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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund III
Prospectus
FUND NAME
TICKER SYMBOL
EXCHANGE
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF
HUSV
NYSE Arca
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International
ETF
HDMV
NYSE Arca
Each of the funds listed above (each a “Fund, and collectively, the “Funds”) lists and principally trades its shares on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca" or the “Exchange”). Market prices may differ to some degree from the net asset value of the shares. Unlike mutual funds, each Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value, only in large specified blocks of shares called "Creation Units."
Each Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund III (the “Trust”) and an actively managed exchange-traded fund organized as a separate series of a registered management investment company.
Except when aggregated in Creation Units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the Funds.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
NOT FDIC INSURED MAY LOSE VALUE NO BANK GUARANTEE
December 1, 2021


Summary Information

First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (HUSV)
Investment Objective
The investment objective of First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (the “Fund”) is to provide capital appreciation.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. Investors may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
None
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees
0.70%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees
0.00%
Other Expenses
0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses
0.70%
Example
The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account customary brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling shares of the Fund in the secondary market.
The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then hold or sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain at current levels. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year
3 Years
5 Years
10 Years
$72
$224
$390
$871
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 152% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
Under normal market conditions, the Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in common stocks of domestic companies listed and traded on U.S. national securities exchanges that Horizon Investments, LLC (“Horizon” or the “Sub-Advisor”) believes exhibit low future expected volatility. The goal of this strategy is to capture upside price movements in rising markets and reduce downside risk when markets decline. To implement this strategy, the Sub-Advisor employs volatility forecasting models to forecast future expected volatility. The strategy is largely quantitative and rules-based, but also includes multiple parameters over which the Sub-Advisor may exercise discretion (including, but not limited to, the number of holdings and the weightings of particular holdings) in connection with its active management of the Fund.
To begin, the Sub-Advisor gathers pricing and generates return data for the starting universe, which is comprised of common stocks of large cap domestic companies listed and traded on U.S. national securities exchanges. The Sub-Advisor then conducts
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (HUSV)
volatility forecasts for securities comprising the starting universe and ranks them from low to high based on their volatility forecasts. The Sub-Advisor targets 50-200 securities for inclusion in the portfolio based on future expected volatility. Once the final portfolio is selected, the Sub-Advisor gives larger weights to securities with lower future expected volatility and has the ability to adjust how aggressive the weighting scheme is depending on market conditions. The Sub-Advisor periodically rebalances and reallocates the portfolio using this methodology, which may result in higher levels of portfolio turnover.
Principal Risks
You could lose money by investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests or the Fund’s third-party service providers, such as its administrator, transfer agent, custodian, or sub-advisor, as applicable, can also subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches. Although the Fund has established risk management systems designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially because the Fund does not directly control the cyber security systems of issuers or third-party service providers.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting an issuer occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market.
INDEX OR MODEL CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking exchange-traded funds or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund’s shares, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity in the Fund’s shares.
LOW VOLATILITY RISK. Although subject to the risks of common stocks, low volatility stocks are seen as having a lower risk profile than the overall markets. However, a portfolio comprised of low volatility stocks may not produce investment exposure that has lower variability to changes in such stocks’ price levels. Low volatility stocks are likely to underperform the broader market during periods of rapidly rising stock prices.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective(s).
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (HUSV)
their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. For example, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of reasonably normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease. As this global pandemic illustrated, such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. These events also adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets. Any of such circumstances could have a materially negative impact on the value of the Fund’s shares and result in increased market volatility. During any such events, the Fund’s shares may trade at increased premiums or discounts to their net asset value.
OPERATIONAL RISK. The Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund relies on third-parties for a range of services, including custody. Any delay or failure relating to engaging or maintaining such service providers may affect the Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective. Although the Fund and the Fund's investment advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER RISK. High portfolio turnover may result in the Fund paying higher levels of transaction costs and may generate greater tax liabilities for shareholders. Portfolio turnover risk may cause the Fund’s performance to be less than expected.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. The Fund’s investment advisor cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), the Fund’s investment advisor believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained. During stressed market conditions, the market for the Fund’s shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the market for the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which could in turn lead to differences between the market price of the Fund’s shares and their net asset value.
SIGNIFICANT EXPOSURE RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a significant percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A significant exposure makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater market risk than a fund that is more broadly diversified.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Trading in Fund shares on the Exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in Fund shares on the Exchange is subject
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (HUSV)
to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small, the Fund does not have enough shareholders, or if the Fund is unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders.
Annual Total Return
The bar chart and table below illustrate the annual calendar year returns of the Fund based on net asset value as well as the average annual Fund returns. The bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year-to-year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns based on net asset value compared to those of a broad-based security market index. See “Total Return Information” for additional performance information regarding the Fund. The Fund’s performance information is accessible on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF
Calendar Year Total Returns as of 12/31 (1)
(1)
The Fund's calendar year-to-date total return based on net asset value for the period 12/31/20 to 09/30/21 was 11.46%.
During the periods shown in the chart above:
Best Quarter
 
Worst Quarter
 
17.73%
June 30, 2020
-21.96%
March 31, 2020
The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.
Returns before taxes do not reflect the effects of any income or capital gains taxes. All after-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of any state or local tax. Returns after taxes on distributions reflect the taxed return on the payment of dividends and capital gains. Returns after taxes on distributions and sale of shares assume you sold your shares at period end, and, therefore, are also adjusted for any capital gains or losses incurred. Returns for the market indices do not include expenses, which are deducted from Fund returns, or taxes.
Your own actual after-tax returns will depend on your specific tax situation and may differ from what is shown here. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold Fund shares in tax-deferred accounts such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or employee-sponsored retirement plans.
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (HUSV)
Average Annual Total Returns for the Periods Ended December 31, 2020
 
1 Year
Since
Inception
Inception
Date
Return Before Taxes
5.34%
10.40%
8/24/2016
Return After Taxes on Distributions
4.73%
9.77%
 
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares
3.12%
7.89%
 
S&P 500® Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)
18.40%
15.61%
 
Management
Investment Advisor
First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”)
Investment Sub-Advisor
Horizon Investments, LLC ("Horizon" or the “Sub-Advisor”)
Portfolio Managers
The following persons serve as portfolio managers of the Fund:
Michael Dickson, PhD, Head of Research and Product Development and Portfolio Manager of Horizon
Scott Ladner, Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager of Horizon
Steven Clark, PhD, Portfolio Manager of Horizon
The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each portfolio manager has served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2016.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in large blocks of shares called “Creation Units.” Individual shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold on the secondary market through a broker-dealer. Since shares of the Fund trade on securities exchanges in the secondary market at their market price rather than their net asset value, the Fund’s shares may trade at a price greater than (premium) or less than (discount) the Fund’s net asset value. An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”). Recent information, including the Fund’s net asset value, market price, premiums and discounts, bid-ask spreads and the median bid-ask spread for the Fund’s most recent fiscal year, is available online at https://www.ftportfolios.com/Retail/etf/home.aspx.
Tax Information
The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions on shares held in a tax-deferred account, while not immediately taxable, will be subject to tax when the shares are no longer held in a tax-deferred account.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), First Trust and First Trust Portfolios L.P., the Fund's distributor, may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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Summary Information

