THE GABELLI VALUE 25 FUND INC.
STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
April 28, 2023
This Statement of Additional Information (the “SAI”), which is not a prospectus, describes The Gabelli Value 25 Fund Inc., a Maryland corporation (the “Fund”). This SAI should be read in conjunction with the Fund’s current prospectus for Class AAA, Class A, Class C, and Class I shares dated April 28, 2023. This SAI is incorporated by reference in its entirety into the Fund’s prospectus. Portions of the Fund’s annual report to shareholders are incorporated by reference into this SAI. For a free copy of a prospectus or the Fund’s annual report to shareholders, please contact the Fund at the address, telephone number, or Internet website printed below.
One Corporate Center
Rye, New York 10580-1422
Telephone 800-GABELLI (800-422-3554)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS||2|
|PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS INFORMATION||18|
|DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS||20|
|CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL SHAREHOLDERS||27|
|INVESTMENT ADVISORY AND OTHER SERVICES||29|
|PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE||35|
|REDEMPTION OF SHARES||37|
|DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE||37|
|DIVIDENDS, DISTRIBUTIONS, AND TAXES||38|
|DESCRIPTION OF the fund’s SHARES||44|
The Fund is a diversified, open-end management investment company organized as a corporation under the laws of the State of Maryland on July 20, 1989. The Fund commenced operations on September 29, 1989. The Fund’s principal office is located at One Corporate Center, Rye, New York 10580-1422. The Fund is advised by Gabelli Funds, LLC (the “Adviser”).
INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS
The Fund’s prospectus discusses the investment objective of the Fund and the principal strategies to be employed to achieve that objective. This SAI contains supplemental information concerning certain types of securities and other instruments in which the Fund may invest, additional strategies that the Fund may utilize in seeking to achieve its investment objective, and certain risks associated with such investments and strategies.
Equity Market Risk
Because the Fund, in seeking to achieve its investment objective, may invest in the common stocks of both foreign and domestic issuers, an investment in the Fund should be made with an understanding of the risks inherent in any investment in common stocks, including the risk that the financial condition of the issuers of the Fund’s portfolio securities may become impaired or that the general condition of the stock market may worsen (both of which may contribute directly to a decrease in the value of the securities and thus in the value of the Fund’s shares). Additional risks include risks associated with the right to receive payments from the issuer which is generally inferior to the rights of creditors of, or holders of, debt obligations or preferred stock issued by the issuer. The Fund does not expect to invest in excess of 5% of its assets in securities of unseasoned issuers (companies that have operated less than three years), which, due to their short operating history, may have less information available and may not be as liquid as other securities.
Moreover, common stocks do not represent an obligation of the issuer and therefore do not offer any assurance of income or provide the degree of protection of debt securities. The issuance of debt securities or preferred stock by an issuer will create higher priority claims for payment of principal, interest, and dividends that could adversely affect the ability and inclination of the issuer to declare or pay dividends on its common stock. In addition, such issuances would reduce the economic interest of holders of common stock with respect to assets of the issuer upon liquidation or bankruptcy. Further, unlike debt securities, which typically have a stated principal amount payable at maturity (the value of which will be subject to market fluctuations prior thereto), common stocks have neither a fixed principal amount nor a maturity and have values that are subject to market fluctuations. Common stocks are especially susceptible to general stock market movements and to volatile increases and decreases in value as market confidence in and perceptions of the issuers change. These perceptions are based on unpredictable factors, including expectations regarding government, economic, monetary, and fiscal policies, inflation and interest rates, economic expansion or contraction, and global or regional political, economic, or banking crises. The value of the common stocks in the Fund’s portfolio thus may be expected to fluctuate. Preferred stocks are usually entitled to rights on liquidation which are senior to those of common stocks. For these reasons, preferred stocks generally entail less risk than common stocks. Such securities may pay cumulative dividends. Because the dividend rate and liquidation or redemption value is usually pre-established, such securities tend to have less possibility of capital appreciation.
The Fund may invest up to 50% of its total assets in securities for which a tender or exchange offer has been made or announced and in securities of companies for which a merger, consolidation, liquidation, or reorganization proposal has been announced. The primary risk of this type of investing is that if the contemplated transaction is abandoned, revised, delayed, or becomes subject to unanticipated uncertainties, the market price of the securities may decline below the purchase price paid by the Fund.
In general, securities that have announced reorganization transactions sell at a premium to their historic market price immediately prior to the announcement of the offer or proposal. However, subject to the investment policies and restrictions contained in the prospectus and herein, the Fund may invest in any of the securities described below. The increased market price of these securities may reflect a discount to what the stated or appraised value of the security would be if the contemplated transaction were approved or consummated. Such investments may be particularly advantageous when the discount significantly overstates the risk of the contingencies involved; significantly undervalues the securities, assets, or cash to be received by shareholders of the prospective acquiring portfolio company as a result of the contemplated transactions; or fails adequately to recognize the possibility that the offer or proposal may be replaced or superseded by an offer or proposal of greater value. The evaluation of these contingencies requires unusually broad knowledge and experience on the part of the Adviser. The Adviser must appraise not only the value of the issuer and its component businesses as well as the assets or securities to be received as a result of the contemplated transaction, but also the financial resources and business motivation of the offeror as well as the dynamics of the business climate when the offer or proposal is in progress.
Although the Fund limits its investments in corporate reorganization securities that it expects to hold for less than six months, such transactions may tend to increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover ratio, thereby increasing its brokerage and other transaction expenses. The Adviser’s portfolio manager intends to select investments of the type described that, in its view, have a reasonable prospect of capital appreciation that is significant in relation to both the risk involved and the potential of available alternate investments.
The Fund may invest up to 35% of its assets in convertible securities having a rating lower than “CCC” by the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”), a division of S&P Global, Inc., “Caa” by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”) or, if unrated, judged by the Adviser to be of comparable quality. A convertible security entitles the holder to exchange the security for a fixed number of shares of common stock or other equity security, usually of the same company, at fixed prices within a specified period of time. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive the fixed income of a bond or the dividend preference of a preferred stock until the holder elects to exercise the conversion privilege.
Convertible securities are preferred stocks or debt obligations that are convertible at a stated exchange rate or formula into common stock or other equity securities. Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible securities of similar quality. Convertible securities rank senior to common stocks in an issuer’s capital structure and consequently may be of higher quality and entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest that is generally paid or accrued until the convertible security matures, or is redeemed, converted or exchanged.
Convertible securities have both equity and fixed-income risk characteristics. Like all fixed-income securities, the value of convertible securities is susceptible to the risk of market losses attributable to changes in interest rates. Generally, the market value of convertible securities tends to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. However, when the market price of the common stock underlying a convertible security approaches or exceeds the conversion price of the convertible security, the convertible security tends to reflect the market price of the underlying common stock. As the market price of the underlying common stock declines, the convertible security, like a fixed-income security, tends to trade increasingly on a yield basis, and thus, may not decline in price to the same extent as the underlying common stock. The markets for convertible securities may be less liquid than markets for common stocks or bonds. A convertible security may also be called for redemption or conversion by the issuer after a particular date and under certain circumstances (including a specified price) established upon issue. If a convertible security held by the Fund is called for redemption or conversion, the Fund could be required to tender it for redemption, convert it into the underlying common stock, or sell it to a third party. Convertible securities are also subject to credit risk, and are often lower-quality securities.
Investments in Warrants and Rights
The Fund may invest up to 5% of its net assets in warrants or rights (other than those acquired in units or attached to other securities) that entitle the holder to buy equity securities at a specific price for or at the end of a specific period of time. The Fund will do so only if the underlying equity securities are deemed appropriate by the Adviser for inclusion in the Fund’s portfolio.
Investing in rights and warrants can provide a greater potential for profit or loss than an equivalent investment in the underlying security, and, thus, can be a riskier investment. The value of a right or warrant may decline because of a decline in the value of the underlying security, the passage of time, changes in interest rates or in the dividend or other policies of the company whose equity underlies the warrant or a change in the perception as to the future price of the underlying security, or any combination thereof. Rights and warrants have no voting rights, receive no dividends, and have no rights with respect to the assets of the issuer.
The Fund may invest up to 25% of the value of its total assets in foreign securities, including issuers in emerging markets (American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) are not included in the 25% limitation). The Fund may invest directly in both sponsored and unsponsored U.S. dollar- or foreign currency-denominated corporate debt securities, certificates of deposit, and bankers’ acceptances issued by foreign banks, and obligations of foreign governments or their subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities, international agencies and supranational entities. The Fund may invest directly in foreign equity securities and in securities represented by European depositary receipts (“EDRs”) or American depositary receipts (“ADRs”). ADRs are dollar-denominated receipts generally issued by domestic banks, which represent the deposit of a security of a foreign issuer with a bank, and which are publicly traded on exchanges or over-the-counter in the United States. EDRs are receipts similar to ADRs and are issued and traded in Europe.
Investing in the securities of foreign issuers involves special risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in U.S. companies. These risks are intensified with respect to investments in emerging market countries. These include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, generally higher commission rates on foreign transactions, the possibility of expropriation, nationalization, or confiscatory taxation, adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations, trade restrictions, political instability (which can affect U.S. investments in foreign countries), the impact of economic sanctions, and potential restrictions on the flow of international capital. It may be more difficult to obtain and enforce judgments against foreign entities. If the United States imposes economic sanctions against a foreign government or issuers, the Fund’s investments in issuers subject to such sanctions may be frozen, prohibiting the Fund from selling or otherwise transacting in these instruments, and the Fund may be prohibited from investing in such issuers. Additionally, income (including dividends and interest) and capital gains from foreign securities may be subject to foreign taxes, including foreign withholding taxes, and other foreign taxes may apply with respect to securities transactions. Transactions on foreign exchanges or over-the-counter markets may involve greater time from the trade date until settlement than for domestic securities transactions and, if the securities are held abroad, may involve the risk of possible losses through the holding of securities in custodians and depositories in foreign countries. Foreign securities often trade with less frequency and volume than domestic securities and therefore may exhibit greater price volatility. Changes in foreign exchange rates will affect the value of those securities which are denominated or quoted in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Investing in depositary receipts may involve many of the same special risks associated with investing in securities of foreign issuers.
There is generally less publicly available information about foreign companies comparable to reports and ratings that are published about companies in the United States. Foreign companies are also generally not subject to uniform accounting and auditing and financial reporting standards, practices, and requirements comparable to those applicable to U.S. companies. Notably, regulatory authorities in some of these markets currently do not provide the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) with the ability to inspect public accounting firms, including sufficient access to inspect audit work papers and practices, or otherwise do not cooperate with U.S. regulators.
With respect to certain foreign countries, there is the possibility of adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations, nationalization, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, limitations on the removal of funds or other assets of a Fund, political or social instability, or diplomatic developments which could affect United States investments in those countries. Moreover, individual foreign economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the United States’ economy in such respects as growth of gross national product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency, and balance of payments position.
The dividends and interest payable on certain of the Fund’s foreign securities may be subject to foreign withholding taxes, thus reducing the net amount of income available for distribution.
Investment in foreign securities also involves the risk of possible losses through the holding of securities in custodian banks and securities depositories in foreign countries. No assurance can be given that expropriation, nationalization, freezes, or confiscation of assets, which would impact assets of the Fund, will not occur, and shareholders bear the risk of losses arising from these or other events. There are frequently additional expenses associated with maintaining the custody of foreign investments. Expenses of maintaining custody of Fund investments are paid by the Fund. This may lead to higher expenses for funds that have foreign investments.
There are certain risks associated with investments in unsponsored ADR programs. Because the non-U.S. company does not actively participate in the creation of the ADR program, the underlying agreement for service and payment will be between the depository and the shareholder. The company issuing the stock underlying the ADRs pays nothing to establish the unsponsored facility, as fees for ADR issuance and cancellation are paid by brokers. Investors directly bear the expenses associated with certificate transfer, custody, and dividend payment.
In an unsponsored ADR program, there also may be several depositories with no defined legal obligations to the non-U.S. company. The duplicate depositories may lead to marketplace confusion because there would be no central source of information to buyers, sellers, and intermediaries. The efficiency of centralization gained in a sponsored program can greatly reduce the delays in delivery of dividends and annual reports.
Emerging Market Securities
The Fund may invest in emerging market securities. Such investments involve special risks. The economies, markets and political structures of a number of the emerging market countries in which the Fund may invest do not compare favorably with the U.S. and other mature economies in terms of wealth and stability. Therefore, investments in these countries may be riskier, and will be subject to erratic and abrupt price movements. Some economies are less well developed and less diverse (for example, Latin America, Eastern Europe and certain Asian countries) and more vulnerable to the ebb and flow of international trade, trade barriers and other protectionist or retaliatory measures. Similarly, many of these countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, are grappling with severe inflation or recession, high levels of national debt, currency exchange problems and government instability. Investments in countries that have recently begun moving away from central planning and state-owned industries toward free markets, such as the Eastern European or Chinese economies, should be regarded as speculative.
Certain emerging market countries have historically experienced, and may continue to experience, high rates of inflation, high interest rates, exchange rate fluctuations, large amounts of external debt, balance of payments and trade difficulties and extreme poverty and unemployment. The issuer or governmental authority that controls the repayment of an emerging market country’s debt may not be able or willing to repay the principal and/or interest when due in accordance with the terms of such debt. A debtor’s willingness or ability to repay principal and interest due in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, and, in the case of a government debtor, the extent of its foreign reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange on the date a payment is due, the relative size of the debt service burden to the economy as a whole and the political constraints to which a government debtor may be subject.
Government debtors may default on their debt and may also be dependent on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and others abroad to reduce principal and interest arrearages on their debt. Holders of government debt may be requested to participate in the rescheduling of such debt and to extend further loans to government debtors.
If such an event occurs, the Fund may have limited legal recourse against the issuer and/or guarantor. Remedies must, in some cases, be pursued in the courts of the defaulting party itself, and the ability of the holder of foreign government fixed income securities to obtain recourse may be subject to the political climate in the relevant country. In addition, no assurance can be given that the holders of commercial bank debt will not contest payments to the holders of other foreign government debt obligations in the event of default under their commercial bank loan agreements.
The economies of individual emerging market countries may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product, rate of inflation, currency depreciation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payments position. Further, the economies of developing countries generally are heavily dependent upon international trade and, accordingly, have been, and may continue to be, adversely affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which they trade. These economies also have been, and may continue to be, adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which they trade.
Investing in emerging market countries may entail purchasing securities issued by or on behalf of entities that are insolvent, bankrupt, in default or otherwise engaged in an attempt to reorganize or reschedule their obligations, and in entities that have little or no proven credit rating or credit history. In any such case, the issuer’s poor or deteriorating financial condition may increase the likelihood that the investing fund will experience losses or diminution in available gains due to bankruptcy, insolvency or fraud.
Other Investment Companies
The Fund may invest in investment company securities, including small business investment companies, which are not affiliated with the Fund, or G.distributors, LLC (“G.distributors” or the “Distributor”). Investment company securities are securities of other open-end or closed-end investment companies. Except for so-called fund-of-funds, the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) generally prohibits a fund from acquiring more than 3% of the outstanding voting shares of an investment company and limits such investments to no more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets in any one investment company and no more than 10% in any combination of investment companies. The 1940 Act further prohibits a fund from acquiring in the aggregate more than 10% of the outstanding voting shares of any registered closed-end investment company. Investing in other investment companies involves substantially the same risks as investing directly in the underlying instruments, but the total return on such investments at the investment company level may be reduced by the operating expenses and fees of such other investment companies, including advisory fees.
Exchange-Traded Funds. Exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) are a type of investment company security bought and sold on a securities exchange. An ETF generally represents a portfolio of securities designed to track a particular market index. The Fund could purchase an ETF to temporarily gain exposure to a portion of the U.S. or a foreign market while awaiting purchase of underlying securities. The risks of owning an ETF generally reflect the risks of owning the underlying securities they are designed to track, although lack of liquidity in an ETF could result in it being more volatile, and ETFs have management fees which increase their costs.
Investments in Small, Unseasoned Companies and Other Illiquid Securities
Risk is greater for the securities of small and mid-capitalization companies because they generally are more vulnerable than larger companies to adverse business or economic developments and they may have more limited resources. The securities of small and mid-capitalization companies also may trade less frequently and in smaller volume than larger companies. As a result, the value of such securities may be more volatile than the securities of larger companies, and the Fund may experience difficulty in purchasing or selling such securities at the desired time and price. In general, these risks are greater for small capitalization companies than for mid-capitalization companies.
The Fund may invest in small, less well known companies (including predecessors) which have operated for less than three years. The securities of small, unseasoned companies may have a limited trading market, which may adversely affect their disposition and can result in their being priced lower than what might otherwise be the case. If other investment companies and investors who invest in these issuers trade the same securities when the Fund attempts to dispose of its holdings, the Fund may receive lower prices than what might otherwise be obtained. These companies may have limited product lines, markets, or financial resources and may lack management depth. In addition, these companies are typically subject to a greater degree of changes in earnings and business prospects than are larger, more established companies. Although investing in securities of these companies offers potential for above-average returns if the companies are successful, the risk exists that the companies will not succeed and the prices of the companies’ shares could significantly decline in value.
The Fund will not invest, in the aggregate, more than 10% of its net assets in securities for which market quotations are not readily available, securities which are restricted for public sale, repurchase agreements maturing or terminable in more than seven days, and all other illiquid securities. Securities freely saleable among qualified institutional investors pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”), and as adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), may be treated as liquid if they satisfy liquidity standards established by the Fund’s Board of Directors (the “Board” or the “Directors”). The continued liquidity of such securities is not as well assured as that of publicly traded securities, and accordingly, the Fund’s Board will monitor their liquidity.
Issuer-specific risk is the possibility that factors specific to an issuer to which the Fund is exposed will affect the market prices of the issuer’s securities and therefore the net asset value of the Fund. The value of an individual security or particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the market as a whole. The Fund could lose all of its investment in a company’s securities.
Larger, more established companies may be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges such as changes in technology and consumer tastes. Many larger companies also may not be able to attain the high growth rate of successful smaller companies, especially during extended periods of economic expansion. If valuations of large capitalization companies appear to be greatly out of proportion to the valuations of small or medium capitalization companies, investors may migrate to the stocks of small and medium-sized companies.
The Portfolio is subject to the risk that strategies used by an investment manager and its securities selections fail to produce the intended results. If the portfolio manager is incorrect in his assessment of the growth prospects of the securities the Fund holds, then the value of the Fund’s shares may decline. In addition, the portfolio manager’s strategy may produce returns that are different from other mutual funds that invest in similar securities.
An investment manager’s judgments or decisions about the quality, relative yield or value of, or market trends affecting, a particular security or issuer, industry, sector, region or market segment, or about the economy or interest rates, may be incorrect or otherwise may not produce the intended results, which may result in losses to the Portfolio. In addition, many processes used in Portfolio management, including security selection, rely, in whole or in part, on the use of various technologies. The Portfolio may suffer losses if there are imperfections, errors or limitations in the quantitative, analytic or other tools, resources, information and data used, or the analyses employed or relied on, by an investment manager, or if such tools, resources, information or data are used incorrectly, fail to produce the desired results, or otherwise do not work as intended. There can be no assurance that the use of these technologies will result in effective investment decisions for the Portfolio.
The risk that the securities markets will move down, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably based on overall economic conditions and other factors. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund’s investments.
The value of the Fund’s portfolio may decrease if the value of an individual company or security, or multiple companies or securities, in the portfolio decreases or if the portfolio managers’ belief about a company’s intrinsic worth is incorrect. Further, regardless of how well individual companies or securities perform, the value of the Fund’s portfolio could also decrease if there are deteriorating economic or market conditions. It is important to understand that the value of your investment may fall, sometimes sharply, in response to changes in the market, and you could lose money. Market risk may affect a single issuer, industry, economic sector, or the market as a whole. Market risk may be magnified if certain social, political, economic and other conditions and events (such as natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) adversely interrupt the global economy and financial markets.
Although the Fund does not employ a sector focus, the percentage of a Fund’s assets invested in a particular sector can increase from time to time based on the Adviser’s perception of available investment opportunities. If the Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in a particular sector, the Fund will be subject to the risk that companies in the same sector are likely to react similarly to legislative or regulatory changes, adverse market conditions, increased competition, or other factors affecting that market segment. In such cases, the Fund would be exposed to an increased risk that the value of its overall portfolio will decrease because of events that disproportionately and negatively affect that sector. In addition, investments in a particular sector may be more volatile than the broader market as a whole, and the Fund’s investments in such a sector may be disproportionately susceptible to losses.
