Statement of Additional Information
April 30, 2023
Bramshill Multi-Strategy Income Fund
(formerly, Braddock Multi-Strategy Income Fund)
a series of Investment Managers Series Trust
Class A Shares (BDKAX), Class C Shares (BDKCX), Class T Shares (BDKDX)
and Institutional Class Shares (BDKNX)
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus, and it should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus dated April 30, 2023, as may be amended from time to time, of the Bramshill Multi-Strategy Income Fund (the “Fund”), a series of Investment Managers Series Trust (the “Trust”). Liberty Street Advisors, Inc. (the “Advisor”) is the investment advisor to the Fund. Bramshill Investments, LLC (“Bramshill” or the “Sub-Advisor”) is the sub-advisor to the Fund. A copy of the Fund’s Prospectus may be obtained by contacting the Fund at the address or telephone number specified below. The Fund’s Annual Report to shareholders for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 is incorporated by reference herein. A copy of the Fund’s Annual Report can be obtained by contacting the Fund at the address or telephone number specified below.
Bramshill Multi-Strategy Income Fund
P.O. Box 2175
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|THE TRUST AND THE FUND||B-2|
|INVESTMENT STRATEGIES, POLICIES AND RISKS||B-2|
|MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND||B-36|
|PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE||B-51|
|PROXY VOTING POLICY||B-52|
|ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING PROGRAM||B-53|
|PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS INFORMATION||B-53|
|DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE||B-55|
|PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF FUND SHARES||B-56|
|FEDERAL INCOME TAX MATTERS||B-57|
|DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS||B-63|
|APPENDIX A DESCRIPTION OF SHORT-TERM RATINGS||B-67|
|APPENDIX B PROXY VOTING POLICY||B-68|
THE TRUST AND THE FUND
The Trust is an open-end management investment company organized as a Delaware statutory trust under the laws of the State of Delaware on February 15, 2005. The Trust currently consists of several other series of shares of beneficial interest. This SAI relates only to the Fund and not to the other series of the Trust.
The Trust is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as an open-end management investment company. Such a registration does not involve supervision of the management or policies of the Fund. The Prospectus of the Fund and this SAI omit certain of the information contained in the Registration Statement filed with the SEC. Copies of such information may be obtained from the SEC upon payment of the prescribed fee.
The Fund is classified as a non-diversified fund, which means it is not subject to the diversification requirements under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Under the 1940 Act, a diversified fund may not, with respect to 75% of its total assets, invest more than 5% of its total assets in the securities of one issuer (and in not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of an issuer), excluding cash, Government securities, and securities of other investment companies. Although the Fund is not required to comply with the above requirement, the Fund intends to diversify its assets to the extent necessary to qualify for tax treatment as a regulated investment company under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).
The Fund currently offers four classes of shares: Class A, Class C, Class T and Institutional Class. As of the date of this SAI, Class T Shares are not currently available for purchase. Other classes may be established from time to time in accordance with the provisions of the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust (the “Declaration of Trust”). Each class of shares of the Fund generally is identical in all respects except that each class of shares is subject to its own distribution expenses and minimum investments. Each class of shares also has exclusive voting rights with respect to its distribution fees.
INVESTMENT STRATEGIES, POLICIES AND RISKS
The discussion below supplements information contained in the Fund’s Prospectus pertaining to the investment policies of the Fund.
PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES, POLICIES AND RISKS
Events in certain sectors historically have resulted, and may in the future result, in an unusually high degree of volatility in the financial markets, both domestic and foreign. These events have included, but are not limited to: bankruptcies, corporate restructurings, and other events related to the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2008; governmental efforts to limit short selling and high frequency trading; measures to address U.S. federal and state budget deficits; social, political, and economic instability in Europe; economic stimulus by the Japanese central bank; steep declines in oil prices; dramatic changes in currency exchange rates; China’s economic slowdown; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; and more recently, higher inflation. Interconnected global economies and financial markets increase the possibility that conditions in one country or region might adversely impact issuers in a different country or region. Such events may cause significant declines in the values and liquidity of many securities and other instruments. It is impossible to predict whether such conditions will recur. Because such situations may be widespread, it may be difficult to identify both risks and opportunities using past models of the interplay of market forces, or to predict the duration of such events.
An outbreak of infectious respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 was first detected in China in December 2019 and then was detected globally. This coronavirus has resulted in certain travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of and delays in healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, and lower consumer demand, as well as general concern and uncertainty. The impact of COVID-19, and other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future, could adversely affect the economies of many nations or the entire global economy, individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen. In addition, the impact of infectious illnesses in emerging market countries may be greater due to generally less established healthcare systems. Public health crises caused by the COVID-19 outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally. The duration of the COVID-19 outbreak and its effects cannot be determined with certainty.
Asset-Backed Debt Securities
The Fund invests in asset-backed debt securities. Asset-backed debt securities represent interests in “pools” of mortgages or other assets, including securities backed by assets such as residential and commercial real estate, corporate debt, credit card and business receivables, student loans, personal and consumer loans and automobile loans.
The Fund invests in mortgage-related securities that are backed by or provide exposure to mortgages, including private, government, commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities. The Fund may invest in mortgage-backed securities and derivative mortgage-backed securities, and may also invest in “principal only” and “interest only” components. Mortgage-backed securities are securities that directly or indirectly represent a participation in, or are secured by and payable from, mortgage loans on real property. As with other debt securities, mortgage-backed securities are subject to credit risk and interest rate risk. However, the yield and maturity characteristics of mortgage-backed securities differ from traditional debt securities. A major difference is that the principal amount of the obligations may normally be prepaid at any time because the underlying assets (i.e., loans) generally may be prepaid at any time. The relationship between prepayments and interest rates may give some mortgage-backed securities less potential for growth in value than conventional fixed-income securities with comparable maturities. In addition, in periods of falling interest rates, the rate of prepayments tends to increase. During such periods, the reinvestment of prepayment proceeds by the Fund will generally be at lower rates than the rates that were carried by the obligations that have been prepaid. If interest rates rise, borrowers may prepay mortgages more slowly than originally expected. This may further reduce the market value of mortgage-backed securities and lengthen their durations. Because of these and other reasons, a mortgage-backed security’s total return, maturity and duration may be difficult to predict precisely.
Mortgage loans may be either “agency” (i.e. government) or “non-agency” (i.e., private). Agency loans have balances that fall within the limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) and qualify as collateral for securities that are issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”). Non-agency loans have balances that may or may not fall within the limits set by FHFA and do not qualify as collateral for securities that are issued by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and are made by private companies rather than government sponsored enterprises (sometimes referred to as “private label paper”). Additional RMBS products include trusts backed by non-performing or re-performing mortgage loans and loans secured by single family rental properties. Non-performing and re-performing mortgage loans derive their value from the sale of the underlying residential property and potentially from modified mortgage payments to the previously delinquent borrower.
Mortgage-backed securities come in different classes that have different risks. Junior classes of mortgage-backed securities are designed to protect the senior class investors against losses on the underlying mortgage loans by taking the first loss if there are liquidations among the underlying loans. Junior classes generally receive principal and interest payments only after all required payments have been made to more senior classes. If the Fund invests in junior classes of mortgage-related securities, it may not be able to recover all of its investment in the securities it purchases. In addition, if the underlying mortgage portfolio has been overvalued, or if mortgage values subsequently decline, the Fund may suffer significant losses. Investments in mortgage-backed securities involve the risks of interruptions in the payment of interest and principal (delinquency) and the potential for loss of principal if the property underlying the security is sold as a result of foreclosure on the mortgage (default). These risks include the risks associated with direct ownership of real estate, such as the effects of general and local economic conditions on real estate values, the conditions of specific industry segments, the ability of tenants to make lease payments and the ability of a property to attract and retain tenants, which in turn may be affected by local market conditions such as oversupply of space or a reduction of available space, the ability of the owner to provide adequate maintenance and insurance, energy costs, government regulations with respect to environmental, zoning, rent control and other matters, and real estate and other taxes. If the underlying borrowers cannot pay their mortgage loans, they may default and the lenders may foreclose on the property.
The ability of borrowers to repay mortgage loans underlying mortgage-backed securities will typically depend upon the future availability of financing and the stability of real estate values. For mortgage loans not guaranteed by a government agency or other party, the only remedy of the lender in the event of a default is to foreclose upon the property. If borrowers are not able or willing to pay the principal balance on the loans, there is a good chance that payments on the related mortgage-related securities will not be made. Certain borrowers on underlying mortgages may become subject to bankruptcy proceedings, in which case the value of the mortgage-backed securities may decline.
The Fund may invest in other asset-backed debt securities that, through the use of trusts and special purpose vehicles, are securitized with various types of assets, such as automobile receivables, credit card receivables and home-equity loans in pass- through structures similar to the mortgage-related securities described above. In general, the collateral supporting asset-backed debt securities is of shorter maturity than the collateral supporting mortgage loans and is less likely to experience substantial prepayments. However, asset-backed debt securities are not backed by any governmental agency. However, asset-backed securities are not backed by any governmental agency. 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. In addition, some issuers of automobile receivables permit the servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicers 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. The impairment of value of collateral or other assets underlying an asset-based security, such as a result of non-payment of loans or non-performance of other collateral or underlying assets, may reduce the value of such asset-based security and result in losses to the Fund.
Collateralized Debt Obligations. The Fund may invest in Collateralized Debt Obligations. Collateralized Debt Obligations (“CDOs”) include Collateralized Bond Obligations (“CBOs”), Collateralized Loan Obligations (“CLOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CBOs and CLOs are types of asset backed securities. A CBO is a trust which is backed by a diversified pool of high risk, below investment grade fixed income securities. A CLO is a trust typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and foreign senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the CDO in which the Fund invests. CDOs carry additional risks including, but not limited to, (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments, (ii) the collateral may decline in value or default, (iii) the Fund may invest in CDOs that are subordinate to other classes, and (iv) the complex structure of the security may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results.
Collateralized Loan Obligations. CLOs are a type of CDO. A CLO is a trust typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and foreign senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. The loans generate cash flow that is allocated among one or more classes of securities (“tranches”) that vary in risk and yield. The most senior tranche has the best credit quality and the lowest yield compared to the other tranches. The equity tranche has the highest potential yield but also has the greatest risk, as it bears the bulk of defaults from the underlying loans and helps to protect the more senior tranches from risk of these defaults. However, despite the protection from the equity and other more junior tranches, more senior tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults and decreased market value due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as aversion to CLO securities as a class.
Normally, CLOs are privately offered and sold and are not registered under state or federal securities laws. Therefore, investments in CLOs may be characterized by the Fund as illiquid securities; however, an active dealer market may exist for CLOs allowing a CLO to qualify for transactions pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act, as amended (the “1933 Act”). CLOs normally charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of the Fund.
The riskiness of investing in CLOs depends largely on the quality and type of the collateral loans and the tranche of the CLO in which the Fund invests. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed-income securities (such as interest rate risk and credit risk) and the risks associated with investing in CDOs, CLOs carry additional risks including that interest on certain tranches of a CLO may be paid in-kind (meaning that unpaid interest is effectively added to principal), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments. Certain CLOs may receive credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, over-collateralization or bond insurance, but such enhancement may not always be present and may fail to protect the Fund against the risk of loss due to defaults on the collateral. Certain CLOs may not hold loans directly, but rather, use derivatives such as swaps to create “synthetic” exposure to the collateral pool of loans. Such CLOs entail the risks of derivative instruments.
The Fund may invest in debt securities. Debt securities are used by issuers to borrow money. Generally, issuers pay investors periodic interest and repay the amount borrowed either periodically during the life of the security and/or at maturity. Some debt securities, such as zero coupon bonds, do not pay current interest, but are purchased at a discount from their face values and accrue interest at the applicable coupon rate over a specified time period. Some debt securities pay a periodic coupon that is not fixed; instead payments “float” relative to a reference rate, such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”). This “floating rate” debt may pay interest at levels above or below the previous interest payment. The market prices of debt securities fluctuate depending on such factors as interest rates, credit quality and maturity. In general, market prices of debt securities decline when interest rates rise and increase when interest rates fall.
Lower rated debt securities, those rated Ba or below by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”) and/or BB or below by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Group (“S&P”) or unrated but determined by the Sub-Advisor to be of comparable quality, are described by the rating agencies as speculative and involve greater risk of default or price changes than higher rated debt securities due to changes in the issuer’s creditworthiness or the fact that the issuer may already be in default. The market prices of these securities may fluctuate more than higher quality securities and may decline significantly in periods of general economic difficulty. It may be more difficult to sell or to determine the value of lower rated debt securities.
Certain additional risk factors related to debt securities are discussed below:
Sensitivity to interest rate and economic changes. Debt securities may be sensitive to economic changes, political and corporate developments, and interest rate changes. In addition, during an economic downturn or periods of rising interest rates, issuers that are highly leveraged may experience increased financial stress that could adversely affect their ability to meet projected business goals, obtain additional financing, and service their principal and interest payment obligations. Furthermore, periods of economic change and uncertainty can be expected to result in increased volatility of market prices and yields of certain debt securities. For example, prices of these securities can be affected by financial contracts held by the issuer or third parties (such as derivatives) related to the security or other assets or indices.
Payment expectations. Debt securities may contain redemption or call provisions. If an issuer exercises these provisions in a lower interest rate environment, the Fund would have to replace the security with a lower yielding security, resulting in decreased income to investors. If the issuer of a debt security defaults on its obligations to pay interest or principal or is the subject of bankruptcy proceedings, the Fund may incur losses or expenses in seeking recovery of amounts owed to it.
Liquidity. Liquidity risk may result from the lack of an active market, or reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in fixed income securities, and may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where investor redemptions from fixed income mutual funds may be higher than normal, causing increased supply in the market due to selling activity. In such cases, the Fund, due to limitations on investments in illiquid securities and the difficulty in purchasing and selling such securities or instruments, may be unable to achieve its desired level of exposure to a certain sector. To the extent that the Fund’s principal investment strategies involve investments in securities of companies with smaller market capitalizations, foreign non-U.S. securities, Rule 144A securities, illiquid sectors of fixed income securities, derivatives or securities with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have the greatest exposure to liquidity risk. Further, fixed income securities with longer durations until maturity face heightened levels of liquidity risk as compared to fixed income securities with shorter durations until maturity. Finally, liquidity risk also refers to the risk of unusually high redemption requests or other unusual market conditions that may make it difficult for the Fund to fully honor redemption requests within the allowable time period. Meeting such redemption requests could require the Fund to sell securities at reduced prices or under unfavorable conditions, which would reduce the value of the Fund. It may also be the case that other market participants may be attempting to liquidate fixed income holdings at the same time as the Fund, causing increased supply in the market and contributing to liquidity risk and downward pricing pressure.
The Sub-Advisor attempts to reduce the risks described above through diversification of the Fund’s portfolio, credit analysis of each issuer, and by monitoring broad economic trends as well as corporate and legislative developments, but there can be no assurance that it will be successful in doing so. Credit ratings of debt securities provided by rating agencies indicate a measure of the safety of principal and interest payments, not market value risk. The rating of an issuer is a rating agency’s view of past and future potential developments related to the issuer and may not necessarily reflect actual outcomes. There can be a lag between corporate developments and the time a rating is assigned and updated.
Changing Fixed Income Market Conditions. Following the financial crisis that began in 2007, the U.S. government and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Federal Reserve”), as well as certain foreign governments and central banks, took steps to support financial markets, including by keeping interest rates at historically low levels and by purchasing large quantities of securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities on the open market (“Quantitative Easing”). Similar steps were taken again in 2020 in an effort to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2022, the Federal Reserve began to unwind its balance sheet by not replacing existing bond holdings as they mature (“Quantitative Tightening”). Also in 2022, the Federal Reserve began raising the federal funds rate in an effort to help fight inflation. Such policy changes may expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility and may reduce liquidity for certain Fund investments, which could cause the value of the Fund’s investments and share price to decline. If the Fund invests in derivatives tied to fixed income markets it may be more substantially exposed to these risks than a fund that does not invest in derivatives. Government interventions such as those described above may not work as intended, particularly if the efforts are perceived by investors as being unlikely to achieve the desired results.
Bond markets have consistently grown over the past three decades while the capacity for traditional dealer counterparties to engage in fixed income trading has not kept pace and in some cases has decreased. As a result, dealer inventories of corporate bonds, which provide a core indication of the ability of financial intermediaries to “make markets,” are at or near historic lows in relation to market size. Because market makers provide stability to a market through their intermediary services, the significant reduction in dealer inventories could potentially lead to decreased liquidity and increased volatility in the fixed income markets. Such issues may be exacerbated during periods of economic uncertainty.
Bond Ratings. Bond rating agencies may assign modifiers (such as +/–) to ratings categories to signify the relative position of a credit within the rating category. Investment policies that are based on ratings categories should be read to include any security within that category, without considering the modifier. Please refer to Appendix A for more information about credit ratings.
Lower-Rated Debt Securities
The Fund may invest in lower-rated fixed-income securities (commonly known as “junk bonds”). The Fund does not limit its investments to a particular credit quality but expects to invest primarily in securities rated non-investment grade by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”), or not rated. A NRSRO is a credit rating agency that issues credit ratings which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission permits other financial organizations to use for certain regulatory purposes. Lower rated debt securities, those rated Ba or below by Moody’s and/or BB or below by S&P or unrated but determined by the Sub-Advisor to be of comparable quality, are described by the rating agencies as speculative and involve greater risk of default or price changes than higher rated debt securities due to changes in the issuer’s creditworthiness or the fact that the issuer may already be in default. The market prices of these securities may fluctuate more than higher quality securities and may decline significantly in periods of general economic difficulty. It may be more difficult to sell or to determine the value of lower rated debt securities.
The lower ratings reflect a greater possibility that adverse changes in the financial condition of the issuer or in general economic conditions, or both, or an unanticipated rise in interest rates, may impair the ability of the issuer to make payments of interest and principal. The inability (or perceived inability) of issuers to make timely payment of interest and principal would likely make the values of securities held by the Fund more volatile and could limit the Fund’s ability to sell its securities at prices approximating the values the Fund had placed on such securities. In the absence of a liquid trading market for securities held by it, the Fund at times may be unable to establish the fair value of such securities. Securities ratings are based largely on the issuer’s historical financial condition and the rating agencies’ analysis at the time of rating. Consequently, the rating assigned to any particular security is not necessarily a reflection of the issuer’s current financial condition, which may be better or worse than the rating would indicate. In addition, the rating assigned to a security by Moody’s or S&P (or by any other nationally recognized securities rating agency) does not reflect an assessment of the volatility of the security’s market value or the liquidity of an investment in the security.
Like those of other fixed-income securities, the values of lower-rated securities fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates. A decrease in interest rates will generally result in an increase in the value of the Fund’s fixed-income assets. Conversely, during periods of rising interest rates, the value of the Fund’s fixed-income assets will generally decline. The values of lower-rated securities may often be affected to a greater extent by changes in general economic conditions and business conditions affecting the issuers of such securities and their industries. Negative publicity or investor perceptions may also adversely affect the values of lower-rated securities. Changes by nationally recognized securities rating agencies in their ratings of any fixed-income security and changes in the ability of an issuer to make payments of interest and principal may also affect the value of these investments. Changes in the value of portfolio securities generally will not affect income derived from these securities, but will affect the Fund’s net asset value. The Fund will not necessarily dispose of a security when its rating is reduced below its rating at the time of purchase. However, the Sub-Advisor will monitor the investment to determine whether its retention will assist in meeting the Fund’s investment objective. Issuers of lower-rated securities are often highly leveraged, so that their ability to service their debt obligations during an economic downturn or during sustained periods of rising interest rates may be impaired. Such issuers may not have more traditional methods of financing available to them and may be unable to repay outstanding obligations at maturity by refinancing.
The risk of loss due to default in payment of interest or repayment of principal by such issuers is significantly greater because such securities frequently are unsecured and subordinated to the prior payment of senior indebtedness. It is possible that, under adverse market or economic conditions or in the event of adverse changes in the financial condition of the issuer, the Fund could find it more difficult to sell these securities when the Sub-Advisor believes it advisable to do so or may be able to sell the securities only at prices lower than if they were more widely held. Under these circumstances, it may also be more difficult to determine the fair value of such securities for purposes of computing the Fund’s net asset value. In order to enforce its rights in the event of a default, the Fund may be required to participate in various legal proceedings or take possession of and manage assets securing the issuer’s obligations on such securities. This could increase the Fund’s operating expenses and adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value. The ability of a holder of a tax-exempt security to enforce the terms of that security in a bankruptcy proceeding may be more limited than would be the case with respect to securities of private issuers. In addition, the Fund’s intention to qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the Code may limit the extent to which the Fund may exercise its rights by taking possession of such assets. To the extent the Fund invests in securities in the lower rating categories, the achievement of the Fund’s investment objective is more dependent on the investment analysis of the Sub-Advisor than would be the case if the Fund were investing in securities in the higher rating categories.
Over-the-Counter Transactions – Fixed Income Securities
The Fund may enter into over-the-counter (“OTC”) transactions involving fixed income securities. OTC transactions differ from exchange-traded transactions in several respects. OTC transactions are transacted directly with dealers and not with a clearing corporation. Without the availability of a clearing corporation, OTC transaction pricing is normally done by reference to information from market makers, which information is carefully monitored by the Advisor and verified in appropriate cases. As OTC transactions are transacted directly with dealers, there is a risk of nonperformance by the dealer as a result of the insolvency of such dealer or otherwise. The Fund intends to enter into OTC transactions only with dealers which agree to, and which are expected to be capable of, entering into closing transactions with the Fund. There is also no assurance that the Fund will be able to liquidate an OTC transaction at any time prior to expiration.
The Fund may invest in municipal bonds. Municipal bonds are debt obligations issued by the states, possessions, or territories of the United States (including the District of Columbia) or a political subdivision, public instrumentality, agency, public authority or other governmental unit of such states, possessions, or territories (e.g., counties, cities, towns, villages, districts and authorities). For example, states, possessions, territories and municipalities may issue municipal bonds to raise funds for various public purposes such as airports, housing, hospitals, mass transportation, schools, water and sewer works, gas, and electric utilities. They may also issue municipal bonds to refund outstanding obligations and to meet general operating expenses. Municipal bonds may be general obligation bonds or revenue bonds. General obligation bonds are secured by the issuer’s pledge of its full faith, credit and taxing power for the payment of principal and interest. Revenue bonds are payable from revenues derived from particular facilities, from the proceeds of a special excise tax or from other specific revenue sources. They are not usually payable from the general taxing power of a municipality. In addition, certain types of “private activity” bonds may be issued by public authorities to obtain funding for privately operated facilities, such as housing and pollution control facilities, for industrial facilities and for water supply, gas, electricity and waste disposal facilities. Other types of private activity bonds are used to finance the construction, repair or improvement of, or to obtain equipment for, privately operated industrial or commercial facilities. Current federal tax laws place substantial limitations on the size of certain of such issues. In certain cases, the interest on a private activity bond may not be exempt from federal income tax or the alternative minimum tax applicable to noncorporate taxpayers.
ReFlow Liquidity Program
The Fund may participate in the ReFlow liquidity program, which is designed to provide an alternative liquidity source for mutual funds experiencing redemptions of their shares. In order to pay cash to shareholders who redeem their shares on a given day, a mutual fund typically must hold cash in its portfolio, liquidate portfolio securities, or borrow money, all of which impose certain costs on the fund. ReFlow Fund, LLC (“ReFlow”) provides participating mutual funds with another source of cash by standing ready to purchase shares from a fund equal to the amount of the fund’s net redemptions on a given day. ReFlow then generally redeems those shares when the fund experiences net sales. In return for this service, the Fund will pay a fee to ReFlow at a rate determined by a daily auction with other participating mutual funds. The costs to the Fund for participating in ReFlow are expected to be influenced by and comparable to the cost of other sources of liquidity, such as the Fund’s short-term lending arrangements or the costs of selling portfolio securities to meet redemptions. ReFlow will be prohibited from acquiring more than 3% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.
On a quarterly basis, the Advisor and/or ReFlow Services LLC will provide the Board with reports regarding the Fund’s usage of the program, and the Board will determine annually whether continued participation in the program is in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders.
The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with respect to its portfolio securities. Pursuant to such agreements, the Fund acquires securities from financial institutions such as banks and broker-dealers deemed to be creditworthy by the Sub-Advisor, subject to the seller’s agreement to repurchase and the Fund’s agreement to resell such securities at a mutually agreed upon date and price. The repurchase price generally equals the price paid by the Fund plus interest negotiated on the basis of current short-term rates (which may be more or less than the rate on the underlying portfolio security). Securities subject to repurchase agreements will be held by the custodian or in the Federal Reserve/Treasury Book-Entry System or an equivalent foreign system. The seller under a repurchase agreement will be required to maintain the value of the underlying securities at not less than 102% of the repurchase price under the agreement. If the seller defaults on its repurchase obligation, the Fund will suffer a loss to the extent that the proceeds from a sale of the underlying securities are less than the repurchase price under the agreement. Bankruptcy or insolvency of such a defaulting seller may cause the Fund’s rights with respect to such securities to be delayed or limited. Repurchase agreements are considered to be loans under the 1940 Act.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements
The Fund may enter into “reverse” repurchase agreements to seek to enhance the portfolio’s return or avoid selling securities during unfavorable market conditions to meet redemptions. Pursuant to a reverse repurchase agreement, the Fund will sell portfolio securities and agree to repurchase them from the buyer at a particular date and price. Reverse repurchase agreements are considered to be borrowings by the Fund. The Fund may elect to (i) treat the reverse repurchase agreements as borrowings and comply with the asset coverage requirements of Section 18, and combine the aggregate amount of indebtedness associated with all reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions with the aggregate amount of any other senior securities representing indebtedness when calculating the asset coverage ratio; or (ii) treat all reverse repurchasing agreements or similar financing transactions as “derivatives transactions” as defined in Rule 18f-4 of the 1940 Act and comply with all requirements of Rule 18f-4.
The Fund may utilize a variety of derivatives contracts, such as futures, options, swaps and forward contracts, both for investment purposes and for hedging purposes. Hedging involves special risks including the possible default by the other party to the transaction, illiquidity and, to the extent the Sub-Advisor’s assessment of certain market movements is incorrect, the risk that the use of hedging could result in losses greater than if hedging had not been used. Nonetheless, with respect to certain investment positions, the Fund may not be sufficiently hedged against market fluctuations, in which case an investment position could result in a loss greater than if the Sub-Advisor had been sufficiently hedged with respect to such position.
