497
Direxion Shares ETF Trust
Statement of Additional Information
1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor
New York, New York 10019
(866) 476-7523
www.direxion.com
The Direxion Shares ETF Trust (“Trust”) is an investment company that offers shares of exchange-traded funds to the public. The shares of the funds offered in this Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are listed and traded on NYSE Arca. This SAI relates to the funds listed below (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”).
3X Bull Funds
3X Bear Funds
Direxion Daily Mid Cap Bull 3X Shares (MIDU)
 
Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bull 3X Shares (SPXL)
Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bear 3X Shares (SPXS)
Direxion Daily Small Cap Bull 3X Shares (TNA)
Direxion Daily Small Cap Bear 3X Shares (TZA)
Direxion Daily S&P 500® High Beta Bull 3X Shares (HIBL)
Direxion Daily S&P 500® High Beta Bear 3X Shares (HIBS)
Direxion Daily FTSE China Bull 3X Shares (YINN)
Direxion Daily FTSE China Bear 3X Shares (YANG)
Direxion Daily MSCI Emerging Markets Bull 3X Shares (EDC)
Direxion Daily MSCI Emerging Markets Bear 3X Shares (EDZ)
Direxion Daily FTSE Europe Bull 3X Shares (EURL)
 
Direxion Daily MSCI Mexico Bull 3X Shares (MEXX)
 
Direxion Daily MSCI South Korea Bull 3X Shares (KORU)
 
Direxion Daily Aerospace & Defense Bull 3X Shares (DFEN)
 
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares (LABU)
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear 3X Shares (LABD)
Direxion Daily Consumer Discretionary Bull 3X Shares (WANT)
 
Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares (FAS)
Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (FAZ)
Direxion Daily Healthcare Bull 3X Shares (CURE)
 
Direxion Daily Homebuilders & Supplies Bull 3X Shares (NAIL)
 
Direxion Daily Industrials Bull 3X Shares (DUSL)
 
Direxion Daily Dow Jones Internet Bull 3X Shares (WEBL)
Direxion Daily Dow Jones Internet Bear 3X Shares (WEBS)
Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bull 3X Shares (PILL)
 
Direxion Daily Real Estate Bull 3X Shares (DRN)
(formerly Direxion Daily MSCI Real Estate Bull 3X Shares)
Direxion Daily Real Estate Bear 3X Shares (DRV)
(formerly Direxion Daily MSCI Real Estate Bear 3X Shares)
Direxion Daily Regional Banks Bull 3X Shares (DPST)
 
Direxion Daily Retail Bull 3X Shares (RETL)
 
Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3X Shares (SOXL)
Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3X Shares (SOXS)
Direxion Daily Technology Bull 3X Shares (TECL)
Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares (TECS)
Direxion Daily Transportation Bull 3X Shares (TPOR)
 
Direxion Daily Utilities Bull 3X Shares (UTSL)
 
Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares (TYD)
Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares (TYO)
Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares (TMF)
Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares (TMV)
The Funds seek daily leveraged investment results and are intended to be used as short-term trading vehicles. Each Fund with “Bull” in its name attempts to provide daily investment results that correspond to three times the performance of an underlying index and are collectively referred to as the “Bull Funds.” Each Fund with “Bear” in its name attempts to provide daily investment results that correspond to three times the inverse (or opposite) of the performance of an underlying index and are collectively referred to as the “Bear Funds.”
The Funds are not intended to be used by, and are not appropriate for, investors who do not intend to actively monitor and manage their portfolios. The Funds are very different from most mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Investors should note that:
(1)
The Funds pursue daily leveraged investment objectives, which means that the Funds are riskier than alternatives that do not use leverage because the Funds magnify the performance of their underlying index.

(2)
Each Bear Fund pursues a daily leveraged investment objective that is inverse to the performance of its underlying index, a result opposite of most mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
(3)
The pursuit of daily investment objectives means that the return of a Fund for a period longer than a full trading day will be the product of a series of daily leveraged returns for each trading day during the relevant period. As a consequence, especially in periods of market volatility, the volatility of the underlying index may affect a Fund’s return as much as, or more than, the return of the underlying index. Further, the return for investors that invest for periods less than a full trading day will not be the product of the return of a Fund’s stated daily leveraged investment objective and the performance of the underlying index for the full trading day. During periods of high volatility, the Funds may not perform as expected and the Funds may have losses when an investor may have expected gains if the Funds are held for a period that is different than one trading day.
The Funds are not suitable for all investors. The Funds are designed to be utilized only by sophisticated investors, such as traders and active investors employing dynamic strategies. Investors in the Funds should:
(a)
understand the risks associated with the use of leverage;
(b)
understand the consequences of seeking daily leveraged investment results;
(c)
for each Bear Fund, understand the risk of shorting; and
(d)
intend to actively monitor and manage their investments.
Investors who do not understand the Funds, or do not intend to actively manage their funds and monitor their investments, should not buy the Funds.
There is no assurance that any Fund will achieve its investment objective and an investment in a Fund could lose money. No single Fund is a complete investment program.
If a Fund’s underlying index moves more than 33% on a given trading day in a direction adverse to the Fund, the Fund’s investors would lose all of their money. The Funds’ investment adviser, Rafferty Asset Management, LLC, will attempt to position each Fund’s portfolio to ensure that a Fund does not gain or lose more than 90% of its net asset value on a given trading day. As a consequence, a Fund’s portfolio should not be responsive to underlying index movements beyond 30% on a given trading day, whether that movement is favorable or adverse to the Fund. For example, if a Bull Fund’s underlying index was to gain 35% on a given trading day, that Fund should be limited to a gain of 90% for that day, which corresponds to 300% of an underlying index gain of 30%, rather than 300% of an underlying index gain of 35%.
This SAI, dated February 28, 2023, is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Funds' prospectus dated February 28, 2023 (“Prospectus”). This SAI is incorporated by reference into the Prospectus. In other words, it is legally part of the Prospectus. To receive a copy of the Prospectus, without charge, write or call the Trust at the address or telephone number listed above.
February 28, 2023

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A-1
ii

Direxion Shares ETF Trust
The Trust is a Delaware statutory trust organized on April 23, 2008 and is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as an open-end management investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (“1940 Act”). The Trust currently consists of 116 separate series or “Funds.”
The Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares, Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares, and the Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares are collectively referred to as the “Fixed Income Funds.”
Shares of each Fund (“Shares”) are issued and redeemed only in large blocks called “Creation Units.” The Shares offered in this SAI are listed and traded on NYSE Arca (the “Exchange”). Most investors will buy and sell Shares of each Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other publicly traded shares. There is no minimum investment. Investors may acquire Shares directly from each Fund, and shareholders may tender their Shares for redemption directly to each Fund, only in Creation Units of 50,000 Shares, as discussed in the “Purchases and Redemptions” section below.
Certain employees of the Adviser are responsible for interacting with market participants that transact in baskets for one or more Creation Units. As part of these discussions, these employees may discuss with a market participant the securities a Bull Fund is willing to accept in connection with a purchase (“creation”) of shares, and securities that a Bull Fund will provide on a redemption of shares. The Adviser's employees may also discuss portfolio holdings-related information with broker/dealers in connection with settling the Bull Fund's transactions, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course.
There is no assurance that any Fund offered in this SAI will achieve its objective and an investment in a Fund could lose money. No single Fund is a complete investment program.
From February 28, 2022 to July 31, 2022, the Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares and Direxion Daily Financial Bear 2X Shares sought daily investment results, before fees and expenses, of 300% and -300%, as applicable, of the performance of the Russell 1000 Financials 40 Act 15/22.5 Daily Capped Index. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares and Direxion Daily Financial Bear 2X Shares sought daily investment results, before fees and expenses, of 300% and -300%, as applicable, of the performance of the Russell 1000 Index – Financials Index.
Prior to August 1, 2022, the Direxion Daily Transportation Bull 3X Shares sought daily investment results, before fees and expenses, of 300% of the performance of the Dow Jones Transportation AverageTM.
Prior to February 28, 2022, the Direxion Daily Real Estate Bull 3X Shares and Direxion Daily Real Estate Bear 3X Shares sought daily investment results, before fees and expenses, of 300% and -300%, as applicable, of the performance of the MSCI US IMI Real Estate 25/50 Index under their former fund names, the Direxion Daily MSCI Real Estate Bull 3X Shares and Direxion Daily MSCI Real Estate Bear 3X Shares, respectively.
Classification of the Funds
Each Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended. This means it has the ability to invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in the securities of a small number of issuers or in financial instruments with a single counterparty or a few counterparties. This may increase a Fund’s volatility and increase the risk that a Fund’s performance will decline based on the performance of a single issuer or the credit of a single counterparty, and a Fund may be more susceptible to any single economic, political or regulatory occurrence than a diversified company.
Exchange Listing and Trading
The Shares are listed and traded on the Exchange. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of Shares of each Fund will continue to be met. The Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the Shares of a Fund from listing if (i) following the initial 12-month period beginning at the commencement of trading of a Fund, there are fewer than 50 beneficial owners of the Shares of the Fund; (ii) the value of the underlying index is no longer calculated or available; (iii) a Fund's underlying index no longer meets various liquidity and other metrics as required by the Exchange’s continued listing standards; or (iv) such other event shall occur or condition exist that, in the opinion of the Exchange, makes further dealings on the Exchange inadvisable. The Exchange will remove the Shares of a Fund from listing and trading upon termination of such Fund.
As is the case with other listed securities, when Shares of a Fund are bought or sold through a broker, an investor may incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker, as well as other charges.
1

The trading prices of each Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from each Fund’s daily NAV per share and are affected by market forces such as supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors. Rafferty Asset Management, LLC ("Rafferty" or "Adviser") may, from time to time, make payments to certain market makers in the Trust’s shares pursuant to an Exchange authorized program. The Trust reserves the right to adjust the price levels of the Shares in the future to help maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of a Fund or an investor’s equity interest in a Fund.
Investment Policies and Techniques
Each Fund seeks investment results that correspond to the performance of an underlying index, before fees and expenses, as follows:
Fund
Underlying Index
Daily
Leveraged
Investment
Objective
Direxion Daily Mid Cap Bull 3X Shares
S&P Midcap® 400 Index
300%
Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bull 3X Shares
S&P 500® Index
300%
Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily Small Cap Bull 3X Shares
Russell 2000® Index
300%
Direxion Daily Small Cap Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily S&P 500® High Beta Bull 3X Shares
S&P 500® High Beta Index
300%
Direxion Daily S&P 500® High Beta Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily FTSE China Bull 3X Shares
FTSE China 50 Index
300%
Direxion Daily FTSE China Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily MSCI Emerging Markets Bull 3X Shares
MSCI Emerging
Markets IndexSM
300%
Direxion Daily MSCI Emerging Markets Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily FTSE Europe Bull 3X Shares
FTSE Developed Europe All Cap Index
300%
Direxion Daily MSCI Mexico Bull 3X Shares
MSCI Mexico IMI 25/50 Index
300%
Direxion Daily MSCI South Korea Bull 3X Shares
MSCI Korea 25/50 Index
300%
Direxion Daily Aerospace & Defense Bull 3X Shares
Dow Jones U.S. Select
Aerospace & Defense Index
300%
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares
S&P Biotechnology
Select Industry Index
300%
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily Consumer Discretionary Bull 3X Shares
Consumer Discretionary
Select Sector Index
300%
Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares
Financial Select Sector Index
300%
Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily Healthcare Bull 3X Shares
Health Care Select
Sector Index
300%
Direxion Daily Homebuilders & Supplies Bull 3X Shares
Dow Jones U.S.
Select Home Construction
Index
300%
Direxion Daily Industrials Bull 3X Shares
Industrials Select Sector Index
300%
Direxion Daily Dow Jones Internet Bull 3X Shares
Dow Jones Internet Composite Index
300%
Direxion Daily Dow Jones Internet Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bull 3X Shares
S&P Pharmaceuticals Select Industry Index
300%
Direxion Daily Real Estate Bull 3X Shares
Real Estate Select Sector Index
300%
Direxion Daily Real Estate Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily Regional Banks Bull 3X Shares
S&P Regional Banks
Select Industry Index
300%
Direxion Daily Retail Bull 3X Shares
S&P Retail Select Industry Index
300%
2

Fund
Underlying Index
Daily
Leveraged
Investment
Objective
Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3X Shares
ICE Semiconductor Index
300%
Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily Technology Bull 3X Shares
Technology Select Sector Index
300%
Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily Transportation Bull 3X Shares
S&P Transportation Select Industry
FMC Capped Index
300%
Direxion Daily Utilities Bull 3X Shares
Utilities Select Sector Index
300%
Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares
ICE U.S. Treasury 7-10 Year Bond Index
300%
Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares
ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index
300%
Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares
-300%
Each Fund’s investment objective is a non-fundamental policy of the Fund that may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.
Subject to the limitations described in the “Investment Restrictions” section, each Fund may engage in the investment strategies discussed below.
Asset-Backed Securities
A Fund may invest in asset-backed securities of any rating or maturity. Asset-backed securities are securities issued by trusts and special purpose entities that are backed by pools of assets, such as automobile and credit-card receivables and home equity loans, which pass through the payments on the underlying obligations to the security holders (less servicing fees paid to the originator or fees for any credit enhancement). Typically, the originator of the loan or accounts receivable paper transfers it to a specially created trust, which repackages it as securities with a minimum denomination and a specific term. The securities are then privately placed or publicly offered. Examples include certificates for automobile receivables and so-called plastic bonds, backed by credit card receivables.
The value of an asset-backed security is affected by, among other things, changes in the market’s perception of the asset backing the security, the creditworthiness of the servicing agent for the loan pool, the originator of the loans and the financial institution providing any credit enhancement. Payments of principal and interest passed through to holders of asset-backed securities are frequently supported by some form of credit enhancement, such as a letter of credit, surety bond, limited guarantee by another entity or by having a priority to certain of the borrower’s other assets. The degree of credit enhancement varies, and generally applies to only a portion of the asset-backed security’s par value. Value is also affected if any credit enhancement has been exhausted.
Bank Obligations
Money Market Instruments. A Fund may invest in bankers’ acceptances, certificates of deposit, demand and time deposits, savings shares and commercial paper of domestic banks and savings and loans that have assets of at least $1 billion and capital, surplus, and undivided profits of over $100 million as of the close of their most recent fiscal year, or instruments that are insured by the Bank Insurance Fund or the Savings Institution Insurance Fund of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”). A Fund also may invest in high quality, short-term, corporate debt obligations, including variable rate demand notes, having terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days. Because there is no secondary trading market in demand notes, the inability of the issuer to make required payments could impact adversely a Fund’s ability to resell when it deems advisable to do so.
A Fund may invest in foreign money market instruments, which typically involve more risk than investing in U.S. money market instruments. See “Foreign Securities” below. These risks include, among others, higher brokerage commissions, less public information, and less liquid markets in which to sell and meet large shareholder redemption requests.
Bankers’ Acceptances. Bankers’ acceptances generally are negotiable instruments (time drafts) drawn to finance the export, import, domestic shipment or storage of goods. They are termed “accepted” when a bank writes on the draft its agreement to pay it at maturity, using the word “accepted.” The bank is, in effect, unconditionally guaranteeing to pay the face value of the instrument on its maturity date. The acceptance may then be held by the accepting bank as an asset, or it may be sold in the secondary market at the going rate of interest for a specified maturity.
3

Certificates of Deposit (“CDs”). The FDIC is an agency of the U.S. government that insures the deposits of certain banks and savings and loan associations up to $250,000 per deposit. The interest on such deposits may not be insured to the extent this limit is exceeded. Current federal regulations also permit such institutions to issue insured negotiable CDs in amounts of $250,000 or more without regard to the interest rate ceilings on other deposits. To remain fully insured, these investments must be limited to $250,000 per insured bank or savings and loan association.
Commercial Paper. Commercial paper includes notes, drafts or similar instruments payable on demand or having a maturity at the time of issuance not exceeding nine months, exclusive of days of grace or any renewal thereof. A Fund may invest in commercial paper rated A-l or A-2 by Standard & Poor’s® Ratings Services (“S&P®”) or Prime-1 or Prime-2 by Moody’s Investors Service®, Inc. (“Moody’s”), and in other lower quality commercial paper.
Corporate Debt Securities
A Fund may invest in investment grade corporate debt securities of any rating or maturity. Investment grade corporate bonds are those rated BBB or better by S&P® or Baa or better by Moody’s. Securities rated BBB by S&P® are considered investment grade, but Moody’s considers securities rated Baa to have speculative characteristics. See Appendix A for a description of corporate bond ratings. A Fund may also invest in unrated securities.
Corporate debt securities are fixed-income securities issued by businesses to finance their operations, although corporate debt instruments may also include bank loans to companies. Notes, bonds, debentures and commercial paper are the most common types of corporate debt securities, with the primary difference being their maturities and secured or un-secured status. Commercial paper has the shortest term and is usually unsecured.
The broad category of corporate debt securities includes debt issued by domestic or foreign companies of all kinds, including those with small-, mid- and large-capitalizations. Corporate debt may be rated investment-grade or below investment-grade and may carry variable or floating rates of interest.
Because of the wide range of types and maturities of corporate debt securities, as well as the range of creditworthiness of its issuers, corporate debt securities have widely varying potentials for return and risk profiles. For example, commercial paper issued by a large established domestic corporation that is rated investment grade may have a modest return on principal, but carries relatively limited risk. On the other hand, a long-term corporate note issued by a small foreign corporation from an emerging market country that has not been rated may have the potential for relatively large returns on principal, but carries a relatively high degree of risk.
Corporate debt securities carry both credit risk and interest rate risk. Credit risk is the risk that a Fund could lose money if the issuer of a corporate debt security is unable to pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Some corporate debt securities that are rated below investment grade are generally considered speculative because they present a greater risk of loss, including default, than higher-quality debt securities. The credit risk of a particular issuer’s debt security may vary based on its priority for repayment. For example, higher ranking (senior) debt securities have a higher priority than lower ranking (subordinated) securities. This means that the issuer might not make payments on subordinated securities while continuing to make payments on senior securities. In addition, in the event of bankruptcy, holders of higher-ranking senior securities may receive amounts otherwise payable to the holders of more junior securities. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of certain corporate debt securities will tend to fall when interest rates rise. In general, corporate debt securities with longer terms tend to fall more in value when interest rates rise than corporate debt securities with shorter terms.
A Fund may invest in certain debt securities, derivatives or other financial instruments that utilize the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) as a benchmark or reference rate for various interest rate calculations. LIBOR may be a significant factor in determining a Fund’s payment obligations under a derivative investment, the cost of financing to a Fund or an investment’s value or return to a Fund, and may be used in other ways that affect a Fund’s investment performance.
On July 27, 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) announced that it would cease its active encouragement of banks to provide quotations needed to sustain the LIBOR rate, which means that the LIBOR rate may no longer be published. Also in 2017, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a group of large US banks working with the Federal Reserve, announced its selection of a new Secured Overnight Funding Rate (“SOFR”), which is a broad measure of the cost of overnight borrowings secured by Treasury Department securities, as an appropriate replacement for LIBOR. Bank working groups and regulators in other countries have suggested other alternatives for their markets, including the Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (“SONIA”) in England. As previously announced by the FCA, most maturities and currencies of LIBOR were phased out at the end of 2021, with the remaining ones to be phased out on June 30, 2023. There is a risk that remaining LIBOR maturities may cease to be published before this date. This announcement impacted several LIBOR transition dates, including the EU Benchmark Regulations regarding the European Commission designating one or more LIBOR replacement rates. Additionally, fallback language that was voluntarily entered into by contractual parties, including those related to corporate debt or other securities may be impacted by the FCA’s announcement, thereby triggering transition dates for various instruments.
4

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing SOFR in April 2018, with the expectation that it could be used on a voluntary basis in new USD-denominated instruments and for new transactions under existing instruments. However, SOFR is fundamentally different from LIBOR. It is a secured, nearly risk-free rate, while LIBOR is an unsecured rate that includes an element of bank credit risk. Also, while term SOFR for various maturities has begun to be adopted by some parties and for some types of transactions, 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. Term SOFR rates for various maturities may not be available, recommended, or operationally feasible at the applicable benchmark replacement date.
Various financial industry groups have planned for the transition from LIBOR to SOFR (or another new benchmark), but there are obstacles to converting certain longer term securities and transactions. Neither the effect of the transition process nor its ultimate success can yet be known. The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets that currently rely on the LIBOR to determine interest rates. It also could lead to a reduction in the value of some LIBOR-based investments and reduce the effectiveness of new hedges placed against existing LIBOR-based instruments. New York has passed legislation to ease the transition from LIBOR and federal LIBOR transition relief legislation has been proposed, but there is no assurance whether or when such legislation will be enacted or if it will adequately address all issues or be subject to litigation. Among other negative consequences, the transition away from LIBOR could:
Adversely impact the pricing, liquidity, value of, return on and trading for a broad array of financial products, including any LIBOR-linked securities, loans and derivatives in which a Fund may invest;
Require extensive negotiations of and/or amendments to agreements and other documentation governing LIBOR-linked investments products;
Lead to disputes, litigation or other actions with counterparties or portfolio companies regarding the interpretation and enforceability of “fall back” provisions that provide for an alternative reference rate in the event of LIBOR’s unavailability; or
Cause a Fund to incur additional costs in relation to any of the above factors.
The risks associated with the above factors are heightened with respect to investments in LIBOR-based products that do not include a fall back provision that addresses how interest rates will be determined after LIBOR stops being published. Other important factors include the pace of the transition, the specific terms of alternative reference rates accepted in the market and the depth of the market for investments based on alternative reference rates. The risks associated with this discontinuation and transition may be exacerbated if the work necessary to effect an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate is not completed in a timely manner. Any such effects of the transition away from LIBOR, as well as other unforeseen effects, could result in losses to a Fund.
Equity Securities
Common Stocks. A Fund may invest in common stocks. Common stocks represent the residual ownership interest in the issuer and are entitled to the income and increase in the value of the assets and business of the entity after all of its obligations and preferred stock are satisfied. Common stocks generally have voting rights. Common stocks fluctuate in price in response to many factors including historical and prospective earnings of the issuer, the value of its assets, general economic conditions, interest rates, investor perceptions and market liquidity.
Convertible Securities. A Fund may invest in convertible securities that may be considered high yield securities. Convertible securities include corporate bonds, notes and preferred stock that can be converted into or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock of the same or a different issue within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt or dividends paid on preferred stock until the convertible stock matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. While no securities investment is without some risk, investments in convertible securities generally entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock, although the extent to which such risk is reduced depends in large measure upon the degree to which the convertible security sells above its value as a fixed income security. The market value of convertible securities tends to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. While convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than nonconvertible debt securities of similar quality, they do enable the investor to benefit from increases in the market price of the underlying common stock. When investing in convertible securities, a Fund may invest in the lowest credit rating category.
Preferred Stock. A Fund may invest in preferred stock. A preferred stock blends the characteristics of a bond and common stock. It can offer the higher yield of a bond and has priority over common stock in equity ownership, but does not have the seniority of a bond and its participation in the issuer’s growth may be limited. Preferred stock has preference over common stock in the receipt of dividends and in any residual assets after payment to creditors if the issuer is dissolved.
5

