2022-11-05AMF-STAT-PRO_11422
 
abrdn Funds
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Statement of Additional Information
February 28, 2023
abrdn U.S. Sustainable Leaders Smaller Companies Fund
Class A - MLSAX Class R - GLSRX Institutional Class - GGUIX Institutional Service Class - AELSX
abrdn U.S. Small Cap Equity Fund
Class A - GSXAX Class C - GSXCX Class R - GNSRX Institutional Class - GSCIX Institutional Service Class - GSXIX
abrdn China A Share Equity Fund
Class A - GOPAX Class C - GOPCX Class R - GOPRX Institutional Class - GOPIX Institutional Service Class - GOPSX
abrdn Emerging Markets Sustainable Leaders Fund
Class A - GIGAX Class C - GIGCX Class R - GIRRX Institutional Class - GIGIX Institutional Service Class - GIGSX
abrdn Emerging Markets ex-China Fund
Class A - GLLAX Class C - GLLCX Class R - GWLRX Institutional Class - GWLIX Institutional Service Class - GLLSX
abrdn Emerging Markets Fund
Class A - GEGAX Class C - GEGCX Class R - GEMRX Institutional Class - ABEMX Institutional Service Class - AEMSX
abrdn Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund
Class A - CUGAX Institutional Class - AGCIX Institutional Service Class - CGFIX
abrdn International Small Cap Fund
Class A – WVCCX Class C – CPVCX Class R – WPVAX Institutional Class – ABNIX
abrdn Intermediate Municipal Income Fund
Class A – NTFAX Class C – GTICX Institutional Class – ABEIX Institutional Service Class – ABESX
abrdn U.S. Sustainable Leaders Fund
Class A – GXXAX Class C – GXXCX Institutional Class – GGLIX Institutional Service Class – GXXIX
abrdn Dynamic Dividend Fund
Class A – ADAVX Institutional Class – ADVDX
abrdn Global Infrastructure Fund
Class A – AIAFX Institutional Class – AIFRX
abrdn Short Duration High Yield Municipal Fund
Class A – AAHMX Class C – ACHMX Institutional Class – AHYMX
abrdn Realty Income & Growth Fund
Class A – AIAGX Institutional Class – AIGYX
abrdn Ultra Short Municipal Income Fund
Class A – ATOAX Class A1 – ATOBX Institutional Class – ATOIX
abrdn International Sustainable Leaders Fund
Class A – BJBIX Institutional Class – JIEIX
abrdn Global Equity Impact Fund
Class A – JETAX Institutional Class – JETIX
abrdn Global High Income Fund
Class A – BJBHX Institutional Class – JHYIX
abrdn Funds (the “Trust”) is a registered open-end investment company consisting of 19 series as of the date hereof. This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) relates to the series of the Trust listed above (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”). This SAI is not a prospectus but is incorporated by reference into the Prospectus for the Funds. It contains information in addition to and more detailed than that set forth in the Prospectus and should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus for the Funds dated February 28, 2023.
Terms not defined in this SAI have the meanings assigned to them in the Prospectus. You can order copies of the Prospectus without charge by writing to abrdn Funds, c/o SS&C GIDS, Inc. (formerly known as DST Asset Manager Solutions) (“SS&C”) at 430 W. 7th Street, Ste. 219534, Kansas City, MO 64105- 1407 or calling (toll-free) 866-667-9231.
The audited financial statements with respect to each of the Funds for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2022, and the related report of KPMG LLP (“KPMG”), independent registered public accounting firm for the Funds, which are contained in the Funds’ October 31, 2022 Annual Report, are incorporated herein by reference in the section “Financial Statements.”  No other parts of the Annual Report are incorporated by reference herein. A copy of the Annual Report may be obtained upon request and without charge by writing to abrdn Funds at 430 W. 7th Street, Ste. 219534, Kansas City, MO 64105-1407 or by calling 866-667-9231.

 
 
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General Information
The Trust is an open-end management investment company formed as a statutory trust under the laws of the state of Delaware by a Certificate of Trust filed on September 27, 2007. The Trust currently consists of 19 separate series, each with its own investment objective.
Certain Funds in this SAI were formed to acquire the assets and liabilities of the corresponding Fund of the Nationwide Mutual Funds (each, a “Nationwide Predecessor Fund,” and collectively, the “Nationwide Predecessor Funds”) as shown in the chart below.
Fund
Corresponding Predecessor Fund
abrdn Emerging Markets ex-China Fund (“Emerging Markets ex-China Fund”)
Nationwide Worldwide Leaders Fund
abrdn China A Share Equity Fund (“China A Fund”)
Nationwide China Opportunities Fund
abrdn Emerging Markets Sustainable Leaders Fund (“Emerging Markets Sustainable Leaders Fund”)
Nationwide International Growth Fund
abrdn U.S. Sustainable Leaders Smaller Companies Fund (“U.S. Sustainable Leaders Smaller Companies Fund”)
Nationwide U.S. Growth Leaders Long-Short Fund
abrdn U.S. Small Cap Equity Fund (“U.S. Small Cap Equity Fund”)
Nationwide Small Cap Fund
abrdn Intermediate Municipal Income Fund (“Intermediate Municipal Income Fund”)
Nationwide Tax-Free Income Fund
The Nationwide Predecessor Funds, for purposes of the relevant reorganization, are considered the accounting survivors and accordingly, certain financial history of the Nationwide Predecessor Funds is included in this SAI. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Intermediate Municipal Income Fund was known as the Aberdeen Intermediate Municipal Income Fund. Prior to February 28, 2019, the Intermediate Municipal Income Fund was known as the Aberdeen Tax-Free Income Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the China A Fund was known as the Aberdeen China A Share Equity Fund. Prior to June 13, 2019, the China A Fund was known as the Aberdeen China Opportunities Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the U.S. Sustainable Leaders Smaller Companies Fund was known as the Aberdeen U.S. Sustainable Leaders Smaller Companies Fund. Prior to December 1, 2020, the U.S. Sustainable Leaders Smaller Companies Fund was known as the Aberdeen Focused U.S. Equity Fund, and prior to November 15, 2017, the Aberdeen Focused U.S. Equity Fund was known as the Aberdeen Equity Long-Short Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Emerging Markets Sustainable Leaders Fund was known as the Aberdeen Emerging Markets Sustainable Leaders Fund. Prior to December 1, 2020, the Emerging Markets Sustainable Leaders Fund was known as the Aberdeen International Equity Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the abrdn Emerging Markets ex-China Fund was known as the Aberdeen Global Equity Fund.
Certain Funds in this SAI were formed to acquire the assets and liabilities of the corresponding Fund of the Credit Suisse Funds (each a “Credit Suisse Predecessor Fund,” and collectively, the “Credit Suisse Predecessor Funds”) as shown in the chart below.
Fund
Corresponding Predecessor Fund
abrdn Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund (“GARS® Fund”)
Credit Suisse Global Fixed Income Fund
abrdn International Small Cap Fund (“International Small Cap Fund”)
Credit Suisse Global Small Cap Fund
The Credit Suisse Predecessor Funds, for purposes of the relevant reorganization, are considered the accounting survivors and accordingly, certain financial history of the Credit Suisse Predecessor Funds is included in this SAI. Prior to February 28, 2022, the GARS® Fund was known as the Aberdeen Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund. Prior to November 15, 2019, the GARS® Fund was known as the Aberdeen Global Unconstrained Fixed Income Fund, and prior to August 15, 2016, the Aberdeen Global Unconstrained Fixed Income Fund was known as the Aberdeen Global Fixed Income Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the International Small Cap Fund was known as the Aberdeen International Small Cap Fund.
Certain Funds in this SAI acquired the assets and liabilities of the corresponding Fund of the Pacific Capital Funds (each a “Pacific Capital Predecessor Fund,” and collectively, the “Pacific Capital Predecessor Funds”), as shown in the chart below.
Fund
Corresponding Predecessor Fund
U.S. Small Cap Equity Fund
Pacific Capital Small Cap Fund
Class A Shares
Class A and B Shares
Class C Shares
Class C Shares
Institutional Class Shares
Class Y Shares
General Information   3

 
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Prior to February 28, 2022, the abrdn  Emerging Markets Fund (“Emerging Markets Fund”) was known as the Aberdeen Emerging Markets Fund. The Emerging Markets Fund was formed to acquire the assets and liabilities of a former Aberdeen Emerging Markets Fund, which was a series of The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund II (the “Emerging Markets Predecessor Fund”). On May 21, 2012, the Emerging Markets Fund acquired the assets of the Aberdeen Emerging Markets Fund (the “Acquired Fund”), another series of the Trust, which had Class A, C and R Shares. The Emerging Markets Predecessor Fund, for purposes of the reorganization, is considered the accounting survivor and accordingly, certain financial history of the Emerging Markets Predecessor Fund is included in this SAI.
Prior to February 28, 2022, the abrdn U.S. Sustainable Leaders Fund (“Sustainable Leaders Fund”) was known as the Aberdeen U.S. Sustainable Leaders Fund, and prior to December 1, 2020, the U.S. Sustainable Leaders Fund was known as the Aberdeen U.S. Multi-Cap Equity Fund (“U.S. Multi-Cap Equity Fund”). Prior to October 31, 2015, the U.S. Multi-Cap Equity Fund was known as the Aberdeen U.S. Equity Fund. The Aberdeen U.S. Equity Fund (“U.S. Equity Fund”) was created to acquire the assets and liabilities of the Credit Suisse Large Cap Blend Fund, Inc., a Maryland corporation, and a former series of the Trust with a U.S. equity strategy (“Aberdeen U.S. Equity Predecessor Fund”). The Aberdeen U.S. Equity Predecessor Fund, for purposes of the reorganization, is considered the accounting survivor and accordingly, certain financial history of the Aberdeen U.S. Equity Predecessor Fund is included in this SAI. On February 25, 2013, the U.S. Equity Fund acquired the assets of the Aberdeen U.S. Equity II Fund, another series of the Trust, which offered Class A, Class C, Class R, Institutional Class and Institutional Service Class Shares. The U.S. Equity Fund, for purposes of the reorganization, is considered the accounting survivor.
Certain Funds in this SAI were formed to acquire the assets and liabilities of certain series of the Alpine Equity Trust, Alpine Series Trust or Alpine Income Trust (each, an “Alpine Predecessor Fund,” and collectively, the “Alpine Predecessor Funds”), as shown in the chart below.
Fund
Corresponding Predecessor Fund
abrdn Dynamic Dividend Fund (“Dynamic Dividend Fund”)
Alpine Dynamic Dividend Fund, a series of Alpine Series Trust
abrdn Global Infrastructure Fund (“Global Infrastructure Fund”)
Alpine Global Infrastructure Fund, a series of Alpine Equity Trust
abrdn Realty Income & Growth Fund (“Realty Income & Growth Fund”)
Alpine Realty Income & Growth Fund, a series of Alpine Equity Trust
abrdn Short Duration High Yield Municipal Fund (“Short Duration High Yield Municipal Fund”)
Alpine High Yield Managed Duration Municipal Fund, a series of Alpine Income Trust
abrdn Ultra Short Municipal Income Fund (“Ultra Short Municipal Income Fund”)
Alpine Ultra Short Municipal Income Fund, a series of Alpine Income Trust
The Alpine Predecessor Funds, for purposes of the relevant reorganization, are considered the accounting survivors and accordingly, certain financial history of the Alpine Predecessor Funds is included in this SAI.
Prior to February 28, 2022, the Dynamic Dividend Fund was known as the Aberdeen Dynamic Dividend Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Global Infrastructure Fund was known as the Aberdeen Global Infrastructure Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Realty Income & Growth Fund was known as the Aberdeen Realty Income & Growth Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Short Duration High Yield Municipal Fund was known as the Aberdeen Short Duration High Yield Municipal Fund. Prior to February 28, 2019, the Short Duration High Yield Municipal Fund was known as the Aberdeen High Yield Managed Duration Municipal Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Ultra Short Fund was known as the Aberdeen Ultra Short Municipal Income Fund.
Certain Funds in this SAI were formed to acquire the assets and liabilities of certain series of the corresponding Fund of the Aberdeen Investment Funds (each, an “Aberdeen Investment Funds Predecessor Fund,” and collectively, the “Aberdeen Investment Funds Predecessor Funds”), as shown in the chart below.
Fund
Corresponding Aberdeen Investment Funds Predecessor Fund
abrdn International Sustainable Leaders Fund (“International Sustainable Leaders Fund”)
Aberdeen International Sustainable Leaders Fund, a series of Aberdeen Investment Funds
abrdn Global Equity Impact Fund (“Global Equity Impact Fund”)
Aberdeen Global Equity Impact Fund, a series of Aberdeen Investment Funds
abrdn Global High Income Fund (“Global High Income Fund”)
Aberdeen Global High Income Fund, a series of Aberdeen Investment Funds
The Aberdeen Investment Funds Predecessor Funds, for purposes of the relevant reorganization, are considered the accounting survivors and accordingly, certain financial history of the Aberdeen Investment Funds Predecessor Funds is included in this SAI. Prior to February 28, 2022, the International Sustainable Leaders Fund was known as the Aberdeen International Sustainable Leaders Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Global Equity Impact Fund was known as the Aberdeen Global Equity Impact Fund. Prior to February 28, 2022, the Global High Income Fund was known as the Aberdeen Global High Income Fund.
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Each of the Funds, except the Realty Income & Growth Fund, is a diversified open-end management investment company as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The Realty Income & Growth Fund is a non-diversified open-end management investment company as defined in the 1940 Act.
General Information   5