Because the Fund may allocate relatively more assets to certain sectors than others, the Fund’s performance may be more susceptible to any developments which affect those sectors emphasized by the Fund. In addition, the Fund could underperform other funds investing in similar sectors or comparable benchmarks because of the investment manager’s choice of securities within such sector. To assess the effects of developments in any given sector that the Fund invests in more significantly, investors should refer to those specific sector risks in this SAI and the Fund’s prospectus.
In general, securities of companies which are the subject of a tender or exchange offer or a merger, consolidation, liquidation, or reorganization proposal sell at a premium to their historic market price immediately prior to the announcement of an offer for the company. However, it is possible that the value of securities of a company involved in such a transaction will not rise and in fact may fall, in which case the Fund would lose money. It is also possible that the Adviser’s assessment that a particular company is likely to be acquired or acquired during a specific time frame may be incorrect, in which case the Fund may not realize any premium on its investment and could lose money if the value of the securities declines during the Fund’s holding period. The Fund’s return also could be adversely impacted to the extent that the Adviser’s strategies fail to identify companies for investment by the Fund that become the subject of a merger or similar transaction that results in an increase in the value of the securities of those companies. Moreover, publicly announced mergers and similar types of transactions may be renegotiated or terminated, in which case the Fund may lose money. In addition, if a transaction takes a longer time to close than the Adviser originally anticipated, the Fund may realize a lower than expected rate of return.
The Fund may also invest in companies that result from a reverse merger. These companies may be unseasoned and lack a trading history, a track record of reporting to investors, and widely available research coverage. Such companies are thus often subject to extreme price volatility and speculative trading.
Special Situations Risk
Investments in companies involved in special situations, such as reorganizations or restructurings, may involve greater risks when compared to the Fund’s other strategies due to a variety of factors. Failure to anticipate changes in the circumstances affecting these types of investments may result in permanent loss of capital, where the Fund may be unable to recoup some or all of its investments.
The Fund may use aggressive investment techniques, including seeking to benefit from “special situations,” such as mergers, reorganizations, or other unusual events expected to affect a particular issuer. There is a risk that the “special situation” might not occur, which could have a negative impact on the price of the issuer’s securities and fail to produce gains or produce a loss for the Fund.
A Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with banks and non-bank dealers of U.S. government securities which are listed as reporting dealers of the Federal Reserve Bank and which furnish collateral at least equal in value or market price to the amount of their repurchase obligation. In a repurchase agreement, a Fund purchases a debt security from a seller which undertakes to repurchase the security at a specified resale price on an agreed future date. The resale price generally exceeds the purchase price by an amount which reflects an agreed-upon market interest rate for the term of the repurchase agreement.
A Fund’s primary risk is that if the seller defaults, the proceeds from the disposition of underlying securities and other collateral for the seller’s obligation would be less than the repurchase price. If the seller becomes bankrupt, a Fund might be delayed in selling the collateral. Under the 1940 Act, repurchase agreements are considered loans. Repurchase agreements usually are for short periods, such as one week or less, but could be longer.
The Fund may not enter into repurchase agreements which would cause more than 5% of the value of its total assets to be so invested. This percentage limitation does not apply to repurchase agreements involving U.S. government obligations, or obligations of its agencies or instrumentalities, for a period of a week or less. The term of each of the Fund’s repurchase agreements will always be less than one year and the Fund will not enter into repurchase agreements of a duration of more than seven days if, taken together with all other illiquid securities in the Fund’s portfolio, more than 10% of its net assets would be so invested.
The Fund may not borrow except for (1) short term credits from banks as may be necessary for the clearance of portfolio transactions and (2) borrowings from banks for temporary or emergency purposes, including meeting redemption requests that would otherwise require the untimely disposition of its portfolio securities. Borrowing may not, in the aggregate, exceed 15% of assets after giving effect to the borrowing and borrowing for purposes other than meeting redemptions may not exceed 5% of the value of the Fund’s assets after giving effect to the borrowing. The Fund will not make additional investments when borrowings exceed 5% of assets. Not more than 20% of the total assets of the Fund may be used as collateral in connection with the borrowings described above.
Corporate Debt Obligations
The Fund may invest up to 35% of its assets in corporate debt obligations having a rating lower than an S&P rating of “BBB,” a Moody’s rating of “Baa” or, if unrated, judged by the Adviser to be of comparable quality. Corporate debt obligations include securities such as bonds, debentures, notes, or other similar securities issued by corporations.
The Fund believes that investing in corporate debt obligations is consistent with the Fund’s investment objective of seeking securities of companies in the public market that can provide significant long term capital appreciation. For example, an issuer’s ability to repay principal and interest when due may be underestimated by the market; as a result, that issuer may be required to pay a higher interest rate or its debt securities may be selling at a lower market price than issuers of similar strength. When the market recognizes their inherent value, the Fund anticipates that the price of such securities will appreciate. In the case of convertible debt securities, the market’s recognition of a company’s real value and, in turn, the market value of its convertible securities, may not occur until some anticipated development or other catalyst emerges to cause an increase in the market value of the company’s common stock. In the case of any corporate debt obligation under evaluation by the Adviser for purchase by the Fund, the receipt of income is an incidental consideration.
The Fund may invest up to 5% of its total assets in securities of issuers in default. The Fund will invest in securities of issuers in default only when the Adviser believes that such issuers will honor their obligations or emerge from bankruptcy protection and the value of these securities will appreciate. By investing in securities of issuers in default, the Fund bears the risk that such issuers will not continue to honor their obligations nor emerge from bankruptcy protection or that the value of such securities will not appreciate.
The ratings of Moody’s and S&P generally represent the opinions of those organizations as to the quality of the securities that they rate. Such ratings, however, are relative and subjective, are not absolute standards of quality, and do not evaluate the market risk of the securities. Although the Adviser uses these ratings as a criterion for the selection of securities for the Fund, the Adviser also relies on its independent analysis to evaluate potential investments for the Fund. See Appendix A – “Description of Corporate Debt Ratings.”
Subsequent to its purchase by the Fund, an issue of securities may cease to be rated or its ratings may be reduced below the minimum required for purchase by the Fund. In addition, it is possible that Moody’s and S&P might not timely change their ratings of a particular issue to reflect subsequent events. None of these events will require the sale of the securities by the Fund, although the Adviser will consider these events in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the securities. To the extent that the ratings given by Moody’s or S&P for securities may change as a result of changes in the ratings systems or due to a corporate reorganization of Moody’s and/or S&P, the Fund will attempt to use comparable ratings as standards for its investments in accordance with the investment objective and policies of the Fund.
Low-rated and comparable unrated securities (a) will likely have some quality and protective characteristics that, in the judgment of the rating organization, are outweighed by large uncertainties or major risk exposures to adverse conditions and (b) are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation.
While the market values of low-rated and comparable unrated securities tend to react less to fluctuations in interest rate levels than the market values of higher-rated securities, the market values of certain low-rated and comparable unrated securities also tend to be more volatile and sensitive to individual corporate developments and changes in economic conditions than higher-rated securities. In addition, low-rated securities and comparable unrated securities generally present a higher degree of credit risk. Issuers of low-rated and comparable unrated securities are often highly leveraged and may not have more traditional methods of financing available to them so that their ability to service their debt obligations during an economic downturn or during sustained periods of rising interest rates may be impaired. The risk of loss due to default by such issuers is significantly greater because low-rated and comparable unrated securities generally are unsecured and frequently are subordinated to the prior payment of senior indebtedness. The Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent that it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal or interest on its portfolio holdings. The existence of limited markets for low-rated and comparable unrated securities may diminish the Fund’s ability to obtain accurate market quotations for purposes of valuing such securities and calculating its net asset value per share (“NAV”). Moreover, because not all dealers maintain markets in all low-rated and comparable unrated securities, there is no established retail secondary market for many of these securities and the Fund does not anticipate that those securities could be sold other than to institutional investors.
Fixed income securities, including low-rated securities and comparable unrated securities, frequently have call or buy-back features that permit their issuers to call or repurchase the securities from their holders, such as the Fund. If an issuer exercises these rights during periods of declining interest rates, the Fund may have to replace the security with a lower-yielding security, thus resulting in a decreased return to the Fund.
Short Sales Against the Box
The Fund may, from time to time, make short sales of securities it owns or has the right to acquire through conversion or exchange of other securities it owns. A short sale is “against the box” to the extent that the Fund contemporaneously owns or has the right to obtain, at no added cost, securities identical to those sold short. In a short sale, the Fund does not immediately deliver the securities sold or receive the proceeds from the sale. The Fund may not make short sales or maintain a short position if it would cause more than 25% of the Fund’s total assets, taken at market value, to be held as collateral for the sales.
The Fund may make a short sale in order to hedge against market risks when it believes that the price of a security may decline, causing a decline in the value of a security owned by the Fund or security convertible into, or exchangeable for, the security.
To secure its obligations to deliver the securities sold short, the Fund will segregate in its accounting records and deposit in escrow in a separate account with the Fund’s custodian, Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY Mellon”), an amount at least equal to the securities sold short or securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, the securities. The Fund may close out a short position by purchasing and delivering an equal amount of securities sold short, rather than by delivering securities already held by the Fund, because the Fund may want to continue to receive interest and dividend payments on securities in its portfolio that are convertible into the securities sold short.
The Fund may enter into total rate of return, credit default or other types of swaps and related derivatives for various purposes, including to gain economic exposure to an asset or group of assets that may be difficult or impractical to acquire or for hedging and risk management. These transactions generally provide for the transfer from one counterparty to another of certain risks inherent in the ownership of a financial asset such as a common stock or a debt instrument. Such risks include, among other things, the risk of default and insolvency of the obligor of such asset, the risk that the credit of the obligor or the underlying collateral will decline or the risk that the common stock of the underlying issuer will decline in value. The transfer of risk pursuant to a derivative of this type may be complete or partial, and may be for the life of the related asset or for a shorter period. These derivatives may be used as a risk management tool for a pool of financial assets, providing the Fund with the opportunity to gain or reduce exposure to one or more reference securities or other financial assets (each, a “Reference Asset”) without actually owning or selling such assets in order, for example, to increase or reduce a concentration risk or to diversify a portfolio. Conversely, these derivatives may be used by the Fund to reduce exposure to an owned asset without selling it.
Because the Fund would not own the Reference Assets, the Fund may not have any voting rights with respect to the Reference Assets, and in such cases all decisions related to the obligors or issuers of the Reference Assets, including whether to exercise certain remedies, will be controlled by the swap counterparties, provided that the swap counterparties have voting rights with respect to the Reference Assets.
Total rate of return swaps and similar derivatives are subject to many risks, including the possibility that the market will move in a manner or direction that would have resulted in gain for the Fund had the swap or other derivative not been utilized (in which case it would have been better had the Fund not engaged in the transactions), nearly unlimited exposure to changes in the value of the Reference Assets, total loss to the Fund of the entire notional amount of the swap, the risk of imperfect correlation between the risk sought to be hedged and the derivative transactions utilized, the possible inability of the counterparty to fulfill its obligations under the swap and potential illiquidity of the instrument utilized, which may make it difficult for the Fund to close out or unwind one or more transactions. The creditworthiness of the counterparties is closely monitored in order to minimize these risks.
Total rate of return swaps and related derivatives present certain legal, tax and market uncertainties that present risks in entering into such arrangements. There is currently little or no case law or litigation characterizing total rate of return swaps or related derivatives, interpreting their provisions, or characterizing their tax treatment. In addition, additional regulations and laws may apply to these types of derivatives that have not previously been applied. There can be no assurance that future decisions construing similar provisions to those in any swap agreement or other related documents or additional regulations and laws will not have an adverse effect on the Fund that utilizes these instruments. The Fund will monitor these risks and seek to utilize these instruments in a manner that does not lead to undue risk regarding the tax or other structural elements of the Fund. The Fund will not invest in these types of instruments if the Reference Assets are commodities except for bona fide hedging or risk management purposes.
The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the swap market has become relatively liquid. Certain swap transactions involve more recent innovations for which standardized documentation has not yet been fully developed and, accordingly, they are less liquid than traditional swap transactions. The use of swaps is a highly specialized activity that involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. If the Adviser is incorrect in its forecasts of market values, interest rates, and currency exchange rates, the investment performance of the Fund would be less favorable than it would have been if this investment technique were not used. See “Limitations on the Purchase and Sale of Futures Contracts, Certain Options and Swaps” below.
Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act, the “Derivatives Title,” includes provisions that comprehensively regulate the over-the-counter (i.e., not exchange-traded) derivatives markets for the first time. This regulation requires that certain of the options, currency transactions and other derivative transactions entered into by the Fund are regulated as swaps by the CFTC or regulated as security-based swaps by the SEC (collectively, “swaps”).
Although the CFTC and the prudential regulators have adopted and have begun implementing required regulations, the SEC rules were not finalized until December 2019 and firms have until October 2021 to come into compliance.
Current regulations require the mandatory central clearing and mandatory exchange trading of particular types of interest rate swaps and index credit default swaps (together, “Covered Swaps”). Together, these regulatory requirements change the Fund’s trading of Covered Swaps. With respect to mandatory central clearing, the Fund is now required to clear its Covered Swaps through a clearing broker, which requires, among other things, posting initial margin and variation margin to the Fund’s clearing broker in order to enter into and maintain positions in Covered Swaps. With respect to mandatory exchange trading, the Adviser may be required to become a participant of a new type of execution platform called a swap execution facility (“SEF”) or may be required to access the SEF through an intermediary (such as an executing broker) in order to be able to trade Covered Swaps for the Fund. In either scenario, the Adviser and/or the Fund may incur additional legal and compliance costs and transaction fees. Just as with the other regulatory changes imposed as a result of the implementation of the Derivatives Title, the increased costs and fees associated with trading Covered Swaps may jeopardize certain trades and/or trading strategies that may be employed by the Adviser, or at least make them more costly.
Additionally, under the Dodd-Frank Act, swaps (and both swaps and security-based swaps entered into with banks) are subject to margin requirements and swap dealers are required to collect margin from a fund and post variation margin to the fund with respect to such derivatives. Specifically, regulations are now in effect that require swap dealers to post and collect variation margin (comprised of specified liquid instruments and subject to a required haircut) in connection with trading of over-the-counter swaps with a fund. Shares of investment companies (other than certain money market funds) may not be posted as collateral under these regulations. Requirements for posting of initial margin in connection with over-the-counter swaps (as well as security-based swaps in addition to over-the-counter swaps where the dealer is a bank or subsidiary of a bank holding company) have been phased in. As uncleared capital requirements for swap dealers and uncleared capital and margin requirements for security-based swaps are phased in and implemented, such requirements may make certain types of trades and/or trading strategies more costly. There may be market dislocations due to uncertainty during the implementation period of any new regulation and the Adviser cannot know how the derivatives market will adjust to the CFTC’s new capital regulations and to the new SEC regulations governing security-based swaps.
In addition, regulations adopted by global prudential regulators that are now in effect require certain bank-regulated counterparties and certain of their affiliates to include in “qualified financial contracts,” including many derivatives contracts as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements, terms that delay or restrict the rights of counterparties to terminate such contracts, foreclose upon collateral, exercise other default rights or restrict transfers of affiliate credit enhancements (such as guarantees) in the event that the bank-regulated counterparty and/or its affiliates are subject to certain types of resolution or insolvency proceedings. Until the Regulators complete the rulemaking process for the Derivatives Title, it is unknown the extent to which such risks may materialize. There can be no assurance that these developments will not adversely affect the business and investment activities of the Adviser and the Fund. The CFTC has implemented mandatory exchange-trading and clearing requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act and the CFTC continues to approve contracts for central clearing. Uncleared swaps are subject to margin requirements that will be implemented on a phased-in basis. The Adviser will continue to monitor these developments, particularly to the extent regulatory changes affect the Fund’s ability to enter into swap agreements.
The Fund may purchase or sell listed call or put options on securities as a means of achieving additional return or for hedging the value of the Fund’s portfolio. The Fund may write covered call options in an amount not to exceed 25% of total assets. The Fund will not purchase options if, as a result, the aggregate cost of all outstanding options exceeds 10% of the Fund’s total assets. A call option is a contract that, in return for a premium, gives the holder of the option the right to buy from the writer of the call option the security underlying the option at a specified exercise price at any time during the term of the option. The writer of the call option has the obligation, upon exercise of the option, to deliver the underlying security upon payment of the exercise price during the option period. A put option is a contract that gives the holder the right to sell the security to the writer and obligating the writer to purchase the underlying security from the holder.
A call option is “covered” if the Fund owns the underlying security covered by the call or has an absolute and immediate right to acquire that security without additional cash consideration (or for additional cash consideration held in a segregated account by its custodian) upon conversion or exchange of other securities held in its portfolio. A call option is also covered if the Fund holds a call on the same security as the call written where the exercise price of the call held is (1) equal to or less than the exercise price of the call written or (2) greater than the exercise price of the call written if the difference is maintained by the Fund in cash, U.S. government securities, or other high grade short term obligations in a segregated account held with its custodian. Whenever the Fund is required to establish a segregated account, notations on the books of the Fund’s custodian or fund accounting agent are sufficient to constitute a segregated account. A put option is “covered” if the Fund maintains cash or other liquid portfolio securities with a value equal to the exercise price in a segregated account held with its custodian, or else holds a put on the same security as the put written where the exercise price of the put held is equal to or greater than the exercise price of the put written.
If the Fund has written an option, it may terminate its obligation by effecting a closing purchase transaction. This is accomplished by purchasing an option of the same series as the option previously written. However, once the Fund has been assigned an exercise notice, the Fund will be unable to effect a closing purchase transaction. Similarly, if the Fund is the holder of an option it may liquidate its position by effecting a closing sale transaction. This is accomplished by selling an option of the same series as the option previously purchased. There can be no assurance that either a closing purchase or sale transaction can be effected when the Fund so desires.
The Fund will realize a profit from a closing transaction if the price of the transaction is less than the premium received from writing the option or is more than the premium paid to purchase the option; the Fund will realize a loss from a closing transaction if the price of the transaction is more than the premium received from writing the option or is less than the premium paid to purchase the option. Since call option prices generally reflect increases in the price of the underlying security, any loss resulting from the repurchase of a call option may also be wholly or partially offset by unrealized appreciation of the underlying security. Other principal factors affecting the market value of a put or a call option include supply and demand, interest rates, the current market price, and price volatility of the underlying security and the time remaining until the expiration date.
An option position may be closed out only on an exchange which provides a secondary market for an option of the same series. Although the Fund will generally purchase or write only those options for which there appears to be an active secondary market, there is no assurance that a liquid secondary market on an exchange will exist for any particular option. In such event it might not be possible to effect closing transactions in particular options, so that the Fund would have to exercise its options in order to realize any profit and would incur brokerage commissions upon the exercise of call options and upon the subsequent disposition of underlying securities for the exercise of put options. If the Fund, as a covered call option writer, is unable to effect a closing purchase transaction in a secondary market, it will not be able to sell the underlying security until the option expires or it delivers the underlying security upon exercise or otherwise covers the position.
In addition to options on securities, the Fund may also purchase and sell call and put options on securities indices. A stock index reflects in a single number the market value of many different stocks. Relative values are assigned to the stocks included in an index and the index fluctuates with changes in the market values of the stocks. The options give the holder the right to receive a cash settlement during the term of the option based on the difference between the exercise price and the value of the index. By writing a put or call option on a securities index, the Fund is obligated, in return for the premium received, to make delivery of this amount. The Fund may offset its position in stock index options prior to expiration by entering into a closing transaction on an exchange or it may let the option expire unexercised.
The fund may write put and call options on stock indices for the purposes of increasing its gross income and protecting its portfolio against declines in the value of the securities it owns or increases in the value of securities to be acquired. In addition, the Fund may purchase put and call options on stock indices in order to hedge its investments against a decline in value or to attempt to reduce the risk of missing a market or industry segment advance. Options on stock indices are similar to options on specific securities. However, because options on stock indices do not involve the delivery of an underlying security, the option represents the holder’s right to obtain from the writer cash in an amount equal to a fixed multiple of the amount by which the exercise price exceeds (in the case of a put) or is less than (in the case of a call) the closing value of the underlying stock index on the exercise date. Therefore, while one purpose of writing such options is to generate additional income for the Fund, the Fund recognizes that it may be required to deliver an amount of cash in excess of the market value of a stock index at such time as an option written by the Fund is exercised by the holder. The writing and purchasing of options is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The successful use of protective puts for hedging purposes depends in part on the Adviser’s ability to predict future price fluctuations and the degree of correlation between the options and securities markets.
