a result of a deliberate attack designed to gain unauthorized access to digital systems. If the attack is successful, an unauthorized person or persons could misappropriate assets or sensitive information, corrupt data, or cause operational disruption. A cybersecurity incident could also occur unintentionally if, for example, an authorized person inadvertently released proprietary or confidential information. Vanguard has developed robust technological safeguards and business continuity plans to prevent, or reduce the impact of, potential cybersecurity incidents. Additionally, Vanguard has a process for assessing the information security and/or cybersecurity programs implemented by a fund’s third-party service providers, which helps minimize the risk of potential incidents. Despite these measures, a cybersecurity incident still has the potential to disrupt business operations, which could negatively impact a fund and/or its shareholders. Some examples of negative impacts that could occur as a result of a cybersecurity incident include, but are not limited to, the following: a fund may be unable to calculate its net asset value (NAV), a fund’s shareholders may be unable to transact business, a fund may be unable to process transactions on behalf of its shareholders, or a fund may be unable to safeguard its data or the personal information of its shareholders.
Debt Securities. A debt security, sometimes called a fixed income security, consists of a certificate or other evidence of a debt (secured or unsecured) on which the issuing company or governmental body promises to pay the holder thereof a fixed, variable, or floating rate of interest for a specified length of time and to repay the debt on the specified maturity date. Some debt securities, such as zero-coupon bonds, do not make regular interest payments but are issued at a discount to their principal or maturity value. Debt securities include a variety of fixed income obligations, including, but not limited to, corporate bonds, government securities, municipal securities, convertible securities, mortgage-backed securities, and asset-backed securities. Debt securities include investment-grade securities, non-investment-grade securities, and unrated securities. Debt securities are subject to a variety of risks, such as interest rate risk, income risk, call risk, prepayment risk, extension risk, inflation risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, and (in the case of foreign securities) country risk and currency risk. The reorganization of an issuer under the federal bankruptcy laws or an out-of-court restructuring of an issuer’s capital structure may result in the issuer’s debt securities being cancelled without repayment, repaid only in part, or repaid in part or in whole through an exchange thereof for any combination of cash, debt securities, convertible securities, equity securities, or other instruments or rights in respect to the same issuer or a related entity.
Debt Securities—Non-Investment-Grade Securities. Non-investment-grade securities, also referred to as “high-yield securities” or “junk bonds,” are debt securities that are rated lower than the four highest rating categories by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (e.g., lower than Baa3/P-2 by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (Moody’s) or below BBB–/A-2 by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (Standard & Poor’s)) or, if unrated, are determined to be of comparable quality by the fund’s advisor. These securities are generally considered to be, on balance, predominantly speculative with respect to capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation, and they will generally involve more credit risk than securities in the investment-grade categories. Non-investment-grade securities generally provide greater income and opportunity for capital appreciation than higher quality securities, but they also typically entail greater price volatility and principal and income risk.
Analysis of the creditworthiness of issuers of high-yield securities may be more complex than for issuers of investment-grade securities. Thus, reliance on credit ratings in making investment decisions entails greater risks for high-yield securities than for investment-grade securities. The success of a fund’s advisor in managing high-yield securities is more dependent upon its own credit analysis than is the case with investment-grade securities.
Some high-yield securities are issued by smaller, less-seasoned companies, while others are issued as part of a corporate restructuring such as an acquisition, a merger, or a leveraged buyout. Companies that issue high-yield securities are often highly leveraged and may not have more traditional methods of financing available to them. Therefore, the risk associated with acquiring the securities of such issuers generally is greater than is the case with investment-grade securities. Some high-yield securities were once rated as investment-grade but have been downgraded to junk bond status because of financial difficulties experienced by their issuers.
The market values of high-yield securities tend to reflect individual issuer developments to a greater extent than do investment-grade securities, which in general react to fluctuations in the general level of interest rates. High-yield securities also tend to be more sensitive to economic conditions than are investment-grade securities. An actual or anticipated economic downturn or sustained period of rising interest rates, for example, could cause a decline in junk bond prices because the advent of a recession could lessen the ability of a highly leveraged company to make principal and interest payments on its debt securities. If an issuer of high-yield securities defaults, in addition to risking payment of all or a portion of interest and principal, a fund investing in such securities may incur additional expenses to seek recovery.
The secondary market on which high-yield securities are traded may be less liquid than the market for investment-grade securities. Less liquidity in the secondary trading market could adversely affect the ability of a fund’s advisor to sell a high-yield security or the price at which a fund’s advisor could sell a high-yield security, and it could also adversely affect the daily net asset value of fund shares. When secondary markets for high-yield securities are less liquid than the market for investment-grade securities, it may be more difficult to value the securities because such valuation may require more research, and elements of judgment may play a greater role in the valuation of the securities.
Except as otherwise provided in a fund’s prospectus, if a credit rating agency changes the rating of a portfolio security held by a fund, the fund may retain the portfolio security if the advisor deems it in the best interests of shareholders.
Depositary Receipts. Depositary receipts (also sold as participatory notes) are securities that evidence ownership interests in a security or a pool of securities that have been deposited with a “depository.” Depositary receipts may be sponsored or unsponsored and include American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), European Depositary Receipts (EDRs), and Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs). For ADRs, the depository is typically a U.S. financial institution, and the underlying securities are issued by a foreign issuer. For other depositary receipts, the depository may be a foreign or a U.S. entity, and the underlying securities may have a foreign or a U.S. issuer. Depositary receipts will not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as their underlying securities. Generally, ADRs are issued in registered form, denominated in U.S. dollars, and designed for use in the U.S. securities markets. Other depositary receipts, such as GDRs and EDRs, may be issued in bearer form and denominated in other currencies, and they are generally designed for use in securities markets outside the United States. Although the two types of depositary receipt facilities (sponsored and unsponsored) are similar, there are differences regarding a holder’s rights and obligations and the practices of market participants.
A depository may establish an unsponsored facility without participation by (or acquiescence of) the underlying issuer; typically, however, the depository requests a letter of nonobjection from the underlying issuer prior to establishing the facility. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs of the facility. The depository usually charges fees upon the deposit and withdrawal of the underlying securities, the conversion of dividends into U.S. dollars or other currency, the disposition of noncash distributions, and the performance of other services. The depository of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the underlying issuer or to pass through voting rights to depositary receipt holders with respect to the underlying securities.
Sponsored depositary receipt facilities are created in generally the same manner as unsponsored facilities, except that sponsored depositary receipts are established jointly by a depository and the underlying issuer through a deposit agreement. The deposit agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of the underlying issuer, the depository, and the depositary receipt holders. With sponsored facilities, the underlying issuer typically bears some of the costs of the depositary receipts (such as dividend payment fees of the depository), although most sponsored depositary receipt holders may bear costs such as deposit and withdrawal fees. Depositories of most sponsored depositary receipts agree to distribute notices of shareholder meetings, voting instructions, and other shareholder communications and information to the depositary receipt holders at the underlying issuer’s request.
For purposes of a fund’s investment policies, investments in depositary receipts will be deemed to be investments in the underlying securities. Thus, a depositary receipt representing ownership of common stock will be treated as common stock. Depositary receipts do not eliminate all of the risks associated with directly investing in the securities of foreign issuers.
Derivatives. A derivative is a financial instrument that has a value based on—or “derived from”—the values of other assets, reference rates, or indexes. Derivatives may relate to a wide variety of underlying references, such as commodities, stocks, bonds, interest rates, currency exchange rates, and related indexes. Derivatives include futures contracts and options on futures contracts, certain forward-commitment transactions, options on securities, caps, floors, collars, swap agreements, and certain other financial instruments. Some derivatives, such as futures contracts and
certain options, are traded on U.S. commodity and securities exchanges, while other derivatives, such as swap agreements, may be privately negotiated and entered into in the over-the-counter market (OTC Derivatives) or may be cleared through a clearinghouse (Cleared Derivatives) and traded on an exchange or swap execution facility. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act), certain swap agreements, such as certain standardized credit default and interest rate swap agreements, must be cleared through a clearinghouse and traded on an exchange or swap execution facility. This could result in an increase in the overall costs of such transactions. While the intent of derivatives regulatory reform is to mitigate risks associated with derivatives markets, the new regulations could, among other things, increase liquidity and decrease pricing for more standardized products while decreasing liquidity and increasing pricing for less standardized products. The risks associated with the use of derivatives are different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the securities or assets on which the derivatives are based.
Derivatives may be used for a variety of purposes, including—but not limited to—hedging, managing risk, seeking to stay fully invested, seeking to reduce transaction costs, seeking to simulate an investment in equity or debt securities or other investments, and seeking to add value by using derivatives to more efficiently implement portfolio positions when derivatives are favorably priced relative to equity or debt securities or other investments. Some investors may use derivatives primarily for speculative purposes while other uses of derivatives may not constitute speculation. There is no assurance that any derivatives strategy used by a fund’s advisor will succeed. The other parties to the funds’ OTC Derivatives contracts (usually referred to as “counterparties”) will not be considered the issuers thereof for purposes of certain provisions of the 1940 Act and the IRC, although such OTC Derivatives may qualify as securities or investments under such laws. The funds’ advisors, however, will monitor and adjust, as appropriate, the funds’ credit risk exposure to OTC Derivative counterparties.
Derivative products are highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques and risk analyses different from those associated with stocks, bonds, and other traditional investments. The use of a derivative requires an understanding not only of the underlying instrument but also of the derivative itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the derivative under all possible market conditions.
When the fund enters into a Cleared Derivative, an initial margin deposit with a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) is required. Initial margin deposits are typically calculated as an amount equal to the volatility in market value of a Cleared Derivative over a fixed period. If the value of the fund’s Cleared Derivatives declines, the fund will be required to make additional “variation margin” payments to the FCM to settle the change in value. If the value of the fund’s Cleared Derivatives increases, the FCM will be required to make additional “variation margin” payments to the fund to settle the change in value. This process is known as “marking-to-market” and is calculated on a daily basis.
For OTC Derivatives, the fund is subject to the risk that a loss may be sustained as a result of the insolvency or bankruptcy of the counterparty or the failure of the counterparty to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the contract. Additionally, the use of credit derivatives can result in losses if a fund’s advisor does not correctly evaluate the creditworthiness of the issuer on which the credit derivative is based.
Derivatives may be subject to liquidity risk, which exists when a particular derivative is difficult to purchase or sell. If a derivative transaction is particularly large or if the relevant market is illiquid (as is the case with certain OTC Derivatives), it may not be possible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price.
Derivatives may be subject to pricing or “basis” risk, which exists when a particular derivative becomes extraordinarily expensive relative to historical prices or the prices of corresponding cash market instruments. Under certain market conditions, it may not be economically feasible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position in time to avoid a loss or take advantage of an opportunity.
Because certain derivatives have a leverage component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, reference rate, or index can result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. Certain derivatives have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment. A derivative transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a fund, if the fund covers the transaction in accordance with the requirements described under the heading “Borrowing.”
Like most other investments, derivative instruments are subject to the risk that the market value of the instrument will change in a way detrimental to a fund’s interest. A fund bears the risk that its advisor will incorrectly forecast future
market trends or the values of assets, reference rates, indexes, or other financial or economic factors in establishing derivative positions for the fund. If the advisor attempts to use a derivative as a hedge against, or as a substitute for, a portfolio investment, the fund will be exposed to the risk that the derivative will have or will develop imperfect or no correlation with the portfolio investment. This could cause substantial losses for the fund. Although hedging strategies involving derivative instruments can reduce the risk of loss, they can also reduce the opportunity for gain or even result in losses by offsetting favorable price movements in other fund investments. Many derivatives (in particular, OTC Derivatives) are complex and often valued subjectively. Improper valuations can result in increased cash payment requirements to counterparties or a loss of value to a fund.
Exchange-Traded Funds. A fund may purchase shares of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Typically, a fund would purchase ETF shares for the same reason it would purchase (and as an alternative to purchasing) futures contracts: to obtain exposure to all or a portion of the stock or bond market. ETF shares enjoy several advantages over futures. Depending on the market, the holding period, and other factors, ETF shares can be less costly and more tax-efficient than futures. In addition, ETF shares can be purchased for smaller sums, offer exposure to market sectors and styles for which there is no suitable or liquid futures contract, and do not involve leverage.
An investment in an ETF generally presents the same principal risks as an investment in a conventional fund (i.e., one that is not exchange-traded) that has the same investment objective, strategies, and policies. The price of an ETF can fluctuate within a wide range, and a fund could lose money investing in an ETF if the prices of the securities owned by the ETF go down. In addition, ETFs are subject to the following risks that do not apply to conventional funds: (1) the market price of an ETF’s shares may trade at a discount or a premium to their net asset value; (2) an active trading market for an ETF’s shares may not develop or be maintained; and (3) trading of an ETF’s shares may be halted by the activation of individual or marketwide trading halts (which halt trading for a specific period of time when the price of a particular security or overall market prices decline by a specified percentage). Trading of an ETF’s shares may also be halted if the shares are delisted from the exchange without first being listed on another exchange or if the listing exchange’s officials determine that such action is appropriate in the interest of a fair and orderly market or for the protection of investors.
Most ETFs are investment companies. Therefore, a fund’s purchases of ETF shares generally are subject to the limitations on, and the risks of, a fund’s investments in other investment companies, which are described under the heading “Other Investment Companies.”
Foreign Securities. Typically, foreign securities are considered to be equity or debt securities issued by entities organized, domiciled, or with a principal executive office outside the United States, such as foreign corporations and governments. Securities issued by certain companies organized outside the United States may not be deemed to be foreign securities if the company’s principal operations are conducted from the United States or when the company’s equity securities trade principally on a U.S. stock exchange. Foreign securities may trade in U.S. or foreign securities markets. A fund may make foreign investments either directly by purchasing foreign securities or indirectly by purchasing depositary receipts or depositary shares of similar instruments (depositary receipts) for foreign securities. Direct investments in foreign securities may be made either on foreign securities exchanges or in the over-the-counter (OTC) markets. Investing in foreign securities involves certain special risk considerations that are not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. companies or governments.
Because foreign issuers are not generally subject to uniform accounting, auditing, and financial reporting standards and practices comparable to those applicable to U.S. issuers, there may be less publicly available information about certain foreign issuers than about U.S. issuers. Evidence of securities ownership may be uncertain in many foreign countries. As a result, there are multiple risks that could result in a loss to the fund, including, but not limited to, the risk that a fund’s trade details could be incorrectly or fraudulently entered at the time of the transaction. Securities of foreign issuers are generally more volatile and less liquid than securities of comparable U.S. issuers, and foreign investments may be effected through structures that may be complex or confusing. In certain countries, there is less government supervision and regulation of stock exchanges, brokers, and listed companies than in the United States. The risk that securities traded on foreign exchanges may be suspended, either by the issuers themselves, by an exchange, or by government authorities, is also heightened. In addition, with respect to certain foreign countries, there is the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation, political or social instability, war, terrorism, nationalization, limitations on the removal of funds or other assets, or diplomatic developments that could affect U.S. investments in those countries. Additionally, economic or other sanctions imposed on the United States by a foreign country, or imposed on a foreign
country or issuer by the United States, could impair a fund’s ability to buy, sell, hold, receive, deliver, or otherwise transact in certain investment securities. Sanctions could also affect the value and/or liquidity of a foreign security.
Although an advisor will endeavor to achieve the most favorable execution costs for a fund’s portfolio transactions in foreign securities under the circumstances, commissions and other transaction costs are generally higher than those on U.S. securities. In addition, it is expected that the custodian arrangement expenses for a fund that invests primarily in foreign securities will be somewhat greater than the expenses for a fund that invests primarily in domestic securities. Additionally, bankruptcy laws vary by jurisdiction and cash deposits may be subject to a custodian’s creditors. Certain foreign governments levy withholding or other taxes against dividend and interest income from, capital gains on the sale of, or transactions in foreign securities. Although in some countries a portion of these taxes is recoverable by the fund, the nonrecovered portion of foreign withholding taxes will reduce the income received from such securities.
The value of the foreign securities held by a fund that are not U.S. dollar-denominated may be significantly affected by changes in currency exchange rates. The U.S. dollar value of a foreign security generally decreases when the value of the U.S. dollar rises against the foreign currency in which the security is denominated, and it tends to increase when the value of the U.S. dollar falls against such currency (as discussed under the heading “Foreign Securities—Foreign Currency Transactions,” a fund may attempt to hedge its currency risks). In addition, the value of fund assets may be affected by losses and other expenses incurred in converting between various currencies in order to purchase and sell foreign securities, as well as by currency restrictions, exchange control regulation, currency devaluations, and political and economic developments.
Foreign Securities—Emerging Market Risk. Investing in emerging market countries involves certain risks not typically associated with investing in the United States, and it imposes risks greater than, or in addition to, risks of investing in more developed foreign countries. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following: nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; currency devaluations and other currency exchange rate fluctuations; greater social, economic, and political uncertainty and instability (including amplified risk of war and terrorism); more substantial government involvement in the economy; less government supervision and regulation of the securities markets and participants in those markets and possible arbitrary and unpredictable enforcement of securities regulations and other laws; controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital and on the fund’s ability to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars; unavailability of currency-hedging techniques in certain emerging market countries; generally smaller, less seasoned, or newly organized companies; differences in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards, which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers; difficulty in obtaining and/or enforcing a judgment in a court outside the United States; and greater price volatility, substantially less liquidity, and significantly smaller market capitalization of securities markets. Also, any change in the leadership or politics of emerging market countries, or the countries that exercise a significant influence over those countries, may halt the expansion of or reverse the liberalization of foreign investment policies now occurring and adversely affect existing investment opportunities. Furthermore, high rates of inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and may continue to have, negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain emerging market countries. Custodial services and other investment-related costs are often more expensive in emerging market countries, which can reduce a fund’s income from investments in securities or debt instruments of emerging market country issuers.
Foreign Securities—Foreign Currency Transactions. The value in U.S. dollars of a fund’s non-dollar-denominated foreign securities may be affected favorably or unfavorably by changes in foreign currency exchange rates and exchange control regulations, and the fund may incur costs in connection with conversions between various currencies. To seek to minimize the impact of such factors on net asset values, a fund may engage in foreign currency transactions in connection with its investments in foreign securities. A fund will enter into foreign currency transactions only to attempt to “hedge” the currency risk associated with investing in foreign securities. Although such transactions tend to minimize the risk of loss that would result from a decline in the value of the hedged currency, they also may limit any potential gain that might result should the value of such currency increase.
Currency exchange transactions may be conducted either on a spot (i.e., cash) basis at the rate prevailing in the currency exchange market or through forward contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies. A forward currency contract involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts are entered into with large commercial banks or other currency traders who are participants in the interbank market. Currency exchange transactions also may be effected through the use of swap agreements or other derivatives.
Currency exchange transactions may be considered borrowings. A currency exchange transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a fund, if the fund covers the transaction in accordance with the requirements described under the heading “Borrowing.”
By entering into a forward contract for the purchase or sale of foreign currency involved in underlying security transactions, a fund may be able to protect itself against part or all of the possible loss between trade and settlement dates for that purchase or sale resulting from an adverse change in the relationship between the U.S. dollar and such foreign currency. This practice is sometimes referred to as “transaction hedging.” In addition, when the advisor reasonably believes that a particular foreign currency may suffer a substantial decline against the U.S. dollar, a fund may enter into a forward contract to sell an amount of foreign currency approximating the value of some or all of its portfolio securities denominated in such foreign currency. This practice is sometimes referred to as “portfolio hedging.” Similarly, when the advisor reasonably believes that the U.S. dollar may suffer a substantial decline against a foreign currency, a fund may enter into a forward contract to buy that foreign currency for a fixed dollar amount.