 
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Additional Information on Portfolio Instruments and Investment Policies
The Funds invest in a variety of securities and employ a number of investment techniques that involve certain risks. The Prospectus for the Funds highlights the principal investment strategies, investment techniques and risks. This SAI contains additional information regarding the principal investment strategies for the Funds and information about non-principal investment strategies of the Funds. The following tables set forth additional information concerning permissible investments and techniques for each of the Funds and risk factors. A “” in the table indicates that the Fund may invest in the corresponding instrument or technique or is subject to such risk factor. An empty box indicates that the Fund does not intend to invest in the corresponding instrument or follow the corresponding technique or is not subject to such risk factor.
Please review the discussions in the Prospectus for further information regarding the investment objective and policies of each Fund.
References to the “Adviser” in this section also include the Subadviser(s), as applicable.
Type of Investment, Technique or
Risk Factor
Dynamic
Dividend Fund
Global Equity Impact Fund
Global
Infrastructure
Fund
International Sustainable Leaders Fund
International
Small Cap Fund
Realty Income &
Growth Fund
Adjustable, Floating and
Variable Rate Instruments
 
 
 
 
Asset-Backed Securities
 
 
 
 
 
Bank Obligations
 
 
 
 
Borrowing
Business Development Companies (“BDCs”)
 
 
 
 
Closed-end Funds
 
 
 
Common Stock
Convertible Securities
 
 
Currency Transactions
Custody/Sub-Custody Risk
Cybersecurity Risk
Debt Securities
 
 
 
 
 
Depositary Receipts
Derivatives
Dividend Strategy Risk
 
 
 
Emerging Markets Securities
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Consideration Risk
 
 
Equity-Linked Securities
 
 
 
Event Risk
Exchange-Traded Funds
Focus Risk
 
Foreign Commercial Paper
 
 
 
Foreign Currencies Risk
Foreign Government Securities
 
 
 
Foreign Securities
Frontier Market Securities
Futures
 
Illiquid Investments Risk
Impact of Large Redemptions and Purchases of Fund Shares
Indexed Securities
 
 
 
 
 
Inflation/Deflation Risk
Initial Public Offerings
 
Interests in Publicly Traded Limited Partnerships
6   Additional Information on Portfolio Instruments and Investment Policies

 
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Type of Investment, Technique or
Risk Factor
Dynamic
Dividend Fund
Global Equity Impact Fund
Global
Infrastructure
Fund
International Sustainable Leaders Fund
International
Small Cap Fund
Realty Income &
Growth Fund
Market Events Risk
Medium Company, Small Company and Emerging Growth Securities
Money Market Instruments
Mortgage-Related Securities
 
 
 
 
 
Operational Risk
Options
 
Preferred Stock
Private Placements and Other Restricted Securities Risk
 
 
Real Estate Investment Trusts
Real Estate Securities
Regulation of Commodity Interests
Rights Issues and Warrants
Secondary Offerings
 
 
Securities Lending
 
 
 
Securities of Investment Companies
“Special Situations”Companies Risk
Strategic Transactions, Derivatives and Synthetic Investments
 
Sustainable Investing Risk
 
 
 
 
Temporary Investments
U.S. Government Securities
When-Issued Securities and Delayed-Delivery
Type of Investment,
Technique or Risk Factor
China A Fund
Emerging Markets ex-China Fund
Emerging
Markets Fund
Emerging Markets
Sustainable
Leaders Fund
U.S. Small Cap
Equity Fund
U.S. Sustainable
Leaders Fund
U.S. Sustainable
Leaders Smaller
Companies Fund
Adjustable, Floating and Variable Rate Instruments
Bank Obligations
 
 
 
 
Borrowing
Common Stock
Convertible Securities
 
 
 
Currency Transactions
Custody/Sub-Custody Risk
Cybersecurity Risk
Debt Securities
 
 
 
Depositary Receipts
Derivatives
 
 
 
Emerging Markets Securities
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Consideration Risk
 
 
Equity-Linked Securities
 
 
 
 
 
Event Risk
Exchange-Traded Funds
Focus Risk
Foreign Commercial Paper
 
 
 
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Type of Investment,
Technique or Risk Factor
China A Fund
Emerging Markets ex-China Fund
Emerging
Markets Fund
Emerging Markets
Sustainable
Leaders Fund
U.S. Small Cap
Equity Fund
U.S. Sustainable
Leaders Fund
U.S. Sustainable
Leaders Smaller
Companies Fund
Foreign Currencies Risk
Foreign Government Securities
 
 
Foreign Securities
Frontier Market Securities
 
 
Futures
 
 
 
Illiquid Investments Risk
Impact of Large Redemptions and Purchases of Fund Shares
Indexed Securities
Inflation/Deflation Risk
Initial Public Offerings
Interests in Publicly Traded Limited Partnerships
Market Events Risk
Medium Company, Small Company and Emerging Growth Securities
Money Market Instruments
Operational Risk
Options
 
 
 
Preferred Stock
Private Placements and Other Restricted Securities Risk
Real Estate Investment Trusts
Real Estate Securities Risk
Regulation of Commodity Interests
Repurchase Agreements
 
 
 
Reverse Repurchase Agreements
 
 
 
Rights Issues and Warrants
Secondary Offerings
Securities Lending
 
Securities of Investment Companies
“Special Situations” Companies Risk
Strategic Transactions, Derivatives and Synthetic Investments
U.S. Government Securities
Temporary Investments
When-Issued Securities and Delayed-Delivery
Type of Investment,
Technique or Risk Factor
GARS® Fund
Global High Income Fund
Intermediate
Municipal
Income Fund
Short Duration
High Yield
Municipal Fund
Ultra Short
Municipal
Income Fund
Adjustable, Floating and Variable Rate Instruments
Asset-Backed Securities
Bank Loans
 
 
 
Bank Obligations
Bonds with Warrants Attached
 
 
Borrowing
Bridge Loans
 
 
 
8   Additional Information on Portfolio Instruments and Investment Policies

 
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Type of Investment,
Technique or Risk Factor
GARS® Fund
Global High Income Fund
Intermediate
Municipal
Income Fund
Short Duration
High Yield
Municipal Fund
Ultra Short
Municipal
Income Fund
Catastrophe Bond
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations
 
 
 
Common Stock
 
 
Convertible Securities
 
 
Corporate Obligations
Credit Linked Notes
 
 
Currency Transactions
 
 
Custody/Sub-Custody Risk
 
 
Cybersecurity Risk
Debt Securities
Depositary Receipts
 
 
Derivatives
 
 
Direct Debt Instruments
 
 
 
Distressed Securities
 
Emerging Markets Securities
 
 
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Consideration Risk
Equity-Linked Securities
 
 
Eurodollar Instruments
 
 
European Sovereign Debt Risk
 
 
Event Risk
 
 
Exchange-Traded Funds
Focus Risk
 
 
 
Foreign Commercial Paper
 
 
Foreign Currencies
 
 
Foreign Fixed Income Securities
 
 
Foreign Government Securities
 
 
Foreign Securities
 
 
Frontier Market Securities
 
 
Futures
 
 
Illiquid Investments Risk
Impact of Large Redemptions and Purchases of Fund Shares
Income Deposit Securities
 
 
 
Indexed Securities
 
 
Inflation/Deflation Risk
Interests in Publicly Traded Limited Partnerships
 
 
 
Inverse Floating Rate Instruments
LIBOR Risk
 
 
 
Loans
 
Market Events Risk
Medium Company, Small Company and Emerging Growth Securities
 
 
Money Market Instruments
Mortgage-Related Securities
 
 
Municipal Securities
Non-Deliverable Forwards
 
 
Operational Risk
Options
 
 
Additional Information on Portfolio Instruments and Investment Policies   9

 
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Type of Investment,
Technique or Risk Factor
GARS® Fund
Global High Income Fund
Intermediate
Municipal
Income Fund
Short Duration
High Yield
Municipal Fund
Ultra Short
Municipal
Income Fund
Pay-In-Kind Bonds and Deferred Payment Securities
 
 
Preferred Stock
 
 
Private Placements and Other Restricted Securities
Privatization Vouchers
 
 
 
Put Bonds
Real Estate Investment Trusts
 
 
Real Estate Securities
 
 
 
Regulation of Commodity Interests
Repurchase Agreements
 
 
Reverse Repurchase Agreements
 
 
Rights Issues and Warrants
Securities Backed by Guarantees
Securities Lending
Securities of Investment Companies
Short Sales
 
 
 
“Special Situations” Companies Risk
 
 
Standby Commitment Agreements
Strategic Transactions, Derivatives and Synthetic Investments
 
 
Strip Bonds
 
 
 
Stripped Mortgage Securities
 
 
 
Stripped Zero Coupon Securities/Custodial Receipts
 
 
 
Structured Notes
 
 
Structured Securities
Supranational Entities
 
 
Swaps, Caps, Floors and Collars
 
 
Temporary Investments
To-Be-Announced Instruments
 
 
 
Transactions Leverage Risk
 
 
Trust Preferred Securities
 
 
U.S. Government Securities
When-Issued Securities and Delayed-Delivery
Zero Coupon, Discount and Payment-In-Kind Securities
General Information about the Fund’s Portfolio Instruments and Investment Policies
The following is a description of various types of securities, instruments and techniques that may be purchased and/or used by the Funds as well as certain risks to which the Funds are subject.
Adjustable, Floating and Variable Rate Instruments. Floating, adjustable rate or variable rate obligations bear interest at rates that are not fixed, but vary with changes in specified market rates or indices, such as the prime rate, or at specified intervals. The interest rate on floating-rate securities varies with changes in the underlying index (such as the Treasury bill rate), while the interest rate on variable or adjustable rate securities changes at preset times based upon an underlying index. Certain of the floating or variable rate obligations that may be purchased by a Fund may carry a demand feature that would permit the holder to tender them back to the issuer of the instrument or to a third-party at par value prior to maturity.
The interest rates paid on the adjustable rate securities in which a Fund may invest generally are readjusted at intervals of one year or less to an increment over some predetermined interest rate index. There are three main categories of indices: those based on U.S. Treasury securities, those derived from a calculated measure such as a cost of funds index and those based on a moving average of mortgage rates. Commonly used indices include the one-year, three-year and five-year constant maturity Treasury rates, the three-month Treasury bill rate, the 180-day Treasury bill rate, rates on longer-term Treasury securities, the 11th District Federal Home Loan Bank Cost of Funds, and the National Median Cost of Funds. The one-month, three-month, six-month and one-year London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), the prime rate of a specific bank or commercial paper rates, is still being used as of the date of this SAI, but it will be
10   Additional Information on Portfolio Instruments and Investment Policies