First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
Investment Objective
The investment objective of First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (the “Fund”) is to provide capital appreciation.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. Investors may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
None
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees
0.80%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees
0.00%
Other Expenses
0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses
0.80%
Example
The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account customary brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling shares of the Fund in the secondary market.
The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then hold or sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain at current levels. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year
3 Years
5 Years
10 Years
$82
$255
$444
$990
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 127% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
Under normal market conditions, the Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in common stocks and depositary receipts of developed market companies listed and traded on non-U.S. exchanges that Horizon Investments, LLC (“Horizon” or the “Sub-Advisor”) believes exhibit low future expected volatility. The term “developed market companies” means those companies (i) whose securities are traded principally on a stock exchange in a developed market country, (ii) with a primary business office in a developed market country, or (iii) that have at least 50% of their assets in, or derive at least 50% of their revenues or profits from, a developed market country. The Sub-Advisor considers Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States to be developed market countries. However, this list may change in response to market and
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
geopolitical events. Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest in at least three countries and at least 40% of its net assets in countries other than the United States.
The goal of this strategy is to capture upside price movements in rising markets and reduce downside risk when markets decline. To implement this strategy, in selecting securities for the Fund from a portfolio of eligible securities, the Sub-Advisor employs volatility forecasting models to forecast future expected volatility. The strategy is largely quantitative and rules-based, but also includes multiple parameters over which the Sub-Advisor may exercise discretion (including, but not limited to, the number of holdings and the weightings of particular holdings) in connection with its active management of the Fund.
To begin, the Sub-Advisor gathers pricing and generates return data for the starting universe, which is comprised of common stocks and depositary receipts of large and mid-cap securities across developed markets, which securities have been pre-screened by the Sub-Advisor to ensure they are liquid and accessible for trading. The Sub-Advisor then conducts volatility forecasts for securities comprising the starting universe and ranks them from low to high based on their volatility forecasts. The Sub-Advisor targets 100-400 securities for inclusion in the portfolio based on future expected volatility. Once the final portfolio is selected, the Sub-Advisor measures co-movements of the selected securities using statistical techniques designed to reduce estimation error. In the final portfolio construction, the Sub-Advisor gives larger weights to securities with lower future expected volatility and has the ability to adjust how aggressive the weighting scheme is depending on market conditions. The Sub-Advisor periodically rebalances and reallocates the portfolio using this methodology, which may result in higher levels of portfolio turnover.
As of October 29, 2021, the Fund had significant investments in financials companies, companies operating in Asia and companies operating in Europe, although this may change from time to time. To the extent the Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in a given jurisdiction or investment sector, the Fund may be exposed to the risks associated with that jurisdiction or investment sector.
Principal Risks
You could lose money by investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
ASIA RISK. The Fund is subject to certain risks specifically associated with investments in the securities of Asian issuers. Many Asian economies have experienced rapid growth and industrialization, and there is no assurance that this growth rate will be maintained. Some Asian economies are highly dependent on trade, and economic conditions in other countries within and outside Asia can impact these economies. Certain of these economies may be adversely affected by trade or policy disputes with its major trade partners. There is also a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries. Certain Asian countries have experienced and may in the future experience expropriation and nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, currency manipulation, political instability, armed conflict and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic, socio-economic and/or political unrest. In particular, escalated tensions involving North Korea and any outbreak of hostilities involving North Korea could have a severe adverse effect on Asian economies. Governments of certain Asian countries have exercised, and continue to exercise, substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. In certain cases, the government owns or controls many companies, including the largest in the country. Accordingly, government actions could have a significant effect on the issuers of the Fund’s securities or on economic conditions generally. Recent developments in relations between the U.S. and China have heightened concerns of increased tariffs and restrictions on trade between the two countries. An increase in tariffs or trade restrictions, or even the threat of such developments, could lead to a significant reduction in international trade, which could have a negative impact on the economy of Asian countries and a commensurately negative impact on the Fund.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
CURRENCY RISK. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, and therefore the value of such investments in the Fund’s portfolio. The Fund’s net asset value could decline if a currency to
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
which the Fund has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. As a result, the value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests or the Fund’s third-party service providers, such as its administrator, transfer agent, custodian, or sub-advisor, as applicable, can also subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches. Although the Fund has established risk management systems designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially because the Fund does not directly control the cyber security systems of issuers or third-party service providers.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting an issuer occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market.
EUROPE RISK. The Fund is subject to certain risks specifically associated with investments in the securities of European issuers. Political or economic disruptions in European countries, even in countries in which the Fund is not invested, may adversely affect security values and thus the Fund’s holdings. A significant number of countries in Europe are member states in the European Union (the “EU”), and the member states no longer control their own monetary policies by directing independent interest rates for their currencies. In these member states, the authority to direct monetary policies, including money supply and official interest rates for the Euro, is exercised by the European Central Bank. In a 2016 referendum, the United Kingdom elected to withdraw from the EU (“Brexit”). After years of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU, a withdrawal agreement was reached whereby the United Kingdom formally left the EU. As the second largest economy among EU members, the implications of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal are difficult to gauge and cannot be fully known. Its departure may negatively impact the EU and Europe as a whole by causing volatility within the EU, triggering prolonged economic downturns in certain European countries or sparking additional member states to contemplate departing the EU (thereby perpetuating political instability in the region).
FINANCIAL COMPANIES RISK. Financial companies, such as retail and commercial banks, insurance companies and financial services companies, are especially subject to the adverse effects of economic recession, currency exchange rates, extensive government regulation, decreases in the availability of capital, volatile interest rates, portfolio concentrations in geographic markets, industries or products (such as commercial and residential real estate loans), competition from new entrants and blurred distinctions in their fields of business.
INDEX OR MODEL CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking exchange-traded funds or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund’s shares, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity in the Fund’s shares.
JAPAN RISK. The Fund is subject to certain risks specifically associated with investments in the securities of Japanese issuers. The Japanese economy may be subject to considerable degrees of economic, political and social instability, which could have a negative impact on Japanese securities. Japan’s economy is characterized by government intervention and protectionism, reliance on oil imports, an unstable financial services sector and relatively high unemployment. Since 2000, Japan has experienced relatively low economic growth, and it may remain low in the future. Its economy is heavily dependent on international trade and has been adversely affected by trade tariffs and competition from emerging economies. As such,
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
economic growth is heavily dependent on continued growth in international trade, relatively low commodities prices, government support of the financial services sector and other government policies. Any changes or trends in these economic factors could have a significant impact on Japanese markets overall and may negatively affect the Fund’s investments. Japan’s economy and equity market also share a strong correlation with U.S. markets and the Japanese economy may be affected by economic problems in the U.S. Despite a strengthening in the economic relationship between Japan and China, the countries’ political relationship has at times been strained. Should political tension increase, it could adversely affect the economy and destabilize the region as a whole. Additionally, escalated tensions involving North Korea and any outbreak of hostilities involving North Korea could have a severe adverse effect on Japan’s economy. Japan’s geography also subjects it to an increased risk of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons and tsunamis, all of which could negatively impact the Fund’s investments.
LOW VOLATILITY RISK. Although subject to the risks of common stocks, low volatility stocks are seen as having a lower risk profile than the overall markets. However, a portfolio comprised of low volatility stocks may not produce investment exposure that has lower variability to changes in such stocks’ price levels. Low volatility stocks are likely to underperform the broader market during periods of rapidly rising stock prices.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective(s).
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. For example, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of reasonably normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease. As this global pandemic illustrated, such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. These events also adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets. Any of such circumstances could have a materially negative impact on the value of the Fund’s shares and result in increased market volatility. During any such events, the Fund’s shares may trade at increased premiums or discounts to their net asset value.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. Non-U.S. securities are subject to higher volatility than securities of domestic issuers due to possible adverse political, social or economic developments, restrictions on foreign investment or exchange of securities, capital controls, lack of liquidity, currency exchange rates, excessive taxation, government seizure of assets, the imposition of sanctions by foreign governments, different legal or accounting standards, and less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges in foreign countries.
OPERATIONAL RISK. The Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund relies on third-parties for a range of services, including custody. Any delay or failure relating to engaging or maintaining such service providers may affect the Fund’s ability to meet
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
its investment objective. Although the Fund and the Fund's investment advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER RISK. High portfolio turnover may result in the Fund paying higher levels of transaction costs and may generate greater tax liabilities for shareholders. Portfolio turnover risk may cause the Fund’s performance to be less than expected.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. The Fund’s investment advisor cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), the Fund’s investment advisor believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained. During stressed market conditions, the market for the Fund’s shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the market for the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which could in turn lead to differences between the market price of the Fund’s shares and their net asset value.
SIGNIFICANT EXPOSURE RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a significant percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A significant exposure makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater market risk than a fund that is more broadly diversified.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments, and their securities may be less liquid and may experience greater price volatility than larger, more established companies as a result of several factors, including limited trading volumes, fewer products or financial resources, management inexperience and less publicly available information. Accordingly, such companies are generally subject to greater market risk than larger, more established companies.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Trading in Fund shares on the Exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in Fund shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small, the Fund does not have enough shareholders, or if the Fund is unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders.
Annual Total Return
The bar chart and table below illustrate the annual calendar year returns of the Fund based on net asset value as well as the average annual Fund returns. The bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year-to-year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns based on net asset value compared to those of a broad-based security market index. See “Total Return Information” for additional performance information regarding the Fund. The Fund’s performance information is accessible on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF
Calendar Year Total Returns as of 12/31 (1)
(1)
The Fund's calendar year-to-date total return based on net asset value for the period 12/31/20 to 09/30/21 was 3.33%.
During the periods shown in the chart above:
Best Quarter
 