A fund may also attempt to hedge its foreign currency exchange rate risk by engaging in currency futures, options, and “cross-hedge” transactions. In cross-hedge transactions, a fund holding securities denominated in one foreign currency will enter into a forward currency contract to buy or sell a different foreign currency (one that the advisor reasonably believes generally tracks the currency being hedged with regard to price movements). The advisor may select the tracking (or substitute) currency rather than the currency in which the security is denominated for various reasons, including in order to take advantage of pricing or other opportunities presented by the tracking currency or to take advantage of a more liquid or more efficient market for the tracking currency. Such cross-hedges are expected to help protect a fund against an increase or decrease in the value of the U.S. dollar against certain foreign currencies.
A fund may hold a portion of its assets in bank deposits denominated in foreign currencies so as to facilitate investment in foreign securities as well as protect against currency fluctuations and the need to convert such assets into U.S. dollars (thereby also reducing transaction costs). To the extent these assets are converted back into U.S. dollars, the value of the assets so maintained will be affected favorably or unfavorably by changes in foreign currency exchange rates and exchange control regulations.
The forecasting of currency market movement is extremely difficult, and whether any hedging strategy will be successful is highly uncertain. Moreover, it is impossible to forecast with precision the market value of portfolio securities at the expiration of a forward currency contract. Accordingly, a fund may be required to buy or sell additional currency on the spot market (and bear the expense of such transaction) if its advisor’s predictions regarding the movement of foreign currency or securities markets prove inaccurate. In addition, the use of cross-hedging transactions may involve special risks and may leave a fund in a less advantageous position than if such a hedge had not been established. Because forward currency contracts are privately negotiated transactions, there can be no assurance that a fund will have flexibility to roll over a forward currency contract upon its expiration if it desires to do so. Additionally, there can be no assurance that the other party to the contract will perform its services thereunder.
Foreign Securities—Foreign Investment Companies. Some of the countries in which a fund may invest may not permit, or may place economic restrictions on, direct investment by outside investors. Fund investments in such countries may be permitted only through foreign government-approved or authorized investment vehicles, which may include other investment companies. Such investments may be made through registered or unregistered closed-end investment companies that invest in foreign securities. Investing through such vehicles may involve layered fees or expenses and may also be subject to the limitations on, and the risks of, a fund’s investments in other investment companies, which are described under the heading “Other Investment Companies.”
Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts. Futures contracts and options on futures contracts are derivatives. A futures contract is a standardized agreement between two parties to buy or sell at a specific time in the future a specific quantity of a commodity at a specific price. The commodity may consist of an asset, a reference rate, or an index. A security futures contract relates to the sale of a specific quantity of shares of a single equity security or a narrow-based securities index. The value of a futures contract tends to increase and decrease in tandem with the value of the underlying commodity. The buyer of a futures contract enters into an agreement to purchase the underlying commodity on the settlement date and is said to be “long” the contract. The seller of a futures contract enters into an agreement to sell the underlying commodity on the settlement date and is said to be “short” the contract. The price at which a futures contract
is entered into is established either in the electronic marketplace or by open outcry on the floor of an exchange between exchange members acting as traders or brokers. Open futures contracts can be liquidated or closed out by physical delivery of the underlying commodity or payment of the cash settlement amount on the settlement date, depending on the terms of the particular contract. Some financial futures contracts (such as security futures) provide for physical settlement at maturity. Other financial futures contracts (such as those relating to interest rates, foreign currencies, and broad-based securities indexes) generally provide for cash settlement at maturity. In the case of cash-settled futures contracts, the cash settlement amount is equal to the difference between the final settlement or market price for the relevant commodity on the last trading day of the contract and the price for the relevant commodity agreed upon at the outset of the contract. Most futures contracts, however, are not held until maturity but instead are “offset” before the settlement date through the establishment of an opposite and equal futures position.
The purchaser or seller of a futures contract is not required to deliver or pay for the underlying commodity unless the contract is held until the settlement date. However, both the purchaser and seller are required to deposit “initial margin” with a futures commission merchant (FCM) when the futures contract is entered into. Initial margin deposits are typically calculated as an amount equal to the volatility in market value of a contract over a fixed period. If the value of the fund’s position declines, the fund will be required to make additional “variation margin” payments to the FCM to settle the change in value. If the value of the fund’s position increases, the FCM will be required to make additional “variation margin” payments to the fund to settle the change in value. This process is known as “marking-to-market” and is calculated on a daily basis. A futures transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a fund, if the fund covers the transaction in accordance with the requirements described under the heading “Borrowing.”
An option on a futures contract (or futures option) conveys the right, but not the obligation, to purchase (in the case of a call option) or sell (in the case of a put option) a specific futures contract at a specific price (called the “exercise” or “strike” price) any time before the option expires. The seller of an option is called an option writer. The purchase price of an option is called the premium. The potential loss to an option buyer is limited to the amount of the premium plus transaction costs. This will be the case, for example, if the option is held and not exercised prior to its expiration date. Generally, an option writer sells options with the goal of obtaining the premium paid by the option buyer. If an option sold by an option writer expires without being exercised, the writer retains the full amount of the premium. The option writer, however, has unlimited economic risk because its potential loss, except to the extent offset by the premium received when the option was written, is equal to the amount the option is “in-the-money” at the expiration date. A call option is in-the-money if the value of the underlying futures contract exceeds the exercise price of the option. A put option is in-the-money if the exercise price of the option exceeds the value of the underlying futures contract. Generally, any profit realized by an option buyer represents a loss for the option writer.
A fund that takes the position of a writer of a futures option is required to deposit and maintain initial and variation margin with respect to the option, as previously described in the case of futures contracts. A futures option transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a fund, if the fund covers the transaction in accordance with the requirements described under the heading “Borrowing.”
The Fund intends to comply with Rule 4.5 under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), under which a mutual fund may be excluded from the definition of the term Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) if the fund meets certain conditions such as limiting its investments in certain CEA-regulated instruments (e.g., futures, options, or swaps) and complying with certain marketing restrictions. Accordingly, Vanguard is not subject to registration or regulation as a CPO with respect to the Fund under the CEA. The Fund will only enter into futures contracts and futures options that are traded on a U.S. or foreign exchange, board of trade, or similar entity or that are quoted on an automated quotation system.
Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts—Risks. The risk of loss in trading futures contracts and in writing futures options can be substantial because of the low margin deposits required, the extremely high degree of leverage involved in futures and options pricing, and the potential high volatility of the futures markets. As a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures position may result in immediate and substantial loss (or gain) for the investor. For example, if at the time of purchase, 10% of the value of the futures contract is deposited as margin, a subsequent 10% decrease in the value of the futures contract would result in a total loss of the margin deposit, before any deduction for the transaction costs, if the account were then closed out. A 15% decrease would result in a loss
equal to 150% of the original margin deposit if the contract were closed out. Thus, a purchase or sale of a futures contract, and the writing of a futures option, may result in losses in excess of the amount invested in the position. In the event of adverse price movements, a fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments to maintain its required margin. In such situations, if the fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell portfolio securities to meet daily margin requirements (and segregation requirements, if applicable) at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, on the settlement date, a fund may be required to make delivery of the instruments underlying the futures positions it holds.
A fund could suffer losses if it is unable to close out a futures contract or a futures option because of an illiquid secondary market. Futures contracts and futures options may be closed out only on an exchange that provides a secondary market for such products. However, there can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market will exist for any particular futures product at any specific time. Thus, it may not be possible to close a futures or option position. Moreover, most futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. The daily limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price at the end of a trading session. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular type of contract, no trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movement during a particular trading day, and therefore does not limit potential losses because the limit may prevent the liquidation of unfavorable positions. Futures contract prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of future positions and subjecting some futures traders to substantial losses. The inability to close futures and options positions also could have an adverse impact on the ability to hedge a portfolio investment or to establish a substitute for a portfolio investment. U.S. Treasury futures are generally not subject to such daily limits.
A fund bears the risk that its advisor will incorrectly predict future market trends. If the advisor attempts to use a futures contract or a futures option as a hedge against, or as a substitute for, a portfolio investment, the fund will be exposed to the risk that the futures position will have or will develop imperfect or no correlation with the portfolio investment. This could cause substantial losses for the fund. Although hedging strategies involving futures products can reduce the risk of loss, they can also reduce the opportunity for gain or even result in losses by offsetting favorable price movements in other fund investments.
A fund could lose margin payments it has deposited with its FCM if, for example, the FCM breaches its agreement with the fund or becomes insolvent or goes into bankruptcy. In that event, the fund may be entitled to return of margin owed to it only in proportion to the amount received by the FCM’s other customers, potentially resulting in losses to the fund.
Interfund Borrowing and Lending. The SEC has granted an exemption permitting registered open-end Vanguard funds to participate in Vanguard’s interfund lending program. This program allows the Vanguard funds to borrow money from and lend money to each other for temporary or emergency purposes. The program is subject to a number of conditions, including, among other things, the requirements that (1) no fund may borrow or lend money through the program unless it receives a more favorable interest rate than is typically available from a bank for a comparable transaction, (2) no fund may lend money if the loan would cause its aggregate outstanding loans through the program to exceed 15% of its net assets at the time of the loan, and (3) a fund’s interfund loans to any one fund shall not exceed 5% of the lending fund’s net assets. In addition, a Vanguard fund may participate in the program only if and to the extent that such participation is consistent with the fund’s investment objective and investment policies. The boards of trustees of the Vanguard funds are responsible for overseeing the interfund lending program. Any delay in repayment to a lending fund could result in a lost investment opportunity or additional borrowing costs.
Investing for Control. Each Vanguard fund invests in securities and other instruments for the sole purpose of achieving a specific investment objective. As such, a Vanguard fund does not seek to acquire, individually or collectively with any other Vanguard fund, enough of a company’s outstanding voting stock to have control over management decisions. A Vanguard fund does not invest for the purpose of controlling a company’s management.
Options. An option is a derivative. An option on a security (or index) is a contract that gives the holder of the option, in return for the payment of a “premium,” the right, but not the obligation, to buy from (in the case of a call option) or sell to (in the case of a put option) the writer of the option the security underlying the option (or the cash value of the index) at a specified exercise price prior to the expiration date of the option. The writer of an option on a security has the obligation upon exercise of the option to deliver the underlying security upon payment of the exercise price (in the case
of a call option) or to pay the exercise price upon delivery of the underlying security (in the case of a put option). The writer of an option on an index has the obligation upon exercise of the option to pay an amount equal to the cash value of the index minus the exercise price, multiplied by the specified multiplier for the index option. The multiplier for an index option determines the size of the investment position the option represents. Unlike exchange-traded options, which are standardized with respect to the underlying instrument, expiration date, contract size, and strike price, the terms of over-the-counter (OTC) options (options not traded on exchanges) generally are established through negotiation with the other party to the option contract. Although this type of arrangement allows the purchaser or writer greater flexibility to tailor an option to its needs, OTC options generally involve credit risk to the counterparty, whereas for exchange-traded, centrally cleared options, credit risk is mutualized through the involvement of the applicable clearing house.
The buyer (or holder) of an option is said to be “long” the option, while the seller (or writer) of an option is said to be “short” the option. A call option grants to the holder the right to buy (and obligates the writer to sell) the underlying security at the strike price, which is the predetermined price at which the option may be exercised. A put option grants to the holder the right to sell (and obligates the writer to buy) the underlying security at the strike price. The purchase price of an option is called the “premium.” The potential loss to an option buyer is limited to the amount of the premium plus transaction costs. This will be the case if the option is held and not exercised prior to its expiration date. Generally, an option writer sells options with the goal of obtaining the premium paid by the option buyer, but that person could also seek to profit from an anticipated rise or decline in option prices. If an option sold by an option writer expires without being exercised, the writer retains the full amount of the premium. The option writer, however, has unlimited economic risk because its potential loss, except to the extent offset by the premium received when the option was written, is equal to the amount the option is “in-the-money” at the expiration date. A call option is in-the-money if the value of the underlying position exceeds the exercise price of the option. A put option is in-the-money if the exercise price of the option exceeds the value of the underlying position. Generally, any profit realized by an option buyer represents a loss for the option writer. The writing of an option will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a fund, if the fund covers the transaction in accordance with the requirements described under the heading “Borrowing.”
If a trading market, in particular options, were to become unavailable, investors in those options (such as the funds) would be unable to close out their positions until trading resumes, and they may be faced with substantial losses if the value of the underlying instrument moves adversely during that time. Even if the market were to remain available, there may be times when options prices will not maintain their customary or anticipated relationships to the prices of the underlying instruments and related instruments. Lack of investor interest, changes in volatility, or other factors or conditions might adversely affect the liquidity, efficiency, continuity, or even the orderliness of the market for particular options.
A fund bears the risk that its advisor will not accurately predict future market trends. If the advisor attempts to use an option as a hedge against, or as a substitute for, a portfolio investment, the fund will be exposed to the risk that the option will have or will develop imperfect or no correlation with the portfolio investment, which could cause substantial losses for the fund. Although hedging strategies involving options can reduce the risk of loss, they can also reduce the opportunity for gain or even result in losses by offsetting favorable price movements in other fund investments. Many options, in particular OTC options, are complex and often valued based on subjective factors. Improper valuations can result in increased cash payment requirements to counterparties or a loss of value to a fund.
OTC Swap Agreements. An over-the-counter (OTC) swap agreement, which is a type of derivative, is an agreement between two parties (counterparties) to exchange payments at specified dates (periodic payment dates) on the basis of a specified amount (notional amount) with the payments calculated with reference to a specified asset, reference rate, or index.
Examples of OTC swap agreements include, but are not limited to, interest rate swaps, credit default swaps, equity swaps, commodity swaps, foreign currency swaps, index swaps, excess return swaps, and total return swaps. Most OTC swap agreements provide that when the periodic payment dates for both parties are the same, payments are netted and only the net amount is paid to the counterparty entitled to receive the net payment. Consequently, a fund’s current obligations (or rights) under an OTC swap agreement will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement, based on the relative values of the positions held by each counterparty. OTC swap agreements allow for a wide variety of transactions. For example, fixed rate payments may be exchanged for floating
rate payments; U.S. dollar-denominated payments may be exchanged for payments denominated in a different currency; and payments tied to the price of one asset, reference rate, or index may be exchanged for payments tied to the price of another asset, reference rate, or index.
An OTC option on an OTC swap agreement, also called a “swaption,” is an option that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to enter into a swap on a future date in exchange for paying a market-based “premium.” A receiver swaption gives the owner the right to receive the total return of a specified asset, reference rate, or index. A payer swaption gives the owner the right to pay the total return of a specified asset, reference rate, or index. Swaptions also include options that allow an existing swap to be terminated or extended by one of the counterparties.
The use of OTC swap agreements by a fund entails certain risks, which may be different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the securities and other investments that are the referenced asset for the swap agreement. OTC swaps are highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques, risk analyses, and tax planning different from those associated with stocks, bonds, and other traditional investments. The use of an OTC swap requires an understanding not only of the referenced asset, reference rate, or index but also of the swap itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the swap under all possible market conditions.
OTC swap agreements may be subject to liquidity risk, which exists when a particular swap is difficult to purchase or sell. If an OTC swap transaction is particularly large or if the relevant market is illiquid (as is the case with many OTC swaps), it may not be possible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price, which may result in significant losses. In addition, OTC swap transactions may be subject to a fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities.
OTC swap agreements may be subject to pricing risk, which exists when a particular swap becomes extraordinarily expensive or inexpensive relative to historical prices or the prices of corresponding cash market instruments. Under certain market conditions, it may not be economically feasible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position in time to avoid a loss or take advantage of an opportunity or to realize the intrinsic value of the OTC swap agreement.
Because certain OTC swap agreements have a leverage component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, reference rate, or index can result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the swap itself. Certain OTC swaps have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment. A leveraged OTC swap transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a fund, if the fund covers the transaction in accordance with the requirements described under the heading “Borrowing.”
Like most other investments, OTC swap agreements are subject to the risk that the market value of the instrument will change in a way detrimental to a fund’s interest. A fund bears the risk that its advisor will not accurately forecast future market trends or the values of assets, reference rates, indexes, or other economic factors in establishing OTC swap positions for the fund. If the advisor attempts to use an OTC swap as a hedge against, or as a substitute for, a portfolio investment, the fund will be exposed to the risk that the OTC swap will have or will develop imperfect or no correlation with the portfolio investment. This could cause substantial losses for the fund. Although hedging strategies involving OTC swap instruments can reduce the risk of loss, they can also reduce the opportunity for gain or even result in losses by offsetting favorable price movements in other fund investments. Many OTC swaps are complex and often valued subjectively. Improper valuations can result in increased cash payment requirements to counterparties or a loss of value to a fund.
The use of an OTC swap agreement also involves the risk that a loss may be sustained as a result of the insolvency or bankruptcy of the counterparty or the failure of the counterparty to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the agreement. Additionally, the use of credit default swaps can result in losses if a fund’s advisor does not correctly evaluate the creditworthiness of the issuer on which the credit swap is based.
The market for OTC swaps and swaptions is a relatively new market. It is possible that developments in the market could adversely affect a fund, including its ability to terminate existing OTC swap agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements. As previously noted under the heading “Derivatives,” under the Dodd-Frank Act, certain swaps that may be used by a fund may be cleared through a clearinghouse and traded on an exchange or swap execution facility.
Other Investment Companies. A fund may invest in other investment companies to the extent permitted by applicable law or SEC exemption. Under Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, a fund generally may invest up to 10% of its assets in shares of investment companies and up to 5% of its assets in any one investment company, as long as no investment represents more than 3% of the voting stock of an acquired investment company. In addition, no funds for which Vanguard acts as an advisor may, in the aggregate, own more than 10% of the voting stock of a closed-end investment company. The 1940 Act and related rules provide certain exemptions from these restrictions, for example, for funds that invest in other funds within the same group of investment companies. If a fund invests in other investment companies, shareholders will bear not only their proportionate share of the fund’s expenses (including operating expenses and the fees of the advisor), but they also may indirectly bear similar expenses of the underlying investment companies. Certain investment companies, such as business development companies (BDCs), are more akin to operating companies and, as such, their expenses are not direct expenses paid by fund shareholders and are not used to calculate the fund’s net asset value. SEC rules nevertheless require that any expenses incurred by a BDC be included in a fund’s expense ratio as “Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses.” The expense ratio of a fund that holds a BDC will thus overstate what the fund actually spends on portfolio management, administrative services, and other shareholder services by an amount equal to these Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses. The Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses are not included in a fund’s financial statements, which provide a clearer picture of a fund’s actual operating expenses. Shareholders would also be exposed to the risks associated not only with the investments of the fund but also with the portfolio investments of the underlying investment companies. Certain types of investment companies, such as closed-end investment companies, issue a fixed number of shares that typically trade on a stock exchange or over-the-counter at a premium or discount to their net asset value. Others are continuously offered at net asset value but also may be traded on the secondary market.
Preferred Stock. Preferred stock represents an equity or ownership interest in an issuer. Preferred stock normally pays dividends at a specified rate and has precedence over common stock in the event the issuer is liquidated or declares bankruptcy. However, in the event an issuer is liquidated or declares bankruptcy, the claims of owners of bonds take precedence over the claims of those who own preferred and common stock. Preferred stock, unlike common stock, often has a stated dividend rate payable from the corporation’s earnings. Preferred stock dividends may be cumulative or noncumulative, participating, or auction rate. “Cumulative” dividend provisions require all or a portion of prior unpaid dividends to be paid before dividends can be paid to the issuer’s common stock. “Participating” preferred stock may be entitled to a dividend exceeding the stated dividend in certain cases. If interest rates rise, the fixed dividend on preferred stocks may be less attractive, causing the price of such stocks to decline. Preferred stock may have mandatory sinking fund provisions, as well as provisions allowing the stock to be called or redeemed, which can limit the benefit of a decline in interest rates. Preferred stock is subject to many of the risks to which common stock and debt securities are subject. In addition, preferred stock may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements than common stock or debt securities because preferred stock may trade with less frequency and in more limited volume.