 
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phased out by June 2023. Some indices, such as the one-year constant maturity Treasury rate, closely mirror changes in market interest rate levels. Others, such as the 11th Federal District Home Loan Bank Cost of Funds index, tend to lag behind changes in market rate levels and tend to be somewhat less volatile.
Auction rate securities are variable rate bonds whose interest rates are reset at specified intervals through a “Dutch” auction process. A “Dutch” auction is a competitive bidding process designed to determine a single uniform clearing rate that enables purchases and sales of the auction rate securities to take place at par. All accepted bids and holders of the auction rate securities receive the same rate. Auction rate securities holders rely on the liquidity generated by the auction. There is a risk that an auction will fail due to insufficient demand for the securities. If an auction fails, an auction rate security may become illiquid until a subsequent successful auction is conducted, the issuer redeems the issue, or a secondary market develops. See “Municipal Securities” below for more information about auction rate securities.
Demand Instruments. Demand instruments usually have a stated maturity of more than one year but contain a demand feature (or “put”) that enables the holder to redeem the investment. Variable-rate demand instruments provide for automatic establishment of a new interest rate on set dates. Floating-rate demand instruments provide for automatic adjustment of interest rates whenever a specified interest rate (e.g., the prime rate) changes. These floating and variable rate instruments are payable upon a specified period of notice which may range from one day up to one year. The terms of the instruments provide that interest rates are adjustable at intervals ranging from daily to up to one year and the adjustments are based upon the prime rate of a bank or other appropriate interest rate adjustment index as provided in the respective instruments. Variable rate instruments include participation interests in variable- or fixed-rate municipal obligations owned by a bank, insurance company or other financial institution or affiliated organizations. Although the rate of the underlying municipal obligations may be fixed, the terms of the participation interest may result in a fund receiving a variable rate on its investment.
Because of the variable rate nature of the instruments, when prevailing interest rates decline the yield on these instruments will generally decline. On the other hand, during periods when prevailing interest rates increase, the yield on these instruments will generally increase and the instruments will have less risk of capital depreciation than instruments bearing a fixed rate of return.
Some of the demand instruments purchased by a Fund may not be traded in a secondary market and derive their liquidity solely from the ability of the holder to demand repayment from the issuer or third-party providing credit support. If a demand instrument is not traded in a secondary market, a Fund will nonetheless treat the instrument as “readily marketable” for the purposes of its investment restriction limiting investments in illiquid securities unless the demand feature has a notice period of more than seven days in which case the instrument will be characterized as “not readily marketable” and therefore illiquid. Such obligations include variable rate master demand notes, which are unsecured instruments issued pursuant to an agreement between the issuer and the holder that permit the indebtedness thereunder to vary and to provide for periodic adjustments in the interest rate. A Fund will limit its purchases of floating and variable rate obligations to those of the same quality as it is otherwise allowed to purchase. abrdn Inc. (“abrdn Inc.” or the “Adviser”) will monitor on an ongoing basis the ability of an issuer of a demand instrument to pay principal and interest on demand. A Fund’s right to obtain payment at par on a demand instrument could be affected by events occurring between the date the Fund elects to demand payment and the date payment is due that may affect the ability of the issuer of the instrument or third-party providing credit support to make payment when due, except when such demand instruments permit same day settlement. To facilitate settlement, these same day demand instruments may be held in book entry form at a bank other than a Fund’s custodian subject to a sub-custodian agreement approved by the Fund between that bank and the Fund’s custodian.
Asset-Backed Securities. Asset-backed securities, issued by trusts and special purpose corporations, are pass-through securities, meaning that principal and interest payments, net of expenses, made by the borrower on the underlying asset (such as credit card or automobile loan receivables) are passed to a Fund. Asset-backed securities may include pools of loans, receivables or other assets. Payment of principal and interest may be largely dependent upon the cash flows generated by the assets backing the securities. Asset-backed securities present certain risks that are not presented by mortgage-backed securities. Primarily, these securities may not have the benefit of any security interest in the related assets. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due. There is the possibility that recoveries on repossessed collateral may not, in some cases, be available to support payments on these securities. Asset-backed securities are often backed by a pool of assets representing the obligations of a number of different parties. To lessen the effect of failures by obligors on underlying assets to make payments, the securities may contain elements of credit support which fall into two categories: (i) liquidity protection, and (ii) protection against losses resulting from ultimate default by an obligor on the underlying assets. Liquidity protection refers to the provision of advances, generally by the entity administering the pool of assets, to ensure that the receipt of payments on the underlying pool occurs in a timely fashion. Protection against losses results from payment of the insurance obligations on at least a portion of the assets in the pool. This protection may be provided through guarantees, policies or letters of credit obtained by the issuer or sponsor from third parties, through various means of structuring the transaction or through a combination of such approaches. A Fund will not pay any additional or separate fees for credit support. The degree of credit support provided for each issue is generally based on historical information respecting the level of credit risk associated with the underlying assets.
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Delinquency or loss in excess of that anticipated or failure of the credit support could adversely affect the return on an investment in such a security. The availability of asset-backed securities may be affected by legislative or regulatory developments. It is possible that such developments may require the Fund to dispose of any then-existing holdings of such securities. Additionally, the risk of default by borrowers is greater during periods of rising interest rates and/or unemployment rates. In addition, instability in the markets for asset-backed securities may affect the liquidity of such securities, which means a Fund may be unable to sell such securities at an advantageous time and price. As a result, the value of such securities may decrease and a Fund may incur greater losses on the sale of such securities than under more stable market conditions. Furthermore, instability and illiquidity in the market for lower-rated asset-backed securities may affect the overall market for such securities thereby impacting the liquidity and value of higher-rated securities.
Several types of asset-backed securities have been offered to investors, including Certificates of Automobile ReceivablesSM (“CARSSM”). CARSSM represent undivided fractional interests in a trust whose assets consist of a pool of motor vehicle retail installment sales contracts and security interests in the vehicles securing the contracts. Payments of principal and interest on CARSSM are passed through monthly to certificate holders, and are guaranteed up to certain amounts and for a certain time period by a letter of credit issued by a financial institution unaffiliated with the trustee or originator of the trust. An investor’s return on CARSSM may be affected by early prepayment of principal on the underlying vehicle sales contracts. If the letter of credit is exhausted, the trust may be prevented from realizing the full amount due on a sales contract because of state law requirements and restrictions relating to foreclosure sales of vehicles and the obtaining of deficiency judgments following such sales or because of depreciation, damage or loss of a vehicle, the application of federal and state bankruptcy and insolvency laws, or other factors. As a result, certificate holders may experience delays in payments or losses if the letter of credit is exhausted.
A Fund may also invest in residual interests in asset-backed securities. In the case of asset-backed securities issued in a pass-through structure, the cash flow generated by the underlying assets is applied to make required payments on the securities and to pay related administrative expenses. The residual in an asset-backed security pass-through structure represents the interest in any excess cash flow remaining after making the foregoing payments. The amount of residual cash flow resulting from a particular issue of asset-backed securities will depend on, among other things, the characteristics of the underlying assets, the coupon rates on the securities, prevailing interest rates, the amount of administrative expenses and the actual prepayment experience on the underlying assets. Asset-backed security residuals not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) may be subject to certain restrictions on transferability. In addition, there may be no liquid market for such securities.
Asset-backed securities present certain risks. For instance, in the case of credit card receivables, these securities may not have the benefit of any security interest in the related collateral. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due. Most issuers of automobile receivables permit the servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the related automobile receivables. In addition, because of the large number of vehicles involved in a typical issuance and technical requirements under state laws, the trustee for the holders of the automobile receivables may not have a proper security interest in all of the obligations backing such receivables. Therefore, there is the possibility that recoveries on repossessed collateral may not, in some cases, be available to support payments on these securities. The underlying assets (e.g., loans) are also subject to prepayments, which shorten the securities’ weighted average life and may lower their return.
Bank Loans. Bank loans include floating and fixed-rate debt obligations. Floating rate loans are debt obligations issued by companies or other entities with floating interest rates that reset periodically. Bank loans may include, but are not limited to, term loans, delayed funding loans, bridge loans and revolving credit facilities. Loan interests will primarily take the form of assignments purchased in the primary or secondary market, but may include participations. Floating rate loans are secured by specific collateral of the borrower and are senior to most other securities of the borrower (e.g., common stock or debt instruments) in the event of bankruptcy. Floating rate loans are often issued in connection with recapitalizations, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and refinancings. Floating rate loans are typically structured and administered by a financial institution that acts as the agent of the lenders participating in the floating rate loan. Floating rate loans may be acquired directly through the agent, as an assignment from another lender who holds a direct interest in the floating rate loan, or as a participation interest in another lender’s portion of the floating rate loan.
A Fund generally invests in floating rate loans directly through an agent, by assignment from another holder of the loan, or as a participation interest in another holder’s portion of the loan. Assignments and participations involve credit, interest rate, and liquidity risk. Interest rates on floating rate loans adjust periodically and are tied to a benchmark lending rate such as the LIBOR, a replacement rate for LIBOR such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) or another rate based on the SOFR. LIBOR, which is a short-term interest rate that banks charge one another and that is generally representative of the most competitive and current cash rates. The lending rate could also be tied to the prime rate offered by one or more major U.S. banks or the rate paid on large certificates of deposit traded in the secondary markets.
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If the benchmark lending rate changes, the rate payable to lenders under the loan will change at the next scheduled adjustment date specified in the loan agreement. Investing in floating rate loans with longer interest rate reset periods may increase fluctuations in a Fund’s net asset value (“NAV”) as a result of changes in interest rates.
When a Fund purchases an assignment, it generally assumes all the rights and obligations under the loan agreement and will generally become a “lender” for purposes of the particular loan agreement. The rights and obligations acquired by a Fund under an assignment may be different, and be more limited, than those held by an assigning lender. Subject to the terms of a loan agreement, the Fund may enforce compliance by a borrower with the terms of the loan agreement and may have rights with respect to any funds acquired by other lenders through set-off. If a loan is foreclosed, the Fund may become part owner of any collateral securing the loan, and may bear the costs and liabilities associated with owning and disposing of any collateral. The Fund could be held liable as a co-lender. In addition, there is no assurance that the liquidation of any collateral from a secured loan would satisfy a borrower’s obligations or that any collateral could be liquidated.
If a Fund purchases a participation interest, it typically will have a contractual relationship with the lender and not with the borrower. The Fund may only be able to enforce its rights through the lender and may assume the credit risk of both the borrower and the lender, or any other intermediate participant. The Fund may have the right to receive payments of principal, interest, and any fees to which it is entitled only from the lender and only upon receipt by the lender of the payments from the borrower. The failure by the Fund to receive scheduled interest or principal payments may adversely affect the income of the Fund and may likely reduce the value of its assets, which would be reflected by a reduction in the Fund’s NAV.
In the cases of a Fund’s investments in floating rate loans through participation interests, it may be more susceptible to the risks of the financial services industries. The Fund may also be subject to greater risks and delays than if the Fund could assert its rights directly against the borrower. In the event of the insolvency of an intermediate participant who sells a participation interest to a Fund, it may be subject to loss of income and/or principal. Additionally, a Fund may not have any right to vote on whether to waive any covenants breached by a borrower and may not benefit from any collateral securing a loan. Parties through which the Fund may have to enforce its rights may not have the same interests as the Fund.
The borrower of a loan in which a Fund holds an assignment or participation interest may, either at its own election or pursuant to the terms of the loan documentation, prepay amounts of the loan from time to time. There is no assurance that the Fund will be able to reinvest the proceeds of any loan prepayment at the same interest rate or on the same terms as those of the original loan participation. This may result in a Fund realizing less income on a particular investment and replacing the loan with a less attractive security, which may provide less return to the Fund.
The secondary market on which floating rate loans are traded may be less liquid than the market for investment grade securities or other types of income producing securities. Therefore, a Fund may have difficulty trading assignments and participations to third parties. There is also a potential that there is no active market to trade floating rate loans. There may be restrictions on transfer and only limited opportunities may exist to sell such securities in secondary markets. As a result, the Fund may be unable to sell assignments or participations at the desired time or only at a price less than fair market value. The secondary market may also be subject to irregular trading activity, wide price spreads, and extended trade settlement periods. The lack of a liquid secondary market may have an adverse impact on the market price of the security.