The Sub-Advisor will not, in general, attempt to hedge all market or other risks inherent in the Fund’s positions, and may hedge certain risks, if at all, only partially. Specifically, the Sub-Advisor may choose not, or may determine that it is economically unattractive, to hedge certain risks, either in respect of particular positions or in respect of the Fund’s overall portfolio. Moreover, it should be noted that the Fund’s portfolio always will be exposed to unidentified systematic risk factors and to certain risks that cannot be completely hedged, such as credit risk (relating both to particular securities and to counterparties). The Fund’s portfolio composition may result in various directional market risks remaining unhedged, although the Sub-Advisor may rely on diversification to control such risks to the extent that the Sub-Advisor believes it is desirable to do so.
The regulation of derivatives markets in the United States is a rapidly changing area of law and is subject to modification by government and judicial action. In particular, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), signed into law in 2010, granted significant authority to the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) to impose comprehensive regulations on the over-the-counter and cleared derivatives markets. These regulations include, but are not limited to, mandatory clearing of certain derivatives and requirements relating to disclosure, margin and trade reporting. New regulations could adversely affect the value, availability and performance of certain derivative instruments, may make them more costly, and may limit or restrict their use by the Fund.
Effective August 19, 2022, the Fund began operating under Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act (the “Derivatives Rule”), which, among other things, governs the use of derivative instruments and certain financing transactions (e.g., reverse repurchase agreements) by registered investment companies. The Derivatives Rule requires investment companies that enter into derivatives transactions and certain other transactions that create future payment or delivery obligations to, among other things, (i) comply with a value-at-risk (“VaR”) leverage limit, and (ii) adopt and implement a comprehensive written derivatives risk management program. These and other requirements apply unless the Fund qualifies as a “limited derivatives user,” which the Derivatives Rule defines as a fund that limits its derivatives exposure to 10% of its net assets. In connection with the adoption of the Derivatives Rule, the Fund is no longer required to comply with the asset segregation framework arising from prior SEC guidance for covering certain derivative instruments and related transactions. Complying with the Derivatives Rule may increase the cost of the Fund’s investments and cost of doing business, which could adversely affect investors. The Derivatives Rule may not be effective to limit the Fund’s risk of loss. In particular, measurements of VaR rely on historical data and may not accurately measure the degree of risk reflected in the Fund’s derivatives or other investments. Other potentially adverse regulatory obligations can develop suddenly and without notice.
Certain additional risk factors related to derivatives are discussed below:
Derivatives Risk. Under recently adopted rules by the CFTC, transactions in some types of interest rate swaps and index credit default swaps on North American and European indices will be required to be cleared. In a cleared derivatives transaction, the Fund’s counterparty is a clearing house (such as CME Clearing, ICE Clearing or LCH.Clearnet), rather than a bank or broker. Since the Fund is not a member of clearing houses and only members of a clearing house can participate directly in the clearing house, the Fund will hold cleared derivatives through accounts at clearing members, who are futures commission merchants that are members of the clearing houses and who have the appropriate regulatory approvals to engage in swap transactions. The Fund will make and receive payments owed under cleared derivatives transactions (including margin payments) through its accounts at clearing members. Clearing members guarantee performance of their clients’ obligations to the clearing house. In contrast to bilateral derivatives transactions, following a period of advance notice to the Fund, clearing members generally can require termination of existing cleared derivatives transactions at any time and increases in margin above the margin that it required at the beginning of a transaction. Clearing houses also have broad rights to increase margin requirements for existing transactions and to terminate transactions. Any such increase or termination could interfere with the ability of the Fund to pursue its investment strategy. Also, the Fund is subject to execution risk if it enters into a derivatives transaction that is required to be cleared (or that the Sub-Advisor expects to be cleared), and no clearing member is willing or able to clear the transaction on the Fund’s behalf. While the documentation in place between the Fund and its clearing members generally provides that the clearing members will accept for clearing all transactions submitted for clearing that are within credit limits specified by the clearing members in advance, the Fund could be subject to this execution risk if the Fund submits for clearing transactions that exceed such credit limits, if the clearing house does not accept the transactions for clearing, or if the clearing members do not comply with their agreement to clear such transactions. In that case, the transaction might have to be terminated, and the Fund could lose some or all of the benefit of any increase in the value of the transaction after the time of the transaction. In addition, new regulations could, among other things, restrict the Fund’s ability to engage in, or increase the cost to the Fund of, derivatives transactions, for example, by making some types of derivatives no longer available to the Fund or increasing margin or capital requirements. If the Fund is not able to enter into a particular derivatives transaction, the Fund’s investment performance and risk profile could be adversely affected as a result.
Counterparty Risk. Counterparty risk with respect to OTC derivatives may be affected by new regulations promulgated by the CFTC and SEC affecting the derivatives market. As described under “Derivatives Risk” above, some derivatives transactions will be required to be cleared, and a party to a cleared derivatives transaction is subject to the credit risk of the clearing house and the clearing member through which it holds its cleared position, rather than the credit risk of its original counterparty to the derivative transaction. Clearing members are required to segregate all funds received from customers with respect to cleared derivatives transactions from the clearing member’s proprietary assets. However, all funds and other property received by a clearing broker from its customers are generally held by the clearing broker on a commingled basis in an omnibus account, which may also invest those funds in certain instruments permitted under the applicable regulations. The assets of the Fund might not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the Fund’s clearing member because the Fund would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds segregated on behalf of the clearing broker’s customers for a relevant account class. Also, the clearing member transfers to the clearing house the amount of margin required by the clearing house for cleared derivatives transactions, which amounts are generally held in an omnibus account at the clearing house for all customers of the clearing member. For commodities futures positions, the clearing house may use all of the collateral held in the clearing member’s omnibus account to meet a loss in that account, without regard to which customer in fact supplied that collateral. Accordingly, in addition to bearing the credit risk of its clearing member, each customer to a futures transaction also bears “fellow customer” risk from other customers of the clearing member. However, with respect to cleared swaps positions, recent regulations promulgated by the CFTC require that the clearing member notify the clearing house of the amount of initial margin provided by the clearing member to the clearing house that is attributable to each customer. Because margin in respect of cleared swaps must be earmarked for specific clearing member customers, the clearing house may not use the collateral of one customer to cover the obligations of another customer. However, if the clearing member does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is subject to the risk that a clearing house will use the Fund’s assets held in an omnibus account at the clearing house to satisfy payment obligations of a defaulting customer of the clearing member to the clearing house. In addition, a clearing member may generally choose to provide to the clearing house the net amount of variation margin required for cleared swaps for all of the clearing member’s customers in the aggregate, rather than the gross amount of each customer. The Fund is therefore subject to the risk that a clearing house will not make variation margin payments owed to the Fund if another customer of the clearing member has suffered a loss and is in default.
Options on Securities and Securities Indices
The Fund may invest in options on securities and stock indices. A call option entitles the purchaser, in return for the premium paid, to purchase specified securities at a specified price during the option period. A put option entitles the purchaser, in return for the premium paid, to sell specified securities during the option period. The Fund may invest in both European-style or American-style options. A European-style option is only exercisable immediately prior to its expiration. American-style options are exercisable at any time prior to the expiration date of the option.
Writing Call Options. The Fund may write covered call options. A call option is “covered” if the Fund owns the security underlying the call or has an absolute right to acquire the security without additional cash consideration or, if additional cash consideration is required, cash or cash equivalents in such amounts as held in a segregated account by the Fund’s custodian. The writer of a call option receives a premium and gives the purchaser the right to buy the security underlying the option at the exercise price. The writer has the obligation upon exercise of the option to deliver the underlying security against payment of the exercise price during the option period. If the writer of an exchange-traded option wishes to terminate his obligation, he may effect a “closing purchase transaction.” This is accomplished by buying an option of the same series as the option previously written. A writer may not effect a closing purchase transaction after it has been notified of the exercise of an option.
Effecting a closing transaction in a written call option will permit the Fund to write another call option on the underlying security with either a different exercise price, expiration date or both. Also, effecting a closing transaction will permit the cash or proceeds from the concurrent sale of any securities subject to the option to be used for other investments of the Fund. If the Fund desires to sell a particular security from its portfolio on which it has written a call option, it will effect a closing transaction prior to or concurrent with the sale of the security.
The Fund will realize a gain from a closing transaction if the cost of the closing transaction is less than the premium received from writing the option or if the proceeds from the closing transaction are more than the premium paid to purchase the option. The Fund will realize a loss from a closing transaction if the cost of the closing transaction is more than the premium received from writing the option or if the proceeds from the closing transaction are less than the premium paid to purchase the option. However, because increases in the market price of a call option will generally reflect increases in the market price of the underlying security, any loss to the Fund resulting from the repurchase of a call option is likely to be offset in whole or in part by appreciation of the underlying security owned by the Fund.
If the Fund were assigned an exercise notice on a call it has written, it would be required to liquidate portfolio securities in order to satisfy the exercise, unless it has other liquid assets that are sufficient to satisfy the exercise of the call. If the Fund has written a call, there is also a risk that the market may decline between the time the Fund has a call exercised against it, at a price which is fixed as of the closing level of the index on the date of exercise, and the time it is able to sell securities in its portfolio.
In addition to covered call options, the Fund may write uncovered (or “naked”) call options on securities, including shares of exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), and indices.
Writing Covered Index Call Options. The Fund may sell index call options. The Fund may also execute a closing purchase transaction with respect to the option it has sold and then sell another option with either a different exercise price and/or expiration date. The Fund’s objective in entering into such closing transactions is to increase option premium income, to limit losses or to protect anticipated gains in the underlying stocks. The cost of a closing transaction, while reducing the premium income realized from the sale of the option, should be offset, at least in part, by the appreciation in the value of the underlying index, and by the opportunity to realize additional premium income from selling a new option.
When the Fund sells an index call option, it does not deliver the underlying stocks or cash to the broker through whom the transaction is effected. In the case of an exchange-traded option, the Fund establishes an escrow account. The Fund’s custodian (or a securities depository acting for the custodian) acts as the Fund’s escrow agent. The escrow agent enters into documents known as escrow receipts with respect to the stocks included in the Fund (or escrow receipts with respect to other acceptable securities). The escrow agent releases the stocks from the escrow account when the call option expires or the Fund enters into a closing purchase transaction. Until such release, the underlying stocks cannot be sold by the Fund. The Fund may enter into similar collateral arrangements with the counterparty when it sells OTC index call options.
The purchaser of an index call option sold by the Fund may exercise the option at a price fixed as of the closing level of the index on exercise date. Unless the Fund has liquid assets sufficient to satisfy the exercise of the index call option, the Fund would be required to liquidate portfolio securities to satisfy the exercise. The market value of such securities may decline between the time the option is exercised and the time the Fund is able to sell the securities. For example, even if an index call which the Fund has written is “covered” by an index call held by the Fund with the same strike price, it will bear the risk that the level of the index may decline between the close of trading on the date the exercise notice is filed with the Options Clearing Corporation and the close of trading on the date the Fund exercises the call it holds or the time it sells the call, which in either case would occur no earlier than the day following the day the exercise notice was filed. If the Fund fails to anticipate an exercise, it may have to borrow from a bank (in amounts not exceeding 5% of the Fund’s total assets) pending settlement of the sale of the portfolio securities and thereby incur interest charges. If trading is interrupted on the index, the Fund would not be able to close out its option positions.
Risks of Transactions in Options. There are several risks associated with transactions in options on securities and indices. Options may be more volatile than the underlying securities and, therefore, on a percentage basis, an investment in options may be subject to greater fluctuation in value than an investment in the underlying securities themselves. There are also significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objective. In addition, a liquid secondary market for particular options may be absent for reasons which include the following: there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening transactions or closing transactions or both; trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options of underlying securities; unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; the facilities of an exchange or clearing corporation may not be adequate to handle current trading volume at all times; or one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the secondary market on that exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist, although outstanding options that had been issued by a clearing corporation as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.
A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well-conceived transaction may be unsuccessful to some degree because of market behavior or unexpected events. The extent to which the Fund may enter into options transactions may be limited by the requirements of the Code for qualification of the Fund as a regulated investment company.
OTC Options. The Fund may engage in transactions involving OTC options as well as exchange-traded options. Certain additional risks are specific to OTC options. The Fund may engage a clearing corporation to exercise exchange-traded options, but if the Fund purchased an OTC option, it must then rely on the dealer from which it purchased the option if the option is exercised. Failure by the dealer to do so would result in the loss of the premium paid by the Fund as well as loss of the expected benefit of the transaction.
Exchange-traded options generally have a continuous liquid market while OTC options may not. Consequently, the Fund may generally be able to realize the value of an OTC option it has purchased only by exercising or reselling the option to the dealer who issued it. Similarly, when the Fund writes an OTC option, the Fund may generally be able to close out the option prior to its expiration only by entering into a closing purchase transaction with the dealer to whom the Fund originally wrote the option. While the Fund will seek to enter into OTC options only with dealers who will agree to and are expected to be capable of entering into closing transactions with the Fund, there can be no assurance that the Fund will at any time be able to liquidate an OTC option at a favorable price at any time prior to expiration. Unless the Fund, as a covered OTC call option writer, is able to effect a closing purchase transaction, it will not be able to liquidate securities (or other assets) used as cover until the option expires or is exercised. In the event of insolvency of the other party, the Fund may be unable to liquidate an OTC option. With respect to options written by the Fund, the inability to enter into a closing transaction may result in material losses to the Fund.
The SEC has taken the position that purchased OTC options are illiquid securities. The Fund may treat the cover used for written OTC options as liquid if the dealer agrees that the Fund may repurchase the OTC option it has written for a maximum price to be calculated by a predetermined formula. In such cases, the OTC option would be considered illiquid only to the extent the maximum purchase price under the formula exceeds the intrinsic value of the option. Accordingly, the Fund will treat OTC options as subject to the Fund’s limitation on illiquid securities. If the SEC changes its position on the liquidity of OTC options, the Fund will change the treatment of such instruments accordingly.
Stock Index Options. The Fund may invest in options on indices, including broad-based security indices. Puts and calls on indices are similar to puts and calls on other investments except that all settlements are in cash and gain or loss depends on changes in the index in question rather than on price movements in individual securities. When the Fund writes a call on an index, it receives a premium and agrees that, prior to the expiration date, the purchaser of the call, upon exercise of the call, will receive from the Fund an amount of cash if the closing level of the index upon which the call is based is greater than the exercise price of the call. The amount of cash is equal to the difference between the closing price of the index and the exercise price of the call times a specified multiple (“multiplier”), which determines the total dollar value for each point of such difference. When the Fund buys a call on an index, it pays a premium and has the same rights as to such call as are indicated above. When the Fund buys a put on an index, it pays a premium and has the right, prior to the expiration date, to require the seller of the put, upon the Fund’s exercise of the put, to deliver to the Fund an amount of cash if the closing level of the index upon which the put is based is less than the exercise price of the put, which amount of cash is determined by the multiplier, as described above for calls. When the Fund writes a put on an index, it receives a premium and the purchaser of the put has the right, prior to the expiration date, to require the Fund to deliver to it an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and exercise price times the multiplier if the closing level is less than the exercise price.
The risks of investment in options on indices may be greater than options on securities. Because index options are settled in cash, if the Fund writes a call on an index it cannot provide in advance for its potential settlement obligations by acquiring and holding the underlying index. The Fund can offset some of the risk of writing a call index option by holding a diversified portfolio of securities or instruments similar to those on which the underlying index is based. However, the Fund cannot, as a practical matter, acquire and hold a portfolio containing exactly the same securities or instruments as underlie the index and, as a result, bears a risk that the value of the securities or instruments held will vary from the value of the index.
Even if the Fund could assemble a portfolio that exactly reproduced the composition of the underlying index, it still would not be fully covered from a risk standpoint because of the “timing risk” inherent in writing index options. When an index option is exercised, the amount of cash that the holder is entitled to receive is determined by the difference between the exercise price and the closing index level on the date when the option is exercised. As with other kinds of options, the Fund as the call writer will not learn of the assignment until the next business day at the earliest. The time lag between exercise and notice of assignment poses no risk for the writer of a covered call on a specific underlying security or instrument, such as common stock, because there the writer’s obligation is to deliver the underlying security or instrument, not to pay its value as of a fixed time in the past. So long as the writer already owns the underlying security or instrument, it can satisfy its settlement obligations by simply delivering it, and the risk that its value may have declined since the exercise date is borne by the exercising holder. In contrast, even if the writer of an index call holds investments that exactly match the composition of the underlying index, it will not be able to satisfy its assignment obligations by delivering those investments against payment of the exercise price. Instead, it will be required to pay cash in an amount based on the closing index value on the exercise date. By the time it learns that it has been assigned, the index may have declined, with a corresponding decline in the value of its portfolio. This “timing risk” is an inherent limitation on the ability of index call writers to cover their risk exposure by holding security or instrument positions.
If the Fund has purchased an index option and exercises it before the closing index value for that day is available, it runs the risk that the level of the underlying index may subsequently change. If such a change causes the exercised option to fall out-of-the-money, the Fund will be required to pay the difference between the closing index value and the exercise price of the option (times the applicable multiplier) to the assigned writer.
Futures and Options on Futures
The Fund may use interest rate, foreign currency, index and other futures contracts. The Fund may use options on futures contracts. A futures contract provides for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified quantity of the security or other financial instrument at a specified price and time. A futures contract on an index is an agreement pursuant to which two parties agree to take or make delivery of an amount of cash equal to the difference between the value of the index at the close of the last trading day of the contract and the price at which the index contract originally was written. Although the value of an index might be a function of the value of certain specified securities, physical delivery of these securities is not always made. A public market exists in futures contracts covering a number of indexes, as well as financial instruments, including, without limitation: U.S. Treasury bonds; U.S. Treasury notes; GNMA Certificates; three-month U.S. Treasury bills; 90-day commercial paper; bank certificates of deposit; Eurodollar certificates of deposit; the Australian dollar; the Canadian dollar; the British Pound; the Japanese Yen; the Swiss Franc; the Mexican Peso; and certain multinational currencies, such as the Euro. It is expected that other futures contracts will be developed and traded in the future.
The Fund may purchase and write (sell) call and put futures options. Futures options possess many of the same characteristics as options on securities and indexes (discussed above). A futures option gives the holder the right, in return for the premium paid, to assume a long position (call) or short position (put) in a futures contract at a specified exercise price upon expiration of, or at any time during the period of, the option. Upon exercise of a call option, the holder acquires a long position in the futures contract and the writer is assigned the opposite short position. In the case of a put option, the opposite is true. When a purchase or sale of a futures contract is made by the Fund, the Fund is required to deposit with its futures commission merchant a specified amount of liquid assets (“initial margin”). The margin required for a futures contract is set by the exchange on which the contract is traded and may be modified during the term of the contract. The initial margin is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the futures contract that is returned to the Fund upon termination of the contract, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. The Fund expects to earn taxable interest income on its initial margin deposits. The Fund, as a writer of an option, may have no control over whether the underlying futures contracts may be sold (call) or purchased (put) and as a result, bears the market risk of an unfavorable change in the valuation of the futures contracts underlying the written option. The Fund, as a purchaser of an option, bears the risk that the counterparties to the option may not have the ability to meet the terms of the option contract.
The Fund invests in futures, options on futures and other instruments subject to regulation by the CFTC in reliance upon and in accordance with CFTC Regulation 4.5. Under Regulation 4.5, if the Fund uses futures, options on futures, or swaps other than for bona fide hedging purposes (as defined by the CFTC), the aggregate initial margin and premiums on these positions (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions and excluding the amount by which options are “in-the-money” at the time of purchase of a new position) may not exceed 5% of the Fund’s liquidation value, or alternatively, the aggregate net notional value of those positions at the time may not exceed 100% of the Fund’s liquidation value (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). The Advisor, on behalf of the Fund, has filed a notice of eligibility for exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” in accordance with Regulation 4.5. As of the date of this SAI, the Fund is not deemed to be a “commodity pool” or “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), and it is not subject to registration or regulation as such under the CEA. In addition, as of the date of this SAI, the Advisor and Sub-Advisor are not deemed to be “commodity pool operators” or “commodity trading advisers” with respect to the advisory services they provide to the Fund. In the future, if the Fund’s use of futures, options on futures, or swaps requires the Advisor and Sub-Advisor to register as a commodity pool operator with respect to the Fund with the CFTC, the Advisor and Sub-Advisor will do so at that time.
A futures contract held by the Fund is valued daily at the official settlement price of the exchange on which it is traded. Each day the Fund pays or receives cash, called “variation margin”, equal to the daily change in value of the futures contract. This process is known as “marking to market.” Variation margin does not represent a borrowing or loan by the Fund but is instead a settlement between the Fund and the broker of the amount one would owe the other if the futures contract expired. In computing daily net asset value, the Fund will mark to market its open futures positions. The Fund also is required to deposit and to maintain margin with respect to put and call options on futures contracts written by it. Such margin deposits will vary depending on the nature of the underlying futures contract (and the related initial margin requirements), the current market value of the option and other futures positions held by the Fund. Although some futures contracts call for making or taking delivery of the underlying securities, generally these obligations are closed out prior to delivery by offsetting purchases or sales of matching futures contracts (involving the same exchange, underlying security or index and delivery month). If an offsetting purchase price is less than the original sale price, the Fund realizes a capital gain, or if it is more, the Fund realizes a capital loss. Conversely, if an offsetting sale price is more than the original purchase price, the Fund realizes a capital gain, or if it is less, the Fund realizes a capital loss. The transaction costs also must be included in these calculations.
The Fund may write covered straddles consisting of a call and a put written on the same underlying futures contract. A straddle will be covered when sufficient assets are deposited to meet the Fund’s immediate obligations. The Fund may use the same liquid assets to cover both the call and put options if the exercise price of the call and put are the same, or if the exercise price of the call is higher than that of the put.
Stock Index Futures
The Fund may invest in stock index futures only as a substitute for a comparable market position in the underlying securities. A stock index future obligates the seller to deliver (and the purchaser to accept), effectively, an amount of cash equal to a specific dollar amount times the difference between the value of a specific stock index at the close of the last trading day of the contract and the price at which the agreement is made. No physical delivery of the underlying stocks in the index is made. With respect to stock indices that are permitted investments, the Fund intends to purchase and sell futures contracts on the stock index for which it can obtain the best price with consideration also given to liquidity.
The Fund may enter into interest rate, currency and index swaps and the purchase or sale of related caps, floors and collars. The Fund may enter into these transactions to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or portion of its portfolio, to protect against currency fluctuations or to protect against any increase in the price of securities it anticipates purchasing at a later date. Swaps may be used in conjunction with other instruments to offset interest rate, currency or other underlying risks. For example, interest rate swaps may be offset with “caps,” “floors” or “collars”. A “cap” is essentially a call option which places a limit on the amount of floating rate interest that must be paid on a certain principal amount. A “floor” is essentially a put option which places a limit on the minimum amount that would be paid on a certain principal amount. A “collar” is essentially a combination of a long cap and a short floor where the limits are set at different levels.
The Fund will usually enter into swaps on a net basis; that is, the two payment streams will be netted out in a cash settlement on the payment date or dates specified in the instrument, with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments.
Total Return Swaps. The Fund may enter into total return swap contracts for investment purposes. Total return swaps are contracts in which one party agrees to make periodic payments based on the change in market value of the underlying assets, which may include a specified security, basket of securities or security indexes during the specified period, in return for periodic payments based on a fixed or variable interest rate of the total return from other underlying assets. Total return swaps may be used to obtain exposure to a security or market without owning or taking physical custody of such security or market, including in cases in which there may be disadvantages associated with direct ownership of a particular security. In a typical total return equity swap, payments made by the Fund or the counterparty are based on the total return of a particular reference asset or assets (such as an equity security, a combination of such securities, or an index). That is, one party agrees to pay another party the return on a stock, basket of stocks, or stock index in return for a specified interest rate. By entering into an equity index swap, for example, the index receiver can gain exposure to stocks making up the index of securities without actually purchasing those stocks. Total return swaps involve not only the risk associated with the investment in the underlying securities, but also the risk of the counterparty not fulfilling its obligations under the agreement.
Credit Default Swaps. The Fund may enter into credit default swap transactions for investment purposes. A credit default swap may have as reference obligations one or more securities that are not currently held by the Fund. The Fund may be either the buyer or seller in the transaction. Credit default swaps may also be structured based on the debt of a basket of issuers, rather than a single issuer, and may be customized with respect to the default event that triggers purchase or other factors. As a seller, the Fund would generally receive an upfront payment or a fixed rate of income throughout the term of the swap, which typically is between six months and three years, provided that there is no credit event. If a credit event occurs, generally the seller must pay the buyer the full face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference obligations that may have little or no value. If the Fund were a buyer and no credit event occurs, the Fund would recover nothing if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the buyer may elect to receive the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference obligation that may have little or no value. The use of swap transactions by the Fund entails certain risks, which may be different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the securities and other investments that are the referenced asset for the swap transaction. Swaps are highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques, risk analyses, and tax planning different from those associated with stocks, bonds, and other traditional investments. The use of a swap requires an understanding not only of the referenced asset, reference rate, or index, but also of the swap itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the swap under all the possible market conditions. Because some swap transactions have a leverage component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, reference rate, or index can result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the swap itself. Certain swaps have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment.
The Fund may also purchase credit default swap contracts in order to hedge against the risk of default of the debt of a particular issuer or basket of issuers, in which case the Fund would function as the counterparty referenced in the preceding paragraph. This would involve the risk that the investment may expire worthless and would only generate income in the event of an actual default by the issuer(s) of the underlying obligation(s) (or, as applicable, a credit downgrade or other indication of financial instability). It would also involve the risk that the seller may fail to satisfy its payment obligations to the Fund in the event of a default. The purchase of credit default swaps involves costs, which will reduce the Fund’s return.
Currency Swaps. The Fund may enter into currency swap transactions for investment purposes. Currency swaps are similar to interest rate swaps, except that they involve multiple currencies. The Fund may enter into a currency swap when it has exposure to one currency and desires exposure to a different currency. Typically the interest rates that determine the currency swap payments are fixed, although occasionally one or both parties may pay a floating rate of interest. Unlike an interest rate swap, however, the principal amounts are exchanged at the beginning of the contract and returned at the end of the contract. In addition to paying and receiving amounts at the beginning and termination of the agreements, both sides will also have to pay in full periodically based upon the currency they have borrowed. Change in foreign exchange rates and changes in interest rates, as described above, may negatively affect currency swaps.
Interest Rate Swaps. The Fund may enter into an interest rate swap in an effort to protect against declines in the value of fixed income securities held by the Fund. In such an instance, the Fund may agree to pay a fixed rate (multiplied by a notional amount) while a counterparty agrees to pay a floating rate (multiplied by the same notional amount). If interest rates rise, resulting in a diminution in the value of the Fund’s portfolio, the fund would receive payments under the swap that would offset, in whole or in part, such diminution in value.
