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STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

December 30, 2022

MERIDIAN FUND, INC.®

 

MERIDIAN GROWTH FUND®

CLASS A SHARES: MRAGX; CLASS C SHARES: MRCGX; INVESTOR CLASS SHARES: MRIGX

LEGACY CLASS SHARES: MERDX; INSTITUTIONAL CLASS SHARES: MRRGX

MERIDIAN CONTRARIAN FUND

CLASS A SHARES: MFCAX; CLASS C SHARES: MFCCX; INVESTOR CLASS SHARES: MFCIX

LEGACY CLASS SHARES: MVALX; INSTITUTIONAL CLASS SHARES: MFCRX

MERIDIAN HEDGED EQUITY FUND® (formerly, Meridian Enhanced Equity Fund)

CLASS A SHARES: MRAEX; CLASS C SHARES: MRCEX; INVESTOR CLASS SHARES: MRIEX

LEGACY CLASS SHARES: MEIFX; INSTITUTIONAL CLASS SHARES: MRREX

MERIDIAN SMALL CAP GROWTH FUND

CLASS A SHARES: MSGAX; CLASS C SHARES: MSGCX; INVESTOR CLASS SHARES: MISGX

LEGACY CLASS SHARES: MSGGX; INSTITUTIONAL CLASS SHARES: MSGRX

This Statement of Additional Information (this “SAI”) is not a prospectus and should be read in conjunction with the prospectuses of the Legacy Class and Institutional Class shares of the Meridian Fund, and the Class A, Class C and Investor Class shares of the Meridian Fund (collectively, the “Prospectuses”) dated December 30, 2022, as supplemented from time to time, which includes the Meridian Growth Fund, Meridian Contrarian Fund, Meridian Hedged Equity Fund and Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”). Copies of the Prospectus for each Fund may be obtained at no charge by writing to Meridian Fund, Inc.®, P.O. Box 9792, Providence, RI 02940, or by calling 1-800-446-6662. ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC (the “Investment Adviser”) is the investment adviser to the Funds. Each Fund is a separate series of Meridian Fund, Inc.® (“Meridian”) and offers the classes of shares indicated above. Incorporated by reference herein are the financial statements of the Funds as contained in the Funds’ Annual Report to shareholders for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022. Copies of the Funds’ Annual and Semi-Annual Reports to shareholders may be obtained upon request, by calling 1-800-446-6662, at our website at www.arrowmarkpartners.com/meridian or by writing to Meridian Fund, Inc.®, P.O. Box 9792, Providence, RI 02940.

As of the date of this SAI, Institutional Class shares of Meridian Hedged Equity Fund and Meridian Contrarian Fund are not publicly offered. Class A shares, Class C shares and Investor Class shares of the Meridian Growth Fund and the Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund and Legacy Class shares of the Funds are not offered to the public, except in limited circumstances.

Link to A, C and Investor Class Prospectus

Link to Legacy & Institutional Class Prospectus


Table of Contents

 

MERIDIAN FUND, INC.®

     3  

FUND POLICIES AND INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS

     3  

PERMISSIBLE INVESTMENTS AND RELATED RISKS

     6  

DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

     13  

INFORMATION ABOUT THE DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS OF MERIDIAN

     14  

PRINCIPAL HOLDERS AND CONTROL PERSONS

     19  

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

     25  

EXECUTION OF PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS

     32  

PURCHASE, REDEMPTION AND PRICING OF SHARES

     34  

FEDERAL INCOME TAXES

     43  

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT MERIDIAN

     53  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     53  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     53  

EXHIBIT A

     A-1  

EXHIBIT B

     B-1  


MERIDIAN FUND, INC.®

Meridian was incorporated in Maryland as an open-end management investment company on March 5, 1984. Each Fund is a distinct series of Meridian’s common stock with a separate and distinct investment portfolio. Each Fund’s shares has equal dividend, distribution, redemption, liquidation and noncumulative voting rights. In the future, from time to time, Meridian’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) may, in its discretion, increase the amount of authorized shares and/or establish additional funds and issue shares of additional series or classes of Meridian’s common stock.

Each Fund is classified as a “diversified” management investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).

Prior to December 30, 2022, the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund was known as the Meridian Enhanced Equity Fund. Prior to November 1, 2018, the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund was known as the Meridian Equity Income Fund. Prior to July 1, 2015, the Class A shares of each Fund were known as the Advisor Class Shares.

FUND POLICIES AND INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS

The Funds have adopted fundamental investment policies and investment restrictions in addition to the policies and restrictions discussed in the Prospectus. These policies and restrictions cannot be changed as to a Fund without approval by the Board and the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. The “vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities” of a Fund, as defined in Section 2(a)(42) of the 1940 Act, means the vote: (i) of 67% or more of the voting securities of the Fund present or represented at any meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, whichever is less. A non-fundamental policy set forth below may be changed by the Board and does not require shareholder approval, but may require notice to shareholders in certain instances.

The following fundamental investment restrictions provide that each Fund, except for the Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund, may not:

(1) with respect to 75% of the Fund’s total assets, purchase the securities of any issuer, except securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, if, as a result (i) more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of that issuer, or (ii) the Fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer;

(2) purchase the securities of companies in a particular industry if, thereafter, more than 25% (for the Meridian Contrarian Fund and Meridian Hedged Equity Fund 25% or more) of the value of the Fund’s total assets would consist of securities issued by companies in that industry, (this restriction does not apply to obligations issued and guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities);1

(3) purchase the securities of any other investment company, except by purchase in the open market where, to the best information of the Fund, no commission or profit to a sponsor or dealer (other than the customary broker’s commission) results from such purchase and, after such purchase, not more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets would consist of such securities, or except when such purchase is part of a merger, consolidation, acquisition of assets, or other reorganization approved by the Fund’s shareholders;

(4) invest in companies for the purpose of exercising control or management;

(5) purchase or sell real estate, provided that the Fund may invest in readily marketable securities secured by real estate or interest therein or issued by companies which invest in real estate or interests therein (including real estate investment trusts);

(6) purchase or sell commodities or commodities contracts, or interests in oil, gas, or other mineral exploration or development programs;2

(7) make loans, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted, modified, or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time;3

(8) purchase securities on margin, but it may obtain such short-term credit from banks as may be necessary for the clearance of purchases and sales of securities;

(9) underwrite the securities of other issuers, except to the extent that, in connection with the disposition of portfolio securities, the Fund may be deemed an underwriter under Federal or State securities laws;

 

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(10) invest in the securities of any issuer which shall have a record of less than three years of continuous operation (including the operation of any predecessor) if, immediately after and as a result of such investment, the value of the Fund’s holdings of such securities exceeds 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets. This restriction does not apply to any obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities;

(11) borrow for investment purposes or issue senior securities. The Fund, however, may borrow from banks an amount not to exceed 5% of the Fund’s total assets, determined immediately after the time of the borrowing, as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes;

(12) participate on a joint or a joint-and-several basis in any trading account in securities (the aggregation of orders for the sale or purchase of marketable portfolio securities with other accounts under the management of the Investment Adviser to save brokerage costs or average prices among them is not deemed to result in a securities trading account);

(13) knowingly purchase from or sell portfolio securities to its officers, directors, or other “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, other than otherwise unaffiliated broker-dealers;

(14) purchase or retain the securities of an issuer if, to the Fund’s knowledge, one or more of the Directors, officers or employees of the Fund or the Investment Adviser individually own beneficially more than 1/2 of l% of the securities of such issuer and together own beneficially more than 5% of such securities; or

(15) invest more than 10% of its net assets in securities and other assets for which there is no ready market. For investment restriction (2) with respect to the Meridian Growth Fund, a non-fundamental policy provides that the Fund will not purchase securities in any one industry equaling 25% or more of the Fund’s total net assets.

As a non-fundamental investment policy, each Fund may engage in short sales, which involves selling a security that a Fund borrows and does not own. The Board may impose limits on a Fund’s investments in short sales, and any such limits will be described in the Prospectus. Transactions in futures, options, swaps, and forward contracts not involving short sales are not deemed to constitute selling securities short.

The following fundamental investment restrictions provide that the Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund may not:

(1) with respect to 75% of the Fund’s total assets, purchase the securities of any issuer, except securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, if, as a result (i) more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of that issuer, or (ii) the Fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer;

(2) purchase the securities of companies in a particular industry if, thereafter, 25% or more of the value of the Fund’s total assets would consist of securities issued by companies in that industry, (this restriction does not apply to obligations issued and guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities);

(3) purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this shall not prevent the Fund from investing in securities or other instruments backed by real estate or securities of companies engaged in the real estate business);

(4) purchase or sell commodities or commodities contracts, or interests in oil, gas, or other mineral exploration or development programs;

(5) make loans, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted, modified, or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time;

(6) underwrite any issue of securities within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), except when it might technically be deemed to be an underwriter either: (i) in connection with the disposition of a portfolio security; or (ii) in connection with the purchase of securities directly from the issuer thereof in accordance with its investment objective (this restriction shall not limit the Fund’s ability to invest in securities issued by other registered management investment companies); or

(7) issue senior securities or borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted, modified, or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.

Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act (the “Names Rule”) requires, among other things, a fund with name that suggests the fund focuses in a particular type of investment or industry to adopt a policy to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of its assets

 

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in the particular type of investment or industry suggested by the fund’s name (a “Names Rule Policy”). To the extent a Fund is subject to the Names Rule, and does not otherwise have a fundamental investment policy in place to comply with the Names Rule, it has adopted the following non-fundamental policy: Shareholders will receive at least 60 days’ notice of any change to a Fund’s investment objective or principal investment strategies made in order to comply with the Names Rule. The notice will be provided in a separate written document, and will contain the following prominent statement or similar statement in bold face type: “Important Notice Regarding Change in Investment Policy.”

1

The SEC staff has taken the position that the investment of 25% or more of the assets of a fund in a particular issuer or group of issuers within a particular industry or group of industries constitutes a “concentration” by such fund in that particular industry or group of industries.

2

This restriction predates the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) which altered the definition of “commodities” to, among other changes, include swap and other derivative transactions. “Commodities”, as used in this restriction, refers to the term as defined before the Dodd-Frank Act.

3

Currently, applicable regulatory guidance prohibits a fund from lending (including lending its portfolio securities) more than one-third of its total assets, except through the use of repurchase agreements and certain other instruments. (See “Permissible Investments and Related Risks.”)

4

This restriction predates the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act which altered the definition of “commodities” to, among other changes, include swap and other derivative transactions. “Commodities”, as used in this restriction, refers to the term as defined before the Dodd-Frank Act.

5

Currently, applicable regulatory guidance prohibits a fund from lending (including lending its portfolio securities) more than one-third of its total assets, except through the use of repurchase agreements and certain other instruments. (See “Permissible Investments and Related Risks.”)

6

In general, pursuant to the 1940 Act, a fund is prohibited from issuing senior securities except for certain bank borrowings, and may borrow money only from banks in an amount not exceeding one-third of its total assets (including the amount borrowed) less liabilities (other than borrowings). Any borrowings that come to exceed this amount must be reduced within three days (not including Sundays and holidays) to the extent necessary to comply with the one-third limitation.

Determination of Portfolio Percentage Restrictions—If a percentage restriction on investment or utilization of assets set forth under “Fund Policies and Investment Restrictions” and other fundamental restrictions is adhered to at the time an investment is made, a later change in percentage resulting from changing market values or a similar type of event will not be considered a violation of a Fund’s fundamental restrictions (except with respect to the limitation on borrowing and illiquid securities). To the extent that a Fund exceeds the percentage restriction with respect to illiquid securities, whether or not resulting from changing market values or other causes, the Investment Adviser will take steps necessary to bring the Fund’s holdings of illiquid securities into conformity with the prescribed limitation as soon as reasonably practicable and in a manner consistent with the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders, including the orderly disposition of any illiquid securities to the extent necessary and appropriate in the view of the Investment Adviser.

Temporary Investments—When the Investment Adviser concludes, on the basis of its analyses of the economy, political conditions, or its own valuation guidelines and standards, that general market or other conditions warrant the reduction of some or all of a Fund’s equity securities holdings, the Fund may adopt a temporary defensive posture to preserve capital and, if possible, to achieve positive returns in defensive type investments. Similarly, a Fund may also temporarily depart from its investment strategies in order to manage large cash inflows, maintain liquidity necessary to meet shareholder redemptions or for other reasons (e.g., when the Fund is implementing a revised investment strategy). During such periods, a Fund may hold a portion or all of its assets in cash, money market instruments or corporate debt obligations, or take other investment positions that depart from its ordinary investment strategies. This may cause a Fund to temporarily forego greater investment returns, and the Fund may not achieve its investment objective during such periods.

Portfolio Turnover—The Funds do not intend to engage in short-term trading of portfolio securities as a means of achieving their investment objectives. However, a Fund may sell portfolio securities regardless of the length of time they have been held if the sale, in the Investment Adviser’s opinion, will strengthen the Fund’s position and contribute to its investment objective. Changes in a Fund’s portfolio will be made whenever the Investment Adviser believes they are advisable (e.g., as a result of securities having reached a price objective, or by reason of developments not foreseen at the time of the investment decision such as changes in the economics of an industry or a particular company). These investment changes will be made usually without reference to the length of time a security has been held and, therefore, there may be a significant number of short-term transactions.

The Funds, as a result of the investment policies described above, may at times engage in a substantial number of portfolio transactions. A higher portfolio turnover rate will increase aggregate brokerage commission expenses, which must be borne directly by a Fund and ultimately by the Fund’s shareholders and may result in adverse tax consequences to Fund shareholders through larger distributions of capital gains. (See “Execution of Portfolio Transactions.”)

 

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The portfolio turnover rate for the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund changed significantly in the fiscal years ended June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021 as a result of change in portfolio management and option activities.

PERMISSIBLE INVESTMENTS AND RELATED RISKS

Each Fund’s Prospectus identifies and summarizes the individual types of securities in which the Fund invests as part of its principal investment strategies and the principal risks associated with such investments. An investment or type of security specifically identified in the Prospectus generally reflects a principal investment (i.e., an investment in which a Fund generally invests, or may invest, 10% or more of its total assets). An investment or type of security only identified in the SAI typically is treated as a non-principal investment (i.e., an investment in which a Fund generally invests less than 10% of its total assets). In addition to the Funds’ principal investments, its non-principal investments are identified and briefly described below.

Information about individual types of securities (including certain of their associated risks) in which some or all of the Funds may invest is set forth below. Each Fund’s investment in these types of securities is subject to its investment objective and fundamental and non-fundamental investment restrictions and Fund policies.

Equity Securities—Investing in common stocks is subject to certain risks. Stock market risk, for example, is the risk that the value of such stocks, like the broader stock markets, may decline or fail to rise over short or even extended periods of time, perhaps substantially or unexpectedly. Domestic and foreign stock markets tend to be cyclical, with periods when stock prices generally rise and periods when stock prices generally decline. The value of individual stocks will rise and fall based on factors specific to each company, such as changes in earnings or management, as well as general economic and market factors. If a corporation is liquidated, the claims of secured and unsecured creditors and owners of debt securities and “preferred” stock take priority over the claims of those who own common stock.

Investing in common stocks also poses risks applicable to the particular type of company issuing the common stock. For example, stocks of smaller companies tend to have greater price swings than stocks of larger companies because, among other things, they trade less frequently and in lower volumes, are more susceptible to changes in economic conditions, may be more reliant on singular products or services and are more vulnerable to larger competitors. In addition, equity securities of a particular investment style, such as growth or value, tend to perform differently and shift into and out of favor depending on market and economic conditions and investor sentiment, and tend to go through cycles of performing better (or worse) than other segments of the stock market or the overall stock market. Common stocks of these types of companies may have a higher potential for gains, but also may be subject to greater risk of loss.

Investing in common stocks also poses risks applicable to a particular industry, such as technology, financial services, consumer goods or natural resources (e.g., oil and gas). To some extent, the prices of common stocks tend to move by industry sector. When market conditions favorably affect, or are expected to favorably affect, an industry, the share prices of the common stocks of companies in that industry tend to rise. Conversely, negative news or a poor outlook for a particular industry can cause the share prices of the common stocks of companies in that industry to decline quickly.

In addition, the Funds may invest in master limited partnerships (“MLPs”). MLPs are partnerships whose interests (limited partnership units) generally are traded on securities exchanges like shares of corporate stock and typically own or operate several properties or businesses (or indirectly own interests) related to a specific industry, but they also may finance motion pictures, research and development and other projects. Equity investments in MLPs generally are subject to the risks applicable to investing in a partnership as opposed to a corporation, which may include fewer protections afforded to investors. Additional risks may include those associated with investments in the specific industry or industries in which an MLP invests.

Security Loans—Consistent with applicable regulatory requirements, the Funds may lend its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers and other financial institutions. These loans are callable at any time, on reasonable notice, by a Fund and must be secured fully at all times by cash or cash equivalents. Such loans allow a Fund to receive income on the loaned securities while earning interest on the collateral. This collateral will be invested in short-term obligations. The Funds may engage in lending activities to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act and certain guidance by the SEC and its staff, which currently prohibits a fund from lending (including lending its portfolio securities) more than one-third of its total assets, except through the use of repurchase agreements and certain other instruments. The Funds will seek to negotiate loan terms requiring that the value of the collateral always be maintained at some level relative to the value of the loaned securities. When a security loan is made, the collateral and loaned securities will be valued each business day, and the borrower may be required to increase the amount of collateral if the market value of the loaned securities increases. A loan may be terminated by the borrower or by the Funds at any time on reasonable notice. The borrower, on termination of the loan, is required to return the securities to the Fund. Any gain or loss in the market price during the period of the loan would accrue to the Fund. If the borrower fails to deliver the loaned securities within four days after receipt of notice, the Funds could use the

 

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collateral to replace the loaned securities while holding the borrower liable for any excess of replacement cost over collateral. When loaned securities grant voting or consent rights, which pass to the borrower, the Funds will call the securities to exercise such rights if the matters involved would have a material effect on a Fund’s investment in the securities.

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. In addition, securities lending is subject to the risk that the counterparty to a loan may default on or otherwise become unable to perform its obligations under the lending arrangement or agreement. If such an event occurs, the Funds could face delays in recovering securities loaned or the loss of rights in the collateral should the counterparty become insolvent, which may result in losses to the Fund. However, these loans of portfolio securities will be made only to firms deemed by the Investment Adviser to be creditworthy and when the Investment Adviser believes the income which can be earned from such loans justifies the attendant risks. The Funds will pay reasonable finders, administrative and custodial fees in connection with a loan of their securities.

The dollar amounts of income and fees and compensation paid to The Bank of New York Mellon related to those Funds that participated in securities lending activities for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022 were as follows:

 

Fund

   Growth
Fund
    Contrarian
Fund
    Hedged
Equity
Fund
    Small-Cap
Growth
Fund
 

Gross income from securities lending activities (including income from cash collateral reinvestment)

   $ 503,267     $ 501,933     $ 12,704     $ 684,576  

Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and related services

        
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split

   ($ 100,644   ($ 100,382   ($ 2,540   ($ 136,900
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not included in the revenue split

     —         —         —         —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Administrative fees not included in revenue split

     —         —         —         —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Indemnification fee not included in revenue split

     —         —         —         —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Rebates

     —         —         —         —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other fees not included in revenue split

     —         —         —         —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities

   ($ 100,644   ($ 100,382   ($ 2,540   ($ 136,900
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income from securities lending activities

   $ 402,623     $ 401,551     $ 10,164     $ 547,676  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Cash-Equivalent Instruments—Other than as described under “Fund Polices and Investment Restrictions” above, the Funds are not restricted with regard to the types of cash-equivalent investments they may make. When the Investment Adviser believes that such investments are an appropriate part of a Fund’s overall investment strategy, a Fund may hold or invest a portion of its assets in any of the following, denominated in U.S. dollars, foreign currencies, or multinational currencies: cash; short-term U.S. or foreign government securities; commercial paper rated at least A-2 by Standard & Poor’s Corporation (“Standard & Poor’s”) or P-2 by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), certificates of deposit or other deposits of banks deemed creditworthy by the Investment Adviser pursuant to standards adopted by the Board; time deposits and bankers’ acceptances (but the Funds may not enter into repurchase agreements related to any of the foregoing). A certificate of deposit is a short-term obligation of a commercial bank. A bankers’ acceptance is a time draft drawn on a commercial bank by a borrower, usually in connection with international commercial transactions.

Non-U.S. Securities—Investing in foreign companies involves certain risk considerations, including those set forth in the Prospectus and below, which are not typically associated with investing in United States companies. There may be less government supervision and regulation of foreign stock exchanges, brokers and listed companies than exists in the United States.

The Funds could incur additional costs in connection with their investment activities outside the U.S. The maintenance of assets in certain jurisdictions may result in increased custodian costs as well as administrative difficulties (for example, delays in clearing and settling portfolio transactions or in receiving payment of dividends). Dividends or interest paid by non-U.S. issuers and proceeds from the disposition of foreign securities may be subject to withholding and other foreign taxes, which may decrease the net return on such investments as compared to returns on U.S. securities. A Fund will incur costs in connection with foreign exchange transactions that are necessary for the purchase and sale of non-U.S. securities and the receipt of dividends and interest.

 

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The Funds will not hold currencies other than U.S. dollars or invest in securities not denominated in U.S. dollars if such currencies are not fully exchangeable into U.S. dollars, without legal restriction, at the time of investment. The Funds may purchase securities that are issued by an issuer of one nation but denominated in the currency of another nation (or a multinational currency unit).

The Funds may hold foreign equity securities in the form of American Depository Receipts or Shares (“ADRs”), European Depository Receipts (“EDRs”), Continental Depository Receipts (“CDRs”) or securities convertible into foreign equity securities. These securities may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the securities into which they may be converted. ADRs are receipts typically issued by a United States bank or trust company evidencing ownership of the underlying securities. Generally, ADRs, in registered form, are designed for use in the U.S. securities markets.

Securities are determined by the Investment Adviser to be “U.S.” (or “Non-U.S.”) based on the consideration of an issuer’s domicile, its principal place of business, its primary stock exchange listing, the source of its revenue, the location of its assets, its exposure to economic fortunes and risks of countries or geographic regions outside the United States and other relevant factors.

Debt Securities—There are a number of risks generally associated with investments in debt securities, including convertible securities. As described for certain Funds in the Prospectus, debt securities are subject to credit risk, interest rate risk and liquidity risk. Credit risk is the risk that the entity that issued a debt security may become unable to make payments of principal and interest when due and includes the risk of default. Interest rate risk is the risk of losses due to changes in interest rates. Liquidity risk is the risk that a Fund may not be able to sell portfolio securities, including medium- and lower-grade securities, because there are too few buyers for them. Yields on short-, intermediate- and long-term securities generally depend on a variety of factors, including the general condition of the money and bond markets, the size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation, and the rating of the issue. Debt securities with longer maturities tend to produce higher yields and are generally subject to greater potential capital appreciation and depreciation than obligations with shorter maturities and lower yields. The Prospectus describes the permissible range of credit ratings for the securities in which each Fund is permitted to invest. Exhibit A to this SAI describes the ratings. Credit ratings evaluate the perceived safety of principal and interest payment of securities, not their market value. The rating of an issuer is also heavily weighted by past developments and does not necessarily reflect probable future conditions. There is frequently a lag between the time a rating is assigned and the time it is updated.

After its purchase by one of the Funds, a security may be assigned a lower rating or cease to be rated by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s or any other rating organization. This would not require a Fund to sell the security, but the Investment Adviser will consider such an event in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the security in the Fund’s portfolio.

Variable, Floating Rate and Synthetic Obligations—The Funds may invest in fixed income securities with interest rates which fluctuate based upon changes in market rates. Variable and floating rate obligations bear coupon rates that are adjusted at designated intervals, based on the then-current market rates of interest on which the coupon rates are based. Variable and floating rate obligations permit a Fund to “lock in” the current interest rate for only the period until the next scheduled rate adjustment, but the rate adjustment feature tends to limit the extent to which the market value of the obligation will fluctuate. A Fund may also invest in “synthetic” securities whose value depends on the level of currencies, commodities, securities, securities indexes, or other financial indicators or statistics. For example, these could include fixed-income securities whose value or interest rate is determined by reference to the value of a foreign currency relative to the U.S. dollar, or to the value of different foreign currencies relative to each other. The value or interest rate of these securities may increase or decrease as the value of the underlying instrument changes.

Convertible Securities and Warrants—The Funds may invest in convertible securities and warrants. The value of a convertible security is a function of its “investment value” (determined by its yield in comparison with the yields of other securities of comparable maturity and quality that do not have the conversion privilege) and its “conversion value” (the security’s worth, at market value, if converted into the underlying common stock). The credit standing of the issuer and other factors may also affect the investment value of a convertible security. The conversion value of a convertible security is determined by the market price of the underlying common stock. If the conversion value is low relative to the investment value, the price of the convertible security is governed principally by its investment value. To the extent the market price of the underlying common stock approaches or exceeds the conversion price, the price of the convertible security will be increasingly influenced by its conversion value.

A warrant gives the holder a right to purchase, at any time during a specified period, a predetermined number of shares of common stock at a fixed price. Unlike convertible debt securities or preferred stock, warrants do not pay a fixed dividend. Investments in warrants involve certain risks, including the possible lack of a liquid market for resale of the warrants, potential price fluctuations as a result of speculation or other factors, and failure of the price of the underlying security to reach or have reasonable prospects of reaching a level at which the warrant can be prudently exercised (in which event the warrant may expire without being exercised) resulting in a loss of a Fund’s investment.

 

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Preferred Stock—Preferred stock, unlike common stock, offers a stated dividend rate payable from a corporation’s earnings. Such preferred stock dividends may be cumulative or non-cumulative, participating, or auction rate. 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. Dividends on some preferred stock may be “cumulative,” requiring all or a portion of prior unpaid dividends to be paid prior to payment of dividends on the issuer’s common stock. Preferred stock also generally has a preference over common stock on the distribution of a corporation’s assets in the event of liquidation of the corporation, and may be “participating,” which means that it may be entitled to a dividend exceeding the stated dividend in certain cases. The rights of the holders of preferred stock on the distribution of a corporation’s assets in the event of a liquidation are generally subordinate to the rights associated with a corporation’s debt securities.

Investment in Illiquid Securities—Each Fund, other than the Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund, may invest not more than 10% of the value of its net assets in illiquid securities. The Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund may invest its assets in illiquid securities to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, which currently permits investments in illiquid securities in an amount not to exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets. Securities may be considered illiquid if a Fund cannot reasonably expect to receive approximately the amount at which the Fund values those securities within seven days. The Investment Adviser has the authority to determine whether certain securities held by a Fund are liquid or illiquid pursuant to standards adopted by the Board.

The Investment Adviser takes into account a number of factors in reaching liquidity decisions, including, but not limited to: the listing of the security on an exchange or national market system; the frequency of trading in the security; the number of dealers who publish quotes for the security; the number of dealers who serve as market makers for the security; the apparent number of other potential purchasers; and the nature of the security and how trading is effected (e.g., the time needed to sell the security, how offers are solicited, and the mechanics of transfer).

Each Fund’s investments in illiquid securities may include securities that are not registered for resale under the Securities Act, and therefore are subject to restrictions on resale. When a Fund purchases unregistered securities, it may, in appropriate circumstances, obtain the right to register those securities at the expense of the issuer. In such cases, there may be a lapse of time between the Fund’s decision to sell the security and the registration of the security permitting sale. During that time the price of the security will be subject to market fluctuations.

The fact that there are contractual or legal restrictions on resale of certain securities to the general public or to certain institutions may not be indicative of the liquidity of those investments. If the securities are subject to purchase by institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the Securities Act, the Investment Adviser may determine in particular cases, pursuant to standards adopted by the Board, that the securities are not illiquid securities notwithstanding the legal or contractual restrictions on their resale. Investing in Rule 144A securities could have the effect of increasing a Fund’s illiquidity to the extent that qualified institutional buyers become, for a time, uninterested in purchasing those securities.

Repurchase Agreements—Repurchase agreements are agreements under which a Fund acquires a security for a relatively short period of time subject to the obligation of a seller to repurchase and the Fund to resell such security at a fixed time and price (representing the Fund’s cost plus interest). Repurchase agreements may be viewed as loans made by a Fund that are collateralized by the securities subject to repurchase. The Funds typically will enter into repurchase agreements only with commercial banks, registered broker-dealers and the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation. Such transactions are monitored to ensure that the value of the underlying securities will be at least equal at all times to the total amount of the repurchase obligation, including any accrued interest. Repurchase agreements generally are subject to counterparty risk.

If a counterparty defaults, a Fund could realize a loss on the sale of the underlying security to the extent that the proceeds of the sale are less than the resale price provided in the repurchase agreement including interest. In the event that a counterparty fails to perform because it is insolvent or otherwise subject to insolvency proceedings against it, the Fund’s right to take possession of the underlying securities would be subject to applicable insolvency law and procedure, including an automatic stay (which would preclude immediate enforcement of the Fund’s rights) and exemptions thereto (which would permit a Fund to take possession of the underlying securities or to void a repurchase agreement altogether). Because it is possible that an exemption from the automatic stay would not be available, a Fund might be prevented from immediately enforcing its rights against the counterparty. Accordingly, if a counterparty becomes insolvent or otherwise subject to insolvency proceedings against it, a Fund may incur delays in or be prevented from liquidating the underlying securities and could experience losses, including the possible decline in value of the underlying securities during the period in which the Fund seeks to enforce its rights thereto, possible subnormal levels of income or lack of access to income during such time, as well as the costs incurred in enforcing the Fund’s rights. For example, if a Fund enters into a repurchase agreement with a broker that becomes insolvent, it is possible for the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) to institute a liquidation proceeding in federal court against the broker counterparty which could lead to a foreclosure by SIPC of the underlying securities or SIPC may stay, or preclude, the Fund’s ability under contract to terminate the repurchase agreement.

 

9


Options—The Funds may purchase and write (i.e., sell) put and call options. The Investment Adviser may use options for hedging purposes and/or to enhance the Funds’ returns. Such options may relate to particular stocks or stock indices, and may or may not be listed on a domestic or foreign securities exchange and may or may not be issued by the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC). Stock index options are put options and call options on various stock indices. In most respects, they are identical to listed options on common stocks.