Assignments and participations of bank loans also may be less liquid at times because of potential delays in the settlement process. Bank loans may settle on a delayed basis, resulting in the proceeds from the sale of such loans not being readily available to make additional investments or to meet a Fund’s redemption obligations. To the extent the extended settlement process gives rise to short-term liquidity needs, a Fund may hold additional cash, sell investments or temporarily borrow from banks or other lenders. Settlement risk is heightened for bank loans in certain foreign markets, which differ significantly and may be less established from those in the United States. Foreign settlement procedures and trade regulations also may involve certain risks (such as delays in payment for or delivery of securities) not typically generated by the settlement of U.S. loans and other debt securities. Communications between the United States and emerging market countries may be unreliable, increasing the risk of delayed settlements. If a Fund cannot settle or there is a delay in settling a purchase of a loan or other security, that Fund may miss attractive investment opportunities and certain assets may be uninvested with no return earned thereon for some period. In addition, that Fund may lose money if the value of the security then declines or, if there is a contract to sell the security to another party, the Fund could be liable to that party for any losses incurred. Furthermore, some foreign markets in which a Fund may invest in loans may not operate with the concept of delayed compensation, or a pricing adjustment payable by the parties to a secondary loan trade that settles after an established time intended to assure that neither party derives an economic advantage from the delay (established in the U.S. as T+7 and T+20 for par/near par trades and distressed trades, respectively). Where there is no delayed compensation, one party will typically bear the risk of the other’s delaying settlement for economic gain.
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In certain circumstances, loans may not be deemed to be securities, and in the event of fraud or misrepresentation by a borrower, lenders and purchasers of interests in loans, such as a Fund, will not have the protection of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws, as would be the case for bonds or stocks. Instead, in such cases, lenders generally rely on the contractual provisions in the loan agreement itself, and common law fraud protections under applicable state law.
Loan Participations and Assignments. A participation in commercial loans may be secured or unsecured. Loan participations typically represent direct participation in a loan to a corporate borrower, and generally are offered by banks or other financial institutions or lending syndicates. A Fund may participate in such syndications, or can buy part of a loan, becoming a part lender. Participations and assignments involve credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk, and the risk of being a lender.
When purchasing loan participations, a Fund assumes the credit risk associated with the corporate borrower and may assume the credit risk associated with an interposed bank or other financial intermediary; however, the Fund may only be able to enforce its rights through the lender. The participation interests in which a Fund invests may not be rated by any nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”).
A loan is often administered by an agent bank acting as agent for all holders. The agent bank administers the terms of the loan, as specified in the loan agreement. In addition, the agent bank is normally responsible for the collection of principal and interest payments from the corporate borrower and the apportionment of these payments to the credit of all institutions which are parties to the loan agreement. Unless, under the terms of the loan or other indebtedness, a Fund has direct recourse against the corporate borrower, the Fund may have to rely on the agent bank or other financial intermediary to apply appropriate credit remedies against a corporate borrower.
A financial institution’s employment as agent bank might be terminated in the event that it fails to observe a requisite standard of care or becomes insolvent. A successor agent bank would generally be appointed to replace the terminated agent bank, and assets held by the agent bank under the loan agreement should remain available to holders of such indebtedness. However, if assets held by the agent bank for the benefit of a Fund were determined to be subject to the claims of the agent bank’s general creditors, the Fund might incur certain costs and delays in realizing payment on a loan or loan participation and could suffer a loss of principal and/or interest. In situations involving other interposed financial institutions (e.g., an insurance company or governmental agency) similar risks may arise.
Purchasers of loans and other forms of direct indebtedness depend primarily upon the creditworthiness of the corporate borrower for payment of principal and interest. If a Fund does not receive scheduled interest or principal payments on such indebtedness, the Fund’s share price and yield could be adversely affected. Loans that are fully secured offer a Fund more protection than an unsecured loan in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal. However, there is no assurance that the liquidation of collateral from a secured loan would satisfy the corporate borrower’s obligation, or that the collateral can be liquidated.
A Fund may invest in loan participations with credit quality comparable to that of issuers of its securities investments. Indebtedness of companies whose creditworthiness is poor involves substantially greater risks and may be highly speculative. Some companies may never pay off their indebtedness, or may pay only a small fraction of the amount owed. Consequently, when investing in indebtedness of companies with poor credit, a Fund bears a substantial risk of losing the entire amount invested.
For purposes of a Fund’s concentration limits, a Fund generally will treat the corporate borrower as the “issuer” of indebtedness held by the Fund. In the case of loan participations where a bank or other lending institution serves as a financial intermediary between a Fund and the corporate borrower, if the participation does not shift to the Fund the direct debtor-creditor relationship with the corporate borrower, SEC interpretations require the Fund to treat both the lending bank or other lending institution and the corporate borrower as “issuers.” Treating a financial intermediary as an issuer of indebtedness may restrict a Fund’s ability to invest in indebtedness related to a single financial intermediary, or a group of intermediaries engaged in the same industry, even if the underlying borrowers represent many different companies and industries.
Loans and other types of direct indebtedness may not be readily marketable and may be subject to restrictions on resale. In some cases, negotiations involved in disposing of indebtedness may require weeks to complete. Consequently, some indebtedness may be difficult or impossible to dispose of readily at what the Adviser believes to be a fair price. In addition, valuation of illiquid indebtedness involves a greater degree of judgment in determining a Fund’s NAV than if that value were based on available market quotations, and could result in significant variations in a Fund’s daily share price. At the same time, some loan interests are traded among certain financial institutions and accordingly may be deemed liquid. As the market for different types of indebtedness develops, the liquidity of these instruments is expected to improve. In addition, each Fund currently intends to treat indebtedness for which there is no readily available market as illiquid for purposes of a Fund’s limitation on illiquid investments. Investments in loan participations are considered to be debt obligations for purposes of the Trust’s investment restriction relating to the lending of funds or assets by a Fund.
Investments in loans through a direct assignment of the financial institution’s interests with respect to the loan may involve additional risks to a Fund. For example, if a loan is foreclosed, a Fund could become part owner of any collateral, and would bear the costs and liabilities associated with owning and disposing of the collateral. In addition, it is
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conceivable that under emerging legal theories of lender liability, a Fund could be held liable as co-lender. It is unclear whether loans and other forms of direct indebtedness offer securities law protections against fraud and misrepresentation. In the absence of definitive regulatory guidance, a Fund relies on the Adviser’s research in an attempt to avoid situations where fraud or misrepresentation could adversely affect the Fund.
A Fund may also enter into, or acquire participations in, delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities are borrowing arrangements in which the lender agrees to make loans up to a maximum amount upon demand by the borrower during a specified term. A revolving credit facility differs from a delayed funding loan in that as the borrower repays the loan, an amount equal to the repayment may be borrowed again during the term of the revolving credit facility. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities usually provide for floating or variable rates of interest. These commitments may have the effect of requiring a Fund to increase its investment in a company at a time when it might not otherwise decide to do so (including at a time when the company’s financial condition makes it unlikely that such amounts will be repaid). In accordance with current federal securities laws, rules, and staff positions, to the extent that a Fund is committed to advance additional funds, it will at all times segregate or “earmark” assets, determined to be liquid by the Adviser in accordance with procedures established by the board of trustees of the Trust (the “Board of Trustees”), in an amount sufficient to meet such commitments.
A Fund may invest in delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities with credit quality comparable to that of issuers of its securities investments. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities may be subject to restrictions on transfer, and only limited opportunities may exist to resell such instruments. As a result, a Fund may be unable to sell such investments at an opportune time or may have to resell them at less than fair market value. The Funds currently intend to treat delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities for which there is no readily available market as illiquid for purposes of a Fund’s limitation on illiquid investments. Participation interests in revolving credit facilities will be subject to the limitations discussed above. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities are considered to be debt obligations for purposes of the Trust’s investment restriction relating to the lending of funds or assets by a Fund.
Delayed Funding Loans and Revolving Credit Facilities. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities are borrowings in which the Fund agrees to make loans up to a maximum amount upon demand by the borrowing issuer for a specified term. A revolving credit facility differs from a delayed funding loan in that as the borrowing issuer repays the loan, an amount equal to the repayment is again made available to the borrowing issuer under the facility. The borrowing issuer may at any time borrow and repay amounts so long as, in the aggregate, at any given time the amount borrowed does not exceed the maximum amount established by the loan agreement. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities usually provide for floating or variable rates of interest.
There are a number of risks associated with an investment in delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities including, credit, interest rate and liquidity risk and the risks of being a lender. There may be circumstances under which the borrowing issuer’s credit risk may be deteriorating and yet a Fund may be obligated to make loans to the borrowing issuer as the borrowing issuer’s credit continues to deteriorate, including at a time when the borrowing issuer’s financial condition makes it unlikely that such amounts will be repaid.
Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities may be subject to restrictions on transfer, and only limited opportunities may exist to resell such instruments. As a result, a Fund may be unable to sell such investments at an opportune time or may have to resell them at less than fair market value. These risks could cause a Fund to lose money on its investment, which in turn could affect a Fund’s returns. A Fund may treat delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities for which there is no readily available market as illiquid for purposes of the Fund’s limitation on illiquid investments.
Bank Obligations. Bank obligations are obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. or foreign banks. Bank obligations, including without limitation, time deposits, bankers’ acceptances and certificates of deposit, may be general obligations of the parent bank or may be limited to the issuing branch by the terms of the specific obligations or by government regulations. Banks are subject to extensive but different governmental regulations which may limit both the amount and types of loans which may be made and interest rates which may be charged. General economic conditions as well as exposure to credit losses arising from possible financial difficulties of borrowers play an important part in the operation of the banking industry.
Certificates of deposit are receipts issued by a depository institution in exchange for the deposit of funds. The issuer agrees to pay the amount deposited plus interest to the bearer of the receipt on the date specified on the certificate. The certificate usually can be traded in the secondary market prior to maturity. Bankers’ acceptances typically arise from short-term credit arrangements designed to enable businesses to obtain funds to finance commercial transactions. Generally, an acceptance is a time draft drawn on a bank by an exporter or an importer to obtain a stated amount of funds to pay for specific merchandise. The draft is then “accepted” by a bank that, in effect, unconditionally guarantees to pay the face value of the instrument on its maturity date. The acceptance may then be held by the accepting bank as an earning asset or it may be sold in the secondary market at the going rate of discount for a specific maturity. Although maturities for acceptances can be as long as 270 days, most acceptances have maturities of six months or less.
A Fund may also invest in certificates of deposit issued by banks and savings and loan institutions which had, at the time of their most recent annual financial statements, total assets of less than $1 billion, provided that (i) the principal amounts of such certificates of deposit are insured by an agency of the U.S. Government, (ii) at no time will a Fund hold
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more than $100,000 principal amount of certificates of deposit of any one such bank, and (iii) at the time of acquisition, no more than 10% of a Fund’s assets (taken at current value) are invested in certificates of deposit of such banks having total assets not in excess of $1 billion.
Bankers’ acceptances are credit instruments evidencing the obligations of a bank to pay a draft drawn on it by a customer. These instruments reflect the obligation both of the bank and of the drawer to pay the face amount of the instrument upon maturity.
Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in a banking institution for a specified period of time at a stated interest rate. Time deposits which may be held by a Fund will not benefit from insurance from the Bank Insurance Fund or the Savings Association Insurance Fund administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Fixed time deposits may be withdrawn on demand by the investor, but may be subject to early withdrawal penalties that vary with market conditions and the remaining maturity of the obligation. Fixed time deposits subject to withdrawal penalties maturing in more than seven calendar days are subject to a Fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities.
Bonds with Warrants Attached. Bonds with warrants attached are bonds issued as a unit with warrants. A Fund may dispose of the common stock received upon conversion of a convertible security or exercise of a warrant as promptly as it can and in a manner that it believes reduces the risk to the Fund of a loss in connection with the sale. A Fund does not intend to retain in its portfolio any warrant acquired as a unit with bonds if the warrant begins to trade separately from the related bond.
Borrowing. Each Fund, to the extent permitted by its fundamental investment restrictions, may borrow money from banks. Each Fund will limit borrowings to amounts not in excess of 33⅓% of the value of the Fund’s total assets less liabilities (other than borrowings), unless a Fund’s fundamental investment restrictions set forth a lower limit. Any borrowings that exceed this amount will be reduced within three days (not including Sundays and holidays) to the extent necessary to comply with the 33⅓% limitation or fundamental investment restriction. Each Fund may borrow money as a temporary measure for defensive or emergency purposes in order to meet redemption requests without immediately selling any portfolio securities. Investments in mortgage dollar roll and reverse repurchase agreements are not considered a form of borrowing where the Fund covers its exposure by segregating or earmarking liquid assets. Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act (“Rule 18f-4”) permits the Funds to treat reverse repurchase transactions either as borrowings or as “derivative transactions” subject to the risk-based limits of the rule, and does not require a Fund to maintain in a segregated account assets to meet its asset coverage requirements.