Repurchase Agreements. A repurchase agreement is an agreement under which a fund acquires a debt security (generally a security issued by the U.S. government or an agency thereof, a banker’s acceptance, or a certificate of deposit) from a bank, a broker, or a dealer and simultaneously agrees to resell such security to the seller at an agreed-upon price and date (normally, the next business day). Because the security purchased constitutes collateral for the repurchase obligation, a repurchase agreement may be considered a loan that is collateralized by the security purchased. The resale price reflects an agreed-upon interest rate effective for the period the instrument is held by a fund and is unrelated to the interest rate on the underlying instrument. In these 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 be held by a custodian bank until repurchased. In addition, the investment advisor will monitor a fund’s repurchase agreement transactions generally and will evaluate the creditworthiness of any bank, broker, or dealer party to a repurchase agreement relating to a fund. The aggregate amount of any such agreements is not limited, except to the extent required by law.
The use of repurchase agreements involves certain risks. One risk is the seller’s ability to pay the agreed-upon repurchase price on the repurchase date. If the seller defaults, the fund may incur costs in disposing of the collateral, which would reduce the amount realized thereon. If the seller seeks relief under bankruptcy laws, the disposition of the collateral may be delayed or limited. For example, if the other party to the agreement becomes insolvent and subject to liquidation or reorganization under bankruptcy or other laws, a court may determine that the underlying security is collateral for a loan by the fund not within its control, and therefore the realization by the fund on such collateral may be
automatically stayed. Finally, it is possible that 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.
Restricted and Illiquid Securities. Illiquid securities are investments 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. The SEC generally limits aggregate holdings of illiquid securities by a mutual fund to 15% of its net assets (5% for money market funds). A fund may experience difficulty valuing and selling illiquid securities and, in some cases, may be unable to value or sell certain illiquid securities for an indefinite period of time. Illiquid securities may include a wide variety of investments, such as (1) repurchase agreements maturing in more than seven days (unless the agreements have demand/redemption features), (2) OTC options contracts and certain other derivatives (including certain swap agreements), (3) fixed time deposits that are not subject to prepayment or do not provide for withdrawal penalties upon prepayment (other than overnight deposits), (4) certain loan interests and other direct debt instruments, (5) certain municipal lease obligations, (6) private equity investments, (7) commercial paper issued pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) of the 1933 Act, and (8) securities whose disposition is restricted under the federal securities laws. Illiquid securities include restricted, privately placed securities that, under the federal securities laws, generally may be resold only to qualified institutional buyers. If a substantial market develops for a restricted security held by a fund, it may be treated as a liquid security in accordance with procedures and guidelines approved by the board of trustees. This generally includes securities that are unregistered, that can be sold to qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, or that are exempt from registration under the 1933 Act, such as commercial paper. Although a fund’s advisor monitors the liquidity of restricted securities, the board of trustees oversees and retains ultimate responsibility for the advisor’s liquidity determinations. Several factors that the trustees consider in monitoring these decisions include the valuation of a security; the availability of qualified institutional buyers, brokers, and dealers that trade in the security; and the availability of information about the security’s issuer.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements. In a reverse repurchase agreement, a fund sells a security to another party, such as a bank or broker-dealer, in return for cash and agrees to repurchase that security at an agreed-upon price and time. Under a reverse repurchase agreement, the fund continues to receive any principal and interest payments on the underlying security during the term of the agreement. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of securities retained by the fund may decline below the repurchase price of the securities sold by the fund that it is obligated to repurchase. In addition to the risk of such a loss, fees charged to the fund may exceed the return the fund earns from investing the proceeds received from the reverse repurchase agreement transaction. A reverse repurchase agreement may be considered a borrowing transaction for purposes of the 1940 Act. A reverse repurchase agreement transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a fund, if the fund covers the transaction in accordance with the requirements described under the heading “Borrowing.” A fund will enter into reverse repurchase agreements only with parties whose creditworthiness has been reviewed and found satisfactory by the advisor. If the buyer in a reverse repurchase agreement becomes insolvent or files for bankruptcy, a fund’s use of proceeds from the sale may be restricted while the other party or its trustee or receiver determines if it will honor the fund’s right to repurchase the securities. If the fund is unable to recover the securities it sold in a reverse repurchase agreement, it would realize a loss equal to the difference between the value of the securities and the payment it received for them.
Securities Lending. A fund may lend its investment securities to qualified institutional investors (typically brokers, dealers, banks, or other financial institutions) who may need to borrow securities in order to complete certain transactions, such as covering short sales, avoiding failures to deliver securities, or completing arbitrage operations. By lending its investment securities, a fund attempts to increase its net investment income through the receipt of interest on the securities lent. Any gain or loss in the market price of the securities lent that might occur during the term of the loan would be for the account of the fund. If the borrower defaults on its obligation to return the securities lent because of insolvency or other reasons, a fund could experience delays and costs in recovering the securities lent or in gaining access to the collateral. These delays and costs could be greater for foreign securities. If a fund is not able to recover the securities lent, the fund may sell the collateral and purchase a replacement investment in the market. The value of the collateral could decrease below the value of the replacement investment by the time the replacement investment is purchased. Cash received as collateral through loan transactions may be invested in other eligible securities. Investing this cash subjects that investment to market appreciation or depreciation. Currently, Vanguard funds that lend securities
invest the cash collateral received in Vanguard Market Liquidity Fund and/or Vanguard Municipal Cash Management Fund, which are low-cost money market funds.
The terms and the structure of the loan arrangements, as well as the aggregate amount of securities loans, must be consistent with the 1940 Act and the rules or interpretations of the SEC thereunder. These provisions limit the amount of securities a fund may lend to 33 1/3% of the fund’s total assets and require that (1) the borrower pledge and maintain with the fund collateral consisting of cash, an irrevocable letter of credit, or securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government having at all times not less than 100% of the value of the securities lent; (2) the borrower add to such collateral whenever the price of the securities lent rises (i.e., the borrower “marks to market” on a daily basis); (3) the loan be made subject to termination by the fund at any time; and (4) the fund receives reasonable interest on the loan (which may include the fund investing any cash collateral in interest-bearing short-term investments), any distribution on the lent securities, and any increase in their market value. Loan arrangements made by a fund will comply with all other applicable regulatory requirements, including the requirement to redeliver the securities within the standard settlement time applicable to the relevant trading market. The advisor will consider the creditworthiness of the borrower, among other things, in making decisions with respect to the lending of securities, subject to oversight by the board of trustees. At the present time, the SEC does not object if an investment company pays reasonable negotiated fees in connection with lent securities, so long as such fees are set forth in a written contract and approved by the investment company’s trustees. In addition, voting rights pass with the lent securities, but if a fund has knowledge that a material event will occur affecting securities on loan, and in respect to which the holder of the securities will be entitled to vote or consent, the lender must be entitled to call the loaned securities in time to vote or consent. A fund bears the risk that there may be a delay in the return of the securities, which may impair the fund’s ability to vote on such a matter.
Pursuant to Vanguard’s securities lending policy, Vanguard’s fixed income and money market funds are not permitted to, and do not, lend their investment securities.
Tax Matters—Federal Tax Discussion. Discussion herein of U.S. federal income tax matters summarizes some of the important, generally applicable U.S. federal tax considerations relevant to investment in a fund based on the IRC, U.S. Treasury regulations, and other applicable authorities. These authorities are subject to change by legislative, administrative, or judicial action, possibly with retroactive effect. The Fund has not requested and will not request an advance ruling from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as to the U.S. federal income tax matters discussed in this Statement of Additional Information. In some cases, a fund’s tax position may be uncertain under current tax law and an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to such a position could adversely affect the fund and its shareholders, including the fund’s ability to continue to qualify as a regulated investment company or to continue to pursue its current investment strategy. A shareholder should consult his or her tax professional for information regarding the particular situation and the possible application of U.S. federal, state, local, foreign, and other taxes.
Tax Matters—Federal Tax Treatment of Derivatives, Hedging, and Related Transactions. A fund’s transactions in derivative instruments (including, but not limited to, options, futures, forward contracts, and swap agreements), as well as any of the fund’s hedging, short sale, securities loan, or similar transactions, may be subject to one or more special tax rules that accelerate income to the fund, defer losses to the fund, cause adjustments in the holding periods of the fund’s securities, convert long-term capital gains into short-term capital gains, or convert short-term capital losses into long-term capital losses. These rules could therefore affect the amount, timing, and character of distributions to shareholders.
Because these and other tax rules applicable to these types of transactions are in some cases uncertain under current law, an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to these rules (which determination or guidance could be retroactive) may affect whether a fund has made sufficient distributions, and otherwise satisfied the relevant requirements, to maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and avoid a fund-level tax.
Tax Matters—Federal Tax Treatment of Futures Contracts. For federal income tax purposes, a fund generally must recognize, as of the end of each taxable year, any net unrealized gains and losses on certain futures contracts, as well as any gains and losses actually realized during the year. In these cases, any gain or loss recognized with respect to a futures contract is considered to be 60% long-term capital gain or loss and 40% short-term capital gain or loss, without regard to the holding period of the contract. Gains and losses on certain other futures contracts (primarily non-U.S. futures contracts) are not recognized until the contracts are closed and are treated as long-term or short-term, depending on the holding period of the contract. Sales of futures contracts that are intended to hedge against a change in the value of securities held by a fund may affect the holding period of such securities and, consequently, the nature of the gain or loss
on such securities upon disposition. A fund may be required to defer the recognition of losses on one position, such as futures contracts, to the extent of any unrecognized gains on a related offsetting position held by the fund.
A fund will distribute to shareholders annually any net capital gains that have been recognized for federal income tax purposes on futures transactions. Such distributions will be combined with distributions of capital gains realized on the fund’s other investments, and shareholders will be advised on the nature of the distributions.
Tax Matters—Federal Tax Treatment of Non-U.S. Currency Transactions. Special rules generally govern the federal income tax treatment of a fund’s transactions in the following: non-U.S. currencies; non-U.S. currency-denominated debt obligations; and certain non-U.S. currency options, futures contracts, forward contracts, and similar instruments. Accordingly, if a fund engages in these types of transactions it may have ordinary income or loss to the extent that such income or loss results from fluctuations in the value of the non-U.S. currency concerned. Such ordinary income could accelerate fund distributions to shareholders and increase the distributions taxed to shareholders as ordinary income. Any ordinary loss so created will generally reduce ordinary income distributions and, in some cases, could require the recharacterization of prior ordinary income distributions. Net ordinary losses cannot be carried forward by the fund to offset income or gains realized in subsequent taxable years.
Any gain or loss attributable to the non-U.S. currency component of a transaction engaged in by a fund that is not subject to these special currency rules (such as foreign equity investments other than certain preferred stocks) will generally be treated as a capital gain or loss and will not be segregated from the gain or loss on the underlying transaction.
To the extent a fund engages in non-U.S. currency hedging, the fund may elect or be required to apply other rules that could affect the character, timing, or amount of the fund’s gains and losses. For more information, see “Tax Matters—Federal Tax Treatment of Derivatives, Hedging, and Related Transactions.”
Tax Matters—Foreign Tax Credit. Foreign governments may withhold taxes on dividends and interest paid with respect to foreign securities held by a fund. Foreign governments may also impose taxes on other payments or gains with respect to foreign securities. If, at the close of its fiscal year, more than 50% of a fund’s total assets are invested in securities of foreign issuers, the fund may elect to pass through to shareholders the ability to deduct or, if they meet certain holding period requirements, take a credit for foreign taxes paid by the fund. Similarly, if at the close of each quarter of a fund’s taxable year, at least 50% of its total assets consist of interests in other regulated investment companies, the fund is permitted to elect to pass through to its shareholders the foreign income taxes paid by the fund in connection with foreign securities held directly by the fund or held by a regulated investment company in which the fund invests that has elected to pass through such taxes to shareholders.
Tax Matters—Passive Foreign Investment Companies. The Fund may invest in passive foreign investment companies (PFICs). A foreign company is generally a PFIC if 75% or more of its gross income is passive or if 50% or more of its assets produce passive income. Capital gains on the sale of an interest in a PFIC will be deemed ordinary income regardless of how long the Fund held it. Also, the Fund may be subject to corporate income tax and an interest charge on certain dividends and capital gains earned in respect to PFIC interests, whether or not such amounts are distributed to shareholders. To avoid such tax and interest, the Fund may elect to “mark to market” its PFIC interests, that is, to treat such interests as sold on the last day of the Fund’s fiscal year, and to recognize any unrealized gains (or losses, to the extent of previously recognized gains) as ordinary income each year. Distributions from the Fund that are attributable to income or gains earned in respect to PFIC interests are characterized as ordinary income.
Tax Matters—Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits. If a fund invests directly or indirectly, including through a REIT or other pass-through entity, in residual interests in real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) or equity interests in taxable mortgage pools (TMPs), a portion of the fund’s income that is attributable to a residual interest in a REMIC or an equity interest in a TMP (such portion referred to in the IRC as an “excess inclusion”) will be subject to U.S. federal income tax in all events—including potentially at the fund level—under a notice issued by the IRS in October 2006 and U.S. Treasury regulations that have yet to be issued but may apply retroactively. This notice also provides, and the regulations are expected to provide, that excess inclusion income of a registered investment company will be allocated to shareholders of the registered investment company in proportion to the dividends received by such shareholders, with the same consequences as if the shareholders held the related interest directly. In general, excess inclusion income allocated to shareholders (1) cannot be offset by net operating losses (subject to a limited exception for certain thrift institutions); (2) will constitute unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) to entities (including a qualified pension plan, an individual retirement account, a 401(k) plan, a Keogh plan, or other tax-exempt entity) subject to tax on UBTI, thereby potentially requiring such an entity, which otherwise might not be required, to file a tax return and pay tax
on such income; and (3) in the case of a non-U.S. investor, will not qualify for any reduction in U.S. federal withholding tax. A shareholder will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on such inclusions notwithstanding any exemption from such income tax otherwise available under the IRC. As a result, a fund investing in such interests may not be suitable for charitable remainder trusts. See “Tax Matters—Tax-Exempt Investors.”
Tax Matters—Tax Considerations for Non-U.S. Investors. U.S. withholding and estate taxes and certain U.S. tax reporting requirements may apply to any investments made by non-U.S. investors in Vanguard funds. Certain properly reported distributions of qualifying interest income or short-term capital gain made by a fund to its non-U.S. investors are exempt from U.S. withholding taxes, provided the investors furnish valid tax documentation (i.e., IRS Form W-8) certifying as to their non-U.S. status.
A fund is permitted, but is not required, to report any of its distributions as eligible for such relief, and some distributions (e.g., distributions of interest a fund receives from non-U.S. issuers) are not eligible for this relief. For some funds, Vanguard has chosen to report qualifying distributions and apply the withholding exemption to those distributions when made to non-U.S. shareholders who invest directly with Vanguard. For other funds, Vanguard may choose not to apply the withholding exemption to qualifying fund distributions made to direct shareholders, but may provide the reporting to such shareholders. In these cases, a shareholder may be able to reclaim such withholding tax directly from the IRS.
If shareholders hold fund shares (including ETF shares) through a broker or intermediary, their broker or intermediary may apply this relief to properly reported qualifying distributions made to shareholders with respect to those shares. If a shareholder’s broker or intermediary instead collects withholding tax where the fund has provided the proper reporting, the shareholder may be able to reclaim such withholding tax from the IRS. Please consult your broker or intermediary regarding the application of these rules.
This relief does not apply to any withholding required under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which generally requires a fund to obtain information sufficient to identify the status of each of its shareholders. If a shareholder fails to provide this information or otherwise fails to comply with FATCA, a fund may be required to withhold under FATCA at a rate of 30% with respect to that shareholder on fund distributions. Please consult your tax advisor for more information about these rules.
Tax Matters—Tax-Exempt Investors. Income of a fund that would be UBTI if earned directly by a tax-exempt entity will not generally be attributed as UBTI to a tax-exempt shareholder of the fund. Notwithstanding this “blocking” effect, a tax-exempt shareholder could realize UBTI by virtue of its investment in a fund if shares in the fund constitute debt-financed property in the hands of the tax-exempt shareholder within the meaning of IRC Section 514(b).
A tax-exempt shareholder may also recognize UBTI if a fund recognizes “excess inclusion income” derived from direct or indirect investments in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs. See “Tax Matters—Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits.”
In addition, special tax consequences apply to charitable remainder trusts that invest in a fund that invests directly or indirectly in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs. Charitable remainder trusts and other tax-exempt investors are urged to consult their tax advisors concerning the consequences of investing in a fund.
Time Deposits. Time deposits are subject to the same risks that pertain to domestic issuers of money market instruments, most notably credit risk (and, to a lesser extent, income risk, market risk, and liquidity risk). Additionally, time deposits of foreign branches of U.S. banks and foreign branches of foreign banks may be subject to certain sovereign risks. One such risk is the possibility that a sovereign country might prevent capital, in the form of U.S. dollars, from flowing across its borders. Other risks include adverse political and economic developments, the extent and quality of government regulation of financial markets and institutions, the imposition of foreign withholding taxes, and expropriation or nationalization of foreign issuers. However, time deposits of such issuers will undergo the same type of credit analysis as domestic issuers in which a Vanguard fund invests and will have at least the same financial strength as the domestic issuers approved for the fund.
Warrants. Warrants are instruments that give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy an equity security at a specific price for a specific period of time. Changes in the value of a warrant do not necessarily correspond to changes in the value of its underlying security. The price of a warrant may be more volatile than the price of its underlying security, and a warrant may offer greater potential for capital appreciation as well as capital loss. Warrants do not entitle a holder to dividends or voting rights with respect to the underlying security and do not represent any rights in the assets of the
issuing company. A warrant ceases to have value if it is not exercised prior to its expiration date. These factors can make warrants more speculative than other types of investments.
When-Issued, Delayed-Delivery, and Forward-Commitment Transactions. When-issued, delayed-delivery, and forward-commitment transactions involve a commitment to purchase or sell specific securities at a predetermined price or yield in which payment and delivery take place after the customary settlement period for that type of security. Typically, no interest accrues to the purchaser until the security is delivered. When purchasing securities pursuant to one of these transactions, payment for the securities is not required until the delivery date. However, the purchaser assumes the rights and risks of ownership, including the risks of price and yield fluctuations and the risk that the security will not be issued as anticipated. When a fund has sold a security pursuant to one of these transactions, the fund does not participate in further gains or losses with respect to the security. If the other party to a delayed-delivery transaction fails to deliver or pay for the securities, the fund could miss a favorable price or yield opportunity or suffer a loss. A fund may renegotiate a when-issued or forward-commitment transaction and may sell the underlying securities before delivery, which may result in capital gains or losses for the fund. When-issued, delayed-delivery, and forward-commitment transactions will not be considered to constitute the issuance, by a fund, of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by the fund, if the fund covers the transaction in accordance with the requirements described under the heading “Borrowing.”
Regulatory restrictions in India. Shares of Vanguard Explorer Fund have not been, and will not be, registered under the laws of India and are not intended to benefit from any laws in India promulgated for the protection of shareholders. As a result of regulatory requirements in India, shares of the Fund shall not be knowingly offered to (directly or indirectly) or sold or delivered to (within India); transferred to or purchased by; or held by, for, on the account of, or for the benefit of (i) a “person resident in India” (as defined under applicable Indian law), (ii) an “overseas corporate body” or a “person of Indian origin” (as defined under applicable Indian law), or (iii) any other entity or person disqualified or otherwise prohibited from accessing the Indian securities market under applicable laws, as may be amended from time to time. Investors, prior to purchasing shares of the Fund, must satisfy themselves regarding compliance with these requirements.