Although the dividend is set at a fixed annual rate, in some circumstances it can be changed or omitted by the issuer. When investing in preferred stocks, a Fund may invest in the lowest credit rating category.
Warrants and Rights. A Fund may purchase warrants and rights, which are instruments that permit a Fund to acquire, by subscription, the capital stock of a corporation at a set price, regardless of the market price for such stock. Warrants may be either perpetual or of limited duration, but they usually do not have voting rights or pay dividends. The market price of warrants is usually significantly less than the current price of the underlying stock. Thus, there is a greater risk that warrants might drop in value at a faster rate than the underlying stock.
Foreign Securities
A Fund may have both direct and indirect exposure to foreign securities through investments in publicly traded securities such as stocks and bonds, stock index futures contracts, options on stock index futures contracts and options on securities and on stock indices to foreign securities. In most cases, the best available market for foreign securities will be on exchanges or in OTC markets located outside the United States.
Investing in foreign securities carries political and economic risks distinct from those associated with investing in the United States. Non-U.S. securities may be subject to currency risks or to foreign government taxes. There may be less information publicly available about a non-U.S. issuer than about a U.S. issuer, and a foreign issuer may or may not be subject uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices comparable to those in the U.S. Other risks of investing in such securities include political or economic instability in the country involved, the difficulty of predicting international trade patterns and the possibility of the imposition of exchange controls. The prices of such securities may be more volatile than those of U.S. securities. There maybe also be the possibility of expropriation of assets or nationalization, imposition of withholding taxes on dividend or interest payments, difficulty obtaining and enforcing judgments against foreign entities or diplomatic developments which could affect investment in these countries. Losses and other expenses may be incurred in converting currencies in connection with purchases and sales of foreign securities.
Non-U.S. stock markets may not be as developed or efficient as, and may be more volatile than, those in the U.S. While the volume of shares traded on non-U.S. stock markets generally has been growing, such markets usually have substantially less volume than U.S. markets. Therefore, a Fund’s investment in non-U.S. equity securities may be less liquid and subject to more rapid and erratic price movements than comparable securities listed for trading on U.S. exchanges. Non-U.S. equity securities may trade at price/earnings multiples higher than comparable U.S. securities and such levels may not be sustainable. There may be less government supervision and regulation of foreign stock exchanges, brokers, banks and listed companies abroad than in the U.S. Moreover, settlement practices for transactions in foreign markets may differ from those in U.S. markets. Such differences may include delays beyond periods customary in the U.S. and practices, such as delivery of securities prior to receipt of payment, that increase the likelihood of a failed settlement, which can result in losses to a Fund. The value of non-U.S. investments and the investment income derived from them may also be affected unfavorably by changes in currency exchange control regulations. Foreign brokerage commissions, custodial expenses and other fees are also generally higher than for securities traded in the U.S. This may cause a Fund to incur higher portfolio transaction costs than domestic equity funds. Fluctuations in exchanges rates may also affect the earning power and asset value of the foreign entity issuing a security, even on denominated in U.S. dollars. Dividend and interest payments may be repatriated based on the exchange rate at the time of disbursement, and restrictions on capital flows may be imposed.
Developing and Emerging Markets. Emerging and developing markets abroad may offer special opportunities for investing, but may have greater risks than more developed foreign markets, such as those in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. There may be even less liquidity in their securities markets, and settlements of purchases and sales of securities may be subject to additional delays. They are subject to greater risks of limitations on the repatriation of income and profits because of currency restrictions imposed by local governments. Those countries may also be subject to the risk of greater political and economic instability, which can greatly affect the volatility of prices of securities in those countries.
Investing in emerging market securities imposes risks different from, or greater than, risks of investing in foreign developed countries. These risks include: smaller market capitalization of securities markets, which may suffer periods of relative illiquidity; significant price volatility; restrictions on foreign investment; and possible repatriation of investment income and capital. In addition, foreign investors may be required to register the proceeds of sales and future economic or political crises could lead to price controls, forced mergers, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, seizure, nationalization, or creation of government monopolies. The currencies of emerging market countries may experience significant declines against the U.S. Dollar. Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and may continue to have, negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain emerging market countries. Additional risks of emerging markets securities may include: greater social, economic and political uncertainty and instability; more substantial governmental involvement in the economy; less governmental supervision and regulation; unavailability of currency hedging techniques; companies that are newly organized and small; differences in auditing and financial reporting standards, which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers; and less developed legal systems. Shareholder claims and legal remedies that are common in the United States may be difficult or impossible to pursue in many emerging market countries. In addition, due to jurisdictional limitations, matters
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of comity and various other factors, U.S. authorities may be limited in their ability to bring enforcement actions against non-U.S. companies and non-U.S. persons in certain emerging market countries. In addition, emerging securities markets may have different clearance and settlement procedures, which may be unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions or otherwise make it difficult to engage in such transactions.
Asia-Pacific Countries. In addition to the risks associated with foreign and emerging markets, the developing market Asia-Pacific countries in which a Fund may invest are subject to certain additional or specific risks. A Fund may make substantial investments in Asia-Pacific countries. In the Asia-Pacific markets, there is a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries. Many of these markets also may be affected by developments with respect to more established markets in the region, such as Japan and Hong Kong. Brokers in developing market Asia-Pacific countries typically are fewer in number and less well-capitalized than brokers in the United States. These factors, combined with the U.S. regulatory requirements for open-end investment companies and the restrictions on foreign investment, result in potentially fewer investment opportunities for a Fund and may have an adverse impact on a Fund’s investment performance.
Many of the developing market Asia-Pacific countries may be subject to a greater degree of economic, political and social instability than is the case in the United States and Western European countries. Such instability may result from, among other things: (i) authoritarian governments or military involvement in political and economic decision-making, including changes in government through extra-constitutional means; (ii) popular unrest associated with demands for improved political, economic and social conditions; (iii) internal insurgencies; (iv) hostile relations with neighboring countries; and/or (v) ethnic, religious and racial disaffection. In addition, the governments of many of such countries, such as Indonesia, have a heavy role in regulating and supervising the economy.
An additional risk common to most such countries is that the economy is heavily export-oriented and, accordingly, is dependent upon international trade. The existence of overburdened infrastructure and obsolete financial systems also present risks in certain countries, as do environmental problems. Certain economies also depend to a significant degree upon exports of primary commodities and, therefore, are vulnerable to changes in commodity prices that, in turn, may be affected by a variety of factors. The legal systems in certain developing market Asia-Pacific countries also may have an adverse impact on a Fund. For example, while the potential liability of a shareholder in a U.S. corporation with respect to acts of the corporation is generally limited to the amount of the shareholder's investment, the notion of limited liability is less clear in certain emerging market Asia-Pacific countries. Similarly, the rights of investors in developing market Asia-Pacific companies may be more limited than those of shareholders of U.S. corporations. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain and/or enforce a judgment in a developing market Asia-Pacific country.
Governments of many developing market Asia-Pacific countries have exercised and continue to exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. In certain cases, the government owns or controls many companies, including the largest in the country. Accordingly, government actions in the future could have a significant effect on economic conditions in developing market Asia-Pacific countries, which could affect private sector companies and a Fund itself, as well as the value of securities in a Fund's portfolio. In addition, economic statistics of developing market Asia-Pacific countries may be less reliable than economic statistics of more developed nations.
It is possible that developing market Asia-Pacific issuers may not be subject to the same accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards as U.S. companies. Inflation accounting rules in some developing market Asia-Pacific countries require companies that keep accounting records in the local currency, for both tax and accounting purposes, to restate certain assets and liabilities on the company’s balance sheet in order to express items in terms of currency of constant purchasing power. Inflation accounting may indirectly generate losses or profits for certain developing market Asia-Pacific companies. In addition, satisfactory custodial services for investment securities may not be available in some developing Asia-Pacific countries, which may result in a Fund incurring additional costs and delays in providing transportation and custody services for such securities outside such countries.
Certain developing Asia-Pacific countries are especially large debtors to commercial banks and foreign governments. Fund management may determine that, notwithstanding otherwise favorable investment criteria, it may not be practicable or appropriate to invest in a particular developing Asia-Pacific country. A Fund may invest in countries in which foreign investors, including management of the Fund, have had no or limited prior experience.
Brazil. Investing in Brazil involves certain considerations not typically associated with investing in the United States. Additional considerations include: (i) investment and repatriation controls, which could affect a Fund’s ability to operate, and to qualify for the favorable tax treatment afforded to RICs for U.S. federal income tax purposes; (ii) fluctuations in the rate of exchange between the Brazilian Real and the U.S. Dollar; (iii) the generally greater price volatility and lesser liquidity that characterize Brazilian securities markets, as compared with U.S. markets; (iv) the effect that balance of trade could have on Brazilian economic stability and the Brazilian government's economic policy; (v) potentially high rates of inflation, a rising unemployment rate, and a high level of debt, each of which may hinder economic growth; (vi) governmental involvement in and influence on the private sector; (vii) Brazilian accounting, auditing and financial standards and requirements, which differ from those in the United States; (viii) political and other considerations, including changes in applicable Brazilian tax laws; and (ix) restrictions on investments by foreigners. In addition, commodities, such as oil, gas and minerals, represent a significant
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percentage of Brazil’s exports and, therefore, its economy is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Additionally, an investment in Brazil is subject to certain risks stemming from political and economic corruption.
China. Investing in China involves special considerations not typically associated with investing in countries with more democratic governments or more established economies or currency markets. These risks include: (i) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (ii) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy, interest rates and currency exchange rates; (iii) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital; (iv) greater social, economic and political uncertainty ; (v) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (vi) currency exchange rate fluctuations; (vii) differences in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards that may result in unavailability of material information about issuers and restrictions on issuers’ ability to access the U.S. capital markets; and (viii) the risk that certain companies, including those in which the Fund may invest, may have dealings with countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. government or identified as state sponsors of terrorism.
For over three decades, the Chinese government has been reforming economic and market practice and has been providing a larger sphere for private ownership of property. While currently contributing to growth and prosperity, the government could technically decide not to continue to support these economic reform programs and return to the completely centrally planned economy that existed prior to 1978. There is also a greater risk in China than in many other countries of currency fluctuations, currency non-convertibility, interest rate fluctuations and higher rates of inflation as a result of internal social unrest or conflicts with other countries. China is an emerging market and demonstrates significantly higher volatility from time to time in comparison to developed markets. The government of China maintains strict currency controls in support of economic, trade and political objectives and regularly intervenes in the currency market. The government's actions in this respect may not be transparent or predictable. As a result, the value of the Yuan (or renminbi), and the value of securities designed to provide exposure to the Yuan, can change quickly and arbitrarily. Furthermore, it is difficult for foreign investors to directly access money market securities in China because of investment and trading restrictions. Chinese law also prohibits direct foreign investments in certain issuers in certain industries. Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges often use variable interest entities (“VIEs”) in their structure. Instead of directly owning the equity securities of a Chinese operating company, in a VIE structure, a non-U.S. shell company (often organized in the Cayman Islands) that is listed and traded on a U.S. exchange enters into service contracts and other contracts with the Chinese operating company which provide the foreign shell company with exposure to the Chinese company. Although the U.S. listed shell company has no equity ownership of the Chinese operating company, the contractual arrangements provide the U.S. listed shell company economic exposure to the Chinese operating company and permit the U.S. listed shell company to consolidate the Chinese operating company into its financial statements. VIE structures are subject to legal and regulatory uncertainties and risks. Intervention by the Chinese government with respect to VIE structures or the non-enforcement of VIE-related contractual rights could significantly affect a Chinese operating company's business, the enforceability of the U.S. listed shell company's contractual arrangements with the Chinese operating company and the value of the U.S. listed stock. Intervention by the Chinese government could include nationalization of the Chinese operating company, confiscation of its assets, restrictions on operations and/or constraints on the use of VIE structures. In addition, because the Chinese operating company is not owned, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. listed shell company, the U.S. listed shell company cannot control the Chinese operating company and must rely on the Chinese operating company to perform its contractual obligations in order for the U.S. listed company to receive economic benefits.
While the economy of China has enjoyed substantial economic growth in recent years, there can be no guarantee this growth will continue. Reduction in spending on Chinese products and services, the institution of additional tariffs or other trade barriers, including as a result of heightened trade tensions between China and the United States, or a downturn in any of the economies of China’s key trading partners may have an adverse impact on the Chinese economy. Actions like these may have unanticipated and disruptive effects on the Chinese economy. Any such response that targets Chinese financial markets or securities exchanges could interfere with orderly trading, delay settlement or cause market disruptions. These and other factors may decrease the value and liquidity of a Fund's investments. The Chinese economy may experience a significant slowdown as a result of, among other things, a deterioration of global demand for Chinese exports, as well as contraction in spending on domestic goods by Chinese consumers. In addition, China may experience substantial rates of inflation or economic recessions, which would have a negative effect on its economy and securities market.
Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997 as a Special Administrative Region of the PRC under the principle of “one country, two systems.” Although China is obligated to maintain the current capitalist economic and social system of Hong Kong through June 30, 2047, the continuation of economic and social freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong is dependent on the government of China. Since 1997, there have been tensions between the Chinese government and many people in Hong Kong regarding China's perceived tightening of control over Hong Kong's semi-autonomous liberal political, economic, legal, and social framework. Recent protests may prompt the Chinese and Hong Kong governments to rapidly address Hong Kong's future relationship with mainland China, which remains unresolved. Due to the interconnected nature of the Hong Kong and Chinese economies, this instability in Hong Kong may cause uncertainty in the Hong Kong and Chinese markets.
There has been increased attention from the U.S. government and U.S. regulators, including the Department of the Treasury (“DOT”) and its Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). In a series of executive orders issued between November 2020
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and June 2021, the DOT prohibited investment by U.S. investors in certain companies tied to the Chinese military or China's surveillance technology sector. The prohibited companies were described in the executive orders as “Chinese Military Industrial Complex Companies,” and the restrictions on investing in such companies was interpreted by OFAC to extend to instruments that are derivative of, or designed to provide investment exposure to, these companies, including diversified investment companies. The orders only contained a limited exception for transactions that made solely for the purpose of divestment through June 3, 2022. As a result, prior to that date, the Funds will sell any positions in such companies and will not make future investments in them, notwithstanding their potential inclusion in a Fund's underlying index.
There has also been increased attention from the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) with regard to international auditing standards of U.S.-listed companies with operations in China as well as PCAOB-registered auditing firms in China. The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act ("HFCAA") requires the SEC to identify reporting public companies that use public accounting firms with a branch or office located in a foreign jurisdiction that the PCAOB determines that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a position taken by a governmental entity in that jurisdiction ("Commission-Identified Issuers"). If an issuer is identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer for three consecutive years, the issuer's shares will be prohibited in U.S. exchange and over-the-counter markets. On March 8, 2022, pursuant to the implementing regulations established by the SEC as required by the HFCAA, the SEC began to identify companies as provisional Commission-Identified Issuers. Although the PCAOB in 2021 had determined that positions taken by PRC authorities prevented the PCAOB from inspecting and investigating audit firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong, in December 2022 the PCAOB announced that it had been able to secure complete access to inspect and investigate audit firms in the PRC for the first time in history. As a result, on December 15, 2022, the PCAOB voted to vacate the previous 2021 determinations. Depending on the PRC's continued cooperation, under the HFCAA, PCAOB determinations may result in certain issuers becoming Commission-Identified Issuers.
Recently, there have been intensified concerns about trade tariffs and a potential trade war between China and the United States, despite the United States’ signing a partial trade agreement with China that reduced some U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods while boosting Chinese purchases of American goods. However, this agreement left in place a number of existing tariffs, and it is unclear whether further trade agreements may be reached in the future. The ability and willingness of China to comply with the trade deal may determine to some degree the extent to which its economy will be adversely affected, which cannot be predicted at the present time. Future tariffs imposed by China and the United States on the other country’s products, or other escalating actions, may trigger a significant reduction in international trade, the oversupply of certain manufactured goods, substantial price reductions of goods and possible failure of individual companies and/or large segments of China’s export industry with a potentially negative impact to a Fund.
For decades, a state of hostility has existed between Taiwan and the PRC. Beijing has long deemed Taiwan a part of the “one China” and has made a nationalist cause of recovering it. This situation poses a threat to Taiwan’s economy and could negatively affect its stock market. In addition, China could be affected by military events on the Korean peninsula or internal instability within North Korea. These situations may cause uncertainty in the Chinese market and may adversely affect performance of the Chinese economy.
Foreign investors had historically been unable to participate in the PRC securities market. However, in late 2002, Investment Regulations promulgated by the China Securities Regulatory Commission ("CSRC") came into effect, which were replaced by the updated Investment Regulations (i.e., “Measures for the Administration of the Securities Investments of Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors in the PRC”), which came into effect on September 1, 2006, that provided a legal framework for certain Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (“QFIIs”) to invest in PRC securities and certain other securities historically not eligible for investment by non-Chinese investors, through quotas granted by China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (“SAFE”) to those QFIIs which have been approved by the CSRC. The RMB QFII (“RQFII”) program was instituted in December 2011 and is substantially similar to the QFII program, but provides for greater flexibility in repatriating assets. In 2020, the PRC government eliminated QFII and RQFII quotas, meaning that entities registered with the appropriate Chinese regulator will no longer be subject to quotas when investing in PRC securities (but will remain subject to foreign shareholder limits), and merged the two programs into the Qualified Foreign Investor regime (“QFI”).
China A-shares are equity securities of companies based in mainland China that trade on Chinese stock exchanges such as the Shanghai Stock Exchange (“SSE”) and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (“SZSE”) (“A-shares”). The ability of a Fund to invest in China A-Shares is dependent, in part, on the availability of A-Shares either through the trading and clearing facilities of a participating exchange located outside of mainland China (“Stock Connect Programs”) which currently include the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Shanghai-London Stock Connect, and China-Japan Stock Connect, and/or through a QFI license. Thus, the Fund’s investment in A-Shares may be limited by the daily A-Shares quota limitation and by the amount of A-Shares available through the Stock Connect Programs.
The Stock Connect Programs are subject to daily and aggregate quota limitations, and an investor cannot purchase and sell the same security on the same trading day, which may restrict a Fund’s ability to invest in A-Shares through the Stock Connect Programs and to enter into or exit trades on a timely basis. The Shanghai and Shenzhen markets may be open at a time when the participating exchanges located outside of mainland China are not active, with the result that prices of A-Shares may fluctuate at times when a Fund is unable to add to or exit a position. The mainland Chinese and Hong Kong regulators have announced in August 2022 to enhance the trading calendar for Stock Connect, to allow Stock Connect
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trading on all the days which are trading days in both mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets, even when the corresponding settlement days would be public holidays. However, as of the date of this SAI, such enhancements have not been implemented and detailed operational rules are yet to be issued. As such, it is uncertain how such enhanced trading calendar will be operated. Only certain A-Shares are eligible to be accessed through the Stock Connect Programs. Such securities may lose their eligibility at any time, in which case they may no longer be able to be purchased or sold through the Stock Connect Programs. Because the Stock Connect Programs are still evolving, the actual effect on the market for trading A-Shares with the introduction of large numbers of foreign investors is still relatively unknown. In addition, there is no assurance that the necessary systems required to operate the Stock Connect Programs will function properly or will continue to be adapted to changes and developments in both markets. In the event that the relevant systems do not function properly, trading through the Stock Connect Programs could be disrupted. The Stock Connect Programs are subject to regulations promulgated by regulatory authorities for both exchanges and further regulations or restrictions, such as limitations on redemptions or suspension of trading, may adversely impact the Stock Connect Programs, if the authorities believe it necessary to assure orderly markets or for other reasons. There is no guarantee that the participating exchanges will continue to support the Stock Connect Programs in the future. Each of the foregoing could restrict a Fund from selling its investments, adversely affect the value of its holdings and negatively affect a Fund’s ability to meet shareholder redemptions.
Europe. Investing in European countries may impose economic and political risks associated with Europe in general and the specific European countries in which it invests. The economies and markets of European countries are often closely connected and interdependent, and events in one European country can have an adverse impact on other European countries. A Fund makes investments in securities of issuers that are domiciled in, or have significant operations in, member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (the “EU”), which requires member countries to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro (the common currency of certain EU countries), the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member country may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member countries and their trading partners, including some or all of the emerging markets materials sector countries. Although certain European countries do not use the euro, many of these countries are obliged to meet the criteria for joining the euro zone. Consequently, these countries must comply with many of the restrictions noted above. The European financial markets have experienced volatility and adverse trends in recent years due to concerns about economic downturns, rising government debt levels and the possible default of government debt in several European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. In order to prevent further economic deterioration, certain countries, without prior warning, can institute “capital controls.” Countries may use these controls to restrict volatile movements of capital entering and exiting their country. Such controls may negatively affect a Fund’s investments. A default or debt restructuring by any European country would adversely impact holders of that country’s debt and sellers of credit default swaps linked to that country’s creditworthiness, which may be located in countries other than those listed above. In addition, the credit ratings of certain European countries were recently downgraded. These downgrades may result in further deterioration of investor confidence. These events have adversely affected the value and exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect the economies of every country in Europe, including countries that do not use the euro and non-EU member countries. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not produce the desired results, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching and could adversely impact the value of investments in the region.
In a referendum held on June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) resolved to leave the EU (referred to as “Brexit”). On January 31, 2020, the UK officially withdrew from the EU pursuant to a withdrawal agreement, providing for a transition period in which the UK negotiated and finalized a trade deal with the EU, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “Trade Agreement”). As a result, since January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU customs union and single market, nor is it subject to EU policies and international agreements. The Trade Agreement, among other things, provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods that comply with appropriate rules of origin and establishes the treatment and level of access the United Kingdom and EU have agreed to grant each other’s service suppliers and investors. The Trade Agreement also covers digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, aviation and road transport, energy, fisheries, social security coordination, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, thematic cooperation and participation in EU programs. Even with the Trade Agreement in place, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may create new barriers to trade in goods and services and to cross-border mobility and exchanges.
The UK has one of the largest economies in Europe, and member countries of the EU are substantial trading partners of the UK. The City of London’s economy is dominated by financial services and uncertainty remains regarding the treatment of cross-border trade in financial services. While the Trade Agreement includes certain provisions to support cross-border trade in financial services, it is not comprehensively addressed in the Trade Agreement and the parties continue to discuss ‘equivalence’ rights to allow market access for cross-border financial services. In March 2021, the EU and the UK reached
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a memorandum of understanding, establishing a framework for voluntary regulatory cooperation on financial services. Without access to the EU single market, certain financial services in the UK may move outside of the UK as a result of its withdrawal from the EU. In addition, financial services firms in the UK may need to move staff and comply with two separate sets of rules or lose business to financial services firms in the EU. Furthermore, the withdrawal from the EU creates the potential for decreased trade, the possibility of capital outflows, devaluation of the pound sterling, the cost of higher corporate bond spreads due to continued uncertainty, and the risk that all the above could damage business and consumer spending as well as foreign direct investment. As a result of the withdrawal from the EU, the British economy and its currency may be negatively impacted by changes to its economic and political relations with the EU. Additional member countries seeking to withdraw from the EU would likely cause additional market disruption globally and introduce new legal and regulatory uncertainties.
Brexit may also have a destabilizing impact on the EU to the extent that other member states similarly seek to withdraw from the EU. Any further exits from the EU would likely cause additional market disruptions globally and introduce new legal and regulatory uncertainties.
Russia's increasing international assertiveness could negatively impact EU economic activity. The effect on the economies of EU countries of the Russia/Ukraine war and Russia's response to sanctions imposed by the US and other countries are impossible to predict, but have been and could continue to be significant.
India. Investments in India involve special considerations not typically associated with investing in countries with more established economies or currency markets. Political, religious, and border disputes persist in India. India has recently experienced and may continue to experience civil unrest and hostilities with certain of its neighboring countries, including Pakistan, and the Indian government has confronted separatist movements in several Indian states, including Kashmir. Government control over the economy, currency fluctuations or blockage, and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets offer higher potential losses. Governmental actions could have a negative effect on the economic conditions in India, which could adversely affect the value and liquidity of investments made by a Fund. The securities markets in India are comparatively underdeveloped with some exceptions and consist of a small number of listed companies with small market capitalization, greater price volatility and substantially less liquidity than companies in more developed markets. The limited liquidity of the Indian securities market may also affect a Fund’s ability to acquire or dispose of securities at the price or time that it desires or the Fund’s ability to track its underlying index.
The Indian government exercises significant influence over many aspects of the economy, and the number of public sector enterprises in India is substantial. While the Indian government has implemented economic structural reform with the objectives of liberalizing India's exchange and trade policies, reducing the fiscal deficit, controlling inflation, promoting a sound monetary policy, reforming the financial sector, and placing greater reliance on market mechanisms to direct economic activity, there can be no assurance that these policies will continue or that the economic recovery will be sustained.
Global factors and foreign actions may inhibit the flow of foreign capital on which India is dependent to sustain its growth. In addition, the Reserve Bank of India has imposed limits on foreign ownership of Indian companies, which may decrease the liquidity of a Fund’s portfolio and result in extreme volatility in the prices of Indian securities. In November 2016, the Indian government eliminated certain large denomination cash notes as legal tender, causing uncertainty in certain financial markets. These factors, coupled with the lack of extensive accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices, as applicable in the United States, may increase the risk of loss for a Fund.
Securities laws in India are relatively new and unsettled and, as a result, there is a risk of significant and unpredictable change in laws governing foreign investment, securities regulation, title to securities and shareholder rights. Foreign investors in particular may be adversely affected by new or amended laws and regulations. Certain Indian regulatory approvals, including approvals from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the central government and the tax authorities (to the extent that tax benefits need to be utilized), may be required before a Fund can make investments in Indian companies. Foreign investors in India still face burdensome taxes on investments in income producing securities.
While the Indian economy has enjoyed substantial economic growth in recent years, there can be no guarantee this growth will continue. Technology and software sectors represent a significant portion of the total capitalization of the Indian securities markets. The value of these companies will generally fluctuate in response to technological and regulatory developments, and, as a result, a Fund’s holdings are expected to experience correlated fluctuations. Natural disasters, such as tsunamis, flooding or droughts, could occur in India or surrounding areas and could negatively affect the Indian economy. Agriculture occupies a prominent position in the Indian economy, therefore, it may be negatively affected by adverse weather conditions and the effects of global climate change. These and other factors may decrease the value and liquidity of a Fund's investments.
Italy. Investment in Italian issuers involves risks that are specific to Italy, including, regulatory, political, currency, and economic risks. Italy’s economy is dependent upon external trade with other economies—specifically Germany, France and other Western European developed countries. As a result, Italy is dependent on the economies of these other countries and any change in the price or demand for Italy’s exports may have an adverse impact on its economy. Interest rates on Italy’s debt may rise to levels that may make it difficult for it to service high debt levels without significant financial help from the EU and could potentially lead to default. Recently, the Italian economy has experienced volatility due to concerns about economic downturn and rising government debt levels. Italy has been warned by the Economic and Monetary Union of the EU to
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reduce its public spending and debt and actions by Italy to cut spending or increase taxes in response could have significant adverse effects on the Italian economy. These events have adversely impacted the Italian economy, causing credit agencies to lower Italy’s sovereign debt rating and could decrease outside investment in Italian companies. High amounts of debt and public spending may stifle Italian economic growth or cause prolonged periods of recession.
Japan. Japanese investments may be significantly affected by events influencing Japan’s economy and changes in the exchange rate between the Japanese yen and the U.S. Dollar. Japan’s economy fell into a long recession in the 1990s. After a few years of mild recovery in the mid-2000s, Japan’s economy fell into another recession as a result of the recent global economic crisis. In December 2019, Japan’s government approved a fiscal stimulus package of nearly $120 billion in order to stimulate its slowing economy, which has been negatively affected by decreased demand from China and by recent political conflicts with South Korea. Japan is heavily dependent on exports and foreign oil and may be adversely affected by higher commodity prices, trade tariffs, protectionist measures, competition from emerging economies, and the economic conditions of its trading partners, such as China. Furthermore, Japan is located in a seismically active area, and in 2011 experienced an earthquake and a tsunami that significantly affected important elements of its infrastructure and resulted in a nuclear crisis. Since these events, Japan’s financial markets have fluctuated dramatically. The full extent of the impact of these events on Japan’s economy and on foreign investment in Japan is difficult to estimate. The risks of natural disaster of varying degrees, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and the resulting damage, continue to exist. Japan’s economic prospects may be affected by the political and military situations of its near neighbors, notably North and South Korea, China, and Russia. In addition, the Japanese economic growth rate could be impacted by Bank of Japan monetary policies, rising interest rates, tax increases, budget deficits, consumer confidence and volatility in the Japanese yen. Japan’s labor market is adapting to an aging workforce, declining population, and demand for increased labor mobility. These demographic shifts and fundamental structural changes to the labor markets may negatively impact Japan’s economic competitiveness.
South Korea. South Korean investments may be significantly affected by events influencing its economy, which is heavily dependent on exports and the demand for certain finished goods. South Korea’s main industries include electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, textiles, clothing, footwear, and food processing. Conditions that weaken demand for such products worldwide or in other Asian countries could have a negative impact on the South Korean economy as a whole. The South Korean economy’s reliance on international trade makes it highly sensitive to fluctuations in international commodity prices, currency exchanges rates and government regulation, and vulnerable to downturns of the world economy, particularly with respects to its four largest export markets (the EU, Japan, United States, and China). South Korea has experienced modest economic growth in recent years, but such continued growth may slow due, in part, to the economic slowdown in China and the increased competitive advantage of Japanese exports with the weakened yen. The South Korean economy’s long-term challenges include an aging population, inflexible labor market, and overdependence on exports to drive economic growth. Relations between South Korea and North Korea remain tense, as exemplified in periodic acts of hostility, and the possibility of serious military engagement still exists. Armed conflict between North Korea and South Korea could have a severe adverse impact on the South Korean economy and its securities markets.
Latin America. The economies of certain Latin American countries have experienced high interest rates, economic volatility, inflation, currency devaluations, government defaults, high unemployment rates and political instability which can adversely affect issuers in these countries. In addition, commodities (such as oil, gas and minerals) represent a significant percentage of the region’s exports and many economies in this region are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Adverse economic events in one country may have a significant adverse effect on other countries of this region. The governments of certain countries in Latin America may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector and may own or control many companies. Future government actions could have a significant effect on the economic conditions in such countries, which could have a negative impact on the securities in which a Fund invests. Diplomatic developments may also adversely affect investments in certain countries in Latin America. Some countries in Latin America may be affected by public corruption and crime, including organized crime. Certain countries in Latin America may be heavily dependent upon international trade and, consequently, have been and may continue to be negatively 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 countries also have been and may continue to be adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which they trade. In addition, certain issuers located in countries in Latin America in which a Fund invests may be the subject of sanctions (for example, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on certain Venezuelan individuals, corporate entities and the Venezuelan government) or have dealings with countries subject to sanctions and/or embargoes imposed by the U.S. government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism. An issuer may sustain damage to its reputation if it is identified as an issuer that has dealings with such countries. A Fund may be adversely affected if it invests in such issuers. Certain Latin American countries may also have managed currencies, which are maintained at artificial levels to the U.S. Dollar rather than at levels determined by the market. This type of system can lead to sudden and large adjustments in the currency which, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors. Certain Latin American countries also restrict the free conversion of their currency into foreign currencies, including the U.S. Dollar. There is no significant foreign exchange market for many currencies and it would, as a result, be difficult for the Fund to engage in foreign currency transactions designed to protect the value of the Fund’s interests in securities denominated in such currencies. Finally, a number of Latin American countries are among the largest debtors of developing countries. There have been moratoria on, and reschedulings of, repayment with respect to these
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debts. Such events can restrict the flexibility of these debtor nations in the international markets and result in the imposition of onerous conditions on their economies.
Mexico. Investment in Mexican issuers involves risks that are specific to Mexico, including regulatory, political, and economic risks. In the past, Mexico has experienced high interest rates, economic volatility, significant devaluation of its currency (the peso), and high unemployment rates. The Mexican economy is dependent upon external trade with other economies, specifically with the United States and certain Latin American countries. Additionally, a high level of foreign investment in Mexican assets may increase Mexico’s exposure to risks associated with changes in international investor sentiment. In 2018, the United States, Mexico and Canada signed and ratified the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”), which replaces the current North American Free Trade Agreement among the three countries. The adoption of USMCA may have a significant impact on Mexico’s economy and, consequently, the value of the securities held by a Fund.
The Mexican economy is heavily dependent on trade with, and foreign investment from, the U.S. and Canada, which are Mexico’s principal trading partners. Any changes in the supply, demand, price or other economic component of Mexico’s imports or exports, as well as any reductions in foreign investment from, or changes in the economies of, the U.S. or Canada, may have an adverse impact on the Mexican economy. Because commodities such as oil and gas, minerals and metals represent a large portion of the region’s exports, the economies of these countries are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Mexico’s economy has also become increasingly manufacturing-oriented. Because Mexico’s top export is automotive vehicles, its economy is strongly tied to the U.S. automotive market, and changes to certain segments in the U.S. market could have an impact on the Mexican economy. The automotive industry and other industrial products can be highly cyclical, and companies in these industries may suffer periodic operating losses. These industries can also be significantly affected by labor relations and fluctuating component prices. The agricultural and mining sectors of Mexico’s economy also account for a large portion of its exports, and Mexico is susceptible to fluctuations in the price and demand for agricultural products and natural resources. In addition, Mexico has privatized or has begun the process of privatization of certain entities and industries, and some investors have suffered losses due to the inability of the newly privatized entities to adjust to a competitive environment and changing regulatory standards.
Mexico has been destabilized by local insurrections, social upheavals and drug-related violence. Additionally, violence near border areas, border-related political disputes, and other social upheaval may lead to strained international relations. Mexico has also experienced contentious and very closely decided elections. Changes in political parties and other political events may affect the economy and contribute to additional instability. Recurrence of these or similar conditions may adversely impact the Mexican economy.
Russia. Investing in Russia involves risks and special considerations not typically associated with investing in United States. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, Russia has experienced dramatic political, economic, and social change. The political system in Russia is emerging from a long history of extensive state involvement in economic affairs. The country is undergoing a rapid transition from a centrally-controlled command system to a market-oriented, democratic model. As a result, companies in Russia are characterized by a lack of: (i) management with experience of operating in a market economy; (ii) modern technology; and, (iii) a sufficient capital base with which to develop and expand their operations. It is unclear what will be the future effect on Russian companies, if any, of Russia’s continued attempts to move toward a more market-oriented economy. Russia’s economy has been characterized by high rates of inflation, high rates of unemployment, declining gross domestic product, deficit government spending, and a devalued currency. The economic reform program has involved major disruptions and dislocations in various sectors of the economy, and those problems have been exacerbated by growing liquidity problems. Russia’s economy is also heavily reliant on the energy and defense-related sectors, and is therefore susceptible to the risks associated with these industries. Further, Russia presently receives significant financial assistance from a number of countries through various programs. To the extent these programs are reduced or eliminated in the future, Russian economic development may be adversely impacted. The laws and regulations in Russia affecting Western business investment continue to evolve in an unpredictable manner. Russian laws and regulations, particularly those involving taxation, foreign investment and trade, title to property or securities, and transfer of title, which may be applicable to a Fund’s activities are relatively new and can change quickly and unpredictably in a manner far more volatile than in the United States or other developed market economies. Although basic commercial laws are in place, they are often unclear or contradictory and subject to varying interpretation, and may at any time be amended, modified, repealed or replaced in a manner adverse to the interest of the Funds.
Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, and corresponding events in late February 2022, have had, and could continue to have, severe adverse effects on regional and global economic markets for securities and commodities. Following Russia’s actions, various governments, including the United States, have issued broad-ranging economic sanctions against Russia, including, among other actions, a prohibition on doing business with certain Russian companies, large financial institutions, officials and oligarchs; the removal by certain countries and the European Union of selected Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (“SWIFT”), the electronic banking network that connects banks globally; and restrictive measures to prevent the Russian Central Bank from undermining the impact of the sanctions. The current events, including sanctions and the potential for future sanctions, including any impacting Russia’s energy sector, and other actions, and Russia’s retaliatory responses to those sanctions and actions, may continue to adversely impact the Russian economy and economies of surrounding countries and may result in the further decline of the value and liquidity of Russian
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securities and securities of surrounding countries, a continued weakening of currencies in the region and continued exchange closures, and may have other adverse consequences on the economies of countries in the region that could impact the value of investments in the region and impair the ability of a Fund to buy, sell, receive or deliver securities of companies in the region or a Fund’s ability to collect interest payments on fixed income securities in the region. For example, exports in Eastern Europe have been disrupted for certain key commodities, pushing commodity prices to record highs, and energy prices in Europe have increased significantly. Moreover, those events have, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on global markets performance and liquidity, thereby negatively affecting the value of a Fund’s investments beyond any direct exposure to issuers in the region. The duration of ongoing hostilities and the vast array of sanctions and related events cannot be predicted. Those events present material uncertainty and risk with respect to markets globally and the performance of a Fund and its investments or operations could be negatively impacted.
Depositary Receipts
To the extent a Fund invests in stocks of foreign corporations, a Fund’s investment in such stocks may also be in the form of depositary receipts or other securities convertible into securities of foreign issuers. Depository receipts are receipts, typically issued by a financial institution, with evidence of underlying securities issued by a non-U.S. issuer. Types of depositary receipts include American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) and European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”). Depository receipts may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the underlying securities into which they may be converted.
ADRs are receipts typically issued by an American bank or trust company that evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign corporation. Investments in ADRs have certain advantages over direct investment in the underlying foreign securities because: (i) ADRs are U.S. dollar-denominated investments that are easily transferable and for which market quotations are readily available, and (ii) issuers whose securities are represented by ADRs are generally subject to auditing, accounting and financial reporting standards similar to those applied to domestic issuers. By investing in ADRs rather than directly in the stock of foreign issuers outside the U.S. a Fund may avoid certain risks related to investing in foreign securities in non-U.S. markets, however, ADRs do not eliminate all risks inherent in investing in the securities of foreign issuers.
EDRs are receipts issued in Europe that evidence a similar ownership arrangement. GDRs are receipts issued throughout the world that evidence a similar arrangement. Generally, ADRs, in registered form, are designed for use in the U.S. securities markets, and EDRs, in bearer form, are designed for use in European securities markets. GDRs are tradable both in the United States and in Europe and are designed for use throughout the world.
Depositary receipts may be purchased through “sponsored” or “unsponsored” facilities, in which a Fund may invest. A sponsored facility is established jointly by the issuer of the underlying security and a depositary, whereas a depositary may establish an unsponsored facility without participation by the issuer of the depositary security. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs of such facilities and the depositary of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the issuer of the deposited security or to pass through voting rights to the holders of such receipts of the deposited securities.
Fund investments in depositary receipts, which include ADRs, GDRs and EDRs, are deemed to be investments in foreign securities for purposes of a Fund’s investment strategy.
Foreign Currencies
A Fund may invest directly and indirectly in foreign currencies. Investments in foreign currencies are subject to numerous risks not least being the fluctuation of foreign currency exchange rates with respect to the U.S. Dollar. Exchange rates fluctuate for a number of reasons.
Inflation. Exchange rates change to reflect changes in a currency’s buying power. Different countries experience different inflation rates due to different monetary and fiscal policies, different product and labor market conditions, and a host of other factors.
Trade Deficits. Countries with trade deficits tend to experience a depreciating currency. Inflation may be the cause of a trade deficit, making a country’s goods more expensive and less competitive and so reducing demand for its currency.
Interest Rates. High interest rates may raise currency values in the short term by making such currencies more attractive to investors. However, since high interest rates are often the result of high inflation, long-term results may be the opposite.
Budget Deficits and Low Savings Rates. Countries that run large budget deficits and save little of their national income tend to suffer a depreciating currency because they are forced to borrow abroad to finance their deficits. Payments of interest on this debt can inundate the currency markets with the currency of the debtor nation. Budget deficits also can indirectly contribute to currency depreciation if a government chooses inflationary measures to cope with its deficits and debt.
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Political Factors. Political instability in a country can cause a currency to depreciate. Demand for a certain currency may fall if a country appears a less desirable place in which to invest and do business.
Government Control. Through their own buying and selling of currencies, the world’s central banks sometimes manipulate exchange rate movements. In addition, governments occasionally issue statements to influence people’s expectations about the direction of exchange rates, or they may instigate policies with an exchange rate target as the goal.
The value of a Fund’s investments is calculated in U.S. Dollars each day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) is open for business. As a result, to the extent that a Fund’s assets are invested in instruments denominated in foreign currencies and the currencies appreciate relative to the U.S. Dollar, a Fund’s NAV per share as expressed in U.S. Dollars (and, therefore, the value of your investment) should increase. If the U.S. Dollar appreciates relative to the other currencies, the opposite should occur.
The currency-related gains and losses experienced by a Fund will be based on changes in the value of portfolio securities attributable to currency fluctuations only in relation to the original purchase price of such securities as stated in U.S. Dollars. Gains or losses on shares of a Fund will be based on changes attributable to fluctuations in the NAV of such shares, expressed in U.S. Dollars, in relation to the original U.S. Dollar purchase price of the shares. The amount of appreciation or depreciation in a Fund’s assets also will be affected by the net investment income generated by the money market instruments in which each Fund invests and by changes in the value of the securities that are unrelated to changes in currency exchange rates.
A Fund may incur currency exchange costs when it sells instruments denominated in one currency and buys instruments denominated in another.
Currency Transactions. A Fund conducts currency exchange transactions on a spot basis. Currency transactions made on a spot basis are for cash at the spot rate prevailing in the currency exchange market for buying or selling currency. A Fund also enters into forward currency contracts. See “Futures Contracts, Options, and Other Derivative Strategies” section below. A forward currency contract is an obligation to buy or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts are entered into on the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers. A currency forward contract will tend to reduce or eliminate exposure to the currency that is sold, and increase exposure to the currency that is purchased, similar to when a fund sells a security denominated in one currency and purchases a security denominated in another currency. For example, a Fund may enter into a forward contract when it owns a security that is denominated in a non-U.S. currency and desires to “lock in” the U.S. dollar value of the security.
A Fund may invest in a combination of forward currency contracts and U.S. Dollar-denominated market instruments in an attempt to obtain an investment result that is substantially the same as a direct investment in a foreign currency-denominated instrument. This investment technique creates a “synthetic” position in the particular foreign-currency instrument whose performance the Adviser is trying to duplicate. For example, the combination of U.S. Dollar-denominated instruments with “long” forward currency exchange contracts creates a position economically equivalent to a money market instrument denominated in the foreign currency itself. Such combined positions are sometimes necessary when the money market in a particular foreign currency is small or relatively illiquid.
A Fund may invest in forward currency contracts to hedge either specific transactions (transaction hedging) or portfolio positions (position hedging). Transaction hedging is the purchase or sale of forward currency contracts with respect to specific receivables or payables of a Fund in connection with the purchase and sale of portfolio securities. Position hedging is the sale of a forward currency contract on a particular currency with respect to portfolio positions denominated or quoted in that currency.
A Fund may use forward currency contracts for position hedging if consistent with its policy of trying to expose its net assets to foreign currencies. A Fund is not required to enter into forward currency contracts for hedging purposes and it is possible that a Fund may not be able to hedge against a currency devaluation that is so generally anticipated that a Fund is unable to contract to sell the currency at a price above the devaluation level it anticipates. It also is possible, under certain circumstances, that a Fund may have to limit its currency transactions to continue to qualify as a “regulated investment company” (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of Chapter 1 of Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“Code”). See “Dividends, Other Distributions and Taxes.”
Each Fund currently does not intend to enter into a forward currency contract with a term of more than one year, or to engage in position hedging with respect to the currency of a particular country to more than the aggregate market value (at the time the hedging transaction is entered into) of its portfolio securities denominated in (or quoted in or currently convertible into or directly related through the use of forward currency contracts in conjunction with money market instruments to) that particular currency.
Under definitions adopted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and SEC, non-deliverable forwards are considered swaps, and therefore are included in the definition of “commodity interests.” Although non-deliverable forwards have historically been traded in the over-the-counter (“OTC”) market, as swaps they may in the future be required to be centrally cleared and traded on public facilities. For more information on central clearing and trading of cleared swaps,
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see “Cleared swaps,” “Risks of cleared swaps,” “Comprehensive swaps regulation” and “Developing government regulation of derivatives.” Currency forwards that qualify as deliverable forwards are not regulated as swaps for most purposes, and are not included in the definition of “commodity interests.” However these forwards are subject to some requirements applicable to swaps, including reporting to swap data repositories, documentation requirements, and business conduct rules applicable to swap dealers. CFTC regulation of currency forwards, especially non-deliverable forwards, may restrict a Fund’s ability to use these instruments in the manner described above or subject the investment manager to CFTC registration and regulation as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”).
At or before the maturity of a forward currency contract, a Fund may either sell a portfolio security and make delivery of the currency, or retain the security and terminate its contractual obligation to deliver the currency by buying an “offsetting” contract obligating it to buy, on the same maturity date, the same amount of the currency. If a Fund engages in an offsetting transaction, it may later enter into a new forward currency contract to sell the currency.
If a Fund engages in an offsetting transaction, it will incur a gain or loss to the extent that there has been movement in forward currency contract prices. If forward prices go down during the period between the date a Fund enters into a forward currency contract for the sale of a currency and the date it enters into an offsetting contract for the purchase of the currency, a Fund will realize a gain to the extent that the price of the currency it has agreed to sell exceeds the price of the currency it has agreed to buy. If forward prices go up, a Fund will suffer a loss to the extent the price of the currency it has agreed to buy exceeds the price of the currency it has agreed to sell.
Since a Fund invests in money market instruments denominated in foreign currencies, it may hold foreign currencies pending investment or conversion into U.S. Dollars. Although a Fund values its assets daily in U.S. Dollars, it does not convert its holdings of foreign currencies into U.S. Dollars on a daily basis. A Fund will convert its holdings from time to time, however, and incur the costs of currency conversion. Foreign exchange dealers do not charge a fee for conversion, but they do realize a profit based on the difference between the prices at which they buy and sell various currencies. Thus, a dealer may offer to sell a foreign currency to a Fund at one rate, and offer to buy the currency at a lower rate if a Fund tries to resell the currency to the dealer.
Risks of currency forward contracts. Should exchange rates move in an unexpected manner, a Fund may not achieve the anticipated benefits of the transaction, or it may realize losses. In addition, these techniques could result in a loss if the counterparty to the transaction does not perform as promised, including because of the counterparty’s bankruptcy or insolvency. While a Fund uses only counterparties that meet its credit quality standards, in unusual or extreme market conditions, a counterparty’s creditworthiness and ability to perform may deteriorate rapidly, and the availability of suitable replacement counterparties may become limited. Currency forward contracts may limit potential gain from a positive change in the relationship between the U.S. Dollar and foreign currencies. Unanticipated changes in currency prices may result in poorer overall performance for a Fund than if it had not engaged in such contracts. Moreover, there may be an imperfect correlation between a Fund’s portfolio holdings of securities denominated in a particular currency and the currencies bought or sold in the forward contracts entered into by a Fund. This imperfect correlation may cause a Fund to sustain losses that will prevent the Fund from achieving a complete hedge or expose the Fund to risk of foreign exchange loss.
Foreign Currency Options. A Fund may invest in foreign currency-denominated securities and may buy or sell put and call options on foreign currencies. A Fund may buy or sell put and call options on foreign currencies either on exchanges or in the OTC market. A put option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to sell a foreign currency at the exercise price until the option expires. A call option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to purchase the currency at the exercise price until the option expires. Currency options traded on U.S. or other exchanges may be subject to position limits which may limit the ability of a Fund to reduce foreign currency risk using such options. OTC options differ from traded options in that they are two-party contracts with price and other terms negotiated between buyer and seller, and generally do not have as much market liquidity as exchange-traded options.
Foreign Currency Exchange-Related Securities
Foreign Currency Warrants. Foreign currency warrants such as Currency Exchange WarrantsSM (“CEWsSM”) are warrants which entitle the holder to receive from their issuer an amount of cash (generally, for warrants issued in the United States, in U.S. Dollars) which is calculated pursuant to a predetermined formula and based on the exchange rate between a specified foreign currency and the U.S. Dollar as of the exercise date of the warrant. Foreign currency warrants generally are exercisable upon their issuance and expire as of a specified date and time. Foreign currency warrants have been issued in connection with U.S. Dollar-denominated debt offerings by major corporate issuers in an attempt to reduce the foreign currency exchange risk which, from the point of view of prospective purchasers of the securities, is inherent in the international fixed-income marketplace. Foreign currency warrants may attempt to reduce the foreign exchange risk assumed by purchasers of a security by, for example, providing for a supplemental payment in the event that the U.S. Dollar depreciates against the value of a major foreign currency such as the Japanese yen or the Euro. The formula used to determine the amount payable upon exercise of a foreign currency warrant may make the warrant worthless unless the applicable foreign currency exchange rate moves in a particular direction (e.g., unless the U.S. Dollar appreciates or depreciates against the particular foreign
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currency to which the warrant is linked or indexed). Foreign currency warrants are severable from the debt obligations with which they may be offered, and may be listed on exchanges. Foreign currency warrants may be exercisable only in certain minimum amounts, and an investor wishing to exercise warrants who possesses less than the minimum number required for exercise may be required either to sell the warrants or to purchase additional warrants, thereby incurring additional transaction costs. In the case of any exercise of warrants, there may be a time delay between the time a holder of warrants gives instructions to exercise and the time the exchange rate relating to exercise is determined, during which time the exchange rate could change significantly, thereby affecting both the market and cash settlement values of the warrants being exercised. The expiration date of the warrants may be accelerated if the warrants should be delisted from an exchange or if their trading should be suspended permanently, which would result in the loss of any remaining “time value” of the warrants (i.e., the difference between the current market value and the exercise value of the warrants), and, in the case the warrants were “out-of-the-money,” in a total loss of the purchase price of the warrants.
Warrants are generally unsecured obligations of their issuers and are not standardized foreign currency options issued by the Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”). Unlike foreign currency options issued by OCC, the terms of foreign exchange warrants generally will not be amended in the event of governmental or regulatory actions affecting exchange rates or in the event of the imposition of other regulatory controls affecting the international currency markets. The initial public offering price of foreign currency warrants is generally considerably in excess of the price that a commercial user of foreign currencies might pay in the interbank market for a comparable option involving significantly larger amounts of foreign currencies. Foreign currency warrants are subject to significant foreign exchange risk, including risks arising from complex political or economic factors.
Principal Exchange Rate Linked Securities. Principal exchange rate linked securities (“PERLsSM”) are debt obligations the principal on which is payable at maturity in an amount that may vary based on the exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and a particular foreign currency at or about that time. The return on “standard” principal exchange rate linked securities is enhanced if the foreign currency to which the security is linked appreciates against the U.S. Dollar, and is adversely affected by increases in the foreign exchange value of the U.S. Dollar; “reverse” principal exchange rate linked securities are like the “standard” securities, except that their return is enhanced by increases in the value of the U.S. Dollar and adversely impacted by increases in the value of foreign currency. Interest payments on the securities are generally made in U.S. Dollars at rates that reflect the degree of foreign currency risk assumed or given up by the purchaser of the notes (i.e., at relatively higher interest rates if the purchaser has assumed some of the foreign exchange risk, or relatively lower interest rates if the issuer has assumed some of the foreign exchange risk, based on the expectations of the current market). Principal exchange rate linked securities may in limited cases be subject to acceleration of maturity (generally, not without the consent of the holders of the securities), which may have an adverse impact on the value of the principal payment to be made at maturity.
Performance Indexed Paper. Performance indexed paper (“PIPsSM”) is U.S. Dollar-denominated commercial paper the yield of which is linked to certain foreign exchange rate movements. The yield to the investor on performance indexed paper is established at maturity as a function of spot exchange rates between the U.S. Dollar and a designated currency as of or about that time (generally, the index maturity two days prior to maturity). The yield to the investor will be within a range stipulated at the time of purchase of the obligation, generally with a guaranteed minimum rate of return that is below, and a potential maximum rate of return that is above, market yields on U.S. Dollar-denominated commercial paper, with both the minimum and maximum rates of return on the investment corresponding to the minimum and maximum values of the spot exchange rate two business days prior to maturity.
Hybrid Instruments
A Fund may invest in hybrid instruments. A hybrid instrument is a type of potentially high-risk derivative that combines a traditional stock, bond, or commodity with an option or forward contract. Generally, the principal amount, amount payable upon maturity or redemption, or interest rate of a hybrid is tied (positively or negatively) to the price of some commodity, currency or securities index or another interest rate or some other economic factor (each a “benchmark”). The interest rate or (unlike most fixed income securities) the principal amount payable at maturity of a hybrid security may be increased or decreased, depending on changes in the value of the benchmark. A hybrid could be, for example, a bond issued by an oil company that pays a small base level of interest, in addition to interest that accrues when oil prices exceed a certain predetermined level. Such a hybrid instrument would be a combination of a bond and a call option on oil.
Hybrids can be used as an efficient means of pursuing a variety of investment goals, including currency hedging, and increased total return. Hybrids may not bear interest or pay dividends. The value of a hybrid or its interest rate may be a multiple of a benchmark and, as a result, may be leveraged and move (up or down) more steeply and rapidly than the benchmark. These benchmarks may be sensitive to economic and political events, such as commodity shortages and currency devaluations, which cannot be readily foreseen by the purchaser of a hybrid. Under certain conditions, the redemption value of a hybrid could be zero. Thus, an investment in a hybrid may entail significant market risks that are not associated with a similar investment in a traditional, U.S. Dollar-denominated bond that has a fixed principal amount and pays a fixed rate or floating
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rate of interest. The purchase of hybrids also exposes a Fund to the credit risk of the issuer of the hybrids. These risks may cause significant fluctuations in the NAV of a Fund.
Certain issuers of structured products such as hybrid instruments may be deemed to be investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act. As a result, a Fund’s investment in these products may be subject to limits applicable to investments in investment companies and may be subject to restrictions contained in the 1940 Act.
Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities
Each Fund may purchase and hold illiquid investments. The term “illiquid investments” for this purpose means any investment that a Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment. A Fund will not acquire illiquid securities if, as a result, such securities would comprise more than 15% of the value of the Fund’s net assets. Rafferty, subject to oversight by the Board of Trustees, has the ultimate authority to determine, to the extent permissible under the federal securities laws, which securities are liquid or illiquid for purposes of this 15% limitation under a Fund’s liquidity risk management program, adopted pursuant to Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act. Illiquid securities will be priced at fair value as determined in good faith under procedures adopted by the Board of Trustees. If, through the appreciation of illiquid securities or the depreciation of liquid securities, a Fund should be in a position where more than 15% of the value of its net assets are invested in illiquid securities, including restricted securities which are not readily marketable, Rafferty will report such occurrence to the Board of Trustees and take such steps as are deemed advisable to protect liquidity in accordance with a Fund’s liquidity risk management program.
A Fund may not be able to sell illiquid investments when Rafferty considers it desirable to do so or may have to sell such investments at a price that is lower than the price that could be obtained if the investments were liquid. In addition, the sale of illiquid investments may require more time and result in higher dealer discounts and other selling expenses than does the sale of investments that are not illiquid. Illiquid investments also may be more difficult to value due to the unavailability of reliable market quotations for such investments, and investment in illiquid investments may have an adverse impact on NAV.
Rule 144A establishes a “safe harbor” from the registration requirements of the 1933 Act for resales of certain securities to qualified institutional buyers. Institutional markets for restricted securities that have developed as a result of Rule 144A provide both readily ascertainable values for certain restricted securities and the ability to liquidate an investment to satisfy share redemption orders. This policy does not include restricted securities eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“1933 Act”), which the Trust’s Board of Trustees (“Board” or “Trustees”), or Rafferty, under Board-approved guidelines, has determined are liquid. Each Fund currently does not anticipate investing in such restricted securities. However, to the extent that a Fund does invest in such restricted securities, an insufficient number of qualified institutional buyers interested in purchasing Rule 144A-eligible securities held by a Fund could adversely affect the marketability of such portfolio securities, and a Fund may be unable to dispose of such securities promptly or at reasonable prices.
Indexed Securities
A Fund may purchase indexed securities, which are securities, the value of which varies positively or negatively in relation to the value of other securities, securities indices or other financial indicators, consistent with its investment objective. Indexed securities may be debt securities or deposits whose value at maturity or coupon rate is determined by reference to a specific instrument or statistic. Recent issuers of indexed securities have included banks, corporations and certain U.S. government agencies.
The performance of indexed securities depends to a great extent on the performance of the security or other instrument to which they are indexed and also may be influenced by interest rate changes in the United States and abroad. At the same time, indexed securities are subject to the credit risks associated with the issuer of the security, and their values may decline substantially if the issuer’s creditworthiness deteriorates. Indexed securities may be more volatile than the underlying instruments. Certain indexed securities that are not traded on an established market may be deemed illiquid. See “Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities” above.
Inflation Protected Securities
Inflation protected securities are fixed income securities whose value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. Two structures are common. The U.S. Treasury and some other issuers utilize a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Other issuers pay out the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) accruals as part of a semiannual coupon. Inflation protected securities issued by the U.S. Treasury have maturities of approximately five, ten or thirty years, although
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it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. The U.S. Treasury securities pay interest on a semi-annual basis equal to a fixed percentage of the inflation adjusted principal amount.
If the periodic adjustment rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation protected bonds will be adjusted downward, and consequently the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. Repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity (as adjusted for inflation) is guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury in the case of U.S. Treasury inflation indexed bonds, even during a period of deflation. However, the current market value of the bonds is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. A Fund may also invest in other inflation related bonds which may or may not provide a similar guarantee. If a guarantee of principal is not provided, the adjusted principal value of the bond to be repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal amount and, therefore, is subject to credit risk.
The value of inflation protected bonds is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates in turn are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. Therefore, if the rate of inflation rises at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation protected bonds. In contrast, if nominal interest rates increase at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates might rise, leading to a decrease in value of inflation protected bonds. While these securities are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation, investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.
The periodic adjustment of U.S. inflation protected bonds is tied to the non-seasonally adjusted U.S. City Average All Items Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), published monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy.
Any increase in principal for an inflation protected security resulting from inflation adjustments is considered by the IRS to be taxable income in the year it occurs. A Fund’s distributions to shareholders include interest income and the income attributable to principal adjustments, both of which will be taxable to shareholders. The tax treatment of the income attributable to principal adjustments may result in the situation where a Fund needs to make its required annual distributions to shareholders in amounts that exceed the cash received. As a result, a Fund may need to liquidate certain investments when it is not advantageous to do so. Also, if the principal value of an inflation protected security is adjusted downward due to deflation, amounts previously distributed in the taxable year may be characterized in some circumstances as a return of capital.
Junk Bonds
A Fund may invest in lower-rated debt securities, including securities in the lowest credit rating category, of any maturity, otherwise known as “junk bonds.”
Junk bonds generally offer a higher current yield than that available for higher-grade issues. However, lower-rated securities involve higher risks, in that they are especially subject to adverse changes in general economic conditions and in the industries in which the issuers are engaged, to changes in the financial condition of the issuers and to price fluctuations in response to changes in interest rates. During periods of economic downturn or rising interest rates, highly leveraged issuers may experience financial stress that could adversely affect their ability to make payments of interest and principal and increase the possibility of default. In addition, the market for lower-rated debt securities has expanded rapidly in recent years, and its growth paralleled a long economic expansion. At times in recent years, the prices of many lower-rated debt securities declined substantially, reflecting an expectation that many issuers of such securities might experience financial difficulties. As a result, the yields on lower-rated debt securities rose dramatically, but such higher yields did not reflect the value of the income stream that holders of such securities expected, but rather, the risk that holders of such securities could lose a substantial portion of their value as a result of the issuers’ financial restructuring or default. There can be no assurance that such declines will not recur.
The market for lower-rated debt issues generally is thinner and less active than that for higher quality securities, which may limit a Fund’s ability to sell such securities at fair value in response to changes in the economy or financial markets. Adverse publicity and investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may also decrease the values and liquidity of lower-rated securities, especially in a thinly traded market. Changes by recognized rating services in their rating of a fixed-income security may affect the value of these investments. A Fund will not necessarily dispose of a security when its rating is reduced below its rating at the time of purchase. However, Rafferty will monitor the investment to determine whether continued investment in the security will assist in meeting a Fund’s investment objective.
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Mortgage-Backed Securities
A Fund may invest in mortgage-backed securities. A mortgage-backed security is a type of pass-through security, which is a security representing pooled debt obligations repackaged as interests that pass income through an intermediary to investors. In the case of mortgage-backed securities, the ownership interest is in a pool of mortgage loans.
Mortgage-backed securities are most commonly issued or guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae®” or “GNMA”), Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae®” or “FNMA”) or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac®” or “FHLMC”), but may also be issued or guaranteed by other private issuers. GNMA is a government-owned corporation that is an agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It guarantees, with the full faith and credit of the United States, full and timely payment of all monthly principal and interest on its mortgage-backed securities. FNMA is a publicly owned, government-sponsored corporation that mostly packages mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, but also sells some non-governmentally backed mortgages. Pass-through securities issued by FNMA are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by FNMA. FHLMC is a publicly chartered agency that buys qualifying residential mortgages from lenders, re-packages them and provides certain guarantees. Pass-through securities issued by FHLMC are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by FHLMC.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) mandated that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cease issuing their own mortgage-backed securities and begin issuing "Uniform Mortgage-Backed Securities" or "UMBS" in 2019. Each UMBS has a 55-day remittance cycle and can be used as collateral in either a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac security or held for investment. Mortgage-backed securities issued by private issuers, whether or not such obligations are subject to guarantees by the private issuer, may entail greater risk than obligations directly guaranteed by the U.S. government. The average life of a mortgage-backed security is likely to be substantially less than the original maturity of the mortgage pools underlying the securities. Prepayments of principal by mortgagors and mortgage foreclosures will usually result in the return of the greater part of principal invested far in advance of the maturity of the mortgages in the pool.
Collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) are debt obligations collateralized by mortgage loans or mortgage pass-through securities (collateral collectively hereinafter referred to as “Mortgage Assets”). Multi-class pass-through securities are interests in a trust composed of Mortgage Assets and all references in this section to CMOs include multi-class pass-through securities. Principal prepayments on the Mortgage Assets may cause the CMOs to be retired substantially earlier than their stated maturities or final distribution dates, resulting in a loss of all or part of the premium if any has been paid. Interest is paid or accrues on all classes of the CMOs on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis. The principal and interest payments on the Mortgage Assets may be allocated among the various classes of CMOs in several ways. Typically, payments of principal, including any prepayments, on the underlying mortgages are applied to the classes in the order of their respective stated maturities or final distribution dates, so that no payment of principal is made on CMOs of a class until all CMOs of other classes having earlier stated maturities or final distribution dates have been paid in full.
Stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBS”) are derivative multi-class mortgage securities. A Fund will only invest in SMBS issued by Ginnie Mae, which are obligations backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. SMBS are usually structured with two or more classes that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions from a pool of Mortgage Assets. A Fund will only invest in SMBS whose Mortgage Assets are U.S. government obligations. A common type of SMBS will be structured so that one class receives some of the interest and most of the principal from the Mortgage Assets, while the other class receives most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. If the underlying Mortgage Assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, each Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities. The market value of any class which consists primarily, or entirely, of principal payments generally is unusually volatile in response to changes in interest rates.
Investment in mortgage-backed securities poses several risks, including among others, prepayment, market and credit risk. Prepayment risk reflects the risk that borrowers may prepay their mortgages faster than expected, thereby affecting the investment’s average life and perhaps its yield. Whether or not a mortgage loan is prepaid is almost entirely controlled by the borrower. Borrowers are most likely to exercise prepayment options at the time when it is least advantageous to investors, generally prepaying mortgages as interest rates fall, and slowing payments as interest rates rise. Besides the effect of prevailing interest rates, the rate of prepayment and refinancing of mortgages may also be affected by home value appreciation, ease of the refinancing process and local economic conditions. Market risk reflects the risk that the price of a security may fluctuate over time. The price of mortgage-backed securities may be particularly sensitive to prevailing interest rates, the length of time the security is expected to be outstanding, and the liquidity of the issue. In a period of unstable interest rates, there may be decreased demand for certain types of mortgage-backed securities, and a Fund invested in such securities wishing to sell them may find it difficult to find a buyer, which may in turn decrease the price at which they may be sold. Credit risk reflects the risk that a Fund may not receive all or part of its principal because the issuer or credit enhancer has defaulted on its obligations. Obligations issued by U.S. government-sponsored entities are guaranteed as to the payment of principal and interest, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The performance of private label mortgage-backed securities, issued by private institutions, is based on the financial health of those institutions. With
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respect to GNMA certificates, although GNMA guarantees timely payment even if homeowners delay or default, tracking the “pass-through” payments may, at times, be difficult.
Municipal Obligations
A Fund may invest in municipal obligations. Municipal securities are fixed-income securities issued by states, counties, cities and other political subdivisions and authorities. Although most municipal securities are exempt from federal income tax, municipalities also may issue taxable securities. Tax exempt securities are generally classified by their source of payment. In addition to the usual risks associated with investing for income, the value of municipal obligations can be affected by changes in the actual or perceived credit quality of the issuers. The credit quality of a municipal obligation can be affected by, among other factors: a) the financial condition of the issuer or guarantor; b) the issuer’s future borrowing plans and sources of revenue; c) the economic feasibility of the revenue bond project or general borrowing purpose; d) political or economic developments in the region or jurisdiction where the security is issued; and e) the liquidity of the security. Because municipal obligations are generally traded OTC, the liquidity of a particular issue often depends on the willingness of dealers to make a market in the security. The liquidity of some municipal issues can be enhanced by demand features, which enable a Fund to demand payment from the issuer or a financial intermediary on short notice.
Futures Contracts, Options, and Other Derivative Strategies
Generally, derivatives are financial instruments whose value depends on, or is derived from, the value of one or more underlying assets, reference rates, or indices or other market factors (“reference assets”) and may relate to stocks, bonds, interest rates, credit, currencies, commodities, digital assets or related indices. Derivative instruments can provide an efficient means to gain long or short exposure to the value of a reference asset without actually owning or selling the instrument. Examples of derivative instruments include futures contracts, swap agreements, options, options on futures contracts and forward currently contracts.
Each Fund may enter into derivatives instruments which may include futures contracts, forward contracts, options on currencies, commodities, indices, or futures contracts and swaps which provide long and short exposure to reference assets. Derivatives may be more sensitive to changes in interest rates or to sudden fluctuations in market prices and thus a Fund’s losses may be greater if it invests in derivatives than if it invests in non-derivative instruments. Derivatives are also subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party in the transaction will not fulfill its contractual obligations.
The use of derivative instruments is subject to applicable regulations of the SEC, the several exchanges upon which they are traded and the CFTC. In addition, a Fund’s ability to use derivative instruments will be limited by tax considerations. See “Dividends, Other Distributions and Taxes.”