Use of options on securities indices entails the risk that trading in the options may be interrupted if trading in certain securities included in the index is interrupted. The Fund will not purchase these options unless the Adviser is satisfied with the development, depth, and liquidity of the market and the Adviser believes the options can be closed out.
Price movements in the Fund’s portfolio may not correlate precisely with movements in the level of an index and, therefore, the use of options on indices cannot serve as a complete hedge and will depend, in part, on the ability of the Adviser to predict correctly movements in the direction of the stock market generally or of a particular industry. Because options on securities indices require settlement in cash, the Adviser may be forced to liquidate portfolio securities to meet settlement obligations.
Although the Adviser will attempt to take appropriate measures to minimize the risks relating to the Fund’s writing of put and call options, there can be no assurance that the Fund will succeed in any option-writing program it undertakes.
Loans of Portfolio Securities
To a limited extent, the Fund may lend its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers, and other financial institutions, provided it receives cash collateral which at all times is maintained in an amount equal to at least 102% and 105%, respectively, of the current market value of domestic and international securities loaned. By lending its portfolio securities, the Fund can increase its income through the investment of the cash collateral. For the purposes of this policy, the Fund considers collateral consisting of U.S. government or agency securities or irrevocable letters of credit issued by banks whose securities meet the standards for investment by the Fund to be the equivalent of cash. Such loans may not exceed 33⅓% of the Fund’s total assets. From time to time, the Fund may return to the borrower and/or a third party which is unaffiliated with the Fund, and which is acting as a “placing broker,” a part of the interest earned from the investment of collateral received for securities loaned.
The SEC currently requires that the following conditions must be met whenever the Fund’s portfolio securities are loaned: (1) the Fund must receive at least 100% cash collateral from the borrower; (2) the borrower must increase such collateral whenever the market value of the securities rises above the level of such collateral; (3) the Fund must be able to terminate the loan at any time; (4) the Fund must receive reasonable interest on the loan, as well as any dividends, interest or other distributions on the loaned securities, and any increase in market value; (5) the Fund may pay only reasonable custodian fees approved by the Fund’s Board of Directors (“Board”) in connection with the loan; (6) while voting rights on the loaned securities may pass to the borrower, the Board must terminate the loan and regain the right to vote the securities if a material event adversely affecting the investment occurs, and (7) the Fund may not loan its portfolio securities so that the value of the loaned securities is more than one third of its total asset value, including collateral received from such loans. These conditions may be subject to future modification.
Such loans will be terminable at any time upon specified notice. The Fund might experience the risk of loss if the institution with which it has engaged in a portfolio loan transaction breaches its agreement with the Fund.
When Issued, Delayed Delivery Securities, and Forward Commitments
The Fund may enter into forward commitments for the purchase of securities. Such transactions may include purchases on a “when issued” or “delayed delivery” basis. In some cases, a forward commitment may be conditioned upon the occurrence of a subsequent event, such as approval and consummation of a merger, corporate reorganization or debt restructuring, i.e., a when, as, and if issued security. When such transactions are negotiated, the price is fixed at the time of the commitment, with payment and delivery taking place in the future, generally a month or more after the date of the commitment. While the Fund will only enter into a forward commitment with the intention of actually acquiring the security, the Fund may sell the security before the settlement date if it is deemed advisable. Securities purchased under a forward commitment are subject to market fluctuation, and no interest or dividends accrue to the Fund prior to the settlement date.
The commitment for the purchase of a “when, as, and if issued security” will not be recognized in the portfolio of the Fund until the Adviser determines that issuance of the security is probable. At such time, the Fund will record the transaction and, in determining its NAV, will reflect the value of the security daily. The Fund will also “earmark” on the Adviser’s records or place in a segregated account with its custodian, cash or liquid portfolio securities in an aggregate amount at least equal in value to the amount of its commitments.
Futures Contracts and Options on Futures
The Fund may enter into futures contracts that are traded on a U.S. exchange or board of trade. Although the Fund has no current intention of using options on futures contracts, the Fund may do so at some future date, subject to the limitations stated in the preceding sentence. These investments will be made by the Fund solely for the purpose of hedging against changes in the value of its portfolio securities and in the value of securities it intends to purchase. Such investments will only be made if they are economically appropriate to the reduction of risks involved in the management of the Fund. In this regard, the Fund may enter into futures contracts or options on futures for the purchase or sale of securities indices or other financial instruments including but not limited to U.S. government securities. Futures exchanges and trading in the United States are regulated under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) by the CFTC.
The current view of the staff of the SEC is that a fund’s long and short positions in futures contracts, as well as put and call options on futures written by it, must be collateralized with cash or other liquid securities and segregated with the Fund’s custodian or a designated sub-custodian or “covered” in a manner similar to that for covered options on securities and designed to eliminate any potential leveraging (See “Asset Coverage for Forward Contracts, Options, Futures, and Options on Futures” below).
A “sale” of a futures contract (or a “short” futures position) means the assumption of a contractual obligation to deliver the securities underlying the contract at a specified price at a specified future time. A “purchase” of a futures contract (or a “long” futures position) means the assumption of a contractual obligation to acquire the securities underlying the contract at a specified price at a specified future time. Certain futures contracts, including stock and bond index futures, are settled on a net cash payment basis rather than by the sale and delivery of the securities underlying the futures contracts.
No consideration will be paid or received by the Fund upon the purchase or sale of a futures contract. Initially, the Fund will be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents equal to approximately 1% to 10% of the contract amount (this amount is subject to change by the exchange or board of trade on which the contract is traded and brokers or members of such board of trade may charge a higher amount). This amount is known as “initial margin” and is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin,” to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the index or security underlying the futures contract fluctuates. At any time prior to the expiration of a futures contract, the portfolio may elect to close the position by taking an opposite position, which will operate to terminate the Fund’s existing position in the contract.
An option on a futures contract gives the purchaser the right, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in a futures contract at a specified exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option. Upon exercise of an option, the delivery of the futures position by the writer of the option to the holder of the option will be accompanied by delivery of the accumulated balance in the writer’s futures margin account attributable to that contract, which represents the amount by which the market price of the futures contract exceeds, in the case of a call, or is less than, in the case of a put, the exercise price of the option on the futures contract. The potential loss related to the purchase of an option on futures contracts is limited to the premium paid for the option (plus transaction costs). Because the value of the option purchased is fixed at the point of sale, there are no daily cash payments by the purchaser to reflect changes in the value of the underlying contract; however, the value of the option does change daily and that change would be reflected in the NAV of the portfolio.
As noted above, the Fund may use such instruments depending upon market conditions prevailing at such time and the perceived investment needs of the Fund. However, in no event may the Fund enter into futures contracts or options on futures contracts if, immediately thereafter, the sum of the amount of margin deposits on the Fund’s existing futures contracts and premiums paid for options would exceed 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets after taking into account unrealized profits and losses on any existing contracts. In addition to meeting one of the foregoing trading limitations, the Fund may not market itself as a commodity pool or otherwise as a vehicle for trading in the future, options or swaps markets. In the event the Fund enters into long futures contracts or purchases call options, an amount of cash, obligations of the U.S. government and its agencies and instrumentalities, other high grade debt securities, or other liquid equity securities equal to the market value of the contract will be segregated to collateralize the positions, thereby insuring that the use of the contract is unleveraged.
The success of hedging depends on the Adviser’s ability to predict movements in the prices of the hedged securities and market fluctuations. The Adviser may not be able to perfectly correlate changes in the market value of securities and the prices of the corresponding options or futures. The Adviser may have difficulty selling or buying futures contracts and options when it chooses and there may be certain restrictions on trading futures contracts and options. The Fund is not obligated to pursue any hedging strategy. While hedging can reduce or eliminate losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains. In addition, hedging practices may not be available, may be too costly to be used effectively, or may be unable to be used for other reasons.
Limitations on the Purchase and Sale of Futures Contracts, Certain Options, and Swaps
Subject to the guidelines of the Board, the Fund may engage in “commodity interest” transactions (generally, transactions in futures, certain options, certain currency transactions and certain types of swaps) only for bona fide hedging or other permissible transactions in accordance with the rules and regulations of the CFTC. Pursuant to Rule 4.5 under the CEA, the Adviser has filed a notice of exemption from registration as a “commodity pool operator” with respect to the Fund. The Fund and the Adviser are therefore not subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under the CEA and pursuant to Rule 4.5 under the CEA, certain trading restrictions are applicable to the Fund. These trading restrictions permit the Fund to engage in commodity interest transactions that include (i) “bona fide hedging” transactions, as that term is defined and interpreted by the CFTC and its staff, without regard to the percentage of the Fund’s assets committed to margin and options premiums and (ii) non-bona fide hedging transactions, provided that the Fund does not enter into such non-bona fide hedging transactions if, immediately thereafter, either (a) the sum of the amount of initial margin deposits on the Fund’s existing futures or swaps positions and option or swaption premiums would exceed 5% of the market value of the Fund’s liquidating value, after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such transactions, or (b) the aggregate net notional value of the Fund’s commodity interest transactions would exceed 100% of the market value of the Fund’s liquidating value, after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such transactions. Therefore, in order to claim the Rule 4.5 exemption, the Fund is limited in its ability to invest in commodity futures, options and certain types of swaps (including securities futures, broad-based stock index futures and financial futures contracts). As a result, in the future, the Fund will be more limited in its ability to use these instruments than in the past and these limitations may have a negative impact on the ability of the Adviser to manage the Fund, and on the Fund’s performance.
Asset Coverage for Forward Contracts, Options, Futures, and Options on Futures
The Fund will comply with guidelines established by the SEC with respect to coverage of forward currency contracts; options written by the Fund on currencies, securities, and indices; and currency, interest rate, and index futures contracts and options on these futures contracts. These guidelines may, in certain instances, require segregation by the Fund of cash or liquid securities with its custodian or a designated sub-custodian or “earmarked” on the records of the Adviser to the extent the Fund’s obligations with respect to these strategies are not otherwise “covered” through ownership of the underlying security, financial instrument, or currency or by other portfolio positions or by other means consistent with applicable regulatory policies. Segregated assets cannot be sold or transferred unless equivalent assets are substituted in their place or it is no longer necessary to segregate them. As a result, there is a possibility that segregation of a large percentage of the Fund’s assets could impede portfolio management or the Fund’s ability to meet redemption requests or other current obligations. For example, a call option written by the Fund on securities may require the Fund to hold the securities subject to the call (or securities convertible into the securities without additional consideration) or to segregate assets (as described above) sufficient to purchase and deliver the securities if the call is exercised. A call option written by the Fund on an index may require the Fund to own portfolio securities that correlate with the index or to segregate assets (as described above) equal to the excess of the index value over the exercise price on a current basis. A put option written by the Fund may require the Fund to segregate assets (as described above) equal to the exercise price. The Fund could purchase a put option if the strike price of that option is the same or higher than the strike price of a put option sold by the Fund. If the Fund holds a futures or forward contract, the Fund could purchase a put option on the same futures or forward contract with a strike price as high or higher than the price of the contract held. The Fund may enter into fully or partially offsetting transactions so that its net position, coupled with any segregated assets (equal to any remaining obligation), equals its net obligation. Asset coverage may be achieved by other means when consistent with applicable regulatory policies.
Economic Events and Market Risk
Periods of market volatility remain, and may continue to occur in the future, in response to various political, social and economic events both within and outside of the United States. These conditions have resulted in, and in many cases continue to result in, greater price volatility, less liquidity, widening credit spreads and a lack of price transparency, with many securities remaining illiquid and of uncertain value. Such market conditions may adversely affect the Fund, including by making valuation of some of the Fund’s securities uncertain and/or result in sudden and significant valuation increases or declines in the Fund’s holdings.
Risks resulting from any future debt or other economic crisis could also have a detrimental impact on the global economy, the financial condition of financial institutions and our business, financial condition, and results of operation. Market and economic disruptions have affected, and may in the future affect, consumer confidence levels and spending, personal bankruptcy rates, levels of incurrence and default on consumer debt and home prices, among other factors. To the extent uncertainty regarding the U.S. or global economy negatively impacts consumer confidence and consumer credit factors, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be significantly and adversely affected. Downgrades to the credit ratings of major banks could result in increased borrowing costs for such banks and negatively affect the broader economy. Moreover, Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates and the decision to end its quantitative easing policy, may also adversely affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend- and interest-paying securities. Market volatility, tariffs, rising interest rates, and/or a return to unfavorable economic conditions could impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
An outbreak of infectious respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) was first detected in China in December 2019 and has now been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization and a public health emergency in the United States. This coronavirus has resulted in travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of and delays in healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, and lower consumer demand, as well as general concern and uncertainty. The impact of COVID-19, and other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future, could adversely affect the economies of many nations or the entire global economy, individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen. In addition, the impact of infectious illnesses in emerging market countries may be greater due to generally less established healthcare systems. Public health crises caused by the COVID-19 outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally.
It is virtually impossible to determine the ultimate impact of COVID-19 at this time. Further, the extent and strength of any economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic abates, including following any “second wave,” “third wave” or other intensifying of the pandemic, is uncertain and subject to various factors and conditions. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund is subject to an elevated degree of risk as compared to other market environments. Despite actions of the U.S. federal government and foreign governments, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors has contributed to significant volatility and declines in the global public equity markets and global debt capital markets, including the net asset value of the Fund’s shares. These events could have, and/or have had, a significant impact on the Fund’s performance, net asset value, income, operating results and ability to pay distributions, as well as the performance, income, operating results and viability of issuers in which it invests. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the U.S. economy and most other major global economies may continue to experience a substantial economic downturn or recession, and our business and operations, as well as the business and operations of our portfolio companies, could be materially adversely affected by a prolonged economic downturn or recession in the United States and other major markets.
Political Risks Relating to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The invasion significantly amplified already existing geopolitical tensions among Russia, Ukraine, Europe, NATO and the United States. Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, the resulting responses by the United States and other countries, and the potential for wider conflict has increased volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets, specifically on companies in the oil and gas sector, finance and resource extraction. The United States and other countries and certain international organizations have imposed broad-ranging economic sanctions on Russia and certain Russian individuals, banking entities and corporations as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These sanctions froze certain Russian assets and prohibited, among other things, trading in certain Russian securities and doing business with specific Russian corporate entities, large financial institutions, officials and oligarchs. The sanctions also included the removal of some Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), the electronic network that connects banks globally, and imposed restrictive measures to prevent the Russian Central Bank from undermining the impact of the sanctions. These sanctions could become broader in the future, including banning Russia from global payments systems that facilitate cross-border payments. A number of large corporations have also announced plans to divest interests or otherwise curtail business dealings with certain Russian businesses.
The extent and duration of Russia’s military actions, resulting sanctions and consequent future market disruptions are impossible to predict, but could be significant and may negatively affect global supply chains, inflation, oil and gas supply, and global growth. Russian military action (including cyberattacks and espionage) or actual and threatened responses to such actions, including purchasing and financing restrictions, boycotts or changes in consumer or purchaser preferences, sanctions, tariffs or cyberattacks on the Russian government and Russian individuals, may have an impact not only on Russia, but the global economy.
The ramifications of the hostilities and sanctions, however, may not be limited to Russia, Conflict between Ukraine and Russia is likely to negatively impact other regional and global economic markets (including Europe, Asia and the United States), companies in other countries (particularly those that have exposure to Russia and Ukraine) and on various sectors, industries and markets for securities and commodities globally, such as oil and natural gas and banking. Accordingly, the actions discussed above and the potential for a wider conflict could increase financial market volatility, cause severe negative effects on regional and global economic markets, industries, and companies and have a negative effect on the Fund’s investments and performance beyond any direct exposure to Russian and Ukrainian issuers or those of adjoining geographic regions. These and any related events could have a significant impact on Fund performance and the value of an investment in the Fund.
Regulation and Government Intervention Risk
Global economies and financial markets are increasingly interconnected, which increases the possibility that conditions in one country or region may adversely affect companies in a different country or region. The global financial crisis has led governments and regulators around the world to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that experienced extreme volatility, and in some cases a lack of liquidity.
Governments, their regulatory agencies, or self-regulatory organizations may take actions that the regulation of the issuers in which the Fund invests. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Fund itself is regulated. Such legislation or regulation could limit or preclude the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
Governments or their agencies may also acquire distressed assets from financial institutions and acquire ownership interests in those institutions. The implications of government ownership and disposition of these assets are unclear, and such a program may have positive or negative effects on the liquidity, valuation and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings. Furthermore, volatile financial markets can expose the Fund to greater market and liquidity risk and potential difficulty in valuing portfolio instruments held by the Fund.
The SEC and its staff have been engaged in various initiatives and reviews that seek to improve and modernize the regulatory structure governing investment companies. These efforts have been focused on risk identification and controls in various areas, including imbedded leverage through the use of derivatives and other trading practices, cyber-security, liquidity, enhanced regulatory and public reporting requirements and the evaluation of systemic risks. Any new rules, guidance or regulatory initiatives resulting from these efforts could increase the Fund’s expenses and impact its returns to stockholders or, in the extreme case, impact or limit its use of various portfolio management strategies or techniques and adversely impact the Fund.
In particular, the U.S. government has proposed and adopted multiple regulations that could have a long-lasting impact on the Fund and on the mutual fund industry in general. The SEC’s final rules and amendments that modernize reporting and disclosure and required the implementation of a liquidity risk management program, along with other potential upcoming regulations, could, among other things, restrict the Fund’s ability to engage in transactions, impact flows into the Fund and/or increase overall expenses of the Fund.
The SEC recently adopted Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act, which, effective August 18, 2022, regulates the use of derivatives, short sales, reverse repurchase agreements and certain other transactions for certain funds registered under the 1940 Act. Among other things, Rule 18f-4 requires funds that invest in derivative instruments beyond a specified limited amount to apply a value-at-risk (“VaR”) based limit to their use of certain derivative instruments and financing transactions and to adopt and implement a derivatives risk management program. Consequently, unless a fund qualifies as a “limited derivatives user” as defined in Rule 18f-4, the fund has established a comprehensive derivatives risk management program to comply with a VaR based leverage limit, appointed a derivatives risk manager and will provide additional disclosure both publicly and to the SEC regarding its derivatives positions. If a fund qualifies as a limited derivatives user, Rule 18f-4 requires the fund to have policies and procedures to manage its aggregate derivatives risk, which may require the fund to alter, perhaps materially, its use of derivatives, short sales, and reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions as part of its investment strategies. In connection with the adoption of Rule 18f-4, the SEC also eliminated the asset segregate framework for covering derivatives and certain financial instruments arising from SEC and staff guidance.
In response to the current economic environment, the Biden administration may call for an increased popular, political and judicial focus on finance related consumer protection. Financial institution practices are also subject to greater scrutiny and criticism generally. In the case of transactions between financial institutions and the general public, there may be a greater tendency toward strict interpretation of terms and legal rights in favor of the consuming public, particularly where there is a real or perceived disparity in risk allocation and/or where consumers are perceived as not having had an opportunity to exercise informed consent to the transaction. In the event of conflicting interests between retail investors holding shares of an open-end investment company such as the Fund and a large financial institution, a court may similarly seek to strictly interpret terms and legal rights in favor of retail investors.
As of the date of this SAI, the Democratic Party controls the executive branch of government and the Senate by a narrow margin, and the Republican Party controls the House of Representatives. Changes in federal policy, including tax policies, and at regulatory agencies occur over time through policy and personnel changes following elections, which lead to changes involving the level of oversight and focus on the financial services industry or the tax rates paid by corporate entities. The nature, timing and economic and political effects of potential changes to the current legal and regulatory framework affecting markets remain highly uncertain. Uncertainty surrounding future changes may adversely affect the Fund’s operating environment and therefore its investment performance.