Certain types of borrowings by a Fund may result in the Fund being subject to covenants in credit agreements relating to asset coverage, portfolio composition requirements and other matters. It is not anticipated that observance of such covenants would impede the Adviser from managing the Fund’s portfolio in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective(s) and policies. However, a breach of any such covenants not cured within the specified cure period may result in acceleration of outstanding indebtedness and require a Fund to dispose of portfolio investments at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.
Bridge Loans. Bridge loans or bridge facilities are short-term loan arrangements (e.g., 12 to 18 months) typically made by a borrower in anticipation of intermediate-term or long-term permanent financing. Most bridge loans are structured as floating-rate debt with step-up provisions under which the interest rate on the bridge loan rises the longer the loan remains outstanding. In addition, bridge loans commonly contain a conversion feature that allows the bridge loan investor to convert its loan interest into senior exchange notes if the loan has not been prepaid in full on or prior to its maturity date. Bridge loans may be subordinate to other debt and may be secured or unsecured. Like any loan, bridge loans involve credit risk. Bridge loans are generally made with the expectation that the borrower will be able to obtain permanent financing in the near future. Any delay in obtaining permanent financing subjects the bridge loan investor to increased risk. A borrower’s use of bridge loans also involves the risk that the borrower may be unable to locate permanent financing to replace the bridge loan, which may impair the borrower’s perceived creditworthiness. From time to time, a Fund may make a commitment to participate in a bridge loan facility, obligating itself to participate in the facility if it funds. In return for this commitment, a Fund receives a fee.
Business Development Companies (“BDCs”). BDCs are typically publicly-held, closed-end investment funds that are regulated by the 1940 Act. BDCs primarily lend to or invest in private or thinly-traded companies. They also offer managerial assistance to the companies in which they invest. BDCs must adhere to various substantive regulatory requirements under the 1940 Act. For example, the 1940 Act restricts the types of assets in which a BDC may invest (i.e., at least 70% of the BDC’s total assets must be “qualifying assets,” as defined in the 1940 Act). The 1940 Act also regulates how BDCs employ “leverage” (i.e., how BDCs use borrowed funds to make investments). Because the 1940 Act applies unique “coverage ratio” tests to BDCs, BDCs may incur more debt than other regulated closed-end investment companies. Specifically, on one hand, the total assets of a closed-end investment company (other than a BDC) must exceed the fund’s outstanding debt by at least 300%. On the other hand, the total assets of a BDC must exceed the BDC’s outstanding debt by only 200%, thereby allowing a BDC to employ more leverage than other regulated closed-end investment companies. Leverage magnifies the potential for gain and loss on amounts invested and, as a result, increases the risks associated with the securities of leveraged companies.
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Privately-held and thinly-traded companies are generally considered to be below investment grade, and the debt securities of those companies, in turn, are often referred to as “high-yield” or “junk.” The revenues, income (or losses) and valuations of these companies can, and often do, fluctuate suddenly and dramatically, and they face considerable risk of loss. In addition, the fair value of a BDC’s investments in privately-held or thinly-traded companies often is not readily determinable. Although each BDC’s board of directors is responsible for determining the fair value of these securities, the uncertainty regarding fair value may adversely affect the determination of the BDC’s NAV. This could cause a Fund’s investments in a BDC to be inaccurately valued. BDCs often borrow funds to make investments and, as a result, are exposed to the risks of leverage. Leverage magnifies the potential loss on amounts invested and therefore increases the risks associated with an investment in a leveraged BDC’s securities. Leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique. Moreover, BDCs’ management fees, which are generally higher than the management fees charged to other funds, are normally payable on gross assets, including those assets acquired through the use of leverage. This may give a BDC’s investment adviser a financial incentive to incur leverage.
Catastrophe Bond. A catastrophe bond (“cat bond”) is a high-yield debt instrument that is usually insurance linked and meant to raise money in case of a catastrophe such as a hurricane or earthquake. If an “issuer,” such as an insurance company or reinsurance company (a company that insures insurance companies), wants to transfer some or all of the risk it assumes in insuring a catastrophe, it can set up a separate legal structure—commonly known as a special purpose vehicle (“SPV”). Foreign governments and private companies also have sponsored cat bonds as a hedge against natural disasters.
The SPV issues cat bonds and typically invests the proceeds from the bond issuance in low-risk securities, such as in investment grade money market or treasury funds, which are those rated Aaa by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. (“Moody’s”) or AAA by Fitch, Inc. (“Fitch”) or a comparable rating by another NRSRO (the collateral). The earnings on these low-risk securities, as well as insurance premiums paid to the issuer, are used to make periodic, variable rate interest payments to investors. The interest rate typically is based on the LIBOR plus a promised margin, or “spread,” above that.
As long as the natural disaster covered by the bond does not occur during the time investors own the bond, investors will receive their interest payments and, when the bond matures, their principal back from the collateral. Most cat bonds generally mature in three years, although terms range from one to five years, depending on the bond.
If the event does occur, however, the issuer’s right to the collateral is “triggered.” This means the issuer receives the collateral, instead of investors receiving it when the bond matures, causing investors to lose most—or all—of their principal and unpaid interest payments. You may hear this described as a “credit cliff.” When this happens, the SPV might also have the right to extend the maturity of the bonds to verify that the trigger did occur or to process and audit insurance claims. Depending on the bond, the extension can last anywhere from three months to two years or more. In some cases, cat bonds cover multiple events to reduce the chances that investors will lose all of their principal.
Each cat bond has its own triggering event(s), which is(are) spelled out in the bond’s offering documents. These documents typically are only available to purchasers or potential purchasers, however, because cat bonds are not subject to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) registration and disclosure requirements. A number of different types of triggers have developed. The question of whether a triggering event occurred—or the true meaning of a triggering event—can be complex and could wind up being litigated and require a ruling from a court. This in turn may add additional uncertainty to the way these securities perform.
Because cat bond holders face potentially huge losses, cat bonds are typically rated BB, or “non-investment grade” by credit rating agencies such as Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (“Standard & Poor’s”). Non-investment grade bonds are also known as “high yield” or “junk” bonds. These ratings agencies, as well as sponsors and underwriters of cat bonds, rely heavily on a handful of firms that specialize in modeling natural disasters. These “risk modeling” firms employ meteorologists, seismologists, statisticians, and other experts who use large databases of historical or simulated data to estimate the probabilities and potential financial damage of natural disasters.
The potential advantages of cat bonds are that they are not closely linked with the stock market or economic conditions and offer significant attractions to investors. For example, for the same level of risk, investors can usually obtain a higher yield with cat bonds relative to alternative investments. Another potential benefit is that the insurance risk securitization of cat bonds shows no correlation with equities or corporate bonds, meaning they may provide a good diversification of risks.
As with any financial instrument, cat bonds also present risks, which include the following:
Credit Cliff: A cat bond can cause the investor rapidly to lose most or all of his or her principal and any unpaid interest if a triggering event occurs. The high yield will not make investors whole if the triggering event actually occurs.
Modeling Risk: Prices, yields and ratings of cat bonds rely almost exclusively on complex computer modeling techniques, which in turn are extremely sensitive to the data used in the models. The quality and quantity of data vary depending on the catastrophe.
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Liquidity Risk: Secondary trading for cat bonds is very limited, so in a pinch an investor may not be able to sell. In addition, the secondary transactions that do occur are privately negotiated, so pricing information is not generally available to the public. In addition, as noted, the maturity of some cat bonds can be extended during the worst possible time—when a trigger may have occurred, which can cause the bonds’ value to plummet, potentially making them even harder to sell.
Unregistered Investments: Most cat bonds are issued in offerings pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act (“Rule 144A”), which are available only to large institutional investors and are not subject to the SEC’s registration and disclosure requirements. As a result, many of the normal investor protections that are common to most traditional registered investments are missing. For example, issuers of cat bonds are not required to file a registration statement or periodic reports with the SEC, unlike issuers of registered bonds. While general prohibitions against securities fraud apply to Rule 144A offerings, the lack of public disclosure may make it difficult to obtain and evaluate the information used to price and structure cat bonds.
Closed-end Funds. The value of the shares of a closed-end fund may be higher or lower than the value of the portfolio securities held by the closed-end fund. Closed-end investment funds may trade infrequently and with small volume, which may make it difficult for a Fund to buy and sell shares. Also, the market price of closed-end investment companies tends to rise more in response to buying demand and fall more in response to selling pressure than is the case with larger capitalization companies.
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (“CMOs”). CMOs are hybrids between mortgage-backed bonds and mortgage pass-through securities. Similar to a bond, interest and prepaid principal are paid, in most cases, semiannually. CMOs may be collateralized by whole mortgage loans but are more typically collateralized by portfolios of mortgage pass-through securities guaranteed by Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA” or “Ginnie Mae”), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC” or “Freddie Mac”), or Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA” or “Fannie Mae”), and their income streams.
CMOs are structured into multiple classes, each bearing a different stated maturity. Actual maturity and average life will depend upon the prepayment experience of the collateral. CMOs provide for a modified form of call protection through a de facto breakdown of the underlying pool of mortgages according to how quickly the loans are repaid. Monthly payment of principal received from the pool of underlying mortgages, including prepayments, is first returned to investors holding the shortest maturity class. Investors holding the longer maturity classes receive principal only after the first class has been retired. An investor is partially guarded against a sooner than desired return of principal because of the sequential payments. The prices of certain CMOs, depending on their structure and the rate of prepayments, can be volatile. Some CMOs may also not be as liquid as other securities.
In a typical CMO transaction, a corporation issues multiple series (e.g., A, B, C, Z) of CMO bonds (“Bonds”). Proceeds of the Bond offering are used to purchase mortgages or mortgage pass-through certificates (“Collateral”). The Collateral is pledged to a third-party trustee as security for the Bonds. Principal and interest payments from the Collateral are used to pay principal on the Bonds in the order A, B, C, Z. The Series A, B, and C bonds all bear current interest. Interest on the Series Z Bond is accrued and added to principal and a like amount is paid as principal on the Series A, B, or C Bond currently being paid off. When the Series A, B, and C Bonds are paid in full, interest and principal on the Series Z Bond begins to be paid currently. With some CMOs, the issuer serves as a conduit to allow loan originators (primarily builders or savings and loan associations) to borrow against their loan portfolios.
The principal risk of CMOs results from the rate of prepayments on underlying mortgages serving as collateral and from the structure of the deal. An increase or decrease in prepayment rates will affect the yield, average life and price of CMOs. Investors in CMOs bear the credit risk of the underlying securities, as well as the risks associated with the collateral (if any) backing such underlying securities.  
A Fund may also invest in, among others, parallel pay CMOs and Planned Amortization Class CMOs (“PAC Bonds”). Parallel pay CMOs are structured to provide payments of principal on each payment date to more than one class. These simultaneous payments are taken into account in calculating the stated maturity date or final distribution date of each class, which, as with other CMO structures, must be retired by its stated maturity date or a final distribution date but may be retired earlier. PAC Bonds are a type of CMO tranche or series designed to provide relatively predictable payments of principal provided that, among other things, the actual prepayment experience on the underlying mortgage loans falls within a predefined range. If the actual prepayment experience on the underlying mortgage loans is at a rate faster or slower than the predefined range or if deviations from other assumptions occur, principal payments on the PAC Bond may be earlier or later than predicted. The magnitude of the predefined range varies from one PAC Bond to another; a narrower range increases the risk that prepayments on the PAC Bond will be greater or smaller than predicted. Because of these features, PAC Bonds generally are less subject to the risks of prepayment than are other types of mortgage-backed securities.
Common Stock. Common stock is issued by companies to raise cash for business purposes and represents a proportionate interest in the issuing companies. Therefore, a Fund participates in the success or failure of any company in which it holds stock. The market value of common stock can fluctuate significantly, reflecting the business performance of the issuing company, investor perception and general economic or financial market movements. Smaller companies are especially sensitive to these factors and may even become valueless. Despite the risk of price volatility, however,
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common stocks also offer a greater potential for gain on investment, compared to other classes of financial assets such as bonds or cash equivalents. A Fund may also receive common stock as proceeds from a defaulted debt security held by the Fund or from a convertible bond converting to common stock. In such situations, a Fund will hold the common stock at the Adviser’s discretion.
Convertible Securities. Convertible securities are bonds, notes, debentures, preferred stocks and other securities which are convertible into common stock. Investments in convertible securities can provide an opportunity for capital appreciation and/or income through interest and dividend payments by virtue of their conversion or exchange features.
The convertible securities in which a Fund may invest are either fixed income or zero coupon debt securities which may be converted or exchanged at a stated or determinable exchange ratio into underlying shares of common stock. The exchange ratio for any particular convertible security may be adjusted from time to time due to stock splits, dividends, spin-offs, other corporate distributions or scheduled changes in the exchange ratio. Convertible debt securities and convertible preferred stocks, until converted, have general characteristics similar to both debt and equity securities. Although to a lesser extent than with debt securities generally, the market value of convertible securities tends to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, tends to increase as interest rates decline. In addition, because of the conversion or exchange feature, the market value of convertible securities typically changes as the market value of the underlying common stock changes, and, therefore, also tends to follow movements in the general market for equity securities. A unique feature of convertible securities is that as the market price of the underlying common stock declines, convertible securities tend to trade increasingly on a yield basis, and so may not experience market value declines to the same extent as the underlying common stock. When the market price of the underlying common stock increases, the prices of the convertible securities tend to rise as a reflection of the value of the underlying common stock, although typically not as much as the underlying common stock. While no securities investments are without risk, investments in convertible securities generally entail less risk than investments in common stock of the same issuer.