Under current CFTC regulations, if a Fund uses commodity interests (such as futures contracts, options on futures contracts and swaps) other than for bona fide hedging purposes (as defined by the CFTC) the aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish these positions (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions and excluding the amount by which options that are “in-the-money” at the time of purchase) may not exceed 5% of a Fund’s NAV, or alternatively, the aggregate net notional value of those positions, as determined at the time the most recent position was established, may not exceed 100% of the fund’s NAV (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). Accordingly, each Fund has registered as a commodity pool, and the Adviser has registered as a CPO, with the National Futures Association.
Each Fund is subject to the risk that a change in U.S. law and related regulations will impact the way a Fund operates, increase the particular costs of a Fund’s operation and/or change the competitive landscape. In this regard, any further amendment to the Commodity Exchange Act or its related regulations that subject a Fund to additional regulation may have adverse impacts on a Fund’s operations and expenses. Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act, which governs the use of derivatives by registered investment companies, imposes limits on the amount of derivatives a fund could enter into and eliminated the asset segregation framework previously used by funds to comply with Section 18 of the 1940 Act, and requires funds whose use of derivatives is more than a limited specified exposure to establish and maintain a derivatives risk management program and appoint a derivatives risk manager. The Funds are in compliance with the requirements of Rule 18f-4.
In addition to the instruments, strategies and risks described below and in the Prospectus, Rafferty may discover additional derivative instruments and other similar or related techniques. These new opportunities may become available as Rafferty develops new techniques, as regulatory authorities broaden the range of permitted transactions and as new derivative instruments or other techniques are developed. Rafferty may utilize these instruments or other similar or related techniques to the extent that they are consistent with a Fund’s investment objective and permitted by a Fund’s investment limitations and applicable regulatory authorities. A Fund’s Prospectus or this SAI will be supplemented to the extent that new products or techniques involve materially different risks than those described below or in the Prospectus.
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Special Risks. The use of derivative instruments involves special considerations and risks, certain of which are described below. Risks pertaining to particular derivative instruments are described in the sections that follow.
(1) Options and futures prices can diverge from the prices of their underlying instruments. Options and futures prices are affected by such factors as current and anticipated short-term interest rates, changes in volatility of the underlying instrument and the time remaining until expiration of the contract, which may not affect security prices the same way. Imperfect or no correlation also may result from differing levels of demand in the options and futures markets and the securities markets, from structural differences in how options and futures and securities are traded, and from imposition of daily price fluctuation limits or trading halts.
(2) As described below, a Fund might be required to maintain assets as “cover,” maintain segregated accounts or make margin payments when it takes positions in Financial Instruments involving obligations to third parties (e.g., Financial Instruments other than purchased options). If a Fund were unable to close out its positions in such Financial Instruments, it might be required to continue to maintain such assets or accounts or make such payments until the position expired or matured. These requirements might impair a Fund’s ability to sell a portfolio security or make an investment when it would otherwise be favorable to do so or require that a Fund sell a portfolio security at a disadvantageous time. A Fund’s ability to close out a position in a Financial Instrument prior to expiration or maturity depends on the existence of a liquid secondary market or, in the absence of such a market, the ability and willingness of the other party to the transaction (the “counterparty”) to enter into a transaction closing out the position. Therefore, there is no assurance that any position can be closed out at a time and price that is favorable to a Fund.
(3) Losses may arise due to unanticipated market price movements, lack of a liquid secondary market for any particular instrument at a particular time or due to losses from premiums paid by a Fund on options transactions.
Cover. Transactions using derivative instruments, other than purchased options, expose a Fund to an obligation to another party. A Fund may not enter into any such transactions unless it owns either (1) an offsetting (“covered”) position in securities or other options or futures contracts or (2) cash and liquid assets with a value, marked-to-market daily, sufficient to cover its potential obligations to the extent not covered as provided in (1) above. Each Fund will comply with contractual requirements regarding cover for these instruments and will, if the requirements so require, set aside cash or liquid assets in an account with its custodian, the Bank of New York Mellon ("BNYM"), in the prescribed amount as determined daily.
Assets used as cover or held in an account cannot be sold while the position in the corresponding derivative instrument is open, unless they are replaced with other appropriate assets. As a result, the commitment of a large portion of a Fund’s assets to cover or accounts could impede portfolio management or a Fund’s ability to meet redemption requests or other current obligations.
Futures Contracts. A Fund may use certain options (traded on an exchange or OTC), futures contracts (sometimes referred to as “futures”) and options on futures contracts as a substitute for a comparable market position in the underlying security or index, to attempt to hedge or limit the exposure of a Fund’s position, to create a synthetic money market position, for certain tax-related purposes or to effect closing transactions.
Generally, a futures contract is a standard binding agreement to buy or sell a specified quantity of an underlying reference instrument, such as a specific security, currency or commodity, at a specified price at a specified later date. A “sale” of a futures contract means the acquisition of a contractual obligation to deliver the underlying reference instrument called for by the contract at a specified price on a specified date. A “purchase” of a futures contract means the acquisition of a contractual obligation to acquire the underlying reference instrument called for by the contract at a specified price on a specified date. The purchase or sale of a futures contract will allow a Fund to increase or decrease its exposure to the underlying reference instrument without having to buy the actual instrument.
The underlying reference instruments to which futures contracts may relate include non-U.S. currencies, interest rates, stock and bond indices and debt securities, including U.S. government debt obligations. In most cases the contractual obligation under a futures contract may be offset, or “closed out,” before the settlement date so that the parties do not have to make or take delivery. The closing out of a contractual obligation is usually accomplished by buying or selling, as the case may be, an identical, offsetting futures contract. This transaction, which is effected through a member of an exchange, cancels the obligation to make or take delivery of the underlying instrument or asset. If the original position entered into is a long position (futures contract purchased), there will be a gain (loss) if the offsetting sell transaction is carried out at a higher (lower) price, inclusive of commissions. If the original position entered into is a short position (futures contract sold) there will be a gain (loss) if the offsetting buy transaction is carried out at a lower (higher) price, inclusive of commissions.
Certain futures contracts are cash-settled, meaning the futures contract obligates the seller to deliver (and purchaser to accept) an amount of cash equal to a specific dollar amount multiplied by the difference between the final settlement price of a specific futures contract and the price at which the agreement is made. No physical delivery of the underlying asset is made.
Whether a Fund realizes a gain/loss from futures activities depends generally upon the movements in the underlying reference asset (generally a commodity, currency, security or index). The extent of a Fund’s loss from an unhedged short position in
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a futures contract is potentially unlimited, and investors may lose the amount that they invest plus any profits recognized on their investment.
Futures contracts may be bought and sold on U.S. and non-U.S. exchanges. Futures contracts in the U.S. have been designed by exchanges that have been designated “contract markets” by the CFTC and must be executed through a futures commission merchant (“FCM”), which is a brokerage firm that is a member of the relevant contract market. Each exchange guarantees performance of the contracts as between the clearing members of the exchange, thereby reducing the risk of counterparty default. Because all transactions in the futures market are made, offset, or fulfilled by an FCM through a clearinghouse associated with the exchange on which the contracts are traded, a Fund will incur brokerage fees when it buys or sells futures contracts. A Fund generally buys and sells futures contracts only on contract markets (including exchanges or boards of trade) where there appears to be an active market for the futures contracts, but there is no assurance that an active market will exist for any particular contract or at any particular time. An active market makes it more likely that futures contracts will be liquid and bought and sold at competitive market prices. In addition, many of the futures contracts available may be relatively new instruments without a significant trading history. As a result, there can be no assurance that an active market will develop or continue to exist.
When a Fund enters into a futures contract, it must deliver to an account controlled by the FCM (that has been selected by the Fund), an amount referred to as “initial margin” that is typically calculated as an amount equal to the volatility in market value of a contract over a fixed period. Initial margin requirements are determined by the respective exchanges on which the futures contracts are traded and the FCM. Thereafter, a “variation margin” amount may be required to be paid by a Fund or received by a Fund in accordance with margin controls set for such accounts, depending upon changes in the marked-to-market value of the futures contract. The account is marked-to-market daily and the variation margin is monitored by a Fund’s investment manager and custodian on a daily basis. When the futures contract is closed out, if a Fund has a loss equal to, or greater than, the margin amount, the margin amount is paid to the FCM along with any loss in excess of the margin amount. If a Fund has a loss of less than the margin amount, the excess margin is returned to a Fund. If a Fund has a gain, the full margin amount and the amount of the gain is paid to the Fund. Some futures contracts provide for the delivery of securities that are different than those that are specified in the contract. For a futures contract for delivery of debt securities, on the settlement date of the contract, adjustments to the contract can be made to recognize differences in value arising from the delivery of debt securities with a different interest rate from that of the particular debt securities that were specified in the contract. In some cases, securities called for by a futures contract may not have been issued when the contract was written.
Risks of Futures Contracts. A Fund’s use of futures contracts is subject to the risks associated with derivative instruments generally. A Fund may not be able to properly effect its strategy when a liquid market is unavailable for the futures contract the Fund wishes to close, which may at times occur. If a Fund were unable to liquidate a futures position due to the absence of a liquid secondary market or the imposition of price limits, it could incur substantial losses. A Fund would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position. In addition, a Fund would continue to be required to make daily variation margin payments and might be required to maintain cash or liquid assets in an account.
A purchase or sale of a futures contract may result in losses to a Fund in excess of the amount that the Fund delivered as initial margin. Because of the relatively low margin deposits required, futures trading involves a high degree of leverage; as a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss, or gain, to a Fund. In addition, if a Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements or close out a futures position, it may have to sell securities from its portfolio at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. Adverse market movements could cause a Fund to experience substantial losses on an investment in a futures contract. There is a risk of loss by a Fund of the initial and variation margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which the Fund has an open position in a futures contract. The assets of a Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because the Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds and margin segregated on behalf of an FCM’s customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, a Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use a Fund’s assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM’s other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty.
The difference (called the “spread”) between prices in the cash market for the purchase and sale of the underlying reference instrument and the prices in the futures market is subject to fluctuations and distortions due to differences in the nature of those two markets. First, all participants in the futures market are subject to initial deposit and variation margin requirements. Rather than meeting additional variation margin requirements, investors may close futures contracts through offsetting transactions that could distort the normal pricing spread between the cash and futures markets. Second, the liquidity of the futures markets depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than making or taking delivery of the underlying instrument. To the extent participants decide to make or take delivery, liquidity in the futures market could be reduced, resulting in pricing distortion. Third, from the point of view of speculators, the margin deposit requirements that apply in the futures market are less onerous than similar margin requirements in the securities market. Therefore, increased participation by speculators in the futures market may cause temporary price distortions. When such distortions
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occur, a correct forecast of general trends in the price of an underlying reference instrument by the investment manager may still not necessarily result in a profitable transaction.
Futures contracts that are traded on non-U.S. exchanges may not be as liquid as those purchased on CFTC-designated contract markets. In addition, non-U.S. futures contracts may be subject to varied regulatory oversight. The price of any non-U.S. futures contract and, therefore, the potential profit and loss thereon, may be affected by any change in the non-U.S. exchange rate between the time a particular order is placed and the time it is liquidated, offset or exercised.
The CFTC and the various exchanges have established limits referred to as “speculative position limits” on the maximum net long or net short position that any person, such as a Fund, may hold or control in a particular futures contract. Trading limits are also imposed on the maximum number of contracts that any person may trade on a particular trading day. An exchange may order the liquidation of positions found to be in violation of these limits and it may impose other sanctions or restrictions. The regulation of futures, as well as other derivatives, is a rapidly changing area of law.
Futures exchanges may also limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in certain futures contract prices during a single trading day. This daily limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price. Once the daily limit has been reached in a futures contract subject to the limit, no more trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movements during a particular trading day and does not limit potential losses because the limit may prevent the liquidation of unfavorable positions. For example, futures prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of positions and subjecting some holders of futures contracts to substantial losses.
Risks Associated with Commodity Futures Contracts. There are several additional risks associated with transactions in commodity futures contracts.
Unlike the financial futures markets, in the commodity futures markets there are costs of physical storage associated with purchasing the underlying commodity. The price of the commodity futures contract will reflect the storage costs of purchasing the physical commodity, including the time value of money invested in the physical commodity. To the extent that the storage costs for an underlying commodity change while a Fund is invested in futures contracts on that commodity, the value of the futures contract may change proportionately.
In the commodity futures markets, producers of the underlying commodity may decide to hedge the price risk of selling the commodity by selling futures contracts today to lock in the price of the commodity at delivery tomorrow. In order to induce speculators to purchase the other side of the same futures contract, the commodity producer generally must sell the futures contract at a lower price than the expected future spot price. Conversely, if most hedgers in the futures market are purchasing futures contracts to hedge against a rise in prices, then speculators will only sell the other side of the futures contract at a higher futures price than the expected future spot price of the commodity. The changing nature of the hedgers and speculators in the commodity markets will influence whether futures prices are above or below the expected future spot price, which can have significant implications for a Fund. If the nature of hedgers and speculators in futures markets has shifted when it is time for a Fund to reinvest the proceeds of a maturing contract in a new futures contract, the Fund might reinvest at higher or lower futures prices, or choose to pursue other investments.
The commodities which underlie commodity futures contracts may be subject to additional economic and non-economic variables, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariffs, and international economic, political and regulatory developments. These factors may have a larger impact on commodity prices and commodity-linked instruments, including futures contracts, than on traditional securities. Certain commodities are also subject to limited pricing flexibility because of supply and demand factors. Others are subject to broad price fluctuations as a result of the volatility of the prices for certain raw materials and the instability of supplies of other materials. These additional variables may create additional investment risks which subject a Fund’s investments to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities.
Forward Contracts. Each Fund may enter into equity, equity index or interest rate forward contracts for purposes of attempting to gain exposure to an index or group of securities without actually purchasing these securities, or to hedge a position. Forward contracts are two-party contracts pursuant to which one party agrees to pay the counterparty a fixed price for an agreed upon amount of commodities, securities, or the cash value of the commodities, securities or the securities index, at an agreed upon date. Because they are two-party contracts and may have terms greater than seven days, forward contracts may be considered to be illiquid for a Fund’s illiquid investment limitations. A Fund will not enter into any forward contract unless Rafferty believes that the other party to the transaction is creditworthy. A Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a forward contract in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a counterparty. If such a default occurs, a Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the forward contract, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws which could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor.
Options. The value of an option position will reflect, among other things, the current market value of the underlying investment, the time remaining until expiration, the relationship of the exercise price to the market price of the underlying investment and general market conditions. Options that expire unexercised have no value. Options currently are traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange® and other exchanges, as well as the OTC markets.
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By buying a call option on a security, a Fund has the right, in return for the premium paid, to buy the security underlying the option at the exercise price. By writing (selling) a call option and receiving a premium, a Fund becomes obligated during the term of the option to deliver securities underlying the option at the exercise price if the option is exercised. By buying a put option, a Fund has the right, in return for the premium, to sell the security underlying the option at the exercise price. By writing a put option, a Fund becomes obligated during the term of the option to purchase the securities underlying the option at the exercise price.
Because options premiums paid or received by a Fund are small in relation to the market value of the investments underlying the options, buying and selling put and call options can be more speculative than investing directly in securities.
A Fund may effectively terminate its right or obligation under an option by entering into a closing transaction. For example, a Fund may terminate its obligation under a call or put option that it had written by purchasing an identical call or put option; this is known as a closing purchase transaction. Conversely, a Fund may terminate a position in a put or call option it had purchased by writing an identical put or call option; this is known as a closing sale transaction. Closing transactions permit a Fund to realize profits or limit losses on an option position prior to its exercise or expiration.
Risks of Options on Currencies and Securities. Exchange-traded options in the United States are issued by a clearing organization affiliated with the exchange on which the option is listed that, in effect, guarantees completion of every exchange-traded option transaction. In contrast, OTC options are contracts between a Fund and its counterparty (usually a securities dealer or a bank) with no clearing organization guarantee. Thus, when a Fund purchases an OTC option, it relies on the counterparty from which it purchased the option to make or take delivery of the underlying investment upon exercise of the option. Failure by the counterparty to do so would result in the loss of any premium paid by a Fund as well as the loss of any expected benefit of the transaction.
A Fund’s ability to establish and close out positions in exchange-traded options depends on the existence of a liquid market. However, there can be no assurance that such a market will exist at any particular time. Closing transactions can be made for OTC options only by negotiating directly with the counterparty, or by a transaction in the secondary market if any such market exists. There can be no assurance that a Fund will in fact be able to close out an OTC option position at a favorable price prior to expiration. In the event of insolvency of the counterparty, a Fund might be unable to close out an OTC option position at any time prior to its expiration.
If a Fund were unable to effect a closing transaction for an option it had purchased, it would have to exercise the option to realize any profit. The inability to enter into a closing purchase transaction for a covered call option written by a Fund could cause material losses because a Fund would be unable to sell the investment used as cover for the written option until the option expires or is exercised.
Options on Indices. An index fluctuates with changes in the market values of the securities included in the index. Options on indices give the holder the right to receive an amount of cash upon exercise of the option. Receipt of this cash amount will depend upon the closing level of the index upon which the option is based being greater than (in the case of a call) or less than (in the case of a put) the exercise price of the option. Some stock index options are based on a broad market index that includes more than nine constituents or on a narrower index which is generally considered to include only nine or fewer constituents.
Each of the exchanges has established limitations governing the maximum number of call or put options on the same index that may be bought or written by a single investor, whether acting alone or in concert with others (regardless of whether such options are written on the same or different exchanges or are held or written on one or more accounts or through one or more brokers). Under these limitations, option positions of all investment companies advised by Rafferty are combined for purposes of these limits. Pursuant to these limitations, an exchange may order the liquidation of positions and may impose other sanctions or restrictions. These position limits may restrict the number of listed options that a Fund may buy or sell.
Puts and calls on indices are similar to puts and calls on securities or futures contracts except that all settlements are in cash and gain or loss depends on changes in the index in question rather than on price movements in individual securities or futures contracts. When a Fund writes a call on an index, it receives a premium and agrees that, prior to the expiration date, the purchaser of the call, upon exercise of the call, will receive from a Fund an amount of cash if the closing level of the index upon which the call is based is greater than the exercise price of the call. The amount of cash is equal to the difference between the closing price of the index and the exercise price of the call multiplied by a specific factor (“multiplier”), which determines the total value for each point of such difference. When a Fund buys a call on an index, it pays a premium and has the same rights to such call as are indicated above. When a Fund buys a put on an index, it pays a premium and has the right, prior to the expiration date, to require the seller of the put, upon a Fund’s exercise of the put, to deliver to a Fund an amount of cash if the closing level of the index upon which the put is based is less than the exercise price of the put, which amount of cash is determined by the multiplier, as described above for calls. When a Fund writes a put on an index, it receives a premium and the purchaser of the put has the right, prior to the expiration date, to require a Fund to deliver to it an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and the exercise price times the multiplier if the closing level is less than the exercise price.
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Risks of Options on Indices. If a Fund has purchased an index option and exercises it before the closing index value for that day is available, it runs the risk that the level of the index may subsequently change. If such a change causes the exercised option to fall out-of-the-money, a Fund will be required to pay the difference between the closing index value and the exercise price of the option (times the applicable multiplier) to the assigned writer.
OTC Options. Unlike exchange-traded options, which are standardized with respect to the underlying instrument, expiration date, contract size and strike price, the terms of OTC options (options not traded on exchanges) generally are established through negotiation with the other party to the option contract. While this type of arrangement allows a Fund great flexibility to tailor the option to its needs, OTC options generally involve greater risk than exchange-traded options, which are guaranteed by the clearing organization of the exchanges where they are traded.
Options on Futures Contracts. When a Fund writes an option on a futures contract, it becomes obligated, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in the futures contract at a specified exercise price at any time during the term of the option. If a Fund writes a call, it assumes a short futures position. If it writes a put, it assumes a long futures position. When a Fund purchases an option on a futures contract, it acquires the right in return for the premium it pays to assume a position in a futures contract (a long position if the option is a call and a short position if the option is a put).
Whether a Fund realizes a gain or loss from futures activities depends upon movements in the underlying security or index. The extent of a Fund’s loss from an unhedged short position from writing unhedged call options on futures contracts is potentially unlimited. A Fund only purchases and sells options on futures contracts that are traded on a U.S. exchange or board of trade.
Purchasers and sellers of options on futures can enter into offsetting closing transactions, similar to closing transactions in options, by selling or purchasing, respectively, an instrument identical to the instrument purchased or sold. Positions in options on futures contracts may be closed only on an exchange or board of trade that provides a secondary market. However, there can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market will exist for a particular contract at a particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures contract or options position.
Under certain circumstances, futures exchanges may establish daily limits on the amount that the price of an option on a futures contract can vary from the previous day’s settlement price; once that limit is reached, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond the limit. Daily price limits do not limit potential losses because prices could move to the daily limit for several consecutive days with little or no trading, thereby preventing liquidation of unfavorable positions.
If a Fund were unable to liquidate an option on a futures position due to the absence of a liquid secondary market or the imposition of price limits, it could incur substantial losses. A Fund would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position. In addition, except in the case of purchased options, a Fund would continue to be required to make daily variation margin payments and might be required to maintain cash or liquid assets in an account.
Risks of Options on Futures Contracts. The ordinary spreads between prices in the cash and futures markets (including the options on futures markets), due to differences in the natures of those markets, are subject to the following factors, which may create distortions. First, all participants in the futures market are subject to margin deposit and maintenance requirements. Rather than meeting additional margin deposit requirements, investors may close futures contracts through offsetting transactions, which could distort the normal relationships between the cash and futures markets. Second, the liquidity of the futures market depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than making or taking delivery. To the extent participants decide to make or take delivery, liquidity in the futures market could be reduced, thus producing distortion. Third, from the point of view of speculators, the deposit requirements in the futures market are less onerous than margin requirements in the securities market. Therefore, increased participation by speculators in the futures market may cause temporary price distortions.
Combined Positions. A Fund may purchase and write options in combination with each other. For example, a Fund may purchase a put option and write a call option on the same underlying instrument, in order to construct a combined position whose risk and return characteristics are similar to selling a futures contract. Another possible combined position would involve writing a call option at one strike price and buying a call option at a lower price, in order to reduce the risk of the written call option in the event of a substantial price increase. Because combined options positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.
Caps, Floors and Collars
A Fund may enter into caps, floors and collars relating to securities, interest rates or currencies. In a cap or floor, the buyer pays a premium (which is generally, but not always, a single up-front amount) for the right to receive payments from the other party if, on specified payment dates, the applicable rate, index or asset is greater than (in the case of a cap) or less than (in the case of a floor) an agreed level, for the period involved and the applicable notional amount. A collar is a combination instrument in which the same party buys a cap and sells a floor. Depending upon the terms of the cap and floor comprising the collar, the premiums will partially, or entirely, offset each other. The notional amount of a cap, collar or floor is used to calculate payments, but is not itself exchanged. A Fund may be both a buyer and seller of these instruments.
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In addition, a Fund may engage in combinations of put and call options on securities (also commonly known as collars), which may involve physical delivery of securities. Like swaps, caps, floors and collars are very flexible products. The terms of the transactions entered by the Funds may vary from the typical examples described here.
Other Investment Companies
Each Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies, including open- and closed-end funds and exchange-traded fund ("ETF"). Investments in the securities of other investment companies may involve duplication of advisory fees and certain other expenses. By investing in another investment company, a Fund becomes a shareholder of that investment company. As a result, Fund shareholders indirectly will bear a Fund’s proportionate share of the fees and expenses of the other investment company, in addition to the fees and expenses Fund shareholders bear in connection with a Fund’s own operations.
Each Fund intends to limit its investments in securities issued by other investment companies in accordance with the 1940 Act and the rules promulgated thereunder. Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act precludes a Fund from acquiring (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding shares of another investment company; (ii) shares of another investment company having an aggregate value in excess of 5% of the value of the total assets of the Fund; or (iii) shares of another registered investment company and all other investment companies having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the Fund. In addition, the Fund is subject to Section 12(d)(1)(C), which provides that the Fund may not acquire shares of a closed-end fund if, immediately after such acquisition, the Fund and other investment companies having the same adviser as the Fund would hold more than 10% of the closed-end fund’s total outstanding voting stock.
Section 12(d)(1)(F) of the 1940 Act provides that the provisions of paragraph 12(d)(1)(A) and (B) shall not apply to securities of an unaffiliated investment company purchased or otherwise acquired by a Fund if (i) immediately after such purchase or acquisition not more than 3% of the total outstanding shares of such investment company is owned by the Fund and all affiliated persons of the Fund; and (ii) the Fund has not offered or sold, and is not proposing to offer or sell its shares through a principal underwriter or otherwise at a public or offering price that includes a sales load of more than 1 1/2%. If a Fund invests in unaffiliated investment companies pursuant to Section 12(d)(1)(F), it must comply with the following voting restrictions: when the Fund exercises voting rights, by proxy or otherwise, with respect to unaffiliated investment companies owned by the Fund, the Fund will either seek instruction from the Funds' shareholders with regard to the voting of all proxies and vote in accordance with such instructions, or vote the shares held by a Fund in the same proportion as the vote of all other holders of such security. In addition, an unaffiliated investment company purchased by a Fund pursuant to Section 12(d)(1)(F) shall not be required to redeem its shares in an amount exceeding 1% of such investment company’s total outstanding shares in any period of less than thirty days.
To the extent that a Fund invests in open-end or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in the securities of companies located outside the United States, see the risks related to foreign securities set forth above.
Rule 12d1-4 allows a fund or ETF to acquire the securities of another fund in excess of the limitations imposed by Section 12 of the 1940 Act without obtaining an exemptive order from the SEC subject to certain limitations and conditions. Prior to a fund acquiring securities of another fund that exceed the limits of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, the acquiring fund must enter into a Fund of Funds Agreement with the acquired fund. Rule 12d1-4 outlines the requirements of the Fund of Funds Agreements and specifies the responsibilities of Fund management related to “fund of funds” arrangements. Rule 12d1-4 was effective as of January 19, 2021 and its requirements have been implemented by the Funds that will be part of a fund of funds arrangement.
Exchange-Traded Products. Each Fund may invest in exchange traded products (“ETPs”), which include ETFs, partnerships, commodity pools or trusts that are bought and sold on a securities exchange. ETPs trade like stocks on a securities exchange at market price rather than NAV and, as a result, ETP shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). A Fund may also invest in exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”), which are structured debt securities, whereby the issuer of the ETN promises to pay ETN holders the return on an index or market segment over a certain period of time and then return the principal of the investment at maturity. Whereas ETPs’ liabilities are secured by their portfolio securities, ETNs’ liabilities are unsecured general obligations of the issuer. Therefore, ETNs are subject to the credit risk of the issuer of the ETN, which is different than other ETPs. The value of an ETN security should also be expected to fluctuate with the credit rating of the issuer. Most ETPs and ETNs are designed to track a particular market segment or index, although an ETP or ETN may be actively managed. ETPs and ETNs share expenses associated with their operation, typically including advisory fees and other management expenses. When a Fund invests in an ETP or ETN, in addition to directly bearing expenses associated with its own operations, it will bear its pro rata portion of the ETP’s or ETN’s expenses. ETPs and ETNs trade like stocks on a securities exchange at market prices rather than NAV and as a result ETP or ETN shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). The risks of owning an ETP or ETN generally reflect the risks of owning the underlying securities the ETP or ETN is designed to track, although lack of liquidity in an ETP or ETN could result in it being more volatile than the underlying portfolio of securities. In addition, because of ETP or ETN expenses, compared to owning the underlying securities directly, it may be more costly to own an ETP or ETN.
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Additionally, a Fund may invest in swap agreements referencing ETFs. If a Fund invests in ETFs or swap agreements referencing ETFs, the underlying ETFs may not necessarily track the same index as a Fund.
Money Market Funds. Money market funds are open-end registered investment companies that historically have traded at a stable $1.00 per share price. However, money market funds that do not meet the definition of a “retail money market fund” or “government money market fund” under the 1940 Act are required to transact at a floating NAV per share (i.e., in a manner similar to how all other non-money market mutual funds transact), instead of at a $1.00 stable share price. Money market funds may also impose liquidity fees and redemption gates for use in times of market stress. If a Fund invests in a money market fund with a floating NAV, the impact on the trading and value of the money market instruments may negatively affect the Fund's return potential.
Real Estate Companies
A Fund may make investments in the securities of real estate companies, which are regarded as those which derive at least 50% of their respective revenues from the ownership, construction, financing, management or sale of commercial, industrial, or residential real estate, or have at least 50% of their respective assets in such real estate. Such investments include common stocks (including real estate investment trust shares, see “Real Estate Investment Trusts” below), rights or warrants to purchase common stocks, securities convertible into common stocks where the conversion feature represents, in Rafferty’s view, a significant element of the securities’ value, and preferred stocks.
Real Estate Investment Trusts
A Fund may make investments in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). REITs include equity, mortgage and hybrid REITs. Equity REITs own real estate properties, and their revenue comes principally from rent. Mortgage REITs loan money to real estate owners, and their revenue comes principally from interest earned on their mortgage loans. Hybrid REITs combine characteristics of both equity and mortgage REITs. The value of an equity REIT may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property, while a mortgage REIT may be affected by the quality of the credit extended. The performance of both types of REITs depends upon conditions in the real estate industry, management skills and the amount of cash flow. The risks associated with REITs include defaults by borrowers, self-liquidation, failure to qualify as a pass-through entity under the federal tax law, failure to qualify as an exempt entity under the 1940 Act and the fact that REITs are not diversified.
Repurchase Agreements
A Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System or securities dealers who are members of a national securities exchange or are primary dealers in U.S. government securities. Repurchase agreements generally are for a short period of time, usually less than a week. Under a repurchase agreement, a Fund purchases a U.S. government security and simultaneously agrees to sell the security back to the seller at a mutually agreed-upon future price and date, normally one day or a few days later. The resale price is greater than the purchase price, reflecting an agreed-upon market interest rate during a Fund’s holding period. While the maturities of the underlying securities in repurchase agreement transactions may be more than one year, the term of each repurchase agreement always will be less than one year. Repurchase agreements with a maturity of more than seven days are considered to be illiquid investments. A Fund may not enter into such a repurchase agreement if, as a result, more than 15% of the value of its net assets would then be invested in such repurchase agreements and other illiquid investments. See “Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities” above.
A Fund will always receive, as collateral, securities whose market value, including accrued interest, at all times will be at least equal to 100% of the dollar amount invested by a Fund in each repurchase agreement. In the event of default or bankruptcy by the seller, a Fund will liquidate those securities (whose market value, including accrued interest, must be at least 100% of the amount invested by a Fund) held under the applicable repurchase agreement, which securities constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to repurchase the security. If the seller defaults, a Fund might incur a loss if the value of the collateral securing the repurchase agreement declines and might incur disposition costs in connection with liquidating the collateral. In addition, if bankruptcy or similar proceedings are commenced with respect to the seller of the security, realization upon the collateral by a Fund may be delayed or limited.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements
A Fund may borrow by entering into reverse repurchase agreements with the same parties with whom it may enter into repurchase agreements. Under a reverse repurchase agreement, a Fund sells securities and agrees to repurchase them at
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a mutually agreed to price. At the time a Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it will establish and maintain a segregated account with an approved custodian containing liquid high-grade securities, marked-to-market daily, having a value not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of securities retained in lieu of sale by a Fund may decline below the price of the securities a Fund has sold but is obliged to repurchase. If the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, such buyer or its trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce a Fund’s obligation to repurchase the securities. During that time, a Fund’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement effectively may be restricted. Reverse repurchase agreements create leverage, a speculative factor, and are considered borrowings for the purpose of a Fund’s limitation on borrowing.
Securities Lending
Each Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers that Rafferty determines to be creditworthy. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned, marked to market daily. Borrowers continuously secure their obligations to return securities on loan from a Fund by depositing any combination of short-term U.S. government securities and cash as collateral with a Fund. No securities loan will be made on behalf of a Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loaned by a Fund exceeds one-third of the value of the Fund's total assets (including the value of the collateral received) or such lower limit as set by Rafferty or the Board. A Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. Each Fund receives, by way of substitute payment, the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities that it would have received if the securities were not on loan. Any gain or loss in the market price of the borrowed securities that occurs during the term of the loan inures to the lending Fund and that Fund’s shareholders.
With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. A Fund is typically compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, a Fund is typically compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. A Fund may also receive such fees on “special” loans that are cash-collateralized. Any cash collateral may be reinvested in money market funds. Such money market fund shares will not be subject to a sales load, redemption fee, distribution fee or service fee. However, such investments are subject to investment risk.
Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), “gap” risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return of cash collateral reinvestments and the fees a Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, a Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return a Fund’s securities as agreed, the Fund could experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for a Fund. A Fund could lose money if its investment of cash collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments for dividends received by a Fund while its securities are loaned out will not be considered qualified dividend income.
Short Sales
A Fund may engage in short sale transactions under which a Fund sells a security it does not own. To complete such a transaction, a Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. A Fund then is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing the security at the market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by a Fund. Until the security is replaced, a Fund is required to pay to the lender amounts equal to any dividends that accrue during the period of the loan. The proceeds of the short sale will be retained by the broker, to the extent necessary to meet the margin requirements, until the short position is closed out. A Fund will also incur transactions costs when conducting short sales.
Until a Fund closes its short position or replaces the borrowed stock, a Fund will: (1) maintain an account containing cash or liquid assets at such a level that (a) the amount deposited in the account plus the amount deposited with the broker as collateral will equal the current value of the stock sold short and (b) the amount deposited in the account plus the amount deposited with the broker as collateral will not be less than the market value of the stock at the time the stock was sold short; or (2) otherwise cover a Fund’s short position.
A Fund will incur a loss as a result of a short sales or short exposure to reference assets utilizing derivatives if the price of the security or reference asset increases between the date of the short sale or exposure and the date on which a Fund replaces the borrowed security or terminates the derivatives providing short exposure. A Fund will realize a gain if the price of a security or reference asset declines in price between those dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and
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the amount of any loss will be increased, by the amount of the premium, dividends or interest a Fund may be required to pay, if any, in connection with a short sale or derivatives that provide short exposure.
Swap Agreements
A Fund may enter into swap and other derivatives to obtain long and/or short exposure to an underlying asset without actually purchasing such asset. Swap agreements are generally two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a day to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on, or increase/decrease, in value of a particular dollar amount invested in a security or “basket” of securities representing a particular index or an ETF representing a particular index or group of securities.
Each Fund may enter into swaps to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of securities. For example, in one common type of total return swap, a Fund’s counterparty will agree to pay the Fund the rate at which the specified asset or indicator (e.g., security, an ETF, or securities comprising a benchmark index, plus the dividends or interest that would have been received on those assets) increased in value multiplied by the relevant notional amount of the swap. A Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty an interest fee (based on the notional amount) and the rate at which, the specified asset or indicator would decreased in value multiplied by the notional amount of the swap, plus, in certain instances, commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount.
As a result, the swap has a similar economic effect as if a Fund were to invest in the assets underlying the swap in an amount equal to the notional amount of the swap. The return to the Fund on such swap should be the gain or loss on the notional amount plus dividends or interest on the assets less the interest paid by a Fund on the notional amount. However, unlike cash investments in the underlying assets, a Fund will not be an owner of the underlying assets and will not have voting or similar rights in respect of such assets.
As a trading technique, Rafferty may substitute physical securities with a swap having investment characteristics substantially similar to the underlying securities. A Fund may also enter into swaps that provide the opposite return of their benchmark or a security. Their operations are similar to that of the swaps discussed above except that the counterparty pays interest to each Fund on the notional amount outstanding and that dividends or interest on the underlying instruments reduce the value of the swap, plus, in certain instances, each Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount. These amounts are often netted with any unrealized gain or loss to determine the value of the swap.
The use of swaps is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks in addition to, and in some cases different from, those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The primary risks associated with the use of swaps are mispricing or improper valuation, imperfect correlation between movements in the notional amount and the price of the underlying investments, and the inability of the counterparties or clearing organization to perform. If a counterparty’s creditworthiness for an over-the-counter swap declines, the value of the swap would likely decline. Moreover, there is no guarantee that a Fund could eliminate its exposure under an outstanding swap by entering into an offsetting swap with the same or another party. In addition, a Fund may use a combination of swaps on an underlying index and/or swaps on an ETF that is designed to track the performance of that index. The performance of an ETF may deviate from the performance of its underlying index due to embedded costs and other factors. Thus, to the extent a Fund invests in swaps that use an ETF as the reference asset, the Fund may be subject to greater correlation risk and may not achieve as high a degree of correlation with its underlying index as it would if a Fund used only swaps on the underlying index. Rafferty, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of a Fund’s transactions in swaps.
Common Types of Swaps
A Fund may enter into any of several types of swaps, including:
Total Return Swaps. Total return swaps may be used either as economically similar substitutes for owning the reference asset specified in the swap, such as the securities that comprise a given market index, particular securities or commodities, or other assets or indicators. They also may be used as a means of obtaining exposure in markets where the reference asset is unavailable or it may otherwise be impossible or impracticable for a Fund to own that asset. “Total return” refers to the payment (or receipt) of the total return on the underlying reference asset, which is then exchanged for the receipt (or payment) of an interest rate. Total return swaps provide a Fund with the additional flexibility of gaining exposure to a market or sector index by using the most cost-effective vehicle available.
Interest Rate Swaps. Interest rate swaps, in their most basic form, involve the exchange by a Fund with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive interest. For example, a Fund might exchange its right to receive certain floating rate payments in exchange for another party’s right to receive fixed rate payments. Interest rate swaps can take a variety of other forms, such as agreements to pay the net differences between two different interest indexes or rates.
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Despite their differences in form, the function of interest rate swaps is generally the same: to increase or decrease a Fund’s exposure to long- or short-term interest rates. For example, a Fund may enter into an interest rate swap to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or a portion of its portfolio or to protect against any increase in the price of securities a Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date.
Other Financial Instruments. Other forms of swaps that a Fund may enter into include: interest rate caps, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates exceed a specified rate, or “cap”; interest rate floors, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates fall below a specified level, or “floor,” and interest rate collars, under which a party sells a cap and purchases a floor or vice versa in an attempt to protect itself against interest rate movements exceeding given minimum or maximum levels.
Mechanics of Swaps
Payments. Most swaps entered into by a Fund calculate and settle the obligations of the parties to the agreement on a “net basis” with a single payment. Consequently, a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under a swap will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). Other swaps may require initial premium (discount) payments as well as periodic payments (receipts) related to the interest leg of the swap or to the default of the reference entity. A Fund’s current obligations under most swaps (e.g., total return swaps, equity/index swaps, interest rate swaps) will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to a Fund by the counterparty to the swap) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by segregating or earmarking cash or other assets determined to be liquid. However, typically no payments will be made until the settlement date. The net amount of the excess, if any, of a Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to a swap agreement entered into on a net basis will be accrued daily and an amount of cash or liquid asset having an aggregate NAV at least equal to the accrued excess will be maintained in an account with the Custodian that satisfies the 1940 Act. A Fund also will establish and maintain such accounts with respect to its total obligations under any swaps that are not entered into on a net basis. Obligations under swap agreements so covered will not be construed to be “senior securities” for purposes of a Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities.
Counterparty Credit Risk. A Fund will not enter into any uncleared swap (i.e., not cleared by a central counterparty) unless Rafferty believes that the other party to the transaction is creditworthy. The counterparty to an uncleared swap will typically be a major global financial institution. A Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap counterparty. If such a default occurs, a Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swaps, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor. The counterparty risk for cleared swaps is generally lower than for uncleared over-the-counter swaps because, in a cleared swap, a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared swap. The clearing organization takes on the obligations of each side of the swap and a Fund would only be exposed to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations. However, there can be no assurance that the clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to a Fund. Upon entering into a cleared swap, a Fund may be required to deposit with its futures commission merchant an amount of cash or cash equivalents equal to a small percentage of the notional amount (this amount is subject to change by the clearing organization that clears the trade). This amount is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the cleared swap and is returned to a Fund upon termination of the swap, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the swap fluctuates, making the long and short position in the swap contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.” The premium (discount) payments are built into the daily price of the swap and thus are amortized through the subsequent payments. The subsequent payment also includes the daily portion of the periodic payment stream.
Termination and Default Risk. Swap agreements do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets. Accordingly, if a swap is entered into on a net basis, if the other party to a swap agreement defaults, a Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive, if any.
Swap Regulation
In recent years, regulators across the globe, including the CFTC and the U.S. banking regulators, have adopted collateral requirements applicable to uncleared swaps. While a Fund is not directly subject to these requirements, where a Fund’s counterparty is subject to the requirements, uncleared swaps between a Fund and that counterparty are required to be marked-to-market on a daily basis, and collateral is required to be exchanged to account for any changes in the value of such swaps above certain agreed upon thresholds. The rules impose a number of requirements as to these exchanges of collateral, including as to the timing of transfers, the type of collateral (and valuations for such collateral) and other matters that may be different than what a Fund would agree with its counterparty in the absence of such regulation. In all events, where a Fund is required to post collateral to its swap counterparty, such collateral will be posted to an independent bank custodian, where access to the collateral by the swap counterparty will generally not be permitted unless a Fund is in default on its obligations to the swap counterparty.
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In addition to the marked-to-market collateral requirements, regulators have adopted “initial” collateral requirements applicable to uncleared swaps. Where applicable, these rules require parties to an uncleared swap to post, to a custodian that is independent from the parties to the swap, collateral (in addition to any marked-to-market collateral noted above) in an amount that is either (i) specified in a schedule in the rules or (ii) calculated by the regulated party in accordance with a model that has been approved by that party’s regulator(s). The initial collateral rules only apply to the swap trading relationships of Funds with average aggregate notional amounts that exceed $8 billion. If the Fund is subject to an initial margin obligation, these rules may impose significant costs on a Fund’s ability to engage in uncleared swaps and, as such, could adversely affect Rafferty’s ability to manage a Fund, may impair a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective and/or may result in reduced returns to a Fund’s investors.
Comprehensive swaps regulation. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) and related regulatory developments have imposed comprehensive new regulatory requirements on swaps and swap market participants. The regulatory framework includes: (1) registration and regulation of swap dealers; (2) requiring central clearing and execution of standardized swaps; (3) imposing collateral requirements on swap transactions; (4) regulating and monitoring swap transactions through position limits and large trader reporting requirements; and (5) imposing recordkeeping and centralized and public reporting requirements, on an anonymous basis, for most swaps. The CFTC is responsible for the regulation of most swaps. The SEC has jurisdiction over a small segment of the market referred to as “security-based swaps,” which includes swaps on single securities or credits, or narrow-based indices of securities or credits.
Uncleared swaps. In an uncleared swap, the swap counterparty is typically a brokerage firm, bank or other financial institution. A Fund customarily enters into uncleared swaps based on the standard terms and conditions of an International Swaps and Derivatives Association (“ISDA”) Master Agreement. ISDA is a voluntary industry association of participants in the OTC derivatives markets that has developed standardized contracts used by such participants that have agreed to be bound by such standardized contracts. In the event that one party to a swap transaction defaults and the transaction is terminated prior to its scheduled termination date, one of the parties may be required to make an early termination payment to the counterparty. An early termination payment may be payable by either the defaulting or non-defaulting party, depending upon which of them is “in-the-money” with respect to the swap at the time of its termination. Early termination payments may be calculated in various ways, but are intended to approximate the amount the “in-the-money” party would have to pay to replace the swap as of the date of its termination. During the term of an uncleared swap, a Fund will be required to pledge to the swap counterparty, from time to time, an amount of cash and/or other assets equal to the total net amount (if any) that would be payable by a Fund to the counterparty if all outstanding swaps between the parties were terminated on the date in question, including any early termination payments. Periodically, changes in the amount pledged are made to recognize changes in value of the contract resulting from, among other things, interest on the notional value of the contract, market value changes in the underlying investment, and/or dividends paid by the issuer of the underlying instrument. Likewise, the counterparty will be required to pledge cash or other assets to cover its obligations to a Fund. However, the amount pledged may not always be equal to or more than the amount due to the other party. Therefore, if a counterparty defaults in its obligations to a Fund, the amount pledged by the counterparty and available to a Fund may not be sufficient to cover all the amounts due to a Fund and the Fund may sustain a loss. Rules requiring initial collateral to be posted by certain market participants for uncleared swaps have been adopted. If a Fund is deemed to have material swaps exposure under applicable swap regulations, it will be required to post initial collateral in addition to marked-to-market collateral.
Cleared swaps. Certain standardized swaps are subject to mandatory central clearing and exchange-trading. The Dodd-Frank Act and implementing rules will ultimately require the clearing and exchange-trading of many swaps. Mandatory exchange-trading and clearing will occur on a phased-in basis based on the type of market participant, CFTC approval of contracts for central clearing and public trading facilities making such cleared swaps available to trade. To date, the CFTC has designated only certain of the most common types of credit default index swaps and interest rate swaps as subject to mandatory clearing and certain public trading facilities have made certain of those cleared swaps available to trade, additional categories of swaps may in the future be designated as subject to mandatory clearing and trade execution requirements. Central clearing is intended to reduce counterparty credit risk and increase liquidity, but central clearing does not eliminate these risks and may involve additional costs and risks not involved with uncleared swaps. For more information, see “Risks of cleared swaps” below.
In a cleared swap, a Fund’s ultimate counterparty is a central clearinghouse rather than a brokerage firm, bank or other financial institution. Cleared swaps are submitted for clearing through each party’s FCM, which must be a member of the clearinghouse that serves as the central counterparty. Transactions executed on a swap execution facility may increase market transparency and liquidity but may require a Fund to incur increased expenses to access the same types of swaps that it has used in the past. When a Fund enters into a cleared swap, it must deliver to the central counterparty (via the FCM) initial collateral. The initial collateral requirements are determined by the central counterparty, and are typically calculated as an amount equal to the volatility in market value of the cleared swap over a fixed period, but an FCM may require additional collateral above the amount required by the central counterparty. During the term of the swap agreement, an additional collateral amount may also be required to be paid by a Fund or may be received by a Fund in accordance with collateral controls set for such accounts. If the value of the Fund’s cleared swap declines, the Fund will be required to make additional payments to the FCM to settle the change in value. Conversely, if the market value of a Fund’s position increases,
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the FCM will post additional amounts to the Fund’s account. At the conclusion of the term of the swap agreement, if a Fund has a loss equal to or greater than the collateral amount, the collateral amount is paid to the FCM along with any loss in excess of the collateral amount. If a Fund has a loss of less than the collateral amount, the excess collateral is returned to a Fund. If a Fund has a gain, the full collateral amount and the amount of the gain is paid to a Fund.
Risks of swaps generally. The use of swap transactions is a highly specialized activity, which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. Whether a Fund will be successful in using swap agreements to achieve its investment goal depends on the ability of the Adviser to correctly predict which types of investments are likely to produce greater returns. If the Adviser, in using swap agreements, is incorrect in its forecasts of market values, interest rates, inflation, currency exchange rates or other applicable factors, the investment performance of a Fund will be less than its performance would have been if it had not used the swap agreements. The risk of loss to a Fund for swap transactions that are entered into on a net basis depends on which party is obligated to pay the net amount to the other party. If the counterparty is obligated to pay the net amount to a Fund, the risk of loss to the Fund is loss of the entire amount that the Fund is entitled to receive. If a Fund is obligated to pay the net amount, the Fund’s risk of loss is generally limited to that net amount. If the swap agreement involves the exchange of the entire principal value of a security, the entire principal value of that security is subject to the risk that the other party to the swap will default on its contractual delivery obligations. In addition, a Fund’s risk of loss also includes any collateral at risk in the event of default by the counterparty (in an uncleared swap) or the central counterparty or FCM (in a cleared swap), plus any transaction costs.
Because bilateral swap agreements are structured as two-party contracts and may have terms of greater than seven days, these swaps may be considered to be illiquid and, therefore, subject to a Fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities. If a swap transaction is particularly large or if the relevant market is illiquid, a Fund may not be able to establish or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price, which may result in significant losses. Participants in the swap markets are not required to make continuous markets in the swap contracts they trade. Participants could refuse to quote prices for swap contracts or quote prices with an unusually wide spread between the price at which they are prepared to buy and the price at which they are prepared to sell. Some swap agreements entail complex terms and may require a greater degree of subjectivity in their valuation. However, the swap markets have grown substantially in recent years, with a large number of financial institutions acting both as principals and agents, utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the swap markets have become increasingly liquid. In addition, central clearing and the trading of cleared swaps on public facilities are intended to increase liquidity.
Rafferty, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of a Fund’s swap transactions. Rules adopted under the Dodd-Frank Act require centralized reporting of detailed information about many swaps, whether cleared or uncleared. This information is available to regulators and also, to a more limited extent and on an anonymous basis, to the public. Reporting of swap data is intended to result in greater market transparency. This may be beneficial to funds that use swaps in their trading strategies. However, public reporting imposes additional recordkeeping burdens on these funds, and the safeguards established to protect anonymity are not yet tested and may not provide protection of a Fund’s identity as intended. Certain IRS positions may limit a Fund’s ability to use swap agreements in a desired tax strategy. It is possible that developments in the swap markets and/or the laws relating to swap agreements, including potential government regulation, could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to benefit from using swap agreements, or could have adverse tax consequences. For more information about potentially changing regulation, see “Developing government regulation of derivatives” below.
Risks of uncleared swaps. Uncleared swaps are typically executed bilaterally with a swap dealer rather than traded on exchanges. As a result, swap participants may not be as protected as participants on organized exchanges. Performance of a swap agreement is the responsibility only of the swap counterparty and not of any exchange or clearinghouse. As a result, a Fund is subject to the risk that a counterparty will be unable or will refuse to perform under such agreement, including because of the counterparty’s bankruptcy or insolvency. A Fund risks the loss of the accrued but unpaid amounts under a swap agreement, which could be substantial, in the event of a default, insolvency or bankruptcy by a swap counterparty. In such an event, a Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreements, but bankruptcy and insolvency laws could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor. If the counterparty’s creditworthiness declines, the value of a swap agreement would likely decline, potentially resulting in losses. The Adviser will only approve a swap agreement counterparty for a Fund if the Adviser deems the counterparty to be creditworthy. However, in unusual or extreme market conditions, a counterparty’s creditworthiness and ability to perform may deteriorate rapidly, and the availability of suitable replacement counterparties may become limited.
Risks of cleared swaps. As noted above, under recent financial reforms, certain types of swaps are, and others eventually are expected to be, required to be cleared through a central counterparty, which may affect counterparty risk and other risks faced by a Fund.
Central clearing is designed to reduce counterparty credit risk and increase liquidity compared to uncleared swaps because central clearing interposes the central clearinghouse as the counterparty to each participant’s swap, but it does not eliminate those risks completely and may involve additional costs and risks not involved with uncleared swaps. There is also a risk of loss by a Fund of the initial and variation collateral deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which a Fund has
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an open position, or the central counterparty in a swap contract. The assets of a Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because a Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds and collateral segregated on behalf of an FCM’s customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, a Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use the Fund’s assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM’s other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty. Credit risk of cleared swap participants is concentrated in a few clearinghouses, and the consequences of insolvency of a clearinghouse are not clear.
With cleared swaps, a Fund may not be able to obtain terms as favorable as it would be able to negotiate for a bilateral, uncleared swap. In addition, an FCM may unilaterally amend the terms of its agreement with the Fund, which may include the imposition of position limits or additional collateral requirements with respect to a Fund’s investment in certain types of swaps. Central counterparties and FCMs can require termination of existing cleared swap transactions upon the occurrence of certain events, and can also require increases in collateral above the amount that is required at the initiation of the swap agreement. Currently, depending on a number of factors, the collateral required under the rules of the clearinghouse and FCM may be in excess of the collateral required to be posted by a Fund to support its obligations under a similar uncleared swap.
Finally, a Fund is subject to the risk that, after entering into a cleared swap with an executing broker, no FCM or central counterparty is willing or able to clear the transaction. In such an event, a Fund may be required to break the trade and make an early termination payment to the executing broker.
Developing government regulation of derivatives. The regulation of cleared and uncleared swaps, as well as other derivatives, is a rapidly changing area of law and is subject to modification by government and judicial action. In addition, the SEC, CFTC and the exchanges are authorized to take extraordinary actions in the event of a market emergency, including, for example, the implementation or reduction of speculative position limits, the implementation of higher collateral requirements, the establishment of daily price limits and the suspension of trading. It is not possible to predict fully the effects of current or future regulation. However, it is possible that developments in government regulation of various types of derivative instruments, such as speculative position limits on certain types of derivatives, or limits or restrictions on the counterparties with which a Fund engages in derivative transactions, may limit or prevent the Fund from using or limit the Fund’s use of these instruments effectively as a part of its investment strategy, and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment goal(s). The Adviser will continue to monitor developments in the area, particularly to the extent regulatory changes affect a Fund’s ability to enter into desired swap agreements. New requirements, even if not directly applicable to a Fund, may increase the cost of a Fund’s investments and cost of doing business.
Unrated Debt Securities
A Fund may also invest in unrated debt securities. Unrated debt, while not necessarily lower in quality than rated securities, may not have as broad a market. Because of the size and perceived demand for the issue, among other factors, certain issuers may decide not to pay the cost of getting a rating for their bonds. The creditworthiness of the issuer, as well as any financial institution or other party responsible for payments on the security, will be analyzed to determine whether to purchase unrated bonds.
U.S. Government Securities
A Fund may invest in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities (“U.S. government securities”) in pursuit of its investment objective, in order to deposit such securities as initial or variation margin, as “cover” for the investment techniques it employs, as part of a cash reserve or for liquidity purposes.
U.S. government securities are high-quality instruments issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the U.S. Treasury Department (“U.S. Treasury”) or by an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government. Not all U.S. government securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Some are backed by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; others are backed by discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase the agencies’ obligations; while others are supported only by the credit of the instrumentality. In the case of securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, the investor must look principally to the agency issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment.
Yields on short-, intermediate- and long-term U.S. government securities are dependent on a variety of factors, including the general conditions of the money and bond markets, the size of a particular offering and the maturity of the obligation. Debt securities with longer maturities tend to produce higher capital appreciation and depreciation than obligations with shorter maturities and lower yields. The market value of U.S. government securities generally varies inversely with changes in the market interest rates. An increase in interest rates, therefore, generally would reduce the market value of a Fund’s portfolio investments in U.S. government securities, while a decline in interest rates generally would increase the market value of a Fund’s portfolio investments in these securities. U.S. government securities include U.S. Treasury obligations,
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which includes U.S. Treasury Bills (which mature within one year of the date they are issued), U.S. Treasury Notes (which have maturities of one to ten years) and U.S. Treasury Bonds (which generally have maturities of more than 10 years). All such U.S. Treasury obligations are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.
U.S. government securities also include obligations issued by U.S. government agencies and instrumentalities (“GSEs”) that are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government (such as securities issued or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Ginnie Mae®, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the General Services Administration and the Maritime Administration and certain securities issued by the Small Business Administration).
Also, U.S. government securities include securities that are guaranteed by U.S. government-sponsored entities that are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government (such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the Federal Home Loan Banks). These U.S. government-sponsored entities, although chartered and sponsored by the U.S. Congress, are not guaranteed, nor insured, by the U.S. government. They are supported only by the credit of the issuing agency, instrumentality or corporation.
Since 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been in conservatorship and have received significant capital support through U.S. Treasury preferred stock purchases, as well as U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve purchases of their mortgage backed securities (“MBS”). The FHFA and the U.S. Treasury (through its agreement to purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac preferred stock) have imposed strict limits on the size of their mortgage portfolios. The MBS purchase programs technically ended in 2010 but the U.S. Treasury has continued its support for the entities’ capital as necessary to prevent a negative net worth through at least 2012 and other governmental entities have provided significant support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. There is no guarantee, however, that they will continue to do so. An FHFA stress test suggested that in a “severely adverse scenario” additional Treasury support of between $42.1 billion and $77.6 billion (depending on the treatment of deferred tax assets) might be required. Since then Congress has permanently reduced the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% starting January 1, 2018. This reduction could cause a substantial net loss and net worth deficit for the year in which the legislation is enacted. Should they experience such a net worth deficit, they could be required to draw additional funds from the U.S. Treasury to avoid being placed in receivership. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will remain successful in meeting their obligations with respect to the debt and MBSs that they issue.
In addition, the problems faced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, resulting in their being placed into federal conservatorship and receiving significant U.S. government support, have sparked serious debate among federal policy makers regarding the continued role of the U.S. government in providing liquidity for mortgage loans. In December 2011, Congress enacted the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act (“TCCA”) of 2011 which, among other provisions, requires that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increase their single-family guaranty fees by at least 10 basis points and remit this increase to Treasury with respect to all loans acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or after April 1, 2012 and before January 1, 2022. Nevertheless, discussions among policymakers have continued as to whether Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be nationalized, privatized, restructured, or eliminated altogether. In September 2019, the U.S. Treasury released its plan to reform the housing finance system, which includes reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The impact of these reforms are not yet known. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also are the subject of several continuing legal actions and investigations related to certain accounting, disclosure, or corporate governance matters, which (along with any resulting financial restatements) may continue to have an adverse effect on the guaranteeing entities. Congress is currently considering several pieces of legislation that would reform GSEs, proposing to address their structure, mission, portfolio limits, and guarantee fees, among other issues.
U.S. Government Sponsored Enterprises
U.S. government sponsored enterprises (“GSE”) securities are securities issued by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities. Some obligations issued by GSEs are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the agency or instrumentality and others only by the credit of the agency or instrumentality. Those securities bear fixed, floating or variable rates of interest. Interest may fluctuate based on generally recognized reference rates or the relationship of rates. While the U.S. government currently provides financial support to such GSEs or instrumentalities, no assurance can be given that it will always do so, since it is not so obligated by law.
Certain U.S. government debt securities, such as securities of the Federal Home Loan Banks, are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. Others, such as securities issued by Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac®, are supported only by the credit of the corporation. In the case of securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, a fund must look principally to the agency issuing or guaranteeing the obligation in the event the agency or instrumentality does not meet its commitments. The U.S. government may choose not to provide financial support to GSEs or instrumentalities if it is not legally obligated to do so. A fund will invest in securities of such instrumentalities only when Rafferty is satisfied that the credit risk with respect to any such instrumentality is comparatively minimal.
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When-Issued Securities
A Fund may enter into firm commitment agreements for the purchase of securities on a specified future date. A Fund may purchase, for example, new issues of fixed-income instruments on a when-issued basis, whereby the payment obligation, or yield to maturity, or coupon rate on the instruments may not be fixed at the time of transaction. A Fund will not purchase securities on a when-issued basis if, as a result, more than 15% of its net assets would be so invested. If a Fund enters into a firm commitment agreement, liability for the purchase price and the rights and risks of ownership of the security accrue to a Fund at the time it becomes obligated to purchase such security, although delivery and payment occur at a later date. Accordingly, if the market price of the security should decline, the effect of such an agreement would be to obligate a Fund to purchase the security at a price above the current market price on the date of delivery and payment. During the time a Fund is obligated to purchase such a security, it will be required to segregate assets with an approved custodian in an amount sufficient to settle the transaction.
Zero-Coupon, Payment-In-Kind and Strip Securities
A Fund may invest in zero-coupon, payment-in-kind and strip securities of any rating or maturity. Zero-coupon securities make no periodic interest payment but are sold at a deep discount from their face value, otherwise known as “original issue discount” or “OID.” The buyer earns a rate of return determined by the gradual appreciation of the security, which is redeemed at face value on a specified maturity date. The OID varies depending on the time remaining until maturity, as well as market interest rates, liquidity of the security, and the issuer’s perceived credit quality. If the issuer defaults, a Fund may not receive any return on its investment. Because zero-coupon securities bear no interest and compound semi-annually at the rate fixed at the time of issuance, their value generally is more volatile than the value of other fixed-income securities. Since zero-coupon security holders do not receive interest payments, when interest rates rise, zero-coupon securities fall more dramatically in value than securities paying interest on a current basis. When interest rates fall, zero-coupon securities rise more rapidly in value because the securities reflect a fixed rate of return. Payment-in-kind securities allow the issuer, at its option, to make current interest payments either in cash or in additional debt obligations of the issuer. Both zero-coupon securities and payment-in-kind securities allow an issuer to avoid the need to generate cash to meet current interest payments.
An investment in zero-coupon securities and delayed interest securities (which do not make interest payments until after a specified time) may cause a Fund to recognize income and be required to make distributions thereof to shareholders before it receives any cash payments on its investment. Moreover, even though payment-in-kind securities do not pay current interest in cash, a Fund nonetheless is required to accrue interest income on these investments and to distribute the interest income at least annually to shareholders. See “Dividends, Other Distributions and Taxes – Income from Zero Coupon and Payment-in-Kind Securities.” Thus, a Fund could be required at times to liquidate other investments to satisfy distribution requirements.
A Fund may also invest in strips, which are debt securities whose interest coupons are taken out and traded separately after the securities are issued but otherwise are comparable to zero-coupon securities. Like zero-coupon securities and payment-in-kind securities, strips are generally more sensitive to interest rate fluctuations than interest paying securities of comparable term and quality.
Other Investment Risks and Practices
Borrowing. A Fund may borrow money for investment purposes, which is a form of leveraging. Leveraging investments, by purchasing securities with borrowed money, is a speculative technique that increases investment risk while increasing investment opportunity. Leverage will magnify changes in a Fund’s NAV and on a Fund’s investments. Although the principal of such borrowings will be fixed, a Fund’s assets may change in value during the time the borrowing is outstanding. Leverage also creates interest expenses for a Fund. To the extent the income derived from securities purchased with borrowed funds exceeds the interest a Fund will have to pay, that Fund’s net income will be greater than it would be if leverage were not used. Conversely, if the income from the assets obtained with borrowed funds is not sufficient to cover the cost of leveraging, the net income of a Fund will be less than it would be if leverage were not used, and therefore the amount available for shareholders will be reduced.
A Fund may borrow money to facilitate management of a Fund’s portfolio by enabling a Fund to meet redemption requests when the liquidation of portfolio instruments would be inconvenient or disadvantageous. Such borrowing is not for investment purposes and will be repaid by the borrowing Fund promptly.
As required by the 1940 Act, a Fund must maintain continuous asset coverage (total assets, including assets acquired with borrowed funds, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of 300% of all amounts borrowed. If at any time the value of the required asset coverage declines as a result of market fluctuations or other reasons, a Fund may be required to sell some
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of its portfolio investments within three days to reduce the amount of its borrowings and restore the 300% asset coverage, even though it may be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint to sell portfolio instruments at that time.
Portfolio Turnover. The Trust anticipates that each Fund’s annual portfolio turnover may vary year to year. A Fund’s portfolio turnover rate is calculated by the value of the securities purchased or securities sold, excluding all securities whose terms-to-maturity at the time of acquisition were less than 397 days, divided by the average monthly value of such securities owned during the year. Based on this calculation, instruments with remaining terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days are excluded from the portfolio turnover rate. Such instruments generally would include futures contracts and options, since such contracts generally have remaining terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days. In any given period, all of a Fund’s investments may have remaining terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days; in that case, the portfolio turnover rate for that period would be equal to zero. However, each Fund’s portfolio turnover rate calculated with all securities whose terms-to-maturity were less than 397 days is anticipated to be unusually high.
High portfolio turnover involves correspondingly greater expenses to a Fund, including brokerage commissions or dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of securities and reinvestments in other securities. Such sales also may result in adverse tax consequences to a Fund’s shareholders resulting from its distributions of increased net capital gains, if any, recognized as a result of the sales. The trading costs and tax effects associated with portfolio turnover may adversely affect a Fund’s performance.
For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the portfolio turnover for the Direxion Daily Consumer Discretionary Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily FTSE China Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3X Shares and the Direxion Daily Technology Bull 3X Shares increased from the fiscal year ended October 31, 2021 due to an increase in net assets.
For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the portfolio turnover for the Direxion Daily MSCI Emerging Markets Bull 3X Shares and the Direxion Daily Real Estate Bull 3X Shares increased from the fiscal year ended October 31, 2021 due to an increase in volatility in connection with a decrease in net assets.
For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the portfolio turnover for the Direxion Daily FTSE Europe Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily MSCI Mexico Bull 3X Shares, and the Direxion Daily South Korea Bull 3X Shares decreased from the fiscal year ended October 31, 2021 due to a decrease in net assets.
Correlation and Tracking Risk
Several factors may affect a Fund's ability to obtain its daily leveraged investment objective. Among these factors are: (1) Fund expenses, including brokerage expenses and commissions and financing costs related to derivatives (which may be increased by high portfolio turnover); (2) less than all of the securities in the underlying index being held by a Fund and securities not included in the underlying index being held by a Fund; (3) an imperfect correlation between the performance of instruments held by a Fund, such as other investment companies, including ETFs, futures contracts and options, and the performance of the underlying securities in the cash market comprising an index; (4) bid-ask spreads; (5) a Fund holding instruments that are illiquid or the market for which becomes disrupted; (6) the need to conform a Fund’s portfolio holdings to comply with the Fund’s investment restrictions or policies, or regulatory or tax law requirements; (7) market movements that run counter to a Fund’s investments (which will cause divergence between a Fund and its underlying index over time due to the mathematical effects of leveraging); and (8) disruptions and illiquidity in the markets for securities or derivatives held by a Fund.
While index futures and options contracts closely correlate with the applicable indices over long periods, shorter-term deviation, such as on a daily basis, does occur with these instruments. As a result, a Fund’s short-term performance will reflect such deviation from its underlying index. A Fund may use a combination of swaps on its underlying index and swaps on an ETF whose investment objective is to track the performance of the same index, or a substantially similar index, to achieve its investment objective. The reference ETF may not closely track the performance of its underlying index due to fees and other costs borne by the ETF and other factors. Thus, to the extent that a Fund invests in swaps that use an ETF as a reference asset, a Fund may be subject to greater correlation risk and may not achieve as high a degree of leveraged or inverse leveraged correlation with its underlying index as it would if a Fund used swaps that utilized an underlying index as the reference asset. Any financing, borrowing or other costs associated with using derivatives may also reduce a Fund’s return.
Even if there is a perfect correlation between a Fund and the leveraged return of its underlying index on a daily basis, the symmetry between the changes in the underlying index and the changes in a Fund’s NAV can be altered significantly over time by a compounding effect. For example, if a Bull Fund achieved a perfect leveraged correlation with its underlying index on every trading day over an extended period and the level of returns of that index significantly increased during that period, a compounding effect for that period would result, causing an increase in a Bull Fund’s NAV by a percentage that is somewhat greater than the percentage that the underlying index’s returns decreased. Conversely, if a Bear Fund maintained a perfect inverse leveraged correlation with its underlying index over an extended period and if the level of
37

