STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

   
       
   

FRANKLIN VALUE INVESTORS TRUST

 
       
   

March 1, 2023

 
       
   

Slayer_DrawImageOnBackgroundColor(0,0,0)

 
       
         
           
           
 

Class

 

A

C

R

R6

Advisor

Franklin MicroCap Value Fund

FRMCX

FMCVX

FVRMX

Franklin Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund (formerly, Franklin Mutual U.S. Value Fund)

FRBSX

FCBSX

FBSRX

FBSIX

FBSAX

Franklin Small Cap Value Fund

FRVLX

FRVFX

FVFRX

FRCSX

FVADX

This Statement of Additional Information (SAI) is not a prospectus. It contains information in addition to the information in the Funds' (hereafter "the Fund") prospectus. The Fund’s prospectus, dated March 1, 2023, which we may amend from time to time, contains the basic information you should know before investing in the Fund. You should read this SAI together with the Fund’s prospectus.

The audited financial statements and Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm in the Fund’s Annual Report to shareholders, for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, are incorporated by reference (are legally a part of this SAI).

For a free copy of the current prospectus or annual report, contact your investment representative or call (800) DIAL BEN/342-5236.

 

Contents

   

Goals, Strategies and Risks

2

Officers and Trustees

29

Fair Valuation

36

Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures

36

Management and Other Services

36

Portfolio Transactions

40

Distributions and Taxes

41

Organization, Voting Rights and
Principal Holders

52

Buying and Selling Shares

54

The Underwriter

62

Performance

64

Miscellaneous Information

66

Description of Ratings

67

Appendix A A- 1

 

     

Mutual funds, annuities, and other investment products:

• are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, or any other agency of the U.S. government;

• are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank; and

• are subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of principal.

     

P.O. Box 997151

Sacramento, CA 95899-7151 (800) DIAL BEN® /342-5236

1

FVIT SAI 03/23


Goals, Strategies and Risks

The following information provided with respect to the Fund is in addition to that included in the Fund’s prospectus.

In addition to the main types of investments and strategies undertaken by the Fund as described in the prospectus, the Fund also may invest in other types of instruments and engage in and pursue other investment strategies, which are described in this SAI. Investments and investment strategies with respect to the Fund are discussed in greater detail in the section below entitled "Glossary of Investments, Techniques, Strategies and Their Risks."

Generally, the policies and restrictions discussed in this SAI and in the prospectus apply when the Fund makes an investment. In most cases, the Fund is not required to sell an investment because circumstances change and the investment no longer meets one or more of the Fund's policies or restrictions. If a percentage restriction or limitation is met at the time of investment, a later increase or decrease in the percentage due to a change in the value of portfolio investments will not be considered a violation of the restriction or limitation, with the exception of the Fund's limitations on borrowing as described herein or unless otherwise noted herein.

Incidental to the Fund’s other investment activities, including in connection with a bankruptcy, restructuring, workout, or other extraordinary events concerning a particular investment the Fund owns, the Fund may receive securities (including convertible securities, warrants and rights), real estate or other investments that the Fund normally would not, or could not, buy. If this happens, the Fund may, although it is not required to, sell such investments as soon as practicable while seeking to maximize the return to shareholders.

The Fund has adopted certain investment restrictions as fundamental and non-fundamental policies. A fundamental policy may only be changed if the change is approved by (i) more than 50% of the Fund's outstanding shares or (ii) 67% or more of the Fund's shares present at a shareholder meeting if more than 50% of the Fund's outstanding shares are represented at the meeting in person or by proxy, whichever is less. A non-fundamental policy may be changed without the approval of shareholders.

For more information about the restrictions of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (1940 Act) on the Fund with respect to borrowing and senior securities, see “Glossary of Investments, Techniques, Strategies and Their Risks - Borrowing” below.

Fundamental Investment Policies

The Fund may not:

1. Borrow money, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, or any rules, exemptions or interpretations thereunder that may be adopted, granted or issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

2. Act as an underwriter, except to the extent the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriter when disposing of securities it owns or when selling its own shares.

3. Make loans if, as a result, more than 33 1/3% of its total assets would be lent to other persons, including other investment companies to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act or any rules, exemptions or interpretations thereunder that may be adopted, granted or issued by the SEC. This limitation does not apply to (i) the lending of portfolio securities, (ii) the purchase of debt securities, other debt instruments, loan participations and/or engaging in direct corporate loans in accordance with its investment goals and policies, and (iii) repurchase agreements to the extent the entry into a repurchase agreement is deemed to be a loan.1

4. Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments and provided that this restriction does not prevent the Fund from (i) purchasing or selling securities or instruments secured by real estate or interests therein, securities or instruments representing interests in real estate or securities or instruments of issuers that invest, deal or otherwise engage in transactions in real estate or interests therein, and (ii) making, purchasing or selling real estate mortgage loans.

5. Purchase or sell physical commodities, unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments and provided that this restriction does not prevent the Fund from (i) engaging in transactions involving currencies and futures contracts and options thereon or (ii) investing in securities or other instruments that are secured by physical commodities.

6. Issue senior securities, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act or any rules, exemptions or interpretations thereunder that may be adopted, granted or issued by the SEC.

7. Invest more than 25% of the Fund's net assets in securities of issuers in any one industry (other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities or securities of other investment companies).2

8.  Purchase the securities of any one issuer (other than the U.S. government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities or securities of other investment companies, whether registered or excluded from registration under Section 3(c) of the 1940

2


Act) if immediately after such investment (i) more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in such issuer or (ii) more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer would be owned by the Fund, except that up to 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets may be invested without regard to such 5% and 10% limitations.

1 In general, “direct corporate loans” or direct investments in corporate loans are investments in new corporate loans where the Fund may invest as an initial investor and have a direct contractual relationship with the borrower (as opposed to a participation interest where the fund's sole contractual relationship is with the seller of the interest). Purchasing a loan or an interest in a loan in this fashion would allow the Fund to avoid the credit risk of the agent bank or other intermediary.

2 To the extent that the Fund invests in underlying funds, the Funds will take into account the holdings of the affiliated underlying funds in which they invest and will not ignore information about unaffiliated underlying funds.

Franklin MicroCap Value Fund (MicroCap Value Fund)

Fundamental Investment Policies

The Fund’s investment goal is high total return, of which capital appreciation and income are components.

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets (including amounts borrowed for investment purposes) in microcap companies. Shareholders will be given 60 days’ advance notice of any change to the 80% policy regarding investment in microcap companies.

The Fund will generally invest in common stocks, although it has no limit on the percentage of its assets that may be invested in preferred stock or debt obligations, including securities convertible into common stocks, secured or unsecured bonds, commercial paper, and notes.

Franklin Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund (Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund)

Fundamental Investment Policies

The Fund’s investment goal is high total return, of which capital appreciation and income are components.

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets (including amounts borrowed for investment purposes) in U.S. mid cap securities. Shareholders will be given 60 days’ advance notice of any change to the 80% policy regarding investment in U.S. mid cap securities. U.S. companies are those that are economically tied to the United States including when: (1) the issuer's principal securities trading market is in the United States; (2) the issuer derives 50% or more of its annual revenues or annual profits from either goods produced, sales made or services performed in the United States; (3) the issuer has 50% of more of its assets located in the United States; or (4) the issuer is organized under the laws of, and has a principal office in, the United States. Mid capitalization companies are companies with market capitalizations equal to those within the universe of the Russell Midcap® Value Index at the time of purchase. As of December 31, 2022, the Russell Midcap® Value Index included companies with approximate market capitalizations between $587 million and $52.6 billion. The size of companies in the index changes with market conditions and the composition of the index.

The Fund also may be subject to investment limitations imposed by foreign jurisdictions in which the Fund sells its shares.

Franklin Small Cap Value Fund (Small Cap Value Fund)

Fundamental Investment Policies

The Fund’s investment goal is long-term total return.

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets (including amounts borrowed for investment purposes) in small-capitalization (small-cap) companies. Shareholders will be given 60 days’ advance notice of any change to the 80% policy regarding investment in small-cap companies.

Additional Strategies

In trying to achieve its investment goal, the Fund may invest in the types of instruments or engage in the types of transactions identified below and in the section “Glossary of Investments, Techniques, Strategies and Their Risks,” which also describes the risks associated with these investment policies. The Fund may or may not use all of these techniques at any one time.

MicroCap Value Fund and Small Cap Value Fund

The Fund may:

 invest up to 25% of its total assets in foreign securities

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

The Fund may invest in, buy, sell or engage in:

 credit-related derivatives and complex securities, including buying single name and index credit default swaps (but not selling), fixed income total return swaps, credit-linked notes, collateralized debt obligations, exchange traded futures linked to index credit default swaps, variance swaps, fixed income structured notes, interest rate caps, complex fixed income ETFs, and complex fixed income mutual funds

3


 currency derivatives, including currency forwards, currency futures and options thereon, currency swaps, and put and call options on currencies

 equity-related derivatives, including call and put options on equity securities (including ETFs) and indices, and options on futures on equity securities and indices

 interest rate derivatives, including interest rate swaps and options and futures thereon, interest rate/bond futures and options thereon, and inflation index swaps

 non-U.S. securities (up to 20% of the Fund’s net assets, although it does not currently expect to invest more than 10% of its net assets in non-U.S. securities)

 short sales

All Funds

The Fund will not acquire shares of other affiliated or unaffiliated open-end mutual funds, ETFs or unit investment trusts in reliance on paragraph (F) or (G) of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act.

In addition, the Fund may:

 lend portfolio securities up to 25% of the value of its total assets, measured at the time of the most recent loan

 invest up to 5% of its net assets in warrants (valued at the lower of cost or market)

 invest up to 2% of its net assets in warrants (valued at the lower of cost or market) that are not listed on the New York or NYSE Amex Equities Stock Exchanges

Glossary of Investments, Techniques, Strategies and Their Risks

Certain words or phrases may be used in descriptions of Fund investment policies and strategies to give investors a general sense of the Fund's levels of investment. They are broadly identified with, but not limited to, the following percentages of Fund total assets:

   

“small portion”

less than 10%

“portion”

10% to 25%

“significant”

25% to 50%

“substantial”

50% to 66%

“primary”

66% to 80%

“predominant”

80% or more

If the Fund intends to limit particular investments or strategies to no more than specific percentages of Fund assets, the prospectus or SAI will clearly identify such limitations. The percentages above are not limitations unless specifically stated as such in the Fund's prospectus or elsewhere in this SAI.

The Fund may invest in securities that are rated by various rating agencies such as Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) and S&P® Global Ratings (S&P®), as well as securities that are unrated.

The value of your shares in the Fund will increase as the value of the investments owned by the Fund increases and will decrease as the value of the Fund's investments decreases. In this way, you participate in any change in the value of the investments owned by the Fund. In addition to the factors that affect the value of any particular investment that the Fund owns, the value of the Fund's shares may also change with movement in the investment markets as a whole.

The following is a description of various types of securities, instruments and techniques that may be purchased and/or used by the Fund:

Bank obligations Bank obligations include fixed, floating or variable rate certificates of deposit (CDs), letters of credit, time and savings deposits, bank notes and bankers' acceptances. CDs are negotiable certificates issued against funds deposited in a commercial bank for a definite period of time and earning a specified return. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits that are held in a banking institution for a specified period of time at a stated interest rate. Savings deposits are deposits that do not have a specified maturity and may be withdrawn by the depositor at any time. Bankers' acceptances are negotiable drafts or bills of exchange normally drawn by an importer or exporter to pay for specific merchandise. When a bank “accepts” a bankers' acceptance, the bank, in effect, unconditionally agrees to pay the face value of the instrument upon maturity. The full amount of the Fund's investment in time and savings deposits or CDs may not be guaranteed against losses resulting from the default of the commercial or savings bank or other institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Bank obligations are exempt from registration with the SEC if issued by U.S. banks or foreign branches of U.S. banks. As a result, the Fund will not receive the same investor protections when investing in bank obligations as opposed to registered securities. Bank notes and other unsecured bank obligations are not guaranteed by the FDIC, so the Fund will be exposed to the credit risk of the bank or institution. In the event of liquidation, bank notes and unsecured bank obligations generally rank behind time deposits, savings deposits and CDs, resulting in a greater potential for losses to the Fund.

The Fund’s investments in bank obligations may be negatively impacted if adverse economic conditions prevail in the banking industry (such as substantial losses on loans, increases in non-performing assets and charge-offs and declines in total deposits). The activities of U.S. banks and most foreign banks are subject to comprehensive regulations which, in the case of U.S. regulations, have undergone substantial changes in the past decade. The enactment of

4


new legislation or regulations, as well as changes in interpretation and enforcement of current laws, may affect the manner of operations and profitability of domestic and foreign banks. Significant developments in the U.S. banking industry have included increased competition from other types of financial institutions, increased acquisition activity and geographic expansion. Banks may be particularly susceptible to certain economic factors, such as interest rate changes and adverse developments in the market for real estate. Fiscal and monetary policy and general economic cycles can affect the availability and cost of funds, loan demand and asset quality and thereby impact the earnings and financial conditions of banks.

Borrowing The 1940 Act and the SEC's current rules, exemptions and interpretations thereunder, permit the Fund to borrow up to one-third of the value of its total assets (including the amount borrowed, but less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities) from banks. The Fund is required to maintain continuous asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to such borrowings and to reduce the amount of its borrowings (within three days excluding Sundays and holidays) to restore such coverage if it should decline to less than 300% due to market fluctuations or otherwise. In the event that the Fund is required to reduce its borrowings, it may have to sell portfolio holdings, even if such sale of the Fund's holdings would be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint.

If the Fund makes additional investments while borrowings are outstanding, this may be considered a form of leverage. Leveraging by means of borrowing may exaggerate the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of portfolio securities on the Fund's net asset value, and money borrowed will be subject to interest and other costs (which may include commitment fees and/or the cost of maintaining minimum average balances), which may or may not exceed the income or gains received from the securities purchased with borrowed funds.

In addition to borrowings that are subject to 300% asset coverage and are considered by the SEC to be permitted “senior securities,” the Fund is also permitted under the 1940 Act to borrow for temporary purposes in an amount not exceeding 5% of the value of its total assets at the time when the loan is made. A loan will be presumed to be for temporary purposes if it is repaid within 60 days and is not extended or renewed.

Convertible securities A convertible security is generally a debt obligation, preferred stock or other security that may be converted within a specified period of time into a certain amount of common stock of the same or of a different issuer. The conversion may occur at the option of the investor in or issuer of the security, or upon a predetermined event. A convertible security typically provides a fixed-income stream and the opportunity, through its conversion feature, to participate in the capital appreciation resulting from a market price advance in its underlying common stock. As with a straight fixed-income security, a convertible security tends to increase in market value when interest rates decline and decrease in value when interest rates rise. Like a common stock, the value of a convertible security also tends to increase as the market value of the underlying stock rises, and it tends to decrease as the market value of the underlying stock declines. Because both interest rate and market movements can influence its value, a convertible security is usually not as sensitive to interest rate changes as a similar fixed-income security, nor is it as sensitive to changes in share price as its underlying stock. Convertible securities are also subject to risks that affect debt securities in general.

Although less than an investment in the underlying stock, the potential for gain on an investment in a convertible security is greater than for similar non-convertible securities. As a result, a lower yield is generally offered on convertible securities than on otherwise equivalent non-convertible securities. There is no guarantee that the Fund will realize gains on a convertible security in excess of the foregone yield it accepts to invest in such convertible security.

A convertible security is usually issued either by an operating company or by an investment bank. When issued by an operating company, a convertible security tends to be senior to the company's common stock, but may be subordinate to other types of fixed-income securities issued by that company. When a convertible security issued by an operating company is "converted," the operating company often issues new stock to the holder of the convertible security. However, if the convertible security is redeemable and the parity price of the convertible security is less than the call price, the operating company may pay out cash instead of common stock.

If the convertible security is issued by an investment bank or other sponsor, the security is an obligation of and is convertible through, the issuing investment bank. However, the common stock received upon conversion is of a company other than the investment bank or sponsor. The issuer of a convertible security may be important in determining the security's true value. This is because the holder of a convertible security will have recourse only to the issuer.

Convertible preferred stock. A convertible preferred stock is usually treated like a preferred stock for the Fund's financial reporting, credit rating and investment policies and limitations purposes. A preferred stock is subordinated to all debt obligations in the event of insolvency, and an issuer's failure to make a dividend payment is generally not an event of default entitling the preferred shareholder to take action. A preferred stock generally has no maturity date, so that its market value is dependent on the issuer's business prospects for an indefinite period of time. Distributions from preferred stock are dividends, rather than interest payments, and are

5


usually treated as such for tax purposes. Investments in convertible preferred stock, as compared to the debt obligations of an issuer, generally increase the Fund's exposure to the credit risk of the issuer and market risk generally, because convertible preferred stock will fare more poorly if the issuer defaults or markets suffer.

Enhanced convertible securities. In addition to "plain vanilla" convertible securities, a number of different structures have been created to fit the characteristics of specific investors and issuers. Examples of these features include yield enhancement, increased equity exposure or enhanced downside protection. From an issuer's perspective, enhanced structures are designed to meet balance sheet criteria, maximize interest/dividend payment deductibility and reduce equity dilution. Examples of enhanced convertible securities include mandatory convertible securities, convertible trust preferred securities, exchangeable securities, and zero coupon and deep discount convertible bonds.

Risks. An investment in a convertible security may involve risks. The Fund may have difficulty disposing of such securities because there may be a thin trading market for a particular security at any given time. Reduced liquidity may have an adverse impact on market price and the Fund's ability to dispose of a security when necessary to meet the Fund's liquidity needs or in response to a specific economic event, such as the deterioration in the creditworthiness of an issuer. Reduced liquidity in the secondary market for certain securities may also make it more difficult for the Fund to obtain market quotations based on actual trades for purposes of valuing the Fund's portfolio. Although the Fund intends to acquire convertible securities that the investment manager considers to be liquid (i.e., those securities that the investment manager determines may be sold on an exchange, or an institutional or other substantial market), there can be no assurances that this will be achieved. Certain securities and markets can become illiquid quickly, resulting in liquidity risk for the Fund. The Fund will also encounter difficulty valuing convertible securities due to illiquidity or other circumstances that make it difficult for the Fund to obtain timely market quotations based on actual trades for convertible securities. Convertible securities may have low credit ratings, which generally correspond with higher credit risk to an investor like the Fund.

Synthetic convertible securities. A synthetic convertible is created by combining distinct securities that together possess the two principal characteristics of a true convertible security, i.e., fixed income payments in the form of interest or dividends and the right to acquire the underlying equity security. This combination is achieved by investing in nonconvertible debt securities and in warrants or stock or stock index call options which grant the holder the right to purchase a specified quantity of securities within a specified period of time at a specified price (or to receive cash, in the case of stock index options). Synthetic convertibles are typically offered by financial institutions and investment banks in private placement transactions. Upon conversion, the Fund generally receives an amount in cash equal to the difference between the conversion price and the then-current value of the underlying security. Synthetic convertible instruments may also include structured notes, equity-linked notes, mandatory convertibles and combinations of securities and instruments.

In addition to the general risks of convertible securities and the special risks of enhanced convertible securities, there are risks unique to synthetic convertible securities. Synthetic convertible securities differ from true convertible securities in several respects. The value of a synthetic convertible security is the sum of the values of its debt security component and its convertibility component. Thus, the values of a synthetic convertible and a true convertible security will respond differently to market fluctuations. Although the investment manager expects normally to create synthetic convertible securities whose two components provide exposure to the same issuer, the character of a synthetic convertible allows the Fund to combine components representing distinct issuers, or to combine a debt security with a call option on a stock index. In addition, the component parts of a synthetic convertible security may be purchased simultaneously or separately; and the holder of a synthetic convertible faces the risk that the price of the stock, or the level of the market index underlying the convertibility component will decline. Exposure to more than one issuer or participant will increase the number of parties upon which the investment depends and the complexity of that investment and, as a result, increase the Fund's credit risk and valuation risk.

Cybersecurity With the increased use of technologies such as mobile devices and Web-based or “cloud” applications, and the dependence on the Internet and computer systems to conduct business, the Fund is susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events (arising from external or internal sources) that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption, physical damage to a computer or network system or lose operational capacity. Cybersecurity attacks include, but are not limited to, infection by malicious software, such as malware or computer viruses or gaining unauthorized access to digital systems, networks or devices that are used to service the Fund’s operations (e.g., through “hacking,” “phishing” or malicious software coding) or other means for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cybersecurity attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on the Fund’s websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate cybersecurity attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities

6


with nation-state backing. In addition, authorized persons could inadvertently or intentionally release confidential or proprietary information stored on the Fund’s systems.

Cybersecurity incidents affecting the Fund’s investment manager and other service providers to the Fund or its shareholders (including, but not limited to, sub-advisors, accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses to both the Fund and its shareholders, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, impediments to trading, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business and the Fund to process transactions (including fulfillment of purchases and redemptions), violations of applicable privacy and other laws (including the release of private shareholder information) and attendant breach notification and credit monitoring costs, regulatory fines, penalties, litigation costs, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, forensic investigation and remediation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. Similar adverse consequences could result from cybersecurity incidents affecting issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, counterparties with which the Fund engages in transactions, governmental and other regulatory authorities, exchange and other financial market operators, banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies and other financial institutions (including financial intermediaries and other service providers) and other parties. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to safeguard against and reduce the risk of any cybersecurity incidents in the future. In addition to administrative, technological and procedural safeguards, the Fund’s investment manager has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent or reduce the impact of, such cybersecurity incidents. However, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified, as well as the rapid development of new threats. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by its service providers or any other third parties whose operations may affect the Fund and its shareholders. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

Because technology is frequently changing, new ways to carry out cyber attacks are always developing. Therefore, there is a chance that some risks have not been identified or prepared for, or that an attack may not be detected, which puts limitations on the Fund's ability to plan for or respond to a cyber attack. Like other funds and business enterprises, the Fund, the investment manager and their service providers are subject to the risk of cyber incidents occurring from time to time.

Debt securities - general description In general, a debt security represents a loan of money to the issuer by the purchaser of the security. A debt security typically has a fixed payment schedule that obligates the issuer to pay interest to the lender and to return the lender's money over a certain time period. A company typically meets its payment obligations associated with its outstanding debt securities before it declares and pays any dividend to holders of its equity securities. Bonds, notes and commercial paper are examples of debt securities and differ in the length of the issuer's principal repayment schedule, with bonds carrying the longest repayment schedule and commercial paper the shortest:

Bonds. A bond is a debt security in which investors lend money to an entity that borrows for a defined period of time, usually a period of more than five years, at a specified interest rate.

Commercial paper. Commercial paper is an unsecured, short-term loan to a corporation, typically for financing accounts receivable and inventory with maturities of up to 270 days.

Debentures. A debenture is an unsecured debt security backed only by the creditworthiness of the borrower, not by collateral.

Bills. A bill is a short-term debt instrument, usually with a maturity of two years or less.

Notes. A note is a debt security usually with a maturity of up to ten years.

For purposes of the discussion in this SAI of the risks of investing in debt securities generally, loans or other short-term instruments, which otherwise may not technically be considered securities, are included.

Debt securities are all generally subject to interest rate, credit, income and prepayment risks and, like all investments, are subject to liquidity and market risks to varying degrees depending upon the specific terms and type of security. The Fund's investment manager attempts to reduce credit and market risk through diversification of the Fund's portfolio and ongoing credit analysis of each issuer, as well as by monitoring economic developments, but there can be no assurance that it will be successful at doing so.

Defaulted debt securities If the issuer of a debt security in the Fund's portfolio defaults, the Fund may have unrealized losses on the security, which may lower the Fund's net asset value. Defaulted securities tend to lose much of their value before they default. Thus, the Fund's net asset value may be adversely affected before an issuer defaults. The Fund may incur additional expenses if it tries to recover principal or interest payments on a defaulted security. Defaulted debt securities often are illiquid. An investment in defaulted debt securities is generally considered speculative and may expose the Fund to similar risks as an investment in high-yield debt.

7


The Fund may not buy defaulted debt securities. However, the Fund is not required to sell a debt security that has defaulted if the investment manager believes it is advantageous to continue holding the security.

Depositary receipts Many securities of foreign issuers are represented by American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs), and European Depositary Receipts (EDRs) (collectively, depositary receipts). Generally, depositary receipts in registered form are designed for use in the U.S. securities market and depositary receipts in bearer form are designed for use in securities markets outside the U.S.

ADRs evidence ownership of, and represent the right to receive, securities of foreign issuers deposited in a domestic bank or trust company or a foreign correspondent bank. Prices of ADRs are quoted in U.S. dollars, and ADRs are traded in the U.S. on exchanges or over-the-counter. While ADRs do not eliminate all the risks associated with foreign investments, by investing in ADRs rather than directly in the stock of foreign issuers, the Fund will avoid currency and certain foreign market trading risks during the settlement period for either purchases or sales. In general, there is a large, liquid market in the U.S. for ADRs quoted on a national securities exchange. The information available for ADRs is subject to the accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards of the U.S. market or exchange on which they are traded, which standards are generally more uniform and more exacting than those to which many foreign issuers may be subject.

EDRs and GDRs are typically issued by foreign banks or trust companies and evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by either a foreign or a U.S. corporation. EDRs and GDRs may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the underlying securities into which they may be converted. The underlying shares are held in trust by a custodian bank or similar financial institution in the issuer's home country. If the issuer's home country does not have developed financial markets, the Fund could be exposed to the credit risk of the custodian or financial institution and greater market risk. The depository bank may not have physical custody of the underlying securities at all times and may charge fees for various services, including forwarding dividends and interest, and processing corporate actions. The Fund would be expected to pay a share of the additional fees, which it would not pay if investing directly in the foreign securities. The Fund may experience delays in receiving its dividend and interest payments or exercising rights as a shareholder.

Depositary receipts may reduce some but not eliminate all the risks inherent in investing in the securities of foreign issuers. Depositary receipts are still subject to the political and economic risks of the underlying issuer's country and are still subject to foreign currency exchange risk. Depositary receipts will be issued under sponsored or unsponsored programs. In sponsored programs, an issuer has made arrangements to have its securities traded in the form of depositary receipts. In unsponsored programs, the issuer may not be directly involved in the creation of the program. Although regulatory requirements with respect to sponsored and unsponsored programs are generally similar, in some cases it may be easier to obtain financial information about an issuer that has participated in the creation of a sponsored program. There may be an increased possibility of untimely responses to certain corporate actions of the issuer, such as stock splits and rights offerings, in an unsponsored program. Accordingly, there may be less information available regarding issuers of securities underlying unsponsored programs and there may not be a correlation between this information and the market value of the depositary receipts. If the Fund's investment depends on obligations being met by the arranger as well as the issuer of an unsponsored program, the Fund will be exposed to additional credit risk.

Derivative instruments Generally, derivatives are financial instruments whose value depends on or is derived from, the value of one or more underlying assets, reference rates, or indices or other market factors (a "reference instrument") and may relate to stocks, bonds, interest rates, credit, currencies, commodities or related indices. Derivative instruments can provide an efficient means to gain or reduce exposure to the value of a reference instrument without actually owning or selling the instrument. Some common types of derivatives include options, futures, forwards and swaps.

Derivative instruments may be used for “hedging,” which means that they may be used when the investment manager seeks to protect the Fund's investments from a decline in value resulting from changes to interest rates, market prices, currency fluctuations or other market factors. Derivative instruments may also be used for other purposes, including to seek to increase liquidity, provide efficient portfolio management, broaden investment opportunities(including taking short or negative positions), implement a tax or cash management strategy, gain exposure to a particular security or segment of the market, modify the effective duration of the Fund's portfolio investments and/or enhance total return. However derivative instruments are used, their successful use is not assured and will depend upon, among other factors, the investment manager's ability to gauge relevant market movements.

Derivative instruments may be used for purposes of direct hedging. Direct hedging means that the transaction must be intended to reduce a specific risk exposure of a portfolio security or its denominated currency and must also be directly related to such security or currency. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments may be limited from time to time by policies adopted by the board of trustees or the Fund’s investment manager.

8


Exclusion of investment manager from commodity pool operator definition. With respect to the Fund, the investment manager has claimed an exclusion from the definition of “commodity pool operator” (CPO) under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and the rules of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and, therefore, is not subject to CFTC registration or regulation as a CPO. In addition, with respect to the Fund, the investment manager is relying upon a related exclusion from the definition of “commodity trading advisor” (CTA) under the CEA and the rules of the CFTC.

The terms of the CPO exclusion require the Fund, among other things, to adhere to certain limits on its investments in “commodity interests.” Commodity interests include commodity futures, commodity options and swaps, which in turn include non-deliverable currency forward contracts, as further described below. Because the investment manager and the Fund intend to comply with the terms of the CPO exclusion, the Fund may, in the future, need to adjust its investment strategies, consistent with its investment goal, to limit its investments in these types of instruments. The Fund is not intended as a vehicle for trading in the commodity futures, commodity options or swaps markets. The CFTC has neither reviewed nor approved the investment manager’s reliance on these exclusions, or the Fund, its investment strategies or this SAI.

Generally, the exclusion from CPO regulation on which the investment manager relies requires the Fund to meet one of the following tests for its commodity interest positions, other than positions entered into for bona fide hedging purposes (as defined in the rules of the CFTC): either (1) the aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish the Fund’s positions in commodity interests may not exceed 5% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions); or (2) the aggregate net notional value of the Fund’s commodity interest positions, determined at the time the most recent such position was established, may not exceed 100% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). In addition to meeting one of these trading limitations, the Fund may not be marketed as a commodity pool or otherwise as a vehicle for trading in the commodity futures, commodity options or swaps markets. If, in the future, the Fund can no longer satisfy these requirements, the investment manager would withdraw its notice claiming an exclusion from the definition of a CPO, and the investment manager would be subject to registration and regulation as a CPO with respect to the Fund, in accordance with CFTC rules that apply to CPOs of registered investment companies. Generally, these rules allow for substituted compliance with CFTC disclosure and shareholder reporting requirements, based on the investment manager’s compliance with comparable SEC requirements. However, as a result of CFTC regulation with respect to the Fund, the Fund may incur additional compliance and other expenses.

Currency forward contracts. A currency forward contract is an obligation to purchase or sell a specific non-U.S. currency in exchange for another currency, which may be U.S. dollars, at an agreed exchange rate (price) at a future date. Currency forwards are typically individually negotiated and privately traded by currency traders and their customers in the interbank market. A cross currency forward is a forward contract to sell a specific non-U.S. currency in exchange for another non-U.S. currency and may be used when the price of one of those non-U.S. currencies is expected to experience a substantial movement against the other non-U.S. currency. A currency forward contract will tend to reduce or eliminate exposure to the currency that is sold, and increase exposure to the currency that is purchased, similar to when the Fund sells a security denominated in one currency and purchases a security denominated in another currency. For example, the Fund may enter into a forward contract when it owns a security that is denominated in a non-U.S. currency and desires to “lock in” the U.S. dollar value of the security. In addition, when the Fund’s investment manager believes that a specific foreign currency may experience a substantial movement against another foreign currency, the Fund may enter into a cross currency forward contract to buy or sell, as appropriate, an amount of the foreign currency: (a) approximating the value of some or all of its portfolio securities denominated in such currency (this investment practice generally is referred to as “cross-hedging”); (b) designed to derive a level of additional income or return that the Fund’s investment manager seeks to achieve for the Fund; (c) to increase liquidity; or (d) to gain exposure to a currency in a more efficient or less expensive way. The Fund may also engage in “proxy hedging.” Proxy hedging entails entering into a forward contract to buy or sell a currency whose changes in value are generally considered to perform similarly to a currency or currencies in which some or all of the Fund’s portfolio securities are or are expected to be denominated. Proxy hedging is often used when the currency to which the Fund’s portfolio is exposed is difficult to hedge or to hedge against the U.S. dollar and therefore another currency is used as a “proxy” for such currency.

At the maturity of a currency or cross currency forward, the Fund may either exchange the currencies specified at the maturity of a forward contract or, prior to maturity, the Fund may enter into a closing transaction involving the purchase or sale of an offsetting contract. Closing transactions with respect to forward contracts are usually effected with the counterparty to the original forward contract. The Fund may also enter into forward contracts that do not provide for physical settlement of the two currencies but instead provide for settlement by a single cash payment calculated as the difference between the agreed upon exchange rate and the

9


spot rate at settlement based upon an agreed upon notional amount (non-deliverable forwards).

Under definitions adopted by the CFTC and SEC, non-deliverable forwards are considered swaps, and therefore are included in the definition of “commodity interests.” Although non-deliverable forwards have historically been traded in the over-the-counter (OTC) market, as swaps they may in the future be required to be centrally cleared and traded on public facilities. For more information on central clearing and trading of cleared swaps, see “Cleared swaps,” “Risks of cleared swaps,” “Comprehensive swaps regulation” and “Developing government regulation of derivatives.” Currency and cross currency forwards that qualify as deliverable forwards are not regulated as swaps for most purposes, and are not included in the definition of “commodity interests.” However these forwards are subject to some requirements applicable to swaps, including reporting to swap data repositories, documentation requirements, and business conduct rules applicable to swap dealers.

CFTC regulation of currency and cross currency forwards, especially non-deliverable forwards, may restrict the Fund’s ability to use these instruments in the manner described above or subject the investment manager to CFTC registration and regulation as a CPO.

Risks of currency forward contracts. The successful use of these transactions will usually depend on the investment manager’s ability to accurately forecast currency exchange rate movements. Should exchange rates move in an unexpected manner, the Fund may not achieve the anticipated benefits of the transaction, or it may realize losses. In addition, these techniques could result in a loss if the counterparty to the transaction does not perform as promised, including because of the counterparty’s bankruptcy or insolvency. While the Fund uses only counterparties that meet its credit quality standards, in unusual or extreme market conditions, a counterparty’s creditworthiness and ability to perform may deteriorate rapidly, and the availability of suitable replacement counterparties may become limited. Moreover, investors should bear in mind that the Fund is not obligated to actively engage in hedging or other currency transactions. For example, the Fund may not have attempted to hedge its exposure to a particular foreign currency at a time when doing so might have avoided a loss.

Currency forward contracts may limit potential gain from a positive change in the relationship between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies. Unanticipated changes in currency prices may result in poorer overall performance for the Fund than if it had not engaged in such contracts. Moreover, there may be an imperfect correlation between the Fund’s portfolio holdings of securities denominated in a particular currency and the currencies bought or sold in the forward contracts entered into by the Fund. This imperfect correlation may cause the Fund to sustain losses that will prevent the Fund from achieving a complete hedge or expose the Fund to risk of foreign exchange loss.

Futures contracts. Generally, a futures contract is a standard binding agreement to buy or sell a specified quantity of an underlying reference instrument, such as a specific security, currency or commodity, at a specified price at a specified later date. A “sale” of a futures contract means the acquisition of a contractual obligation to deliver the underlying reference instrument called for by the contract at a specified price on a specified date. A “purchase” of a futures contract means the acquisition of a contractual obligation to acquire the underlying reference instrument called for by the contract at a specified price on a specified date. The purchase or sale of a futures contract will allow the Fund to increase or decrease its exposure to the underlying reference instrument without having to buy the actual instrument.

The underlying reference instruments to which futures contracts may relate include non-U.S. currencies, interest rates, stock and bond indices and debt securities, including U.S. government debt obligations. In certain types of futures contracts, the underlying reference instrument may be a swap agreement. For more information about swap agreements generally, see “Swaps” below. In most cases the contractual obligation under a futures contract may be offset, or “closed out,” before the settlement date so that the parties do not have to make or take delivery. The closing out of a contractual obligation is usually accomplished by buying or selling, as the case may be, an identical, offsetting futures contract. This transaction, which is effected through a member of an exchange, cancels the obligation to make or take delivery of the underlying instrument or asset. Although some futures contracts by their terms require the actual delivery or acquisition of the underlying instrument or asset, some require cash settlement.

Futures contracts may be bought and sold on U.S. and non-U.S. exchanges. Futures contracts in the U.S. have been designed by exchanges that have been designated “contract markets” by the CFTC and must be executed through a futures commission merchant (FCM), which is a brokerage firm that is a member of the relevant contract market. Each exchange guarantees performance of the contracts as between the clearing members of the exchange, thereby reducing the risk of counterparty default. Futures contracts may also be entered into on certain exempt markets, including exempt boards of trade and electronic trading facilities, available to certain market participants. Because all transactions in the futures market are made, offset or fulfilled by an FCM through a clearinghouse associated with the exchange on which the contracts are traded, the Fund will incur brokerage fees when it buys or sells futures contracts.