As debt securities, convertible securities are investments which provide for a stream of income (or in the case of zero coupon securities, accretion of income) with generally higher yields than common stocks. Convertible securities generally offer lower yields than non-convertible securities of similar quality because of their conversion or exchange features.
Like all debt securities, there can be no assurance of income or principal payments because the issuers of the convertible securities may default on their obligations.
Convertible securities generally are subordinated to other similar but non-convertible securities of the same issuer, although convertible bonds, as corporate debt obligations, enjoy seniority in right of payment to all equity securities, and convertible preferred stock is senior to common stock, of the same issuer. However, because of the subordination feature, convertible bonds and convertible preferred stock typically have lower ratings than similar non-convertible securities. Convertible securities may be issued as fixed income obligations that pay current income or as zero coupon notes and bonds, including Liquid Yield Option Notes (“LYONs”™).
Zero coupon convertible securities are debt securities which are issued at a discount to their face amount and do not entitle the holder to any periodic payments of interest prior to maturity. Rather, interest earned on zero coupon convertible securities accretes at a stated yield until the security reaches its face amount at maturity. Zero coupon convertible securities are convertible into a specific number of shares of the issuer’s common stock. In addition, zero coupon convertible securities usually have put features that provide the holder with the opportunity to sell the securities back to the issuer at a stated price before maturity. Generally, the prices of zero coupon convertible securities may be more sensitive to market interest rate fluctuations than conventional convertible securities.
Contingent Convertible Securities. Certain Funds may invest in contingent convertible securities, or “CoCos”. These securities are usually deeply subordinated instruments with long maturities that contain a conversion mechanism that is governed by the issuer’s ability to meet certain minimum financial and accounting ratios as promulgated by statutory regulatory authorities such as banking regulators or macro prudential regulatory authorities. If the issuer triggers the CoCo’s conversion mechanism, the contingent convertible security’s principal may be (1) permanently written off in total, (2) temporarily written off in total or in part with principal reinstatement contingent upon the issuer re-attaining compliance with statutorily required financial and accounting ratios, or (3) converted into common equity or into a security ranking junior to the contingent convertible security. In any or all of these circumstances, the CoCo’s value may be partially or completely impaired either temporarily or permanently.
Many, but not all, contingent convertible securities are rated as speculative or ‘High Yield’ by NRSROs. Like many other fixed income securities, the contingent convertible security’s market value tends to decline as interest rates rise and tends to rise as interest rates fall. Because of the CoCo’s subordinated status within the issuer’s capital structure, market value fluctuations may be greater than for other more senior securities issued by the issuer. Also the contingent convertible security’s value may fluctuate more closely with the issuer’s equity than with its debt given the CoCo’s subordination and given the embedded conversion mechanism. Because most CoCo conversion mechanisms are triggered by the issuer failing to meet minimum financial and accounting thresholds due to financial stress, unforeseen economic conditions, or unforeseen regulatory changes (among others), there is risk that the contingent convertible security will lose most if not all of its value upon conversion.
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In addition, some such instruments have a set stock conversion rate that would cause an automatic write-down of capital if the price of the stock is below the conversion price on the conversion date. In another version of a security with loss absorption characteristics, the liquidation value of the security may be adjusted downward to below the original par value under certain circumstances similar to those that would trigger a CoCo. The write down of the par value would occur automatically and would not entitle the holders to seek bankruptcy of the company. In certain versions of the instruments, the notes will write down to zero under certain circumstances and investors could lose everything, even as the issuer remains in business.
Corporate Obligations. Investment in corporate debt obligations involves credit and interest rate risk. The value of fixed income investments will fluctuate with changes in interest rates and bond market conditions, tending to rise as interest rates decline and to decline as interest rates rise. Corporate debt obligations generally offer less current yield than securities of lower quality, but lower-quality securities generally have less liquidity, greater credit and market risk, and as a result, more price volatility. Longer term bonds are, however, generally more volatile than bonds with shorter maturities.
Counterparty or Third Party Risk. Transactions involving a counterparty other than the issuer of the instrument, or a third-party responsible for servicing the instrument, are subject both to the credit risk of the counterparty or third-party, and to the counterparty’s or third-party’s ability to perform in accordance with the terms of the transaction.
The primary risk of swap transactions is the creditworthiness of the counterparty, since the integrity of the transaction depends on the willingness and ability of the counterparty to maintain the agreed-upon payment stream. If there is a default by a counterparty in a swap transaction, a Fund’s potential loss is the net amount of payments the Fund is contractually entitled to receive for one payment period (if any, the Fund could be in a net payment position), not the entire notional amount, which does not change hands in a swap transaction. Swaps do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets or principal as collateral for the transaction. A Fund may have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreement but, as with any contractual remedy, there is no guarantee that a Fund would be successful in pursuing them—the counterparty may be judgment proof due to insolvency, for example. The Fund thus assumes the risk that it may be delayed or prevented from obtaining payments owed to it. The standard industry swap agreements do, however, permit a Fund to terminate a swap agreement (and thus avoid making additional payments) in the event that a counterparty fails to make a timely payment to the Fund.
Credit Linked Notes. Credit linked securities are generally issued by a limited purpose trust or other vehicle that, in turn, invests in a derivative instrument or basket of derivative instruments, such as credit default swaps, interest rate swaps and other securities, in order to provide exposure to certain fixed income markets. For instance, credit linked securities may be used as a cash management tool in order to gain exposure to a certain market and/or to remain fully invested when more traditional income producing securities are not available.
Like an investment in a bond, investments in credit linked securities generally represent the right to receive periodic income payments (in the form of distributions) and payment of principal at the end of the term of the security. However, these payments are conditioned on the issuer’s receipt of payments from, and the issuer’s potential obligations to, the counterparties to the derivative instruments and other securities in which the issuer invests. For instance, the issuer may sell one or more credit default swaps, under which the issuer would receive a stream of payments over the term of the swap agreements provided that no event of default has occurred with respect to the referenced debt obligation upon which the swap is based. If a default occurs, the stream of payments may stop and the issuer would be obligated to pay the counterparty the par value (or other agreed upon value) of the referenced debt obligation. This, in turn, would reduce the amount of income and principal that a Fund would receive. The Fund’s investments in these instruments are indirectly subject to the risks associated with derivative instruments, including, among others, credit risk, default or similar event risk, counterparty risk, interest rate risk, leverage risk and management risk. It is also expected that the securities will be exempt from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, there may be no established trading market for the securities and they may constitute illiquid investments.
Currency Transactions. A Fund may engage in currency transactions as described in the prospectus or this SAI. Generally, except as provided otherwise, a Fund may engage with counterparties primarily in order to hedge, or manage the risk of the value of portfolio holdings denominated in particular currencies against fluctuations in relative value. Currency transactions include forward currency contracts, exchange listed currency futures, exchange listed and OTC options on currencies, and currency swaps. A Fund may enter into currency transactions with creditworthy counterparties that have been approved by the Adviser’s Counterparty Credit Risk Department in accordance with its Credit Risk Management Policy.
Forward Currency Contracts. A forward currency contract involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts are entered into in the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers.
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At or before the maturity of a forward currency contract, a Fund may either sell a portfolio security and make delivery of the currency, or retain the security and fully or partially offset its contractual obligation to deliver the currency by purchasing a second contract. If a Fund retains the portfolio security and engages in an offsetting transaction, the Fund, at the time of execution of the offsetting transaction, will incur a gain or a loss to the extent that movement has occurred in forward currency contract prices.
The precise matching of forward currency contract amounts and the value of the securities involved generally will not be possible because the value of such securities, measured in the foreign currency, will change after the foreign currency contract has been established. Thus, a Fund might need to purchase or sell foreign currencies in the spot (cash) market to the extent such foreign currencies are not covered by forward currency contracts. The projection of short-term currency market movements is extremely difficult, and the successful execution of a short-term hedging strategy is highly uncertain.
In general, in accordance with current federal securities laws, rules, and staff positions, the Funds cover their daily obligation requirements for outstanding forward foreign currency contracts by earmarking or segregating liquid portfolio securities. To the extent that a Fund is not able to cover its forward currency positions with underlying portfolio securities, the Fund segregates cash. If the value of the securities used to cover a position or the value of segregated assets declines, a Fund will find alternative cover or segregate additional cash or other liquid assets on a daily basis so that the value of the ear-marked or segregated assets will be equal to the amount of such Fund’s commitments with respect to such contracts.
Transaction hedging is entering into a currency transaction with respect to specific assets or liabilities of a Fund, which will generally arise in connection with the purchase or sale of its portfolio securities or the receipt of income therefrom. Position hedging is entering into a currency transaction with respect to portfolio security positions denominated or generally quoted in that currency.
Cross Hedge. If a particular currency is expected to decrease against another currency, a Fund may sell the currency expected to decrease and purchase a currency which is expected to increase against the currency sold in an amount approximately equal to the lesser of some or all of the Fund’s portfolio holdings denominated in or exposed to the currency sold.
Proxy-Hedge. A Fund may also enter into a position hedge transaction in a currency other than the currency being hedged (a “proxy hedge”). A Fund may enter into a proxy hedge if the Adviser believes there is a correlation between the currency being hedged and the currency in which the proxy hedge is denominated. Proxy hedging is often used when the currency to which a Fund’s portfolio is exposed is difficult to hedge or to hedge against the dollar. This type of hedging entails an additional risk beyond a direct position hedge because it is dependent on a stable relationship between two currencies paired as proxies. Overall risk to a Fund may increase or decrease as a consequence of the use of proxy hedges.
Currency Hedging. While the value of forward currency contracts, currency options, currency futures and options on futures may be expected to correlate with exchange rates, they will not reflect other factors that may affect the value of a Fund’s investments. A currency hedge, for example, should protect a yen-denominated bond against a decline in the yen, but will not protect a Fund against price decline if the issuer’s creditworthiness deteriorates. Because the value of a Fund’s investments denominated in foreign currency will change in response to many factors other than exchange rates, a currency hedge may not be entirely successful in mitigating changes in the value of the Fund’s investments denominated in that currency over time.
A decline in the dollar value of a foreign currency in which a Fund’s securities are denominated will reduce the dollar value of the securities, even if their value in the foreign currency remains constant. The use of currency hedges does not eliminate fluctuations in the underlying prices of the securities, but it does establish a rate of exchange that can be achieved in the future. In order to protect against such diminutions in the value of securities it holds, a Fund may purchase put options on the foreign currency. If the value of the currency does decline, a Fund will have the right to sell the currency for a fixed amount in dollars and will thereby offset, in whole or in part, the adverse effect on its securities that otherwise would have resulted. Conversely, if a rise in the dollar value of a currency in which securities to be acquired are denominated is projected, thereby potentially increasing the cost of the securities, a Fund may purchase call options on the particular currency. The purchase of these options could offset, at least partially, the effects of the adverse movements in exchange rates. Although currency hedges limit the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of a hedged currency, at the same time, they also limit any potential gain that might result should the value of the currency increase.
A Fund may enter into foreign currency exchange transactions to hedge its currency exposure in specific transactions or portfolio positions. Transaction hedging is the purchase or sale of forward currency contracts with respect to specific receivables or payables of a Fund generally accruing in connection with the purchase or sale of its portfolio securities. Position hedging is the sale of forward currency contracts with respect to portfolio security positions.
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The currencies of certain emerging market countries have experienced devaluations relative to the U.S. Dollar, and future devaluations may adversely affect the value of assets denominated in such currencies. In addition, currency hedging techniques may be unavailable in certain emerging market countries. Many emerging market countries have experienced substantial, and in some periods extremely high, rates of inflation or deflation for many years, and future inflation may adversely affect the economies and securities markets of such countries.
Position Hedge. A Fund may hedge some or all of its investments denominated in a foreign currency or exposed to foreign currency fluctuations against a decline in the value of that currency relative to the U.S. Dollar by entering into forward foreign currency contracts to sell an amount of that currency approximating the value of some or all of its portfolio securities denominated in or exposed to that currency and buying U.S. Dollars or by participating in options or future contracts with respect to the currency. Such transactions do not eliminate fluctuations caused by changes in the local currency prices of security investments, but rather, establish an exchange rate at a future date. Although such contracts are intended to minimize the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged currencies, at the same time they tend to limit any potential gain which might result should the value of such currencies increase. The Adviser may from time to time seek to reduce foreign currency risk by hedging some or all of a Fund’s foreign currency exposure back into the U.S. Dollar.