Worst Quarter
 
8.98%
June 30, 2020
-24.06%
March 31, 2020
The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.
Returns before taxes do not reflect the effects of any income or capital gains taxes. All after-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of any state or local tax. Returns after taxes on distributions reflect the taxed return on the payment of dividends and capital gains. Returns after taxes on distributions and sale of shares assume you sold your shares at period end, and, therefore, are also adjusted for any capital gains or losses incurred. Returns for the market indices do not include expenses, which are deducted from Fund returns, or taxes.
Your own actual after-tax returns will depend on your specific tax situation and may differ from what is shown here. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold Fund shares in tax-deferred accounts such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or employee-sponsored retirement plans.
Average Annual Total Returns for the Periods Ended December 31, 2020
 
1 Year
Since
Inception
Inception
Date
Return Before Taxes
-8.52%
3.33%
8/24/2016
Return After Taxes on Distributions
-9.07%
2.21%
 
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares
-5.06%
2.09%
 
MSCI EAFE Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)
7.82%
8.14%
 
Management
Investment Advisor
First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”)
Investment Sub-Advisor
Horizon Investments, LLC ("Horizon" or the “Sub-Advisor”)
Portfolio Managers
The following persons serve as portfolio managers of the Fund:
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
Michael Dickson, PhD, Head of Research and Product Development and Portfolio Manager of Horizon
Scott Ladner, Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager of Horizon
Steven Clark, PhD, Portfolio Manager of Horizon
The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each portfolio manager has served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2016.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in large blocks of shares called “Creation Units.” Individual shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold on the secondary market through a broker-dealer. Since shares of the Fund trade on securities exchanges in the secondary market at their market price rather than their net asset value, the Fund’s shares may trade at a price greater than (premium) or less than (discount) the Fund’s net asset value. An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”). Recent information, including the Fund’s net asset value, market price, premiums and discounts, bid-ask spreads and the median bid-ask spread for the Fund’s most recent fiscal year, is available online at https://www.ftportfolios.com/Retail/etf/home.aspx.
Tax Information
The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions on shares held in a tax-deferred account, while not immediately taxable, will be subject to tax when the shares are no longer held in a tax-deferred account.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), First Trust and First Trust Portfolios L.P., the Fund's distributor, may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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Additional Information on the Funds' Investment Objectives and Strategies
Each Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund III and is regulated as an “investment company” under the 1940 Act. Each Fund is actively managed and does not seek to track the performance of an index. Each Fund’s investment objective is fundamental and may not be changed without approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Unless an investment policy is identified as being fundamental, all investment policies included in this prospectus and the Funds' Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) without shareholder approval. If there is a material change to a Fund’s principal investment strategies, you should consider whether the Fund remains an appropriate investment for you. There is no guarantee that a Fund will achieve its investment objective.
While it is not expected that the Funds will invest in the securities of other investment companies, any such investments would be subject to limitations imposed by the 1940 Act and the related rules and interpretations. Each Fund has adopted a policy that it will not invest in other investment companies in excess of 1940 Act limits in reliance on Sections 12(d)(1)(F) or 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act.
Fund Investments
Principal Investments
Common Stock
The Funds invest in common stock, which represents an equity ownership interests in issuers. Holders of common stock are entitled to the income and increase in the value of the assets and business of the issuers after all debt obligations and obligations to preferred stockholders are satisfied.
Non-Principal Investments
Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments
Normally, the Funds invest substantially all of their assets to meet their objective. Each Fund may invest the remainder of its assets in securities with maturities of less than one year or cash equivalents, or it may hold cash. Cash equivalents include the following: (i) short-term obligations issued by the U.S. Government; (ii) negotiable certificates of deposit, fixed time deposits, and bankers’ acceptances of U.S. and foreign banks and similar institutions; (iii) commercial paper rated at the date of purchase “Prime-1” by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. or “A-1+” or “A-1” by Standard & Poor’s or, if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Adviser or Sub-Advisor; (iv) repurchase agreements; and (v) money market mutual funds. The percentage of a Fund invested in such holdings varies and depends on several factors, including market conditions. For temporary defensive purposes and during periods of high cash inflows or outflows, a Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies and invest part or all of its assets in these securities or it may hold cash. During such periods, a Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective. A Fund may adopt a defensive strategy when the portfolio managers believe securities in which such Fund normally invests have elevated risks due to political or economic factors and in other extraordinarycircumstances. For more information on eligible short term investments, see the SAI.
Depositary Receipts
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF may invest in depositary receipts. Depositary receipts are usually in the form of American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) or European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”). ADRs are U.S. dollar-denominated receipts representing shares of foreign-based corporations. ADRs are issued by U.S. banks or trust companies and entitle the holder to all dividends and capital gains that are paid out on the underlying foreign shares. GDRs and EDRs are similar to ADRs but are shares of foreign-based corporations generally issued by international banks in one or more markets around the world.
Illiquid Investments
The Funds may invest up to 15% of their net assets in securities and other instruments that are, at the time of investment, illiquid (determined using the Securities and Exchange Commission's standard applicable to investment companies, i.e., 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). For this purpose, illiquid investments may include, but are not limited to, certain restricted securities (securities the disposition of which is restricted
15

under the federal securities laws). Certain securities that may only be sold pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act, that are deemed to be illiquid, and certain repurchase agreements, among others.
Real Estate Investment Trusts
A Fund may invest in real estate investment trusts ("REITs").  REITs are financial vehicles that pool investors’ capital to purchase or finance real estate. REITs are generally classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs or a combination of equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling properties that have appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income from the collection of interest payments. REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with the applicable tax requirements.
Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings
Each Fund’s portfolio holdings are available on the Funds' website at www.ftportfolios.com. A description of the policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of each Fund's portfolio securities is included in the Funds' SAI, which is also available on the Funds' website.
Risks of Investing in the Funds
Risk is inherent in all investing. Investing in a Fund involves risk, including the risk that you may lose all or part of your investment. There can be no assurance that a Fund will meet its stated objective. Before you invest, you should consider the following disclosure pertaining to the Principal Risks set forth above as well as additional Non-Principal Risks set forth below in this prospectus. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Principal Risks
ASIA RISK. First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF invests significantly in the securities of Asian issuers. Such investments subject the Fund to certain risks associated specifically with investments in securities of Asian issuers, including distinct legal, regulatory, political and economic risks. Many Asian economies have experienced rapid growth and industrialization, and there is no assurance that this growth rate will be maintained. Some Asian economies are highly dependent on trade, and economic conditions in other countries within and outside Asia can impact these economies. Certain of these economies may be adversely affected by trade or policy disputes with its major trade partners. There is also a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries. Certain Asian countries have experienced and may in the future experience expropriation and nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, currency manipulation, political instability, armed conflict and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic, socio-economic and/or political unrest. In particular, escalated tensions involving North Korea and any outbreak of hostilities involving North Korea could have a severe adverse effect on Asian economies. Governments of certain Asian countries have exercised, and continue to exercise, substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. In certain cases, the government owns or controls many companies, including the largest in the country. Accordingly, government actions could have a significant effect on the issuers of the Fund’s securities or on economic conditions generally. Issuers in Asia may not be subject to the same accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards as U.S. companies and if their securities are not listed on a U.S. exchange, they may not be subject to the same corporate governance standards as U.S. issuers. In addition, satisfactory custodial services for investment securities may not be available in some Asia countries, which may result in the Fund incurring additional costs and delays in providing transportation and custody services for such securities outside such countries. Recent developments in relations between the U.S. and China have heightened concerns of increased tariffs and restrictions on trade between the two countries. An increase in tariffs or trade restrictions, or even the threat of such developments, could lead to a significant reduction in international trade, which could have a negative impact on the economy of Asian countries and a commensurately negative impact on the Fund.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with a Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for a Fund. Although participants are not obligated to make a market in a Fund’s shares or submit purchase and redemption orders for creation units. To the extent that these institutions exit the business, reduce their role or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, a Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
CURRENCY RISK. First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF invests in securities denominated in a non-U.S. currency. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency,
16