In addition, certain of the Fund’s investments may provide exposure to coupon rates that are based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), Euro Interbank Offered Rate and other similar types of reference rates (each, a “Reference Rate”). These Reference Rates are generally intended to represent the rate at which contributing banks may obtain short-term borrowings within certain financial markets. Most maturities and currencies of LIBOR were phased out at the end of 2021, with the remaining ones to be phased out on June 30, 2023. These events and any additional regulatory or market changes may have an adverse impact on the Fund or its investments, including increased volatility or illiquidity in markets for instruments that rely on LIBOR. There remains uncertainty regarding the impact of the transition from LIBOR or the Fund and the financial markets generally. SOFR has been selected by a committee established by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to replace LIBOR as a Reference Rate in the United States and U.S. law requires that contracts without a practicable LIBOR alternative default to SOFR plus a set spread beginning in mid-2023. SOFR is a secured, nearly risk-free rate, while LIBOR is an unsecured rate that includes an element of bank credit risk. In addition, SOFR is strictly an overnight rate, while LIBOR historically has been published for various maturities, ranging from overnight to one year. Thus, LIBOR may be expected to be higher than SOFR, and the spread between the two is likely to widen in times of market stress. Certain existing contracts provide for a spread adjustment when transitioning to SOFR from LIBOR, but there is no assurance that it will provide adequate compensation.
Other countries have undertaken similar initiatives to identify replacement Reference Rates for LIBOR in their respective markets. However, there are obstacles to converting certain existing investments and transactions to a new Reference Rate, as well as risks associated with using a new Reference Rate with respect to new investments and transactions. There remains uncertainty regarding the impact of the transition from LIBOR on the Fund and the financial markets generally, and the termination of certain Reference Rates presents risk to the Fund. The transition process, or the failure of an industry to transition, could lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets for instruments that currently rely on LIBOR to determine interest rates and a reduction in the values of some LIBOR-based investments. Since the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark could deteriorate during the transition period, these effects could occur prior to June 30, 2023. Further, U.S. issuers are currently not obligated to include any particular fallback language in transaction documents for new issuances of LIBOR-linked securities. In addition, the alternative reference or benchmark rate may be an ineffective substitute, potentially resulting in prolonged adverse market conditions for the Fund. The elimination of a Reference Rate or any other changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of Reference Rates could have an adverse impact on the market for or value of any securities or payments linked to those Reference Rates and other financial obligations held by the Fund or on its overall financial conditions or results of operations. Any substitute Reference Rate and any pricing adjustments imposed by a regulator or by counterparties or otherwise may adversely affect the Fund’s performance and/or NAV. At this time, it is not possible to completely identify or predict the effect of any such changes, any establishment of alternative Reference Rates or any other reforms to Reference Rates that may be enacted in the UK or elsewhere.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has negatively affected economies, markets and individual companies in the United States and throughout the world. The effects of this pandemic to public health and business and market conditions may continue to have a significant negative impact on the performance of the Fund’s investments, increase the Fund’s volatility, exacerbate pre-existing political, social and economic risks to the Fund, and negatively impact broad segments of businesses and populations. The Fund’s operations may be interrupted as a result, which may contribute to the negative impact on investment performance. In addition, governments, their regulatory agencies, or self-regulatory organizations may take actions in response to the pandemic that affect the instruments in which the Fund invests, or the issuers of such instruments, in ways that could have a significant negative impact on the Fund’s investment performance. The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, or other future epidemics or pandemics, is currently unknown.
The Fund may be affected by governmental action in ways that are not foreseeable, and there is a possibility that such actions could have a significant adverse effect on the Fund and its ability to achieve its investment objectives.
Special Risks Related to Cybersecurity
The Fund and its service providers are susceptible to cybersecurity risks that include, among other things, theft, unauthorized monitoring, release, misuse, loss, destruction or corruption of confidential and highly restricted data; denial of service attacks; unauthorized access to relevant systems, compromises to networks or devices that the Fund and its service providers use to service the Fund’s operations; or operational disruption or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support the Fund and its service providers. Cyberattacks against or security breakdowns of the Fund or its service providers may adversely impact the Fund and its shareholders, potentially resulting in, among other things, financial losses; the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business and the Fund to process transactions; inability to calculate the Fund’s NAV; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement, or other compensation costs; and/or additional compliance costs. The Fund may incur additional costs for cybersecurity risk management and remediation purposes. In addition, cybersecurity risks may also impact issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which may cause the Fund’s investment in such issuers to lose value. There can be no assurance that the Fund or its service providers will not suffer losses relating to cyberattacks or other information security breaches in the future.
The Fund’s investment objective and the following investment restrictions are fundamental and may not be changed without the approval of a majority of the Fund’s shareholders, defined in the 1940 Act as the lesser of (1) 67% of the Fund’s shares present at a meeting if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares are present in person or by proxy or (2) more than 50% of the Fund’s outstanding shares. Under these restrictions, the Fund may not:
|1.||Invest more than 25% of the value of its total assets in any particular industry (this restriction does not apply to obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities);|
|2.||Purchase securities on margin, but it may obtain such short term credits from banks as may be necessary for the clearance of purchases and sales of portfolio securities;|
|3.||Make loans of its assets except for: (a) purchasing debt securities, (b) engaging in repurchase agreements as set forth in the SAI, and (c) lending its portfolio securities consistent with applicable regulatory requirements and as set forth in the SAI;|
|4.||Borrow money, except subject to the restrictions set forth in the SAI;|
|5.||Mortgage, pledge, or hypothecate any of its assets except that, in connection with permissible borrowings mentioned in restriction (4) above, not more than 20% of the assets of the Fund (not including amounts borrowed) may be used as collateral and that collateral arrangements with respect to the writing of options or any other hedging activity are not deemed to be pledges of assets and these arrangements are not deemed to be the issuance of a senior security as set forth below in restriction (11);|
|6.||Except to the extent permitted by restriction (14) below, invest in any investment company affiliated with the Fund or G.distributors, invest more than 5% of its total assets in the securities of any one investment company, own more than 3% of the securities of any investment company or invest more than 10% of its total assets in the securities of all other investment companies;|
|7.||Engage in the underwriting of securities, except insofar as the Fund may be deemed an underwriter under the 1933 Act, in disposing of a portfolio security;|
|8.||Invest, in the aggregate, more than 10% of the value of its net assets in securities for which market quotations are not readily available, securities which are restricted for public sale, in repurchase agreements maturing or terminable in more than seven days, and all other illiquid securities;|
|9.||Purchase or otherwise acquire interests in real estate, real estate mortgage loans, or interests in oil, gas, or other mineral exploration or development programs;|
|10.||Purchase or acquire commodities or commodity contracts except that the Fund may purchase or sell futures contracts and related options thereon if thereafter no more than 5% of its total assets are invested in margin and premiums;|
|11.||Issue senior securities, except insofar as the Fund may be deemed to have issued a senior security in connection with: (a) borrowing money in accordance with restriction (4) above, (b) lending portfolio securities, (c) entering into repurchase agreements, (d) purchasing or selling options contracts, (e) purchasing or selling futures contracts and related options thereon, or (f) acquiring when issued or delayed delivery securities and forward commitments;|
|12.||Sell securities short, except transactions involving selling securities short “against the box”;|
|13.||Purchase warrants if, thereafter, more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s net assets would consist of such warrants, but warrants attached to other securities or acquired in units by the Fund are not subject to this restriction; or|
|14.||Invest in companies for the purpose of exercising control, except transactions involving investments in investment companies for the purpose of effecting mergers and other corporate reorganizations involving the Fund and such other investment companies.|
If any percentage limitation is adhered to at the time of an investment, a later increase or decrease in the percentage of assets resulting from a change in the values of portfolio securities or in the amount of the Fund’s assets will not constitute a violation of such restriction.
The Fund will not invest in the securities of any issuer if, immediately after such investment, less than 75% of the total assets of the Fund will be invested in cash and cash items (including receivables), Government securities, securities of other investment companies or other securities for the purposes of this calculation limited in respect of any one issuer to an amount (determined immediately after the latest acquisition of securities of the issuer) not greater in value than 5% of the total assets of the Fund and to not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer. This policy will not be changed without shareholder approval.
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS INFORMATION
Employees of the Adviser and its affiliates will often have access to information concerning the portfolio holdings of the Fund. The Fund and the Adviser have adopted policies and procedures that require all employees to safeguard proprietary information of the Fund, which includes information relating to the Fund’s portfolio holdings as well as portfolio trading activity of the Adviser with respect to the Fund (collectively, “Portfolio Holdings Information”). In addition, the Fund and the Adviser have adopted policies and procedures providing that Portfolio Holdings Information may not be disclosed except to the extent that it is (a) made available to the general public by posting on the Fund’s website or filed as a part of a required filing on Form N-PORT or N-CSR or (b) provided to a third party for legitimate business purposes or regulatory purposes which has agreed to keep such information confidential under terms approved by the Adviser’s legal department or outside counsel, as described below. The Adviser will examine each situation under (b) with a view to determine that release of the information is in the best interest of the Fund and its shareholders and, if a potential conflict between the Adviser’s interests and the Fund’s interests arises, to have such conflict resolved by the Chief Compliance Officer or those Directors who are not considered to be “interested persons”, as defined in the 1940 Act (the “Independent Directors”). These policies further provide that no officer of the Fund or employee of the Adviser shall communicate with the media about the Fund without obtaining the advance consent of the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, or General Counsel of the Adviser.
Under the foregoing policies, the Fund may disclose Portfolio Holdings Information in the circumstances outlined below. Disclosure generally may be either on a monthly or quarterly basis with no time lag in some cases and with a time lag of up to sixty days in other cases (with the exception of proxy voting services which require a regular download of data):
|1.||To regulatory authorities in response to requests for such information and with the approval of the Chief Compliance Officer of the Fund;|
|2.||To mutual fund rating and statistical agencies and to persons performing similar functions where there is a legitimate business purpose for such disclosure and such entity has agreed to keep such data confidential at least until it has been made public by the Adviser;|
|3.||To service providers of the Fund, as necessary for the performance of their services to the Fund and to the Board, where such entity has agreed to keep such data confidential at least until it has been made public by the Adviser. The Fund’s current service providers that may receive such information are its administrator, sub-administrator, custodian, independent registered public accounting firm, legal counsel, and financial printers;|
|4.||To firms providing proxy voting or other proxy services provided such entity has agreed to keep such data confidential at least until it has been made public by the Adviser;|
|5.||To certain brokers-dealers, investment advisers, and other financial intermediaries for purposes of their performing due diligence on the Fund and not for dissemination of this information to their clients or use of this information to conduct trading for their clients. Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings Information in these circumstances requires the broker-dealer, investment adviser, or financial intermediary to agree to keep such information confidential at least until it has been made public by the Adviser and is further subject to prior approval of the Chief Compliance Officer of the Fund and shall be reported to the Board at the next quarterly meeting; and|
|6.||To consultants for purposes of performing analysis of the Fund, which analysis may be used by the consultant with its clients or disseminated to the public, provided that such entity shall have agreed to keep such information confidential at least until it has been made public by the Adviser.|
As of the date of this SAI, the Fund makes information about its portfolio securities available to its administrator, sub-administrator, custodian, and proxy voting services on a daily basis, with no time lag, to its typesetter on a semiannual basis with a ten day time lag, to its financial printers on a quarterly basis with a forty-five day time lag, and to its independent registered public accounting firm and legal counsel on an as needed basis with no time lag. The names of the Fund’s administrator, sub-administrator, custodian, independent registered public accounting firm, and legal counsel are set forth in this SAI. The Fund’s proxy voting service is Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., Donnelley Financial Solutions, and Appatura provide typesetting services for the Fund, and the Fund selects from a number of financial printers who have agreed to keep such information confidential at least until it has been made public by the Adviser.
Other than arrangements with the Fund’s service providers and proxy voting service, the Fund has no ongoing arrangements to make available information about the Fund’s portfolio securities prior to such information being disclosed in a publicly available filing with the SEC that is required to include the information.
Disclosures made pursuant to a confidentiality agreement are subject to periodic confirmation by the Chief Compliance Officer of the Fund that the recipient has utilized such information solely in accordance with the terms of the agreement. Neither the Fund, nor the Adviser, nor any of the Adviser’s affiliates will accept on behalf of itself, its affiliates, or the Fund any compensation or other consideration in connection with the disclosure of portfolio holdings of the Fund. The Board will review such arrangements annually with the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer.
DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
Under Maryland law, the Fund’s Board is responsible for establishing the Fund’s policies and for overseeing the management of the Fund. The Board approves all significant agreements between the Fund and the companies that furnish the Fund with services, including agreements with the Adviser, the Fund’s custodian and the Fund’s transfer agent. The day to day operations of the Fund are delegated to the Adviser.
The names and business addresses of the Directors and Officers of the Fund are set forth in the following table together with their positions and their principal occupations during the past five years, and in the case of the Directors, their other directorships during the past five years with certain other organizations and companies.
Address (1) and Year of Birth
During Past Five Years
Chief Investment Officer
|Since 1989||31(7)||Chair, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer – Value Portfolios of GAMCO Investors, Inc. and Chief Investment Officer – Value Portfolios of Gabelli Funds, LLC and GAMCO Asset Management, Inc.; Director/Trustee or Chief Investment Officer of other registered investment companies within the Gabelli Fund Complex; Chief Executive Officer of GGCP, Inc.; Executive Chair of Associated Capital Group, Inc.||Director of Morgan Group Holding Co. (holding company) (2001-2019); Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of LICT Corp. (multimedia and communication services company); Director of CIBL, Inc. (broadcasting and wireless communications); Director of ICTC Group Inc. (communications) (2013-2018)|
|Since 1989||18||President of the law firm of Anthony J. Colavita, P.C.||—|
|Since 1989||7||Partner in the law firm of Morrissey, Hawkins & Lynch||Chairman of the Board of Directors, Belmont Savings Bank|
|Since 2016||37||President of Advanced Polymer, Inc. (chemical manufacturing company); President of KEN Enterprises, Inc. (real estate); Trustee on Long Island University Board of Trustees; Trustee on Fordham Preparatory School Board of Trustees||—|
Address (1) and Year of Birth
During Past Five Years
President and Treasurer
|Since 2017||Senior Vice President (since 2018) and other positions (2017 – 2018) of GAMCO Investors, Inc.; Chief Executive Officer, G. Distributors, LLC since 2020; Officer of registered investment companies within the Gabelli Fund Complex since 2017; Vice President and Assistant Treasurer of AMG Funds, 2014 – 2017|
|Since 2020||General Counsel, GAMCO Investors, Inc. and Chief Legal Officer, Associated Capital Group, Inc. since 2021; General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Buckingham Capital Management, Inc. (2012-2020); Chief Legal Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, The Buckingham Research Group, Inc. (2012-2020)|
Chief Compliance Officer
|Since 2013||Chief Compliance Officer of registered investment companies within the Gabelli Fund Complex since 2013|
|(1)||Address: One Corporate Center, Rye, NY 10580-1422.|
|(2)||Each Director will hold office for an indefinite term until the earliest of (i) the next meeting of shareholders, if any, called for the purpose of considering the election or re-election of such Director and until the election and qualification of his or her successor, if any, elected at such meeting, or (ii) the date a Director resigns or retires, or a Director is removed by the Board or shareholders, in accordance with the Fund’s By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation. For officers, includes time served in prior officer positions with the Fund. Each officer will hold office for an indefinite term or until the date he or she resigns or retires or until his or her successor is elected and qualified.|
|(3)||The “Fund Complex” or the “Gabelli Fund Complex” includes all the U.S. registered investment companies that are considered part of the same fund complex as the Fund because they have common or affiliated investment advisers.|
|(4)||“Interested person” of the Fund as defined in the 1940 Act. Mr. Gabelli is considered to be an “interested person” of the Fund because of his affiliation with the Fund’s Adviser.|
|(5)||Directors who are not considered to be “interested persons” of the Fund as defined in the 1940 Act, are considered to be “Independent” Directors.|
|(6)||Mr. Colavita’s son, Anthony S. Colavita, serves as a director of other funds in the Fund Complex.|
|(7)||As of December 31, 2022, there are a total of 49 registered investment companies in the Fund Complex. Of the 49 registered investment companies, Mr. Gabelli serves as a director or trustee for 31 funds, sole portfolio manager of 5 funds and part of the portfolio management team of 15 funds.|
The Board believes that each Director’s experience, qualifications, attributes, and skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of other Directors lead to the conclusion that each Director should serve in such capacity. Among the attributes or skills common to all Directors are their ability to review critically and to evaluate, question, and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the other Directors, the Adviser, the sub-administrator, other service providers, counsel, and the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, and to exercise effective and independent business judgment in the performance of their duties as Directors. Each Director’s ability to perform his duties effectively has been attained in large part through the Director’s business, consulting, or public service positions, and through experience from service as a member of the Board and one or more of the other funds in the Fund Complex, public companies, non-profit entities, or other organizations as set forth above and below. Each Director’s ability to perform his duties effectively also has been enhanced by education, professional training, and other experience.
Mario J. Gabelli, CFA. Mr. Gabelli is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Investment Officer of the Fund. Mr. Gabelli is Chair, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer – Value Portfolios of GAMCO Investors, Inc. (“GAMI”), an OTCQX (“OTCQX”)-listed asset manager and financial services company. He is the Chief Investment Officer of Value Portfolios of Gabelli Funds, LLC and GAMCO Asset Management Inc., each of which are asset management subsidiaries of GAMI. In addition, Mr. Gabelli is Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer, a director and the controlling shareholder of GGCP, Inc. (“GGCP”), a private company that holds a majority interest in GAMI, and the Chair of MJG Associates, Inc., which acts as an investment manager of various investment funds and other accounts. He is Executive Chair of Associated Capital Group, Inc., a public company that provides alternative management and institutional research services, and is a majority-owned subsidiary of GGCP. Mr. Gabelli has served as Chair of LICT Corporation (“LICT”), a public company engaged in broadband transport and other communications services, since 2004 and has been the CEO of LICT since December 2010. He has also served as a director of CIBL, Inc. (“CIBL”), a public holding company that was spun-off from LICT in 2007, since 2007 and as Executive Chair since February 2020. He served as the Chair of Morgan Group Holding Co., a public holding company, from 2001 to October 2019 and as the CEO from 2001 to November 2012. Mr. Gabelli serves as Overseer of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and as a trustee of Boston College and Roger Williams University. He serves as a director of the Winston Churchill Foundation, The E.L. Wiegand Foundation, The American-Italian Cancer Foundation, and The Foundation for Italian Art and Culture. He is Chair of the Gabelli Foundation, Inc., a Nevada private charitable trust. Mr. Gabelli serves as Co-President of Field Point Park Association, Inc. Mr. Gabelli received his Bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, and honorary Doctorates from Fordham University and Roger Williams University.
Anthony J. Colavita, Esq. Mr. Colavita is a practicing attorney with over fifty-five years of experience. He is Chairman of the Fund’s Nominating Committee and a member of the Fund’s Audit and ad hoc Proxy Voting Committees. Mr. Colavita serves on comparable or other board committees with respect to other funds in the Fund Complex on whose boards he sits. He served as a Commissioner of the New York State Thruway Authority and as a Commissioner of the New York State Bridge Authority, where his duties included reviewing financial documents of these agencies. He served for eleven years as the elected Supervisor of the Town of Eastchester, New York, responsible for ten annual municipal budgets. Mr. Colavita also served as Special Counsel to the New York State Assembly for five years and as a Senior Attorney with the New York State Insurance Department. He is the former Chairman of the New York State Republican Party, the Westchester County Republican Party, and the Eastchester Republican Town Committee. Mr. Colavita received his Bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University and his Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law.
Robert J. Morrissey, Esq. Mr. Morrissey has over forty-five years of experience as an attorney representing clients in the areas of estate planning, civil litigation, business planning, and real estate, including as current senior partner of a law firm. He is a member of the Fund’s Nominating and ad hoc Proxy Voting Committees. He serves on the boards of other funds in the Fund Complex. Mr. Morrissey serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Belmont Savings Bank in Massachusetts. He also served as a trustee to Boston College and is continuing Chairman of its Investment and Endowment Committee. In addition, Mr. Morrissey is a member of the Harvard Law School Dean’s Advisory Board, a member of the Financial Council of the Archdiocese of Boston and Chairman of its Investment Committee. He is a member of the Investment Advisory Committee of Jesuit Curia, Vatican City, and a director of several other private and public funds, trusts, and foundations. Mr. Morrissey is a graduate of Boston College and Harvard Law School.
Kuni Nakamura. Mr. Nakamura serves as the Lead Independent Director of the Fund, as a member of the Fund’s ad hoc Proxy Voting Committee, and as Chairman of the Fund’s Audit Committee. He has been designated as the Fund’s Audit Committee Financial Expert. He serves on the boards of other funds in the Fund Complex. Mr. Nakamura is the president of Advanced Polymer, Inc., a chemical manufacturing company, and president of KEN Enterprises, Inc., a real estate company. He was previously a board member of The LGL Group, Inc., a diversified manufacturing company. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Long Island University in Brookville, NY and Fordham Preparatory School. He is involved in various capacities with The University of Pennsylvania and The Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Mr. Nakamura is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania—The Wharton School with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Multinational Management.