The Fund generally buys and sells futures contracts only on contract markets (including exchanges or boards of trade) where there appears to be an active market for the futures

10


contracts, but there is no assurance that an active market will exist for any particular contract or at any particular time. An active market makes it more likely that futures contracts will be liquid and bought and sold at competitive market prices. In addition, many of the futures contracts available may be relatively new instruments without a significant trading history. As a result, there can be no assurance that an active market will develop or continue to exist.

When the Fund enters into a futures contract, it must deliver to an account controlled by the FCM (that has been selected by the Fund), an amount referred to as “initial margin” that is typically calculated as an amount equal to the volatility in market value of a contract over a fixed period. Initial margin requirements are determined by the respective exchanges on which the futures contracts are traded and the FCM. Thereafter, a “variation margin” amount may be required to be paid by the Fund or received by the Fund in accordance with margin controls set for such accounts, depending upon changes in the marked-to-market value of the futures contract. The account is marked-to-market daily and the variation margin is monitored by the Fund’s investment manager and custodian on a daily basis. When the futures contract is closed out, if the Fund has a loss equal to or greater than the margin amount, the margin amount is paid to the FCM along with any loss in excess of the margin amount. If the Fund has a loss of less than the margin amount, the excess margin is returned to the Fund. If the Fund has a gain, the full margin amount and the amount of the gain is paid to the Fund.

Some futures contracts provide for the delivery of securities that are different than those that are specified in the contract. For a futures contract for delivery of debt securities, on the settlement date of the contract, adjustments to the contract can be made to recognize differences in value arising from the delivery of debt securities with a different interest rate from that of the particular debt securities that were specified in the contract. In some cases, securities called for by a futures contract may not have been issued when the contract was written.

Risks of futures contracts. The Fund’s use of futures contracts is subject to the risks associated with derivative instruments generally. In addition, a purchase or sale of a futures contract may result in losses to the Fund in excess of the amount that the Fund delivered as initial margin. Because of the relatively low margin deposits required, futures trading involves a high degree of leverage; as a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss, or gain, to the Fund. In addition, if the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements or close out a futures position, it may have to sell securities from its portfolio at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. Adverse market movements could cause the Fund to experience substantial losses on an investment in a futures contract.

There is a risk of loss by the Fund of the initial and variation margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which the Fund has an open position in a futures contract. The assets of the Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because the Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds and margin segregated on behalf of an FCM’s customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use the Fund’s assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM’s other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty.

The Fund may not be able to properly hedge or effect its strategy when a liquid market is unavailable for the futures contract the Fund wishes to close, which may at times occur. In addition, when futures contracts are used for hedging, there may be an imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of the underlying reference instrument on which the futures contract is based and movements in the prices of the assets sought to be hedged.

If the investment manager’s investment judgment about the general direction of market prices or interest or currency exchange rates is incorrect, the Fund’s overall performance will be poorer than if it had not entered into a futures contract. For example, if the Fund has purchased futures to hedge against the possibility of an increase in interest rates that would adversely affect the price of bonds held in its portfolio and interest rates instead decrease, the Fund will lose part or all of the benefit of the increased value of the bonds which it has hedged. This is because its losses in its futures positions will offset some or all of its gains from the increased value of the bonds.

The difference (called the “spread”) between prices in the cash market for the purchase and sale of the underlying reference instrument and the prices in the futures market is subject to fluctuations and distortions due to differences in the nature of those two markets. First, all participants in the futures market are subject to initial deposit and variation margin requirements. Rather than meeting additional variation margin requirements, investors may close futures contracts through offsetting transactions that could distort the normal pricing spread between the cash and futures markets. Second, the liquidity of the futures markets depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than making or taking delivery of the underlying instrument. To the extent participants decide to make or take delivery, liquidity in the futures market could be reduced, resulting in pricing distortion. Third, from the point of view of speculators, the margin deposit requirements that apply in the futures market are less onerous than similar margin requirements in the securities market. Therefore, increased participation by speculators in the futures market may cause temporary price distortions. When such distortions occur, a correct forecast of

11


general trends in the price of an underlying reference instrument by the investment manager may still not necessarily result in a profitable transaction.

Futures contracts that are traded on non-U.S. exchanges may not be as liquid as those purchased on CFTC-designated contract markets. In addition, non-U.S. futures contracts may be subject to varied regulatory oversight. The price of any non-U.S. futures contract and, therefore, the potential profit and loss thereon, may be affected by any change in the non-U.S. exchange rate between the time a particular order is placed and the time it is liquidated, offset or exercised.

The CFTC and the various exchanges have established limits referred to as “speculative position limits” on the maximum net long or net short position that any person, such as the Fund, may hold or control in a particular futures contract. Trading limits are also imposed on the maximum number of contracts that any person may trade on a particular trading day. An exchange may order the liquidation of positions found to be in violation of these limits and it may impose other sanctions or restrictions. The regulation of futures, as well as other derivatives, is a rapidly changing area of law.

Futures exchanges may also limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in certain futures contract prices during a single trading day. This daily limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price. Once the daily limit has been reached in a futures contract subject to the limit, no more trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movements during a particular trading day and does not limit potential losses because the limit may prevent the liquidation of unfavorable positions. For example, futures prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of positions and subjecting some holders of futures contracts to substantial losses.

Options. An option is a contract that gives the purchaser of the option, in return for the premium paid, the right to buy an underlying reference instrument, such as a specified security, currency, index, or other instrument, from the writer of the option (in the case of a call option), or to sell a specified reference instrument to the writer of the option (in the case of a put option) at a designated price during the term of the option. The premium paid by the buyer of an option will reflect, among other things, the relationship of the exercise price to the market price and the volatility of the underlying reference instrument, the remaining term of the option, supply, demand, interest rates and/or currency exchange rates. An American style put or call option may be exercised at any time during the option period while a European style put or call option may be exercised only upon expiration or during a fixed period prior thereto. Put and call options are traded on national securities exchanges and in the OTC market.

Options traded on national securities exchanges are within the jurisdiction of the SEC or other appropriate national securities regulator, as are securities traded on such exchanges. As a result, many of the protections provided to traders on organized exchanges will be available with respect to such transactions. In particular, all option positions entered into on a national securities exchange in the United States are cleared and guaranteed by the Options Clearing Corporation, thereby reducing the risk of counterparty default. Furthermore, a liquid secondary market in options traded on a national securities exchange may be more readily available than in the OTC market, potentially permitting the Fund to liquidate open positions at a profit prior to exercise or expiration, or to limit losses in the event of adverse market movements. There is no assurance, however, that higher than anticipated trading activity or other unforeseen events might not temporarily render the capabilities of the Options Clearing Corporation inadequate, and thereby result in the exchange instituting special procedures which may interfere with the timely execution of the Fund’s orders to close out open options positions.

Purchasing call and put options. As the buyer of a call option, the Fund has a right to buy the underlying reference instrument (e.g., a currency or security) at the exercise price at any time during the option period (for American style options). The Fund may enter into closing sale transactions with respect to call options, exercise them, or permit them to expire. For example, the Fund may buy call options on underlying reference instruments that it intends to buy with the goal of limiting the risk of a substantial increase in their market price before the purchase is effected. Unless the price of the underlying reference instrument changes sufficiently, a call option purchased by the Fund may expire without any value to the Fund, in which case the Fund would experience a loss to the extent of the premium paid for the option plus related transaction costs.

As the buyer of a put option, the Fund has the right to sell the underlying reference instrument at the exercise price at any time during the option period (for American style options). Like a call option, the Fund may enter into closing sale transactions with respect to put options, exercise them or permit them to expire. The Fund may buy a put option on an underlying reference instrument owned by the Fund (a protective put) as a hedging technique in an attempt to protect against an anticipated decline in the market value of the underlying reference instrument. Such hedge protection is provided only during the life of the put option when the Fund, as the buyer of the put option, is able to sell the underlying reference instrument at the put exercise price, regardless of any decline in the underlying instrument’s market price. The Fund may also seek to offset a decline in the value of the underlying reference instrument through appreciation in the

12


value of the put option. A put option may also be purchased with the intent of protecting unrealized appreciation of an instrument when the investment manager deems it desirable to continue to hold the instrument because of tax or other considerations. The premium paid for the put option and any transaction costs would reduce any short-term capital gain that may be available for distribution when the instrument is eventually sold. Buying put options at a time when the buyer does not own the underlying reference instrument allows the buyer to benefit from a decline in the market price of the underlying reference instrument, which generally increases the value of the put option.

If a put option was not terminated in a closing sale transaction when it has remaining value, and if the market price of the underlying reference instrument remains equal to or greater than the exercise price during the life of the put option, the buyer would not make any gain upon exercise of the option and would experience a loss to the extent of the premium paid for the option plus related transaction costs. In order for the purchase of a put option to be profitable, the market price of the underlying reference instrument must decline sufficiently below the exercise price to cover the premium and transaction costs.

Closing out options (exchange-traded options). If the writer of an option wants to terminate its obligation, the writer may effect a “closing purchase transaction” by buying an option of the same series as the option previously written. The effect of the purchase is that the clearing corporation will cancel the option writer’s position. However, a writer may not effect a closing purchase transaction after being notified of the exercise of an option. Likewise, the buyer of an option may recover all or a portion of the premium that it paid by effecting a “closing sale transaction” by selling an option of the same series as the option previously purchased and receiving a premium on the sale. There is no guarantee that either a closing purchase or a closing sale transaction may be made at a time desired by the Fund. Closing transactions allow the Fund to terminate its positions in written and purchased options. The Fund will realize a profit from a closing transaction if the price of the transaction is less than the premium received from writing the original option (in the case of written options) or is more than the premium paid by the Fund to buy the option (in the case of purchased options). For example, increases in the market price of a call option sold by the Fund will generally reflect increases in the market price of the underlying reference instrument. As a result, any loss resulting from a closing transaction on a written call option is likely to be offset in whole or in part by appreciation of the underlying instrument owned by the Fund.

Over-the-counter (OTC) options. Like exchange-traded options, OTC options give the holder the right to buy from the writer, in the case of OTC call options, or sell to the writer, in the case of OTC put options, an underlying reference instrument at a stated exercise price. OTC options, however, differ from exchange-traded options in certain material respects.

OTC options are arranged directly with dealers and not with a clearing corporation or exchange. Consequently, there is a risk of non-performance by the dealer, including because of the dealer’s bankruptcy or insolvency. While the Fund uses only counterparties, such as dealers, that meet its credit quality standards, in unusual or extreme market conditions, a counterparty’s creditworthiness and ability to perform may deteriorate rapidly, and the availability of suitable replacement counterparties may become limited. Because there is no exchange, pricing is typically done based on information from market makers or other dealers. OTC options are available for a greater variety of underlying reference instruments and in a wider range of expiration dates and exercise prices than exchange-traded options.

There can be no assurance that a continuous liquid secondary market will exist for any particular OTC option at any specific time. The Fund may be able to realize the value of an OTC option it has purchased only by exercising it or entering into a closing sale transaction with the dealer that issued it. When the Fund writes an OTC option, it generally can close out that option prior to its expiration only by entering into a closing purchase transaction with the dealer with which the Fund originally wrote the option. The Fund may suffer a loss if it is not able to exercise (in the case of a purchased option) or enter into a closing sale transaction on a timely basis.

Risks of options. The Fund’s options investments involve certain risks, including general risks related to derivative instruments. There can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market on an exchange will exist for any particular option, or at any particular time, and the Fund may have difficulty effecting closing transactions in particular options. Therefore, the Fund would have to exercise the options it purchased in order to realize any profit, thus taking or making delivery of the underlying reference instrument when not desired. The Fund could then incur transaction costs upon the sale of the underlying reference instruments. Similarly, when the Fund cannot effect a closing transaction with respect to a put option it wrote, and the buyer exercises, the Fund would be required to take delivery and would incur transaction costs upon the sale of the underlying reference instruments purchased. If the Fund, as a covered call option writer, is unable to effect a closing purchase transaction in a secondary market, it will not be able to sell the underlying reference instrument until the option expires, or it delivers the underlying instrument upon exercise. When trading options on non-U.S. exchanges or in the OTC market, many of the protections afforded to exchange participants will not be available. For example, there may be no daily price fluctuation limits, and adverse market movements could therefore continue to an unlimited extent over an indefinite period of time.

13


The effectiveness of an options strategy for hedging depends on the degree to which price movements in the underlying reference instruments correlate with price movements in the relevant portion of the Fund’s portfolio that is being hedged. In addition, the Fund bears the risk that the prices of its portfolio investments will not move in the same amount as the option it has purchased or sold for hedging purposes, or that there may be a negative correlation that would result in a loss on both the investments and the option. If the investment manager is not successful in using options in managing the Fund’s investments, the Fund’s performance will be worse than if the investment manager did not employ such strategies.

Developing government regulation of derivatives. The regulation of cleared and uncleared swaps, as well as other derivatives, is a rapidly changing area of law and is subject to modification by government and judicial action. In addition, the SEC, CFTC and the exchanges are authorized to take extraordinary actions in the event of a market emergency, including, for example, the implementation or reduction of speculative position limits, the implementation of higher margin requirements, the establishment of daily price limits and the suspension of trading.

It is not possible to predict fully the effects of current or future regulation. However, it is possible that developments in government regulation of various types of derivative instruments, such as speculative position limits on certain types of derivatives, or limits or restrictions on the counterparties with which the Fund engages in derivative transactions, may limit or prevent the Fund from using or limit the Fund’s use of these instruments effectively as a part of its investment strategy, and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment goal(s). The investment manager will continue to monitor developments in the area, particularly to the extent regulatory changes affect the Fund’s ability to enter into desired swap agreements. New requirements, even if not directly applicable to the Fund, may increase the cost of the Fund’s investments and cost of doing business.

Equity securities Equity securities represent a proportionate share of the ownership of a company; their value is based on the success of the company's business and the value of its assets, as well as general market conditions. The purchaser of an equity security typically receives an ownership interest in the company as well as certain voting rights. The owner of an equity security may participate in a company's success through the receipt of dividends, which are distributions of earnings by the company to its owners. Equity security owners may also participate in a company's success or lack of success through increases or decreases in the value of the company's shares. Equity securities generally take the form of common stock or preferred stock, as well as securities convertible into common stock. Preferred stockholders typically receive greater dividends but may receive less appreciation than common stockholders and may have different voting rights as well. Equity securities may also include convertible securities, warrants, rights or equity interests in trusts, partnerships, joint ventures or similar enterprises. Warrants or rights give the holder the right to buy a common stock at a given time for a specified price.

Small and mid capitalization companies. Market capitalization is defined as the total market value of a company's outstanding stock. Small capitalization companies are often overlooked by investors or undervalued in relation to their earnings power. Because small capitalization companies generally are not as well known to the investing public, and may have less of an investor following and may grow more rapidly than larger capitalization companies, they may provide greater opportunities for long-term capital growth. These companies may be undervalued because they are part of an industry that is out of favor with investors, although the individual companies may have high rates of earnings growth and be financially sound. Mid capitalization companies may offer greater potential for capital appreciation than larger capitalization companies, because mid capitalization companies are often growing more rapidly than larger capitalization companies, but tend to be more stable and established than small capitalization or emerging companies.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) of securities issued by unseasoned companies with little or no operating history are risky and their prices are highly volatile, but they can result in very large gains in their initial trading. Attractive IPOs are often oversubscribed and may not be available to the Fund, or only in very limited quantities. Thus, when the Fund’s size is smaller, any gains from IPOs will have an exaggerated impact on the Fund’s reported performance than when the Fund is larger. Although IPO investments have had a positive impact on some funds’ performance in the past, there can be no assurance that the Fund will have favorable IPO investment opportunities in the future.

To the extent that the Fund may invest in small capitalization companies, it may have significant investments in relatively new or unseasoned companies that are in their early stages of development, or in new and emerging industries where the opportunity for rapid growth is expected to be above average. Securities of unseasoned companies present greater risks than securities of larger, more established companies.

Financial services companies risk. To the extent that the Fund invests its assets in investments of financial services companies, the Fund’s investments and performance will be affected by general market and economic conditions as well as other risk factors particular to the financial services industry. Financial services companies are subject to extensive government regulation. This regulation may limit both the amount and types of loans and other financial commitments a financial services company can make, and the interest rates and fees it can charge. Such limitations may

14


have a significant impact on the profitability of a financial services company since that profitability is attributable, at least in part, to the company’s ability to make financial commitments such as loans. Profitability of a financial services company is largely dependent upon the availability and cost of the company’s funds, and can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change. The financial difficulties of borrowers can negatively impact the industry to the extent that borrowers may not be able to repay loans made by financial services companies.

In response to the recent economic instability, the United States and other governments have taken actions designed to support the financial markets. The withdrawal of this support could negatively affect the value and liquidity of certain securities. Moreover, the implications of government ownership interests in financial institutions, by virtue of aging distressed assets, is unforeseeable.

In addition, the financial services industry is an evolving and competitive industry that is undergoing significant change, as existing distinctions between financial segments become less clear. Such changes have resulted from various consolidations as well as the continual development of new products, structures and a changing regulatory framework. These changes are likely to have a significant impact on the financial services industry and the Fund.

Insurance companies may be subject to severe price competition, claims activity, marketing competition and general economic conditions. Particular insurance lines will also be influenced by specific matters. Property and casualty insurer profits may be affected by events such as man-made and natural disasters (including weather catastrophe and terrorism). Life and health insurer profits may be affected by mortality risks and morbidity rates. Individual insurance companies may be subject to material risks including inadequate reserve funds to pay claims and the inability to collect from the insurance companies which insure insurance companies, so-called reinsurance carriers.

Foreign securities For purposes of the Fund's prospectus and SAI, "foreign securities" refers to non-U.S. securities. There are substantial risks associated with investing in the securities of governments and companies located in, or having substantial operations in, foreign countries, which are in addition to the usual risks inherent in domestic investments. The value of foreign securities (like U.S. securities) is affected by general economic conditions and individual issuer and industry earnings prospects. Investments in depositary receipts also involve some or all of the risks described below.

There is the possibility of cessation of trading on foreign exchanges, expropriation, nationalization of assets, confiscatory or punitive taxation, withholding and other foreign taxes on income (including capital gains or other amounts), taxation on a retroactive basis, sudden or unanticipated changes in foreign tax laws, financial transaction taxes, denial or delay of the realization of tax treaty benefits, payment of foreign taxes not available for credit or deduction when passed through to shareholders, foreign exchange controls (which may include suspension of the ability to transfer currency from a given country), restrictions on removal of assets, political or social instability, military action or unrest, or diplomatic developments, including sanctions imposed by other countries or governmental entities, that could affect investments in securities of issuers in foreign nations. There is no assurance that the investment manager will be able to anticipate these potential events. In addition, the value of securities denominated in foreign currencies and of dividends and interest paid with respect to such securities will fluctuate based on the relative strength of the U.S. dollar.

There may be less publicly available information about foreign issuers comparable to the reports and ratings published about issuers in the U.S. Foreign issuers generally are not subject to uniform accounting or financial reporting standards. Auditing practices and requirements may not be comparable to those applicable to U.S. issuers. Certain countries' legal institutions, financial markets and services are less developed than those in the U.S. or other major economies. The Fund may have greater difficulty voting proxies, exercising shareholder rights, securing dividends and obtaining information regarding corporate actions on a timely basis, pursuing legal remedies, and obtaining judgments with respect to foreign investments in foreign courts than with respect to domestic issuers in U.S. courts. The costs associated with foreign investments, including withholding taxes, brokerage commissions, and custodial costs, are generally higher than with U.S. investments.

Certain countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons, or limit the amount of investment by foreign persons in a particular company. Some countries limit the investment of foreign persons to only a specific class of securities of an issuer that may have less advantageous terms than securities of the issuer available for purchase by nationals. Although securities subject to such restrictions may be marketable abroad, they may be less liquid than foreign securities of the same class that are not subject to such restrictions. In some countries the repatriation of investment income, capital and proceeds of sales by foreign investors may require governmental registration and/or approval. The Fund could be adversely affected by delays in or a refusal to grant any required governmental registration or approval for repatriation.

From time to time, trading in a foreign market may be interrupted. Foreign markets also have substantially less volume than the U.S. markets and securities of some foreign issuers are less liquid and more volatile than securities of comparable U.S. issuers. The Fund, therefore, may encounter difficulty in obtaining market quotations for purposes of valuing its portfolio and calculating its net asset value.

15


In many foreign countries there is less government supervision and regulation of stock exchanges, brokers, and listed companies than in the U.S., which may result in greater potential for fraud or market manipulation. Foreign over-the-counter markets tend to be less regulated than foreign stock exchange markets and, in certain countries, may be totally unregulated. Brokerage commission rates in foreign countries, which generally are fixed rather than subject to negotiation as in the U.S., are likely to be higher. Foreign security trading, settlement and custodial practices (including those involving securities settlement where assets may be released prior to receipt of payment) are often less developed than those in U.S. markets, may be cumbersome and may result in increased risk or substantial delays. This could occur in the event of a failed trade or the insolvency of, or breach of duty by, a foreign broker-dealer, securities depository, or foreign subcustodian.

The holding of foreign securities may be limited by the Fund to avoid investment in certain Passive Foreign Investment Companies (PFICs) and the imposition of a PFIC tax on the Fund resulting from such investments.

Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the resulting responses by the United States and other countries, and the potential for wider conflict could increase volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets and adversely affect regional and global economies. The United States and other countries have imposed broad-ranging economic sanctions on Russia, certain Russian individuals, banking entities and corporations, and Belarus as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and may impose sanctions on other countries that provide military or economic support to Russia. The extent and duration of Russia’s military actions and the repercussions of such actions (including any retaliatory actions or countermeasures that may be taken by those subject to sanctions, including cyber attacks) are impossible to predict, but could result in significant market disruptions, including in certain industries or sectors, such as the oil and natural gas markets, and may negatively affect global supply chains, inflation and global growth. These and any related events could significantly impact the Fund’s performance and the value of an investment in the Fund, even if the Fund does not have direct exposure to Russian issuers or issuers in other countries affected by the invasion.

On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU). There is considerable uncertainty about the consequences of that departure, including uncertainty about the economic effects and results of trade negotiations between the UK and the EU. The negative impact of the UK's departure on, not only the UK and European economies, but the broader global economy, could be significant, potentially resulting in increased volatility and illiquidity and lower economic growth for companies that rely significantly on Europe for their business activities and revenues.

Developing markets or emerging markets. Investments in issuers domiciled or with significant operations in developing market or emerging market countries may be subject to potentially higher risks than investments in developed countries. These risks include, among others (i) less social, political and economic stability; (ii) smaller securities markets with low or nonexistent trading volume, which result in greater illiquidity and greater price volatility; (iii) certain national policies which may restrict the Fund's investment opportunities, including restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests; (iv) foreign taxation, including less transparent and established taxation policies; (v) less developed regulatory or legal structures governing private or foreign investment or allowing for judicial redress for injury to private property; (vi) the absence, until recently in many developing market countries, of a capital market structure or market-oriented economy; (vii) more widespread corruption and fraud; (viii) the financial institutions with which the Fund may trade may not possess the same degree of financial sophistication, creditworthiness or resources as those in developed markets; and (ix) the possibility that when favorable economic developments occur in some developing market countries, such developments may be slowed or reversed by unanticipated economic, political or social events in such countries.

Due to political, military or regional conflicts or due to terrorism or war, it is possible that the United States, other nations or other governmental entities (including supranational entities) could impose sanctions on a country involved in such conflicts that limit or restrict foreign investment, the movement of assets or other economic activity in that country. Such sanctions or other intergovernmental actions could result in the devaluation of a country’s currency, a downgrade in the credit ratings of issuers in such country, or a decline in the value and liquidity of securities of issuers in that country. In addition, an imposition of sanctions upon certain issuers in a country could result in an immediate freeze of that issuer’s securities, impairing the ability of the Fund to buy, sell, receive or deliver those securities. Countermeasures could be taken by the country’s government, which could involve the seizure of the Fund’s assets. In addition, such actions could adversely affect a country’s economy, possibly forcing the economy into a recession.

In addition, many developing market countries have experienced substantial, and during some periods, extremely high rates of inflation, for many years. Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and may continue to have, negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain countries. Moreover, the economies of some developing market countries may differ unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product, rate of inflation, currency depreciation, debt burden, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and

16


balance of payments position. The economies of some developing market countries may be based on only a few industries, and may be highly vulnerable to changes in local or global trade conditions.

Settlement systems in developing market countries may be less organized than in developed countries. Supervisory authorities may also be unable to apply standards which are comparable with those in more developed countries. There may be risks that settlement may be delayed and that cash or securities belonging to the Fund may be in jeopardy because of failures of or defects in the settlement systems. Market practice may require that payment be made prior to receipt of the security which is being purchased or that delivery of a security must be made before payment is received. In such cases, default by a broker or bank (counterparty) through whom the relevant transaction is effected might result in a loss being suffered by the Fund. The Fund seeks, where possible, to use counterparties whose financial status reduces this risk. However, there can be no certainty that the Fund will be successful in eliminating or reducing this risk, particularly as counterparties operating in developing market countries frequently lack the substance, capitalization and/or financial resources of those in developed countries. Uncertainties in the operation of settlement systems in individual markets may increase the risk of competing claims to securities held by or to be transferred to the Fund. Legal compensation schemes may be non-existent, limited or inadequate to meet the Fund's claims in any of these events.

Securities trading in developing markets presents additional credit and financial risks. The Fund may have limited access to, or there may be a limited number of, potential counterparties that trade in the securities of developing market issuers. Governmental regulations may restrict potential counterparties to certain financial institutions located or operating in the particular developing market. Potential counterparties may not possess, adopt or implement creditworthiness standards, financial reporting standards or legal and contractual protections similar to those in developed markets. Currency and other hedging techniques may not be available or may be limited.

The local taxation of income and capital gains accruing to non-residents varies among developing market countries and may be comparatively high. Developing market countries typically have less well-defined tax laws and procedures and such laws may permit retroactive taxation so that the Fund could in the future become subject to local tax liabilities that had not been anticipated in conducting its investment activities or valuing its assets.

Many developing market countries suffer from uncertainty and corruption in their legal frameworks. Legislation may be difficult to interpret and laws may be too new to provide any precedential value. Laws regarding foreign investment and private property may be weak or non-existent. Investments in developing market countries may involve risks of nationalization, expropriation and confiscatory taxation. For example, the Communist governments of a number of Eastern European countries expropriated large amounts of private property in the past, in many cases without adequate compensation, and there can be no assurance that similar expropriation will not occur in the future. In the event of expropriation, the Fund could lose all or a substantial portion of any investments it has made in the affected countries. Accounting, auditing and reporting standards in certain countries in which the Fund may invest may not provide the same degree of investor protection or information to investors as would generally apply in major securities markets. For example, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has warned that positions taken by Chinese authorities impair the PCAOB's ability to conduct inspections and investigations of the audits of public companies with China-based operations. The PCAOB's impaired ability to oversee PCAOB-registered audit firms in China may result in inaccurate or incomplete financial records of an issuer's operations within China, which may negatively impact the Fund's investments in such companies. In addition, it is possible that purported securities in which the Fund invested may subsequently be found to be fraudulent and as a consequence the Fund could suffer losses.

There may be significant obstacles to obtaining information necessary for investigations into potential legal claims or litigation against emerging market issuers and investors such as the Fund may experience difficulty in enforcing legal claims related to investments in the securities of such issuers. The SEC and other U.S. regulatory authorities often have substantial difficulties in bringing and enforcing actions against non-U.S. companies and non-U.S. persons, including company directors and officers, in certain emerging markets, including China. Accordingly, investor protection and legal recourse may be limited with respect to the Fund's investments in emerging markets.

Finally, currencies of developing market countries are subject to significantly greater risks than currencies of developed countries. Some developing market currencies may not be internationally traded or may be subject to strict controls by local governments, resulting in undervalued or overvalued currencies and associated difficulties with the valuation of assets, including the Fund's securities, denominated in that currency. Some developing market countries have experienced balance of payment deficits and shortages in foreign exchange reserves. Governments have responded by restricting currency conversions. Future restrictive exchange controls could prevent or restrict a company's ability to make dividend or interest payments in the original currency of the obligation (usually U.S. dollars). In addition, even though the currencies of some developing market countries, such as certain Eastern European countries, may be convertible into U.S. dollars, the conversion rates may be artificial to the

17


actual market values and may be adverse to the Fund's shareholders.

Foreign currency exchange rates. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates will affect the U.S. dollar market value of securities denominated in such foreign currencies and any income received or expenses paid by the Fund in that foreign currency. This may affect the Fund's share price, income and distributions to shareholders. Some countries may have fixed or managed currencies that are not free-floating against the U.S. dollar. It will be more difficult for the investment manager to value securities denominated in currencies that are fixed or managed. Certain currencies may not be internationally traded, which could cause illiquidity with respect to the Fund's investments in that currency and any securities denominated in that currency. Currency markets generally are not as regulated as securities markets. The Fund endeavors to buy and sell foreign currencies on as favorable a basis as practicable. Some price spread in currency exchanges (to cover service charges) may be incurred, particularly when the Fund changes investments from one country to another or when proceeds of the sale of securities in U.S. dollars are used for the purchase of securities denominated in foreign currencies. Some countries may adopt policies that would prevent the Fund from transferring cash out of the country or withhold portions of interest and dividends at the source.

Certain currencies have experienced a steady devaluation relative to the U.S. dollar. Any devaluations in the currencies in which the Fund's portfolio securities are denominated may have a detrimental impact on the Fund. Where the exchange rate for a currency declines materially after the Fund's income has been accrued and translated into U.S. dollars, the Fund may need to redeem portfolio securities to make required distributions. Similarly, if an exchange rate declines between the time the Fund incurs expenses in U.S. dollars and the time such expenses are paid, the Fund will have to convert a greater amount of the currency into U.S. dollars in order to pay the expenses.

Investing in foreign currencies for purposes of gaining from projected changes in exchange rates further increases the Fund's exposure to foreign securities losses.

High-yield debt securities High-yield or lower-rated debt securities (also referred to as "junk bonds") are securities that have been rated below the top four rating categories (e.g., BB or Ba and lower) by one or more independent rating organizations such as Moody's or S&P and are considered below investment grade. These securities generally have greater risk with respect to the payment of interest and repayment of principal, or may be in default and are often considered to be speculative and involve greater risk of loss because they are generally unsecured and are often subordinated to other debt of the issuer.

Adverse publicity, investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, or real or perceived adverse economic and competitive industry conditions may decrease the values and liquidity of lower-rated debt securities, especially in a thinly traded market. Analysis of the creditworthiness of issuers of lower-rated debt securities may be more complex than for issuers of higher-rated securities. The Fund relies on the investment manager's judgment, analysis and experience in evaluating the creditworthiness of an issuer of lower-rated securities. In such evaluations, the investment manager takes into consideration, among other things, the issuer's financial resources, its sensitivity to economic conditions and trends, its operating history, the quality of the issuer's management and regulatory matters. There can be no assurance the investment manager will be successful in evaluating the creditworthiness of an issuer or the value of high yield debt securities generally.

The prices of lower-rated debt securities may be less sensitive to interest rate changes than higher-rated debt securities, but more sensitive to economic downturns or individual adverse corporate developments. Market anticipation of an economic downturn or of rising interest rates, for example, could cause a decline in lower-rated debt securities prices. This is because an economic downturn could lessen the ability of a highly leveraged company to make principal and interest payments on its debt securities. Similarly, the impact of individual adverse corporate developments, or public perceptions thereof, will be greater for lower-rated securities because the issuers of such securities are more likely to enter bankruptcy. If the issuer of lower-rated debt securities defaults, the Fund may incur substantial expenses to seek recovery of all or a portion of its investments or to exercise other rights as a security holder. The Fund may choose, at its expense or in conjunction with others, to pursue litigation or otherwise to exercise its rights as a security holder to seek to protect the interests of security holders if it determines this to be in the best interest of the Fund's shareholders.

Lower-rated debt securities frequently have call or buy-back features that allow an issuer to redeem the securities from their holders. Although these securities are typically not callable for a period of time, usually for three to five years from the date of issue, the Fund will be exposed to prepayment risk.

The markets in which lower-rated debt securities are traded are more limited than those in which higher-rated securities are traded. The existence of limited markets for particular securities may diminish the Fund's ability to sell the securities at desirable prices to meet redemption requests or to respond to a specific economic event, such as deterioration in the creditworthiness of the issuer. Reduced secondary market liquidity for certain lower-rated debt securities also may make it more difficult for the Fund to obtain accurate market quotations for the purposes of valuing the Fund's portfolio.

18


Market quotations are generally available on many lower-rated securities only from a limited number of dealers and may not necessarily represent firm bids of such dealers or prices of actual sales, which may limit the Fund's ability to rely on such quotations.

Some lower-rated debt securities are sold without registration under federal securities laws and, therefore, carry restrictions on resale. While many of such lower-rated debt securities have been sold with registration rights, covenants and penalty provisions for delayed registration, if the Fund is required to sell restricted securities before the securities have been registered, it may be deemed an underwriter of the securities under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (1933 Act), which entails special responsibilities and liabilities. The Fund also may incur extra costs when selling restricted securities, although the Fund will generally not incur any costs when the issuer is responsible for registering the securities.

High-yield, fixed-income securities acquired during an initial underwriting involve special credit risks because they are new issues. The investment manager will carefully review the issuer's credit and other characteristics.

The credit risk factors described above also apply to high-yield zero coupon, deferred interest and pay-in-kind securities. These securities have an additional risk, however, because unlike securities that pay interest periodically until maturity, zero coupon bonds and similar securities will not make any interest or principal payments until the cash payment date or maturity of the security. If the issuer defaults, the Fund may not obtain any return on its investment.

Illiquid securities Generally, an “illiquid security” or “illiquid investment” is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment. Illiquid investments generally include investments for which no market exists or which are legally restricted as to their transfer (such as those issued pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the federal securities laws). Restricted securities are generally sold in privately negotiated transactions, pursuant to an exemption from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (1933 Act). If registration of a security previously acquired in a private transaction is required, the Fund, as the holder of the security, may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expense and a considerable period may elapse between the time it decides to seek registration and the time it will be permitted to sell a security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, the Fund might obtain a less favorable price than prevailed when it decided to seek registration of the security. To the extent it is determined that there is a liquid institutional or other market for certain restricted securities, the Fund would consider them to be liquid securities. An example is a restricted security that may be freely transferred among qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, and for which a liquid institutional market has developed. Rule 144A securities may be subject, however, to a greater possibility of becoming illiquid than securities that have been registered with the SEC.

The following factors may be taken into account in determining whether a restricted security is properly considered a liquid security: (i) the frequency of trades and quotes for the security; (ii) the number of dealers willing to buy or sell the security and the number of other potential buyers; (iii) any dealer undertakings to make a market in the security; and (iv) the nature of the security and of the marketplace trades (e.g., any demand, put or tender features, the method of soliciting offers, the mechanics and other requirements for transfer, and the ability to assign or offset the rights and obligations of the security). The nature of the security and its trading includes the time needed to sell the security, the method of soliciting offers to purchase or sell the security, and the mechanics of transferring the security including the role of parties such as foreign or U.S. custodians, subcustodians, currency exchange brokers, and depositories.

The sale of illiquid investments often requires more time and results in higher brokerage charges or dealer discounts and other selling expenses than the sale of investments eligible for trading on national securities exchanges or in the over-the-counter (OTC) markets. Illiquid investments often sell at a price lower than similar investments that are not subject to restrictions on resale.

The risk to the Fund in holding illiquid investments is that they may be more difficult to sell if the Fund wants to dispose of the investment in response to adverse developments or in order to raise money for redemptions or other investment opportunities. Illiquid trading conditions may also make it more difficult for the Fund to realize an investment's fair value.

The Fund may also be unable to achieve its desired level of exposure to a certain investment, issuer, or sector due to overall limitations on its ability to invest in illiquid investments and the difficulty in purchasing such investments.

If illiquid investments exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets after the time of purchase, the Fund will take steps to reduce its holdings of illiquid investments to or below 15% of its net assets within a reasonable period of time, and will notify the Trust’s board of trustees and make the required filings with the SEC in accordance with Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act. Because illiquid investments may not be readily marketable, the portfolio managers and/or investment personnel may not be able to dispose of them in a timely manner. As a result, the Fund may be forced to hold illiquid investments while their price depreciates. Depreciation in the price of illiquid

19


investments may cause the net asset value of the Fund to decline.

Interfund lending program Pursuant to an exemptive order granted by the SEC (Lending Order), the Fund has the ability to lend money to, and borrow money from, other Franklin Templeton funds for temporary purposes (Interfund Lending Program) pursuant to a master interfund lending agreement (Interfund Loan). Lending and borrowing through the Interfund Lending Program provides the borrowing fund with a lower interest rate than it would have paid if it borrowed money from a bank, and provides the lending fund with an alternative short-term investment with a higher rate of return than other available short-term investments. All Interfund Loans would consist only of uninvested cash reserves that the lending fund otherwise would invest in short-term repurchase agreements or other short-term instruments. The Fund may only participate in the Interfund Lending Program to the extent permitted by its investment goal(s), policies and restrictions and only subject to meeting the conditions of the Lending Order.

