10-K
Table of Contents

PROSHARES TRUST II

Table of Contents

 

     Page  

Part I.

  

Item 1. Business.

     1  

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

     20  

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

     54  

Item 1C. Cybersecurity.

     54  

Item 2. Properties.

     54  

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

     54  

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

     54  

Part II.

  

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

     55  

Item 6. [Reserved].

     58  

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

     58  

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.

     81  

Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

     94  

Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.

     100  

Item 9A. Controls and Procedures.

     100  

Item 9B. Other Information.

     101  

Item 9C. Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections.

     101  

Part III.

  

Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.

     102  

Item 11. Executive Compensation.

     104  

Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.

     105  

Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.

     105  

Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services.

     105  

Part IV.

  

Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules.

     106  

Item 16. Form 10-K Summary.

     106  

Exhibit Index

     106  

Signatures

     107  


Table of Contents

Part I.

Item 1. Business.

Summary

ProShares Trust II (the “Trust”) is a Delaware statutory trust formed on October 9, 2007 and is currently organized into separate series (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”). As of December 31, 2023, the following sixteen series of the Trust have commenced investment operations: (i) ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF and ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures ETF (each, a “Matching VIX Fund” and collectively, the “Matching VIX Funds”); (ii) ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF and ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (each, a “Geared VIX Fund” and collectively, the “Geared VIX Funds”); and (iii) ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil, ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas, ProShares UltraShort Gold, ProShares UltraShort Silver, ProShares UltraShort Euro, ProShares UltraShort Yen, ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil, ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas, ProShares Ultra Gold, ProShares Ultra Silver, ProShares Ultra Euro and ProShares Ultra Yen (each, a “Leveraged Fund” and collectively, the “Leveraged Funds”); Each of the Funds listed above issues common units of beneficial interest (“Shares”), which represent units of fractional undivided beneficial interest in and ownership of only that Fund. The Shares of each Fund, other than the Matching VIX Funds and the Geared VIX Funds, are listed on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca”). The Matching VIX Funds and the Geared VIX Funds are listed on the Cboe BZX Exchange (“Cboe BZX”). The Leveraged Funds and the Geared VIX Funds, are collectively referred to as the “Geared Funds”. The Geared VIX Funds and the Matching VIX Funds are collectively referred to as the “VIX Funds”.

On March 11, 2022, ProShares Capital Management LLC announced that it planned to close and liquidate ProShares UltraShort Australian Dollar ETF (ticker symbol: CROC) and ProShares Short Euro ETF (ticker symbol: EUFX). The last day the liquidated funds accepted creation orders was on May 2, 2022. Trading in each liquidated fund was suspended prior to market open on May 3, 2022. Proceeds of the liquidation were sent to shareholders on May 12, 2022. From May 3, 2022 through May 12, 2022, shares of the liquidated funds did not trade on the NYSE Arca nor was there a secondary market for the shares. Any shareholders that remained in a liquidated fund on May 12, 2022 automatically had their shares redeemed for cash at the current net asset value on that day.

The Trust had no operations prior to November 24, 2008, other than matters relating to its organization, the registration of each series under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the sale and issuance to ProShare Capital Management LLC (the “Sponsor”) of fourteen Shares at an aggregate purchase price of $350 in each of the following Funds: ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil, ProShares UltraShort Gold, ProShares UltraShort Silver, ProShares UltraShort Euro, ProShares UltraShort Yen, ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil, ProShares Ultra Gold, ProShares Ultra Silver, ProShares Ultra Euro and ProShares Ultra Yen.

The Sponsor also serves as the Trust’s commodity pool operator. Wilmington Trust Company serves as the Trustee of the Trust (the “Trustee”). The Funds are commodity pools, as defined under the Commodity Exchange Act (the “CEA”), and the applicable regulations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) and are operated by the Sponsor, a commodity pool operator registered with the CFTC. The Trust is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

Groups of Funds are collectively referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K in several different ways. References to “Short Fund,” “UltraShort Funds,” or “Ultra Funds” refer to the different Funds based upon their investment objectives, but without distinguishing among the Funds’ benchmarks. References to “Commodity Index Funds,” “Commodity Funds” and “Currency Funds” refer to the different Funds according to their general benchmark categories without distinguishing among the Funds’ investment objectives or Fund-specific benchmarks. References to “VIX Funds” refer to the different Funds based upon their investment objective and their general benchmark categories.

As described in each Fund’s prospectus, each of the Funds intends to invest in “Financial Instruments” (Financial Instruments are instruments whose value is derived from the value of an underlying asset, rate or benchmark including futures contracts, swap agreements, forward contracts and other instruments) as a substitute for investing directly in commodities, currencies, or spot volatility products in order to gain exposure to the VIX Index, natural gas, crude oil, precious metals, or currencies, as applicable. Financial Instruments also are used to produce economically “inverse”, “inverse leveraged” or “leveraged” investment results for the Geared Funds.

The “Short” Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the daily performance of its corresponding benchmark. Each “UltraShort” Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to two times the inverse (-2x) of the daily performance of its corresponding benchmark. Each “Ultra” Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that

 

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correspond to either one and one-half times (1.5x) or two times (2x) the daily performance of its corresponding benchmark. Each Matching VIX Fund seeks investment results, before fees and expenses, both for a single day and over time, that match (1x) the performance of its corresponding benchmark. Daily performance is measured from the calculation of each Fund’s net asset value (“NAV”) to the Fund’s next NAV calculation.

Each Geared Fund seeks investment results for a single day only, not for any other period. This is different from most exchange-traded funds and means that the return of such Fund for a period longer than a single trading day will be the result of each day’s returns compounded over the period, which will very likely differ in amount and possibly even direction from -0.5x, -2x, 1.5x, or 2x, of the return of the benchmark to which such Fund is benchmarked for that period. Volatility of the benchmark may be at least as important to a Geared Fund’s return for the period as the return of the benchmark. Geared Funds that use leverage, are riskier than similarly benchmarked exchange-traded funds that do not use leverage. Accordingly, these Funds may not be suitable for all investors and should be used only by knowledgeable investors who understand the potential consequences of seeking daily leveraged, inverse or inverse leveraged investment results. Shareholders who invest in the Geared Funds should consider actively monitoring and/or periodically rebalancing their investments.

Each Matching VIX Fund seeks investment results, before fees and expenses, that match the performance of the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index (the “Short-Term VIX Index”) or the S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures Index (the “Mid-Term VIX Index”) (each a “VIX Futures Index”). Each Geared VIX Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to a multiple or the inverse of the daily performance of the Short-Term VIX Index. Each VIX Fund intends to obtain exposure to its benchmark by taking positions in futures contracts (“VIX futures contracts”) based on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (“Cboe”) Volatility Index (the “VIX”).

ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil, ProShares Ultra Gold, ProShares Ultra Silver, ProShares UltraShort Gold, ProShares UltraShort Silver, ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas, ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil, and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas are benchmarked to indexes designed to track the performance of commodity futures contracts, as applicable. The daily performance of these Indexes and the corresponding Funds will likely be very different in amount and possibly even direction from the daily performance of the price of the related physical commodities.

Each Geared Fund continuously offers and redeems its Shares in blocks of 50,000 Shares and each Matching VIX Fund continuously offers and redeems its Shares in blocks of 25,000 Shares (each such block a “Creation Unit”). Only Authorized Participants may purchase and redeem Shares from a Fund and then only in Creation Units. An Authorized Participant is an entity that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with one or more of the Funds. Shares of the Funds are offered to Authorized Participants in Creation Units at each Fund’s respective NAV. Authorized Participants may then offer to the public, from time to time, Shares from any Creation Unit they create at a per-Share market price that varies depending on, among other factors, the trading price of the Shares of each Fund on its applicable listing exchange, the NAV and the supply of and demand for the Shares at the time of the offer. Shares from the same Creation Unit may be offered at different times and may have different offering prices based upon the above factors. The form of Authorized Participant Agreement and related Authorized Participant Handbook set forth the terms and conditions under which an Authorized Participant may purchase or redeem a Creation Unit. Authorized Participants do not receive from any Fund, the Sponsor, or any of their affiliates, any underwriting fees or compensation in connection with their sale of Shares to the public.

Forward and Reverse Splits*

On May 11, 2021, the Trust announced a 1-for-10 reverse split of the shares of beneficial interest of ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (ticker symbol: UVXY), a 1-for-4 reverse split of the shares of beneficial interest of ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil (ticker symbol: SCO), a 1-for-4 reverse split of the shares of beneficial interest of ProShares UltraShort Silver (ticker symbol: ZSL) and a 1-for-4 reverse split of the shares of beneficial interest of ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (ticker symbol: VIXY). The reverse splits were effective prior to market open on May 26, 2021, when the funds began trading at their post-split price. The reverse splits were applied retroactively for all periods presented, reducing the number of shares outstanding and resulted in a proportionate increase in the price per share and the per share information of the 4 funds. Therefore, the reverse splits did not change the aggregate net asset value of a shareholder’s investment at the time of the reverse splits.

On December 22, 2021, the Trust announced a 1-for-5 reverse split of the shares of beneficial interest of ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas ETF (ticker symbol: KOLD). The reverse split was effective prior to market open on January 14, 2022, when the fund began trading at its post-split price. The reverse split was applied retroactively for all periods presented, reducing the number of shares outstanding and resulted in a proportionate increase in the price per share and the per share information of the fund. Therefore, the reverse split did not change the aggregate net asset value of a shareholder’s investment at the time of the reverse split.

 

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On May 11, 2022, the Trust issued a press release announcing a forward share split on ProShares UltraShort Yen and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil and a reverse share split on ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas and ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil. The Splits did not change the value of a shareholder’s investment. ProShares UltraShort Yen executed a 2:1 Forward Split of its shares. ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil executed a 4:1 Forward Split of its shares. The Forward Splits were effective at the market open on May 26, 2022, when the Funds began trading at their post-Forward Split prices. The ticker symbol for the Funds did not change. The Forward Splits decreased the price per share of the Funds with a proportionate increase in the number of shares outstanding. ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas executed a 1:4 Reverse Split of its shares. ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil executed a 1:5 Reverse Split of its shares. The Reverse Splits were effective at the market open on May 26, 2022, when the Funds began trading at their post-Reverse Split prices. The ticker symbol for the Funds did not change, but the Funds issued new CUSIP numbers (74347Y813 for KOLD and 74347Y797 for SCO). The Reverse Splits increased the price per share of the Funds with a proportionate decrease in the number of shares outstanding.

On June 7, 2023, the Trust issued a press release announcing a reverse share split on ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas. The Splits did not change the value of a shareholder’s investment. ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF executed a 1:5 Reverse Split of its shares. ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF executed a 1:10 Reverse Split of its shares. ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas ETF executed a 1:20 Reverse Split of its shares. The Reverse Splits were effective at the market open on June 23, 2023, when the Funds began trading at their post-Reverse Split prices. The ticker symbol for the Funds did not change, but the Funds issued new CUSIP numbers (74347Y789 for VIXY, 74347Y771 for UVXY, and 74347Y763 for BOIL). The Reverse Splits increased the price per share of the Funds with a proportionate decrease in the number of shares outstanding.

 

*

See Note 1 of the Notes to Financial Statements in Item 15 of part IV in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Investment Objectives and Principal Investment Strategies

Investment Objectives

The Matching Funds

Investment Objectives of the “Matching VIX” Funds

Each Matching VIX Fund seeks investment results, before fees and expenses, that over time, match the performance of the Short-Term VIX Index or the Mid-Term VIX Index (together, the “VIX Futures Indexes”). The VIX Futures Indexes seek to offer exposure to forward market equity volatility through publicly traded futures markets. If a Matching VIX Fund is successful in meeting its objective, its value, before fees and expenses, should gain approximately as much on a percentage basis as the level of its corresponding VIX Futures Index when the benchmark rises. Conversely, its value, before fees and expenses, should lose approximately as much on a percentage basis as the level of its benchmark when the benchmark declines. Each Matching VIX Fund acquires exposure through any one of or combinations of Financial Instruments, including Financial Instruments with respect to the applicable Matching VIX Fund; such that each Matching VIX Fund has exposure intended to approximate its applicable VIX Futures Index at the time of its NAV calculation. The VIX Futures Indexes track the performance of VIX futures contracts; they do not track the performance of the Cboe VIX, and the Matching VIX Funds should not be expected to match the performance of the VIX.

The Geared Funds

Investment Objectives of the “Short” Fund

The ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the daily performance of its benchmark (referred to, for Geared Funds, as the “Daily Target”). If the ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF is successful in meeting its objective, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should gain approximately one-half as much on a percentage basis as its corresponding benchmark when the benchmark declines. Conversely, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should lose approximately one-half as much on a percentage basis as the corresponding benchmark when the benchmark rises. The ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF will acquire short exposure through any one of or combinations of Financial Instruments, including Financial Instruments with respect to the ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF benchmark, such that the Fund has exposure intended to approximate the one-half inverse (-0.5x) of its corresponding benchmark at the time of its NAV calculation. The Fund is benchmarked to the S&P VIX Short-Term Futures Index, an investable index of VIX futures contracts. The Fund is not benchmarked to the VIX.

 

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Investment Objectives of the “UltraShort” Funds

Each “UltraShort” Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to two times the inverse (-2x) of the daily performance of its corresponding benchmark. Expenses may include, among other things, costs related to the purchase, sale and storage of commodities or currencies and the cost of leverage, all of which may be embedded in Financial Instruments used by that Fund. If an UltraShort Fund is successful in meeting its objective, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should gain approximately two times as much on a percentage basis as its corresponding benchmark when the benchmark declines. Conversely, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should lose approximately two times as much on a percentage basis as the corresponding benchmark when the benchmark rises. Each UltraShort Fund acquires short exposure through any one of or combinations of Financial Instruments, including Financial Instruments with respect to the applicable UltraShort Fund’s benchmark, such that each UltraShort Fund has exposure intended to approximate two times the inverse (-2x) of its corresponding benchmark at the time of its NAV calculation.

Investment Objectives of the “Ultra” Funds

Each “Ultra” Fund, other than the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to two times (2x) the daily performance of its corresponding benchmark. Expenses may include, among other things, costs related to the purchase, sale and storage of commodities or currencies and the cost of leverage, all of which may be embedded in Financial Instruments used by that Fund. If an Ultra Fund, other than the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, is successful in meeting its objective, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should gain approximately two times as much on a percentage basis as its corresponding benchmark when the benchmark rises. Conversely, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should lose approximately two times as much on a percentage basis as the corresponding benchmark when the benchmark declines. Each Ultra Fund, other than the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, acquires long exposure through any one of or combinations of Financial Instruments, including Financial Instruments with respect to the applicable Ultra Fund’s benchmark such that each Ultra Fund, other than the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, has exposure intended to approximate two times (2x) its corresponding benchmark at the time of its NAV calculation.

The ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one and one-half times (1.5x) the daily performance of its corresponding benchmark. If the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF is successful in meeting its objective, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should gain approximately one and one-half times as much on a percentage basis as its corresponding benchmark when the benchmark rises. Conversely, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should lose approximately one and one-half times as much on a percentage basis as the corresponding benchmark when the benchmark declines. The ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF acquires long exposure through any one of or combinations of Financial Instruments, including Financial Instruments with respect to the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF benchmark such that the Fund has exposure intended to approximate one and one-half times (1.5x) its corresponding benchmark at the time of its NAV calculation. The Fund is benchmarked to the S&P VIX Short-Term Futures Index, an investable index of VIX futures contracts. The Fund is not benchmarked to the VIX.

The Geared Funds do not seek to achieve their Daily Target for any period other than a day.

The corresponding benchmark for each Fund is listed below:

ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF and ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF: The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index. The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index seeks to offer exposure to market volatility through publicly traded futures markets and is designed to measure the return from a rolling long position in the first and second month VIX futures contracts.

ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures ETF: The S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures Index. The S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures Index seeks to offer exposure to market volatility through publicly traded futures markets and is designed to measure the return from a rolling long position in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh month VIX futures contracts.

ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil: The Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM. The Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM is designed to track crude oil futures prices.

ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas: The Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM. The Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM is designed to track natural gas futures prices traded on the NYMEX.

 

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ProShares UltraShort Gold and ProShares Ultra Gold: The Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM. The Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM is intended to reflect the performance of gold, as measured by the price of COMEX gold futures contracts.

ProShares UltraShort Silver and ProShares Ultra Silver: The Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM. The Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM is intended to reflect the performance of silver, as measured by the price of COMEX silver futures contracts.

ProShares UltraShort Euro and ProShares Ultra Euro: The 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) spot price of the euro versus the U.S. dollar, using euro/U.S. dollar exchange rate as provided by Bloomberg, expressed in terms of U.S. dollars per unit of foreign currency.

ProShares UltraShort Yen and ProShares Ultra Yen: The 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) spot price of the Japanese yen versus the U.S. dollar using the Japanese yen/U.S. dollar exchange rate as provided by Bloomberg, expressed in terms of U.S. dollars per unit of foreign currency.

Principal Investment Strategies

In seeking to achieve each Fund’s investment objective or Daily Target, the Sponsor uses a mathematical approach to investing. Using this approach, the Sponsor determines the type, quantity and mix of Financial Instruments the Sponsor believes, in combination, should produce returns consistent with a Fund’s objective or Daily Target. The Funds are not actively managed by traditional methods (e.g., by effecting changes in the composition of a portfolio on the basis of judgments relating to economic, financial and market conditions with a view toward obtaining positive results under all market conditions). Each Fund seeks to remain fully invested at all times in Financial Instruments and money market instruments that, in combination, provide exposure to its underlying benchmark consistent with its investment objective without regard to market conditions, trends or direction.

Certain of the Funds may obtain exposure through Financial Instruments to a representative sample of the components in its underlying index, which have aggregate characteristics similar to those of the underlying benchmark. This “sampling” process typically involves selecting a representative sample of components in the benchmark principally to enhance liquidity and reduce transaction costs while seeking to maintain high correlation with, and similar aggregate characteristics (e.g., underlying commodities and valuations) to, the underlying benchmark. In addition, the Funds may obtain exposure to components not included in the underlying benchmark, invest in assets that are not included in the underlying benchmark or may overweight or underweight certain components contained in the underlying benchmark. For further discussion of the Financial Instruments, see “Information about Financial Instruments and Commodities Markets” below.

Information about Financial Instruments and Commodities Markets

Swap Agreements

Swap agreements are two-party contracts that have traditionally been entered into primarily by institutional investors in over the counter (“OTC”) markets for a specified period ranging from a day to more than a year. However, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) provides for significant reforms of the OTC derivatives markets, including a requirement to execute certain swap and forward transactions on a CFTC-regulated market and/or to clear such transactions through a CFTC-regulated central clearing organization. In a standard swap transaction, the parties agree to exchange the returns on a particular predetermined investment, instrument or index for a fixed or floating rate of return (the “interest rate leg,” which will also include the cost of borrowing for short swaps) in respect of a predetermined notional amount. The notional amount of the agreement reflects the extent of a Fund’s total investment exposure under the swap agreement. Transaction or commission costs are reflected in the benchmark level at which the transaction is entered into. The gross returns to be exchanged are calculated with respect to the notional amount and the benchmark returns to which the swap is linked. Swaps are usually closed out on a net basis, i.e., the two payment streams are netted out in a cash settlement on the payment date specified in the agreement, with the parties receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. Thus, while the notional amount reflects a Fund’s total investment exposure under the swap agreement (i.e., the entire face amount or principal of a swap agreement), the net amount is a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under the swap agreement, which is 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 on any given termination date. In a typical swap agreement entered into by an UltraShort Fund or a Short Fund, absent fees, transaction costs and interest, such Fund would be required to make payments to the swap counterparty in the event the benchmark increases and would be entitled to settlement payments in the event the benchmark decreases. In a typical swap agreement entered into by an Ultra Fund, absent fees, transaction costs and interest, the Ultra Fund would be entitled to settlement payments in the event the benchmark increases and would be required to make payments to the swap counterparty in the event the benchmark decreases.