Directors — Leadership Structure and Oversight Responsibilities
Overall responsibility for general oversight of the Fund rests with the Board. The Board has appointed Mr. Nakamura as the Lead Independent Director. The Lead Independent Director presides over executive sessions of the Directors and also serves between meetings of the Board as a liaison with service providers, officers, counsel, and other Directors on a wide variety of matters including scheduling agenda items for Board meetings. Designation as such does not impose on the Lead Independent Director any obligations or standards greater than or different from other Directors. The Board has established a Nominating Committee and an Audit Committee to assist the Board in the oversight of the management and affairs of the Fund. The Board also has an ad hoc Proxy Voting Committee. From time to time, the Board establishes additional committees or informal working groups to deal with specific matters or assigns one of its members to work with directors or trustees of other funds in the Fund Complex on special committees or working groups that deal with complex-wide matters, such as the multi-fund ad hoc Compensation Committee relating to compensation of the Chief Compliance Officer for all the funds in the Fund Complex. The Fund Complex also has a separate ad hoc multi-fund Compensation Committee relating to certain officers of the closed-end funds, and some of the Fund’s Directors may from time to time also serve on this separate committee.
All of the Fund’s Directors, other than Mr. Mario J. Gabelli, are Independent Directors, and the Board believes they are able to provide effective oversight of the Fund’s service providers. In addition to providing direction during Board meetings, the Directors meet regularly in executive session and chair all committees of the Board.
The Fund’s operations entail a variety of risks including investment, administration, valuation, and a range of compliance matters. Although the Adviser, the sub-administrator, and the officers of the Fund are responsible for managing these risks on a day to day basis within the framework of their established risk management functions, the Board also addresses risk management of the Fund through its meetings and those of the committees and working groups. In particular, as part of its general oversight, the Board reviews with the Adviser at Board meetings the levels and types of risks being undertaken by the Fund, and the Audit Committee discusses the Fund’s risk management and controls with the independent registered public accounting firm engaged by the Fund. The Board reviews valuation policies and procedures and the valuations of specific illiquid securities. The Board also receives periodic reports from the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer regarding compliance matters relating to the Fund and its major service providers, including results of the implementation and testing of the Fund’s and such providers’ compliance programs. The Board’s oversight function is facilitated by management reporting processes that are designed to provide information to the Board about the identification, assessment, and management of critical risks and the controls and policies and procedures used to mitigate those risks. The Board reviews its role in supervising the Fund’s risk management from time to time and may make changes in its discretion at any time.
The Board has determined that its leadership structure is appropriate for the Fund because it enables the Board to exercise informed and independent judgment over matters under its purview, allocates responsibility among committees in a manner that fosters effective oversight, and allows the Board to devote appropriate resources to specific issues in a flexible manner as they arise. The Board periodically reviews its leadership structure as well as its overall structure, composition, and functioning and may make changes in its discretion at any time.
The Board has established two standing committees in connection with its governance of the Fund: the Audit and Nominating Committees, and has also established an ad hoc Proxy Voting Committee. The Fund does not have a standing Compensation Committee (although some of the individuals who are Directors of the Fund participate in the multi-fund ad hoc Compensation Committees described above).
The Fund’s Audit Committee consists of two members: Messrs. Nakamura (Chairman) and Colavita, who are Independent Directors of the Fund. The Audit Committee operates pursuant to a Charter that was most recently reviewed and approved by the Board of the Fund on February 16, 2023. As set forth in the Charter, the function of the Audit Committee is oversight; it is management’s responsibility to maintain appropriate systems for accounting and internal control and it is the independent registered public accounting firm’s responsibility to plan and carry out a proper audit. The Audit Committee is generally responsible for reviewing and evaluating issues related to the accounting and financial reporting policies and practices of the Fund, its internal controls, and, as appropriate, the internal controls of certain service providers, overseeing the quality and objectivity of the Fund’s financial statements and the audit thereof, and to act as a liaison between the Board and the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Audit Committee met twice.
The Fund’s Nominating Committee consists of two members: Messrs. Colavita (Chairman) and Morrissey, who are Independent Directors of the Fund. The Nominating Committee is responsible for selecting and recommending qualified candidates to the full Board in the event that a position is vacated or created. The Nominating Committee would consider, under procedures adopted by the Board, recommendations by shareholders if a vacancy were to exist. Such recommendations should be forwarded to the Secretary of the Fund. The Nominating Committee did not meet during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
The ad hoc Proxy Voting Committee consists of three members: Messrs. Colavita, Morrissey, and Nakamura, who are Independent Directors of the Fund. Under certain circumstances and pursuant to specific procedures and guidelines, the ad hoc Proxy Voting Committee will, in place of the Fund’s Adviser, exercise complete control and discretion over the exercise of all rights to vote or consent with respect to certain securities owned by the Fund and may also determine to exercise complete control and discretion over the disposition of such securities. The ad hoc Proxy Voting Committee meets periodically on an as needed basis to consider such matters and did not meet during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
Mr. Morrissey is the Chairman and the only member of the Fund’s ad hoc Investment Committee. The Investment Committee reviews investment related matters as needed.
Director Ownership of Fund Shares
Set forth in the table below is the dollar range of equity securities in the Fund beneficially owned by each Director and the aggregate dollar range of equity securities in the Fund Complex beneficially owned by each Director as of December 31, 2022.
|Name of Director||Dollar Range of Equity
in the Fund*
|Aggregate Dollar Range of|
Equity Securities Held
in Fund Complex*
|Mario J. Gabelli||E||E|
|Anthony J. Colavita||E||E|
|Robert J. Morrissey||D||E|
|*||Key to Dollar Ranges- Information as of December 31, 2022.|
|B.||$1 – $10,000|
|C.||$10,001 – $50,000|
|D.||$50,001 – $100,000|
Set forth in the table below is the amount of interests beneficially owned, as of December 31, 2022, by certain Independent Directors or their immediate family members, as applicable, in a holding that may be deemed to be controlled by Mario J. Gabelli and/or affiliates and in that event would be deemed to be under common control with the Fund’s Adviser.
Name of Independent Director
|Company||Title of Class||Value of
|Anthony J. Colavita||Same||The LGL Group, Inc.||Common Stock||$||9,453||*|
|Anthony J. Colavita||Same||The LGL Group, Inc.||Warrants||$||467||*|
|Anthony J. Colavita||Family||Gabelli Associates Fund||Membership Interests||$||1,258,313||*|
|Anthony J. Colavita||Same||M-Tron Industries Inc.||Common Stock||$||10,211||*|
|Kuni Nakamura||Same||The LGL Group, Inc.||Common Stock||$||7,031||*|
|Kuni Nakamura||Same||The LGL Group, Inc.||Warrants||$||347||*|
|Kuni Nakamura||Same||M-Tron Industries Inc.||Common Stock||$||7,595||*|
|*||An asterisk indicates that the ownership amount constitutes less than 1% of the total interests outstanding.|
Director and Officer Compensation
The Fund pays each of its Directors who is not a director, officer, or employee of the Adviser, or any of its affiliates, $9,000 per annum plus $2,000 per meeting attended in person, $500 per meeting attended by telephone, and reimburses each Director for related travel and out of pocket expenses. Each Committee Member receives $500 per committee meeting attended in person or by telephone. The Fund also pays each Director serving as Chairman of the Investment, Proxy, or Nominating Committees $2,500 per annum. The Audit Committee Chairman and the Lead Director each receives $2,000 per annum. A Director may receive a single meeting fee, allocated among the participating funds in the Fund Complex, for participation in certain special meetings or committee meetings on behalf of multiple funds. Directors and officers of the Fund who are employed by the Adviser, or an affiliated company receive no compensation or expense reimbursement from the Fund.
The following table sets forth certain information regarding the compensation of the Fund’s Directors. Although Officers, including the Chief Compliance Officer, may be compensated by the Fund, no Officer or person affiliated with the Fund received compensation in excess of $60,000 from the Fund for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
Aggregate Compensation from Fund (Fiscal Year)
|Name of Person and Position||Aggregate Compensation
From the Fund*
From the Fund and
Chairman of the Board
|Anthony J. Colavita
|Robert J. Morrissey
|*||Represents the total compensation paid to such persons for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.|
|**||Represents the total compensation paid to such persons during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022. The parenthetical number represents the number of investment companies (including the Fund) or portfolios thereof from which such person received compensation and which are considered part of the Fund Complex.|
Code of Ethics
The Fund, its Adviser, and the Distributor have adopted a code of ethics (the “Code of Ethics”) under Rule 17j-1 of the 1940 Act. The Code of Ethics permits personnel, subject to the Code of Ethics and its restrictive provisions, to invest in securities, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund.
Proxy Voting Policies
The Fund has delegated the voting of portfolio securities to the Adviser. The Adviser has adopted proxy voting policies and procedures (the “Proxy Voting Policy”) for the voting of proxies on behalf of client accounts for which the Adviser has voting discretion, including the Fund. Under the Proxy Voting Policy, portfolio securities held by a Fund are to be voted in the best interests of that Fund.
Normally, the Adviser exercises proxy voting discretion on particular types of proposals in accordance with guidelines (the “Proxy Voting Guidelines”) set forth in the Proxy Voting Policy. The Proxy Voting Guidelines address, for example, proposals to elect the board of directors, to classify the board of directors, to select the independent registered public accounting firm, to issue blank check preferred stock, to use confidential ballots, to eliminate cumulative voting, to require shareholder ratification of poison pills, to support fair price provisions, to require a supermajority shareholder vote for charter or bylaw amendments, to provide for director and officer indemnification and liability protection, to increase the number of authorized shares of common stock, to allow greenmail, to limit shareholders’ rights to call special meetings, to consider the non-financial effects of a merger, to limit shareholders’ rights to act by written consent, to approve executive and director compensation plans (including golden parachutes), to limit executive and director pay, to approve stock option plans, to opt in or out of state takeover statutes, and to approve mergers, acquisitions, corporate restructuring, spin-offs, buyouts, asset sales, or liquidations.
A Proxy Voting Committee (“Committee”) comprised of senior representatives of the Adviser and its affiliated investment advisers has the responsibility for the content, interpretation, and application of the Proxy Voting Guidelines. In general, the Director of Proxy Voting Services, using the Proxy Guidelines, and the analysts of GAMCO Investors, Inc. (“GAMI”), will determine how to vote on each issue. For non-controversial matters, the Director of Proxy Voting Services may vote the proxy if the vote is: (1) consistent with the recommendations of the issuer's Board of Directors and not contrary to the Proxy Guidelines; (2) consistent with the recommendations of the issuer's Board of Directors and is a non-controversial issue not covered by the Proxy Guidelines; or (3) the vote is contrary to the recommendations of the Board of Directors but is consistent with the Proxy Guidelines. In those instances, the Director of Proxy Voting Services or the Chairman of the Committee may sign and date the proxy statement indicating how each issue will be voted. The Advisers subscribe to Institutional Shareholders Services (“ISS”) and Glass Lewis & Co. LLC (“Glass Lewis”), which supplies current information on companies, matters being voted on, regulations, trends in proxy voting and information on corporate governance issues. The information provided by ISS and Glass Lewis is for informational purposes only.
All matters identified by the Chairman of the Committee, the Director of Proxy Voting Services or the Legal Department as controversial, taking into account the recommendations of the analysts of GAMI, will be presented to the Proxy Voting Committee. If the Chairman of the Committee, the Director of Proxy Voting Services or the Legal Department has identified the matter as one that (1) is controversial; (2) would benefit from deliberation by the Proxy Voting Committee; or (3) may give rise to a conflict of interest between the Advisers and their clients, the Chairman of the Committee will initially determine what vote to recommend that the Advisers should cast and the matter will go before the Committee.
For matters submitted to the Committee, each member of the Committee will receive, prior to the meeting, a copy of the proxy statement, a summary of any views provided by the Chief Investment Officer and any recommendations by GAMI analysts. The Chief Investment Officer or the GAMI analyst may be invited to present their viewpoints. If the Director of Proxy Voting Services or the Legal Department believe that the matter before the Committee is one with respect to which a conflict of interest may exist between the Adviser and their clients, counsel may provide an opinion to the Committee concerning the conflict. If the matter is one in which the interests of the clients of one or more Advisers may diverge, counsel may so advise and the Committee may make different recommendations as to different clients. For any matters where the recommendation may trigger appraisal rights, counsel may provide an opinion concerning the likely risks and merits of such an appraisal action.
Where a proxy proposal raises a material conflict between the interests of the Fund’s shareholders on the one hand, and those of the Fund’s Adviser and/or the principal underwriters, on the other hand, the conflict will be brought to the ad hoc Proxy Voting Committee of the Fund to determine a resolution.
Each matter submitted to the Committee will be determined by the vote of a majority of the members present at the meeting. Should the vote concerning one or more recommendations be tied in a vote of the Committee, the Chairman of the Committee will cast the deciding vote. The Committee will notify the proxy department of its decisions and the proxies will be voted accordingly.
The Fund files Form N-PX with its complete proxy voting record for the twelve months ended June 30 no later than August 31 of each year. This filing is available without charge, upon request, by calling toll-free (800) 422-3554 and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL SHAREHOLDERS
As of March 31, 2023, the following persons were known to own of record or beneficially 5% or more of the outstanding voting securities of any class of the Fund:
|NAME AND ADDRESS||% OF CLASS||NATURE OF
|Charles Schwab & Co Inc.
Special Custody Acct FBO
Exclusive Benefit Of Customers
Attn Mutual Funds
San Francisco, CA 94105-1901
|TD Ameritrade Inc.
FBO Our Clients
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
|UMB Bank NA
Cust IRA FBO
Harrison, NY 10528-2616
|Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC
For Exclusive Benefit of its Customer
New York, NY 10004-1965
|National Financial Services LLC
For Exclusive Benefit of our Customers
ATTN Mutual Funds Dept 4th Fl
Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995
|Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC
Special Custody Acct FBO
Exclusive Benefit of Customer
St Louis, MO 63103-2523
|UBS WM USA
SPEC CDY A/C EBOC UBSFSI
ATTN Department Manager
Weehawken, NJ 07086-6761
|Charles Schwab & Co Inc.
Special Custody Acct FBO Customers
Attn Mutual Funds
San Francisco, CA 94105-1901
|National Financial Services LLC
For Exclusive Benefit of our Customers
ATTN Mutual Funds Dept 4th Fl
Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995
Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001
|Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC
Special Custody Acct FBO
Exclusive Benefit of Customer
St Louis, MO 63103-2523
|NAME AND ADDRESS||% OF CLASS||NATURE OF
|UBS WM USA
SPEC CDY A/C EBOC UBSFSI
ATTN Department Manager
Weehawken, NJ 07086-6761
|RBC Capital Markets LLC
Mutual Fund Omnibus Processing
Attn: Mutual Fund Ops Manager
Minneapolis, MN 55401-7554
|Charles Schwab & Co Inc.
Special Custody Acct FBO Customers
Attn Mutual Funds
San Francisco, CA 94105-1901
|Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC
For Exclusive Benefit of its Customer
New York, NY 10004-1965
|Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC
Special Custody Acct FBO
Exclusive Benefit of Customer
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
|*||Beneficial ownership is disclaimed.|
|†||Beneficial ownership of shares representing 25% or more of the outstanding shares of a Fund may be deemed to represent control, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act.|
As of March 31, 2023, as a group the Directors and Officers of the Fund owned less than 1% of the outstanding shares (aggregating all classes) of the Fund.
INVESTMENT ADVISORY AND OTHER SERVICES
The Investment Adviser
The Adviser, a New York limited liability company and registered investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended, serves as an investment adviser to registered investment companies as well as one fund that trades on the London Stock Exchange and three funds within a Luxembourg SICAV, with combined aggregate net assets of approximating $18.5 billion as of December 31, 2022. The Adviser is a wholly owned subsidiary of GAMI. Mr. Mario J. Gabelli may be deemed a “controlling person” of the Adviser on the basis of his controlling interest in GAMI. Mr. Gabelli owns a majority of the stock of GGCP, which holds a majority of the capital stock and voting power of GAMI, a New York corporation, whose Class A Common Stock is traded on the OTCQX under the symbol, “GAMI”. The Adviser has several affiliates that provide investment advisory services: GAMCO Asset Management Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GAMI, acts as investment adviser for individuals, pension trusts, profit sharing trusts, and endowments, and as a sub-adviser to certain third party investment funds, which include registered investment companies, having assets under management of approximately of $10.7 billion as of December 31, 2022; Teton Advisors, LLC (previously Teton Advisors, Inc., with assets under management of approximately $1.5 billion as of December 31, 2022), and its affiliated investment adviser, Keeley-Teton Advisers, LLC, acts as investment adviser to The TETON Westwood Funds and separately managed accounts; and Gabelli & Company Investment Advisers, Inc. (formerly, Gabelli Securities, Inc.), a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated Capital Group, Inc. (“Associated Capital”), acts as investment adviser for certain alternative investment products, consisting primarily of risk arbitrage and merchant banking limited partnerships and offshore companies, with assets under management of approximately $1.8 billion as of December 31, 2022. Teton Advisors, Inc. was spun off by GAMI in March 2009 and is an affiliate of GAMI by virtue of Mr. Gabelli’s ownership of GGCP, the principal shareholder of Teton Advisors, Inc., the parent of TETON Advisors, LLC, as of December 31, 2022. Effective December 31, 2021, Teton Advisors, Inc. completed a reorganization by transferring its entire business operations and personnel to a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Teton Advisors, LLC. Associated Capital was spun off from GAMI on November 30, 2015, and is an affiliate of GAMI by virtue of Mr. Gabelli’s ownership of GGCP, the principal shareholder of Associated Capital.
Affiliates of the Adviser may, in the ordinary course of their business, acquire for their own account or for the accounts of their advisory clients, significant (and possibly controlling) positions in the securities of companies that may also be suitable for investment by the Fund. The securities in which the Fund might invest may thereby be limited to some extent. For instance, many companies in the past several years have adopted so-called “poison pill” or other defensive measures designed to discourage or prevent the completion of non-negotiated offers for control of the company. Such defensive measures may have the effect of limiting the shares of the company that might otherwise be acquired by the Fund if the affiliates of the Adviser or their advisory accounts have or acquire a significant position in the same securities. However, the Adviser does not believe that the investment activities of its affiliates will have a material adverse effect upon the Fund in seeking to achieve its investment objectives. Securities purchased or sold pursuant to contemporaneous orders entered on behalf of the investment company accounts of the Adviser or the advisory accounts managed by its affiliates for their unaffiliated clients are allocated pursuant to principles believed to be fair and not disadvantageous to any such accounts. In addition, all such orders are accorded priority of execution over orders entered on behalf of accounts in which the Adviser or its affiliates have a substantial pecuniary interest. The Adviser may on occasion give advice or take action with respect to other clients that differs from the actions taken with respect to the Fund. The Fund may invest in the securities of companies which are investment management clients of GAMCO. In addition, portfolio companies or their officers or directors may be minority shareholders of the Adviser or its affiliates.
The Adviser currently serves as the investment adviser to the Fund pursuant to an investment advisory agreement (the “Contract”) dated March 1, 1994. Pursuant to the Contract, the Adviser furnishes a continuous investment program for the Fund’s portfolio, makes the day to day investment decisions for the Fund, arranges the portfolio transactions of the Fund, and generally manages the Fund’s investments in accordance with the stated policies of the Fund, subject to the general supervision of the Board.
Under the Contract, the Adviser also provides or arranges for the following services: (i) maintaining the Fund’s books and records, such as journals, ledger accounts, and other records in accordance with applicable laws and regulations to the extent not maintained by the Fund’s custodian, transfer agent, or dividend disbursing agent; (ii) transmitting purchase and redemption orders for Fund shares to the extent not transmitted by the Fund’s Distributor or others who purchase and redeem shares; (iii) initiating all money transfers to the Fund’s custodian and from the Fund’s custodian for the payment of the Fund’s expenses, investments, dividends, and share redemptions; (iv) reconciling account information and balances among the Fund’s custodian, transfer agent, distributor, dividend disbursing agent, and the Adviser; (v) providing the Fund, upon request, with such office space and facilities, utilities, and office equipment as are adequate for the Fund’s needs; (vi) supervising the preparation of, but not paying for, all reports by the Fund to its shareholders and all reports and filings required to maintain the registration and qualification of the Fund’s shares under U.S. federal and state law, including periodic updating of the Fund’s registration statement and prospectus (including its SAI); (vii) supervising the calculation of the NAV of each class of the Fund’s shares; and (viii) preparing notices and agendas for meetings of the Fund’s shareholders and the Fund’s Board as well as minutes of such meetings in all matters required by applicable law to be acted upon by the Board.