Options on Swaps. The Fund may enter into options on swap agreements. An option on a swap agreement, or a “swaption,” is a contract that gives a counterparty the right (but not the obligation) to enter into a new swap agreement or to shorten, extend, cancel or otherwise modify an existing swap agreement, at some designated future time on specified terms. In return, the purchaser pays a “premium” to the seller of the contract. The seller of the contract receives the premium and bears the risk of unfavorable changes on the underlying swap. The Fund may write (sell) and purchase put and call swaptions. The Fund may also enter into swaptions on either an asset-based or liability-based basis, depending on whether the Fund is hedging its assets or its liabilities. The Fund may write (sell) and purchase put and call swaptions to the same extent it may make use of standard options on securities or other instruments. The Fund may enter into these transactions primarily to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or portion of its holdings, as a duration management technique, to protect against an increase in the price of securities the Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date, or for any other purposes, such as for speculation to increase returns. Swaptions are generally subject to the same risks involved in the Fund’s use of options.
Depending on the terms of the particular option agreement, the Fund will generally incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a swaption than it will incur when it purchases a swaption. When the Fund purchases a swaption, it risks losing only the amount of the premium it has paid should it decide to let the option expire unexercised. However, when the Fund writes a swaption, upon exercise of the option the Fund will become obligated according to the terms of the underlying agreement.
OTC Derivatives Transactions
The Fund may enter into OTC derivatives transactions. The Dodd-Frank Act established a new statutory framework that comprehensively regulated the OTC derivatives markets for the first time. Key Dodd-Frank Act provisions relating to OTC derivatives require rulemaking by the SEC and the CFTC, not all of which has been proposed or finalized as at the date of this SAI. Prior to the Dodd-Frank Act, the OTC derivatives markets were traditionally traded on a bilateral basis (so-called “bilateral OTC transactions”). Now certain OTC derivatives contracts are required to be centrally cleared and traded on exchanges or electronic trading platforms called swap execution facilities (“SEFs”).
Bilateral OTC transactions differ from exchange-traded or cleared derivatives transactions in several respects. Bilateral OTC transactions are transacted directly with dealers and not with a clearing corporation. Without the availability of a clearing corporation, bilateral OTC transaction pricing is normally done by reference to information from market makers, which information is carefully monitored by the Sub-Advisor and verified in appropriate cases. As bilateral OTC transactions are entered into directly with a dealer, there is a risk of nonperformance by the dealer as a result of its insolvency or otherwise. Under recently-adopted CFTC regulations, counterparties of registered swap dealers and major swap participants have the right to elect segregation of initial margin in respect of uncleared swaps. If a counterparty makes such an election, any initial margin that is posted to the swap dealer or major swap participant must be segregated in individual customer accounts held at an independent third party custodian. In addition, the collateral may only be invested in certain categories of instruments identified in the CFTC’s regulations. Agreements covering these segregation arrangements must generally provide for consent by both the counterparty and the swap dealer or major swap participant to withdraw margin from the segregated account. Given these limitations on the use of uncleared swaps collateral, there is some likelihood that the electing counterparty will experience an increase in the costs associated with trading swaps with the relevant swap dealer or major swap participant. Certain other protections apply to a counterparty to uncleared swaps under the CFTC’s regulations even if the counterparty does not elect segregation of its initial margin. These regulations are newly adopted, and it remains unclear whether they will be effective in protecting initial margin in the manner intended in the event of significant market stress or the insolvency of a swap dealer or major swap participant.
Furthermore, a bilateral OTC transaction may only be terminated voluntarily by entering into a closing transaction with the dealer with which the Fund originally dealt. Any such cancellation may require the Fund to pay a premium to that dealer. In those cases in which the Fund has entered into a covered transaction and cannot voluntarily terminate the transaction, the Fund will not be able to sell the underlying security until the transaction expires or is exercised or different cover is substituted. The Fund will seek to enter into OTC transactions only with dealers which agree to, and which are expected to be capable of, entering into closing transactions with the Fund. There is also no assurance that the Fund will be able to liquidate an OTC transaction at any time prior to expiration.
The requirement to execute certain OTC derivatives contracts on SEFs may offer certain advantages over traditional bilateral OTC trading, such as ease of execution, price transparency, increased liquidity and/or favorable pricing. However, SEF trading may make it more difficult and costly for the Fund to enter into highly tailored or customized transactions and may result in additional costs and risks. Market participants such as the Fund that execute derivatives contracts through a SEF, whether directly or through a broker intermediary, are required to submit to the jurisdiction of the SEF and comply with SEF and CFTC rules and regulations which impose, among other things disclosure and recordkeeping obligations. In addition, the Fund will generally incur SEF or broker intermediary fees when it trades on a SEF. The Fund may also be required to indemnify the SEF or broker intermediary for any losses or costs that may result from the Fund’s transactions on the SEF.
The Fund may invest in preferred stock. Preferred stock is a class of stock having a preference over common stock as to the payment of dividends and a share of the proceeds resulting from the, issuer’s liquidation although preferred stock is usually subordinate to the debt securities of the issuer. Some preferred stocks also entitle their holders to receive additional liquidation proceeds on the same basis as the holders of the issuer’s common stock. Preferred stock typically does not possess voting rights and its market value may change based on changes in interest rates. If interest rates rise, the fixed dividend on preferred stocks may be less attractive, causing the price of preferred stocks to decline. Preferred stock may have mandatory sinking fund provisions, as well as call/redemption provisions prior to maturity, a negative feature when interest rates decline. In addition, the Fund may receive stocks or warrants as a result of an exchange or tender of fixed income securities. Preference stock, which is more common in emerging markets than in developed markets, is a special type of common stock that shares in the earnings of an issuer, has limited voting rights, may have a dividend preference, and may also have a liquidation preference. Depending on the features of the particular security, holders of preferred and preference stock may bear the risks regarding common stock or fixed income securities.
Investment Company Shares
The Fund may invest in shares of other investment companies (each, an “Underlying Fund”), including open-end funds, closed-end funds, unit investment trusts (“UITs”) and ETFs, to the extent permitted by applicable law and subject to certain restrictions set forth in this SAI.
Under Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act, the Fund may acquire shares of an Underlying Fund in amounts which, as determined immediately after the acquisition is made, do not exceed (i) 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of such Underlying Fund, (ii) 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets, and (iii) 10% of the value of the Fund’s total assets when combined with all other Underlying Fund shares held by the Fund. The Fund may exceed these statutory limits when permitted by SEC order or other applicable law or regulatory guidance, such as is the case with many ETFs. In October 2020, the SEC adopted certain regulatory changes and took other actions related to the ability of an investment company to invest in the shares of another investment company. These changes include, in part, the rescission of certain SEC exemptive orders permitting investments in excess of the statutory limits, the withdrawal of certain related SEC staff no-action letters, and the adoption of Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act, which permits the Fund to invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits, subject to certain conditions. Rule 12d1-4, among other things, (1) applies to both “acquired funds” and “acquiring funds,” each as defined under the rule; (2) includes limits on control and voting of acquired funds’ shares; (3) requires that the investment advisers of acquired funds and acquiring funds relying on the rule make certain specified findings based on their evaluation of the relevant fund of funds structure; (4) requires acquired funds and acquiring funds that are relying on the rule, and which do not have the same investment adviser, to enter into fund of funds investment agreements, which must include specific terms; and (5) includes certain limits on complex fund of funds structures.
Generally, under Sections 12(d)(1)(F) and 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act and SEC rules adopted pursuant to the 1940 Act, the Fund may acquire the securities of affiliated and unaffiliated Underlying Funds subject to the following guidelines and restrictions:
|●||The Fund may own an unlimited amount of the shares of any registered open-end fund or registered unit investment trust that is affiliated with the Fund, so long as any such Underlying Fund has a policy that prohibits it from acquiring any shares of registered open-end funds or registered UITs in reliance on certain sections of the 1940 Act.|
|●||The Fund and its “affiliated persons” may own up to 3% of the outstanding stock of any fund, subject to the following restrictions:|
|i.||the Fund and each Underlying Fund, in the aggregate, may not charge a sales load greater than the limits set forth in Rule 2830(d)(3) of the Conduct Rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) applicable to funds of funds;|
|ii.||each Underlying Fund is not obligated to redeem more than 1% of its total outstanding shares during any period less than 30 days; and|
|iii.||the Fund is obligated either to (i) seek instructions from its shareholders with regard to the voting of all proxies with respect to the Underlying Fund and to vote in accordance with such instructions, or (ii) to vote the shares of the Underlying Fund held by the Fund in the same proportion as the vote of all other shareholders of the Underlying Fund.|
Underlying Funds typically incur fees that are separate from those fees incurred directly by the Fund. The Fund’s purchase of such investment company shares results in the layering of expenses as Fund shareholders would indirectly bear a proportionate share of the operating expenses of such investment companies, including advisory fees, in addition to paying Fund expenses. In addition, the securities of other investment companies may also be leveraged and will therefore be subject to certain leverage risks. The net asset value and market value of leveraged securities will be more volatile and the yield to shareholders will tend to fluctuate more than the yield generated by unleveraged securities. Investment companies may have investment policies that differ from those of the Fund.
Under certain circumstances an open-end investment company in which the Fund invests may determine to make payment of a redemption by the Fund wholly or in part by a distribution in kind of securities from its portfolio, instead of in cash. As a result, the Fund may hold such securities until the Advisor determines it is appropriate to dispose of them. Such disposition will impose additional costs on the Fund.
Investment decisions by the investment advisors to the registered investment companies in which the Fund invests are made independently of the Fund. At any particular time, one Underlying Fund may be purchasing shares of an issuer whose shares are being sold by another Underlying Fund. As a result, under these circumstances the Fund indirectly would incur certain transactional costs without accomplishing any investment purpose.
The Fund may invest in ETFs. ETFs are pooled investment vehicles that generally seek to track the performance of specific indices. ETFs may be organized as open-end funds or as unit investment trusts. Their shares are listed on stock exchanges and can be traded throughout the day at market-determined prices.
An ETF generally issues index-based investments in large aggregations of shares known as “Creation Units” in exchange for a “Portfolio Deposit” consisting of (a) a portfolio of securities designated by the ETF, (b) a cash payment equal to a pro rata portion of the dividends accrued on the ETF’s portfolio securities since the last dividend payment by the ETF, net of expenses and liabilities, and (c) a cash payment or credit (“Balancing Amount”) designed to equalize the net asset value of the shares and the net asset value of a Portfolio Deposit.
Shares of ETFs are not individually redeemable, except upon the reorganization, merger, conversion or liquidation of the ETF. To redeem shares of an ETF, an investor must accumulate enough shares of the ETF to reconstitute a Creation Unit. The liquidity of small holdings of ETF shares, therefore, will depend upon the existence of a secondary market for such shares. Upon redemption of a Creation Unit, the investor will receive securities designated by the ETF (“Redemption Securities”) and a cash payment in an amount equal to the difference between the net asset value of the shares being redeemed and the net asset value of the Redemption Securities.
The price of ETF shares is based upon (but not necessarily identical to) the value of the securities held by the ETF. Accordingly, the level of risk involved in the purchase or sale of ETF shares is similar to the risk involved in the purchase or sale of traditional common stock, with the exception that the pricing mechanism for ETF shares is based on a basket of stocks. Disruptions in the markets for the securities underlying ETF shares purchased or sold by the Fund could result in losses on such shares. There is no assurance that the requirements of the national securities exchanges necessary to maintain the listing of shares of any ETF will continue to be met.
The Fund may invest in U.S. government obligations. Such obligations include Treasury bills, certificates of indebtedness, notes and bonds. U.S. government obligations include securities issued or guaranteed as to principal and interest by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities. Treasury bills, the most frequently issued marketable government securities, have a maturity of up to one year and are issued on a discount basis. U.S. government obligations include securities issued or guaranteed by government-sponsored enterprises.
Payment of principal and interest on U.S. government obligations may be backed by the full faith and credit of the United States or may be backed solely by the issuing or guaranteeing agency or instrumentality itself. In the latter case, the investor must look principally to the agency or instrumentality issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment, which agency or instrumentality may be privately owned. There can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies or instrumentalities, including government-sponsored enterprises, where it is not obligated to do so. In addition, U.S. government obligations are subject to fluctuations in market value due to fluctuations in market interest rates. As a general matter, the value of debt instruments, including U.S. government obligations, declines when market interest rates increase and rises when market interest rates decrease. Certain types of U.S. government obligations are subject to fluctuations in yield or value due to their structure or contract terms.
The Fund may engage in limited borrowing activities. Borrowing creates an opportunity for increased return, but, at the same time, creates special risks. Furthermore, if the Fund were to engage in borrowing, an increase in interest rates could reduce the value of the Fund’s shares by increasing the Fund’s interest expense. Subject to the limitations described under “Investment Limitations” below, the Fund may be permitted to borrow for temporary purposes and/or for investment purposes. Such a practice will result in leveraging of the Fund’s assets and may cause the Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so. This borrowing may be secured or unsecured. Provisions of the 1940 Act require the Fund to maintain continuous asset coverage (that is, total assets including borrowings, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of 300% of the amount borrowed, with an exception for borrowings not in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets made for temporary administrative purposes. Any borrowings for temporary administrative purposes in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets will count against this asset coverage requirement. If the 300% asset coverage should decline as a result of market fluctuations or other reasons, the Fund may be required to sell some of its portfolio holdings within three days to reduce the debt and restore the 300% asset coverage, even though it may be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint if the Fund sells securities at that time. Borrowing will tend to exaggerate the effect on net asset value of any increase or decrease in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio. Money borrowed will be subject to interest charges which may or may not be recovered by appreciation of the securities purchased, if any. The Fund also may be required to maintain minimum average balances in connection with such borrowings or to pay a commitment or other fee to maintain a line of credit; either of these requirements would increase the cost of borrowing over the stated interest rate.
OTHER INVESTMENT STRATEGIES, POLICIES AND RISKS
The Fund may invest in shares of closed-end funds. Investments in closed-end funds are subject to various risks, including reliance on management’s ability to meet the closed-end fund’s investment objective and to manage the closed-end fund portfolio; fluctuation in the net asset value of closed-end fund shares compared to the changes in the value of the underlying securities that the closed-end fund owns; and bearing a pro rata share of the management fees and expenses of each underlying closed-end fund resulting in the Fund’s shareholders being subject to higher expenses than if he or she invested directly in the closed-end fund(s). The closed-end funds in which the Fund may invest may be leveraged. As a result, the Fund may be exposed indirectly to leverage through investment in a closed-end fund. An investment in securities of a closed-end fund that uses leverage may expose the Fund to higher volatility in the market value of such securities and the possibility that the Fund’s long-term returns on such securities (and, indirectly, the long-term returns of the shares) will be diminished.
The Fund may seek to hedge investments or realize additional gains through the use of short sales. A short sale is a transaction in which the Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline. If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Fund replaces the borrowed security, the Fund will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Fund will realize a capital gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss will be increased, by the transaction costs incurred by the Fund, including the costs associated with providing collateral to the broker-dealer (usually cash and liquid securities) and the maintenance of collateral with its custodian. The Fund also may be required to pay a premium to borrow a security, which would increase the cost of the security sold short. Although the Fund’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited.
The broker-dealer will retain the net proceeds of the short sale to the extent necessary to meet margin requirements until the short position is closed out.
When the Sub-Advisor believes that the price of a particular security held by the Fund may decline, it may make “short sales against the box” to hedge the unrealized gain on such security. Selling short against the box involves selling a security which the Fund owns for delivery at a specified date in the future. The Fund will incur transaction costs to open, maintain and close short sales against the box.
Exchange-Traded Notes (“ETNs”)
The Fund may invest in ETNs. An investment in an ETN involves risks, including possible loss of principal. ETNs are unsecured debt securities issued by a bank that are linked to the total return of a market index. Risks of investing in ETNs also include limited portfolio diversification, uncertain principal payment, and illiquidity. Additionally, the investor fee will reduce the amount of return on maturity or at redemption, and as a result the investor may receive less than the principal amount at maturity or upon redemption, even if the value of the relevant index has increased. An investment in an ETN may not be suitable for all investors.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)
The Fund may invest in REITs. REITs are pooled investment vehicles that invest primarily in income producing real estate or real estate related loans or interests. REITs are generally classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs, or a combination of equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling properties that have appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income from the collection of principal and interest payments. Similar to regulated investment companies such as the Fund, REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with certain requirements of the Code. The Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of expenses incurred by REITs in which the Fund invests in addition to the expenses incurred directly by the Fund.
Investing in REITs involves certain unique risks in addition to those risks associated with investing in the real estate industry in general. Equity REITs may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned by the REITs, while mortgage REITs may be affected by the quality of any credit extended. REITs are dependent upon management skills, are not diversified, and are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers and self-liquidation.
Investing in REITs involves risks similar to those associated with investing in small capitalization companies. REITs may have limited financial resources, may trade less frequently and in a limited volume and may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements than larger company securities. Historically, small capitalization stocks, such as REITs, have had more price volatility than larger capitalization stocks.
REITs may fail to qualify for the favorable federal income tax treatment generally available to them under the Code and may fail to maintain their exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act. REITs (especially mortgage REITs) also are subject to interest rate risks. When interest rates decline, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed-rate obligations can be expected to rise. Conversely, when interest rates rise, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed-rate obligations can be expected to decline. In contrast, as interest rates on adjustable rate mortgage loans are reset periodically, yields on a REIT’s investments in such loans will gradually align themselves to reflect changes in market interest rates, causing the value of such investments to fluctuate less dramatically in response to interest rate fluctuations than would investments in fixed-rate obligations.
Sovereign Debt Obligations
The Fund may invest in sovereign debt obligations, which are securities issued or guaranteed by foreign governments governmental agencies or instrumentalities and political subdivisions, including debt of developing countries. Sovereign debt may be in the form of conventional securities or other types of debt instruments such as loans or loan participations. Sovereign debt of developing countries may involve a high degree of risk, and may be in default or present the risk of default. Governmental entities responsible for repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal and pay interest when due, and may require renegotiation or rescheduling of debt payments. In addition, prospects for repayment of principal and payment of interest may depend on political as well as economic factors. Although some sovereign debt, such as Brady Bonds, is collateralized by U.S. government securities, repayment of principal and payment of interest is not guaranteed by the U.S. government. There is no bankruptcy proceeding by which sovereign debt on which governmental entities have defaulted may be collected in whole or in part.
Zero Coupon, Step Coupon, and Pay-In-Kind Securities
Within the parameters of its specific investment policies, the Fund may invest in zero coupon, pay-in-kind, and step coupon securities. Zero coupon bonds are securities that make no fixed interest payments but instead are issued and traded at a discount from their face value. They do not entitle the holder to any periodic payment of interest prior to maturity. Step coupon bonds trade at a discount from their face value and pay coupon interest. The coupon rate is low for an initial period and then increases to a higher coupon rate thereafter. The discount from the face amount or par value depends on the time remaining until cash payments begin, prevailing interest rates, liquidity of the security, and the perceived credit quality of the issuer. Pay-in-kind bonds normally give the issuer an option to pay cash at a coupon payment date or give the holder of the security a similar bond with the same coupon rate and a face value equal to the amount of the coupon payment that would have been made.
Generally, the market prices of zero coupon, step coupon, and pay-in-kind securities are more volatile than the prices of securities that pay interest periodically and in cash and are likely to respond to changes in interest rates to a greater degree than other types of debt securities having similar maturities and credit quality.
Floating Rate, Inverse Floating Rate and Index Obligations
The Fund may invest in debt securities with interest payments or maturity values that are not fixed, but float in conjunction with (or inversely to) an underlying index or price. These securities may be backed by sovereign or corporate issuers, or by collateral such as mortgages. The indices and prices upon which such securities can be based include interest rates, currency rates and commodities prices. Floating rate securities pay interest according to a coupon which is reset periodically. The reset mechanism may be formula based, or reflect the passing through of floating interest payments on an underlying collateral pool. Inverse floating rate securities are similar to floating rate securities except that their coupon payments vary inversely with an underlying index by use of a formula. Inverse floating rate securities tend to exhibit greater price volatility than other floating rate securities. Interest rate risk and price volatility on inverse floating rate obligations can be high, especially if leverage is used in the formula. Index securities pay a fixed rate of interest, but have a maturity value that varies by formula, so that when the obligation matures a gain or loss may be realized. The risk of index obligations depends on the volatility of the underlying index, the coupon payment and the maturity of the obligation.
The Fund may invest in common stock. Common stock represents an equity (ownership) interest in a company, and usually possesses voting rights and earns dividends. Dividends on common stock are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of the issuer. Common stock generally represents the riskiest investment in a company. In addition, common stock generally has the greatest appreciation and depreciation potential because increases and decreases in earnings are usually reflected in a company’s stock price.
The fundamental risk of investing in common stock is that the value of the stock might decrease. Stock values fluctuate in response to the activities of an individual company or in response to general market and/or economic conditions. While common stocks have historically provided greater long-term returns than preferred stocks, fixed-income and money market investments, common stocks have also experienced significantly more volatility than the returns from those other investments.
Small-Cap and Mid-Cap Stocks
The Fund may invest in stock of companies with market capitalizations that are small compared to other publicly traded companies. Investments in larger companies present certain advantages in that such companies generally have greater financial resources, more extensive research and development, manufacturing, marketing and service capabilities, and more stability and greater depth of management and personnel. Investments in smaller, less seasoned companies may present greater opportunities for growth but also may involve greater risks than customarily are associated with more established companies. The securities of smaller companies may be subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements than larger, more established companies. These companies may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent upon a limited management group. Their securities may be traded in the OTC market or on a regional exchange, or may otherwise have limited liquidity. As a result of owning large positions in this type of security, the Fund is subject to the additional risk of possibly having to sell portfolio securities at disadvantageous times and prices if redemptions require the Fund to liquidate its securities positions. In addition, it may be prudent for the Fund, as its asset size grows, to limit the number of relatively small positions it holds in securities having limited liquidity in order to minimize its exposure to such risks, to minimize transaction costs, and to maximize the benefits of research. As a consequence, as the Fund’s asset size increases, the Fund may reduce its exposure to illiquid small capitalization securities, which could adversely affect performance.
The Fund may also invest in stocks of companies with medium market capitalizations (i.e., mid-cap companies). Such investments share some of the risk characteristics of investments in stocks of companies with small market capitalizations described above, although mid cap companies tend to have longer operating histories, broader product lines and greater financial resources and their stocks tend to be more liquid and less volatile than those of smaller capitalization issuers.
Warrants and Rights
The Fund may invest in warrants or rights (including those acquired in units or attached to other securities) that entitle (but do not obligate) the holder to buy equity securities at a specific price for a specific period of time but will do so only if such equity securities are deemed appropriate by the Sub-Advisor. Rights are similar to warrants but typically have a shorter duration and are issued by a company to existing stockholders to provide those holders the right to purchase additional shares of stock at a later date. Warrants and rights do not have voting rights, do not earn dividends, and do not entitle the holder to any rights with respect to the assets of the company that has issued them. They do not represent ownership of the underlying companies but only the right to purchase shares of those companies at a specified price on or before a specified exercise date. Warrants and rights tend to be more volatile than the underlying stock, and if at a warrant’s expiration date the stock is trading at a price below the price set in the warrant or right, the warrant will expire worthless. Conversely, if at the expiration date the stock is trading at a price higher than the price set in the warrant, the Fund can acquire the stock at a price below its market value. The prices of warrants and rights do not necessarily parallel the prices of the underlying securities. An investment in warrants or rights may be considered speculative.
The Fund may invest in convertible securities. A convertible security is a preferred stock, warrant or other security that may be converted or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock or other security of the same or a different issuer or into cash within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security generally entitles the holder to receive the dividend or interest until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion, convertible securities generally have characteristics similar to both fixed income and equity securities. Although to a lesser extent than with fixed income 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 feature, the market value of convertible securities tends to vary with fluctuations in the market value of the underlying common stocks and, therefore, also will react to variations in the general market for equity securities. A significant 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 they 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. While no securities investments are without risk, investments in convertible securities generally entail less risk than investments in common stock of the same issuer.
The Fund may make foreign investments. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers and other non-U.S. investments may involve risks in addition to those normally associated with investments in the securities of U.S. issuers or other U.S. investments. All foreign investments are subject to risks of foreign political and economic instability, adverse movements in foreign exchange rates, and the imposition or tightening of exchange controls and limitations on the repatriation of foreign capital. Other risks stem from potential changes in governmental attitude or policy toward private investment, which in turn raises the risk of nationalization, increased taxation or confiscation of foreign investors’ assets. Additionally, the imposition of sanctions, trade restrictions (including tariffs) and other government restrictions by the United States and/or other governments may adversely affect the values of the Fund’s foreign investments.
The financial problems in global economies over the past several years, including the European sovereign debt crisis, may continue to cause high volatility in global financial markets. In addition, global economies are increasingly interconnected, which increases the possibilities that conditions in one country or region might adversely impact a different country or region. The severity or duration of these conditions may also be affected if one or more countries leave the Euro currency or by other policy changes made by governments or quasi-governmental organizations.
Additional non-U.S. taxes and expenses may also adversely affect the Fund’s performance, including foreign withholding taxes on foreign securities’ dividends. Brokerage commissions and other transaction costs on foreign securities exchanges are generally higher than in the United States. Foreign companies may be subject to different accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards. To the extent foreign securities held by the Fund are not registered with the SEC or with any other U.S. regulator, the issuers thereof will not be subject to the reporting requirements of the SEC or any other U.S. regulator. Accordingly, less information may be available about foreign companies and other investments than is generally available on issuers of comparable securities and other investments in the United States. Foreign securities and other investments may also trade less frequently and with lower volume and may exhibit greater price volatility than U.S. securities and other investments.
Changes in foreign exchange rates will affect the value in U.S. dollars of any foreign currency-denominated securities and other investments held by the Fund. Exchange rates are influenced generally by the forces of supply and demand in the foreign currency markets and by numerous other political and economic events occurring outside the United States, many of which may be difficult, if not impossible, to predict.
Income from any foreign securities and other investments will be received and realized in foreign currencies, and the Fund is required to compute and distribute income in U.S. dollars. Accordingly, a decline in the value of a particular foreign currency against the U.S. dollar occurring after the Fund’s income has been earned and computed in U.S. dollars may require the Fund to liquidate portfolio securities or other investments to acquire sufficient U.S. dollars to make a distribution. Similarly, if the exchange rate declines between the time the Fund incurs expenses in U.S. dollars and the time such expenses are paid, the Fund may be required to liquidate additional portfolio securities or other investments to purchase the U.S. dollars required to meet such expenses.