The limitations of the Interfund Lending Program are described below and these and the other conditions of the Lending Order permitting interfund lending are designed to minimize the risks associated with interfund lending for both the lending and borrowing fund. However, no borrowing or lending activity is without risk. When a fund borrows money from another fund under the Interfund Lending Program, there is a risk that the Interfund Loan could be called on one business day’s notice, in which case the borrowing fund may have to utilize a line of credit, which would likely involve higher rates, seek an Interfund Loan from another fund, or liquidate portfolio securities if no lending sources are available to meet its liquidity needs. Interfund Loans are subject to the risk that the borrowing fund could be unable to repay the loan when due, and a delay in repayment could result in a lost opportunity by the lending fund or force the lending fund to borrow or liquidate securities to meet its liquidity needs.

Under the Interfund Lending Program, the Fund may borrow on an unsecured basis through the Interfund Lending Program if its outstanding borrowings from all sources immediately after the borrowing total 10% or less of its total assets, provided that if the Fund has a secured loan outstanding from any other lender, including but not limited to another fund, the Fund’s Interfund Loan will be secured on at least an equal priority basis with at least an equivalent percentage of collateral to loan value as any outstanding loan that requires collateral. If the Fund’s total outstanding borrowings immediately after an Interfund Loan exceed 10% of its total assets, the Fund may borrow through the Interfund Lending Program on a secured basis only. The Fund may not borrow under the Interfund Lending Program or from any other source if its total outstanding borrowings immediately after such borrowing would be more than 33 1/3% of its total assets or any lower threshold provided for by the Fund’s investment restrictions.

If the Fund has outstanding bank borrowings, any Interfund Loans to the Fund would: (a) be at an interest rate equal to or lower than that of any outstanding bank loan, (b) be secured at least on an equal priority basis with at least an equivalent percentage of collateral to loan value as any outstanding bank loan that requires collateral, (c) have a maturity no longer than any outstanding bank loan (and in any event not over seven days), and (d) provide that, if an event of default by the Fund occurs under any agreement evidencing an outstanding bank loan to the Fund, that event of default will automatically (without need for action or notice by the lending Fund) constitute an immediate event of default under the interfund lending agreement, entitling the lending fund to call the Interfund Loan (and exercise all rights with respect to any collateral), and that such call would be made if the lending bank exercises its right to call its loan under its agreement with the borrowing fund.

In addition, no fund may lend to another fund through the Interfund Lending Program if the loan would cause the lending fund’s aggregate outstanding loans through the Interfund Lending Program to exceed 15% of its current net assets at the time of the loan. A fund’s Interfund Loans to any one fund shall not exceed 5% of the lending fund’s net assets. The duration of Interfund Loans will be limited to the time required to obtain cash sufficient to repay such Interfund Loan, either through the sale of portfolio securities or the net sales of the fund’s shares, but in no event more than seven days, and for purposes of this condition, loans effected within seven days of each other will be treated as separate loan transactions. Each Interfund Loan may be called on one business day’s notice by a lending fund and may be repaid on any day by a borrowing fund.

Investment company securities The Fund may invest in other investment companies to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, SEC rules thereunder and exemptions thereto. With respect to funds in which the Fund may invest, Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act requires that, as determined immediately after a purchase is made, (i) not more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets will be invested in the securities of any one investment company, (ii) not more than 10% of the value of the Fund’s total assets will be invested in securities of investment companies as a group, and (iii) not more than 3% of the outstanding voting stock of any one investment company will be owned by the Fund. The Fund will limit its investments in funds in accordance with the Section 12(d)(1)(A) limitations set forth above, except to the extent that any rules, regulations or no-action or exemptive relief under the 1940 Act permits the Fund’s investments to exceed such limits. For example, Rule 12d1-4, which became effective on January 19, 2021, permits the Fund to invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits, subject to certain conditions. Among other conditions, the

20


Rule prohibits a fund from acquiring control of another investment company (other than an investment company in the same group of investment companies), including by acquiring more than 25% of its voting securities. In addition, the Rule imposes certain voting requirements when a fund's ownership of another investment company exceeds particular thresholds. If shares of a fund are acquired by another investment company, the “acquired” fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire the securities of an investment company or private fund if immediately after such purchase or acquisition, the securities of investment companies and private funds owned by that acquired fund have an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the fund, subject to certain exceptions. These restrictions may limit the Fund's ability to invest in other investment companies to the extent desired. In addition, other unaffiliated investment companies may impose other investment limitations or redemption restrictions which may also limit the Fund's flexibility with respect to making investments in those unaffiliated investment companies. To the extent that the Fund invests in another investment company, because other investment companies pay advisory, administrative and service fees that are borne indirectly by investors, such as the Fund, there may be duplication of investment management and other fees. The Fund may also invest its cash balances in affiliated money market funds to the extent permitted by its investment policies and rules and exemptions granted under the 1940 Act.

Closed-end funds. The shares of a closed-end fund typically are bought and sold on an exchange. The risks of investing in a closed-end investment company typically reflect the risk of the types of securities in which the closed-end fund invests. Closed-end funds often leverage returns by issuing debt securities, variable rate preferred securities or reverse-repurchase agreements. The Fund may invest in debt securities issued by closed-end funds, subject to any quality or other standards applicable to the Fund's investment in debt securities. If the Fund invests in shares issued by leveraged closed-end funds, it will face certain risks associated with leveraged investments.

Investments in closed-end funds are subject to additional risks. For example, the price of the closed-end fund's shares quoted on an exchange may not reflect the net asset value of the securities held by the closed-end fund. The premium or discount that the share prices represent versus net asset value may change over time based on a variety of factors, including supply of and demand for the closed-end fund's shares, that are outside the closed-end fund's control or unrelated to the value of the underlying portfolio securities. If the Fund invests in the closed-end fund to gain exposure to the closed-end fund's investments, the lack of correlation between the performance of the closed-end fund's investments and the closed-end fund's share price may compromise or eliminate any such exposure.

Exchange-traded funds. The Fund may invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Most ETFs are regulated as registered investment companies under the 1940 Act. Many ETFs acquire and hold securities of all of the companies or other issuers, or a representative sampling of companies or other issuers that are components of a particular index. Such ETFs are intended to provide investment results that, before expenses, generally correspond to the price and yield performance of the corresponding market index, and the value of their shares should, under normal circumstances, closely track the value of the index’s underlying component securities. Because an ETF has operating expenses and transaction costs, while a market index does not, ETFs that track particular indices typically will be unable to match the performance of the index exactly. There are also actively managed ETFs that are managed similarly to other investment companies.

ETF shares may be purchased and sold in the secondary trading market on a securities exchange, in lots of any size, at any time during the trading day. The shares of an ETF may also be assembled in a block (typically 50,000 shares) known as a creation unit and redeemed in kind for a portfolio of the underlying securities (based on the ETF’s net asset value) together with a cash payment generally equal to accumulated dividends as of the date of redemption. Conversely, a creation unit may be purchased from the ETF by depositing a specified portfolio of the ETF’s underlying securities, as well as a cash payment generally equal to accumulated dividends of the securities (net of expenses) up to the time of deposit.

ETF shares, as opposed to creation units, are generally purchased and sold in a secondary market on a securities exchange. ETF shares can be traded in lots of any size, at any time during the trading day. Although the Fund, like most other investors in ETFs, intends to purchase and sell ETF shares primarily in the secondary trading market, the Fund may redeem creation units for the underlying securities (and any applicable cash), and may assemble a portfolio of the underlying securities and use it (and any required cash) to purchase creation units, if the investment manager believes it is in the Fund’s best interest to do so.

An investment in an ETF is subject to all of the risks of investing in the securities held by the ETF and has similar risks as investing in a closed-end fund. In addition, because of the ability of large market participants to arbitrage price differences by purchasing or redeeming creation units, the difference between the market value and the net asset value of ETF shares should in most cases be small. An ETF may be terminated and need to liquidate its portfolio securities at a time when the prices for those securities are falling.

Investment grade debt securities Investment grade debt securities are securities that are rated at the time of purchase in the top four ratings categories by one or more independent rating organizations such as S&P (rated BBB- or better) or

21


Moody’s (rated Baa3 or higher) or, if unrated, are determined to be of comparable quality by the Fund’s investment manager. Generally, a higher rating indicates the rating agency’s opinion that there is less risk of default of obligations thereunder including timely repayment of principal and payment of interest. Debt securities in the lowest investment grade category may have speculative characteristics and more closely resemble high-yield debt securities than investment-grade debt securities. Lower-rated securities may be subject to all the risks applicable to high-yield debt securities and changes in economic conditions or other circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity to make principal and interest payments than is the case with higher grade debt securities.

A number of risks associated with rating agencies apply to the purchase or sale of investment grade debt securities.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) A REIT is a pooled investment vehicle which purchases primarily income-producing real estate or real estate related loans or other real estate related interests. The pooled vehicle, typically a trust, then issues shares whose value and investment performance are dependent upon the investment experience of the underlying real estate related investments.

The Fund's investments in real estate-related securities are subject to certain risks related to the real estate industry in general. These risks include, among others: changes in general and local economic conditions; possible declines in the value of real estate; the possible lack of availability of money for loans to purchase real estate; overbuilding in particular areas; prolonged vacancies in rental properties; property taxes; changes in tax laws relating to dividends and laws related to the use of real estate in certain areas; costs resulting from the clean-up of, and liability to third parties resulting from, environmental problems; the costs associated with damage to real estate resulting from floods, earthquakes or other material disasters not covered by insurance; and limitations on, and variations in, rents and changes in interest rates. The value of securities of companies that service the real estate industry will also be affected by these risks.

In addition, equity REITs are affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned by the trusts, while mortgage REITs are affected by the quality of the properties to which they have extended credit. Equity and mortgage REITs are dependent upon the REITs management skill. REITs may not be diversified and are subject to the risks of financing projects.

Repurchase agreements Under a repurchase agreement, the Fund agrees to buy securities guaranteed as to payment of principal and interest by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities from a qualified bank, broker-dealer or other counterparty and then to sell the securities back to such counterparty on an agreed upon date (generally less than seven days) at a higher price, which reflects currently prevailing short-term interest rates. Entering into repurchase agreements allows the Fund to earn a return on cash in the Fund's portfolio that would otherwise remain un-invested. The counterparty must transfer to the Fund's custodian, as collateral, securities with an initial market value of at least 102% of the dollar amount paid by the Fund to the counterparty. The investment manager will monitor the value of such collateral daily to determine that the value of the collateral equals or exceeds the repurchase price.

Repurchase agreements may involve risks in the event of default or insolvency of the counterparty, including possible delays or restrictions upon the Fund's ability to sell the underlying securities and additional expenses in seeking to enforce the Fund's rights and recover any losses. The Fund will enter into repurchase agreements only with parties who meet certain creditworthiness standards, i.e., banks or broker-dealers that the investment manager has determined, based on the information available at the time, present no serious risk of becoming involved in bankruptcy proceedings within the time frame contemplated by the repurchase agreement. Although the Fund seeks to limit the credit risk under a repurchase agreement by carefully selecting counterparties and accepting only high quality collateral, some credit risk remains. The counterparty could default which may make it necessary for the Fund to incur expenses to liquidate the collateral. In addition, the collateral may decline in value before it can be liquidated by the Fund.

A repurchase agreement with more than seven days to maturity is considered an illiquid security and is subject to the Fund's investment restriction on illiquid securities.

Securities lending To generate additional income, the Fund may lend certain of its portfolio securities to qualified banks and broker-dealers (referred to as "borrowers"). In exchange, the Fund receives cash collateral from a borrower at least equal to the value of the security loaned by the Fund. Cash collateral typically consists of any combination of cash, securities issued by the U.S. government and its agencies and instrumentalities, and irrevocable letters of credit. The Fund may invest this cash collateral while the loan is outstanding and generally retains part or all of the interest earned on the cash collateral. Securities lending allows the Fund to retain ownership of the securities loaned and, at the same time, earn additional income.

For each loan, the borrower usually must maintain with the Fund's custodian collateral with an initial market value at least equal to 102% of the market value of the domestic securities loaned (or 105% of the market value of foreign securities loaned), including any accrued interest thereon. Such collateral will be marked-to-market daily, and if the coverage falls below 100%, the borrower will be required to deliver additional collateral equal to at least 102% of the market

22


value of the domestic securities loaned (or 105% of the foreign securities loaned).

The Fund retains all or a portion of the interest received on investment of the cash collateral or receives a fee from the borrower. The Fund also continues to receive any distributions paid on the loaned securities. The Fund seeks to maintain the ability to obtain the right to vote or consent on proxy proposals involving material events affecting securities loaned. The Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned within the normal settlement period for the security involved.

If the borrower defaults on its obligation to return the securities loaned because of insolvency or other reasons, the Fund could experience delays and costs in recovering the securities loaned or in gaining access to the collateral. These delays and costs could be greater for foreign securities. If the Fund is not able to recover the securities loaned, the Fund may sell the collateral and purchase a replacement investment in the market. Additional transaction costs would result, and the value of the collateral could decrease below the value of the replacement investment by the time the replacement investment is purchased. Until the replacement can be purchased, the Fund will not have the desired level of exposure to the security which the borrower failed to return. Cash received as collateral through loan transactions may be invested in other eligible securities, including shares of a money market fund. Investing this cash subjects the Fund to greater market risk including losses on the collateral and, should the Fund need to look to the collateral in the event of the borrower's default, losses on the loan secured by that collateral.

The Fund will loan its securities only to parties who meet creditworthiness standards approved by the Fund's board (i.e., banks or broker-dealers that the investment manager has determined are not apparently at risk of becoming involved in bankruptcy proceedings within the time frame contemplated by the loan). In addition, pursuant to the 1940 Act and SEC interpretations thereof, the aggregate market value of securities that may be loaned by the Fund is limited to 33 1/3% of the Fund's total assets or such lower limit as set by the Fund or its board.

Short sales In a short sale, the Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of that security. To complete the transaction, the Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund is then obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing it at the market price at the time of replacement. The price at this time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund must pay the lender any dividends or interest that accrue during the period of the loan. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold. The proceeds of the short sale will be retained by the broker, to the extent necessary to meet margin requirements, until the short position is closed out. In buying the security to replace the borrowed security, the Fund expects to acquire the security in the market for less than the amount it earned in the short sale, thereby yielding a profit.

The Fund will incur a loss as a result of the short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security, and the Fund will realize a gain if the security declines in price between those same dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss increased, by the amount of any premium, dividends or interest the Fund is required to pay in connection with the short sale.

The Fund will treat short sales as derivatives transactions under Rule 18f-4, as described more fully under “Derivative instruments” in this SAI.

The Fund may make a short sale when the investment manager believes the price of the stock may decline and when the investment manager does not currently want to sell the stock or convertible security it owns. In this case, any decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities would be reduced by a gain in the short sale transaction. Conversely, any increase in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities would be reduced by a loss in the short sale transaction.

The investment manager has adopted short sale procedures to prevent the short sale of a security by the Fund where another client of the investment manager also holds that security. The procedures prohibit the execution of short sales by the Fund when there are open buy or sell orders or current long portfolio holdings in the same security or economic equivalent (e.g., a bond convertible into common stock) on the same trading desk on which the investment manager places trades or in the portfolios of other accounts managed by the investment manager. In addition, the procedures prohibit the execution of purchases and sales when there are open short sale orders in the same security on the same trading desk on which the investment manager places trades.

Short sales “against the box” are transactions in which the Fund sells a security short but it also owns an equal amount of the securities sold short or owns securities that are convertible or exchangeable, without payment of further consideration, into an equal amount of such security.

Standby commitment agreements A standby commitment agreement is an agreement committing the Fund to buy a stated amount of a security, for a stated period of time, at the option of the issuer. The price and interest rate of the security is fixed at the time of the commitment. When the Fund enters into the agreement, the Fund is paid a commitment fee, which it keeps regardless of whether the security is ultimately issued, typically equal to approximately 0.5% of the aggregate

23


purchase price of the security that the Fund has committed to buy.

The purchase of a security subject to a standby commitment agreement and the related commitment fee will be recorded on the date on which the security can reasonably be expected to be issued. In the event the security is not issued, the commitment fee will be recorded as income on the expiration date of the standby commitment. Standby commitment agreements may be deemed "illiquid" and therefore subject to the Fund's limitation on investment in illiquid securities.

There can be no assurance that the securities subject to a standby commitment will be issued, and the value of the securities, if issued, on the delivery date may be more or less than their purchase price. Because the issuance of the security underlying the commitment is at the option of the issuer, the Fund generally bears the risk of a decline in the value of the security and may not benefit from an appreciation in the value of the security during the commitment period. If an issuer's financial condition deteriorates between the time of the standby commitment and the date of issuance, these commitments may have the effect of requiring the Fund to make an investment in an issuer at a time when it would not otherwise have done so. This is the case even if the issuer's condition makes it unlikely that any amounts invested by the Fund pursuant to the standby commitment will ever be repaid. The Fund will only enter into standby commitment agreements with issuers which the investment manager believes will not deteriorate in creditworthiness during the commitment period. The Fund will experience credit risk associated with the issuer.

Structured investments Structured investments are interests in entities organized and operated solely for the purpose of restructuring the investment characteristics of a security or securities and then issuing that restructured security. Restructuring involves the deposit with, or purchase by, an entity (such as a corporation or trust) of specified instruments and the issuance by that entity of one or more classes of securities (structured investments) backed by, or representing interests in, the underlying instruments.

Subordinated classes typically have higher yields and present greater risks than unsubordinated classes. The extent of the payments made with respect to structured investments is dependent on the extent of the cash flow on the underlying instruments.

Certain issuers of structured investments may be deemed to be "investment companies" as defined in the 1940 Act. As a result, the Fund's investment in these structured investments may be limited by the restrictions contained in the 1940 Act. The risks associated with investing in a structured investment are usually tied to the risks associated with investing in the underlying instruments and securities. The risks will also depend upon the comparative subordination of the class held by the Fund, relative to the likelihood of a default on the structured investment. To the extent that the Fund is exposed to default, the Fund's structured investment may involve risks similar to those of high-yield debt securities. Structured investments typically are sold in private placement transactions, and there currently is no active trading market for structured investments. To the extent such investments are deemed to be illiquid, they will be subject to the Fund's restrictions on investments in illiquid securities.

These entities typically are organized by investment banking firms that receive fees in connection with establishing each entity and arranging for the placement of its securities. The Fund will indirectly pay its portion of these fees in addition to the fees associated with the creation and marketing of the underlying instruments and securities. If an active investment management component is combined with the underlying instruments and securities in the structured investment, there may be ongoing advisory fees which the Fund's shareholders would indirectly pay.

Temporary investments When the investment manager believes market or economic conditions are unfavorable for investors, the investment manager may invest up to 100% of the Fund's assets in temporary defensive investments, including cash, cash equivalents or other high quality short-term investments, such as short-term debt instruments, including U.S. government securities, high grade commercial paper, repurchase agreements, negotiable certificates of deposit, non-negotiable fixed time deposits, bankers acceptances, and other money market equivalents. To the extent allowed by exemptions from and rules under the 1940 Act and the Fund's other investment policies and restrictions, the investment manager also may invest the Fund's assets in shares of one or more money market funds managed by the investment manager or its affiliates. Unfavorable market or economic conditions may include excessive volatility or a prolonged general decline in the securities markets, the securities in which the Fund normally invests, or the economies of the countries where the Fund invests. Temporary defensive investments can and do experience defaults. The likelihood of default on a temporary defensive investment may increase in the market or economic conditions which are likely to trigger the Fund's investment therein. The investment manager also may invest in these types of securities or hold cash while looking for suitable investment opportunities or to maintain liquidity. When the Fund's assets are invested in temporary investments, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment goal.

Trade claims Trade claims are direct obligations or claims against companies that are in bankruptcy or other financial difficulty that are purchased from the creditors of such companies. For buyers, such as the Fund, trade claims offer the potential for profits because they are often purchased at a significantly discounted value and, consequently, may generate capital appreciation if the value of the claim

24


increases as the debtor's financial position improves. If the debtor is able to pay the full face value of the claim as a result of a restructuring or an improvement in the debtor's financial condition, trade claims offer the potential for higher income due to the difference in the face value of the claim as compared to the discounted purchase price.

An investment in trade claims is speculative and carries a high degree of risk. Trade claims are not backed by collateral or other forms of credit support. There can be no guarantee that the debtor will ever be able to satisfy the obligation on the trade claim. There is usually a substantial delay between purchasing a trade claim and receiving any return. Trade claims are not regulated by federal securities laws or the SEC, so the Fund's investment will not receive the same investor protections as with regulated securities. Currently, trade claims are regulated primarily by bankruptcy laws. Because trade claims are unsecured, holders of trade claims may have a lower priority in terms of payment than most other creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Warrants A warrant is typically a long-term option issued by a corporation which gives the holder the privilege of buying a specified number of shares of the underlying common stock at a specified exercise price at any time on or before an expiration date. Stock index warrants entitle the holder to receive, upon exercise, an amount in cash determined by reference to fluctuations in the level of a specified stock index. If a Fund does not exercise or dispose of a warrant prior to its expiration, it will expire worthless.

When-issued, delayed delivery and to-be-announced transactions When-issued, delayed delivery and to-be-announced (TBA) transactions are arrangements under which the parties agree on the sale of securities with payment for and delivery of the security scheduled for a future time. The securities may have been authorized but not yet issued, or, in the TBA market for U.S. Government agency mortgage-backed securities, the parties agree on a price, volume, and basic characteristics of securities to be delivered on the settlement date, rather than particular securities. In addition to buying securities on a when-issued, delayed delivery or TBA basis, the Fund may also sell these securities on a TBA basis to close out an existing TBA position before the settlement date, to take advantage of an expected decline in value of the securities, or for hedging purposes.

Entering into a when-issued, delayed delivery or TBA transaction may be viewed as a form of leverage and will result in associated risks for the Fund. The Fund does not consider the purchase and/or sale of securities on a when-issued, delayed delivery or TBA basis to be a borrowing for purposes of the Fund’s fundamental restrictions or other limitations on borrowing.

Many when-issued, delayed-delivery or TBA transactions also are subject to the risk that a counterparty may become bankrupt or otherwise fail to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties, including making payments or fulfilling other obligations to the Fund. The Fund may obtain no or only limited recovery in a bankruptcy or other organizational proceedings, and any recovery may be significantly delayed. With respect to forward settling TBA transactions involving U.S. Government agency mortgage backed securities, the counterparty risk may be mitigated by the exchange of variation margin on a regular basis between counterparties as the market value of the deliverable security fluctuates.

The Fund also relies on the counterparty to complete the transaction. The counterparty’s failure to do so may cause the Fund to miss a price or yield considered advantageous to the Fund. Although their price typically reflects accrued interest, securities purchased on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis do not generally earn interest until their scheduled delivery date. Purchases or sales of debt securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis are also subject to the risk that the market value or the yield at delivery may be more or less than the market price or yield available when the transaction was entered into, or that the Fund is unable to purchase securities for delivery at the settlement date with the characteristics agreed upon at the time of the transaction.

The following is a description of other risks associated with the Fund's investments:

Focus The greater the Fund's exposure to (or focus on) any single type of investment – including investment in a given industry, sector, country, region, or type of security – the greater the impact of adverse events or conditions in such industry, sector, country, region or investment will have on the Fund's performance. To the extent the Fund has greater exposure to any single type of investment, the Fund's potential for loss (or gain) will be greater than if its portfolio were invested more broadly in many types of investments.

The Fund's exposure to such industries, sectors, regions and other investments may also arise indirectly through the Fund's investments in debt securities (e.g., mortgage or asset-backed securities) that are secured by such investments. Similar risks associated with focusing on a particular type of investment may result if real properties and collateral securing the Fund's investments are located in the same geographical region or subject to the same risks or concerns.

Inside information The investment manager (through its representatives or otherwise) may receive information that restricts the investment manager's ability to cause the Fund to buy or sell securities of an issuer for substantial periods of time when the Fund otherwise could realize profit or avoid loss. This may adversely affect the Fund's flexibility with respect to buying or selling securities and may impair the Fund's liquidity.

Liquidity Liquidity risk exists when particular investments are or become difficult to purchase or sell at the price at which the

25


Fund has valued the security, whether because of current market conditions, the financial condition of the issuer, or the specific type of investment. If the market for a particular security becomes illiquid (for example, due to changes in the issuer's financial condition), the Fund may be unable to sell such security at an advantageous time or price due to the difficulty in selling such securities. To the extent that the Fund and its affiliates hold a significant portion of an issuer's outstanding securities, the Fund may also be subject to greater liquidity risk than if the issuer's securities were more widely held. The Fund may also need to sell some of the Fund's more liquid securities when it otherwise would not do so in order to meet redemption requests, even if such sale of the liquid holdings would be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint. Reduced liquidity may also have an adverse impact on a security's market value and the sale of such securities often results in higher brokerage charges or dealer discounts and other selling expenses. Reduced liquidity in the secondary market for certain securities will also make it more difficult for the Fund to obtain market quotations based on actual trades for purposes of valuing the Fund's portfolio and thus pricing may be prone to error when market quotations are volatile, infrequent and/or subject to large spreads between bid and ask prices. In addition, prices received by the Fund for securities may be based on institutional “round lot” sizes, but the Fund may purchase, hold or sell smaller, “odd lot” sizes, which may be harder to sell. Odd lots may trade at lower prices than round lots, which may affect the Fund’s ability to accurately value its investments.

The market for certain equity or debt securities may become illiquid under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the conditions of a particular issuer. Liquidity risk generally increases (meaning that securities become more illiquid) as the number, or relative need, of investors seeking to liquidate in a given market increases; for example, when an asset class or classes fall out of favor and investors sell their holdings in such classes, either directly or indirectly through investment funds, such as mutual funds .

Management The investment manager's judgments about markets, interest rates or the attractiveness, relative values or potential appreciation of particular investment strategies or sectors or securities purchased for the Fund's portfolio may prove to be incorrect, all of which could cause the Fund to perform less favorably and may result in a decline in the Fund's share price.

The investment manager selects investments for the Fund based on its own analysis and information as well as on external sources of information, such as information that the investment manager obtains from other sources including through conferences and discussions with third parties, and data that issuers of securities provide to the investment manager or file with government agencies. The investment manager may also use information concerning institutional positions and buying activity in a security. The investment manager is not in a position to confirm the completeness, genuineness or accuracy of any of such information that is provided or filed by an issuer, and in some cases, complete and accurate information is not readily available. It is also possible that information on which the investment manager relies could be wrong or misleading. Additionally, legislative, regulatory, or tax developments may affect the investment techniques available to the investment manager in connection with managing the Fund and may also adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment goal. Management risk is greater when less qualitative information is available to the investment manager about an investment.

Market The market value of securities owned by the Fund may go up or down, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably due to general market conditions which are not specifically related to a single corporate borrower or security issuer. These general market conditions include real or perceived adverse economic or regulatory conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency exchange rates or adverse investor sentiment generally. Market values may also decline due to factors which affect a particular industry or sector, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry, or a particular segment, such as mortgage or government securities. During a general downturn in the securities markets, multiple asset classes may decline in value simultaneously. When markets perform well, there can be no assurance that the Fund's securities will participate in or otherwise benefit from the advance.

Portfolio turnover Portfolio turnover is a measure of how frequently the Fund's portfolio securities are bought and sold. High portfolio turnover rates generally increase transaction costs, which are Fund expenses. Such portfolio transactions may also result in the realization of taxable capital gains, including short-term capital gains, which are generally taxable at ordinary income tax rates for federal income tax purposes for shareholders subject to income tax and who hold their shares in a taxable account. Higher transaction costs reduce the Fund's returns.

The SEC requires annual portfolio turnover to be calculated generally as the lesser of the Fund's purchases or sales of portfolio securities during a given fiscal year, divided by the monthly average value of the Fund's portfolio securities owned during that year (excluding securities with a maturity or expiration date that, at the time of acquisition, was less than one year). For example, a fund reporting a 100% portfolio turnover rate would have purchased and sold securities worth as much as the monthly average value of its portfolio securities during the year. The portfolio turnover rates for the Fund are disclosed in the sections entitled “Portfolio Turnover” and “Financial Highlights” of the Fund's prospectus.

26


Portfolio turnover is affected by factors within and outside the control of the Fund and its investment manager. The investment manager's investment outlook for the type of securities in which the Fund invests may change as a result of unexpected developments in domestic or international securities markets, or in economic, monetary or political relationships. High market volatility may result in the investment manager using a more active trading strategy than it might have otherwise pursued. The Fund's investment manager will consider the economic effects of portfolio turnover but generally will not treat portfolio turnover as a limiting factor in making investment decisions. Investment decisions affecting turnover may include changes in investment policies or management personnel, as well as individual portfolio transactions.

Factors wholly outside the control of the investment manager that may increase portfolio turnover include increased merger and acquisition activity, increased refinancing of outstanding debt by an issuer, or increased rates of bankruptcy or default, that may create involuntary transactions for funds that hold affected securities.

The rate of bond calls by issuers of fixed-income debt securities may increase as interest rates decline. This causes "sales" of called bonds by the Fund and the subsequent purchase of replacement investments.

In addition, redemptions or exchanges by investors may require the liquidation of portfolio securities. Changes in particular portfolio holdings may also be made whenever a security is considered to be no longer the most appropriate investment for the Fund, or another security appears to have a relatively better opportunity.

Value investing The Fund’s emphasis on securities believed to be undervalued by the market uses a technique that requires not only the resources to undertake extensive research of little followed, out-of-favor securities, but also the patience and discipline to hold these investments until their fundamental values are ultimately recognized by others in the marketplace. There can be no assurance that this technique will be successful for the Fund or that the Fund will achieve its investment goal.

Policies and Procedures Regarding the Release of Portfolio Holdings

The Fund's overall policy with respect to the release of portfolio holdings is to release such information consistent with applicable legal requirements and the fiduciary duties owed to shareholders. Subject to the limited exceptions described below, the Fund will not make available to anyone non-public information with respect to its portfolio holdings, until such time as the information is made available to all shareholders or the general public.

For purposes of this policy, portfolio holdings information does not include aggregate, composite or descriptive information that, in the reasonable judgement of the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer, does not present risks of dilution, arbitrage, market timing, insider trading or other inappropriate trading to the detriment of the Fund. Information excluded from the definition of portfolio holdings information generally includes, without limitation: (1) descriptions of allocations among asset classes, regions, countries or industries/sectors; (2) aggregated data such as average or median ratios, market capitalization, credit quality or duration; (3) performance attributions by industry, sector or country; or (4) aggregated risk statistics. Such information, if made available to anyone, will be made available to any person upon request, but, because such information is generally not material to investors, it may or may not be posted on the Fund's website. In addition, other information may also be deemed to not be portfolio holdings information if, in the reasonable belief of the Fund's Chief Compliance Officer (or his/her designee), the release of such information would not present risks of dilution, arbitrage, market timing, insider trading or other inappropriate trading for the Fund.

Consistent with current law, the Fund releases complete portfolio holdings information each fiscal quarter through regulatory filings with no more than a 60-day lag.

In addition, subject to the limited exceptions noted below, a complete list of the Fund's portfolio holdings is generally released no sooner than on or before 15 calendar days after the end of each calendar month but may be released earlier provided the release is made available to the general public. Other portfolio holdings information, such as top 10 holdings, commentaries and other materials that may reference specific holdings information of the Fund as of the most recent month end are generally released five days after the end of each month but may be released earlier or later as deemed appropriate by the portfolio manager of the applicable Fund. Released portfolio holdings information can be viewed at franklintempleton.com

To the extent that this policy would permit the release of portfolio holdings information regarding a particular portfolio holding for the Fund that is the subject of ongoing purchase or sale orders/programs, or if the release of such portfolio holdings information would otherwise be sensitive or inappropriate due to liquidity or other market considerations, the portfolio manager for the Fund may request that the release of such information be withheld.

Exceptions to the portfolio holdings release policy (to the extent not otherwise permitted pursuant to an exclusion) will be made only when: (1) the Fund has a legitimate business purpose for releasing portfolio holdings information in advance of release to all shareholders or the general public; (2) the recipient is subject to a duty of confidentiality pursuant to a signed non-disclosure agreement; and (3) the release of

27


such information would not otherwise violate the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws or fiduciary duties owed to Fund shareholders. The determination of whether to grant an exception, which includes the determination of whether the Fund has a legitimate business purpose for releasing portfolio holdings information in advance of release to all shareholders shall be made by the Fund's Chief Compliance Officer or his/her designee, following a request submitted in writing.

The eligible third parties to whom portfolio holdings information may be released in advance of general release fall into the following categories: data consolidators (including rating agencies), fund rating/ranking services and other data providers; service providers to the Fund and investment manager and investment manager; municipal securities brokers using the Investor Tools product which brings together buyers and sellers of municipal securities in the normal operation of the municipal securities markets; certain entities, in response to any regulatory requirements, approved by the investment manager’s Chief Compliance Officer in limited circumstances; and transition managers hired by Fund shareholders. In addition, should the Fund process a shareholder’s redemption request in-kind, the Fund may, under certain circumstances, provide portfolio holdings information to such shareholder to the extent necessary to allow the shareholder to prepare for receipt of such portfolio securities.

The specific entities to whom the Fund may provide portfolio holdings in advance of their release to the general public are:

 Bloomberg, Capital Access, CDA (Thomson Reuters), FactSet, Fidelity Advisors, S&P Global Ratings, Vestek, and Fidelity Trust Company, all of whom may receive portfolio holdings information 15 days after the quarter end.

 Service providers to the Fund that receive portfolio holdings information from time to time in advance of general release in the course of performing, or to enable them to perform, services for the Fund, including: Custodian Bank: The Bank of New York Mellon; Sub-Administrator: JPMorgan Chase Bank; Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm: Ernst & Young LLP; Outside Fund Legal Counsel: Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP; Independent Directors'/Trustees' Counsel: Duane Morris LLP and Vedder Price P.C.; Proxy Voting Services: Glass, Lewis & Co., LLC and Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc.; Brokerage Analytical Services: Sanford Bernstein, Brown Brothers Harriman, Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets, JP Morgan Securities Inc.; Financial Printers: Donnelley Financial Solutions, Inc. or GCOM Solutions, Inc.

Eligible third parties that do not otherwise have a duty of confidentiality or have not acknowledged such a duty are required to (a) execute a non-disclosure agreement that includes the following provisions or (b) otherwise acknowledge and represent adherence to substantially similar provisions. Non-disclosure agreements include the following provisions:

 The recipient agrees to keep confidential until such information either is released to the public or the release is otherwise approved by the Chief Compliance Officer.

 The recipient agrees not to trade on the non-public information received.

 The recipient agrees to refresh its representation as to confidentiality and abstention from trading upon request from Franklin Templeton.

In no case does the Fund receive any compensation in connection with the arrangements to release portfolio holdings information to any of the above-described recipients of the information.

A fund other than a U.S. registered Franklin Templeton fund, such as an offshore fund or an unregistered private fund, with holdings that are not substantially similar to the holdings of a U.S. registered Franklin Templeton fund, is not subject to the restrictions imposed by the policy.

Several investment managers within Franklin Templeton (F-T Managers) serve as investment managers to offshore funds that are registered or otherwise authorized for sale with foreign regulatory authorities. Certain of these offshore funds may from time to time invest in securities substantially similar to those of the Fund. The release of portfolio holdings information for such offshore funds is excluded from the Fund's portfolio holdings release policy if such information is given to banks, broker-dealers, insurance companies, registered investment managers and other financial institutions (offshore investment managers) with discretionary authority to select offshore funds on behalf of their clients. Such information may only be disclosed for portfolio analytics, such as risk analysis/asset allocation, and the offshore investment manager will be required to execute a non-disclosure agreement, whereby such offshore investment manager: (1) agrees that it is subject to a duty of confidentiality; (2) agrees that it will not (a) purchase or sell any portfolio securities based on any information received; (b) trade against any U.S. registered Franklin Templeton fund, including the Fund; (c) knowingly engage in any trading practices that are adverse to any such fund or its shareholders; and (d) trade in shares of any such fund; and (3) agrees to limit the dissemination of such information so received within its organization other than to the extent necessary to fulfill its obligations with respect to portfolio analytics for its discretionary clients.