 

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Swap agreements involve, to varying degrees, elements of market risk and exposure to loss in excess of the amount which would be reflected on the Statement of Financial Condition. The notional amounts of the agreement reflect the extent of each Ultra Fund’s total investment exposure under the swap agreement. An UltraShort Fund’s or a Short Fund’s exposure is not limited by the notional amount and its exposure is in theory potentially infinite as there is no fixed limit on the increase in any index value. The primary risks associated with the use of swap agreements arise from the inability of counterparties to perform. Each Fund that invests in swaps bears the risk of loss of the net amount, if any, expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap counterparty. Each such Fund enters or intends to enter into swap agreements only with major, global financial institutions; however, there are no limitations on the percentage of its assets each Fund may invest in swap agreements with a particular counterparty. Each Fund that invests in swaps may use various techniques to minimize credit risk including early termination or reset and payment, using different counterparties and limiting the net amount due from any individual counterparty.

Each Fund that invests in swaps generally collateralizes the swap agreements with cash and/or certain securities. Collateral posted in connection with OTC derivative transactions is generally held for the benefit of the counterparty in a segregated tri-party account at the Custodian to protect the counterparty against non-payment by the Fund. The counterparty also may collateralize the OTC swap agreements with cash and/or certain securities, which collateral is typically held for the benefit of the Fund in a segregated tri-party account at a third party custodian. In the event of a default by the counterparty, and the Fund is owed money in the OTC swap transaction, such Fund will seek withdrawal of this collateral from the segregated account and may incur certain costs exercising its right with respect to the collateral. These Funds remain subject to credit risk with respect to the amount it expects to receive from counterparties.

The Funds have sought to mitigate these risks in connection with the OTC swaps by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, subject to certain minimum thresholds; however there are no limitations on the percentage of its assets each Fund may invest in swap agreements with a particular counterparty. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to counterparty risk as described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.

The counterparty risk for cleared derivative transactions is generally lower than for OTC derivatives since generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared derivative contract and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing house for performance of financial obligations. In addition, cleared derivative transactions benefit from daily marking-to-market and settlement, and segregation and minimum capital requirements applicable to intermediaries.

Forward Contracts

A forward contract is a contractual obligation to purchase or sell a specified quantity of a particular underlying asset at or before a specified date in the future at a specified price and, therefore, is economically similar to a futures contract. Unlike futures contracts, however, forward contracts are typically traded in the OTC markets and are not standardized contracts. Forward contracts for a given commodity or currency are generally available for various amounts and maturities and subject to individual negotiation between the parties involved. Moreover, there is generally no direct means of offsetting or closing out a forward contract by taking an offsetting position as one would a futures contract on a U.S. exchange. If a trader desires to close out a forward contract position, he generally will establish an opposite position in the contract but will settle and recognize the profit or loss on both positions simultaneously on the delivery date. Thus, unlike in the futures contract market where a trader who has offset positions will recognize profit or loss immediately, in the forward market a trader with a position that has been offset at a profit will generally not receive such profit until the delivery date, and likewise a trader with a position that has been offset at a loss will generally not have to pay money until the delivery date. In recent years, however, the terms of forward contracts have become more standardized, and in some instances such contracts now provide a right of offset or cash settlement as an alternative to making or taking delivery of the underlying commodity or currency. The primary risks associated with the use of forward contracts arise from the inability of the counterparty to perform.

Each Fund that invests in forward contracts generally collateralizes the OTC forward contracts with cash and/or certain securities. Such collateral is generally held for the benefit of the counterparty in a segregated tri-party account at the Custodian to protect the counterparty against non-payment by the Fund. The counterparty also may collateralize the OTC forward contracts with cash and/or certain securities, which collateral is typically held for the benefit of the Fund in a segregated tri-party account at a third party custodian. In the event of a default by the counterparty, and the Fund is owed money in the OTC forward transaction, such Fund will seek withdrawal of this collateral from the segregated account and may incur certain costs exercising its right with respect to the collateral. These Funds remain subject to credit risk with respect to the amount it expects to receive from OTC counterparties.

 

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The Funds have sought to mitigate these risks with respect to OTC forwards by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, subject to certain minimum thresholds; however, there are no limitations on the percentage of its assets each Fund may invest in forward contracts with a particular counterparty. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to counterparty risk as described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.

The forward markets provide what has typically been a highly liquid market for foreign exchange trading, and in certain cases the prices quoted for foreign exchange forward contracts may be more favorable than the prices for foreign exchange futures contracts traded on U.S. exchanges. Forward contracts have traditionally not been cleared or guaranteed by a third party. However, the Dodd-Frank Act provides for significant reforms of OTC derivatives markets. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC now regulates non- deliverable forwards (including deliverable forwards where the parties do not take delivery). Certain non-deliverable forward contracts, such as non-deliverable foreign exchange forwards, may be subject to regulation as swap agreements, including mandatory clearing. All foreign exchange forwards, including non-deliverable foreign exchange forwards as well as physically settled foreign exchange forwards, are subject to new reporting requirements. Changes in the forward markets may entail increased costs and result in burdensome reporting requirements.

Commercial banks participating in trading OTC foreign exchange forward contracts often do not require margin deposits, but rely upon internal credit limitations and their judgments regarding the creditworthiness of their counterparties. In recent years, however, many OTC market participants in foreign exchange trading have begun to require that their counterparties post margin.

Futures Contracts

A futures contract is a standardized contract traded on, or subject to the rules of, an exchange that calls for the future delivery of a specified quantity and type of commodity at a specified time and place or alternatively, may call for cash settlement as is the case with VIX futures contracts. Futures contracts are traded on a wide variety of commodities, including bonds, interest rates, agricultural products, stock indexes, currencies, energy, metals, economic indicators and statistical measures. The notional size and calendar term of futures contracts on a particular commodity are identical and are not subject to any negotiation, other than with respect to price and the number of contracts traded between the buyer and seller. Each Fund generally deposits cash with a Futures Commission Merchant (“FCM”) for its open positions in futures contracts, which may, in turn, transfer such deposits to the clearing house to protect the clearing house against non-payment by the Fund. The clearing house becomes substituted for each counterparty to a futures contract, and in effect, guarantees performance. In addition, the FCM may require the Funds to deposit collateral in excess of the clearing house’s margin requirements for the FCM’s own protection.

Certain futures contracts, such as VIX futures contracts, as well as stock index contracts and certain commodity futures contracts, settle in cash, reflecting the difference between the contract purchase/sale price and the contract settlement price. The cash settlement mechanism avoids the potential for either side to have to deliver the underlying asset. For other futures contracts, the contractual obligations of a buyer or seller may generally be satisfied by taking or making physical delivery of the underlying asset or by making an offsetting sale or purchase of an identical futures contract on the same or linked exchange before the designated date of delivery. The difference between the price at which the futures contract is purchased or sold and the price paid for the offsetting sale or purchase, after allowance for brokerage commissions, constitutes the profit or loss to the trader.

Regulations

Derivatives exchanges in the United States are subject to regulation under the CEA, by the CFTC, the governmental agency having responsibility for regulation of derivatives exchanges and trading on those exchanges. Following the adoption of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC also has authority to regulate OTC derivative markets, including certain OTC foreign exchange markets. The CFTC has exclusive authority to designate exchanges for the trading of specific futures contracts and options on futures contracts and to prescribe rules and regulations of the marketing of each. The CFTC also regulates the activities of “commodity pool operators” and the CFTC has adopted regulations with respect to certain of such persons’ activities. Pursuant to its authority, the CFTC requires a commodity pool operator, such as the Sponsor, to keep accurate, current and orderly records with respect to each pool it operates. The CFTC may suspend, modify or terminate the registration of any registrant for failure to comply with CFTC rules or regulations. Suspension, restriction or termination of the Sponsor’s registration as a commodity pool operator would prevent it, until such time (if any) as such registration were to be reinstated, from managing, and might result in the termination of the Funds. If the Sponsor were unable to provide services and/or advice to the Funds, the Funds would be unable to pursue their investment objectives unless and until the Sponsor’s ability to provide services and advice to the Funds was reinstated or a replacement for the Sponsor as commodity pool operator could be found. Such an event could result in termination of the Funds.

The CEA requires all FCMs to meet and maintain specified fitness and financial requirements, segregate customer funds from proprietary funds and account separately for all customers’ funds and positions, and to maintain specified books and records open to inspection by the staff of the CFTC. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors. Failure of the FCMs to segregate assets may increase losses in the Funds.” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

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The CEA also gives the states certain powers to enforce its provisions and the regulations of the CFTC.

Under certain circumstances, the CEA grants shareholders the right to institute a reparations proceeding before the CFTC against the Sponsor (as a registered commodity pool operator), an FCM, as well as those of their respective employees who are required to be registered under the CEA. Shareholders may also be able to maintain a private right of action for certain violations of the CEA.

Pursuant to authority in the CEA, the National Futures Association (the “NFA”) has been formed and registered with the CFTC as a registered futures association. At the present time, the NFA is the only self-regulatory organization for commodities professionals other than exchanges. As such, the NFA promulgates rules governing the conduct of commodity professionals and disciplines those professionals that do not comply with such standards. The CFTC has delegated to the NFA responsibility for the registration of commodity pool operators, FCMs, swap dealers, commodity trading advisors, introducing brokers and their respective associated persons and floor brokers. The Sponsor is a member of the NFA (the Funds themselves are not required to become members of the NFA). As an NFA member, the Sponsor is subject to NFA standards relating to fair trade practices, financial condition, and consumer protection. The CFTC is prohibited by statute from regulating trading on foreign commodity exchanges and markets.

The CEA and CFTC regulations prohibit market abuse and generally require that all futures exchange-based trading be conducted in compliance with rules designed to ensure the integrity of market prices and without any intent to manipulate prices. CFTC regulations and futures exchange rules also impose limits on the size of the positions that a person may hold or control as well as standards for aggregating certain positions. The rules of the CFTC and the futures exchanges also authorize special emergency actions to halt, suspend or limit trading overall or to restrict, halt, suspend or limit the trading of an individual trader or to otherwise impose special reporting or margin requirements. See also “Item 1A. Risk Factors. Regulatory changes or actions, including the implementation of new legislation, may alter the operations and profitability of the Funds” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors. Regulatory and exchange accountability levels may restrict the creation of Creation Units and the operation of the Trust” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Description of the Bloomberg Commodity Index SM and its Sub-Indexes

Overview of the Bloomberg Family of Indices

Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM

ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil are designed to correspond, before fees and expenses, to two times the inverse (-2x) or two times (2x), respectively, of the daily performance of the Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM, a sub-index of the Bloomberg Commodity Index. The Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM is intended to track the performance of 3 separate contract schedules for WTI Crude Oil futures. One third of the Benchmark follows a monthly roll schedule two months beyond the nearby contract. The second third of the Benchmark follows a June annual roll schedule, while the remaining third follows a December annual roll schedule. The Benchmark weights are equally reset semi-annually in the months of March and September on close of the first business day. The weighting of the futures contracts included in the Benchmark is not linked to the “spot” price of WTI crude oil. For more information about the risks associated with rolling futures positions, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors. Potential negative impact from rolling futures positions” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM

ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas are designed to correspond, before fees and expenses, to two times the inverse (-2x) or two times (2x), respectively, of the daily performance of the Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM, a sub-index of the Bloomberg Commodity Index. The Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM is intended to reflect the performance of a rolling position in natural gas futures contracts traded on the NYMEX without regard to income earned on cash positions. An investment in natural gas futures contracts may often perform very differently than the price of physical natural gas (e.g., the wellhead or end-user price of natural gas). See “Item 1A. Risk Factors. The Commodity Index Funds are linked to an index comprised of commodity futures contracts, and are not linked to the spot prices of the underlying physical commodities. Commodity futures contracts may perform very differently from the spot price of the underlying physical commodities” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

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The Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM is based on the Natural Gas component of the Bloomberg Commodity Index, which is described above under “Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM,” and tracks what is known as a rolling futures position. The roll occurs over a period of five Bloomberg Commodity Index business days in certain months according to a pre-determined schedule, generally beginning on the sixth business day of the month and ending on the tenth business day. Each day, approximately 20% of each rolling futures position that is included in the month’s roll is rolled, increasing from 0% to 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and finally 100%. The exact roll methodology differs between certain commodities. The index will reflect the performance of its underlying natural gas contracts, including the impact of rolling, without regard to income earned on cash positions. For more information about the risks associated with rolling futures positions, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors. Potential negative impact from rolling futures positions” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM

ProShares Ultra Gold and ProShares UltraShort Gold are designed to correspond, before fees and expenses, to two times (2x) or two times the inverse (-2x), respectively, of the daily performance of the Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM, a sub-index of the Bloomberg Commodity Index. The Bloomberg Gold Subindex is intended to reflect the performance of gold, as measured by the price of COMEX gold futures contracts, including the impact of rolling, without regard to income earned on cash positions. The Gold Subindex is not directly linked to the “spot price” of gold. Futures contracts may perform very differently from the spot price of gold.

The Gold Subindex is based on the gold component of the Bloomberg Commodity Index and tracks what is known as a rolling futures position. Unlike equities, which entitle the holder to a continuing stake in a corporation, commodity futures contracts specify a delivery date for the underlying physical commodity or its cash equivalent. The Gold Subindex is a “rolling index,” which means that the Gold Subindex does not take physical possession of any commodities. An investor with a rolling futures position is able to avoid delivering (or taking delivery of) underlying physical commodities while maintaining exposure to those commodities. The roll occurs over a period of five Gold Subindex business days in certain months according to a pre-determined schedule, generally beginning on the sixth business day of the month and ending on the tenth business day. Each day, approximately 20% of each rolling futures position that is included in the month’s roll is rolled, increasing from 0% to 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and finally 100%. The Gold Subindex will reflect the performance of its underlying gold futures contracts, including the impact of rolling, without regard to the income earned on cash positions.

Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM

ProShares Ultra Silver and ProShares UltraShort Silver are designed to correspond, before fees and expenses, to two times (2x) or two times the inverse (-2x), respectively, of the daily performance of the Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM, a sub-index of the Bloomberg Commodity Index. The Bloomberg Silver Subindex is intended to reflect the performance of silver, as measured by the price of COMEX silver futures contracts, including the impact of rolling, without regard to income earned on cash positions. The Silver Subindex is not directly linked to the “spot price” of silver. Futures contracts may perform very differently from the spot price of silver.

The Silver Subindex is based on the silver component of the Bloomberg Commodity Index and tracks what is known as a rolling futures position. Unlike equities, which entitle the holder to a continuing stake in a corporation, commodity futures contracts specify a delivery date for the underlying physical commodity or its cash equivalent. The Silver Subindex is a “rolling index,” which means that the Silver Subindex does not take physical possession of any commodities. An investor with a rolling futures position is able to avoid delivering (or taking delivery of) underlying physical commodities while maintaining exposure to those commodities. The roll occurs over a period of five Silver Subindex business days in certain months according to a pre-determined schedule, generally beginning on the sixth business day of the month and ending on the tenth business day. Each day, approximately 20% of each rolling futures position that is included in the month’s roll is rolled, increasing from 0% to 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and finally 100%. The Silver Subindex will reflect the performance of its underlying silver futures contracts, including the impact of rolling, without regard to the income earned on cash positions.

Information about the Index Licensor

“Bloomberg®”, “Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM”, “Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM”, “Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM”, “Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM” and “Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM” are service marks of Bloomberg Finance L.P. and its affiliates, including Bloomberg Index Services Limited (“BISL”), the administrator of the indices (collectively, “Bloomberg”) and have been licensed for use for certain purposes by ProShares Trust II (“Licensee”).

The Products are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Bloomberg. Bloomberg does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of or counterparties to the Product(s) or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities or commodities generally or in the Product(s) particularly. The only relationship of Bloomberg to the Licensee is the licensing of certain trademarks, trade names and service marks and of the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, the Bloomberg

 

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Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM, the Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM, the Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM and the Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM, which are determined, composed and calculated by BISL without regard to the Licensee or the Product(s). Bloomberg has no obligation to take the needs of the Licensee or the owners of the Product(s) into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, the Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM, the Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM, the Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM or the Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM. Bloomberg is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of the Product(s) to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Product(s) are to be converted into cash. Bloomberg shall not have any obligation or liability, including, without limitation, to Products customers, in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Product(s).

This Annual Report on Form 10-K relates only to Products and does not relate to the exchange-traded physical commodities underlying any of the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, the Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM, the Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM, the Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM or the Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM components. Purchasers of the Products should not conclude that the inclusion of a futures contract in the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, the Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM, the Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM, the Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM or the Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM is any form of investment recommendation of the futures contract or the underlying exchange-traded physical commodity by Bloomberg. The information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K regarding the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, the Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM, the Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM, the Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM and the Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM components has been derived solely from publicly available documents. Bloomberg has not made any due diligence inquiries with respect to the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, the Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM, the Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM, the Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM or the Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM components in connection with Products. Bloomberg makes no representation that these publicly available documents or any other publicly available information regarding the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, the Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM, the Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM, the Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM or the Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM components, including without limitation a description of factors that affect the prices of such components, are accurate or complete.

BLOOMBERG DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY BALANCED WTI CRUDE OIL INDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG NATURAL GAS SUBINDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG GOLD SUBINDEXSM OR THE BLOOMBERG SILVER SUBINDEXSM OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO AND SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS OR INTERRUPTIONS THEREIN. BLOOMBERG DOES NOT MAKE ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY THE LICENSEE, OWNERS OF THE PRODUCT(S) OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY BALANCED WTI CRUDE OIL INDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG NATURAL GAS SUBINDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG GOLD SUBINDEXSM OR THE BLOOMBERG SILVER SUBINDEXSM OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. BLOOMBERG DOES NOT MAKE ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE WITH RESPECT TO THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY BALANCED WTI CRUDE OIL INDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG NATURAL GAS SUBINDEXSM, THE BLOOMBERG GOLD SUBINDEXSM OR THE BLOOMBERG SILVER SUBINDEXSM OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT ALLOWED BY LAW, BLOOMBERG, ITS LICENSORS, AND ITS AND THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES, CONTRACTORS, AGENTS, SUPPLIERS, AND VENDORS SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER FOR ANY INJURY OR DAMAGES —WHETHER DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE OR OTHERWISE —ARISING IN CONNECTION WITH THE NAME OF PRODUCT OR NAME OF INDEX OR ANY DATA OR VALUES RELATING THERETO —WHETHER ARISING FROM THEIR NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY THEREOF.

Description of the Currencies Benchmarks

The Currency Funds are designed to correspond, before fees and expenses, to two times the inverse (-2x), or two times (2x) of the daily performance of the spot price of the applicable currency versus the U.S. dollar. The spot price of each currency is measured by the 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) spot prices as provided by Bloomberg, expressed in terms of U.S. dollars per unit of foreign currency. The Currency Funds do not necessarily directly or physically hold the underlying currency and will instead seek exposure through the use of certain Financial Instruments whose value is based on the price of the underlying currency to pursue its investment objective.

Euro

ProShares UltraShort Euro and ProShares Ultra Euro are designed to correspond, before fees and expenses, to the two times the inverse (-2x), or two times (2x), respectively, of the daily performance of the euro spot price versus the U.S. dollar. These Funds use the 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) euro/U.S. dollar exchange rate as provided by Bloomberg, expressed in terms of U.S. dollars per unit of foreign currency, as the basis for the underlying benchmark.

 

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In 1998, the European Central Bank in Frankfurt was organized by Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain in order to establish a common currency-the euro. Unlike the U.S. Federal Reserve System, the Bank of Japan and other comparable central banks, the European Central Bank is a central authority that conducts monetary policy for an economic area consisting of many otherwise largely autonomous states.

At its inception on January 1, 1999, the euro was launched as an electronic currency used by banks, foreign exchange dealers and stock markets. In 2002, the euro became cash currency for approximately 300 million citizens of twelve European countries (the eleven countries mentioned above, in addition to Greece). As of December 31, 2023, 23 countries used the euro, including Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Vatican City.