The Fund may purchase foreign bank obligations. In addition to the risks described above that are generally applicable to foreign investments, the investments that the Fund makes in obligations of foreign banks, branches or subsidiaries may involve further risks, including differences between foreign banks and U.S. banks in applicable accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, and the possible establishment of exchange controls or other foreign government laws or restrictions applicable to the payment of certificates of deposit or time deposits that may affect adversely the payment of principal and interest on the securities and other investments held by the Fund.
The Fund may invest in companies organized or doing substantial business in emerging market countries or developing countries as defined by the World Bank, International Financial Corporation, or the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) emerging market indices or other comparable indices. Investing in emerging markets involves additional risks and special considerations not typically associated with investing in other more established economies or markets. Such risks may include (i) increased risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (ii) greater social, economic and political uncertainty, including war; (iii) higher dependence on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (iv) greater volatility, less liquidity and smaller capitalization of markets; (v) greater volatility in currency exchange rates; (vi) greater risk of inflation; (vii) greater controls on foreign investment and limitations on realization of investments, repatriation of invested capital and on the ability to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars; (viii) increased likelihood of governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (ix) governmental decisions to cease support of economic reform programs or to impose centrally planned economies; (x) differences in regulatory, accounting, auditing, and financial reporting and recordkeeping standards, which may result in the unavailability of material information about issuers; (xi) less extensive regulation of the markets; (xii) longer settlement periods for transactions and less reliable clearance and custody arrangements; (xiii) less developed corporate laws regarding fiduciary duties of officers and directors and the protection of investors; (xiv) certain considerations regarding the maintenance of the Fund’s securities with local brokers and securities depositories and (xv) the imposition of withholding or other taxes on dividends, interest, capital gains, other income or gross sale or disposition proceeds.
Repatriation of investment income, assets and the proceeds of sales by foreign investors may require governmental registration and/or approval in some emerging market countries. The Fund could be adversely affected by delays in or a refusal to grant any required governmental registration or approval for such repatriation, or by withholding taxes imposed by emerging market countries on interest or dividends paid on securities held by the Fund or gains from the disposition of such securities.
In emerging markets, there is often less government supervision and regulation of business and industry practices, stock exchanges, over-the-counter markets, brokers, dealers, counterparties and issuers than in other more established markets. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”), which regulates auditors of U.S. public companies, for example, may be unable to inspect audit work and practices in certain countries. If the PCAOB is unable to oversee the operations of accounting firms in such countries, inaccurate or incomplete financial records of an issuer’s operations may not be detected, which could negatively impact the Fund’s investments in such companies. Any regulatory supervision that is in place may be subject to manipulation or control. Some emerging market countries do not have mature legal systems comparable to those of more developed countries. Moreover, the process of legal and regulatory reform may not be proceeding at the same pace as market developments, which could result in investment risk. Legislation to safeguard the rights of private ownership may not yet be in place in certain areas, and there may be the risk of conflict among local, regional and national requirements. In certain cases, the laws and regulations governing investments in securities may not exist or may be subject to inconsistent or arbitrary appreciation or interpretation. Both the independence of judicial systems and their immunity from economic, political or nationalistic influences remain largely untested in many countries. It may also be difficult or impossible for the Fund to pursue legal remedies or to obtain and enforce judgments in local courts.
Many Chinese companies have created variable interest entities (“VIEs”) as a means to circumvent limits on foreign ownership of equity in Chinese companies. Investments in companies that use a VIE structure may pose additional risks because the investment is made through an intermediary entity that exerts control of the underlying operating business through contractual means rather than equity ownership and, as a result, may limit the rights of an investor. Although VIEs are a longstanding industry practice and well known to officials and regulators in China, VIE structures are not formally recognized under Chinese law. Investors face uncertainty about future actions by the government of China that could significantly affect an operating company’s financial performance and the enforceability of the VIE’s contractual arrangements. It is uncertain whether Chinese officials or regulators will withdraw their implicit acceptance of the VIE structure, or whether any new laws, rules, or regulations relating to VIE structures will be adopted or, if adopted, what impact they would have on the interests of foreign shareholders. Under extreme circumstances, China might prohibit the existence of VIEs, or sever their ability to transmit economic and governance rights to foreign individuals and entities; if so, the market value of the Fund’s associated portfolio holdings would likely suffer significant, detrimental, and possibly permanent effects, which could result in substantial investment losses.
There may also be restrictions on imports from certain countries, such as Russia, and dealings with certain state-sponsored entities. For example, following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order in February 2022 prohibiting U.S. persons from entering transactions with the Central Bank of Russia and Executive Orders in March 2022 prohibiting U.S. persons from importing oil and gas from Russia as well as other popular Russian exports, such as diamonds, seafood and vodka. There may also be restrictions on investments in Chinese companies. For example, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order in June 2021 affirming and expanding the U.S. policy prohibiting U.S. persons from purchasing or investing in publicly-traded securities of companies identified by the U.S. Government as “Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies.” The list of such companies can change from time to time, and as a result of forced selling or an inability to participate in an investment the Advisor or Sub-Advisor otherwise believes is attractive, the Fund may incur losses. Any of these factors may adversely affect the Fund’s performance or the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment objective.
Foreign Currency Transactions
The Fund may conduct foreign currency transactions on a spot, i.e., cash, basis at the prevailing rate in the foreign exchange market or by entering into a forward foreign currency contract. A forward foreign currency contract (“forward contract”) involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific amount of a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days (usually less than one year) from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. Forward contracts are considered to be derivatives. The Fund enters into forward contracts in order to “lock in” the exchange rate between the currency it will deliver and the currency it will receive for the duration of the contract. In addition, the Fund may enter into forward contracts to hedge against risks arising from securities the Fund owns or anticipates purchasing or the U.S. dollar value of interest and dividends paid on those securities.
If the Fund delivers the foreign currency at or before the settlement of a forward contract, it may be required to obtain the currency by selling some of the Fund’s assets that are denominated in that specific currency. The Fund may close out a forward contract obligating it to purchase a foreign currency by selling an offsetting contract, in which case it will realize a gain or a loss.
Foreign currency transactions involve certain costs and risks. The Fund incurs foreign exchange expenses in converting assets from one currency to another. Forward contracts involve a risk of loss if the Sub-Advisor is inaccurate in predicting currency movements. The projection of short-term currency market movements is extremely difficult, and the successful execution of a short-term hedging strategy is highly uncertain. The precise matching of forward contract amounts and the value of the securities involved is generally not possible. Accordingly, it may be necessary for the Fund to purchase additional foreign currency if the market value of the security is less than the amount of the foreign currency the Fund is obligated to deliver under the forward contract and the decision is made to sell the security and deliver the foreign currency. The use of forward contracts as a hedging technique does not eliminate the fluctuation in the prices of the underlying securities the Fund owns or intends to acquire, but it fixes a rate of exchange in advance. Although forward contracts can reduce the risk of loss if the values of the hedged currencies decline, these instruments also limit the potential gain that might result from an increase in the value of the hedged currencies.
There is no systematic reporting of last sale information for foreign currencies, and there is no regulatory requirement that quotations available through dealers or other market sources be firm or revised on a timely basis. Quotation information available is generally representative of very large transactions in the interbank market. The interbank market in foreign currencies is a global around-the-clock market. Since foreign currency transactions occurring in the interbank market involve substantially larger amounts than those that may be involved in the use of foreign currency options, the Fund may be disadvantaged by having to deal in an odd lot market (generally consisting of transactions of less than $1 million) for the underlying foreign currencies at prices that are less favorable than for round lots. The Fund may take positions in options on foreign currencies in order to hedge against the risk of foreign exchange fluctuation on foreign securities the Fund holds in its portfolio or which it intends to purchase.
The Fund may invest in depositary receipts. American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) are negotiable receipts issued by a U.S. bank or trust company that evidence ownership of securities in a foreign company which have been deposited with such bank or trust company’s office or agent in a foreign country. European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) are negotiable certificates held in the bank of one country representing a specific number of shares of a stock traded on an exchange of another country. Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) are negotiable certificates held in the bank of one country representing a specific number of shares of a stock traded on an exchange of another country. Canadian Depositary Receipts (“CDRs”) are negotiable receipts issued by a Canadian bank or trust company that evidence ownership of securities in a foreign company which have been deposited with such bank or trust company’s office or agent in a foreign country.
Investing in ADRs, EDRs, GDRs, and CDRs presents risks that may not be equal to the risk inherent in holding the equivalent shares of the same companies that are traded in the local markets even though the Fund will purchase, sell and be paid dividends on ADRs, in U.S. dollars. These risks include fluctuations in currency exchange rates, which are affected by international balances of payments and other economic and financial conditions; government intervention; speculation; and other factors. With respect to certain foreign countries, there is the possibility of expropriation or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, political and social upheaval, and economic instability. The Fund may be required to pay foreign withholding or other taxes on certain ADRs, EDRs, GDRs, or CDRs that it owns, but investors may or may not be able to deduct their pro-rata share of such taxes in computing their taxable income, or take such shares as a credit against their U.S. federal income tax. See “Federal Income Tax Matters.” ADRs, EDRs, GDRs, and CDRs may be sponsored by the foreign issuer or may be unsponsored. Unsponsored ADRs, EDRs, GDRs, and CDRs are organized independently and without the cooperation of the foreign issuer of the underlying securities. Unsponsored ADRs, EDRs, GDRs, and CDRs are offered by companies which are not prepared to meet either the reporting or accounting standards of the United States. While readily exchangeable with stock in local markets, unsponsored ADRs, EDRs, GDRs, and CDRs may be less liquid than sponsored ADRs, EDRs, GDRs, and CDRs. Additionally, there generally is less publicly available information with respect to unsponsored ADRs, EDRs, GDRs, and CDRs.
Developments in the China Region
After nearly 30 years of unprecedented growth, the People’s Republic of China now faces a slowing economy. The real estate market, which many observers believed to be inflated, has begun to decline. Local governments, which had borrowed heavily to bolster growth, face high debt burdens and limited revenue sources. As a result, demand for Chinese exports by the United States and countries in Europe, and demands for Chinese imports from such countries, may weaken due to the effects of more limited economic growth. Additionally, Chinese actions to lay claim to disputed islands have caused relations with China’s regional trading partners to suffer, and could cause further disruption to regional and international trade. From time to time, China has experienced outbreaks of infectious illnesses, and the country may be subject to other public health threats, infectious illnesses, diseases or similar issues in the future. Any spread of an infectious illness, public health threat or similar issue could reduce consumer demand or economic output, result in market closures, travel restrictions or quarantines, and generally have a significant impact on the Chinese economy. In the long run, China’s ability to develop and sustain a credible legal, regulatory, monetary, and socioeconomic system could influence the course of outside investment.
Europe – Recent Events
A number of countries in Europe have experienced severe economic and financial difficulties. Many non-governmental issuers, and even certain governments, have defaulted on, or been forced to restructure, their debts; many other issuers have faced difficulties obtaining credit or refinancing existing obligations; financial institutions have in many cases required government or central bank support, have needed to raise capital, and/or have been impaired in their ability to extend credit; and financial markets in Europe and elsewhere have experienced extreme volatility and declines in asset values and liquidity. These difficulties may continue, worsen or spread within or outside Europe. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not work, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and others of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world.
The European Union (the “EU”) currently faces major issues involving its membership, structure, procedures and policies, including the successful political, economic and social integration of new member states, the EU’s resettlement and distribution of refugees, and resolution of the EU’s problematic fiscal and democratic accountability. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the Euro, the common currency of the EU, and/or withdraw from the EU. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching.
United Kingdom Exit from the EU. On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) formally withdrew from the EU (commonly referred to as “Brexit”) and, after a transition period, left the EU single market and customs union under the terms of a new trade agreement, effective January 1, 2021. The agreement governs the relationship between the UK and EU with respect to trading goods and services, but certain aspects of the relationship remain unresolved and subject to further negotiation and agreement. The effects of Brexit are also being shaped by the trade agreements that the UK negotiates with other countries. Although the longer term political, regulatory, and economic consequences of Brexit are uncertain, Brexit has caused volatility in UK, EU, and global markets. The potential negative effects of Brexit on the UK and EU economies and the broader global economy could include, among others, business and trade disruptions, increased volatility and illiquidity, currency fluctuations, and potentially lower economic growth of markets in the UK, EU, and globally, which could negatively impact the value of the Fund’s investments. Brexit could also lead to legal uncertainty and politically divergent national laws and regulations while the relationship between the UK and EU continues to be defined and the UK determines which EU laws to replace or replicate.
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. Russia has attempted to assert its influence in Eastern Europe in the recent past through economic and military measures, including military incursions into Georgia in 2008 and eastern Ukraine in 2014, heightening geopolitical risk in the region and tensions with the West. On February 24, 2022, Russia initiated a large-scale invasion of Ukraine resulting in the displacement of millions of Ukrainians from their homes, a substantial loss of life, and the widespread destruction of property and infrastructure throughout Ukraine. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the governments of the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and many other nations joined together to impose heavy economic sanctions on certain Russian individuals, including its political leaders, as well as Russian corporate and banking entities and other Russian industries and businesses. The sanctions restrict companies from doing business with Russia and Russian companies, prohibit transactions with the Russian central bank and other key Russian financial institutions and entities, ban Russian airlines and ships from using many other countries’ airspace and ports, respectively, and place a freeze on certain Russian assets. The sanctions also removed some Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), the electronic network that connects banks globally to facilitate cross-border payments. In addition, the United States has banned oil and other energy imports from Russia, and the United Kingdom made a commitment to phase out oil imports from Russia by the end of 2022. The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and their global allies may impose additional sanctions or other intergovernmental actions against Russia in the future, but Russia may respond in kind by imposing retaliatory economic sanctions or countermeasures. The extent and duration of the war in Ukraine and the longevity and severity of sanctions remain unknown, but they could have a significant adverse impact on the European economy as well as the price and availability of certain commodities, including oil and natural gas, throughout the world. Further, an escalation of the military conflict beyond Ukraine’s borders could result in significant, long-lasting damage to the economies of Eastern and Western Europe as well as the global economy.
General. Whether or not the Fund invests in securities of issuers located in Europe or with significant exposure to European issuers or countries, these events could negatively affect the value and liquidity of the Fund’s investments due to the interconnected nature of the global economy and capital markets. The Fund may also be susceptible to these events to the extent that the Fund invests in municipal obligations with credit support by non-U.S. financial institutions.
The Fund may invest in structured investments. A structured investment is a security having a return tied to an underlying index or other security or asset class. Structured investments generally are individually negotiated agreements and may be traded OTC. Structured investments are organized and operated to restructure the investment characteristics of the underlying security. This restructuring involves the deposit with or purchase by an entity, such as a corporation or trust, on specified instruments (such as commercial bank loans) and the issuance by that entity or one or more classes of securities (“structured securities”) backed by, or representing interests in, the underlying instruments. The cash flow on the underlying instruments may be apportioned among the newly issued structured securities to create securities with different investment characteristics, such as varying maturities, payment priorities and interest rate provisions, and the extent of such payments made with respect to structured securities is dependent on the extent of the cash flow on the underlying instruments. Because structured securities typically involve no credit enhancement, their credit risk generally will be equivalent to that of the underlying instruments. Investments in structured securities are generally of a class of structured securities that is either subordinated or unsubordinated to the right of payment of another class. Subordinated structured securities typically have higher yields and present greater risks than unsubordinated structured securities. Structured securities are typically sold in private placement transactions, and there currently is no active trading market for structured securities. Investments in government and government-related and restructured debt instruments are subject to special risks, including the inability or unwillingness to repay principal and interest, requests to reschedule or restructure outstanding debt and requests to extend additional loan amounts. Certain issuers of structured investments may be deemed to be “investment companies” as defined in the 1940 Act. As a result, the Fund’s investment in these structured investments may be limited by the restrictions contained in the 1940 Act. Structured investments are typically sold in private placement transactions, and there currently is no active trading market for structured investments.
When-Issued or Delayed-Delivery Securities
The Fund may purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis. For example, delivery of and payment for these securities can take place a month or more after the date of the purchase commitment. The purchase price and the interest rate payable, if any, on the securities are fixed on the purchase commitment date or at the time the settlement date is fixed. The value of such securities is subject to market fluctuations and, in the case of fixed income securities, no interest accrues to the Fund until settlement takes place. When purchasing a security on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis, the Fund assumes the rights and risks of ownership of the security, including the risk of price and yield fluctuations. Accordingly, at the time the Fund makes the commitment to purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis, it will record the transaction, reflect the value each day of such securities in determining its net asset value and, if applicable, calculate the maturity for the purposes of average maturity from that date. At the time of its acquisition, a when-issued security may be valued at less than the purchase price. The Fund will make commitments for such when-issued transactions only when it has the intention of actually acquiring the securities. If, however, the Fund chooses to dispose of the right to acquire a when-issued security prior to its acquisition, it could, as with the disposition of any other portfolio obligation, recognize taxable capital gain or loss due to market fluctuation. Also, the Fund may be disadvantaged if the other party to the transaction defaults.
A transaction in when-issued or delayed-delivery securities would be deemed not to involve a senior security (i.e., it will not be considered a derivatives transaction or subject to asset segregation requirements), provided that (i) the Fund intends to physically settle the transaction, and (ii) the transaction will settle within 35 days of its trade date. If such a transaction were considered to be a derivatives transaction it would be subject to the requirements of the Derivatives Rule described in the “Derivatives” section of this SAI.
The Fund may purchase and sell futures contracts and options; may enter into foreign exchange contracts; and may enter into swap agreements and other financial transactions not requiring the delivery of physical commodities. The Fund may also invest in instruments related to commodities, including structured notes, securities of commodities finance and operating companies. The Fund’s exposure to the commodities markets may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The value of commodity-linked instruments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, and other risks affecting a particular industry or commodity. The Fund will only invest in commodities transactions or commodity-linked instruments that the Sub-Advisor believes can be readily liquidated.
There are additional factors associated with commodity futures contracts which may subject the Fund’s investments in them to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. In the commodity futures markets there are often costs of physical storage associated with purchasing the underlying commodity. The price of the commodity futures contract will reflect the storage costs of purchasing the physical commodity, including the time value of money invested in the physical commodity. To the extent that the storage costs for an underlying commodity change while the Fund is invested in futures contracts on that commodity, the value of the futures contract may change proportionately. In the commodity futures markets, producers of the underlying commodity may decide to hedge the price risk of selling the commodity by selling futures contracts today to lock in the price of the commodity at delivery tomorrow. In order to induce speculators to purchase the other side of the same futures contract, the commodity producer generally must sell the futures contract at a lower price than the expected future spot price of the commodity. Conversely, if most hedgers in the futures market are purchasing futures contracts to hedge against a rise in prices, then speculators will only sell the other side of the futures contract at a higher futures price than the expected future spot price of the commodity. The changing nature of the hedgers and speculators in the commodities markets will influence whether futures prices are above or below the expected future spot price, which can have significant implications for the Fund. If the nature of hedgers and speculators in futures markets has shifted when it is time for the Fund to reinvest the proceeds of a maturing futures contract in a new futures contract, the Fund might reinvest at higher or lower futures prices, or choose to pursue other investments. The commodities which underlie commodity futures contracts may be subject to additional economic and non-economic variables, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariffs, and international economic, political and regulatory developments. These factors may have a larger impact on commodity prices and commodity-linked instruments, including futures contracts, than on traditional securities. Certain commodities are also subject to limited pricing flexibility because of supply and demand factors. Others are subject to broad price fluctuations as a result of the volatility of the prices for certain raw materials and the instability of the supplies of other materials.
Changes in the regulation of derivatives, including commodity-based derivatives, arising from the Dodd-Frank Act may make it more expensive for the Fund and otherwise limit the Fund’s ability to engage in such trading, which could adversely affect the Fund.
The Fund may take temporary defensive measures that are inconsistent with the Fund’s normal fundamental or non-fundamental investment policies and strategies in response to adverse market, economic, political, or other conditions as determined by the Sub-Advisor. Such measures could include, but are not limited to, investments in (1) highly liquid short-term fixed income securities issued by or on behalf of municipal or corporate issuers, obligations of the U.S. government and its agencies, commercial paper, and bank certificates of deposit; (2) repurchase agreements involving any such securities; and (3) other money market instruments. The Fund also may invest in shares of money market mutual funds to the extent permitted under applicable law. Money market mutual funds are investment companies, and the investments in those companies by the Fund are in some cases subject to certain fundamental investment restrictions. As a shareholder in a mutual fund, the Fund will bear its ratable share of its expenses, including management fees, and will remain subject to payment of the fees to the Advisor, with respect to assets so invested. The Fund may not achieve its investment objectives during temporary defensive periods.
The Fund may invest in any of the following securities and instruments:
Certificates of Deposit, Bankers’ Acceptances and Time Deposits. The Fund may acquire certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances and time deposits in U.S. dollar or foreign currencies. Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued against monies deposited in a commercial bank, or savings and loan association for a definite period of time that earn a specified return. Bankers’ acceptances are negotiable drafts or bills of exchange, normally drawn by an importer or exporter to pay for specific merchandise, which are “accepted” by a bank, meaning in effect that the bank unconditionally agrees to pay the face value of the instrument on maturity. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained at a banking institution for a specified period of time at a specified interest rate. The Fund may only acquire certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, and time deposits issued by commercial banks or savings and loan associations that, at the time of the Fund’s investment, have capital, surplus and undivided profits in excess of $100 million (including assets of both domestic and foreign branches), based on latest published reports, or less than $100 million if the principal amount of such obligations are fully insured by the U.S. government. If the Fund holds instruments of foreign banks or financial institutions, it may be subject to additional investment risks that are different in some respects from those incurred if the Fund invests only in debt obligations of U.S. domestic issuers. See “Foreign Securities” above. Such risks include future political and economic developments, the possible imposition of withholding taxes by the particular country in which the issuer is located, the possible confiscation or nationalization of foreign deposits, the possible establishment of exchange controls, or the adoption of other foreign governmental restrictions which may adversely affect the payment of principal and interest on these securities.
Domestic banks and foreign banks are subject to different governmental regulations with respect to the amount and types of loans that may be made and interest rates that may be charged. In addition, the profitability of the banking industry depends largely upon the availability and cost of funds and the interest income generated from lending operations. General economic conditions and the quality of loan portfolios affect the banking industry.
As a result of federal and state laws and regulations, domestic banks are required to maintain specified levels of reserves, are limited in the amount that they can loan to a single borrower, and are subject to regulations designed to promote financial soundness. However, such laws and regulations may not necessarily apply to foreign banks, thereby affecting the risk involved in bank obligations that the Fund may acquire.
Commercial Paper, Short-Term Notes and Other Corporate Obligations. The Fund may invest a portion of its assets in commercial paper and short-term notes. Commercial paper consists of unsecured promissory notes issued by corporations. Issues of commercial paper and short-term notes will normally have maturities of less than nine months and fixed rates of return, although such instruments may have maturities of up to one year.
The Fund’s investment in commercial paper and short-term notes will consist of issues rated at the time of purchase “A-2” or higher by S&P, “Prime-1” or “Prime-2” by Moody’s, or similarly rated by another nationally recognized statistical rating organization or, if unrated, will be determined by the Sub-Advisor to be of comparable quality. These rating symbols are described in Appendix A.
Corporate debt obligations are subject to the risk of an issuer’s inability to meet principal and interest payments on the obligations, i.e., credit risk. The Sub-Advisor may actively expose the Fund to credit risk. However, there can be no guarantee that the Sub-Advisor will be successful in making the right selections and thus fully mitigate the impact of credit risk changes on the Fund.
Illiquid and Restricted Securities
The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities. Illiquid securities are securities that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the securities. Illiquid securities may be difficult to value, and the Fund may have difficulty or be unable to dispose of such securities promptly or at reasonable prices. The Fund will not purchase any illiquid investment if, immediately after the acquisition, its illiquid investments that are assets would exceed the 15% limit.
The Fund may invest in restricted securities. Restricted securities are securities that may not be sold freely to the public absent registration under the 1933 Act, or an exemption from registration. While restricted securities are generally presumed to be illiquid, it may be determined that a particular restricted security is liquid. Rule 144A under the 1933 Act establishes a safe harbor from the registration requirements of the 1933 Act for resales of certain securities to qualified institutional buyers. Institutional markets for restricted securities sold pursuant to Rule 144A in many cases provide both readily ascertainable values for restricted securities and the ability to liquidate an investment to satisfy share redemption orders. Such markets might include automated systems for the trading, clearance and settlement of unregistered securities of domestic and foreign issuers, such as the PORTAL System sponsored by NASDAQ. An insufficient number of qualified buyers interested in purchasing Rule 144A eligible restricted securities, however, could adversely affect the marketability of such portfolio securities and result in the Fund’s inability to dispose of such securities promptly or at favorable prices.
The Fund may purchase commercial paper issued pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) of the 1933 Act. 4(a)(2) commercial paper typically has the same price and liquidity characteristics as commercial paper, except that the resale of 4(a)(2) commercial paper is limited to the institutional investor marketplace. Such a restriction on resale makes 4(a)(2) commercial paper technically a restricted security under the 1933 Act. In practice, however, 4(a)(2) commercial paper can be resold as easily as any other unrestricted security held by the Fund.
Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act requires, among other things, that the Fund establish a liquidity risk management program (“LRMP”) that is reasonably designed to assess and manage liquidity risk. Rule 22e-4 defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that a fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by the fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interests in the fund. The Fund has implemented a LRMP to meet the relevant requirements. Among other things, the LRMP provides for the classification of each Fund investment as a “highly liquid investment,” “moderately liquid investment,” “less liquid investment” or “illiquid investment.” The liquidity risk classifications of the Fund’s investments are determined after reasonable inquiry and taking into account relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations. To the extent that the Fund investment is deemed to be an “illiquid investment” or a “less liquid investment,” the Fund can expect to be exposed to greater liquidity risk. There is no guarantee the LRMP will be effective in its operations, and complying with Rule 22e-4, including bearing related costs, could impact the Fund’s performance and its ability to seek its investment objective.
Lending Portfolio Securities
Consistent with applicable regulatory requirements and the Fund’s investment restrictions, the Fund may lend portfolio securities to securities broker-dealers or financial institutions, provided that such loans are callable at any time by the Fund (subject to notice provisions described below), and are at all times secured by cash or cash equivalents, which are maintained in a segregated account pursuant to applicable regulations and that are at least equal to the market value, determined daily, of the loaned securities. The advantage of such loans is that the Fund continues to receive the income on the loaned securities while at the same time earns interest on the cash amounts deposited as collateral, which will be invested in short-term obligations. The Fund will not lend portfolio securities if such loans are not permitted by the laws or regulations of any state in which its shares are qualified for sale. The Fund’s loans of portfolio securities will be collateralized in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements and no loan will cause the value of all loaned securities to exceed 33 1/3% of the value of the Fund’s total assets.