Multiple-class funds do not have a single share price. Rather, each class has a share price, called its net asset value, or NAV, that is calculated each business day as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (the Exchange), generally 4 p.m., Eastern time. NAV per share is computed by dividing the total assets, minus liabilities, allocated to the share class by the number of Fund shares outstanding for that class. On U.S. holidays or other days when the Exchange is closed, the NAV is not calculated, and the Fund does not sell or redeem shares. However, on those days the value of the Fund’s assets may be affected to the extent that the Fund holds securities that change in value on those days (such as foreign securities that trade on foreign markets that are open).
The Exchange typically observes the following holidays: New Year’s Day; Martin Luther King, Jr., Day; Presidents’ Day (Washington’s Birthday); Good Friday; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Thanksgiving Day; and Christmas Day. Although the Fund expects the same holidays to be observed in the future, the Exchange may modify its holiday schedule or hours of operation at any time.
Purchase of Shares
The purchase price of shares of the Fund is the NAV per share next determined after the purchase request is received in good order, as defined in the Fund’s prospectus.
Exchange of Securities for Shares of the Fund. Shares of the Fund may be purchased “in kind” (i.e., in exchange for securities, rather than for cash) at the discretion of the Fund’s portfolio manager. Such securities must not be restricted as to transfer and must have a value that is readily ascertainable. Securities accepted by the Fund will be valued, as set forth in the Fund’s prospectus, as of the time of the next determination of NAV after such acceptance. All dividend, subscription, or other rights that are reflected in the market price of accepted securities at the time of valuation become
the property of the Fund and must be delivered to the Fund by the investor upon receipt from the issuer. A gain or loss for federal income tax purposes, depending upon the cost of the securities tendered, would be realized by the investor upon the exchange. Investors interested in purchasing fund shares in kind should contact Vanguard.
Redemption of Shares
The redemption price of shares of the Fund is the NAV per share next determined after the redemption request is received in good order, as defined in the Fund’s prospectus.
The Fund can postpone payment of redemption proceeds for up to seven calendar days. In addition, the Fund can suspend redemptions and/or postpone payments of redemption proceeds beyond seven calendar days (1) during any period that the Exchange is closed or trading on the Exchange is restricted as determined by the SEC; (2) during any period when an emergency exists, as defined by the SEC, as a result of which it is not reasonably practicable for the Fund to dispose of securities it owns or to fairly determine the value of its assets; or (3) for such other periods as the SEC may permit.
The Trust has filed a notice of election with the SEC to pay in cash all redemptions requested by any shareholder of record limited in amount during any 90-day period to the lesser of $250,000 or 1% of the net assets of the Fund at the beginning of such period.
If Vanguard determines that it would be detrimental to the best interests of the remaining shareholders of the Fund to make payment wholly or partly in cash, the Fund may pay the redemption price in whole or in part by a distribution in kind of readily marketable securities held by the Fund in lieu of cash in conformity with applicable rules of the SEC and in accordance with procedures adopted by the Fund’s board of trustees. Investors may incur brokerage charges on the sale of such securities received in payment of redemptions.
The Fund does not charge a redemption fee. Shares redeemed may be worth more or less than what was paid for them, depending on the market value of the securities held by the Fund.
Vanguard processes purchase and redemption requests through a pooled account. Pending investment direction or distribution of redemption proceeds, the assets in the pooled account are invested and any earnings (the “float”) are allocated proportionately among the Vanguard funds in order to offset fund expenses. Other than the float, Vanguard treats assets held in the pooled account as the assets of each shareholder making such purchase or redemption request.
Right to Change Policies
Vanguard reserves the right, without notice, to (1) alter, add, or discontinue any conditions of purchase (including eligibility requirements), redemption, exchange, conversion, service, or privilege at any time; (2) accept initial purchases by telephone; (3) freeze any account and/or suspend account services if Vanguard has received reasonable notice of a dispute regarding the assets in an account, including notice of a dispute between the registered or beneficial account owners, or if Vanguard reasonably believes a fraudulent transaction may occur or has occurred; (4) temporarily freeze any account and/or suspend account services upon initial notification to Vanguard of the death of the shareholder until Vanguard receives required documentation in good order; (5) alter, impose, discontinue, or waive any purchase fee, redemption fee, account service fee, or other fees charged to a shareholder or a group of shareholders; and (6) redeem an account or suspend account privileges, without the owner’s permission to do so, in cases of threatening conduct or activity Vanguard believes to be suspicious, fraudulent, or illegal. Changes may affect any or all investors. These actions will be taken when, at the sole discretion of Vanguard management, Vanguard reasonably believes they are in the best interest of a fund.
Investing With Vanguard Through Other Firms
The Fund has authorized certain agents to accept on its behalf purchase and redemption orders, and those agents are authorized to designate other intermediaries to accept purchase and redemption orders on the Fund’s behalf (collectively, Authorized Agents). The Fund will be deemed to have received a purchase or redemption order when an Authorized Agent accepts the order in accordance with the Fund’s instructions. In most instances, a customer order that is properly transmitted to an Authorized Agent will be priced at the NAV per share next determined after the order is received by the Authorized Agent.
The Fund is part of the Vanguard group of investment companies, which consists of over 200 funds. Each fund is a series of a Delaware statutory trust. The funds obtain virtually all of their corporate management, administrative, and distribution services through the trusts’ jointly owned subsidiary, Vanguard. Vanguard also provides investment advisory services to certain Vanguard funds. All of these services are provided at Vanguard’s total cost of operations pursuant to the Fifth Amended and Restated Funds’ Service Agreement (the Agreement).
Vanguard employs a supporting staff of management and administrative personnel needed to provide the requisite services to the funds and also furnishes the funds with necessary office space, furnishings, and equipment. Each fund (other than a fund of funds) pays its share of Vanguard’s total expenses, which are allocated among the funds under methods approved by the board of trustees of each fund. In addition, each fund bears its own direct expenses, such as legal, auditing, and custodial fees.
The funds’ officers are also employees of Vanguard.
Vanguard, Vanguard Marketing Corporation (VMC), the funds, and the funds’ advisors have adopted codes of ethics designed to prevent employees who may have access to nonpublic information about the trading activities of the funds (access persons) from profiting from that information. The codes of ethics permit access persons to invest in securities for their own accounts, including securities that may be held by a fund, but place substantive and procedural restrictions on the trading activities of access persons. For example, the codes of ethics require that access persons receive advance approval for most securities trades to ensure that there is no conflict with the trading activities of the funds.
Vanguard was established and operates under the Agreement. The Agreement provides that each Vanguard fund may be called upon to invest up to 0.40% of its net assets in Vanguard. The amounts that each fund has invested are adjusted from time to time in order to maintain the proportionate relationship between each fund’s relative net assets and its contribution to Vanguard’s capital.
As of October 31, 2018, the Fund had contributed capital to Vanguard as follows:
|Capital||Percentage of||Percent of|
|Vanguard Fund||to Vanguard||Net Assets||Capitalization|
Management. Corporate management and administrative services include (1) executive staff, (2) accounting and financial, (3) legal and regulatory, (4) shareholder account maintenance, (5) monitoring and control of custodian relationships, (6) shareholder reporting, and (7) review and evaluation of advisory and other services provided to the funds by third parties.
Distribution. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, 100 Vanguard Boulevard, Malvern, PA 19355, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vanguard, is the principal underwriter for the funds and in that capacity performs and finances marketing, promotional, and distribution activities (collectively, marketing and distribution activities) that are primarily intended to result in the sale of the funds’ shares. VMC offers shares of each fund for sale on a continuous basis and will use all reasonable efforts in connection with the distribution of shares of the funds. VMC performs marketing and distribution activities in accordance with the conditions of a 1981 SEC exemptive order that permits the Vanguard funds to internalize and jointly finance the marketing, promotion, and distribution of their shares. The funds’ trustees review and approve the marketing and distribution expenses incurred by the funds, including the nature and cost of the activities and the desirability of each fund’s continued participation in the joint arrangement.
To ensure that each fund’s participation in the joint arrangement falls within a reasonable range of fairness, each fund contributes to VMC’s marketing and distribution expenses in accordance with an SEC-approved formula. Under that formula, one half of the marketing and distribution expenses are allocated among the funds based upon their relative net assets. The remaining half of those expenses are allocated among the funds based upon each fund’s sales for the preceding 24 months relative to the total sales of the funds as a group, provided, however, that no fund’s aggregate quarterly rate of contribution for marketing and distribution expenses shall exceed 125% of the average marketing and
distribution expense rate for Vanguard and that no fund shall incur annual marketing and distribution expenses in excess of 0.20% of its average month-end net assets. Each fund’s contribution to these marketing and distribution expenses helps to maintain and enhance the attractiveness and viability of the Vanguard complex as a whole, which benefits all of the funds and their shareholders.
VMC’s principal marketing and distribution expenses are for advertising, promotional materials, and marketing personnel. Other marketing and distribution activities of an administrative nature that VMC undertakes on behalf of the funds may include, but are not limited to:
n Conducting or publishing Vanguard-generated research and analysis concerning the funds, other investments, the financial markets, or the economy.
n Providing views, opinions, advice, or commentary concerning the funds, other investments, the financial markets, or the economy.
n Providing analytical, statistical, performance, or other information concerning the funds, other investments, the financial markets, or the economy.
n Providing administrative services in connection with investments in the funds or other investments, including, but not limited to, shareholder services, recordkeeping services, and educational services.
n Providing products or services that assist investors or financial service providers (as defined below) in the investment decision-making process.
n Providing promotional discounts, commission-free trading, fee waivers, and other benefits to clients of Vanguard Brokerage Services® who maintain qualifying investments in the funds.
n Sponsoring, jointly sponsoring, financially supporting, or participating in conferences, programs, seminars, presentations, meetings, or other events involving fund shareholders, financial service providers, or others concerning the funds, other investments, the financial markets, or the economy, such as industry conferences, prospecting trips, due diligence visits, training or education meetings, and sales presentations.
VMC performs most marketing and distribution activities itself. Some activities may be conducted by third parties pursuant to shared marketing arrangements under which VMC agrees to share the costs and performance of marketing and distribution activities in concert with a financial service provider. Financial service providers include, but are not limited to, investment advisors, broker-dealers, financial planners, financial consultants, banks, and insurance companies. Under these cost- and performance-sharing arrangements, VMC may pay or reimburse a financial service provider (or a third party it retains) for marketing and distribution activities that VMC would otherwise perform. VMC’s cost- and performance-sharing arrangements may be established in connection with Vanguard investment products or services offered or provided to or through the financial service providers. VMC’s arrangements for shared marketing and distribution activities may vary among financial service providers, and its payments or reimbursements to financial service providers in connection with shared marketing and distribution activities may be significant. VMC participates in an offshore arrangement established with a third party to provide marketing, promotional, and other services to qualifying Vanguard funds that are distributed in certain foreign countries on a private-placement basis to government-sponsored and other institutional investors. In exchange for such services, the third party receives an annual base (fixed) fee and may also receive discretionary fees or performance adjustments.
In connection with its marketing and distribution activities, VMC may give financial service providers (or their representatives) (1) promotional items of nominal value that display Vanguard’s logo, such as golf balls, shirts, towels, pens, and mouse pads; (2) gifts that do not exceed $100 per person annually and are not preconditioned on achievement of a sales target; (3) an occasional meal, a ticket to a sporting event or the theater, or comparable entertainment that is neither so frequent nor so extensive as to raise any question of propriety and is not preconditioned on achievement of a sales target; and (4) reasonable travel and lodging accommodations to facilitate participation in marketing and distribution activities.
VMC, as a matter of policy, does not pay asset-based fees, sales-based fees, or account-based fees to financial service providers in connection with its marketing and distribution activities for the Vanguard funds. VMC policy also prohibits marketing and distribution activities that are intended, designed, or likely to compromise suitability determinations by, or the fulfillment of any fiduciary duties or other obligations that apply to, financial service providers. Nonetheless, VMC’s marketing and distribution activities are primarily intended to result in the sale of the funds’ shares, and as such, its activities, including shared marketing and distribution activities, may influence participating financial service providers (or their representatives) to recommend, promote, include, or invest in a Vanguard fund or share class. In addition, Vanguard
or any of its subsidiaries may retain a financial service provider to provide consulting or other services, and that financial service provider also may provide services to investors. Investors should consider the possibility that any of these activities or relationships may influence a financial service provider’s (or its representatives’) decision to recommend, promote, include, or invest in a Vanguard fund or share class. Each financial service provider should consider its suitability determinations, fiduciary duties, and other legal obligations (or those of its representatives) in connection with any decision to consider, recommend, promote, include, or invest in a Vanguard fund or share class.
The following table describes the expenses of Vanguard and VMC that are incurred by the Fund. Amounts captioned “Management and Administrative Expenses” include the Fund‘s allocated share of expenses associated with the management, administrative, and transfer agency services Vanguard provides to the Vanguard funds. Amounts captioned “Marketing and Distribution Expenses” include the Fund‘s allocated share of expenses associated with the marketing and distribution activities that VMC conducts on behalf of the Vanguard funds.
As is the case with all mutual funds, transaction costs incurred by the Fund for buying and selling securities are not reflected in the table. Annual Shared Fund Operating Expenses are based on expenses incurred in the fiscal years ended October 31, 2016, 2017, and 2018, and are presented as a percentage of the Fund‘s average month-end net assets.
|Annual Shared Fund Operating Expenses|
|(Shared Expenses Deducted From Fund Assets)|
|Management and Administrative Expenses||0.16%||0.15%||0.15%|
|Marketing and Distribution Expenses||0.01||0.01||0.01|
The Fund’s investment advisors may direct certain security trades, subject to obtaining the best price and execution, to brokers who have agreed to rebate to the Fund part of the commissions generated. Such rebates are used solely to reduce the Fund‘s management and administrative expenses and are not reflected in these totals.
Officers and Trustees
Each Vanguard fund is governed by the board of trustees of its trust and a single set of officers. Consistent with the board’s corporate governance principles, the trustees believe that their primary responsibility is oversight of the management of each fund for the benefit of its shareholders, not day-to-day management. The trustees set broad policies for the funds; select investment advisors; monitor fund operations, regulatory compliance, performance, and costs; nominate and select new trustees; and elect fund officers. Vanguard manages the day-to-day operations of the funds under the direction of the board of trustees.
The trustees play an active role, as a full board and at the committee level, in overseeing risk management for the funds. The trustees delegate the day-to-day risk management of the funds to various groups, including portfolio review, investment management, risk management, compliance, legal, fund accounting, and fund financial services. These groups provide the trustees with regular reports regarding investment, valuation, liquidity, and compliance, as well as the risks associated with each. The trustees also oversee risk management for the funds through regular interactions with the funds’ internal and external auditors.
The full board participates in the funds’ risk oversight, in part, through the Vanguard funds’ compliance program, which covers the following broad areas of compliance: investment and other operations; recordkeeping; valuation and pricing; communications and disclosure; reporting and accounting; oversight of service providers; fund governance; and codes of ethics, insider trading controls, and protection of nonpublic information. The program seeks to identify and assess risk through various methods, including through regular interdisciplinary communications between compliance professionals and business personnel who participate on a daily basis in risk management on behalf of the funds. The funds’ chief compliance officer regularly provides reports to the board in writing and in person.
The audit committee of the board, which is composed of F. Joseph Loughrey, Mark Loughridge, Sarah Bloom Raskin, and Peter F. Volanakis, each of whom is an independent trustee, oversees management of financial risks and controls. The audit committee serves as the channel of communication between the independent auditors of the funds and the board with respect to financial statements and financial reporting processes, systems of internal control, and the audit process.
Vanguard’s head of internal audit reports directly to the audit committee and provides reports to the committee in writing and in person on a regular basis. Although the audit committee is responsible for overseeing the management of financial risks, the entire board is regularly informed of these risks through committee reports.
All of the trustees bring to each fund’s board a wealth of executive leadership experience derived from their service as executives (in many cases chief executive officers), board members, and leaders of diverse public operating companies, academic institutions, and other organizations. In determining whether an individual is qualified to serve as a trustee of the funds, the board considers a wide variety of information about the trustee, and multiple factors contribute to the board’s decision. Each trustee is determined to have the experience, skills, and attributes necessary to serve the funds and their shareholders because each trustee demonstrates an exceptional ability to consider complex business and financial matters, evaluate the relative importance and priority of issues, make decisions, and contribute effectively to the deliberations of the board. The board also considers the individual experience of each trustee and determines that the trustee’s professional experience, education, and background contribute to the diversity of perspectives on the board. The business acumen, experience, and objective thinking of the trustees are considered invaluable assets for Vanguard management and, ultimately, the Vanguard funds’ shareholders. The specific roles and experience of each board member that factor into this determination are presented on the following pages. The mailing address of the trustees and officers is P.O. Box 876, Valley Forge, PA 19482.