The European financial markets and the value of the euro have experienced significant volatility, in part related to unemployment, budget deficits and economic downturns. In addition, several member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (the “EMU”) of the European Union (the “EU”) have experienced credit rating downgrades, rising government debt levels and, for certain EU member countries (including Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy), weaknesses in sovereign debt. Following a referendum in June 2016, the United Kingdom formally exited the EU on January 31, 2020 (known as “Brexit”). During a transition period where the United Kingdom remained subject to EU rules but had no role in the EU law-making process, the United Kingdom and EU representatives negotiated the precise terms of their future relationship, reaching an agreement on December 24, 2020. On December 31, 2020, the transition period concluded and the terms of the new agreement went into effect on January 1, 2021. The complete impact of the new agreement, as well as the full scope and nature of the consequences of the exit, are not at this time known and are unlikely to be known for a significant period of time, but the future direction of the value of non-U.S. currencies or the U.S. dollar and, in turn, affect the value of the Currency Funds. In addition, these uncertainties could increase volatility in the market prices of non-U.S. currencies or the U.S. dollar and, in turn, affect the value of the Currency Funds. The effects of Brexit will depend on agreements the UK negotiates to retain access to EU markets either during a transitional period or more permanently. Brexit could lead to legal and tax uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the UK determines which EU laws to replace and replicate.

Although the European countries that have adopted the euro are members of the European Union (“EU”), the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden are EU members that have not adopted the euro as their national currency.

Japanese Yen

ProShares UltraShort Yen and ProShares Ultra Yen are designed to correspond, before fees and expenses, to two times the inverse (-2x) or two times (2x), respectively, of the daily performance of the Japanese yen spot price versus the U.S. dollar. These Funds use the 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) Japanese yen/U.S. dollar exchange rate as provided by Bloomberg, expressed in terms of U.S. dollars per unit of foreign currency, as the basis for the underlying benchmark.

The Japanese yen has been the official currency of Japan since 1871. The Bank of Japan has been operating as the central bank of Japan since 1882.

Description of the VIX Futures Indexes

The VIX Funds seek to offer exposure to forward equity market volatility by obtaining exposure to the VIX Futures Indexes, which are based on publicly traded VIX futures contracts. The VIX Futures Indexes are intended to reflect the returns that are potentially available through an unleveraged investment in the VIX futures contracts comprising each VIX Futures Index. The VIX, which is not the index underlying the VIX Funds, is calculated based on the prices of put and call options on the S&P 500. The VIX Funds can be expected to perform very differently from the VIX.

The Short-Term VIX Index employs rules for selecting VIX futures contracts comprising the Short-Term VIX Index and a formula to calculate a level for that index from the prices of these VIX futures contracts. Specifically, the VIX futures contracts comprising the Short-Term VIX Index represent the prices of two near-term VIX futures contracts, replicating a position that rolls the nearest month VIX futures to the next month VIX futures on a daily basis in equal fractional amounts. This results in a constant weighted average maturity of one-month. The roll period begins on the Tuesday prior to the monthly Cboe VIX futures settlement and runs through the Tuesday prior to the subsequent month’s Cboe VIX futures settlement date.

The Mid-Term VIX Index also employs rules for selecting its VIX futures contracts comprising the Mid-Term VIX Index and a formula to calculate a level for that index from the prices of these VIX futures contracts. Specifically, the VIX futures contracts comprising the Mid-Term VIX Index represent the prices for four contract months of VIX futures contracts, representing a rolling long position in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh month VIX futures contracts. The Mid-Term VIX Index rolls continuously throughout each month while maintaining positions in the fifth and sixth month contracts. This results in a constant weighted average maturity of five months.

 

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The level of each VIX Futures Index will be published by Bloomberg L.P. in real time and at the close of trading on each VIX Futures Index business day under the following ticker symbols:

 

Index

   Bloomberg Ticker Symbol  

S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index

     SPVXSP  

S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures Index

     SPVXMPID  

The performance of the VIX Futures Indexes is influenced by the S&P 500 (and options thereon) and the VIX. A description of VIX futures contracts, the VIX and the S&P 500 follows:

VIX Futures Contracts

Both VIX Futures Indexes are comprised of VIX futures contracts. VIX futures contracts were first launched for trading by the Cboe in 2004. VIX futures contracts allow investors to invest based on their view of the forward implied market volatility of the S&P 500. Investors that believe the forward implied market volatility of the S&P 500 will increase may buy VIX futures contracts. Conversely, investors that believe that the forward implied market volatility of the S&P 500 will decline may sell VIX futures contracts.

While the VIX represents a measure of the current expected volatility of the S&P 500 over the next 30 days, the prices of VIX futures contracts are based on the current expectation of the expected 30-day volatility of the S&P 500 on the expiration date of the futures contract. Since the VIX and VIX futures contracts are two distinctly different measures, the VIX and VIX futures contracts generally behave quite differently.

The VIX

The VIX Funds are not linked to the VIX and can be expected to perform very differently from the VIX. The VIX is an index designed to measure the implied volatility of the S&P 500 over 30 days in the future, and is calculated based on the prices of certain put and call options on the S&P 500. The VIX is reflective of the premium paid by investors for certain options linked to the level of the S&P 500. During periods of rising investor uncertainty, including periods of market instability, the implied level of volatility of the S&P 500 typically increases and, consequently, the prices of options linked to the S&P 500 typically increase (assuming all other relevant factors remain constant or have negligible changes). This, in turn, causes the level of the VIX to increase. The VIX has historically had a negative correlation to the S&P 500. The VIX was developed by the Cboe and is calculated, maintained and published by the Cboe. The Cboe has no obligation to continue to publish, and may discontinue the publication of, the VIX. The VIX is reported by Bloomberg under the ticker symbol “VIX.”

The calculation of the VIX involves a formula that uses the prices of a weighted series of out-of-the-money put and call options on the level of the S&P 500 (“SPX Options”) with two adjacent expiry terms to derive a constant 30-day forward measure of market volatility. The VIX is calculated independent of any particular option pricing model and in doing so seeks to eliminate any biases which may otherwise be included in using options pricing methodology based on certain assumptions. Although the VIX measures the 30-day forward volatility of the S&P 500 as implied by the SPX Options, 30-day options are only available once a month. To arrive at the VIX level, a broad range of out-of-the-money SPX Options expiring on the two closest nearby months (“near term options” and “next term options,” respectively) are selected in order to bracket a 30-day calendar period. SPX Options having a maturity of less than eight days are excluded at the outset and, when the near term options have eight days or less left to expiration, the VIX rolls to the second and third contract months in order to minimize pricing anomalies that occur close to expiration. The model-free implied volatility using prices of the near term options and next term options are then calculated on a strike price weighted average basis in order to arrive at a single average implied volatility value for each month. The results of each of the two months are then interpolated to arrive at a single value with a constant maturity of 30 days to expiration.

The S&P 500

The S&P 500 is an index that measures large-cap U.S. stock market performance. It is a float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index of 500 U.S. operating companies and real estate investment trusts selected by the S&P U.S. Index Committee through a non-mechanical process that factor in criteria such as domicile, investible weight factor, liquidity, market capitalization and financial viability. Changes to the index composition are made on an as needed basis. There is no scheduled reconstitution. Rather, changes in response to corporate actions and market developments can be made at any time. As of December 31, 2023, the S&P 500 included companies with capitalizations between $4.9 billion and $3.0 trillion. The average capitalization of the companies comprising the Index was approximately $83.6 billion. S&P publishes the S&P 500. The daily calculation of the current value of the S&P 500 is based on the relative value of the aggregate market value of the common stocks of 500 companies as of a particular time compared to the

 

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aggregate average initial market value of the common stocks of 500 similar companies at the time of the inception of the S&P 500. The 500 companies are not the 500 largest publicly traded companies and not all 500 companies are listed on the NYSE. Constituent selection is at the discretion of the Index Committee and is based on eligibility criteria. The indices have a fixed constituent company count of 500, 400, and 600, respectively. Sector balance, as measured by a comparison of each GICs sector’s weight in the S&P Total Market Index, in the relevant capitalization range, is also considered in the selection of companies for the indices. S&P may from time-to-time, in its sole discretion, add companies to, or delete companies from, the S&P 500 to achieve the objectives stated above. Relevant criteria employed by S&P include the viability of the particular company, the extent to which that company represents the industry group to which it is assigned, the extent to which the company’s common stock is widely held and the market value and trading activity of the common stock of that company.

THE VIX FUNDS ARE NOT SPONSORED, ENDORSED, SOLD OR PROMOTED BY S&P AND ITS AFFILIATES OR CBOE. S&P AND CBOE MAKE NO REPRESENTATION, CONDITION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, TO THE OWNERS OF THE VIX FUNDS OR ANY MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE ADVISABILITY OF INVESTING IN SECURITIES GENERALLY OR IN THE VIX FUNDS PARTICULARLY OR THE ABILITY OF THE INDEXES TO TRACK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND/OR OF GROUPS OF ASSETS OR ASSET CLASSES AND/OR TO ACHIEVE ITS STATED OBJECTIVE AND/OR TO FORM THE BASIS OF A SUCCESSFUL INVESTMENT STRATEGY, AS APPLICABLE. S&P’S AND CBOE’S ONLY RELATIONSHIP TO THE TRUST ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES AND THE SPONSOR IS THE LICENSING OF CERTAIN TRADEMARKS AND TRADE NAMES AND OF THE VIX FUTURES INDEXES WHICH ARE DETERMINED, COMPOSED AND CALCULATED BY S&P WITHOUT REGARD TO THE TRUST ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES AND THE SPONSOR OR THE VIX FUNDS. S&P HAS NO OBLIGATION TO TAKE THE NEEDS OF THE TRUST ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES AND THE SPONSOR OR THE OWNERS OF THE VIX FUNDS INTO CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING, COMPOSING OR CALCULATING THE VIX FUTURES INDEXES. S&P AND CBOE ARE NOT ADVISORS TO THE VIX FUNDS AND ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR AND HAVE NOT PARTICIPATED IN THE DETERMINATION OF THE PRICES AND AMOUNT OF THE VIX FUNDS OR THE TIMING OF THE ISSUANCE OR SALE OF THE VIX FUNDS OR IN THE DETERMINATION OR CALCULATION OF THE EQUATION BY WHICH THE VIX FUND SHARES ARE TO BE CONVERTED INTO CASH. S&P AND CBOE HAVE NO OBLIGATION OR LIABILITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION, MARKETING, OR TRADING OF THE VIX FUNDS.

NEITHER S&P DOW JONES INDICES NOR THIRD PARTY LICENSOR GURANTEES THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE S&P 500 VIX MID-TERM FUTURES INDEX OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO OR ANY COMMUNICATION INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ORAL OR WRITTEN COMMUNCATION, (INCLUDING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS) WITH RESEPECT THERETO. NEITHER S&P DOW JONES INDICES NOR CBOE SHALL BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMANGES OR LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR DELAYS THEREIN. S&P DOW JONES INDICES AND CBOE MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARCIULAR PRUPOSE OR USE AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY PROSHARES TRUST II, ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES, AND PROSHARE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC, OWNERS OF THE FUND, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE S&P 500 VIX SHORT-TERM FUTURES ER MCAP INDEX OR WITH RESPECT TO ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. IN NO EVENT WHATSOEVER SHALL S&P DOW JONES INDICES OR CBOE, BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDEIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OF PROFITS, TRADING LOSSES, LOST TIME OR GOODWILL, EVEN IF THEY HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBLITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE. THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARIES OF ANY AGREEMENTS OR ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN S&P DOW JONES INDICES AND PROSHARES TRUST II, ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES, OR PROSHARE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC, OTHER THAN THE LICENSORS OF S&P DOW JONES INDICES.

Creation and Redemption of Shares

Each Fund creates and redeems Shares from time to time, but only in one or more Creation Units. A Creation Unit is a block of 50,000 Shares of a Geared Fund or a block of 25,000 Shares of a Matching VIX Fund. Creation Units may be created or redeemed only by Authorized Participants. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, the Shares are not redeemable securities.

The manner by which Creation Units are purchased and redeemed is dictated by the terms of the Authorized Participant Agreement and Authorized Participant Handbook. By placing a purchase order, an Authorized Participant agrees to deposit cash (unless as provided otherwise in the prospectus) with the Custodian of the Funds.

 

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From time to time the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may impose limits on the number of Creation Units that may be created each day by each Authorized Participant, or on the total number of Creation Units that may be created by all Authorized Participants on such day, or may suspend the purchase and/or redemption of Creation Units altogether. For example, the Sponsor may impose such limits or suspension if it believes doing so would help a Fund manage its portfolio, such as by allowing a Fund to comply with counterparty or position limits, or in response to significant and/or rapid increases in the size of a Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity.

If permitted by the Sponsor in its sole discretion with respect to a Fund, an Authorized Participant may also agree to enter into or arrange for an exchange of a futures contract for a related position (“EFCRP”) or block trade with the relevant Fund whereby the Authorized Participant would also transfer to such Fund a number and type of exchange-traded futures contracts at or near the closing settlement price for such contracts on the purchase order date. Similarly, the Sponsor in its sole discretion may agree with an Authorized Participant to use an EFCRP to affect an order to redeem Creation Units.

An EFCRP is a technique permitted by the rules of the applicable futures exchange that, as utilized by a Fund in the Sponsor’s discretion, would allow such Fund to take a position in a futures contract from an Authorized Participant, or give futures contracts to an Authorized Participant, in the case of a redemption, rather than to enter the futures exchange markets to obtain such a position. An EFCRP by itself will not change either party’s net risk position materially. Because the futures position that a Fund would otherwise need to take in order to meet its investment objective can be obtained without unnecessarily impacting the financial or futures markets or their pricing, EFCRPs can generally be viewed as transactions beneficial to a Fund. A block trade is a technique that permits certain Funds to obtain a futures position without going through the market auction system and can generally be viewed as a transaction beneficial to the Fund.

Authorized Participants pay a fixed transaction fee of up to $250 in connection with each order to create or redeem a Creation Unit in order to compensate The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY Mellon”), as the Administrator, the Custodian and the Transfer Agent of each Fund and its Shares, for services in processing the creation and redemption of Creation Units and to offset the costs of increasing or decreasing derivative positions. Authorized Participants also may pay a variable transaction fee to the Funds of up to 0.10% (and a variable transaction fee to the Matching VIX Funds of 0.05%) of the value of the Creation Unit that is purchased or redeemed unless the transaction fee is waived or otherwise adjusted by the Sponsor. The Sponsor provides such Authorized Participant with prompt notice in advance of any such waiver or adjustment of the transaction fee. Authorized Participants may sell the Shares included in the Creation Units they purchase from the Funds to other investors in the secondary market.

The form of Authorized Participant Agreement and the related Authorized Participant Handbook set forth the procedures for the creation and redemption of Creation Units and for the payment of cash required for such creations and redemptions. The Sponsor may delegate its duties and obligations under the form of Authorized Participant Agreement to SEI Investments Distribution Co. (“SEI”) or BNY Mellon, in its capacity as the Administrator, without consent from any shareholder or Authorized Participant. The form of Authorized Participant Agreement and the related procedures attached thereto may be amended by the Sponsor without the consent of any shareholder or Authorized Participant. Authorized Participants who purchase Creation Units from a Fund receive no fees, commissions or other form of compensation or inducement of any kind from either the Sponsor or the Fund, and no such person has any obligation or responsibility to the Sponsor or the Fund to affect any sale or resale of Shares.

Authorized Participants are cautioned that some of their activities may result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which would render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”).

Each Authorized Participant must be registered as a broker-dealer under the 1934 Act and regulated by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), or exempt from being, or otherwise not required to be, so regulated or registered, and must be qualified to act as a broker or dealer in the states or other jurisdictions where the nature of its business so requires. Certain Authorized Participants may be regulated under federal and state banking laws and regulations. Each Authorized Participant must have its own set of rules and procedures, internal controls and information barriers as it determines is appropriate in light of its own regulatory regime.

Authorized Participants may act for their own accounts or as agents for broker-dealers, custodians and other securities market participants that wish to create or redeem Creation Units.

Persons interested in purchasing Creation Units should contact the Sponsor or the Administrator to obtain the contact information for the Authorized Participants. Shareholders who are not Authorized Participants are only able to redeem their Shares through an Authorized Participant.

Pursuant to the Authorized Participant Agreement, the Sponsor agreed to indemnify the Authorized Participants against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the 1933 Act, and to contribute to the payments the Authorized Participants may be required to make in respect of those liabilities.

 

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The following description of the procedures for the creation and redemption of Creation Units is only a summary and an investor should refer to the relevant provisions of the Amended and Restated Trust Agreement of the Trust, as may be further amended from time to time (the “Trust Agreement”) and the form of Authorized Participant Agreement for more detail. The Trust Agreement and the form of Authorized Participant Agreement are incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Creation Procedures

On any Business Day, an Authorized Participant may place an order with the Distributor to create one or more Creation Units. For purposes of processing both purchase and redemption orders, a “Business Day” for each Fund means any day on which the NAV of such Fund is determined. Purchase orders must be placed by the cut-off time shown below or earlier if the Fund’s primary listing exchange, or other exchange material to the valuation or operation of such Fund (an “Exchange” as defined below) closes before the cut-off time. If a purchase order is received prior to the applicable cut-off time, the day on which SEI receives a valid purchase order is the purchase order date. If the purchase order is received after the applicable cut-off time, the purchase order date will be the next day. Purchase orders are irrevocable. By placing a purchase order, and prior to delivery of such Creation Units, an Authorized Participant’s DTC account will be charged the non-refundable transaction fee due for the purchase order.

Determination of Required Payment

The total payment required to create each Creation Unit is the NAV of 50,000 Shares of the applicable Geared Fund or 25,000 Shares of the applicable Matching VIX Fund on the purchase order date plus the applicable transaction fee. For each Fund, Authorized Participants have create/redeem cut-off times prior to the NAV calculation time, which may be different from the close of the U.S. markets, as shown in the table below.

 

Underlying Benchmark

     Create/Redeem Cutoff*         NAV Calculation Time  
Silver    1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)    1:25 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Gold    1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)    1:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index    2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)    4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures Index

   2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)    4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM    2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)    2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM    2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)    2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Euro    3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)    4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Yen    3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)    4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

 

*

Although the Funds’ shares may continue to trade on secondary markets subsequent to the calculation of the final NAV,

these times represent the final opportunity to transact in creation or redemption units for the year ended December 31, 2023.

Delivery of Cash

Cash required for settlement will typically be transferred to the Custodian through: (1) the Continuous Net Settlement (“CNS”) clearing process of the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”), as such processes have been enhanced to effect creations and redemptions of Creation Units; or (2) the facilities of DTC on a Delivery Versus Payment (“DVP”) basis, which is the procedure in which the buyer’s payment for securities is due at the time of delivery. Security delivery and payment are simultaneous. If the Custodian does not receive the cash by the market close on the first Business Day following the purchase order date (T+1), such order may be charged interest for delayed settlement or cancelled. The Sponsor reserves the right to extend the deadline for the Custodian to receive the cash required for settlement up to the second Business Day following the purchase order date (T+2). In the event a purchase order is cancelled, the Authorized Participant will be responsible for reimbursing the Fund for all costs associated with cancelling the order including costs for repositioning the portfolio. At its sole discretion, the Sponsor may agree to a delivery date other than T+2. Additional fees may apply for special settlement. The Creation Unit will be delivered to the Authorized Participant upon the Custodian’s receipt of the purchase amount.

Delivery of Exchange of Futures Contract for Related Position (“EFCRP”) Futures Contracts or Block Trades

In the event that the Sponsor shall have determined to permit the Authorized Participant to transfer futures contracts pursuant to an EFCRP or to engage in a block trade purchase of futures contracts from the Authorized Participant with respect to a Fund, as well as to deliver cash, in the creation process, futures contracts required for settlement must be transferred directly to the Fund’s account at its FCM. If the cash is not received by the market close on the second Business Day following the purchase order date (T+2); such order may be charged interest for delayed settlements or cancelled. In the event a purchase order is cancelled, the Authorized Participant will be responsible for reimbursing a Fund for all costs associated with cancelling the order including costs for repositioning the portfolio. At its sole discretion, the Sponsor may agree to a delivery date other than T+2. The Creation Unit will be delivered to the Authorized Participant upon the Custodian’s receipt of the cash purchase amount and the futures contracts.