A loan may generally be terminated by the borrower on one business day’s notice, or by the Fund on five business days’ notice. If the borrower fails to deliver the loaned securities within five days after receipt of notice or fails to maintain the requisite amount of collateral, the Fund could use the collateral to replace the securities while holding the borrower liable for any excess of replacement cost over collateral. As with any extensions of credit, there are risks of delay in recovery and in some cases even loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower of the securities fail financially. However, these loans of portfolio securities will only be made to firms deemed by the Fund’s management to be creditworthy and when the income that can be earned from such loans justifies the attendant risks. Upon termination of the loan, the borrower is required to return the securities to the Fund. Any gain or loss in the market price during the loan period would inure to the Fund. The risks associated with loans of portfolio securities are substantially similar to those associated with repurchase agreements. Thus, if the counterparty to the loan petitions for bankruptcy or becomes subject to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the law regarding the rights of the Fund is unsettled. As a result, under extreme circumstances, there may be a restriction on the Fund’s ability to sell the collateral, and the Fund would suffer a loss. When voting or consent rights that accompany loaned securities pass to the borrower, the Fund will follow the policy of calling the loaned securities, to be delivered within one day after notice, to permit the exercise of such rights if the matters involved would have a material effect on the Fund’s investment in such loaned securities. The Fund will pay reasonable finder’s, administrative and custodial fees in connection with a loan of its securities.
Many financial instruments, financings or other transactions to which the Fund may be a party use or may use a floating rate based on LIBOR. In July 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority, the United Kingdom’s financial regulatory body, announced that after 2021 it would cease its active encouragement of banks to provide the quotations needed to sustain LIBOR. The publication of LIBOR on a representative basis ceased for the one-week and two-month U.S. dollar LIBOR settings immediately after December 31, 2021, and it is expected to cease for the remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR settings immediately after June 30, 2023. Actions by regulators have resulted in the establishment of alternative reference rates to LIBOR in most major currencies. The U.S. Federal Reserve, based on the recommendations of the New York Federal Reserve’s Alternative Reference Rate Committee, is now publishing SOFR, which is intended to replace U.S. dollar LIBOR. Alternative reference rates for other currencies have also been announced or have begun publication. Markets are slowly developing in response to these new rates. Any potential effects of the transition away from LIBOR on the Fund or on certain instruments in which the Fund invests can be difficult to determine, and they may vary depending on factors that include, but are not limited to, (i) existing fallback or termination provisions in individual contracts and (ii) whether, how, and when industry participants develop and adopt new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products and instruments. The transition process may involve, among other things, increased volatility or illiquidity in markets for instruments that currently rely on LIBOR, and there may be a reduction in the value of certain instruments held by the Fund.
In March 2022, the Adjustable Interest Rate (LIBOR) Act (the “LIBOR Act”) was signed into law. The LIBOR Act provides a statutory fallback mechanism on a nationwide basis to replace LIBOR with a benchmark rate that is selected by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and based on SOFR for certain contracts that reference LIBOR and contain no, or insufficient, fallback provisions. The LIBOR Act is not self-executing, and thus implementing regulations are expected soon.
Investment companies, such as the Fund, and its service providers may be subject to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber attacks. Cyber attacks include, among other behaviors, stealing or corrupting data maintained online or digitally, denial of service attacks on websites, the unauthorized release of confidential information or various other forms of cybersecurity breaches. Cyber attacks affecting the Fund, the Advisor or Sub-Advisor, the Fund’s custodian or transfer agent, or intermediaries or other third-party service providers may adversely impact the Fund. For instance, cyber attacks may interfere with the processing of shareholder transactions, impact the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, cause the release of private shareholder information or confidential company information, impede trading, subject the Fund to regulatory fines or financial losses, and cause reputational damage. The Fund may also incur additional costs for cybersecurity risk management purposes. While the Fund and its service providers have established business continuity plans and risk management systems designed to prevent or reduce the impact of cybersecurity attacks, such plans and systems have inherent limitations due in part to the ever-changing nature of technology and cybersecurity attack tactics, and there is a possibility that certain risks have not been adequately identified or prepared for. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control any cybersecurity plans or systems implemented by its service providers.
Similar types of cybersecurity risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers, and may cause the Fund’s investment in such portfolio companies to lose value.
The Fund has adopted the following restrictions as fundamental policies, which may not be changed without the favorable “vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities” of the Fund, as defined in the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, the “vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities” of the Fund means the vote of the holders of the lesser of (i) 67% of the shares of the Fund represented at a meeting at which the holders of more than 50% of its outstanding shares are represented or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. The Fund’s investment objective is a non-fundamental policy and may be changed without shareholder approval.
The Fund may not:
|1.||Issue senior securities, borrow money or pledge its assets, except that (i) the Fund may borrow from banks in amounts not exceeding one-third of its net assets (including the amount borrowed); and (ii) this restriction shall not prohibit the Fund from engaging in or writing options transactions or short sales or investing in or writing financial futures, swaps, when-issued or delayed delivery securities, or reverse repurchase agreements;|
|2.||Act as underwriter, except to the extent the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriter in connection with the sale of securities in its investment portfolio;|
|3.||Invest 25% or more of its total assets, calculated at the time of purchase, in any one industry, except (i) the Fund will invest at least 25% of its total assets in mortgage-related securities which are securities that are backed by or provide exposure to mortgages, including private and government mortgage-backed securities and (ii) the Fund may invest 25% or more of its total assets in securities issued by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities;|
|4.||Purchase or sell real estate or interests in real estate or real estate limited partnerships (although the Fund may purchase and sell securities which are secured by real estate and securities of companies which invest or deal in real estate, such as real estate investment trusts (REITs));|
|5.||Make loans of money, except (a) for purchases of debt securities consistent with the investment policies of the Fund, (b) by engaging in repurchase agreements or, (c) through the loan of portfolio securities in an amount up to 33 1/3% of the Fund’s net assets; or|
|6.||Purchase or sell commodities, except that the Fund may purchase and sell futures contracts and options; may enter into foreign exchange contracts; may enter into swap agreements and other financial transactions not requiring the delivery of physical commodities in compliance with applicable commodities laws.|
The Fund observes the following restriction as a matter of operating but not fundamental policy, pursuant to positions taken by federal regulatory authorities:
The Fund may not invest, in the aggregate, more than 15% of its net assets in securities that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the securities.
Except with respect to borrowing, if a percentage or rating restriction on investment or use of assets set forth herein or in the Prospectus is adhered to at the time a transaction is effected, later changes in percentage resulting from any cause other than actions by the Fund will not be considered a violation.
MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND
Trustees and Officers
The overall management of the business and affairs of the Trust is vested with its Board of Trustees. The Board approves all significant agreements between the Trust and persons or companies furnishing services to it, including the agreements with the Advisor, Sub-Advisor, co-administrators, distributor, custodian and transfer agent. The day-to-day operations of the Trust are delegated to its officers, except that the Sub-Advisor is responsible for making day-to-day investment decisions in accordance with the Fund’s investment objectives, strategies, and policies, all of which are subject to general supervision by the Board.
The Trustees and officers of the Trust, their years of birth and positions with the Trust, term of office with the Trust and length of time served, their business addresses and principal occupations during the past five years and other directorships held during the past five years are listed in the table below. Unless noted otherwise, each person has held the position listed for a minimum of five years. Charles H. Miller, Ashley Toomey Rabun, William H. Young and James E. Ross are all of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (collectively, the “Independent Trustees”).
Year of Birth and
Position(s) held with Trust
|Principal Occupation During the Past Five Years and Other Affiliations||
Other Directorships Held by
Charles H. Miller a
|Since November 2007||Retired (2013 – present); Executive Vice President, Client Management and Development, Access Data, a Broadridge company, a provider of technology and services to asset management firms (1997 – 2012).||4||None.|
Ashley Toomey Rabun a
Trustee and Chairperson of the Board
|Since November 2007||Retired (2016 – present); President and Founder, InvestorReach, Inc. a financial services consulting firm (1996 – 2015).||4||Select Sector SPDR Trust, a registered investment company (includes 11 portfolios).|
William H. Young a
|Since November 2007||Retired (2014 – present); Independent financial services consultant (1996 – 2014); Interim CEO, Unified Fund Services Inc. (now Huntington Fund Services), a mutual fund service provider (2003 – 2006); Senior Vice President, Oppenheimer Management Company (1983 – 1996); Chairman, NICSA, an investment management trade association (1993 – 1996).||4||None.|
Year of Birth and
Position(s) held with Trust
|Principal Occupation During the Past Five Years and Other Affiliations||
Other Directorships Held by
James E. Ross a
|Since December 2022||Non-Executive Chairman and Director, Fusion Acquisition Corp. II, a special purpose acquisition company (March 2021 – present); Non-Executive Chairman and Director, Fusion Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (June 2020 – September 2021); Executive Vice President, State Street Global Advisors, a global asset management firm (2012 – March 2020); Chairman and Director, SSGA Funds Management, Inc., a registered investment advisor (2005 – March 2020); Chief Executive Officer, Manager and Director, SSGA Funds Distributor, LLC, a broker-dealer (2017 – March 2020).||4||SPDR Index Shares Funds, a registered investment company (includes 26 portfolios); SPDR Series Trust, a registered investment company (includes 125 portfolios); Select Sector SPDR Trust, a registered investment company (includes 11 portfolios); SSGA Active Trust, a registered investment company (includes 14 portfolios; Fusion Acquisition Corp II.|
Maureen Quill a*
Trustee and President
|Since June 2019||President, Investment Managers Series Trust (June 2014 – present); EVP/Executive Director Registered Funds (January 2018 – present), Chief Operating Officer (June 2014 – January 2018), and Executive Vice President (January 2007 – June 2014), UMB Fund Services, Inc.; President, UMB Distribution Services (March 2013 – December 2020); Vice President, Investment Managers Series Trust (December 2013 – June 2014).||4||None.|
Year of Birth and
Position(s) held with Trust
|Principal Occupation During the Past Five Years and Other Affiliations||
Other Directorships Held by
|Officers of the Trust:|
Rita Dam b
Treasurer and Assistant Secretary
|Since December 2007||Co-Chief Executive Officer (2016 – present), and Vice President (2006 – 2015), Mutual Fund Administration, LLC; Co-President, Foothill Capital Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor (2018 – 2022).||N/A||N/A|
Joy Ausili b
Vice President, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer
|Since March 2016||Co-Chief Executive Officer (2016 – present), and Vice President (2006 – 2015), Mutual Fund Administration, LLC; Co-President, Foothill Capital Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor (2018 – 2022); Secretary and Assistant Treasurer, Investment Managers Series Trust (December 2007 – March 2016).||N/A||N/A|
Diane Drake b
|Since March 2016||Senior Counsel, Mutual Fund Administration, LLC (October 2015 – present); Chief Compliance Officer, Foothill Capital Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor (2018 – 2019).||N/A||N/A|
Martin Dziura b
Chief Compliance Officer
|Since June 2014||Principal, Dziura Compliance Consulting, LLC (October 2014 – present); Managing Director, Cipperman Compliance Services (2010 – September 2014); Chief Compliance Officer, Hanlon Investment Management (2009 – 2010); Vice President − Compliance, Morgan Stanley Investment Management (2000 − 2009).||N/A||N/A|
|a||Address for certain Trustees and certain officers: 235 W. Galena Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212.|
|b||Address for Ms. Ausili, Ms. Dam and Ms. Drake: 2220 E. Route 66, Suite 226, Glendora, California 91740. Address for Mr. Dziura: 309 Woodridge Lane, Media, Pennsylvania 19063.|
|c||Trustees and officers serve until their successors have been duly elected.|
|d||The Trust is comprised of 49 series managed by unaffiliated investment advisors. Each Trustee serves as Trustee of each series of the Trust. The term “Fund Complex” applies only to the series managed by the same investment advisor. The Fund’s investment advisor also serves as investment advisor to the Robinson Opportunistic Income Fund, Robinson Tax Advantaged Income Fund, and West Loop Realty Fund (and together with the Fund, the “Liberty Street Funds”), which are offered in separate prospectuses. The Liberty Street Funds do not hold themselves out as related to any other series within the Trust, for purposes of investment and investor services.|
|e||“Other Directorships Held” includes only directorships of companies required to register or file reports with the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (that is, “public companies”), or other investment companies registered under the 1940 Act.|
|*||Ms. Quill is an “interested person” of the Trust by virtue of her position with UMB Fund Services, Inc.|
Effective June 16, 2022, Eric M. Banhazl, who served as a Trustee of the Trust from January 2008 to June 14, 2022, is serving as a Trustee Emeritus of the Trust. As a Trustee Emeritus, Mr. Banhazl may attend the meetings of the Board of Trustees or any of its committees, but has no duties, powers or responsibilities with respect to the Trust.
Effective January 1, 2023, each Independent Trustee receives a quarterly retainer of $40,000; $4,000 for each special in-person meeting attended, or any special meeting attended by videoconference or teleconference in lieu of in-person attendance in accordance with SEC exemptive relief or to address particularly complex matters or matters requiring review of significant materials in advance of the meeting; and $1,500 for any special meeting attended by teleconference or videoconference at which action is taken and/or materials are prepared for review. Each Independent Trustee also receives an additional annual retainer of $5,000 for serving on any committee of the Board of Trustees. In addition, Ms. Rabun receives an additional annual retainer of $35,000 for serving as Chairperson of the Board; Mr. Young receives an additional annual retainer of $15,000 for serving as Chairperson of the Audit Committee; and Mr. Miller receives an additional annual retainer of $15,000 for serving as Chairperson of the Nominating, Governance and Regulatory Review Committee. The Trust has no pension or retirement plan. No other entity affiliated with the Trust pays any compensation to the Trustees.
Prior to January 1, 2023, each Independent Trustee received a quarterly retainer of $35,000; $4,000 for each special in-person meeting attended, or any special meeting attended by videoconference or teleconference in lieu of in-person attendance in accordance with SEC exemptive relief; and $1,500 for any special meeting attended by teleconference or videoconference at which action is taken and/or materials are prepared for review. Ms. Rabun received an additional annual retainer of $25,000 for serving as Chairperson of the Board; Mr. Young received an additional annual retainer of $10,000 for serving as Chairperson of the Audit Committee; and Mr. Miller received an additional annual retainer of $10,000 for serving as Chairperson of the Nominating, Governance and Regulatory Review Committee.
The Trustees may elect to defer payment of their compensation from the Fund pursuant to the Trust’s non-qualified Deferred Compensation Plan for Trustees which permits the Trustees to defer receipt of all or part of their compensation from the Trust. Amounts deferred are deemed invested in shares of one or more series of the Trust, as selected by the Trustee from time to time. A Trustee’s deferred compensation account will be paid in cash at such times as elected by the Trustee, subject to certain mandatory payment provisions in the Deferred Compensation Plan. Deferral and payment elections under the Deferred Compensation Plan are subject to strict requirements for modification.
|Name of Person/Position||
From the Fund ($)1,3
|Pension or Retirement Benefits Accrued as Part of Fund’s Expenses ($)||Estimated Annual Benefits Upon Retirement ($)||Total Compensation from Fund and Fund Complex Paid to Trustees ($)1,2,3|
|Charles H. Miller, Trustee, Nominating, Governance and Regulatory Review Committee Chair||$2,683||None||None||$14,985|
|Ashley Toomey Rabun, Trustee and Chairperson||$2,853||None||None||$15,929|
|William H. Young, Trustee and Audit Committee Chair||$2,605||None||None||$14,546|
|James E. Ross, Trustee4||$138||None||None||$756|
|John Zader, Trustee5||$2,343||None||None||$13,136|
|1||For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.|
|2||There are currently numerous portfolios comprising the Trust. The term “Fund Complex” applies only to the series managed by the same investment advisor. The Advisor also serves as investment advisor to the Robinson Opportunistic Income Fund, Robinson Tax Advantaged Income Fund, and West Loop Realty Fund, which are offered in separate prospectuses. The Liberty Street Funds do not hold themselves out as related to any other series within the Trust, for purposes of investment and investor services. For the Fund’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the aggregate Independent Trustees’ fees for the Trust were $661,667.|
|3||Ms. Rabun, Mr. Miller, Mr. Young and Mr. Zader elected to defer payment of their compensation from the Fund under the Fund’s non-qualified Deferred Compensation Plan for Trustees under which trustees may defer receipt of all or part of their compensation from the Fund. As of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the total amount of deferred compensation payable to Ms. Rabun, Mr. Miller, Mr. Young and Mr. Zader was $57,069, $149,846, $73,656 and $189,070, respectively.|
|4||Mr. Ross was appointed as an Independent Trustee of the Board of Trustees of the Trust, effective December 1, 2022. Compensation for the period of December 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.|
|5||Mr. Zader resigned from the Board of Trustees of the Trust, effective December 31, 2022.|
Ms. Quill is not compensated for her service as Trustee because of her affiliation with the Trust. Officers of the Trust are not compensated by the Fund for their services.
As a Trustee Emeritus of the Trust, Mr. Banhazl does not receive any compensation from the Trust; however, he is entitled to reimbursement of expenses related to his attendance at any meetings of the Board of Trustees or its committees.
Additional Information Concerning the Board and the Trustees
The current Trustees were selected in November 2007 (June 2019 for Ms. Quill and December 2022 for Mr. Ross) with a view towards establishing a Board that would have the broad experience needed to oversee a registered investment company comprised of multiple series employing a variety of different investment strategies. As a group, the Board has extensive experience in many different aspects of the financial services and asset management industries.
The Trustees were selected to join the Board based upon the following factors, among others: character and integrity; willingness to serve and willingness and ability to commit the time necessary to perform the duties of a Trustee; as to each Trustee other than Ms. Quill, satisfying the criteria for not being classified as an “interested person” of the Trust as defined in the 1940 Act; and, as to Ms. Quill, her position with UMB Fund Services, Inc., one of the Trust’s co-administrators. In addition, the Trustees have the following specific experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills relevant to the operations of the Trust:
|●||Ms. Rabun has substantial senior executive experience in mutual fund marketing and distribution and serving in senior executive and board positions with mutual funds, including multiple series trusts similar to the Trust.|
|●||Mr. Miller has significant senior executive experience with respect to marketing and distribution of mutual funds, including multiple series trusts similar to the Trust.|
|●||Mr. Young has broad senior executive experience with respect to the operations and management of mutual funds and administration service providers, including multiple series trusts similar to the Trust.|
|●||Mr. Ross has significant senior executive experience with respect to marketing and distribution of mutual funds, including exchange-traded funds.|
|●||Ms. Quill has substantial experience serving in senior executive positions at mutual fund administration service providers.|
In its periodic self-assessment of the effectiveness of the Board, the Board considers the complementary individual skills and experience of the individual Trustees primarily in the broader context of the Board’s overall composition so that the Board, as a body, possesses the appropriate (and appropriately diverse) skills and experience to oversee the business of the Fund. The summaries set forth above as to the qualifications, attributes and skills of the Trustees are required by the registration form adopted by the SEC, do not constitute holding out the Board or any Trustee as having any special expertise or experience, and do not impose any greater responsibility or liability on any such person or on the Board as a whole than would otherwise be the case.
The Board of Trustees has two standing committees: the Audit Committee and the Nominating, Governance and Regulatory Review Committee (the “Nominating Committee”).
|●||The function of the Audit Committee, with respect to each series of the Trust, is to review the scope and results of the series’ annual audit and any matters bearing on the audit or the series’ financial statements and to assist the Board’s oversight of the integrity of the series’ pricing and financial reporting. The Audit Committee is comprised of all of the Independent Trustees and is chaired by Mr. Young. It does not include any Interested Trustees. The Audit Committee is expected to meet at least twice a year with respect to each series of the Trust. The Audit Committee met twice during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, with respect to the Fund.|
The Audit Committee also serves as the Qualified Legal Compliance Committee for the Trust for the purpose of compliance with Rules 205.2(k) and 205.3(c) of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding alternative reporting procedures for attorneys retained or employed by an issuer who appear and practice before the SEC on behalf of the issuer.
|●||The Nominating Committee is responsible for reviewing matters pertaining to composition, committees, and operations of the Board, as well as assisting the Board in overseeing matters related to certain regulatory issues. The Nominating Committee meets from time to time as needed. The Nominating Committee will consider trustee nominees properly recommended by the Trust’s shareholders. Shareholders who wish to recommend a nominee should send nominations that include, among other things, biographical data and the qualifications of the proposed nominee to the Trust’s Secretary. The Independent Trustees comprise the Nominating Committee, and the Committee is chaired by Mr. Miller. The Nominating Committee met five times during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.|
Independent Trustees comprise 80% of the Board and Ashley Toomey Rabun, an Independent Trustee, serves as Chairperson of the Board. The Chairperson serves as a key point person for dealings between the Trust’s management and the other Independent Trustees. As noted above, through the committees of the Board the Independent Trustees consider and address important matters involving each series of the Trust, including those presenting conflicts or potential conflicts of interest. The Independent Trustees also regularly meet outside the presence of management and are advised by independent legal counsel. The Board has determined that its organization and leadership structure are appropriate in light of its fiduciary and oversight obligations, the special obligations of the Independent Trustees, and the relationship between the Interested Trustees and the Trust’s co-administrators. The Board also believes that its structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information to the Independent Trustees from management.
Consistent with its responsibility for oversight of the Fund in the interests of shareholders, the Board among other things oversees risk management of the Fund’s investment programs and business affairs directly and through the Audit Committee. The Board has emphasized to the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor the importance of maintaining vigorous risk management programs and procedures.
The Fund faces a number of risks, such as investment risk, valuation risk, reputational risk, risk of operational failure or lack of business continuity, and legal, compliance and regulatory risk. Risk management seeks to identify and address risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of the Fund. Under the overall supervision of the Board, the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and other service providers to the Fund employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify various of those possible events or circumstances, to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Different processes, procedures and controls are employed with respect to different types of risks. Various personnel, including the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer (the “CCO”), the Advisor’s management, the Sub-Advisor’s management and other service providers (such as the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm) make periodic reports to the Board or to the Audit Committee with respect to various aspects of risk management. The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the Fund can be identified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve the Fund’s investment objective, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Trustees as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s risk management oversight is subject to substantial limitations.
Fund Shares Beneficially Owned by Trustees
Certain information regarding ownership by the Trustees of the Fund and other series of the Trust, as of December 31, 2022, is set forth in the following table.
|Name of Trustee||
Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in the Fund (None, $1-$10,000, $10,001-$50,000, $50,001-$100,000, Over $100,000) ($)
|Aggregate Dollar Range of Equity Securities in all Registered Investment Companies Overseen by Trustee in Family of Investment Companies ($)|
|Charles H. Miller, Independent Trustee||None||None|
|Ashley Toomey Rabun, Independent Trustee||None||None|
|William H. Young, Independent Trustee||None||None|
|James E. Ross, Independent Trustee||None||None|
|Maureen Quill, Interested Trustee||None||None|
Control Persons, Principal Shareholders, and Management Ownership
The following table lists the control persons of the Fund as of April 2, 2023. A control person is one who owns beneficially or through controlled companies more than 25% of the voting securities of the Fund or acknowledges the existence of control.1 Shareholders with a controlling interest could affect the outcome of voting or the direction of management of the Fund.
Percentage of Total Outstanding
Shares of the Fund
as of April 2, 2023
UBS WM USA
Weehawken, NJ 07086
|1||The Fund has no information regarding the beneficial owners of Fund shares owned through accounts with financial intermediaries.|
The following table lists the principal shareholders of the Fund as of April 2, 2023. The principal shareholders are holders of record of 5% or more of the outstanding shares of the indicated classes of the Fund, including the listed shareholders that are financial intermediaries.1
of Total Outstanding
as of April 2, 2023
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC
New York, NY 10004
Charles Schwab & Co Inc.
San Francisco, CA 94105
San Diego, CA 92150
UBS WM USA
Weehawken, NJ 07086
Charles Schwab & Co Inc.
San Francisco, CA 94105
San Diego, CA 92150
UBS WM USA
Weehawken, NJ 07086
UBS WM USA
Weehawken, NJ 07086
|1||The Fund has no information regarding the beneficial owners of Fund shares owned through accounts with financial intermediaries.|
As of April 2, 2023, the Trustees and officers of the Trust as a group did not own more than 1% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. Furthermore, neither the Independent Trustees, nor members of their immediate families, own securities beneficially or of record in the Advisor, Sub-Advisor, the Fund’s distributor, Foreside Fund Services, LLC (the “Distributor”), or any of their respective affiliates.
The Advisor, Liberty Street Advisors, Inc., 88 Pine Street, 31st Floor, Suite 3101, New York, New York 10005, serves as investment advisor to the Fund pursuant to an Investment Advisory Agreement with the Trust (the “Advisory Agreement”). The Advisor is a corporation organized in New York. The Advisor is privately owned with the controlling interests held by Timothy Reick, Victor J. Fontana, Sr., Scott Daniels and Raymond A. Hill, III.
Pursuant to the terms of the Advisory Agreement, the Advisor provides the Fund with investment advice, makes recommendations with respect to the selection and continued employment of the Sub-Advisor to manage the Fund’s assets, supervises the investment program of the Fund and the composition of its investment portfolio, performs diligence on and monitors the Sub-Advisor, reviews investment performance and adherence to compliance procedures, and oversees the investments made by the Sub-Advisor. The Advisor also continuously monitors the Sub-Advisor’s compliance with the Fund’s investment objective, policies and restrictions. Subject to such policies as the Board of Trustees may determine, the Advisor is ultimately responsible for investment decisions for the Fund.
The Advisory Agreement will continue in effect from year to year only if such continuance is specifically approved at least annually by the Board or by vote of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities and by a majority of the Trustees who are not parties to the Advisory Agreement or interested persons of any such party, at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on the Advisory Agreement. The Advisory Agreement is terminable without penalty by the Trust on behalf of the Fund, upon giving the Advisor 60 days’ notice when authorized either by a majority vote of the Fund’s shareholders or by a vote of a majority of the Board, or by the Advisor on 60 days’ written notice, and will automatically terminate in the event of its “assignment” (as defined in the 1940 Act). The Advisory Agreement provides that the Advisor shall not be liable for any error of judgment or for any loss suffered by the Trust in connection with the Advisory Agreement, except for a loss resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty, or for a loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties, or from reckless disregard by the Advisor of its duties under the Advisory Agreement.
In consideration of the services to be provided by the Advisor pursuant to the Advisory Agreement, the Advisor is entitled to receive from the Fund an investment advisory fee computed daily and paid monthly based on an annual rate equal to a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets specified in the Prospectus.