Certain F-T Managers serve as investment advisers to privately placed funds that are exempt from registration,

28


including Canadian institutional pooled funds (“Canadian funds”). In certain circumstances, such unregistered private funds and Canadian funds may have portfolio holdings that are not, in the aggregate, substantially similar to the holdings of a U.S. registered fund, as determined by the Chief Compliance Officer or his/her designee. Under such circumstances the release of portfolio holdings information to a client or potential client or unitholder of the unregistered private fund or Canadian fund may be permissible. In circumstances where an unregistered private fund or Canadian fund invests in portfolio securities that, in the aggregate, are substantially similar to the holdings of a U.S. registered fund, such private funds and Canadian funds are subject to the restrictions imposed by the policy, except that the release of holdings information to a current investor therein is permissible conditioned upon such investor’s execution of a non-disclosure agreement to mitigate the risk that portfolio holdings information may be used to trade inappropriately against a fund. Such non-disclosure agreement must provide that the investor: (1) agrees that it is subject to a duty of confidentiality; (2) agrees to not disseminate such information (except that the investor may be permitted to disseminate such information to an agent as necessary to allow the performance of portfolio analytics with respect to the investor’s investment in such fund), and (3) agrees not to trade on the non-public information received or trade in shares of any U.S. registered Franklin or Templeton fund that is managed in a style substantially similar to that of such fund, in the case of a Canadian fund.

U.S. registered open-end funds and offshore registered funds substantially all of whose assets are invested in registered open-end funds and/or Exchange Traded Funds are excepted from the policy’s restrictions.

Certain F-T Managers provide model portfolios composed of portfolio holdings information to the sponsors of programs offering separately managed accounts, unified model accounts or similar accounts (“Program Sponsors”). If such model portfolios are substantially similar to those of a U.S. registered fund, such model portfolios may be provided to Program Sponsors so long as: (1) the recipient Program Sponsors has executed a non-disclosure agreement or other agreement containing or incorporating confidentiality provisions that restrict the use and dissemination of confidential portfolio holdings information received by the Program Sponsor as described in the following sentence, or other provisions that impose similar restrictions on such use and dissemination and, (2) the model portfolio has been deemed sufficiently liquid by the F-T Manager's liquidity committee or the applicable F-T Managers for the strategies of the applicable model portfolios, as determined in their reasonable judgment. Such agreement must provide that the Program Sponsor agrees that: (1) it is subject to a duty of confidentiality; (2) it will use confidential model portfolio information only to the extent necessary to perform its obligations under the agreement; and (3) it will not disclose confidential model portfolio information except to personnel or parties who have a need to know such confidential information in connection with, or in order to fulfill the purposes contemplated by, the agreement.

Some F-T Managers serve as sub-advisers to other mutual funds not within the Franklin Templeton fund complex ("other funds"), which may be managed in a style substantially similar to that of a U.S. registered Franklin or Templeton fund. Such other funds are not subject to the Fund's portfolio holdings release policy. The sponsors of such funds may disclose the portfolio holdings of such funds at different times than the Fund discloses its portfolio holdings.

The Fund's portfolio holdings release policy and all subsequent amendments have been reviewed and approved by the Fund's board, and any other material amendments shall also be reviewed and approved by the board. The investment manager's compliance staff conducts periodic reviews of compliance with the policy and provides at least annually a report to the board regarding the operation of the policy and any material changes recommended as a result of such review. The investment manager's compliance staff also will supply the board yearly with a list of exceptions granted to the policy, along with an explanation of the legitimate business purpose of the Fund that is served as a result of the exception.

Officers and Trustees

The Trust has a board of trustees. Each trustee will serve until that person resigns or retires and/or a successor is elected and qualified. The board is responsible for the overall management of the Trust, including general supervision and review of each Fund's investment activities. The board, in turn, elects the officers of the Trust who are responsible for administering the Trust's day-to-day operations. The board also monitors the Fund to help ensure that no material conflicts exist among share classes. While none are expected, the board will act appropriately to resolve any material conflict that may arise.

The name, year of birth and address of the officers and board members, as well as their affiliations, positions held with the Trust, principal occupations during at least the past five years, number of portfolios overseen in the Franklin Templeton fund complex and other directorships held during at least the past five years are shown below.

Independent Board Members

29


         

Name, Year of Birth and Address

Position

Length of Time Served

Number of Portfolios
in Fund Complex
Overseen by
Board Member1 

Other Directorships Held During at Least the Past 5 Years

Edward I. Altman, Ph.D. (1941)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee

Since 2015

11

None


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:
Max L. Heine Professor of Finance, Emeritus and Director of The Credit and Debt Markets Research Program, Salomon Center, Stern School of Business, New York University; editor and author of numerous financial publications; financial consultant; an adviser to numerous financial and publishing organizations; and formerly, Vice Director, Salomon Center, Stern School of Business, New York University.

Ann Torre Bates (1958)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee and

Chairperson

Chairperson of the Board since 2020

and Trustee since 2015

30

Ares Strategic Income Fund (closed-end investment company) (September 2022-present); Ares Capital Corporation (specialty finance company) (2010-present), United Natural Foods, Inc. (distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods) (2013-present); and formerly, Navient Corporation (loan management, servicing and asset recovery) (2014-2016).


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:
Director of various companies; and formerly, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, NHP Incorporated (manager of multifamily housing) (1995-1997); and Vice President and Treasurer, US Airways, Inc. (until 1995).

Jan Hopkins Trachtman (1947)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee

Since 2015

11

FTAC Parnassus Acquisition Corp. (special purpose fintech acquisition company) (2021-present); and formerly, FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp. (special purpose fintech acquisition company) (2020-2022) and FinTech Acquisition Corp. III (special purpose fintech acquisition company) (2018 - 2021).


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:
President and Founder, The Jan Hopkins Group (communications consulting firm); serves on Alumni Advisory Board of Knight Bagehot Fellowship; and formerly, President, Economic Club of New York (2007-2015); Anchor/Correspondent, CNN Financial News (until 2003); Managing Director and Head of Client Communications, Citigroup Private Bank (until 2005); Off-Air Reporter, ABC News' World News Tonight; and Editor, CBS Network News.

Keith E. Mitchell (1954)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee

Since 2015

11

None


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:
Director of various boards of asset management firms; and formerly, Managing Member, Mitchell, Hartley & Bechtel Advisers, LLC (formerly, Mitchell Advisers, LLC) (advisory firm) (2003-2015) and Managing Director, Putman Lovell NBF.

David W. Niemiec (1949)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee

Since 2011

30

Hess Midstream LP (oil and gas midstream infrastructure) (2017-present).


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:
Advisor, Saratoga Partners (private equity fund); and formerly, Managing Director, Saratoga Partners (1998-2001) and SBC Warburg Dillon Read (investment banking) (1997-1998); Vice Chairman, Dillon, Read & Co. Inc. (investment banking) (1991-1997); and Chief Financial Officer, Dillon, Read & Co. Inc. (1982-1997).

Gregory H. Williams (1943)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee

Since 2008

11

None


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:
Private investor; Consultant; and formerly, President, University of Cincinnati (2009-2012); President, The City College of New York (2001-2009); Dean, College of Law, Ohio State University (1993-2001); and Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, University of Iowa (1977-1993).

30


             

Valerie M. Williams (1956)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee

Since January 2023

111

Omnicom Group, Inc. (advertising and marketing communications services) (2016-present), DTE Energy Co. (gas and electric utility) (2018-present), Devon Energy Corporation (exploration and production of oil and gas) (2021-present); and formerly, WPX Energy, Inc. (exploration and production of oil and gas) (2018-2021).

 


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Director of various companies; and formerly, Regional Assurance Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP (public accounting) (2005-2016) and various roles of increasing responsibility at Ernst & Young (1981-2005).

 

Interested Board Members and Officers

         

Name, Year of Birth and Address

Position

Length of Time Served

Number of Portfolios
in Fund Complex Overseen by
Board Member1

Other Directorships Held
During at Least the Past
5 Years

Gregory E. Johnson2 (1961)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee

Since 2015

130

None


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Executive Chairman, Chairman of the Board and Director, Franklin Resources, Inc.; officer and/or director or trustee, as the case may be, of some of the other subsidiaries of Franklin Resources, Inc. and of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex; Vice Chairman, Investment Company Institute; and formerly, Chief Executive Officer (2013-2020) and President (1994-2015) Franklin Resources, Inc.

Jennifer M. Johnson3 (1964)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Trustee

Since 2015

70

None


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Chief Executive Officer, President and Director, Franklin Resources, Inc.; officer and/or director or trustee, as the case may be, of some of the other subsidiaries of Franklin Resources, Inc. and of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex; and formerly, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Franklin Resources, Inc. (1994-2015); Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology, Franklin Resources, Inc. (2005-2010); and Senior Vice President, Franklin Resources, Inc. (2003-2005).

Alison E. Baur (1964)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Vice President

Since 2012

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Deputy General Counsel, Franklin Templeton; and officer of some of the other subsidiaries of Franklin Resources, Inc. and of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

Breda M. Beckerle (1958)

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Chief

Compliance Officer

Since 2020

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Chief Compliance Officer, Fiduciary Investment Management International, Inc., Franklin Advisers, Inc., Franklin Mutual Advisers, LLC, Franklin Templeton Institutional, LLC; and officer of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

Christian K. Correa (1973)

c/o Franklin Mutual Advisers, LLC
101 John F. Kennedy Parkway

Short Hills, NJ 07078-2716

President and Chief Executive Officer – Investment Management

Since 2021

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

President, Franklin Mutual Advisers, LLC; and officer of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

31


         

Name, Year of Birth and Address

Position

Length of Time Served

Number of Portfolios
in Fund Complex Overseen by
Board Member1

Other Directorships Held
During at Least the Past
5 Years

Steven J. Gray (1955)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Vice President and Secretary

Secretary since 2005 and

Vice President since 2009

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Senior Associate General Counsel, Franklin Templeton; Assistant Secretary, Franklin Distributors, LLC; and officer of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

Matthew T. Hinkle (1971)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Chief Executive

Officer - Finance and Administration

Since 2017

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Senior Vice President, Franklin Templeton Services, LLC; officer of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex; and formerly, Vice President, Global Tax (2012-April 2017) and Treasurer/Assistant Treasurer, Franklin Templeton (2009-2017).

Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. (1940)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Vice President

1989

Not Applicable

Not Applicable

Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Director (Vice Chairman), Franklin Resources, Inc.; Director, Franklin Advisers, Inc.; and officer and/or director or trustee, as the case may be, of some of the other subsidiaries of Franklin Resources, Inc. and of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

Susan Kerr (1949)

620 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

Vice President - AML Compliance

Since 2021

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Senior Compliance Analyst, Franklin Templeton; Chief Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer, Legg Mason & Co., or its affiliates; Anti Money Laundering Compliance Officer; Senior Compliance Officer, LMIS; and officer of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

Christopher Kings (1974)

One Franklin Parkway
San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer

Since 2022

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Treasurer, U.S. Fund Administration & Reporting; and officer of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

Navid J. Tofigh (1972)

One Franklin Parkway

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

Vice President

Since 2015

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Senior Associate General Counsel, Franklin Templeton; and officer of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

Lori A. Weber (1964)

300 S.E. 2nd Street

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-1923

Vice President

Since 2011

Not Applicable

Not Applicable


Principal Occupation During at Least the Past 5 Years:

Senior Associate General Counsel, Franklin Templeton; Assistant Secretary, Franklin Resources, Inc.; Vice President and Secretary, Templeton Investment Counsel, LLC; and officer of certain funds in the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex.

Note 1: Gregory E. Johnson and Jennifer M. Johnson are siblings. Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. is the uncle of Gregory E. Johnson and Jennifer M. Johnson.

Note 2: Officer information is current as of the date of this SAI. It is possible that after this date, information about officers may change.

Note 3: Effective December 31, 2022, Robert E. Wade ceased to be a trustee of the Trust.

1. We base the number of portfolios on each separate series of the U.S. registered investment companies within the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex. These portfolios have a common investment manager or affiliated investment managers.

2. Gregory E. Johnson is considered to be an interested person of the Fund under the federal securities laws due to his position as an officer and director of Franklin Resources, Inc. (Resources), which is the parent company of the Fund's investment manager and distributor.

3. Jennifer M. Johnson is considered to be an interested person of the Fund under the federal securities laws due to her position as an officer and director of Resources, which is the parent company of the Fund's investment manager and distributor.

The Trust’s independent board members constitute the sole independent board members of three investment companies in the Franklin Templeton complex, for which each independent board member currently is paid a $215,000 annual retainer fee, together with a $7,000 per meeting fee for attendance at regularly scheduled board meetings. A portion of such annual retainer and meeting fees is allocated to the Trust. To the extent held, a $5,000 per meeting fee ($2,000

32


for meetings via phone) may also be paid for attendance at specially held board meetings, a portion of which is also allocated to the Trust for meetings held jointly with such other investment companies. Ann Torre Bates, who serves as Chairperson of the Board of the Trust and such other investment companies, receives an additional retainer of $80,000 per year for serving as the Chairperson of each such board, a portion of which is allocated to the Trust. Board members who serve on the Audit Committee of the Trust and such other investment companies receive a flat fee of $3,000 per committee meeting attended, a portion of which is allocated to the Trust for meetings held jointly with such other investment companies. David W. Niemiec, who serves as Chair of the Audit Committee of the Trust and such other investment companies, receives an additional retainer of $15,000 per year, a portion of which is allocated to the Trust. Other committee members receive $2,000 for each meeting attended, a portion of which is allocated to the Trust for meetings held jointly with such other investment companies, which includes meetings of independent trustees held in consideration of approval of investment management agreements other than those held during regular board meeting occasions. The following table provides the total fees paid to independent board members by the Trust and by other funds in Franklin Templeton.

                     

Name

 

Total Fees
Received
from the
Trust
($)1

 

Total Fees
Received from
Franklin
Templeton
($)2

 

Number of
Boards in
Franklin
Templeton
on which
Each
Serves3

 

Edward I. Altman

 

44,663

 

 

278,000

 

 

3

 

Ann Torre Bates4

 

59,021

 

 

671,850

 

 

14

 

Burton J. Greenwald5

 

5,906

 

 

3,000

 

 

N/A

 

Jan Hopkins Trachtman

 

37,841

 

 

269,000

 

 

3

 

Keith E. Mitchell

 

37,190

 

 

265,000

 

 

3

 

David W. Niemiec

 

47,326

 

 

611,572

 

 

14

 

Robert E. Wade6

 

45,359

 

 

567,202

 

 

N/A

 

Gregory H. Williams

 

37,841

 

 

269,000

 

 

3

 

Valerie M. Williams7

 

0

 

 

407,466

 

 

27

 

                     

1.

For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022.

 

2.

For the calendar year ended December 31, 2022.

 

3.

We base the number of boards on the number of U.S. registered investment
companies in Franklin Templeton. This number does not include the
total number of series or portfolios within each investment company for which the
board members are responsible.

 

4.

Ann Torre Bates is also an independent board member of Franklin Mutual Series Funds and may, in the future, receive payments pursuant to a discontinued retirement plan that generally provides payments to independent board members who have served seven years or longer for the Trust.

 

5.

Retired effective December 31, 2021.

 

6.

Retired effective December 31, 2022.

 

7.

Appointed as Trustee of the Trust effective January 1, 2023.

 

Independent board members are reimbursed for expenses incurred in connection with attending board meetings and such expenses are paid pro rata by each fund in Franklin Templeton for which they serve as director or trustee. No officer or board member received any other compensation, including pension or retirement benefits, directly or indirectly from the Trust or other funds in Franklin Templeton. Certain officers or board members who are shareholders of Franklin Resources, Inc. (Resources) may be deemed to receive indirect remuneration by virtue of their participation, if any, in the fees paid to its subsidiaries.

Trustees of Franklin Value Investors Trust also constitute all the mutual fund board members of Franklin Mutual Series Funds and Franklin Alternative Strategies Funds and have historically followed a policy of having substantial investments in one or more funds overseen by the Trustees as is consistent with their individual financial goals. This policy has been formalized through adoption of a requirement that each board member invest one-third of fees received for serving as a trustee of Franklin Mutual Series Funds, Franklin Alternative Strategies Funds and Franklin Value Investors Trust (excluding committee fees and special meeting fees) in shares of one or more of such funds or the Franklin Rising Dividends Fund (as of December 31, 2017) until the value of such investments equals or exceeds three times the annual retainer and regular board meeting fees paid to such board member for service on those funds. Up to 25% of the cost of a Trustee's investments in other Franklin Templeton Funds (as of December 31, 2019) is credited toward this investment requirement. Investments in the name of family members or entities controlled by a board member constitute fund holdings of such board member for purposes of this policy, and a phase-in period applies to such investment requirements.

The following tables provide the dollar range of equity securities beneficially owned by the board members of the Fund on December 31, 2022.

Independent Board Members

     

Name of Board Member

Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in
Each Series of the Trust

Aggregate
Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in
All Funds Overseen
by the Board
Member in the
Franklin Templeton
Fund Complex

Edward I. Altman

None

Over $100,000

Ann Torre Bates

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

$10,001 - $50,000

Over $100,000

Jan Hopkins Trachtman

None

Over $100,000

Keith E. Mitchell

Small Cap Value Fund

$50,001 - $100,000

Over $100,000

David W. Niemiec

Small Cap Value Fund

Over $100,000

Over $100,000

Gregory H. Williams

MicroCap Value Fund

Over $100,000

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

Over $100,000

Small Cap Value Fund

Over $100,000

Over $100,000

     

Valerie M. Williams1

N/A

$50,001 - $100,000

33


     

Interested Board Members

Name of Board Member

Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in
each Series of the Trust

Aggregate
Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in
All Funds Overseen
by the Board
Member in the
Franklin Templeton
Fund Complex

Gregory E. Johnson

None

Over $100,000

Jennifer M. Johnson

None

Over $100,000

1. Appointed to the board effective January 1, 2023.

Board committees The board maintains two standing committees: the Audit Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. The Audit Committee is generally responsible for recommending the selection of the Trust's independent registered public accounting firm (auditors), including evaluating their independence and meeting with such auditors to consider and review matters relating primarily to the Trust's financial reports and internal controls. The Audit Committee is comprised of the following independent Trustees of the Trust: Edward I. Altman, Ann Torre Bates, David W. Niemiec (Chair) and Valerie M. Williams. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee is responsible for nominating candidates for independent board member positions and for consideration of matters relating to corporate governance. It is composed of Jan Hopkins Trachtman and Gregory H. Williams (Chair).

In considering a candidate's qualifications, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee generally considers the potential candidate's educational background, business or professional experience, and reputation. In addition, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee has established as minimum qualifications for board membership as an independent trustee (1) that such candidate be independent from relationships with the Fund's investment manager and other principal service providers both within the terms and the spirit of the statutory independence requirements specified under the 1940 Act and the rules thereunder, (2) that such candidate demonstrate an ability and willingness to make the considerable time commitment, including personal attendance at board and committee meetings, believed necessary to his or her function as an effective board member, and (3) that such candidate have no continuing relationship as a trustee, officer or board member of any open-end or closed-end fund investment company other than those within the Franklin Templeton fund complex or a closed-end business development company primarily investing in non-public entities.

When the board has or expects to have a vacancy, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee receives and reviews information on individuals qualified to be recommended to the full board as nominees for election as board members, including any recommendations by "Qualifying Fund Shareholders" (as defined below). To date, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee has been able to identify, and expects to continue to be able to identify, from its own resources an ample number of qualified candidates. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, however, will review recommendations from Qualifying Fund Shareholders to fill vacancies on the board if these recommendations are submitted in writing and addressed to the Chairperson of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee at the Trust's offices at One Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, CA 94403-1906 and are presented with appropriate background material concerning the candidate that demonstrates his or her ability to serve as a board member, including as an independent board member, of the Trust. A Qualifying Fund Shareholder is a shareholder who (i) has continuously owned of record, or beneficially through a financial intermediary, shares of the Fund having a net asset value of not less than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) during the 24-month period prior to submitting the recommendation; and (ii) provides a written notice to the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee containing the following information: (a) the name and address of the Qualifying Fund Shareholder making the recommendation; (b) the number of shares of the Fund which are owned of record and beneficially by such Qualifying Fund Shareholder and the length of time that such shares have been so owned by the Qualifying Fund Shareholder; (c) a description of all arrangements and understandings between such Qualifying Fund Shareholder and any other person or persons (naming such person or persons) pursuant to which the recommendation is being made; (d) the name, age, date of birth, business address and residence address of the person or persons being recommended; (e) such other information regarding each person recommended by such Qualifying Fund Shareholder as would be required to be included in a proxy statement filed pursuant to the proxy rules of the SEC had the nominee been nominated by the board; (f) whether the shareholder making the recommendation believes the person recommended would or would not be an "interested person" of the Trust, as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940 (1940 Act); and (g) the written consent of each person recommended to serve as a board member of the Trust if so nominated and elected/appointed.

The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee may amend these procedures from time to time, including the procedures relating to the evaluation of nominees and the process for submitting recommendations to the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Audit Committee met six times; the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee met twice.

Board role in risk oversight The board, as a whole, considers risk management issues as part of its general oversight responsibilities throughout the year at regular board meetings, through regular reports that have been developed by management, in consultation with the board and its

34


counsel. These reports address certain investment, valuation, liquidity and compliance matters. The board also may receive special written reports or presentations on a variety of risk issues (e.g., COVID-19 related issues), either upon the board’s request or upon the investment manager’s initiative. In addition, the Audit Committee of the board meets regularly with the investment manager's internal audit group to review reports on their examinations of functions and processes within Franklin Templeton that affect the Fund.

With respect to investment risk, the board receives regular written reports describing and analyzing the investment performance of the Fund. In addition, the portfolio managers of the Fund meet regularly with the board to discuss portfolio performance, including investment risk. To the extent that the Fund changes a particular investment strategy that could have a material impact on the Fund’s risk profile, the board generally is consulted with respect to such change. To the extent that the Fund invests in certain complex securities, including derivatives, the board receives periodic reports containing information about exposure of the Fund to such instruments. In addition, the investment manager's investment risk personnel meet regularly with the board to discuss a variety of issues, including the impact on the Fund of the investment in particular securities or instruments, such as derivatives and commodities.

With respect to valuation, the Fund’s investment manager provides periodic reports to the board that enable the board to oversee the Fund's investment manager, as the board's Valuation Designee, in monitoring and assessing material risks associated with fair valuation determinations, including material conflicts of interest. In addition, the board reviews the investment manager's performance of an annual valuation risk assessment under which the investment manager seeks to identify and enumerate material valuation risks which are or may be impactful to the Fund including, but not limited to (1) the types of investments held (or intended to be held) by the Fund, giving consideration to those investments’ characteristics; (2) potential market or sector shocks or dislocations which may affect the ongoing valuation operations; and (3) the extent to which each fair value methodology uses unobservable inputs. The investment manager reports any material changes to the risk assessment, along with appropriate actions designed to manage such risks, to the Board.

With respect to liquidity risk, the board receives liquidity risk management reports under the Fund’s Liquidity Risk Management (LRM) Program and reviews, no less frequently than annually, a written report prepared by the LRM Program Administrator that addresses, among other items, the operation of the LRM Program and assesses its adequacy and effectiveness of implementation as well as any material changes to the LRM Program.

With respect to compliance risks, the board receives regular compliance reports prepared by the investment manager’s compliance group and meets regularly with the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) to discuss compliance issues, including compliance risks. In accordance with SEC rules, the independent board members meet regularly in executive session with the CCO, and the Fund’s CCO prepares and presents an annual written compliance report to the board. The Fund’s board adopts compliance policies and procedures for the Fund and approves such procedures for the Fund’s service providers. The compliance policies and procedures are specifically designed to detect and prevent violations of the federal securities laws.

The investment manager periodically provides an enterprise risk management presentation to the board to describe the way in which risk is managed on a complex-wide level. Such presentation covers such areas as investment risk, reputational risk, personnel risk, and business continuity risk.

Board structure Seventy-five percent or more of board members consist of independent trustees who are not deemed to be “interested persons” by reason of their relationship with the Fund’s management or otherwise as provided under the 1940 Act. The Chairperson of the Board is an independent trustee who, in addition to presiding at board meetings also, in consultation with independent counsel when necessary, approves agendas for board meetings and generally acts as a liaison with management with respect to questions and issues raised by the independent trustees. The Chairperson also presides at separate meetings of independent trustees held in advance of each scheduled board meeting where various matters, including those being considered at such board meeting are discussed. The board believes that such structure is appropriate because it helps to assure that proper consideration is given at board meetings to matters deemed important to the Fund and its shareholders.

Trustee qualifications Information on the Trust's officers and board members appears above including information on the business activities of trustees during the past five years and beyond. In addition to personal qualities, such as integrity, the role of an effective Fund board members inherently requires the ability to comprehend, discuss and critically analyze materials and issues presented in exercising judgments and reaching informed conclusions relevant to his or her duties and fiduciary obligations. The board believes that the specific background of each trustee evidences such ability and is appropriate to his or her serving on the Trust's board. As indicated, Edward I. Altman, Ph.D., is a Professor of Finance (Emeritus) and author of numerous financial publications; Ann Torre Bates has served as chief financial officer of a major corporation and as a board member of a number of public companies; Jan Hopkins Trachtman has an executive background in communications, including service as an anchor/correspondent for CNN Financial News and was the President of the Economic Club of New York; Keith E.

35


Mitchell has a background in asset management, including service as a managing director of an investment banking firm; David W. Niemiec has served as chief financial officer of a major corporation; Gregory H. Williams was president of a major university; Valerie M. Williams has over 35 years of audit and public accounting experience serving numerous global and multi-location companies in various industries; and Gregory E. Johnson and Jennifer M. Johnson are both high ranking executive officers of Franklin Templeton.

Fair Valuation

The Fund’s board of trustees has designated the investment manager as the board’s Valuation Designee to perform fair value determinations for the Fund and to assess any material risks associated with such determinations, including material conflicts of interest, if any. The Valuation Designee also performs an annual valuation risk assessment to identify and enumerate material valuation risks which are or may be impactful to the Fund. The Fund’s investment manager and its affiliates have formed a Valuation Committee (VC) to assist these obligations. The VC oversees and administers the policies and procedures governing fair valuation determination of securities. The VC meets monthly to review and approve fair value reports and conduct other business, and meets whenever necessary to review potential significant market events and take appropriate steps to adjust valuations in accordance with established policies. The VC also reviews the investment manager’s annual valuation risk assessment and provides periodic reports to the board of trustees regarding pricing determinations.

The Fund's policies and procedures governing fair valuation determination of securities have been initially reviewed and approved by the board of trustees and any material amendments will also be reviewed and approved by the board. The investment manager's compliance staff, or another group within Franklin Templeton, conducts periodic reviews of compliance with the policies and provides at least annually a report to the board of trustees regarding the operation of the policies and any material changes recommended as a result of such review.

Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures

The board of trustees of the Fund has delegated the authority to vote proxies related to the portfolio securities held by the Fund to the Fund's investment manager, Franklin Mutual Advisers, LLC, in accordance with the Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures (Policies) adopted by the investment manager. The Policies are included in Appendix A. Shareholders may also view the complete Policies online at franklintempleton.com. Copies of the Fund’s proxy voting records are available online at franklintempleton.com (search proxy voting records) and posted on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. The proxy voting records are updated each year by August 31 to reflect the most recent 12-month period ended June 30.

Management and Other Services

Investment manager and services provided The Fund's investment manager is Franklin Mutual Advisers, LLC (Franklin Mutual), 101 John F. Kennedy Parkway, Short Hills, New Jersey 07078 The investment manager is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Resources, a publicly owned company engaged in the financial services industry through its subsidiaries. Charles B. Johnson (former Chairman and Director of Resources) and Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. are the principal shareholders of Resources.

The investment manager provides investment research and portfolio management services, and selects the securities for the Fund to buy, hold or sell. The investment manager also selects the brokers who execute the Fund's portfolio transactions. The investment manager provides periodic reports to the board, which reviews and supervises the investment manager's investment activities. To protect the Fund, the investment manager and its officers, directors and employees are covered by fidelity insurance.

The investment manager makes decisions for the Fund in accordance with its obligations as investment adviser to the Fund. From time to time, certain affiliates may request that the investment manager focus the Fund’s investments on certain securities, strategies or markets or shift the Fund’s strategy slightly to enhance its attractiveness to specific investors, which may create a conflict of interest. The investment manager may, but is not required to, focus or shift the Fund’s investments in the manner requested provided that the investment manager believes that such investments are consistent with the Fund’s stated investment goals and strategies and are in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders. In addition, the investment manager and its affiliates manage numerous other investment companies and accounts. The investment manager may give advice and take action with respect to any of the other funds it manages, or for its own account, that may differ from action taken by the investment manager on behalf of the Fund. Similarly, with respect to the Fund, the investment manager is not obligated to recommend, buy or sell, or to refrain from recommending, buying or selling any security that the investment manager and access persons, as defined by applicable federal securities laws, may buy or sell for its or their own account or for the accounts of any other fund. The investment manager is not obligated to refrain from investing in securities held by the Fund or other funds it manages.

The Fund, its investment manager and principal underwriter have each adopted a code of ethics, as required by federal securities laws. Under the code of ethics, employees who are

36


designated as access persons may engage in personal securities transactions, including transactions involving securities that are being considered for the Fund or that are currently held by the Fund, subject to certain general restrictions and procedures. The personal securities transactions of access persons of the Fund, its investment manager and principal underwriter will be governed by the code of ethics. The code of ethics is on file with, and available from, the SEC.

Management fees The MicroCap Value Fund pays the investment manager a fee equal to an annual rate of 0.75% of the Fund’s average daily net assets. The fee is calculated daily and paid monthly according to the terms of the management agreement. Each class of the MicroCap Value Fund’s shares pays its proportionate share of the fee.

The Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund pays the investment manager a fee based on the average daily net assets of the Fund equal to an annual rate of:

 0.625% of the value of net assets up to and including $100 million;

 0.500% of the value of net assets over $100 million up to and including $250 million;

 0.450% of the value of net assets over $250 million up to and including $7.5 billion;

 0.440% of the value of net assets over $7.5 billion up to and including $10 billion;

 0.430% of the value of net assets over $10 billion up to and including $12.5 billion;

 0.420% of the value of net assets over $12.5 billion up to and including $15 billion; and

 0.400% of the value of net assets over $15 billion.

The fee is calculated daily and paid monthly according to the terms of the management agreement. Each class of the Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund’s shares pays its proportionate share of the fee.

The Small Cap Value Fund pays the investment manager a fee based on the average daily net assets of the Fund equal to an annual rate of:

 0.75% of the value of net assets up to and including $500 million;

 0.625% of the value of net assets over $500 million up to and including $1 billion;

 0.50% of the value of net assets over $1 billion up to and including $5 billion; and

 0.49% of the value of net assets over $5 billion.

The fee is calculated daily and paid monthly according to the terms of the management agreement. Each class of the Small Cap Value Fund’s shares pays its proportionate share of the fee.

For the last three fiscal years ended October 31, the Fund paid the following management fees:

               
 

Management Fees Earned ($)

Management Fees Waived / Expenses Reimbursed ($)

Management Fee Paid (After Waivers / Expenses Reimbursed) ($)

2022

MicroCap Value Fund

1,561,215

 

35,941

 

1,525,274

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

4,109,598

 

87,977

 

4,021,621

 

Small Cap Value Fund

23,763,414

 

264,362

 

23,499,052

 
 

2021

MicroCap Value Fund

1,516,453

 

4,758

 

1,511,695

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

3,967,921

 

24,353

 

3,943,568

 

Small Cap Value Fund

22,864,111

 

51,647

 

22,812,464

 
 

2020

MicroCap Value Fund

1,086,780

 

13,072

 

1,073,708

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

3,412,962

 

161,046

 

3,251,916

 

Small Cap Value Fund

13,267,719

 

166,382

 

13,101,337

 

Portfolio managers This section reflects information about the portfolio managers as of October 31, 2022.

The following table shows the number of other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and the total assets in the accounts managed within each category:

             

Name

Number of Other Registered Investment Companies Managed1

Assets of Other Registered Investment Companies Managed (x $1 million) 1

Number of Other Pooled Investment Vehicles Managed2

Assets of Other Pooled Investment Vehicles Managed
(x $1 million)2

Number of Other Accounts Managed

Assets of Other Accounts Managed
(x $1 million)

Grace Hoefig

2

8,985.6

2

288.5

0

N/A

Nicholas Karzon

4

1,655.1

4

278.9

0

N/A

Christopher Meeker

4

1,655.1

4

278.9

0

N/A

Steven Raineri

4

1,655.1

4

278.9

0

N/A

37


             

Name

Number of Other Registered Investment Companies Managed1

Assets of Other Registered Investment Companies Managed (x $1 million) 1

Number of Other Pooled Investment Vehicles Managed2

Assets of Other Pooled Investment Vehicles Managed
(x $1 million)2

Number of Other Accounts Managed

Assets of Other Accounts Managed
(x $1 million)

Stephen Shunk

0

N/A

0

N/A

0

N/A

Srini Vijay

0

N/A

0

N/A

0

N/A

Oliver H. Wong

0

N/A

0

N/A

0

N/A

1. These figures represent registered investment companies other than the Funds that are included in this SAI.

2. The various pooled investment vehicles and accounts listed are managed by a team of investment professionals. Accordingly, the portfolio managers listed would not be solely responsible for managing such listed amounts.

Portfolio managers that provide investment services to the Fund may also provide services to a variety of other investment products, including other funds, institutional accounts and private accounts. The advisory fees for some of such other products and accounts may be different than that charged to the Fund but does not include performance based compensation. This may result in fees that are higher (or lower) than the advisory fees paid by the Fund. As a matter of policy, each fund or account is managed solely for the benefit of the beneficial owners thereof. As discussed below, the separation of the trading execution function from the portfolio management function and the application of objectively based trade allocation procedures help to mitigate potential conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of the portfolio managers managing accounts with different advisory fees.

Conflicts. The management of multiple funds, including the Fund, and accounts may also give rise to potential conflicts of interest if the funds and other accounts have different objectives, benchmarks, time horizons, and fees as the portfolio manager must allocate his or her time and investment ideas across multiple funds and accounts. The investment manager seeks to manage such competing interests for the time and attention of portfolio managers by having portfolio managers focus on a particular investment discipline. Most other accounts managed by a portfolio manager are managed using the same investment strategies that are used in connection with the management of the Fund. Accordingly, portfolio holdings, position sizes, and industry and sector exposures tend to be similar across similar portfolios, which may minimize the potential for conflicts of interest. As noted above, the separate management of the trade execution and valuation functions from the portfolio management process also helps to reduce potential conflicts of interest. However, securities selected for funds or accounts other than the Fund may outperform the securities selected for the Fund. Moreover, if a portfolio manager identifies a limited investment opportunity that may be suitable for more than one fund or other account, the Fund may not be able to take full advantage of that opportunity due to an allocation of that opportunity across all eligible funds and other accounts. The investment manager seeks to manage such potential conflicts by using procedures intended to provide a fair allocation of buy and sell opportunities among funds and other accounts.

The structure of a portfolio manager’s compensation may give rise to potential conflicts of interest. A portfolio manager’s base pay and bonus tend to increase with additional and more complex responsibilities that include increased assets under management. As such, there may be a relationship between a portfolio manager’s marketing or sales efforts and his or her bonus.

Finally, the management of personal accounts by a portfolio manager may give rise to potential conflicts of interest. While the funds and the investment manager have adopted a code of ethics which they believe contains provisions designed to prevent a wide range of prohibited activities by portfolio managers and others with respect to their personal trading activities, there can be no assurance that the code of ethics addresses all individual conduct that could result in conflicts of interest.

The investment manager and the Fund have adopted certain compliance procedures that are designed to address these, and other, types of conflicts. However, there is no guarantee that such procedures will detect each and every situation where a conflict arises.

Compensation. The investment manager seeks to maintain a compensation program that is competitively positioned to attract, retain and motivate top-quality investment professionals. Portfolio managers receive a base salary, a cash incentive bonus opportunity, an equity compensation opportunity, and a benefits package. Portfolio manager compensation is reviewed annually, and the level of compensation is based on individual performance, the salary range for a portfolio manager’s level of responsibility and Franklin Templeton guidelines. Portfolio managers are provided no financial incentive to favor one fund or account over another. Each portfolio manager’s compensation consists of the following three elements:

Base salary Each portfolio manager is paid a base salary.