Currency Futures. A Fund may also seek to enhance returns or hedge against the decline in the value of a currency through use of currency futures or options thereon. Currency futures are similar to forward foreign exchange transactions except that futures are standardized, exchange-traded contracts while forward foreign exchange transactions are traded in the OTC market. Currency futures involve currency risk equivalent to currency forwards.
Currency Options. A Fund that invests in foreign currency-denominated securities may buy or sell put and call options on foreign currencies either on exchanges or in the OTC market. A put option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to sell a foreign currency at the exercise price until the option expires. A call option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to purchase the currency at the exercise price until the option expires. A Fund may also write covered options on foreign currencies. For example, to hedge against a potential decline in the U.S. Dollar value of foreign currency denominated securities due to adverse fluctuations in exchange rates, a Fund could, instead of purchasing a put option, write a call option on the relevant currency. If the expected decline occurs, the option will most likely not be exercised and the decline in value of portfolio securities will be offset by the amount of the premium received. Currency options traded on U.S. or other exchanges may be subject to position limits which may limit the ability of a Fund to reduce foreign currency risk using such options. OTC options differ from exchange traded options in that they are two-party contracts with price and other terms negotiated between buyer and seller, and generally do not have as much market liquidity as exchange-traded options.
Under definitions adopted by the CFTC and SEC, many foreign currency options are considered swaps for certain purposes, including determination of whether such instruments need to be exchange-traded and centrally cleared.
Currency hedging involves some of the same risks and considerations as other transactions with similar instruments. Currency transactions can result in losses to a Fund if the currency being hedged fluctuates in value to a degree or in a direction that is not anticipated. Further, there is the risk that the perceived correlation between various currencies may not be present or may not be present during the particular time that a Fund is engaging in proxy hedging.
Risks of Currency Transactions. Currency transactions are subject to risks different from those of other portfolio transactions. Because currency control is of great importance to the issuing governments and influences economic planning and policy, purchases and sales of currency and related instruments can be negatively affected by government exchange controls, blockages, and manipulations or exchange restrictions imposed by governments. These can result in losses to a Fund if it is unable to deliver or receive currency or funds in settlement of obligations and could also cause hedges it has entered into to be rendered useless, resulting in full currency exposure as well as incurring transaction costs. Buyers and sellers of currency futures are subject to the same risks that apply to the use of futures generally. Further, settlement of a currency futures contract for the purchase of most currencies must occur at a bank based in the issuing nation. Trading options on currency futures is relatively new, and the ability to establish and close out positions on such options is subject to the maintenance of a liquid market which may not always be available. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate based on factors extrinsic to that country’s economy.
Risk Factors in Hedging Foreign Currency Risks. Hedging transactions involving currency instruments involve substantial risks, including correlation risk. While an objective of a Fund’s use of currency instruments to effect hedging strategies is intended to reduce the volatility of the NAV of the Fund’s shares, the NAV of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate. Moreover, although currency instruments will be used with the intention of hedging against adverse currency movements, transactions in currency instruments involve the risk that such currency movements may not occur and that the Fund’s hedging strategies may be ineffective. To the extent that a Fund hedges against anticipated currency movements that do not occur, the Fund may realize losses and decrease its total return as the result of its hedging transactions. Furthermore, a Fund will only engage in hedging activities from time to time and may not be engaging in hedging activities when movements in currency exchange rates occur.
In connection with its trading in forward foreign currency contracts, a Fund will contract with a foreign or domestic bank, or foreign or domestic securities dealer, to make or take future delivery of a specified amount of a particular currency. There are no limitations on daily price moves in such forward contracts, and banks and dealers are not required
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to continue to make markets in such contracts. There have been periods during which certain banks or dealers have refused to quote prices for such forward contracts or have quoted prices with an unusually wide spread between the price at which the bank or dealer is prepared to buy and that at which it is prepared to sell. Governmental imposition of credit controls might limit any such forward contract trading. With respect to its trading of forward contracts, if any, a Fund may be subject to the risk of bank or dealer failure and the inability of, or refusal by, a bank or dealer to perform with respect to such contracts. Any such default would deprive the Fund of any profit potential or force the Fund to cover its commitments for resale, if any, at the then market price and could result in a loss to the Fund. It may not be possible for a Fund to hedge against currency exchange rate movements, even if correctly anticipated, in the event that (i) the currency exchange rate movement is so generally anticipated that the Fund is not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an effective price, or (ii) the currency exchange rate movement relates to a market with respect to which currency instruments are not available and it is not possible to engage in effective foreign currency hedging. The cost to a Fund of engaging in foreign currency transactions varies with such factors as the currencies involved, the length of the contract period and the market conditions then prevailing. In addition, a Fund may not always be able to enter into forward contracts at attractive prices and may be limited in its ability to use these contracts to hedge Fund assets. Since transactions in foreign currency exchanges usually are conducted on a principal basis, no fees or commissions are involved.
New regulations governing certain OTC derivatives may also increase the costs of using these types of instruments or make them less effective, as described under “Strategic Transactions, Derivatives and Synthetic Investments – Risks of Strategic Transactions Inside the U.S.”
See “Regulation of Commodity Interests” for additional information about the Funds’ use of derivatives in connection with CFTC exclusions.
Custody/Sub-Custody Risk. To the extent that a Fund invests in markets where custodial and/or settlement systems are not fully developed, the Fund is subject to foreign custody/sub-custody risk. Foreign custody risk refers to the risks inherent in the process of clearing and settling trades and to the holding of securities, cash and other assets by banks, agents and depositories in securities markets that are less developed than those in the United States. Low trading volumes and volatile prices in less developed markets make trades harder to complete and settle, and governments or trade groups may compel non-U.S. agents to hold securities in designated depositories that may not be subject to independent evaluation. The laws of certain countries may place limitations on the ability to recover assets if a non-U.S. bank, agent or depository becomes insolvent or enters bankruptcy. Non-U.S. agents are held only to the standards of care of their local markets, and thus may be subject to limited or no government oversight. In general, the less developed a country’s securities market is, or the more difficult communication is with that location, the greater the likelihood of custody problems.
Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as mobile devices and Web-based or “cloud” applications, and the dependence on the Internet and computer systems to conduct business, the Funds are susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events (arising from external or internal sources) that may cause a Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption, physical damage to a computer or network system or lose operational capacity. Cybersecurity attacks include, but are not limited to, infection by malicious software, such as malware or computer viruses or gaining unauthorized access to digital systems, networks or devices that are used to service a Fund’s operations (e.g., through “hacking,” “phishing” or malicious software coding) or other means for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cybersecurity attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on a Fund’s websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). In addition, authorized persons could inadvertently or intentionally release confidential or proprietary information stored on a Fund’s systems.
Cybersecurity incidents affecting the Funds’ Adviser, other service providers to a Fund or its shareholders (including, but not limited to, fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses to both a Fund and shareholders, interference with a Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, impediments to trading, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business and of a Fund to process transactions (including fulfillment of Fund share purchases and redemptions), violations of applicable privacy and other laws (including the release of private shareholder information) and attendant breach notification and credit monitoring costs, regulatory fines, penalties, litigation costs, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, forensic investigation and remediation costs, and/ or additional compliance costs. Similar adverse consequences could result from cybersecurity incidents affecting issuers of securities in which a Fund invests, counterparties with which a Fund engages in transactions, governmental and other regulatory authorities, exchange and other financial market operators, banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies and other financial institutions (including financial intermediaries and other service providers) and other parties. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to safeguard against and reduce the risk of any cybersecurity incidents in the future. In addition to administrative, technological and procedural safeguards, the Adviser has established business continuity plans in the event of such cybersecurity incidents. However, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified, as well as the rapid development of
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new threats. Furthermore, a Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by its service providers or any other third parties whose operations may affect a Fund or its shareholders. A Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result. In addition, work-from-home arrangements by the Funds, the Adviser or their service providers could increase all of the above risks, create additional data and information accessibility concerns, and make the Funds, the Adviser or their service providers susceptible to operational disruptions, any of which could adversely impact their operations. Furthermore, the Funds may be an appealing target for cybersecurity threats such as hackers and malware.  
Debt Securities.
Debt Securities Generally.
The principal risks involved with investments in debt securities include interest rate risk, credit risk and pre-payment risk. Interest rate risk refers to the likely decline in the value of bonds as interest rates rise. Generally, longer-term securities are more susceptible to changes in value as a result of interest-rate changes than are shorter-term securities. Changing interest rate environments (whether downward or upward) impact the various sectors if the economy in different ways. During periods when interest rates are low (or negative), a Fund’s yield (or total return) may also be low and fall below zero. A Fund may be subject to heightened levels of interest rate risk because the U.S. Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) has sharply raised interest rates from relatively low levels and has signaled an intention to continue to do so until current inflation levels re-align with the Fed’s long-term inflation target. To the extent the Fed continues to raise interest rates, there is a risk that rates across the financial system may rise. Credit risk refers to the risk that an issuer of a bond may default with respect to the payment of principal and interest. The lower a bond is rated, the more it is considered to be a speculative or risky investment. Pre-payment risk is commonly associated with pooled debt securities, such as mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities, but may affect other debt securities as well. When the underlying debt obligations are prepaid ahead of schedule, the return on the security will be lower than expected. Pre-payment rates usually increase when interest rates are falling.
Lower-rated securities are more likely to react to developments affecting these risks than are more highly rated securities, which react primarily to movements in the general level of interest rates. Although the fluctuation in the price of debt securities is normally less than that of common stocks, in the past there have been extended periods of cyclical increases in interest rates that have caused significant declines in the price of debt securities in general and have caused the effective maturity of securities with prepayment features to be extended, thus effectively converting short or intermediate term securities (which tend to be less volatile in price) into long term securities (which tend to be more volatile in price).
Ratings as Investment Criteria. High-quality, medium-quality and non-investment grade debt obligations are characterized as such based on their ratings by NRSROs, such as Standard & Poor’s or Moody’s. In general, the ratings of NRSROs represent the opinions of these agencies as to the quality of securities that they rate. Such ratings, however, are relative and subjective, and are not absolute standards of quality and do not evaluate the market value risk of the securities. These ratings are used by a Fund as initial criteria for the selection of portfolio securities, but a Fund also relies upon the independent advice of the Adviser to evaluate potential investments. This is particularly important for lower-quality securities. Among the factors that will be considered is the long-term ability of the issuer to pay principal and interest and general economic trends, as well as an issuer’s capital structure, existing debt and earnings history. Appendix B to this SAI contains further information about the rating categories of NRSROs and their significance.
Subsequent to its purchase by a Fund, an issuer of securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum required for purchase by such Fund. In addition, it is possible that an NRSRO might not change its rating of a particular issuer to reflect subsequent events. None of these events generally will require sale of such securities, but the Adviser will consider such events in its determination of whether the Fund should continue to hold the securities. In addition, to the extent that the ratings change as a result of changes in an NRSRO or its rating systems, or due to a corporate reorganization, a Fund will attempt to use comparable ratings as standards for its investments in accordance with its investment objective and policies.
Investment Grade Debt Securities. The Funds may purchase “investment grade” bonds, which are those rated Aaa, Aa, A or Baa by Moody’s or AAA, AA, A or BBB by Standard & Poor’s or Fitch or a comparable rating by another NRSRO; or, if unrated, judged to be of equivalent quality as determined by the Adviser. For the avoidance of doubt, bonds rated Baa3 by Moody’s or BBB- by Standard & Poor’s or BBB- by Fitch are considered to be investment grade. In general, but not always, investments in securities rated in the BBB category tend to have more risk than securities in the A, AA or AAA categories due to greater exposure to, among other things: adverse economic conditions; higher levels of debt; or more volatile industry performance. Securities within the BBB category can also experience greater market value fluctuations over time. To the extent that a Fund invests in higher-grade securities, the Fund may not be able to avail itself of opportunities for higher income that may be available at lower grades.
Lower Quality (High-Risk) Debt Securities. Non-investment grade debt or lower quality/rated securities, commonly known as junk bonds or high yield securities (hereinafter referred to as “lower-quality securities”) include (i) bonds rated below Baa3 by Moody’s or below BBB- by Standard & Poor’s or Fitch, (ii) commercial paper rated at or below C by Standard & Poor’s, Not Prime by Moody’s or Fitch 4 by Fitch; and (iii) unrated debt securities of comparable quality as determined by the Adviser. The lower the ratings of such lower-quality securities, the more their risks render them like