The cost of calculating the Fund’s NAV is an expense payable by the Fund pursuant to the Contract. To the extent that a portion of the sub-administration fee is used to pay for personnel and equipment related to calculating the NAV, the Fund will reimburse the Adviser for such expense up to $45,000. The Adviser will not seek reimbursement if assets are less than $50 million. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Fund reimbursed the Adviser $45,000 in connection with the cost of computing the Fund’s NAV.
The Contract provides that, absent willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of its duty, the Adviser shall not be liable to the Fund for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss sustained by the Fund. The Fund has agreed by the terms of the Contract that the word “Gabelli” in its name is derived from the name of the Adviser which in turn is derived from Mario J. Gabelli’s name; that the name is the property of the Adviser for copyright and/or other purposes; and that, therefore, such name may freely be used by the Adviser for other investment companies, entities, or products. The Fund has further agreed that in the event that for any reason, the Adviser ceases to be its investment adviser, the Fund will, unless the Adviser otherwise consents in writing, promptly take all steps necessary to change its name to one which does not include “Gabelli.”
By its terms, the Contract will remain in effect from year to year, provided each such annual continuance is specifically approved by the Fund’s Board or by a “majority” (as defined in the 1940 Act) vote of its shareholders and, in either case, by a majority vote of the Independent Directors, cast in person at a meeting called specifically for the purpose of voting on the continuance of the Contract. The Contract is terminable without penalty by the Fund on sixty days written notice when authorized either by a majority vote of its outstanding voting shares or by a vote of a majority of its Board, or by the Adviser on sixty days written notice, and will automatically terminate in the event of its “assignment” as defined by the 1940 Act.
As compensation for its services and the related expenses borne by the Adviser, the Adviser is paid a fee computed daily and payable monthly, equal, on an annual basis, to 1.00% of the value of the Fund’s average daily net assets and allocable to each class on the basis of the assets attributable to such class.
Advisory Fees Paid to Adviser by the Fund
(Fiscal Years ended December 31)
The Adviser has contractually agreed to waive its investment advisory fees and/or reimburse expenses to the extent necessary to maintain Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses (excluding brokerage, interest, taxes, acquired fund fees and expenses, and extraordinary expenses) at no more than 1.00% for the Fund’s Class I shares. The fee waiver and expense reimbursement agreement will continue until at least April 30, 2024 and may only be terminated by the Board before such time. In addition, the Fund will carry forward, for a period not to exceed three years from the date that an amount is waived, any fees in excess of the expense limitation and repay the Adviser such amount provided the Fund is able to do so without exceeding the lesser of (1) the expense limit in effect at the time of the waiver or reimbursement, as applicable, or (2) the expense limit in effect at the time of recoupment.
Portfolio Manager Information
Other Accounts Managed
The table below provides information regarding other accounts for which the portfolio manager was primarily responsible for the day to day management during the year ended December 31, 2022.
|Name of Portfolio Manager||Type of Accounts||Total
|Total Assets||Number of
Fee Based on
|Mario J. Gabelli||Registered Investment Companies*:||22||$||16.3 billion||5||$||5.2 billion|
|Other Pooled Investment Vehicles:||7||$||1.0 billion||7||$||937 million|
|Other Accounts:||881||$||6.1 billion||0||$||0|
|Christopher J. Marangi||Registered Investment Companies:||8||$||6.7 billion||3||$||4.6 billion|
|Other Pooled Investment Vehicles:||1||$||4.1 million||0||$||0|
|Other Accounts:||275||$||1.2 billion||0||$||0|
|*||As of December 31, 2022, the total number of Registered Investment Companies (“RICs”) in the Fund Complex is 49. Mr. Gabelli is the sole portfolio manager of 5 RICs and part of the portfolio management team of 15 RICs.|
Potential Conflicts of Interest
Actual or apparent conflicts of interest may arise when the portfolio manager also has day-to-day management responsibilities with respect to one or more other accounts. These potential conflicts include:
Allocation of Limited Time and Attention. Because the portfolio manager manages more than one account, he may not be able to formulate as complete a strategy or identify equally attractive investment opportunities for each of those accounts as if he were to devote substantially more attention to the management of only the Fund.
Allocation of Limited Investment Opportunities. If the portfolio manager identifies an investment opportunity that may be suitable for multiple accounts, the Fund may not be able to take full advantage of that opportunity because the opportunity may need to be allocated among these accounts or other accounts managed primarily by other portfolio managers of the Adviser and its affiliates.
Pursuit of Differing Strategies. At times, the portfolio manager may determine that an investment opportunity may be appropriate for only some of the accounts for which he exercises investment responsibility, or may decide that certain of these funds or accounts should take differing positions with respect to a particular security. In these cases, the portfolio manager may execute differing or opposite transactions for one or more accounts which may affect the market price of the security or the execution of the transactions, or both, to the detriment of one or more other accounts.
Selection of Broker-Dealers. A portfolio manager may be able to select or influence the selection of the brokers and dealers that are used to execute securities transactions for the funds or accounts that they supervise. In addition to providing execution of trades, some brokers and dealers provide the Adviser with brokerage and research services which may result in the payment of higher brokerage fees than might otherwise be available. These services may be more beneficial to certain funds or accounts of the Adviser and its affiliates than to others. Although the payment of brokerage commissions is subject to the requirement that the Adviser determines in good faith that the commissions are reasonable in relation to the value of the brokerage and research services provided to the Fund, a portfolio manager’s decision as to the selection of brokers and dealers could yield disproportionate costs and benefits among the funds or other accounts that the Adviser or its affiliates manage. In addition, with respect to certain types of accounts (such as pooled investment vehicles and other accounts managed for organizations and individuals) the Adviser may be limited by the client concerning the selection of brokers or may be instructed to direct trades to particular brokers. In these cases, the Adviser or its affiliates may place separate, non-simultaneous transactions in the same security for the Fund and another account that may temporarily affect the market price of the security or the execution of the transaction, or both, to the detriment of the Fund or the other accounts.
Variation in Compensation. A conflict of interest may arise where the financial or other benefits available to a portfolio manager differ among the accounts that they manage. If the structure of an Adviser’s management fee or a portfolio manager’s compensation differs among accounts (such as where certain accounts pay higher management fees or performance based management fees), a portfolio manager may be motivated to favor certain accounts over others. A portfolio manager also may be motivated to favor accounts in which they have an investment interest or in which the Adviser or its affiliates have investment interests. Similarly, the desire to maintain assets under management or to enhance a portfolio manager’s performance record or to derive other rewards, financial or otherwise, could influence a portfolio manager in affording preferential treatment to those accounts that could most significantly benefit the portfolio manager.
The Adviser and the Fund have adopted compliance policies and procedures that are designed to address the various conflicts of interest that may arise for the Adviser and its staff members. However, there is no guarantee that such policies and procedures will be able to detect and address every situation in which an actual or potential conflict may arise.
Compensation Structure for Mario J. Gabelli
Mr. Gabelli receives incentive-based variable compensation based on a percentage of net revenues received by the Adviser for managing the Fund. Net revenues are determined by deducting from gross investment management fees the Firm’s expenses (other than Mr. Gabelli’s compensation) allocable to the Fund. Additionally, he receives similar incentive-based variable compensation for managing other accounts within GAMI and its affiliates. This method of compensation is based on the premise that superior long term performance in managing a portfolio should be rewarded with higher compensation as a result of growth of assets through appreciation and net investment activity. The level of compensation is not determined with specific reference to the performance of any account against any specific benchmark. One of the other registered investment companies managed by Mr. Gabelli has a performance (fulcrum) fee arrangement for which his compensation is adjusted up or down based on the performance of the investment company relative to an index. Four closed-end registered investment companies managed by Mr. Gabelli have arrangements whereby the Adviser will only receive its investment advisory fee attributable to the liquidation value of outstanding preferred stock (and Mr. Gabelli would only receive his percentage of such advisory fee) if certain performance levels are met. Mr. Gabelli manages other accounts with performance fees. Compensation for managing these accounts has two components. One component of his compensation is based on a percentage of net revenues received by the Adviser for managing the account. The second component is based on absolute performance of the account, with respect to which a percentage of such performance fee is paid to Mr. Gabelli. As an executive officer of the Adviser’s parent company, GAMI, Mr. Gabelli also receives ten percent of the net operating profits of the parent company. Additionally, Mr. Gabelli receives a percentage of net management fees as a relationship manager of accounts managed by affiliates. Mr. Gabelli receives no base salary, no annual bonus, and no stock options. Mr. Gabelli may enter into and has arrangements to defer or waive his compensation.
Compensation Structure for Christopher J. Marangi
The compensation of Mr. Marangi is structured to enable the Adviser to attract and retain highly qualified professionals in a competitive environment. Mr. Marangi receives a compensation package that includes a minimum draw or base salary, equity based incentive compensation via awards of stock options and restricted stock, and incentive-based variable compensation based on a percentage of net revenue received by the Adviser for managing the Fund to the extent that the amount exceeds a minimum level of compensation. Net revenues are determined by deducting from gross investment management fees certain of the Firm’s expenses (other than the respective Portfolio Manager’s compensation) allocable to the Fund (the incentive based variable compensation for managing other accounts is also based on a percentage of net revenues to the investment adviser for managing the account). Additionally, Mr. Marangi receives similar incentive-based variable compensation for managing other accounts with GAMCO Asset Management Inc., based on gross revenue. These methods of compensation are based on the premise that superior long term performance in managing a portfolio should be rewarded with higher compensation as a result of growth of assets through appreciation and net investment activity. The level of equity based incentive and incentive based variable compensation is based on an evaluation by the Adviser’s parent, GAMI, of quantitative and qualitative performance evaluation criteria. This evaluation takes into account, in a broad sense, the performance of the accounts managed by the portfolio manager, but the level of compensation is not determined with specific reference to the performance of any account against any specific benchmark. Generally, greater consideration is given to the performance of larger accounts and to longer term performance over smaller accounts and short term performance.
Ownership of Shares in the Fund
Set forth in the table below is the dollar range of equity securities in the Fund beneficially owned by the Fund’s portfolio manager:
|Name||Dollar Range of Equity|
Securities Held in the Fund*
|Mario J. Gabelli||E|
|Christopher J. Marangi||B|
|*||Key to Dollar Ranges- Information as of December 31, 2022.|
|B.||$1 – $10,000|
|C.||$10,001 – $50,000|
|D.||$50,001 – $100,000|
|E.||$100,001 – $500,000|
|F.||$500,001 – $1,000,000|
The Adviser has entered into an agreement (the “Sub-Administration Agreement”) with The Bank of New York Mellon (the “Sub-Administrator”), which is located at 301 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809. Under the Sub-Administration Agreement, the Sub-Administrator: (a) assists in supervising all aspects of the Fund’s operations except those performed by the Adviser under its advisory agreement with the Fund; (b) supplies the Fund with office facilities (which may be in the Sub-Administrator’s own offices), statistical and research data, data processing services, clerical, accounting and bookkeeping services, including, but not limited to, the calculation of the NAV of each class of the Fund, internal auditing and regulatory administration services, internal executive and administrative services, and stationery and office supplies; (c) prepares and distributes materials for all Fund Board meetings, including the mailing of all Board materials, and collates the same materials into the Board books, and assists in the drafting of minutes of the Board meetings; (d) prepares reports to Fund shareholders, tax returns, and reports to and filings with the SEC and state “Blue Sky” authorities; (e) provides any equipment or services necessary for the purpose of pricing shares or valuing the Fund’s investment portfolio; (f) provides compliance testing of all Fund activities against applicable requirements of the 1940 Act and the rules thereunder, the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and the Fund’s investment restrictions; (g) furnishes to the Adviser such statistical and other factual information and information regarding economic factors and trends as the Adviser from time to time may require; and (h) generally provides all administrative services that may be required for the ongoing operation of the Fund in a manner consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act.
For the services it provides, the Adviser pays the Sub-Administrator an annual fee based on the value of the aggregate average daily net assets of all funds under its administration managed by the Adviser as follows: up to $10 billion – 0.0275%; $10 billion to $15 billion – 0.0125%; $15 billion to $20 billion – 0.01%; and over $20 billion – 0.008%. The Sub-Administrator’s fee is paid by the Adviser and will result in no additional expense to the Fund.
Paul Hastings LLP, 200 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10166, serves as the Fund’s legal counsel.
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”), 300 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10017, independent registered public accounting firm, has been selected to audit the Fund’s annual financial statements. PwC provides audit and tax return preparation services in connection with the Fund.
Custodian, Transfer Agent, and Dividend Disbursing Agent
BNY Mellon, located at One Boston Place, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, is the Custodian for the Fund’s cash and securities. SS&C Global Investor & Distribution Solutions, Inc. (“SS&C GIDS” or the “Transfer Agent”), located at 430 W 7th Street STE 219204, Kansas City, Missouri 64105-1407, performs the shareholder services and acts as the Fund’s transfer agent and dividend disbursing agent. Neither BNY Mellon nor SS&C GIDS assists in or is responsible for investment decisions involving assets of the Fund.
To implement the Fund’s Rule 12b-1 Plans, the Fund has entered into a Distribution Agreement with G.distributors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company which is a wholly owned subsidiary of GAMI, having principal offices located at One Corporate Center, Rye, New York 10580-1422. The Distributor acts as agent of the Fund for the continuous offering of its shares on a best effort basis. Expenses normally attributable to the sale of Fund shares which are not paid by the Fund are paid by the Distributor. The Distributor may enter into selling agreements with registered broker-dealers (“Soliciting Broker-Dealers”) pursuant to which the Distributor may reallow the sales charge to Soliciting Broker-Dealers in accordance with the schedule set forth in the applicable prospectus.
Set forth in the table below are the amounts of sales commissions and underwriting fees on Class A shares and contingent deferred sales charges (“CDSC”) for Class A and Class C shares received and retained by the Distributor:
Sales Commissions for the Years Ended December 31:
|Share Class||Commissions||Retained by
|Class A Sales Commissions||$||10,422||$||2,482||$||12,126||$||2,326||$||27,383||$||4,143|
|Class A CDSCs||$||0||$||0||$||0||$||0||$||0||$||0|
|Class C CDSCs||$||1,019||$||1,019||$||7||$||7||$||0||$||0|
Set forth in the table below are the amounts of brokerage commissions and other compensation received by the Distributor or an affiliate during 2022:
|*||Amounts of brokerage commissions were received and retained by G.research, an affiliate of the Adviser and Distributor.|
The Fund has adopted separate distribution and service plans (each a “Plan” and collectively the “Plans”) pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act on behalf of each of the Class AAA, Class A, and Class C shares. Payments may be made by the Fund under each Plan for the purpose of financing any activity primarily intended to result in the sales of shares of the class to which such Plan relates as determined by the Board. Such activities typically include advertising; compensation for sales and marketing activities of the Distributor and other banks, broker-dealers, and service providers; shareholder account servicing; production and dissemination of prospectus and sales and marketing materials; and capital or other expenses of associated equipment, rent, salaries, bonuses, interest, and other overhead. To the extent any activity is one which the Fund may finance without a distribution plan, the Fund may also make payments to finance such activity outside of the Plans and not be subject to its limitations. Payments under the Plans are not dependent on distribution expenses actually incurred by the Distributor. The Plans compensate the Distributor regardless of expense, and accordingly a portion of the payments by the Fund may be used indirectly to finance distribution activities on behalf of other funds in the Fund Complex and a portion of the payments by such other funds may be used to finance distribution activities on behalf of the Fund. The Plans are intended to benefit the Fund, among other things, by increasing its assets and thereby reducing the Fund’s expense ratio.
Under its terms, each Plan remains in effect so long as its continuance is specifically approved at least annually by vote of the Fund’s Board, including a majority of the Independent Directors. No Plan may be amended to increase materially the amount to be spent for services provided by the Distributor thereunder without shareholder approval, and all material amendments of any Plan must also be approved by the Board in the manner described above. Each Plan may be terminated at any time, without penalty, by vote of a majority of the Independent Directors, or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act). Under each Plan, the Distributor will provide the Directors with periodic reports of amounts expended under such Plan and the purpose for which such expenditures were made.
Pursuant to the Plans, the Fund pays the Distributor 0.25% of its average daily net assets of Class AAA shares, 0.25% of its average daily net assets of Class A shares, and 1.00% of its average daily net assets of Class C shares. Due to the possible continuing nature of Rule 12b-1 payments, long term investors may pay more than the economic equivalent of the maximum front-end sales charge permitted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”). Pursuant to the Distribution Agreement, the Fund appoints the Distributor as its general distributor and exclusive agent for the sale of the Fund’s shares. The Fund has agreed to indemnify the Distributor to the extent permitted by applicable law against certain liabilities under federal securities laws. The Distribution Agreement shall remain in effect from year to year provided that continuance of such agreement shall be approved at least annually (a) by the Fund’s Board, including a vote of a majority of the Independent Directors cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval or (b) by the vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding securities of the Fund and by a vote of the majority of the Independent Directors cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Distribution Agreement may be terminated by either party thereto upon sixty days written notice.
Pursuant to each Plan, the Board will review at least quarterly a written report of the distribution expenses incurred on behalf of each class of shares of the Fund by the Distributor. The report includes an itemization of the distribution expenses and the purposes of such expenditures. In addition, as long as the Plans remain in effect, the selection and nomination of Independent Directors shall be limited to the Independent Directors.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Fund made payments for Class AAA, Class A, and Class C shares of $573,303 payable to the Distributor. The Plans compensate the Distributor regardless of its expense.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Distributor identified expenditures for the Fund of approximately $10,400 for advertising and promotion, $2,900 for printing, postage, and stationary, $9,500 for overhead support expenses, $69,700 for salaries of personnel of the Distributor, and $466,500 for third party servicing fees.
The amounts included in the previous paragraph as third party servicing fees include amounts paid to the providers of various programs that make shares available to their customers. Subject to tax limitations and approvals by the Board, the Fund also makes payments to the providers of these programs, out of its assets other than Rule 12b-1 payments, in amounts not greater than the savings of expenses the Fund would incur in maintaining shareholder accounts for those who invest in the Fund directly rather than through these programs. The Adviser and its affiliates may also pay for all or a portion of these program’s charges out of their financial resources other than Rule 12b-1 fees.
Class A shares were first offered to the public on September 29, 1989, and Class C shares were first offered to the public on March 15, 2000. Class I shares were first offered to the public on January 11, 2008. Class AAA shares were first offered to the public on April 30, 2010.
Shares of the Fund may also be purchased through shareholder agents that are not affiliated with the Fund or the Distributor. There is no sales or service charge imposed by the Fund other than as described in the Fund’s prospectus under the “Classes of Shares” section, but agents who do not receive distribution payments or sales charges may impose a charge to the investor for their services. Such fees may vary among agents, and such agents may impose higher initial or subsequent investment requirements than those established by the Fund. Services provided by broker-dealers may include allowing the investor to establish a margin account and to borrow on the value of the Fund’s shares in that account. It is the responsibility of the shareholder’s agent to establish procedures which would assure that upon receipt of an order to purchase shares of the Fund the order will be transmitted so that it will be received by the Distributor before the time when the price applicable to the buy order expires.
No Independent Director of the Fund had a direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of any Plan or related agreements. Those interested persons who beneficially own stock in affiliates of the Adviser or the Distributor or are employed by one of the Gabelli companies may be deemed to have an indirect financial interest.
PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE
The Adviser and its affiliates currently serve as investment adviser to a number of investment companies and private account clients and may in the future act as adviser to others. It is the policy of the Adviser and its affiliates to allocate investments suitable and appropriate for each such client in a manner believed by the Adviser to be equitable to each client. In making such allocations among the Fund and other client accounts, the main factors considered are the respective investment objectives, the relative size of portfolio holdings of the same or comparable securities, the availability of cash for investment, the size of investment commitments generally held, and the opinions of the persons responsible for managing the portfolios of the Fund and other client accounts.