the value of dividends and interest earned from such securities and gains and losses realized on the sale of such securities. The Fund’s net asset value could decline if a currency to which the Fund has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. Changes in currency exchange rates may affect the Fund's net asset value, the value of dividends and interest earned, and gains and losses realized on the sale of securities. An increase in the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies may cause the value of the Fund to decline. Certain non-U.S. currencies may be particularly volatile, and non-U.S. governments may intervene in the currency markets, causing a decline in value or liquidity in the Fund's non-U.S. holdings whose value is tied to the affected non-U.S. currency. Additionally, the prices of non-U.S. securities that are traded in U.S. dollars are often indirectly influenced by currency fluctuations.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Funds are susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause a Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause a Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. These risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the systems of the Advisor, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, sub-advisors, index providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, authorized participants or the issuers of securities in which a Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with a Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value; disclosure of confidential trading information; impediments to trading; submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of a Fund or its service providers to transact business; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; or additional compliance costs. Substantial costs may be incurred by a Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Funds have established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful. Furthermore, the Funds cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Funds, issuers in which the Funds invest, market makers or authorized participants. However, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, and the Funds and their shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of a Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors' perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market. Additionally, holders of an issuer's common stock may be subject to greater risks than holders of its preferred stock and debt securities because common stockholders' claims are subordinated to those of holders of preferred stocks and debt securities upon the bankruptcy of an issuer.
EUROPE RISK. First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF invests significantly in the securities of European issuers. Therefore, in addition to the risks associated with investments in non-U.S. securities generally, the Fund is subject to certain risks associated specifically with investments in securities of European issuers. Political or economic disruptions in European countries, even in countries in which the Fund is not invested, may adversely affect security values and thus the Fund’s holdings. A significant number of countries in Europe are member states in the EU, and the member states no longer control their own monetary policies by directing independent interest rates for their currencies. In these member states, the authority to direct monetary policies, including money supply and official interest rates for the Euro, is exercised by the European Central Bank. In a 2016 referendum, the United Kingdom elected to withdraw from the EU. After years of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU, a withdrawal agreement was reached whereby the United Kingdom formally left the EU. As the second largest economy among EU members, the implications of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal are difficult to gauge and cannot be fully known. Trade between the United Kingdom and the EU is highly integrated through supply chains and trade in services, as well as through multinational companies. The United Kingdom’s departure may negatively impact the EU and Europe as a whole by causing volatility within the EU, triggering prolonged economic downturns in certain
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European countries or sparking additional member states to contemplate departing the EU (thereby perpetuating political instability in the region).
FINANCIAL COMPANIES RISK. Financial companies are subject to extensive governmental regulation and intervention, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge, the amount and types of capital they must maintain and, potentially, their size. Governmental regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for financial companies, including effects not intended by such regulation. The impact of more stringent capital requirements, or recent or future regulation in various countries, on any individual financial company or on financial companies as a whole cannot be predicted. Certain risks may impact the value of investments in financial companies more severely than those of investments in other issuers, including the risks associated with companies that operate with substantial financial leverage. Financial companies may also be adversely affected by volatility in interest rates, loan losses and other customer defaults, decreases in the availability of money or asset valuations, credit rating downgrades and adverse conditions in other related markets. Insurance companies in particular may be subject to severe price competition and/or rate regulation, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability. Financial companies are also a target for cyber attacks and may experience technology malfunctions and disruptions as a result.
INDEX OR MODEL CONSTITUENT RISK. Each Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, a Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking ETFs or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving a Fund, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund’s shares. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for a Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, a Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity. To the extent buying or selling activity increases, a Fund can be exposed to increased brokerage costs and adverse tax consequences and the market price of the Fund can be negatively affected.
JAPAN RISK. First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF invests significantly in the securities of Japanese issuers. Therefore, in addition to the risks associated with investments in non-U.S. securities generally, the Fund is subject to certain risks associated specifically with investments in securities of Japanese issuers. The Japanese economy may be subject to considerable degrees of economic, political and social instability, which could have a negative impact on Japanese securities. Japan’s economy is characterized by government intervention and protectionism, reliance on oil imports, an unstable financial services sector, relatively high unemployment and an aging workforce. Since 2000, Japan has experienced relatively low economic growth, and it may remain low in the future. Its economy is heavily dependent on international trade and has been adversely affected by trade tariffs and competition from emerging economies. As such, economic growth is heavily dependent on continued growth in international trade, relatively low commodities prices, government support of the financial services sector and other government policies. Any changes or trends in these economic factors could have a significant impact on Japan’s markets overall and may negatively affect the Fund’s investments. Japan’s economy and equity market also share a strong correlation with U.S. markets and the Japanese economy may be affected by economic problems in the United States. Despite a strengthening in the economic relationship between Japan and China, the countries’ political relationship has at times been strained. Should political tension increase, it could adversely affect the economy and destabilize the region as a whole. Additionally, escalated tensions involving North Korea and any outbreak of hostilities involving North Korea could have a severe adverse effect on Japan’s economy. Japan’s geography also subjects it to an increased risk of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons and tsunamis, all of which could negatively impact the Fund’s investments.
LOW VOLATILITY RISK. The Funds seek to invest in low volatility stocks. Although subject to the risks of common stocks, low volatility stocks are seen as having a lower risk profile than the overall markets. However, a portfolio comprised of low volatility stocks may not produce investment exposure that has lower variability to changes in such stocks’ price levels. Low volatility stocks are likely to underperform the broader market during periods of rapidly rising stock prices and may reduce a Fund’s participation in market gains.
MANAGEMENT RISK. Each Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing a Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that a Fund will meet its investment objective(s), meet relevant benchmarks or perform as well as other funds with similar objectives.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Funds face numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of a Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. A
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Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between a Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of a Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of a Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments due to short-term market movements or any longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on a Fund and its investments. For example, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of reasonably normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease. As this global pandemic illustrated, such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. These events also adversely affect the prices and liquidity of a Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets. Any of such circumstances could have a materially negative impact on the value of a Fund’s shares and result in increased market volatility. During any such events, a Fund’s shares may trade at increased premiums or discounts to their net asset value.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. The Funds may invest in non-U.S. securities. An investment in securities of non-U.S. companies involves risks not associated with domestic issuers. Investment in non-U.S. securities may involve higher costs than investment in U.S. securities, including higher transaction and custody costs as well as the imposition of additional taxes by non-U.S. governments. Non-U.S. investments may also involve risks associated with the level of currency exchange rates, less complete financial information about the issuers, less market liquidity, more market volatility and political instability. Future political and economic developments, the possible imposition of withholding taxes on dividend income, the possible seizure or nationalization of non-U.S. holdings, the imposition of sanctions by foreign governments, the possible establishment of capital controls, exchange controls or freezes on the convertibility of currency or the adoption of other governmental restrictions might adversely affect an investment in non-U.S. securities. Additionally, non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less stringent regulation, and to different accounting, auditing and recordkeeping requirements. The U.S. and non-U.S. markets often rise and fall at different times or by different amounts due to economic or other regional developments particular to a given country or region.
OPERATIONAL RISK. Each Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of a Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. Each Fund relies on third-parties for a range of services, including custody. Any delay or failure relating to engaging or maintaining such service providers may affect each Fund's ability to meet its investment objective. Although the Funds and the Funds’ investment advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER RISK. The Funds have an investment strategy that may frequently involve buying and selling portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover may result in a Fund paying higher levels of transaction costs, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other costs and may generate greater tax liabilities for shareholders. Portfolio turnover risk may cause a Fund’s performance to be less than expected.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of a Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. First Trust cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of a Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts
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from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), First Trust believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained absent disruptions to the creation and redemption mechanism, extreme market volatility or potential lack of authorized participants. During stressed market conditions, the market for a Fund’s shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the market for a Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which could in turn lead to differences between the market price of a Fund’s shares and their net asset value.
SIGNIFICANT EXPOSURE RISK. To the extent that a Fund invests a significant percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development that affected a particular asset class, region or industry may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A significant exposure makes a Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater volatility and market risk than a fund that is more broadly diversified.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF invests in the securities of small and/or mid capitalization companies. The stock price of small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more volatile than those of larger companies and therefore the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than those of funds that invest a larger percentage of their assets in stocks issued by large capitalization companies. Stock prices of small and/or mid capitalization companies are also generally more vulnerable than those of large capitalization companies to adverse business and economic developments. Securities of small and/or mid capitalization companies may be thinly traded, making it difficult for the Fund to buy and sell them. In addition, small and/or mid capitalization companies are typically less financially stable than larger, more established companies and may reinvest a high proportion of their earnings in their business and may not pay dividends. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may also depend on a small number of essential personnel who may also be less experienced than the management of larger companies, making these companies more vulnerable to experiencing adverse effects due to the loss or inexperience of personnel. Small and/or mid capitalization companies also normally have less diverse product lines than those of large capitalization companies and are more susceptible to adverse developments concerning their products.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Trading in Fund shares on the Exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in Fund shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of a Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged. A Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event a Fund’s assets are small, the Fund does not have enough shareholders, or if the Fund is unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders.
Non-Principal Risks