There is a key difference between stock options and stock index options in connection with their exercise. Upon the exercise of stock options, the underlying security is delivered. However, upon the exercise of an index option, settlement does not occur by delivery of the securities comprising the index. The option holder who exercises the index option receives an amount of cash if the closing level of the stock index upon which the option is based is greater than (in the case of a call) or less than (in the case of a put) the exercise price of the option. This amount of cash is equal to the difference between the closing price of the stock index and the exercise price of the option expressed in dollars times a specified multiple. A stock index fluctuates with changes in the market value of the securities included in the index.

The successful use of a Fund’s options strategies depends on the ability of the Investment Adviser to forecast interest rate and market movements correctly. When it purchases an option, a Fund runs the risk that it will lose its entire investment in the option in a relatively short period of time, unless a Fund exercises the option or enters into a closing sale transaction for such option during the life of the option. If the price of the underlying security does not rise (in the case of a call) or fall (in the case of a put) to an extent sufficient to cover the option premium and transaction costs, a Fund will lose part or all of its investment in the option. This contrasts with an investment by a Fund in the underlying securities, since a Fund may continue to hold its investment in those securities notwithstanding the lack of a change in price of those securities.

The effective use of options also depends on a Fund’s ability to terminate option positions at times when the Investment Adviser deems it desirable to do so. Although a Fund will take an option position only if the Investment Adviser believes there is a liquid secondary market for the option, there is no assurance that a Fund will be able to effect closing transactions at any particular time or at an acceptable price.

If a secondary trading market in options were to become unavailable, a Fund could no longer engage in closing transactions. The writer in such circumstances would be subject to the risk of market decline or appreciation in the instrument during such period. If an option purchased by a Fund expires unexercised, a Fund will realize a loss equal to the premium paid. Reasons for the absence of a liquid secondary market on an exchange include the following: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening transactions or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options, or underlying securities; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances, such as volume in excess of trading or clearing capability, may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or a clearing corporation may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) 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 the class or series of options) would cease to exist, although outstanding options on the exchange 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.

Disruptions in the markets for the securities underlying options purchased or sold by a Fund could result in losses on the options. If trading is interrupted in an underlying security, the trading of options on that security is normally halted as well. As a result, a Fund as purchaser or writer of an option will be unable to close out its positions until options trading resumes, and it may be faced with losses if trading in the security reopens at a substantially different price. In addition, the OCC or other options markets may impose exercise restrictions. If a prohibition on exercise is imposed at a time when trading in the option has also been halted, a Fund as purchaser or writer of an option will be locked into its position until one of the two restrictions has been lifted. If a prohibition on exercise remains in effect until an option owned by a Fund has expired, a Fund could lose the entire value of its option.

Options involve risks different from, and possibly greater than, investing directly in the underlying security, asset or other reference, including, among others, the risk that the counterparty to an option may not perform or may be unable to perform in accordance with the terms of the instrument, the potential that, at times, there may not be a liquid secondary market for the options (as described above), and the risk of imperfect correlation between any movement in the price or value of options and their underlying security, asset or other reference. Such events, as well as circumstances under which a Fund is required to purchase the underlying asset at a disadvantageous price, may result in losses to the Fund. In addition, options also may involve a small initial investment relative to the risk assumed, which could result in losses that are greater than the amount originally invested.

Special risks are presented by internationally traded options. Because of time differences between the United States and various foreign countries, and because different holidays are observed in different countries, foreign options markets may be open for trading during hours or on days when U.S. markets are closed. As a result, option premiums may not reflect the current prices of the underlying interest in the United States.

 

10


Short Sales—Subject to its non-fundamental investment restrictions and Fund policies, a Fund may engage in short sales. A Fund may sell securities short when it owns an equal amount of such securities as those securities sold short. This is a technique known as selling short “against the box.” If a Fund makes a short sale “against the box,” it would not immediately deliver the securities sold and would not receive the proceeds from the sale. The seller is said to have a short position in the securities sold until it delivers the securities sold, at which time it receives the proceeds of the sale. To secure its obligation to deliver securities sold short, a Fund will deposit in escrow in a separate account with the custodian an equal amount of the securities sold short or securities convertible into or exchangeable for such securities. A Fund can close out its short position by purchasing and delivering an equal amount of the securities sold short, rather than by delivering securities already held by a Fund, because a Fund might want to continue to receive interest and dividend payments on securities in its portfolio that are convertible into the securities sold short.

Short sales “against the box” entail many of the same risks and considerations described below regarding short sales not “against the box.” However, when a Fund sells short “against the box” it typically limits the amount of securities that it has leveraged. A Fund’s decision to make a short sale “against the box” may be a technique to hedge against market risks when the Investment Adviser believes that the price of a security may decline, causing a decline in the value of a security owned by a Fund or a security convertible into or exchangeable for such security. In such case, any future losses in a Fund’s long position would be reduced by a gain in the short position. The extent to which such gains or losses in the long position are reduced will depend upon the amount of securities sold short relative to the amount of the securities a Fund owns, either directly or indirectly, and, in the case where a Fund owns convertible securities, changes in the investment values or conversion premiums of such securities. Short sales may have adverse tax consequences to a Fund and its shareholders.

A Fund may engage in short sales that are not “against the box,” which are sales by a Fund of securities, contracts or instruments that it does not own in hopes of purchasing the same security, contract or instrument at a later date at a lower price. The technique is also used to protect a profit in a long-term position in a security, commodity futures contract or other instrument. To make delivery to the buyer, a Fund must borrow or purchase the security. If borrowed, a Fund is then obligated to replace the security borrowed from the third party, so a Fund must purchase the security at the market price at a later time. If the price of the security has increased during this time, then a Fund will incur a loss equal to the increase in price of the security from the time of the short sale plus any premiums and interest paid to the third party. (Until the security is replaced, a Fund is required to pay to the lender amounts equal to any dividends or interest which accrue during the period of the loan. To borrow the security, a Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold. The proceeds of the short sale will be retained by the broker, to the extent necessary to meet the margin requirements, until the short position is closed out.)

Short sales by a Fund that are not made “against the box” create opportunities to increase a Fund’s return but, at the same time, involve specific risk considerations and may be considered a speculative technique. Because a Fund in effect profits from a decline in the price of the securities sold short without the need to invest the full purchase price of the securities on the date of the short sale, a Fund’s NAV per share tends to increase more when the securities it has sold short decrease in value, and to decrease more when the securities it has sold short increase in value, than if it had not engaged in such short sales. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss increased, by the amount of any premium, dividends or interest a Fund may be required to pay in connection with the short sale. Short sales could potentially involve unlimited loss, as the market price of securities sold short may continually increase, although a Fund can mitigate any such losses by replacing the securities sold short. Under adverse market conditions, a Fund might have difficulty purchasing securities to meet its short sale delivery obligations, and might have to sell portfolio securities to raise the capital necessary to meet its short sale obligations at a time when fundamental investment considerations would not favor such sales. There is also the risk that the third party to the short sale may fail to honor its contract terms, causing a loss to a Fund. Losses associated with such risks or events may exceed the cost of the actual cost of the investment.

A Fund’s successful use of short sales also will be subject to the ability of the Investment Adviser to predict movements in the directions of the relevant market. A Fund therefore bears the risk that the Investment Adviser will incorrectly predict future price directions. In addition, if a Fund sells a security short, and that security’s price goes up, a Fund will have to make up the margin on its open position (i.e., purchase more securities on the market to cover the position). It may be unable to do so and thus its position may not be closed out. There can be no assurance that a Fund will not incur significant losses in such a case.

Private Placements. Each Fund may invest in securities that are not registered under the Securities Act (“restricted securities”). Restricted securities may be sold in private placement transactions between issuers and their purchasers and may be neither listed on an exchange nor traded in other established markets. In many cases, privately placed securities may not be freely transferable under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction or due to contractual restrictions on resale. As a result of the absence of a public trading market, privately placed securities may be less liquid and more difficult to value than publicly traded securities. To the extent that privately placed securities may be resold in privately negotiated transactions, the prices realized from the sales, due to illiquidity, could be less than those originally paid by the Fund or less than their fair market value. In addition, issuers whose securities are not publicly traded may not be subject to the disclosure and other investor protection requirements that may be applicable if their securities were publicly traded. Certain of the Fund’s investments in private placements may consist of direct investments and may include investments in

 

11


smaller, less seasoned issuers, which may involve greater risks. These issuers may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent on a limited management group. In making investments in such securities, a Fund may obtain access to material nonpublic information, which may restrict the Fund’s ability to conduct portfolio transactions in such securities.

Some of these securities are new and complex, and trade only among institutions. The markets for these securities are still developing, and may not function as efficiently as established markets. Because there may not be an established market price for these securities, the Fund may have to estimate their value. Transactions in restricted or illiquid securities may entail registration expense and other transaction costs that are higher than those for transactions in unrestricted or liquid securities. Where registration is required for restricted or illiquid securities a considerable time period may elapse between the time the Fund decides to sell the security and the time it is actually permitted to sell the security under an effective registration statement. In certain cases, Investment Adviser personnel may take a seat on the company’s board of directors. In such a case, there exists the risk that the Fund will be restricted in transacting in or redeeming its investment in that company as a result of, among other things, legal restrictions on transactions by company directors or affiliates. If during such period, adverse market conditions were to develop, the Fund might obtain less favorable pricing terms than when it decided to sell the security.

Securities Issued in PIPE Transactions. Each Fund may invest in securities that are purchased in private investment in public equity (“PIPE”) transactions. Securities acquired by a Fund in such transactions are subject to resale restrictions under the federal securities laws. While issuers in PIPE transactions typically agree that they will register the securities for resale by a Fund after the transaction closes (thereby removing resale restrictions), there is no guarantee that the securities will in fact be registered. In addition, a PIPE issuer may require a Fund to agree to other resale restrictions as a condition to the sale of such securities. Thus, a Fund’s ability to resell securities acquired in PIPE transactions may be limited, and even though a public market may exist for such securities, the securities held by a Fund may be deemed illiquid.

Commodity Pool Operator Regulation—The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) requires certain investment advisers to register as a “commodity pool operator” (“CPO”). The Investment Adviser has claimed an exclusion from the definition of a CPO with respect to its management of the Funds pursuant to CFTC Rule 4.5. Therefore, the Investment Adviser is not subject to regulation as a CPO under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), as amended, with respect to its management of the Funds. In order to rely on the Rule 4.5 exclusion, a Fund must limit its investments in commodity futures contracts, options on futures contracts and swaps and other commodity interests (including, for example, security futures, broad-based stock index futures and financial futures contracts). The Investment Adviser currently intends to operate each Fund in compliance with the requirements of Rule 4.5 and consistent with the Fund’s investment strategies.

Limited Investor Risk—To the extent a large proportion of the shares of the Funds are held by a small number of shareholders (or a single shareholder), the Funds are subject to the risk that these shareholders will purchase or redeem Fund shares in large amounts rapidly or unexpectedly. These transactions could adversely affect the ability of the Funds to conduct their investment objectives. Institutional accounts hold the shares of many shareholders and may not pose the same risk as those accounts that hold Fund shares for an individual shareholder.

Cyber Security Risk—In connection with the increased use of technologies such as the Internet and the dependence on computer systems to perform necessary business functions, the Fund may be susceptible to operational, information security and related risks due to the possibility of cyber-attacks or other incidents. Cyber incidents may result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber-attacks include, but are not limited to, infection by computer viruses or other malicious software code, gaining unauthorized access to systems, networks or devices that are used to service the Fund’s operations through hacking or other means for the purpose of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. Cyber-attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks (which can make a website unavailable) on the Fund’s website. In addition, authorized persons could inadvertently or intentionally release confidential or proprietary information stored on the Fund’s systems.

Cyber security failures or breaches by the Fund’s third-party service providers (including, but not limited to, the adviser, distributor, custodian, transfer agent and financial intermediaries) may cause disruptions and impact the service providers’ and the Fund’s business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business and the mutual funds to process transactions, inability to calculate the Fund’s net asset value, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs and/or additional compliance costs. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result of successful cyber-attacks against, or security breakdowns of, the Fund or its third-party service providers.

The Fund may incur substantial costs to prevent or address cyber incidents in the future. In addition, there is a possibility that certain risks have not been adequately identified or prepared for. Furthermore, the Fund cannot directly control any cyber security plans and systems put in place by third party service providers. Cyber security 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 securities to lose value.

 

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Certain Risk Factors Relating to High-Yield, High-Risk Bonds

(Meridian Hedged Equity Fund and Meridian Contrarian Fund only)

Sensitivity to Interest Rate and Economic Change—High-yield, high-risk bonds are very sensitive to adverse economic changes and corporate developments. During an economic downturn or substantial period of rising interest rates, highly leveraged issuers may experience financial stress that would adversely affect their ability to service their principal and interest payment obligations, to meet projected business goals, and to obtain additional financing. If the issuer of a bond defaults on its obligations to pay interest or principal or enters into bankruptcy proceedings, a Fund may incur losses or expenses in seeking recovery of amounts owed to it. In addition, periods of economic uncertainty and changes can be expected to result in increased volatility of market prices and yields of high-yield, high-risk bonds and a Fund’s net asset value.

Payment Expectations—High-yield, high-risk bonds may contain redemption or call provisions. If an issuer exercises these provisions in a declining interest rate market, a Fund may have to replace the security with a lower yielding security, resulting in a decreased current return for investors. Conversely, a high-yield, high-risk bond’s value will decrease in a rising interest rate market, as will the value of a Fund’s assets.

Liquidity and Valuation—There may be little trading in the secondary market for particular bonds, which may affect adversely a Fund’s ability to value accurately or dispose of those bonds. Adverse publicity and investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may decrease the values and liquidity of high-yield, high-risk bonds, especially in a thin market.

Legislation or Regulation—Future legislation or regulation may limit the issuance of high-yield, high-risk bonds, which could have a negative effect on the market for high-yield, high-risk bonds.

DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

The Board has adopted a portfolio holdings disclosure policy (the “Portfolio Disclosure Policy”) for the Funds as outlined below. These policies and procedures are designed to protect the confidentiality of the Funds’ portfolio holdings information and to prevent the selective disclosure of such information. These policies and procedures may be modified at any time with the approval of the Board.

Public Disclosure Policy

The Funds will disclose their portfolio holdings as follows on the Funds’ website:

 

 

Top 10 Holdings—on a monthly basis, no earlier than 5 business days following month end

 

 

Complete portfolio holdings—on a calendar quarter basis, no earlier than 30 days after each quarter-end

Meridian is required to disclose, after its first and third fiscal quarters, the complete schedule of each Fund’s portfolio holdings with the SEC on Form N-PORT. Meridian will also disclose a complete schedule of each Fund’s portfolio holdings with the SEC on Form N-CSR after its second and fourth quarters. Form N-PORTs and Form N-CSRs are generally filed with the SEC no later than 60 and 70 days after the close of the applicable reporting period, respectively.

Form N-PORT and Form N-CSR for the Funds will be available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Each Fund’s Form N-PORT and Form N-CSR will be available without charge, upon request, by calling 1-800-446-6662 or by writing to: Meridian Fund, Inc.®, P.O. Box 9792, Providence, RI 02940.

Any portfolio holdings that precede a full public disclosure (e.g., portfolio holdings that are dated prior to the most recent quarterly disclosure) are not considered to be sensitive, proprietary information of the Funds, and are therefore not subject to this disclosure policy.

Non-Public Disclosure Policy

The Funds may disclose holdings more frequently to unaffiliated and affiliated parties to enable such persons or entities to provide services to the Funds or to meet any requirements under applicable laws, rules or regulations. Such parties include, but are not limited to, the Board, fund counsel, the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm, distributor, transfer agent, accounting services provider and custodian, proxy agent, and the Adviser’s third party shadow accounting agent and trade order management vendor.

 

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Such disclosures may include a partial or complete listing of portfolio holdings and are provided as frequently as necessary, including daily, to enable those parties to provide services to the Funds.

Parties not meeting the conditions outlined above would require the authorization of an appropriate Officer of the Funds, and would require a determination that such disclosure would be in the best interest of shareholders.

Restrictions on Use of Portfolio Holdings

The Funds, the Adviser and their affiliates shall receive no compensation or other consideration with respect to any such disclosures.

Recipients of portfolio holdings information will be required to keep the disclosed portfolio holdings information confidential and to use it only for legitimate business purposes.

Meridian Fund, Inc.

Information About the Directors and Officers

The individuals listed below serve as directors or officers of Meridian Fund, Inc. (the “Meridian Funds”). Each director of the Meridian Funds serves until a successor is elected and qualified or until resignation. Each officer of the Meridian Funds is elected annually by the Board of Directors. The address of all officers and directors is 100 Fillmore Street, Suite 325, Denver, CO 80206. The Meridian Funds’ Statement of Additional Information (SAI) includes more information about the Directors. To request a free copy, call Meridian at 1-800-446-6662.

 

Interested Directors*

 

Positions(s)

Held with
Fund:

 

Length of Service
(Beginning Date)

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years

  Number of
Portfolios Overseen
 

Other
Directorships

Michael Stolper* (77)  

Director

  Indefinite term since May 3, 1985   Trustee Ewing, Marion Kauffman Foundation March 2010 to March 2019: President, Stolper & Company, Inc. (an investment advisor) September 1975 to December 2017.   4   ArrowMark Financial Corp.; Windowpane Funds (one portfolio)

*

Mr. Stolper is treated as an “interested” person of the Funds, as such term is defined in the 1940 Act, because, as a result of his prior ownership interest in Aster Investment Management, Inc. (the “Previous Investment Adviser”, the previous investment adviser to the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund, Meridian Growth Fund, and Meridian Contrarian Fund).

 

Non-Interested Directors

 

Positions(s)

Held with
Fund:

 

Length of Service
(Beginning Date)

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years

  Number of
Portfolios Overseen
 

Other
Directorships

Guy M. Arnold (54)

 

Director

  Indefinite term since May 12, 2015   President of Hunt Development Group from July 2015 to present; Owner/Manager of GMA Holdings, LLC from January 2013 to July 2015.   4   ArrowMark Financial Corp.; The Children’s Hospital of Colorado Finance Committee

John S. Emrich, CFA (55)

 

Director

  Indefinite term since October 6, 2010   Private Investor, January 2011 to present.   4   ArrowMark Financial Corp.; Destra Funds (4 Funds)

Michael S. Erickson (70)

 

Director

  Indefinite term since May 3, 1985   Private Investor, August 2007 to present; Treasurer and Vice President, Erickson Holding Corp., 2003 to present; Treasurer, Vice President, and Manager, McGee Island LLC, 2015 to present.   4   Destra Funds (4 Funds); McGee Island, LLC

 

14


Non-Interested Directors

 

Positions(s)

Held with
Fund:

 

Length of Service
(Beginning Date)

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years

  Number of
Portfolios Overseen
 

Other
Directorships

James Bernard Glavin (87)

  Director and Chairman of the Board   Indefinite term since May 3, 1985   Retired; previously Chairman of the Board, Orchestra Therapeutics, Inc.   4   None

Edward F. Keely, CFA (55)

 

Director

  Indefinite term since February 13, 2015   Independent Advisor to Borgen Investment Group, January 2021 – present formerly Chief Investment Officer/Portfolio Manager at Borgen Investment Group, 2008 – January 2021.   4   None

 

Officers

 

Position(s) Held with Fund:

 

Length of Service

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years

David Corkins (55)

  President (Principal Executive Officer)   Indefinite; Since September 5, 2013   Co-Founder, Principal and Portfolio Manager, ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC

Rick Grove (53)

  Vice President, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer   Indefinite; Since September 5, 2013   Chief Compliance Officer, ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC; formerly, Chief Operating Officer, ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC

Katie Jones (38)

  Chief Financial Officer (Principal Financial Officer) and Treasurer   Indefinite; Since August 12, 2014   Director of Operations, ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC; formerly, Assistant Treasurer, Meridian Fund, Inc.

Kelsey Auble (32)

  Assistant Treasurer   Indefinite; Since November 12, 2019   Controller, ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC; formerly, Assistant Controller, ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC

Meridian pays no salaries or other compensation to its Directors or Officers other than fees to the Non-Interested Directors. Compensation was paid at each Non-Interested Director’s election in either cash or Fund shares.

 

15


The table below lists the compensation that was paid to each of the Non-Interested Directors by each Fund, as well as the total compensation from all Funds, during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022. Compensation of the Officers of Meridian is paid by the Investment Adviser.

 

     Total
Compensation
from
Meridian Funds
     Pension or
Retirement
Benefits
Accrued as
Part of Fund
Expenses
     Estimated
Annual
Benefits
Upon
Retirement
     Total
Compensation
from
Fund Complex
 

Guy M. Arnold

   $ 69,000      $ —        $ —        $ 69,000  

John S. Emrich

   $ 83,000      $ —        $ —        $ 83,000  

Michael S. Erickson

   $ 81,000      $ —        $ —        $ 81,000  

James Bernard Glavin

   $ 89,000      $ —        $ —        $ 89,000  

Edward F. Keely

   $ 69,000      $ —        $ —        $ 69,000  

As an “interested” Director, Mr. Stolper received no compensation for his services as a Director.

The following table provides the dollar range of equity securities beneficially owned by each Director in each Fund and in all Funds overseen by the Director as of December 31, 2021.

INTERESTED DIRECTOR

 

Name of Director

  

Dollar Range of Equity Securities

in each Fund

  

Aggregate Dollar

Range of Equity

Securities in Meridian

Fund, Inc.

Michael Stolper

  

Meridian Growth Fund – Over $100,000

Meridian Contrarian Fund – None

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund – Over $100,000

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund – None

   Over $100,000

NON-INTERESTED DIRECTORS

 

Name of Director

  

Dollar Range of Equity Securities

in each Fund

  

Aggregate Dollar

Range of Equity

Securities in Meridian

Fund, Inc.

Guy Arnold

  

Meridian Growth Fund – $1—$10,000

Meridian Contrarian Fund – $1—$10,000

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund – $1—$10,000

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund – $1—$10,000

   $10,001 - $50,000  

John S. Emrich

  

Meridian Growth Fund – None

Meridian Contrarian Fund – None

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund – $50,001 – $100,000

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund – None

   $50,000 - $100,000  

Michael S. Erickson

  

Meridian Growth Fund – None

Meridian Contrarian Fund – None

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund – None

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund – None

   None

James Bernard Glavin

  

Meridian Growth Fund – Over $100,000

Meridian Contrarian Fund – $10,001—$50,000

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund – Over $100,000

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund – None

   Over $100,000

 

16


Name of Director

  

Dollar Range of Equity Securities

in each Fund

  

Aggregate Dollar

Range of Equity

Securities in Meridian

Fund, Inc.

Edward F. Keely

  

Meridian Growth Fund – $1 – $10,000

Meridian Contrarian Fund – None

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund – Over $100,000

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund – Over $100,000

   Over $100,000

For additional information related to the ownership of shares by Officers and Directors of Meridian, see below under “Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities.”

OTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS

Leadership Structure

The Board supervises and oversees the management and operations of the Funds in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act, applicable provisions of state and other laws and Meridian’s Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation, as supplemented, and By-Laws. In so doing, the Board has a duty to act in the best interests of Fund shareholders. The Board meets at regularly scheduled meetings at least four times each year. In addition, the Board may hold, and has held, special meetings or informal conference calls to discuss specific matters that may arise or require action between regular meetings.

Currently, the Board consists of six Directors who have extensive and varied experiences and skills. Five of the six Directors are “Non-Interested Directors,” meaning that they are non-“interested” persons of the Funds (as defined in the 1940 Act). The Non-Interested Directors meet in executive session at each regular Board meeting. Mr. Stolper is treated as an “interested” person of the Funds, as such term is defined in the 1940 Act, because, as a result of his prior ownership interest in Aster Investment Management Co., Inc. (the “Previous Investment Adviser”), the previous investment adviser to the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund, Meridian Growth Fund, and Meridian Contrarian Fund, he receives a pro rata portion of the payment under the Asset Purchase Agreement (as defined below) consistent with his ownership interest in the Previous Investment Adviser. Mr. Glavin is the Chairman of the Board. The Chairman’s role is to preside at all meetings of the Board and to act as liaison with the Investment Adviser, other Directors, Service Providers, and counsel. The Chairman may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board from time to time. As further described below, the Board has established an Audit Committee, a Governance Committee, and a Qualified Legal Compliance Committee (“QLCC”), each composed of all of the Non-Interested Directors of Meridian.

Meridian believes that its Chairman, the full Board, including the Non-Interested Directors, and each of the committees, are adequately constituted to permit the Board to exercise informed judgment over matters under its purview and allow it to allocate areas of responsibility in a manner that enhances oversight and provides effective leadership that is appropriate for Meridian, the Funds and their shareholders.

Current Committees of the Board

As discussed above, the Board has established an Audit Committee and a Governance Committee, each composed of all of the Non-Interested Directors of Meridian. The Audit Committee approves the engagement and monitors the performance of the Funds’ independent registered public accountants and reviews the audit plan and results of audits. The Audit Committee meets from time to time with the Funds’ independent accountants to exchange views and information and to assist the full Board in fulfilling its responsibilities relating to corporate accounting and reporting practices. There were two Audit Committee meetings held during the fiscal year.

The Board has also established a QLCC, composed of the members of the Audit Committee. The QLCC reviews and investigates any material violations reported by an attorney in connection with the “up the ladder” reporting requirements. This reporting requirement requires an attorney to report evidence of a material violation of securities law, breach of fiduciary duty or similar violation. The QLCC did not meet during the fiscal year.

The Governance Committee makes recommendations to the Board on issues related to the Non-Interested Directors and the composition and operation of the Board, as well as matters relating to Board and Committee member compensation. The Governance Committee is also responsible for those duties normally performed by a nominating committee. The Governance Committee met one time during the fiscal year.

 

17


Pursuant to the Governance Committee’s charter, only Non-Interested Directors may nominate or appoint, as applicable, persons to become Non-Interested Directors for the Funds.

The Governance Committee has adopted procedures by which a shareholder may properly submit a nominee recommendation for the Committee’s consideration, which are set forth in the Governance Committee Charter. Any submission should be sent to Meridian’s Secretary at the address provided above and include at a minimum the following information: as to each individual proposed for election or re-election as Director, the name, age, business address, residence address and principal occupation or employment of such individual, the class, series and number of shares of stock of any Fund that are beneficially owned by such individual, the date such shares were acquired and the investment intent of such acquisition, whether such stockholder believes such individual would or would not qualify as a Non-Interested Director, and information regarding such individual that is sufficient, in the discretion of the Governance Committee, to make such determination, and all other information relating to such individual that is required to be disclosed in solicitation of proxies for election of board members in an election contest (even if an election contest is not involved) or is otherwise required, in each case pursuant to Regulation 14A (or any successor provision) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the rules thereunder (including such individual’s written consent to being named in the proxy statement as a nominee and to serving as a Director (if elected)).

In the case of any meeting of shareholders for the election of Directors, shareholder submissions will be considered for inclusion in a Fund’s proxy statement only if submitted by a date not earlier than the 365th calendar day before, and not later than the 60th calendar day before, the date on which the Board has set a meeting date for the shareholder meeting at which the election of Directors is to be considered. Any such submission must also contain such information as may be required by any relevant rule or regulation.

Director Qualifications

The following is a summary of the particular professional and other experiences of each Director. Meridian believes that each Director is competent to serve because of his individual overall merits, including: (i) experience, (ii) qualifications, (iii) personal attributes and (iv) individual skills.

Mr. Arnold has extensive leadership experience in the financial services industry, having held leadership positions at various investment management firms for over 20 years. As President of Dividend Capital Diversified Property Fund, Mr. Arnold oversaw all aspects of a $2.9 billion real estate investment trust (“REIT”) and he is currently the President of Hunt Development Group, a commercial real estate investment firm. Mr. Arnold also served as a member of the Board of Directors for Steele Street Bank & Trust and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Hospital of Colorado Finance Committee. Mr. Arnold received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, and has been working in the financial services industry since his graduation in 1990.

Mr. Emrich has significant experience in the investment management and financial services industry. Mr. Emrich is a Chartered Financial Analyst and served as a financial analyst or portfolio manager for over 13 years for various investment advisory firms. Prior to such positions he also performed business valuations and appraisal analyses at KPMG Peat Marwick, an accounting firm.

Mr. Erickson has significant leadership and financial management experience, previously serving as Chairman of the Board and Chief Financial Officer of AeroAstro for nearly 9 years, and as a Director on the Board of Directors of Decimal, Inc., an online IRA administration company. He has served as a certified public accountant for Coopers & Lybrand, an accounting firm, and has served as Chief Financial Officer for several companies. Mr. Erickson holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Mr. Glavin also provides the Board with strong management acumen as he has served as CEO and Chairman of Orchestra Therapeutics, Inc. (formerly known as Immune Response Corp.), a biopharmaceutical company and as a board member for Althea Tech, a privately held biotechnology company.

Mr. Keely has significant experience in the investment management and financial services industry having served as a portfolio manager for over 20 years at Founders Asset Management, Janus Capital Group, and now Borgen Investment Group. While Mr. Keely was serving as portfolio manager for Founders Growth Fund, the fund was named in Money magazine’s “100 Best Mutual Funds in the World” in 1998. Mr. Keely holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Colorado College, where he graduated magna cum laude and is also a certified Chartered Financial Analyst.

Mr. Stolper served as the President of Stolper & Co., Inc., an investment adviser for over 35 years. Based upon his years of experience, he possesses a keen understanding of the securities industry and the regulatory framework applicable to it, including the Funds. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Finance.

 

18


Meridian does not believe that any one factor is determinative in assessing a Director’s qualifications, but that the collective experience of each Director makes them highly qualified.

Board Risk Oversight

The Funds are subject to certain risks, including investment, compliance, operational and valuation risks. Like most mutual funds, the day-to-day business of the Funds, including the management of risk, is performed by third-party service providers such as the Investment Adviser. The Board is responsible for overseeing the Service Providers and, thus has oversight responsibility with respect to risk management performed by Service Providers. Risk oversight is addressed as part of the various activities of the Board and its committees. The full Board regularly engages in discussions of risk management and receives, among other reports and information, compliance reports that inform its oversight of risk management from the CCO at each meeting and on an ad hoc basis, when and if necessary. In addition, the Board and the Non-Interested Directors have access to the CCO, Meridian’s independent registered public accounting firm and legal counsel for consultation to assist them in performing their oversight responsibilities. Also, the Audit Committee, which receives reports from the independent registered public accounting firm, considers financial and reporting risk within its area of responsibilities. From its review of reports and discussions with the Investment Adviser, the CCO, the independent registered public accounting firm and other service providers, the Board and the Audit Committee are informed in detail about the material risks of the Funds, thereby facilitating a dialogue about how management and service providers identify and mitigate those risks.