returns of that index significantly increased over that period, a compounding effect would result, causing a decrease of a Bear Fund’s NAV by a percentage that would be somewhat less than the percentage that the underlying index returns increased.
Leverage
Each Fund intends regularly to use leveraged investment techniques in pursuing its investment objectives. Utilization of leverage involves special risks and should be considered to be speculative. Leverage exists when a Fund achieves the right to a return on a capital base that exceeds the amount of the Fund’s net assets. Leverage creates the potential for greater gains to shareholders of a Fund during favorable market conditions and the risk of magnified losses during adverse market conditions. Leverage is likely to cause higher volatility of the NAV of each Fund’s Shares. Leverage may involve the creation of a liability that does not entail any interest costs or the creation of a liability that requires a Fund to pay interest which would decrease the Fund’s total return to shareholders. If each Fund achieves its investment objective, during adverse market conditions, shareholders should experience a loss greater than they would have incurred had a Fund not been leveraged.
Special Note Regarding the Correlation Risks of the Funds. As discussed in the Prospectus, each Fund is “leveraged” meaning it has an investment objective to match 300% or -300% of the performance of its underlying index on a given day. Each Fund is subject to all of the correlation risks described in the Prospectus. In addition, there is a special form of correlation risk that derives from each Fund’s use of leverage, which is that for periods greater than one day, the use of leverage tends to cause the performance of a Fund to be either greater than, or less than, 300% or -300% of the performance of its underlying index.
A Fund’s return for periods longer than one day is primarily a function of the following:
a) underlying index performance;
b) underlying index volatility;
c) financing rates associated with leverage;
d) other fund expenses;
e) dividends paid by companies in the underlying index; and
f) period of time.
The performance for a Fund can be estimated given any set of assumptions for the factors described above. Illustrated below is the impact of two factors, underlying index volatility and underlying index performance, on a Fund. Underlying index volatility is a statistical measure of the magnitude of fluctuations in the returns of the index and is calculated as the standard deviation of the natural logarithms of one plus the index return (calculated daily), multiplied by the square root of the number of trading days per year (assumed to be 252). The illustration estimates Fund returns for a number of combinations of underlying index performance and underlying index volatility over a one year period and assumes: a) no dividends paid; b) no fund expenses; and c) borrowing/lending rates (to obtain leverage) of zero percent. If fund expenses were included, a Fund’s performance would be lower than shown.
As shown below, a Bull Fund would be expected to lose 17.1% and a Bear Fund would be expected to lose 31.3% if the underlying index provided no return over a one year period during which the underlying index experienced annualized volatility of 25%. If the underlying index’s annualized volatility were to rise to 75%, the hypothetical loss for a one year period widens to approximately 81.5% for a Bull Fund and 96.6% for a Bear Fund. At higher ranges of volatility, there is a chance of a near complete loss of value even if the underlying index is flat. For instance, if the underlying index’s annualized volatility is 100%, it is likely that a Bull Fund would lose 95% of its value, and a Bear Fund would lose approximately 100% of its value, even if the underlying index’s cumulative return for the year was only 0%. The volatility of exchange traded securities or instruments that reflect the value of an underlying index may differ from the volatility of an underlying index.
In the tables below, areas shaded green represent those scenarios where a Fund with the investment objective described will outperform (i.e., return more than) the underlying index’s performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective; conversely areas shaded red represent those scenarios where the Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the underlying index’s performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective.
The tables below are intended to underscore the fact that the Funds are designed as short-term trading vehicles for investors who intend to actively monitor and manage their portfolios. They are not intended to be used by, and are not appropriate for, investors who do not intend to actively monitor and manage their portfolios. For additional information regarding correlation and volatility risk for the Funds, see “Effects of Compounding and Market Volatility Risk” in the Prospectus.
38