BORROWING AND LEVERAGE RISK. If a Fund borrows money, it must pay interest and other fees, which may reduce the Fund’s returns. Any such borrowings are intended to be temporary. However, under certain market conditions, including periods of low demand or decreased liquidity, such borrowings might be outstanding for longer periods of time. As prescribed by the 1940 Act, a Fund will be required to maintain specified asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to any bank borrowing immediately following such borrowing and at all times thereafter. A Fund may be required to dispose of assets on unfavorable terms if market fluctuations or other factors reduce the Fund’s asset coverage to less than the prescribed amount.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Funds may, under certain circumstances, effect a portion of their creations and redemptions for cash rather than in-kind. As a result, an investment in such a Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects its creations and redemptions only in-kind. ETFs are able to make in-kind redemptions and avoid being taxed on gains on the distributed portfolio securities at the fund level. A Fund that effects redemptions for cash may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. Any recognized gain on these sales by a Fund will generally cause the Fund to recognize a gain it might not otherwise have recognized, or to recognize such gain sooner than would otherwise be required if it were to distribute portfolio securities only in-kind. The Funds intend to distribute these gains to shareholders to avoid being taxed on this gain at the fund level and otherwise comply with the special tax rules that apply to it. This strategy may cause shareholders to be subject to tax on gains they would not otherwise be subject to, or at an earlier date than if they had made an investment in a different ETF. Moreover, cash transactions may have to be carried out over several days if the securities market is relatively illiquid and may involve considerable brokerage fees and taxes. These brokerage fees and taxes, which will be higher than if a Fund sold and redeemed its shares in-kind, will be passed on to those purchasing and redeeming Creation Units in the form of creation and redemption transaction fees. In addition, these factors may result in wider spreads between the bid and the offered prices of a Fund’s shares than for ETFs that distribute portfolio securities in-kind.
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DEPENDENCE ON KEY PERSONNEL. The Sub-Advisor is dependent upon the experience and expertise of the Funds’ portfolio managers in providing advisory services with respect to the Funds’ investments. If the Sub-Advisor were to lose the services of any of these portfolio managers, its ability to service the Funds could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for any of the portfolio managers in the event of their death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Sub-Advisor.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS RISK. First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF may invest in depositary receipts. Depository receipts are securities issued by a bank or trust company reflecting ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign company. An investment in depositary receipts involves further risks due to certain unique features. Any distributions paid to the holders of depositary receipts are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary. Holders of depositary receipts may have limited voting rights pursuant to a deposit agreement between the underlying issuer and the depositary. In certain cases, the depositary will vote the shares deposited with it as directed by the underlying issuer’s board of directors. Furthermore, investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of depositary receipts because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert shares into depositary receipts and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause shares of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the depositary receipt. Moreover, if depositary receipts are converted into shares, the laws in certain countries may limit the ability of a non-resident to trade the shares and to reconvert the shares to depositary receipts. Depositary receipts may be “sponsored” or “unsponsored.” Sponsored depositary receipts are established jointly by a depositary and the underlying issuer, whereas unsponsored depositary receipts may be established by a depositary without participation by the underlying issuer. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs associated with establishing the unsponsored depositary receipts. In addition, the issuers of the securities underlying unsponsored depositary receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the U.S. and, therefore, there may be less information available regarding such issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts.
FAILURE TO QUALIFY AS A REGULATED INVESTMENT COMPANY RISK. If, in any year, a Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company under the applicable tax laws, that Fund would be taxed as an ordinary corporation. In such circumstances, a Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment.
INTERNATIONAL CLOSED MARKET TRADING RISK. Because securities held by the First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF trade on non-U.S. exchanges that are closed when the Fund’s primary listing exchange is open, there are likely to be deviations between the current price of an underlying security and the last quoted price for the underlying security (i.e., the Fund’s quote from the closed foreign market), resulting in premiums or discounts to the Fund’s net asset value that may be greater than those experienced by other ETFs. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at the Fund’s net asset value, it is not expected that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of any Fund will be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset values).
ISSUER SPECIFIC CHANGES RISK. The value of an individual security or particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole.
LEGISLATION/LITIGATION RISK. From time to time, various legislative initiatives are proposed in the United States and abroad, which may have a negative impact on certain companies in which the Funds invest. Such legislation or litigation may cause a Fund to lose value or may result in higher portfolio turnover if the Sub-Advisor determines to sell such a holding.
REIT RISK. The Funds may invest in REITs. REITs typically own and operate income-producing real estate, such as residential or commercial buildings, or real-estate related assets, including mortgages. As a result, investments in REITs are subject to the risks associated with investing in real estate, which may include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in the value of underlying properties; defaults by borrowers or tenants; market saturation; changes in general and local operating expenses; and other economic, political or regulatory occurrences affecting companies in the real estate sector. Additionally, investing in REITs involves certain other risks related to their structure and focus, which include, but are not limited to, dependency upon management skills, limited diversification, the risks of locating and managing financing for projects, heavy cash flow dependency, possible default by borrowers, the costs and potential losses of self-liquidation of one or more holdings, the risk of a possible lack of mortgage funds and associated interest rate risks, overbuilding, property vacancies, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, changes in zoning laws, losses due to environmental damages, changes in neighborhood values and appeal to purchasers, the possibility of failing to maintain exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act, failure to satisfy the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for maintaining REIT status and, in many cases, relatively small market capitalization, which may result in less market liquidity and greater price volatility for a REIT’s shares. REITs are also
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subject to the risk that the real estate market may experience an economic downturn generally, which may have a material effect on the real estate in which the REITs invest and their underlying portfolio securities.
Fund Organization
Each Fund is a series of the Trust, an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. Each Fund is treated as a separate fund with its own investment objective and policies. The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. Its Board is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Trust. The Board elects the Trust’s officers and approves all significant agreements, including those with the Advisor, Sub-Advisor, custodian and fund administrative and accounting agent.
Management of the Funds
First Trust Advisors L.P., 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, is the investment advisor to the Funds. In this capacity, First Trust is responsible overseeing the Sub-Advisor in the investment of the Funds' assets, managing the Funds' business affairs and providing certain clerical, bookkeeping and other administrative services.
First Trust is a limited partnership with one limited partner, Grace Partners of DuPage L.P., and one general partner, The Charger Corporation. Grace Partners of DuPage L.P. is a limited partnership with one general partner, The Charger Corporation, and a number of limited partners. The Charger Corporation is an Illinois corporation controlled by James A. Bowen, the Chief Executive Officer of First Trust. First Trust discharges its responsibilities subject to the policies of the Board.
First Trust serves as advisor or sub-advisor for 8 mutual fund portfolios, 10 exchange-traded funds consisting of 216 series and 16 closed-end funds. It is also the portfolio supervisor of certain unit investment trusts sponsored by First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), an affiliate of First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. FTP specializes in the underwriting, trading and distribution of unit investment trusts and other securities. FTP is the principal underwriter of the shares of the Funds.
The Funds and First Trust have retained Horizon Investments, LLC, 6210 Ardrey Kell Road, Suite 300, Charlotte, North Carolina 28277, to serve as investment sub-advisor pursuant to a sub-advisory agreement (the "Sub-Advisory Agreement"). In this capacity, Horizon is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in each Fund's investment portfolio. Horizon was formed in 1995 and serves as investment adviser to investment portfolios with approximately $6.96 billion in assets as of September 30, 2021. Horizon provides investment advisory services to mutual funds, collective investment trusts, other investment advisory accounts, including SMAs, UMAs and wrap platforms and ERISA and other retirement plan assets.
There is no one individual primarily responsible for portfolio management decisions for the Funds. Investments are made under the direction of the portfolio managers. The portfolio managers are Michael Dickson, PhD, Scott Ladner and Steven Clark, PhD.
Dr. Dickson serves as Head of Research and Product Development for Horizon, which he joined in March 2015. He focuses on new product development and innovation, and supports Horizon’s investment process through the development of quantitative methods and strategies. Dr. Dickson received his Ph.D. in Finance from UNC Charlotte, specializing in the areas of return predictability, portfolio optimization and factor models. He received his BS in Chemistry from Winthrop University and his MS in Economics from UNC Charlotte.
Mr. Ladner serves as Chief Investment Officer and is the Chair of the Investment Committee for Horizon. In these capacities, he oversees all aspects of the Investment Management division for the firm. He also provides the Investment Management division with Macro analysis and interpretation of global derivatives, credit, foreign exchange, equity, and funding markets. His previous roles at Horizon included Head of Risk and Director of Quantitative & Alternative Strategies. Mr. Ladner received his BA in Economics and Russian Language & Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Clark serves as Managing Director of Structured Financial Solutions for Horizon. He is also an Associate Professor of Finance at UNC Charlotte, where he conducts research in the areas of mathematical finance, derivative securities, asset pricing, and financial econometrics. His work at Horizon focuses on volatility forecasting models, dynamic factor models, and other quantitative methods. He has a Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences (with a concentration in applied probability and stochastic modeling) and a Ph.D. in Applied Economics (with a concentration in financial economics), both from Clemson University.
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For additional information concerning First Trust and Horizon, including a description of the services provided to the Funds, see the Funds' SAI. Additional information about the portfolio managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and the portfolio managers’ ownership of securities in the Funds is provided in the SAI.
Management Fee
Pursuant to an investment management agreement between First Trust and the Trust, on behalf of the Funds (the “Investment Management Agreement”), First Trust oversees Horizon's management of each Fund's assets and pays Horizon for its services as Sub-Advisor. First Trust is paid an annual unitary management fee by each Fund based on the Fund's average daily net assets at a rate set forth in the table below and is responsible for each Fund’s expenses, including the cost of transfer agency, sub-advisory, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services, but excluding fee payments under the Investment Management Agreement, interest, taxes, brokerage commissions and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio transactions, distribution and service fees pursuant to a 12b-1 plan, if any, and extraordinary expenses.
Fund
Management Fee
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF
0.70%
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF
0.80%
A discussion regarding the Board’s approval of the continuation of the Investment Management Agreement and the Sub-Advisory Agreement is available in the Funds' Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2021.
How to Buy and Sell Shares
Most investors buy and sell shares of a Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of each Fund are listed for trading on the secondary market on one or more national securities exchanges. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other publicly traded shares. There is no minimum investment when buying shares on an Exchange. Although shares are generally purchased and sold in “round lots” of 100 shares, brokerage firms typically permit investors to purchase or sell shares in smaller “odd lots,” at no per-share price differential. When buying or selling shares through a broker, investors should expect to pay brokerage commissions, investors may receive less than the net asset value of the shares because shares are bought and sold at market prices rather than at net asset value, and investors may pay some or all of the bid-ask spread for each transaction (purchase or sale) of Fund shares. Share prices are reported in dollars and cents per share.
Under normal circumstances, a Fund will pay out redemption proceeds to a redeeming authorized participant within two days after the authorized participant’s redemption request is received, in accordance with the process set forth in a Fund’s SAI and in the agreement between the authorized participant and the Fund’s distributor. However, each Fund reserves the right, including under stressed market conditions, to take up to seven days after the receipt of a redemption request to pay an authorized participant, all as permitted by the 1940 Act. If a Fund has foreign investments in a country where a local market holiday, or series of consecutive holidays, or the extended delivery cycles for transferring foreign investments to redeeming authorized participants prevents the Fund from delivering such foreign investments to an authorized participant in response to a redemption request, a Fund may take up to 15 days after the receipt of the redemption request to deliver such investments to the authorized participant.