 

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Suspension or Rejection of Purchase Orders

In respect of any Fund, the Sponsor may, in its discretion, suspend the right to purchase, or postpone the purchase settlement date, (1) for any period during which any of the NYSE, NYSE Arca, Cboe, CFE, CME (including CBOT and NYMEX) or ICE or other exchange material to the valuation or operation of the Funds (each, an “Exchange”) is closed or when trading is suspended or restricted on such exchanges in any of the underlying commodities; (2) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which the fulfillment of a purchase order is not reasonably practicable; or (3) for such other period as the Sponsor determines, in its sole discretion, to be appropriate for the protection of the Fund, the shareholders of the Fund or otherwise in the interest of such Fund (for example, in response to, or anticipation of, a period of significant and/or rapid increases in the size of a Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity. The Sponsor will not be liable to any person or in any way for any loss or damages that may result from any such suspension or postponement.

The Sponsor also may reject a purchase order if:

 

   

it determines that the purchase order is not in proper form;

 

   

the Sponsor believes that the purchase order would have adverse tax consequences to a Fund or its shareholders;

 

   

the order would be illegal; or

 

   

circumstances outside the control of the Sponsor make it, for all practical purposes, not feasible to process creations of Creation Units.

None of the Sponsor, the Administrator, the Transfer Agent, the Distributor or the Custodian will be liable for the suspension or rejection of any purchase order.

Redemption Procedures

The procedures by which an Authorized Participant may redeem one or more Creation Units mirror the procedures for the creation of Creation Units. On any Business Day, an Authorized Participant may place an order with the Distributor to redeem one or more Creation Units. If a redemption order is received prior to the applicable cut-off time, or earlier if the Exchange, or other exchange material to the valuation or operation of such Fund, closes before the cut-off time, the day on which SEI receives a valid redemption order is the redemption order date. If the redemption order is received after the applicable cut-off time, the redemption order date will be the next day. Redemption orders are irrevocable. The redemption procedures allow Authorized Participants to redeem Creation Units. Individual shareholders may not redeem directly from a Fund.

By placing a redemption order, an Authorized Participant agrees to deliver the Creation Units to be redeemed through DTC’s book-entry system to the applicable Fund not later than noon (Eastern Time), on the first Business Day immediately following the redemption order date (T+1). The Sponsor reserves the right to extend the deadline for the Fund to receive the Creation Units required for settlement up to the second Business Day following the redemption order date (T+2). By placing a redemption order, and prior to receipt of the redemption proceeds, an Authorized Participant must wire to the Custodian the non-refundable transaction fee due for the redemption order or any proceeds due will be reduced by the amount of the fee payable. At its sole discretion, the Sponsor may agree to a delivery date other than T+2. Additional fees may apply for special settlement.

Upon request of an Authorized Participant made at the time of a redemption order, the Sponsor at its sole discretion may determine, in addition to delivering redemption proceeds, to transfer futures contracts to the Authorized Participant pursuant to an EFCRP or to a block trade sale of futures contracts to the Authorized Participant.

Determination of Redemption Proceeds

The redemption proceeds from a Fund consist of the cash redemption amount and, if permitted by the Sponsor in its sole discretion with respect to a Fund, an EFCRP or block trade with the relevant Fund, as described in “Creation and Redemption of Shares” above. The cash redemption amount is equal to the NAV of the number of Creation Unit(s) of such Fund requested in the Authorized Participant’s redemption order as of the time of the calculation of such Fund’s NAV on the redemption order date, less transaction fees and any amounts attributable to any applicable EFCRP or block trade.

 

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Delivery of Redemption Proceeds

The redemption proceeds due from a Fund are delivered to the Authorized Participant at noon (Eastern Time), on the second Business Day immediately following the redemption order date if, by such time on such Business Day immediately following the redemption order date, a Fund’s DTC account has been credited with the Creation Units to be redeemed. The Fund should be credited through: (1) the CNS clearing process of NSCC, as such processes have been enhanced to effect creations and redemptions of Creation Units; or (2) the facilities of DTC on a Delivery Versus Payment basis. If a Fund’s DTC account has not been credited with all of the Creation Units to be redeemed by such time, the redemption distribution is delivered to the extent whole Creation Units are received. Any remainder of the redemption distribution is delivered on the next Business Day to the extent any remaining whole Creation Units are received if: (1) the Sponsor receives the fee applicable to the extension of the redemption distribution date which the Sponsor may, from time to time, determine, and; (2) the remaining Creation Units to be redeemed are credited to the Fund’s DTC account by noon (Eastern Time), on such next Business Day. Any further outstanding amount of the redemption order may be cancelled. The Authorized Participant will be responsible for reimbursing a Fund for all costs associated with cancelling the order including costs for repositioning the portfolio.

The Sponsor is also authorized to deliver the redemption distribution notwithstanding that the Creation Units to be redeemed are not credited to a Fund’s DTC account by noon (Eastern Time), on the second Business Day immediately following the redemption order date if the Authorized Participant has collateralized its obligation to deliver the Creation Units through DTC’s book-entry system on such terms as the Sponsor may determine from time-to-time.

In the event that the Authorized Participant shall have requested, and the Sponsor shall have determined to permit the Authorized Participant to receive futures contracts pursuant to an EFCRP, as well as the cash redemption proceeds, in the redemption process, futures contracts required for settlement shall be transferred directly from the Fund’s account at its FCM to the account of the Authorized Participant at its FCM.

Suspension or Rejection of Redemption Orders

In respect of any Fund, the Sponsor may, in its discretion, suspend the right of redemption, or postpone the redemption settlement date: (1) for any period during which any Exchange, or other exchange material to the valuation or operation of the Fund, is closed or when trading is suspended or restricted on such Exchanges in any of the underlying commodities; (2) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which the redemption distribution is not reasonably practicable; or (3) for such other period as the Sponsor determines to be necessary for the protection of the shareholders. The Sponsor will not be liable to any person or in any way for any loss or damages that may result from any such suspension or postponement.

The Sponsor will reject a redemption order if the order is not in proper form as described in the form of Authorized Participant Agreement or if the fulfillment of the order might be unlawful.

Creation and Redemption Transaction Fee

To compensate BNY Mellon for services in processing the creation and redemption of Creation Units and to offset some or all of the transaction costs, an Authorized Participant may be required to pay a fixed transaction fee to BNY Mellon of up to $250 per order to create or redeem Creation Units and may pay a variable transaction fee to a Fund of up to 0.10% (and a variable transaction fee to the Matching VIX Funds of 0.05%) of the value of a Creation Unit. An order may include multiple Creation Units. The transaction fee(s) may be reduced, increased or otherwise changed by the Sponsor at its sole discretion.

Special Settlement

The Sponsor may allow for early settlement of purchase or redemption orders. Such arrangements may result in additional charges to the Authorized Participant.

NAV

The NAV in respect of a Fund means the total assets of the Fund including, but not limited to, all cash and cash equivalents or other debt securities less total liabilities of such Fund, consistently applied under the accrual method of accounting. In particular, the NAV includes any unrealized profit or loss on open Financial Instruments, and any other credit or debit accruing to a Fund but unpaid or not received by a Fund. The NAV per Share of each Fund is computed by dividing the value of the net assets of such Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by its total number of Shares outstanding. Expenses and fees are accrued daily and taken into account for purposes of determining the NAV. Each Fund’s NAV is calculated on each day other than a day when the Exchange is closed for regular trading. The Funds compute their NAVs at the times set forth below, or an earlier time as set forth on www.ProShares.com if necessitated by the Exchange or other exchange material to the valuation or operation of such Fund closing early. Each Fund’s NAV is calculated only once each trading day.

 

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Fund

   NAV Calculation Time
ProShares UltraShort Silver and ProShares Ultra Silver    1:25 p.m. (Eastern Time)
ProShares UltraShort Gold and ProShares Ultra Gold    1:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil    2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas    2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
ProShares UltraShort Euro and ProShares Ultra Euro    4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
ProShares UltraShort Yen and ProShares Ultra Yen    4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF and   
ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF    4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures ETF    4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

In calculating the NAV of a Fund, the settlement value of the Fund’s non-exchange traded Financial Instruments, is determined by applying the then-current disseminated value for the corresponding benchmark to the terms of such Fund’s non-exchange traded Financial Instruments. However, in the event that an underlying reference asset is not trading due to the operation of daily limits or otherwise, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, choose to fair value the Fund’s non-exchange traded Financial Instruments for purposes of the NAV calculation. Such fair value prices would generally be determined based on available inputs about the current value of the underlying reference assets and would be based on principles that the Sponsor deems fair and equitable so long as such principles are consistent with normal industry standards.

Futures contracts traded on a U.S. exchange are calculated at their then-current market value, which is based upon the settlement price (for the VIX Funds and the Commodity Index Funds) or the last traded price before the NAV time (for the Currency Funds), for that particular futures contract traded on the applicable U.S. exchange on the date with respect to which the NAV is being determined. If a futures contract traded on a U.S. exchange could not be liquidated on such day, due to the operation of daily limits or other rules of the exchange upon which that position is traded or otherwise, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, choose to determine a fair value price as the basis for determining the market value of such position for such day.

In addition, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, choose to fair value a Fund’s Financial Instruments for purposes of the NAV calculation for (1) any period for which, in the Sponsor’s sole discretion, market quotations or settlement prices do not accurately reflect the fair value of a Financial Instrument, (2) any period during which the Exchange or any other exchange, marketplace or trading center, deemed to affect the normal operations of the Funds, is closed, or when trading is restricted or suspended, or (3) such other period as the Sponsor determines, in its sole discretion, to be necessary for the protection of the Shareholders of the Funds.

Such fair value prices would generally be determined based on available inputs about the current value of the underlying reference assets and would be based on principles that the Sponsor deems fair and equitable so long as such principles are consistent with normal industry standards.

The Funds may use a variety of money market instruments to invest excess cash. Money Market instruments used in this capacity are valued at amortized cost which approximates fair value for daily NAV purposes.

Indicative Optimized Portfolio Value (“IOPV”)

The IOPV is an indicator of the value of a Fund’s net assets at the time the IOPV is disseminated. The IOPV is calculated and disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the trading day. The IOPV is generally calculated using the prior day’s closing net assets of a Fund as a base and updating throughout the trading day changes in the value of the Financial Instruments held by a Fund. The IOPV should not be viewed as an actual real time update of the NAV because NAV is calculated only once at the end of each trading day. The IOPV also should not be viewed as a precise value of the Shares. Neither the Funds nor the Sponsor are liable for any errors in the calculation of the IOPV or any failure to disseminate IOPV.

The Fund’s primary listing exchange disseminates the IOPV. In addition, the IOPV is published on the Fund’s primary listing exchange’s website and is available through on- line information services such as Bloomberg Finance L.P. and/or Reuters.

 

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Fees and Expenses

Offering Expenses

Offering costs will be amortized by the Funds over a twelve month period on a straight-line basis beginning once the fund commences operations. The Sponsor will not charge its Management Fee in the first year of operations of a Fund in an amount equal to the offering costs. Normal and expected expenses incurred in connection with the continuous offering of Shares of a Fund after the commencement of its trading operations will be paid by the Sponsor.

Offering expenses mean those expenses incurred in connection with the qualification and registration of the Shares of each Fund and in offering, distributing and processing the Shares of each Fund under applicable federal law, and any other expenses actually incurred and, directly or indirectly, related to the organization of each offering of the Shares of such Fund, including, but not limited to, expenses such as:

 

   

initial SEC registration fees and SEC and FINRA filing fees;

 

   

costs of preparing, printing (including typesetting), amending, supplementing, mailing and distributing the Trust’s Registration Statements, the exhibits thereto and the related prospectuses;

 

   

the costs of qualifying, printing (including typesetting), amending, supplementing and mailing sales materials used in connection with the offering and issuance of the Shares; and

 

   

accounting, auditing and legal fees (including disbursements related thereto) incurred in connection therewith.

Management Fee

Each Geared Fund pays the Sponsor a Management Fee, monthly in arrears, in an amount equal to 0.95% per annum of its average daily NAV of such Fund. Each Matching VIX Fund pays the Sponsor a Management Fee, monthly in arrears, in an amount equal to 0.85% per annum of its average daily NAV. No other management fee is paid by the Funds. The Management Fee is paid in consideration of the Sponsor’s trading advisory services and the other services provided to the Funds that the Sponsor pays directly.

Licensing Fee

The Sponsor pays S&P a licensing fee for use of the VIX Futures Indexes as the benchmarks for the VIX Funds. The Sponsor pays Bloomberg a licensing fee for the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, as well as each subindex that serves as a benchmark for a Commodity Index Fund.

Routine Operational, Administrative and Other Ordinary Expenses

The Sponsor pays all of the routine operational, administrative and other ordinary expenses of each Fund, generally, as determined by the Sponsor, including, but not limited to, fees and expenses of the Administrator, Custodian, Distributor, ProFunds Distributors, Inc., an affiliated broker-dealer of the Sponsor, and Transfer Agent, licensing fees, accounting and audit fees and expenses, tax preparation expenses, legal fees not in excess of $100,000 per annum, ongoing SEC registration fees not exceeding 0.021% per annum of the NAV of a Fund, FINRA filing fees, individual K-1 preparation and mailing fees not exceeding 0.10% per annum of the NAV of a Fund, and report preparation and mailing expenses.

Non-Recurring Fees and Expenses

Each Fund pays all of its non-recurring and unusual fees and expenses, if any, as determined by the Sponsor. Non-recurring and unusual fees and expenses are fees and expenses that are unexpected or unusual in nature, such as legal claims and liabilities, litigation costs or indemnification or other material expenses which are not currently anticipated obligations of the Funds. Routine operational, administrative and other ordinary expenses are not deemed extraordinary expenses.

Selling Commission

Retail investors may purchase and sell Shares through traditional brokerage accounts. Investors are expected to be charged a customary commission by their brokers in connection with purchases of Shares that will vary from investor to investor. Investors are encouraged to review the terms of their brokerage accounts for applicable charges. The price at which an Authorized Participant sells a Share may be higher or lower than the price paid by such Authorized Participant in connection with the creation of such Share in a Creation Unit.

 

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Brokerage Commissions and Fees

Each Fund pays its respective brokerage commissions, including applicable exchange fees, NFA fees and give-up fees, pit brokerage fees and other transaction related fees and expenses charged in connection with trading activities for each Fund’s investments in CFTC regulated investments. The Sponsor is currently paying brokerage commissions on VIX futures contracts for the Matching VIX Funds in amounts that exceed variable create/redeem fees collected by more than 0.02% of the Matching VIX Fund’s average net assets annually.

Other Transaction Costs

The Funds bear other transaction costs including the effects of trading spreads and financing costs/fees, if any, associated with the use of Financial Instruments, and costs relating to the purchase of U.S. Treasury securities or similar high credit quality short-term fixed- income or similar securities (such as shares of money market funds and collateralized repurchase agreements).

Employees

The Trust has no employees.

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

RISK FACTOR SUMMARY

Risks Specific to the Geared Funds

 

   

Due to the compounding of daily returns, the Geared Funds’ returns over periods longer than a single day will likely differ in amount and possibly even direction from the Geared Fund multiple times the benchmark return for the period.

 

   

Correlation risks specific to the Geared Funds may arise because the Geared Funds seek to rebalance their portfolios daily to keep daily exposure consistent with their investment objectives to achieve a high degree of daily correlation with their applicable underlying benchmarks.

 

   

The use of leveraged, inverse and/or inverse leveraged positions could result in the total loss of an investor’s investment within a single day.

 

   

Intraday price/performance of Geared Funds will likely differ from the Fund’s stated daily multiple times the performance of its Benchmark for such day.

Risks Specific to the Currency Funds, Precious Metals Funds, Natural Gas Funds, and Oil Funds

 

   

The Currency Funds are subject to a number of risks impacting the value of non-U.S. currencies and the value of Financial Instruments based on such currencies. For example, European financial markets and the value of the euro have experienced significant volatility, in part related to unemployment, budget deficits and economic downturns. In addition, the euro could be abandoned in the future by countries that have already adopted its use.

 

   

The Precious Metals Funds do not hold gold or silver bullion. Rather, the Precious Metals Funds use Financial Instruments to gain exposure to gold and silver bullion. Using Financial Instruments to obtain exposure to gold or silver bullion may cause tracking error and subject the Precious Metals Funds to the effects of contango and backwardation.

 

   

The Natural Gas Funds are linked to an index comprised of natural gas futures contracts, and are not directly linked to the “spot” price of natural gas. Natural Gas futures contracts may perform very differently from the spot price of natural gas.

 

   

The Oil Funds are linked to an index comprised of crude oil futures contracts, and are not directly linked to the “spot” price of crude oil. Oil futures contracts may perform very differently from the spot price of crude oil.

 

   

In April 2020, the market for crude oil futures contracts experienced a period of “extraordinary contango” (the spot price for a commodity is significantly lower than the price of the futures contract in that commodity) that resulted in a negative price in the May 2020 WTI crude oil futures contract. If all or a significant portion of the futures contracts held by the Oil Funds at a future date were to reach a negative price, investors in any such Fund could lose their entire investment.

 

   

A number of factors may have a negative impact on the price of commodities, such as oil, gold, silver and gas, and the price of Financial Instruments based on such commodities.

 

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Risks Specific to the VIX Funds

 

   

The VIX Funds are benchmarked to a VIX Futures Index. They are not benchmarked to the VIX or actual realized volatility of the S&P 500. The Index and each Fund should be expected to perform very differently from the VIX over all periods of time.

 

   

VIX futures contracts can be highly volatile and the Funds may experience sudden and large losses when buying, selling or holding such instruments.

 

   

The level of the VIX has historically reverted to a long-term mean level and is subject to sudden and unexpected reversions to its mean. Accordingly, investors should not expect the VIX Funds to retain any appreciation in value over extended periods of time.

 

   

The CBOE can make changes to the methodology and calculation of the VIX that could affect the value of VIX futures contracts, and consequently, the value of the Index and the Funds.

Risks Related to All Funds

 

   

There is no guarantee that a Fund will achieve its investment objective or that the returns of a Fund will correlate to the returns of its index times its stated multiple. There may be circumstances that could prevent a Fund from being operated in a manner consistent with its investment objective and principal investment strategies.

 

   

The assets that the Funds invest in can be highly volatile and the Funds may experience large losses when buying, selling or holding such instruments; you can lose all of your investment within a single day.

 

   

Each Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective even during periods when the performance of the Fund’s benchmark is flat or when the benchmark is moving in a manner that may cause the value of the Fund to decline.

 

   

The value of the Shares of the Funds relates directly to the value of, and realized profit or loss from, the Financial Instruments and other assets held by that Fund. Fluctuations in the price of these Financial Instruments or assets could materially adversely affect an investment in such Fund’s Shares.

 

   

Margin requirements and position limits applicable to futures contracts and swaps may limit a Fund’s ability to achieve sufficient exposure and prevent a Fund from achieving its investment objective.

 

   

Possible illiquid markets may cause or exacerbate losses; the large size of the positions the Funds may acquire increases these risks.

 

   

The Funds may be subject to significant and sustained losses from rolling futures positions.

 

   

It may not be possible to gain exposure to the benchmarks using exchange-traded Financial Instruments in the future.

 

   

Fees are charged regardless of a Fund’s returns and may result in depletion of assets.

 

   

For the Funds linked to a benchmark, changes implemented by the benchmark provider that affect the composition and valuation of the benchmark could adversely affect the value of Fund Shares and an investment in a Funds Shares.

 

   

The particular benchmark used by a Fund may underperform other asset classes and may underperform other indices or benchmarks based upon the same underlying Reference Asset.

 

   

The Funds may be subject to counterparty risks.

 

   

Historical correlation trends between Fund benchmarks and other asset classes may not continue or may reverse, limiting or eliminating any potential diversification or other benefit from owning a Fund.

 

   

The lack of active trading markets for any of the Shares of the Funds may result in losses on investors’ investments at the time of disposition of such Shares.