The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the Funds can be identified and/or quantified, 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) in pursuit of the Funds’ goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address various risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Directors as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the pertinent information. Most of the Funds’ investment management and business affairs are carried out by or through the Investment Adviser and other Service Providers, each of which has an independent interest in risk management but whose policies and the methods by which one or more risk management functions are carried out may differ from the Funds’ and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result, the Board’s ability to monitor and manage risk, as a practical matter, is subject to certain limitations.

PRINCIPAL HOLDERS AND CONTROL PERSONS

As of December 1, 2022, the Directors and Officers of Meridian, as a group, owned beneficially less than 1.00% of the Meridian Growth Fund, the Meridian Contrarian Fund and the Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund. As of the same date, the Directors and Officers of Meridian, as a group, owned beneficially 25.11% of Legacy Class shares of the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund.

As of December 1, 2022, the name, address and percentage of ownership of each person who may be deemed to be a “principal holder” (i.e., owns of record or is known by Meridian to own beneficially 5% or more of any class of a Fund’s outstanding shares) or “control person” (i.e., owns of record or is known by Meridian to own 25% or more of a Fund’s outstanding shares) is listed below.

Accordingly, as of the date of this SAI, there were no “principal holders” or “control persons” with respect to the other share classes that are offered by the Funds.

From time to time, the Funds may have individual shareholders holding a significant percentage of a Fund’s shares outstanding. Investment activities of these shareholders could have a material impact on the Funds.

Principal Holder and Control Person Ownership

As of December 1, 2022, the persons listed below were known to own, beneficially or of record, 5% or more of the Funds’ outstanding shares:

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Growth Fund

Class A Shares

  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

     34.55%1      Record
  

LPL Financial

4707 Executive Drive

San Diego, California 92121-3091

     14.36%      Record
  

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit of Customers of MSSB

1 New York Plaza 12th Floor

New York, NY 10004-1901

     11.75%      Record
  

BNY Mellon Investor Services Trust Company

For the Benefit of Rolf Beers

Derby, Kansas 67037-3171

     7.12%      Record
  

BNY Mellon Investor Services Trust Company

For the Benefit of Leslie Beers

Derby, Kansas 67037-3171

     7.11%      Record

 

19


Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Growth Fund

Class C Shares

  

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit of Customers of MSSB

1 New York Plaza 12th Floor

New York, NY 10004-1901

     26.29%1      Record
  

Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit of Customer

2801 Market Street

Saint Louis, Missouri 63103

     5.93%      Record

 

1 

The beneficial ownership, either directly or indirectly, of more than 25% of the voting securities of a fund creates a presumption of control of the fund under § 2(a)(9) of the 1940 Act.

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Growth Fund

Investor Class Shares

  

National Financial Services LLC

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, NJ 07310

     21.33%      Record
  

Pershing LLC

1 Pershing Plaza

Jersey City, New Jersey 07399-0002

     13.86%      Record
  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

     10.77%      Record
  

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit of Customers of MSSB

1 New York Plaza 12th Floor

New York, NY 10004-1901

     10.08%      Record
  

Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith

4800 Deer Lake Drive East

Jacksonville, Florida 33426

     8.56%      Record
  

Raymond James

Omnibus For Mutual Funds

880 Carillon Parkway

St. Petersburg, Florida 33716

     6.46%      Record

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Growth Fund

Legacy Class Shares

  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105

     20.47%      Record
  

National Financial Services LLC

For The Exclusive Benefit Of Our Customers

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, New Jersey 07310-2010

     18.90%      Record
  

TD Ameritrade Incorporated

For the Exclusive Benefit Of Our Clients

PO Box 2226

Omaha, Nebraska 68103-2226

     5.20%      Record

 

20


Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Growth Fund

Institutional Class Shares

  

National Financial Services LLC

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, New Jersey 07310-2010

     57.15%2      Record
  

PIMS/Prudential Retirement

4700 Daybreak Parkway

South Jordan, UT 84009

     8.29%      Record
  

T Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services Incorporated

For the Benefit of Retirement Plan Clients

4515 Painters Mill Road

Owings Mills, Maryland 21117

     6.22%      Record
  

JM Huber Smid Fund

5780 Powers Ferry Road NW

Atlanta, Georgia 30327

     5.26%      Record

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Contrarian Fund

Class A Shares

  

National Financial Services LLC

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, NJ 07310

     36.63%2      Record
  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

    
26.58%2
 
 
   Record
  

Pensel Farms Inc.

25154 Hazel Road

Elkport Iowa, 52044-8315

     6.17%      Record
  

LPL Financial

4707 Executive Drive

San Diego, California 92121-3091

     5.68      Record

 

2 

The beneficial ownership, either directly or indirectly, of more than 25% of the voting securities of a fund creates a presumption of control of the fund under § 2(a)(9) of the 1940 Act.

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Contrarian Fund

Class C Shares

  

Raymond James

Omnibus For Mutual Funds

880 Carillon Parkway

St. Petersburg, Florida 33716

     34.20%3      Record
  

National Financial Services LLC

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, NJ 07310

     25.99%3      Record
  

LPL Financial

4707 Executive Drive

San Diego, California 92121-3091

     10.09%      Record
  

TD Ameritrade

For the Exclusive Benefit Of Ronald E Stadnicki

409 Chestnut Drive

Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania 17007-9572

     5.28%      Record

 

21


Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Contrarian Fund

Investor Class Shares

  

Raymond James

Omnibus For Mutual Funds

880 Carillon Parkway

St. Petersburg, Florida 33716

     46.49%3      Record
  

Pershing LLC

1 Pershing Plaza

Jersey City, New Jersey 07399-0002

     14.98%      Record
  

LPL Financial

4707 Executive Drive

San Diego, California 92121-3091

     12.29%      Record

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Contrarian Fund

Legacy Class Shares

  

National Financial Services LLC

For The Exclusive Benefit Of Our Customers

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, New Jersey 07310-2010

     15.92%      Record
  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

     15.79%      Record
  

TD Ameritrade Incorporated

For the Exclusive Benefit of Our Clients

PO Box 2226

Omaha, Nebraska 68103-2226

     5.08%      Record

 

3 

The beneficial ownership, either directly or indirectly, of more than 25% of the voting securities of a fund creates a presumption of control of the fund under § 2(a)(9) of the 1940 Act.

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund

Class A Shares

  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

     63.06%4      Record
  

BNY Mellon Investor Services Trust Company

Individual Retirement Account of

Robert Cunningham and Mark Cunningham

Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904-1666

     9.79%      Record
  

Pershing LLC

1 Pershing Plaza

Jersey City, New Jersey 07399-0002

     7.71%      Record
  

J. P. Morgan Securities LLC

4 Chase Metrotech Center

Brooklyn, New York 11245-0001

     7.52%      Record

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund

Class C Shares

   Jenna C Thorstenson and Kim A Thorstenson Jtwros      30.25%4      Record
   Noelle E Thorstenson and Kim A Thorstenson Jtwros      30.25%4      Record
   Kaedra M Thorstenson and Kim A Thorstenson Jtwros      30.12%4      Record
  

TD Ameritrade Incorporated

For the Benefit of Elena Gerasimovich

7344 E. Ridge Point Road

Tucson, Arizona 85750-6261

     9.38%      Record

 

22


Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund

Investor Class Shares

  

Ronald Kline and Suzanne R. Kline

Nashville, Tennessee 37210-0000

     68.70%4      Record
  

Pershing LLC

1 Pershing Plaza

Jersey City, New Jersey 07399-0002

     10.76%      Record
  

National Financial Services LLC

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, New Jersey 07310-2010

     6.00%      Record
  

LPL Financial

4707 Executive Drive

San Diego, California 92121-3091

     5.97%      Record

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

  

Percentage Ownership

   Capacity  

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund

Legacy Class Shares

  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

   40.03%4      Record  
  

BNY Mellon Investor Services Trust Company

For the Benefit of Clyde Pitts

Studio City, California 91604-3613

   9.19%      Record  
  

TD Ameritrade Incorporated

For the Exclusive Benefit of Our Clients

PO Box 2226

Omaha, Nebraska 68103-2226

   8.62%      Record  
  

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit of Customers of MSSB

New York Plaza 12th Floor

New York, NY 10004-1901

   6.11%      Record  

 

4 

The beneficial ownership, either directly or indirectly, of more than 25% of the voting securities of a fund creates a presumption of control of the fund under § 2(a)(9) of the 1940 Act.

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Small Cap

Growth Fund

Class A Shares

  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

     30.09%5      Record
  

National Financial Services LLC

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, NJ 07310

     10.63%      Record
  

City of Mesa Trustee

C/O Fascore LLC

8515 E Orchard Road 2T2

Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111

     8.99%      Record
  

Raymond James

Omnibus for Mutual Funds

880 Carillon Parkway

St. Petersburg, Florida 33716

     5.41%      Record

 

23


Fund

  

Name and Address

  

Percentage Ownership

   Capacity  

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund

Class C Shares

  

Raymond James

Omnibus for Mutual Funds

880 Carillon Parkway

St. Petersburg, Florida 33716

   23.72%      Record  
  

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit of Customers of MSSB

1 New York Plaza 12th Floor

New York, NY 10004-1901

   12.47%      Record  
  

Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit of Our Customers

2801 Market Street

Saint Louis, Missouri 63103

   6.50%      Record  

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund

Investor Class Shares

  

Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit Of Our Customers

2801 Market Street

Saint Louis, Missouri 63103

     21.99%      Record
  

Charles Schwab & Company, Incorporated

Special Custody Account for the Benefit of Customers

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

     13.45%      Record
  

Maril & Company

C/O Reliance Trust Company WI

4900 West Brown Deer Road

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53223

     12.87%      Record

 

5 

The beneficial ownership, either directly or indirectly, of more than 25% of the voting securities of a fund creates a presumption of control of the fund under § 2(a)(9) of the 1940 Act.

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund

Legacy Class Shares

  

National Financial Services LLC

For the Exclusive Benefit of Our Customers

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, New Jersey 07310-2010

     33.53%6      Record
  

Pershing LLC

1 Pershing Plaza

Jersey City, New Jersey 07399-0002

     26.04%      Record
  

Charles Schwab Reinvestment Account

211 Main Street

San Francisco, California 94105-1905

     24.26%      Record

 

24


Fund

  

Name and Address

   Percentage Ownership     

Capacity

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund

Institutional Class Shares

  

National Financial Services LLC

499 Washington Boulevard

Jersey City, New Jersey 07310-2010

     38.17%6      Record
  

T Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services Incorporated

For the Benefit of Retirement Plan Clients

4515 Painters Mill Road

Owings Mills, Maryland 21117

     13.02%      Record
  

SEI Private Trust Company

C/O Truist ID 866

One Freedom Valley Drive

Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456

     12.76%      Record
  

PIMS/Prudential Retirement

4000 Wellness Dive

Midland, Missouri 48670

     5.57%      Record

 

6 

The beneficial ownership, either directly or indirectly, of more than 25% of the voting securities of a fund creates a presumption of control of the fund under § 2(a)(9) of the 1940 Act.

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

Meridian has retained as investment adviser for the Funds, ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC (the “Investment Adviser”), located at 100 Fillmore St., Suite 325, Denver, CO 80206. The Investment Adviser was founded in 2007 and provides investment management services to the Funds, as well as to high-net-worth individuals and associated trusts, estates, endowments, foundations (separate accounts) and privately offered limited partnerships and corporate vehicles (private funds). The Investment Adviser is 100% privately owned by its principals. David Corkins, a principal, holds a controlling interest in the Investment Adviser.

 

25


Management Agreement—Pursuant to an Investment Management Agreement and Service Agreement between Meridian, on behalf of the Funds, and the Investment Adviser (the “Management Agreement”), the Investment Adviser provides investment advisory services to each Fund, which includes the discretionary authority to manage the investment and reinvestment of the cash and securities in the accounts of each Fund and executing, or causing the execution of, the Funds’ purchase and sale orders.

Under the Management Agreement, the Investment Adviser, in addition to providing investment advisory services, provides persons to perform the executive, administrative, clerical, and bookkeeping functions of Meridian, and provides suitable office space, necessary small office equipment and utilities, and general purpose accounting forms, supplies and postage used at the offices of the Funds. The costs of sales and advertising materials and ordinary operating expenses not assumed by the Funds are borne by the Investment Adviser. The costs and expenses of each Fund that are to be borne by such Fund include, but are not limited to: custodian, stock transfer, and dividend disbursing fees and expenses; costs of the designing, printing and mailing of reports, proxy statements and notices to shareholders; cost of the printing and distributing of prospectuses of the Funds and supplements thereto to the Funds’ shareholders; taxes; expenses of the issuance and redemption of shares of the Funds (including stock certificates, registration and qualification fees and expenses); legal and auditing expenses; compensation, fees, and expenses paid to the Non-Interested Directors; association dues; costs of stationery and forms prepared exclusively for the Funds; and distribution and networking, sub-accounting, and administrative services fees described below. Expenses arising in connection with a Fund or class(es) thereof are charged directly to such Fund or class(es) thereof. Expenses common to all of the Funds (such as, for example, the fees and expenses paid to the Board) are generally allocated to each Fund in proportion to its relative net assets.

The Management Agreement provides for a one-year initial term and continues in effect from year-to-year as to a particular Fund if that continuance is approved at least annually by: (i) either the Board or the vote of a majority (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, and (ii) the vote of a majority of the directors of Meridian who are not parties to the Management Agreement or “interested persons” (as that term is defined in the 1940 Act) of any such party to the Management Agreement, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval.

The Management Agreement is non-assignable and will terminate automatically upon assignment. Either party may terminate the Management Agreement at any time, without penalty, on 60 days’ written notice. Amendments to the Management Agreement require the approval of a majority (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the outstanding voting securities of the Funds. The Investment Adviser shall not be liable under the Management Agreement to Meridian or to shareholders of a Fund for any error of judgment, mistake of law, or for any loss arising out of its obligations to Meridian not involving willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Management Agreement.

As compensation for the services that the Investment Adviser provides to the Funds under the Management Agreement, each Fund pays management fees at an annualized rate of its average daily assets, as described in the Prospectus. As indicated above, with respect to the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund, Meridian Growth Fund and Meridian Contrarian Fund, prior to September 5, 2013, the Previous Investment Adviser was compensated for its services to such Funds at fee rates identical to those payable to the Investment Adviser under the Management Agreement.

For the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, 2021 and 2020, the amounts of the advisory fees earned by the Adviser were:

 

     Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2022
Contractual
Advisory Fees*
     Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2021
Contractual
Advisory Fees*
     Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2020
Contractual
Advisory Fees*
 

Meridian Growth Fund

   $ 15,053,604      $ 16,067,106      $ 15,179,730  

Meridian Contrarian Fund

   $ 6,980,671      $ 6,216,928      $ 5,358,970  

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund

   $ 515,631      $ 504,127      $ 509,232  

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund

   $ 11,849,904      $ 15,381,013      $ 14,998,343  

 

*

The Adviser agreed to waive its investment advisory fees and reimburse operating expenses, to the extent that total annual operating expenses for the Funds (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, dividend expenses on securities sold short and interest expenses on short sales) exceeds the expense limitations listed below. For a period not to exceed three (3) years from the date on which a waiver or reimbursement in excess of the expense limitation is made by the Adviser, the Funds will carry forward, and may repay the Adviser such amounts; provided, however, that such recapture payments do not cause the Fund’s expense ratio (after recapture) to exceed the lesser of (i) the expense limitation in effect at the time of the waiver or (ii) the expense limitation in effect at the time of the recapture. With respect to these limits, the Adviser waived the fees listed below.

 

26


     Expense
Limitation
    Total Waivers and
Reimbursements
for the year ended
06/30/22
 

Meridian Growth Fund

    

Class A

     1.55   $ —    

Class C

     2.25   $ —    

Investor Class

     1.30   $ —    

Institutional Class

     0.90   $ —    

Meridian Contrarian Fund

    

Class A

     1.60   $ —    

Class C

     2.20   $ —    

Investor Class

     1.35   $ —    

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund

    

Class A

     1.60   $ —    

Class C

     2.00   $ 75  

Investor Class

     1.35   $ —    

Legacy Class

     1.25   $ —    

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund

    

Class A

     1.60   $ —    

Class C

     2.25   $ —    

Investor Class

     1.35   $ —    

Legacy Class

     1.20   $ —    

Institutional Class

     1.10   $ —    

PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT

Mr. Chad Meade and Mr. Brian Schaub, CFA, serve as Co-Portfolio Managers of the Meridian Growth Fund and Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund and have responsibility for the day-to-day management of such Funds. Mr. James England, CFA serves as the Portfolio Manager of the Meridian Contrarian Fund and has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Mr. Clay Freeman serves as the Portfolio Manager of the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund and has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Fund.

The following tables provide information about funds and accounts, other than the Funds, for which the Funds’ portfolio managers are primarily responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management as of June 30, 2022.

James England, CFA

 

Type of Accounts

   Total
# of Accounts
Managed
     Total Assets
(millions)
     # of Accounts Managed
with Performance-
Based
Advisory Fee
     Total Assets with
Performance-Based
Advisory Fee (millions)
 

Registered Investment Companies:

     —        $ —          —        $ —    

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles:

     —        $ —          —        $ —    

Other Accounts:

     —        $ —          —        $ —    

Chad Meade

 

Type of Accounts

   Total
# of Accounts
Managed
     Total Assets
(millions)
     # of Accounts Managed
with Performance-
Based
Advisory Fee
     Total Assets with
Performance-Based
Advisory Fee (millions)
 

Registered Investment Companies:

     5      $ 3,937        2      $ 3,180  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles:

     —        $ —          —        $ —    

Other Accounts:

     24      $ 1,333        2      $ 92  

 

27


Brian Schaub, CFA

 

Type of Accounts

   Total
# of Accounts
Managed
     Total Assets
(millions)
     # of Accounts Managed
with Performance-
Based
Advisory Fee
     Total Assets with
Performance-Based
Advisory Fee (millions)
 

Registered Investment Companies:

     5      $ 3,937        2      $ 3,180  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles:

     —        $ —          —        $ —    

Other Accounts:

     24      $ 1,333        2      $ 92  

Clay Freeman

 

Type of Accounts

   Total
# of Accounts
Managed
     Total Assets
(millions)
     # of Accounts Managed
with Performance-
Based
Advisory Fee
     Total Assets with
Performance-Based
Advisory Fee (millions)
 

Registered Investment Companies:

     —        $ —          —        $ —    

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles:

     —        $ —          —        $ —    

Other Accounts:

     1      $ 1        —        $ —    

Description of Compensation

Compensation for portfolio managers is designed to link the performance of each portfolio manager to shareholder objectives. All portfolio manager compensation is paid by the Investment Adviser.

The total compensation of a portfolio manager will be based on a combination of the performance of each Fund managed by the portfolio manager against such Fund’s benchmark(s) as well as against its relevant peer group, with primary emphasis given to 3 year performance. Peer groups may include Lipper, Morningstar, and other customized universes of funds managed. Portfolio managers are incentivized for outperformance, but not in a manner intended to encourage undue risk taking by portfolio managers.

Potential Conflicts of Interest

Potential conflicts of interest could include a portfolio manager’s knowledge about the size, timing and possible market impact of a Fund’s trades, whereby the portfolio manager could use this information to the advantage or disadvantage of another Fund. A Fund’s portfolio managers may be able to select or otherwise influence the selection of the brokers and dealers that are used to execute securities transactions for a Fund. In addition to executing trades, some brokers and dealers provide managers with brokerage research services, which may result in the payment of higher brokerage fees than might have otherwise been available. These services may be more beneficial to certain Funds or accounts than to others. Although the payment of brokerage commissions is subject to the requirement that the portfolio manager determine in good faith that the commissions are reasonable in relation to the value of the brokerage and research services provided to a Fund, a portfolio manager’s decision as to the selection of brokers and dealers could potentially yield disproportionate costs and benefits among the individual Funds.

The Funds’ portfolio managers and analysts may also face other potential conflicts of interest in managing the Funds, and the description above is not a complete description of every conflict that could be deemed to exist in managing both the Funds and other accounts. In addition, the portfolio managers or analysts may also manage other accounts (including their personal assets or the assets of family members) in their personal capacity. The management of these accounts may also involve certain of the potential conflicts described above. Investment personnel, including the portfolio managers and analysts, are subject to restrictions on engaging in personal securities transactions pursuant to a Code of Ethics adopted by the Investment Adviser and the Funds. Although the potential for conflicts of interest may exist, the Funds and the Investment Adviser believe that they have established policies and procedures that seek to minimize potential conflicts of interest and to ensure that the purchase and sale of securities among all managed accounts are fairly and equitably executed and allocated.

Ownership of Securities—The following table sets forth the dollar range of equity securities beneficially owned by each portfolio manager, as of June 30, 2022.

 

Name of Portfolio Manager

  

Dollar Ranges of Equity Securities Beneficially Owned by Portfolio Manager

James England

  

Meridian Contrarian Fund – (Over $1,000,000)

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund – ($100,001 – $500,000)

 

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Name of Portfolio Manager

  

Dollar Ranges of Equity Securities Beneficially Owned by Portfolio Manager

Chad Meade

  

Meridian Growth Fund – (Over $1,000,000)

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund – ($500,001 – $1,000,000)

Brian Schaub

  

Meridian Growth Fund – (Over $1,000,000)

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund – (Over $1,000,000)

Clay Freeman

  

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund – ($50,001 – $100,000)

Codes of Ethics—The Funds and the Investment Adviser have adopted a personal investing policy consistent with the rules and regulations under the 1940 Act and the Investment Company Institute guidelines as well as the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as applicable. These Codes of Ethics include: a ban on acquisitions of securities pursuant to an initial public offering; restrictions on acquisitions of private placement securities; pre-clearance and transaction reporting requirements; review of duplicate confirmation statements; annual certification of compliance with the Code of Ethics; disclosure of personal holdings by certain investment personnel prior to recommendation for purchase for the fund; blackout periods on personal investing for certain investment personnel; ban on short-term trading profits for investment personnel; limitations on service as a director of publicly traded companies; and disclosure of personal securities transactions. The Codes of Ethics are on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission as an exhibit to the Funds’ registration statement.

The Distributor (defined below) has also adopted a Code of Ethics that complies with the provisions of Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act.

Proxy Voting Policies—The Board has adopted Proxy and Corporate Action Voting Policies and Procedures (“Policies”) on behalf of the Funds which delegate the responsibility for voting proxies to the Investment Adviser, subject to the Board’s continuing oversight. The Investment Adviser will vote such proxies in accordance with the Policies, which are found in Exhibit B hereto. Any material changes to the Policies will be submitted to the Board for approval.

Meridian is required to file on Form N-PX the Funds’ complete proxy voting record for the 12 months ended June 30th, no later than August 31st of each year. Form N-PX for each Fund is available without charge, upon request, by calling toll-free at 1-800-446-6662, on the Meridian Fund, Inc. website at www.arrowmarkpartners.com/meridian and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

The Distributor

ALPS Distributors, Inc., located at 1290 Broadway, Suite 1000, Denver, Colorado 80203 (the “Distributor”), has entered into a distribution agreement with Meridian. The Distributor and its affiliates may pay commissions, distribution fees and/or other compensation to entities for selling Fund shares and providing certain distribution-related services to the Funds’ shareholders. The Distributor may also receive, and may direct to other eligible financial intermediaries, compensation for providing networking, sub-accounting, and administrative services, as further described below.

The Funds have adopted a distribution plan (the “Distribution Plan”) under Section 12(b) of the 1940 Act and Rule 12b-1 thereunder for certain share classes. The Distribution Plan, which could be a significant factor in the growth and retention of a Fund’s assets resulting in more advantageous expense ratios and increased investment flexibility that could benefit each class of Fund shareholders, was adopted by the Board, including a majority of the Non-Interested Directors who had no direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the Distribution Plan or in any agreement related to the Distribution Plan.

Distribution Obligations

Pursuant to the Distribution Agreement, the Distributor, as agent, sells shares of the Funds on a continuous basis and transmits purchase and redemption orders that it receives to Meridian or the Transfer Agent, or their designated agents. Additionally, the Distributor has agreed to use appropriate efforts to solicit orders for the sale of shares and to undertake advertising and promotion as it believes appropriate in connection with such solicitation. Pursuant to the Distribution Agreement, the Distributor, at its own expense, finances services rendered in connection with, and activities that are primarily intended to result in, the sale and distribution of shares of the Funds, including, but not limited to, advertising, compensation of underwriters, dealers and sales personnel, the printing and mailing of prospectuses to other than existing shareholders, and the printing and mailing of sales literature. The Distributor, however, may be compensated or reimbursed for all or a portion of such expenses to the extent permitted by the Distribution Plan.

The Distribution Agreement became effective with respect to the Funds after approval by its Board, and, after an initial two-year period, will continue from year-to-year, provided that such continuation of the Distribution Agreement is specifically approved at least annually by the Board, including the Non-Interested Directors. The Distribution Agreement terminates automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable with respect to a Fund or the Funds at any time without penalty by Meridian (by vote of the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund) or by the Distributor on 60 days’ written notice.

 

29


Underwriting Commissions Paid by the Funds

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, no Fund paid compensation to any principal underwriter. In addition, no underwriting commissions were charged or amounts were retained by the principal underwriters.

Distribution Plan

The Board has approved, and the Funds have adopted, a distribution plan covering certain share classes of the Funds, which sets the distribution fees that are periodically deducted from a Fund’s assets (“Distribution Fees”). Under the plan, the Funds may pay the Distributor and/or eligible banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies and other entities (generally referred to as “financial intermediaries”) a fee for services and expenses related to the sale and distribution of certain share classes for as long as the distribution plan continues in effect, which currently is expected to be indefinitely. The Funds may reduce or discontinue such payments at any time. The Distribution Fees are calculated daily, vary by share class and are intended to compensate the Distributor and/or eligible financial intermediaries for rendering services in connection with the sale and distribution of Fund shares.

Under the terms of the distribution plan, the Funds are authorized to make payments to the Distributor for remittance to financial intermediaries, as compensation for distribution-related services performed by such entities for their customers, or to be retained by the Distributor for its performance of such services.

Financial intermediaries are required to meet certain conditions in order to be eligible to receive Distribution Fees.

The table below shows the maximum annual distribution fees (generally paid monthly and calculated based on an annual percentage of average daily net assets):

 

Share Class

   Distribution Fee  

Class A Shares

     0.25

Class C Shares1

     1.00

Investor Class Shares

     0.00

Legacy Class Shares

     0.00

Institutional Class Shares

     0.00

 

1 

Up to 0.75% of this fee is for distribution services and up to 0.25% of this fee is for shareholder services.

The Distribution Fees for the Funds’ share classes, as applicable, are subject to the requirements of Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. The Distributor is entitled to retain some or all of the fees payable under the distribution plan in certain circumstances, including, for example, when there is no broker of record, when certain qualification standards have not been met by the broker of record, or for distribution-related services provided by the Distributor. If a shareholder maintains shares of the Funds directly with the Funds, without working directly with a financial intermediary, Distribution Fees may be retained by the Distributor as payment or reimbursement for incurring certain distribution-related expenses.

Networking, Sub-Accounting, and Administrative Services Fees

Select financial intermediaries may enter into arrangements with the Funds, or its designees, to perform certain networking, recordkeeping, sub-accounting and/or administrative services for shareholders of the Funds. In consideration for providing these services in an automated environment, such financial intermediaries may receive compensation from the Funds. Any such compensation by the Funds to these select financial intermediaries for the aforementioned services is in addition to, and distinct from, any Rule 12b-1 related services provided to Fund shareholders.

 

30


Fees Paid

Actual fees paid under the Distribution Plan during the fiscal year-ended June 30, 2022, were as follows:

 

     During Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2022
Paid from
Distribution Fees –
Class A
     During Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2022
Paid from
Distribution Fees –
Class C
 

Meridian Growth Fund

   $ 13,855      $ 24,148  

Meridian Contrarian Fund

   $ 6,553      $ 3,302  

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund

   $ 5,412      $ 438  

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund

   $ 75,945      $ 67,013  

Other Financial Intermediary Compensation

As described in the Prospectus, the Distributor, the Investment Adviser and their affiliates may make payments, from their own resources, to financial intermediaries for marketing/sales support services relating to the Funds (“Marketing Support Payments”). Marketing Support Payments are in addition to Distribution Fees and Networking, Sub-Accounting, and Administrative Services Fees that may be paid to eligible financial intermediaries, including the Distributor, as appropriate. Such payments are generally based upon one or more of the following factors: average net assets of a Fund sold by the Distributor attributable to that financial intermediary, gross sales of a Fund distributed by the Distributor attributable to that financial intermediary, reimbursement of ticket charges (fees that a financial intermediary charges its representatives for effecting transactions in Fund shares) or a negotiated lump sum payment. While the financial arrangements may vary for each financial intermediary, the Distributor, the Investment Adviser and their affiliates may make increased payments on a basis other than those described above when dealing with certain financial intermediaries. Such increased payments may enable such financial intermediaries to offset credits that they may provide to customers.

In addition to the payments described above, the Distributor, the Investment Adviser and their affiliates may make other payments or allow promotional incentives to broker-dealers to the extent permitted by the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority rules and by other applicable laws and regulations.

Amounts paid by the Distributor, the Investment Adviser and their affiliates are paid out of their own resources and do not increase the amount paid by you or the Funds. You can find further details in the SAI under “Other Financial Intermediary Compensation” about the payments made by the Distributor, the Investment Adviser and their affiliates, if any, to which the Distributor and the Investment Adviser have agreed to make Marketing Support Payments.

Your financial intermediary may charge you fees and commissions in addition to those described in the prospectus. You should consult with your financial intermediary and review carefully any disclosure your financial intermediary provides regarding its services and compensation. Depending on the financial arrangement in place at any particular time, a financial intermediary and its financial advisors may have a financial incentive for recommending a Fund or a particular share class over others.

ADDITIONAL SERVICE PROVIDERS

Fund Counsel—Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, located at 1550 17th Street, Suite 500, Denver, CO 80202, acts as counsel to Meridian on various matters.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm—Cohen & Company, Ltd., located at 1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 800, Cleveland, Ohio 44115, has been appointed as the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm for Meridian. The financial statements of the Funds as of June 30, 2022, incorporated by reference in the SAI have been so included in reliance on the report of Cohen & Company, Ltd. given on the authority of said firm as experts in accounting and auditing.