Annual bonus Annual bonuses are structured to align the interests of the portfolio manager with those of the Fund’s shareholders. Each portfolio manager is eligible to receive an annual bonus. Bonuses generally are split between cash (50% to 65%) and restricted shares of Resources stock (17.5% to 25%) and mutual fund shares (17.5% to 25%). The deferred equity-based compensation is intended to build a vested interest of the portfolio manager

38


in the financial performance of both Resources and mutual funds advised by the investment manager. The bonus plan is intended to provide a competitive level of annual bonus compensation that is tied to the portfolio manager achieving consistently strong investment performance, which aligns the financial incentives of the portfolio manager and Fund shareholders. The Chief Investment Officer of the investment manager and/or other officers of the investment manager, with responsibility for the Fund, have discretion in the granting of annual bonuses to portfolio managers in accordance with Franklin Templeton guidelines. The following factors are generally used in determining bonuses under the plan:

 Investment performance. Primary consideration is given to the historic investment performance over the 1, 3 and 5 preceding years of all accounts managed by the portfolio manager. The pre-tax performance of each fund managed is measured relative to a relevant peer group and/or applicable benchmark as appropriate.

 Non-investment performance. The more qualitative contributions of the portfolio manager to the investment manager’s business and the investment management team, including professional knowledge, productivity, responsiveness to client needs and communication, are evaluated in determining the amount of any bonus award.

 Responsibilities. The characteristics and complexity of funds managed by the portfolio manager are factored in the investment manager’s appraisal.

Additional long-term equity-based compensation Portfolio managers may also be awarded restricted shares or units of Resources stock or restricted shares or units of one or more mutual funds. Awards of such deferred equity-based compensation typically vest over time, so as to create incentives to retain key talent.

Benefits Portfolio managers also participate in benefit plans and programs available generally to all employees of the investment manager.

Ownership of Fund shares. The investment manager has a policy of encouraging portfolio managers to invest in the funds they manage. Exceptions arise when, for example, a fund is closed to new investors or when tax considerations or jurisdictional constraints cause such an investment to be inappropriate for the portfolio manager. The following is the dollar range of Fund shares beneficially owned by the portfolio managers (such amounts may change from time to time):

   

Portfolio Manager

Dollar Range of
Fund Shares
Beneficially Owned

Grace Hoefig

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

Over $1,000,000

Nicholas Karzon

Small Cap Value Fund

$100,001 - $500,000

Christopher Meeker

Small Cap Value Fund

$100,001 - $500,000

Steven Raineri

Small Cap Value Fund

Over $1,000,000

Stephen Shunk

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

$100,001 - $500,000

Srini Vijay

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

$100,001 - $500,000

Oliver H. Wong

MicroCap Value Fund

$100,001 - $500,000

Administrator and services provided Franklin Templeton Services, LLC (FT Services) has an agreement with the investment manager to provide certain administrative services and facilities for the Fund. FT Services is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Resources and is an affiliate of the Fund's investment manager and principal underwriter.

The administrative services FT Services provides include preparing and maintaining books, records, and tax and financial reports, and monitoring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Administration fees The investment manager pays FT Services a monthly fee equal to an annual rate of:

 0.150% of the Fund’s average daily net assets up to and including $200 million;

 0.135% of the Fund’s average daily net assets over $200 million, up to and including $700 million;

 0.100% of the Fund’s average daily net assets over $700 million, up to and including $1.2 billion; and

 0.075% of the Fund’s average daily net assets in excess of $1.2 billion.

For the last three fiscal years ended October 31, the investment manager paid FT Services the following administration fees:

         
     

Administration Fees

Paid (After Waivers / Expenses Reimbursed) ($)

       

2022

MicroCap Value Fund

302,885

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

1,121,792

 

Small Cap Value Fund

3,657,301

 
 

2021

MicroCap Value Fund

300,991

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

1,100,605

 

Small Cap Value Fund

3,724,210

 
 

2020

MicroCap Value Fund

217,566

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

960,624

 

Small Cap Value Fund

2,284,698

 

39


Shareholder servicing and transfer agent Franklin Templeton Investor Services, LLC (Investor Services) is the Fund's shareholder servicing agent and acts as the Fund's transfer agent and dividend-paying agent. Investor Services is located at 3344 Quality Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670-7313. Please send all correspondence to Investor Services at P.O. Box 997151, Sacramento, CA 95899-7151.

Investor Services receives a fee for servicing Fund shareholder accounts. The Fund also will reimburse Investor Services for certain out-of-pocket expenses necessarily incurred in servicing the shareholder accounts in accordance with the terms of its servicing contract with the Fund.

In addition, Investor Services may make payments to financial intermediaries that provide administrative services to defined benefit plans. Investor Services does not seek reimbursement by the Fund for such payments.

For all classes of shares of the Fund, except for Class R6 shares, Investor Services may also pay servicing fees, that will be reimbursed by the Fund, in varying amounts to certain financial institutions (to help offset their costs associated with client account maintenance support, statement preparation and transaction processing) that (i) maintain omnibus accounts with the Fund in the institution's name on behalf of numerous beneficial owners of Fund shares who are either direct clients of the institution or are participants in an IRS-recognized tax-deferred savings plan (including Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans and Section 529 Plans) for which the institution, or its affiliate, provides participant level recordkeeping services (called "Beneficial Owners"); or (ii) provide support for Fund shareholder accounts by sharing account data with Investor Services through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) networking system. In addition to servicing fees received from the Fund, these financial institutions also may charge a fee for their services directly to their clients. Investor Services will also receive a fee from the Fund (other than for Class R6 shares) for services provided in support of Beneficial Owners and NSCC networking system accounts.

Sub-administrator JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMorgan) has an agreement with FT Services to provide certain sub-administrative services for the Fund. The administrative services provided by JPMorgan include, but are not limited to, certain fund accounting, financial reporting, tax, corporate governance and compliance and legal administration services.

Securities lending agent The board of trustees has approved the Fund’s participation in a securities lending program. Under the securities lending program, The Bank of New York Mellon serves as the Fund’s securities lending agent ("Securities Lending Agent").

For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Fund did not lend any of its securities.

Custodian The Bank of New York Mellon, Mutual Funds Division, 100 Church Street, New York, NY 10286, acts as custodian of the Fund's securities and other assets. As foreign custody manager, the bank selects and monitors foreign sub-custodian banks, selects and evaluates non-compulsory foreign depositories, and furnishes information relevant to the selection of compulsory depositories.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm Ernst & Young LLP, 200 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA 02116, is the Fund's independent registered public accounting firm. The independent registered public accounting firm audits the financial statements included in the Fund's Annual Report to shareholders.

Portfolio Transactions

The investment manager selects brokers and dealers to execute the Fund's portfolio transactions in accordance with criteria set forth in the management agreement and any directions that the board may give.

When placing a portfolio transaction, the trading department of the investment manager seeks to obtain "best execution" -- the best combination of high quality transaction execution services, taking into account the services and products to be provided by the broker or dealer, and low relative commission rates with the view of maximizing value for the Fund and its other clients. For most transactions in equity securities, the amount of commissions paid is negotiated between the investment manager and the broker executing the transaction. The determination and evaluation of the reasonableness of the brokerage commissions paid are based to a large degree on the professional opinions of the persons within the trading department of the investment manager responsible for placement and review of the transactions. These opinions are based on the experience of these individuals in the securities industry and information available to them about the level of commissions being paid by other institutional investors. The investment manager may also place orders to buy and sell equity securities on a principal rather than agency basis if the investment manager believes that trading on a principal basis will provide best execution. Orders for fixed income securities are ordinarily placed with market makers on a net basis, without any brokerage commissions. Purchases of portfolio securities from underwriters will include a commission or concession paid to the underwriter, and purchases from dealers will include a spread between the bid and ask price.

The investment manager may cause the Fund to pay certain brokers commissions that are higher than those another broker may charge, if the investment manager determines in good faith that the amount paid is reasonable in relation to the value of the brokerage and research services it receives. This may be viewed in terms of either the particular transaction or the investment manager's overall responsibilities to client

40


accounts over which it exercises investment discretion. The brokerage commissions that are used to acquire services other than brokerage are known as "soft dollars." Research provided can be either proprietary (created and provided by the broker-dealer, including tangible research products as well as access to analysts and traders) or third party (created by a third party but provided by the broker-dealer). To the extent permitted by applicable law, the investment manager may use soft dollars to acquire both proprietary and third-party research.

The research services that brokers may provide to the investment manager include, among others, supplying information about particular companies, markets, countries, or local, regional, national or transnational economies, statistical data, quotations and other securities pricing information, and other information that provides lawful and appropriate assistance to the investment manager in carrying out its investment advisory responsibilities. These services may not always directly benefit the Fund. They must, however, be of value to the investment manager in carrying out its overall responsibilities to its clients.

It is not possible to place an accurate dollar value on the special execution or on the research services the investment manager receives from dealers effecting transactions in portfolio securities. The allocation of transactions to obtain additional research services allows the investment manager to supplement its own research and analysis activities and to receive the views and information of individuals and research staffs from many securities firms. The receipt of these products and services does not reduce the investment manager's research activities in providing investment advice to the Fund.

As long as it is lawful and appropriate to do so, the investment manager and its affiliates may use this research and data in their investment advisory capacities with other clients.

Because Franklin Distributors, LLC (Distributors) is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), it may sometimes receive certain fees when the Fund tenders portfolio securities pursuant to a tender-offer solicitation. To recapture brokerage for the benefit of the Fund, any portfolio securities tendered by the Fund will be tendered through Distributors if it is legally permissible to do so. In turn, the next management fee payable to the investment manager will be reduced by the amount of any fees received by Distributors in cash, less any costs and expenses incurred in connection with the tender.

If purchases or sales of securities of the Fund and one or more other investment companies or clients supervised by the investment manager are considered at or about the same time, transactions in these securities will be allocated among the several investment companies and clients in a manner deemed equitable to all by the investment manager, taking into account the respective sizes of the accounts and the amount of securities to be purchased or sold. In some cases this procedure could have a detrimental effect on the price or volume of the security so far as the Fund is concerned. In other cases it is possible that the ability to participate in volume transactions may improve execution and reduce transaction costs to the Fund.

For the last three fiscal years ended October 31, the Fund paid the following brokerage commissions:

               
   

Brokerage Commissions ($)

   

2022

2021

2020

MicroCap Value Fund

 

63,894

 

125,059

 

138,464

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

 

279,142

 

202,321

 

227,066

 

Small Cap Value Fund

 

2,192,077

 

2,949,033

 

2,119,317

 

For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, the Fund paid brokerage commissions from aggregate portfolio transactions to brokers who provided research services as follows:

     
 

Brokerage
Commissions
($)

Aggregate
Portfolio
Transactions
($)

MicroCap Value Fund

3,509

14,376,378

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

76,956

648,707,593

Small Cap Value Fund

750,010

2,684,936,260

As of October 31, 2022, the MicroCap Value Fund, Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund and Small Cap Value Fund did not own securities issued by their regular broker-dealers.

Because the Fund may, from time to time, invest in broker-dealers, it is possible that the Fund will own more than 5% of the voting securities of one or more broker-dealers through whom the Fund places portfolio brokerage transactions. In such circumstances, the broker-dealer would be considered an affiliated person of the Fund. To the extent the Fund places brokerage transactions through such a broker-dealer at a time when the broker-dealer is considered to be an affiliate of the Fund, the Fund will be required to adhere to certain rules relating to the payment of commissions to an affiliated broker-dealer. These rules require the Fund to adhere to procedures adopted by the board to ensure that the commissions paid to such broker-dealers do not exceed what would otherwise be the usual and customary brokerage commissions for similar transactions.

Distributions and Taxes

The discussion below pertains to each Fund, unless otherwise noted.

The following discussion is a summary of certain additional tax considerations generally affecting the Fund and its shareholders, some of which may not be described in the Fund’s prospectus. No attempt is made to present a complete

41


detailed explanation of the tax treatment of the Fund or its shareholders. The discussions here and in the prospectus are not intended as a substitute for careful tax planning.

The following discussion is based on the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and applicable regulations in effect on the date of this SAI, including any amendments to the Code resulting from 2017 legislation commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ("TCJA"). Future legislative, regulatory or administrative changes, including any provisions of law that sunset and thereafter no longer apply, or court decisions may significantly change the tax rules applicable to the Fund and its shareholders. Any of these changes or court decisions may have a retroactive effect. Where indicated below, IRS refers to the United States Internal Revenue Service.

This is for general information only and not tax advice. All investors should consult their own tax advisors as to the federal, state, local and foreign tax provisions applicable to them.

Multi-class distributions The Fund calculates income dividends and capital gain distributions the same way for each class. The amount of any income dividends per share will differ, however, generally due to any differences in the distribution and service (Rule 12b-1) fees applicable to the classes and Class R6 transfer agency fees.

Distributions The Fund intends to declare and pay income dividends at least annually from its net investment income. Capital gains, if any, may be paid at least annually. The Fund may distribute income dividends and capital gains more frequently, if necessary or appropriate in the board’s discretion. The amount of any distribution will vary, and there is no guarantee the Fund will pay either income dividends or capital gain distributions. Your income dividends and capital gain distributions will be automatically reinvested in additional shares at net asset value unless you elect to receive them in cash. Distributions declared in October, November or December to shareholders of record in such month and paid in January are taxable as if they were paid in December.

Distributions of net investment income. The Fund receives income generally in the form of dividends and interest on its investments. The Fund may also recognize ordinary income from other sources, including, but not limited to, certain gains on foreign currency-related transactions. This income, less expenses incurred in the operation of the Fund, constitutes the Fund's net investment income from which dividends may be paid to you. If you are a taxable investor, any income dividends (other than qualified dividends) the Fund pays are taxable to you at ordinary income tax rates. A portion of the income dividends paid to you may be qualified dividends eligible to be taxed at reduced rates.

Distributions of capital gains.  The Fund may realize capital gains and losses on the sale of its portfolio securities.

Distributions of short-term capital gains are taxable to you as ordinary income. Distributions of long-term capital gains are taxable to you as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have owned your shares in the Fund. Any net capital gains realized by the Fund (in excess of any available capital loss carryovers) generally are distributed once each year, and may be distributed more frequently, if necessary, to reduce or eliminate excise or income taxes on the Fund.

Capital gain dividends and any net long-term capital gains you realize from the sale of Fund shares are generally taxable at the reduced long-term capital gains tax rates. For single individuals with taxable income not in excess of $44,625 in 2023 ($89,250 for married individuals filing jointly), the long-term capital gains tax rate is 0%. For single individuals and joint filers with taxable income in excess of these amounts but not more than $492,300 or $553,850, respectively, the long-term capital gains tax rate is 15%. The rate is 20% for single individuals with taxable income in excess of $492,300 and married individuals filing jointly with taxable income in excess of $553,850. The taxable income thresholds are adjusted annually for inflation. An additional 3.8% Medicare tax may also be imposed as discussed below.

Returns of capital. If the Fund's distributions exceed its earnings and profits (i.e., generally, its taxable income and realized capital gains) for a taxable year, all or a portion of the distributions made in that taxable year may be characterized as a return of capital to you. A return of capital distribution will generally not be taxable, but will reduce the cost basis in your Fund shares and will result in a higher capital gain or in a lower capital loss when you sell your shares. Any return of capital in excess of the basis in your Fund shares, however, will be taxable as a capital gain. In the case of a non-calendar year fund, earnings and profits are first allocated to distributions made on or before December 31 of its taxable year and then to distributions made thereafter. The effect of this provision is to “push” returns of capital into the next calendar year.

Undistributed capital gains. The Fund may retain or distribute to shareholders its net capital gain for each taxable year. The Fund currently intends to distribute net capital gains. If the Fund elects to retain its net capital gain, the Fund will be taxed thereon (except to the extent of any available capital loss carryovers) at the applicable corporate tax rate. If the Fund elects to retain its net capital gain, it is expected that the Fund also will elect to have shareholders treated as if each received a distribution of its pro rata share of such gain, with the result that each shareholder will be required to report its pro rata share of such gain on its tax return as long-term capital gain, will receive a refundable tax credit for its pro rata share of tax paid by the Fund on the gain, and will increase the tax basis for its shares by an amount equal to the deemed distribution less the tax credit.

42


Investments in foreign securities  The following paragraphs describe tax considerations that are applicable to the Fund's investments in foreign securities.

Foreign income tax. Investment income received by the Fund from sources within foreign countries may be subject to foreign income tax withheld at the source and the amount of tax withheld generally will be treated as an expense of the Fund. The United States has entered into tax treaties with many foreign countries, which entitle the Fund to a reduced rate of, or exemption from, tax on such income. Some countries require the filing of a tax reclaim or other forms to receive the benefit of the reduced tax rate; whether or when the Fund will receive the tax reclaim is within the control of the individual country. Information required on these forms may not be available such as shareholder information; therefore, the Fund may not receive the reduced treaty rates or potential reclaims. Other countries have conflicting and changing instructions and restrictive timing requirements which may cause the Fund not to receive the reduced treaty rates or potential reclaims. Other countries may subject capital gains realized by the Fund on sale or disposition of securities of that country to taxation. These and other factors may make it difficult for the Fund to determine in advance the effective rate of tax on its investments in certain countries. Under certain circumstances, the Fund may elect to pass-through certain eligible foreign income taxes paid by the Fund to shareholders, although it reserves the right not to do so. If the Fund makes such an election and obtains a refund of foreign taxes paid by the Fund in a prior year, the Fund may be eligible to reduce the amount of foreign taxes reported by the Fund to its shareholders, generally by the amount of the foreign taxes refunded, for the year in which the refund is received. Certain foreign taxes imposed on the Fund’s investments, such as a foreign financial transaction tax, may not be creditable against U.S. income tax liability or eligible for pass through by the Fund to its shareholders.

Effect of foreign debt investments on distributions.  Most foreign exchange gains realized on the sale of debt securities are treated as ordinary income by the Fund. Similarly, foreign exchange losses realized on the sale of debt securities generally are treated as ordinary losses. These gains when distributed are taxable to you as ordinary income, and any losses reduce the Fund's ordinary income otherwise available for distribution to you. This treatment could increase or decrease the Fund's ordinary income distributions to you, and may cause some or all of the Fund's previously distributed income to be classified as a return of capital.

PFIC securities. The Fund may invest in securities of foreign entities that could be deemed for tax purposes to be passive foreign investment companies (PFICs). In general, a foreign company is classified as a PFIC if at least one-half of its assets constitute investment-type assets or 75% or more of its gross income is investment-type income. When investing in PFIC securities, the Fund intends to mark-to-market these securities and recognize any gains at the end of its fiscal and excise (described below) tax years. Deductions for losses are allowable only to the extent of any current or previously recognized gains. These gains (reduced by allowable losses) are treated as ordinary income that the Fund is required to distribute, even though it has not sold the securities. Foreign companies are not required to identify themselves as PFICs. Due to various complexities in identifying PFICs, the Fund can give no assurances that it will be able to identify portfolio securities in foreign corporations that are PFICs in time for the Fund to make a mark-to-market election. If the Fund is unable to identify an investment as a PFIC and thus does not make a mark-to-market election, the Fund may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a portion of any “excess distribution” or gain from the disposition of such shares even if such income is distributed as a taxable dividend by the Fund to its shareholders. Additional charges in the nature of interest may be imposed on the Fund in respect of deferred taxes arising from such distributions or gains.

The Fund's designation of a foreign security as a PFIC security will cause the income dividends of any designated securities to fall outside of the definition of qualified foreign corporation dividends. These dividends generally will not qualify for the reduced rate of taxation on qualified dividends when distributed to you by the Fund.

Information on the amount and tax character of distributions The Fund will inform you of the amount of your income dividends and capital gain distributions at the time they are paid, and will advise you of their tax status for federal income tax purposes shortly after the close of each calendar year. The amount of income dividends reported by the Fund to shareholders, consisting of qualified dividend income (which is relevant to U.S. investors) and interest-related and short-term capital gain dividends (which are relevant to non-U.S. investors) may exceed the total amount of income dividends paid. Such characterization will not result in more income being reported to you, but rather will allow the Fund to report dividends in a manner that is more tax efficient to both U.S. and non-U.S. investors. If you have not owned your Fund shares for a full year, the Fund may report and distribute to you:

 as an ordinary income, qualified dividend, or capital gain dividend (a distribution of net long-term capital gains) if you are a U.S. investor, or

 as an interest-related, short-term capital gain, or capital gain dividend if you are a non-U.S. investor

a percentage of income that may not be equal to the actual amount of each type of income earned during the period of your investment in the Fund.

The Fund may at times find it necessary to reclassify income after it issues your tax reporting statement. This can result from rules in the Code that effectively prevent regulated

43


investment companies such as the Fund from ascertaining with certainty until after the calendar year end the final amount and character of distributions the Fund has received on its investments during the prior calendar year. Prior to issuing your statement, the Fund makes every effort to identify reclassifications of income to reduce the number of corrected forms mailed to shareholders. However, when necessary, the Fund will send you a corrected tax reporting statement to reflect reclassified information. This can result from rules in the Code that effectively prevent regulated investment companies such as the Fund from ascertaining with certainty until after the calendar year end the final amount and character of distributions the Fund has received on its investments during the prior calendar year. If you receive a corrected tax reporting statement, use the information on this statement, and not the information on your original statement, in completing your tax returns.

Avoid "buying a dividend"  At the time you purchase your Fund shares, the Fund’s net asset value may reflect undistributed income, undistributed capital gains, or net unrealized appreciation in the value of the portfolio securities held by the Fund. For taxable investors, a subsequent distribution to you of such amounts, although constituting a return of your investment, would be taxable. This tax treatment is required even if you reinvest your distributions in additional Fund shares. Buying shares in the Fund just before it declares an income dividend or capital gain distribution is sometimes known as “buying a dividend.” For example, if you buy 500 shares in a fund on December 10th at the fund's net asset value (NAV) of $10 per share, and the fund makes a distribution on December 15th of $1 per share, your shares will then have an NAV of $9 per share (disregarding any change in the fund's market value), and you will have to pay a tax on what is essentially a return of your investment of $1 per share.

Election to be taxed as a regulated investment company The Fund has elected to be treated as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code. It has qualified as a regulated investment company for its most recent fiscal year, and intends to continue to qualify during the current fiscal year. As a regulated investment company, the Fund generally pays no federal income tax on the income and gains it distributes to you. In order to qualify for treatment as a regulated investment company, the Fund must satisfy the requirements described below.

Distribution requirement. The Fund must distribute an amount equal to the sum of at least 90% of its investment company taxable income and 90% of its net tax-exempt income, if any, for the tax year (including, for purposes of satisfying this distribution requirement, certain distributions made by the Fund after the close of its taxable year that are treated as made during such taxable year).

Income requirement. The Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income from dividends, interest, certain payments with respect to securities loans, and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures or forward contracts) derived from its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies and net income derived from qualified publicly traded partnerships (QPTPs).

Asset diversification test. The Fund must satisfy the following asset diversification test at the close of each quarter of the Fund’s tax year: (1) at least 50% of the value of the Fund’s assets must consist of cash and cash items, U.S. government securities, securities of other regulated investment companies, and securities of other issuers (as to which the Fund has not invested more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets in securities of an issuer and as to which the Fund does not hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer); and (2) no more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets may be invested in the securities of any one issuer (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other regulated investment companies) or of two or more issuers which the Fund controls and which are engaged in the same or similar trades or businesses, or, in the securities of one or more QPTPs.

In some circumstances, the character and timing of income realized by the Fund for purposes of the income requirement or the identification of the issuer for purposes of the asset diversification test is uncertain under current law with respect to a particular investment, and an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to such type of investment may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to satisfy these requirements. In other circumstances, the Fund may be required to sell portfolio holdings in order to meet the income requirement, distribution requirement, or asset diversification test, which may have a negative impact on the Fund’s income and performance. In lieu of potential disqualification, the Fund is permitted to pay a tax for certain failures to satisfy the asset diversification test or income requirement, which, in general, are limited to those due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect.

If for any taxable year the Fund does not qualify as a regulated investment company, all of its taxable income (including its net capital gain) would be subject to tax at the applicable corporate tax rate without any deduction for dividends paid to shareholders, and the dividends would be taxable to the shareholders as ordinary income (or possibly as qualified dividend income) to the extent of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits. Failure to qualify as a regulated investment company, subject to savings provisions for certain qualification failures, which, in general, are limited to those due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, would thus have a negative impact on the Fund’s income and performance. In that case, the Fund would be

44


liable for federal, and possibly state, corporate taxes on its taxable income and gains, and distributions to you would be taxed as dividend income to the extent of the Fund’s earnings and profits. Even if such savings provisions apply, the Fund may be subject to a monetary sanction of $50,000 or more. Moreover, the board reserves the right not to maintain the qualification of the Fund as a regulated investment company if it determines such a course of action to be beneficial to shareholders.

Capital loss carryovers  The capital losses of the Fund, if any, do not flow through to shareholders. Rather, the Fund may use its capital losses, subject to applicable limitations, to offset its capital gains without being required to pay taxes on or distribute to shareholders such gains that are offset by the losses. If the Fund has a "net capital loss" (that is, capital losses in excess of capital gains), the excess (if any) of the Fund's net short-term capital losses over its net long-term capital gains is treated as a short-term capital loss arising on the first day of the Fund's next taxable year, and the excess (if any) of the Fund's net long-term capital losses over its net short-term capital gains is treated as a long-term capital loss arising on the first day of the Fund's next taxable year. Any such net capital losses of the Fund that are not used to offset capital gains may be carried forward indefinitely, subject to certain limitations, to reduce any future capital gains realized by the Fund in succeeding taxable years.

Excise tax distribution requirements

Required distributions.  To avoid federal excise taxes, the Code requires the Fund to distribute to you by December 31 of each year, at a minimum, the following amounts:

 98% of its taxable ordinary income earned during the calendar year;

 98.2% of its capital gain net income earned during the 12-month period ending October 31; and

 100% of any undistributed amounts of these categories of income or gain from the prior year.

The Fund intends to declare and pay these distributions in December (or to pay them in January, in which case you must treat them as received in December), but can give no assurances that its distributions will be sufficient to eliminate all taxes.

Tax reporting for income and excise tax years. Because the periods for measuring a regulated investment company’s income are different for income (determined on a fiscal year basis) and excise tax years (determined as noted above), special rules are required to calculate the amount of income earned in each period, and the amount of earnings and profits needed to support that income. For example, if the Fund uses the excise tax period ending on October 31 as the measuring period for calculating and paying out capital gain net income and realizes a net capital loss between November 1 and the end of the Fund’s fiscal year, the Fund may calculate its earnings and profits without regard to such net capital loss in order to make its required distribution of capital gain net income for excise tax purposes. The Fund also may elect to treat part or all of any "qualified late year loss" as if it had been incurred in the succeeding taxable year in determining the Fund’s taxable income, net capital gain, net short-term capital gain, and earnings and profits. The effect of this election is to treat any such “qualified late year loss” as if it had been incurred in the succeeding taxable year, which may change the timing, amount, or characterization of Fund distributions.

A "qualified late year loss” includes (i) any net capital loss incurred after October 31 of the current taxable year, or, if there is no such loss, any net long-term capital loss or any net short-term capital loss incurred after October 31 of the current taxable year (“post-October capital losses”), and (ii) the sum of (1) the excess, if any, of (a) specified losses incurred after October 31 of the current taxable year, over (b) specified gains incurred after October 31 of the current taxable year and (2) the excess, if any, of (a) ordinary losses incurred after December 31 of the current taxable year, over (b) the ordinary income incurred after December 31 of the current taxable year. The terms “specified losses” and “specified gains” mean ordinary losses and gains from the sale, exchange, or other disposition of property (including the termination of a position with respect to such property), foreign currency losses and gains, and losses and gains resulting from holding stock in a passive foreign investment company (PFIC) for which a mark-to-market election is in effect. The terms “ordinary losses” and “ordinary income” mean other ordinary losses and income that are not described in the preceding sentence. Special rules apply to a fund with a fiscal year ending in November or December that elects to use its taxable year for determining its capital gain net income for excise tax purposes. The Fund may only elect to treat any post-October capital loss, specified gains and specified losses incurred after October 31 as if it had been incurred in the succeeding year in determining its taxable income for the current year.

Because these rules are not entirely clear, the Fund may be required to interpret the "qualified late-year loss" and other rules relating to these different year-ends to determine its taxable income and capital gains. The Fund’s reporting of income and its allocation between different taxable and excise tax years may be challenged by the IRS, possibly resulting in adjustments in the income reported by the Fund on its tax returns and/or by the Fund to you on your year-end tax statements.

Medicare tax An additional 3.8% Medicare tax is imposed on net investment income earned by certain individuals, estates and trusts. “Net investment income,” for these purposes, means investment income, including ordinary dividends and capital gain distributions received from the Fund and net

45


gains from redemptions or other taxable dispositions of Fund shares, reduced by the deductions properly allocable to such income. In the case of an individual, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (1) the shareholder’s net investment income or (2) the amount by which the shareholder’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 (if the shareholder is married and filing jointly or a surviving spouse), $125,000 (if the shareholder is married and filing separately) or $200,000 (in any other case). Any liability for this additional Medicare tax is reported by you on, and paid with, your federal income tax return.

Sales of Fund shares Sales and exchanges of Fund shares are generally taxable transactions for federal and state income tax purposes. If you sell your Fund shares, or exchange them for shares of a different Franklin Templeton or Legg Mason fund, you are required to report any gain or loss on your sale or exchange. If you owned your shares as a capital asset, any gain or loss that you realize is a capital gain or loss, and is long-term or short-term, depending on how long you owned your shares. Under current law, shares held one year or less are short-term and shares held more than one year are long-term. The conversion of shares of one class into another class of the same fund is not a taxable exchange for federal income tax purposes. Capital losses in any year are deductible only to the extent of capital gains plus, in the case of a noncorporate taxpayer, $3,000 of ordinary income.

Sales at a loss within six months of purchase. Any loss incurred on the sale or exchange of Fund shares owned for six months or less is treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any long-term capital gains distributed to you by the Fund on those shares.

Wash sales.  All or a portion of any loss that you realize on the sale or exchange of your Fund shares will be disallowed to the extent that you buy other shares in the Fund (through reinvestment of dividends or otherwise) within 30 days before or after your sale or exchange. Any loss disallowed under these rules will be added to your tax basis in the new shares.

Deferral of basis. In reporting gain or loss on the sale of your Fund shares, you may be required to adjust your basis in the shares you sell under the following circumstances:

IF:

 In your original purchase of Fund shares, you paid a sales charge and received a reinvestment right (the right to reinvest your sales proceeds at a reduced or with no sales charge), and

 You sell some or all of your original shares within 90 days of their purchase, and

 You reinvest the sales proceeds in the Fund or in another Franklin Templeton fund by January 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which the disposition of the original shares occurred, and the sales charge that would otherwise apply is reduced or eliminated;

THEN: In reporting any gain or loss on your sale, all or a portion of the sales charge that you paid for your original shares is excluded from your tax basis in the shares sold and added to your tax basis in the new shares.

Reportable transactions.  Under Treasury regulations, if a shareholder recognizes a loss with respect to the Fund’s shares of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder (or certain greater amounts over a combination of years), the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on Form 8886. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper.

Cost basis reporting  Beginning in calendar year 2012, the Fund is required to report the cost basis of Fund shares sold or exchanged to you and the IRS annually. The cost basis of Fund shares acquired by purchase will generally be based on the amount paid for the shares, including any front-end sales charges, and then may be subsequently adjusted for other applicable transactions as required by the Code. The difference between the selling price and the cost basis of Fund shares generally determines the amount of the capital gain or loss realized on the sale or exchange of Fund shares. Capital gains and losses on the sale or exchange of Fund shares are generally taxable transactions for federal and state income tax purposes.

Shares acquired on or after January 1, 2012. Cost basis reporting is generally required for Fund shares that are acquired by purchase, gift, inheritance or other transfer on or after January 1, 2012 (referred to as “covered shares”), and subsequently sold or exchanged on or after that date. Cost basis reporting does not apply to sales or exchanges of shares acquired before January 1, 2012, or to shares held in money market funds that maintain a stable $1 net asset value and tax-deferred accounts, such as individual retirement accounts and qualified retirement plans.

Cost basis methods.  Treasury regulations permit the use of several methods to determine the cost basis of mutual fund shares. The method used will determine which specific shares are treated as sold or exchanged when there are multiple purchases at different prices and the entire position is not sold at one time.

The Fund’s default method is the average cost method. Under the average cost method, the cost basis of your Fund shares will be determined by averaging the cost basis of all outstanding shares. The holding period for determining whether gains and losses are short-term or long-term is based on the first-in-first-out method (FIFO) which treats the earliest shares acquired as those first sold or exchanged.

46


If you wish to select a different cost basis method, or choose to specifically identify your shares at the time of each sale or exchange, you must contact the Fund. However, once a shareholder has sold or exchanged covered shares from the shareholder’s account, a change by the shareholder from the average cost method to another permitted method will only apply prospectively to shares acquired after the date of the method change.

Under the specific identification method, Treasury regulations require that you adequately identify the tax lots of Fund shares to be sold, exchanged or transferred at the time of each transaction. An adequate identification is made by providing the dates that the shares were originally acquired and the number of shares to be sold, exchanged or transferred from each applicable tax lot. Alternatively, an adequate identification of shares may be made with a standing order of instruction on your account. If you do not provide an adequate identification the Fund is required to use the FIFO method with any shares with an unknown acquisition date treated as sold or exchanged first.

The Fund does not recommend any particular cost basis method and the use of other methods may result in more favorable tax consequences for some shareholders. It is important that you consult with your tax or financial advisor to determine which method is best for you and then notify the Fund if you intend to use a method other than average cost.

If your account is held by your financial advisor or other broker-dealer, that firm may select a different cost basis default method. In these cases, please contact the firm to obtain information with respect to the available methods and elections for your account.

Shares acquired before January 1, 2012.  Cost basis reporting is not generally required for Fund shares that were acquired by purchase, gift, inheritance or other transfer prior to January 1, 2012 (referred to as “noncovered shares”), regardless of when they are sold or exchanged. As a service to shareholders, the Fund presently intends to continue to provide shareholders cost basis information for eligible accounts for shares acquired prior to January 1, 2012. Consistent with prior years, this information will not be reported to the IRS or any state taxing authority.

Shareholders that use the average cost method for shares acquired before January 1, 2012 must make the election to use the average cost method for these shares on their federal income tax returns in accordance with Treasury regulations. This election cannot be made by notifying the Fund.

Important limitations regarding cost basis information.  The Fund will report the cost basis of your Fund shares by taking into account all of the applicable adjustments required by the Code for purposes of reporting cost basis information to shareholders and the IRS annually. However the Fund is not required, and in many cases the Fund does not possess the information, to take all possible basis, holding period or other adjustments into account in reporting cost basis information to you. Therefore shareholders should carefully review the cost basis information provided by the Fund, whether this information is provided with respect to covered or noncovered shares, and make any additional basis, holding period or other adjustments that are required by the Code when reporting these amounts on their federal and state income tax returns. Shareholders remain solely responsible for complying with all federal and state income tax laws when filing their income tax returns.

Additional information about cost basis reporting.  For additional information about cost basis reporting, including the methods and elections available to you, please contact Franklin Templeton at (800) DIAL BEN/342-5236. Additional information is also available on franklintempleton.com/costbasis.

Tax certification and backup withholding Tax laws require that you certify your tax information when you become an investor in the Fund. For U.S. citizens and resident aliens, this certification is made on IRS Form W-9. Under these laws, you may be subject to federal backup withholding at 24%, and state backup withholding may also apply, on a portion of your taxable distributions and sales proceeds unless you:

 provide your correct Social Security or taxpayer identification number,

 certify that this number is correct,

 certify that you are not subject to backup withholding, and

 certify that you are a U.S. person (including a U.S. resident alien).

The Fund must also withhold if the IRS instructs it to do so. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld may be credited against the shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability, provided the appropriate information is furnished to the IRS. Certain payees and payments are exempt from backup withholding and information reporting.

U.S. government securities The income earned on certain U.S. government securities is exempt from state and local personal income taxes if earned directly by you. States also grant tax-free status to mutual fund dividends paid to you from interest earned on these securities, subject in some states to minimum investment or reporting requirements that must be met by the Fund. The income on Fund investments in certain securities, such as repurchase agreements, commercial paper and federal agency-backed obligations (e.g., Ginnie Mae and Fannie Mae securities), generally does not qualify for tax-free treatment. The rules on exclusion of this income are different for corporations.

47


Qualified dividends and the corporate dividends-received deduction For individual shareholders, a portion of the dividends paid by the Fund may be qualified dividend income eligible for taxation at long-term capital gain tax rates. For single individuals with taxable income not in excess of $44,625 in 2023 ($89,250 for married individuals filing jointly), the long-term capital gains tax rate is 0%. For single individuals and joint filers with taxable income in excess of these amounts but not more than $492,300 or $553,850, respectively, the long-term capital gains tax rate is 15%. The rate is 20% for single individuals with taxable income in excess of $492,300 and married individuals filing jointly with taxable income in excess of $553,850. An additional 3.8% Medicare tax may also be imposed as discussed above.