For purposes of the 1940 Act, each Fund is treated as a registered investment company, and, absent an available exemption or exemptive relief, the acquisition of shares by other registered investment companies and companies relying on Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. The Trust, on behalf of the Funds, has received an exemptive order from the Securities and Exchange Commission that permits certain registered investment companies to invest in a Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions, including that any such investment companies enter into agreements with a Fund regarding the terms of any investment.
Book Entry
Shares are held in book-entry form, which means that no share certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of a Fund and is recognized as the owner of all shares for all purposes.
Investors owning shares are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all shares. Participants in DTC include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of share certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and
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you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other stocks that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Trading Prices
The trading price of shares of a Fund on the secondary market is based on market price and may differ from such Fund’s daily net asset value and can be affected by market forces of supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of the Funds' Shares
The Funds impose no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions (“market timing”). In determining not to approve a written, established policy, the Board evaluated the risks of market timing activities by the Funds' shareholders. The Board considered that the Funds' shares can only be purchased and redeemed directly from the Funds in Creation Units by broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (i.e., authorized participants (“APs”)) and that the vast majority of trading in the Funds' shares occurs on the secondary market. Because the secondary market trades do not involve the Funds directly, it is unlikely those trades would cause many of the harmful effects of market timing, including dilution, disruption of portfolio management, increases in the Funds' trading costs and the realization of capital gains. With respect to trades directly with a Fund, to the extent effected in-kind (i.e., for securities), those trades do not cause any of the harmful effects that may result from frequent cash trades. To the extent that a Fund may effect the purchase or redemption of Creation Units in exchange wholly or partially for cash, the Board noted that such trades could result in dilution to a Fund and increased transaction costs, which could negatively impact the Funds' ability to achieve their investment objective. However, the Board noted that direct trading by APs is critical to ensuring that the shares trade at or close to net asset value. In addition, the Funds impose fixed and variable transaction fees on purchases and redemptions of Creation Units to cover the custodial and other costs incurred by the Funds in effecting trades. Finally, the Advisor monitors purchase and redemption orders from APs for patterns of abusive trading and the Funds reserve the right to not accept purchase and redemption orders from APs that the Advisor has determined may be disruptive to the management of the Funds, or otherwise not in the Funds' best interests.
Dividends, Distributions and Taxes
Dividends from net investment income of the Funds, if any, are declared and paid quarterly by each Fund. Each Fund distributes its net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders at least annually.
Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole shares only if the broker through whom you purchased shares makes such option available. Such shares will generally be reinvested by the broker based upon the market price of those shares and investors may be subject to customary brokerage commissions charged by the broker.
Federal Tax Matters
This section summarizes some of the main U.S. federal income tax consequences of owning shares of the Funds. This section is current as of the date of this prospectus. Tax laws and interpretations change frequently, and these summaries do not describe all of the tax consequences to all taxpayers. For example, these summaries generally do not describe your situation if you are a corporation, a non-U.S. person, a broker-dealer, or other investor with special circumstances. In addition, this section does not describe your state, local or non-U.S. tax consequences.
This federal income tax summary is based in part on the advice of counsel to the Funds. The Internal Revenue Service could disagree with any conclusions set forth in this section. In addition, counsel to the Funds was not asked to review, and has not reached a conclusion with respect to, the federal income tax treatment of the assets to be included in the Funds. The following disclosure may not be sufficient for you to use for the purpose of avoiding penalties under federal tax law.
As with any investment, you should seek advice based on your individual circumstances from your own tax advisor.
Fund Status
Each Fund intends to continue to qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the federal tax laws. If a Fund qualifies as a regulated investment company and distributes its income as required by the tax law, the Fund generally will not pay federal income taxes.
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Distributions
The Funds’ distributions are generally taxable. After the end of each year, you will receive a tax statement that separates the distributions of a Fund into two categories: ordinary income distributions and capital gain dividends. Ordinary income distributions are generally taxed at your ordinary tax rate, however, as further discussed below, certain ordinary income distributions received from a Fund may be taxed at the capital gains tax rates. Generally, you will treat all capital gain dividends as long-term capital gains regardless of how long you have owned your shares.
To determine your actual tax liability for your capital gain dividends, you must calculate your total net capital gain or loss for the tax year after considering all of your other taxable transactions, as described below. In addition, the Funds may make distributions that represent a return of capital for tax purposes and thus will generally not be taxable to you; however, such distributions may reduce your tax basis in your shares, which could result in you having to pay higher taxes in the future when shares are sold, even if you sell the shares at a loss from your original investment. A “return of capital” is a return, in whole or in part, of the funds that you previously invested in a Fund. A return of capital distribution should not be considered part of a Fund’s dividend yield or total return of an investment in Fund shares. The tax status of your distributions from a Fund is not affected by whether you reinvest your distributions in additional shares or receive them in cash. The income from a Fund that you must take into account for federal income tax purposes is not reduced by amounts used to pay a deferred sales fee, if any. The tax laws may require you to treat distributions made to you in January as if you had received them on December 31 of the previous year.
Income from a Fund may also be subject to a 3.8% “Medicare tax.” This tax generally applies to your net investment income if your adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold amounts, which are $250,000 in the case of married couples filing joint returns and $200,000 in the case of single individuals.
Dividends Received Deduction
A corporation that owns shares generally will not be entitled to the dividends received deduction with respect to many dividends received from a Fund because the dividends received deduction is generally not available for distributions from regulated investment companies. However, certain ordinary income dividends on shares that are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Funds from certain corporations may be reported by the Funds as being eligible for the dividends received deduction.
Capital Gains and Losses and Certain Ordinary Income Dividends
If you are an individual, the maximum marginal stated federal tax rate for net capital gain is generally 20% (15% or 0% for taxpayers with taxable incomes below certain thresholds). Some capital gains, including some portion of your capital gain dividends may be taxed at a higher maximum stated tax rate. Capital gains may also be subject to the Medicare tax described above. Capital gain received from assets held for more than one year that is considered “unrecaptured section 1250 gain” (which may be the case, for example, with some capital gains attributable to equity interests in real estate investment trusts that constitute interests in entities treated as real estate investment trusts for federal income tax purposes) is taxed at a maximum marginal stated federal tax rate of 25%. In the case of capital gain dividends, the determination of which portion of the capital gain dividend, if any, is subject to the 25% tax rate, will be made based on rules prescribed by the United States Treasury.
Net capital gain equals net long-term capital gain minus net short-term capital loss for the taxable year. Capital gain or loss is long-term if the holding period for the asset is more than one year and is short-term if the holding period for the asset is one year or less. You must exclude the date you purchase your shares to determine your holding period. However, if you receive a capital gain dividend from a Fund and sell your shares at a loss after holding it for six months or less, the loss will be recharacterized as long-term capital loss to the extent of the capital gain dividend received. The tax rates for capital gains realized from assets held for one year or less are generally the same as for ordinary income. The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, treats certain capital gains as ordinary income in special situations.
An election may be available to you to defer recognition of the gain attributable to a capital gain dividend if you make certain qualifying investments within a limited time. You should talk to your tax advisor about the availability of this deferral election and its requirements.
Ordinary income dividends received by an individual shareholder from a regulated investment company such as each of the Funds are generally taxed at the same rates that apply to net capital gain (as discussed above), provided certain holding period requirements are satisfied and provided the dividends are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Funds themselves. Distributions with respect to shares in real estate investment trusts and foreign corporations are qualifying dividends only in
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limited circumstances. Each Fund will provide notice to its shareholders of the amount of any distribution which may be taken into account as a dividend which is eligible for the capital gains tax rates.
Sale of Shares
If you sell or redeem your shares, you will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss. To determine the amount of this gain or loss, you must subtract your tax basis in your shares from the amount you receive in the transaction. Your tax basis in your shares is generally equal to the cost of your shares, generally including sales charges. In some cases, however, you may have to adjust your tax basis after you purchase your shares. An election may be available to you to defer recognition of capital gain if you make certain qualifying investments within a limited time. You should talk to your tax advisor about the availability of this deferral election and its requirements.
Taxes on Purchase and Redemption of Creation Units
If you exchange securities for Creation Units, you will generally recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and your aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the cash component paid. If you exchange Creation Units for securities, you will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between your basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and the cash redemption amount. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units or Creation Units for securities cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Treatment of Fund Expenses
Expenses incurred and deducted by the Funds will generally not be treated as income taxable to you.
Non-U.S. Tax Credit
Because the Funds invest in non-U.S. securities, the tax statement that you receive may include an item showing non-U.S. taxes a Fund paid to other countries. In this case, dividends taxed to you will include your share of the taxes such Fund paid to other countries. You may be able to deduct or receive a tax credit for your share of these taxes.
Non-U.S. Investors
If you are a non-U.S. investor (i.e., an investor other than a U.S. citizen or resident or a U.S. corporation, partnership, estate or trust), you should be aware that, generally, subject to applicable tax treaties, distributions from a Fund will be characterized as dividends for federal income tax purposes (other than dividends which a Fund properly reports as capital gain dividends) and will be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, subject to certain exceptions described below. However, distributions received by a non-U.S. investor from a Fund that are properly reported by a Fund as capital gain dividends may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, provided that a Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met. Distributions from a Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as an interest-related dividend attributable to certain interest income received by the Fund or as a short-term capital gain dividend attributable to certain net short-term capital gain income received by the Fund may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes when received by certain non-U.S. investors, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met.
Distributions may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% in the case of distributions to (i) certain non-U.S. financial institutions that have not entered into an agreement with the U.S. Treasury to collect and disclose certain information and are not resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into such an agreement with the U.S. Treasury and (ii) certain other non-U.S. entities that do not provide certain certifications and information about the entity’s U.S. owners. This withholding tax is also currently scheduled to apply to the gross proceeds from the disposition of securities that produce U.S. source interest or dividends. However, proposed regulations may eliminate the requirement to withhold on payments of gross proceeds from dispositions.
Investments in Certain Non-U.S. Corporations
If a Fund holds an equity interest in any “passive foreign investment companies” (“PFICs”), which are generally certain non-U.S. corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, certain rents and royalties or capital gains) or that hold at least 50% of their assets in investments producing such passive income, a Fund could be subject to U.S. federal income tax and additional interest charges on gains and certain distributions with respect to those equity interests, even if all the income or gain is timely distributed to its shareholders. A Fund will not be able to pass
26