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equity securities. Securities rated D may be in default with respect to payment of principal or interest. Lower-quality securities, while generally offering higher yields than investment grade securities with similar maturities, involve greater risks, including a higher possibility of default or bankruptcy. There is more risk associated with these investments because of reduced creditworthiness and increased risk of default. Lower-quality securities generally involve greater volatility of price and risk to principal and income, and may be less liquid, than securities in the higher rating categories. Under NRSRO guidelines, lower-quality securities and comparable unrated securities will likely have some quality and protective characteristics that are outweighed by large uncertainties or major risk exposures to adverse conditions.
Lower-quality securities are also considered to be at risk of, among other things: failing to attain improved credit quality and NRSRO investment grade rating status; having a current identifiable vulnerability to default or to be in default; not having the capacity to make required interest payments and repay principal when due in the event of adverse business, financial or economic conditions; or, being in default or not current in the payment of interest or principal. They are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal.
Issuers of lower-quality securities often are highly leveraged and may not have available to them more traditional methods of financing. Therefore, the risk associated with acquiring the securities of such issuers generally is greater than is the case with higher rated securities. For example, during an economic downturn or a sustained period of rising interest rates, highly leveraged issuers of lower-quality securities may experience financial stress. During such periods, such issuers may not have sufficient revenues to meet their interest payment obligations. The issuer’s ability to service its debt obligations may also be adversely affected by specific corporate developments, or the issuer’s inability to meet specific projected business forecasts, or the unavailability of additional financing. The risk of loss from default by the issuer is significantly greater for the holders of high yield securities because such securities are generally unsecured and are often subordinated to other creditors of the issuer. Prices and yields of high yield securities will fluctuate over time and, during periods of economic uncertainty, volatility of high yield securities may adversely affect a Fund’s NAV. In addition, investments in high yield zero coupon or pay-in-kind bonds, rather than income-bearing high yield securities, may be more speculative and may be subject to greater fluctuations in value due to changes in interest rates.
A Fund may have difficulty disposing of certain lower-quality securities because they may have a thin trading market. Because not all dealers maintain markets in all high yield securities, a Fund anticipates that such securities could be sold only to a limited number of dealers or institutional investors. The lack of a liquid secondary market may have an adverse effect on the market price and a Fund’s ability to dispose of particular issues and may also make it more difficult for the Fund to obtain accurate market quotations for purposes of valuing the Fund’s assets. Market quotations generally are available on many lower-quality issues only from a limited number of dealers and may not necessarily represent firm bids of such dealers or prices for actual sales. Adverse publicity and investor perceptions may decrease the values and liquidity of high-yield securities. These securities may also involve special registration responsibilities, liabilities and costs, and liquidity and valuation difficulties.
Credit quality (or perceived credit quality) in the lower-quality securities market can change suddenly and unexpectedly, and even recently-issued credit ratings may not fully reflect the actual risks posed by a particular high-yield security. For these reasons, it is generally the policy of the Adviser not to rely exclusively on ratings issued by established credit rating agencies, but to supplement such ratings with its own independent and on-going review of credit quality. The achievement of a Fund’s investment objective by investment in such securities may be more dependent on the Adviser’s credit analysis than is the case for higher quality bonds. Should the rating of a portfolio security be downgraded, the Adviser will determine whether it is in the best interests of a Fund to retain or dispose of such security.
Prices for lower-quality securities may be affected by legislative and regulatory developments. Also, Congress has from time to time considered legislation which would restrict or eliminate the corporate tax deduction for interest payments on these securities and regulate corporate restructurings. Such legislation may significantly depress the prices of outstanding securities of this type.
A portion of the lower-quality securities acquired by a Fund may be purchased upon issuance, which may involve special risks because the securities so acquired are new issues. In such instances, a Fund may be a substantial purchaser of the issue and therefore have the opportunity to participate in structuring the terms of the offering. Although this may enable a Fund to seek to protect itself against certain of such risks, the considerations discussed herein would nevertheless remain applicable.
Information Concerning Duration. Duration is a risk measure that describes how much the price of a fixed income security changes given a change in the level of interest rates. Duration was developed as a more precise alternative to the concepts of “term to maturity” or “average dollar weighted maturity”, which had been used historically in the market as rough measures of “volatility” or “risk” associated with changes in interest rates. Duration incorporates a security’s yield, coupon interest payments, final maturity and call features into one measure.
Most debt obligations provide interest (“coupon”) payments in addition to final (“par”) payment at maturity. Some obligations also have call provisions. Depending on the relative magnitude of these payments and the nature of the call provisions, the market values of debt obligations may respond differently to changes in interest rates.
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Traditionally, a debt security’s “term-to-maturity” has been used as a measure of the sensitivity of the security’s price to changes in interest rates (which is the “interest rate risk” or “volatility” of the security). However, “term-to-maturity” measures only the time until a debt security provides its final payment, taking no account of the pattern of the security’s payments prior to maturity. Average dollar weighted maturity is calculated by averaging the terms of maturity of each debt security held with each maturity “weighted” according to the percentage of assets that it represents. Duration is a measure of the expected life of a debt security on a present value basis and reflects both principal and interest payments. Duration takes the length of the time intervals between the present time and the time that the interest and principal payments are scheduled or, in the case of a callable security, expected to be received, and weights them by the present values of the cash to be received at each future point in time. For any debt security with interest payments occurring prior to the payment of principal, duration is ordinarily less than maturity. In general, all other factors being the same, the lower the stated or coupon rate of interest of a debt security, the longer the duration of the security; conversely, the higher the stated or coupon rate of interest of a debt security, the shorter the duration of the security.
There are some situations where the standard duration calculation does not properly reflect the interest rate exposure of a security. For example, floating and variable rate securities often have final maturities of ten or more years; however, their interest rate exposure corresponds to the frequency of the coupon reset. Another example where the interest rate exposure is not properly captured by duration is the case of mortgage pass-through securities. The stated final maturity of such securities is generally 30 years, but current prepayment rates are more critical in determining the securities’ interest rate exposure. In these and other similar situations, the Funds’ will use more sophisticated analytical techniques to project the economic life of a security and estimate its interest rate exposure. Since the computation of duration is based on predictions of future events rather than known factors, there can be no assurance that a Fund will at all times achieve its targeted portfolio duration.
The change in market value of U.S. Government fixed income securities is largely a function of changes in the prevailing level of interest rates. When interest rates are falling, a portfolio with a shorter duration generally will not generate as high a level of total return as a portfolio with a longer duration. When interest rates are stable, shorter duration portfolios generally will not generate as high a level of total return as longer duration portfolios (assuming that long-term interest rates are higher than short-term rates, which is commonly the case). When interest rates are rising, a portfolio with a shorter duration will generally outperform longer duration portfolios. With respect to the composition of a fixed income portfolio, the longer the duration of the portfolio, generally, the greater the anticipated potential for total return, with, however, greater attendant interest rate risk and price volatility than for a portfolio with a shorter duration.
Newly Issued Debt Securities. New issues of certain debt instruments are often offered on a when-issued or firm-commitment basis; that is, the payment obligation and the interest rate are fixed at the time the buyer enters into the commitment, but delivery and payment for the securities normally take place after the customary settlement time. The value of when-issued securities or securities purchased on a firm-commitment basis may vary prior to and after delivery depending on market conditions and changes in interest rate levels. However, a Fund will not accrue any income on these securities prior to delivery. Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act provides that funds may invest in securities on a when-issued or forward-settling basis, or with a non-standard settlement cycle. These transactions will not be deemed to involve a senior security, and thus generally will not require the Fund to maintain a “segregated account” when engaging in these types of transactions, subject to certain conditions and any other restrictions that the Fund has adopted.
Depositary Receipts. Depositary receipts include American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) and Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) or other securities convertible into securities of issuers based in foreign countries. These securities may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the securities into which they may be converted. Generally, ADRs, in registered form, are denominated in U.S. Dollars and are designed for use in the U.S. securities markets, GDRs, in bearer form, are issued and designed for use outside the United States and EDRs (also referred to as Continental Depositary Receipts (“CDRs”)), in bearer form, may be denominated in other currencies and are designed for use in European securities markets. ADRs are receipts typically issued by a U.S. bank or trust company evidencing ownership of the underlying securities. EDRs are European receipts evidencing a similar arrangement. GDRs are receipts typically issued by non-U.S. banks and trust companies that evidence ownership of either foreign or domestic securities. For purposes of a Fund’s investment policies, ADRs, GDRs and EDRs are deemed to have the same classification as the underlying securities they represent. Thus, an ADR, GDR or EDR representing ownership of common stock will be treated as common stock.
A Fund may invest in depositary receipts through “sponsored” or “unsponsored” facilities. While ADRs issued under these two types of facilities are in some respects similar, there are distinctions between them relating to the rights and obligations of ADR holders and the practices of market participants.
A depositary may establish an unsponsored facility without participation by (or even necessarily the acquiescence of) the issuer of the deposited securities, although typically the depositary requests a letter of non-objection from such issuer prior to the establishment of the facility. Holders of unsponsored ADRs generally bear all the costs of such facilities. The depositary usually charges fees upon the deposit and withdrawal of the deposited securities, the conversion of dividends into U.S. Dollars, the disposition of non-cash distributions, and the performance of other services. The depositary of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to pass through voting rights to ADR holders in respect of the deposited securities. In addition, an unsponsored facility is generally not obligated to distribute
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communications received from the issuer of the deposited securities or to disclose material information about such issuer in the U.S. and thus there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts. Unsponsored ADRs tend to be less liquid than sponsored ADRs.
Sponsored ADR facilities are created in generally the same manner as unsponsored facilities, except that the issuer of the deposited securities enters into a deposit agreement with the depositary. The deposit agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of the issuer, the depositary, and the ADR holders. With sponsored facilities, the issuer of the deposited securities generally will bear some of the costs relating to the facility (such as dividend payment fees of the depositary), although ADR holders continue to bear certain other costs (such as deposit and withdrawal fees). Under the terms of most sponsored arrangements, depositaries agree to distribute notices of shareholder meetings and voting instructions, and to provide shareholder communications and other information to the ADR holders at the request of the issuer of the deposited securities.
In addition, the issuers of depositary receipts may discontinue issuing new depositary receipts and withdraw existing depositary receipts at any time, which may result in costs and delays in the distribution of the underlying assets to the Fund and may negatively impact a Fund’s performance.
Derivatives. Derivatives are financial instruments whose values are derived from another security, a commodity (such as gold or oil), an index, a currency (a measure of value or rates, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index or the prime lending rate) or other reference asset. A Fund typically uses derivatives as a substitute for taking a position or reducing exposure to underlying assets. A Fund may invest in derivative instruments including the purchase or sale of futures contracts, swaps (including credit default swaps), options (including options on futures and options on swaps), forward contracts, structured notes, and other equity-linked derivatives. A Fund may use derivative instruments for hedging (offset risks associated with an investment) purposes. A Fund may also use derivatives for non-hedging purposes to seek to enhance returns. When a Fund invests in a derivative for non-hedging purposes, the Fund will be fully exposed to the risks of loss of that derivative, which may sometimes be greater than the derivative’s cost. No Fund may use any derivative to gain exposure to an asset or class of assets that it would be prohibited by its investment restrictions from purchasing directly. Investments in derivatives in general are subject to market risks that may cause their prices to fluctuate over time. Fixed income derivatives are subject to interest rate risk. Investments in derivatives may not correctly correlate with the price movements of the underlying instrument. As a result, the use of derivatives may expose a Fund to additional risks that it would not be subject to if it invested directly in the securities underlying those derivatives. The use of derivatives may result in larger losses or smaller gains than otherwise would be the case. A Fund may also take a short position through a derivative. A Fund may increase its use of derivatives in response to unusual market conditions.
Derivatives can be volatile and may involve significant risks, including:
Accounting risk – the accounting treatment of derivative instruments, including their initial recording, income recognition, and valuation, may require detailed analysis of relevant accounting guidance as it applies to the specific instrument structure.
Correlation risk – if the value of a derivative does not correlate well with the particular market or other asset class the derivative is intended to provide exposure to, the derivative may not have the anticipated effect.
Counterparty risk – the risk that the counterparty (the party on the other side of the transaction) on a derivative transaction will be unable to honor its financial obligation to the Fund.
Currency risk – the risk that changes in the exchange rate between currencies will adversely affect the value (in U.S. Dollar terms) of an investment.
Index risk – if the derivative is linked to the performance of an index, it will be subject to the risks associated with