Bull Fund
One
Year
Index
300%
One
Year
Index
Volatility Rate
Return
Return
10%
25%
50%
75%
100%
-60%
-180%
-93.8%
-94.7%
-97.0%
-98.8%
-99.7%
-50%
-150%
-87.9%
-89.6%
-94.1%
-97.7%
-99.4%
-40%
-120%
-79.0%
-82.1%
-89.8%
-96.0%
-98.9%
-30%
-90%
-66.7%
-71.6%
-83.8%
-93.7%
-98.3%
-20%
-60%
-50.3%
-57.6%
-75.8%
-90.5%
-97.5%
-10%
-30%
-29.3%
-39.6%
-65.6%
-86.5%
-96.4%
0%
0%
-3.0%
-17.1%
-52.8%
-81.5%
-95.0%
10%
30%
29.2%
10.3%
-37.1%
-75.4%
-93.4%
20%
60%
67.7%
43.3%
-18.4%
-68.0%
-91.4%
30%
90%
113.2%
82.1%
3.8%
-59.4%
-89.1%
40%
120%
166.3%
127.5%
29.6%
-49.2%
-86.3%
50%
150%
227.5%
179.8%
59.4%
-37.6%
-83.2%
60%
180%
297.5%
239.6%
93.5%
-24.2%
-79.6%
Bear Fund
One
Year
Index
-300%
One
Year
Index
Volatility Rate
Return
Return
10%
25%
50%
75%
100%
-60%
180%
1371.5%
973.9%
248.6%
-46.5%
-96.1%
-50%
150%
653.4%
449.8%
78.5%
-72.6%
-98.0%
-40%
120%
336.0%
218.2%
3.3%
-84.2%
-98.9%
-30%
90%
174.6%
100.4%
-34.9%
-90.0%
-99.3%
-20%
60%
83.9%
34.2%
-56.4%
-93.3%
-99.5%
-10%
30%
29.2%
-5.7%
-69.4%
-95.3%
-99.7%
0%
0%
-5.8%
-31.3%
-77.7%
-96.6%
-99.8%
10%
-30%
-29.2%
-48.4%
-83.2%
-97.4%
-99.8%
20%
-60%
-45.5%
-60.2%
-87.1%
-98.0%
-99.9%
30%
-90%
-57.1%
-68.7%
-89.8%
-98.4%
-99.9%
40%
-120%
-65.7%
-75.0%
-91.9%
-98.8%
-99.9%
50%
-150%
-72.1%
-79.6%
-93.4%
-99.0%
-99.9%
60%
-180%
-77.0%
-83.2%
-94.6%
-99.2%
-99.9%
The foregoing tables are intended to isolate the effect of underlying index volatility and underlying index performance on the return of a Fund. A Fund’s actual returns may be significantly greater or less than the returns shown above as a result of any of factors discussed above or under “Effects of Compounding and Market Volatility Risk” in the Prospectus.
Cybersecurity Risk
The Funds may be susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cybersecurity. A cybersecurity incident may refer to either intentional or unintentional events that allow an unauthorized party to gain access to fund assets, investor data, or proprietary information, or cause a Fund or a service provider to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. A cybersecurity incident could, among other things, result in the loss or theft of investor data or funds, employees being unable to access electronic systems (“denial of services”), loss or theft of proprietary information or corporate data, physical damage to a computer or network system, or remediation costs associated with system repairs. Any of these results could have a substantial impact on the Funds. For example, if a cybersecurity incident results in a denial of service, employees could be unable to access electronic systems to perform critical duties for the Funds, such as trading, NAV calculation, shareholder accounting or fulfillment of Fund share purchases and redemptions. Cybersecurity incidents could cause a Fund, the Funds' Adviser or any of its service providers to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures, or financial loss of a significant magnitude. They may also cause a Fund to violate applicable privacy and other laws. The Funds' Adviser and service providers have established risk management program and systems that seek to reduce the risks associated with cybersecurity, as well as business continuity plans in the event there is a cybersecurity breach. However, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially since a Fund does not directly control the cybersecurity systems of the issuers of securities in which each Fund invests or the Funds' third party service providers (including the Funds' transfer agent and custodian).
39