Administration Assistance Services—The Bank of New York Mellon, 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York, 10286, provides administration assistance services to the Funds, including assistance in preparing annual and semi-annual shareholder reports, calculating performance data, and assisting with filing various SEC reports. With respect to the Meridian Growth Fund, The Bank of New York Mellon received administration assistance fees of $9,000, $9,000 and $9,000 for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2020, respectively. With respect to the Meridian Contrarian Fund, The Bank of New York Mellon received administration assistance fees of $9,000, $9,000 and $9,000 for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2020, respectively. With respect to the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund, The Bank of New York Mellon received administration assistance fees of $9,000, $9,000 and $9,000 for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2020, respectively. With respect to the Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund, The Bank of New York Mellon received administration assistance fees of $9,000, $9,000 and $9,000 for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2020. Fees for administration assistance services are paid by the Investment Adviser.

 

31


Transfer Agent—BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc., located at 103 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19809 (“BNY Mellon”), serves as Transfer Agent, redemption, dividend disbursing agent and may, in certain circumstances, serve as shareholder servicing agent for a Fund.

Custodian—The Bank of New York Mellon, located at 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York, 10286, serves as the Funds’ custodian pursuant to a Custodian Services Agreement. In such capacity, the custodian holds or arranges for the holding of all portfolio securities and other assets of the Funds.

Accounting Services—The Bank of New York Mellon provides the Funds with accounting services under an Accounting Services Agreement. With respect to the Meridian Growth Fund, The Bank of New York Mellon received accounting fees of $184,050, $215,658 and $207,017 for the fiscal years ended, June 30, 2022, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2020, respectively. With respect to the Meridian Contrarian Fund, The Bank of New York Mellon received accounting fees of $77,527, $69,862 and $63,688 for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2020, respectively. With respect to the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund, The Bank of New York Mellon received accounting fees of $24,827, $24,575 and $24,759 for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2020, respectively. With respect to the Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund, The Bank of New York Mellon received accounting fees of $117,407, $237,497 and $243,518 for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2020, respectively.

EXECUTION OF PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS

Orders for a Fund’s portfolio securities transactions are placed by the Investment Adviser. The Investment Adviser has discretionary authority to select brokers to execute client transactions and negotiate commission rates with these executing brokers consistent with its best execution obligations. The Board will monitor executions of portfolio transactions periodically to ensure that the best execution objective continues to be paramount in the selection of executing broker-dealers. Meridian does not consider that it has an obligation to obtain the lowest available commission rate to the exclusion of price, service and other qualitative considerations.

The Investment Adviser’s policy is to attempt to obtain the best net price considering both the execution price and the commission rate paid. Trades are typically executed through either an execution-only brokerage firm, an electronic trading system, or a full-service brokerage firm. The following factors are considered when selecting a broker: (1) general execution capability; (2) commission rate; (3) operational capability to communicate, clear and settle transactions; (4) expertise in a certain asset class; (5) historical trading experience; (6) integrity of brokerage personnel; and (7) quality of research services. As a result of any of the above factors, a Fund may pay a higher commission than is available from other brokers.

The Investment Adviser pays for some investment research with a portion of the client commissions (i.e., “soft dollars”) charged on most client transactions. This is accomplished through either a commission sharing arrangement or trading higher volumes with brokers that provide both execution and research. These methods are described in more detail below. The receipt of such research may create an incentive for the Investment Adviser to select or recommend a broker-dealer based on its interest in such services. However, the Investment Adviser limits such arrangements to research and brokerage services within the safe harbor established by Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

Commission sharing agreements are with brokers providing only execution services whereby a certain percentage of the commission dollars is accrued and used to pay for certain research services provided by approved vendors/broker-dealers. These arrangements provide the Investment Adviser with a better understanding of execution costs vs. investment research costs.

The Funds may also be subject to soft dollar arrangements with brokerage firms that allow the Investment Adviser to receive their proprietary investment research or participate in their investment research events. Under these arrangements, the Investment Adviser is expected to direct a minimum amount of brokerage commissions from client transactions to the brokerage firm, which in turn provides quality research, access to investment conferences or access to company investor meetings.

The Investment Adviser will often purchase and/or sell the same securities for many clients. When possible, the Investment Adviser will aggregate the same transactions in the same securities for many clients having the same or similar investment objectives and guidelines. Clients in an aggregated transaction each receive the same price per share or unit, and will pay the same commission rate.

If a Fund participates in a transaction where the Investment Adviser places more than one order to fill all orders in an aggregated transaction, each client in the aggregated transaction receives the average price paid in all orders placed for clients in the same aggregate transaction in the same security on that day and pays its pro rata share of transaction costs. If the Investment Adviser is unable to fill an aggregated transaction completely, and the Fund receives a partial fill of an aggregated transaction, the Investment Adviser allocates the partially filled transaction pro-ratably based on the full order. A Fund may not be included in certain aggregated transactions because of cash availability or if the Investment Adviser determines that such investment is not consistent with such client’s investment objectives and guidelines. The Investment Adviser receives no additional compensation for such aggregation.

While conflicts may arise in the allocation of investment opportunities among its clients, the Investment Adviser’s overall objective is to allocate securities in a fair and equitable manner, depending on the particular facts and circumstances and the needs and financial

 

32


objectives of its various clients, such that allocations are not based upon account performance, applicable fee structures or the appearance of otherwise preferential treatment, and tradable position sizes are retained in each portfolio. Furthermore, the Investment Adviser manages each client account in a personalized manner and considers multiple factors in making allocation decisions including: risk profile, asset exposure, cash availability, current and future liquidity needs, investment objectives and guidelines, current issuer or industry exposure, prior allocations, tax lot matching, option pairing, existing and anticipated market conditions as well as other factors deemed by the Investment Adviser to be appropriate in making investment allocation decisions. Allocation decisions are typically made at the moment an order is placed for a security, unless other considerations, consistent with the policies described here, require a later allocation. The Investment Adviser will seek to allocate investment opportunities believed appropriate for one or more of its clients fairly and equitably over time and consistent with the best interests of all clients involved; however, there can be no assurance that a particular investment opportunity will be allocated in any particular manner.

The Investment Adviser may simultaneously recommend the sale of a particular security for one client and the purchase of the same security for another client if such recommendations are consistent with each client’s investment objectives and guidelines. Therefore, opportunities may arise for the Investment Adviser to effect “cross” transactions between client accounts. Consistent with its fiduciary obligations to each client, applicable law, and the requirements of best execution, the Investment Adviser may, under such circumstances, arrange to have the purchase and sale transaction effected directly between our clients (“cross transactions”).

A Fund may, from time to time, participate in an initial public offering (“IPO”) through an underwriter. A Fund may only be allocated a small portion of the total IPO offering. It is the Investment Adviser’s policy to allocate IPOs only to those accounts that the Investment Adviser considers suitable for such transactions and in accordance with our allocation policies described above and applicable FINRA rules.

For the fiscal years ended June 30, 2022, 2021 and 2020, the Funds paid total brokerage commissions as follows:

 

     Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2022
     Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2021
     Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2020
 

Meridian Growth Fund

   $ 1,422,618      $ 1,125,025      $ 1,596,437  

Meridian Contrarian Fund

   $ 997,103      $ 1,148,292      $ 1,027,595  

Meridian Hedged Equity Fund

   $ 42,623      $ 41,194      $ 87,959  

Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund

   $ 1,678,800      $ 1,251,258      $ 1,720,244  

As of June 30, 2022, the Funds owned no securities of its “regular brokers or dealers” or their parents, as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the 1940 Act.

ACCOUNT RULES AND POLICIES

Short-Term Trading Policy

The Funds are intended for long-term investors and not for those who wish to trade frequently in their shares. The Funds are not intended to accommodate frequent purchases and redemptions of shares by shareholders. Short-term trading (sometimes known as “market timing”) into and out of a Fund, particularly in larger amounts, may harm performance by disrupting portfolio management strategies and by increasing expenses, including brokerage and administrative costs, and may dilute the value of the holdings of other shareholders of a Fund. Short-term trading may cause a Fund to retain more cash than the portfolio manager would normally retain in order to meet unanticipated redemptions or may force a Fund to sell portfolio securities at disadvantageous times to raise the cash needed to meet those redemption or exchange requests. With this in mind, the Board has adopted a Short-Term Trading Policy (the “Policy”). Under the Policy, to discourage short-term trading in Fund shares, each Fund imposes a 2.00% short-term redemption fee when shares of a Fund are redeemed (either by selling or exchanging into another Fund) within 60 days of purchase. The Policy applies to all shares of the Funds except for Class C shares.

The short-term redemption fee does not apply to: (1) shares acquired through reinvestment of dividends and other Fund distributions; (2) systematic purchases and redemptions; (3) required distributions or return of excess contributions from retirement accounts; (4) certain hardship situations such as death or disability; (5) redemptions from certain accounts held through intermediaries that have entered into an agreement with the Fund or its Distributor, including (i) certain employer-sponsored retirement plans; (ii) certain broker wrap fee and other fee-based programs; (iii) certain omnibus accounts where the omnibus account holder does not have the operational capability to impose a redemption fee on its underlying customers’ accounts; and (iv) certain intermediaries that do not have or report to the Fund sufficient information to impose a redemption fee on their customers’ accounts (e.g., certain omnibus accounts where redemptions cannot be tracked to the individual shareholder); or (6) circumstances that may fall within the Funds’ short-term trading prohibitions, but which a Fund may determine in its sole discretion, including, but not limited to, limited waivers of redemption fees in order to comply with the safe harbor for “qualified investment alternatives” under the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

 

33


The Policy specifies that shares will be redeemed in the following order: first, shares acquired through reinvestment of dividends and other fund distributions; second, shares held more than 60 days; and third, shares held for 60 days or less (subject to a 2.00% short-term redemption fee). Holding periods are determined based on a first-in, first-out method. Shareholders will normally comply with the Funds’ policy regarding short-term trading by allowing 60 days to pass after each investment before they sell or exchange a Fund’s shares. Exchanges involve a redemption of shares and are subject to the redemption fee. The Funds may take appropriate action if shares are held longer than 60 days if the trading is disruptive for other reasons such as unusually large trade size. In addition, the Funds reserve the right to suspend or terminate your ability to make further purchases (whether you hold shares directly, or through an intermediary) at any time, and to impose restrictions on purchases or exchanges on conditions that are more restrictive than those that are otherwise stated in the Prospectus. The Funds reserve the right to modify the terms of, or terminate, the short-term redemption fee at any time. The Funds and their agent also reserve the right to refuse any purchase order, at any time, by any investor or group of investors for any reason. The Funds acknowledge that certain intermediaries may impose short-term or frequent trading restrictions that differ from those of the Funds, including such intermediary’s own restrictions or limitations to discourage short-term or excessive trading. You should consult your financial intermediary to find out what trading restrictions, including limitations on exchanges, may apply. The Funds, and their service providers, encourage those financial intermediaries to apply the Policy to their customers who invest indirectly in the Fund.

The Policy is subject to limitations on the Funds’ ability to detect and curtail short-term or disruptive trading practices. Shareholders seeking to engage in short-term trading practices may use a variety of strategies to avoid detection. Despite the best efforts of the Funds or their agents to prevent short-term or disruptive trading, there is no guarantee that the Funds or their agents will be able to identify such shareholders or curtail short-term trading practices. The Funds may receive purchase and redemption orders through financial intermediaries and cannot always identify or reasonably detect excessive short-term trading which may be facilitated by these intermediaries or by the use of omnibus account arrangements offered by these intermediaries to investors. The Transfer Agent will attempt to monitor overall purchase and redemption activity in those accounts to seek to identify patterns that may suggest excessive trading by the underlying owners. If evidence of possible excessive trading activity is observed by the Transfer Agent, the financial intermediary that is the registered owner will be asked to review the account activity, and to confirm to the Transfer Agent and the respective Fund that appropriate action has been taken to curtail any excessive trading activity. Omnibus accounts are commonly used by financial intermediaries and benefit plans. Omnibus accounts allow multiple investors to aggregate their respective share ownership positions and purchase, redeem and exchange Fund shares using a single account where the identity of the individual shareholder(s) is not known to the Funds or their agents. If an individual shareholder in an omnibus account can be identified, they will be subject to the redemption fee.

PURCHASE, REDEMPTION AND PRICING OF SHARES

The Prospectus provides general information concerning the purchase and redemption of each Fund’s shares. The following discussion explains further some of that information and discloses certain policies not presented in the Prospectus.

Effective as of March 1, 2014, Legacy Class shares of each Fund are not available to the public, except under certain limited circumstances including, but not limited to, the following:

 

   

Direct purchases by certain institutional accounts, such as endowments, foundations, corporate plans and public plan investors, which are (i) in the amount of $2,000,000 or greater, and (ii) not subject to any platform, sub-accounting, administrative or networking fees;

 

   

Purchases by shareholders having an investment in any Fund as of the date above and who have continuously maintained an investment in such Fund as of the date of the proposed purchase of Legacy Class shares; or

 

   

Purchases by employees and officers of the Investment Adviser and Meridian, as well as Directors of the Funds.

In addition, effective as of November 1, 2018, the following limited circumstance applies to the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund Legacy Class shares:

 

   

All direct purchases.

The Board of Directors (the “Board”) reserves the right to modify the terms under which Legacy Class shares of any Fund are made available at any time subject to such considerations as it deems appropriate.

 

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Effective as of June 15, 2017, the Meridian Growth Fund no longer accepts offers to purchase Investor Class, Class A and Class C shares of the Fund, unless the purchase is made pursuant to or by:

 

   

Current Investor Class, Class A and Class C shareholders;

 

   

Financial intermediaries and advisors investing on behalf of clients currently invested in the Fund;

 

   

Sponsors of wrap programs or model portfolios who include the Fund as part of a discretionary fee-based program or model portfolio on behalf of current and new clients with pre-approval by the Adviser;

 

   

Existing and new participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans that currently offer the Fund as an investment option; or

 

   

Investment consultants with clients currently invested in the Fund or an exception request for a new client opportunity has been pre-approved by the Adviser.

The Fund will continue to offer Institutional Class shares as described in the Fund’s prospectus and statement of additional information for that share class. The Fund’s Legacy Class shares will continue to be closed to new investors as described in the Fund’s prospectus and statement of additional information for that share class.

The Board reserves the right to re-open the Investor Class, Class A and Class C shares of the Fund to new investors at any time or to modify the extent to which future sales of shares are limited. The Fund reserves the right to permit the establishment of new accounts under circumstances not identified above, and to reject any purchase order or rescind any exception that the Board determines does not benefit the Fund and its shareholders.

Effective as of the close of business on June 30, 2018, the Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund will no longer accept offers to purchase Class A, Class C, and Investor Class shares of the Fund, unless the purchase is made pursuant to or by:

 

   

Current Class A, Class C, and Investor Class shareholders;

 

   

Financial intermediaries and advisors investing on behalf of clients currently invested in the Fund;

 

   

Sponsors of wrap programs or model portfolios who include the Fund as part of a discretionary fee-based program or model portfolio on behalf of current and new clients with pre-approval by the ArrowMark Colorado Holdings, LLC (the “Adviser”);

 

   

Existing and new participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans that currently offer the Fund as an investment option;

 

   

Investment consultants with clients currently invested in the Fund or an exception request for a new client opportunity has been pre-approved by the Adviser.

The Fund will continue to offer Institutional Class shares as described in the Fund’s prospectus and statement of additional information for that share class. The Fund’s Legacy Class shares will continue to be closed to new investors as described in the Fund’s prospectus and statement of additional information for that share class.

The Board reserves the right to re-open the Class A, Class C, and Investor Class shares of the Fund to new investors at any time or to modify the extent to which future sales of shares are limited. The Fund reserves the right to permit the establishment of new accounts under circumstances not identified above, and to reject any purchase order or rescind any exception listed in this supplement that the Board determines does not benefit the Fund and its shareholders.

Pricing of Fund Shares

The price you pay or receive when you buy, sell or exchange shares is a Fund’s next determined net asset value (or “NAV”) per share for a given share class after the Transfer Agent receives all required documents in good order, which means that all required documents pertaining to such purchase, redemption or exchange have been fully completed as determined by the Transfer Agent. NAV is computed as of the close of business of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) each day that it is open for trading, which is typically at 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Orders received before the close of business are typically priced at a Fund’s NAV per share as computed on that day. Orders received after the close of business are typically priced at a Fund’s NAV per share as computed on the next business day.

NAV per share is determined by totaling the value of all portfolio securities, cash and other assets, including accrued interest and dividends, attributable to a class, and subtracting from that all liabilities, including accrued expenses, attributable to a class. The total NAV is divided by the total number of outstanding shares of the class to determine the NAV of each share. Securities in each Fund’s portfolio are valued primarily on market quotes, or, if quotes are not available, by a method that the Board believes would accurately reflect the securities’ fair value. Fair value pricing, for example, may be used for high-yield debt securities when available pricing information is stale or is determined for other reasons not to accurately reflect fair value.

 

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All equity securities are valued at the close of business of the NYSE, which is usually 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Equity securities are valued at the closing price or last sales price on the principal exchange or market on which they are traded; or, if there were no sales that day, at the last reported bid price. Foreign securities shall be valued in U.S. dollars utilizing spot exchange rates at the close of regular trading on the NYSE. However, many securities markets and exchanges outside the U.S. close prior to the close of the NYSE; therefore, the closing prices for securities in such markets or on such exchanges may not fully reflect events that occur after such close but before the close of the NYSE. In those situations, foreign securities will be fair valued pursuant to the policy adopted by the Board, including utilizing a third party pricing service to determine these fair values (as described below).

Fixed income (debt) securities with original or remaining maturities more than 60 days are typically valued at the mean of their quoted bid and asked prices. Short-term fixed income securities of sufficient credit quality with 60 days or less to maturity are typically amortized to maturity based on their cost to a Fund if acquired within 60 days of maturity or, if already held by a Fund on the 60th day, based on the value determined on the 61st day.

Securities and other assets for which reliable market quotations are not readily available will be valued at their fair value as determined by the Investment Adviser under the policy and procedures adopted by, and under the general supervision of, the Board. The Investment Adviser may determine that fair value pricing is appropriate for securities that, for example, are thinly traded or illiquid, or where the Investment Adviser believes that the prices provided by a pricing service are not accurate or where such prices are not available. When fair valuation is employed, the prices of securities used by a Fund to calculate its NAV may differ from quoted or published prices for the same security. For example, a Fund may use fair value pricing if the value of a security it holds has been materially affected by events occurring before the Fund’s pricing time but after the close of the primary markets or exchange on which the security is traded. This most commonly occurs with foreign securities, but may occur in other cases as well. Significant events that may impact the value of securities principally traded in foreign markets (e.g., movement in the U.S. securities market, or other regional and local developments) may occur between the time that foreign markets close and the time that a Fund calculates its NAV. Because the frequency of significant events is not predictable, fair value pricing of certain common stocks may or may not occur on a frequent basis. The fair value prices of portfolio securities generally will be used when it is determined that the use of such prices will have a material impact on the NAV of a Fund.

Fair valuation may have the effect of reducing stale pricing arbitrage opportunities presented by the pricing of Fund shares. However, when a Fund uses fair valuation to price securities, it may value those securities higher or lower than another fund would have priced the security. Also, the use of fair valuation may cause a Fund’s performance to diverge to a greater degree from the performance of various benchmarks used to compare the Fund’s performance because benchmarks generally do not use fair valuation techniques. Because of the judgment involved in fair valuation decisions, there can be no assurance that the value ascribed to a particular security is accurate.

Shares of a Fund will not be priced on the days on which the NYSE is closed for trading, and on the following holidays or days on which the following holidays are observed: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Purchases

Shares of the Funds can generally be purchased only through institutional channels such as financial intermediaries and retirement platforms. Shares or classes of the Funds may be purchased without upfront sales charges by certain retirement plans and clients of investment advisers, but these clients will typically pay asset-based fees for their investment advisers’ advice, which are on top of the Funds’ expenses. Certain shares or classes of the Funds may also be purchased without upfront sales charges or transactional charges by persons who invest through mutual fund “supermarket” programs of certain financial intermediaries that typically do not provide investment recommendations or the assistance of an investment professional.

Certain designated organizations are authorized to receive purchase orders on the Funds’ behalf and those organizations are authorized to designate their agents and affiliates as intermediaries to receive purchase orders. Purchase orders are deemed received by the Funds when authorized organizations, their agents, or affiliates receive the order provided that such designated organizations or their agents or affiliates transmit the order to the Funds within contractually specified periods. The Funds are not responsible for the failure of any designated organization or its agents or affiliates to carry out its obligations to its customers. In order to receive a day’s price, your order for any class of shares must be received in good order by the close of the regular trading session of the NYSE as described above in “Net Asset Value.” Your financial intermediary may charge you a separate or additional fee for processing purchases of shares. Your financial intermediary, plan documents or the Funds’ Prospectus will provide you with detailed information about investing in the Funds.

The expenses to be borne by specific classes of shares may include (i) transfer agency fees attributable to a specific class of shares, (ii) printing and postage expenses related to preparing and distributing materials such as shareholder reports, prospectuses and proxy statements to current shareholders of a specific class of shares, (iii) SEC and state securities registration fees incurred by a specific

 

36


class of shares, (iv) the expense of administrative personnel and services required to support the shareholders of a specific class of shares, (v) litigation or other legal expenses relating to a specific class of shares, (vi) directors’ fees or expenses incurred as a result of issues relating to a specific class of shares, (vii) accounting expenses relating to a specific class of shares and (viii) any additional incremental expenses subsequently identified and determined to be properly allocated to one or more classes of shares.

Class A Shares – The price you pay for Class A shares is the public offering price, which is the NAV next determined after the Fund or its agent receives in good order your order plus an initial sales charge, if applicable, based on the amount invested as set forth in the table. The Fund receives the NAV. The sales charge is allocated between your financial intermediary and the Distributor, as shown in the table, except where the Distributor, in its discretion, allocates up to the entire amount to your financial intermediary. Sales charges, as expressed as a percentage of offering price, a percentage of your net investment, and as a percentage of the sales charge reallowed to financial intermediaries, are shown in the table. The dollar amount of your initial sales charge is calculated as the difference between the public offering price and the NAV of those shares. Since the offering price is calculated to two decimal places using standard rounding criteria, the number of shares purchased and the dollar amount of your sales charge as a percentage of the offering price and of your net investment may be higher or lower than the amounts set forth in the table depending on whether there was a downward or upward rounding.

 

     Class A Shares Sales Charge as a Percentage of:  
Amount of Purchase at Offering Price   

Offering

Price

   

Net Amount

Invested

   

Maximum
Amount of Sales

Charge Reallowed to

Financial

Intermediaries as a

Percentage of

Offering

Price

 

Less than $50,000

     5.75     6.10     5.00

$50,000 but less than $100,000

     4.50     4.71     3.75

$100,000 but less than $250,000

     3.50     3.63     2.75

$250,000 but less than $500,000

     2.50     2.56     2.00

$500,000 but less than $1,000,000

     2.00     2.04     1.60

$1,000,000 or more

     None       None       None  

 

1 

Offering Price includes the initial sales charge.

Below is an example of the method of computing the offering price of Class A shares of the Funds. The example assumes a purchase on June 30, 2022 of Class A shares of the Funds subject to the schedule of sales charges set forth in the Prospectus at a price based upon the net asset value of the Class A shares.

 

    

Meridian

Growth Fund

    

Meridian

Contrarian

Fund

    

Meridian

Hedged

Equity

Fund

    

Meridian

Small Cap

Growth Fund

 

Net asset value per share

   $ 32.16      $ 35.04      $ 11.94      $ 11.31  

Per share sales charge: 5.75% of public offering price (6.10% of
net asset value per share)

   $ 1.96      $ 2.14      $ 0.73      $ 0.69  

Per share offering price to the public

   $ 34.12      $ 37.18      $ 12.67      $ 12.00  

As described in the Prospectus, there are several ways you can combine multiple purchases of Class A shares of the Funds that are offered with a sales charge to take advantage of lower sales charges.

Qualifying for a Reduction or Waiver of Class A Shares Sales Charge – You may be able to lower or eliminate your sales charge on Class A shares under certain circumstances. For example, when purchasing new Class A or Class C shares, you can combine Class A shares and Class C shares you already own (either in this Fund or in certain other Meridian funds) with your current purchase to take advantage of the breakpoints in the sales charge schedule as set forth above. The circumstances under which you may combine such ownership of shares and purchases are described below. If you would like more information on aggregating shares to take advantage of the breakpoints, please contact your financial intermediary.

Class A shares may be offered without an initial sales charge under any of the following conditions:

 

   

purchases of $1 million or more;

 

37


   

purchases for retirement and benefit plans made through financial intermediaries that perform participant recordkeeping or other administrative services for the plans and that have entered into special arrangements with the Fund and/or its distributor, specifically for such purchases (may be subject to a contingent deferred sales charge (“CDSC”);

 

   

purchases made by or on behalf of financial intermediaries for clients that pay the financial intermediaries fees in connection with a fee-based advisory program, provided that the financial intermediaries or their trading agents have entered into special arrangements with the Funds and/or the Distributor specifically for such purchases;

 

   

purchases by investors maintaining a self-directed brokerage account with a registered broker-dealer that has entered into an agreement with the Funds and/or the Distributor to offer Class A shares through a load-waived network or platform, which may or may not charge transaction fees;

 

   

purchases by insurance companies and/or their separate accounts to fund variable insurance contracts, provided that the insurance company provides recordkeeping and related administrative services to the contract owners and has entered into special arrangements with the Funds and/or the Distributor specifically for such purchases;

 

   

registered representatives and other employees of financial intermediaries that have selling agreements with the Funds and/or the Distributor to sell Class A shares;

 

   

purchases by trustees or custodians of any pension or profit sharing plan or payroll deduction IRA for the employees of any consenting securities dealer having a sales agreement with the Funds and/or the Distributor; and

 

   

purchases by (i) directors, officers and employees of Meridian Fund, Inc. and its affiliates, (ii) trustees and officers of the Funds, and (iii) directors and officers of any sub-adviser to a Meridian Fund, Inc., including retired persons who formerly held such positions and immediate family members of such purchasers. (Immediate family members are defined as spouses, domestic partners, parents and children.)

To receive a reduced or waived front-end sales charge, you must let your financial intermediary know at the time of your purchase of Fund shares that you believe you qualify for a discount. These other accounts may include the accounts described under “Aggregating Accounts.” It is possible that your financial intermediary will require documentation, such as an account statement, to prove that the accounts are eligible for aggregation. The Letter of Intent described below requires historical cost information in certain circumstances. You should retain records necessary to show the price you paid to purchase Fund shares, as the Funds, their agents or your financial intermediary may not retain this information.

Conversion of Class C shares to Class A shares. Class C shares of each Fund may automatically convert into Class A shares of the same Fund after they have been held for a certain number of years dependent on intermediary policy. Investors holding Class C shares of the Funds through a financial intermediary in “street name” may be subject to different eligibility requirements regarding the holding of Class C shares of the Funds. In this regard, a financial intermediary may sponsor and/or control accounts, programs or platforms that impose a different conversion schedule or different eligibility requirements for the conversion of Class C shares into Class A shares. In these cases, Class C shares of the Funds may be converted to Class A shares under the policies of the financial intermediary and the conversion may be structured as an exchange of Class C shares for Class A shares of the Funds. Financial intermediaries will be responsible for making such exchanges in those circumstances. Please consult with your financial intermediary if you have any questions regarding your shares’ conversion from Class C shares to Class A shares. To the extent a financial intermediary’s policies provide for no such conversion, investors holding Class C shares through such financial intermediary may be disadvantaged relative to investors holding Class C shares either at the Funds’ transfer agent or through another financial intermediary. Because Class C shares pay higher ongoing asset-based distribution and shareholder servicing fees than Class A shares, financial intermediaries may have a conflict of interest in establishing their relevant conversion schedules and eligibility requirements. Additional information can be found in “Intermediary-Defined Sales Charge Waiver Policies,” contained in the Funds’ Prospectus and Statement of Additional Information.”

Intermediary-Defined Sales Charge Waiver Policies

The availability of certain initial or deferred sales charge waivers and discounts may depend on the particular financial intermediary or type of account through which you purchase or hold Fund shares.

Intermediaries may have different policies and procedures regarding the availability of front-end sales load waivers or contingent deferred (back-end) sales load (“CDSC”) waivers, which are discussed below. In all instances, it is the purchaser’s responsibility to notify the fund or the purchaser’s financial intermediary at the time of purchase of any relationship or other facts qualifying the purchaser for sales charge waivers or discounts. For waivers and discounts not available through a particular intermediary, shareholders will have to purchase fund shares directly from the fund or through another intermediary to receive these waivers or discounts.

 

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Robert W. Baird & Co. (“Baird”):

Effective June 15, 2020, shareholders purchasing fund shares through a Baird platform or account will only be eligible for the following sales charge waivers (front-end sales charge waivers and CDSC waivers) and discounts, which may differ from those disclosed elsewhere in this prospectus or the SAI.

Front-End Sales Charge Waivers on Class A-shares Available at Baird

 

   

Shares purchased through reinvestment of capital gains distributions and dividend reinvestment when purchasing shares of the same Fund

 

   

Shares purchase by employees and registered representatives of Baird or its affiliate and their family members as designated by Baird

 

   

Shares purchased using the proceeds of redemptions from a Fund, provided (1) the repurchase occurs within 90 days following the redemption, (2) the redemption and purchase occur in the same accounts, and (3) redeemed shares were subject to a front-end or deferred sales charge (known as rights of reinstatement)

 

   

A shareholder in a Fund’s Class C Shares will have their shares converted at net asset value to Class A shares of the same Fund if the shares are no longer subject to CDSC and the conversion is in line with the policies and procedures of Baird

 

   

Employer-sponsored retirement plans or charitable accounts in a transactional brokerage account at Baird, including 401(k) plans, 457 plans, employer-sponsored 403(b) plans, profit sharing and money purchase pension plans and defined benefit plans. For purposes of this provision, employer-sponsored retirement plans do not include SEP IRAs, Simple IRAs or SAR-SEPs

CDSC Waivers on Class A and C shares Available at Baird

 

   

Shares sold due to death or disability of the shareholder

 

   

Shares sold as part of a systematic withdrawal plan as described in the Fund’s Prospectus

 

   

Shares bought due to returns of excess contributions from an IRA Account

 

   

Shares sold as part of a required minimum distribution for IRA and retirement accounts due to the shareholder reaching the qualified age based on applicable Internal Revenue Service regulations as described in the Fund’s Prospectus

 

   

Shares sold to pay Baird fees but only if the transaction is initiated by Baird

 

   

Shares acquired through a right of reinstatement

Front-End Sales Charge Discounts Available at Baird: Breakpoints and/or Rights of Accumulations

 

   

Breakpoints as described in this prospectus

 

   

Rights of accumulations which entitles shareholders to breakpoint discounts will be automatically calculated based on the aggregated holding of Fund assets held by accounts within the purchaser’s household at Baird. Eligible Fund assets not held at Baird may be included in the rights of accumulations calculation only if the shareholder notifies his or her financial advisor about such assets

 

   

Letters of Intent (LOI) allow for breakpoint discounts based on anticipated purchases through Baird, over a 13-month period of time

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (“Morgan Stanley”)

Effective July 1, 2018, shareholders purchasing Fund shares through a Morgan Stanley Wealth Management transactional brokerage account will be eligible only for the following front-end sales charge waivers with respect to Class A shares, which may differ from and may be more limited than those disclosed elsewhere in this Fund’s Prospectus or SAI.