Under the Contract, the Adviser is authorized on behalf of the Fund to employ brokers to effect the purchase or sale of portfolio securities with the objective of obtaining prompt, efficient, and reliable execution and clearance of such transactions at the most favorable price obtainable (“best execution”) at a reasonable expense. The Adviser is permitted to (1) direct Fund portfolio brokerage to G.research a broker-dealer member of FINRA and an affiliate of the Adviser; and (2) pay commissions to brokers other than G.research which are higher than what might be charged by another qualified broker to obtain brokerage and/or research services considered by the Adviser to be useful or desirable for its investment management of the Fund and/or other advisory accounts under the management of the Adviser and any investment adviser affiliated with it. The Adviser does not consider the sales of shares of the Fund or other investment funds managed by the Adviser and its affiliates by brokers, including G.research as a factor in its selection of brokers or dealers for the Fund’s portfolio transactions and has adopted compliance policies and procedures for itself and its affiliates to prevent any such transactions on that basis.
Transactions on U.S. stock exchanges involve the payment of negotiated brokerage commissions, which may vary among brokers. Transactions in securities other than those for which a securities exchange is the principal market are generally executed through a principal market maker. However, such transactions may be effected through a brokerage firm and a commission is paid whenever it appears that the broker can obtain a price that is at least as favorable taking into account its commissions. In general, there may be no stated commission on principal transactions in OTC securities, but the prices of such securities usually may include undisclosed commissions or markups. Option transactions will usually be effected through a broker and a commission will be charged. The Fund also expects that securities will be purchased at times in underwritten offerings where the price includes a fixed amount of compensation generally referred to as a concession or discount.
The policy of the Fund regarding purchases and sales of securities and options for its portfolio is that primary consideration will be given to obtaining the most favorable prices and efficient execution of transactions. In seeking to implement the Fund’s policies, the Adviser effects transactions with those brokers and dealers who the Adviser believes can obtain the most favorable prices and are capable of providing efficient executions. If the Adviser believes such price and execution and are obtainable from more than one broker or dealer, it may give consideration to placing portfolio transactions with those brokers or dealers who also furnish research and other services to the Fund or the Adviser of the type described in Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act. In doing so, the Fund may also pay higher commission rates than the lowest available when the Adviser believes it is reasonable to do so in light of the value of the brokerage and research services provided by the broker effecting the transaction. Such services may include, but are not limited to, any one or more of the following: (i) information as to the availability of securities for purchase or sale; (ii) statistical or factual information or opinions pertaining to investments; (iii) wire services; and (iv) appraisals or evaluations of potential and existing investments.
Research services furnished by brokers or dealers through which the Fund effects securities transactions are used by the Adviser and its advisory affiliates in carrying out their responsibilities with respect to all of their accounts over which they exercise investment discretion. Such investment information may be useful only to one or more of such other accounts. The purpose of this sharing of research information is to avoid duplicative charges for research provided by brokers and dealers. Neither the Fund nor the Adviser has any agreement or legally binding understanding with any broker or dealer regarding any specific amount of brokerage commissions which will be paid in recognition of such services. However, in determining the amount of portfolio commissions directed to such brokers or dealers, the Adviser considers the level of services provided, and based on such determinations, the Adviser allocated brokerage commissions of $23,060 on portfolio transactions in the principal amount of $21,321,159 during the year ended December 31, 2022, to broker-dealers who provided research services to the Adviser. The average commissions on these transactions was $0.03955 per share.
Investment research obtained by allocations of Fund brokerage is used to augment the scope and supplement the internal research and investment strategy capabilities of the Adviser but does not reduce the overall expenses of the Adviser to any material extent. Such investment research may be in written form or through direct contact with individuals and includes information on particular companies and industries as well as market, economic, or institutional activity areas. Research services furnished by brokers through which the Fund effects securities transactions are used by the Adviser and its advisory affiliates in carrying out their responsibilities with respect to all of their accounts over which they exercise investment discretion. Such investment information may be useful only to one or more of the other accounts of the Adviser and its advisory affiliates, and research information received for the commissions of those particular accounts may be useful both to the Fund and one or more of such other accounts.
The Adviser may also place orders for the purchase or sale of portfolio securities with G.research when it appears that, as an introducing broker or otherwise, G.research can obtain a price, execution, and commission, which is at least as favorable as that obtainable by other qualified brokers and at a commission rate at least as favorable as it provides to its best customers for similar transactions. As required by Rule 17e-1 under the 1940 Act, the Board has adopted procedures which provide that the commissions paid to G.research on brokerage transactions must not exceed those which would have been charged by another qualified broker or member firm able to effect the same or a comparable transaction at an equally favorable price is what G.research charges its most favored customers on similar transactions. Rule 17e-1 under the 1940 Act and the Fund’s procedures contain requirements that the Board, including the Independent Directors, review such commissions and transactions quarterly and procedures at least annually to determine their continuing appropriateness. The Adviser is also required to furnish reports and maintain records in connection with the reviews.
To obtain the best execution of portfolio trades on the NYSE, G.research controls and monitors the execution of such transactions on the floor of the NYSE through independent “floor brokers” or the Designated Order Turnaround System of the NYSE. Such transactions are then cleared, confirmed to the Fund for the account of G.research and settled directly with the Custodian of the Fund by a clearing house member firm which remits the commission less its clearing charges to G.research. G.research may also effect the Fund’s portfolio transactions in the same manner and pursuant to the same arrangements on other national securities exchanges which adopt direct access rules similar to those of the NYSE. In addition, G.research may directly execute transactions for the Fund on the floor of any exchange, provided: (i) the Fund’s Board has expressly authorized G.research to effect such transactions; and (ii) G.research annually advises the Fund of the aggregate compensation it earned on such transactions.
The following table sets forth certain information regarding the Fund’s payment of brokerage commissions for the fiscal years ended December 31 as indicated:
|Fiscal Year Ended
|Total Brokerage Commissions||2020||$||59,126|
|Commissions paid to G.research||2020||$||8,886|
|% of Total Brokerage Commissions paid to G.research||2022||3.65||%|
|% of Total Transactions involving Commissions paid to G.research||2022||13.91||%|
The Fund’s total commissions have varied over the past three years primarily related to the volume of portfolio transactions and the changes in its total net assets.
During its fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Fund acquired securities of the following regular broker-dealer, as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the 1940 Act, or its parents:
|Name of Regular Broker or Dealer or Parent (Issuer)||Shares||Aggregate Market Value|
REDEMPTION OF SHARES
Payment of the redemption price for shares redeemed may be made either in cash or in portfolio securities (selected at the discretion of the Board of the Fund and taken at their value used in determining the Fund’s NAV as described under “Determination of Net Asset Value”), or partly in cash and partly in portfolio securities. However, payments will be made wholly in cash unless the shareholder has redeemed more than $250,000 over the preceding three months and the Adviser believes that economic conditions exist which would make payments in cash detrimental to the best interests of the Fund. If payment for shares redeemed is made wholly or partly in portfolio securities, brokerage costs may be incurred by the investor in converting the securities to cash. The Fund will not distribute in-kind portfolio securities that are not readily marketable.
Cancellation of purchase orders for Fund shares (as, for example, when checks submitted to purchase shares are returned unpaid) causes a loss to be incurred when the NAV of the Fund shares on the date of cancellation is less than on the original date of purchase. The investor is responsible for such loss, and the Fund may reimburse itself or the Distributor for such loss by automatically redeeming shares from any account registered at any time in that shareholder’s name, or by seeking other redress. If the Fund is unable to recover any loss to itself, it is the position of the SEC that the Distributor will be immediately obligated to make the Fund whole.
The Fund imposes a redemption fee of 2.00% of the total redemption amount if you sell or exchange any of your shares within seven days after the date of a purchase. The fee, its manner of calculation and exceptions to its applicability are discussed in the Fund’s prospectus. The fee is not a sales charge (load) and is paid directly to the Fund and not the Adviser or Distributor.
DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE
NAV is calculated separately for each class of the Fund. The NAV of Class C shares of the Fund, as applicable, will generally be lower than the NAV of Class AAA, Class A, and Class I shares, as applicable, as a result of the higher service and distribution related fees to which Class C shares are subject. It is expected, however, that the NAV of each class will tend to converge immediately after the recording of dividends, if any, which will differ by approximately the amount of the distribution and/or service fee expense accrual differential among the classes.
For purposes of determining the Fund’s NAV, portfolio securities listed or traded on a nationally recognized securities exchange or traded in the OTC market for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the last quoted sale price or a market’s official closing price as of the close of business on the day the securities are being valued. If there were no sales that day, the security is valued at the average of the closing bid and ask prices, or, if there were no ask prices quoted on such day, the security is valued at the most recently available bid price on that day. If no bid or ask prices are quoted on such day, the security is valued at the most recently available price, or, if the Board so determines, by such other method as the Board shall determine in good faith, to reflect its fair market value. Portfolio securities traded on more than one national securities exchange or market are valued according to the broadest and most representative market, as determined by the Adviser, which has been appointed pursuant to Rule 2a-5 under the 1940 Act (“Rule 2a-5”) by the Board, as Valuation Designee.
Portfolio securities primarily traded on a foreign market are generally valued at the preceding closing values of such securities on the relevant market, but may be fair valued pursuant to procedures established by the Board if market conditions change significantly after the close of the foreign market but prior to the close of business on the day the securities are being valued. Debt instruments with remaining maturities of sixty days or less that are not credit impaired are valued at amortized cost, unless the Board determines such amount does not reflect the securities’ fair value, in which case these securities will be valued at their fair value as determined by the Board. Debt instruments for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the average of the latest bid and ask prices. If there were no ask prices quoted on such day, the security is valued using the closing bid price, unless the Board determines such amount does not reflect the securities’ fair value, in which case these securities will be fair valued as overseen by the Valuation Designee. Certain securities are valued principally using dealer quotations. Futures contracts are valued at the closing settlement price of the exchange or board of trade on which the applicable contract is traded. OTC futures and options on futures for which market quotations are readily available will be valued by quotations received from a pricing service or, if no quotations are available from a pricing service, by quotations obtained by the Adviser from one or more dealers in the instrument.
Securities and assets for which market quotations are not readily available are valued at their fair value as determined in good faith by the Valuation Designee under procedures established pursuant to Rule 2a-5. Fair valuation methodologies and procedures may include, but are not limited to: analysis and review of available financial and non-financial information about the company, comparisons with the valuation and changes in valuation of similar securities, including a comparison of foreign securities with the equivalent U.S. dollar value ADR securities at the close of U.S. exchanges; and evaluation of any other information that could be indicative of the value of the security.
The Fund may obtain valuations on the basis of prices provided by a pricing service overseen by the Valuation Designee. All other investment assets, including restricted and not readily marketable securities, are valued in good faith at fair value by the Valuation Designee under procedures established pursuant to Rule 2a-5. Further information on fair valuation is provided in the Fund’s prospectus under “Pricing of Fund Shares.”
NYSE Closings. The holidays (as observed) on which the NYSE is closed, and therefore days upon which shareholders cannot redeem shares, currently are: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day and on the preceding Friday or subsequent Monday when a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, respectively.
DIVIDENDS, DISTRIBUTIONS, AND TAXES
The following is a summary of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations regarding the purchase, ownership and disposition of shares of the Fund by U.S. persons. This summary does not address all of the potential U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be applicable to the Fund or to all categories of investors, some of which may be subject to special tax rules. Current and prospective shareholders are urged to consult their own tax adviser with respect to the specific U.S. federal, state, local, and foreign tax consequences of investing in the Fund. The summary is based on the current laws in effect on the date of this SAI and existing judicial and administrative interpretations thereof, all of which are subject to change, possibly with retroactive effect.
The Fund has qualified and intends to continue to qualify as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code. To so qualify, the Fund must, among other things: (a) derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities, or foreign currencies, or other income (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities, or currencies and net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships,” i.e., partnerships that are traded on an established securities market or readily tradable on a secondary market (or the substantial equivalent thereof), other than partnerships that derive 90% or more of their gross income from interest, dividends, capital gains, and other traditionally permitted mutual fund income; and (b) diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund’s assets is represented by cash and cash items (including receivables), securities of other regulated investment companies, U.S. government securities and other securities, with such other securities limited, in respect of any one issuer, to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of Fund’s assets and not greater than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer and (ii) not more than 25% of the value of its assets is invested in the securities of any one issuer (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other regulated investment companies), of any two or more issuers (other than securities of other regulated investment companies) of which 20% or more of the voting stock is held by the Fund and that are determined to be engaged in the same or similar trades or businesses or related trades or businesses or in the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships.
Although in general the passive loss rules of the Code do not apply to regulated investment companies, such rules do apply to a regulated investment company with respect to items attributable to an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership. Fund investments in partnerships, including in qualified publicly traded partnerships, may result in the Fund’s being subject to state, local or foreign income, franchise or withholding tax liabilities.
As a regulated investment company, the Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of its taxable investment income and capital gains that it distributes to its shareholders, provided that the Fund distributes to its shareholders at least the sum of (i) 90% of its “investment company taxable income,” i.e., income other than its net realized long term capital gain over its net realized short term capital loss, plus or minus certain adjustments, and (ii) 90% of its net tax-exempt income for the taxable year. The Fund will be subject to income tax at regular corporation rates on any taxable income or gains that it does not distribute to its shareholders.
The Fund may be able to cure a failure to derive 90% of its income from the sources specified above or a failure to diversify its holdings in the manner described above by paying a tax, by disposing of certain assets, or by paying a tax and disposing of assets. If, in any taxable year, the Fund fails one of these tests and does not timely cure the failure, the Fund will be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation and distributions to its shareholders will not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income.
The Fund will determine either to distribute, or to retain for reinvestment, all or part of any net long term capital gain. If any such gains are retained, the Fund will be subject to a U.S. federal income tax (currently at a maximum rate of 21%) on the amount retained. In that event, the Fund expects to designate the retained amount as undistributed capital gain in a notice to its shareholders, each of whom (1) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes as long term capital gain, its share of the undistributed amount, (2) will be entitled to credit its proportionate share of the tax paid by the Fund against its own U.S. federal income tax liability and to claim refunds to the extent the credit exceeds such liability, and (3) will increase its basis in its shares of the Fund by an amount equal to 79% of the amount of undistributed capital gain included in such shareholder’s gross income.
A 3.8 percent federal tax is imposed on net investment income, including interest, dividends, and capital gain, of U.S. individuals with income exceeding $200,000 (or $250,000 if married filing jointly), and of estates and trusts. Income received with respect to an investment in the Fund, including gain on the sale of shares of the Fund, generally will constitute investment income.
Under the Code, amounts not distributed by the Fund on a timely basis in accordance with a calendar-year distribution requirement are subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax at the Fund level. To avoid this excise tax, the Fund must distribute during each calendar year an amount equal to at least the sum of (1) 98% of its ordinary income (not taking into account any capital gains or losses) for the calendar year, (2) 98.2% of its capital gains in excess of its capital losses (adjusted for certain ordinary losses) for the twelve-month period generally ending on October 31 of the calendar year (or, at the election of a regulated investment company having a taxable year ending November 30 or December 31, for its taxable year) and (3) all ordinary income and capital gain income for previous years that were not previously distributed. For this purpose, however, any ordinary income or capital gain income retained by the Fund that is subject to corporate income tax will be considered to have been distributed by year end. The Fund anticipates that it will pay such dividends and will make such distributions as are necessary in order to avoid the application of this excise tax.
If, in any taxable year, the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company under the Code or fails to meet the distribution requirement, it will be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation and distributions to its shareholders will not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income. In addition, in the event of a failure to qualify, the Fund’s distributions, to the extent derived from the Fund’s current or accumulated earnings and profits, including any distributions of net long term capital gains, will be taxable to shareholders as dividend income. Such dividends will be eligible (i) to be treated as qualified dividend income in the case of shareholders taxed as individuals and (ii) for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. Moreover, if the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company in any year, it must pay out its earnings and profits accumulated in that year in order to qualify again as a regulated investment company. If the Fund failed to qualify as a regulated investment company for a period greater than two taxable years, the Fund may be required to recognize any net built-in gains with respect to certain of its assets, i.e., the excess of the aggregate gains, including items of income, over aggregate losses that would have been realized with respect to such assets if the Fund had been liquidated, in order to qualify as a regulated investment company in a subsequent year.
Gains or losses on the sales of securities by the Fund will generally be long term capital gains or losses if the securities have been held by the Fund for more than one year, regardless of the length of time the shareholder has held its shares of the Fund. Gains or losses on the sale of securities held by the Fund for one year or less will generally be short term capital gains or losses.
The Fund’s transactions in foreign currencies, forwards contracts, futures contracts and options (including options and futures contracts on foreign currencies) will be subject to special provisions of the Code (including provisions relating to “hedging transactions” and “straddles”) that, among other things, may affect the character of gains and losses realized by the Fund, i.e., may affect whether gains or losses are ordinary or capital, accelerate recognition of income to the Fund, and defer Fund losses. These rules could therefore affect the character, amount and timing of distributions to shareholders. These provisions also (a) will require the Fund to mark-to-market certain types of positions in its portfolio, i.e., treat them as if they were closed out at the end of each year and (b) may cause the Fund to recognize income without receiving cash with which to pay dividends or make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the distribution requirements for avoiding income and excise taxes. The Fund will monitor its transactions, will make the appropriate tax elections and will make the appropriate entries in its books and records when it acquires any futures contract, option or hedged investment in order to mitigate the effect of these rules and seek to prevent disqualification of the Fund as a regulated investment company.
The diversification requirements applicable to the Fund’s assets may limit the extent to which the Fund will be able to engage in transactions in options, futures contracts, and options on futures contracts.
The Fund’s investments in so-called “section 1256 contracts,” such as regulated futures contracts, most foreign currency forward contracts traded in the interbank market and options on most stock indices, are subject to special tax rules. All section 1256 contracts held by the Fund at the end of its taxable year are required to be marked to their market value, and any unrealized gain or loss on those positions will be included in the Fund’s income as if each position had been sold for its fair market value at the end of the taxable year. The resulting gain or loss will be combined with any gain or loss realized by the Fund from positions in section 1256 contracts closed during the taxable year. Provided such positions were held as capital assets and were not part of a “hedging transaction” nor part of a “straddle,” 60% of the resulting net gain or loss will be treated as long term capital gain or loss, and 40% of such net gain or loss will be treated as short term capital gain or loss, regardless of the period of time the positions were actually held by the Fund.
As a result of entering into swap contracts, the Fund may make or receive periodic net payments. The Fund may also make or receive a payment when a swap is terminated prior to maturity through an assignment of the swap or other closing transaction. Periodic net payments will generally constitute ordinary income or deductions, while termination of a swap will generally result in capital gain or loss (which will be a long term capital gain or loss if the Fund has been a party to the swap for more than one year). With respect to certain types of swaps, the Fund may be required to currently recognize income or loss with respect to future payments on such swaps or may elect under certain circumstances to mark such swaps to market annually for tax purposes as ordinary income or loss.
The Fund may be required to treat amounts as taxable income or gain, subject to the distribution requirements referred to above, even though no corresponding amounts of cash are received concurrently, as a result of (1) mark-to-market or constructive sale rules or rules applicable to PFICs (as defined below) or partnerships or trusts in which the Fund invests or to certain options, futures or forward contracts, or “appreciated financial positions” or (2) the inability to obtain cash distributions or other amounts due to currency controls or restrictions on repatriation imposed by a foreign country with respect to the Fund’s investments (including through depositary receipts) in issuers in such country or (3) tax rules applicable to debt obligations acquired with “original issue discount,” including zero-coupon or deferred payment bonds and pay-in-kind debt obligations, or to market discount if an election is made with respect to such market discount. The Fund may therefore be required to obtain cash to be used to satisfy these distribution requirements by selling securities at times that it might not otherwise be desirable to do so or borrowing the necessary cash, thereby incurring interest expenses.
In certain situations, the Fund may, for a taxable year, defer all or a portion of its capital losses and currency losses realized after October or certain ordinary losses realized after December until the next taxable year in computing its investment company taxable income and net capital gain, which will defer the recognition of such realized losses. Such deferrals and other rules regarding gains and losses realized after October (or December) may affect the tax character of shareholder distributions.
In general, gain or loss on a short sale is recognized when the Fund closes the sale by delivering the borrowed property to the lender, not when the borrowed property is sold. Gain or loss from a short sale is generally considered as capital gain or loss to the extent that the property used to close the short sale constitutes a capital asset in the Fund’s hands. Except with respect to certain situations where the property used by the Fund to close a short sale has a long term holding period on the date of the short sale, special rules would generally treat the gains on short sales as short term capital gains. These rules may also terminate the running of the holding period of “substantially identical property” held by the Fund. Moreover, a loss on a short sale will be treated as a long term capital loss if, on the date of the short sale, “substantially identical property” has been held by the Fund for more than one year. In general, the Fund will not be permitted to deduct payments made to reimburse the lender of securities for dividends paid on borrowed stock if the short sale is closed on or before the 45th day after the short sale is entered into.