 

   

A Fund may change its investment objective, benchmark or strategies and may liquidate at a time that is disadvantageous to shareholders.

 

   

Investors may be adversely affected by redemption or creation orders that are subject to postponement, suspension or rejection under certain circumstances.

 

   

The NAV per Share may not correspond to the market price per Share.

 

   

Investors may be adversely affected by an overstatement or understatement of a Fund’s NAV due to the valuation method employed or errors in the NAV calculation.

 

   

Regulatory and exchange position limits or accountability levels may restrict the creation of Creation Units and have a negative impact on operation of the Trust.

 

   

Purchases of Creation Units by Authorized Participants may be limited or suspended by the Sponsor in its sole discretion. For example, the Sponsor may limit or suspend the purchase of Creation Units if it believes doing so would help a Fund manage its portfolio, such as by allowing a Fund to comply with counterparty or position limits, or in response to significant and/or rapid increase in the size of a Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity. This may, among other things, cause Fund Shares to trade at a premium to NAV or otherwise have a negative impact on the liquidity and trading of Fund shares.

 

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The number of underlying components included in a Fund’s benchmark may impact volatility, which could adversely affect an investment in the Shares.

 

   

The liquidity of the Shares may also be affected by the withdrawal from participation of Authorized Participants, which could adversely affect the market price of the Shares.

 

   

Shareholders that are not Authorized Participants may only purchase or sell their Shares in secondary trading markets, and the conditions associated with trading in secondary markets may adversely affect investors’ investment in the Shares.

 

   

The applicable Exchange may halt trading in the Shares of a Fund which would adversely impact investors’ ability to sell Shares.

 

   

Shareholders do not have the protections associated with ownership of shares in an investment company registered under the 1940 Act.

 

   

Shareholders do not have the rights enjoyed by investors in certain other vehicles and may be adversely affected by a lack of statutory rights and by limited voting and distribution rights.

 

   

The value of the Shares will be adversely affected if the Funds are required to indemnify Wilmington Trust Company (the “Trustee”) and/or the Sponsor.

 

   

Although the Shares of the Funds are limited liability investments, certain circumstances such as bankruptcy of a Fund will increase a shareholder’s liability.

 

   

Failure of the FCMs to segregate assets may increase losses in the Funds.

 

   

A court could potentially conclude that the assets and liabilities of one Fund are not segregated from those of another Fund and may thereby potentially expose assets in a Fund to the liabilities of another Fund.

 

   

Due to the increased use of technologies, intentional and unintentional cyber-attacks pose operational and information security risks.

 

   

Trading on exchanges outside the United States is generally not subject to U.S. regulation and may result in different or diminished investor protections.

 

   

Competing claims of intellectual property rights may affect the Funds and an investment in the Shares.

 

   

Shareholders’ tax liability may exceed cash distributions on the Shares.

 

   

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) could adjust or reallocate items of income, gain, deduction, loss and credit with respect to the Shares if the IRS does not accept the assumptions or conventions utilized by the Fund.

 

   

Shareholders will receive partner information tax returns on Schedule K-1, which could increase the complexity of tax returns.

 

   

Shareholders of each Fund may recognize significant amounts of ordinary income and short-term capital gain.

 

   

A Fund could be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes, which may substantially reduce the value of Shares.

 

   

Changes in U.S. federal income tax law could affect an investment in the Shares.

 

   

The Funds and the Sponsor are subject to extensive legal and regulatory requirements. Regulatory changes or actions, including the implementation of new legislation, may alter the operations and profitability of the Funds.

 

   

Investors cannot be assured of the Sponsor’s continued services, the discontinuance of which may be detrimental to the Funds.

 

   

Natural disasters and public health disruptions, such as the COVID-19 virus (including any variants), may have a significant negative impact on the performance of each Fund; the risks and other information described herein could become outdated as a result of such events.

 

   

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the ongoing conflict between those two countries, the U.S. and other countries, as well as the European Union, have issued broad-ranging economic sanctions designed to impose severe pressure on Russia’s economy. Such sanctions, and the conflict generally, may have adverse effects on regional and global economic markets, and may result in increased volatility and could have a negative impact on the performance of a Fund and its or the liquidity and price of Fund Shares.

 

   

Public health issues, war and military conflicts (such as Russia’s continued military actions against Ukraine that started in February 2022 and the Israel-Hamas conflict and the ensuring conflict) sanctions, acts of terrorism, sustained elevated inflation, supply chain issues or other events could have a significant negative impact on global financial markets and economies.

 

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These risk factors should be read in connection with the other information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and the Funds’ Financial Statements and the related Notes to the Funds’ Financial Statements. For purposes of this section:

 

   

The term “Matching VIX Fund” refers to ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF and ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures ETF;

 

   

The term “Geared VIX Fund” refers to ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF and ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF;

 

   

The term “VIX Fund” refers to each Geared VIX Fund and each Matching VIX Fund;

 

   

The term “Geared Fund” refers to ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil, ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas, ProShares UltraShort Gold, ProShares UltraShort Silver, ProShares UltraShort Euro, ProShares UltraShort Yen, ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil, ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas, ProShares Ultra Gold, ProShares Ultra Silver, ProShares Ultra Euro and ProShares Ultra Yen, and each Geared VIX Fund;

 

   

The term “Natural Gas Fund” refers to ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas;

 

   

The term “Oil Fund” refers to ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil and ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil;

 

   

The term “Precious Metal Fund” refers to ProShares UltraShort Gold, ProShares UltraShort Silver, ProShares Ultra Gold and ProShares Ultra Silver; and

 

   

The term “Currency Fund” refers to ProShares UltraShort Euro, ProShares UltraShort Yen, ProShares Ultra Euro and ProShares Ultra Yen.

Risks Specific to the Geared Funds

In addition to the risks described elsewhere in this “Risk Factors” section, the following risks apply to the Geared Funds.

The performance of a Geared Fund for periods longer than a single day will likely differ from the Daily Target and investors holding shares for longer than a day should understand the impact of benchmark returns and volatility (how much the value of the benchmark moves up and down from day-to-day) on their holding period return.

Each of the Geared Funds is “geared” in the sense that each has an investment objective to correspond, before fees and expenses, to the one-half inverse (e.g., -0.5x), an inverse multiple (e.g., -2x), or a multiple (e.g., 1.5x, 2x), of the performance of a benchmark on a given day (referred to as the “Daily Target”). Each Geared Fund seeks investment results for a single day only, as measured from its NAV calculation time to its next NAV calculation time, and not for any other period. The return of a Geared Fund for a period longer than a single day is the result of its return for each day compounded over the period and usually will differ from one-half inverse (e.g., -0.5x), one and one-half times (1.5x), two times the inverse (-2x) or two times (2x) the return of the Geared Fund’s benchmark for the period. A Geared Fund will lose money if its benchmark’s performance is flat over time, and it is possible for a Geared Fund to lose money over time regardless of the performance of an underlying benchmark, as a result of daily rebalancing, the benchmark’s volatility and compounding. Longer holding periods, higher benchmark volatility, inverse exposure and greater leverage each affect the impact of compounding on a Geared Fund’s returns. Daily compounding of a Geared Fund’s investment returns can dramatically and adversely affect its longer-term performance during periods of high volatility. Volatility may be at least as important to a Geared Fund’s return for a period as the return of the Geared Fund’s underlying benchmark.

A Geared Fund will lose money if the Index’s performance is flat over time, and it is possible for a Geared Fund to lose money over time regardless of the performance of the Index, as a result of daily rebalancing, the Index’s volatility, compounding and other factors. Longer holding periods, higher index volatility, inverse exposure and greater leverage each affect the impact of compounding on a Geared Fund’s returns. Daily compounding of a Geared Fund’s investment returns can dramatically and adversely affect performance, especially during periods of high volatility. Volatility has a negative impact on Geared Fund performance and the volatility of the Index may be at least as important to a Geared Fund’s return for a period as the return of the Index.

 

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Each Ultra or UltraShort Fund uses leverage and should produce daily returns that are more volatile than that of its benchmark. For example, the daily return of an Ultra Fund with a 2x multiple should be approximately two times as volatile on a daily basis as the return of a fund with an objective of matching the same benchmark. The daily return of an Ultra Fund with a 1.5x multiple should be approximately one and one-half times as volatile on a daily basis as the return of a fund with an objective of matching the same benchmark. The daily return of a Short Fund is designed to return one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the return, that would be expected of a fund with an objective of matching the same benchmark. The Geared Funds are not appropriate for all investors and present different risks than other funds. The daily return of an UltraShort Fund is designed to return two times the inverse (-2x) of the return, respectively, that would be expected of a fund with an objective of matching the same benchmark. The Geared Funds that use leverage are riskier than similarly benchmarked exchange-traded funds that do not use leverage. An investor should only consider an investment in a Geared Fund if he or she understands the consequences of seeking daily leveraged, daily inverse or daily inverse leveraged investment results. Daily objective geared funds, if used properly and in conjunction with the investor’s view on the future direction and volatility of the markets, can be useful tools for investors who want to manage their exposure to various markets and market segments and who are willing to monitor and/or periodically rebalance their portfolios. Shareholders who invest in the Geared Funds should actively manage and monitor their investments, as frequently as daily.

The hypothetical examples below illustrate how daily Geared Fund returns can behave for periods longer than a single day. On each day, fund XYZ performs in line with its objective (two times (2x) the benchmark’s daily performance before fees and expenses). Notice that, in the first example (showing an overall benchmark loss for the period), over the entire seven-day period, the fund’s total return is more than two times the loss of the period return of the benchmark. For the seven-day period, benchmark XYZ lost 3.26% while fund XYZ lost 7.01% (versus -6.52% or 2 x -3.26%). In other scenarios, the return of a daily rebalanced fund could be greater than three times the benchmark’s returns.

 

     Benchmark XYZ     Fund XYZ  
     Level      Daily
Performance
    Daily
Performance
    Net Asset Value  

Start

     100.00          $ 100.00  

Day 1

     97.00        -3.00     -6.00     94.00  

Day 2

     99.91        3.00     6.00     99.64  

Day 3

     96.91        -3.00     -6.00     93.66  

Day 4

     99.82        3.00     6.00     99.28  

Day 5

     96.83        -3.00     -6.00     93.32  

Day 6

     99.73        3.00     6.00     98.92  

Day 7

     96.74        -3.00     -6.00     92.99  
     

 

 

   

 

 

   

Total Return

        -3.26     -7.01  
     

 

 

   

 

 

   

Similarly, in another example (showing an overall benchmark gain for the period), over the entire seven-day period, the fund’s total return is considerably less than double that of the period return of the benchmark. For the seven-day period, benchmark XYZ gained 2.72% while fund XYZ gained 4.86% (versus 5.44% (or 2 x 2.72%)).

 

     Benchmark XYZ     Fund XYZ  
     Level      Daily
Performance
    Daily
Performance
    Net Asset Value  

Start

     100.00          $ 100.00  

Day 1

     103.00        3.00     6.00     106.00  

Day 2

     99.91        -3.00     -6.00     99.64  

Day 3

     102.91        3.00     6.00     105.62  

Day 4

     99.82        -3.00     -6.00     99.28  

Day 5

     102.81        3.00     6.00     105.24  

Day 6

     99.73        -3.00     -6.00     98.92  

Day 7

     102.72        3.00     6.00     104.86  
     

 

 

   

 

 

   

Total Return

        2.72     4.86  
     

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

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This effect is caused by compounding, which exists in all investments. The return of a Geared Fund for a period longer than a single day is the result of its return for each day compounded over the period and usually will differ in amount, and possibly even direction, from the Geared Fund’s stated multiple times the return of the Geared Fund’s benchmark for the same period. In general, during periods of higher benchmark volatility, compounding will cause the longer term results to be less than the multiple (or inverse multiple) of the return of the benchmark. This effect becomes more pronounced as volatility increases. Conversely, in periods of lower benchmark volatility, returns over longer periods can be higher than the multiple of the return of the benchmark. Actual results for a particular period, before fees and expenses, are also dependent on the following factors: (a) the benchmark’s volatility; (b) the benchmark’s performance; (c) period of time; (d) financing rates associated with derivatives; (e) other Fund expenses; and (f) dividends or interest paid with respect to the securities in the benchmark. The examples herein illustrate the impact of two principal factors- benchmark volatility and benchmark performance – on Fund performance. Similar effects exist for the Short Fund and UltraShort Funds, and the significance of this effect is even greater for such inverse leveraged funds.

The graphs that follow illustrate this point. Each of the graphs shows a simulated hypothetical one-year performance of a benchmark compared with the performance of a Geared Fund that perfectly achieves its daily investment objective. The graphs demonstrate that, for periods greater than a single day, a Geared Fund is likely to underperform or overperform (but not match) the benchmark performance (or the inverse of the benchmark performance) times the stated multiple in the fund’s investment objective. Investors should understand the consequences of holding daily rebalanced funds for periods longer than a single day, including the impact of compounding on fund performance. Investors should consider actively monitoring and/or periodically rebalancing their portfolios (which will possibly trigger transaction costs and tax consequences) in light of their investment goals and risk tolerance. A one-year period is used solely for illustrative purposes only. Deviations from the benchmark return times the fund multiple can occur over periods as short as a single day (as measured from one day’s NAV to the next day’s NAV) and may also occur in periods shorter than a single day (when measured intraday as opposed to NAV to NAV). An investor in a Geared Fund could potentially lose the full value of their investment within a single day. See “Intraday Price Performance Risk” below for additional details.

To isolate the impact of daily leveraged, inverse or inverse leveraged exposure, these graphs assume: a) no fund expenses or transaction costs; b) borrowing/lending rates (to obtain required inverse, inverse leveraged or leveraged exposure) and cash reinvestment rates of zero percent; and c) the fund consistently maintaining perfect exposure (-0.5x, -2x, 1.5x, or 2x) as of the fund’s NAV time each day. If these assumptions were different, the fund’s performance would be different than that shown. If fund expenses, transaction costs and financing expenses greater than zero percent were included, the fund’s performance would also be different than that shown. The -0.5x and 1.5x graphs below assume a volatility rate of 73%, which is an approximate average of the five-year historical volatility rate of the most volatile benchmark referenced herein (the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index) for funds with these multiples. The -2x and 2x graphs below assume a volatility rate of 57%, which is an approximate average of the five-year historical volatility rate of the most volatile benchmark referenced herein (the Bloomberg Natural Gas Subindex) for funds with these multiples. A benchmark’s volatility rate is a statistical measure of the magnitude of fluctuations in its returns.

 

LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the index, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is flat or trendless over the year (i.e., begins and ends the year at 0%), but the Short Fund (-0.5x) is down.

 

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LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is up over the year, but the Short Fund (-0.5x) is down more than one-half the inverse of the benchmark.

 

LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is down over the year, but the Short Fund (-0.5x) is up less than one-half the inverse of the benchmark.

 

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LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the index, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is flat or trendless over the year (i.e., begins and ends the year at 0%), but the Ultra Fund (1.5x) is down.

 

LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the index, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is up over the year, but the Ultra Fund (1.5x) is up less than one and one-half times the index.

 

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LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the index, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is down over the year, but the Ultra Fund (1.5x) is down less than one and one-half times the index.

 

LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is flat or trendless over the year (i.e., provides a return of 0% over the course of the year), but the Ultra Fund (2x) and the UltraShort Fund (-2x) are both down.

 

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LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is up over the year, but the Ultra Fund (2x) is up less than two times the benchmark and the UltraShort Fund (-2x) is down less than two times the inverse of the benchmark.

 

LOGO

The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is down over the year, but the Ultra Fund (2x) is down less than two times the benchmark and the UltraShort Fund (-2x) is up less than two times the inverse of the benchmark.

 

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The historical five year average volatility of the benchmarks utilized by the Funds ranges from 7.26% to 73.04%, as set forth in the table below.

 

Index

   Identifier      Historical Five-Year Average
Volatility Rate As of
December 31, 2023
 

S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index

     SPVXSP        73.04

S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures Index

     SPVXMP        34.18

Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM

     BCBCLIT        38.09

Bloomberg Natural Gas SubindexSM

     BCOMNGTR        57.39

Bloomberg Gold SubindexSM

     BCOMGCTR        15.70

Bloomberg Silver SubindexSM

     BCOMSITR        32.15

The US dollar price of the euro

     USDEUR        7.26

The US dollar price of the Japanese yen

     USDJPY        8.68

The tables below illustrate the impact of two factors that affect a Geared Fund’s performance, benchmark volatility and benchmark return. Benchmark volatility is a statistical measure of the magnitude of fluctuations in the returns of a benchmark and is calculated as the standard deviation of the natural logarithms of one plus the benchmark return (calculated daily), multiplied by the square root of the number of trading days per year (assumed to be 252). The tables show estimated fund returns for a number of combinations of benchmark volatility and benchmark return over a one-year period. To isolate the impact of daily leveraged, inverse or inverse leveraged exposure, these graphs assume: a) no fund expenses or transaction costs; b) borrowing/lending rates of zero percent (to obtain required inverse, inverse leveraged or leveraged exposure) and cash reinvestment rates of zero percent; and c) the fund consistently maintaining perfect exposure (-0.5x, -2x, 1.5x, or 2x) as of the fund’s NAV time each day. If these assumptions were different, the fund’s performance would be different than that shown. If fund expenses, transaction costs and financing expenses were included, the fund’s performance would be different than that shown. The tables below show examples in which a Geared Fund has an investment objective to correspond, before fees and expenses, to one-half the inverse (-0.5x), two times the inverse (-2x), two times (2x), one and one-half times (1.5x) the daily performance of a benchmark. The Geared Fund that has an investment objective to correspond to two times (2x) the daily performance of a benchmark could incorrectly be expected to achieve a 20% return on a yearly basis if the benchmark return was 10%, absent the effects of compounding. However, as the tables below show, with a benchmark volatility of 40%, such a fund would return 3.1 %. In the charts below, shaded areas represent those scenarios where a geared fund with the investment objective described will outperform (i.e., return more than) the benchmark performance times the stated multiple in the fund’s investment objective; conversely areas not shaded represent those scenarios where the fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the benchmark performance times the multiple stated as the daily fund objective.

 

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Estimated Fund Return Over One Year When the Fund Objective is to Seek Daily Investment Results For a single day, Before Fees and Expenses, that Correspond to One-Half the Inverse (-0.5x) of the Daily Performance of an Index.