Front-end Sales Charge Waivers on Class A Shares Available at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

 

   

Employer-sponsored retirement plans (e.g., 401(k) plans, 457 plans, employer-sponsored 403(b) plans, profit sharing and money purchase pension plans and defined benefit plans). For purposes of this provision, employer-sponsored retirement plans do not include SEP IRAs, Simple IRAs, SAR-SEPs or Keogh plans

 

   

Morgan Stanley employee and employee-related accounts according to Morgan Stanley’s account linking rules

 

39


   

Shares purchased through reinvestment of dividends and capital gains distributions when purchasing shares of the same fund

 

   

Shares purchased through a Morgan Stanley self-directed brokerage account

 

   

Class C (i.e., level-load) shares that are no longer subject to a contingent deferred sales charge and are converted to Class A shares of the same fund pursuant to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s share class conversion program

 

   

Shares purchased from the proceeds of redemptions within the same fund family, provided (i) the repurchase occurs within 90 days following the redemption, (ii) the redemption and purchase occur in the same account, and (iii) redeemed shares were subject to a front-end or deferred sales charge.

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. and each entity’s affiliates (“Raymond James”)

Effective March 1, 2019, shareholders purchasing fund shares through a Raymond James platform or account, or through an introducing broker-dealer or independent registered investment adviser for which Raymond James provides trade execution, clearance, and/or custody services, will be eligible only for the following load waivers (front-end sales charge waivers and contingent deferred, or back-end, sales charge waivers) and discounts, which may differ from those disclosed elsewhere in this fund’s prospectus or SAI.

Front-end sales load waivers on Class A shares available at Raymond James

 

   

Shares purchased in an investment advisory program.

 

   

Shares purchased within the same fund family through a systematic reinvestment of capital gains and dividend distributions.

 

   

Employees and registered representatives of Raymond James or its affiliates and their family members as designated by Raymond James.

 

   

Shares purchased from the proceeds of redemptions within the same fund family, provided (1) the repurchase occurs within 90 days following the redemption, (2) the redemption and purchase occur in the same account, and (3) redeemed shares were subject to a front-end or deferred sales load (known as Rights of Reinstatement).

 

   

A shareholder in the Fund’s Class C shares will have their shares converted at net asset value to Class A shares (or the appropriate share class) of the Fund if the shares are no longer subject to a CDSC and the conversion is in line with the policies and procedures of Raymond James.

CDSC Waivers on Class C shares available at Raymond James

 

   

Death or disability of the shareholder.

 

   

Shares sold as part of a systematic withdrawal plan as described in the fund’s prospectus.

 

   

Return of excess contributions from an IRA Account.

 

   

Shares sold as part of a required minimum distribution for IRA and retirement accounts due to the shareholder reaching the qualified age based on applicable IRS regulations as described in the fund’s prospectus.

 

   

Shares sold to pay Raymond James fees but only if the transaction is initiated by Raymond James.

 

   

Shares acquired through a right of reinstatement.

Front-end load discounts available at Raymond James: breakpoints, rights of accumulation, and/or letters of intent

 

   

Breakpoints as described in this prospectus.

 

   

Rights of accumulation which entitle shareholders to breakpoint discounts will be automatically calculated based on the aggregated holding of fund family assets held by accounts within the purchaser’s household at Raymond James. Eligible fund family assets not held at Raymond James may be included in the calculation of rights of accumulation only if the shareholder notifies his or her financial advisor about such assets.

 

   

Letters of intent which allow for breakpoint discounts based on anticipated purchases within a fund family, over a 13-month time period. Eligible fund family assets not held at Raymond James may be included in the calculation of letters of intent only if the shareholder notifies his or her financial advisor about such assets.

Right of Accumulation. You may purchase Class A shares of a Fund at a reduced sales charge determined by aggregating the dollar amount of the new purchase (measured by the offering price) and the total prior day’s net asset value (net amount invested) of all eligible shares (as set forth herein) and applying the sales charge applicable to such aggregate amount. Shares eligible for aggregation include Class A shares of the Fund and of certain other classes (Class A shares and Class C shares) of Meridian Fund, Inc. funds then held by you, or held in accounts identified under “Aggregating Accounts.” In order for your purchases and holdings to be aggregated

 

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for purposes of qualifying for such discount, they must have been made through one financial intermediary and you must provide sufficient information to your financial intermediary at the time of initial purchase of shares that qualify for the right of accumulation to permit verification that the purchase qualifies for the reduced sales charge. The right of accumulation is subject to modification or discontinuance at any time with respect to all shares purchased thereafter.

Letter of Intent. You can also reduce the sales charge on the purchase of Class A shares by signing a Letter of Intent indicating your intention to purchase $50,000 or more of Class A shares over a 13-month period. The term of the Letter of Intent will commence upon the date you sign the Letter. In order to apply purchases towards the intended amount, you must refer to such Letter when placing all orders. When calculating the applicable sales charge to a purchase pursuant to a Letter of Intent, the amount of investment for purposes of applying the sales load schedule includes: (i) the historical cost (what you actually paid for the shares at the time of purchase, including any sales charges) of all Class A shares acquired during the term of the Letter of Intent; minus (ii) the value of any redemptions of Class A shares made during the term of the Letter of Intent. Each investment made during the period receives the reduced sales charge applicable to the total amount of the investment goal. A portion of shares purchased may be held in escrow to pay for any applicable sales charge. If the goal is not achieved within the period, you must pay the difference between the sales charges applicable to the purchases made and the charges previously paid, or an appropriate number of escrowed shares will be redeemed. Please contact your financial intermediary to obtain a Letter of Intent application.

Aggregating Accounts. In calculating the applicable breakpoint and sales charge on large purchases or those made through the exercise of a Letter of Intent or right of accumulation, investments made by you (and your spouse and children under age 21) on any given day may be aggregated if made for your own account(s) and/or certain other accounts such as: trust accounts established by the above individuals (or the accounts of the primary beneficiary of the trust if the person who established the trust is deceased); solely controlled business accounts; and single participant retirement plans. To receive a reduced sales charge under the right of accumulation or a Letter of Intent, you must notify your financial intermediary of any eligible accounts that you, your spouse and your children under age 21 have at the time of your purchase.

Waivers Specific to Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (“Stifel”)

Effective July 1, 2020, shareholders purchasing Fund shares through a Stifel platform or account or who own shares for which Stifel or an affiliate is the broker-dealer of record are eligible for the following additional sales charge waiver.

Front-end Sales Load Waiver on Class A Shares available at Stifel

 

   

Class C shares that have been held for more than seven (7) years will be converted to Class A shares of the same Fund pursuant to Stifel’s policies and procedures

All other sales charge waivers and reductions described elsewhere in the Funds’ Prospectus or SAI still apply.

Class C Shares—Class C shares of the Funds are purchased at the NAV per share as determined at the close of the regular trading session of the NYSE next occurring after a purchase order is received in good order by the Funds or their authorized agent. The Funds or the Distributor may compensate your financial intermediary at the time of sale at a commission rate of up to 1.00% of the NAV of the Class C shares purchased. Service providers to qualified plans will not receive this amount if they receive 12b-1 fees from the time of initial investment of qualified plan assets in Class C shares.

Distribution Plans

Class A Shares—As described in the Prospectus, Class A shares have adopted a distribution plan (the “Class A Distribution Plan”) in accordance with Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. The Class A Distribution Plan is a compensation type plan and permits the payment at an annual rate of up to 0.25% of the average daily net assets of Class A shares of the Funds for activities that are primarily intended to result in the sale of Class A shares of such Fund. Payments under the Class A Distribution Plan are not tied exclusively to actual expenses, and the payments may exceed expenses actually incurred. The Distributor authorizes the payments to financial intermediaries based on the value of Fund shares held by such intermediaries’ customers.

Class C Shares—As described in the Prospectus, Class C shares have adopted a distribution plan (the “Class C Distribution Plan”) in accordance with Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. The Class C Distribution Plan is a compensation type plan and permits the payment at an annual rate of up to 1.00% of the average daily net assets of Class C shares of the Funds for activities which are primarily intended to result in the sale of Class C shares of such Fund. Payments under the Class C Distribution Plan are not tied exclusively to actual expenses, and the payments may exceed expenses actually incurred.

The Distributor is entitled to retain all fees paid under the Class C Distribution Plan for the first 12 months on any investment in Class C shares to recoup its expenses with respect to the payment of commissions on sales of Class C shares. Financial intermediaries will become eligible for compensation under the Class C Distribution Plan beginning in the 13th month following the purchase of

 

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Class C shares, although the Distributor may, pursuant to a written agreement between the Distributor and a particular financial intermediary, pay such financial intermediary 12b-1 fees prior to the 13th month following the purchase of Class C shares. However, certain financial intermediaries may elect to not receive the initial 1% commission, in which case, the Distributor authorizes the payment of the monthly 12b-1 fees to such financial intermediary beginning on the first month following the purchase of Class C shares as such fees accrue. The Class C shares for which a financial intermediary elects to not receive the initial 1% commission will not be subject to a CDSC.

Renewal, Amendment and Termination—The Class A Distribution Plan and the Class C Distribution Plan (individually each a “Plan” and collectively the “Plans”) and any Rule 12b-1 related agreement that is entered into by the Funds in connection with the Plans will continue in effect for a period of more than one year only so long as continuance is specifically approved at least annually by a vote of a majority of the directors, and of a majority of the directors who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of Meridian and who have no direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the Plans or any related agreements (“Non-interested Directors”). With the exception of the Distributor and its affiliates, no “interested person” of the Funds, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act, and no director of the Funds has a direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the Plans or any related agreement. All material amendments to any Plan must be approved by a majority vote of the directors, including a majority of the Non-interested Directors, at a meeting called for that purpose. In addition, any Plan may be terminated as to the Funds at any time, without penalty, by vote of a majority of the outstanding shares of that class of that Fund or by vote of a majority of the Non-interested Directors.

Redemptions

Redemptions, like purchases, may generally be effected only through institutional channels such as financial intermediaries and retirement platforms. Certain designated organizations are authorized to receive redemption orders on the Funds’ behalf and those organizations are authorized to designate their agents and affiliates as intermediaries to receive redemption orders. Redemption orders are deemed received by the Funds when authorized organizations, their agents, or affiliates receive the order. The Funds are not responsible for the failure of any designated organization or its agents or affiliates to carry out its obligations to its customers.

Shares normally will be redeemed for cash, although the Funds retain the right to redeem some or all of its shares in-kind under unusual circumstances, in order to protect the interests of remaining shareholders, to accommodate a request by a particular shareholder that does not adversely affect the interests of the remaining shareholders, or in connection with the liquidation of the Funds, by delivery of securities selected from its assets at its discretion. If shares are redeemed in-kind, the redeeming shareholder may incur brokerage costs in converting the assets to cash. The method of valuing securities used to make redemptions in-kind will be the same as the method of valuing portfolio securities described under “Pricing of Fund Shares” and such valuation will be made as of the same time the redemption price is determined.

The Funds reserve the right to postpone payment of redemption proceeds for up to seven calendar days. Additionally, the right to require the Funds to redeem its shares may be suspended, or the date of payment may be postponed beyond seven calendar days, whenever: (i) trading on the NYSE is restricted, as determined by the SEC, or the NYSE is closed (except for holidays and weekends); (ii) the SEC permits such suspension and so orders; or (iii) an emergency exists as determined by the SEC so that disposal of securities or determination of NAV is not reasonably practicable.

Class C Shares—A CDSC of 1.00% will be deducted with respect to Class C shares redeemed within 12 months of purchase, unless waived, as discussed in the Prospectus. Any applicable CDSC will be 1.00% of the lesser of the original purchase price or the value of the redemption of the Class C shares redeemed.

Automatic Reinvestment of Distributions—You may indicate at any time a choice of certain elections with respect to distributions. You may elect to have distributions of both net investment income and realized capital gains declared on your shares of a Fund reinvested automatically in additional shares of the Fund at the closing net asset value per share on the reinvestment date determined by the Board. You also may elect to receive investment income distributions in cash while accepting capital gain distributions in additional shares of the Fund. Alternatively, you may elect to receive distributions of both net investment income and realized capital gains in cash. If you make no election, all distributions will be applied automatically to the purchase of shares of a Fund at net asset value per share. You may change these elections at any time by written notification to the Funds’ Transfer Agent, but, to be effective as to a particular distribution, the change must be received by the Transfer Agent sufficiently in advance of the reinvestment date (approximately 10 business days) to permit the change to be entered in your record. The Federal income tax status of distributions is the same whether taken in cash or reinvested in shares of a Fund.

Distributions on all shares in your account are reinvested in full and fractional shares at the net asset value per share unless you instruct a Fund to do otherwise.

Suspension of Redemption—The redemption price of redeemed shares of a Fund will typically be paid on or before the seventh day following proper tender, except a postponement may be permissible under the 1940 Act when (a) the NYSE is closed (other than for weekends and holidays) or trading on the NYSE is restricted, (b) an emergency exists making disposal of portfolio securities or the

 

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valuation of net assets of the Fund not reasonably practicable, or (c) the SEC has by order permitted suspension of redemptions for the protection of the Funds’ shareholders. The SEC, by rules and regulations, determines the conditions under which trading of securities are restricted and the conditions under which an emergency exists. Investment dealers handling redemption transactions may make a service charge. There is no charge as described in the foregoing paragraphs for redemption of shares tendered directly to the Transfer Agent.

Mandatory Redemption—The Board has established a policy, which is subject to change, to require redemption of accounts in Class A and Class C shares of a Fund that drop as a result of redemptions to a value of less than $750, or, in the case of Investor Class shares, below $100,000 (determined, for this purpose only, as the greater of the shareholder’s cost or the current net asset value of the shares, including any shares acquired through the reinvestment of income dividends and capital gains distributions). A shareholder will be given notice of at least 60 days within which to bring the account up to the amount at which such mandatory redemption would apply, as set forth above, before the involuntary redemption provision is made effective with respect to the shareholder’s account.

Rejection of Orders—Any purchase order may be rejected by Meridian.

FEDERAL INCOME TAXES

The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Federal Income Taxes.” The Prospectus generally describes the federal income tax treatment of distributions by the Funds. This section of the SAI provides additional information concerning federal income taxes. It is based on the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), applicable Treasury Regulations, judicial authority, and administrative rulings and practice, all as of the date of this SAI and all of which are subject to change, including changes with retroactive effect. Except as specifically set forth below, the following discussion does not address any state, local or foreign tax matters.

A shareholder’s tax treatment may vary depending upon the shareholder’s particular situation. Except as otherwise specifically noted (see the heading “Foreign Shareholders” and “Foreign Accounts,” below), this discussion applies only to shareholders holding Fund shares as capital assets within the meaning of the Code. and only to shareholders who are U.S. persons. For purposes of this discussion, U.S. persons are (i) U.S. citizens or residents, (ii) U.S. corporations (i.e., entities classified as corporations for U.S. tax purposes organized under the laws of the United States or any state), (iii) an estate whose income is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source, or (iv) a trust, if a court within the United States is able to exercise primary supervision over its administration and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all of its substantial decisions, or if the trust has a valid election in effect under applicable Treasury regulations to be treated as a U.S. person. Except as otherwise noted, this discussion does not apply to certain types of shareholders who may be subject to special rules, such as insurance companies, tax-exempt organizations, shareholders holding Fund shares through tax-advantaged accounts (such as 401(k) Plan Accounts or IRAs), financial institutions, shareholders holding shares through foreign institutions (financial and non-financial), broker-dealers, entities that are not organized under the laws of the United States or a political subdivision thereof, persons who are neither citizens nor residents of the United States, shareholders holding Fund shares as part of a hedge, straddle or conversion transaction, and shareholders who are subject to the federal alternative minimum tax.

If a partnership (including for this purpose any entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes) is a beneficial owner of shares, the tax treatment of a partner in the partnership will generally depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. Partners of partnerships that are considering the purchase of shares of a Fund should consult their own tax advisers regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the purchase, ownership and disposition of shares.

Meridian has not requested and will not request an advance ruling from the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) as to the U.S. federal income tax matters described herein. The IRS could adopt positions contrary to those discussed below and such positions could be sustained. In addition, the following discussion and the discussions in the Prospectus applicable to each shareholder address only some of the federal income tax considerations generally affecting investments in the Funds. Prospective shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisers and financial planners regarding the federal tax consequences of an investment in a Fund, the application of state, local or foreign laws, and the effect of any possible changes in applicable tax laws on their investment in the Funds.

Qualification as a Regulated Investment Company. It is intended that each Fund qualify as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of Subtitle A, Chapter 1 of the Code. Each Fund will be treated as a separate entity for federal income tax purposes. Thus, the provisions of the Code applicable to RICs generally will apply separately to each Fund even though each Fund is a series of Meridian. Furthermore, each Fund will separately determine its income, gains, losses and expenses for federal income tax purposes.

 

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In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded RICs and their shareholders, each Fund must, among other things, derive at least 90% of its gross income each taxable year generally from (i) dividends, interest, certain payments with respect to securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, and other income attributable to its business of investing in such stock, securities or foreign currencies (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures or forward contracts) and (ii) net income derived from an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership, as defined in the Code. Future Treasury Regulations may (possibly retroactively) exclude from qualifying income foreign currency gains that are not directly related to a Fund’s principal business of investing in stock, securities or options and futures with respect to stock or securities. In general, for purposes of this 90% gross income requirement, income derived from a partnership will be treated as qualifying income only to the extent such income is attributable to items of income of the partnership which would be qualifying income if realized directly by the RIC. However, 100% of the net income derived from an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership will be treated as qualifying income.

Each Fund must also diversify its holdings so that at the end of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year: (i) at least 50% of the fair market value of its total assets consists of (A) cash and cash items (including receivables), U.S. government securities and securities of other RICs, and (B) other securities limited generally, with respect to any one issuer (other than those described in clause (A)) to no more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (ii) not more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets consists of the securities of any one issuer (other than those described in clause (i)(A)), the securities of two or more issuers the Fund controls and which are engaged in the same, similar or related trades or businesses, or the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships. In addition, for purposes of meeting this diversification requirement, the term “outstanding voting securities of such issuer” includes the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership. The qualifying income and diversification requirements (described above) may limit the extent to which a Fund can engage in transactions in options, futures contracts, forward contracts and swap agreements.

In addition, each Fund generally must distribute to its shareholders at least 90% of its investment company taxable income for the taxable year, which generally includes its ordinary income and the excess of any net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss, and at least 90% of its net tax-exempt interest income (if any) for the taxable year. If a Fund qualifies as a RIC that is accorded special tax treatment it generally will not be subject to federal income tax on any of the investment company taxable income and net capital gain (i.e., the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss) it distributes to its shareholders. For this purpose, a Fund generally must make the distributions in the same year that it realizes the income and gain, although in certain circumstances, a Fund may make the distributions in the following taxable year.

Shareholders generally are taxed on any distributions from a Fund in the year they are actually distributed. If a Fund declares a distribution to shareholders of record in October, November or December of one year and pays the distribution by January 31 of the following year, however, the Fund and its shareholders will be treated as if the Fund paid the distribution by December 31 of the first year. Each Fund intends to distribute or be deemed to have distributed a sufficient amount of its investment company taxable income (as described above), capital gains and net tax-exempt interest income, if any, in a timely manner to maintain its status as a RIC and eliminate fund-level federal income taxation of such distributed income. However, no assurance can be given that a Fund will not be subject to federal income tax.

As regulated investment companies, the Funds generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on their net capital gains to the extent of dividends that are properly reported by such Fund in a written statement to shareholders as capital gain dividends (“capital gain dividends”) or on its investment company taxable income if any, that such Fund distributes to shareholders on a timely basis. If the Funds do retain any investment company taxable income, they will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained. However, the Funds may elect to have certain distributions paid after the close of a tax year treated as having been paid during the tax year for purposes of the regulated investment company distribution requirements and for purposes of determining its taxable income (“spill-back dividends”). Spill-back dividends are taxed to shareholders in the year in which they are received.

Moreover, a Fund may determine to retain for investment all or a portion of its net capital gain. If a Fund retains any net capital gain, it will be subject to a tax at corporate rates on the amount of net capital gain retained, but may report the retained amount as undistributed capital gain in a written statement to its shareholders, who (i) will be required to include in income for federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their shares of such undistributed amount, (ii) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund on such undistributed amount against their federal income tax liabilities, if any, and (iii) will be entitled to obtain a refund of the excess, if any, of their allocable share of the tax paid by the Fund on such undistributed amount over the shareholder’s tax liability on such amount. For federal income tax purposes, the tax basis of shares owned by a shareholder of the Fund will be increased by an amount equal to the difference between the amount of undistributed capital gain included in the shareholder’s gross income under clause (i) of the preceding sentence and the tax deemed paid by the shareholder under clause (ii) of the preceding sentence.

 

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In certain situations, a Fund can cure failures to meet the income and diversification tests described above, including, in some cases, by paying a Fund-level tax and, in the case of diversification failures, disposing of certain assets. If, for any taxable year, a Fund fails to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, it will be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation without any deduction for its distributions to shareholders, and all distributions from the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits (including any distributions of its net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gain) to its shareholders will be taxable to shareholders as dividend income, which may be taxed as either ordinary income or qualified dividend income. Certain provisions may be available to a Fund to prevent such disqualification. To qualify again to be taxed as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment in a subsequent year, a Fund could be required to pay substantial taxes, penalties and interest and make substantial distributions. In addition, if a Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company for a period greater than two taxable years, the Fund may be required to recognize and pay tax on any net built-in gain (the excess of aggregate gain, including items of income, over aggregate loss that would have been realized if the Fund had been liquidated) or, alternatively, to be subject to taxation on such built-in gain recognized for a period of five years, in order to qualify as a regulated investment company in a subsequent year.

Equalization Accounting. Each Fund may use the so-called “equalization method” of accounting to allocate to redemption proceeds a portion of its “accumulated earnings and profits,” which generally equals a Fund’s undistributed net investment income and realized capital gains, with certain adjustments. This method permits a Fund to achieve more balanced distributions for both continuing and redeeming shareholders. Although using this method generally will not affect a Fund’s total returns, it may reduce the amount that the Fund would otherwise distribute to continuing shareholders by counting a portion of payments in redemption of Fund shares towards the Fund’s distribution requirements. However, the IRS has not expressly sanctioned the particular equalization methods that a Fund may use, and thus a Fund’s use of an equalization method may be subject to IRS scrutiny. If the IRS determines that a Fund’s equalization method is improper and that, as a result, the Fund has under-distributed its income and gain for a taxable year, the Fund may be liable for federal income and/or excise tax. This practice is not available for a Fund for any taxable year in which the Fund is a “personal holding company” for federal income tax purposes.

Capital Loss Carry Forwards. Generally, the excess (if any) of a Fund’s net short-term capital loss over the net long-term capital gain for a taxable year will carry over as a short-term capital loss arising on the first day of the next tax year. In addition, the excess (if any) of a Fund’s net long-term capital loss over the net short-term capital gain for the year will carry over as a long-term capital loss arising on the first day of the next tax year. All of a Fund’s capital losses may be carried forward indefinitely until they can be used to offset capital gains. If future capital gains are offset by carried-forward capital losses, such future capital gains are not subject to Fund-level federal income tax, regardless of whether they are distributed to shareholders. However, future capital gains offset by carried-forward capital losses are generally subject to taxation as ordinary dividends to shareholders if distributed. Accordingly, the Funds do not expect to distribute any capital gains offset by carried-forward capital losses. The Funds cannot carry back or carry forward any net operating losses.

A Fund may be limited under Code Section 382 in their ability to offset its taxable income by capital loss carryforwards and net unrealized built-in losses after an “ownership change” of the Fund. The term “net unrealized built-in loss” refers to the excess, if any, of a Fund’s aggregate adjusted basis in its assets immediately before an ownership change, over the fair market value of such assets at such time, subject to a de minimis rule. A Fund would experience an ownership change under Code Section 382 if and when 5- percent shareholders of the Fund increase their ownership by more than 50 percentage points in the aggregate over their respective lowest percentage ownership of the Fund’s shares in a 3-year period. Under Code Section 382, if a Fund experiences an ownership change, the Fund may use its pre-change tax capital loss carryforwards and net unrealized built-in losses in a year after the ownership change generally only up to the product of the fair market value of the Fund’s equity immediately before the ownership change and a certain interest rate published monthly by the U.S. Treasury known as the applicable long-term tax-exempt rate. The foregoing limitation on the use of pre-ownership change net unrealized built-in losses only applies for a period of five years after the ownership change, while the foregoing limitation on the use of pre-ownership change capital loss carryforwards lasts indefinitely.

As of June 30, 2022, the Funds had no capital loss carryforwards available to offset future realized capital gains in accordance with the Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act of 2010.

If a Fund engages in a reorganization, either as an acquiring fund or acquired fund, its capital loss carry forwards (if any), its unrealized losses (if any), and any such losses of other funds participating in the reorganization may be subject to severe limitations that could make such losses substantially unusable.

Excise Tax. If a Fund fails to distribute by December 31 of each calendar year at least the sum of 98% of its ordinary income for that year (excluding capital gains and losses), 98.2% of its capital gain net income (adjusted for certain net ordinary losses) for the 12-month period ending on October 31 of that year, and any of its ordinary income and capital gain net income from the previous year that were not distributed during such year, the Fund will be subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax on the undistributed amounts (other than to the extent of its tax-exempt interest income, if any). For these purposes, a Fund will be treated as having distributed any amount on which it has been subject to corporate income tax in the taxable year ending within the calendar year. Each Fund generally

 

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intends to distribute or be deemed to have distributed sufficient amounts of net income and gain by the end of each calendar year to avoid imposition of the excise tax. However, no assurance can be given that a Fund will not be subject to the excise tax. Moreover, each Fund reserves the right to pay an excise tax rather than make an additional distribution when circumstances warrant (for example, the amount of excise tax to be paid is deemed de minimis by a Fund).

A Fund that is a “personal holding company” and that fails to distribute (or to be treated as distributing) all of its investment company taxable income may also be subject to a 20% nondeductible tax on its “undistributed personal holding company income.” A Fund would generally be a personal holding company for a taxable year if five or fewer individuals own more than 50% of its outstanding shares at any time in the last half of the taxable year. The term “individual” for this purpose includes private foundations and certain trusts. The Funds do not expect to be subject to the tax on undistributed personal holding company income, although there can be no assurance that this will never occur.

Taxation of Fund Investments. In general, realized gains or losses on the sale of securities held by a Fund will be treated as capital gains or losses, and long-term capital gains or losses if the Fund has held or is deemed to have held the securities for more than one year at the time of disposition.

Securities Issued or Purchased at a Discount. A Fund may acquire debt obligations that have original issue discount. “Original issue discount” is the excess of a debt obligation’s stated redemption price at maturity over the obligation’s issue price. A taxpayer that acquires an obligation with original issue discount generally is required to include the original issue discount in income as it accrues on a constant yield-to-maturity basis without regard to when, or whether, payments are made on the obligation. Obligations owned by a Fund that have original issue discount may include investment in payment-in-kind securities. Obligations with original issue discount owned by a Fund will give rise to income that the Fund will be required to distribute to shareholders who will be taxed on it as ordinary income even though the Fund does not receive an interest payment in cash on the obligation during the year (and may never receive such payment). To generate cash to satisfy those distribution requirements, a Fund may have to sell portfolio securities that it otherwise might have continued to hold or to use cash flows from other sources such as the sale of Fund shares.

Some debt obligations that are acquired by a Fund in the secondary market may be treated as having market discount. “Market discount” is generally the excess of the stated redemption price of the bond at maturity over the basis of the bond immediately after its acquisition by the taxpayer. Generally, any gain recognized on the receipt of principal payments or on the disposition of a debt security having market discount is treated as ordinary income to the extent the gain is attributable to “accrued market discount” on such debt security. Market discount generally accrues in equal daily installments. A Fund may make certain elections applicable to debt obligations having market discount, which could affect the character and timing of recognition of income for U.S. federal income tax purposes. When recognized, market discount is taxable as ordinary income even if interest on the debt obligation in question is tax exempt.

High-Risk Securities. If a Fund invests in debt obligations that are in the lowest rating categories or are unrated, including debt obligations of issuers not currently paying interest or who are in default, special tax issues may exist for the Fund. Tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when a Fund may cease to accrue interest, OID, or market discount, when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless securities, and how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and income. These and other related issues will be addressed by a Fund when, as, and if it invests in such securities, in order to seek to ensure that it distributes sufficient income to preserve its status as a RIC and does not become subject to federal income or excise tax.

Foreign Currency. Foreign currency gains and losses realized by a Fund in connection with certain transactions involving foreign currency-denominated debt obligations, certain options, futures contracts, forward contracts, and similar instruments relating to foreign currency, foreign currencies, or payables or receivables denominated in a foreign currency are subject to Section 988 of the Code, which generally causes such gains and losses to be treated as ordinary income or loss and may affect the amount and timing of recognition of the Fund’s income. Under future Treasury Regulations, any such transactions that are not directly related to a Fund’s investments in stock or securities (or its options contracts or futures contracts with respect to stock or securities) may have to be limited in order to enable the Fund to satisfy the 90% qualifying income test described above. If the net foreign currency loss exceeds a Fund’s net investment company taxable income (computed without regard to such loss) for a taxable year, the resulting ordinary loss for such year will not be deductible by the Fund or its shareholders in future years.