“Qualified dividend income” means dividends paid to the Fund (a) by domestic corporations, (b) by foreign corporations that are either (i) incorporated in a possession of the United States, or (ii) are eligible for benefits under certain income tax treaties with the United States that include an exchange of information program, or (c) with respect to stock of a foreign corporation that is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. Both the Fund and the investor must meet certain holding period requirements to qualify Fund dividends for this treatment. Specifically, the Fund must hold the stock for at least 61 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the stock becomes ex-dividend (or in the case of certain preferred stocks, for at least 91 days during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before the stock becomes ex-dividend). Similarly, investors must hold their Fund shares for at least 61 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the Fund distribution goes ex-dividend. Income derived from investments in derivatives, fixed-income securities, U.S. REITs, PFICs, and income received “in lieu of” dividends in a securities lending transaction generally is not eligible for treatment as qualified dividend income. If the qualified dividend income received by the Fund is equal to or greater than 95% of the Fund's gross income (exclusive of net capital gain) in any taxable year, all of the ordinary income dividends paid by the Fund will be qualified dividend income.

While the income received in the form of a qualified dividend is taxed at the same rates as long-term capital gains, such income will not be considered a long-term capital gain for other federal income tax purposes. For example, you will not be allowed to offset your long-term capital losses against qualified dividend income on your federal income tax return. Any qualified dividend income that you elect to be taxed at these reduced rates also cannot be used as investment income in determining your allowable investment interest expense.

For corporate shareholders, a portion of the dividends paid by the Fund may qualify for the corporate dividends-received deduction. This deduction generally is available to corporations for dividends paid by a fund out of income earned on its investments in domestic corporations. The availability of the dividends-received deduction is subject to certain holding period and debt financing restrictions that apply to both the Fund and the investor. Specifically, the amount that the Fund may report as eligible for the dividends-received deduction will be reduced or eliminated if the shares on which the dividends earned by the Fund were debt-financed or held by the Fund for less than a minimum period of time, generally 46 days during a 91-day period beginning 45 days before the stock becomes ex-dividend. Similarly, if your Fund shares are debt-financed or held by you for less than a 46-day period then the dividends-received deduction for Fund dividends on your shares may also be reduced or eliminated. Income derived by the Fund from investments in derivatives, fixed-income and foreign securities generally is not eligible for this treatment.

Each year the Fund will report to shareholders the portion of the income dividends paid by the Fund that are eligible for treatment as qualified dividend income, if any, and for the corporate dividends-received deduction, if any. The amounts reported to shareholders may vary significantly each year depending on the particular mix of the Fund’s investments. If the percentage of qualified dividend income or dividend income eligible for the corporate dividends-received deduction is quite small, the Fund reserves the right to not report the small percentage of qualified dividend income for individuals or income eligible for the corporate dividends-received deduction for corporations.

Investment in complex securities  The Fund’s investment in certain complex securities could subject it to one or more special tax rules (including, but not limited to, the wash sale rules), which may affect whether gains and losses recognized by the Fund are treated as ordinary or capital or as short-term or long-term, accelerate the recognition of income or gains to the Fund, defer losses to the Fund, and cause adjustments to the holding periods of the Fund’s securities. These rules, therefore, could affect the amount, timing and/or tax character of the Fund’s distributions to shareholders. Moreover, because the tax rules applicable to complex securities, including derivative financial instruments, are in some cases uncertain under current law, an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to these rules (which determination or guidance could be retroactive) may affect whether the Fund has made sufficient distributions and otherwise satisfied the relevant requirements to maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and avoid a fund-level tax. Set forth below is a general description of the tax treatment of certain types of securities, investment techniques and transactions that may apply to a fund; therefore, this section should be read in conjunction with the discussion above under “Goals, Strategies and Risks” for a detailed description of the various types of securities and investment techniques that apply to the Fund.

48


In general.  Gain or loss recognized by the Fund on the sale or other disposition of its portfolio investments will generally be capital gain or loss. Such capital gain and loss may be long-term or short-term depending, in general, upon the length of time a particular investment position is maintained and, in some cases, upon the nature of the transaction. Portfolio investments held for more than one year generally will be eligible for long-term capital gain or loss treatment.

Derivatives. The Fund may invest in certain derivative contracts, including some or all of the following types of investments: options on securities and securities indices; financial and futures contracts; options on financial or futures contracts and stock index futures; foreign currency contracts; and forward and futures contracts on foreign currencies. The tax treatment of certain forward and futures contracts entered into by the Fund, as well as listed non-equity options written or purchased by the Fund on U.S. exchanges (including options on futures contracts, broad-based equity indices and debt securities), may be governed by section 1256 of the Code (“section 1256 contracts”). Gains or losses on section 1256 contracts generally are considered 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gains or losses (“60/40”), although certain foreign currency gains and losses from such contracts may be treated as ordinary in character. Also, any section 1256 contracts held by the Fund at the end of each taxable year (and, for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain other dates as prescribed under the Code) are “marked to market” with the result that unrealized gains or losses are treated as though they were realized and the resulting gain or loss is treated as ordinary or 60/40 gain or loss, as applicable, even though the Fund continues to hold the contracts. The Fund may be required to distribute this income and gains annually in order to avoid income or excise taxes on the Fund. Section 1256 contracts do not include any interest rate swap, currency swap, basis swap, interest rate cap, interest rate floor, commodity swap, equity swap, equity index swap, credit default swap, or similar agreement.

Short selling and constructive sales. The Fund's entry into certain derivative instruments, including options, forward contracts , futures and short sale transactions could be treated as the "constructive sale" of an "appreciated financial position," causing it to realize gain, but not loss, on the position.

Securities lending transactions. The Fund may obtain additional income by lending its securities, typically to brokers. All amounts that are paid to the Fund in a securities lending transaction, including substitute dividend or interest payments, are treated as a “fee” for the temporary use of property. As a result, any substitute dividend payments received by the Fund are neither qualified dividend income eligible for taxation at reduced long-term capital gain rates in the case of individual shareholders nor eligible for the corporate dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. Similarly, any foreign tax withheld on payments made “in lieu of” dividends or interest will not qualify for the pass-through of foreign taxes to shareholders.

Tax straddles. If the Fund invests in certain derivative instruments, if it actively trades stock or otherwise acquires a position with respect to substantially similar or related property in connection with certain hedging transactions, or if it engages in spread, straddle or collar transactions, it could be deemed to hold offsetting positions in securities. If the Fund’s risk of loss with respect to specific securities in its portfolio is substantially diminished by the fact that it holds offsetting securities, the Fund could be deemed to have entered into a tax "straddle" or to hold a "successor position" that would require any loss realized by it to be deferred for tax purposes.

Synthetic convertible securities. The Fund is permitted to invest in synthetic convertible securities, which are comprised of two distinct security components, for example, a nonconvertible fixed income security and warrants or stock or stock index call options. When combined, these investments achieve the same economic effect as an investment in a traditional convertible security: a desired income stream and the right to acquire shares of the underlying equity security. Even though these securities are economically equivalent to traditional convertible securities, each security forming part of such an investment is analyzed separately, and the tax consequences of an investment in the component parts of these securities could differ from those of an investment in a traditional convertible security.

Structured investments. The Fund may invest in instruments that are designed to restructure the investment characteristics of a security or securities, such as certain structured notes, swap contracts, or swaptions. By investing in these securities, the Fund could be subject to tax consequences that differ from those of an investment in traditional debt or equity securities.

Certain fixed-income investments. Gain recognized on the disposition of a debt obligation purchased by the Fund with market discount (generally, at a price less than its principal amount) will be treated as ordinary income to the extent of the portion of the market discount that accrued during the period of time the Fund held the debt obligation, unless the Fund made an election to accrue market discount into income currently. Fund distributions of accrued market discount, including any current inclusions, are taxable to shareholders as ordinary income to the extent of the Fund’s earnings and profits. If the Fund purchases a debt obligation (such as a zero coupon security or pay-in-kind security) that was originally issued at a discount, the Fund generally is required to include in gross income each year the portion of the original issue discount that accrues during such year. Therefore an investment in such securities may cause the Fund to recognize income and make distributions to shareholders before it receives any cash payments on the

49


securities. To generate cash to satisfy those distribution requirements, the Fund may have to sell portfolio securities that it otherwise might have continued to hold or to use cash flows from other sources such as the sale of fund shares.

Investments in debt obligations that are at risk of or in default. The Fund may also hold obligations that are at risk of or in default. Tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as whether and to what extent the Fund should recognize market discount on such a debt obligation, when the Fund may cease to accrue interest, original issue discount or market discount, when and to what extent the Fund may take deductions for bad debts or worthless securities and how the Fund should allocate payments received on obligations in default between principal and income. These and other related issues will be addressed by the Fund in order to ensure that it distributes sufficient income to preserve its status as a regulated investment company.

Investment in taxable mortgage pools (excess inclusion income). Under a Notice issued by the IRS, the Code and Treasury regulations to be issued, a portion of the Fund’s income from a U.S. REIT that is attributable to the REIT’s residual interest in a real estate mortgage investment conduit (REMIC) or equity interests in a “taxable mortgage pool” (referred to in the Code as an excess inclusion) will be subject to federal income tax in all events. The excess inclusion income of a regulated investment company, such as the Fund, will be allocated to shareholders of the regulated investment company in proportion to the dividends received by such shareholders, with the same consequences as if the shareholders held the related REMIC residual interest or, if applicable, taxable mortgage pool directly. In general, excess inclusion income allocated to shareholders (i) cannot be offset by net operating losses (subject to a limited exception for certain thrift institutions), (ii) will constitute unrelated business taxable income to entities (including a qualified pension plan, an individual retirement account, a 401(k) plan, a Keogh plan or other tax-exempt entity) subject to tax on unrelated business income (UBTI), thereby potentially requiring such an entity that is allocated excess inclusion income, and otherwise might not be required to file a tax return, to file a tax return and pay tax on such income, and (iii) in the case of a foreign stockholder, will not qualify for any reduction in U.S. federal withholding tax. In addition, if at any time during any taxable year a “disqualified organization” (which generally includes certain cooperatives, governmental entities, and tax-exempt organizations not subject to UBTI) is a record holder of a share in a regulated investment company, then the regulated investment company will be subject to a tax equal to that portion of its excess inclusion income for the taxable year that is allocable to the disqualified organization, multiplied by the applicable corporate tax rate. The Notice imposes certain reporting requirements upon regulated investment companies that have excess inclusion income. There can be no assurance that the Fund will not allocate to shareholders excess inclusion income.

These rules are potentially applicable to a fund with respect to any income it receives from the equity interests of certain mortgage pooling vehicles, either directly or, as is more likely, through an investment in a U.S. REIT. It is not anticipated that these rules will apply to a fund that does not invest in any U.S. REITs.

State income taxes Some state tax codes adopt the Code through a certain date. As a result, such conforming states may not have adopted the version of the Code as amended by the TCJA, the Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act of 2010, or other federal tax laws enacted after the applicable conformity date. Other states may have adopted an income or other basis of tax that differs from the Code.

The tax information furnished by the Fund to shareholders and the IRS annually with respect to the amount and character of dividends paid, cost basis information with respect to shares redeemed or exchanged, and records maintained by the Fund with respect to the cost basis of Fund shares, will be prepared on the basis of current federal income tax law to comply with the information reporting requirements of the Code, and not necessarily on the basis of the law of any state in which a shareholder is resident or otherwise subject to tax. If your account is held by your financial advisor or other broker, contact that firm with respect to any state information reporting requirements applicable to your investment in the Fund. Under the current California Revenue and Taxation Code, certain funds are required to report tax information to the California Franchise Tax Board annually.

Accordingly, the amount and character of income, gain or loss realized by a shareholder with respect to an investment in Fund shares for state income tax purposes may differ from that for federal income tax purposes. Franklin Templeton provides additional tax information, on franklintempleton.com (under the Tax Center) to assist shareholders with the preparation of their federal and state income tax returns. Shareholders are solely responsible for determining the amount and character of income, gain or loss to report on their federal, state and local income tax returns each year as a result of their purchase, holding and sale of Fund shares.

Non-U.S. investors  Non-U.S. investors may be subject to U.S. withholding and estate tax, and are subject to special U.S. tax certification requirements.

In general. The United States imposes a flat 30% withholding tax (or a tax at a lower treaty rate) on U.S. source dividends. Exemptions from U.S. withholding tax are provided for capital gains realized on the sales of Fund shares, capital gain dividends paid by the Fund from net long-term capital gains, short-term capital gain dividends paid by the Fund from net

50


short-term capital gains, and interest-related dividends paid by the Fund from its qualified net interest income from U.S. sources, unless you are a nonresident alien individual present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the calendar year. “Qualified interest income” includes, in general, the sum of the Fund’s U.S. source: i) bank deposit interest, ii) short-term original issue discount, iii) portfolio interest, and iv) any interest-related dividend passed through from another regulated investment company.

However, notwithstanding such exemptions from U.S. withholding tax at source, any taxable distributions and proceeds from the sale of your Fund shares will be subject to backup withholding at a rate of 24% if you fail to properly certify that you are not a U.S. person.

It may not be practical in every case for the Fund to report to shareholders, and the Fund reserves the right in these cases to not report, interest-related or short-term capital gain dividends. Additionally, the Fund’s reporting of interest-related or short-term capital gain dividends may not, in turn, be passed through to shareholders by intermediaries who have assumed tax reporting responsibilities for this income in managed or omnibus accounts due to systems limitations or operational constraints.

Effectively connected income.  Taxable ordinary income dividends paid by the Fund to non-U.S. investors on portfolio investments are generally subject to U.S. withholding tax at 30% or a lower treaty rate. However, if you hold your Fund shares in connection with a U.S. trade or business, your income and gains may be considered effectively connected income and taxed in the U.S. on a net basis at graduated income tax rates in which case you may be required to file a nonresident U.S. income tax return.

U.S. estate tax. An individual who is a non-U.S. investor will be subject to U.S. federal estate tax on the value of the Fund shares owned at the time of death, unless a treaty exemption applies between the country of residence of the non-U.S. investor and the U.S. Even if a treaty exemption is available, a decedent’s estate may nevertheless be required to file a U.S. estate tax return to claim the exemption, as well as to obtain a U.S. federal transfer certificate. The transfer certificate will identify the property (i.e., Fund shares) on which a U.S. federal tax lien has been released and is required before the Fund can release a nonresident alien decedent’s investment in the Fund to his or her estate. A transfer certificate is not required for property administered by an executor or administrator appointed, qualified and acting within the United States. For estates with U.S. situs assets of not more than $60,000 (there is a statutory estate tax credit for this amount of property), an affidavit from the executor of the estate or other authorized individual along with additional evidence requested by the IRS relating to the decedent’s estate evidencing the U.S. situs assets may be provided in lieu of a federal transfer certificate. Transfers by gift of shares of the Fund by a non-U.S. investor who is a nonresident alien individual will not be subject to U.S. federal gift tax. The tax consequences to a non-U.S. investor entitled to claim the benefits of a treaty between the country of residence of the non-U.S. investor and the U.S. may be different from the consequences described above.

Tax certification and backup withholding as applied to non-U.S. investors.  Non-U.S. investors have special U.S. tax certification requirements to avoid backup withholding at a rate of 24% and, if applicable, to obtain the benefit of any income tax treaty between the non-U.S. investor’s country of residence and the United States. To claim these tax benefits, the non-U.S. investor must provide a properly completed Form W-8BEN (or other Form W-8, where applicable) to establish his or her status as a non-U.S. investor, to claim beneficial ownership over the assets in the account, and to claim, if applicable, a reduced rate of or exemption from withholding tax under the applicable treaty. A Form W-8BEN generally remains in effect for a period of three years beginning on the date that it is signed and ending on the last day of the third succeeding calendar year. In certain instances, Form W-8BEN may remain valid indefinitely unless the investor has a change of circumstances that renders the form incorrect and necessitates a new form and tax certification. Non-U.S. investors must advise the Fund of any change of circumstances that would render the information given on the form incorrect and must then provide a new W-8BEN to avoid the prospective application of backup withholding.

Investment in U.S. real property. The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA) makes non-U.S. persons subject to U.S. tax on disposition of a U.S. real property interest (USRPI) as if he or she were a U.S. person. Such gain is sometimes referred to as FIRPTA gain. The Fund may invest in equity securities of corporations that invest in USRPI, including U.S. REITs, which may trigger FIRPTA gain to the Fund’s non-U.S. shareholders.

The Code provides a look-through rule for distributions of FIRPTA gain when a regulated investment company is classified as a qualified investment entity. A regulated investment company will be classified as a qualified investment entity if, in general, 50% or more of the regulated investment company’s assets consist of interests in U.S. REITs and other U.S. real property holding corporations (USRPHC). If a regulated investment company is a qualified investment entity and the non-U.S. shareholder owns more than 5% of a class of Fund shares at any time during the one-year period ending on the date of the FIRPTA distribution, the FIRPTA distribution to the non-U.S. shareholder is treated as gain from the disposition of a USRPI, causing the distribution to be subject to U.S. withholding tax at the applicable corporate tax rate (unless reduced by future regulations), and requiring the non-U.S. shareholder to file a nonresident U.S.

51


income tax return. In addition, even if the non-U.S. shareholder does not own more than 5% of a class of Fund shares, but the Fund is a qualified investment entity, the FIRPTA distribution will be taxable as ordinary dividends (rather than as a capital gain or short-term capital gain dividend) subject to withholding at 30% or a lower treaty rate.

Because the Fund expects to invest less than 50% of its assets at all times, directly or indirectly, in U.S. real property interests, it expects that neither gain on the sale or redemption of Fund shares nor Fund dividends and distributions should be subject to FIRPTA reporting and tax withholding.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), foreign entities, referred to as foreign financial institutions (FFI) or non-financial foreign entities (NFFE) that are shareholders in the Fund may be subject to a 30% withholding tax on income dividends paid by the Fund. The FATCA withholding tax generally can be avoided: (a) by an FFI, if it reports certain direct and indirect ownership of foreign financial accounts held by U.S. persons with the FFI, and (b) by an NFFE, if it: (i) certifies that it has no substantial U.S. persons as owners, or (ii) if it does have such owners, reports information relating to them to the withholding agent, which will, in turn, report that information to the IRS. The U.S. Treasury has negotiated intergovernmental agreements (IGA) with certain countries and is in various stages of negotiations with a number of other foreign countries with respect to one or more alternative approaches to implement FATCA. An entity in one of those countries may be required to comply with the terms of an IGA and applicable local law instead of U.S. Treasury regulations.

An FFI can avoid FATCA withholding if it is deemed compliant or by becoming a “participating FFI,” which requires the FFI to enter into a U.S. tax compliance agreement with the IRS under section 1471(b) of the Code (FFI agreement) under which it agrees to verify, report and disclose certain of its U.S. accountholders and provided that such entity meets certain other specified requirements. The FFI will report to the IRS, or, depending on the FFI’s country of residence, to the government of that country (pursuant to the terms and conditions of an applicable IGA and applicable law), which will, in turn, report to the IRS. An FFI that is resident in a country that has entered into an IGA with the U.S. to implement FATCA will be exempt from FATCA withholding provided that the FFI shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of such agreement. 

An NFFE that is the beneficial owner of a payment from the Fund can avoid the FATCA withholding tax generally by certifying that it does not have any substantial U.S. owners or by providing the name, address and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner. The NFFE will report information either (i) to the Fund, or other applicable withholding agent, which will, in turn, report information to the IRS, or (ii) directly to the IRS. 

Such foreign shareholders also may fall into certain exempt, excepted or deemed compliant categories as established by U.S. Treasury regulations, IGAs, and other guidance regarding FATCA. An FFI or NFFE that invests in the Fund will need to provide the Fund with documentation properly certifying the entity’s status under FATCA in order to avoid FATCA withholding. The requirements imposed by FATCA are different from, and in addition to, the U.S. tax certification rules to avoid backup withholding described above.

Organization, Voting Rights and Principal Holders

The Funds are diversified series of Franklin Value Investors Trust (Trust), an open-end management investment company, commonly called a mutual fund. The Trust was originally organized as a Massachusetts business trust on September 11, 1989, was reorganized effective November 2, 2015, as a Delaware statutory trust and is registered with the SEC.

The MicroCap Value Fund currently offers three classes of shares, Class A, Class R6 and Advisor Class. The Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund and Small Cap Value Fund currently offer five classes of shares, Class A, Class C, Class R, Class R6 and Advisor Class. The Funds may offer additional classes of shares in the future. The full title of each class is:

 Franklin MicroCap Value Fund - Class A

 Franklin MicroCap Value Fund - Class R6

 Franklin MicroCap Value Fund - Advisor Class

 Franklin Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund - Class A

 Franklin Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund - Class C

 Franklin Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund - Class R

 Franklin Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund - Class R6

 Franklin Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund - Advisor Class

 Franklin Small Cap Value Fund - Class A

 Franklin Small Cap Value Fund - Class C

 Franklin Small Cap Value Fund - Class R

 Franklin Small Cap Value Fund - Class R6

 Franklin Small Cap Value Fund - Advisor Class

Shares of each class represent proportionate interests in the Fund's assets. On matters that affect the Fund as a whole, each class has the same voting and other rights and

52


preferences as any other class. On matters that affect only one class, only shareholders of that class may vote. Each class votes separately on matters affecting only that class, or matters expressly required to be voted on separately by state or federal law. Shares of each class of a series have the same voting and other rights and preferences as the other classes and series of the Trust for matters that affect the Trust as a whole. Additional series may be offered in the future.

The Trust has noncumulative voting rights. For board member elections, this gives holders of more than 50% of the shares voting the ability to elect all of the members of the board. If this happens, holders of the remaining shares voting will not be able to elect anyone to the board.

The Trust does not intend to hold annual shareholder meetings. The Trust or a series of the Trust may hold special meetings, however, for matters requiring shareholder approval.

As of February 1, 2023, the principal shareholders of the Fund, beneficial or of record, were:

       

Name and Address

Share Class

Percentage

(%)

Franklin MicroCap Value Fund

 

Edward Jones & Co*

A

14.96

 

12555 Manchester Road

 

Saint Louis, MO 63131-3710

 
   

National Financial Services LLC*

A

7.63

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Department 4th Flr

 

499 Washington Boulevard

 

Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995

 
   

Pershing LLC*

A

7.02

 

1 Pershing Plaza

 

Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001

 
   

WFCS LLC*

A

5.48

 

2801 Market Street

 

Saint Louis, MO 63103-2523

 
   

National Financial Services LLC*

Advisor

24.88

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Department 4th Flr

 

499 Washington Boulevard

 

Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995

 
   

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC*

Advisor

13.22

 

1 New York Plaza FL 12

 

New York, NY 10004-1901

 
   

Pershing LLC*

Advisor

9.73

 

1 Pershing Plaza

 

Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001

 
   

LPL Financial*

Advisor

5.74

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Trading

 

4707 Executive Drive

 

San Diego, CA 92121-3091

 
   

Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith*

R6

69.84

 

Attn: Fund Administration

 

4800 Deer Lake Drive East FL 2

 

Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484

 
   

Edward Jones & Co*

R6

26.14

 

12555 Manchester Road

 

Saint Louis, MO 63131-3710

 
   

Franklin Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

 

Edward Jones & Co*

A

34.65

 

12555 Manchester Road

 

Saint Louis, MO 63131-3710

 
   

National Financial Services LLC*

Advisor

20.71

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Department 4th Flr

 

499 Washington Boulevard

 

Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995

 
   

Rupert H. Johnson Jr. Trust

Advisor

13.11

 

One Franklin Parkway

 

San Mateo, CA 94403-1906

 
   

Raymond James*

Advisor

7.78

 

Attn: Courtney Waller

 

880 Carillon Parkway

 

St Petersburg, FL 33716-1102

 
   

PIMS Prudential Retirement

Advisor

6.46

 

as Nominee for the TTEE CUST PL 763

 

Uniformed Firefighters ASSN

 

204 E 23rd Street - 3RD FL

 

New York, NY 10010

 
   

Pershing LLC*

Advisor

5.54

 

1 Pershing Plaza

 

Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001

 
   

Charles Schwab & Co*

C

14.83

 

211 Main Street

 

San Francisco, CA 94105-1905

 
   

Edward Jones & Co*

C

6.58

 

12555 Manchester Road

 

Saint Louis, MO 63131-3710

 
   

Pershing LLC*

C

5.75

 

1 Pershing Plaza

 

Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001

 
   

LPL Financial*

C

5.66

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Trading

 

4707 Executive Drive

 

San Diego, CA 92121-3091

 
   

Stifel Nicolaus & Co Inc.*

C

5.37

 

501 N Broadway

 

Saint Louis, MO 63102-2131

 
   

National Financial Services LLC*

C

5.04

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Department 4th Flr

 

499 Washington Boulevard

 

Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995

 
   

Voya Retirement Insurance And Annuity Company*

R

23.30

 

1 Orange Way B3N

 

Windsor, CT 06095-4774

 
   

Capital Bank & Trust Company TTEE

R

7.90

 

FBO Gutman Mintz Baker &

 

Sonnenfeldt 401K Plan

 

c/o Plan Premier/FASCORE LLC

 

8515 East Orchard Road 2T2

 

Greenwood Village, CO 80111-5002

 
   

53


       

Name and Address

Share Class

Percentage

(%)

Voya Institutional Trust Company*

R

6.84

 

1 Orange Way B3N

 

Windsor CT 06095-4774

 
   

Edward Jones & Co*

R6

91.87

 

12555 Manchester Road

 

Saint Louis, MO 63131-3710

 
   

Franklin Small Cap Value Fund

 

Edward Jones & Co*

A

24.86

 

12555 Manchester Road

 

Saint Louis, MO 63131-3710

 
   

Pershing LLC*

A

6.34

 

1 Pershing Plaza

 

Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001

 
   

National Financial Services LLC*

A

6.29

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Department 4th Flr

 

499 Washington Boulevard

 

Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995

 
   

Pershing LLC*

Advisor

23.55

 

1 Pershing Plaza

 

Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001

 
   

National Financial Services LLC*

Advisor

15.05

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Department 4th Flr

 

499 Washington Boulevard

 

Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995

 
   

Charles Schwab & Co*

Advisor

8.81

 

211 Main Street

 

San Francisco, CA 94105-1905

 
   

Dengel Co.

Advisor

5.84

 

c/o Fiduciary Trust Company Intl.

 

P.O. Box 3199

 

New York, NY 10008

 
   

WFCS LLC*

C

8.98

 

2801 Market Street

 

Saint Louis, MO 63103-2523

 
   

LPL Financial*

C

8.44

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Trading

 

4707 Executive Drive

 

San Diego, CA 92121-3091

 
   

Pershing LLC*

C

7.90

 

1 Pershing Plaza

 

Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001

 
   

National Financial Services LLC*

C

6.10

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Department 4th Flr

 

499 Washington Boulevard

 

Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995

 
   

Hartford Life Insurance Co*

R

13.76

 

Attn: UIT Operations

 

P.O. BOX 2999

 

Hartford, CT 06104-2999

 
   

DCGT As Trustee And Or Custodian*

R

9.30

 

Attn: NPIO Trade Desk

 

711 High Street

 

Des Moines, IA 50303

 
   

State Street Bank and Trust*

R

9.21

 

As Trustee And / Or Custodian

 

FBO ADP Access Product

 

1 Lincoln Street

 

Boston, MA 02111-2901

 
   

National Financial Services LLC*

R6

18.86

 

Attn: Mutual Fund Department 4th Flr

 

499 Washington Boulevard

 

Jersey City, NJ 07310-1995

 
   

Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith*

R6

10.54

 

Attn: Fund Administration

 

4800 Deer Lake Drive East FL 2

 

Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484

 
   

DCGT As Trustee And Or Custodian*

R6

9.80

 

Attn: NPIO Trade Desk

 

711 High Street

 

Des Moines, IA 50303

 
   

Edward Jones & Co*

R6

5.79

 

12555 Manchester Road

 

Saint Louis, MO 63131-3710

 
   

Chair of the Board of Trustees of TN

R6

5.47

 

Consolidated Retirement System the

 

COMM of FINA

 

FBO State of Tennessee 401K

 

c/o FASCORE LLC

 

8515 East Orchard Road 2T2

 

Greenwood Village, CO 80111-5002

 
   

* For the benefit of its customer(s).

Note: Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. is an officer and/ or trustee of the Trust.

To the best knowledge of the Fund, no other person holds beneficially or of record more than 5% of the outstanding shares of any class.

As of February 1, 2023, the officers and board members, as a group, owned of record and beneficially 3.17% of MicroCap Value Fund - Advisor Class and 17.23% of Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund - Advisor Class, and less than 1% of the outstanding shares of the other classes of each Fund. The board members may own shares in other funds in Franklin Templeton.

Buying and Selling Shares

The Fund continuously offers its shares through securities dealers who have an agreement with Franklin Distributors, LLC (Distributors). A securities dealer includes any financial institution that, either directly or through affiliates, has an agreement with Distributors to handle customer orders and accounts with the Fund. This reference is for convenience only and does not indicate a legal conclusion of capacity. Banks and financial institutions that sell shares of the Fund may be required by state law to register as securities dealers. If you buy or sell shares through your securities dealer, you may be charged a transaction processing fee by your

54


securities dealer. Your securities dealer will provide you with specific information about any transaction processing fees you will be charged.

The Fund and other U.S. registered investment companies within the Franklin Templeton fund complex are intended for sale to residents of the U.S., and, with very limited exceptions, are not registered or otherwise offered for sale in other jurisdictions. The above restrictions are generally not applicable to sales in U.S. territories or to diplomatic staff members or members of the U.S. military with an APO or FPO address outside of the U.S. Investors are responsible for compliance with tax, securities, currency exchange or other regulations applicable to redemption and purchase transactions in any state or jurisdiction to which they may be subject. Investors should consult with their financial intermediary and appropriate tax and legal advisors to obtain information on the rules applicable to these transactions.

In particular, the Fund is not registered in any provincial or territorial jurisdiction in Canada, and shares of the Fund have not been qualified for sale in any Canadian jurisdiction. Shares of the Fund may not be directly or indirectly offered or sold in any provincial or territorial jurisdiction in Canada or to or for the benefit of residents thereof. Prospective investors may be required to declare that they are not Canadian residents and are not acquiring shares on behalf of any Canadian residents. If an investor becomes a Canadian resident after purchasing shares of the Fund, the investor will not be able to purchase any additional shares of the Fund (other than reinvestment of dividends and capital gains) or exchange shares of the Fund for other U.S. registered Franklin Templeton or Legg Mason funds.

Similarly, the Fund is not registered, and shares of the Fund have not been qualified for distribution, in any member country of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA). The shares offered by this prospectus may not be directly or indirectly offered or distributed in any such country. If an investor becomes an EU or EEA resident after purchasing shares of the Fund, the investor will not be able to purchase any additional shares of the Fund (other than reinvestment of dividends and capital gains) or exchange shares of the Fund for other U.S. registered Franklin Templeton or Legg Mason funds.

All purchases of Fund shares will be credited to you, in full and fractional Fund shares (rounded to the nearest 1/100 of a share). All checks, drafts, wires and other payment mediums used to buy or sell shares of the Fund must be denominated in U.S. dollars. We may, in our sole discretion, either (a) reject any order to buy or sell shares denominated in any other currency or (b) honor the transaction or make adjustments to your account for the transaction as of a date and with a foreign currency exchange factor determined by the drawee bank. We may deduct any applicable banking charges imposed by the bank from your account.

When you buy shares, if you submit a check or a draft that is returned unpaid to the Fund, we may impose a $10 charge against your account for each returned item.

If you buy shares through the reinvestment of dividends, the shares will be purchased at the net asset value determined on the business day following the dividend record date (sometimes known as the "ex-dividend date"). The processing date for the reinvestment of dividends may vary and does not affect the amount or value of the shares acquired.

Investment by asset allocators and large shareholders Particularly during times of overall market turmoil or price volatility, the Fund may experience adverse effects when certain large shareholders such as other funds, institutional investors (including those trading by use of non-discretionary mathematical formulas) and asset allocators (who make investment decisions on behalf of underlying clients), purchase or redeem large amounts of shares of the Fund. Such large shareholder redemptions may cause the Fund to sell portfolio securities at times when it would not otherwise do so. Similarly, large Fund share purchases may adversely affect the Fund’s performance to the extent that the Fund is delayed in investing new cash and is required to maintain a larger cash position than it ordinarily would.

These transactions may also accelerate the realization of taxable income to shareholders if such sales of investments resulted in gains, and may also increase transaction costs. In addition, a large redemption could result in the Fund's current expenses being allocated over a smaller asset base, leading to an increase in the Fund's expense ratio.

When experiencing such purchases and redemptions by large shareholders, the Fund may restrict or reject purchases, in accordance with the Frequent Trading Policy of the Fund as set forth in the Fund’s Prospectus. The Fund also may delay payment of redemptions up to seven days to provide the investment manager with time to determine if the Fund can redeem the request in-kind or to consider other alternatives to lessen the harm to remaining shareholders. Under certain circumstances, however, the Fund may be unable to delay a purchase or redemption request, which could result in the automatic processing of a large transaction that is detrimental to the Fund and its shareholders.

Initial sales charges The maximum initial sales charge is 5.50% for Class A. There is no initial sales charge for Class C, Class R, Class R6 and Advisor Class.

The initial sales charge for Class A shares may be reduced for certain large purchases, as described in the prospectus. We offer several ways for you to combine your purchases in Franklin Templeton and Legg Mason funds to take advantage of the lower sales charges for large purchases.

Letter of intent (LOI). You may buy Class A shares at a reduced sales charge by completing the LOI section of your

55


account application. An LOI is a commitment by you to invest a specified dollar amount during a 13-month period. The amount you agree to invest determines the sales charge you pay. By completing the LOI section of the application, you acknowledge and agree to the following:

 You authorize Distributors to reserve approximately 5% of your total intended purchase in Class A shares registered in your name until you fulfill your LOI. Your periodic statements will include the reserved shares in the total shares you own, and we will pay or reinvest dividend and capital gain distributions on the reserved shares according to the distribution option you have chosen.

 You give Distributors a security interest in the reserved shares and appoint Distributors as attorney-in-fact.

 Distributors may sell any or all of the reserved shares to cover any additional sales charge if you do not fulfill the terms of the LOI.

 Although you may exchange your shares, you may not sell reserved shares until you complete the LOI or pay the higher sales charge.

After you file your LOI with the Fund, you may buy Class A shares at the sales charge applicable to the amount specified in your LOI. Sales charge reductions based on purchases in more than one Franklin Templeton and Legg Mason fund will be effective only after notification to Distributors that the investment qualifies for a discount. If you file your LOI with the Fund before a change in the Fund's sales charge, you may complete the LOI at the lower of the new sales charge or the sales charge in effect when the LOI was filed.

Your holdings in Franklin Templeton and Legg Mason funds acquired before you filed your LOI will be counted towards the completion of the LOI.

If the terms of your LOI are met, the reserved shares will be deposited to an account in your name or delivered to you or as you direct.

If the amount of your total purchases is less than the amount specified in your LOI, the sales charge will be adjusted upward, depending on the actual amount purchased during the period. You will need to send Distributors an amount equal to the difference in the actual dollar amount of sales charge paid and the amount of sales charge that would have applied to the total purchases if the total of the purchases had been made at one time. Upon payment of this amount, the reserved shares held for your account will be deposited to an account in your name or delivered to you or as you direct. If within 20 days after written request the difference in sales charge is not paid, we will redeem an appropriate number of reserved shares to realize the difference. If you redeem the total amount in your account before you fulfill your LOI, we will deduct the additional sales charge due from the sale proceeds and forward the balance to you.

For LOIs filed on behalf of certain retirement plans, the level and any reduction in sales charge for these plans will be based on actual plan participation and the projected investments in Franklin Templeton and Legg Mason funds under the LOI. These plans are not subject to the requirement to reserve 5% of the total intended purchase or to the policy on upward adjustments in sales charges described above, or to any penalty as a result of the early termination of a plan.

Sales in Taiwan. Under agreements with certain banks in Taiwan, Republic of China, the Fund's shares are available to these banks' trust accounts without a sales charge. The banks may charge service fees to their customers who participate in the trusts. A portion of these service fees may be paid to Distributors or one of its affiliates to help defray expenses of maintaining a service office in Taiwan, including expenses related to local literature fulfillment and communication facilities.