Dividends or other income (including, in some cases, capital gains) received by the Fund from investments in foreign securities may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes in some cases. The Fund will not be eligible to elect to treat any foreign taxes it pays as paid by its shareholders, who therefore will not be entitled to credits or deductions for such taxes on their own tax returns. Foreign taxes paid by the Fund will reduce the return from the Fund’s investments.
Under Section 988 of the Code, gains or losses attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the time the Fund accrues income or receivables or expenses or other liabilities denominated in a foreign currency and the time the Fund actually collects such income or pays such liabilities are generally treated as ordinary income or ordinary loss. In general, gains (and losses) realized on debt instruments will be treated as Section 988 gain (or loss) to the extent attributable to changes in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the currencies in which the instruments are denominated. Similarly, gains or losses on foreign currency, foreign currency forward contracts, certain foreign currency options, swaps, and futures contracts are also treated as ordinary income or loss unless the Fund were to elect otherwise.
Passive Foreign Investment Companies
If the Fund purchases shares in certain foreign investment entities, called “passive foreign investment companies” (“PFICs”), it may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a portion of any “excess distribution” or gain from the disposition of such shares even if such income is distributed as a taxable dividend by the Fund to its shareholders. Additional charges in the nature of interest may be imposed on the Fund in respect of deferred taxes arising from such distributions or gains. Generally, a non-U.S. corporation is treated as a PFIC if either 75% or more of its gross income is passive income or 50% or more of its assets (based on a quarterly average) produce passive income or are held for the production of passive income.
If the Fund were to invest in a PFIC and elect to treat the PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” under the Code, in lieu of the foregoing requirements, the Fund might be required to include in income each year a portion of the ordinary earnings and net capital gains of the qualified electing fund, even if not distributed to the Fund, and such amounts would be subject to the 90% and excise tax distribution requirements described above. In order to make this election, the Fund would be required to obtain certain annual information from the PFICs in which it invests, which may be difficult or impossible to obtain.
Alternatively, the Fund may make a mark-to-market election that will result in the Fund being treated as if it had sold and repurchased its PFIC stock at the end of each year. In such a case, the Fund would report any such gains as ordinary income and would deduct any such losses as ordinary losses to the extent of previously recognized gains. The election must be made separately for each PFIC owned by the Fund and, once made, would be effective for all subsequent taxable years of the Fund, unless revoked with the consent of the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”). By making the election, the Fund could potentially ameliorate the adverse tax consequences with respect to its ownership of shares in a PFIC, but in any particular year may be required to recognize income in excess of the distributions it receives from PFICs and its proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock. The Fund may have to distribute this “phantom” income and gain to satisfy the 90% distribution requirement and to avoid imposition of the 4% excise tax.
The Fund will make the appropriate tax elections, if possible, and take any additional steps that are necessary to mitigate the effect of these rules.
Dividends and other distributions by the Fund are generally treated under the Code as received by the shareholders at the time the dividend or distribution is made. However, any dividend or distribution declared by the Fund in October, November, or December of any calendar year and payable to shareholders of record on a specified date in such a month shall be deemed to have been received by each shareholder on December 31 of such calendar year and to have been paid by the Fund not later than such December 31, provided such dividend is actually paid by the Fund during January of the following calendar year.
Distributions of net realized long term capital gains, if any, that the Fund reports as capital gains dividends are taxable as long term capital gains, whether paid in cash or in shares and regardless of how long a shareholder has held shares of the Fund. All other dividends of the Fund (including dividends from short term capital gains) from its current and accumulated earnings and profits (“regular dividends”) are generally subject to tax as ordinary income.
Special rules apply, however, to regular dividends paid to individuals. Such a dividend may be subject to tax at the rates generally applicable to long term capital gains for individuals (currently at a maximum federal rate of 20%), provided that the individual receiving the dividend satisfies certain holding period and other requirements. Dividends subject to these special rules are not actually treated as capital gains, however, and thus are not included in the computation of an individual’s net capital gain and generally cannot be used to offset capital losses. The long term capital gains rates will apply to: (i) 100% of the regular dividends paid by the Fund to an individual in a particular taxable year if 95% or more of the Fund’s gross income (ignoring gains attributable to the sale of stocks and securities except to the extent net short term capital gain from such sales exceeds net long term capital loss from such sales) in that taxable year is attributable to qualified dividend income received by the Fund; or (ii) the portion of the regular dividends paid by the Fund to an individual in a particular taxable year that is attributable to qualified dividend income received by the Fund in that taxable year if such qualified dividend income accounts for less than 95% of the Fund’s gross income (ignoring gains attributable to the sale of stocks and securities except to the extent net short term capital gain from such sales exceeds net long term capital loss from such sales) for that taxable year. For this purpose, “qualified dividend income” generally means income from dividends received by the Fund from U.S. corporations and qualified foreign corporations, provided that the Fund satisfies certain holding period requirements in respect of the stock of such corporations and has not hedged its position in the stock in certain ways. Also, dividends received by the Fund from a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) or another regulated investment company generally are qualified dividend income only to the extent the dividend distributions are made out of qualified dividend income received by such REIT or other regulated investment company. In the case of securities lending transactions, payments in lieu of dividends are not qualified dividend income. If a shareholder elects to treat Fund dividends as investment income for purposes of the limitation on the deductibility of investment interest, such dividends would not be qualified dividend income. We will send you information after the end of each year setting forth the amount of dividends paid by us that are eligible for the reduced rates.
Distributions in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will, as to each shareholder, be treated as a tax-free return of capital to the extent of a shareholder’s basis in his shares of the Fund, and as a capital gain thereafter (if the shareholder holds his shares of the Fund as capital assets). Dividends paid by the Fund that are attributable to dividends received by the Fund from domestic corporations may qualify for the federal dividends-received deduction for corporations.
Shareholders receiving distributions in the form of shares should have a basis in such shares of the Fund equal to the amount of cash that the shareholders would have received had they elected to receive cash instead of shares. If the NAV of shares is reduced below a shareholder’s cost as a result of a distribution by the Fund, such distribution may be taxable even though it represents a return of invested capital. The price of shares purchased at any time may reflect the amount of a forthcoming distribution. Those purchasing shares just prior to a distribution will receive a distribution which will be taxable to them, even though the distribution represents, in an economic sense, a partial return of invested capital.
If the Fund is the holder of record of any stock on the record date for any dividends payable with respect to such stock, such dividends are included in the Fund’s gross income not as of the date received but as of the later of (a) the date such stock became ex-dividend with respect to such dividends, i.e., the date on which a buyer of the stock would not be entitled to receive the declared, but unpaid, dividends or (b) the date the Fund acquired such stock. Accordingly, in order to satisfy its income distribution requirements, the Fund may be required to pay dividends based on anticipated earnings, and shareholders may receive dividends in an earlier year than would otherwise be the case.
Sales of Shares
Upon a sale or exchange of shares, a shareholder will realize a taxable gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and the shareholder’s basis in the shares. A redemption of shares by the Fund will be treated as a sale for this purpose. Such gain or loss will be a capital gain or loss if the shares are held as capital assets and will be long term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for more than one year and short term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for one year or less. Any loss realized on a sale or exchange will be disallowed to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced within a sixty-one day period beginning thirty days before and ending thirty days after the date the shares are disposed of. In such case, the basis of the shares acquired will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.
Any loss realized by a shareholder on the sale of a Fund share held by the shareholder for six months or less will be disallowed to the extent of any exempt-interest dividends received by the shareholder with respect to such shares and, to the extent not disallowed, will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a long term capital loss to the extent of any distributions or deemed distributions of long term capital gains received by the shareholder with respect to such share.
An exchange from one share class within the Fund to another share class within the Fund is not a taxable transaction, provided that such classes have identical rights with respect to the Fund assets. If a shareholder incurs a sales charge in acquiring shares of the Fund, disposes of those shares within ninety days and then on or before January 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year of disposition acquires shares in a mutual fund for which the otherwise applicable sales charge is reduced by reason of a reinvestment right (e.g., an exchange privilege), the original sales charge will not be taken into account in computing gain/loss on the original shares to the extent the subsequent sales charge is reduced. Instead, the disregarded portion of the original sales charge will be added to the tax basis of the newly acquired shares. Furthermore, the same rule also applies to a disposition of the newly acquired shares made within ninety days of the second acquisition. This provision prevents a shareholder from immediately deducting the sales charge by shifting his or her investment within a family of mutual funds.
The Fund may be required to withhold, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, at a current rate of 24%, a portion of the dividends, distributions, and redemption proceeds payable to shareholders who fail to provide their correct taxpayer identification number or to make required certifications, or who have been notified by the IRS that they are subject to backup withholding. If withholding is required, any distributions made to the shareholders will be reduced by the amounts required to be withheld. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld may be credited against the shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability.
Shareholders will receive, if appropriate, various written notices after the close of the Fund’s taxable year regarding the U.S. federal income tax status of certain dividends, distributions, and deemed distributions that were paid (or that are treated as having been paid) by the Fund to its shareholders during the preceding taxable year.
Dividends, distributions and redemption proceeds may also be subject to additional state, local, and foreign taxes depending on each shareholder’s particular situation.
If a shareholder recognizes a loss with respect to the Fund’s shares of at least $2 million in any single taxable year or $4 million in any combination of taxable years for an individual shareholder, or at least $10 million in a single taxable year or $20 million in any combination of taxable years for a corporate shareholder (excluding S corporations), the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases exempted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a regulated investment company are not exempted. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their tax advisers to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.
Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders
Dividends paid by the Fund to non-U.S. shareholders are generally subject to withholding tax at a 30% rate or a reduced rate specified by an applicable income tax treaty to the extent derived from investment income and short term capital gains. In order to obtain a reduced rate of withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will be required to provide an applicable IRS Form W-8 certifying entitlement to benefits under a treaty. The withholding tax does not apply to regular dividends paid to a non-U.S. shareholder who provides a Form W-8ECI, certifying that the dividends are effectively connected with the non-U.S. shareholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the United States. Instead, the effectively connected dividends will be subject to regular U.S. income tax as if the non-U.S. shareholder were a U.S. shareholder. A non-U.S. corporation receiving effectively connected dividends may also be subject to additional “branch profits tax” imposed at a rate of 30% (or lower treaty rate). A non-U.S. shareholder who fails to provide an applicable IRS Form W-8 or other applicable form may be subject to backup withholding at the appropriate rate.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”)
A 30% withholding tax on your Fund’s distributions may apply, subject to the applicability of any intergovernmental agreements between the United States and the relevant foreign country if paid to a foreign entity unless: (i) if the foreign entity is a “foreign financial institution,” it undertakes certain due diligence, reporting, withholding, and certification obligations, (ii) if the foreign entity is not a “foreign financial institution,” it identifies certain of its U.S. investors or (iii) the foreign entity is otherwise excepted under FATCA. Under proposed Treasury regulations, which may be relied upon by taxpayers until final Treasury regulations are published, there is no FATCA withholding on capital gains distributions and gross proceeds from a sale or disposition of Fund shares. If withholding is required under FATCA on a payment related to your shares, investors that otherwise would not be subject to withholding (or that otherwise would be entitled to a reduced rate of withholding) on such payment generally will be required to seek a refund or credit from the IRS to obtain the benefits of such exemption or reduction. The Fund will not pay any additional amounts in respect to amounts withheld under FATCA. You should consult your tax adviser regarding the effect of FATCA based on your individual circumstances.
In general, U.S. federal withholding tax will not apply to any gain or income realized by a non-U.S. shareholder in respect of any distributions of net long term capital gains over net short term capital losses, exempt-interest dividends, or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.
Distributions that the Fund reports as “short term capital gain dividends” or “long term capital gain dividends” will not be treated as such to a recipient foreign shareholder if the distribution is attributable to gain received from the sale or exchange of U.S. real property or an interest in a U.S. real property holding corporation and the Fund’s direct or indirect interests in U.S. real property exceeded certain levels. Instead, if the foreign shareholder has not owned more than 5% of the outstanding shares of the Fund at any time during the one year period ending on the date of distribution, such distributions will be subject to 30% withholding by the Fund and will be treated as ordinary dividends to the foreign shareholder; if the foreign shareholder owned more than 5% of the outstanding shares of the Fund at any time during the one year period ending on the date of the distribution, such distribution will be treated as real property gain subject to withholding tax and could subject the foreign shareholder to U.S. filing requirements. Foreign shareholders owning more than 5% of the Fund’s shares may be subject to the withholding provisions of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax (FIRPTA) if the Fund holds more than 50% of its assets in investments constituting real property.
In addition, the same rules apply with respect to distributions to a foreign shareholder from the Fund and redemptions of a foreign shareholder’s interest in the Fund attributable to a REIT’s distribution to the Fund of gain from the sale or exchange of U.S. real property or an interest in a U.S. real property holding corporation, if the Fund’s direct or indirect interests in U.S. real property were to exceed certain levels.
The rules laid out in the previous two paragraphs, other than the withholding rules, will apply notwithstanding the Fund’s participation in a wash sale transaction or its payment of a substitute dividend.
Properly reported dividends are generally exempt from United States federal withholding tax where they (i) are paid in respect of the Fund’s “qualified net interest income” (generally, the Fund’s U.S. source interest income, other than certain contingent interest and interest from obligations of a corporation or partnership in which the Fund is at least a 10% shareholder, reduced by expenses that are allocable to such income) or (ii) are paid in respect of the Fund’s “qualified short term capital gains” (generally, the excess of the Fund’s net short term capital gain over the Fund’s long term capital loss for such taxable year). However, depending on its circumstances, the Fund may report all, some, or none of its potentially eligible dividends as such qualified net interest income or as qualified short term capital gains and/or treat such dividends, in whole or in part, as ineligible for this exemption from withholding. In order to qualify for this exemption from withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will need to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN or W8BEN-E or substitute Form). In the case of shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may withhold even if the Fund reports the payment as qualified net interest income or qualified short term capital gain. Non-U.S. shareholders should contact their intermediaries with respect to the application of these rules to their accounts.
The foregoing is only a summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax consequences affecting the Fund and its shareholders. The Fund may make taxable distributions even during periods in which the share price of the Fund has declined. Tax effects are not the primary consideration of the Fund in making investment decisions. The Fund does not expect to seek any tax rulings from the Internal Revenue Service or opinions from counsel with respect to tax issues. Current and prospective shareholders are advised to consult their own tax advisers with respect to the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in the Fund.
DESCRIPTION OF the fund’s SHARES
As a Maryland corporation, the Fund is not required, and does not intend, to hold regular annual shareholder meetings. It will hold an annual meeting if Directors are required to be elected under the 1940 Act and may hold special meetings for the consideration of proposals requiring shareholder approval such as changing fundamental policies. A meeting will be called to consider replacing the Fund’s Directors upon the written request of the holders of 10% of the Fund’s shares. When matters are submitted for shareholder vote, each shareholder will have one vote for each full share owned and proportionate, fractional votes for fractional shares held, except as described below with respect to class voting in certain circumstances. All shareholders of the Fund in each class, upon liquidation, will participate ratably in the Fund’s net assets. The Fund’s Board has authority, without a vote of shareholders, to increase the number of shares the Fund is authorized to issue and to authorize and issue additional classes of stock by reclassifying unissued shares. There are no conversion or preemptive rights in connection with any shares of the Fund. All shares, when issued in accordance with the terms of the offering, will be fully paid and non-assessable.
Liabilities; Separate Classes of Shares
The Fund’s Articles of Incorporation provide that to the fullest extent that limitations on the liability of Directors and officers are permitted by the Maryland General Corporation Law, the 1933 Act and the 1940 Act, Directors and officers shall be indemnified by the Fund against judgments, penalties, fines, excise taxes, settlements and reasonable expenses actually incurred in connection with any action, suit or other proceeding. To the fullest extent permitted by Maryland General Corporation Law, as amended from time to time, the Fund’s Articles of Incorporation also provide that no Director or officer of the Fund shall be personally liable to the Fund or its shareholders for money damages, except to the extent such exemption from liability or limitation thereof is not permitted by the 1940 Act. Nothing in the Articles of Incorporation protects a Director against any liability to which he would otherwise be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of duty involved in the conduct of his office.
Shareholders are entitled to one vote for each full share held and fractional votes for fractional votes held. Shareholders will vote in the aggregate except where otherwise required by law and except that each class will vote separately on certain matters pertaining to its distribution and shareholder servicing arrangements.
The Adviser’s investment personnel may invest in securities for their own account pursuant to a Code of Ethics that establishes procedures for personal investing and restricts certain transactions.
The Fund’s Financial Statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, including the Report of PwC, are incorporated herein by reference to the Fund’s Annual Report. The Annual Report is available upon request and without charge by calling 800-GABELLI (800-422-3554) or through the Internet at www.gabelli.com.
DESCRIPTION OF CORPORATE DEBT RATINGS
MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC. (“Moody’s”)
|Aaa:||Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.|
|Aa:||Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.|
|A:||Obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.|
|Baa:||Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.|
|Ba:||Obligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.|
|B:||Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to very high credit risk.|
|Caa:||Obligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.|
|Ca:||Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.|
|C:||Obligations rated C are the lowest rated class of bonds and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.|
|NR:||NR is assigned to an unrated issuer, obligation and/or program.|
Should no rating be assigned, the reason may be one of the following:
|1.||An application for rating was not received or accepted.|
|2.||The issue or issuer belongs to a group of securities that are not rated as a matter of policy.|
|3.||There is a lack of essential data pertaining to the issue or issuer.|
|4.||The issue was privately placed, in which case the rating is not published in Moody’s publications.|
Suspension or withdrawal may occur if new and material circumstances arise, the effects of which preclude satisfactory analysis; if there is no longer available reasonable up-to-date data to permit a judgment to be formed; if a bond is called for redemption; or for other reasons.
|Note:||Moody’s appends numerical modifiers, 1, 2, and 3 in each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 indicates that the security ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of its generic rating category. Additionally, a “(hyb)” indicator is appended to all ratings of hybrid securities issued by banks, insurers, finance companies, and securities firms.|
STANDARD & POOR’S RATINGS SERVICES (“S&P”)
|AAA:||An obligation rated ‘AAA’ has the highest rating assigned by S&P. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong.|
|AA:||An obligation rated ‘AA’ differs from the highest rated obligations only in small degree. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is very strong.|
|A:||An obligation rated ‘A’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rated categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong.|
|BBB:||An obligation rated ‘BBB’ exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.|
Obligations rated ‘BB’, ‘B’, ‘CCC’, ‘CC’, and ‘C’ are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. ‘BB’ indicates the least degree of speculation and ‘C’ the highest. While such obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposures to adverse conditions.
|BB:||An obligation rated ‘BB’ is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions which could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.|
|B:||An obligation rated ‘B’ is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.|
|CCC:||An obligation rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.|
|CC:||An obligation rated ‘CC’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment. The ‘CC’ rating is used when a default has not yet occurred, but Standard & Poor’s expects default to be a virtual certainty, regardless of the anticipated time to default.|
|C:||An obligation rated ‘C’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment, and the obligation is expected to have lower relative seniority or lower ultimate recovery compared to obligations that are rated higher.|
|D:||An obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due unless Standard & Poor’s believes that such payments will be made within five business days in the absence of a stated grace period or within the earlier of the stated grace period or 30 calendar days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. An obligation’s rating is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed exchange offer.|
|N||This indicates that no rating has been requested, or that there is insufficient information on which to base a rating, or that Standard & Poor’s does not rate a particular obligation as a matter of policy.|
|*||The ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.|
Description of S&P and Moody’s commercial paper ratings:
The designation A-1 by S&P indicates that the degree of safety regarding timely payment is strong. Within this category, certain obligations are designated with a plus sign (+). This indicates that the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on these obligations is extremely strong. Capacity for timely payment on issues with an A-2 designation is satisfactory. However, the relative degree of safety is not as high as for issues designated A-1.
The rating Prime-1 (P-1) is the highest commercial paper rating assigned by Moody’s. Issuers of P-1 paper must have a superior ability to repay short-term debt obligations, and ordinarily will be evidenced by leading market positions in well-established industries, high rates of return of funds employed, conservative capitalization structures with moderate reliance on debt and ample asset protection, broad margins in earnings coverage of fixed financial charges and high internal cash generation, and well established access to a range of financial markets and assured sources of alternate liquidity.