Real Estate Investment Trusts and Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits. A Fund may invest in REITs. Investments in REIT equity securities may require a Fund to accrue and distribute income not yet received. To generate sufficient cash to make the requisite distributions, the Fund may be required to sell securities in its portfolio (including when it is not advantageous to do so) that it otherwise would have continued to hold. A Fund’s investments in REIT equity securities may at other times result in the Fund’s receipt of cash in excess of the REIT’s earnings; if the Fund distributes these amounts, these distributions could constitute a return of capital to Fund shareholders for federal income tax purposes. Dividends received by the Fund from a REIT generally will not constitute qualified dividend income and will not qualify for the dividends-received deduction.

 

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A deduction of up to 20% is available in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2026 for taxpayers other than corporations for qualified business income from certain pass-through businesses, including “qualified REIT dividends” from REITs. The phrase “qualified REIT dividends” means ordinary REIT dividends other than capital gains dividends and REIT dividends designated as qualified dividend income. A regulated investment company may pay and report “section 199A dividends” to its shareholders with respect its qualified REIT dividends. Under these Treasury Regulations, the amount of section 199A dividends that a Fund may pay and report to its shareholders is limited to the excess of the “qualified REIT dividends” that the Fund receives from REITs for a taxable year over the Fund’s expenses allocable to such dividends. A shareholder may treat section 199A dividends received on a share of the Fund as “qualified REIT dividends” if the shareholder has held the share for more than 45 days during the 91-day period beginning 45 days before the date on which the share becomes ex-dividend, but only to the extent that the shareholder is not under an obligation (under a short-sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property. A shareholder may include 20% of the shareholder’s “qualified REIT dividends” in the computation of the shareholder’s “combined qualified business income amount” under Code Section 199A. Code Section 199A allows a taxpayer (other than a corporation) a deduction for a taxable year beginning before 2026 equal to the lesser of (A) the taxpayer’s “combined qualified business income amount” or (B) 20% of the excess of the taxpayer’s taxable income over the taxpayer’s net capital gain for the year.

A Fund may invest directly or indirectly (e.g., through a REIT) in residual interests in real estate mortgage investment conduits (“REMICs”) or in REITs or qualified REIT subsidiaries that are taxable mortgage pools (“REIT TMPs”). Under an IRS notice, a Fund must allocate “excess inclusion income” received directly or indirectly from REMIC residual interests or REIT TMPs to its shareholders in proportion to dividends paid to such shareholders, with the same consequences as if the shareholders had invested in the REMIC residual interests or REIT TMPs directly.

In general, excess inclusion income allocated to shareholders (i) cannot be offset by net operating losses (subject to a limited exception for certain thrift institutions), (ii) constitutes unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) to Keogh, 401(k) and qualified pension plans, as well as IRAs and certain other tax-exempt entities, thereby potentially requiring such an entity, which otherwise might not be required to file a tax return, and pay tax on such income, and (iii) in the case of a foreign shareholder, does not qualify for any reduction, by treaty or otherwise, in the 30% federal withholding tax. In addition, if at any time during any taxable year a “disqualified organization” (as defined in the Code) is a record holder of a share in a Fund, then the Fund will be subject to a tax equal to that portion of its excess inclusion income for the taxable year that is allocable to the disqualified organization, multiplied by the highest federal corporate income tax rate. To the extent permitted in Treasury Regulations, a Fund may elect to specially allocate any such tax to the applicable disqualified organization, and thus reduce such shareholder’s distributions for the year by the amount of the tax that relates to such shareholder’s interest in the Fund. The Funds have not yet determined whether such an election will be made.

Passive Foreign Investment Companies. “Passive foreign investment companies” (“PFICs”) are generally defined as foreign corporations with respect to which either at least 75% of their gross income for their taxable year is income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, certain rents and royalties, or capital gains) or at least 50% of their assets on average produce such passive income. If a Fund acquires any equity interest in a PFIC, the Fund could be subject to federal income tax and interest charges on “excess distributions” received from the PFIC or on gain from the sale of such equity interest in the PFIC, even if all income or gain actually received by the Fund is timely distributed to its shareholders. Excess distributions and gain from the sale of equity interests in PFICs may be taxed as the highest income tax rates applicable to ordinary income in the years to which they are treated as attributable even though, absent the application of PFIC rules, these amounts may otherwise have been classified as capital gain.

Elections may be available that would ameliorate these adverse tax consequences, but such elections could require a Fund to recognize taxable income or gain without the concurrent receipt of cash and could also convert capital gains to ordinary income. The Funds may attempt to limit and/or manage their holdings in PFICs to minimize their tax liability or maximize their returns from these investments but there can be no assurance that they will be able to do so. Moreover, because it is not always possible to identify a foreign corporation as a PFIC in advance of acquiring shares in the corporation, a Fund may incur the tax and interest charges described above in some instances. Dividends paid by PFICs or foreign corporations that were PFICs in the year preceding the payment of the dividend are not eligible to be treated as qualified dividend income.

Controlled Foreign Corporations. The Funds also may invest in entities known as “controlled foreign corporations” (“CFCs”). A CFC is a foreign corporation in which more than 50% of the stock, by vote or value, is owned, directly or under certain attribution rules, by U.S. persons each of whom own, directly or by the application of certain attribution rules, 10% or more of the stock of a foreign corporation by vote or by value. If a Fund is such a 10% shareholder with respect to a CFC, the Fund is generally required to annually include in income its allocable share of the CFC’s (i) “subpart F income” and (ii) global intangible low-tax income (“GILTI”), both as defined by the Code, regardless of whether or not the CFC distributes such amounts to the Fund. Amounts included in gross income by a Fund as subpart F income of a CFC are qualifying income for the Fund under Code Section 851(b) if either (i) such amounts are

 

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distributed to the Fund in the taxable year in which they are earned by the CFC, or (ii) such income is derived with respect to the Fund’s business of investing in stock, securities or currencies. Treasury Regulations provide that GILTI inclusions are treated in the same manner for purposes of Code Section 851(b) as subpart F inclusions.

Other Investments that may Result in Taxable Income without Cash Receipts. In addition to the investments described above, prospective shareholders should be aware that other investments made by a Fund may involve complex tax rules that may result in income or gain recognition by a Fund without corresponding current cash receipts. Although each Fund seeks to avoid significant non-cash income, such non-cash income could be recognized by a Fund, in which case the Fund may distribute cash derived from other sources in order to meet the minimum distribution requirements described above. In this regard, a Fund could be required at times to liquidate investments prematurely in order to satisfy its minimum distribution requirements, which may accelerate the recognition of gain and adversely affect the Fund’s total return.

Foreign Taxes. Amounts realized by a Fund from sources within foreign countries may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by such countries. Tax treaties between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes. If more than 50% of the value of a Fund’s total assets at the close of its taxable year consists of securities of foreign corporations, the Fund will be eligible to file an annual election with the IRS pursuant to which the Fund may pass-through to its shareholders on a pro rata basis certain foreign income and similar taxes paid by the Fund and such taxes may be claimed, subject to certain limitations, either as a tax credit or deduction by the shareholders. However, none of the Funds expects to qualify for this election.

Taxation of Distributions. Distributions paid out of a Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits, whether paid in cash or reinvested in the Fund, generally are deemed to be taxable distributions and must be reported by each shareholder who is required to file a federal income tax return. Dividends and distributions on a Fund’s shares are generally subject to federal income tax as described herein to the extent they do not exceed the Fund’s realized income and gains, even though such dividends and distributions may economically represent a return of a particular shareholder’s investment. Such distributions are likely to occur in respect of shares purchased at a time when the Fund’s net asset value reflects either unrealized gains, or realized but undistributed income or gains. For federal income tax purposes, a Fund’s earnings and profits, described above, are determined at the end of the Fund’s taxable year and are allocated, first to the portion of the taxable year preceding January 1 (if the taxable year for a Fund is other than the calendar year), and thereafter, pro rata to distributions paid over the entire year. Distributions in excess of a Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will first be treated as a return of capital up to the amount of a shareholder’s tax basis in the shareholder’s Fund shares and then as capital gain. A return of capital is not taxable, but it reduces a shareholder’s tax basis in the shareholders’ Fund shares, thus reducing any loss or increasing any gain on a subsequent taxable disposition. A Fund may make distributions in excess of its earnings and profits to a limited extent, from time to time.

For federal income tax purposes, distributions of investment income are generally taxable as ordinary or qualified dividend income, and distributions of gains from the sale of investments that a Fund owned (or is deemed to have owned) for one year or less are generally taxable as ordinary income. Distributions properly reported by a Fund as capital gain dividends will be taxable to shareholders as long-term capital gain (to the extent such distributions do not exceed the Fund’s actual net long-term capital gain for the taxable year), regardless of how long a shareholder has held Fund shares, and do not qualify as dividends for purposes of the dividends-received deduction or as qualified dividend income. Each Fund will report capital gain dividends, if any, in a written notice mailed by the Fund to its shareholders.

Some states will not tax distributions made to individual shareholders that are attributable to interest a Fund earned on direct obligations of the U.S. government if a Fund meets the state’s minimum investment or reporting requirements, if any. Investments in Government National Mortgage Association or Federal National Mortgage Association securities, bankers’ acceptances, commercial paper and repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities generally do not qualify for tax-free treatment. This exemption may not apply to corporate shareholders.

Sales and Exchanges of Fund Shares. If a shareholder sells, pursuant to a cash or in-kind redemption, or exchanges the shareholder’s Fund shares, subject to the discussion below, the shareholder generally will realize a taxable capital gain or loss on the difference between the amount received for the shares (or deemed received in the case of an exchange) and the shareholder’s tax basis in the shares. This gain or loss will be long-term capital gain or loss if the shareholder has held such Fund shares for more than one year at the time of the sale or exchange, and short-term otherwise.

Each Fund is required to redeem shares solely for cash up to the lesser of $250,000 or 1% of the NAV of the Fund during any 90-day period for any one shareholder. Should redemptions by any shareholder exceed such limitation, each Fund will have the option of redeeming the excess in cash or in-kind. Under current law, a Fund will not recognize gain on the transfer of appreciated property in-kind to a shareholder in satisfaction of the shareholder’s redemption demand.

 

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If a shareholder realizes a loss on a disposition of Fund shares, the loss will be disallowed under the “wash sale” rules to the extent the shareholder purchases substantially identical shares within the 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition. Any disallowed loss generally will be reflected in an adjustment to the tax basis of the purchased shares.

If a shareholder receives or is deemed to receive a capital gain dividend with respect to any Fund share and such Fund share is held for six months or less, then (unless otherwise disallowed) any loss on the sale or exchange of that Fund share will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of the capital gain dividend. If such loss is incurred from the redemption of shares pursuant to a periodic redemption plan then Treasury Regulations may permit an exception to this six-month rule. No such regulations have been issued as of the date of this SAI. The deductibility of capital losses is subject to limitations.

Transfers between Classes of Funds. Transfers of shares between classes of a single Fund are generally not taxable transactions. Certain “significant holders” of a Fund within the meaning of Treasury Regulation Section 1.368-3(c)(1) will be required to include in their federal income tax returns for the year of the exchange of one class of shares for another of the Fund for which they are significant holders the information listed in Treasury Regulations. The term “significant holders” refers to shareholders of a Fund who own at least one percent (by vote or value) of the total outstanding shares of a Fund, as well as shareholders who own shares of a Fund (immediately before the share class transfer in question) having a tax basis of at least $1 million.

Federal Income Tax Rates. The maximum stated federal income tax rate applicable to individuals generally is 37% for ordinary income and 20% for net long-term capital gain (in addition to the 3.8% Medicare tax described below).

Current federal income tax law also provides for a maximum individual federal income tax rate applicable to “qualified dividend income” (defined below) equal to the highest net long-term capital gains rate, which (for this purpose) generally is 20%. In general, “qualified dividend income” is income attributable to dividends received by a Fund from domestic and certain foreign corporations, provided certain holding period and other requirements are met by the Fund with respect to the dividend-paying corporation’s stock and by the shareholders with respect to the Fund’s shares. If 95% or more of a Fund’s gross income (excluding net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss) constitutes qualified dividend income, all of its distributions (other than capital gain dividends) generally will be treated as qualified dividend income in the hands of individual shareholders, as long as they satisfy the aforementioned holding period requirements with respect to the Fund’s shares. If less than 95% of a Fund’s income is attributable to qualified dividend income, then only the portion of the Fund’s distributions that is attributable to qualified dividend income and designated as such in a timely manner will be so treated in the hands of individual shareholders. Payments received by a Fund derived from securities lending, repurchase agreements and other derivative transactions ordinarily will not qualify as qualified dividend income. The rules attributable to the qualification of Fund distributions as qualified dividend income are complex, including the holding period requirements. Individual Fund shareholders therefore are urged to consult their own tax advisors and financial planners. Income and bond funds typically do not distribute significant amounts of qualified dividend income.

Actual marginal tax rates may be higher for some shareholders, for example, through reductions in deductions. Naturally, the amount of tax payable by any taxpayer will be affected by a combination of tax laws covering, for example, deductions, credits, deferrals, exemptions, sources of income and other matters.

An additional 3.8% Medicare tax will be imposed on certain net investment income of an individual taxpayer and on the undistributed net investment income of certain estates and trusts, in each case to the extent that such taxpayer’s gross income, as adjusted, exceeds a certain amount. Net investment income includes interest, dividends, royalties, rents, gross income from a trade or business involving passive activities, and net gain from disposition of property (other than certain property held in a non-passive trade or business). Net investment income also includes dividend income and capital gain distributions received by a Fund shareholder from a Fund, as well as the shareholder’s net gains from redemptions or other taxable dispositions of Fund shares. Net investment income is reduced by deductions properly allocable to such income.

Cost Basis Reporting. A Fund (or its administrative agent) must report to the IRS and furnish to fund shareholders the cost basis information for fund shares purchased on or after January 1, 2012 (“covered shares”) and subsequently redeemed, exchanged or otherwise sold and whether covered shares had a short-term or long-term holding period. This requirement is in addition to the requirement to report the gross proceeds from the sale of Fund shares, which applies to all fund shares.

The Funds will allow Shareholders to elect from among several IRS-accepted cost basis methods to calculate the cost basis of their covered shares. In the absence of an election by a shareholder to elect from certain cost basis methods which have been accepted by the IRS, the Fund will use its default cost basis method. The cost basis method elected or applied may not be changed after the settlement date of a sale of Fund shares. Once a Fund shareholder has elected a cost basis reporting method, the election will apply to all future transactions in covered shares unless the shareholder revokes or changes the standing election.

 

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Backup Withholding. A Fund is generally required to withhold and remit to the U.S. Treasury, subject to certain exemptions (such as for certain corporate or foreign shareholders), an amount equal to 24% (for years beginning before 2026) of all distributions and redemption proceeds (including proceeds from exchanges and redemptions in-kind) paid or credited to a Fund shareholder if (i) the shareholder fails to furnish the Fund with a correct “taxpayer identification number” (“TIN”), (ii) the shareholder fails to certify under penalties of perjury that the TIN provided is correct, (iii) the shareholder fails to make certain other certifications (including certifying to a Fund that it is a U.S. person), or (iv) the IRS notifies the Fund that the shareholder’s TIN is incorrect or that the shareholder is otherwise subject to backup withholding.

Backup withholding is not an additional tax imposed on the shareholder. The shareholder may apply amounts withheld as a credit against the shareholder’s federal income tax liability and may obtain a refund of any excess amounts withheld, provided that the required information is furnished to the IRS. If a shareholder fails to furnish a valid TIN upon request, the shareholder can be subject to IRS penalties.

Corporate Shareholders. Subject to limitations and other rules, a corporate shareholder of a Fund may be eligible for the 50% dividends-received deduction on Fund distributions attributable to dividends received by the Fund from domestic corporations, which, if received directly by the corporate shareholder, would qualify for such a deduction. For a corporate shareholder to receive this deduction, it must hold its Fund shares (and must not have certain protections against risk of loss) at least 46 days for the 91-day period beginning on the date 45 days before the date on which the Fund’s shares becomes ex-dividend. Additionally, the Fund must meet similar holding period requirements with respect to shares of the domestic corporation issuing dividends. The dividends-received deduction is also reduced for dividends on certain debt-financed portfolio stock.

A portion of the interest paid or accrued on certain high-yield discount obligations owned by a Fund may not be deductible to the issuer. If a portion of the interest paid or accrued on certain high-yield discount obligations is not deductible, that portion will be treated as a dividend for purposes of the corporate dividends-received deduction if certain requirements are met. In such cases, if the issuer of the obligation is a domestic corporation, dividend payments by a Fund may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction to the extent of the dividend portion of such interest.

Foreign Shareholders. For purposes of this discussion, “foreign shareholders” are foreign persons, including: (i) nonresident alien individuals, (ii) foreign trusts (i.e., a trust other than a trust with respect to which a U.S. court is able to exercise primary supervision over administration of that trust and one or more U.S. persons have authority to control substantial decisions of that trust, and trusts that have a valid election in effect under applicable Treasury regulations to be treated as a U.S. person), (iii) foreign estates (i.e., an estate the income of which is not generally subject to U.S. tax on its foreign-source income), and (iv) foreign corporations (i.e., entities classified as corporations for U.S. tax purposes other than an entity organized under the laws of the United States or any state). If a partnership (including for this purpose any entity, whether domestic or foreign, that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes) is a beneficial owner of shares, the tax treatment of the partnership and partners in the partnership will generally depend upon the status of the partners and the partnership. Partnerships that own, or are considering the purchase of shares of, a Fund should consult their own tax advisers regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the purchase, ownership and disposition of shares of a Fund.

U.S. Withholding Requirements on Distributions Generally

Subject to the exceptions described below, distributions made to foreign shareholders of a Fund will be subject to non-refundable federal income tax withholding at a 30% rate (or such lower rate provided under an applicable income tax treaty). If any distribution made by the Fund is “effectively connected” with a U.S. trade or business (or, if an applicable income tax treaty so requires, is attributable to a permanent establishment) of the recipient foreign shareholder, federal income tax withholding generally applicable to foreign shareholders will not apply provided that the shareholder provides the Fund with proper document (generally on a Form W-8ECI) certifying its eligibility for such treatment, and the distribution will be subject to the tax, withholding, and reporting requirements generally applicable to U.S. shareholders, although an additional branch profits tax may apply if the foreign shareholder is a foreign corporation.

Short-term Capital Gain Dividends

If a foreign shareholder of a Fund timely furnishes valid tax documentation on the appropriate Form W-8 certifying its non-U.S. status, short-term capital gain dividends properly reported by the Fund to shareholders as paid from its net short-term capital gains in excess of the Fund’s net long-term capital losses, other than short-term capital gains realized on disposition of U.S. real property interests (see the discussion below under “Redemptions and Capital Gain Dividends”), will not be subject to U.S. withholding tax unless the shareholder is a nonresident alien individual present in the United States for periods aggregating 183 days or more during the taxable year of the dividend and certain other conditions apply.

 

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Interest-Related Dividends

If a foreign shareholder of a Fund timely furnishes valid tax documentation on the appropriate Form W-8 certifying its non-U.S. status, dividends properly reported by the Fund to shareholders as interest-related dividends and paid from its net “qualified interest income” generally will not be not subject to U.S. withholding tax. “Qualified interest income” includes, in general, the sum of a Fund’s U.S. source: (i) bank deposit interest, (ii) short-term original issue discount (payable 183 days or less from the date of its original issuance), (iii) interest on obligations in registered form that qualifies as “portfolio interest,” and (iv) any interest-related dividend passed through from another RIC, in each case in excess of expenses allocable to the interest income. However, with respect to clauses (iii) and (iv), the Fund’s interest-related dividends paid to a foreign shareholder are subject to U.S. taxation to the extent attributable to interest received by the Fund on indebtedness issued by (a) the foreign shareholder, (b) any corporation or partnership of which the foreign shareholder is a 10 percent owner, or (c) a person related to the foreign shareholder if the foreign shareholder is a controlled foreign corporation. In addition, dividends do not qualify as interest-related dividends if paid to foreign shareholders in countries for certain periods during which the Secretary of the Treasury determines that there is inadequate information exchange between such country and the United States to prevent the evasion of U.S. income tax by a U.S. person.

Shares Held Through an Intermediary

Where shares of a Fund are held through an intermediary, even if the Fund reports a distribution in a manner described above, no assurance can be made that the intermediary will respect such a designation. Foreign shareholders should contact their intermediaries regarding the application of these rules to their accounts. In addition, the foregoing exemptions from U.S. withholding tax do not apply to withholding required under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”), described under the discussion below under “Foreign Accounts.”

Redemptions and Capital Gain Dividends

In general, a foreign shareholder’s capital gains realized on the redemption or other disposition of shares of a Fund or from capital gain dividends are not subject to federal income or withholding tax, provided that the Fund obtains a properly completed and signed certificate of foreign status, unless: (i) such gains or distributions are effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (or, if an applicable income tax treaty so requires, are attributable to a permanent establishment) of the foreign shareholder, (ii) in the case of an individual foreign shareholder, the shareholder is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the disposition of Fund shares or the receipt of capital gain dividends and certain other conditions are met; or (iii) the Fund is a “qualified investment entity.” A RIC is a “qualified investment entity” if it either is a “U.S. real property holding corporation” (a “USRPHC) or would be a USRPHC but for the application of certain exceptions to the definition thereof. A USRPHC is a domestic corporation that holds U.S. real property interests (“USRPIs”) the fair market value of which equals or exceeds 50% of the sum of the fair market values of the corporation’s interests in real property and trade or business assets. USRPIs generally include any interest in U.S. real property and any interest (other than solely as a creditor) in a domestic corporation that was a USRPHC in the preceding five years (or during the shareholder’s holding period in shares of the USRPHC, if shorter).

If a foreign shareholder of a Fund is subject to tax for the reason identified in clause (i), above, the tax, withholding, and reporting requirements applicable to U.S. shareholders generally will apply to the foreign shareholder and an additional branch profits tax may apply if the foreign shareholder is a foreign corporation. If clause (i) is inapplicable but clause (ii), above, applies, such gains and distributions will be subject to federal income tax at a 30% rate (or such lower rate provided under an applicable income tax treaty). If clause (iii), above, applies, any distributions by the Fund to a foreign shareholder (including, in certain cases, distributions made by the Fund in redemption of its shares) attributable to gains realized by the Fund on the disposition of USRPIs or attributable to certain distributions received by the Fund from a lower-tier RIC or real estate investment trust, would be subject to U.S. tax withholding. In addition, such distributions could result in the foreign shareholder being required to file a U.S. income tax return and pay tax on the distributions at regular U.S. federal income tax rates. The consequences to a foreign shareholder, including the rate of withholding and the character of such distributions (e.g., as ordinary income or capital gain), would depend upon the extent of the foreign shareholder’s current and past ownership of the Fund. In addition, if the Fund were a USRPHC or former USRPHC, it could (in certain circumstances) be required to withhold U.S. tax on the proceeds of a share redemption by a greater-than-5% foreign shareholder, in which case such foreign shareholder generally would also be required to file U.S. tax returns and pay any additional taxes due in connection with the redemption.

Whether or not a Fund is characterized as a “qualified investment entity” will depend upon the nature and mix of the Fund’s assets. Foreign shareholders should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of these rules to their investment in a Fund.

Other Withholding Rules. In general, a foreign shareholder of a Fund that intends to qualify for a lower rate of withholding under an applicable U.S. income tax treaty must provide the Fund with proper document (generally on a Form W-8BEN) certifying its eligibility for treaty relief. Foreign shareholders should consult their tax advisers in this regard. Treaty relief is not available for excess inclusions received directly or indirectly from REMIC residual interests or from REIT TMPs that are allocated to Fund shareholders. See “Taxation of Fund Investments,” above.

 

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As mentioned earlier, distributions and redemption proceeds paid or credited to a foreign shareholder are generally exempt from backup withholding. However, a foreign shareholder may be required to establish that exemption by providing certification of foreign status on an appropriate IRS Form W-8.

Foreign Accounts. Under FATCA, foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) or non-financial foreign entities (“NFFEs”) that are Fund shareholders may be subject to a 30% withholding tax on: (1) income dividends paid by the Fund, and (2) certain capital gain distributions and the proceeds of a sale of Fund shares. The FATCA withholding tax generally may be avoided: (a) by an FFI, if it reports certain direct and indirect ownership of foreign financial accounts held by U.S. persons with the FFI, and (b) by an NFFE, if it: (i) certifies that is has no substantial U.S. persons as owners or (ii) if it does have such owners, reports information relating to them to the withholding agent (which may be the Fund). The U.S. Treasury has negotiated intergovernmental agreements (each, an “IGA”) with certain countries and is in various stages of negotiations with other foreign countries with respect to one or more alternative approaches to implement FATCA. An entity in one of those countries may be required to comply with the terms of an IGA and applicable local law instead of U.S. Treasury regulations.

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

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

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

Tax-Advantaged Plans. Shares of the Funds may be available for a variety of tax-advantaged retirement and plans and accounts. Special tax rules apply to investments through such plans. Prospective investors should contact their tax advisers and financial planners regarding the tax consequences to them of holding Fund shares through such plans and/or accounts.

Tax-Exempt Shareholders. Tax-exempt shareholders should contact their tax advisers and financial planners regarding the tax consequences to them of an investment in the Funds. In certain circumstances, Keogh, 401(k) and qualified pension plans, as well as IRAs and certain other tax-exempt entities may recognize UBTI from an investment in a Fund. If a charitable remainder trusts (“CRTs”) (as defined in Section 664 of the Code), or another tax-exempt shareholder that is exempt from UBTI, invests in a Fund that invests directly or indirectly in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in REIT TMPs, the Fund may bear a tax cost with respect to the related excess inclusions (see “Taxation of Fund Investments,” above), and the cost of any tax paid by the Fund with respect to the excess inclusions allocable to such tax-exempt shareholder may be allocated to the shareholder.

Tax Shelter Reporting Regulations. Under Treasury Regulations, if an individual shareholder recognizes a loss of $2 million or more in a single tax year or if a corporate shareholder recognizes a loss of $10 million or more for a single tax year, or twice such amounts, as applicable, over a combination of years, the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on Form 8886. Direct shareholders of securities are in many cases exempt from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a RIC are not exempt. Future guidance may extend the current exemption from this reporting requirement to shareholders of most or all RICs. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisers to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.

Other Tax Matters. The foregoing discussion relates solely to U.S. federal income tax law. Dividends and distributions also may be subject to state and local taxes. In addition, since MLPs in which the Funds may invest generally conduct business in multiple states the Funds can be subject to income or franchise tax in each of the states in which an MLP does business. The additional cost of preparing and filing the tax returns and paying the related taxes may adversely impact the Funds’ return on its investment in the MLP.

 

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Investors are urged to consult their tax advisers regarding specific questions as to U.S. federal, state, local and, where applicable, foreign taxes.

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT MERIDIAN

There are no conversion or preemptive rights in connection with any class of shares of the Funds. All shares of the Funds when duly issued will be paid in full and non-assessable. The rights of the holders of shares of common stock of a Fund may not be modified except by vote of the majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Certificates are not issued unless requested and are never issued for fractional shares. Fractional shares are liquidated at net asset value per share at the time a shareholder account is closed.

Shares have non-cumulative voting rights, which means that the holders of more than 50% of the shares of the Funds (in the aggregate) voting for the election of directors can elect 100% of the directors if they wish to do so. In such event the holders of the remaining less than 50% of the shares voting for the election of directors will not be able to elect any person or persons to the Board.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Shareholder Reports—The fiscal year of each Fund ends on June 30 of each year. Each Fund will issue to its shareholders semi-annual and annual reports; each annual report will contain a schedule of the Fund’s portfolio securities and audited annual financial statements. The Federal income tax status of shareholders’ distributions also will be reported to shareholders after the end of each calendar year.

Registration Statement—The Prospectus and this SAI, together, do not contain all of the information set forth in the Funds’ registration statement and related forms filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Certain information is omitted in accordance with rules and regulations of the Commission. The registration statement and related forms are available on the SEC’s Internet Web site at http://www.sec.gov. Statements contained in the Prospectus or this SAI as to the contents of any contract or other document referred to herein or in the Prospectus are not necessarily complete, and, in each instance, reference is made to the copy of such contract or other document filed as an exhibit to Meridian’s registration statement, each such statement being qualified in all respects by such reference.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Audited financial statements and the accompanying Report of Cohen & Company, Ltd., the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm for the Meridian Hedged Equity Fund, Meridian Growth Fund, Meridian Contrarian Fund and Meridian Small Cap Growth Fund as contained in the Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022 are incorporated herein by reference to that report.

 

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EXHIBIT A

DESCRIPTION OF BOND RATINGS

MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC. rates the long-term debt securities issued by various entities from “Aaa” to “C,” according to quality as described below:

“Aaa—Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.”

“Aa—Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.”

“A—Obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.”

“Baa—Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.”

“Ba—Obligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.”

“B—Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.”

“Caa—Obligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.”

“Ca—Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.”

“C—Obligations rated C are the lowest rated and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.”

STANDARD & POOR’S CORPORATION RATINGS GROUP rates the long-term securities debt of various entities in categories ranging from “Aaa” to “D” according to quality as described below:

“AAA—Extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments. Highest Rating.”

“AA—Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.”

“A—Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.”

“BBB—Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions.”

“BBB—Considered lowest investment grade by market participants.”

BB+, BB, B, CCC, CC, C—Regarded, on balance, as predominantly speculative with respect to capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation. BB+ is considered the highest speculative grade by market participants. While such debt will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major risk exposures to adverse conditions. Obligations given a “C” rating are considered currently highly vulnerable obligations.

“D—Payment default on financial commitments.”

Ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.

 

A-1


EXHIBIT B

Summary of ArrowMark’s Proxy Voting Policy

ArrowMark has engaged a third-party voting specialist, Glass Lewis & Co. (“Glass Lewis”), to research, vote and record all proxy ballots for the security positions we maintain on clients’ behalf and for which we have voting authority. Annually, ArrowMark reviews Glass Lewis’ independence and voting guidelines to determine appropriate alignment of shareholders interest. A copy of Glass Lewis’ Proxy Guidelines is included below which may be updated throughout the year.

In circumstances when the portfolio manager or analyst believes that Glass Lewis’ recommendation is not in the best interest of the firm’s clients, we can override Glass Lewis’ recommendation and amend our vote accordingly. Such overrides are approved by the CCO and documented.

Glass Lewis provides us with the necessary information to file Form N-PX and maintains all client voting information for record keeping purposes.