through to its shareholders any credit or deduction for such taxes. A Fund may be able to make an election that could ameliorate these adverse tax consequences. In this case, a Fund would recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such PFIC shares, and as ordinary loss any decrease in such value to the extent it did not exceed prior increases included in income. Under this election, a Fund might be required to recognize in a year income in excess of its distributions from PFICs and its proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock during that year, and such income would nevertheless be subject to the distribution requirement and would be taken into account for purposes of the 4% excise tax. Dividends paid by PFICs are not treated as qualified dividend income.
Distribution Plan
FTP serves as the distributor of Creation Units for the Funds on an agency basis. FTP does not maintain a secondary market in shares.
The Board has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with the Rule 12b-1 plan, the Funds are authorized to pay an amount up to 0.25% of their average daily net assets each year to reimburse FTP for amounts expended to finance activities primarily intended to result in the sale of Creation Units or the provision of investor services. FTP may also use this amount to compensate securities dealers or other persons that are APs for providing distribution assistance, including broker-dealer and shareholder support and educational and promotional services.
The Funds do not currently pay 12b-1 fees, and pursuant to a contractual arrangement, the Funds will not pay 12b-1 fees any time before November 30, 2022. However, in the event 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of the Funds' assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.
Net Asset Value
Each Fund's net asset value is determined as of the close of trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) on the New York Stock Exchange (the "NYSE") on each day the NYSE is open for trading. If the NYSE closes early on a valuation day, each Fund’s net asset value will be determined as of that time. Net asset value per share is calculated for a Fund by taking the market price of the Fund’s total assets, including interest or dividends accrued but not yet collected, less all liabilities , and dividing such amount by the total number of shares outstanding. The result, rounded to the nearest cent, is the net asset value per share. All valuations are subject to review by the Board or its delegate.
Each Fund's investments are valued daily at market or, in the absence of market value with respect to any investments, at fair value. Market value prices represent last sale or official closing prices from a national or foreign exchange (i.e., a regulated market) and are primarily obtained from third party pricing services (“Pricing Services”). Fair value prices represent any prices not considered market value prices and are either obtained from a Pricing Service or determined by the Advisor’s pricing committee (the “Pricing Committee”), in accordance with valuation procedures (which may be revised from time to time) adopted by the Board, and in accordance with provisions of the 1940 Act. As a general principle, the current “fair value” of a security would appear to be the amount which the owner might reasonably expect to receive for the security upon its current sale. Valuing a Fund’s assets using fair value pricing can result in using prices for those assets (particularly assets that trade in foreign markets) that may differ from current market valuations.
Equity securities listed on any exchange other than The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ("Nasdaq") and the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) are typically valued at the last sale price on the exchange on which they are principally traded. Such securities listed on Nasdaq or AIM are typically valued at the official closing price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. If there has been no sale on such day, or no official closing price in the case of securities traded on Nasdaqor AIM, such securities are typically valued using fair value pricing. Such securities traded on more than one securities exchange are valued at the last sale price or official closing price, as applicable, on the business day as of which such value is being determined at the close of the exchange representing the principal market for such securities.
Because foreign securities exchanges may be open on different days than the days during which an investor may purchase or sell shares of a Fund, the value of such Fund's securities may change on days when investors are not able to purchase or sell shares of the Fund. Assets denominated in foreign currencies are translated into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate of such currencies against the U.S. dollar as provided by a Pricing Service. The value of assets denominated in foreign currencies is converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rates in effect at the time of valuation.
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Fund Service Providers
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., 50 Post Office Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, acts as the administrator, accounting agent, custodian and transfer agent for the Funds. Chapman and Cutler LLP, 111 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603, serves as legal counsel to the Funds. First Trust serves as the fund reporting agent for the Funds.
Premium/Discount Information
Information showing the number of days the market price of each Fund's shares was greater (at a premium) and less (at a discount) than each Fund's net asset value for the most recently completed year, and the most recently completed calendar quarters since that year (or life of a Fund, if shorter), is available at https://www.ftportfolios.com/Retail/etf/home.aspx.
Total Return Information
The tables below compare the total return of each Fund to a broad-based security market index. The information presented for each Fund is for the period indicated.
"Average annual total returns" represent the average annual change in the value of an investment over the period indicated. “Cumulative total returns” represent the total change in value of an investment over the period indicated. The return information shown under “Annual Total Return” in a Fund’s summary prospectus represents the average annual total returns of the Fund as of the calendar year end, while the information presented below is as of the Fund’s fiscal year end. The net asset value per share of a Fund is the value of one share of the Fund and is computed by dividing the value of all assets of the Fund (including accrued interest and dividends), less liabilities (including accrued expenses and dividends declared but unpaid), by the total number of outstanding shares. The net asset value return is based on the net asset value per share of a Fund and the market return is based on the market price per share of a Fund. The price used to calculate market return (“Market Price”) is determined by using the midpoint of the national best bid and offer price (“NBBO”) as of the time that a Fund’s net asset value is calculated. Under SEC rules, the NBBO consists of the highest displayed buy and lowest sell prices among the various exchanges trading a Fund at the time the Fund's net asset value is calculated. Prior to January 1, 2019, the price used was the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest offer on the stock exchange on which shares of a Fund were listed for trading as of the time that a Fund's net asset value was calculated. Since the shares of each Fund typically do not trade in the secondary market until several days after the Fund's inception, for the period from inception to the first day of secondary market trading in shares of a Fund, the net asset value of a Fund is used as a proxy for the secondary market trading price to calculate market returns. Market and net asset value returns assume that all distributions have been reinvested in a Fund at Market Price and net asset value, respectively. An index is a statistical composite that tracks a specified financial market or sector. Unlike each Fund, an index does not actually hold a portfolio of securities and therefore does not incur the expenses incurred by a Fund. These expenses negatively impact the performance of each Fund. Also, market returns do not include brokerage commissions that may be payable on secondary market transactions. If brokerage commissions were included, market returns would be lower. The total returns reflect the reinvestment of dividends on securities in the indices. The returns shown in the table below do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of shares of a Fund. The investment return and principal value of shares of a Fund will vary with changes in market conditions. Shares of a Fund may be worth more or less than their original cost when they are redeemed or sold in the market. The Funds' past performance is no guarantee of future results.
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (HUSV)
Total Returns as of July 31, 2021
 