 

         

 

Index Volatility

 

One Year

Index

Performance

  One-Half the
Invers (-0.5x)
One Year
Index
Performance
    0%     5%     10%     15%     20%     25%     30%     35%     40%     45%     50%     55%     60%     65%     70%     75%  

-60%

    30.0     58.1     58.0     57.5     56.8     55.8     54.5     52.9     51.0     48.9     46.6     44.0     41.2     38.1     34.9     31.6     28.0

-55%

    27.5     49.1     48.9     48.5     47.8     46.9     45.6     44.1     42.4     40.4     38.2     35.7     33.1     30.2     27.2     24.0     20.7

-50%

    25.0     41.4     41.3     40.9     40.2     39.3     38.1     36.7     35.1     33.2     31.1     28.8     26.3     23.6     20.7     17.7     14.5

-45%

    22.5     34.8     34.7     34.3     33.7     32.8     31.7     30.4     28.8     27.0     25.0     22.8     20.4     17.8     15.1     12.2     9.2

-40%

    20.0     29.1     29.0     28.6     28.0     27.2     26.1     24.8     23.3     21.6     19.7     17.5     15.3     12.8     10.2     7.4     4.5

-35%

    17.5     24.0     23.9     23.6     23.0     22.2     21.2     19.9     18.5     16.8     15.0     12.9     10.7     8.4     5.9     3.2     0.4

-30%

    15.0     19.5     19.4     19.1     18.5     17.7     16.8     15.6     14.2     12.6     10.8     8.8     6.7     4.4     2.0     -0.5     -3.2

-25%

    12.5     15.5     15.4     15.0     14.5     13.8     12.8     11.6     10.3     8.7     7.0     5.1     3.1     0.9     -1.4     -3.9     -6.5

-20%

    10.0     11.8     11.7     11.4     10.9     10.1     9.2     8.1     6.8     5.3     3.6     1.8     -0.2     -2.3     -4.6     -7.0     -9.5

-15%

    7.5     8.5     8.4     8.1     7.6     6.9     6.0     4.9     3.6     2.1     0.5     -1.2     -3.2     -5.2     -7.4     -9.7     -12.2

-10%

    5.0     5.4     5.3     5.0     4.5     3.8     3.0     1.9     0.7     -0.7     -2.3     -4.0     -5.9     -7.9     -10.0     -12.3     -14.6

-5%

    2.5     2.6     2.5     2.2     1.7     1.1     0.2     -0.8     -2.0     -3.4     -4.9     -6.6     -8.4     -10.4     -12.4     -14.6     -16.9

0%

    0.0     0.0     -0.1     -0.4     -0.8     -1.5     -2.3     -3.3     -4.5     -5.8     -7.3     -8.9     -10.7     -12.6     -14.7     -16.8     -19.0

5%

    -2.5     -2.4     -2.5     -2.8     -3.2     -3.9     -4.7     -5.6     -6.8     -8.1     -9.5     -11.1     -12.9     -14.7     -16.7     -18.8     -21.0

10%

    -5.0     -4.7     -4.7     -5.0     -5.5     -6.1     -6.9     -7.8     -8.9     -10.2     -11.6     -13.2     -14.9     -16.7     -18.6     -20.7     -22.8

15%

    -7.5     -6.7     -6.8     -7.1     -7.5     -8.1     -8.9     -9.8     -10.9     -12.2     -13.6     -15.1     -16.7     -18.5     -20.4     -22.4     -24.5

20%

    -10.0     -8.7     -8.8     -9.1     -9.5     -10.1     -10.8     -11.7     -12.8     -14.0     -15.4     -16.9     -18.5     -20.2     -22.1     -24.0     -26.1

25%

    -12.5     -10.6     -10.6     -10.9     -11.3     -11.9     -12.6     -13.5     -14.6     -15.8     -17.1     -18.6     -20.1     -21.9     -23.7     -25.6     -27.6

30%

    -15.0     -12.3     -12.4     -12.6     -13.0     -13.6     -14.3     -15.2     -16.2     -17.4     -18.7     -20.1     -21.7     -23.4     -25.1     -27.0     -29.0

35%

    -17.5     -13.9     -14.0     -14.3     -14.7     -15.2     -15.9     -16.8     -17.8     -18.9     -20.2     -21.6     -23.2     -24.8     -26.5     -28.4     -30.3

40%

    -20.0     -15.5     -15.6     -15.8     -16.2     -16.7     -17.4     -18.3     -19.3     -20.4     -21.7     -23.0     -24.5     -26.2     -27.9     -29.7     -31.6

45%

    -22.5     -17.0     -17.0     -17.3     -17.7     -18.2     -18.9     -19.7     -20.7     -21.8     -23.0     -24.4     -25.9     -27.4     -29.1     -30.9     -32.7

50%

    -25.0     -18.4     -18.4     -18.7     -19.0     -19.6     -20.2     -21.1     -22.0     -23.1     -24.3     -25.7     -27.1     -28.7     -30.3     -32.1     -33.9

55%

    -27.5     -19.7     -19.8     -20.0     -20.4     -20.9     -21.5     -22.3     -23.3     -24.4     -25.6     -26.9     -28.3     -29.8     -31.4     -33.2     -35.0

60%

    -30.0     -20.9     -21.0     -21.2     -21.6     -22.1     -22.8     -23.6     -24.5     -25.5     -26.7     -28.0     -29.4     -30.9     -32.5     -34.2     -36.0

Estimated Fund Return Over One Year When the Fund Objective is to Seek Daily Investment Results, Before Fees and Expenses, that Correspond to Two Times the Inverse (-2x) of the Daily Performance of a Benchmark.

 

         

 

Benchmark Volatility

 

One Year

Benchmark

Performance

  Two Times
Inverse(-2x)
of One Year
Benchmark
Performance
    0%     5%     10%     15%     20%     25%     30%     35%     40%     45%     50%     55%     60%     65%     70%  

-60%

    120     525.0     520.3     506.5     484.2     454.3     418.1     377.1     332.8     286.7     240.4     195.2     152.2     112.2     76.0     43.7

-55%

    110     393.8     390.1     379.2     361.6     338.0     309.4     277.0     242.0     205.6     169.0     133.3     99.3     67.7     39.0     13.5

-50%

    100     300.0     297.0     288.2     273.9     254.8     231.6     205.4     177.0     147.5     117.9     88.9     61.4     35.8     12.6     -8.0

-45%

    90     230.6     228.1     220.8     209.0     193.2     174.1     152.4     128.9     104.6     80.1     56.2     33.4     12.3     -6.9     -24.0

-40%

    80     177.8     175.7     169.6     159.6     146.4     130.3     112.0     92.4     71.9     51.3     31.2     12.1     -5.7     -21.8     -36.1

-35%

    70     136.7     134.9     129.7     121.2     109.9     96.2     80.7     63.9     46.5     28.9     11.8     -4.5     -19.6     -33.4     -45.6

-30%

    60     104.1     102.6     98.1     90.8     81.0     69.2     55.8     41.3     26.3     11.2     -3.6     -17.6     -30.7     -42.5     -53.1

-25%

    50     77.8     76.4     72.5     66.2     57.7     47.4     35.7     23.1     10.0     -3.2     -16.0     -28.3     -39.6     -49.9     -59.1

-20%

    40     56.3     55.1     51.6     46.1     38.6     29.5     19.3     8.2     -3.3     -14.9     -26.2     -36.9     -46.9     -56.0     -64.1

-15%

    30     38.4     37.4     34.3     29.4     22.8     14.7     5.7     -4.2     -14.4     -24.6     -34.6     -44.1     -53.0     -61.0     -68.2

-10%

    20     23.5     22.5     19.8     15.4     9.5     2.3     -5.8     -14.5     -23.6     -32.8     -41.7     -50.2     -58.1     -65.2     -71.6

-5%

    10     10.8     10.0     7.5     3.6     -1.7     -8.1     -15.4     -23.3     -31.4     -39.6     -47.7     -55.3     -62.4     -68.8     -74.5

0%

    0     0.0     -0.7     -3.0     -6.5     -11.3     -17.1     -23.7     -30.8     -38.1     -45.5     -52.8     -59.6     -66.0     -71.8     -77.0

5%

    -10     -9.3     -10.0     -12.0     -15.2     -19.6     -24.8     -30.8     -37.2     -43.9     -50.6     -57.2     -63.4     -69.2     -74.5     -79.1

10%

    -20     -17.4     -18.0     -19.8     -22.7     -26.7     -31.5     -36.9     -42.8     -48.9     -55.0     -61.0     -66.7     -71.9     -76.7     -81.0

15%

    -30     -24.4     -25.0     -26.6     -29.3     -32.9     -37.3     -42.3     -47.6     -53.2     -58.8     -64.3     -69.5     -74.3     -78.7     -82.6

20%

    -40     -30.6     -31.1     -32.6     -35.1     -38.4     -42.4     -47.0     -51.9     -57.0     -62.2     -67.2     -72.0     -76.4     -80.4     -84.0

25%

    -50     -36.0     -36.5     -37.9     -40.2     -43.2     -46.9     -51.1     -55.7     -60.4     -65.1     -69.8     -74.2     -78.3     -82.0     -85.3

30%

    -60     -40.8     -41.3     -42.6     -44.7     -47.5     -50.9     -54.8     -59.0     -63.4     -67.8     -72.0     -76.1     -79.9     -83.3     -86.4

35%

    -70     -45.1     -45.5     -46.8     -48.7     -51.3     -54.5     -58.1     -62.0     -66.0     -70.1     -74.1     -77.9     -81.4     -84.6     -87.4

40%

    -80     -49.0     -49.4     -50.5     -52.3     -54.7     -57.7     -61.1     -64.7     -68.4     -72.2     -75.9     -79.4     -82.7     -85.6     -88.3

45%

    -90     -52.4     -52.8     -53.8     -55.5     -57.8     -60.6     -63.7     -67.1     -70.6     -74.1     -77.5     -80.8     -83.8     -86.6     -89.1

50%

    -100     -55.6     -55.9     -56.9     -58.5     -60.6     -63.2     -66.1     -69.2     -72.5     -75.8     -79.0     -82.1     -84.9     -87.5     -89.8

55%

    -110     -58.4     -58.7     -59.6     -61.1     -63.1     -65.5     -68.2     -71.2     -74.2     -77.3     -80.3     -83.2     -85.9     -88.3     -90.4

60%

    -120     -60.9     -61.2     -62.1     -63.5     -65.4     -67.6     -70.2     -73.0     -75.8     -78.7     -81.5     -84.2     -86.7     -89.0     -91.0

 

31


Table of Contents

Estimated Fund Return Over One Year When the Fund Objective is to Seek Daily Investment Results For a single day, Before Fees and Expenses, that Correspond to One and One-Half Times (1.5x) the Daily Performance of an Index.

 

          Index Volatility  

One Year

Index

Performance

  One and
One-Half
Times (1.5x)
One Year
Index
Performance
    0%     5%     10%     15%     20%     25%     30%     35%     40%     45%     50%     55%     60%     65%     70%     75%  

-60%

    -90.0     -74.7     -74.7     -74.8     -74.9     -75.1     -75.3     -75.5     -75.8     -76.2     -76.6     -77.0     -77.4     -77.9     -78.4     -78.9     -79.5

-55%

    -82.5     -69.8     -69.8     -69.9     -70.1     -70.3     -70.5     -70.8     -71.2     -71.6     -72.0     -72.5     -73.1     -73.6     -74.2     -74.9     -75.6

-50%

    -75.0     -64.6     -64.7     -64.8     -64.9     -65.2     -65.5     -65.8     -66.2     -66.7     -67.2     -67.8     -68.4     -69.1     -69.8     -70.6     -71.4

-45%

    -67.5     -59.2     -59.2     -59.4     -59.6     -59.8     -60.2     -60.6     -61.0     -61.6     -62.2     -62.9     -63.6     -64.4     -65.2     -66.1     -67.0

-40%

    -60.0     -53.5     -53.6     -53.7     -53.9     -54.2     -54.6     -55.1     -55.6     -56.2     -56.9     -57.7     -58.5     -59.4     -60.3     -61.3     -62.4

-35%

    -52.5     -47.6     -47.6     -47.8     -48.0     -48.4     -48.8     -49.3     -49.9     -50.6     -51.4     -52.3     -53.2     -54.2     -55.3     -56.4     -57.6

-30%

    -45.0     -41.4     -41.5     -41.7     -41.9     -42.3     -42.8     -43.4     -44.1     -44.8     -45.7     -46.7     -47.7     -48.8     -50.0     -51.3     -52.6

-25%

    -37.5     -35.0     -35.1     -35.3     -35.6     -36.0     -36.6     -37.2     -38.0     -38.8     -39.8     -40.9     -42.0     -43.3     -44.6     -46.0     -47.4

-20%

    -30.0     -28.4     -28.5     -28.7     -29.0     -29.5     -30.1     -30.8     -31.7     -32.6     -33.7     -34.8     -36.1     -37.5     -38.9     -40.5     -42.1

-15%

    -22.5     -21.6     -21.7     -21.9     -22.3     -22.8     -23.4     -24.2     -25.2     -26.2     -27.4     -28.6     -30.0     -31.5     -33.1     -34.8     -36.5

-10%

    -15.0     -14.6     -14.7     -14.9     -15.3     -15.9     -16.6     -17.5     -18.5     -19.6     -20.9     -22.3     -23.8     -25.4     -27.1     -29.0     -30.9

-5%

    -7.5     -7.4     -7.5     -7.8     -8.2     -8.8     -9.6     -10.5     -11.6     -12.8     -14.2     -15.7     -17.3     -19.1     -21.0     -22.9     -25.0

0%

    0.0     0.0     -0.1     -0.4     -0.8     -1.5     -2.3     -3.3     -4.5     -5.8     -7.3     -8.9     -10.7     -12.6     -14.7     -16.8     -19.0

5%

    7.5     7.6     7.5     7.2     6.7     6.0     5.1     4.0     2.8     1.3     -0.3     -2.0     -3.9     -6.0     -8.2     -10.5     -12.9

10%

    15.0     15.4     15.3     14.9     14.4     13.7     12.7     11.5     10.2     8.7     6.9     5.0     3.0     0.8     -1.5     -4.0     -6.6

15%

    22.5     23.3     23.2     22.9     22.3     21.5     20.5     19.2     17.8     16.1     14.3     12.3     10.1     7.7     5.3     2.6     -0.1

20%

    30.0     31.5     31.3     31.0     30.3     29.5     28.4     27.1     25.6     23.8     21.8     19.7     17.4     14.9     12.2     9.4     6.5

25%

    37.5     39.8     39.6     39.2     38.6     37.7     36.5     35.1     33.5     31.6     29.5     27.2     24.8     22.1     19.3     16.3     13.2

30%

    45.0     48.2     48.1     47.7     47.0     46.0     44.8     43.3     41.6     39.6     37.4     35.0     32.3     29.5     26.5     23.3     20.0

35%

    52.5     56.9     56.7     56.3     55.5     54.5     53.2     51.7     49.8     47.7     45.4     42.8     40.0     37.0     33.9     30.5     27.0

40%

    60.0     65.7     65.5     65.0     64.3     63.2     61.8     60.2     58.2     56.0     53.5     50.8     47.9     44.7     41.4     37.8     34.1

45%

    67.5     74.6     74.4     73.9     73.1     72.0     70.6     68.8     66.8     64.4     61.8     59.0     55.9     52.6     49.0     45.3     41.4

50%

    75.0     83.7     83.5     83.0     82.2     81.0     79.5     77.6     75.5     73.0     70.3     67.3     64.0     60.5     56.8     52.9     48.8

55%

    82.5     93.0     92.8     92.3     91.4     90.1     88.5     86.6     84.3     81.7     78.9     75.7     72.3     68.6     64.7     60.6     56.3

60%

    90.0     102.4     102.2     101.6     100.7     99.4     97.7     95.7     93.3     90.6     87.6     84.3     80.7     76.8     72.7     68.4     63.9

Estimated Fund Return Over One Year When the Fund Objective is to Seek Daily Investment Results, Before Fees and Expenses, that Correspond to Two Times (2x) the Daily Performance of a Benchmark.

 

          Benchmark Volatility  

One Year

Benchmark

Performance

  Two Times
(2x) One
Year
Benchmark
Performance
    0%     5%     10%     15%     20%     25%     30%     35%     40%     45%     50%     55%     60%     65%     70%  

-60%

    -120     -84.0     -84.0     -84.2     -84.4     -84.6     -85.0     -85.4     -85.8     -86.4     -86.9     -87.5     -88.2     -88.8     -89.5     -90.2

-55%

    -110     -79.8     -79.8     -80.0     -80.2     -80.5     -81.0     -81.5     -82.1     -82.7     -83.5     -84.2     -85.0     -85.9     -86.7     -87.6

-50%

    -100     -75.0     -75.1     -75.2     -75.6     -76.0     -76.5     -77.2     -77.9     -78.7     -79.6     -80.5     -81.5     -82.6     -83.6     -84.7

-45%

    -90     -69.8     -69.8     -70.1     -70.4     -70.9     -71.6     -72.4     -73.2     -74.2     -75.3     -76.4     -77.6     -78.9     -80.2     -81.5

-40%

    -80     -64.0     -64.1     -64.4     -64.8     -65.4     -66.2     -67.1     -68.2     -69.3     -70.6     -72.0     -73.4     -74.9     -76.4     -77.9

-35%

    -70     -57.8     -57.9     -58.2     -58.7     -59.4     -60.3     -61.4     -62.6     -64.0     -65.5     -67.1     -68.8     -70.5     -72.3     -74.1

-30%

    -60     -51.0     -51.1     -51.5     -52.1     -52.9     -54.0     -55.2     -56.6     -58.2     -60.0     -61.8     -63.8     -65.8     -67.9     -70.0

-25%

    -50     -43.8     -43.9     -44.3     -45.0     -46.0     -47.2     -48.6     -50.2     -52.1     -54.1     -56.2     -58.4     -60.8     -63.1     -65.5

-20%

    -40     -36.0     -36.2     -36.6     -37.4     -38.5     -39.9     -41.5     -43.4     -45.5     -47.7     -50.2     -52.7     -55.3     -58.1     -60.8

-15%

    -30     -27.8     -27.9     -28.5     -29.4     -30.6     -32.1     -34.0     -36.1     -38.4     -41.0     -43.7     -46.6     -49.6     -52.6     -55.7

-10%

    -20     -19.0     -19.2     -19.8     -20.8     -22.2     -23.9     -26.0     -28.3     -31.0     -33.8     -36.9     -40.1     -43.5     -46.9     -50.4

-5%

    -10     -9.8     -10.0     -10.6     -11.8     -13.3     -15.2     -17.5     -20.2     -23.1     -26.3     -29.7     -33.3     -37.0     -40.8     -44.7

0%

    0     0.0     -0.2     -1.0     -2.2     -3.9     -6.1     -8.6     -11.5     -14.8     -18.3     -22.1     -26.1     -30.2     -34.5     -38.7

5%

    10     10.3     10.0     9.2     7.8     5.9     3.6     0.8     -2.5     -6.1     -10.0     -14.1     -18.5     -23.1     -27.7     -32.5

10%

    20     21.0     20.7     19.8     18.3     16.3     13.7     10.6     7.0     3.1     -1.2     -5.8     -10.6     -15.6     -20.7     -25.9

15%

    30     32.3     31.9     30.9     29.3     27.1     24.2     20.9     17.0     12.7     8.0     3.0     -2.3     -7.7     -13.3     -19.0

20%

    40     44.0     43.6     42.6     40.8     38.4     35.3     31.6     27.4     22.7     17.6     12.1     6.4     0.5     -5.6     -11.8

25%

    50     56.3     55.9     54.7     52.8     50.1     46.8     42.8     38.2     33.1     27.6     21.7     15.5     9.0     2.4     -4.3

30%

    60     69.0     68.6     67.3     65.2     62.4     58.8     54.5     49.5     44.0     38.0     31.6     24.9     17.9     10.8     3.5

35%

    70     82.3     81.8     80.4     78.2     75.1     71.2     66.6     61.2     55.3     48.8     41.9     34.7     27.2     19.4     11.7

40%

    80     96.0     95.5     94.0     91.6     88.3     84.1     79.1     73.4     67.0     60.1     52.6     44.8     36.7     28.5     20.1

45%

    90     110.3     109.7     108.2     105.6     102.0     97.5     92.2     86.0     79.2     71.7     63.7     55.4     46.7     37.8     28.8

50%

    100     125.0     124.4     122.8     120.0     116.2     111.4     105.6     99.1     91.7     83.8     75.2     66.3     57.0     47.5     37.8

55%

    110     140.3     139.7     137.9     134.9     130.8     125.7     119.6     112.6     104.7     96.2     87.1     77.5     67.6     57.5     47.2

60%

    120     156.0     155.4     153.5     150.3     146.0     140.5     134.0     126.5     118.1     109.1     99.4     89.2     78.6     67.8     56.8

 

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The foregoing tables are intended to isolate the effect of benchmark volatility and benchmark performance on the return of inverse, inverse leveraged or leveraged funds. The Geared Funds’ actual returns may be significantly greater or less than the returns shown above as a result of any of the factors discussed above or under the below risk factor describing correlation risks.

Correlation and Performance Risks Specific to the Geared Funds.

A number of factors may affect a Geared Fund’s ability to achieve a high correlation with its benchmark, and there is no guarantee that a Geared Fund will achieve a high degree of correlation Failure to achieve a high degree of correlation may prevent a Geared Fund from achieving its investment objective, and the percentage change of the Geared Fund’s NAV each day may differ, perhaps significantly in amount, and possibly even direction from its Daily Target.