The Fund's Class A shares may be offered to investors in Taiwan through securities advisory firms known locally as Securities Investment Consulting Enterprises. In conformity with local business practices in Taiwan, Class A shares may be offered with the following schedule of sales charges:

   

Size of Purchase - U.S. Dollars

Sales Charge (%)

Under $30,000

3.0

$30,000 but less than $50,000

2.5

$50,000 but less than $100,000

2.0

$100,000 but less than $200,000

1.5

$200,000 but less than $400,000

1.0

$400,000 or more

0

Purchases of certain share classes through financial intermediaries (Class R6 and Advisor Class). There are no associated sales charges or Rule 12b-1 distribution and service fees for the purchase of Class R6 and Advisor Class shares. However, pursuant to SEC guidance, certain financial intermediaries acting as agents on behalf of their customers may directly impose on shareholders sales charges or transaction fees determined by the financial intermediary related to the purchase of these shares. These charges and fees are not disclosed in this prospectus. You should consult with your financial advisor or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

The Fund’s service providers also may pay financial intermediaries for marketing support and other related services as disclosed below for Advisor Class shares, but not for Class R6 shares. These payments may create a conflict of

56


interest by influencing the financial intermediary and your salesperson to recommend one share class over another. There is some uncertainty concerning whether marketing support or other similar payments may be made or received in connection with Advisor Class shares where a financial intermediary has imposed its own sales charges or transaction fees. Based on future regulatory developments, such payments may be terminated.

Financial intermediary compensation. Financial intermediaries may at times receive the entire sales charge. A financial intermediary who receives 90% or more of the sales charge may be deemed an underwriter under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Financial institutions or their affiliated brokers may receive an agency transaction fee in the percentages indicated in the financial intermediary compensation table in the Fund’s prospectus.

Distributors may pay the following commissions to financial intermediaries who initiate and are responsible for purchases of Class A shares in the following amounts:

   

Amount of Investment

For Funds with
an initial sales
charge of 5.50%
(%)

Under $25,000

5.00

$25,000 but under $50,000

4.75

$50,000 but under $100,000

4.00

$100,000 but under $250,000

3.00

$250,000 but under $500,000

2.25

$500,000 but under $750,000

1.75

$750,000 but under $1 million

1.25

$1 million but under $5 million

1.00

$5 million but under $50 million

0.50

$50 million or more

0.25

Consistent with the provisions and limitations set forth in its Class A Rule 12b-1 distribution plans, the Fund may reimburse Distributors for a portion of these commission payments.

These payments may be made in the form of contingent advance payments, which may be recovered from the financial intermediary or set off against other payments due to the financial intermediary if shares are sold within 18 months of the calendar month of purchase. Other conditions may apply. Other terms and conditions may be imposed by an agreement between Distributors, or one of its affiliates, and the financial intermediary.

In addition to the sales charge payments described above and the distribution and service (12b-1) fees described below under “The Underwriter - Distribution and service (12b-1) fees,” Distributors and/or its non-fund affiliates may make the following additional payments to financial intermediaries that sell shares of Franklin Templeton mutual funds:

Marketing support payments (applicable to all classes of shares except Class R6). Distributors may make payments to certain financial intermediaries in connection with their efforts to educate financial advisors and provide services which may facilitate, directly or indirectly, investment in Franklin Templeton mutual funds. A financial intermediary’s marketing support services may include business planning assistance, advertising, educating financial intermediary personnel about Franklin Templeton mutual funds and shareholder financial planning needs, placement on the financial intermediary’s list of offered funds, and access to sales meetings, sales representatives and management representatives of the financial intermediary. Distributors compensates financial intermediaries differently depending upon, among other factors, sales and assets levels, redemption rates and the level and/or type of marketing and educational activities provided by the financial intermediary. Such compensation may include financial assistance to financial intermediaries that enable Distributors to participate in and/or present at conferences or seminars, sales or training programs for invited registered representatives and other employees, client and investor events and other financial intermediary-sponsored events. These payments may vary depending upon the nature of the event. Distributors will, on an annual basis, determine whether to continue such payments. In the case of any one financial intermediary, marketing support payments generally will not exceed 0.05% of the total assets of Franklin Templeton mutual funds attributable to that financial intermediary, on an annual basis. For a financial intermediary exceeding $50 billion in total assets of Franklin Templeton mutual funds, Distributors may agree to make annual marketing support payments up to a limit of 0.06% of such assets. In other limited circumstances, Distributors or an affiliate will have alternative arrangements with an intermediary that provides for payments in excess of the 0.05% limitation, which may include arrangements based on assets or sales of the funds, combined assets or sales of related funds, or other criteria. Any assets held on behalf of Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans for which payment is made to a financial intermediary pursuant to the following paragraph will be excluded from the calculation of marketing support payments pursuant to this paragraph.

Distributors may also make marketing support payments to financial intermediaries in connection with their activities that are intended to assist in the sale of shares of Franklin Templeton mutual funds, directly or indirectly, to certain Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans that have retained such financial intermediaries as plan service providers. Payments may be made on account of activities that may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: business planning assistance for financial intermediary personnel, educating financial intermediary personnel about Franklin Templeton mutual funds, access to sales meetings, sales representatives, wholesalers, and management representatives of the financial intermediary, and detailed sales reporting. A financial intermediary may perform the services itself or may arrange with a third party to perform the

57


services. In the case of any one financial intermediary, such payments will not exceed 0.10% of the total assets of Franklin Templeton mutual funds held, directly or indirectly, by such Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans, on an annual basis. Distributors will, on an annual basis, determine whether to continue such payments.

Consistent with the provisions and limitations set forth in its Rule 12b-1 distribution plans, the Fund may reimburse Distributors for the cost of a portion of these marketing support payments.

Marketing support payments may be in addition to any servicing and other fees paid by Investor Services, as described further below and under “Management and Other Services - Shareholder servicing and transfer agent” above.

The following list includes FINRA member firms (or, in some instances, their respective affiliates) that, as of March 31, 2022, Distributors anticipates will receive marketing support payments. In addition to member firms of FINRA, Distributors also makes marketing support payments, and Distributors’ non-fund affiliates may make administrative services payments, to certain other financial intermediaries, such as banks, insurance companies, and plan administrators, that sell mutual fund shares or provide services to Franklin Templeton mutual funds and shareholders. These firms may not be included in this list. You should ask your financial intermediary if it receives such payments.

ADP Retirement Services, American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc., American Enterprise Investment Services, Inc., American United Life Insurance Company, Ascensus, Inc., Avantax Wealth Management, AXA Advisors, LLC, BBVA Securities, Inc., Benjamin F. Edwards & Company, Inc., Cadaret Grant & Co., Inc., Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., Cetera Advisors LLC, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, Cetera Investment Services LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., Citizens Securities, Inc., Commonwealth Financial Network, CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., CUSO Financial Services, L.P., Digital Retirement Solutions, DWC-The 401(k) Experts, E*TRADE Securities LLC, Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. (dba Edward Jones), Empower Retirement, ePlan Services, Inc., Fidelity Investments Institutional Operations Company, Inc., First Allied Securities, Inc., First Command Financial Planning, Inc., FPS Services LLC, FSC Securities Corporation, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Group 3 Financial LLC, Hantz Financial Services, Inc., Investacorp, Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, John Hancock Distributors LLC, KMS Financial Services, Inc., LaSalle St. Securities, LLC, Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation, Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation, Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc., Lincoln Retirement Services Company LLC, LPL Financial LLC, M&T Securities, Inc., Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., Minnesota Life Insurance Company, MML Investors Services, LLC, Morgan Stanley, MSCS Financial Services LLC, Nationwide Financial Services, Inc., Newport Retirement Services, Inc., NEXT Financial Group, Inc., Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, Paychex Securities Corporation, PFS Investments Inc., PNC Investments LLC, Principal Financial Group, Prudential Insurance Company of America, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., RBC Capital Markets LLC, Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc., Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., SagePoint Financial, Inc., Securities America, Inc., Securities Service Network, Inc., Sorrento Pacific Financial, LLC, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, TD Ameritrade Trust Company, TFS Securities, Inc., The Huntington Investment Company, The Investment Center, Inc., TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Transamerica Advisors Life Insurance Company, Transamerica Retirement Solutions Corporation, Triad Advisors, Inc., UBS Financial Services Inc., UnionBanc Investment Services, LLC, U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc., USI Advisors, Inc., Voya Financial Advisors, Inc., Voya Institutional Plan Services LLP, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Western International Securities, Inc., and Woodbury Financial Services, Inc.

Marketing support payments made to organizations located outside the U.S., with respect to investments in the Fund by non-U.S. persons, may exceed the above-stated limitation.

In addition to marketing support payments, to the extent permitted by SEC and FINRA rules and other applicable laws and regulations, Distributors may from time to time at its expense make or allow other promotional incentives or additional payments to financial intermediaries that sell or arrange for the sale of shares of the Fund. These payments may include additional compensation to financial intermediaries, including financial intermediaries not listed above, related to transaction support, various financial intermediary-sponsored events intended to educate financial advisers and their clients about the Franklin Templeton mutual funds, and data analytics and support.

Transaction support payments. The types of payments that Distributors may make under this category include, among others, payment of ticket charges of up to $20 per purchase or exchange order placed by a financial intermediary. Other payments may include ancillary services such as set-up, ongoing support, and assistance with a financial intermediary’s mutual fund trading system.

Conference support payments. Compensation may include financial assistance to financial intermediaries that enable Distributors to participate in and/or present at conferences or seminars, sales or training programs for invited registered representatives and other employees, client and investor events, co-operative advertising, newsletters, and other financial intermediary-sponsored events. These payments may vary depending upon the nature of the event, and can

58


include travel expenses, such as lodging incurred by registered representatives and other employees in connection with training and educational meetings, client prospecting and due diligence trips.

Distributors routinely sponsors due diligence meetings for registered representatives during which they receive updates on various Franklin Templeton mutual funds and are afforded the opportunity to speak with portfolio managers. Invitation to these meetings is not conditioned on selling a specific number of shares. Those who have shown an interest in Franklin Templeton mutual funds, however, are more likely to be considered. To the extent permitted by their firm’s policies and procedures, registered representatives’ expenses in attending these meetings may be covered by Distributors.

Data support payments. Compensation may include data support payments to certain holders or financial intermediaries of record for accounts in one or more of the Franklin Templeton mutual funds. A financial intermediary’s data support services may include the provision of analytical data on such accounts.

Other payments. Other compensation may be offered to the extent not prohibited by federal or state laws or any self-regulatory agency, such as FINRA. Distributors makes payments for events it deems appropriate, subject to Distributors’ guidelines and applicable law.

You should ask your financial intermediary for information about any payments it receives from Distributors and any services provided.

In addition, Investor Services may make payments to financial intermediaries that provide administrative services to defined benefit plans. Investor Services does not seek reimbursement by the Fund for such payments.

Contingent deferred sales charge (CDSC) – Class A and C If you invest any amount in Class C shares, $1 million or more in Class A shares of mutual funds with a maximum initial sales charge of 5.50% or $500,000 or more for mutual funds with a maximum initial sales charge of 3.75% or 2.25%, either as a lump sum or through our cumulative quantity discount or letter of intent programs, a CDSC may apply on any Class A shares you sell within 18 months and any Class C shares you sell within 12 months of purchase. The CDSC is 1% of the value of the shares sold or the net asset value at the time of purchase, whichever is less, for Class A shares and Class C shares.

CDSC waivers. The CDSC for any share class will be waived for:

 Account fees

 Redemptions by the Fund when an account falls below the minimum required account size

 Redemptions following the death of the shareholder or beneficial owner

 Redemptions through a systematic withdrawal plan, up to 1% monthly, 3% quarterly, 6% semiannually or 12% annually of your account's net asset value depending on the frequency of your plan

 Redemptions by Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans

 Distributions from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) due to death or disability or upon periodic distributions based on life expectancy or returns of excess contributions and earnings

 Any trust or plan established as part of a qualified tuition program under Section 529 of the Code

Exchange privilege If you request the exchange of the total value of your account, declared but unpaid income dividends and capital gain distributions will be reinvested in the Fund and exchanged into the new fund at net asset value when paid. Backup withholding and information reporting may apply.

If a substantial number of shareholders should, within a short period, sell their Fund shares under the exchange privilege, the Fund might have to sell portfolio securities it might otherwise hold and incur the additional costs related to such transactions. On the other hand, increased use of the exchange privilege may result in periodic large inflows of money. If this occurs, it is the Fund's general policy to initially invest this money in short-term, interest bearing money market instruments unless it is believed that attractive investment opportunities consistent with the Fund's investment goals exist immediately. This money will then be withdrawn from the short-term, interest bearing money market instruments and invested in portfolio securities in as orderly a manner as is possible when attractive investment opportunities arise.

The proceeds from the sale of shares of an investment company may not be available until the seventh day following the sale. The funds you are seeking to exchange into may delay issuing shares pursuant to an exchange until that seventh day. The sale of Fund shares to complete an exchange will be effected at net asset value at the close of business on the day the request for exchange is received in proper form.

In certain comprehensive fee or advisory programs that hold Class A shares, at the discretion of the financial intermediary, you may exchange to Advisor Class shares or Class Z shares (if offered by the fund).

Class C shares of a Franklin Templeton fund may be exchanged for Advisor Class or Class Z shares of the same fund, if offered by the fund, provided you meet the fund’s

59


eligibility requirements for purchasing Advisor Class or Class Z shares. Unless otherwise permitted, the Class C shares that you wish to exchange must not currently be subject to any CDSC.

Systematic withdrawal plan Our systematic withdrawal plan allows you to sell your shares and receive regular payments from your account on a monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual basis. The value of your account must be at least $5,000 and the minimum payment amount for each withdrawal must be at least $50. For retirement plans subject to mandatory distribution requirements, the $50 minimum will not apply. There are no service charges for establishing or maintaining a systematic withdrawal plan.

Each month in which a payment is scheduled, we will redeem an equivalent amount of shares in your account on the day of the month you have indicated on your account application or, if no day is indicated, on the 20th day of the month. If that day falls on a weekend or holiday, we will process the redemption on the next business day. When you sell your shares under a systematic withdrawal plan, it is a taxable transaction.

To avoid paying sales charges on money you plan to withdraw within a short period of time, you may not want to set up a systematic withdrawal plan if you plan to buy shares on a regular basis. Shares sold under the plan also may be subject to a CDSC.

For plans set up before June 1, 2000, we will continue to process redemptions on the 25th day of the month (or the next business day) unless you instruct us to change the processing date. Available processing dates currently are the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th days of the month.

Redeeming shares through a systematic withdrawal plan may reduce or exhaust the shares in your account if payments exceed distributions received from the Fund. This is especially likely to occur if there is a market decline. If a withdrawal amount exceeds the value of your account, your account will be closed and the remaining balance in your account will be sent to you. Because the amount withdrawn under the plan may be more than your actual yield or income, part of the payment may be a return of your investment.

To discontinue a systematic withdrawal plan, change the amount and schedule of withdrawal payments, or suspend one payment, we must receive instructions from you at least three business days before a scheduled payment. The Fund may discontinue a systematic withdrawal plan by notifying you in writing and will discontinue a systematic withdrawal plan automatically if all shares in your account are withdrawn, if the Fund receives notification of the shareholder's death or incapacity, or if mail is returned to the Fund marked “unable to forward” by the postal service.

Redemptions in kind The Fund has committed itself to pay in cash (by check) all requests for redemption by any shareholder of record, limited in amount, however, during any 90-day period to the lesser of $250,000 or 1% of the value of the Fund's net assets at the beginning of the 90-day period. This commitment is irrevocable without the prior approval of the SEC. In the case of redemption requests in excess of these amounts, the Fund reserves the right to make payments in whole or in part in securities or other assets of the Fund, in case of an emergency, or if the payment of such a redemption in cash would be detrimental to the existing shareholders of the Fund. In these circumstances, the securities distributed would be valued at the price used to compute the Fund's net assets and you may incur brokerage fees in converting the securities to cash. The Fund does not intend to redeem illiquid securities in kind. If this happens, however, you may not be able to recover your investment in a timely manner. In addition, in certain circumstances, the Fund may not be able to redeem securities in-kind or the investment manager may not have the ability to determine whether a particular redemption can be paid in-kind before the redemption request is paid.

Share certificates We will credit your shares to your Fund account, and we do not issue share certificates. This eliminates the costly problem of replacing lost, stolen or destroyed certificates.

Any outstanding share certificates must be returned to the Fund if you want to sell, exchange or reregister those shares or if you would like to start a systematic withdrawal plan. The certificates should be properly endorsed. You can do this either by signing the back of the certificate or by completing a share assignment form. For your protection, you may prefer to complete a share assignment form and to send the certificate and assignment form in separate envelopes. We do not issue new share certificates if any outstanding share certificates are returned to the Fund. If a certificate is lost, stolen or destroyed, you may have to pay an insurance premium of up to 2% of the value of the certificate to cancel it.

General information If the Fund receives notification of the shareholder’s death or if mail is returned to the Fund by the postal service, we will consider this a request by you to change your dividend option to reinvest all future distributions until we receive new instructions. If the item of mail returned is a check, the proceeds may be reinvested in additional shares at the current day’s net asset value.

Distribution or redemption checks sent to you do not earn interest or any other income during the time the checks remain uncashed. Neither the Fund nor its affiliates will be liable for any loss caused by your failure to cash such checks. The Fund is not responsible for tracking down uncashed checks, unless a check is returned as undeliverable.

In most cases, if mail is returned as undeliverable, we are required to take certain steps to try to find you free of charge. If these attempts are unsuccessful, however, we may deduct the costs of any additional efforts to find you from your

60


account. These costs may include a percentage of the account when a search company charges a percentage fee in exchange for its location services.

Sending redemption proceeds by wire or electronic funds transfer (ACH) is a special service that we make available whenever possible. By offering this service to you, the Fund is not bound to meet any redemption request in less than the seven-day period prescribed by law. Neither the Fund nor its agents shall be liable to you or any other person if, for any reason, a redemption request by wire or ACH is not processed as described in the prospectus.

The Fund’s transfer agent, acting on behalf of the Fund, may place a temporary hold for up to 25 business days on the disbursement of redemption proceeds from an account held directly with the Fund if the transfer agent, in consultation with the Fund, reasonably believes that financial exploitation of a Specified Adult (as defined below) has occurred, is occurring, has been attempted, or will be attempted. In order to delay payment of redemption proceeds under these circumstances, the Fund and the transfer agent must adopt certain policies and procedures and otherwise comply with the terms and conditions of no-action relief provided by the SEC staff. Financial exploitation means: (i) the wrongful or unauthorized taking, withholding, appropriation, or use of a Specified Adult’s funds or securities; or (ii) any act or omission by a person, including through the use of a power of attorney, guardianship, or any other authority regarding a Specified Adult, to (a) obtain control, through deception, intimidation or undue influence, over the Specified Adult’s money, assets or property, or (b) convert the Specified Adult’s money, assets or property. The transfer agent and/or the Fund may not be aware of factors suggesting financial exploitation of a Specified Adult and may not be able to identify Specified Adults in all circumstances. Furthermore, the transfer agent is not required to delay the disbursement of redemption proceeds and does not assume any obligation to do so. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “Specified Adult” refers to an individual who is a natural person (i) age 65 and older, or (ii) age 18 and older and whom the Fund’s transfer agent reasonably believes has a mental or physical impairment that renders the individual unable to protect his or her own interests.

There are special procedures for banks and other institutions that wish to open multiple accounts. An institution may open a single master account by filing one application form with the Fund, signed by personnel authorized to act for the institution. Individual sub-accounts may be opened when the master account is opened by listing them on the application, or by providing instructions to the Fund at a later date. These sub-accounts may be registered either by name or number. The Fund's investment minimums apply to each sub-account. The Fund will send confirmation and account statements for the sub-accounts to the institution.

If you buy or sell shares through your securities dealer, we use the net asset value next calculated after your securities dealer receives your request, which is promptly transmitted to the Fund. If you sell shares through your securities dealer, it is your dealer's responsibility to transmit the order to the Fund in a timely fashion. Your redemption proceeds will not earn interest between the time we receive the order from your dealer and the time we receive any required documents. Any loss to you resulting from your dealer's failure to transmit your redemption order to the Fund in a timely fashion must be settled between you and your securities dealer. Certain shareholder servicing agents may be authorized to accept your transaction request. For institutional and bank trust accounts, there may be additional methods of buying or selling Fund shares than those described in this SAI or in the prospectus. Institutional and bank trust accounts include accounts opened by or in the name of a person (includes a legal entity or an individual) that has signed an Institutional Account Application or Bank Trust Account Application accepted by Franklin Templeton Institutional, LLC or entered into a selling agreement and/or servicing agreement with Distributors or Investor Services. For example, the Fund permits the owner of an institutional account to make a same day wire purchase if a good order purchase request is received (a) before 1 p.m. Pacific time or (b) through the National Securities Clearing Corporation’s automated system for processing purchase orders (Fund/SERV), even though funds are delivered by wire after 1 p.m. Pacific time. If funds to be wired are not received as scheduled, the purchase order may be cancelled or reversed and the institutional account owner could be liable for any losses or fees the Fund, Distributors and/or Investor Services may incur. “Good order” refers to a transaction request where the investor or financial intermediary (or other person authorized to make such requests) has provided complete information (e.g., fund and account information and the dollar amount of the transaction) to enable the processing of such request.

In the event of disputes involving conflicting claims of ownership or authority to control your shares, the Fund has the right (but has no obligation) to: (i) restrict the shares and require the written agreement of all persons deemed by the Fund to have a potential interest in the shares before executing instructions regarding the shares; or (ii) interplead disputed shares or the proceeds from the court-ordered sale thereof with a court of competent jurisdiction.

Should the Fund be required to defend against joint or multiple shareholders in any action relating to an ownership dispute, you expressly grant the Fund the right to obtain reimbursement for costs and expenses including, but not limited to, attorneys’ fees and court costs, by unilaterally redeeming shares from your account.

The Fund or its transfer agent may be required (i) pursuant to a validly issued levy, garnishment or other form of legal process, to sell your shares and remit the proceeds to a

61


levying officer or other recipient; or (ii) pursuant to a final order of forfeiture or other form of legal process, to sell your shares and remit the proceeds to the U.S. or state government as directed.

As long as we follow reasonable security procedures and act on instructions that we reasonably believe are genuine, we will not be responsible for any losses that may occur from unauthorized requests in any form (written, telephone, or online). We will investigate any unauthorized request that you report to us and we will ask you to cooperate with us in the investigation, which may require you to file a police report and complete a notarized affidavit regarding the unauthorized request. We will assist in the claims process, on your behalf, with other financial institutions regarding the unauthorized request.

Using good faith efforts, the investment manager attempts to identify class action litigation settlements and regulatory or governmental recovery funds involving securities presently or formerly held by the Fund or issuers of such securities or related parties (Claims) in which the Fund may be eligible to participate. When such Claims are identified, the investment manager will cause the Fund to file proofs of claim. Currently, such Claim opportunities predominate in the U.S. and in Canada; the investment manager’s efforts are therefore focused on Claim opportunities in those jurisdictions. The investment manager may learn of such class action lawsuit or victim fund recovery opportunities in jurisdictions outside of North America (Foreign Actions), in which case the investment manager has complete discretion to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether to cause the Fund to file proofs of claim in such Foreign Actions. In addition, the investment manager may participate in bankruptcy proceedings relating to securities held by the Fund and join creditors’ committees on behalf of the Fund.

Further, the investment manager may on occasion initiate and/or recommend, and the board of trustees of the Fund may approve, pursuit of separate litigation against an issuer or related parties in connection with securities presently or formerly held by the Fund (whether by opting out of an existing class action lawsuit or otherwise).

The Underwriter

Franklin Distributors, LLC (Distributors) acts as the principal underwriter in the continuous public offering of the Fund's shares. Distributors is located at One Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, CA 94403-1906.

Distributors does not receive compensation from the Fund for acting as underwriter of the Fund's Class R6 and Advisor Class shares.

The table below shows the aggregate underwriting commissions Distributors received in connection with the offering of the Fund's Class A, Class C and Class R shares, the net underwriting discounts and commissions Distributors retained after allowances to dealers, and the amounts Distributors received in connection with redemptions or repurchases of shares for the last three fiscal years ended October 31:

             
 

Total Commissions Received ($)

Amount Retained

by

Distributors ($)

Amount Received

in Connection with Redemptions and Repurchases ($)

2022

     

MicroCap Value Fund

178,778

 

19,932

 

2,327

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

668,901

 

76,161

 

6,280

 

Small Cap Value Fund

411,668

 

45,267

 

11,881

 
       

2021

     

MicroCap Value Fund

382,295

 

45,361

 

27

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

704,910

 

81,164

 

2,413

 

Small Cap Value Fund

1,531,706

 

172,417

 

17,533

 
       

2020

     

MicroCap Value Fund

50,777

 

5,606

 

51

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund

420,417

 

48,122

 

1,860

 

Small Cap Value Fund

1,030,577

 

114,899

 

22,727

 

Distributors may be entitled to payments from the Fund under the Rule 12b-1 plans, as discussed below. Except as noted, Distributors received no other compensation from the Fund for acting as underwriter.

Distribution and service (12b-1) fees Class A, C and R The board has adopted a separate plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 for each class. Although the plans differ in some ways for each class, each plan is designed to benefit the Fund and its shareholders. The plans are expected to, among other things, increase advertising of the Fund, encourage purchases of Fund shares and service to its shareholders, and increase or maintain assets of the Fund so that certain fixed expenses may be spread over a broader asset base, with a positive impact on per share expense ratios. In addition, a positive cash flow into the Fund is useful in managing the Fund because the investment manager has more flexibility in taking advantage of new investment opportunities and handling shareholder redemptions.

Under each plan, the Fund pays Distributors or others for the expenses of activities that are primarily intended to sell shares of the class. These expenses also may include service fees paid to securities dealers or others who have executed a

62


servicing agreement with the Fund, Distributors or its affiliates and who provide service or account maintenance to shareholders (service fees); and the expenses of printing prospectuses and reports used for sales purposes, of marketing support and of preparing and distributing sales literature and advertisements. Together, these expenses, including the service fees, are "eligible expenses." The 12b-1 fees charged to each class are based only on the fees attributable to that particular class and are calculated, as a percentage of such class’ net assets, over the 12-month period of February 1 through January 31. Because this 12-month period may not match the Fund’s fiscal year, the amount, as a percentage of a class’ net assets, for the Fund’s fiscal year may vary from the amount stated under the applicable plan, but will never exceed that amount during the 12-month period of February 1 through January 31. Because the Small Cap Value Fund is currently closed to new investors, the amounts paid by the Small Cap Value Fund under its plans are primarily to pay for ongoing shareholder servicing.

The Class A, C and R plans. The MicroCap Value Fund and Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund may pay up to 0.25% per year of Class A’s average daily net assets. The Small Cap Value Fund may pay up to 0.35% per year of Class A’s average daily net assets. Of this amount, the Small Cap Value Fund may pay up to 0.35% to Distributors or others, out of which Distributors generally will retain 0.10% for distribution expenses. Notwithstanding the higher limit provided under the Class A distribution plan as set by the board of trustees, until further notice, the Small Cap Value Fund currently may pay up to 0.25% per year of Class A's average daily net assets, the entire amount of which may be paid for services to the shareholders (service fees).

The Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund and Small Cap Value Fund pay Distributors up to 1% per year of Class C’s average daily net assets, out of which 0.25% may be paid for services to shareholders (service fees). For Class R shares, the Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund and Small Cap Value Fund pay Distributors up to 0.50% per year of the class’s average daily net assets. The Class C and R plans also may be used to pay Distributors for advancing commissions to securities dealers with respect to the initial sale of Class C and R shares.

The Class A plan is a reimbursement plan. It allows the Fund to reimburse Distributors for eligible expenses that Distributors has shown it has incurred. The Fund will not reimburse more than the maximum amount allowed under the plan.

The Class C and R plans are compensation plans. They allow the Fund to pay a fee to Distributors that may be more than the eligible expenses Distributors has incurred at the time of the payment. Distributors must, however, demonstrate to the board that it has spent or has near-term plans to spend the amount received on eligible expenses. The Fund will not pay more than the maximum amount allowed under the plans.

Under the Class A plan, the amounts paid or accrued to be paid by the Fund pursuant to the plan for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, were:

                 

 

 

MicroCap Value Fund
($)

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund
($)

Small Cap Value Fund
($)

 

Advertising

 

18,914

 

80,251

 

102,997

 

 

Printing and mailing

 

69

 

208

 

499

 

 

prospectuses other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

than to current

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shareholders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments to

 

663

 

3,476

 

2,186

 

 

underwriters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments to broker-

 

346,271

 

1,775,808

 

3,405,605

 

 

dealers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

365,917

 

1,859,743

 

3,511,287

 

 

Under the Class C plan, the amounts paid or accrued to be paid by the Fund pursuant to the plan for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, were:

                 

 

 

MicroCap Value Fund
($)

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund
($)

Small Cap Value Fund
($)

 

Advertising

 

 

60,301

 

489,968

 

 

Printing and mailing

 

 

129

 

903

 

 

prospectuses other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

than to current

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shareholders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments to

 

 

3,126

 

11,924

 

 

underwriters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments to broker-

 

 

120,070

 

329,270

 

 

dealers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

183,626

 

832,065

 

 

Under the Class R plan, the amounts paid or accrued to be paid by the Fund pursuant to the plan for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, were:

             

 

 

Mutual U.S. Mid Cap Value Fund
($)

Small Cap Value Fund
($)

 

Advertising

 

21,953

 

612,169

 

 

Printing and mailing

 

288

 

782

 

 

prospectuses other

 

 

 

 

 

 

than to current

 

 

 

 

 

 

shareholders

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments to

 

7,101

 

43,478

 

 

underwriters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments to broker-

 

 

 

 

dealers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

 

 

 

 

Total

 

29,342

 

656,429

 

 

In addition to the payments that Distributors or others are entitled to under each plan, each plan also provides that to the extent the Fund, the investment manager or Distributors or other parties on behalf of the Fund, the investment manager or Distributors make payments that are deemed to

63


be for the financing of any activity primarily intended to result in the sale of Fund shares within the context of Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act, then such payments shall be deemed to have been made pursuant to the plan.

To the extent fees are for distribution or marketing functions, as distinguished from administrative servicing or agency transactions, certain banks may not participate in the plans because of applicable federal law prohibiting certain banks from engaging in the distribution of mutual fund shares. These banks, however, are allowed to receive fees under the plans for administrative servicing or for agency transactions.

Distributors must provide written reports to the board at least quarterly on the amounts and purpose of any payment made under the plans and any related agreements, and furnish the board with such other information as the board may reasonably request to enable it to make an informed determination of whether the plans should be continued.

Each plan has been approved according to the provisions of Rule 12b-1. The terms and provisions of each plan also are consistent with Rule 12b-1.

Performance

Performance quotations are subject to SEC rules. These rules require the use of standardized performance quotations or, alternatively, that every non-standardized performance quotation furnished by the Fund be accompanied by certain standardized performance information computed as required by the SEC. Average annual total return before taxes, average annual total return after taxes on distributions and average annual total return after taxes on distributions and sale of shares quotations used by the Fund are based on the standardized methods of computing performance mandated by the SEC. An explanation of these and other methods used by the Fund to compute or express performance follows. Regardless of the method used, past performance does not guarantee future results, and is an indication of the return to shareholders only for the limited historical period used.

Average annual total return before taxes Average annual total return before taxes is determined by finding the average annual rates of return over certain periods that would equate an initial hypothetical $1,000 investment to its ending redeemable value. The calculation assumes that the maximum initial sales charge, if applicable, is deducted from the initial $1,000 purchase, and income dividends and capital gain distributions are reinvested at net asset value. The quotation assumes the account was completely redeemed at the end of each period and the deduction of all applicable charges and fees. If a change is made to the sales charge structure, historical performance information will be restated to reflect the maximum initial sales charge currently in effect.

When considering the average annual total return before taxes quotations for Class A shares, you should keep in mind that the maximum initial sales charge reflected in each quotation is a one-time fee charged on all direct purchases, which will have its greatest impact during the early stages of your investment. This charge will affect actual performance less the longer you retain your investment in the Fund.

The following SEC formula is used to calculate these figures:

P(1+T)n = ERV

where:

P = a hypothetical initial payment of $1,000

T = average annual total return

n = number of years

ERV = ending redeemable value of a hypothetical $1,000 payment made at the beginning of each period at the end of each period

Average annual total return after taxes on distributions Average annual total return after taxes on distributions is determined by finding the average annual rates of return over certain periods that would equate an initial hypothetical $1,000 investment to its ending redeemable value, after taxes on distributions. The calculation assumes that the maximum initial sales charge, if applicable, is deducted from the initial $1,000 purchase, and income dividends and capital gain distributions, less the taxes due on such distributions, are reinvested at net asset value. The quotation assumes the account was completely redeemed at the end of each period and the deduction of all applicable charges and fees, but assumes that the redemption itself had no tax consequences. If a change is made to the sales charge structure, historical performance information will be restated to reflect the maximum initial sales charge currently in effect.

Taxes due on distributions are calculated by applying the highest individual marginal federal income tax rates in effect on the reinvestment date, using the rates that correspond to the tax character of each component of the distributions (e.g., the ordinary income rate for distributions of ordinary income and net short-term capital gains, and the long-term capital gain rate for distributions of net long-term capital gains). The taxable amount and tax character of a distribution may be adjusted to reflect any recharacterization of the distribution since its original date. Distributions are adjusted to reflect the federal tax impact the distribution would have on an individual taxpayer on the reinvestment date; for example, no taxes are assumed to be due on the portion of any distribution that would not result in federal income tax on an individual (e.g., tax-exempt interest or non-taxable returns of capital). The effect of applicable tax credits, such as the foreign tax credit, is taken into account in accordance with federal tax law. Any

64


potential tax liabilities other than federal tax liabilities (e.g., state and local taxes) are disregarded, as are the effects of phaseouts of certain exemptions, deductions, and credits at various income levels, and the impact of the federal alternative minimum tax. Any redemptions of shares required to pay recurring fees charged to shareholder accounts are assumed to result in no additional taxes or tax credits.

The Fund’s sales literature and advertising commonly refer to this calculation as the Fund’s after-tax average annual total return (pre-liquidation). When considering the average annual total return after taxes on distributions quotations for Class A shares, you should keep in mind that the maximum initial sales charge reflected in each quotation is a one-time fee charged on all direct purchases, which will have its greatest impact during the early stages of your investment. This charge will affect actual performance less the longer you retain your investment in the Fund.

The following SEC formula is used to calculate these figures:

P(1+T)n = ATVD

where:

P = a hypothetical initial payment of $1,000

T = average annual total return (after taxes on distributions)

n = number of years

ATVD = ending value of a hypothetical $1,000 payment made at the beginning of each period at the end of each period, after taxes on fund distributions but not after taxes on redemption

Average annual total return after taxes on distributions and sale of fund shares Average annual total return after taxes on distributions and sale of fund shares is determined by finding the average annual rates of return over certain periods that would equate an initial hypothetical $1,000 investment to its ending redeemable value, after taxes on distributions and sale of fund shares. The calculation assumes that the maximum initial sales charge, if applicable, is deducted from the initial $1,000 purchase, and income dividends and capital gain distributions are reinvested at net asset value. The quotation assumes the account was completely redeemed at the end of each period and the deduction of all applicable charges and fees, including taxes upon sale of fund shares. If a change is made to the sales charge structure, historical performance information will be restated to reflect the maximum initial sales charge currently in effect.

Taxes due on distributions are calculated by applying the highest individual marginal federal income tax rates in effect on the reinvestment date, using the rates that correspond to the tax character of each component of the distributions (e.g., the ordinary income rate for distributions of ordinary income and net short-term capital gains, and the long-term capital gain rate for distributions of net long-term capital gains). The taxable amount and tax character of a distribution may be adjusted to reflect any recharacterization of the distribution since its original date. Distributions are adjusted to reflect the federal tax impact the distribution would have on an individual taxpayer on the reinvestment date; for example, no taxes are assumed to be due on the portion of any distribution that would not result in federal income tax on an individual (e.g., tax-exempt interest or non-taxable returns of capital). The effect of applicable tax credits, such as the foreign tax credit, is taken into account in accordance with federal tax law. Any potential tax liabilities other than federal tax liabilities (e.g., state and local taxes) are disregarded, as are the effects of phaseouts of certain exemptions, deductions, and credits at various income levels, and the impact of the federal alternative minimum tax. Any redemptions of shares required to pay recurring fees charged to shareholder accounts are assumed to result in no additional taxes or tax credits.

The capital gain or loss upon redemption is calculated by subtracting the tax basis from the redemption proceeds, after deducting any nonrecurring charges assessed at the end of the period, subtracting capital gains taxes resulting from the redemption, or adding the tax benefit from capital losses resulting from the redemption. In determining the basis for a reinvested distribution, the distribution is included net of taxes assumed paid from the distribution, but not net of any sales loads imposed upon reinvestment. Tax basis is adjusted for any distributions representing returns of capital and any other tax basis adjustments that would apply to an individual taxpayer, as permitted by applicable federal law. The amount and character (e.g., short-term or long-term) of capital gain or loss upon redemption are separately determined for shares acquired through the initial investment and each subsequent purchase through reinvested distributions. Shares acquired through reinvestment of distributions are not assumed to have the same holding period as the initial investment. The tax character of such reinvestments is determined by the length of the period between reinvestment and the end of the measurement period in the case of reinvested distributions. Capital gains taxes (or the benefit resulting from tax losses) are calculated using the highest federal individual capital gains tax rate for gains of the appropriate character in effect on the redemption date and in accordance with federal law applicable on the redemption date. Shareholders are assumed to have sufficient capital gains of the same character from other investments to offset any capital losses from the redemption, so that the taxpayer may deduct the capital losses in full.