Investment Restrictions
The Trust, on behalf of each Fund, has adopted the following investment policies which are fundamental policies that may not be changed without the affirmative vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. As defined by the 1940 Act, a “vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund” means the affirmative vote of the lesser of (1) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund or (2) 67% or more of the shares present at a shareholders’ meeting, if more than 50% of the outstanding shares are represented at the meeting in person or by proxy.
For purposes of the following limitations, all percentage limitations apply immediately after a purchase or initial investment. Except with respect to borrowing money, if a percentage limitation is adhered to at the time of the investment, a later increase or decrease in the percentage resulting from any change in value or net assets will not result in a violation of such restrictions. If at any time a Fund’s borrowings exceed its limitations due to a decline in net assets, such borrowings will be reduced within three days (not including Sundays and holidays), or such longer period as may be permitted by the 1940 Act, to the extent necessary to comply with the one-third limitation.
Each Fund may not:
1.
Borrow money, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder and any applicable exemptive relief.
2.
Issue senior securities, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder and any applicable exemptive relief.
3.
Make loans, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder and any applicable exemptive relief.
4.
Except for any Fund that is “concentrated” in an industry or group of industries within the meaning of the 1940 Act, purchase the securities of any issuer (other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities) if, as a result, 25% or more of a Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of companies whose principal business activities are in the same industry. However, each Fund that tracks an underlying index will only concentrate its investment in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent as its underlying index is so concentrated.
5.
Purchase or sell real estate, except that, to the extent permitted by applicable law, each Fund may (a) invest in securities or other instruments directly secured by real estate, and (b) invest in securities or other instruments issued by issuers that invest in real estate.
6.
Purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments issued by persons that purchase or sell commodities or commodities contracts; but this shall not prevent a Fund from purchasing, selling and entering into financial futures contracts (including futures contracts on indices of securities, interest rates and currencies), and options on financial futures contracts (including futures contracts on indices of securities, interest rates and currencies), warrants, swaps, forward contracts, foreign currency spot and forward contracts and other financial instruments.
7.
Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that a Fund may be considered an underwriter within the meaning of the 1933 Act in the disposition of restricted securities or other investment company securities.
Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage
Subject to the general supervision by the Trustees, Rafferty is responsible for decisions to buy and sell securities and derivatives for each Fund, the selection of broker-dealers to effect the transactions, and the negotiation of brokerage commissions, if any. Rafferty expects that a Fund may execute brokerage or other agency transactions through registered broker-dealers, for a commission, in conformity with the 1940 Act, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and the rules and regulations thereunder.
When selecting a broker or dealer to execute portfolio transactions, Rafferty considers many factors, including the rate of commission or the size of the broker-dealer’s “spread,” the size and difficulty of the order, the nature of the market for the security, operational capabilities of the broker-dealer and the research, statistical and economic data furnished by the broker-dealer to Rafferty.
In effecting portfolio transactions for a Fund, Rafferty seeks to receive the closing prices of securities that are in line with those of the securities included in a Fund's underlying index and seeks to execute trades of such securities at the commission rates reasonably available. With respect to agency transactions, Rafferty may execute trades at a higher rate of commission if reasonable in relation to brokerage and research services provided to a Fund or Rafferty. Such services may include the following: information as to the availability of securities for purchase or sale; statistical or factual information or opinions
40