|Principal Occupation(s)||Number of|
|Vanguard||During the Past Five Years,||Vanguard Funds|
|Position(s)||Funds’ Trustee/||Outside Directorships,||Overseen by|
|Name, Year of Birth||Held With Funds||Officer Since||and Other Experience||Trustee/Officer|
|Mortimer J. Buckley||Chairman of the||January 2018||Chairman of the board (January 2019–present) of||212|
|(1969)||Board, Chief||Vanguard and of each of the investment companies|
|Executive Officer,||served by Vanguard; chief executive officer (2018–|
|and President||present) of Vanguard; chief executive officer,|
|president, and trustee (2018–present) of each of the|
|investment companies served by Vanguard; president|
|and director (2017–present) of Vanguard; and president|
|(2018–present) of Vanguard Marketing Corporation.|
|Chief investment officer (2013–2017), managing|
|director (2002–2017), head of the Retail Investor Group|
|(2006–2012), and chief information officer (2001–2006)|
|of Vanguard. Chairman of the board (2011–2017) and|
|trustee (2009–2017) of the Children’s Hospital of|
|Philadelphia; trustee (2018–present) of The Shipley|
|1 Mr. Buckley is considered an “interested person” as defined in the 1940 Act because he is an officer of the Trust.|
|Emerson U. Fullwood||Trustee||January 2008||Executive chief staff and marketing officer for North||212|
|(1948)||America and corporate vice president (retired 2008) of|
|Xerox Corporation (document management products|
|and services). Former president of the Worldwide|
|Channels Group, Latin America, and Worldwide|
|Customer Service and executive chief staff officer of|
|Developing Markets of Xerox. Executive in residence|
|and 2009–2010 Distinguished Minett Professor at the|
|Rochester Institute of Technology. Director of SPX|
|FLOW, Inc. (multi-industry manufacturing). Director of|
|the University of Rochester Medical Center, the|
|Monroe Community College Foundation, the United|
|Way of Rochester, North Carolina A&T University, and|
|Roberts Wesleyan College. Trustee of the University of|
|Principal Occupation(s)||Number of|
|Vanguard||During the Past Five Years,||Vanguard Funds|
|Position(s)||Funds’ Trustee/||Outside Directorships,||Overseen by|
|Name, Year of Birth||Held With Funds||Officer Since||and Other Experience||Trustee/Officer|
|Amy Gutmann||Trustee||June 2006||President (2004–present) of the University of||212|
|(1949)||Pennsylvania. Christopher H. Browne Distinguished|
|Professor of Political Science, School of Arts and|
|Sciences, and professor of communication,|
|Annenberg School for Communication, with secondary|
|faculty appointments in the Department of Philosophy,|
|School of Arts and Sciences, and at the Graduate|
|School of Education, University of Pennsylvania.|
|Trustee of the National Constitution Center.|
|F. Joseph Loughrey||Trustee||October 2009||President and chief operating officer (retired 2009) and||212|
|(1949)||vice chairman of the board (2008–2009) of Cummins|
|Inc. (industrial machinery). Chairman of the board of|
|Hillenbrand, Inc. (specialized consumer services) and|
|the Lumina Foundation. Director of the V Foundation|
|and Oxfam America. Member of the advisory council|
|for the College of Arts and Letters and chair of the|
|advisory board to the Kellogg Institute for International|
|Studies, both at the University of Notre Dame.|
|Mark Loughridge||Lead Independent||March 2012||Senior vice president and chief financial officer (retired||212|
|(1953)||Trustee||2013) of IBM (information technology services).|
|Fiduciary member of IBM’s Retirement Plan|
|Committee (2004–2013), senior vice president and|
|general manager (2002–2004) of IBM Global|
|Financing, vice president and controller (1998–2002) of|
|IBM, and a variety of other prior management roles at|
|IBM. Member of the Council on Chicago Booth.|
|Scott C. Malpass||Trustee||March 2012||Chief investment officer (1989–present) and vice||212|
|(1962)||president (1996–present) of the University of Notre|
|Dame. Assistant professor of finance at the Mendoza|
|College of Business, University of Notre Dame, and|
|member of the Notre Dame 403(b) Investment|
|Committee. Chairman of the board of TIFF Advisory|
|Services, Inc. Member of the board of Catholic|
|Investment Services, Inc. (investment advisors), the|
|board of advisors for Spruceview Capital Partners, and|
|the board of superintendence of the Institute for the|
|Works of Religion.|
|Deanna Mulligan||Trustee||January 2018||President (2010–present) and chief executive officer||212|
|(1963)||(2011–present) of The Guardian Life Insurance|
|Company of America. Chief operating officer (2010–|
|2011) and executive vice president (2008–2010) of|
|Individual Life and Disability of The Guardian Life|
|Insurance Company of America. Member of the board|
|of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America,|
|the American Council of Life Insurers, the Partnership|
|for New York City (business leadership), and the|
|Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.|
|Trustee of the Economic Club of New York and the|
|Bruce Museum (arts and science). Member of the|
|Advisory Council for the Stanford Graduate School of|
|Principal Occupation(s)||Number of|
|Vanguard||During the Past Five Years,||Vanguard Funds|
|Position(s)||Funds’ Trustee/||Outside Directorships,||Overseen by|
|Name, Year of Birth||Held With Funds||Officer Since||and Other Experience||Trustee/Officer|
|André F. Perold||Trustee||December 2004||George Gund Professor of Finance and Banking,||212|
|(1952)||Emeritus at the Harvard Business School (retired|
|2011). Chief investment officer and co-managing|
|partner of HighVista Strategies LLC (private|
|investment firm). Board of Advisors and investment|
|committee member of the Museum of Fine Arts|
|Boston. Board member (April 2018–present) of RIT|
|Capital Partners (investment firm); investment|
|committee member of Partners Health Care System.|
|Sarah Bloom Raskin||Trustee||January 2018||Deputy secretary (2014–2017) of the United States||212|
|(1961)||Department of the Treasury. Governor (2010–2014) of|
|the Federal Reserve Board. Commissioner (2007–|
|2010) of financial regulation for the State of Maryland.|
|Member of the board of directors (2012–2014) of|
|Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation. Director|
|(2017–present) of i(x) Investments, LLC; director|
|(2017–present) of Reserve Trust. Rubinstein Fellow|
|(2017–present) of Duke University; trustee (2017–|
|present) of Amherst College.|
|Peter F. Volanakis||Trustee||July 2009||President and chief operating officer (retired 2010) of||212|
|(1955)||Corning Incorporated (communications equipment)|
|and director of Corning Incorporated (2000–2010) and|
|Dow Corning (2001–2010). Director (2012) of SPX|
|Corporation (multi-industry manufacturing). Overseer|
|of the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration,|
|Dartmouth College (2001–2013). Chairman of the|
|board of trustees of Colby-Sawyer College. Member of|
|the Board of Hypertherm Inc. (industrial cutting|
|systems, software, and consumables).|
|Glenn Booraem||Investment||February 2001||Principal of Vanguard. Investment stewardship officer||212|
|(1967)||Stewardship||(2017–present), treasurer (2015–2017), controller|
|Officer||(2010–2015), and assistant controller (2001–2010) of|
|each of the investment companies served by|
|Christine M. Buchanan||Treasurer||November 2017||Principal of Vanguard and global head of Fund||212|
|(1970)||Administration at Vanguard. Treasurer (2017–present)|
|of each of the investment companies served by|
|Vanguard. Partner (2005–2017) at KPMG LLP (audit,|
|tax, and advisory services).|
|Brian Dvorak||Chief Compliance||June 2017||Principal of Vanguard. Chief compliance officer (2017–||212|
|(1973)||Officer||present) of Vanguard and of each of the investment|
|companies served by Vanguard. Assistant vice|
|president (2017–present) of Vanguard Marketing|
|Corporation. Vice president and director of Enterprise|
|Risk Management (2011–2013) at Oppenheimer Funds,|
|Thomas J. Higgins||Chief Financial||July 1998||Principal of Vanguard. Chief financial officer (2008–||212|
|(1957)||Officer||present) and treasurer (1998–2008) of each of the|
|investment companies served by Vanguard.|
|Principal Occupation(s)||Number of|
|Vanguard||During the Past Five Years,||Vanguard Funds|
|Position(s)||Funds’ Trustee/||Outside Directorships,||Overseen by|
|Name, Year of Birth||Held With Funds||Officer Since||and Other Experience||Trustee/Officer|
|Peter Mahoney||Controller||May 2015||Principal of Vanguard. Controller (2015–present) of||212|
|(1974)||each of the investment companies served by|
|Vanguard. Head of International Fund Services (2008–|
|2014) at Vanguard.|
|Anne E. Robinson||Secretary||September 2016||General counsel (2016–present) of Vanguard.||212|
|(1970)||Secretary (2016–present) of Vanguard and of each of|
|the investment companies served by Vanguard.|
|Managing director (2016–present) of Vanguard.|
|Director and senior vice president (2016–2018) of|
|Vanguard Marketing Corporation. Managing director|
|and general counsel of Global Cards and Consumer|
|Services (2014–2016) at Citigroup. Counsel (2003–|
|2014) at American Express.|
|Michael Rollings||Finance Director||February 2017||Finance director (2017–present) and treasurer (2017) of||212|
|(1963)||each of the investment companies served by|
|Vanguard. Managing director (2016–present) of|
|Vanguard. Chief financial officer (2016–present) of|
|Vanguard. Director (2016–present) of Vanguard|
|Marketing Corporation. Executive vice president and|
|chief financial officer (2006–2016) of MassMutual|
All but one of the trustees are independent. The independent trustees designate a lead independent trustee. The lead independent trustee is a spokesperson and principal point of contact for the independent trustees and is responsible for coordinating the activities of the independent trustees, including calling regular executive sessions of the independent trustees; developing the agenda of each meeting together with the chairman; and chairing the meetings of the independent trustees. The lead independent trustee also chairs the meetings of the audit, compensation, and nominating committees. The board also has two investment committees, which consist of independent trustees and the sole interested trustee.
The independent trustees appoint the chairman of the board. The roles of chairman of the board and chief executive officer currently are held by the same person; as a result, the chairman of the board is an “interested” trustee. The independent trustees generally believe that the Vanguard funds’ chief executive officer is best qualified to serve as chairman and that fund shareholders benefit from this leadership structure through accountability and strong day-to-day leadership.
Board Committees: The Trust‘s board has the following committees:
n Audit Committee: This committee oversees the accounting and financial reporting policies, the systems of internal controls, and the independent audits of each fund. The following independent trustees serve as members of the committee: Mr. Loughrey, Mr. Loughridge, Ms. Raskin, and Mr. Volanakis. The committee held six meetings during the Fund‘s fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
n Compensation Committee: This committee oversees the compensation programs established by each fund for the benefit of its trustees. All independent trustees serve as members of the committee. The committee held one meeting during the Fund‘s fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
n Investment Committees: These committees assist the board in its oversight of investment advisors to the funds and in the review and evaluation of materials relating to the board’s consideration of investment advisory agreements with the funds. Each trustee serves on one of two investment committees. Each investment committee held four meetings during the Fund‘s fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
n Nominating Committee: This committee nominates candidates for election to the board of trustees of each fund. The committee also has the authority to recommend the removal of any trustee. All independent trustees serve as members of the committee. The committee held five meetings during the Fund‘s fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
The Nominating Committee will consider shareholder recommendations for trustee nominees. Shareholders may send recommendations to Mr. Loughridge, chairman of the committee.
The same individuals serve as trustees of all Vanguard funds and each fund pays a proportionate share of the trustees’ compensation. Vanguard funds also employ their officers on a shared basis; however, officers are compensated by Vanguard, not the funds.
Independent Trustees. The funds compensate their independent trustees (i.e., the ones who are not also officers of the funds) in three ways:
n The independent trustees receive an annual fee for their service to the funds, which is subject to reduction based on absences from scheduled board meetings.
n The independent trustees are reimbursed for the travel and other expenses that they incur in attending board meetings.
n Upon retirement (after attaining age 65 and completing five years of service), the independent trustees who began their service prior to January 1, 2001, receive a retirement benefit under a separate account arrangement. As of January 1, 2001, the opening balance of each eligible trustee’s separate account was generally equal to the net present value of the benefits he or she had accrued under the trustees’ former retirement plan. Each eligible trustee’s separate account will be credited annually with interest at a rate of 7.5% until the trustee receives his or her final distribution. Those independent trustees who began their service on or after January 1, 2001, are not eligible to participate in the plan.
“Interested” Trustee. Mr. Buckley serves as trustee, but is not paid in this capacity. He is, however, paid in his role as an officer of Vanguard.
Compensation Table. The following table provides compensation details for each of the trustees. We list the amounts paid as compensation and accrued as retirement benefits by the Fund for each trustee. In addition, the table shows the total amount of benefits that we expect each trustee to receive from all Vanguard funds upon retirement and the total amount of compensation paid to each trustee by all Vanguard funds.
|VANGUARD EXPLORER FUND|
|TRUSTEES’ COMPENSATION TABLE|
|Pension or||Accrued Annual||Total Compensation|
|Aggregate||Retirement Benefits||Retirement||From All|
|Compensation||Accrued as Part of||Benefit at||Vanguard Funds|
|Trustee||From the Fund1||the Fund’s Expenses1||January 1, 20192||Paid to Trustees3|
|F. William McNabb III4||—||—||—||—|
|Mortimer J. Buckley5||—||—||—||—|
|Emerson U. Fullwood||$2,110||—||—||$287,500|
|JoAnn Heffernan Heisen4||2,257||$39||$8,678||307,500|
|F. Joseph Loughrey||2,257||—||—||307,500|
|Scott C. Malpass||2,110||—||—||280,530|
|André F. Perold||2,110||—||—||287,500|
|Sarah Blooom Raskin5||1,881||—||—||307,500|
|Peter F. Volanakis||2,257||—||—||307,500|
1 The amounts shown in this column are based on the Trust’s fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
2 Each trustee is eligible to receive retirement benefits only after completing at least 5 years (60 consecutive months) of service as a trustee for the Vanguard funds. The annual retirement benefit will be paid in monthly installments, beginning with the month following the trustee’s retirement from service, and will cease after 10 years of payments (120 monthly installments). Trustees who began their service on or after January 1, 2001, are not eligible to participate in the retirement benefit plan.
3 The amounts reported in this column reflect the total compensation paid to each trustee for his or her service as trustee of 212 Vanguard funds for the 2018 calendar year.
4 Mr. McNabb and Ms. Heisen retired from service effective December 31, 2018.
5 Mr. Buckley, Ms. Mulligan, and Ms. Raskin began service effective January 1, 2018. 6 Mr. Gupta retired from service effective December 31, 2017.
Ownership of Fund Shares
All current trustees allocate their investments among the various Vanguard funds based on their own investment needs. The following table shows each trustee’s ownership of shares of the Fund and of all Vanguard funds served by the trustee as of December 31, 2018.
|Aggregate Dollar Range of|
|Dollar Range of Fund||Vanguard Fund Shares|
|Vanguard Fund||Trustee||Shares Owned by Trustee||Owned by Trustee|
|Explorer Fund||Mortimer J. Buckley||—||Over $100,000|
|Emerson U. Fullwood||—||Over $100,000|
|Amy Gutmann||—||Over $100,000|
|F. Joseph Loughrey||—||Over $100,000|
|Mark Loughridge||Over $100,000||Over $100,000|
|Scott C. Malpass||—||Over $100,000|
|Deanna Mulligan||—||Over $100,000|
|André F. Perold||—||Over $100,000|
|Sarah Bloom Raskin||—||Over $100,000|
|Peter F. Volanakis||—||Over $100,000|
As of January 31, 2019, the trustees and officers of the funds owned, in the aggregate, less than 1% of each class of each fund’s outstanding shares.
As of January 31, 2019, the following owned of record 5% or more of the outstanding shares of each class:
Vanguard Explorer Fund—Investor Shares: Vanguard STAR Fund, Valley Forge, PA (23.66%); Vanguard Explorer Fund—Admiral Shares: Fidelity Investments Institutional Operations Co. Inc., Covington, KY (10.09%).
Portfolio Holdings Disclosure Policies and Procedures
Vanguard and the boards of trustees of the Vanguard funds (Boards) have adopted Portfolio Holdings Disclosure Policies and Procedures (Policies and Procedures) to govern the disclosure of the portfolio holdings of each Vanguard fund. Vanguard and the Boards considered each of the circumstances under which Vanguard fund portfolio holdings may be disclosed to different categories of persons under the Policies and Procedures. Vanguard and the Boards also considered actual and potential material conflicts that could arise in such circumstances between the interests of Vanguard fund shareholders, on the one hand, and those of the fund’s investment advisor, distributor, or any affiliated person of the fund, its investment advisor, or its distributor, on the other. After giving due consideration to such matters and after the exercise of their fiduciary duties and reasonable business judgment, Vanguard and the Boards determined that the Vanguard funds have a legitimate business purpose for disclosing portfolio holdings to the persons described in each of the circumstances set forth in the Policies and Procedures and that the Policies and Procedures are reasonably designed to ensure that disclosure of portfolio holdings and information about portfolio holdings is in the best interests of fund shareholders and appropriately addresses the potential for material conflicts of interest.
The Boards exercise continuing oversight of the disclosure of Vanguard fund portfolio holdings by (1) overseeing the implementation and enforcement of the Policies and Procedures, the Code of Ethics, and the Policies and Procedures Designed to Prevent the Misuse of Inside Information (collectively, the portfolio holdings governing policies) by the chief compliance officer of Vanguard and the Vanguard funds; (2) considering reports and recommendations by the chief compliance officer concerning any material compliance matters (as defined in Rule 38a-1 under the 1940 Act and Rule 206(4)-7 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940) that may arise in connection with any portfolio holdings governing policies; and (3) considering whether to approve or ratify any amendment to any portfolio holdings governing policies. Vanguard and the Boards reserve the right to amend the Policies and Procedures at any time and from time to time without prior notice at their sole discretion. For purposes of the Policies and Procedures, the term “portfolio holdings” means the equity and debt securities (e.g., stocks and bonds) held by a Vanguard fund and does not mean the cash investments, derivatives, and other investment positions (collectively, other investment positions) held by the fund.
Online Disclosure of Ten Largest Stock Holdings
Each actively managed Vanguard fund generally will seek to disclose the fund’s ten largest stock portfolio holdings and the percentage of the fund’s total assets that each of these holdings represents as of the end of the most recent calendar quarter (quarter-end ten largest stock holdings with weightings) online at vanguard.com, in the “Portfolio” section of the fund’s Portfolio & Management page, 15 calendar days after the end of the calendar quarter. Each Vanguard index fund generally will seek to disclose the fund’s ten largest stock portfolio holdings and the percentage of the fund’s total assets that each of these holdings represents as of the end of the most recent month (month-end ten largest stock holdings with weightings) online at vanguard.com, in the “Portfolio” section of the fund’s Portfolio & Management page, 15 calendar days after the end of the month. In addition, Vanguard funds generally will seek to disclose the fund’s ten largest stock portfolio holdings and the aggregate percentage of the fund’s total assets (and, for balanced funds, the aggregate percentage of the fund’s equity securities) that these holdings represent as of the end of the most recent month (month-end ten largest stock holdings) online at vanguard.com, in the “Portfolio” section of the fund’s Portfolio & Management page, 10 business days after the end of the month. Together, the quarter-end and month-end ten largest stock holdings are referred to as the ten largest stock holdings. Online disclosure of the ten largest stock holdings is made to all categories of persons, including individual investors, institutional investors, intermediaries, third-party service providers, rating and ranking organizations, affiliated persons of a Vanguard fund, and all other persons.
Online Disclosure of Complete Portfolio Holdings
Each actively managed Vanguard fund, unless otherwise stated, generally will seek to disclose the fund’s complete portfolio holdings as of the end of the most recent calendar quarter online at vanguard.com, in the “Portfolio” section of the fund’s Portfolio & Management page, 30 calendar days after the end of the calendar quarter. In accordance with Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act, each of the Vanguard money market funds will disclose the fund’s complete portfolio holdings as of the last business day of the prior month online at vanguard.com, in the “Portfolio” section of the fund’s Portfolio & Management page, no later than the fifth business day of the current month. The complete portfolio holdings information for money market funds will remain available online for at least six months after the initial posting. Vanguard Market Neutral Fund and Vanguard Alternative Strategies Fund generally will seek to disclose the Fund’s complete portfolio holdings as of the end of the most recent calendar quarter online at vanguard.com, in the “Portfolio” section of the Fund’s Portfolio & Management page, 60 calendar days after the end of the calendar quarter. Each Vanguard index fund generally will seek to disclose the fund’s complete portfolio holdings as of the end of the most recent month online at vanguard.com, in the “Portfolio” section of the fund’s Portfolio & Management page, 15 calendar days after the end of the month. Online disclosure of complete portfolio holdings is made to all categories of persons, including individual investors, institutional investors, intermediaries, third-party service providers, rating and ranking organizations, affiliated persons of a Vanguard fund, and all other persons. Vanguard will review complete portfolio holdings before disclosure is made and, except with respect to the complete portfolio holdings of the Vanguard money market funds, may withhold any portion of the fund’s complete portfolio holdings from disclosure when deemed to be in the best interests of the fund after consultation with a Vanguard fund’s investment advisor.
Disclosure of Complete Portfolio Holdings to Service Providers Subject to Confidentiality and Trading Restrictions
Vanguard, for legitimate business purposes, may disclose Vanguard fund complete portfolio holdings at times it deems necessary and appropriate to rating and ranking organizations; financial printers; proxy voting service providers; pricing information vendors; issuers of guaranteed investment contracts for stable value portfolios; third parties that deliver analytical, statistical, or consulting services; and other third parties that provide services (collectively, Service Providers) to Vanguard, Vanguard subsidiaries, and/or the Vanguard funds. Disclosure of complete portfolio holdings to a Service Provider is conditioned on the Service Provider being subject to a written agreement imposing a duty of confidentiality, including a duty not to trade on the basis of any material nonpublic information.
The frequency with which complete portfolio holdings may be disclosed to a Service Provider, and the length of the lag, if any, between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed to the Service Provider, is determined based on the facts and circumstances, including, without limitation, the nature of the portfolio holdings information to be disclosed, the risk of harm to the funds and their shareholders, and the legitimate business purposes served by such disclosure. The frequency of disclosure to a Service Provider varies and may be as frequent as daily, with no lag. Disclosure of Vanguard fund complete portfolio holdings by Vanguard to a Service Provider must be authorized by a Vanguard fund officer or a Principal in Vanguard’s Portfolio Review Department or Legal and Compliance Division. Any disclosure of Vanguard fund complete portfolio holdings to a Service Provider as previously described may also include a list of the other investment positions that make up the fund, such as cash investments and derivatives.