 
Average Annual
Cumulative
 
1 Year
Inception
(8/24/2016)
Inception
(8/24/2016)
Fund Performance
 
 
 
Net Asset Value
23.48%
12.30%
77.28%
Market Price
23.48%
12.30%
77.28%
Index Performance
 
 
 
S&P 500® Index
36.45%
17.53%
121.86%
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First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
Total Returns as of July 31, 2021
 
 
Average Annual
Cumulative
 
1 Year
Inception
(8/24/2016)
Inception
(8/24/2016)
Fund Performance
 
 
 
Net Asset Value
18.01%
4.31%
23.17%
Market Price
18.55%
4.33%
23.29%
Index Performance
 
 
 
MSCI EAFE Index
30.31%
9.17%
54.17%
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Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help you understand each Fund's financial performance for the periods shown. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of each Fund. The total returns represent the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in a Fund (assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions). The information for the periods indicated has been derived from financial statements audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, whose report, along with each Fund's financial statements, is included in the Funds' Annual Report to Shareholders dated July 31, 2021 and is incorporated by reference in each Fund's SAI, which is available upon request.
First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund III
Financial Highlights
For a share outstanding throughout each period
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (HUSV)
 
Year Ended July 31,
Period
Ended
7/31/2017(a)
 
2021
2020
2019
2018
Net asset value, beginning of period
$27.19
$26.71
$23.49
$22.03
$19.96
Income from investment operations:
 
 
 
 
 
Net investment income (loss)
0.46
0.37
0.37
0.30
0.24
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)
5.87
0.52
3.17
1.46
2.05
Total from investment operations
6.33
0.89
3.54
1.76
2.29
Distributions paid to shareholders from:
 
 
 
 
 
Net investment income
(0.44)
(0.41)
(0.32)
(0.30)
(0.22)
Net asset value, end of period
$33.08
$27.19
$26.71
$23.49
$22.03
Total Return (b)
23.48%
3.41%
15.24%
8.04%
11.51%
Ratios/supplemental data:
 
 
 
 
 
Net assets, end of period (in 000’s)
$120,758
$214,822
$224,389
$133,888
$62,799
Ratios to average net assets:
 
 
 
 
 
Ratio of total expenses to average net assets
0.70%
0.70%
0.70%
0.70%
(c)0.70%
Ratio of net investment income (loss) to average net assets
1.42%
1.39%
1.58%
1.37%
(c)1.50%
Portfolio turnover rate (d)
152%
211%
147%
157%
149%
(a)
Inception date is August 24, 2016, which is consistent with the commencement of investment operations and is the date the initial creation units were established.
(b)
Total return is calculated assuming an initial investment made at the net asset value at the beginning of the period, reinvestment of all distributions at net asset value during the period, and redemption at net asset value on the last day of the period. The returns presented do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of Fund shares. Total return is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year.
(c)
Annualized.
(d)
Portfolio turnover is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year and does not include securities received or delivered from processing creations or redemptions and in-kind transactions.
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First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund III
Financial Highlights
For a share outstanding throughout each period
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (HDMV)
 
Year Ended July 31,
Period
Ended
7/31/2017(a)
 
2021
2020
2019
2018
Net asset value, beginning of period
$28.12
$32.92
$33.72
$33.05
$29.89
Income from investment operations:
 
 
 
 
 
Net investment income (loss)
0.89
0.65
0.86
0.91
0.63
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)
4.13
(4.61)
(0.79)
0.87
3.13
Total from investment operations
5.02
(3.96)
0.07
1.78
3.76
Distributions paid to shareholders from:
 
 
 
 
 
Net investment income
(0.93)
(0.84)
(0.87)
(1.11)
(0.60)
Net asset value, end of period
$32.21
$28.12
$32.92
$33.72
$33.05
Total Return (b)
(c)18.01%
(12.37)%
0.21%
5.48%
12.68%
Ratios/supplemental data:
 
 
 
 
 
Net assets, end of period (in 000’s)
$86,962
$123,714
$128,394
$59,010
$29,745
Ratios to average net assets:
 
 
 
 
 
Ratio of total expenses to average net assets
0.80%
0.80%
0.80%
0.80%
(d)0.80%
Ratio of net investment income (loss) to average net assets
2.68%
2.08%
2.74%
2.73%
(d)2.74%
Portfolio turnover rate (e)
127%
196%
99%
133%
150%
(a)
Inception date is August 24, 2016, which is consistent with the commencement of investment operations and is the date the initial creation units were established.
(b)
Total return is calculated assuming an initial investment made at the net asset value at the beginning of the period, reinvestment of all distributions at net asset value during the period, and redemption at net asset value on the last day of the period. The returns presented do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of Fund shares. Total return is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year.
(c)
The Fund received a reimbursement from the advisor in the amount of $6,254, which represents less than $0.01 per share. Since the advisor reimbursed the Fund, there was no effect on the Fund’s total return.
(d)
Annualized.
(e)
Portfolio turnover is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year and does not include securities received or delivered from processing creations or redemptions and in-kind transactions.
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Other Information
Continuous Offering
Each Fund issues, on a continuous offering basis, its shares in one or more groups of a fixed number of Fund shares (each such group of such specified number of individual Fund shares, a “Creation Unit Aggregation”). The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of Fund shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are issued and sold by a Fund on an ongoing basis, a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur at any point. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the Securities Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Unit Aggregations after placing an order with FTP, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a characterization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. As a result, broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not underwriters but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted with ordinary secondary market transactions) and thus dealing with the shares that are part of an overallotment within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the Securities Act would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares are reminded that, under the Securities Act Rule 153, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to a broker-dealer in connection with a sale on the Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available from the Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange, a trading facility or an alternative trading system.
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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund III

 First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF
First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF
For More Information
For more detailed information on the Funds, several additional sources of information are available to you. The SAI, incorporated by reference into this prospectus, contains detailed information on the Funds' policies and operation. Additional information about the Funds' investments is available in the annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In each Fund's annual report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly impacted the Funds' performance during the last fiscal year. The Funds' most recent SAI, annual and semi-annual reports and certain other information are available free of charge by calling the Funds at (800) 621-1675, on the Funds' website at www.ftportfolios.com or through your financial advisor. Shareholders may call the toll-free number above with any inquiries.
You may obtain this and other information regarding the Funds, including the SAI and the Codes of Ethics adopted by First Trust, FTP and the Trust, directly from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Information on the SEC’s website is free of charge. Visit the SEC’s online EDGAR database at www.sec.gov. You may also request information regarding the Funds by sending a request (along with a duplication fee) to the SEC by sending an electronic request to publicinfo@sec.gov.
First Trust Advisors L.P.
120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
(800) 621-1675
www.ftportfolios.com
SEC File #: 333-176976
811-22245