Bramshill Investments, LLC, 801 Laurel Oak Drive, Suite 300A, Naples, Florida 34108, serves as the sub-advisor for the Fund pursuant to a sub-advisory agreement with the Advisor (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”). Subject to the oversight of the Board and the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor makes decisions regarding the investment and reinvestment of the Fund’s assets. Art DeGaetano and Stephen Selver each own more than 25% of the Sub-Advisor and each is therefore a control person of the Sub-Advisor.
The Advisor compensates the Sub-Advisor out of the investment advisory fees the Advisor receives from the Fund. The Sub-Advisor makes investment decisions for the assets it has been allocated to manage, subject to the overall supervision of the Advisor.
The Sub-Advisory Agreement will continue in effect from year to year only as long as such continuance is specifically approved at least annually by (i) the Board of Trustees of the Trust or by the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting shares of the Fund, and (ii) by the vote of a majority of the Trustees of the Trust who are not parties to the Sub-Advisory Agreement or interested persons of the Advisor or the Sub-Advisor or the Trust. The Sub-Advisory Agreement may be terminated at any time without the payment of any penalty by the Board of Trustees of the Trust or by the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting shares of the Fund, or by the Sub-Advisor or the Advisor upon 60 days’ written notice to the other party. Additionally, the Sub-Advisory Agreement automatically terminates in the event of its assignment. The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that the Sub-Advisor shall not be liable for any error of judgment or for any loss suffered by the Trust in connection with the Sub-Advisory Agreement, except for a loss resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty, or for a loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties, or from reckless disregard by the Sub-Advisor of its duties under the Sub-Advisory Agreement.
For services rendered by the Advisor under the Advisory Agreement, the Fund pays the Advisor a fee, payable monthly, in an annual amount equal to 1.25% of the Fund’s average daily net assets. The Sub-Advisor’s fee, payable monthly and calculated as a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, is paid by the Advisor and not the Fund.
The Fund is responsible for its own operating expenses (all of which will be borne directly or indirectly by the Fund’s shareholders), including among others, legal fees and expenses of counsel to the Fund and the Fund’s independent trustees; insurance (including trustees’ and officers’ errors and omissions insurance); auditing and accounting expenses; taxes and governmental fees; listing fees; dues and expenses incurred in connection with membership in investment company organizations; fees and expenses of the Fund’s custodians, administrators, transfer agents, registrars and other service providers; expenses for portfolio pricing services by a pricing agent, if any; expenses in connection with the issuance and offering of shares; expenses relating to investor and public relations; expenses of registering or qualifying securities of the Fund for public sale; brokerage commissions and other costs of acquiring or disposing of any portfolio holding of the Fund; expenses of preparation and distribution of reports, notices and dividends to shareholders; expenses of the dividend reinvestment plan; compensation and expenses of trustees; any litigation expenses; and costs of shareholders’ and other meetings.
The Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its fees and/or pay for operating expenses of the Fund to ensure that the total annual fund operating expenses (excluding, as applicable, any taxes, leverage interest, brokerage commissions, dividend and interest expenses on short sales, acquired fund fees and expenses (as determined in accordance with Form N-1A), expenses incurred in connection with any merger or reorganization, or extraordinary expenses such as litigation expenses) do not exceed 1.75%, 2.50%, 1.75% and 1.50% of the average daily net assets of the Class A Shares, Class C Shares, Class T Shares and Institutional Class Shares of the Fund, respectively. Class T Shares are not currently available for purchase. This agreement is effective until April 30, 2024, and may be terminated before that date only by the Board of Trustees.
Any reduction in advisory fees or payment of the Fund’s expenses made by the Advisor in a fiscal year may be reimbursed by the Fund for a period ending three full fiscal years after the date of reduction or payment if the Advisor so requests. This reimbursement may be requested from the Fund if the reimbursement will not cause the Fund’s annual expense ratio to exceed the lesser of (a) the expense limitation in effect at the time such fees were waived or payments made, or (b) the expense limitation in effect at the time of the reimbursement. However, the reimbursement amount may not exceed the total amount of fees waived and/or Fund expenses paid by the Advisor and will not include any amounts previously reimbursed to the Advisor by the Fund. Any such reimbursement is contingent upon the Board’s subsequent review of the reimbursed amounts. The Fund must pay current ordinary operating expenses before the Advisor is entitled to any reimbursement of fees and/or Fund expenses.
The Fund paid the following advisory fees to the Advisor for the periods indicated:
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022||$3,039,152||$(136,146)||$2,903,006|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021||$8,691,797||$65,672||$8,757,469|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020||$9,688,180||$231,995||$9,920,175|
Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers. As of December 31, 2022, information on other accounts managed by the Fund’s portfolio managers is as follows.
|Registered Investment Companies||Other Pooled Investment Vehicles||Other Accounts|
|Portfolio Managers||Number of Accounts||
|Number of Accounts||
|Number of Accounts||
|Paul van Lingen||2||$853||1||$11||1||$25|
|Number of Accounts with Advisory Fee Based on Performance|
|Registered Investment Companies||Other Pooled Investment Vehicles||Other Accounts|
|Portfolio Managers||Number of Accounts||
|Number of Accounts||
|Number of Accounts||
|Paul van Lingen||0||$0||0||$0||0||$0|
Material Conflicts of Interest. The Sub-Advisor and its affiliates may manage the accounts of clients other than the Fund. Accordingly, the investment methods and strategies that the Sub-Advisor utilizes in managing the Fund may be utilized by the Sub-Advisor and its affiliates in managing investments for other customer accounts. The Sub-Advisor and its affiliates may also establish, sponsor, or be affiliated with other investment pools that may engage in the same or similar businesses as the Fund using the same or similar investment strategies.
Although the Sub-Advisor and its affiliates may manage investments on behalf of a number of other customer accounts, investment decisions and allocations are not necessarily made in parallel among the Fund’s accounts and the other customer accounts. Other accounts that may be managed by the Sub-Advisor and its affiliates may make investments and utilize investment strategies that may not be made or utilized by the Fund. Accordingly, the other accounts that may be managed by the Sub-Advisor and its affiliates may produce results that are materially different from those experienced by the Fund.
To address and manage these potential conflicts of interest, the Sub-Advisor has adopted compliance policies and procedures to allocate investment opportunities and to ensure that each of its clients is treated on a fair and equitable basis. Such policies and procedures include, but are not limited to, investment and trade aggregation and allocation policies and oversight by the Sub-Advisor’s compliance team. In addition, the Sub-Advisor will mitigate the associated conflicts by allocating buys and sells on a pro rata basis to the extent feasible or using another equitable method under the circumstances.
Compensation. The portfolio managers are compensated by the Sub-Advisor. Compensation at the Sub-Advisor is determined on a salary and discretionary bonus structure. Portfolio managers are not compensated based on the performance of the Fund. The discretionary bonuses of the portfolio managers are determined by the management committee of the Sub-Advisor based on the performance of the employee, the performance of the Sub-Advisor and the market environment.
Ownership of the Fund by the Portfolio Managers. As of December 31, 2022, the portfolio managers owned the following securities in the Fund:
|Name of Portfolio Manager||
Dollar Range of Fund Shares Owned
(None, $1-$10,000, $10,001-$50,000,
$50,001-$100,000, $100,001 - $500,000,
$500,001 - $1,000,000, Over $1,000,000)
|Paul van Lingen||None|
Pursuant to a Co-Administration Agreement (the “Co-Administration Agreement”), UMB Fund Services, Inc. (“UMBFS”), 235 West Galena Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212, and Mutual Fund Administration, LLC (“MFAC”), 2220 E. Route 66, Suite 226, Glendora, California 91740 (collectively the “Co-Administrators”), act as co-administrators for the Fund. The Co-Administrators provide certain administrative services to the Fund, including, among other responsibilities, coordinating the negotiation of contracts and fees with, and the monitoring of performance and billing of, the Fund’s independent contractors and agents; preparing for signature by an officer of the Trust of all documents required to be filed for compliance with applicable laws and regulations including those of the securities laws of various states; arranging for the computation of performance data, including net asset value and yield; arranging for the maintenance of books and records of the Fund; and providing, at their own expense, office facilities, equipment and personnel necessary to carry out their duties. In this capacity, the Co-Administrators do not have any responsibility or authority for the management of the Fund, the determination of investment policy, or for any matter pertaining to the distribution of Fund shares. The Co-Administration Agreement provides that neither Co-Administrator shall be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss suffered by the Trust or its series, except for losses resulting from a Co-Administrator’s willful misfeasance, bad faith or negligence in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard by it of its obligations and duties under the Agreement.
Pursuant to the Co-Administration Agreement, the Fund pays the Co-Administrators a fee for administration services. The fee is payable monthly based on the Fund’s average daily net assets.
The Fund paid the following co-administration fees for the periods indicated:
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022||$398,402|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021||$883,855|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020||$730,021|
|*||Includes Fund Administration, Accounting, Transfer Agent and Custody fees.|
UMBFS also acts as the Trust’s fund accountant, transfer agent and dividend disbursing agent pursuant to separate agreements.
UMB Bank, n.a. (the “Custodian”), an affiliate of UMBFS, is the custodian of the assets of the Fund pursuant to a custody agreement between the Custodian and the Trust, whereby the Custodian provides services for fees on a transactional basis plus out-of-pocket expenses. The Custodian’s address is 928 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. The Custodian does not participate in decisions pertaining to the purchase and sale of securities by the Fund.
Tait, Weller & Baker LLP (“Tait Weller”), Two Liberty Place, 50 S. 16th Street, Suite 2900, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102-2529, is the independent registered public accounting firm for the Fund. Its services include auditing the Fund’s financial statements and the performance of related tax services.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP (“Morgan Lewis”), 600 Anton Boulevard, Suite 1800, Costa Mesa, California 92626, serves as legal counsel to the Trust.
Paul Hastings LLP (“Paul Hastings”), 101 California Street, 48th Floor, San Francisco, California 94111, serves as legal counsel to the Independent Trustees.
Distributor and the Distribution Agreement
Foreside Fund Services, LLC is the distributor (also known as the principal underwriter) of the shares of the Fund and is located at Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100, Portland, Maine 04101. The Distributor is a registered broker-dealer and is a member of FINRA. The Distributor is not affiliated with the Trust, the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor or any other service provider for the Fund.
Under a Distribution Agreement with the Trust dated September 30, 2021 (the “Distribution Agreement”), the Distributor acts as the agent of the Trust in connection with the continuous offering of shares of the Fund. The Distributor continually distributes shares of the Fund on a commercially reasonable efforts basis. The Distributor has no obligation to sell any specific quantity of Fund shares. The Distributor and its officers have no role in determining the investment policies or which securities are to be purchased or sold by the Trust.
The Distributor may enter into agreements with selected broker-dealers, banks or other financial intermediaries for distribution of shares of the Fund. With respect to certain financial intermediaries and related fund “supermarket” platform arrangements, the Fund and/or the Advisor, rather than the Distributor, typically enter into such agreements. These financial intermediaries may charge a fee for their services and may receive shareholder service or other fees from parties other than the Distributor. These financial intermediaries may otherwise act as processing agents and are responsible for promptly transmitting purchase, redemption and other requests to the Fund.
Investors who purchase shares through financial intermediaries will be subject to the procedures of those intermediaries through which they purchase shares, which may include charges, investment minimums, cutoff times and other restrictions in addition to, or different from, those listed herein. Information concerning any charges or services will be provided to customers by the financial intermediary through which they purchase shares. Investors purchasing shares of the Fund through financial intermediaries should acquaint themselves with their financial intermediary’s procedures and should read the Prospectus in conjunction with any materials and information provided by their financial intermediary. The financial intermediary, and not its customers, will be the shareholder of record, although customers may have the right to vote shares depending upon their arrangement with the financial intermediary. The Distributor does not receive compensation from the Fund for its distribution services except the distribution/service fees with respect to the shares of those classes for which a Rule 12b-1 distribution plan is effective. The Advisor pays the Distributor a fee for certain distribution-related services.
The Distribution Agreement provides that the Distributor shall not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss suffered by the Trust in connection with the performance of the Distributor’s obligations and duties under the Distribution Agreement, except a loss resulting from the Distributor’s willful misfeasance, gross negligence or fraud in the performance of such duties and obligations. The Distribution Agreement will continue in effect with respect to the Fund only if such continuance is specifically approved at least annually by the Board or by vote of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities and, in either case, by a majority of the trustees who are not parties to the Distribution Agreement or “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of any such party. The Distribution Agreement is terminable without penalty by the Trust on behalf of the Fund on 60 days’ written notice when authorized either by a majority vote of the Fund’s shareholders or by vote of a majority of the Board, including a majority of the trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust, or by the Distributor on 60 days’ written notice, and will automatically terminate in the event of its “assignment” (as defined in the 1940 Act).
The following table shows the aggregate amount of brokerage commissions paid and amounts received by the Distributor for Class A Shares for the periods indicated:
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022||$1,701||$1|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021||$6,447||$72|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020||$61,893||$0|
The Distributor does not retain sales charges for the sale of the Fund’s Class A Shares. Pursuant to the Distribution Agreement, should any amounts be retained by the Distributor, such amounts would not be held for profit at the Distributor, but instead would be used solely for distribution related expenditures.
Rule 12b-1 Plan
The Trust has adopted a plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act (the “12b-1 Plan”) that provides for Fund assets to be used for the payment for distribution services for Class A, Class C and Class T shares. The 12b-1 Plan provides alternative methods for paying sales charges and may help the Fund grow or maintain asset levels to provide operational efficiencies and economies of scale. The 12b-1 Plan also provides for the payment of service fees in connection with the provision of post-sales shareholders liaison services to holders of Class A, Class C and Class T shares as defined in FINRA regulations, including personal services such as responding to customer inquiries, and services related to the maintenance of shareholder accounts. Because 12b-1 fees are paid out of Fund assets attributable to Class A, Class C and Class T shares on an ongoing basis, they will, over time, increase the cost of an investment and may cost more than other types of sales charges.
The 12b-1 Plan provides that the distribution fees paid by Class A, Class C or Class T Shares of the Fund may be used to pay for any expenses primarily intended to result in the sale of shares of such Class, including: (a) costs of payments, including incentive compensation, made to agents for and consultants to the Distributor or the Trust, including pension administration firms that provide distribution services and broker-dealers that engage in the distribution of the shares of the Fund or Class; (b) payments made to, and expenses of, persons who provide support services in connection with the distribution of shares of such Class of the Fund; (c) payments made pursuant to any dealer agreements between the Distributor and certain broker-dealers, financial institutions and other service providers with respect to such Class of the Fund; (d) costs relating to the formulation and implementation of marketing and promotional activities; (e) costs of printing and distributing prospectuses, statements of additional information and reports of the Fund to prospective shareholders of such Class of the Fund; (f) costs involved in preparing, printing and distributing sales literature pertaining to such Class of the Fund; (g) costs involved in obtaining such information, analyses and reports with respect to marketing and promotional activities that the Trust may deem advisable with respect to such Class of the Fund, and (h) reimbursement to the Advisor for expenses advanced on behalf of the Fund or Class with respect to such activities. The 12b-1 Plan is a compensation plan, which means that the Distributor is compensated regardless of its expenses, as opposed to a reimbursement plan which reimburses only for expenses incurred. The Distributor does not retain any 12b-1 fees for profit. All 12b-1 fees are held in a retention account by the Distributor to pay for and/or reimburse the Fund, the Advisor, and its related parties for distribution related expenditures.
The 12b-1 Plan may not be amended to materially increase the amount to be paid by the Fund’s Class A, Class C and Class T shares for distribution services without the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of such shares. The 12b-1 Plan shall continue in effect indefinitely with respect to a Class, provided that such continuance is approved at least annually by a vote of a majority of the Trustees, including the Independent Trustees, cast in person at a meeting called for such purpose or by vote of at least a majority of the outstanding voting securities of such Class. The 12b-1 Plan may be terminated with respect to a Class at any time without penalty by vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or by vote of the majority of the outstanding voting securities of such Class.
If the 12b-1 Plan is terminated for the Fund’s Class A, Class C and Class T shares in accordance with its terms, the obligation of the Fund to make payments pursuant to the 12b-1 Plan will cease and the Fund will not be required to make any payments past the termination date. Thus, there is no legal obligation for the Fund to pay any expenses incurred by the Distributor other than fees already payable under the 12b-1 Plan, if the 12b-1 Plan is terminated in accordance with its terms for any reason.
The following table shows the 12b-1 fees paid pursuant to the 12b-1 Plan for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022:
|12b-1 Fees||Total Dollars Allocated|
|Payment to distributor||$90,669|
|Payment to dealers||$0|
|Compensation to sales personnel||$0|
|Interest, carrying, or other financing charges||$0|
Class T Shares are not currently available for purchase.
Shareholder Service Plan
The Board has adopted, on behalf of the Fund, a Shareholder Service Plan (the “Service Plan”) under which the Advisor will provide, or arrange for others (such as banks, trust companies, broker-dealers and other financial intermediaries (each, a “Service Organization”)) to provide, certain specified non-distribution shareholder servicing functions for Fund shares owned by its respective customers, including but not limited to (a) establishing and maintaining accounts and records relating to customers who invest in the Fund; (b) aggregating and processing orders involving Fund shares; (c) processing dividend and other distribution payments from the Fund on behalf of customers; (d) preparing tax reports or forms on behalf of customers; (e) forwarding communications from the Fund; (f) providing sub-accounting with respect to Fund shares; (g) providing customers with a service that invests the assets of their accounts in Fund shares pursuant to specific or pre-authorized instructions; and (h) providing such other similar services as the Advisor may reasonably request to the extent it or a Service Organization is permitted to do so under applicable statutes, rules or regulations. The Fund will pay the Advisor or Service Organizations, as applicable, at an annual rate of up to 0.15% of the Fund’s average daily net assets, payable monthly. The amount paid by the Fund to any Service Organization may be expressed in terms of a dollar amount per shareholder account in the Fund held by clients of the Service Organization, and/or in terms of percentage of the net assets of such accounts. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Fund paid $177,770 in shareholder servicing fees to Service Organizations. No shareholder servicing fees were paid to the Advisor.
Marketing and Support Payments
The Advisor or the Sub-Advisor, out of its own resources and without additional cost to the Fund or its shareholders, may provide cash payments to certain financial intermediaries who sell shares of the Fund. These payments are in addition to other fees described in the Fund’s Prospectus and this SAI, and are generally provided for shareholder services or marketing support. Payments for marketing support are typically for inclusion of the Fund on sales lists, including electronic sales platforms. Investors may wish to take these payments into account when considering and evaluating recommendations to purchase shares of the Fund. The Advisor’s affiliated broker-dealer, HRC Fund Associates, LLC (“HRC”), markets the Fund shares pursuant to a marketing agreement with the Advisor. HRC acts as a wholesaling agent which markets the Fund to financial intermediaries, who in turn and at their discretion may recommend the Fund for purchase to their clients. HRC may also market the Fund to institutional investors. The Advisor pays HRC out of its own resources and without additional cost to the Fund or its shareholders.
The Fund’s Class A and Class T shares are subject to a sales charge that includes a dealer reallowance, which varies depending on how much the shareholder invests. The Distributor pays the appropriate dealer reallowance to dealers who have entered into an agreement with the Distributor to sell shares of the Fund. More detailed information on the sales charge and its application is contained in the Prospectus. The Distributor does not retain sales charges for the sale of the Fund’s Class A or Class T Shares.
PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE
The Sub-Advisor determines which securities are to be purchased and sold by the Fund and which broker-dealers are eligible to execute the Fund’s portfolio transactions. The purchases and sales of securities in the OTC market will generally be executed by using a broker for the transaction.
Purchases of portfolio securities for the Fund also may be made directly from issuers or from underwriters. Where possible, purchase and sale transactions will be effected through dealers (including banks) that specialize in the types of securities which the Fund will be holding unless better executions are available elsewhere. Dealers and underwriters usually act as principals for their own accounts. Purchases from underwriters will include a concession paid by the issuer to the underwriter and purchases from dealers will include the spread between the bid and the asked price. If the execution and price offered by more than one dealer or underwriter are comparable, the order may be allocated to a dealer or underwriter that has provided research or other services as discussed below.
In placing portfolio transactions, the Sub-Advisor will use its reasonable efforts to choose broker-dealers capable of providing the services necessary to obtain the most favorable price and execution available. The full range and quality of services available will be considered in making these determinations, such as the size of the order, the difficulty of execution, the operational facilities of the broker-dealer involved, the risk in positioning the block of securities, and other factors. In those instances where it is reasonably determined that more than one broker-dealer can offer the services needed to obtain the most favorable price and execution available, consideration may be given to those broker-dealers which furnish or supply research and statistical information to the Sub-Advisor that they may lawfully and appropriately use in their investment advisory capacities, as well as provide other services in addition to execution services. The Sub-Advisor considers such information, which is in addition to and not in lieu of the services required to be performed by it under its Sub-Advisory Agreement with respect to the Fund, to be useful in varying degrees, but of indeterminable value.
While it is the Fund’s general policy to seek to obtain the most favorable price and execution available in selecting a broker-dealer to execute portfolio transactions for the Fund, weight is also given to the ability of a broker-dealer to furnish brokerage and research services as defined in Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, to the Fund or to the Sub-Advisor, even if the specific services are not directly useful to the Fund and may be useful to the Sub-Advisor in advising other clients. In negotiating commissions with a broker or evaluating the spread to be paid to a dealer, the Fund may therefore pay a higher commission or spread than would be the case if no weight were given to the furnishing of these supplemental services, provided that the amount of such commission or spread has been determined in good faith by the Sub-Advisor to be reasonable in relation to the value of the brokerage and/or research services provided by such broker-dealer. The standard of reasonableness is to be measured in light of the Sub-Advisor’s overall responsibilities to the Fund.
Investment decisions for the Fund are made independently from those of other client accounts that may be managed or advised by the Sub-Advisor. Nevertheless, it is possible that at times, identical securities will be acceptable for both the Fund and one or more of such client accounts. In such event, the position of the Fund and such client accounts in the same issuer may vary and the holding period may likewise vary. However, to the extent any of these client accounts seek to acquire the same security as the Fund at the same time, the Fund may not be able to acquire as large a position in such security as it desires, or it may have to pay a higher price or obtain a lower yield for such security. Similarly, the Fund may not be able to obtain as high a price for, or as large an execution of, an order to sell any particular security at the same time as the Sub-Advisor’s other client accounts.
The Fund does not effect securities transactions through brokers in accordance with any formula, nor does it effect securities transactions through brokers for selling shares of the Fund. However, broker-dealers who execute brokerage transactions may effect purchase of shares of the Fund for their customers. The brokers may also supply the Fund with research, statistical and other services.
The Fund paid the following brokerage and soft dollar commissions for the periods indicated:
|Brokerage Commissions||Soft Dollar Commissions|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022||$6,273*||$0|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021||$608||$0|
|For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020||$1,550||$0|
|*||The increase in brokerage commissions from 2021 to 2022 can be attributed to an increased number of transactions due to asset flows and market volatility.|
Holdings of Securities of the Fund’s Regular Brokers and Dealers
From time to time, the Fund may acquire and hold securities issued by its “regular brokers or dealers” or the parents of those brokers or dealers. “Regular brokers or dealers” (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund are the ten brokers or dealers that, during the most recent fiscal year, (i) received the greatest dollar amounts of brokerage commissions from the Fund’s portfolio transactions, (ii) engaged as principal in the largest dollar amounts of the portfolio transactions of the Fund, or (iii) sold the largest dollar amounts of the Fund’s shares. The Fund did not hold any securities of its “regular brokers or dealers” during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
Although the Fund generally will not invest for short-term trading purposes, portfolio securities may be sold without regard to the length of time they have been held when, in the opinion of the Sub-Advisor, investment considerations warrant such action. Portfolio turnover rate is calculated by dividing (1) the lesser of purchases or sales of portfolio securities for the fiscal year by (2) the monthly average of the value of portfolio securities owned during the fiscal year. A 100% turnover rate would occur if all the securities in the Fund’s portfolio, with the exception of securities whose maturities at the time of acquisition were one year or less, were sold and either repurchased or replaced within one year. A high rate of portfolio turnover (100% or more) generally leads to higher transaction costs and may result in a greater number of taxable transactions. To the extent net short-term capital gains are realized, any distributions resulting from such gains will generally be taxed at ordinary income tax rates for federal income tax purposes.
The Fund’s portfolio turnover rates for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, and December 31, 2021, were 10% and 50%, respectively. The decrease in portfolio turnover from 2021 to 2022 can be attributed to changes in assets under management.
PROXY VOTING POLICY
The Board has adopted Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures (“Trust Policies”) on behalf of the Trust, which delegates the responsibility for voting the Fund’s proxies to the Sub-Advisor, subject to the Board’s continuing oversight. The Trust Policies require that the Sub-Advisor vote proxies received in a manner consistent with the best interests of the Fund. The Trust Policies also require the Sub-Advisor to present to the Board, at least annually, the Sub-Advisor’s Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures (“Sub-Advisor’s Proxy Policies”) and a record of each proxy voted by the Sub-Advisor on behalf of the Fund, including a report on the resolution of all proxies identified by the Sub-Advisor as involving a conflict of interest. See Appendix B for the Trust Policies and Sub-Advisor’s Proxy Policies. These policies are intended to serve as guidelines and to further the economic value of each security held by the Fund. The Trust’s CCO will review the Trust Policies and the Sub-Advisor Policies annually. Each proxy will be considered individually, taking into account the relevant circumstances at the time of each vote.
If a proxy proposal raises a material conflict between the Sub-Advisor’s interests and the Fund’s interests, the Sub-Advisor will resolve the conflict by following the policy guidelines or the recommendation of an independent third party.
The Fund is required to annually file Form N-PX, which lists the Fund’s complete proxy voting record for the 12-month period ended June 30 of each year. Once filed, the Fund’s proxy voting record will be available without charge, upon request, by calling toll-free 1-(800) 207-7108 and on the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov.
ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING PROGRAM
The Trust has established an Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program (the “Program”) as required by the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (“USA PATRIOT Act”). In order to ensure compliance with this law, the Program provides for the development and implementation of internal practices, procedures and controls, designation of anti-money laundering compliance officers, an ongoing training program and an independent audit function to determine the effectiveness of the Program.