Currently, Vanguard discloses Vanguard fund complete portfolio holdings to the following Service Providers as part of ongoing arrangements that serve legitimate business purposes: Abel/Noser Corporation; Advisor Software, Inc.; Alcom Printing Group Inc.; Apple Press, L.C.; Bloomberg L.P.; Brilliant Graphics, Inc.; Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.; Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.; Canon Business Process Services; FactSet Research Systems Inc.; Innovation Printing & Communications; Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc.; Intelligencer Printing Company; Investment Technology Group, Inc.; Lipper, Inc.; Markit WSO Corporation; McMunn Associates Inc.; Reuters America Inc.; R.R. Donnelley, Inc.; State Street Bank and Trust Company; Trade Informatics LLC, Triune Color Corporation; and Tursack Printing Inc.
Disclosure of Complete Portfolio Holdings to Vanguard Affiliates and Certain Fiduciaries Subject to Confidentiality and Trading Restrictions
Vanguard fund complete portfolio holdings may be disclosed between and among the following persons (collectively, Affiliates and Fiduciaries) for legitimate business purposes within the scope of their official duties and responsibilities, subject to such persons’ continuing legal duty of confidentiality and legal duty not to trade on the basis of any material
nonpublic information, as such duties are imposed under the Code of Ethics, the Policies and Procedures Designed to Prevent the Misuse of Inside Information, by agreement, or under applicable laws, rules, and regulations: (1) persons who are subject to the Code of Ethics or the Policies and Procedures Designed to Prevent the Misuse of Inside Information; (2) an investment advisor, distributor, administrator, transfer agent, or custodian to a Vanguard fund; (3) an accounting firm, an auditing firm, or outside legal counsel retained by Vanguard, a Vanguard subsidiary, or a Vanguard fund; (4) an investment advisor to whom complete portfolio holdings are disclosed for due diligence purposes when the advisor is in merger or acquisition talks with a Vanguard fund’s current advisor; and (5) a newly hired investment advisor or sub-advisor to whom complete portfolio holdings are disclosed prior to the time it commences its duties.
The frequency with which complete portfolio holdings may be disclosed between and among Affiliates and Fiduciaries, and the length of the lag, if any, between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed between and among the Affiliates and Fiduciaries, is determined by such Affiliates and Fiduciaries based on the facts and circumstances, including, without limitation, the nature of the portfolio holdings information to be disclosed, the risk of harm to the funds and their shareholders, and the legitimate business purposes served by such disclosure. The frequency of disclosure between and among Affiliates and Fiduciaries varies and may be as frequent as daily, with no lag. Any disclosure of Vanguard fund complete portfolio holdings to any Affiliates and Fiduciaries as previously described may also include a list of the other investment positions that make up the fund, such as cash investments and derivatives. Disclosure of Vanguard fund complete portfolio holdings or other investment positions by Vanguard, Vanguard Marketing Corporation, or a Vanguard fund to Affiliates and Fiduciaries must be authorized by a Vanguard fund officer or a Principal of Vanguard.
Currently, Vanguard discloses Vanguard fund complete portfolio holdings to the following Affiliates and Fiduciaries as part of ongoing arrangements that serve legitimate business purposes: Vanguard and each investment advisor, custodian, and independent registered public accounting firm identified in each fund’s Statement of Additional Information.
Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings to Broker-Dealers in the Normal Course of Managing a Fund’s Assets
An investment advisor, administrator, or custodian for a Vanguard fund may, for legitimate business purposes within the scope of its official duties and responsibilities, disclose portfolio holdings (whether partial portfolio holdings or complete portfolio holdings) and other investment positions that make up the fund to one or more broker-dealers during the course of, or in connection with, normal day-to-day securities and derivatives transactions with or through such broker-dealers subject to the broker-dealer’s legal obligation not to use or disclose material nonpublic information concerning the fund’s portfolio holdings, other investment positions, securities transactions, or derivatives transactions without the consent of the fund or its agents. The Vanguard funds have not given their consent to any such use or disclosure and no person or agent of Vanguard is authorized to give such consent except as approved in writing by the Boards of the Vanguard funds. Disclosure of portfolio holdings or other investment positions by Vanguard to broker-dealers must be authorized by a Vanguard fund officer or a Principal of Vanguard.
Disclosure of Nonmaterial Information
The Policies and Procedures permit Vanguard fund officers, Vanguard fund portfolio managers, and other Vanguard representatives (collectively, Approved Vanguard Representatives) to disclose any views, opinions, judgments, advice, or commentary, or any analytical, statistical, performance, or other information, in connection with or relating to a Vanguard fund or its portfolio holdings and/or other investment positions (collectively, commentary and analysis) or any changes in the portfolio holdings of a Vanguard fund that occurred after the end of the most recent calendar quarter (recent portfolio changes) to any person if (1) such disclosure serves a legitimate business purpose, (2) such disclosure does not effectively result in the disclosure of the complete portfolio holdings of any Vanguard fund (which can be disclosed only in accordance with the Policies and Procedures), and (3) such information does not constitute material nonpublic information. Disclosure of commentary and analysis or recent portfolio changes by Vanguard, Vanguard Marketing Corporation, or a Vanguard fund must be authorized by a Vanguard fund officer or a Principal of Vanguard.
An Approved Vanguard Representative must make a good faith determination whether the information constitutes material nonpublic information, which involves an assessment of the particular facts and circumstances. Vanguard believes that in most cases recent portfolio changes that involve a few or even several securities in a diversified portfolio or commentary and analysis would be immaterial and would not convey any advantage to a recipient in making an
investment decision concerning a Vanguard fund. Nonexclusive examples of commentary and analysis about a Vanguard fund include (1) the allocation of the fund’s portfolio holdings and other investment positions among various asset classes, sectors, industries, and countries; (2) the characteristics of the stock and bond components of the fund’s portfolio holdings and other investment positions; (3) the attribution of fund returns by asset class, sector, industry, and country; and (4) the volatility characteristics of the fund. Approved Vanguard Representatives may, at their sole discretion, deny any request for information made by any person, and may do so for any reason or for no reason. Approved Vanguard Representatives include, for purposes of the Policies and Procedures, persons employed by or associated with Vanguard or a subsidiary of Vanguard who have been authorized by Vanguard’s Portfolio Review Department to disclose recent portfolio changes and/or commentary and analysis in accordance with the Policies and Procedures.
Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings Related Information to the Issuer of a Security for Legitimate Business Purposes
Vanguard, at its sole discretion, may disclose portfolio holdings information concerning a security held by one or more Vanguard funds to the issuer of such security if the issuer presents, to the satisfaction of Vanguard’s Fund Financial Services unit, convincing evidence that the issuer has a legitimate business purpose for such information. Disclosure of this information to an issuer is conditioned on the issuer being subject to a written agreement imposing a duty of confidentiality, including a duty not to trade on the basis of any material nonpublic information. The frequency with which portfolio holdings information concerning a security may be disclosed to the issuer of such security, and the length of the lag, if any, between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed to the issuer, is determined based on the facts and circumstances, including, without limitation, the nature of the portfolio holdings information to be disclosed, the risk of harm to the funds and their shareholders, and the legitimate business purposes served by such disclosure. The frequency of disclosure to an issuer cannot be determined in advance of a specific request and will vary based upon the particular facts and circumstances and the legitimate business purposes, but in unusual situations could be as frequent as daily, with no lag. Disclosure of portfolio holdings information concerning a security held by one or more Vanguard funds to the issuer of such security must be authorized by a Vanguard fund officer or a Principal in Vanguard’s Portfolio Review Department or Legal and Compliance Division.
Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings as Required by Applicable Law
Vanguard fund portfolio holdings (whether partial portfolio holdings or complete portfolio holdings) and other investment positions that make up a fund shall be disclosed to any person as required by applicable laws, rules, and regulations. Examples of such required disclosure include, but are not limited to, disclosure of Vanguard fund portfolio holdings (1) in a filing or submission with the SEC or another regulatory body, (2) in connection with seeking recovery on defaulted bonds in a federal bankruptcy case, (3) in connection with a lawsuit, or (4) as required by court order. Disclosure of portfolio holdings or other investment positions by Vanguard, Vanguard Marketing Corporation, or a Vanguard fund as required by applicable laws, rules, and regulations must be authorized by a Vanguard fund officer or a Principal of Vanguard.
Prohibitions on Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings
No person is authorized to disclose Vanguard fund portfolio holdings or other investment positions (whether online at vanguard.com, in writing, by fax, by email, orally, or by other means) except in accordance with the Policies and Procedures. In addition, no person is authorized to make disclosure pursuant to the Policies and Procedures if such disclosure is otherwise unlawful under the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws (as defined in Rule 38a-1 under the 1940 Act). Furthermore, Vanguard’s management, at its sole discretion, may determine not to disclose portfolio holdings or other investment positions that make up a Vanguard fund to any person who would otherwise be eligible to receive such information under the Policies and Procedures, or may determine to make such disclosures publicly as provided by the Policies and Procedures.
Prohibitions on Receipt of Compensation or Other Consideration
The Policies and Procedures prohibit a Vanguard fund, its investment advisor, and any other person or entity from paying or receiving any compensation or other consideration of any type for the purpose of obtaining disclosure of Vanguard fund portfolio holdings or other investment positions. “Consideration” includes any agreement to maintain assets in the
fund or in other investment companies or accounts managed by the investment advisor or by any affiliated person of the investment advisor.
The Trust currently uses five investment advisors:
n ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC (ArrowMark Partners) provides investment advisory services for a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund.
n ClearBridge Investments, LLC (ClearBridge) provides investment advisory services for a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund.
n Stephens Investment Management Group, LLC (SIMG) provides investment advisory services for a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund.
n Wellington Management Company LLP (Wellington Management) provides investment advisory services for a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund.
n Vanguard provides investment advisory services for a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund.
For funds that are advised by independent third-party advisory firms unaffiliated with Vanguard, the board of trustees of each fund hires investment advisory firms, not individual portfolio managers, to provide investment advisory services to such funds. Vanguard negotiates each advisory agreement, which contains advisory fee arrangements, on an arm’s length basis with the advisory firm. Each advisory agreement is reviewed annually by each fund’s board of trustees, taking into account numerous factors, which include, without limitation, the nature, extent, and quality of the services provided; investment performance; and the fair market value of the services provided. Each advisory agreement is between the Trust and the advisory firm, not between the Trust and the portfolio manager. The structure of the advisory fee paid to each unaffiliated investment advisory firm is described in the following sections. In addition, each firm has established policies and procedures designed to address the potential for conflicts of interest. Each firm’s compensation structure and management of potential conflicts of interest is summarized by the advisory firm in the following sections for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
A fund is a party to an investment advisory agreement with each of its independent third-party advisors whereby the advisor manages the investment and reinvestment of the portion of the fund’s assets that the fund’s board of trustees determines to assign to the advisor. Hereafter, each portion is referred to as the advisor’s Portfolio. In this capacity, each advisor continuously reviews, supervises, and administers the investment program for its portion of the fund’s assets. Each advisor discharges its responsibilities subject to the supervision and oversight of Vanguard’s Portfolio Review Department and the officers and trustees of the fund. Vanguard’s Portfolio Review Department is responsible for recommending changes in a fund’s advisory arrangements to the fund’s board of trustees, including changes in the amount of assets allocated to each advisor and recommendations to hire, terminate, or replace an advisor.
The Fund pays each of its independent third-party investment advisors a base fee plus or minus a performance adjustment. Each base fee, which is paid quarterly, is a percentage of average daily net assets managed by the advisor during the most recent fiscal quarter. The base fee has breakpoints, which means that the percentage declines as assets go up. The performance adjustment, also paid quarterly, is based on the cumulative total return of each advisor’s portion of the Fund relative to that of the Russell 2500 Growth Index over the preceding 36-month period (60-month period for ArrowMark Partners and SIMG). Vanguard provides investment advisory services for a portion of the Fund on an at-cost basis.
During the fiscal years ended October 31, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Vanguard Explorer Fund incurred aggregate investment advisory fees and expenses of approximately $23,412,000 (before a performance-based decrease of $2,133,000), $21,997,000 (before a performance-based decrease of $897,000), and $25,314,000 (before a performance-based increase of $2,247,000), respectively.
Of the aggregate fees and expenses previously described, the investment advisory expenses paid to Vanguard for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018, were $1,230,000 (representing an effective annual rate of 0.01%). The investment advisory fees paid to the remaining advisors for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018, were $26,331,000 (representing an effective annual rate of 0.18%).
A. ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC (ArrowMark Partners)
ArrowMark Partners, located in Denver, Colorado, is an investment advisory firm founded in 2007.
1. Other Accounts Managed
Chad Meade and Brian Schaub co-manage a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Meade and Mr. Schaub also co-managed 2 other registered investment companies with total assets of $3.6 billion, 1 other pooled investment vehicle with total assets of $130 million, and 35 other accounts with total assets of $4.1 billion (2 of which had advisory fees based on account performance with total assets of $1.1 billion).
2. Material Conflicts of Interest
Potential conflicts could include a portfolio manager’s knowledge about the size, timing, and possible market impact of a fund’s trades, whereby the portfolio manager could use this information to the advantage or disadvantage of another fund. A fund’s portfolio managers may be able to select or otherwise influence the selection of the brokers and dealers that are used to execute securities transactions for a fund. In addition to executing trades, some brokers and dealers provide managers with brokerage research services, which may result in the payment of higher brokerage fees than might have otherwise been available. These services may be more beneficial to certain funds or accounts than to others. Although the payment of brokerage commissions is subject to the requirement that the portfolio manager determine in good faith that the commissions are reasonable in relation to the value of the brokerage and research services provided to a fund, a portfolio manager’s decision as to the selection of brokers and dealers could potentially yield disproportionate costs and benefits among the individual funds.
A fund’s portfolio managers and analysts may also face other potential conflicts of interest in managing the funds, and the description above is not a complete description of every conflict that could be deemed to exist in managing both the funds and other accounts. In addition, the portfolio managers or analysts may also manage other accounts (including their personal assets or the assets of family members) in their personal capacity. The management of these accounts may also involve certain of the potential conflicts described above. Investment personnel, including the portfolio managers and analysts, are subject to restrictions on engaging in personal securities transactions pursuant to a Code of Ethics adopted by ArrowMark Partners and the funds. Although the potential for conflicts of interest may exist, the funds and ArrowMark Partners believe that they have established policies and procedures that seek to minimize potential conflicts of interest and to ensure that the purchase and sale of securities among all managed accounts are fairly and equitably executed and allocated. Investment personnel of the firm or its affiliates may be permitted to be commercially or professionally involved with an issuer of securities. Any potential conflicts of interest from such involvement would be monitored for compliance with the firm’s Code of Ethics.
3. Description of Compensation
Compensation for portfolio managers is designed to link the performance of each portfolio manager to shareholder objectives. All portfolio manager compensation through a base salary and bonus is paid by ArrowMark Partners. The total compensation of a portfolio manager will be based on a combination of the pre-tax performance of each fund managed by the portfolio manager against applicable benchmark(s) as well as against its relevant peer group, with primary emphasis given to 3 year performance. Peer groups may include Lipper, Morningstar, and other customized universes of funds managed. Portfolio managers are incentivized for outperformance, but receive no extra compensation for being top decile performers, which minimizes the possibility of portfolio managers taking undue risk to be top performers.
4. Ownership of Securities
As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Meade and Mr. Schaub did not own any shares of the Fund.
B. ClearBridge Investments, LLC (ClearBridge)
ClearBridge, headquartered in New York, New York, is a global investment management firm rebranded in 2005, with a legacy dating back to 1962. The firm is an independently managed, wholly owned subsidiary of Legg Mason, Inc.
ClearBridge manages assets across domestic, international, global, and specialty equity strategies. The firm has offices in Baltimore, London, San Francisco, and Wilmington.
1. Other Accounts Managed
Brian Angerame co-manages a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Angerame also managed 5 other registered investment companies with total assets of $3.5 billion (advisory fees based on account performance for 1 of these accounts with total assets of $2.6 billion), 2 other pooled investment vehicles with total assets of $45 million (advisory fees not based on account performance), and 2,346 other accounts with total assets of $676.6 million (advisory fees not based on account performance).
Derek Deutsch co-manages a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Deutsch also managed 6 other registered investment companies with total assets of $3.5 billion (advisory fees based on account performance for 1 of these accounts with total assets of $2.6 billion), 4 other pooled investment vehicles with total assets of $286.2 million (advisory fees not based on account performance), and 2,388 other accounts with total assets of $716.1 million (advisory fees not based on account performance).
Aram Green co-manages a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Green also managed 6 other registered investment companies with total assets of $5 billion (advisory fees based on account performance for 1 of these accounts with total assets of $2.6 billion), 2 other pooled investment vehicles with total assets of $24.3 million (advisory fees not based on account performance), and 1,145 other accounts with total assets of $448.6 million (advisory fees not based on account performance).
Jeffrey Russell co-manages a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Russell also managed 4 other registered investment companies with total assets of $4.7 billion (advisory fees based on account performance for 1 of these accounts with total assets of $2.6 billion), 1 other pooled investment vehicle with total assets of $17.4 million (advisory fees not based on account performance), and 1,145 other accounts with total assets of $448.6 million (advisory fees not based on account performance).
2. Material Conflicts of Interest
Potential conflicts of interest may arise when the fund’s portfolio managers also have day-to-day management responsibilities with respect to one or more other funds or other accounts, as is the case for the ClearBridge portfolio managers.
ClearBridge has adopted compliance policies and procedures that are designed to address various conflicts of interest that may arise for ClearBridge as subadvisor and the individuals that each employs. For example, ClearBridge seeks to minimize the effects of competing interests for the time and attention of portfolio managers by assigning portfolio managers to manage funds and accounts that share a similar investment style. ClearBridge has also adopted trade allocation procedures that are designed to facilitate the fair allocation of investment opportunities among multiple funds and accounts. There is no guarantee, however, that the policies and procedures adopted by ClearBridge will be able to detect and/or prevent every situation in which an actual or potential conflict may appear.
These potential conflicts include the following:
Allocation of Limited Time and Attention. A portfolio manager who is responsible for managing multiple funds and/or accounts may devote unequal time and attention to the management of those funds and/or accounts. The effects of this potential conflict may be more pronounced when funds and/or accounts overseen by a particular portfolio manager have different investment strategies.
Allocation of Investment Opportunities. If a portfolio manager identifies an investment opportunity that may be suitable for multiple funds and/or accounts, the opportunity may be allocated among these several funds or accounts, which may limit a fund’s ability to take full advantage of the investment opportunity. ClearBridge has adopted policies and procedures to ensure that all accounts, including the Fund, are treated equitably.
Pursuit of Differing Strategies. At times, a portfolio manager may determine that an investment opportunity is appropriate for only some of the funds and/or accounts for which he or she exercises investment responsibility, or decide that certain funds and/or accounts should take differing positions with respect to a particular security. In these
cases, the portfolio manager may place separate transactions for one or more funds or accounts, which may affect the market price of the security, the execution of the transaction, or both, to the detriment or benefit of one or more other funds and/or accounts.
Selection of Broker/Dealers. In addition to executing trades, some broker/dealers provide brokerage and research services (as those terms are defined in Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act), which may result in the payment of higher brokerage fees than might have otherwise been available. These services may be more beneficial to certain funds or accounts than to others. For this reason, ClearBridge has formed a brokerage committee that reviews, among other things, the allocation of brokerage to broker/dealers, best execution, and soft dollar usage.
Variation in Compensation. A conflict of interest may arise when the financial or other benefits available to the portfolio manager differ among the funds and/or accounts that he or she manages. If the structure of the manager’s management fee (and the percentage paid to ClearBridge) differs among funds and/or accounts (such as where certain funds or accounts pay higher management fees or performance-based management fees), the portfolio manager might be motivated to help certain funds and/or accounts over others. The portfolio manager might be motivated to favor funds and/or accounts in which he or she has an interest or in which the manager and/or its affiliates have interests. Similarly, the desire to maintain assets under management, to enhance the portfolio manager’s performance record, or derive other rewards, financial or otherwise, could influence the portfolio manager in affording preferential treatment to those funds and/or accounts that could most significantly benefit the portfolio manager. Investment personnel of the firm or its affiliates may be permitted to be commercially or professionally involved with an issuer of securities. Any potential conflicts of interest from such involvement would be monitored for compliance with the firm’s Code of Ethics.