 

B-1


Proxy and Corporate Action Voting

Most Recently Amended: May 2021

 

 

Issue

Rule 206(4)-6 under the Advisers Act requires every investment adviser who exercises voting authority with respect to client securities to adopt and implement written policies and procedures, reasonably designed to ensure that the adviser votes proxies and corporate actions in the best interest of its clients. The procedures must address material conflicts that may arise in connection with proxy voting and corporate actions. The Rule further requires the adviser to provide a concise summary of the adviser’s proxy voting and corporate actions processes and offer to provide copies of the complete proxy and corporate action voting policy and procedures to clients upon request. Lastly, the Rule requires that the adviser disclose to clients how they may obtain information on how the adviser voted their proxies and corporate actions.

ArrowMark votes proxies for certain Clients, and therefore has adopted and implemented this Proxy Voting Policy and Procedures.

Risks

In developing this policy and procedures, ArrowMark considered numerous risks associated with its voting of Client proxies. This analysis includes risks such as:

 

   

ArrowMark does not maintain a written proxy and corporate action voting policy as required by Rule 206(4)-6.

 

   

Proxies and corporate actions are not voted in Clients’ best interests.

 

   

Proxies and corporate actions are not identified and voted in a timely manner.

 

   

Conflicts between ArrowMark’s interests and the Client are not identified; therefore, proxies and corporate actions are not voted appropriately.

 

   

Third-party proxy voting services do not vote proxies according to ArrowMark’s instructions and in Clients’ best interests.

 

   

Proxy voting and corporate action records and Client requests to review proxy votes and corporate actions are not maintained.

ArrowMark has established the following guidelines to effectuate and monitor its proxy voting policy and procedures.

Proxy Voting Policy

It is the policy of ArrowMark to vote proxies in the best interest of its Clients. Proxies are an asset of a Client, which should be treated with the same care, diligence, and loyalty as any asset belonging to a Client. To that end, ArrowMark will vote in a way that it believes, consistent with its fiduciary duty, will cause the value of the issue to increase the most or decline the least. Consideration will be given to both the short and long term implications of the proposal to be voted on when considering the optimal vote.

ArrowMark may abstain from voting if it deems that abstaining is in its Clients’ best interests. For example, ArrowMark may be unable to vote securities that have been lent by the custodian. Also, proxy voting in certain countries involves “share blocking,” which limits ArrowMark’s ability to sell the affected security during a blocking period that can last for several weeks. ArrowMark believes that the potential consequences of being unable to sell a security usually outweigh the benefits of participating in a proxy vote, so ArrowMark generally abstains from voting when share blocking is required.

To assist ArrowMark in executing its voting responsibilities, we’ve engaged a third party proxy voting specialist, Glass Lewis & Co., LLC (“Glass Lewis” or the “Proxy Manager”). The services provided by Glass Lewis include in-depth research and voting recommendations intended to create shareholder value.

ArrowMark has reviewed the Proxy Manager’s Guidelines, and has determined that such Guidelines are consistent with its fiduciary responsibilities with respect to its Clients. ArrowMark will review any material amendments to such Guidelines.

Any general or specific proxy voting guidelines provided by an advisory Client or its designated agent in writing will supersede this policy.

 

B-0


Procedures for Identification and Voting of Proxies

The Proxy Manager is responsible for ensuring that all proxies received are voted in a timely manner and voted consistently across all portfolios. Although many proxy proposals can be voted in accordance with the Proxy Manager’s established guidelines (the “Guidelines”), ArrowMark retains the right to vote any proposal in a manner differing from the Guidelines. Such deviations from the Guidelines must be approved by the CCO with a written explanation of the rationale for the deviation. ArrowMark, in conjunction with the custodian, is responsible for ensuring that all corporate actions received are addressed in a timely manner and consistent action is taken across all portfolios.

ArrowMark’s authority to vote proxies or act with respect to other corporate actions is established through the delegation of discretionary authority under its investment advisory agreements. Therefore, unless a Client specifically reserves the right, in writing, to vote its own proxies or to take shareholder action with respect to other corporate actions requiring shareholder actions, ArrowMark will vote all proxies and act on all other actions in a timely manner as part of its full discretionary authority over Clients in accordance with established policies and procedures.

Procedures for Glass Lewis Reconciliation

ArrowMark provides Glass Lewis with a daily holdings file representing all accounts in which ArrowMark has proxy voting authority. ArrowMark’s account master file is reconciled with Glass Lewis’ account master file at least quarterly.

The daily reconciliation process performed by Glass Lewis is as follows:

 

1.

ArrowMark’s holdings files from QED Financial Systems are automatically uploaded daily into the Glass Lewis’ ViewPoint system (“ViewPoint”).

 

2.

If ViewPoint doesn’t recognize security IDs contained in the holdings files, the rejected holdings are sent to Glass Lewis’ securities processing group to be investigated. If there are other errors in the holdings file, the securities processing group will alert the client service manager who will contact ArrowMark.

 

3.

New Meeting Notices and Agendas are automatically uploaded into the ViewPoint system. Each meeting contains one or more security identifiers associated with it.

 

4.

The ViewPoint reconciliation engine determines if there are matches between holdings and meetings for which Glass Lewis has not received ballots. These matches are displayed on the Ballot Reconciliation workbench for ViewPoint client service managers and audit team members.

 

5.

The reconciliation tool can be used for the creation of ballots based on holdings information and the meeting and agenda information. This is a service Glass Lewis offers to clients with accounts that are not contracted with a proxy distribution service, such as Broadridge (“BFS”) or GPD, for the delivery of ballots electronically. The ballots created by Glass Lewis are transmitted directly via email or fax to the custodians once investors’ vote execution instructions are carried out.

 

6.

If reconciliation records are generated for positions in U.S. companies and/or positions in global companies held in accounts custodied at banks that do contract with a proxy distribution service for the delivery of proxy materials, Glass Lewis will consider these records as “missing ballots” if a ballot has not been received by 10 business days prior to meeting date.

 

7.

Multiple times a week Glass Lewis sends an automated reconciliation file to BFS with all of our clients’ “open records.” 24 hours later BFS provides us with a response file containing control numbers or further account setup and/or reconciliation instructions. Control numbers are uploaded immediately into VP by the Ballot Reconciliation team. All remaining open records are researched by individual client service managers (i.e., ballot reconciliation and account setup requests/inquiries are sent by email to the custodian).

 

8.

Once a ballot is created, the corresponding reconciliation record is automatically closed. A record can be closed manually if no ballot is created when the investigation of the issue determines that no ballot will be delivered.

Proxy Review Procedures

On a monthly basis, Glass Lewis provides ArrowMark with two reports: the Proxy Voting Report (“PVR”) and Analyze Voting Activity Report (“AVA”). The CCO or designee will review these reports monthly.

A PVR provides a snapshot of each meeting voted in a given time period and includes but isn’t limited to the following:

 

   

Agenda Items

 

   

Management Recommendations

 

B-1


   

Glass Lewis Recommendations

 

   

ArrowMark’s Policy Recommendations

 

   

Vote Cast

The AVA can be used to get a broad look at ballot data or can be narrowed down very specifically to only include certain data points. These include:

 

   

Meeting Types

 

   

Vote Decisions (with or against management/policy/Glass Lewis)

 

   

Country of Issue

 

   

Specific Meeting Issues

 

   

Proposal Categories

Both the PVR and AVA are able to show the vote recommendations generated by ArrowMark’s Policy, as well as the final vote decision.

Conflicts of Interest

ArrowMark is responsible for monitoring situations where the voting of proxies may present actual or perceived conflicts of interest between itself and Clients.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of potential conflicts of interests that could influence the proxy voting process:

 

   

Conflict: ArrowMark retains an institutional Client, or is in the process of retaining an institutional Client that is affiliated with an issuer that is held in ArrowMark’s Client portfolios. For example, ArrowMark may be retained to manage Company A’s pension fund. Company A is a public company and ArrowMark Client accounts hold shares of Company A. This type of relationship may influence ArrowMark to vote with management on proxies to gain favor with management. Such favor may influence Company A’s decision to continue its advisory relationship with ArrowMark.

 

   

Conflict: ArrowMark retains a Client, or is in the process of retaining a Client that is an officer or director of an issuer that is held in ArrowMark’s Client portfolios. The similar conflicts of interest exist in this relationship as discussed above.

 

   

Conflict: ArrowMark’s Employees maintain a personal and/or business relationship (not an advisory relationship) with issuers or individuals that serve as officers or directors of issuers. For example, the spouse of an Employee may be a high-level executive of an issuer that is held in ArrowMark’s Client portfolios. The spouse could attempt to influence ArrowMark to vote in favor of management.

 

   

Conflict: ArrowMark or an Employee(s) personally owns a significant number of an issuer’s securities that are also held in ArrowMark’s Client portfolios. For any number of reasons, an Employee(s) may seek to vote proxies in a different direction for his/her personal holdings than would otherwise be warranted by the proxy voting policy. The Employee(s) could oppose voting the proxies according to the policy and successfully influence ArrowMark to vote proxies in contradiction to the policy.

Where a proxy proposal raises a material conflict of interest between ArrowMark’s interests and that of one or more its Clients, including a mutual fund client, the Glass Lewis recommendations will be followed.

Glass Lewis Oversight

In addition to oversight elements included in the Review of Third-Party Service Providers Section, ArrowMark will routinely review Glass Lewis’ Conflict of Interest disclosures including their Conflict of Interest Disclosure list and Conflict Avoidance Procedures. See website for conflict information (http://www.glasslewis.com/about-glass-lewis/disclosure-of-conflict/).

Policy for ArrowMark’s Handling of Corporate Actions

It is the policy of ArrowMark to handle corporate actions in the best interest of its Clients. Corporate actions are integral in maintaining value of an asset of a Client, and should . To that end, ArrowMark will handle corporate actions in a way that it believes, consistent with its fiduciary duty, will cause the value of the asset to increase the most or decline the least. Consideration will be given to both the short and long term implications of the action.

 

B-2


To assist ArrowMark in executing its responsibilities, we’ve engaged our third-party middle office service provider, Northern Trust (“Northern Trust” or the “Middle Office Provider”). The services provided by Northern Trust include acting as an intermediary between ArrowMark and its custodians and prime brokers to facilitate elections for voluntary corporate actions in the market. This service will manage events where there is a market announcement and is offered through the custodians and prime brokers.

ArrowMark has reviewed the Northern Trust Guidelines and processes and has determined that such Guidelines are consistent with its fiduciary responsibilities with respect to its Clients. ArrowMark will review any material amendments to such Guidelines.

Any general or guidelines provided by an advisory Client or its designated agent in writing will supersede this policy.

Procedures for Identification and Voting of Proxies

ArrowMark is responsible for ensuring that all corporate actions are handled in a timely manner and with consistency across all portfolios. ArrowMark utilizes the Northern Trust event manager to access and elect on all corporate actions across client portfolios.

Utilizing Northern Trust, ArrowMark has a centralized view of all custodial/prime broker accounts to manage the lifecycle of events ranging from notifications, inputting decisions and monitoring payments. The service allows ArrowMark to log into a web based portal accessible by both ArrowMark and the Northern Trust middle office processing teams. The service allows the ArrowMark to view upcoming corporate action and optional dividend events in a calendar or an event queue format, get notified of corporate action event related alerts, enter event responses, track workflow statuses and receive event allocation information.

Procedures for ArrowMark’s Receipt of Class Actions

ArrowMark recognizes that as a fiduciary it has a duty to act with the highest obligation of good faith, loyalty, fair dealing and due care. When a recovery is achieved in a class action, investors who owned shares in the company subject to the action have the option to either: (1) opt out of the class action and pursue their own remedy; or (2) participate in the recovery achieved via the class action. Collecting the recovery involves the completion of a Proof of Claim form which is submitted to the Claims Administrator. After the Claims Administrator receives all Proof of Claims, it dispenses the money from the settlement fund to those persons and entities with valid claims.

ArrowMark has engaged an independent class action service, Battea, to handle all class action proceedings.

Recordkeeping

In accordance with Rule 204-2 under the Advisers Act, ArrowMark will maintain for the time periods set forth in the Rule

 

  (i)

These proxy voting procedures and policies, and all amendments thereto;

 

  (ii)

All proxy statements received regarding Client securities (provided however, that the we may rely on the proxy statement filed on EDGAR as its records);

 

  (iii)

A record of all votes cast on behalf of Clients;

 

  (iv)

Records of all Client requests and subsequent responses regarding proxy voting information;

 

  (v)

Any documents prepared by ArrowMark that were material to making a decision how to vote or that memorialized the basis for the decision; and

 

  (vi)

All records relating to requests made to Clients regarding conflicts of interest in voting the proxy.

Such records will be maintained in a readily accessible manner for a period of at least seven years. Proxy statements on file with EDGAR or maintained by the Proxy Manager are not subject to these retention requirements.

Disclosure

ArrowMark will ensure that Part 2 of Form ADV and/or the Fund documents are updated as necessary to reflect: (i) all material changes to the Proxy Voting Policy and Procedures; and (ii) information about how Clients may obtain information on how ArrowMark voted their securities.

ArrowMark will enter into arrangements with all mutual fund clients to provide any information required to be filed by such mutual fund on Form N-PX 60 days after June 30 of each year, and will provide information as requested by the client mutual funds’ board of directors.

 

B-3


Proxy Solicitation

As a matter of practice, it is ArrowMark’s policy to not reveal or disclose to any Client how ArrowMark may have voted (or intends to vote) on a particular proxy until after such proxies have been counted at a shareholder’s meeting. ArrowMark will never disclose such information to unrelated third parties.

The CCO are to be promptly informed of the receipt of any solicitation from any person to vote proxies on behalf of Clients. At no time may any Employee accept any remuneration in the solicitation of proxies. The CCO should handle all responses to such solicitations.


LOGO


LOGO   LOGO

 

Table of Contents

 

About Glass Lewis

     5  

Guidelines Introduction

     5  

Summary of Changes for 2022

     5  

A Board of Directors that Serves Shareholder Interest

     8  

Election of Directors

     8  

Independence

     9  

Committee Independence

     10  

Independent Chair

     11  

Performance

     12  

Board Responsiveness

     12  

The Role of a Committee Chair

     13  

Audit Committees and Performance

     13  

Standards for Assessing the Audit Committee

     14  

Compensation Committee Performance

     16  

Nominating and Governance Committee Performance

     17  

Board-level Risk Management Oversight

     19  

Board Oversight of Environmental and Social Issues

     20  

Board Accountability for Environmental and Social Performance

     20  

Director Commitments

     21  

Other Considerations

     21  

Controlled Companies

     22  

Significant Shareholders

     23  

Governance Following an IPO, Spin-off, or Direct Listing

     23  

Governance Following a Business Combination with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company

     24  

Dual-Listed or Foreign-Incorporated Companies

     24  

OTC-listed Companies

     25  

Mutual Fund Boards

     25  

Declassified Boards

     26  

Board Composition and Refreshment

     27  

Board Diversity

     27  

State Laws on Gender Diversity

     27  

State Laws on Underrepresented Community Diversity

     28  

 

2


Disclosure of Director Diversity and Skills

     28  

Stock Exchange Diversity Disclosure Requirements

     28  

Proxy Access

     28  

Majority Vote for Election of Directors

     29  

The Plurality Vote Standard

     29  

Advantages of a Majority Vote Standard

     29  

Conflicting and Excluded Proposals

     29  

Transparency and Integrity in Financial Reporting

     31  

Auditor Ratification

     31  

Voting Recommendations on Auditor Ratification

     31  

Pension Accounting Issues

     32  

The Link Between Compensation and Performance

     32  

Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Say-on-Pay)

     33  

Say-on-Pay Voting Recommendations

     33  

Company Responsiveness

     34  

Pay for Performance

     34  

Short-Term Incentives

     35  

Long-Term Incentives

     36  

Grants of Front-Loaded Awards

     37  

Linking Executive Pay to Environmental and Social Criteria

     37  

One-Time Awards

     37  

Contractual Payments and Arrangements

     38  

Sign-on Awards and Severance Benefits

     38  

Change in Control

     38  

Excise Tax Gross-ups

     38  

Amended Employment Agreements

     39  

Recoupment Provisions (Clawbacks)

     39  

Hedging of Stock

     39  

Pledging of Stock

     39  

Compensation Consultant Independence

     40  

CEO Pay Ratio

     40  

Frequency of Say-on-Pay

     40  

Vote on Golden Parachute Arrangements

     41  

Equity-Based Compensation Plan Proposals

     41  

Option Exchanges and Repricing

     42  

Option Backdating, Spring-Loading and Bullet-Dodging

     42  

Director Compensation Plans

     43  

 

3


Employee Stock Purchase Plans

     43  

Executive Compensation Tax Deductability – Amendment to IRC 162(M)

     43  

Governance Structure and the Shareholder Franchise

     44  

Anti-Takeover Measures

     44  

Poison Pills (Shareholder Rights Plans)

     44  

NOL Poison Pills

     44  

Fair Price Provisions

     45  

Quorum Requirements

     45  

Director and Officer Indemnification

     46  

Reincorporation

     46  

Exclusive Forum and Fee-Shifting Bylaw Provisions

     46  

Authorized Shares

     47  

Advance Notice Requirements

     47  

Virtual Shareholder Meetings

     48  

Voting Structure

     48  

Multi-Class Share Structures

     48  

Cumulative Voting

     49  

Supermajority Vote Requirements

     49  

Transaction of Other Business

     49  

Anti-Greenmail Proposals

     49  

Mutual Funds: Investment Policies and Advisory Agreements

     50  

Real Estate Investment Trusts

     50  

Preferred Stock Issuances at REITs

     50  

Business Development Companies

     50  

Authorization to Sell Shares at a Price Below Net Asset Value

     51  

Auditor Ratification and Below-NAV Issuances

     51  

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies

     51  

Extension of Business Combination Deadline

     51  

SPAC Board Independence

     52  

Director Commitments of SPAC Executives

     52  

Shareholder Proposals

     52  

Overall Approach to Environmental, Social & Governance

     52  

Connect with Glass Lewis

     54  

 

4


About Glass Lewis

Glass Lewis is the world’s choice for governance solutions. We enable institutional investors and publicly listed companies to make sustainable decisions based on research and data. We cover 30,000+ meetings each year, across approximately 100 global markets. Our team has been providing in-depth analysis of companies since 2003, relying solely on publicly available information to inform its policies, research, and voting recommendations.

Our customers include the majority of the world’s largest pension plans, mutual funds, and asset managers, collectively managing over $40 trillion in assets. We have teams located across the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific giving us global reach with a local perspective on the important governance issues.

Investors around the world depend on Glass Lewis’ Viewpoint platform to manage their proxy voting, policy implementation, recordkeeping, and reporting. Our industry leading Proxy Paper product provides comprehensive environmental, social, and governance research and voting recommendations weeks ahead of voting deadlines. Public companies can also use our innovative Report Feedback Statement to deliver their opinion on our proxy research directly to the voting decision makers at every investor client in time for voting decisions to be made or changed.

The research team engages extensively with public companies, investors, regulators, and other industry stakeholders to gain relevant context into the realities surrounding companies, sectors, and the market in general. This enables us to provide the most comprehensive and pragmatic insights to our customers.

Join the Conversation

Glass Lewis is committed to ongoing engagement with all market participants.

[email protected]    |     www.glasslewis.com

Guidelines Introduction

Summary of Changes for 2022

Glass Lewis evaluates these guidelines on an ongoing basis and formally updates them on an annual basis. This year we’ve made noteworthy revisions in the following areas, which are summarized below but discussed in greater detail in the relevant section of this document:

Board Gender Diversity

We have expanded our policy on board gender diversity. Beginning in 2022, we will generally recommend voting against the chair of the nominating committee of a board with fewer than two gender diverse directors, or the entire nominating committee of a board with no gender diverse directors, at companies within the Russell 3000 index. For companies outside of the Russell 3000 index, and all boards with six or fewer total directors, our existing policy requiring a minimum of one gender diverse director will remain in place.

Our voting recommendations in 2022 will be based on the above requirements for the number of gender diverse board members. However, beginning with shareholder meetings held after January 1, 2023, we will transition from a fixed numerical approach to a percentage-based approach and will generally recommend voting against the nominating committee chair of a board that is not at least 30 percent gender diverse at companies within the Russell 3000 index.

Additionally, when making these voting recommendations, we will carefully review a company’s disclosure of its diversity considerations and may refrain from recommending that shareholders vote against directors of companies when boards have provided a sufficient rationale or plan to address the lack of diversity on the board.

We have also replaced references in our guidelines to female directors with “gender diverse directors,” defined as women and directors that identify with a gender other than male or female.

State Laws on Gender Diversity

We have revised our discussion regarding state laws on diversity to include two sections regarding state laws on gender diversity and state laws on underrepresented community diversity. In addition to our standard policy on board diversity, we will recommend in accordance with mandated board composition requirements set forth in applicable state laws when they come into effect. We have removed references to any state’s individual laws.

 

5


We will generally refrain from recommending against directors when applicable state laws do not mandate board composition requirements, are non-binding, or solely impose disclosure or reporting requirements in filings made with each respective state annually.

State Laws on Underrepresented Community Diversity

We have included a new section discussing state laws on underrepresented community diversity. In addition to board gender diversity, several states have also begun to encourage board diversity beyond gender through legislation. We will generally recommend in line with applicable state laws mandating board composition requirements for underrepresented community diversity or other diversity measures beyond gender when they come into effect.

Stock Exchange Diversity Disclosure Requirements

We have included a new section regarding our approach to a recent disclosure rule adopted by the Nasdaq stock exchange. On August 6, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved new listing rules regarding board diversity and disclosure for Nasdaq-listed companies. Beginning in 2022, companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange will be required to disclose certain board diversity statistics annually in a standardized format in the proxy statement or on the company’s website. Nasdaq-listed companies are required to provide this disclosure by the later of (i) August 8, 2022, or (ii) the date the company files its proxy statement for its 2022 annual meeting. Accordingly, for annual meetings held after August 8, 2022, of applicable Nasdaq-listed companies, we will recommend voting against the chair of the governance committee when the required disclosure has not been provided.

Disclosure of Director Diversity and Skills

We have revised our discussion on disclosure of director diversity and skills in company proxy statements. Beginning in 2022, for companies in the S&P 500 index with particularly poor disclosure (i.e., those failing to provide any disclosure in each of the tracked categories), we may recommend voting against the chair of the nominating and/or governance committee. Beginning in 2023, when companies in the S&P 500 index have not provided any disclosure of individual or aggregate racial/ethnic minority demographic information, we will generally recommend voting against the chair of the governance committee.

Environmental and Social Risk Oversight

We have updated our guidelines with respect to board-level oversight of environmental and social (E&S) issues. Beginning in 2022, Glass Lewis will note as a concern when boards of companies in the Russell 1000 index do not provide clear disclosure concerning the board-level oversight afforded to environmental and/or social issues. For shareholder meetings held after January 1, 2022, we will generally recommend voting against the governance committee chair of a company in the S&P 500 index who fails to provide explicit disclosure concerning the board’s role in overseeing these issues. While we believe that it is important that these issues are overseen at the board level and that shareholders are afforded meaningful disclosure of these oversight responsibilities, we believe that companies should determine the best structure for this oversight. In our view, this oversight can be effectively conducted by specific directors, the entire board, a separate committee, or combined with the responsibilities of a key committee.

The Role of a Committee Chair

We have revised our approach to the role of a committee chair in cases where there is a designated committee chair and the recommendation is to vote against the committee chair, but the chair is not up for election because the board is staggered. Beginning in 2022, in cases where the committee chair is not up for election due to a staggered board, and where we have identified multiple concerns, we will generally recommend voting against other members of the committee who are up for election, on a case-by-case basis.

Multi-Class Share Structures with Unequal Voting Rights

We have updated our approach to companies that have multi-class share structures with unequal voting rights. Beginning in 2022, we will recommend voting against the chair of the governance committee at companies with a multi-class share structure and unequal voting rights when the company does not provide for a reasonable sunset of the multi-class share structure (generally seven years or less).

Governance Following a Business Combination with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company

We have included a new section to address governance concerns at companies following a business combination with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). We believe that the business combination of a private company with a publicly traded special

 

6


purpose acquisition company facilitates the private entity becoming a publicly traded corporation. Thus, the business combination represents the private company’s de- facto IPO. We believe that some cases warrant shareholder action against the board of a company that has completed a business combination with a SPAC within the past year.

In cases where Glass Lewis determines that the company has adopted overly restrictive governing documents, where, preceding the company becoming publicly traded, the board adopts a multi-class share structure where voting rights are not aligned with economic interest, or an anti-takeover provision, such as a poison pill or classified board, we will generally recommend voting against all members of the board who served at the time of the company becoming publicly traded if the board: (i) did not also submit these provisions to a shareholder vote on an advisory basis at the prior meeting where shareholders voted on the business combination; (ii) did not also commit to submitting these provisions to a shareholder vote at the company’s first shareholder meeting following the company becoming publicly traded; or (iii) did not provide for a reasonable sunset of these provisions (generally three to five years in the case of a classified board or poison pill; or seven years or less in the case of a multi-class share structure).

Director Commitments of SPAC Executives

We have included a new discussion of our approach to director commitments for directors when their only executive role is at a special purpose acquisition company. We believe the primary role of executive officers at SPACs is identifying acquisition targets for the SPAC and consummating a business combination. Given the nature of these executive roles and the limited business operations of SPACs, when a directors’ only executive role is at a SPAC, we will generally apply our higher limit for company directorships. As a result, we generally recommend that shareholders vote against a director who serves in an executive role only at a SPAC while serving on more than five public company boards.

Waiver of Age and Tenure Policies

We have revised our approach to boards waiving self-imposed age and/or tenure policies. Beginning in 2022, in cases where the board has waived its term/age limits for two or more consecutive years, Glass Lewis will generally recommend shareholders vote against the nominating and or governance committee chair, unless a compelling rationale is provided for why the board is proposing to waive this rule, such as consummation of a corporate transaction.

Clarifying Amendments

The following clarifications of our existing policies are included this year:

Overall Approach to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

We have expanded our discussion of environmental, social & governance initiatives in a new section titled Glass Lewis’ Overall Approach to ESG. Here we provide additional details of our considerations when evaluating these topics. To summarize, Glass Lewis evaluates all environmental and social issues through the lens of long-term shareholder value. We believe that companies should be considering material environmental and social factors in all aspects of their operations and that companies should provide shareholders with disclosures that allow them to understand how these factors are being considered and how attendant risks are being mitigated.

For a detailed review of our policies concerning compensation, environmental, social, and governance shareholder proposals, please refer to our comprehensive Proxy Paper Guidelines for Environmental, Social & Governance Initiatives, available at www.glasslewis.com/voting-policies-current/.

Shareholder Proposals

In the section titled Governance Structure and the Shareholder Franchise, we have added a sub-section titled Shareholder Proposals, summarizing our existing approach to analyzing these proposals. Specifically, we evaluate all shareholder proposals on a case-by-case basis with a view to promoting long-term shareholder value. While we are generally supportive of those that promote board accountability, shareholder rights, and transparency, we consider all proposals in the context of a company’s unique operations and risk profile.

Please refer to our comprehensive Proxy Paper Guidelines for Environmental, Social & Governance Initiatives for additional detail.

Linking Executive Pay to Environmental and Social Criteria

We have outlined our current approach to the use of E&S metrics in the variable incentive programs for named executive officers. Glass Lewis highlights the use of E&S metrics in our analysis of the advisory vote on executive compensation. However, Glass Lewis does not maintain a policy on the inclusion of such metrics or whether these metrics should be used in either a company’s short- or

 

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long-term incentive program. As with other types of metrics, where E&S metrics are included, as determined by the company, we expect robust disclosure on the metrics selected, the rigor of performance targets, and the determination of corresponding payout opportunities. For qualitative E&S metrics, the company should provide shareholders with a thorough understanding of how these metrics will be or were assessed.

Short- and Long-Term Incentives

Our guidance related to Glass Lewis’ analysis of the short-term incentive awards has been clarified to note that Glass Lewis will consider adjustments to GAAP financial results in its assessment of the incentive’s effectiveness at tying executive pay to performance. As with the short-term incentive awards, our analysis of long-term incentive grants also considers the basis for any adjustments to metrics or results. Thus, clear disclosure from companies is equally important for long-term incentive awards.

Grants of Front-Loaded Awards

We have clarified our guidance related to Glass Lewis’ analysis of so-called front-loaded incentive awards. Specifically, while we continue to examine the quantum of award on an annualized basis for the full vesting period of the awards, Glass Lewis also considers the impact of the overall size of awards on dilution of shareholder wealth.

Authorizations/Increases in Authorized Preferred Stock

With regard to authorizations of requested increases in authorized preferred stock, we have clarified that we will generally recommend voting against preferred stock authorizations or increases, unless the company discloses a commitment to not use such shares as an anti-takeover defense or in a shareholder rights plan, or discloses a commitment to submit any shareholder rights plan to a shareholder vote prior to its adoption.

Federal Forum Provisions

We have clarified our approach to companies that have adopted federal exclusive forum provisions designating federal courts as the sole jurisdiction for matters arising under the Securities Act of 1933. When boards have adopted federal exclusive forum provisions without seeking shareholder approval, we will generally take the same approach as when boards have adopted exclusive forum provisions designating state courts as exclusive jurisdiction for certain matters and will generally recommend voting against chairs of governance committees.

Governance Following an IPO, Spin-off or Direct Listing

We have clarified our approach to director recommendations on the basis of post-IPO corporate governance concerns to include references to companies that have gone public by way of direct listing. When evaluating governance following a direct listing, we will apply the same approach as our existing policy on IPOs and spin- offs.

Director Independence

In the section outlining our approach to director independence, we have added a sentence clarifying that for material financial transactions, we apply a three-year look back, and for former employment relationships, we apply a five-year look back.

Related-Party Transaction Materiality Thresholds

In the section defining “material” transactions, we added a sentence clarifying that the $50,000 threshold for individual transactions also applies to directors who are the majority or principal owner of a firm that receives such payments.

Lastly, we have made several minor edits of a housekeeping nature, including the removal of several redundant and/or outdated footnotes.

A Board of Directors that Serves Shareholder Interest

Election of Directors

The purpose of Glass Lewis’ proxy research and advice is to facilitate shareholder voting in favor of governance structures that will drive performance, create shareholder value and maintain a proper tone at the top. Glass Lewis looks for talented boards with a record of protecting shareholders and delivering value over the medium- and long-term. We believe that a board can best protect and enhance the interests of shareholders if it is sufficiently independent, has a record of positive performance, and consists of individuals with diverse backgrounds and a breadth and depth of relevant experience.