pertaining to investment; wire services; and appraisals or evaluations of portfolio securities. During the last fiscal year, no Fund directed its brokerage commissions to a broker because of research provided.
Each Fund believes that the requirement to always seek the lowest possible commission cost could impede effective portfolio management and preclude a Fund and Rafferty from obtaining a high quality of brokerage and research services. In seeking to determine the reasonableness of brokerage commissions paid in any transaction, Rafferty relies upon its experience and knowledge regarding commissions generally charged by various brokers and on its judgment in evaluating the brokerage and research services received from the broker effecting the transaction. In addition to commission rates, when selecting a broker for a particular transaction, Rafferty considers the following factors, among others: the broker’s availability, willingness to commit capital, reputation and integrity, facilities reliability, access to research, execution capacity and responsiveness.
For purchases and sales of derivatives (i.e., financial instruments whose value is derived from the value of an underlying asset, interest rate or index), Rafferty evaluates counterparties on the following factors: reputation and financial strength; execution prices, commission costs, ability to handle complex orders; ability to provide prompt and full execution; accuracy of reports and confirmation provided; reliability; type and quality of research provided; financing and other associated costs related to the transaction; and whether the total cost or proceeds in each transaction is the most favorable under the circumstances.
Rafferty may use research and services provided to it by brokers in servicing a Fund; however, not all such services may be used by Rafferty in connection with a Fund. While the receipt of such information and services is useful in varying degrees and may reduce the amount of research or services otherwise provided to a Fund by Rafferty, the receipt of such information and these services does not reduce the investment advisory fee paid by a Fund.
Purchases and sales of U.S. government securities normally are transacted through issuers, underwriters or major dealers in U.S. government securities acting as principals. Such transactions are made on a net basis and do not involve payment of brokerage commissions. The cost of securities purchased from an underwriter usually includes a commission paid by the issuer to the underwriters; transactions with dealers normally reflect the spread between bid and asked prices.
Aggregate brokerage commissions paid by the Funds for the fiscal periods shown are set forth in the tables below:
Direxion Daily Mid Cap Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$235,338
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$279,646
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$190,771
Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$8,372,420
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$4,454,375
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$5,490,975
Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$2,279,669
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$731,974
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$5,283,754
Direxion Daily Small Cap Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$5,042,427
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$4,996,362
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$3,736,366
Direxion Daily Small Cap Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$1,719,680
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$1,140,477
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$3,769,255
Direxion Daily FTSE China Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$2,279,391
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$1,487,572
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$1,700,031
41