Factors that may affect a Geared Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective include: (1) the Sponsor’s ability to purchase and sell Financial Instruments in a manner that correlates to a Fund’s objective, including the Sponsor’s ability to enter into new positions and contracts to replace exposure that has been reduced or terminated by a counterparty or otherwise; (2) an imperfect correlation between the performance of the Financial Instruments held by a Fund and the performance of the applicable benchmark; (3) bid-ask spreads on such Financial Instruments; (4) fees, expenses, transaction costs, financing costs and margin requirements associated with the use of Financial Instruments and commission costs; (5) holding or trading Financial Instruments in a market that has become illiquid or disrupted; (6) a Fund’s Share prices being rounded to the nearest cent and/or valuation methodologies; (7) changes to a benchmark that are not disseminated in advance; (8) the need to conform a Fund’s portfolio holdings to comply with investment restrictions or policies, position limits and accountability levels, and regulatory or tax law requirements; (9) early or unanticipated closings of the markets on which the holdings of a Fund trade, limiting or preventing the Fund from executing intended portfolio transactions; (10) accounting standards; (11) differences caused by a Fund obtaining exposure to only a representative sample of the components of a benchmark, overweighting or underweighting certain components of a benchmark or obtaining exposure to assets that are not included in a benchmark; (12) large movements of assets into and/or out of a Fund, particularly late in the day; (13) significant and/or rapid increases in the size of the Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity that cause the Fund to approach or reach position or accountability limits or other portfolio limits; and (14) events such as natural disasters (including disease, epidemics and pandemics) that can be highly disruptive to economies, markets and companies including, but not limited to, the Sponsor and third party service providers.

In order to achieve a high degree of correlation with their respective benchmarks, the Geared Funds seek to rebalance their portfolios daily to keep exposure consistent with their respective investment objectives. Being materially under- or overexposed to the benchmark may prevent a Geared Fund from achieving a high degree of correlation with its benchmark and may expose the Geared Fund to greater leverage risk.

Market disruptions or closures, large movements of assets into or out of the Geared Funds, regulatory restrictions, market volatility, illiquidity, margin requirements, accountability levels, position limits, and daily price fluctuation limits set forth by the exchanges and other factors will adversely affect such Geared Funds’ ability to adjust exposure to requisite levels. The target amount of a Fund’s portfolio exposure may be impacted by changes to the value of its benchmark each day. The target amount of portfolio exposure is impacted dynamically by a benchmark’s movements, including intraday movements. Because of this, it is unlikely that a Geared Fund will have perfect exposure during the day or at the end of each day and the likelihood of being materially under- or overexposed is higher on days when its benchmark is volatile, particularly when the benchmark is volatile at or near the close of the trading day.

The time and manner in which a Geared Fund rebalances its portfolio may vary from day to day at the sole discretion of the Sponsor, depending upon market conditions and other circumstances. If for any reason a Geared Fund is unable to rebalance all or a portion of its portfolio, or if all or a portion of the portfolio is rebalanced incorrectly, the Fund’s investment exposure may not be consistent with the Fund’s investment objective. In these instances, the Geared Fund may have investment exposure to its benchmark that is significantly greater or less than its stated multiple. As a result, the Geared Fund may be more or less exposed to leverage risk than if it had been properly rebalanced and may not achieve its investment objective. Unlike other funds that do not rebalance their portfolios as frequently, each Geared Fund may be subject to increased trading costs associated with daily portfolio rebalancings.

 

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Intraday Price Performance Risk.

Each Geared Fund is typically rebalanced at or about the time of its NAV calculation time (which may be other than at the close of the U.S. equity markets). As such, the intraday position of the Geared Fund will generally be different from the Geared Fund’s stated daily investment objective (i.e., -0.5x, -2x, 1.5x, or 2x). Intraday price performance of the Geared Funds will likely differ from the Fund’s stated daily multiple times the performance of the Benchmark for such day.

The use of leveraged, inverse and/or inverse leveraged positions could result in the total loss of an investor’s investment.

Each of the Geared Funds utilize leverage in seeking to achieve its respective investment objective and will lose more money in market environments adverse to its Daily Target than funds that do not employ leverage. The use of leveraged and/or inverse leveraged positions could result in the total loss of an investor’s investment, even within a single day. Even if held for only a single day, the Fund is highly vulnerable to sudden large changes in the daily movement of the Index. The use of leverage increases the volatility of your returns. The cost of obtaining leverage will lower your returns.

For example, because the Ultra Funds and the UltraShort Funds offered hereby include a two times (2x) or a two times inverse (-2x) multiplier, a single-day movement in the benchmark for one of these Funds approaching 50% at any point in the day could result in the total loss or almost total loss of an investment in such Fund if that movement is contrary to the investment objective of the Fund. This would be the case with downward single-day or intraday movements in the underlying benchmark of an Ultra Fund or upward single day or intraday movements in the benchmark of an UltraShort Fund, even if the underlying benchmark maintains a level greater than zero at all times and even if the benchmark subsequently moves in an opposite direction, eliminating all or a portion of the prior adverse movement. It is not possible to predict when sudden large changes in the daily movement in an Index may occur.

A number of factors may have a negative impact on the price of commodities, such as oil, gold, silver and natural gas, and the price of Financial Instruments based on such commodities.

With regard to the Natural Gas Funds, the Precious Metals Funds and the Oil Funds, a number of factors may affect the price of these commodities and, in turn, the Financial Instruments and other assets, if any, owned by such a Fund, including, but not limited to:

 

   

Significant increases or decreases in the available supply of a physical commodity due to natural, technological, or other factors. Natural factors would include depletion of known cost-effective sources for a commodity or the impact of severe weather or other natural events on the ability to produce or distribute the commodity. Technological factors, such as increases in availability created by new or improved extraction, refining and processing equipment and methods or decreases caused by failure or unavailability of major refining and processing equipment (for example, shutting down or constructing natural gas processing plants), also materially influence the supply of the commodity. General economic conditions in the world or in a major region, such as population growth rates, periods of civil unrest, government austerity programs, or currency exchange rate fluctuations may affect prices of underlying commodities.

 

   

The exploration and production of commodities are uncertain processes with many risks. The cost of extraction, completing and operating wells / mines is often uncertain, and a number of factors can delay or prevent operations or production of commodities, including: (1) unexpected extraction or drilling conditions; (2) pressure or irregularities in formations; (3) equipment failures or repairs; (4) fires or other accidents; (5) adverse weather conditions; (6) pipeline ruptures, spills or other supply disruptions; and (7) shortages or delays in the availability of extraction delivery equipment.

 

   

In regard to the Oil Funds, the exploration and production of crude oil are uncertain processes with many risks. The cost of drilling, completing and operating wells for crude oil is often uncertain, and a number of factors can delay or prevent operations or production of crude oil, including (1) unexpected drilling conditions, (2) pressure or irregularities in formations, (3) equipment failures or repairs, (4) fires or other accidents, (5) adverse weather conditions, (6) pipeline ruptures, spills or other supply disruptions, and (7) shortages or delays in the availability of extraction or delivery equipment.

 

   

Significant increases or decreases in the demand for a physical commodity due to natural, technological or other factors. Natural factors would include such events as unusual climatological or health conditions (such as disease or pandemics) impacting the demand for commodities. Technological or other factors may include such developments as substitutes or new uses for particular commodities or changes in the demand for particular commodities. General economic conditions in the world or in a major region, such as population growth rates, periods of civil unrest, government austerity programs, or currency exchange rate fluctuations may affect prices of underlying commodities. For example, gold and silver are used in a wide range of industrial applications and demand for gold and silver is driven by, among other things, demand for jewelry. An economic downturn could have a negative impact on gold and silver demand and, consequently, their prices.

 

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A significant change in the attitude of speculators and investors towards a commodity or in the commodity hedging activities of commodity producers. Should the speculative community take a negative or positive view towards any given commodity, or if there is an increase or decrease in the level of hedge activity of commodity producing companies, countries and/or organizations, such action could cause a change in world prices of any given commodity.

 

   

Large purchases or sales of physical commodities by the official sector. Governments and large institutions have large commodities holdings or may establish major commodities positions. For example, a significant portion of the aggregate world precious metals holdings is owned by governments, central banks and related institutions. Similarly, nations with centralized or nationalized energy production organizations may control large physical quantities of certain commodities. The purchase or sale by one of these institutions in large amounts could potentially cause a change in prices for that commodity.

 

   

With regard to the Oil Funds, nations with centralized or nationalized oil production and organizations such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) control large physical qualities of crude oil. The purchase or sale by one of these institutions in large amounts could potentially cause a change in prices for that commodity. Tension between the governments of the United States and oil exporting nations, civil unrest and sabotage, the ability of members of OPEC to agree upon and maintain oil prices and production levels, and fluctuations in the reserve capacity of crude oil could impact future oil prices.

 

   

Political activity such as the adoption of changes to legislation, imposition of regulations or entry into trade treaties, as well as political disruptions caused by societal breakdown, insurrection, terrorism, pandemics, sabotage and/or war may greatly influence commodities prices.

 

   

With regard to the Natural Gas Funds, the demand for natural gas correlates closely with general economic growth rates. The occurrence of recessions or other periods of low or negative economic growth will typically have a direct adverse impact on natural gas demand and natural gas prices. The supply and demand for natural gas may also be impacted by changes in interest rates, inflation, and other local or regional weather and market conditions, as well as by the development of alternative energy sources.

 

   

The demand for natural gas has traditionally been cyclical, with higher demand during winter months and lower demand during summer months. Natural gas prices are subject to volatile, sudden, unpredictable and/or temporary price movements over short periods of time.

 

   

The recent proliferation of commodity-linked products and their unknown effect on the commodity markets.

 

   

With regard to the Oil and Natural Gas Funds, competition from clean power companies, fluctuations in the supply and demand of alternative energy fuels, energy conservation, changes in consumer preferences regarding the use of renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels, and tax and other government regulations can significantly affect the prices of oil and natural gas.

 

   

The prices, supply and demand for gold and silver may also be impacted by changes in interest rates, inflation, and other local or regional market conditions, as well as by investor confidence. There can be no assurance that either gold or silver will maintain its long-term value in terms of future purchasing power. Gold and silver prices are volatile and subject to sudden, and unpredictable price movements, including reversals. Gold and silver markets also have historically experienced extended periods of flat or declining prices.

Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the value of the Funds. These factors interrelate in complex ways, and the effect of one factor on the market value of a Fund may offset or enhance the effect of another factor.

Risks Specific to the Currency Funds.

A number of factors may have a negative impact on the value of non-U.S. currencies and the value of Financial Instruments based on such currencies.

A number of factors may affect the value of non-U.S. currencies or the U.S. dollar and, in turn, Financial Instruments based on such non-U.S. currencies or the U.S. dollar. These factors include:

 

   

Natural or environmental disasters and widespread disease, including public health disruptions, pandemics and epidemics (for example COVID-19);

 

   

Debt level and trade deficit of the relevant foreign countries;

 

   

Inflation rates of the United States and the relevant foreign countries and investors’ expectations concerning inflation rates;

 

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Interest rates of the United States and the relevant foreign countries and investors’ expectations concerning interest rates;

 

   

Investment and trading activities of mutual funds, hedge funds and other market participants;

 

   

Global or regional political, economic or financial events and situations;

 

   

Sovereign action to set or restrict currency conversion;

 

   

Monetary policies and other related activities of central banks within the U.S. and other relevant non-U.S. markets;

 

   

Overall growth and performance of the economies of the relevant countries; and

 

   

Non-U.S. financial markets may be closed on a day when U.S. domestic markets are open for trading. As a result, liquidity and/or pricing may be affected by the absence of trading in a specific currency.

In periods of financial turmoil, capital can move quickly out of countries or geographic regions that are perceived to be more vulnerable to the effects of the crisis than other countries or geographic regions, with sudden and severely adverse consequences to the currencies of those countries or geographic regions. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the value of a Currency Fund. These factors interrelate in complex ways, and the effect of one factor on the market value of a Currency Fund may offset or enhance the effect of another factor. All of these factors are, in turn, sensitive to the monetary, fiscal and trade policies pursued by the relevant countries and those of other countries important to international trade and finance. In addition, information relating to non-U.S. countries or currencies may not be as well-known or as rapidly or thoroughly reported as information regarding the U.S. or the U.S. dollar.

The value of the Shares of the VIX Futures Fund relates directly to the value of, and realized gain or loss from the Financial Instruments and other assets held by the Fund. Fluctuations in the price of these Financial Instruments or assets could materially adversely affect an investment in Shares of the VIX Futures Fund.

Several factors may affect the price and/or liquidity of VIX futures contracts and other assets, if any, owned by the VIX Futures Fund, including, but not limited to:

 

   

Prevailing market prices and forward volatility levels of the U.S. stock markets, the S&P 500, the equity securities included in the S&P 500 and prevailing market prices of options on the S&P 500, the VIX, options on the VIX, the relevant VIX futures contracts, or any other financial instruments related to the S&P 500 and the VIX or VIX futures contracts;

 

   

Interest rates, and investors’ expectations concerning interest rates; Inflation rates and investors’ expectations concerning inflation rates;

 

   

Economic, financial, political, regulatory, geographical, judicial and other events that affect the level of the Mid-Term VIX Futures Index or the market price or forward volatility of the U.S. stock markets, the equity securities included in the S&P 500, the S&P 500, the VIX or the relevant futures or option contracts on the VIX;

 

   

Supply and demand as well as hedging activities in the listed and OTC equity derivatives markets;

 

   

The level of margin requirements;

 

   

The position limits imposed by futures exchanges and any position or risk limits imposed by FCMs and swap counterparties;

 

   

Disruptions in trading of the S&P 500, futures contracts on the S&P 500 or options on the S&P 500; and

 

   

The level of contango or backwardation in the VIX futures contract market.

These factors interrelate in complex ways, and the effect of one factor on the market value of the VIX Futures Fund may offset or enhance the effect of another factor.

The Natural Gas Funds are linked to an index comprised of natural gas futures contracts, and are not directly linked to the “spot” price of natural gas. Natural Gas futures contracts may perform very differently from the spot price of natural gas.

The benchmark used by each Natural Gas Fund is intended to reflect the performance of the prices of futures contracts on natural gas. The Natural Gas Funds are not directly linked to the “spot” price of natural gas. The price of a futures contract reflects the expected value of the commodity upon delivery in the future whereas the spot price of a commodity reflects the immediate delivery value of the commodity. While prices of swaps, futures contracts and other derivatives contracts on natural gas are related to the prices of an underlying cash market (i.e., the “spot market”), they have typically performed very differently from, and commonly underperform, the spot price of natural gas. This is primarily due to a variety of factors including the current (and future) expectations of storage costs, geopolitical risks, interest charges incurred to finance the purchase of the commodity, and expectations concerning supply and demand for the commodity. It is possible that during certain time periods the performance of different derivatives contracts may be substantially lower or higher than cash market prices for natural gas due to differences in derivatives contract terms or as supply, demand or other economic or regulatory factors become more pronounced in either the cash or derivatives markets. As a result, the Natural Gas Funds may underperform a similar investment that is linked to the “spot” price of natural gas.

 

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The Oil Funds are linked to an index comprised of crude oil futures contracts, and are not directly linked to the “spot” price of crude oil. Oil futures contracts may perform very differently from the spot price of crude oil.

The benchmark used by each Oil Fund, the Bloomberg Commodity Balanced WTI Crude Oil IndexSM (the “Oil Index”), is intended to reflect the performance of crude oil as measured by the price of West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”), sweet light crude oil futures contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (the “NYMEX”). The Oil Funds are not directly linked to the “spot” price of crude oil. The price of a futures contract reflects the expected value of the commodity upon delivery in the future, whereas the spot price of a commodity reflects the immediate delivery values of the commodity. While prices of futures contracts and other derivatives contracts on crude oil are related to the prices of an underlying cash market (i.e., the “spot” market), they may not be well correlated and have typically performed very differently from, and commonly underperform, the spot price of crude oil due to a variety of factors including the current (and future) expectations of storage costs, geopolitical risks, interest charges incurred to finance the purchase of the commodity, and expectations concerning supply and demand for the commodity. It is possible that during certain time periods derivatives contract prices may not be correlated to spot market prices and may be substantially lower or higher than spot market prices for oil due to differences in derivatives contract terms or as supply, demand or other economic or regulatory factors become more pronounced in either the spot or derivatives markets. As a result, the Oil Funds may underperform a similar investment that is linked to the “spot” price of crude oil.

Risks Specific to ProShares Ultra Euro and ProShares UltraShort Euro

The European financial markets and the value of the euro have experienced significant volatility, in part related to unemployment, budget deficits and economic downturns. In addition, several member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (the “EMU”) of the European Union (the “EU”) have experienced credit rating downgrades, rising government debt levels and, for certain EU member countries (including Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy), weaknesses in sovereign debt. Following a referendum in June 2016, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) formally exited the EU on January 31, 2020 (known as “Brexit”). During a transition period where the UK remained subject to EU rules but had no role in the EU law-making process, the UK and EU representatives negotiated the precise terms of their future relationship, reaching an agreement on December 24, 2020. On December 31, 2020, the transition period concluded and the terms of the new agreement went into effect on January 1, 2021. The complete impact of the new agreement, as well as the full scope and nature of the consequences of the exit, are not at this time known and are unlikely to be known for a significant period of time, but may impact the future direction of the value of non-U.S. currencies or the U.S. dollar and, in turn, affect the value of the Currency Funds. In addition, these uncertainties could increase volatility in the market prices of non-U.S. currencies or the U.S. dollar and, in turn, affect the value of the Currency Funds. The effects of Brexit will depend on agreements the UK negotiates to retain access to EU markets either during a transitional period or more permanently. Brexit could lead to legal and tax uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the UK determines which EU laws to replace and replicate.

In addition, it is possible that the euro could be abandoned in the future by countries that have already adopted its use. If this were to occur, the value of the euro could fluctuate drastically. Increased volatility related to the euro could exacerbate the effects of daily compounding on the Ultra Euro Fund’s and the UltraShort Euro Fund’s performance over periods longer than a single day. If the euro is abandoned by all or a significant number of countries that have adopted its use, the Ultra Euro Fund and the UltraShort Euro Fund may be forced to switch benchmarks or terminate.

Risks Specific to the VIX Funds

In addition to the risks described elsewhere in this “Risk Factors” section, the following risks apply to the VIX Funds.

The VIX Funds are benchmarked to a VIX Futures Index. They are not benchmarked to the VIX or actual realized volatility of the S&P 500.

The level of each VIX Futures Index is based on the value of the relevant VIX futures contracts based on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated Volatility Index (the “VIX”) comprising the applicable VIX Futures Index. Each VIX Fund is benchmarked to its respective VIX Futures Index. The VIX Funds are not linked to the VIX (which is a measure of implied volatility of the S&P 500 over the next 30 days derived from option prices), to realized volatility of the S&P 500 or to the options that underlie the VIX calculation. Each VIX Fund should be expected to perform very differently from the VIX over all periods of time. In many cases, the VIX Futures Indexes will significantly underperform the VIX.

VIX futures contracts are not directly based on a tradable underlying asset.

The VIX is not directly investable. The settlement price at maturity of VIX futures contracts are based on the calculation that determines the level of the VIX. As a result, the behavior of the VIX futures contracts may be different from traditional futures contracts whose settlement price is based on a specific tradable asset.

 

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The level of the VIX has historically reverted to a long-term mean level and is subject to the risk associated with reversion to its mean. Accordingly, investors should not expect the VIX Funds to retain any appreciation in value over extended periods of time.

In the past, the level of the VIX has typically reverted over the longer term to a historical mean, and its absolute level has been constrained within a band. As such, the potential upside of long or short exposure to VIX futures contracts may be limited, and any gains may be subject to sharp reversals during such reversions to the mean.

When economic uncertainty increases and there is an associated increase in expected volatility, the value of VIX futures contracts will likely also increase and the potential upside of an investment in a VIX Short Fund will correspondingly be limited as a result. Similarly, when economic uncertainty recedes, and there is an associated decrease in expected volatility, the value of VIX futures contracts will likely also decrease and the potential upside of an investment in a VIX Ultra Fund or a Matching VIX Fund will correspondingly be limited as a result.