Procedures to implement the Program include, but are not limited to, determining that the Distributor and the Fund’s Transfer Agent have established proper anti-money laundering procedures, reporting suspicious and/or fraudulent activity, checking shareholder names against designated government lists, including Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), and a complete and thorough review of all new opening account applications. The Trust will not transact business with any person or entity whose identity cannot be adequately verified under the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS INFORMATION
The Trust has adopted policies and procedures regarding disclosure of portfolio holdings information (the “Disclosure Policy”). The Board of Trustees determined that the adoption of the Disclosure Policy, including the disclosure permitted therein, was in the best interests of the Trust. The Disclosure Policy applies to the Fund, Advisor, Sub-Advisor, and other internal parties involved in the administration, operation or custody of the Fund, including, but not limited to UMBFS, MFAC, the Board of Trustees, counsel to the Trust, Morgan Lewis, counsel to the Independent Trustees, Paul Hastings, and the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, Tait Weller (collectively, the “Service Providers”). Pursuant to the Disclosure Policy, non-public information concerning the Fund’s portfolio holdings may be disclosed to its Service Providers only if such disclosure is consistent with the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and the fiduciary duties owed by the Fund, the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor to the Fund’s shareholders. The Fund and its Service Providers may not receive compensation or any other consideration (which includes any agreement to maintain assets in the Fund or in other investment companies or accounts managed by the Sub-Advisor or any affiliated person of the Sub-Advisor) in connection with the disclosure of portfolio holdings information of the Fund. The Fund’s Disclosure Policy is implemented and overseen by the CCO of the Trust, subject to the oversight of the Board of Trustees. Periodic reports regarding these procedures will be provided to the Trust’s Board.
Portfolio holdings information will be deemed public when it has been (1) posted to the Fund’s public website (www.libertystreetfunds.com) or (2) disclosed in periodic regulatory filings on the SEC’s website (www.sec.gov). The Advisor may make publicly available the Fund’s total portfolio holdings as of the most recent calendar quarter on the Fund’s public website no earlier than five days after the date of such information (e.g., information as of January 31 may be made available no earlier than February 5).
Non-Public Portfolio Holdings Information Policy. All portfolio holdings information that has not been disseminated in a manner making it available to investors generally as described above is considered non-public portfolio holdings information for the purposes of the Disclosure Policy. Pursuant to the Disclosure Policy, the Fund or its Service Providers may disclose non-public portfolio holdings information to certain third parties who fall within pre-authorized categories on a daily basis, with no lag time unless otherwise specified below. These third parties include: (i) the Fund’s Service Providers and others who need access to such information in the performance of their contractual or other duties and responsibilities to the Fund (e.g., custodians, accountants, the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, administrators, attorneys, officers and Trustees) and who are subject to duties of confidentiality imposed by law or contract, (ii) brokers who execute trades for the Fund, (iii) evaluation service providers (as described below) and (iv) shareholders receiving in-kind redemptions (as described below).
Evaluation Service Providers. These third parties include mutual fund evaluation services, such as Morningstar, Inc. and Lipper, Inc., if the Fund has a legitimate business purpose for disclosing the information, provided that the third party expressly agrees to maintain the non-public portfolio holdings information in confidence and not to trade portfolio securities based on the non-public portfolio holdings information. Subject to the terms and conditions of any agreement between the Fund or its authorized service providers and the third party, if these conditions for disclosure are satisfied, there shall be no restriction on the frequency with which the Fund’s non-public portfolio holdings information is released, and no lag period shall apply. In addition, persons who owe a duty of trust or confidence to the Fund or its Service Providers (such as legal counsel) may receive non-public portfolio holdings information without entering into a non-disclosure agreement.
Shareholder In-Kind Distributions. The Fund may, in certain circumstances, pay redemption proceeds to a shareholder by an in-kind distribution of portfolio securities (instead of cash). In such circumstances, pursuant to the Disclosure Policy, Fund shareholders may receive a complete listing of the portfolio holdings of the Fund up to seven (7) calendar days prior to making the redemption request provided that they represent orally or in writing that they agree to maintain the confidentiality of the portfolio holdings information and not to trade portfolio securities based on the non-public holdings information.
Other Entities. Pursuant to the Disclosure Policy, the Fund, the Advisor or the Sub-Advisor may disclose non-public portfolio holdings information to a third party who does not fall within the pre-approved categories, and who are not executing broker-dealers; however, prior to the receipt of any non-public portfolio holdings information by such third party, the recipient must have entered into a non-disclosure agreement and the disclosure arrangement must have been approved by the CCO of the Trust. The CCO will report to the Board of Trustees on a quarterly basis regarding any recipients of non-public portfolio holdings information approved pursuant to this paragraph. There are no other ongoing arrangements as of the date of this SAI.
The Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and its affiliates may provide investment advice to clients other than the Fund that have investment objectives that may be substantially similar to those of the Fund. These clients also may have portfolios consisting of holdings substantially similar to those of the Fund and generally have access to current portfolio holdings information for their accounts. These clients do not owe the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor or the Fund a duty of confidentiality with respect to disclosure of their portfolio holdings.
Current Arrangements Regarding Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings. As of the date of this SAI, the Trust or the Fund has ongoing business arrangements with the following entities which involve making portfolio holdings information available to such entities as an incidental part of the services they provide to the Trust: (i) the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, MFAC and UMBFS, and UMB Bank, N.A., pursuant to investment management, administration and custody agreements, respectively, under which the Trust’s portfolio holdings information is provided daily on a real-time basis (i.e. with no time lag); (ii) Tait Weller (independent registered public accounting firm), Morgan Lewis and Paul Hastings (attorneys) to which the Trust provides portfolio holdings information on a regular basis with varying lag times after the date of the information; (iii) Practical Computer Application to which MFAC provides the Trust’s portfolio holdings information on a daily basis for programming and database hosting services in connection with MFAC’s administrative services to the Trust; (iv) Donnelley Financial Solutions to which the Trust provides portfolio holdings information on a monthly basis in connection with filings of Form N-PORT; (v) FilePoint, to which MFAC provides the Fund’s portfolio holdings on a monthly basis in connection with filings of Form N-PORT; (vi) Morningstar, Inc., Lipper Inc., Refinitiv, Thomson Financial, Vickers Stock Research Corporation, and Bloomberg L.P., to which the Fund’s portfolio holdings information is provided quarterly after the end of the previous fiscal quarter, with a 60-day time lag and no earlier than the date such information is filed on the SEC’s EDGAR system on Form N-PORT (for the first and third fiscal quarters) or the Annual or Semi-Annual Report is mailed to shareholders (for the second and fourth fiscal quarters), as applicable; and (vii) Gainskeeper, Inc. and its affiliates, pursuant to an administrative agency agreement under which the Trust provides the Fund’s portfolio tax lot holdings and transaction level data information on a daily basis.
DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE
The net asset values per share (“NAVs”) of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate and are determined as of 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the normal close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) on each day the NYSE is open for trading. The NAVs may be calculated earlier if permitted by the SEC. The NYSE annually announces the days on which it will not be open for trading. The most recent announcement indicates that the NYSE will not be open for the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. However, the NYSE may close on days not included in that announcement.
The NAV of each class is computed by dividing (a) the difference between the value of the Fund’s securities, cash and other assets and the amount of the Fund’s expenses and liabilities attributable to the class by (b) the number of shares outstanding in that class (assets – liabilities / # of shares = NAV). Each NAV takes into account all of the expenses and fees of that class of the Fund, including management fees and administration fees, which are accrued daily.
Generally, the Fund’s investments are valued at market value or, in the absence of a market value, at fair value as determined in good faith by the Advisor pursuant to procedures approved by or under the direction of the Board. Pursuant to those procedures, the Board has designated the Advisor as the Fund’s valuation designee (the “Valuation Designee”) responsible for determining whether market quotations are readily available and reliable, reviewing recommendations made by the Fund’s Sub-Advisor, and making good faith determinations of fair value when appropriate. The Valuation Designee carries out its responsibilities with respect to fair value determinations through its Valuation Committee. As the Valuation Designee, the Advisor is responsible for the establishment and application, in a consistent manner, of appropriate methodologies for determining the fair value of investments, periodically reviewing the selected methodologies used for continuing appropriateness and accuracy, and making any changes or adjustments to the methodologies as appropriate. The Valuation Designee is also responsible for the identification, periodic assessment, and management of material risks, including material conflicts of interest, associated with fair value determinations, taking into account the Fund’s investments, significant changes in the Fund’s investment strategies or policies, market events, and other relevant factors. The Valuation Designee is subject to the general oversight of the Board.
The Fund’s securities which are traded on securities exchanges are valued at the last sale price on the exchange on which such securities are traded, as of the close of business on the day the securities are being valued or, lacking any reported sales, at the mean between the last available bid and ask prices.
Pricing services generally value debt securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but such securities may be held or transactions may be conducted in such securities in smaller, odd lot sizes. Odd lots often trade at lower prices than institutional round lots.
Securities that are traded on more than one exchange are valued on the exchange determined by the Sub-Advisor to be the primary market. Securities primarily traded in the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (“NASDAQ”), National Market System for which market quotations are readily available shall be valued using the NASDAQ Official Closing Price (“NOCP”). If the NOCP is not available, such securities shall be valued at the last sale price on the day of valuation, or if there has not been any sale on such day, at the mean between the bid and ask prices. OTC securities which are not traded in the NASDAQ National Market System are valued at the most recent trade price.
Stocks that are “thinly traded” or events occurring when a foreign market is closed but the NYSE is open (for example, the value of a security held by the Fund has been materially affected by events occurring after the close of the exchange or market on which the security is principally traded) may create a situation where a market quote would not be readily available. When a market quote is not readily available, the security’s value is based on “fair value” as determined by the Fund’s procedures, which have been approved by the Board. The Advisor will periodically test the appropriateness and accuracy of the fair value methodologies that have been selected for the Fund. The Fund may hold portfolio securities, such as those traded on foreign securities exchanges that trade on weekends or other days when the Fund’s shares are not priced. Therefore, the value of the Fund’s shares may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or redeem shares.
Short-term debt obligations with remaining maturities in excess of 60 days are valued at current market prices, as discussed above. Short-term securities with 60 days or less remaining to maturity are, unless conditions indicate otherwise, amortized to maturity based on their cost to the Fund if acquired within 60 days of maturity or, if already held by the Fund on the 60th day, based on the value determined on the 61st day.
All other assets of the Fund are valued in such manner as the Advisor, in good faith, deems appropriate to reflect as their fair value.
PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF FUND SHARES
Detailed information on the purchase and redemption of shares is included in the Fund’s Prospectus. Shares of the Fund are sold at the next offering price calculated after receipt of an order for purchase. In order to purchase shares of the Fund, you must invest the initial minimum investment for the relevant class of shares. However, the Fund reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to waive the minimum initial investment amount for certain investors, or to waive or reduce the minimum initial investment for 401(k) plans or other tax-deferred retirement plans. You may purchase shares on any day that the NYSE is open for business by placing orders with the Fund.
The Fund reserves the right to refuse any purchase requests, particularly those that would not be in the best interests of the Fund or its shareholders and could adversely affect the Fund or its operations. This includes those from any individual or group who, in the Fund’s view, is likely to engage in or has a history of excessive trading (usually defined as more than four round-trip transactions out of the Fund within a calendar year). Furthermore, the Fund may suspend the right to redeem its shares or postpone the date of payment upon redemption for more than seven calendar days (i) for any period during which the NYSE is closed (other than customary weekend or holiday closings) or trading on the NYSE is restricted; (ii) for any period during which an emergency exists affecting the sale of the Fund’s securities or making such sale or the fair determination of the value of the Fund’s net assets not reasonably practicable; or (iii) for such other periods as the SEC may permit for the protection of the Fund’s shareholders. In addition, if shares are purchased using a check and a redemption is requested before the check has cleared, the Fund may postpone payment of the redemption proceeds up to 15 days while the Fund waits for the check to clear.
Redemptions In Kind. The Trust has filed an election under SEC Rule 18f-1 committing to pay in cash all redemptions by a shareholder of record up to amounts specified by the rule (the lesser of (i) $250,000 or (ii) 1% of the Fund’s assets). The Fund has reserved the right to pay the redemption price of its shares in excess of the amounts specified by the rule, either totally or partially, by an in-kind distribution of portfolio securities (instead of cash). The securities so distributed would be valued at the same amounts as those assigned to them in calculating the NAV for the Fund shares being redeemed. If a shareholder receives an in-kind distribution, the shareholder could incur brokerage or other charges in converting the securities to cash.
The Fund does not intend to hold any significant percentage of its portfolio in illiquid securities, although the Fund, like virtually all mutual funds, may from time to time hold a small percentage of securities that are illiquid. In the unlikely event the Fund were to elect to make an in-kind redemption, the Fund expects that it would follow the normal protocol of making such distribution by way of a pro rata distribution based on its entire portfolio. If the Fund held illiquid securities, such distribution may contain a pro rata portion of such illiquid securities or the Fund may determine, based on a materiality assessment, not to include illiquid securities in the in-kind redemption. The Fund does not anticipate that it would ever selectively distribute a greater than pro rata portion of any illiquid securities to satisfy a redemption request. If such securities are included in the distribution, shareholders may not be able to liquidate such securities and may be required to hold such securities indefinitely. Shareholders’ ability to liquidate such securities distributed in-kind may be restricted by resale limitations or substantial restrictions on transfer imposed by the issuers of the securities or by law. Shareholders may only be able to liquidate such securities distributed in-kind at a substantial discount from their value, and there may be higher brokerage costs associated with any subsequent disposition of these securities by the recipient.
The Fund may also redeem in kind certain Fund shares held by ReFlow.
FEDERAL INCOME TAX MATTERS
The following is a summary of certain material U.S. federal (and, where noted, state and local) income tax considerations affecting the Fund and its shareholders. The discussion is very general. Current and prospective shareholders are therefore urged to consult their own tax advisers with respect to the specific federal, state, local and foreign tax consequences of investing in the Fund. The summary is based on the laws in effect on the date of this SAI and existing judicial and administrative interpretations thereof, all of which are subject to change, possibly with retroactive effect.
The Fund is treated as a separate entity from other series of the Trust for federal income tax purposes. The Fund has elected (or intends to elect) to be, and intends to qualify each year for treatment as, a “regulated investment company” under Subchapter M of the Code by complying with all applicable requirements of the Code, including, among other things, requirements as to the sources of the Fund’s income, diversification of the Fund’s assets and timing of Fund distributions. To so qualify, the Fund must, among other things: (a) derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock or securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (i.e., partnerships that are traded on an established securities market or tradable on a secondary market, other than partnerships that derive 90% of their income from interest, dividends, capital gains, and other traditionally permitted mutual fund income); (b) diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund’s assets is represented by cash, securities of other regulated investment companies, U.S. government securities and other securities, with such other securities limited, in respect of any one issuer, to an amount not greater than 5% of the Fund’s assets and not greater than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer and (ii) not more than 25% of the value of its assets is invested, including through corporations in which the Fund owns a 20% or more voting stock interest, in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other regulated investment companies) of any one issuer, in the securities (other than the securities of other regulated investment companies) of any two or more issuers that the Fund controls and that are determined to be engaged in the same or similar trades or businesses or related trades or businesses, or in the securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships,” and (c) distribute an amount equal to the sum of at least 90% of its investment company taxable income (computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction) and 90% of its net tax-exempt income, if any, for the tax year (including, for purposes of satisfying this distribution requirement, certain distributions made by the Fund after the close of its taxable year that are treated as made during such taxable year).
As a regulated investment company, the Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of its taxable investment income and capital gains that it distributes to its shareholders provided that it satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. In order to also avoid liability for a non-deductible federal excise tax, the Fund must distribute (or be deemed to have distributed) by December 31 of each calendar year at least the sum of (i) 98% of its ordinary income for such year, (ii) 98.2% of the excess of its realized capital gains over its realized capital losses for the 12-month period generally ending on October 31 during such year and (iii) any amounts from the prior calendar year that were not distributed and on which the Fund paid no federal income tax. The Fund will be subject to income tax at the applicable corporate tax rate on any taxable income or gains that it does not distribute to its shareholders. The Fund’s policy is to distribute to its shareholders all investment company taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid) and any net capital gain (the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss) for each fiscal year in a manner that complies with the distribution requirements of the Code, so that the Fund will not be subject to any federal income or excise taxes.
If, for any taxable year, the Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company or were to fail to meet certain minimum distribution requirements under the Code, it would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation and distributions to its shareholders would not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income. In addition, in the event of a failure to qualify, the Fund’s distributions, to the extent derived from the Fund’s current or accumulated earnings and profits, including any distributions of net capital gain, would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary dividend income for federal income tax purposes. However, such dividends would be eligible, subject to any generally applicable limitations, (i) to be treated as qualified dividend income in the case of shareholders taxed as individuals and (ii) for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. Moreover, if the Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company in any year, it would be required to pay out its earnings and profits accumulated in that year in order to qualify again as a regulated investment company. Under certain circumstances, the Fund may be able to cure a failure to qualify as a regulated investment company, but in order to do so the Fund might incur significant Fund-level taxes and might be forced to dispose of certain assets. If the Fund failed to qualify as a regulated investment company for a period greater than two taxable years, the Fund would generally be required to recognize any net built-in gains with respect to certain of its assets upon a disposition of such assets within five years of qualifying as a regulated investment company in a subsequent year.
Shareholders generally will be subject to federal income taxes on distributions made by the Fund whether paid in cash or additional shares. Distributions of net investment income (including interest, dividend income and net short-term capital gain in excess of any net long-term capital loss, less certain expenses), other than qualified dividend income, will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Distributions of qualified dividend income generally will be taxed to non-corporate shareholders at the federal income tax rates applicable to net capital gain, provided the Fund reports the amount distributed as qualified dividend income.
In general, dividends may be reported by the Fund as qualified dividend income if they are attributable to qualified dividend income received by the Fund. Qualified dividend income generally means dividend income received from the Fund’s investments in common and preferred stock of U.S. companies and stock of certain qualified foreign corporations, provided that certain holding period and other requirements are met by both the Fund and its shareholders. If 95% or more of the Fund’s gross income (calculated without taking into account net capital gain derived from sales or other dispositions of stock or securities) consists of qualified dividend income, the Fund may report all distributions of such income as qualified dividend income.
A foreign corporation is treated as a qualified foreign corporation for this purpose if it is incorporated in a possession of the United States or it is eligible for the benefits of certain income tax treaties with the United States and meets certain additional requirements. Certain foreign corporations that are not otherwise qualified foreign corporations will be treated as qualified foreign corporations with respect to dividends paid by them if the stock with respect to which the dividends are paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. Passive foreign investment companies are not qualified foreign corporations for this purpose. Dividends received by the Fund from REITs generally do not qualify for treatment as qualified dividend income.
Dividends paid by the Fund may qualify in part for the dividends-received deduction available to corporate shareholders, provided the Fund reports the amount distributed as a qualifying dividend and certain holding period and other requirements under the Code are satisfied. The reported amount, however, cannot exceed the aggregate amount of qualifying dividends received by the Fund for its taxable year. Eligibility for qualified dividend income treatment and the dividends-received deduction may be reduced or eliminated if, among other things, (i) the shareholder is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property or (ii) certain holding period requirements are not satisfied at both the Fund and shareholder levels. In addition, qualified dividend income treatment is not available if a shareholder elects to have the dividend income treated as investment income for purposes of the limitation on deductibility of investment interest.
If the Fund receives a dividend (other than a capital gain dividend) in respect of any share of REIT stock with a tax holding period of at least 46 days during the 91-day period beginning on the date that is 45 days before the date on which the stock becomes ex-dividend as to that dividend, then Fund dividends attributable to that REIT dividend income (as reduced by certain Fund expenses) may be reported by the Fund as eligible for the 20% deduction for “qualified REIT dividends” generally available to noncorporate shareholders under the Code. In order to qualify for this deduction, noncorporate shareholders must meet minimum holding period requirements with respect to their Fund shares.
Under Section 163(j) of the Code, a taxpayer’s business interest expense is generally deductible to the extent of the taxpayer’s business interest income plus certain other amounts. If the Fund earns business interest income, it may report a portion of its dividends as “Section 163(j) interest dividends,” which its shareholders may be able to treat as business interest income for purposes of Section 163(j) of the Code. The Fund’s “Section 163(j) interest dividend” for a tax year will be limited to the excess of its business interest income over the sum of its business interest expense and other deductions properly allocable to its business interest income. In general, the Fund’s shareholders may treat a distribution reported as a Section 163(j) interest dividend as interest income only to the extent the distribution exceeds the sum of the portions of the distribution reported as other types of tax-favored income. To be eligible to treat a Section 163(j) interest dividend as interest income, a shareholder may need to meet certain holding period requirements in respect of the Fund shares and must not have hedged its position in the Fund shares in certain ways.
Distributions of net capital gain, if any, that the Fund reports as capital gain dividends will be taxable to non-corporate shareholders as long-term capital gain without regard to how long a shareholder has held shares of the Fund. The Fund may retain certain amounts of capital gains and designate them as undistributed net capital gain in a notice to its shareholders, who (i) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their proportionate shares of the undistributed amounts so designated, (ii) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the income tax paid by the Fund on those undistributed amounts against their federal income tax liabilities and to claim refunds to the extent such credits exceed their liabilities and (iii) will be entitled to increase their federal income tax basis in their shares by an amount equal to the excess of the amounts of undistributed net capital gain included in their respective income over their respective income tax credits.
For U.S. federal income tax purposes, the Fund is permitted to carry forward indefinitely a net capital loss from any taxable year to offset its capital gains, if any, in years following the year of the loss. To the extent subsequent capital gains are offset by such losses, they will not result in U.S. federal income tax liability to the Fund and may not be distributed as capital gains to shareholders. Generally, the Fund may not carry forward any losses other than net capital losses. Under certain circumstances, the Fund may elect to treat certain losses as though they were incurred on the first day of the taxable year immediately following the taxable year in which they were actually incurred.
Distributions in excess of earnings and profits will, as to each shareholder, be treated as a tax-free return of capital to the extent of the shareholder’s basis in his or her Fund shares. A distribution treated as a return of capital will reduce the shareholder’s basis in his or her shares, which will result in an increase in the amount of gain (or a decrease in the amount of loss) that will be recognized by the shareholder for tax purposes on a later sale of such shares. After the shareholder’s basis is reduced to zero, any distributions in excess of earnings and profits will be treated as a capital gain, assuming the shareholder holds his or her shares as capital assets.
A 3.8% Medicare contribution tax generally applies to all or a portion of the net investment income of a shareholder who is an individual and not a nonresident alien for federal income tax purposes and who has adjusted gross income (subject to certain adjustments) that exceeds a threshold amount ($250,000 if married filing jointly or if considered a “surviving spouse” for federal income tax purposes, $125,000 if married filing separately, and $200,000 in other cases). This 3.8% tax also applies to all or a portion of the undistributed net investment income of certain shareholders that are estates and trusts. For these purposes, interest, dividends and certain capital gains (among other categories of income) are generally taken into account in computing a shareholder’s net investment income.
Certain tax-exempt educational institutions are subject to a 1.4% tax on net investment income. For these purposes, certain dividends and capital gain distributions, and certain gains from the disposition of Fund shares (among other categories of income), are generally taken into account in computing a shareholder’s net investment income.
Distributions are generally taxable when received. However, distributions declared in October, November or December to shareholders of record on a date in such a month and paid the following January are taxable for federal income tax purposes as if received on December 31 of the calendar year in which declared. In addition, certain distributions made after the close of a taxable year of the Fund may be “spilled back” and treated for certain purposes as paid by the Fund during such taxable year. In such case, shareholders generally will be treated as having received such dividends in the taxable year in which the distributions were actually made. For purposes of calculating the amount of a regulated investment company’s undistributed income and gain subject to the 4% excise tax described above, such “spilled back” dividends are treated as paid by the regulated investment company when they are actually paid.
A redemption of Fund shares may result in recognition of a taxable gain or loss. The gain or loss will generally be treated as a long-term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for more than one year, and as a short-term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for one year or less. Any loss realized upon a redemption or exchange of shares held for six months or less will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any amounts treated as distributions of long-term capital gains during such six-month period. Any loss realized upon a redemption may be disallowed under certain wash sale rules to the extent shares of the Fund or substantially identical stock or securities are purchased (through reinvestment of distributions or otherwise) within 30 days before or after the redemption.
If a shareholder recognizes a loss with respect to the Fund’s shares of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder (or certain greater amounts over a combination of years), the shareholder must file with the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases exempted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a regulated investment company are not exempted. The fact that a loss is so reportable does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper.
The Fund’s transactions in options and other similar transactions, such as futures, may be subject to special provisions of the Code that, among other things, affect the character of any income realized by the Fund from such investments, accelerate recognition of income to the Fund, defer Fund losses, affect the holding period of the Fund’s securities, affect whether distributions will be eligible for the dividends-received deduction or be treated as qualified dividend income and affect the determination of whether capital gain and loss is characterized as long-term or short-term capital gain or loss. These rules could therefore affect the character, amount and timing of distributions to shareholders. These provisions may also require the Fund to “mark-to-market” certain types of the positions in its portfolio (i.e., treat them as if they were closed out), which may cause the Fund to recognize income without receiving cash with which to make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the distribution requirements for avoiding U.S. federal income and excise taxes. The Fund will monitor these transactions and will make the appropriate entries in its books and records, and if the Fund deems it advisable, will make appropriate elections if available in order to mitigate the effect of these rules, prevent disqualification of the Fund as a regulated investment company and minimize the imposition of U.S. federal income and excise taxes.
The Fund’s transactions in broad based equity index futures contracts, exchange-traded options on such indices and certain other futures contracts are generally considered “Section 1256 contracts” for federal income tax purposes. Any unrealized gains or losses on such Section 1256 contracts are treated as though they were realized at the end of each taxable year. The resulting gain or loss is treated as 60% long-term capital gain or loss and 40% short-term capital gain or loss. Gain or loss recognized on actual sales of Section 1256 contracts is treated in the same manner. As noted above, distributions of net short-term capital gain are generally taxable to shareholders as ordinary income while distributions of net long-term capital gain are taxable to shareholders as long-term capital gain, regardless of how long the shareholder has held shares of the Fund.
The Fund’s entry into a short sale transaction, an option or certain other contracts, such as futures, could be treated as the constructive sale of an appreciated financial position, causing the Fund to realize gain, but not loss, on the position.
If the Fund invests in certain pay-in-kind securities, zero coupon securities, deferred interest securities or, in general, any other securities with original issue discount (or with market discount if the Fund elects to include market discount in income currently), the Fund must accrue income on such investments for each taxable year, which generally will be prior to the receipt of the corresponding cash payments. However, the Fund must distribute, at least annually, all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid), including such accrued income to shareholders to avoid federal income and excise taxes. Therefore, the Fund may have to sell portfolio securities (potentially under disadvantageous circumstances) to generate cash, or may have to undertake leverage by borrowing cash, to satisfy these distribution requirements. Dispositions of portfolio securities may result in additional gains and additional distribution requirements.