3. Description of Compensation
ClearBridge’s portfolio managers participate in a competitive compensation program that is designed to attract and retain outstanding investment professionals and closely align the interests of its investment professionals with those of its clients and overall firm results. The total compensation program includes a significant incentive component that rewards high performance standards, integrity, and collaboration consistent with the firm’s values. Portfolio manager compensation is reviewed and modified each year as appropriate to reflect changes in the market and to ensure the continued alignment with the goals stated above. ClearBridge’s portfolio managers and other investment professionals receive a combination of base compensation and discretionary compensation, comprising a cash incentive award and deferred incentive plans described below.
Base salary compensation. Base salary is fixed and primarily determined based on market factors and the experience and responsibilities of the investment professional within the firm.
Discretionary compensation. In addition to base compensation, managers may receive discretionary compensation.
Discretionary compensation can include:
• Cash Incentive Award.
• ClearBridge’s Deferred Incentive Plan (“CDIP”) – a mandatory program that typically defers 15% of discretionary year-end compensation into ClearBridge managed products. For portfolio managers, one-third of this deferral tracks the performance of their primary managed product, one-third tracks the performance of a composite portfolio of the firm’s new products, and one-third can be elected to track the performance of one or more ClearBridge managed funds. Consequently, portfolio managers can have two-thirds of their CDIP award tracking the performance of their primary managed product. o For centralized research analysts, two-thirds of their deferral is elected to track the performance of one or more of
ClearBridge managed funds, while one-third tracks the performance of the new product composite.
o ClearBridge then makes a company investment in the proprietary managed funds equal to the deferral amounts by fund. This investment is a company asset held on the balance sheet and paid out to the employees in shares subject to vesting requirements.
• Legg Mason Restricted Stock Deferral – a mandatory program that typically defers 5% of discretionary year-end compensation into Legg Mason restricted stock. The award is paid out to employees in shares subject to vesting requirements.
• Legg Mason Restricted Stock and Stock Option Grants – a discretionary program that may be utilized as part of the total compensation program. These special grants reward and recognize significant contributions to our clients, shareholders, and the firm and aid in retaining key talent.
Several factors are considered by ClearBridge Senior Management when determining discretionary compensation for portfolio managers. These include but are not limited to:
• Investment performance. A portfolio manager’s compensation is linked to the pre-tax investment performance of the fund/accounts he or she manages. Investment performance is calculated for 1-, 3-, and 5-year periods measured against the applicable product benchmark (e.g., a securities index and, with respect to a fund, the benchmark set forth in the fund’s prospectus) and relative to applicable industry peer groups. The greatest weight is generally placed on 3-and 5-year performance.
• Appropriate risk positioning that is consistent with ClearBridge’s investment philosophy and the Investment Committee/CIO approach to generation of alpha.
• Overall firm profitability and performance.
• Amount and nature of assets managed by the portfolio manager.
• Contributions for asset retention, gathering, and client satisfaction.
• Contribution to mentoring, coaching, and/or supervising.
• Contribution and communication of investment ideas in ClearBridge’s Investment Committee meetings and on a day-to-day basis.
• Market compensation survey research by independent third parties.
The benchmark used to measure the performance of the portfolio managers for the SMID Cap Growth strategy is the Russell 2500 Growth Index.
4. Ownership of Securities
As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Angerame, Mr. Deutsch, Mr. Green, and Mr. Russell did not own any shares of Vanguard Explorer Fund.
C. Stephens Investment Management Group, LLC (SIMG)
SIMG, located in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a subsidiary of Stephens Investments Holdings, a privately held and family owned company.
1. Other Accounts Managed
Ryan E. Crane manages a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Crane also managed 3 other registered investment companies with total assets of $1.03 billion (advisory fees not based on account performance) and 53 other accounts with total assets of $3.9 billion (advisory fees not based on account performance).
2. Material Conflicts of Interest
SIMG manages a number of separate accounts and three other registered investment companies that utilize similar investment strategies as the SIMG Portfolio. Most of these separate accounts are charged an asset-based fee by SIMG, but one of the accounts is charged a performance fee. The firm has established policies and procedures to address the potential conflicts of interest inherent in managing portfolios for multiple clients. These policies and procedures are designed to prevent and detect favorable treatment of one account over another and include policies for allocating trades equitably across multiple accounts, monitoring the composition of client portfolios to ensure that each reflects the investment profile of the client, and reviewing the performance of accounts of similar styles. Additionally, each employee of SIMG is bound by its Code of Ethics, which establishes policies and procedures designed to ensure the clients’ interests are placed before those of an individual or the firm. Investment personnel of the firm or its affiliates may be permitted to be commercially or professionally involved with an issuer of securities. Any potential conflicts of interest from such involvement would be monitored for compliance with the firm’s Code of Ethics.
3. Description of Compensation
All SIMG Portfolio Managers receive compensation in the form of a fixed salary and performance bonus. The performance bonus can represent a significant portion of the total compensation. The amount of a Portfolio Manager’s bonus is a function of SIMG products’ asset weighted one-, three-, and five-year performance relative to the appropriate benchmark and peer group. Portfolio Managers with sector specific responsibilities receive a portion of their bonus based on performance contribution and attribution analysis based on each individual’s performance within their respective sectors. Mr. Crane’s bonus as team leader is more a function of the product’s performance (in the manner described above) and less sensitive to individual stock picks. His bonus also has a subjective portion that is related in part to SIMG’s level of profitability. Each member of the portfolio management team is a shareholder of Class B shares of SIMG and receives a portion of the overall net profits of SIMG. Performance is measured over the most recent calendar year.
4. Ownership of Securities
As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Crane owned shares of the Fund within the $50,001-$100,000 range.
D. Wellington Management Company LLP (Wellington Management)
Wellington Management is a Delaware limited liability partnership with principal offices at 280 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210. As of October 31, 2018, the firm is owned by 156 partners, all fully active in the business of the firm. Wellington Management is a professional investment counseling firm that provides investment services to investment companies, employee benefit plans, endowments, foundations, and other institutions. Wellington Management and its predecessor organizations have provided investment advisory services for over 80 years. Wellington Management is owned by the partners of Wellington Management Group LLP, a Massachusetts limited liability partnership.
1. Other Accounts Managed
Kenneth L. Abrams manages a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Abrams also managed 3 other registered investment companies with total assets of $330.4 million (none of which had advisory fees based on account performance), 15 other pooled investment vehicles with total assets of $2.3 billion (advisory fees based on account performance for 2 of these accounts with total assets of $883 million), and 17 other accounts with total assets of $3.9 billion (advisory fees based on account performance for 2 of these accounts with total assets of $211 million).
Daniel J. Fitzpatrick serves as associate portfolio manager for a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of
October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Fitzpatrick also managed 2 other registered investment companies with total assets of $297.3 million (none of which had advisory fees based on account performance), 3 other pooled investment vehicles with total assets of $734 million (none of which had advisory fees based on account performance), and 6 other accounts with total assets of $1.8 billion (advisory fees based on account performance for 1 of these accounts with total assets of $34 million).
2. Material Conflicts of Interest
Individual investment professionals at Wellington Management manage multiple accounts for multiple clients. These accounts may include mutual funds, separate accounts (assets managed on behalf of institutions, such as pension funds, insurance companies, foundations, or separately managed account programs sponsored by financial intermediaries), bank common trust accounts, and hedge funds. The Wellington Management Portfolio’s managers listed in the prospectus, who are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Wellington Management Portfolio (the Portfolio Managers), generally manage accounts in several different investment styles. These accounts may have investment objectives, strategies, time horizons, tax considerations, and risk profiles that differ from those of the Fund. The Portfolio Managers make investment decisions for each account, including the Wellington Management Portfolio, based on the investment objectives, policies, practices, benchmarks, cash flows, tax, and other relevant investment considerations applicable to that account. Consequently, the Portfolio Managers may purchase or sell securities, including IPOs, for one account and not another account, and the performance of securities purchased for one account may vary from the performance of securities purchased for other accounts. Alternatively, these accounts may be managed in a similar fashion to the Wellington Management Portfolio, and thus the accounts may have similar—and in some cases nearly identical—objectives, strategies, and/or holdings to those of the Wellington Management Portfolio.
A Portfolio Manager or other investment professional at Wellington Management may place transactions on behalf of other accounts that are directly or indirectly contrary to investment decisions made on behalf of the Wellington Management Portfolio or make investment decisions that are similar to those made for the Wellington Management Portfolio, both of which have the potential to adversely impact the Wellington Management Portfolio depending on market conditions. For example, an investment professional may purchase a security in one account while appropriately selling that same security in another account. Similarly, a Portfolio Manager may purchase the same security for the Wellington Management Portfolio and one or more other accounts at or about the same time. In those instances the other accounts will have access to their respective holdings prior to the public disclosure of the Wellington Management Portfolio’s holdings. In addition, some of these accounts have fee structures, including performance fees, which are or have the potential to be higher, in some cases significantly higher, than the fees Wellington Management receives for managing the Wellington Management Portfolio. Mr. Abrams and Mr. Fitzpatrick also manage accounts which pay performance allocations to Wellington Management or its affiliates. Because incentive payments paid by Wellington Management to the Portfolio Managers are tied to revenues earned by Wellington Management and, where noted, to the performance achieved by the manager in each account, the incentives associated with any given account may be significantly higher or lower than those associated with other accounts managed by a given Portfolio Manager. Finally, the Portfolio Managers may hold shares or investments in the other pooled investment vehicles and/or other accounts previously identified.
Wellington Management’s goal is to meet its fiduciary obligation to treat all clients fairly and provide high-quality investment services to all of its clients. Wellington Management has adopted and implemented policies and procedures, including brokerage and trade allocation policies and procedures, that it believes address the conflicts associated with managing multiple accounts for multiple clients. In addition, Wellington Management monitors a variety of areas, including compliance with primary account guidelines, the allocation of IPOs, and compliance with the firm’s Code of Ethics, and places additional investment restrictions on investment professionals who manage hedge funds and certain other accounts. Furthermore, senior investment and business personnel at Wellington Management periodically review the performance of Wellington Management’s investment professionals. Although Wellington Management does not track the time an investment professional spends on a single account, Wellington Management does periodically assess whether an investment professional has adequate time and resources to effectively manage the investment professional’s various client mandates.
3. Description of Compensation
Wellington Management receives a fee based on the assets under management of the Wellington Management Portfolio as set forth in the Investment Advisory Agreement between Wellington Management and the Trust on behalf of the Fund. Wellington Management pays its investment professionals out of its total revenues, including the advisory fees earned with respect to the Wellington Management Portfolio. The following information relates to fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
Wellington Management’s compensation structure is designed to attract and retain high-caliber investment professionals necessary to deliver high-quality investment management services to its clients. Wellington Management’s compensation of the named Portfolio Managers, who are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the portfolio, includes a base salary and incentive components. The base salary for each Portfolio Manager who is a partner (a “Partner”) of Wellington Management Group LLP, the ultimate holding company of Wellington Management, is generally a fixed amount that is determined by the managing partners of Wellington Management Group LLP.
Each Portfolio Manager is eligible to receive an incentive payment based on the revenues earned by Wellington Management from the Wellington Management Portfolio and generally each other account managed by the Portfolio Manager. Each Portfolio Manager’s incentive payment relating to the Wellington Management Portfolio is linked to the net pre-tax performance of the Wellington Management Portfolio managed by the Portfolio Managers compared to the Russell 2500 Growth Index over one-, three-, and five-year periods, with an emphasis on five-year results. Wellington Management applies similar incentive compensation structures (although the benchmarks or peer groups, time periods, and rates may differ) to other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers, including accounts with performance fees.
Portfolio-based incentives across all accounts managed by an investment professional can, and typically do, represent a significant portion of an investment professional’s overall compensation; incentive compensation varies significantly by individual and can vary significantly from year to year. The Portfolio Managers may also be eligible for bonus payments based on their overall contribution to Wellington Management’s business operations. Senior management at Wellington
Management may reward individuals as it deems appropriate based on other factors. Each Partner is eligible to participate in a Partner-funded tax-qualified retirement plan, the contributions to which are made pursuant to an actuarial formula. Mr. Abrams and Mr. Fitzpatrick are Partners.
4. Ownership of Securities
As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Abrams and Mr. Fitzpatrick owned shares of the Fund exceeding $1 million.
Vanguard, through its Quantitative Equity Group, provides investment advisory services on an at-cost basis for a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund. The compensation and other expenses of Vanguard’s advisory staff are allocated among the funds utilizing Vanguard’s advisory services.
1. Other Accounts Managed
James P. Stetler and Binbin Guo co-manage a portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund; as of October 31, 2018, the Fund held assets of $15 billion. As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Stetler and Mr. Guo also co-managed all or a portion of 11 other registered investment companies with total assets of $128 billion and 1 other pooled investment vehicle with total assets of $261 million (none of which had advisory fees based on account performance).
2. Material Conflicts of Interest
At Vanguard, individual portfolio managers may manage multiple accounts for multiple clients. In addition to mutual funds, these accounts may include separate accounts, collective trusts, and offshore funds. Managing multiple funds or accounts may give rise to potential conflicts of interest including, for example, conflicts among investment strategies and conflicts in the allocation of investment opportunities. Vanguard manages potential conflicts between funds or accounts through allocation policies and procedures, internal review processes, and oversight by trustees and independent third parties. Vanguard has developed trade allocation procedures and controls to ensure that no one client, regardless of type, is intentionally favored at the expense of another. Allocation policies are designed to address potential conflicts in situations where two or more funds or accounts participate in investment decisions involving the same securities.
3. Description of Compensation
All Vanguard portfolio managers are Vanguard employees. This section describes the compensation of the Vanguard employees who manage Vanguard mutual funds. As of October 31, 2018, a Vanguard portfolio manager’s compensation generally consists of base salary, bonus, and payments under Vanguard’s long-term incentive compensation program. In addition, portfolio managers are eligible for the standard retirement benefits and health and welfare benefits available to all Vanguard employees. Also, certain portfolio managers may be eligible for additional retirement benefits under several supplemental retirement plans that Vanguard adopted in the 1980s to restore dollar-for-dollar the benefits of management employees that had been cut back solely as a result of tax law changes. These plans are structured to provide the same retirement benefits as the standard retirement plans.
In the case of portfolio managers responsible for managing multiple Vanguard funds or accounts, the method used to determine their compensation is the same for all funds and investment accounts. A portfolio manager’s base salary is determined by the manager’s experience and performance in the role, taking into account the ongoing compensation benchmark analyses performed by Vanguard’s Human Resources Department. A portfolio manager’s base salary is generally a fixed amount that may change as a result of an annual review, upon assumption of new duties, or in response to a market adjustment of the position.
A portfolio manager’s bonus is determined by a number of factors. One factor is gross, pre-tax performance of the fund relative to expectations for how the fund should have performed, given the fund’s investment objective, policies, strategies, and limitations, and the market environment during the measurement period. This performance factor is not based on the amount of assets held in the fund’s portfolio. For the portion of Vanguard Explorer Fund managed by Vanguard, the performance factor depends on how successfully the portfolio manager outperforms the Russell 2500 Growth Index and maintains the risk parameters of the Fund over a three-year period. Additional factors include the portfolio manager’s contributions to the investment management functions within the sub-asset class, contributions to
the development of other investment professionals and supporting staff, and overall contributions to strategic planning and decisions for the investment group. The target bonus is expressed as a percentage of base salary. The actual bonus paid may be more or less than the target bonus, based on how well the manager satisfies the objectives previously described. The bonus is paid on an annual basis.
Under the long-term incentive compensation program, all full-time employees receive a payment from Vanguard’s long-term incentive compensation plan based on their years of service, job level, and, if applicable, management responsibilities. Each year, Vanguard’s independent directors determine the amount of the long-term incentive compensation award for that year based on the investment performance of the Vanguard funds relative to competitors and Vanguard’s operating efficiencies in providing services to the Vanguard funds.
4. Ownership of Securities
Vanguard employees, including portfolio managers, allocate their investments among the various Vanguard funds or collective investment trusts that may invest in Vanguard funds based on their own individual investment needs and goals. Vanguard employees, as a group, invest a sizable portion of their personal assets in Vanguard funds. As of October 31, 2018, Vanguard employees collectively invested more than $6.4 billion in Vanguard funds or collective investment trusts that may invest in Vanguard funds.
As of October 31, 2018, Mr. Guo and Mr. Stetler did not own any shares of the Fund.
Duration and Termination of Investment Advisory Agreements
The current investment advisory agreements with the unaffiliated advisors (other than ClearBridge) are renewable for successive one-year periods, only if (1) each renewal is approved by a vote of the Fund’s board of trustees, including the affirmative votes of a majority of the trustees who are not parties to the agreement or “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of any such party, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of considering such approval or (2) each renewal is specifically approved by a vote of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. An agreement is automatically terminated if assigned and may be terminated without penalty at any time either (1) by vote of the board of trustees of the Fund upon thirty (30) days’ written notice to the advisor, (2) by a vote of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities upon 30 days’ written notice to the advisor, or (3) by the advisor upon ninety (90) days’ written notice to the Fund.
The initial investment advisory agreement with ClearBridge is binding for a two-year period. At the end of that time, the agreement will become renewable for successive one-year periods, subject to the above conditions.
Vanguard provides at-cost investment advisory services to the Fund pursuant to the terms of the Fifth Amended and Restated Funds’ Service Agreement. This agreement will continue in full force and effect until terminated or amended by mutual agreement of the Vanguard funds and Vanguard.
The following table describes the securities lending activities of each Fund during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018:
|Vanguard Fund||Securities Lending Activities|
|Gross income from securities lending activities||$11,058,488|
|Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split||$0|
|Fees paid for any cash collateral managment service (including fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral|
|reinvestment vehicle) that are not included in the revenue split||$13,534|
|Administrative fees not included in revenue split||$162,532|
|Indemnification fee not included in revenue split||$0|
|Rebate (paid to borrower)||$1,869,620|
|Other fees not included in revenue split (specify)||$0|
|Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities||$2,045,686|
|Net income from securities lending activities||$9,012,802|
The services provided by Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. and Vanguard, each acting separately as securities lending agents for certain Vanguard funds, include coordinating the selection of securities to be loaned to approved borrowers;
negotiating the terms of the loan; monitoring the value of the securities loaned and corresponding collateral, marking to market daily; coordinating the investment of cash collateral in the funds’ approved cash collateral reinvestment vehicle; monitoring dividends and coordinating material proxy votes relating to loaned securities; and transferring, recalling, and arranging the return of loaned securities to the funds upon termination of the loan.
The advisor decides which securities to buy and sell on behalf of the Fund and then selects the brokers or dealers that will execute the trades on an agency basis or the dealers with whom the trades will be effected on a principal basis. For each trade, the advisor must select a broker-dealer that it believes will provide “best execution.” Best execution does not necessarily mean paying the lowest spread or commission rate available. In seeking best execution, the SEC has said that an advisor should consider the full range of a broker-dealer’s services. The factors considered by the advisor in seeking best execution include, but are not limited to, the broker-dealer’s execution capability, clearance and settlement services, commission rate, trading expertise, willingness and ability to commit capital, ability to provide anonymity, financial responsibility, reputation and integrity, responsiveness, access to underwritten offerings and secondary markets, and access to company management, as well as the value of any research provided by the broker-dealer. In assessing which broker-dealer can provide best execution for a particular trade, the advisor also may consider the timing and size of the order and available liquidity and current market conditions. Subject to applicable legal requirements, the advisor may select a broker based partly on brokerage or research services provided to the advisor and its clients, including the Fund. The advisor may cause the Fund to pay a higher commission than other brokers would charge if the advisor determines in good faith that the amount of the commission is reasonable in relation to the value of services provided. The advisor also may receive brokerage or research services from broker-dealers that are provided at no charge in recognition of the volume of trades directed to the broker. To the extent research services or products may be a factor in selecting brokers, services and products may include written research reports analyzing performance or securities, discussions with research analysts, meetings with corporate executives to obtain oral reports on company performance, market data, and other products and services that will assist the advisor in its investment decision-making process. The research services provided by brokers through which the Fund effects securities transactions may be used by the advisor in servicing all of its accounts, and some of the services may not be used by the advisor in connection with the Fund.