The Fund’s sales literature and advertising commonly refer to this calculation as the Fund’s after-tax average annual total return (post-liquidation). When considering the average annual total return after taxes on distributions quotations for

65


Class A shares, you should keep in mind that the maximum initial sales charge reflected in each quotation is a one-time fee charged on all direct purchases, which will have its greatest impact during the early stages of your investment. This charge will affect actual performance less the longer you retain your investment in the Fund.

The following SEC formula is used to calculate these figures:

P(1+T)n = ATVDR

where:

P = a hypothetical initial payment of $1,000

T = average annual total return (after taxes on distributions and redemptions)

n = number of years

ATVDR = ending value of a hypothetical $1,000 payment made at the beginning of each period at the end of each period, after taxes on fund distributions and redemption

Cumulative total return Like average annual total return, cumulative total return assumes that the maximum initial sales charge, if applicable, is deducted from the initial $1,000 purchase, income dividends and capital gain distributions are reinvested at net asset value, the account was completely redeemed at the end of each period and the deduction of all applicable charges and fees. Cumulative total return, however, is based on the actual return for a specified period rather than on the average return.

Volatility Occasionally statistics may be used to show the Fund's volatility or risk. Measures of volatility or risk are generally used to compare the Fund's net asset value or performance to a market index. One measure of volatility is beta. Beta is the volatility of a fund relative to the total market, as represented by an index considered representative of the types of securities in which the fund invests. A beta of more than 1.00 indicates volatility greater than the market and a beta of less than 1.00 indicates volatility less than the market. Another measure of volatility or risk is standard deviation. Standard deviation is used to measure variability of net asset value or total return around an average over a specified period of time. The idea is that greater volatility means greater risk undertaken in achieving performance.

Other performance quotations The Fund also may quote the performance of Class A shares without a sales charge. Sales literature and advertising may quote a cumulative total return, average annual total return and other measures of performance with the substitution of net asset value for the public offering price.

Sales literature referring to the use of the Fund as a potential investment for IRAs, business retirement plans, and other tax-advantaged retirement plans may quote a total return based upon compounding of dividends on which it is presumed no federal income tax applies.

The Fund may include in its advertising or sales material information relating to investment goals and performance results of funds belonging to Franklin Templeton. Resources is the parent company of the advisors and underwriter of Franklin Templeton funds.

Miscellaneous Information

The Fund may help you achieve various investment goals such as accumulating money for retirement, saving for a down payment on a home, college costs and other long-term goals. The Franklin College Savings Planner may help you in determining how much money must be invested on a monthly basis to have a projected amount available in the future to fund a child's college education. (Projected college cost estimates are based upon current costs published by the College Board.) The Franklin Retirement Savings Planner leads you through the steps to start a retirement savings program. Of course, an investment in the Fund cannot guarantee that these goals will be met.

The Fund is a member of the Franklin Templeton/Legg Mason fund complex, one of the largest mutual fund organizations in the U.S., and may be considered in a program for diversification of assets. Founded in 1947, Franklin is one of the oldest mutual fund organizations and now services more than 2 million shareholder accounts. In 1992, Franklin, a leader in managing fixed-income mutual funds and an innovator in creating domestic equity funds, joined forces with Templeton, a pioneer in international investing. The Mutual Series team, known for its value-driven approach to domestic equity investing, became part of the organization four years later. In 2001, the Fiduciary Trust team, known for providing global investment management to institutions and high net worth clients worldwide, joined the organization. On July 31, 2020, Franklin Templeton acquired Legg Mason, a global investment management firm with specialized expertise across asset classes and markets around the globe. Legg Mason’s affiliates include: BrandywineGLOBAL, Clarion Partners, ClearBridge Investments, Martin Currie, Royce Investment Partners and Western Asset. Together, Franklin Templeton and Legg Mason have, as of January 31, 2023, $1.45 trillion in assets under management for more than 3 million U.S. based mutual fund shareholder and other accounts. Franklin Templeton and Legg Mason together offer over 300 U.S. based open-end investment companies to the public. The Fund may identify itself by its NASDAQ symbol or CUSIP number.

Currently, there are more mutual funds than there are stocks listed on the NYSE. While many of them have similar investment goals, no two are exactly alike. Shares of the Fund are generally sold through securities dealers, whose

66


investment representatives are experienced professionals who can offer advice on the type of investments suitable to your unique goals and needs, as well as the risks associated with such investments.

Description of Ratings

Corporate Obligation Ratings

Moody's

INVESTMENT GRADE

Aaa: Bonds rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, with minimal credit risk.

Aa: Bonds rated Aa are judged to be high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.

A: Bonds rated A are considered upper medium-grade obligations and are subject to low credit risk.

Baa: Bonds rated Baa are subject to moderate credit risk and are considered medium-grade obligations. As such they may have certain speculative characteristics.

BELOW INVESTMENT GRADE

Ba: Bonds rated Ba are judged to have speculative elements and are subject to substantial credit risk.

B: Bonds rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.

Caa: Bonds rated Caa are judged to be of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.

Ca: Bonds rated Ca are considered highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.

C: Bonds rated C are the lowest rated class of bonds and are typically in default. They have little prospects for recovery of principal or interest.

Note: Moody's appends numerical modifiers 1, 2 and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category.

S&P®

The issue rating definitions are expressions in terms of default risk. As such, they pertain to senior obligations of an entity. Junior obligations are typically rated lower than senior obligations, to reflect the lower priority in bankruptcy. (Such differentiation applies when an entity has both senior and subordinated obligations, secured and unsecured obligations, or operating company and holding company obligations.) Accordingly, in the case of junior debt, the rating may not conform exactly with the category definition.

INVESTMENT GRADE

AAA: This is the highest rating assigned by S&P to a debt obligation. The obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong.

AA: Obligations rated AA differ from AAA issues only in a small degree. The obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is very strong.

A: Obligations rated A are somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in the higher ratings categories. However, the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong.

BBB: Obligations rated BBB exhibit adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

BELOW INVESTMENT GRADE

BB, B, CCC, CC, C: Obligations rated BB, B, CCC, CC and C are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. BB indicates the least degree of speculation and C the highest degree of speculation. While these obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposures to adverse conditions.

BB: An obligation rated BB is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions which could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

B: An obligation rated B is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated BB, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor's capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

CCC: An obligation rated CCC is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

67


CC: An obligation rated CC is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment.

C: A subordinated debt or preferred stock obligation rated C is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment. The C rating may be used to cover a situation where a bankruptcy petition has been filed or similar action taken, but payments on this obligation are being continued. The C rating is also assigned to a preferred stock issue in arrears on dividends or sinking fund payments, but that is still making payments.

D: An obligation rated D is in payment default. The D rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due even if the applicable grace period has not expired, unless S&P believes that such payments will be made during such grace period. The D rating is also used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of a similar action if payments on the obligation are jeopardized.

Plus (+) or minus (-): The ratings from "AA" to "CCC" may be modified by the addition of a plus or minus sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.

r: This symbol is attached to the ratings of instruments with significant noncredit risks and highlights risks to principal or volatility of expected returns that are not addressed in the credit rating.

Short-Term Debt Ratings

Moody's

Moody's short-term debt ratings are opinions of the ability of issuers to honor short-term financial obligations. Ratings may be assigned to issuers, short-term programs and to individual short-term debt instruments. These obligations generally have an original maturity not exceeding 13 months, unless explicitly noted. Moody's employs the following designations to indicate the relative repayment capacity of rated issuers:

P-1 (Prime-1): Issuers (or supporting institutions) so rated have a superior ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

P-2 (Prime-2): Issuers (or supporting institutions) so rated have a strong ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

P-3 (Prime-3): Issuers (or supporting institutions) so rated have an acceptable ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

NP: Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Not Prime do not fall within any of the Prime rating categories.

S&P®

S&P's ratings are a current opinion of the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a specific financial obligation, a specific class of financial obligations, or a specific financial program. Short-term ratings are generally assigned to those obligations considered short-term in the relevant market. In the U.S., for example, that means obligations with an original maturity of no more than 365 days -- including commercial paper. Short-term ratings are also used to indicate the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to put features on long-term obligations. The result is a dual rating, in which the short-term rating addresses the put feature, in addition to the usual long-term rating.

A-1: This designation indicates that the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is strong. Within this category, certain obligations are designated with a plus sign (+). This indicates that the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on these obligations is extremely strong.

A-2: Issues carrying this designation are somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations carrying the higher designations. However, the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is satisfactory.

A-3: Issues carrying this designation exhibit adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

B: Issues carrying this designation are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. The obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties which could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

C: Issues carrying this designation are currently vulnerable to nonpayment and are dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

D: Issues carrying this designation are in payment default. The D rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the due date even if the applicable grace period has not expired, unless S&P believes that such payments will be made during such grace period. The D rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of a similar action if payments on an obligation are jeopardized.

68


     

FRANKLIN MUTUAL ADVISERS, LLC

Proxy Voting Policies & Procedures

An SEC Compliance Rule Policy and Procedures*

March 2022

Appendix A

RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INVESTMENT MANAGER TO VOTE PROXIES

Franklin Mutual Advisers, LLC (hereinafter the "Investment Manager") has delegated its administrative duties with respect to voting proxies for securities to the Franklin Templeton Proxy Group within Franklin Templeton Companies, LLC (the "Proxy Group"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc. Franklin Templeton Companies, LLC provides a variety of general corporate services to its affiliates, including, but not limited to, legal and compliance activities. Proxy duties consist of disseminating proxy materials and analyses of issuers whose stock is owned by any client (including both investment companies and any separate accounts managed by the Investment Manager) that has either delegated proxy voting administrative responsibility to the Investment Manager or has asked for information and/or recommendations on the issues to be voted. The Investment Manager will inform Advisory Clients that have not delegated the voting responsibility but that have requested voting advice about the Investment Manager's views on such proxy votes. The Proxy Group also provides these services to other advisory affiliates of the Investment Manager.

The Proxy Group will process proxy votes on behalf of, and the Investment Manager votes proxies solely in the best interests of, separate account clients, the Investment Manager-managed investment company shareholders, or shareholders of funds that have appointed Franklin Templeton International Services S.à.r.l. (“FTIS S.à.r.l.”) as the Management Company, provided such funds or clients have properly delegated such responsibility in writing, or, where employee benefit plan assets subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, are involved (“ERISA accounts”), in the best interests of the plan participants and beneficiaries (collectively, "Advisory Clients"), unless (i) the power to vote has been specifically retained by the named fiduciary in the documents in which the named fiduciary appointed the Investment Manager or (ii) the documents otherwise expressly prohibit the Investment Manager from voting proxies. The Investment Manager recognizes that the exercise of voting rights on securities held by ERISA plans for which the Investment Manager has voting responsibility is a fiduciary duty that must be exercised with care, skill, prudence and diligence.

In certain circumstances, Advisory Clients are permitted to direct their votes in a solicitation pursuant to the Investment Management Agreement. An Advisory Client that wishes to direct its vote shall give reasonable prior written notice to the Investment Manager indicating such intention and provide written instructions directing the Investment Manager or the Proxy Group to vote regarding the solicitation. Where such prior written notice is received, the Proxy Group will vote proxies in accordance with such written notification received from the Advisory Client.

The Investment Manager has adopted and implemented Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures (“Proxy Policies”) that it believes are reasonably designed to ensure that proxies are voted in the best interest of Advisory Clients in accordance with its fiduciary duties and rule 206(4)-6 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. To the extent that the Investment Manager has a subadvisory agreement with an affiliated investment manager (the “Affiliated Subadviser”) with respect to a particular Advisory Client, the Investment Manager may delegate proxy voting responsibility to the Affiliated Subadviser. The Investment Manager may also delegate proxy voting responsibility to a subadviser that is not an Affiliated Subadviser in certain limited situations as disclosed to fund shareholders (e.g., where an Investment Manager to a pooled investment vehicle has engaged a subadviser that is not an Affiliated Subadviser to manage all or a portion of the assets).

HOW THE INVESTMENT MANAGER VOTES PROXIES

Proxy Services

All proxies received by the Proxy Group will be voted based upon the Investment Manager's instructions and/or policies. To assist it in analyzing proxies of equity securities, the Investment Manager subscribes to Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. ("ISS"), an unaffiliated third-party corporate governance research service that provides in-depth analyses of shareholder meeting agendas and vote recommendations. In addition, the Investment Manager subscribes to ISS’s Proxy Voting Service and Vote Disclosure Service. These services include receipt of proxy ballots, custodian bank relations, account maintenance, vote execution, ballot reconciliation, vote record maintenance, comprehensive reporting capabilities, and vote disclosure services. Also, the Investment Manager subscribes to Glass, Lewis & Co., LLC ("Glass Lewis"), an unaffiliated third-party analytical research firm, to receive analyses and vote recommendations on the shareholder meetings of publicly held U.S. companies, as well as a limited subscription to its international research. Although analyses provided by ISS, Glass Lewis, and/or another independent third-party

A-1


proxy service provider (each a “Proxy Service”) are thoroughly reviewed and considered in making a final voting decision, the Investment Manager does not consider recommendations from a Proxy Service or any third-party to be determinative of the Investment Manager's ultimate decision. Rather, the Investment Manager exercises its independent judgment in making voting decisions. As a matter of policy, the officers, directors and employees of the Investment Manager and the Proxy Group will not be influenced by outside sources whose interests conflict with the interests of Advisory Clients.

For ease of reference, the Proxy Policies often refer to all Advisory Clients. However, our processes and practices seek to ensure that proxy voting decisions are suitable for individual Advisory Clients. In some cases, the investment manager’s evaluation may result in an individual Advisory Client or Investment Manager voting differently, depending upon the nature and objective of the fund or account, the composition of its portfolio, whether the Investment Manager has adopted a specialty or custom voting policy, and other factors.

Proxy Services

Certain of the Investment Managers’ separate accounts or funds (or a portion thereof) are included under Franklin Templeton Investment Solutions (“FTIS”), a separate investment group within Franklin Templeton, and employ a quantitative strategy. For such accounts, FTIS’s proprietary methodologies rely on a combination of quantitative, qualitative, and behavioral analysis rather than fundamental security research and analyst coverage that an actively-managed portfolio would ordinarily employ. Accordingly, absent client direction, in light of the high number of positions held by such accounts and the considerable time and effort that would be required to review proxy statements and ISS or Glass Lewis recommendations, the Investment Manager may review ISS’s non-US Benchmark guidelines, ISS’s specialty guidelines (in particular, ISS’s Sustainability guidelines), or Glass Lewis’s US guidelines ( the “ISS and Glass Lewis Proxy Voting Guidelines”) and determine, consistent with the best interest of its clients, to provide standing instructions to the Proxy Group to vote proxies according to the recommendations of ISS or Glass Lewis.

The Investment Manager, however, retains the ability to vote a proxy differently than ISS or Glass Lewis recommends if the Investment Manager determines that it would be in the best interests of Advisory Clients (for example, where an issuer files additional solicitation materials after a Proxy Service has issued its voting recommendations but sufficiently before the vote submission deadline and these materials would reasonably be expected to affect the Investment Manager’s voting determination).

Conflicts of Interest

All conflicts of interest will be resolved in the best interests of the Advisory Clients. The Investment Manager is an affiliate of a large, diverse financial services firm with many affiliates and makes its best efforts to mitigate conflicts of interest. However, as a general matter, the Investment Manager takes the position that relationships between certain affiliates that do not use the “Franklin Templeton” name (“Independent Affiliates”) and an issuer (e.g., an investment management relationship between an issuer and an Independent Affiliate) do not present a conflict of interest for the Investment Manager in voting proxies with respect to such issuer because: (i) the Investment Manager operates as an independent business unit from the Independent Affiliate business units, and (ii) informational barriers exist between the Investment Manager and the Independent Affiliate business units.

Material conflicts of interest could arise in a variety of situations, including as a result of the Investment Manager’s or an affiliate’s (other than an Independent Affiliate as described above): (i) material business relationship with an issuer or proponent, (ii) direct or indirect pecuniary interest in an issuer or proponent; or (iii) significant personal or family relationship with an issuer or proponent. Material conflicts of interest are identified by the Proxy Group based upon analyses of client, distributor, broker dealer, and vendor lists, information periodically gathered from directors and officers, and information derived from other sources, including public filings. The Proxy Group gathers and analyzes this information on a best-efforts basis, as much of this information is provided directly by individuals and groups other than the Proxy Group, and the Proxy Group relies on the accuracy of the information it receives from such parties.

Nonetheless, even though a potential conflict of interest between the Investment Manager or an affiliate (other than an Independent Affiliate as described above) and an issuer may exist: (1) the Investment Manager may vote in opposition to the recommendations of an issuer’s management even if contrary to the recommendations of a third-party proxy voting research provider; (2) if management has made no recommendations, the Proxy Group may defer to the voting instructions of the Investment Manager; and (3) with respect to shares held by Franklin Resources, Inc. or its affiliates for their own corporate accounts, such shares may be voted without regard to these conflict procedures.

Otherwise, in situations where a material conflict of interest is identified between the Investment Manager or one of its affiliates (other than Independent Affiliates) and an issuer, the Proxy Group may vote consistent with the voting recommendation of a Proxy

A-2


Service or send the proxy directly to the relevant Advisory Clients with the Investment Manager’s recommendation regarding the vote for approval.

Where the Proxy Group refers a matter to an Advisory Client, it may rely upon the instructions of a representative of the Advisory Client, such as the board of directors or trustees, a committee of the board, or an appointed delegate in the case of a U.S. registered investment company, a conducting officer in the case of a fund that has appointed FTIS S.à.r.l as its Management Company, the Independent Review Committee for Canadian investment funds, or a plan administrator in the case of an employee benefit plan. A quorum of the board of directors or trustees or of a committee of the board can be reached by a majority of members, or a majority of non-recused members. The Proxy Group may determine to vote all shares held by Advisory Clients of the Investment Manager and affiliated Investment Managers (other than Independent Affiliates) in accordance with the instructions of one or more of the Advisory Clients.

The Investment Manager may also decide whether to vote proxies for securities deemed to present conflicts of interest that are sold following a record date, but before a shareholder meeting date. The Investment Manager may consider various factors in deciding whether to vote such proxies, including the Investment Manager’s long-term view of the issuer’s securities for investment, or it may defer the decision to vote to the applicable Advisory Client. The Investment Manager also may be unable to vote, or choose not to vote, a proxy for securities deemed to present a conflict of interest for any of the reasons outlined in the first paragraph of the section of these policies entitled “Proxy Procedures.”

Where a material conflict of interest has been identified, but the items on which the Investment Manager’s vote recommendations differ from a Proxy Service relate specifically to (1) shareholder proposals regarding social or environmental issues, (2) “Other Business” without describing the matters that might be considered, or (3) items the Investment Manager wishes to vote in opposition to the recommendations of an issuer’s management, the Proxy Group may defer to the vote recommendations of the Investment Manager rather than sending the proxy directly to the relevant Advisory Clients for approval. To address certain affiliate conflict situations (e.g., under Section 12 of the 1940 Act), the Investment Manager will employ pass-through voting or mirror voting when required pursuant to a fund’s governing documents or applicable law.

Weight Given Management Recommendations

One of the primary factors the Investment Manager considers when determining the desirability of investing in a particular company is the quality and depth of that company's management. Accordingly, the recommendation of management on any issue is a factor that the Investment Manager considers in determining how proxies should be voted. However, the Investment Manager does not consider recommendations from management to be determinative of the Investment Manager's ultimate decision. Each issue is considered on its own merits, and the Investment Manager will base its decision on its own analysis, proxy guidelines, and its judgment as to what is the best interest of the client. The recommendation of management will be an input into this analysis.

Engagement with Issuers

The Investment Manager believes that engagement with issuers is important to good corporate governance and to assist in making proxy voting decisions. The Investment Manager may engage with issuers to discuss specific ballot items to be voted on in advance of an annual or special meeting to obtain further information or clarification on the proposals. The Investment Manager may also engage with management on a range of environmental, social or corporate governance (“ESG”) issues throughout the year. We take a proactive approach focusing on long-term, financially material ESG risks and opportunities that may affect a company’s valuation and ability to create value.

The Investment Manager may choose engagement as the preferred route to achieving change over voting for a proposal, which may be poorly written or overly burdensome, but where there is a legitimate issue being raised. In such cases, the Investment Manager will consider management’s response to such engagement in future votes.

THE PROXY GROUP

The Proxy Group is part of the Franklin Templeton Companies, LLC Legal Department and is overseen by legal counsel. Full- time staff members and support staff (which includes individuals that are employees of affiliates of Franklin Templeton Companies, LLC) are devoted to proxy voting administration and oversight and providing support and assistance where needed. On a daily basis, the Proxy Group will review each proxy upon receipt as well as any agendas, materials and recommendations that they receive from a Proxy Service or other sources. The Proxy Group maintains a record of all shareholder meetings that are scheduled for companies whose securities are held by the Investment Manager's managed funds and accounts. For each shareholder meeting, a member of the Proxy Group will consult with the research analyst that follows the security and provide the analyst with the agenda, analyses of one or more Proxy Services, recommendations and any other information provided to the Proxy Group.

A-3


Except in situations identified as presenting material conflicts of interest, the Investment Manager's research analyst and relevant portfolio manager(s), working with the Investment Manager’s ESG professionals and Chief Investment Officer, are responsible for making the final voting decision based on their review of the agenda, analyses of one or more Proxy Services, proxy statements, their knowledge of the company, the investment objectives of the client if known, and any other information publicly available.

In situations where the Investment Manager has not responded with vote recommendations to the Proxy Group by the deadline date, the Proxy Group may vote consistent with the vote recommendations of a Proxy Service. Except in cases where the Proxy Group is voting consistent with the voting recommendation of a Proxy Service, the Proxy Group must obtain voting instructions from the Investment Manager's research analyst, relevant portfolio manager(s), legal counsel and/or the Advisory Client prior to submitting the vote. In the event that an account holds a security that the Investment Manager did not purchase on its behalf, and the Investment Manager does not normally consider the security as a potential investment for other accounts, the Proxy Group may vote consistent with the voting recommendations of a Proxy Service or take no action on the meeting.

GENERAL PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES

The Investment Manager has adopted general guidelines for voting proxies as summarized below. In keeping with its fiduciary obligations to its Advisory Clients, the Investment Manager reviews all proposals, even those that may be considered to be routine matters. Although these guidelines are to be followed as a general policy, in all cases each proxy and proposal (including both management and shareholder proposals) will be considered based on the relevant facts and circumstances on a case-by- case basis. The Investment Manager may deviate from the general policies and procedures when it determines that the particular facts and circumstances warrant such deviation to protect the best interests of the Advisory Clients. These guidelines cannot provide an exhaustive list of all the issues that may arise, nor can the Investment Manager anticipate all future situations. Corporate governance issues are diverse and continually evolving and the Investment Manager devotes significant time and resources to monitor these changes.

THE INVESTMENT MANAGER’S PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PRINCIPLES

The Investment Manager's proxy voting positions have been developed based on years of experience with proxy voting and corporate governance issues. These principles have been reviewed by various members of the Investment Manager's organization, including portfolio management, legal counsel, and the Investment Manager's officers. Potential changes to the proxy voting policies are considered on an annual basis, and the Board of Directors of Franklin Templeton’s U.S.-registered investment companies will approve the proxy voting policies and procedures annually.

The following guidelines reflect what the Investment Manager believes to be good corporate governance and behavior:

Board of Directors: The election of directors and an independent board are key to good corporate governance. Directors are expected to be competent individuals and they should be accountable and responsive to shareholders. The Investment Manager supports an independent, diverse board of directors, and believes that key committees such as audit, nominating, and compensation committees should be comprised of independent directors. The Investment Manager supports boards with strong risk management oversight.

In evaluating its vote for directors, the Investment Manager will consider the individual’s qualifications, their ability to devote sufficient time to the Board, and their independence from management, as well as the overall composition of the Board. As it relates to the composition of a Board, the Investment Manager will consider current local market best practices and governance structures. Consideration will be given to the different qualifications and expertise of each director and the relevance of their experience to the company’s operations, how representative the Board is of the company’s operations, diversity of experience and backgrounds and other factors deemed relevant to that specific situation. Additionally, the Investment Manager will consider withholding votes from directors chairing or serving on committees which in its view have not been sufficiently responsive to shareholder concerns.

The Investment Manager will generally vote against management efforts to classify a board and will generally support proposals to declassify the board of directors. The Investment Manager will consider withholding votes from directors who have attended less than 75% of meetings without a valid reason. The Investment Manager will generally vote in favor of separating Chair and CEO positions, although consideration will be given to whether there is a strong Lead Independent Director as well as the company’s corporate governance performance generally. The Investment Manager evaluates proposals to restore or provide for cumulative voting on a case-by-case basis and considers such factors as corporate governance provisions as well as relative performance. The Investment Manager generally will support non-binding shareholder proposals to require a majority vote standard for the election of directors; however, if these proposals are binding, the Investment Manager will give careful review on a case-by-case

A-4


basis of the potential ramifications of such implementation. In control situations, the Investment Manager will consider the specific circumstances of the situation. In general, the Investment Manager will focus on the protection of minority shareholder rights, and the history of the exercise of control by the controlling shareholder(s). While the general proxy voting guidelines generally apply to control situations as well, the Investment Manager will be mindful of the specifics of the situation in evaluating any matter up for vote.

In the event of a contested election, the Investment Manager will review a number of factors in making a decision including management’s track record, the company’s financial performance, qualifications of candidates on both slates, and the strategic plan of the dissidents and/or shareholder nominees.

Ratification of Auditors: The Investment Manager will closely scrutinize the independence, role, and performance of auditors. On a case-by-case basis, The Investment Manager will examine proposals relating to non-audit relationships and non-audit fees. The Investment Manager will also consider, on a case-by-case basis, proposals to rotate auditors, and will vote against the ratification of auditors when there is clear and compelling evidence of a lack of independence, accounting irregularities or negligence attributable to the auditors. The Investment Manager may also consider whether the ratification of auditors has been approved by an appropriate audit committee that meets applicable composition and independence requirements.

Management & Director Compensation: A company's equity-based compensation plan should be in alignment with the shareholders' long-term interests. The Investment Manager believes that executive compensation should be directly linked to the performance of the company. The Investment Manager evaluates plans on a case-by-case basis by considering several factors to determine whether the plan is fair and reasonable. The Investment Manager reviews the ISS quantitative model utilized to assess such plans and/or the Glass Lewis evaluation of the plan. The Investment Manager will generally oppose plans that have the potential to be excessively dilutive and will almost always oppose plans that are structured to allow the repricing of underwater options, or plans that have an automatic share replenishment "evergreen" feature. The Investment Manager will generally support employee stock option plans in which the purchase price is at least 85% of fair market value, and when potential dilution is 10% or less.

Severance compensation arrangements will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, although the Investment Manager will generally oppose "golden parachutes" that are considered excessive or include tax gross-ups. The Investment Manager will normally support proposals that require that a percentage of directors' compensation be in the form of common stock, as it aligns their interests with those of the shareholders.

The Investment Manager will generally support holding say-on-pay votes annually. The Investment Manager will review non-binding say-on-pay proposals on a case-by-case basis. The Investment Manager will consider ISS’s and/or Glass Lewis’s analysis of the plan, the alignment of pay and performance, the overall structure of the plan, the metrics used to judge performance and management performance. This will all be considered in light of current best practice for the local market. The Investment Manager will generally seek strong disclosure of the basis and rationale for pay decisions. Any discretionary elements of the compensation plan will be reviewed on the basis of sound judgement. Repricing of compensation awards, retroactive adjustments favoring management, or discretion which is considered poorly exercised will lead to strong consideration of a vote against the compensation decision. The Investment Manager will generally support the inclusion of material, measurable, and clearly disclosed ESG metrics in executive remuneration

Anti-Takeover Mechanisms and Related Issues: The Investment Manager generally opposes anti-takeover measures since they tend to reduce shareholder rights. However, as with all proxy issues, the Investment Manager conducts an independent review of each anti-takeover proposal. On occasion, the Investment Manager may vote with management when the research analyst has concluded that the proposal is not onerous and would not harm Advisory Clients' interests as stockholders. The Investment Manager generally supports proposals that require shareholder rights plans ("poison pills") to be subject to a shareholder vote. The Investment Manager will closely evaluate shareholder rights' plans on a case-by-case basis to determine whether or not they warrant support. The Investment Manager will generally vote against any proposal to issue stock that has unequal or subordinate voting rights. In addition, the Investment Manager generally opposes any supermajority voting requirements as well as the payment of "greenmail." The Investment Manager usually supports "fair price" provisions and confidential voting. The Investment Manager will review a company’s proposal to reincorporate to a different state or country on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration financial benefits such as tax treatment as well as comparing corporate governance provisions and general business laws that may result from the change in domicile. The Investment Manager will generally support strong rights for shareholders as it relates to calling special meetings and acting by written consent.

Changes to Capital Structure: The Investment Manager realizes that a company's financing decisions have a significant impact on its shareholders, particularly when they involve the issuance of additional shares of common or preferred stock or the

A-5


assumption of additional debt. The Investment Manager will carefully review, on a case-by-case basis, proposals by companies to increase authorized shares and the purpose for the increase. The Investment Manager will generally not vote in favor of dual- class capital structures to increase the number of authorized shares where that class of stock would have superior voting rights. The Investment Manager will generally vote in favor of the issuance of preferred stock in cases where the company specifies the voting, dividend, conversion and other rights of such stock and the terms of the preferred stock issuance are deemed reasonable. The Investment Manager will review proposals seeking preemptive rights on a case-by-case basis.

Mergers and Corporate Restructuring: Mergers and acquisitions will be subject to careful review by the research analyst to determine whether they would be beneficial to shareholders. The Investment Manager will analyze various economic and strategic factors in making the final decision on a merger or acquisition. Corporate restructuring proposals are also subject to a thorough examination on a case-by-case basis.

Environmental and Social Issues: The Investment Manager believes that environmental and social issues can have significant impact on a company’s performance over time. Companies may face significant financial, legal and reputational risks resulting from poor environmental and social practices, or negligent oversight of environmental and social issues. Appropriate oversight and handling of such issues can benefit corporate culture and performance over time. More information on the Investment Manager’s approach to incorporation of ESG issues into its investments can be found at https://www.franklintempleton.com/investor/our-firm/sustainable-investing.

The Investment Manager believes that corporations have a responsibility to provide strong oversight of ESG issues, both at the Board and management level, and that the oversight process should be explained clearly to shareholders. The Investment Manager also believes that corporations should provide strong disclosures of their performance on relevant ESG metrics, which should be based upon one or more of the available reporting frameworks, such as SASB, TCFD, CDP, CDSB, or GRI, but the Investment Manager will consider the overall quality and level of disclosure provided, as well as that planned to be provided, in considering its support for any proposal advocating a specific type of disclosure or report. It is important that shareholders have sufficient information to assess the ESG-related risks and opportunities of the company, and the management of those risks. The Investment Manager may hold directors accountable in situations where disclosures or business practices are deemed inadequate.

Climate Change/Net Zero: The Investment Manager recognizes the impact of climate change and the need for society to accelerate the transition toward global net zero greenhouse gas emissions (“Net Zero”). The Investment Manager believes that corporations have a responsibility to understand and manage the risks associated with the potential for changing regulatory environments and societal preferences as a result of the efforts to accelerate toward Net Zero. The Investment Manager further believes that corporations should take appropriate steps, consistent with the interests of shareholders, to position their business for a Net Zero future. The Investment Manager also recognizes that a Net Zero future does not require every individual asset type to be Net Zero, and that the path to achieve Net Zero is uncertain. Accordingly, the Investment Manager will consider each proposal relating to carbon emissions or Net Zero on its own merits, in light of the relevant regulatory environment(s) and economic impact on the business. The Investment Manager will consider such proposals on the basis of seeking to ensure that companies are exercising strong oversight, considering and disclosing relevant information, and taking reasonable, economic steps to position the business for a Net Zero future.

Political Lobbying: The Investment Manager believes that companies should have strong oversight of lobbying spending and political contributions, with the oversight process clearly explained to shareholders. The Investment Manager believes such spending and contributions should be thoroughly disclosed and readily accessible. The Investment Manager believes all lobbying spending should be consistent with the company’s stated strategies and policies. The Investment Manager will consider any shareholder proposals related to lobbying and political contributions based on the specifics of the situation, with these guidelines in mind.

Human Capital Management & Diversity: The Investment Manager will generally support reasonable shareholder resolutions requesting disclosure of diversity data and targets and disclosure on gender pay gaps within companies, while considering existing policies and procedures of the company, local market norms, and whether the proposed information is useful to shareholders.

Governance Matters: The Investment Manager generally supports the right of shareholders to call special meetings and act by written consent. However, the Investment Manager will review such shareholder proposals on a case-by-case basis in an effort to ensure that such proposals do not disrupt the course of business or require a disproportionate or inappropriate use of company resources.

Proxy Access: The Investment Manager will consider shareholder proxy access proposals on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as the size of the company, ownership thresholds and holding periods, nomination limits (e.g., number of

A-6


candidates that can be nominated), the responsiveness of management, the intentions of the shareholder proponent, company performance, and shareholder base.

Global Corporate Governance: The Investment Manager manages investments in countries worldwide. Many of the tenets discussed above generally apply to the Investment Manager's proxy voting decisions around the world, subject to local market best practices. Principles of good corporate governance may vary by country, given the constraints of a country’s laws and acceptable practices in the markets. As a result, it is on occasion difficult to apply a consistent set of governance practices to all issuers. As experienced money managers, the Investment Manager's analysts are skilled in understanding the complexities of the regions in which they specialize and are trained to analyze proxy issues germane to their regions.

PROXY PROCEDURES

The Proxy Group is fully cognizant of its responsibility to process proxies and maintain proxy records as may be required by relevant rules and regulations. In addition, the Investment Manager understands its fiduciary duty to vote proxies and that proxy voting decisions may affect the value of shareholdings. Therefore, the Investment Manager will generally attempt to process every proxy it receives for all domestic and foreign securities. However, there may be situations in which the Investment Manager may be unable to successfully vote a proxy, or may choose not to vote a proxy, such as where: (i) a proxy ballot was not received from the custodian bank; (ii) a meeting notice was received too late; (iii) there are fees imposed upon the exercise of a vote and it is determined that such fees outweigh the benefit of voting; (iv) there are legal encumbrances to voting, including blocking restrictions in certain markets that preclude the ability to dispose of a security if the Investment Manager votes a proxy or where the Investment Manager is prohibited from voting by applicable law, economic or other sanctions, or other regulatory or market requirements, including but not limited to, effective Powers of Attorney; (v) additional documentation or the disclosure of beneficial owner details is required; (vi) the Investment Manager held shares on the record date but has sold them prior to the meeting date; (vii) the Advisory Client held shares on the record date, but the Advisory Client closed the account prior to the meeting date; (viii) a proxy voting service is not offered by the custodian in the market; (ix) due to either system error or human error, the Investment Manager’s intended vote is not correctly submitted; (x) the Investment Manager believes it is not in the best interest of the Advisory Client to vote the proxy for any other reason not enumerated herein; or (xi) a security is subject to a securities lending or similar program that has transferred legal title to the security to another person.

Rejected Votes

Even if the Investment Manager uses reasonable efforts to vote a proxy on behalf of its Advisory Clients, such vote or proxy may be rejected because of (a) operational or procedural issues experienced by one or more third parties involved in voting proxies in such jurisdictions; (b) changes in the process or agenda for the meeting by the issuer for which the Investment Manager does not have sufficient notice; or (c) the exercise by the issuer of its discretion to reject the vote of the Investment Manager. In addition, despite the best efforts of the Proxy Group and its agents, there may be situations where the Investment Manager’s votes are not received, or properly tabulated, by an issuer or the issuer’s agent.

Securities on Loan

The Investment Manager or its affiliates may, on behalf of one or more of the proprietary registered investment companies advised by the Investment Manager or its affiliates, make efforts to recall any security on loan where the Investment Manager or its affiliates (a) learn of a vote on an event that may materially affect a security on loan and (b) determine that it is in the best interests of such proprietary registered investment companies to recall the security for voting purposes. The ability to timely recall shares is not entirely within the control of the Investment Manager. Under certain circumstances, the recall of shares in time for such shares to be voted may not be possible due to applicable proxy voting record dates or other administrative considerations.

Split Voting