Direxion Daily FTSE China Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$589,022
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$147,264
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$478,107
Direxion Daily FTSE Europe Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$105,203
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$112,864
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$80,542
Direxion Daily MSCI Emerging Markets Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$418,594
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$1,055,370
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$755,867
Direxion Daily MSCI Emerging Markets Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$155,798
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$72,419
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$346,488
Direxion Daily MSCI Mexico Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$50,146
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$110,375
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$65,453
Direxion Daily MSCI South Korea Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$124,195
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$232,727
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$127,365
Direxion Daily Aerospace & Defense Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$817,627
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$1,149,650
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$975,498
Direxion Daily Consumer Discretionary Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$207,338
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$132,165
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$60,822
Direxion Daily Dow Jones Internet Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$787,156
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$211,369
November 7, 2019* - October 31, 2020
$170,105
*
Commencement of Operations
Direxion Daily Dow Jones Internet Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$239,293
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$23,917
November 7, 2019* - October 31, 2020
$25,947
*
Commencement of Operations
42

Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$8,543,856
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$9,396,243
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$7,291,678
Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$472,422
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$334,479
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$2,323,155
Direxion Daily Healthcare Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$600,590
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$495,948
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$597,574
Direxion Daily Homebuilders & Supplies Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$1,049,037
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$1,794,584
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$1,667,520
Direxion Daily Industrials Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$97,245
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$208,372
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$73,363
Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$87,581
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$95,639
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$76,282
Direxion Daily Real Estate Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$378,319
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$295,619
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$286,852
Direxion Daily Real Estate Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$362,157
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$42,346
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$322,988
Direxion Daily Regional Banks Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$1,362,578
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$2,284,723
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$640,450
Direxion Daily Retail Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$452,248
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$606,980
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$152,059
Direxion Daily S&P 500® High Beta Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$416,371
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$497,097
November 7, 2019* - October 31, 2020
$206,917
*
Commencement of Operations
43

Direxion Daily S&P 500® High Beta Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$265,651
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$88,562
November 7, 2019* - October 31, 2020
$267,105
*
Commencement of Operations
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$6,213,941
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$3,633,789
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$2,667,660
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$639,152
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$406,756
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$630,561
Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$24,506,538
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$17,119,666
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$7,018,425
Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$1,903,995
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$408,767
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$1,236,853
Direxion Daily Technology Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$9,416,444
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$6,492,507
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$7,741,388
Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$663,512
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$186,617
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$429,953
Direxion Daily Transportation Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$201,595
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$264,351
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$135,654
Direxion Daily Utilities Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$86,264
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$106,745
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$85,245
Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$37,976
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$30,145
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$46,096
Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$88,597
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$27,230
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$7,813
44

Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$1,077,052
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$787,973
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$1,216,173
Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares
Brokerage Fees Paid
Year Ended October 31, 2022
$1,551,043
Year Ended October 31, 2021
$735,359
Year Ended October 31, 2020
$382,676
The brokerage commissions for the Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares, Direxion Daily 20+ Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Consumer Discretionary Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Dow Jones Internet Bear 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Dow Jones Internet Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily FTSE China Bear 3X Shares, Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear 3X Shares, Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares, and the Direxion Daily Technology Bull 3X Shares have increased for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022 from the fiscal years presented due to an increase in average net assets and/or an increase in the volatility of net assets.
The brokerage commissions for the Direxion Daily MSCI Mexico Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Real Estate Bear 3X Shares, Direxion Daily Regional Banks Bull 3X Shares, Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bear 3X Shares, and the Direxion Daily S&P 500® High Beta Bear 3X Shares have fluctuated for the fiscal years presented due to a fluctuation in average net assets over the previous fiscal years.
The brokerage commissions for the Direxion Daily Industrials Bull 3X Shares has decreased for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022 from the fiscal years presented due to a consistent number of transactions from the previous fiscal year but a decrease in net assets.
Securities of Regular Broker-Dealers
The table below identifies the securities of a Fund's “regular” brokers-dealers, as defined under Rule 12b-1 of the 1940 Act, which derive more than 15% of their gross revenues from securities-related activities and in which the Fund invests, together with the market value of each investment as of the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022:
Fund
Broker-Dealer
Market Value of Holdings
Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares
Bank of America Corp
$74,047,352
Citigroup, Inc.
$26,104,017
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
$108,496,098
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
$34,564,344
Portfolio Holdings Information
A Fund’s portfolio holdings are disclosed on the Funds' website at www.direxion.com each day the Funds are open for business. In addition, disclosure of a Fund’s complete holdings is required to be made quarterly within 60 days of the end of each fiscal quarter in the Annual Report and Semi-Annual Report to Fund shareholders and in the quarterly holdings report on Form N-PORT. These reports are available, free of charge, on the EDGAR database on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
The portfolio composition file (“PCF”),which contains portfolio holdings information, and the IOPV, which contains certain pricing information related to a Fund’s portfolio holdings, are also made available daily, including to the Funds' service providers to facilitate the provision of services to the Funds and to certain other entities as necessary for transactions in Creation Units. Such entities include: (i) National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members; (ii) subscribers to various fee-based services, including entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading shares of the Funds in the secondary market; (iii) investors that have entered into an “Authorized Participant Agreement” with the Distributor and the transfer agent or purchase Creation Units through a dealer that has entered into such an agreement (“Authorized Participants”); and (iv) certain personnel of service providers that are involved in portfolio management and providing administrative, operational, or other support to portfolio management including personnel of the Adviser and the Funds' distributor, administrator, custodian and fund accountant who are involved in functions which may require such information to conduct business in the ordinary course.
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In addition, the Funds' Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) may grant exceptions to permit additional disclosure of the complete portfolio holdings information to rating agencies and to the parties noted above, provided that (1) a Fund has a legitimate business purpose for doing so; (2) it is in the best interests of shareholders; (3) the recipient is subject to a confidentiality agreement; and (4) the recipient is subject to a duty not to trade on the nonpublic information. In this regard, from time to time, rating and ranking organizations such as Standard & Poor’s® and Morningstar®, Inc. may request such information. The CCO shall report any disclosures made pursuant to this exception to the Board. The Board reviews the policy and procedures for disclosure of portfolio holdings information at least annually.
Management of the Trust
The Board of Trustees
The Trust is governed by its Board of Trustees (the “Board”). The Board is responsible for and oversees the overall management and operations of the Trust and the Funds, which includes the general oversight and review of the Funds' investment activities, in accordance with federal law and the law of the State of Delaware, as well as the stated policies of the Funds. The Board oversees the Trust’s officers and service providers, including Rafferty, which is responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations of the Funds based on policies and agreements reviewed and approved by the Board. In carrying out these responsibilities, the Board regularly interacts with and receives reports from senior personnel of service providers, including personnel from Rafferty. The Board also is assisted by the Trust’s independent auditor (who reports directly to the Trust’s Audit Committee), independent counsel and other professionals as appropriate.
Risk Oversight
Consistent with its responsibility for oversight of the Trust and the Funds, the Board oversees the management of risks relating to the administration and operation of the Trust and the Funds. Rafferty, as part of its responsibilities for the day-to-day operations of the Funds, is responsible for day-to-day risk management for the Funds. The Board, in the exercise of its reasonable business judgment performs its risk management oversight directly and, as to certain matters, through its committees (described below) and through the Board members who are not “interested persons” of the Funds as defined in Section 2(a)(19) of the 1940 Act (“Independent Trustees”). The following provides an overview of the principal, but not all, aspects of the Board’s oversight of risk management for the Trust and the Funds.
The Board has adopted, and periodically reviews, policies and procedures designed to address risks to the Trust and the Funds. In addition, under the general oversight of the Board, Rafferty and other service providers to the Funds have themselves adopted a variety of policies, procedures and controls designed to address particular risks to the Funds. Different processes, procedures and controls are employed with respect to different types of risks.
The Board also oversees risk management for the Trust and the Funds through review of regular reports, presentations and other information from officers of the Trust and other persons. The Trust’s CCO and senior officers of Rafferty regularly report to the Board on a range of matters, including those relating to risk management. The Board also regularly receives reports from Rafferty and U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (“USBFS”) with respect to the Funds' investments. In addition to regular reports from these parties, the Board also receives reports regarding other service providers to the Trust, either directly or through Rafferty, USBFS or the CCO, on a periodic or regular basis. At least annually, the Board receives a report from the CCO regarding the effectiveness of the Funds' compliance program. Also, the Board receives regular reports, presentations and other information from Rafferty, including in connection with the Board’s consideration of the renewal of each of the Trust’s agreements with Rafferty and the Trust’s distribution plan under Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act.
The CCO reports regularly to the Board on Fund valuation matters. The Audit Committee receives regular reports from the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm on internal control and financial reporting matters. On at least a quarterly basis, the Independent Trustees meet with the CCO to discuss matters relating to the Funds' compliance program.
Board Structure and Related Matters
Independent Trustees constitute at least two-thirds of the Board. The Trustees discharge their responsibilities collectively as a Board, as well as through Board committees, each of which operates pursuant to a charter approved by the Board that delineates the specific responsibilities of that committee. The Board has established three standing committees: the Audit Committee, the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Qualified Legal Compliance Committee. For example, the Audit Committee is responsible for specific matters related to oversight of the Funds' independent auditors, subject to approval of the Audit Committee’s recommendations by the Board. The members and responsibilities of each Board committee are summarized below.
The Board periodically evaluates its structure and composition as well as various aspects of its operations. The Chairman of the Board is not an Independent Trustee and the Board has chosen not to have a lead Independent Trustee. However, the Board believes that its leadership structure, including its Independent Trustees and Board committees, is appropriate for the Trust in light of, among other factors, the asset size and nature of the Funds, the number of series overseen by the Board, the arrangements for the conduct of the Funds' operations, the number of Trustees, and the Board’s responsibilities.
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On an annual basis, the Board conducts a self-evaluation that considers, among other matters, whether the Board and its committees are functioning effectively and whether, given the size and composition of the Board and each of its committees, the Trustees are able to oversee effectively the number of series in the complex.
The Trust is part of the Direxion Family of Investment Companies, which is comprised of the 116 portfolios within the Trust and 10 portfolios within the Direxion Funds. The same persons who constitute the Board also constitute the Board of Trustees of the Direxion Funds.
The Board holds four regularly scheduled meetings each year and the Independent Trustees hold one additional meeting in connection with the annual contract renewals. The Board may hold special meetings, as needed, to address matters arising between regular meetings. During a portion of each meeting, the Independent Trustees meet outside of management’s presence. The Independent Trustees may hold special meetings, as needed.
The Trustees of the Trust are identified in the tables below, which provide information regarding their age, business address and principal occupation during the past five years including any affiliation with Rafferty, the length of service to the Trust, and the position, if any, that they hold on the board of directors of companies other than the Trust as of the date of this SAI. Each of the Trustees of the Trust also serve on the Board of the Direxion Funds, the other registered investment company in the Direxion complex. Unless otherwise noted, an individual’s business address is 1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor, New York, New York 10019.
Interested Trustees
Name, Address
and Age
Position(s)
Held
with Fund
Term of
Office
and Length
of Time
Served
Principal
Occupation(s)
During
Past Five Years
# of
Portfolios
in Direxion
Family of
Investment
Companies
Overseen
by Trustee(3)
Other
Trusteeships/
Directorships
Held by Trustee
During Past Five
Years
Daniel D. O’Neill(1)
Age: 54
Chairman of the
Board of Trustees
Lifetime of Trust
until removal or
resignation;
Since 2008
Chief Executive
Officer, Rafferty
Asset
Management,
LLC, April 2021
September 2022;
Managing
Director, Rafferty
Asset
Management,
LLC, January 1999
January 2019.
126
None.
Angela Brickl(2)
Age: 46
Trustee
Lifetime of Trust
until removal or
resignation; Since
2022
Chief Executive
Officer, Rafferty
Asset
Management, LLC
since September
2022; Chief
Operating Officer,
Rafferty Asset
Management, LLC
May 2021
September 2022;
General Counsel,
Rafferty Asset
Management LLC,
since October
2010; Chief
Compliance
Officer, Rafferty
Asset
Management,
LLC, September
2012 March
2023.
126
None.
47

Independent Trustees
Name, Address
and Age
Position(s)
Held
with Fund
Term of
Office
and Length
of Time
Served
Principal
Occupation(s)
During
Past Five Years
# of
Portfolios
in Direxion
Family of
Investment
Companies
Overseen
by Trustee(3)
Other
Trusteeships/
Directorships
Held by Trustee
During Past Five
Years
David L. Driscoll
Age: 53
Trustee
Lifetime of Trust
until removal or
resignation;
Since 2014
Board Member,
Algorithmic
Research and
Trading, since
2022; Board
Advisor, University
Common Real
Estate, since 2012;
Member, Kendrick
LLC, since 2006;
Partner, King
Associates, LLP,
since 2004;
Principal, Grey
Oaks LLP, since
2003.
126
None.
Kathleen M. Berkery
Age: 55
Trustee
Lifetime of Trust
until removal or
resignation; Since
2019
Chief Financial
Officer, Metro
Physical Therapy,
LLC, since 2023;
Chief Financial
Officer, Student
Sponsor Partners,
2021 2023;
Senior Manager-
Trusts & Estates,
Rynkar, Vail &
Barrett, LLC, 2018
2021.
126
None.
Carlyle Peake
Age: 51
Trustee
Lifetime of Trust
until removal or
resignation; Since
2022
Head of US &
LATAM Debt
Syndicate, BBVA
Securities, Inc.,
since 2011.
126
None.
Mary Jo Collins
Age: 66
Trustee
Lifetime of Trust
until removal or
resignation; Since
2022
Managing
Director, B. Riley
Financial, March
December
2022; Managing
Director, Imperial
Capital LLC, from
2020-2022;
Director, Royal
Bank of Canada,
20142020.
126
None.
(1)
Mr. O’Neill is affiliated with Rafferty because he owns a beneficial interest in Rafferty.
(2)
Ms. Brickl is affiliated with Rafferty because she serves as an officer of Rafferty.
(3)
The Direxion Family of Investment Companies consists of the Direxion Shares ETF Trust which, as of the date of this SAI, offers for sale to the public 83 of the 116 funds registered with the SEC and the Direxion Funds which, as of the date of this SAI, offers for sale to the public 10 funds registered with the SEC.
In addition to the information set forth in the tables above and other relevant qualifications, experience, attributes or skills applicable to a particular Trustee, the following provides further information about the qualifications and experience of each Trustee.
Daniel D. O’Neill: Mr. O’Neill has extensive experience in the investment management business. Mr. O’Neill was the Managing Director of Rafferty from 1999 through January 2019 and Chief Executive Officer at Rafferty from April 2021 through September 2022.
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Angela Brickl: Ms. Brickl has extensive experience in the investment management business, including serving as Chief Executive Officer of Rafferty since September 2022. Ms. Brickl also serves as Rafferty’s General Counsel and served as Chief Compliance Officer from 2012 through March 1, 2023.
David L. Driscoll: Mr. Driscoll has extensive experience with risk assessment and strategic planning as a partner and manager of various real estate partnerships and companies.
Kathleen M. Berkery: Ms. Berkery has extensive experience with estate planning, estate administration, fiduciary income taxation, financial planning, finance, as well as business sales and development, and marketing.
Carlyle Peake: Mr. Peake has extensive global capital markets experience, as well as experience with client relations and sales of securities by issuers and investors and valuing, structuring, and negotiating complex debt issues for corporate and sovereign entities.
Mary Jo Collins: Ms. Collins has extensive experience evaluating credit risk of investment grade securities, including corporate bonds, preferred stocks, and hybrid securities, as well as managing relationships with retail and institutional investors.
Board Committees
The Trust has an Audit Committee, consisting of each Independent Trustee. The primary responsibilities of the Trust’s Audit Committee are set forth in its charter, which include making recommendations to the Board as to the engagement or discharge of the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm (including the audit fees charged by the auditors), supervising investigations into matters relating to audit matters, reviewing with the independent registered public accounting firm of the results of audits, and addressing any other matters regarding audits. The Audit Committee met three times during the Trust’s most recent fiscal year.
The Trust also has a Nominating and Governance Committee, consisting of each Independent Trustee. The primary responsibilities of the Nominating and Governance Committee are to make recommendations to the Board on issues related to the composition and operation of the Board, and communicate with management on those issues. The Nominating and Governance Committee also evaluates and nominates Board member candidates. In evaluating Board member candidates, the Nominating and Governance Committee considers the extent to which potential candidates possess sufficiently diverse skill sets and diversity characteristics that would contribute to the Board’s overall effectiveness. The Nominating and Governance Committee will consider nominees recommended by shareholders. Such recommendations should be in writing and addressed to a Fund with attention to the Nominating and Governance Committee Chair. The recommendations must include the following preliminary information regarding the nominee: (1) name; (2) date of birth; (3) education; (4) business professional or other relevant experience and areas of expertise; (5) current business, professional or other relevant experience and areas of expertise; (6) current business and home addresses and contact information; (7) other board positions or prior experience; and (8) any knowledge and experience relating to investment companies and investment company governance. The Nominating and Governance Committee met three times during the Trust’s most recent fiscal year.
The Trust has a Qualified Legal Compliance Committee, consisting of each Independent Trustee. The primary responsibility of the Trust’s Qualified Legal Compliance Committee is to receive, review and take appropriate action with respect to any report made or referred to the Committee by an attorney of evidence of a material violation of applicable U.S. federal or state securities law, material breach of a fiduciary duty under U.S. federal or state law or a similar material violation by the Trust or by any officer, director, employee or agent of the Trust. The Audit Committee serves as the Qualified Legal Compliance Committee. The Qualified Legal Compliance Committee did not meet during the Trust’s most recent fiscal year.
Principal Officers of the Trust
The officers of the Trust conduct and supervise its daily business. Unless otherwise noted, an individual’s business address is 1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor, New York, New York 10019. As of the date of this SAI, the officers of the Trust, their ages, their business address and their principal occupations during the past five years are as follows:
49

Name, Address
and Age
Position(s)
Held with
Fund
Term of
Office(3) and
Length of
Time Served
Principal
Occupation(s)
During
Past Five Years
# of
Portfolios
in the
Direxion
Family of
Investment
Companies
Overseen
by Trustee(4)
Other
Trusteeships/
Directorships Held
by Trustee During
Past Five Years
Angela Brickl(1)
Age: 46
Chief
Executive Officer
Since 2022
Chief Executive
Officer, Rafferty
Asset
Management,
LLC, from
September 2022;
Chief Operating
Officer, Rafferty
Asset
Management,
LLC, May 2021
September 2022;
General Counsel,
Rafferty Asset
Management LLC,
since October
2010; Chief
Compliance
Officer, Rafferty
Asset
Management,
LLC, September
2012 March
2023.
N/A
N/A
Todd Sherman(2)
Age: 42
Chief Compliance
Officer
Since 2023
Chief Risk Officer,
Rafferty Asset
Management,
LLC, since 2018;
SVP Head of Risk,
20122018.
N/A
N/A
Patrick J. Rudnick
Age: 49