The value of the Shares of a VIX Futures Fund relates directly to the value of, and realized profit or loss from, the Financial Instruments and other assets held by that Fund. Fluctuations in the price of these Financial Instruments or assets could materially adversely affect an investment in such Fund’s Shares.

Several factors may affect the price and/or liquidity of VIX futures contracts and other assets, if any, owned by the VIX Futures Fund, including, but not limited to:

 

   

Prevailing market prices and forward volatility levels of the U.S. stock markets, the S&P 500, the equity securities included in the S&P 500 and prevailing market prices of options on the S&P 500, the VIX, options on the VIX, the relevant VIX futures contracts, or any other financial instruments related to the S&P 500 and the VIX or VIX futures contracts;

 

   

Interest rates, and investors’ expectations concerning interest rates;

 

   

Inflation rates and investors’ expectations concerning inflation rates;

 

   

Economic, financial, political, regulatory, geographical, biological or judicial events that affect the level of the Mid-Term VIX Index or the market price or forward volatility of the U.S. stock markets, the equity securities included in the S&P 500, the S&P 500, the VIX or the relevant futures or option contracts on the VIX;

 

   

Supply and demand as well as hedging activities in the listed and OTC equity derivatives markets;

 

   

Disruptions in trading of the S&P 500, futures contracts on the S&P 500 or options on the S&P 500;

 

   

The level of contango or backwardation in the VIX futures contract market;

 

   

The position limits imposed by FCMs; and

 

   

The level of margin requirements.

Margin requirements for VIX futures contracts and position limits imposed by exchanges and/or FCMs may limit the VIX Futures Fund’s ability to achieve sufficient exposure and prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective.

The term “margin” refers to the minimum amount a Fund must deposit and maintain with its FCM in order to establish an open position in futures contracts. The minimum amount of margin required in connection with a particular futures contract is set by the exchange on which such contract is traded and is subject to change at any time during the term of the contract. Futures contracts are customarily bought and sold on margins that represent a percentage of the aggregate purchase or sales price of the contract.

An FCM may compute margin requirements multiple times per day. When a Fund has an open futures contract position, it is subject to daily variation margin calls by an FCM that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. Because futures contracts require only a small initial investment in the form of a deposit or initial margin, they involve a high degree of leverage. A Fund with open positions is subject to maintenance or variation margin on its open positions. When the market value of a particular open futures contract position changes to a point where the margin on deposit does not satisfy maintenance margin requirements, a margin call is made by the FCM. If the margin call is not met within a reasonable time, the FCM may close out a Fund’s position. If a Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it might need to sell Financial Instruments at a time when such sales are disadvantageous. Futures markets are highly volatile and the use of or exposure to futures contracts may increase volatility of a Fund’s NAV.

VIX futures contracts have been subject to periods of sudden and extreme volatility. As a result, margin requirements for VIX futures contracts are higher than the margin requirements for most other types of futures contracts. In addition, the FCMs utilized by the Fund may impose margin requirements in addition to those imposed by the clearinghouse. Margin requirements are subject to change, and may be raised in the future by either or both the clearinghouse and the FCMs. High margin requirements could prevent the Fund from obtaining sufficient exposure to VIX futures contracts and may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. An FCM’s failure to return required margin to the Fund on a timely basis may cause the Fund to delay redemption settlement dates and/or restrict, postpone or limit the right of redemption.

 

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Futures contracts are subject to liquidity risk. Certain of the FCMs utilized by the Fund have imposed their own “position limits” on the Fund. Position limits restrict the amount of exposure to futures contracts the Fund can obtain through such FCMs. As a result, the Fund may need to transact through a number of FCMs to achieve its investment objective. If enough FCMs are not willing to transact with the Fund, or if the position limits imposed by such FCMs do not provide sufficient exposure, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective.

Risks Related to All Funds

Correlation Risks for all Funds.

While the Funds seek to meet their investment objectives, there is no guarantee they will do so. Factors that may affect a Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective include: (1) the Sponsor’s ability to purchase and sell each Fund’s Financial Instruments in a manner that correlates to a Fund’s objective; (2) an imperfect correlation between the performance of the Financial Instruments held by a Fund and the performance of the corresponding benchmark; (3) bid-ask spreads on each Fund’s Financial Instruments; (4) fees, expenses, transaction costs, commissions, financing costs and margin requirements associated with the use of each Fund’s Financial Instruments; (5) holding or trading Financial Instruments in a market that has become illiquid or disrupted; (6) a Fund’s Share prices being rounded to the nearest cent and/or other valuation methodologies; (7) changes to a benchmark that are not disseminated in advance; (8) the need to conform a Fund’s Financial Instruments to comply with investment restrictions or policies or regulatory or tax law requirements; (9) early and unanticipated closings of the markets on which the holdings of a Fund trade; (10) accounting standards; (11) differences caused by a Fund obtaining exposure to only a representative sample of the components of a benchmark, overweighting or underweighting certain components of a benchmark or obtaining exposure to assets that are not included in a benchmark; and (12) large movements of assets into and/or out of a Fund.

Each Geared Fund seeks to provide investment results that correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of, or a multiple of, the inverse or an inverse multiple of the daily performance of a benchmark at all times, even during periods when the applicable benchmark is flat as well as when the benchmark is moving in a manner which causes the Fund’s NAV to decline, thereby causing losses to such Fund.

Other than for cash management purposes, the Funds are not actively managed by traditional methods (e.g., by effecting changes in the composition of a portfolio on the basis of judgments relating to economic, financial and market considerations with a view toward obtaining positive results under all market conditions). Rather, the Sponsor seeks to cause the NAV to track the daily performance of a benchmark in accordance with each Fund’s investment objective, even during periods in which the benchmark is flat or moving in a manner which causes the NAV of a Fund to decline. It is possible to lose money over time regardless of the performance of an underlying benchmark, due to the effects of daily rebalancing, volatility and compounding, as applicable (see “Correlation Risks Specific to the Geared Funds” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional details).

The assets that the Funds invest in can be highly volatile and the Funds may experience large losses when buying, selling or holding such instruments.

Investments linked to volatility, commodity, currency or fixed income markets can be highly volatile compared to investments in traditional securities and the Funds may experience large losses. The value of these investments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity or currency benchmarks (as the case may be), volatility, changes in interest rates, changes in inflation rates and investors’ expectations concerning inflation rates or factors affecting a particular industry, commodity or currency. For example, commodity futures contracts (as may be held by the Commodity Index Funds) may be affected by numerous factors, including drought, floods, fires, weather, livestock diseases, pipeline ruptures or spills, embargoes, tariffs and international, economic, political or regulatory developments. In particular, trading in VIX futures contracts and trading in natural gas futures contracts (or other Financial Instruments linked to natural gas) have been very volatile and can be expected to be very volatile in the future. High volatility may have an adverse impact on the Funds beyond the impact of any performance-based losses of the underlying benchmark.

Potential negative impact from rolling futures positions.

Certain of the Funds invest in or have exposure to futures contracts and are subject to risks related to “rolling” such futures contracts, which is the process by which a Fund closes out a futures position prior to its expiration month and purchases an identical futures contract with a later expiration date. The Funds do not intend to hold futures contracts through expiration, but instead intend to “roll” their respective positions as they approach expiration. The contractual obligations of a buyer or seller holding a futures contract to expiration may be satisfied by settling in cash as designated in the contract specifications. As explained further below, the price of futures contracts further from the expiration may be higher (a condition known as “contango”) or lower (a condition known as “backwardation”), which can impact the Funds’ returns.

 

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When the market for these futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the more distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months, the sale during the course of the rolling process of the more nearby contract would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant futures contract. This pattern of higher prices for longer expiration futures contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for these futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the nearer months than in the more distant months, the sale during the course of the rolling process of the more nearby contract would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant futures contract. This pattern of higher futures prices for shorter expiration futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.” The presence of contango in certain futures contracts at the time of rolling would be expected to adversely affect the relevant Funds with long positions, and positively affect the Funds with short positions. Similarly, the presence of backwardation in certain futures contracts at the time of rolling such contracts would be expected to adversely affect the Funds with short positions and positively affect the Funds with long positions.

There have been extended periods in which contango or backwardation have existed in the futures contract markets for various types of futures contracts and such periods can be expected to occur in the future. These extended periods have caused in the past, and may cause in the future, significant losses, and these periods can have as much or more impact over time than movements in the level of a Fund’s benchmark. Additionally, because of the frequency with which the Funds may roll futures contracts, the impact of such contango or backwardation on Fund performance may be greater than it would have been if the Funds rolled futures contracts less frequently.

The Precious Metals Funds do not hold gold or silver bullion. Rather, the Precious Metals Funds use Financial Instruments to gain exposure to gold and silver bullion. Using Financial Instruments to obtain exposure to gold or silver bullion may cause tracking error and subject the Precious Metals Funds to the effects of contango and backwardation as described herein.

Using Financial Instruments such as swaps, forwards and futures in an effort to replicate the inverse performance of gold or silver bullion may cause tracking error which is the divergence between the price behavior of a position and that of a benchmark. While prices of Financial Instruments are related to the prices of an underlying cash market, they may not be perfectly correlated and typically have performed differently. In addition, the use of forward or futures contracts exposes a Fund to risks associated with “rolling” as described herein (forward contracts are subject to the same risks as rolling futures contracts), including the possibility that contango or backwardation can occur. Gold and silver historically exhibit contango markets during most periods. Although the existence of historically prevalent contango markets would be expected to be beneficial to the Precious Metals Funds, there can be no assurance that such contango markets will always exist. Alternatively, the existence of backwardated markets would be expected to adversely impact the Precious Metals Funds.

Credit and liquidity risks associated with collateralized repurchase agreements.

A portion of each Fund’s assets may be held in cash and/or U.S. Treasury securities, agency securities, or other high credit quality short-term fixed-income or similar securities (such as shares of money market funds and collateralized repurchase agreements). These securities may be used for direct investment or serve as collateral for such Fund’s trading in Financial Instruments, as applicable, and may include collateralized repurchase agreements. Collateralized repurchase agreements involve an agreement to purchase a security and to sell that security back to the original seller at an agreed-upon price. The resale price reflects the purchase price plus an agreed- upon incremental amount which is unrelated to the coupon rate or maturity of the purchased security. As protection against the risk that the original seller will not fulfill its obligation, the buyer receives collateral marked-to-market daily, and maintained at a value at least equal to the sale price plus the accrued incremental amount. Although the collateralized repurchase agreements that the Funds enter into require that counterparties (which act as original sellers) over-collateralize the amount owed to a Fund with U.S. Treasury securities and/or agency securities, there is a risk that such collateral could decline in price at the same time that the counterparty defaults on its obligation to repurchase the security. If this occurs, a Fund may incur losses or delays in receiving proceeds. To minimize these risks, the Funds typically enter into transactions only with major global financial institutions.

Possible illiquid markets may exacerbate losses.

Financial Instruments cannot always be liquidated at the desired price. It is difficult to execute a trade at a specific price when there is a relatively small volume of buy and sell orders in a market. A market disruption can also make it difficult to liquidate a position or find a swap or forward contract counterparty at a reasonable cost.

Market illiquidity may cause losses for the Funds. The large size of the positions which the Funds may acquire increases the risk of illiquidity by both making their positions more difficult to liquidate and increasing the losses incurred while trying to do so. Any type of disruption or illiquidity will potentially be exacerbated due to the fact that the Funds will typically invest in Financial Instruments related to one benchmark, which in many cases is highly concentrated. Limits imposed by counterparties, exchanges or other regulatory organizations, such as accountability levels, position limits and daily price fluctuation limits, may contribute to lack of liquidity with respect to some Financial Instruments.

 

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It may not be possible to gain exposure to the benchmarks using exchange-traded Financial Instruments in the future.

The Funds may utilize exchange-traded Financial Instruments. It may not be possible to gain exposure to the benchmarks with these Financial Instruments in the future. If these Financial Instruments cease to be traded on regulated exchanges, they may be replaced with Financial Instruments traded on trading facilities that are subject to lesser degrees of regulation or, in some cases, no substantive regulation. As a result, trading in such Financial Instruments, and the manner in which prices and volumes are reported by the relevant trading facilities, may not be subject to the provisions of, and the protections afforded by the CEA, or other applicable statutes and related regulations, that govern trading on regulated U.S. futures exchanges, or similar statutes and regulations that govern trading on regulated U.K. futures exchanges. In addition, many electronic trading facilities have only recently initiated trading and do not have significant trading histories. As a result, the trading of contracts on such facilities, and the inclusion of such contracts in a benchmark, may be subject to certain risks not presented by U.S. or U.K. exchange-traded futures contracts, including risks related to the liquidity and price histories of the relevant contracts.

Fees are charged regardless of a Fund’s returns and may result in depletion of assets.

The Funds are subject to the fees and expenses described herein which are payable irrespective of a Fund’s returns, as well as the effects of commissions, trading spreads, and embedded financing, borrowing costs and fees associated with applicable swaps, forwards, futures contracts, and costs relating to the purchase of U.S. Treasury securities or similar high credit quality, short-term fixed-income or similar securities. Additional charges may include other fees as applicable. These fees and expenses have a negative impact on the Funds returns.

For the Funds linked to a benchmark, changes implemented by the benchmark provider that affect the composition and valuation of the benchmark could adversely affect the value of Fund Shares and an investment in a Fund Shares.

The Funds, other than the Currency Funds, are linked to benchmarks maintained by third-party providers that are unaffiliated with the Funds or the Sponsor. There can be no guarantee or assurance that the methodology used by the third-party provider to create the benchmark will result in a Fund achieving high, or even positive, returns. The policies implemented by each benchmark provider concerning the calculation or the composition of the benchmark could affect the value of a benchmark and, therefore, the value of the corresponding Fund’s Shares. A benchmark provider may change the composition of the benchmark, or make other methodological changes that could change the value of a benchmark. Additionally, a benchmark provider may alter, discontinue or suspend calculation or dissemination of a benchmark. Any of these actions could adversely affect the value of Shares of a Fund using that benchmark. There is no guarantee that the methodology underlying the benchmark will be free from error. Benchmark providers have no obligation to consider Fund shareholder interests in calculating or revising a benchmark. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the performance of the Funds.

In addition, for the VIX Futures Fund, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated (“Cboe”) can make methodological changes to the calculation of the VIX that could affect the value of VIX futures contracts and, consequently, the value of the VIX Futures Fund’s Shares. There can be no assurance that Cboe will not change the VIX calculation methodology in a way which may affect the value of the VIX Futures Fund’s Shares. The Cboe may also alter, discontinue or suspend calculation or dissemination of the VIX and/or exercise settlement value. It is also possible that a third party may attempt to manipulate the value of the VIX Futures Index or the VIX. S&P Dow Jones Indices may also make changes to the equity securities underlying the S&P 500 or the futures contracts included in the Index, or make other methodological changes that could change the level of the S&P 500. Any of these actions could adversely affect the value of such Fund’s Shares.

Calculation of a benchmark may not be possible or feasible under certain events or circumstances that are beyond the reasonable control of the Sponsor, which in turn may adversely impact both the benchmark and/or the Shares, as applicable. Additionally, benchmark calculations are subject to error and may be disrupted by rollover disruptions, rebalancing disruptions and/or market emergencies, which may have an adverse effect on the value of the Shares.

The particular benchmark used by a Fund may underperform other asset classes and may underperform other indices or benchmarks based upon the same underlying Reference Asset.

The Funds, other than the Currency Funds, are linked to benchmarks maintained by third-party providers unaffiliated with the Funds or the Sponsor. There can be no guarantee or assurance that the methodology used by the third party provider to create the benchmark will result in a Fund achieving high, or even positive, returns. Further, there can be no guarantee that the methodology underlying the

 

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benchmark or the daily calculation of the benchmark will be free from error. It is also possible that the value of the benchmark or its underlying Reference Asset may be subject to intentional manipulation by third-party market participants. The particular benchmark used by each Fund may underperform other asset classes and may underperform other indices or benchmarks based upon the same underlying Reference Asset. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the performance of a Fund.

The Funds may be subject to counterparty risks.

Each Fund may use derivatives such as swap agreements and forward contracts (collectively referred to herein as “derivatives”) in the manner described herein as a means to achieve their respective investment objectives. The use of derivatives by a Fund exposes the Fund to counterparty risks.

Financial markets, including the Financial Instruments used by a Fund, may be subject to unusual trading activity, volatility, and potential fraud and/or manipulation by third parties.

Financial markets, including the Financial Instruments in which the Funds invest can be highly volatile and the Funds may experience sudden and large movements in price. Unusual trading activity that is unrelated to economic fundamentals, including activity that is considered market fraud and/or manipulation or excessive speculation, can lead to unusual movements in the prices of a commodity, currency, or security, which, in turn, may increase the price volatility of such commodity, currency, or security and the risk of investing in such instrument during periods of unusual market volatility. Market fraud and/or manipulation and other fraudulent trading practices (such as the intentional dissemination of false or misleading information (e.g., false rumors)) can, among other things, lead to disruption of the orderly functioning of markets, lead to significant market volatility and cause the value of a Fund and/or the Financial Instruments held by a Fund to fluctuate quickly and without warning. Such fluctuations could be significant and could be temporary or last for longer periods of time. High volatility may have an adverse impact on the performance of the Funds. The widespread demand for a commodity, currency, or security may cause price increases in the commodity, currency, or security, which could result in an increased demand for Shares. The Funds may experience difficulty in registering additional Shares in a timely manner in response to a high demand for Shares. An increase in demand for a commodity, currency, or security also may make it difficult for the Funds to create or redeem Creation Units. An investor in any of the Funds could potentially lose the full principal value of his or her investment within a single day.

Regulatory Treatment

Derivatives are generally traded in over-the-counter (“OTC”) markets and have only recently become subject to comprehensive regulation in the United States. Cash-settled forwards are generally regulated as “swaps”, whereas physically settled forwards are generally not subject to regulation (in the case of commodities other than currencies) or subject to the federal securities laws (in the case of securities).

Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act (“Title VII”) created a regulatory regime for derivatives, with the CFTC responsible for the regulation of swaps and the SEC responsible for the regulation of “security-based swaps.” The SEC requirements have largely yet to be made effective, but the CFTC requirements are largely in place. The CFTC requirements have included rules for some of the types of transactions in which the Funds will engage, including mandatory clearing and exchange trading for certain categories of swaps, reporting, and margin for OTC swaps. Title VII also created new categories of regulated market participants, such as “swap dealers,” “security-based swap dealers,” “major swap participants,” and “major security-based swap participants” who are, or will be, subject to significant new capital, registration, recordkeeping, reporting, disclosure, business conduct and other regulatory requirements. The regulatory requirements under Title VII continue to be developed and there may be further modifications that could materially and adversely impact the Funds, the markets in which a Fund trades and the counterparties with which the Fund engages in derivatives transactions.

As noted, the CFTC rules may not apply to all of the physically settled forward contracts entered into by the Funds. Investors, therefore, may not receive the protection of CFTC regulation or the statutory scheme of the CEA in connection with each Fund’s physically settled forward contracts. The lack of regulation in these markets could expose investors to significant losses under certain circumstances, including in the event of trading abuses or financial failure by participants.

Counterparty Credit Risk

The Funds will be subject to the credit risk of the counterparties to the derivatives. In the case of cleared derivatives, the Funds will have credit risk to the clearinghouse in a similar manner as the Funds would for futures contracts. In the case of OTC derivatives, the Funds will be subject to the credit risk of the counterparty to the transaction – typically a single bank or financial institution. As a result, a Fund is subject to increased credit risk with respect to the amount it expects to receive from counterparties to OTC derivatives entered into as part of that Fund’s principal investment strategy. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties or other reasons, a Fund could suffer significant losses on these contracts and the value of an investor’s investment in a Fund may decline.

 

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The Funds have sought to mitigate these risks by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, subject to certain minimum thresholds. However, there are no limitations on the percentage of assets each Fund may invest in swap agreements or forward contracts with a particular counterparty. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to counterparty risk as described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings. The Funds typically enter into transactions only with major, global financial institutions.