If the Fund invests in a market discount bond, it will be required to treat any gain recognized on the disposition of such market discount bond as ordinary income (instead of capital gain) to the extent of the accrued market discount, unless the Fund elects to include the market discount in income as it accrues as discussed above. A market discount bond is a security acquired in the secondary market at a price below its redemption value (or its adjusted issue price if it is also an original issue discount bond).
The Fund may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries, including taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains with respect to its investments in those countries, which would, if imposed, reduce the yield on or return from those investments. Tax treaties between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes in some cases. So long as the Fund qualifies for treatment as a regulated investment company and incurs “qualified foreign taxes,” if more than 50% of its net assets at the close of its taxable year consist of stock or securities of foreign corporations, which for this purpose may include obligations of foreign governmental issuers, the Fund may elect to “pass through” to its shareholders the amount of such foreign taxes paid. If this election is made, information with respect to the amount of the foreign income taxes that are allocated to the Fund’s shareholders will be provided to them and any shareholder subject to tax on dividends will be required (i) to include in ordinary gross income (in addition to the amount of the taxable dividends actually received) his/her proportionate share of the foreign taxes paid that are attributable to such dividends; and (ii) either to deduct his/her proportionate share of such foreign taxes in computing his/her taxable income or to claim that amount as a foreign tax credit (subject to applicable limitations) against U.S. income taxes.
Shareholders who do not itemize deductions for U.S. federal income tax purposes will not be able to deduct their pro rata portion of qualified foreign taxes paid by the Fund, although such shareholders will be required to include their shares of such taxes in gross income if the Fund makes the election described above. Qualified foreign taxes generally include taxes that would be treated as income taxes under U.S. tax regulations but do not include most other taxes, such as stamp taxes, securities transaction taxes, and similar taxes. No deduction for such taxes will be permitted to individuals in computing their alternative minimum tax liability.
If the Fund makes the election to pass through qualified foreign taxes and a shareholder chooses to take a credit for the foreign taxes deemed paid by such shareholder, the amount of the credit that may be claimed in any year may not exceed the same proportion of the U.S. tax against which such credit is taken that the shareholder’s taxable income from foreign sources (but not in excess of the shareholder’s entire taxable income) bears to his entire taxable income. For this purpose, long-term and short-term capital gains the Fund realizes and distributes to shareholders will generally not be treated as income from foreign sources in their hands, nor will distributions of certain foreign currency gains subject to Section 988 of the Code or of any other income realized by the Fund that is deemed, under the Code, to be U.S.-source income in the hands of the Fund. This foreign tax credit limitation may also be applied separately to certain specific categories of foreign-source income and the related foreign taxes. As a result of these rules, which may have different effects depending upon each shareholder’s particular tax situation, certain shareholders may not be able to claim a credit for the full amount of their proportionate share of the foreign taxes paid by the Fund. Shareholders who are not liable for U.S. federal income taxes, including tax-exempt shareholders, will ordinarily not benefit from this election. If the Fund does make the election, it will provide required tax information to shareholders. The Fund generally may deduct any foreign taxes that are not passed through to its shareholders in computing its income available for distribution to shareholders to satisfy applicable tax distribution requirements. Under certain circumstances, if the Fund receives a refund of foreign taxes paid in respect of a prior year, the value of the Fund’s shares could be affected, or any foreign tax credits or deductions passed through to shareholders in respect of the Fund’s foreign taxes for the current year could be reduced.
Foreign exchange gains or losses realized by the Fund in connection with certain transactions involving foreign currency-denominated debt securities, certain options and futures contracts relating to foreign currency, foreign currency forward contracts, foreign currencies, or payables or receivables denominated in a foreign currency are subject to Section 988 of the Code, which generally causes such gains or losses to be treated as ordinary gain or loss and may affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to shareholders.
The Fund may purchase the securities of certain foreign entities treated as passive foreign investment companies for federal income tax purposes (“PFICs”). PFICs may be the only or primary means by which the Fund may invest in some countries. If the Fund invests in equity securities of PFICs, it may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a portion of any “excess distribution” or gain from the disposition of such securities even if such income is distributed as a taxable dividend to shareholders. Additional charges in the nature of interest may be imposed on the Fund with respect to deferred taxes arising from such distributions or gains. Capital gains on the sale of such holdings will be deemed to be ordinary income regardless of how long such PFICs are held. A “qualified electing fund” election or a “mark to market” election may generally be available that would ameliorate these adverse tax consequences, but such elections could require the Fund to recognize taxable income or gain (subject to the distribution requirements applicable to regulated investment companies, as described above) without the concurrent receipt of cash. In order to satisfy the distribution requirements and avoid a tax on the Fund, the Fund may be required to liquidate portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss to the Fund. In order for the Fund to make a qualified electing fund election with respect to a PFIC, the PFIC would have to agree to provide certain tax information to the Fund on an annual basis, which it might not agree to do. The Fund may limit and/or manage its holdings in PFICs to limit its tax liability or maximize its return from these investments.
If a sufficient percentage of the equity interests in a foreign issuer that is treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes are held by the Fund, independently or together with certain other U.S. persons, that issuer may be treated as a “controlled foreign corporation” (a “CFC”) with respect to the Fund, in which case the Fund will be required to take into account each year, as ordinary income, its share of certain portions of that issuer’s income, whether or not such amounts are distributed. The Fund may have to dispose of its portfolio securities (potentially resulting in the recognition of taxable gain or loss, and potentially under disadvantageous circumstances) to generate cash, or may have to borrow the cash, to meet its distribution requirements and avoid Fund-level taxes. In addition, some Fund gains on the disposition of interests in such an issuer may be treated as ordinary income. The Fund may limit and/or manage its holdings in issuers that could be treated as CFCs in order to limit its tax liability or maximize its after-tax return from these investments.
In addition, if the Fund owned 10% or more of the voting power of a foreign entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes for the last tax year of the foreign entity beginning before January 1, 2018, the Fund may have been required to include in its income its share of certain deferred foreign income of that foreign entity. Under those circumstances, the Fund may have been able to make an election to pay tax liability in respect of its share of any such income over eight years. It is possible that these deferred payments could affect the value of shares, even though all or some of the Fund’s shareholders at the time of any deferred payment may have derived no economic benefit from the foreign entity’s deferred income.
Non-U.S. persons are subject to U.S. tax on disposition of a “United States real property interest” (a “USRPI”). Gain on such a disposition is sometimes referred to as “FIRPTA gain.” The Code provides a look-through rule for distributions of “FIRPTA gain” if certain requirements are met. If the look-through rule applies, certain distributions attributable to income received by the Fund, e.g., from REITs, may be treated as gain from the disposition of a USRPI, causing distributions to be subject to U.S. withholding tax at rates of up to 21%, and require non-U.S. shareholders to file nonresident U.S. income tax returns.
The Fund is required to withhold (as “backup withholding”) a portion of reportable payments, including dividends, capital gain distributions and the proceeds of redemptions and exchanges or repurchases of Fund shares, paid to shareholders who have not complied with certain IRS regulations. The backup withholding rate is currently 24%. In order to avoid this withholding requirement, shareholders, other than certain exempt entities, must certify on IRS Forms W-9 or on certain other documents, that the Social Security Numbers or other Taxpayer Identification Numbers they provide are their correct numbers and that they are not currently subject to backup withholding, or that they are exempt from backup withholding. The Fund may nevertheless be required to backup withhold if it receives notice from the IRS or a broker that a number provided is incorrect or that backup withholding is applicable as a result of previous underreporting of interest or dividend income.
Ordinary dividends and certain other payments made by the Fund to non-U.S. shareholders are generally subject to withholding tax at a 30% rate (or a lower rate as may be determined in accordance with any applicable treaty). In order to obtain a reduced rate of withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will be required to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN or similar form certifying its entitlement to benefits under a treaty. The withholding tax does not apply to regular dividends paid to a non-U.S. shareholder who provides an IRS Form W-8ECI, certifying that the dividends are effectively connected with the non-U.S. shareholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the United States. Instead, the effectively connected dividends will be subject to regular U.S. income tax as if the non-U.S. shareholder were a U.S. shareholder. A non-U.S. corporation receiving effectively connected dividends may also be subject to additional “branch profits tax” imposed at a rate of 30% (or a lower treaty rate).
The 30% withholding tax described in the preceding paragraph generally will not apply to distributions of net capital gain, to redemption proceeds, or to dividends that the Fund reports as (a) interest-related dividends, to the extent such dividends are derived from the Fund’s “qualified net interest income,” or (b) short-term capital gain dividends, to the extent such dividends are derived from the Fund’s “qualified short-term gain.” “Qualified net interest income” is the Fund’s net income derived from U.S.-source interest and original issue discount, subject to certain exceptions and limitations. “Qualified short-term gain” generally means the excess of the net short-term capital gain of the Fund for the taxable year over its net long-term capital loss, if any. In order to qualify for an exemption from withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will need to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN or other applicable form). Backup withholding will not be applied to payments that are subject to this 30% withholding tax.
Unless certain non-U.S. entities that hold Fund shares comply with IRS requirements that will generally require them to report information regarding U.S. persons investing in, or holding accounts with, such entities, a 30% withholding tax may apply to the Fund’s dividends payable to such entities. A non-U.S. shareholder may be exempt from the withholding described in this paragraph under an applicable intergovernmental agreement between the United States and a foreign government, provided that the shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of such agreement.
This discussion and the related discussion in the Prospectus have been prepared by management of the Fund, and counsel to the Trust has expressed no opinion in respect thereof.
Shareholders and prospective shareholders of the Fund should consult their own tax advisors concerning the effect of owning shares of the Fund in light of their particular tax situations.
DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS
The Fund will receive income in the form of dividends and interest earned on its investments in securities. This income, less the expenses incurred in its operations, is the Fund’s net investment income, substantially all of which will be declared as dividends to the Fund’s shareholders.
The amount of income dividend payments by the Fund is dependent upon the amount of net investment income received by the Fund from its portfolio holdings, is not guaranteed and is subject to the discretion of the Board. The Fund does not pay “interest” or guarantee any fixed rate of return on an investment in its shares.
The Fund also may derive capital gains or losses in connection with sales or other dispositions of its portfolio securities. Any net gain the Fund may realize from transactions involving investments held for less than the period required for long-term capital gain or loss recognition or otherwise producing short-term capital gains and losses (taking into account any available carryover of capital losses), although a distribution from capital gains, will be distributed to shareholders with and as a part of the income dividends paid by the Fund and will generally be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income for federal income tax purposes. If during any year the Fund realizes a net gain on transactions involving investments held for more than the period required for long-term capital gain or loss recognition or otherwise producing long-term capital gains and losses, the Fund will have a net long-term capital gain. After deduction of the amount of any net short-term capital loss, the balance (to the extent not offset by any capital losses available to be carried over) generally will be distributed and treated as long-term capital gains in the hands of the shareholders regardless of the length of time the Fund’s shares may have been held by the shareholders. For more information concerning applicable capital gains tax rates, see your tax advisor.
Any dividend or distribution paid by the Fund reduces the Fund’s NAVs on the date paid by the amount of the dividend or distribution per share. Accordingly, a dividend or distribution paid shortly after a purchase of shares by a shareholder will generally be taxable, even if it effectively represents a partial return of the shareholder’s capital.
Dividends and other distributions will be made in the form of additional shares of the Fund unless the shareholder has otherwise indicated. Investors have the right to change their elections with respect to the reinvestment of dividends and distributions by notifying the Transfer Agent in writing, but any such change will be effective only as to dividends and other distributions for which the record date is seven or more business days after the Transfer Agent has received the written request.
The Fund’s investments in partnerships, if any, including in qualified publicly traded partnerships, may result in that Fund being subject to state, local or foreign income, franchise or withholding tax liabilities.
Investment Managers Series Trust is an open-end management investment company organized as a Delaware statutory trust under the laws of the State of Delaware on February 15, 2005. The Trust has a number of outstanding series of shares of beneficial interest, each of which represents interests in a separate portfolio of securities.
The Trust’s Declaration of Trust permits the Trustees to create additional series of shares, to issue an unlimited number of full and fractional shares of beneficial interest of each series, including the Fund, and to divide or combine the shares of any series into a greater or lesser number of shares without thereby changing the proportionate beneficial interest in the series. The assets belonging to a series are charged with the liabilities in respect of that series and all expenses, costs, charges and reserves attributable to that series only. Therefore, any creditor of any series may look only to the assets belonging to that series to satisfy the creditor’s debt. Any general liabilities, expenses, costs, charges or reserves of the Trust which are not readily identifiable as pertaining to any particular series are allocated and charged by the Trustees to and among the existing series in the sole discretion of the Trustees. Each share of the Fund represents an interest in the Fund proportionately equal to the interest of each other share. Upon the Fund’s liquidation, all shareholders would share pro rata in the net assets of the Fund available for distribution to shareholders.
The Trust may offer more than one class of shares of any series. Each share of a series or class represents an equal proportionate interest in that series or class with each other share of that series or class. With respect to the Fund, the Trust currently offers the following classes of shares: Class A Shares, Class C Shares, Class T Shares and Institutional Class Shares. As of the date of this SAI, Class T Shares are not available for purchase. The Trust has reserved the right to create and issue additional series or classes. Each share of a series or class represents an equal proportionate interest in that series or class with each other share of that series or class.
The shares of each series or class participate equally in the earnings, dividends and assets of the particular series or class. Expenses of the Trust, which are not attributable to a specific series or class, are allocated among all the series in a manner believed by management of the Trust to be fair and equitable. Shares issued do not have pre-emptive or conversion rights. Shares when issued are fully paid and non-assessable, except as set forth below. Shareholders are entitled to one vote for each share held. Shares of each series or class generally vote together, except when required under federal securities laws to vote separately on matters that only affect a particular series or class, such as the approval of distribution plans for a particular class.
The Trust is not required to hold annual meetings of shareholders but will hold special meetings of shareholders of a series or class when, in the judgment of the Board, it is necessary or desirable to submit matters for a shareholder vote. Shareholders have, under certain circumstances, the right to communicate with other shareholders in connection with requesting a meeting of shareholders for the purpose of removing one or more trustees. Shareholders also have, in certain circumstances, the right to remove one or more trustees without a meeting. No material amendment may be made to the Trust’s Declaration of Trust without the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of each portfolio affected by the amendment.
The Trust’s Declaration of Trust provides that, at any meeting of shareholders of the Trust or of any series or class, a shareholder servicing agent may vote any shares as to which such shareholder servicing agent is the agent of record for shareholders who are not represented in person or by proxy at the meeting, proportionately in accordance with the votes cast by holders of all shares of that portfolio otherwise represented at the meeting in person or by proxy as to which such shareholder servicing agent is the agent of record. Any shares so voted by a shareholder servicing agent will be deemed represented at the meeting for purposes of quorum requirements. Any series or class may be terminated (i) upon the merger or consolidation with, or the sale or disposition of all or substantially all of its assets to, another entity, if approved by the vote of the holders of two-thirds of its outstanding shares, except that if the Board recommends such merger, consolidation or sale or disposition of assets, the approval by vote of the holders of a majority of the series’ or class’ outstanding shares will be sufficient, or (ii) by the vote of the holders of a majority of its outstanding shares, or (iii) by the Board by written notice to the series’ or class’ shareholders. Unless each series and class is so terminated, the Trust will continue indefinitely.
Shareholders may send communications to the Board. Shareholders should send communications intended for the Board by addressing the communications to the Board, in care of the Secretary of the Trust and sending the communication to 2220 E. Route 66, Suite 226, Glendora, California 91740. A shareholder communication must (i) be in writing and be signed by the shareholder, (ii) provide contact information for the shareholder, (iii) identify the Fund to which it relates, and (iv) identify the class and number of shares held by the shareholder. The Secretary of the Trust may, in good faith, determine that a shareholder communication should not be provided to the Board because it does not reasonably relate to the Trust or its operations, management, activities, policies, service providers, Board, officers, shareholders or other matters relating to an investment in the Fund or is otherwise immaterial in nature. Other shareholder communications received by the Fund not directly addressed and sent to the Board will be reviewed and generally responded to by management, and will be forwarded to the Board only at management’s discretion based on the matters contained therein.
The Declaration of Trust provides that no Trustee or officer of the Trust shall be subject to any personal liability in connection with the assets or affairs of the Trust or any of its series except for losses in connection with his or her willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of his or her duties. The Trust has also entered into an indemnification agreement with each Trustee which provides that the Trust shall advance expenses and indemnify and hold harmless the Trustee in certain circumstances against any expenses incurred by the Trustee in any proceeding arising out of or in connection with the Trustee’s service to the Trust, to the maximum extent permitted by the Delaware Statutory Trust Act, the 1933 Act and the 1940 Act, and which provides for certain procedures in connection with such advancement of expenses and indemnification.
The Trust’s Declaration of Trust also provides that the Trust shall maintain appropriate insurance (for example, fidelity bonding and errors and omissions insurance) for the protection of the Trust, its shareholders, trustees, officers, employees and agents covering possible tort and other liabilities.
The Declaration of Trust does not require the issuance of stock certificates. If stock certificates are issued, they must be returned by the registered owners prior to the transfer or redemption of shares represented by such certificates.
Rule 18f-2 under the 1940 Act provides that as to any investment company which has two or more series outstanding and as to any matter required to be submitted to shareholder vote, such matter is not deemed to have been effectively acted upon unless approved by the holders of a “majority” (as defined in the rule) of the voting securities of each series affected by the matter. Such separate voting requirements do not apply to the election of Trustees or the ratification of the selection of accountants. The Rule contains special provisions for cases in which an advisory contract is approved by one or more, but not all, series. A change in investment policy may go into effect as to one or more series whose holders so approve the change even though the required vote is not obtained as to the holders of other affected series.
The Trust, the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor have adopted Codes of Ethics under Rule 17j-1 of the 1940 Act. These codes of ethics permit, subject to certain conditions, personnel of each of those entities to invest in securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund.
Incorporated by reference herein is the Fund’s Annual Report to shareholders for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, which includes the “Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm”, “Schedule of Investments”, “Statement of Assets and Liabilities”, “Statement of Operations”, “Statements of Changes in Net Assets”, “Financial Highlights” and “Notes to Financial Statements”. A copy of the Fund’s Annual Report can be obtained at no charge by calling 1-(800) 207-7108 or writing the Fund.
DESCRIPTION OF SHORT-TERM RATINGS
Description of certain short-term ratings assigned by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”) and Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”):
A-1 - A short-term obligation rated ‘A-1’ is rated in the highest category by S&P. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is strong. Within this category, certain obligations are given a plus sign (+) designation. This indicates that the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on these obligations is extremely strong.
A-2 - A short-term obligation rated ‘A-2’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rating categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is satisfactory.
Prime rating system (short-term)
Issuers rated Prime-1 (or supporting institutions) have a superior ability for repayment of senior short-term debt obligations. Prime-1 repayment ability will often be evidenced by (a) leading market positions in well-established industries, (b) high rates of return on funds employed, (c) conservative capitalization structure with moderate reliance on debt and ample asset protection, (d) broad margins in earnings coverage of fixed financial charges and high internal cash generation, and (e) well-established access to a range of financial markets and assured sources of alternate liquidity.
Issuers rated Prime-2 (or supporting institutions) have a strong ability for repayment of senior short-term debt obligations. This will normally be evidenced by many of the characteristics cited above but to a lesser degree. Earnings trends and coverage ratios, while sound, may be more subject to variation. Capitalization characteristics, while still appropriate, may be more affected by external conditions. Ample alternate liquidity is maintained.
Issuers rated Prime-3 (or supporting institutions) have an acceptable ability for repayment of senior short-term obligations. The effect of industry characteristics and market compositions may be more pronounced. Variability in earnings and profitability may result in changes in the level of debt protection measurements and may require relatively high financial leverage. Adequate alternate liquidity is maintained.
PROXY VOTING POLICY
INVESTMENT MANAGERS SERIES TRUST
PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Investment Managers Series Trust (the “Trust”) is registered as an open-end investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (“1940 Act”). The Trust offers multiple series (each a “Fund” and, collectively, the “Funds”). Consistent with its fiduciary duties and pursuant to Rule 30b1-4 under the 1940 Act (the “Proxy Rule”), the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) has adopted this proxy voting policy on behalf of the Trust (the “Policy”) to reflect its commitment to ensure that proxies are voted in a manner consistent with the best interests of the Funds’ shareholders.
Delegation of Proxy Voting Authority to Fund Advisors
The Board believes that the investment advisor of each Fund (each an “Advisor” and, collectively, the “Advisors”), as the entity that selects the individual securities that comprise its Fund’s portfolio, is the most knowledgeable and best-suited to make decisions on how to vote proxies of portfolio companies held by that Fund. The Trust will therefore defer to, and rely on, the Advisor of each Fund to make decisions on how to cast proxy votes on behalf of such Fund. An Advisor may delegate this responsibility to a Fund’s Sub-Advisor(s).
The Trust hereby designates the Advisor of each Fund as the entity responsible for exercising proxy voting authority with regard to securities held in the Fund’s investment portfolio. Consistent with its duties under this Policy, each Advisor shall monitor and review corporate transactions of corporations in which the Fund has invested, obtain all information sufficient to allow an informed vote on all proxy solicitations, ensure that all proxy votes are cast in a timely fashion, and maintain all records required to be maintained by the Fund under the Proxy Rule and the 1940 Act. Each Advisor will perform these duties in accordance with the Advisor’s proxy voting policy, a copy of which will be presented to the Board for its review. Each Advisor will promptly provide to the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) updates to its proxy voting policy as they are adopted and implemented, and the Trust’s CCO will then report such updates to the Board.
Availability of Proxy Voting Policy and Records Available to Fund Shareholders
If a Fund or an Advisor has a website, a copy of the Advisor’s proxy voting policy and this Policy may be posted on such website. A copy of such policies and of each Fund’s proxy voting record shall also be made available, without charge, upon request of any shareholder of the Fund, by calling the applicable Fund’s toll-free telephone number as printed in the Fund’s prospectus. The Trust’s transfer agent will notify the Advisor of any such request of proxy voting procedures. The Advisor shall reply to any Fund shareholder request within three (3) business days of receipt of the request, by first-class mail or other means designed to ensure equally prompt delivery.
Each Advisor will provide a complete annual voting record, as required by the Proxy Rule, for each series of the Trust for which it acts as advisor, to the Trust’s co-administrator no later than July 31st of each year. The Trust’s co-administrator, MFAC, will file a report based on such record on Form N-PX on an annual basis with the Securities and Exchange Commission no later than August 31st of each year.
Each Advisor is responsible for providing its current proxy voting policies and procedures and any subsequent amendments to the Trust’s CCO. SEC Form N-PX is filed with respect to each Fund by MFAC (acting as filing agent), by no later than August 31st of each year. Each such filing details all proxies voted on behalf of the Fund for the prior twelve months ended June 30th. In connection with each filing on behalf of the Fund, the Advisor’s CCO must sign and return to MFAC no later than July 30th a Form N-PX Certification stating that the Advisor has adopted proxy voting policies and procedures in compliance with the SEC’s Proxy Voting Rule.
SUB-ADVISOR’S PROXY POLICIES AND GUIDELINES
Bramshill Investments, LLC (the “Sub-Advisor”) exercises proxy voting authority on behalf of its Clients. Rule 206(4)-6 and subsequent amendments require advisers with such authority to (i) adopt and implement written policies and procedures to ensure proxies are voted in the best interests of Clients; (ii) disclose information about their proxy policies and procedures; (iii) provide information to Clients investors about how their proxies were voted; and (iv) retain certain records related to proxy voting practices.
As part of the Sub-Advisor’s fiduciary obligations to its Clients, the Sub-Advisor and a Client may agree, in writing, to additional or diverging proxy voting policies than the policies outlined in this section. A Client’s written policies may include directing the Sub-Advisor not to vote proxies and may include instructions that conflict with the policies set forth within this section or the written proxy instructions of other Clients.
The Sub-Advisor’s investment philosophy is that issuer management is best suited to make the decisions essential to the company's ongoing operation. Therefore, the Sub-Advisor will generally vote proxies in line with issuer management.
However, in the best interest of its Clients, in circumstances where the Sub-Advisor believes that issuer management’s recommendation will not maximize value for a Client or where it would inappropriately insulate issuer management from accountability to shareholders or regulatory oversight, the Sub-Advisor will vote against issuer management. In such cases, the reasoning for the decision, along with a record of the vote, will be retained by the CCO or COO in accordance with the Sub-Advisor’s Record Retention Policy.
There could be occasions when the Sub-Advisor is required to vote a proxy while having a conflict of interest with a Client. To protect the Client, the CCO or COO will present the conflict to the management for consultation and conduct an analysis for materiality. If it is determined that a material conflict of interest exists, the CCO shall determine whether one or more of the following steps will be taken: (i) inform the relevant Client of the existence of a material conflict and seek a recommendation for how to vote the proxy; (ii) fully disclose the material facts regarding the conflict and seek the consent of the relevant Client to vote the proxy as recommended by the Sub-Advisor; and/or (iii) vote the recommendation of issuer management. In addition, the CCO or COO will document the matter and preserve the documentation in accordance with the Sub-Advisor’s Record Retention Policy.
All Employees with knowledge of any outstanding proxies and potential conflicts of interest are responsible for bringing such matters to the attention of the CCO or COO.
The Sub-Advisor will seek to vote all proxies when notice of a proxy is received within a reasonable timeframe and before the voting deadline. If the Sub-Advisor does not receive timely notice of a proxy, it may refrain from voting the proxy. The Sub-Advisor may choose not to vote proxies if the voting securities are part of a securities lending program.
Using its reasonable business judgment, the Sub-Advisor may consider the implicit and explicit costs of reviewing and voting a particular proxy to the Sub-Advisor and the Client. If the Sub-Advisor determines the costs of reviewing or voting a particular proxy exceeds the expected benefits to the Client, the Sub-Advisor may choose to refrain from voting the proxy.
The CCO will periodically, but no less than annually, review the adequacy of the Sub-Advisor’s proxy voting policies and procedures and the Sub-Advisor’s proxy voting record to ensure that proxies are being voted in the best interest of the Sub-Advisor’s Clients. As part of the review, the CCO will sample proxies for compliance with the Sub-Advisor’s proxy voting policies and procedures, and any written instructions from Clients, if applicable.
To assist with the proxy voting process, the Sub-Advisor utilizes an electronic voting solution. Such system helps manage meeting notifications, voting, tracking, mailing, reporting, record maintenance and vote disclosure rules enacted by the SEC. The COO will review the system no less than monthly to ensure proxies are voted in a timely and organized manner.
The COO is responsible for aggregating proxy voting data and, as relevant for the RIC Clients, facilitating the filing of Form N-PX.