During the fiscal years ended October 31, 2016, 2017, and 2018, the Fund paid the following approximate amounts in brokerage commissions:
1 Lower commissions in the fiscal year ended October 31, 2017, were the result of a decline in the number of advisors and allocation of more of the Fund’s assets to advisors who generate lower commission costs.
Some securities that are considered for investment by the Fund may also be appropriate for other Vanguard funds or for other clients served by the advisors. If such securities are compatible with the investment policies of the Fund and one or more of an advisor’s other clients and are considered for purchase or sale at or about the same time, then transactions in such securities may be aggregated by the advisor, and the purchased securities or sale proceeds may be allocated among the participating Vanguard funds and the other participating clients of the advisor in a manner deemed equitable by the advisor. Although there may be no specified formula for allocating such transactions, the allocation methods used, and the results of such allocations, will be subject to periodic review by the Fund‘s board of trustees.
The ability of Vanguard and external advisors to purchase or dispose of investments in regulated industries, certain derivatives markets, certain international markets, and certain issuers that limit ownership by a single shareholder or group of related shareholders, or to exercise rights on behalf of the Fund, may be restricted or impaired because of limitations on the aggregate level of investment unless regulatory or corporate consents or ownership waivers are obtained. As a result, Vanguard and external advisors on behalf of the Fund may be required to limit purchases, sell existing investments, or otherwise restrict or limit the exercise of shareholder rights by the Fund, including voting rights. If the Fund is required to limit its investment in a particular issuer, the Fund may seek to obtain economic exposure to that issuer through alternative means, such as through a derivative, which may be more costly than owning securities of the issuer directly.
As of October 31, 2018, the Fund held securities of its “regular brokers or dealers,” as that term is defined in Rule 10b-1 of the 1940 Act, as follows:
|Regular Broker or Dealer (or Parent)||Aggregate Holdings|
|Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.||$75,000,000|
The Board of Trustees (the Board) of each Vanguard fund has adopted proxy voting procedures and guidelines to govern proxy voting by the fund. The Board has delegated oversight of proxy voting to the Investment Stewardship Oversight Committee (the Committee), made up of senior officers of Vanguard and subject to the procedures and guidelines described below. The Committee reports directly to the Board. Vanguard is subject to these procedures and guidelines to the extent that they call for Vanguard to administer the voting process and implement the resulting voting decisions, and for these purposes the guidelines have also been approved by the Board of Directors of Vanguard.
The overarching objective in voting is simple: to support proposals and director nominees that maximize the value of a fund’s investments—and those of fund shareholders—over the long term. Although the goal is simple, the proposals the funds receive are varied and frequently complex. As such, the guidelines adopted by the Board provide a rigorous framework for assessing each proposal. Under the guidelines, each proposal must be evaluated on its merits, based on the particular facts and circumstances as presented.
For ease of reference, the procedures and guidelines often refer to all funds. However, our processes and practices seek to ensure that proxy voting decisions are suitable for individual funds. For most proxy proposals, particularly those involving corporate governance, the evaluation will result in the same position being taken across all of the funds and the funds voting as a block. In some cases, however, a fund may vote differently, depending upon the nature and objective of the fund, the composition of its portfolio, and other factors.
The guidelines do not permit the Board to delegate voting responsibility to a third party that does not serve as a fiduciary for the funds. Because many factors bear on each decision, the guidelines incorporate factors the Committee should consider in each voting decision. A fund may refrain from voting some or all of its shares or vote in a particular way if doing so would be in the fund’s and its shareholders’ best interests. These circumstances may arise, for example, if the expected cost of voting exceeds the expected benefits of voting, if exercising the vote would result in the imposition of trading or other restrictions, or if a fund (or all Vanguard funds in the aggregate) were to own more than the permissible maximum percentage of a company’s stock (as determined by the company’s governing documents or by applicable law, regulation, or regulatory agreement).
In evaluating proxy proposals, we consider information from many sources, including, but not limited to, the investment advisor for the fund, the management or shareholders of a company presenting a proposal, and independent proxy research services. We will give substantial weight to the recommendations of the company’s board, absent guidelines or other specific facts that would support a vote against management. In all cases, however, the ultimate decision rests with the members of the Committee, who are accountable to the fund’s Board.
While serving as a framework, the following guidelines cannot contemplate all possible proposals with which a fund may be presented. In the absence of a specific guideline for a particular proposal (e.g., in the case of a transactional issue or contested proxy), the Committee will evaluate the issue and cast the fund’s vote in a manner that, in the Committee’s view, will maximize the value of the fund’s investment, subject to the individual circumstances of the fund.
I. The Board of Directors
A. Election of directors
Good governance starts with a majority-independent board, whose key committees are made up entirely of independent directors. As such, companies should attest to the independence of directors who serve on the Compensation, Nominating, and Audit committees. In any instance in which a director is not categorically independent, the basis for the independence determination should be clearly explained in the proxy statement.
While the funds will generally support the board’s nominees, we will consider a company’s specific circumstances in the context of relevant exchange rules and local governance codes, where applicable, in determining the fund’s vote. The following factors will be taken into account in determining each fund’s vote:
|Factors for approval||Factors against approval|
|Nominated slate results in board made up of a majority of||Nominated slate results in board made up of a majority of|
|independent directors.||non-independent directors.|
|All members of Audit, Nominating, and Compensation||Audit, Nominating, and/or Compensation committees include|
|committees are independent of management.||non-independent members.|
|Incumbent board member failed to attend at least 75% of meetings|
|in the previous year.|
|Actions of committee(s) on which nominee serves are inconsistent with|
|other guidelines (e.g., excessive equity grants, substantial non-audit fees,|
|lack of board independence).|
|Actions of committee(s) on which nominee serves demonstrate serious|
|failures of governance (e.g., unilaterally acting to significantly reduce|
|shareholder rights, failure to respond to previous vote results for directors|
|and shareholder proposals).|
|B. Contested director elections|
In the case of contested board elections, we will evaluate the nominees’ qualifications, the performance of the incumbent board, and the rationale behind the dissidents’ campaign, to determine the outcome that we believe will maximize shareholder value.
C. Classified boards
The funds will generally support proposals to declassify existing boards (whether proposed by management or shareholders), and will block efforts by companies to adopt classified board structures in which only part of the board is elected each year.
D. Proxy access
We believe that long-term investors may benefit from having proxy access, or the opportunity to place director nominees on a company’s proxy ballot. In our view, this improves shareholders’ ability to participate in director elections while potentially enhancing boards’ accountability and responsiveness to shareholders.
That said, we also believe that proxy access provisions should be appropriately limited to avoid abuse by investors who lack a meaningful long-term interest in the company. As such, we generally believe that a shareholder or group of shareholders representing 3% of a company’s outstanding shares held for at least three years should be able to nominate directors for up to 20% of the seats on the board.
We will review proposals regarding proxy access case by case. The funds will be most likely to support access provisions with the terms described above, but they may support different thresholds based on a company’s other governance provisions, as well as other relevant factors.
II. Approval of Independent Auditors
The relationship between the company and its auditors should be limited primarily to the audit, although it may include certain closely related activities that do not, in the aggregate, raise any appearance of impaired independence. The funds will generally support management’s recommendation for the ratification of the auditor, except in instances in which audit and audit-related fees make up less than 50% of the total fees paid by the company to the audit firm. We will evaluate on a case-by-case basis instances in which the audit firm has a substantial non-audit relationship with the company (regardless of its size relative to the audit fee) to determine whether independence has been compromised.
III. Compensation Issues
A. Stock-based compensation plans
Appropriately designed stock-based compensation plans, administered by an independent committee of the board and approved by shareholders, can be an effective way to align the interests of long-term shareholders with the interests of management, employees, and directors. The funds oppose plans that substantially dilute their ownership interest in the company, provide participants with excessive awards, or have inherently objectionable structural features.
An independent compensation committee should have significant latitude to deliver varied compensation to motivate the company’s employees. However, we will evaluate compensation proposals in the context of several factors (a company’s industry, market capitalization, competitors for talent, etc.) to determine whether a particular plan or proposal balances the perspectives of employees and the company’s other shareholders. We will evaluate each proposal on a case-by-case basis, taking all material facts and circumstances into account.
The following factors will be among those considered in evaluating these proposals:
|Factors for approval||Factors against approval|
|Company requires senior executives to hold a minimum amount||Total potential dilution (including all stock-based plans) exceeds 15% of|
|of company stock (frequently expressed as a multiple of salary).||shares outstanding.|
|Company requires stock acquired through equity awards to be||Annual equity grants have exceeded 2% of shares outstanding.|
|held for a certain period of time.|
|Compensation program includes performance-vesting awards,||Plan permits repricing or replacement of options without|
|indexed options, or other performance-linked grants.||shareholder approval.|
|Concentration of equity grants to senior executives is limited||Plan provides for the issuance of reload options.|
|(indicating that the plan is very broad-based).|
|Stock-based compensation is clearly used as a substitute for||Plan contains automatic share replenishment (evergreen) feature.|
|cash in delivering market-competitive total pay.|
|B. Bonus plans|
Bonus plans, which must be periodically submitted for shareholder approval to qualify for deductibility under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code, should have clearly defined performance criteria and maximum awards expressed in dollars. Bonus plans with awards that are excessive, in both absolute terms and relative to a comparative group, generally will not be supported.
C. Employee stock purchase plans
The funds will generally support the use of employee stock purchase plans to increase company stock ownership by employees, provided that shares purchased under the plan are acquired for no less than 85% of their market value and that shares reserved under the plan amount to less than 5% of the outstanding shares.
D. Advisory votes on executive compensation (Say on Pay)
In addition to proposals on specific equity or bonus plans, the funds are required to cast advisory votes approving many companies’ overall executive compensation plans (so-called Say on Pay votes). In evaluating these proposals, we consider a number of factors, including the amount of compensation that is at risk, the amount of equity-based compensation that is linked to the company’s performance, and the level of compensation as compared to industry peers. The funds will generally support pay programs that demonstrate effective linkage between pay and performance over time and that provide compensation opportunities that are competitive relative to industry peers. On the other hand, pay programs in which significant compensation is guaranteed or insufficiently linked to performance will be less likely to earn our support.
E. Executive severance agreements (“golden parachutes”)
Although executives’ incentives for continued employment should be more significant than severance benefits, there are instances—particularly in the event of a change in control—in which severance arrangements may be appropriate. Severance benefits payable upon a change of control and an executive’s termination (so-called “double trigger” plans) are generally acceptable to the extent that benefits paid do not exceed three times salary and bonus. Arrangements in
which the benefits exceed three times salary and bonus should be justified and submitted for shareholder approval. We do not generally support guaranteed severance absent a change in control or arrangements that do not require the termination of the executive (so-called “single trigger” plans).
IV. Corporate Structure and Shareholder Rights
The exercise of shareholder rights, in proportion to economic ownership, is a fundamental privilege of stock ownership that should not be unnecessarily limited. Such limits may be placed on shareholders’ ability to act by corporate charter or by-law provisions, or by the adoption of certain takeover provisions. In general, the market for corporate control should be allowed to function without undue interference from these artificial barriers.
The funds’ positions on a number of the most commonly presented issues in this area are as follows:
A. Shareholder rights plans (“poison pills”)
A company’s adoption of a so-called poison pill effectively limits a potential acquirer’s ability to buy a controlling interest
without the approval of the target’s board of directors. Such a plan, in conjunction with other takeover defenses, may serve to entrench incumbent management and directors. However, in other cases, a poison pill may force a suitor to negotiate with the board and result in the payment of a higher acquisition premium.
In general, shareholders should be afforded the opportunity to approve shareholder rights plans within a year of their adoption. This provides the board with the ability to put a poison pill in place for legitimate defensive purposes, subject to subsequent approval by shareholders. In evaluating the approval of proposed shareholder rights plans, we will consider the following factors:
|Factors for approval||Factors against approval|
|Plan is relatively short term (3-5 years).||Plan is long term (>5 years).|
|Plan requires shareholder approval for renewal.||Renewal of plan is automatic or does not require shareholder approval.|
|Plan incorporates review by a committee of independent||Board with limited independence.|
|directors at least every three years (so-called TIDE provisions).|
|Ownership trigger is reasonable (15-20%).||Ownership trigger is less than 15%.|
|Highly independent, non-classified board.||Classified board.|
|Plan includes permitted-bid/qualified-offer feature (chewable|
|pill) that mandates a shareholder vote in certain situations.|
|B. Increase in authorized shares|
The funds are supportive of companies seeking to increase authorized share amounts that do not potentially expose shareholders to excessive dilution. We will generally approve increases of up to 50% of the current share authorization, but will also consider a company’s specific circumstances and market practices.
C. Cumulative voting
The funds are generally opposed to cumulative voting under the premise that it allows shareholders a voice in director elections that is disproportionate to their economic investment in the corporation.
D. Supermajority vote requirements
The funds support shareholders’ ability to approve or reject matters presented for a vote based on a simple majority. Accordingly, the funds will support proposals to remove supermajority requirements and oppose proposals to impose them.
E. Right to call meetings and act by written consent
The funds support shareholders’ right to call special meetings of the board (for good cause and with ample representation) and to act by written consent. The funds will generally vote for proposals to grant these rights to shareholders and against proposals to abridge them.
F. Confidential voting
The integrity of the voting process is enhanced substantially when shareholders (both institutions and individuals) can vote without fear of coercion or retribution based on their votes. As such, the funds support proposals to provide confidential voting.
G. Dual classes of stock
We are opposed to dual class capitalization structures that provide disparate voting rights to different groups of shareholders with similar economic investments. We will oppose the creation of separate classes with different voting rights and will support the dissolution of such classes.
V. Environmental and Social Proposals
Proposals in this category, initiated primarily by shareholders, typically request that a company enhance its disclosure or amend certain business practices. The funds will evaluate these proposals in the context of our view that a company’s board has ultimate responsibility for providing effective ongoing oversight of relevant sector- and company-specific risks, including those related to environmental and social matters. The funds will evaluate each proposal on its merits and support those where we believe there is a logically demonstrable linkage between the specific proposal and long-term shareholder value of the company. Some of the factors considered when evaluating these proposals include the materiality of the issue, the quality of the current disclosures/business practices, and any progress by the company toward the adoption of best practices and/or industry norms.
VI. Voting in Markets Outside the United States
Corporate governance standards, disclosure requirements, and voting mechanics vary greatly among the markets outside the United States in which the funds may invest. Each fund’s votes will be used, where applicable, to advocate for improvements in governance and disclosure by each fund’s portfolio companies. We will evaluate issues presented to shareholders for each fund’s foreign holdings in the context with the guidelines described above, as well as local market standards and best practices. The funds will cast their votes in a manner believed to be philosophically consistent with these guidelines, while taking into account differing practices by market. In addition, there may be instances in which the funds elect not to vote, as described below.
Many other markets require that securities be “blocked” or reregistered to vote at a company’s meeting. Absent an issue of compelling economic importance, we will generally not subject the fund to the loss of liquidity imposed by these requirements.
The costs of voting (e.g., custodian fees, vote agency fees) in other markets may be substantially higher than for U.S. holdings. As such, the fund may limit its voting on foreign holdings in instances in which the issues presented are unlikely to have a material impact on shareholder value.
VII. Voting Shares of a Company That Has an Ownership Limitation
Certain companies have provisions in their governing documents that restrict stock ownership in excess of a specified limit. Typically, these ownership restrictions are included in the governing documents of real estate investment trusts, but may be included in other companies’ governing documents.
A company’s governing documents normally allow the company to grant a waiver of these ownership limits, which would allow a fund (or all Vanguard-advised funds) to exceed the stated ownership limit. Sometimes a company will grant a waiver without restriction. From time to time, a company may grant a waiver only if a fund (or funds) agrees to not vote the company’s shares in excess of the normal specified limit. In such a circumstance, a fund may refrain from voting shares if owning the shares beyond the company’s specified limit is in the best interests of the fund and its shareholders.
In addition, applicable law may require prior regulatory approval to permit ownership of certain regulated issuer’s voting securities above certain limits or may impose other restrictions on owners of more than a certain percentage of a regulated issuer’s voting shares. The Board has authorized the funds to vote shares above these limits in the same proportion as votes cast by the issuer’s entire shareholder base (i.e., mirror vote) or to refrain from voting excess shares if mirror voting is not practicable.
VIII. Voting on a Fund’s Holdings of Other Vanguard Funds
Certain Vanguard funds (owner funds) may, from time to time, own shares of other Vanguard funds (underlying funds). If an underlying fund submits a matter to a vote of its shareholders, votes for and against such matters on behalf of the owner funds will be cast in the same proportion as the votes of the other shareholders in the underlying fund.
IX. Investment Stewardship Team
The Board has delegated the day-to-day operation of the funds’ proxy voting process to the Investment Stewardship Team, which the Committee oversees. Although most votes will be determined, subject to the individual circumstances of each fund, by reference to the guidelines as separately adopted by each of the funds, there may be circumstances when Investment Stewardship will refer proxy issues to the Committee for consideration. In addition, at any time, the Board has the authority to vote proxies, when, at the Board’s or the Committee’s discretion, such action is warranted.
The Investment Stewardship Team performs the following functions: (1) managing and conducting due diligence of proxy voting vendors; (2) reconciling share positions; (3) analyzing proxy proposals using factors described in the guidelines; (4) determining and addressing potential or actual conflicts of interest that may be presented by a particular proxy; and (5) voting proxies. The Investment Stewardship Team also prepares periodic and special reports to the Board, and any proposed amendments to the procedures and guidelines.
X. Investment Stewardship Oversight Committee
The Board, including a majority of the independent trustees, appoints the members of the Committee who are senior officers of Vanguard.
The Committee does not include anyone whose primary duties include external client relationship management or sales. This clear separation between the proxy voting and client relationship functions is intended to eliminate any potential conflict of interest in the proxy voting process. In the unlikely event that a member of the Committee believes he or she might have a conflict of interest regarding a proxy vote, that member must recuse himself or herself from the committee meeting at which the matter is addressed, and not participate in the voting decision.
The Committee works with the Investment Stewardship Team to provide reports and other guidance to the Board regarding proxy voting by the funds. The Committee has an obligation to conduct its meetings and exercise its decision-making authority subject to the fiduciary standards of good faith, fairness, and Vanguard’s Code of Ethics. The Committee shall authorize proxy votes that the Committee determines, at its sole discretion, to be in the best interests of each fund’s shareholders. In determining how to apply the guidelines to a particular factual situation, the Committee may not take into account any interest that would conflict with the interest of fund shareholders in maximizing the value of their investments.
The Board may review these procedures and guidelines and modify them from time to time.
To obtain a free copy of a report that details how the funds voted the proxies relating to the portfolio securities held by the funds for the prior 12-month period ended June 30, log on to vanguard.com or visit the SEC’s website at
The Fund’s Financial Statements for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018, appearing in the Fund‘s 2018 Annual Report to Shareholders, and the report thereon of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, also appearing therein, are incorporated by reference into this Statement of Additional Information. For a more complete discussion of the Fund’s performance, please see the Fund‘s Annual and Semiannual Reports to Shareholders, which may be obtained without charge.
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