 

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Independence

The independence of directors, or lack thereof, is ultimately demonstrated through the decisions they make. In assessing the independence of directors, we will take into consideration, when appropriate, whether a director has a track record indicative of making objective decisions. Likewise, when assessing the independence of directors we will also examine when a director’s track record on multiple boards indicates a lack of objective decision-making. Ultimately, we believe the determination of whether a director is independent or not must take into consideration both compliance with the applicable independence listing requirements as well as judgments made by the director.

We look at each director nominee to examine the director’s relationships with the company, the company’s executives, and other directors. We do this to evaluate whether personal, familial, or financial relationships (not including director compensation) may impact the director’s decisions. We believe that such relationships make it difficult for a director to put shareholders’ interests above the director’s or the related party’s interests. We also believe that a director who owns more than 20% of a company can exert disproportionate influence on the board, and therefore believe such a director’s independence may be hampered, in particular when serving on the audit committee.

Thus, we put directors into three categories based on an examination of the type of relationship they have with the company:

Independent Director — An independent director has no material financial, familial or other current relationships with the company, its executives, or other board members, except for board service and standard fees paid for that service. Relationships that existed within three to five years1 before the

Affiliated Director — An affiliated director has, (or within the past three years, had) a material financial, familial or other relationship with the company or its executives, but is not an employee of the company.2 This includes directors whose employers have a material financial relationship with the company.3 In addition, we view a director who either owns or controls 20% or more of the company’s voting stock, or is an employee or affiliate of an entity that controls such amount, as an affiliate.4

We view 20% shareholders as affiliates because they typically have access to and involvement with the management of a company that is fundamentally different from that of ordinary shareholders. More importantly, 20% holders may have interests that diverge from those of ordinary holders, for reasons such as the liquidity (or lack thereof) of their holdings, personal tax issues, etc.

Glass Lewis applies a three-year look back period to all directors who have an affiliation with the company other than former employment, for which we apply a five-year look back.

Definition of “Material”: A material relationship is one in which the dollar value exceeds:

 

 

$50,000 (or where no amount is disclosed) for directors who are paid for a service they have agreed to perform for the company, outside of their service as a director, including professional or other services. This threshold also applies to directors who are the majority or principal owner of a firm that receives such payments; or

 

 

$120,000 (or where no amount is disclosed) for those directors employed by a professional services firm such as a law firm, investment bank, or consulting firm and the company pays the firm, not the individual, for services.5 This dollar limit would also apply to charitable contributions to schools where a board member is a professor; or charities where a director serves on the board or is an executive;6 and any aircraft and real estate dealings between the company and the director’s firm; or

1 

NASDAQ originally proposed a five-year look-back period but both it and the NYSE ultimately settled on a three-year look- back prior to finalizing their rules. A five-year standard for former employment relationships is more appropriate, in our view, because we believe that the unwinding of conflicting relationships between former management and board members is more likely to be complete and final after five years. However, Glass Lewis does not apply the five-year look-back period to directors who have previously served as executives of the company on an interim basis for less than one year. inquiry are usually considered “current” for purposes of this test. For material financial relationships with the company, we apply a three-year look back, and for former employment relationships with the company, we apply a five-year look back.

2 

If a company does not consider a non-employee director to be independent, Glass Lewis will classify that director as an affiliate.

3 

We allow a five-year grace period for former executives of the company or merged companies who have consulting agreements with the surviving company. (We do not automatically recommend voting against directors in such cases for the first five years.) If the consulting agreement persists after this five-year grace period, we apply the materiality thresholds outlined in the definition of “material.”

4 

This includes a director who serves on a board as a representative (as part of his or her basic responsibilities) of an investment firm with greater than 20% ownership. However, while we will generally consider him/her to be affiliated, we will not recommend voting against unless (i) the investment firm has disproportionate board representation or (ii) the director serves on the audit committee.

5 

We may deem such a transaction to be immaterial where the amount represents less than 1% of the firm’s annual revenues and the board provides a compelling rationale as to why the director’s independence is not affected by the relationship.

6 

We will generally take into consideration the size and nature of such charitable entities in relation to the company’s size and industry along with any other relevant factors such as the director’s role at the charity. However, unlike for other types of related party transactions, Glass Lewis generally does not apply a look-back period to affiliated relationships involving charitable contributions; if the relationship between the director and the school or charity ceases, or if the company discontinues its donations to the entity, we will consider the director to be independent.

 

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1% of either company’s consolidated gross revenue for other business relationships (e.g., where the director is an executive officer of a company that provides services or products to or receives services or products from the company).7

Definition of “Familial” — Familial relationships include a person’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and anyone (other than domestic employees) who shares such person’s home. A director is an affiliate if: i) he or she has a family member who is employed by the company and receives more than $120,000 in annual compensation; or, ii) he or she has a family member who is employed by the company and the company does not disclose this individual’s compensation.

Definition of “Company” — A company includes any parent or subsidiary in a group with the company or any entity that merged with, was acquired by, or acquired the company.

Inside Director — An inside director simultaneously serves as a director and as an employee of the company. This category may include a board chair who acts as an employee of the company or is paid as an employee of the company. In our view, an inside director who derives a greater amount of income as a result of affiliated transactions with the company rather than through compensation paid by the company (i.e., salary, bonus, etc. as a company employee) faces a conflict between making decisions that are in the best interests of the company versus those in the director’s own best interests.

Therefore, we will recommend voting against such a director.

Additionally, we believe a director who is currently serving in an interim management position should be considered an insider, while a director who previously served in an interim management position for less than one year and is no longer serving in such capacity is considered independent. Moreover, a director who previously served in an interim management position for over one year and is no longer serving in such capacity is considered an affiliate for five years following the date of the director’s resignation or departure from the interim management position.

Voting Recommendations on the Basis of Board Independence

Glass Lewis believes a board will be most effective in protecting shareholders’ interests if it is at least two-thirds independent. We note that each of the Business Roundtable, the Conference Board, and the Council of Institutional Investors advocates that two-thirds of the board be independent. Where more than one-third of the members are affiliated or inside directors, we typically8 recommend voting against some of the inside and/or affiliated directors in order to satisfy the two-thirds threshold.

In the case of a less than two-thirds independent board, Glass Lewis strongly supports the existence of a presiding or lead director with authority to set the meeting agendas and to lead sessions outside the insider chair’s presence.

In addition, we scrutinize avowedly “independent” chairs and lead directors. We believe that they should be unquestionably independent or the company should not tout them as such.

Committee Independence

We believe that only independent directors should serve on a company’s audit, compensation, nominating, and governance committees.9 We typically recommend that shareholders vote against any affiliated or inside director seeking appointment to an audit, compensation, nominating, or governance committee, or who has served in that capacity in the past year.

7 

This includes cases where a director is employed by, or closely affiliated with, a private equity firm that profits from an acquisition made by the company. Unless disclosure suggests otherwise, we presume the director is affiliated.

8 

With a staggered board, if the affiliates or insiders that we believe should not be on the board are not up for election, we will express our concern regarding those directors, but we will not recommend voting against the other affiliates or insiders who are up for election just to achieve two-thirds independence. However, we will consider recommending voting against the directors subject to our concern at their next election if the issue giving rise to the concern is not resolved.

9 

We will recommend voting against an audit committee member who owns 20% or more of the company’s stock, and we believe that there should be a maximum of one director (or no directors if the committee is composed of less than three directors) who owns 20% or more of the company’s stock on the compensation, nominating, and governance committees.

 

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Pursuant to Section 952 of the Dodd-Frank Act, as of January 11, 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved new listing requirements for both the NYSE and NASDAQ which require that boards apply enhanced standards of independence when making an affirmative determination of the independence of compensation committee members. Specifically, when making this determination, in addition to the factors considered when assessing general director independence, the board’s considerations must include: (i) the source of compensation of the director, including any consulting, advisory or other compensatory fee paid by the listed company to the director (the “Fees Factor”); and (ii) whether the director is affiliated with the listing company, its subsidiaries, or affiliates of its subsidiaries (the “Affiliation Factor”).

Glass Lewis believes it is important for boards to consider these enhanced independence factors when assessing compensation committee members. However, as discussed above in the section titled Independence, we apply our own standards when assessing the independence of directors, and these standards also take into account consulting and advisory fees paid to the director, as well as the director’s affiliations with the company and its subsidiaries and affiliates. We may recommend voting against compensation committee members who are not independent based on our standards.

Independent Chair

Glass Lewis believes that separating the roles of CEO (or, more rarely, another executive position) and chair creates a better governance structure than a combined CEO/chair position. An executive manages the business according to a course the board charts. Executives should report to the board regarding their performance in achieving goals set by the board. This is needlessly complicated when a CEO chairs the board, since a CEO/chair presumably will have a significant influence over the board.

While many companies have an independent lead or presiding director who performs many of the same functions of an independent chair (e.g., setting the board meeting agenda), we do not believe this alternate form of independent board leadership provides as robust protection for shareholders as an independent chair.

It can become difficult for a board to fulfill its role of overseer and policy setter when a CEO/chair controls the agenda and the boardroom discussion. Such control can allow a CEO to have an entrenched position, leading to longer-than-optimal terms, fewer checks on management, less scrutiny of the business operation, and limitations on independent, shareholder-focused goal-setting by the board.

A CEO should set the strategic course for the company, with the board’s approval, and the board should enable the CEO to carry out the CEO’s vision for accomplishing the board’s objectives. Failure to achieve the board’s objectives should lead the board to replace that CEO with someone in whom the board has confidence.

Likewise, an independent chair can better oversee executives and set a pro-shareholder agenda without the management conflicts that a CEO and other executive insiders often face. Such oversight and concern for shareholders allows for a more proactive and effective board of directors that is better able to look out for the interests of shareholders.

Further, it is the board’s responsibility to select a chief executive who can best serve a company and its shareholders and to replace this person when his or her duties have not been appropriately fulfilled. Such a replacement becomes more difficult and happens less frequently when the chief executive is also in the position of overseeing the board.

Glass Lewis believes that the installation of an independent chair is almost always a positive step from a corporate governance perspective and promotes the best interests of shareholders. Further, the presence of an independent chair fosters the creation of a thoughtful and dynamic board, not dominated by the views of senior management. Encouragingly, many companies appear to be moving in this direction — one study indicates that only 10 percent of incoming CEOs in 2014 were awarded the chair title, versus 48 percent in 2002.10 Another study finds that 53 percent of S&P 500 boards now separate the CEO and chair roles, up from 37 percent in 2009, although the same study found that only 34 percent of S&P 500 boards have truly independent chairs.11

We do not recommend that shareholders vote against CEOs who chair the board. However, we typically recommend that our clients support separating the roles of chair and CEO whenever that question is posed in a proxy (typically in the form of a shareholder proposal), as we believe that it is in the long-term best interests of the company and its shareholders.

Further, where the company has neither an independent chair nor independent lead director, we will recommend voting against the chair of the governance committee.

10 

Ken Favaro, Per-Ola Karlsson and Gary L. Nelson. “The $112 Billion CEO Succession Problem.” (Strategy+Business, Issue 79, Summer 2015).

11 

Spencer Stuart Board Index, 2019, p. 6.

 

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Performance

The most crucial test of a board’s commitment to the company and its shareholders lies in the actions of the board and its members. We look at the performance of these individuals as directors and executives of the company and of other companies where they have served.

We find that a director’s past conduct is often indicative of future conduct and performance. We often find directors with a history of overpaying executives or of serving on boards where avoidable disasters have occurred serving on the boards of companies with similar problems. Glass Lewis has a proprietary database of directors serving at over 8,000 of the most widely held U.S. companies. We use this database to track the performance of directors across companies.

Voting Recommendations on the Basis of Performance

We typically recommend that shareholders vote against directors who have served on boards or as executives of companies with records of poor performance, inadequate risk oversight, excessive compensation, audit- or accounting-related issues, and/or other indicators of mismanagement or actions against the interests of shareholders. We will reevaluate such directors based on, among other factors, the length of time passed since the incident giving rise to the concern, shareholder support for the director, the severity of the issue, the director’s role (e.g., committee membership), director tenure at the subject company, whether ethical lapses accompanied the oversight lapse, and evidence of strong oversight at other companies.

Likewise, we examine the backgrounds of those who serve on key board committees to ensure that they have the required skills and diverse backgrounds to make informed judgments about the subject matter for which the committee is responsible.

We believe shareholders should avoid electing directors who have a record of not fulfilling their responsibilities to shareholders at any company where they have held a board or executive position. We typically recommend voting against:

1. A director who fails to attend a minimum of 75% of board and applicable committee meetings, calculated in the aggregate.12

2. A director who belatedly filed a significant form(s) 4 or 5, or who has a pattern of late filings if the late filing was the director’s fault (we look at these late filing situations on a case-by-case basis).

3. A director who is also the CEO of a company where a serious and material restatement has occurred after the CEO had previously certified the pre-restatement financial statements.

4. A director who has received two against recommendations from Glass Lewis for identical reasons within the prior year at different companies (the same situation must also apply at the company being analyzed).

Furthermore, with consideration given to the company’s overall corporate governance, pay-for-performance alignment and board responsiveness to shareholders, we may recommend voting against directors who served throughout a period in which the company performed significantly worse than peers and the directors have not taken reasonable steps to address the poor performance.

Board Responsiveness

Glass Lewis believes that any time 20% or more of shareholders vote contrary to the recommendation of management, the board should, depending on the issue, demonstrate some level of responsiveness to address the concerns of shareholders. These include instances when 20% or more of shareholders: (i) withhold votes from (or vote against) a director nominee; (ii) vote against a management-sponsored proposal; or (iii) vote for a shareholder proposal. In our view, a 20% threshold is significant enough to warrant a close examination of the underlying issues and an evaluation of whether or not a board response was warranted and, if so, whether the board responded appropriately following the vote, particularly in the case of a compensation or director election proposal. While the 20% threshold alone will not automatically generate a negative vote recommendation from Glass Lewis on a future proposal (e.g., to recommend against a director nominee, against a say-on-pay proposal, etc.), it may be a contributing factor to our recommendation to vote against management’s recommendation in the event we determine that the board did not respond appropriately. While Glass Lewis may note instances of significant support for shareholder proposals, we believe clear action is warranted when such proposals receive support from a majority of votes cast (excluding abstentions and broker non-votes).

12 

However, where a director has served for less than one full year, we will typically not recommend voting against for failure to attend 75% of meetings. Rather, we will note the poor attendance with a recommendation to track this issue going forward. We will also refrain from recommending to vote against directors when the proxy discloses that the director missed the meetings due to serious illness or other extenuating circumstances.

 

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With regard to companies where voting control is held through a multi-class share structure with disproportionate voting and economic rights, we will carefully examine the level of approval or disapproval attributed to unaffiliated shareholders when determining whether board responsiveness is warranted. Where vote results indicate that a majority of unaffiliated shareholders supported a shareholder proposal or opposed a management proposal, we believe the board should demonstrate an appropriate level of responsiveness.

As a general framework, our evaluation of board responsiveness involves a review of publicly available disclosures (e.g., the proxy statement, annual report, 8-Ks, company website, etc.) released following the date of the company’s last annual meeting up through the publication date of our most current Proxy Paper. Depending on the specific issue, our focus typically includes, but is not limited to, the following:

 

 

At the board level, any changes in directorships, committee memberships, disclosure of related party transactions, meeting attendance, or other responsibilities;

 

 

Any revisions made to the company’s articles of incorporation, bylaws or other governance documents;

 

 

Any press or news releases indicating changes in, or the adoption of, new company policies, business practices or special reports; and

 

 

Any modifications made to the design and structure of the company’s compensation program, as well as an assessment of the company’s engagement with shareholders on compensation issues as discussed in the Compensation Discussion & Analysis (CD&A), particularly following a material vote against a company’s say-on-pay.

Our Proxy Paper analysis will include a case-by-case assessment of the specific elements of board responsiveness that we examined along with an explanation of how that assessment impacts our current voting recommendations.

The Role of a Committee Chair

Glass Lewis believes that a designated committee chair maintains primary responsibility for the actions of his or her respective committee. As such, many of our committee-specific voting recommendations are against the applicable committee chair rather than the entire committee (depending on the seriousness of the issue). In cases where the committee chair is not up for election due to a staggered board, and where we have identified multiple concerns, we will generally recommend voting against other members of the committee who are up for election, on a case-by-case basis.

In cases where we would ordinarily recommend voting against a committee chair but the chair is not specified, we apply the following general rules, which apply throughout our guidelines:

 

 

If there is no committee chair, we recommend voting against the longest-serving committee member or, if the longest-serving committee member cannot be determined, the longest-serving board member serving on the committee (i.e., in either case, the “senior director”); and

 

 

If there is no committee chair, but multiple senior directors serving on the committee, we recommend voting against both (or all) such senior directors.

In our view, companies should provide clear disclosure of which director is charged with overseeing each

committee. In cases where that simple framework is ignored and a reasonable analysis cannot determine which committee member is the designated leader, we believe shareholder action against the longest serving committee member(s) is warranted. Again, this only applies if we would ordinarily recommend voting against the committee chair but there is either no such position or no designated director in such role.

Audit Committees and Performance

Audit committees play an integral role in overseeing the financial reporting process because stable capital markets depend on reliable, transparent, and objective financial information to support an efficient and effective capital market process. Audit committees play a vital role in providing this disclosure to shareholders.

When assessing an audit committee’s performance, we are aware that an audit committee does not prepare financial statements, is not responsible for making the key judgments and assumptions that affect the financial statements, and does not audit the numbers or the disclosures provided to investors. Rather, an audit committee member monitors and oversees the process and procedures that management and auditors perform. The 1999 Report and Recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Improving the Effectiveness of Corporate Audit Committees stated it best:

 

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A proper and well-functioning system exists, therefore, when the three main groups responsible for financial reporting — the full board including the audit committee, financial management including the internal auditors, and the outside auditors — form a ‘three legged stool’ that supports responsible financial disclosure and active participatory oversight. However, in the view of the Committee, the audit committee must be ‘first among equals’ in this process, since the audit committee is an extension of the full board and hence the ultimate monitor of the process.

Standards for Assessing the Audit Committee

For an audit committee to function effectively on investors’ behalf, it must include members with sufficient knowledge to diligently carry out their responsibilities. In its audit and accounting recommendations, the Conference Board Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise said “members of the audit committee must be independent and have both knowledge and experience in auditing financial matters.”13

We are skeptical of audit committees where there are members that lack expertise as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or corporate controller, or similar experience. While we will not necessarily recommend voting against members of an audit committee when such expertise is lacking, we are more likely to recommend voting against committee members when a problem such as a restatement occurs and such expertise is lacking.

Glass Lewis generally assesses audit committees against the decisions they make with respect to their oversight and monitoring role. The quality and integrity of the financial statements and earnings reports, the completeness of disclosures necessary for investors to make informed decisions, and the effectiveness of the internal controls should provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are materially free from errors. The independence of the external auditors and the results of their work all provide useful information by which to assess the audit committee.

When assessing the decisions and actions of the audit committee, we typically defer to its judgment and generally recommend voting in favor of its members. However, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against the following:

1. All members of the audit committee when options were backdated, there is a lack of adequate controls in place, there was a resulting restatement, and disclosures indicate there was a lack of documentation with respect to the option grants.

2. The audit committee chair, if the audit committee does not have a financial expert or the committee’s financial expert does not have a demonstrable financial background sufficient to understand the financial issues unique to public companies.

3. The audit committee chair, if the audit committee did not meet at least four times during the year.

4. The audit committee chair, if the committee has less than three members.

5. Any audit committee member who sits on more than three public company audit committees, unless the audit committee member is a retired CPA, CFO, controller or has similar experience, in which case the limit shall be four committees, taking time and availability into consideration including a review of the audit committee member’s attendance at all board and committee meetings.14

6. All members of an audit committee who are up for election and who served on the committee at the time of the audit, if audit and audit-related fees total one-third or less of the total fees billed by the auditor.

7. The audit committee chair when tax and/or other fees are greater than audit and audit-related fees paid to the auditor for more than one year in a row (in which case we also recommend against ratification of the auditor).

8. The audit committee chair when fees paid to the auditor are not disclosed.

9. All members of an audit committee where non-audit fees include fees for tax services (including, but not limited to, such things as tax avoidance or shelter schemes) for senior executives of the company. Such services are prohibited by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

10. All members of an audit committee that reappointed an auditor that we no longer consider to be independent for reasons unrelated to fee proportions.

13 

Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise. The Conference Board. 2003.

14 

Glass Lewis may exempt certain audit committee members from the above threshold if, upon further analysis of relevant factors such as the director’s experience, the size, industry-mix and location of the companies involved and the director’s attendance at all the companies, we can reasonably determine that the audit committee member is likely not hindered by multiple audit committee commitments.

 

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11. All members of an audit committee when audit fees are excessively low, especially when compared with other companies in the same industry.

12. The audit committee chair if the committee failed to put auditor ratification on the ballot for shareholder approval. However, if the non-audit fees or tax fees exceed audit plus audit-related fees in either the current or the prior year, then Glass Lewis will recommend voting against the entire audit committee.

13. All members of an audit committee where the auditor has resigned and reported that a section 10A15 letter has been issued.

14. All members of an audit committee at a time when material accounting fraud occurred at the company.16

15. All members of an audit committee at a time when annual and/or multiple quarterly financial statements had to be restated, and any of the following factors apply:17

a. The restatement involves fraud or manipulation by insiders;

b. The restatement is accompanied by an SEC inquiry or investigation;

c. The restatement involves revenue recognition;

d. The restatement results in a greater than 5% adjustment to costs of goods sold, operating expense, or operating cash flows; or

e. The restatement results in a greater than 5% adjustment to net income, 10% adjustment to assets or shareholders equity, or cash flows from financing or investing activities.

16. All members of an audit committee if the company repeatedly fails to file its financial reports in a timely fashion. For example, the company has filed two or more quarterly or annual financial statements late within the last five quarters.

17. All members of an audit committee when it has been disclosed that a law enforcement agency has charged the company and/or its employees with a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

18. All members of an audit committee when the company has aggressive accounting policies and/or poor disclosure or lack of sufficient transparency in its financial statements.

19. All members of the audit committee when there is a disagreement with the auditor and the auditor resigns or is dismissed (e.g., the company receives an adverse opinion on its financial statements from the auditor).

20. All members of the audit committee if the contract with the auditor specifically limits the auditor’s liability to the company for damages.18

21. All members of the audit committee who served since the date of the company’s last annual meeting, and when, since the last annual meeting, the company has reported a material weakness that has not yet been corrected, or, when the company has an ongoing material weakness from a prior year that has not yet been corrected.

We also take a dim view of audit committee reports that are boilerplate, and which provide little or no information or transparency to investors. When a problem such as a material weakness, restatement or late filings occurs, we take into consideration, in forming our judgment with respect to the audit committee, the transparency of the audit committee report.

15 

Auditors are required to report all potential illegal acts to management and the audit committee unless they are clearly inconsequential in nature. If the audit committee or the board fails to take appropriate action on an act that has been determined to be a violation of the law, the independent auditor is required to send a section 10A letter to the SEC. Such letters are rare and therefore we believe should be taken seriously.

16 

Research indicates that revenue fraud now accounts for over 60% of SEC fraud cases, and that companies that engage in fraud experience significant negative abnormal stock price declines—facing bankruptcy, delisting, and material asset sales at much higher rates than do non-fraud firms (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. “Fraudulent Financial Reporting: 1998-2007.” May 2010).

17 

The SEC issued guidance in March 2021 related to classification of warrants as liabilities at special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). We will generally refrain from recommending against audit committee members when the restatement in question is solely as a result of the aforementioned SEC guidance.

18 

The Council of Institutional Investors. “Corporate Governance Policies,” p. 4, April 5, 2006; and “Letter from Council of Institutional Investors to the AICPA,” November 8, 2006. make decisions based on information that is compromised by the consultant’s conflict of interests. Lax controls can also contribute to improper awards of compensation such as through granting of backdated or spring- loaded options, or granting of bonuses when triggers for bonus payments have not been met.

 

15


Compensation Committee Performance

Compensation committees have a critical role in determining the compensation of executives. This includes deciding the basis on which compensation is determined, as well as the amounts and types of compensation to be paid. This process begins with the hiring and initial establishment of employment agreements, including the terms for such items as pay, pensions and severance arrangements. It is important in establishing compensation arrangements that compensation be consistent with, and based on the long-term economic performance of, the business’s long-term shareholders returns.

Compensation committees are also responsible for the oversight of the transparency of compensation. This oversight includes disclosure of compensation arrangements, the matrix used in assessing pay for performance, and the use of compensation consultants. In order to ensure the independence of the board’s compensation consultant, we believe the compensation committee should only engage a compensation consultant that is not also providing any services to the company or management apart from their contract with the compensation committee. It is important to investors that they have clear and complete disclosure of all the significant terms of compensation arrangements in order to make informed decisions with respect to the oversight and decisions of the compensation committee.

Finally, compensation committees are responsible for oversight of internal controls over the executive compensation process. This includes controls over gathering information used to determine compensation, establishment of equity award plans, and granting of equity awards. For example, the use of a compensation consultant who maintains a business relationship with company management may cause the committee to

Central to understanding the actions of compensation committee is a careful review of the CD&A report included in each company’s proxy. We review the CD&A in our evaluation of the overall compensation practices of a company, as overseen by the compensation committee. The CD&A is also integral to the evaluation of compensation proposals at companies, such as advisory votes on executive compensation, which allow shareholders to vote on the compensation paid to a company’s top executives.

When assessing the performance of compensation committees, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against the following:

1. All members of a compensation committee during whose tenure the committee failed to address shareholder concerns following majority shareholder rejection of the say-on-pay proposal in the previous year. Where the proposal was approved but there was a significant shareholder vote (i.e., greater than 20% of votes cast) against the say-on-pay proposal in the prior year, if the board did not respond sufficiently to the vote including actively engaging shareholders on this issue, we will also consider recommending voting against the chair of the compensation committee or all members of the compensation committee, depending on the severity and history of the compensation problems and the level of shareholder opposition.

2. All members of the compensation committee who are up for election and served when the company failed to align pay with performance if shareholders are not provided with an advisory vote on executive compensation at the annual meeting.19

3. Any member of the compensation committee who has served on the compensation committee of at least two other public companies that have consistently failed to align pay with performance and whose oversight of compensation at the company in question is suspect.

4. All members of the compensation committee (during the relevant time period) if the company entered into excessive employment agreements and/or severance agreements.

5. All members of the compensation committee when performance goals were changed (i.e., lowered) when employees failed or were unlikely to meet original goals, or performance-based compensation was paid despite goals not being attained.

6. All members of the compensation committee if excessive employee perquisites and benefits were allowed.

7. The compensation committee chair if the compensation committee did not meet during the year.

8. All members of the compensation committee when the company repriced options or completed a “self tender offer” without shareholder approval within the past two years.

19 

If a company provides shareholders with a say-on-pay proposal, we will initially only recommend voting against the company’s say-on-pay proposal and will not recommend voting against the members of the compensation committee unless there is a pattern of failing to align pay and performance and/or the company exhibits egregious compensation practices. For cases in which the disconnect between pay and performance is marginal and the company has outperformed its peers, we will consider not recommending against compensation committee members.

 

16


9. All members of the compensation committee when vesting of in-the-money options is accelerated.

10. All members of the compensation committee when option exercise prices were backdated. Glass Lewis will recommend voting against an executive director who played a role in and participated in option backdating.

11. All members of the compensation committee when option exercise prices were spring-loaded or otherwise timed around the release of material information.

12. All members of the compensation committee when a new employment contract is given to an executive that does not include a clawback provision and the company had a material restatement, especially if the restatement was due to fraud.

13. The chair of the compensation committee where the CD&A provides insufficient or unclear information about performance metrics and goals, where the CD&A indicates that pay is not tied to performance, or where the compensation committee or management has excessive discretion to alter performance terms or increase amounts of awards in contravention of previously defined targets.

14. All members of the compensation committee during whose tenure the committee failed to implement a shareholder proposal regarding a compensation-related issue, where the proposal received the affirmative vote of a majority of the voting shares at a shareholder meeting, and when a reasonable analysis suggests that the compensation committee (rather than the governance committee) should have taken steps to implement the request.20

15. All members of the compensation committee when the board has materially decreased proxy statement disclosure regarding executive compensation policies and procedures in a manner which substantially impacts shareholders’ ability to make an informed assessment of the company’s executive pay practices.

16. All members of the compensation committee when new excise tax gross-up provisions are adopted in employment agreements with executives, particularly in cases where the company previously committed not to provide any such entitlements in the future.

17. All members of the compensation committee when the board adopts a frequency for future advisory votes on executive compensation that differs from the frequency approved by shareholders.

Nominating and Governance Committee Performance

The nominating and governance committee is responsible for the governance by the board of the company and its executives. In performing this role, the committee is responsible and accountable for selection of objective and competent board members. It is also responsible for providing leadership on governance policies adopted by the company, such as decisions to implement shareholder proposals that have received a majority vote. At most companies, a single committee is charged with these oversight functions; at others, the governance and nominating responsibilities are apportioned among two separate committees.

Consistent with Glass Lewis’ philosophy that boards should have diverse backgrounds and members with a breadth and depth of relevant experience, we believe that nominating and governance committees should consider diversity when making director nominations within the context of each specific company and its industry. In our view, shareholders are best served when boards make an effort to ensure a constituency that is not only reasonably diverse on the basis of age, race, gender and ethnicity, but also on the basis of geographic knowledge, industry experience, board tenure and culture.

Regarding the committee responsible for governance, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against the following:

1. All members of the governance committee21 during whose tenure a shareholder proposal relating to important shareholder rights received support from a majority of the votes cast (excluding abstentions and broker non-votes) and the board has not begun to implement or enact the proposal’s subject matter.22 Examples of such shareholder proposals include those seeking a declassified board structure, a majority vote standard for director elections, or a right to call a special meeting. In determining whether a board has sufficiently implemented such a proposal, we will examine the quality of the right enacted or proffered by the board for any conditions that may unreasonably interfere with the shareholders’ ability to exercise the right (e.g., overly restrictive procedural requirements for calling a special meeting).

20 

In all other instances (i.e., a non-compensation-related shareholder proposal should have been implemented) we recommend that shareholders vote against the members of the governance committee.

21 

If the board does not have a committee responsible for governance oversight and the board did not implement a shareholder proposal that received the requisite support, we will recommend voting against the entire board. If the shareholder proposal at issue requested that the board adopt a declassified structure, we will recommend voting against all director nominees up for election.

22 

Where a compensation-related shareholder proposal should have been implemented, and when a reasonable analysis suggests that the members of the compensation committee (rather than the governance committee) bear the responsibility for failing to implement the request, we recommend that shareholders only vote against members of the compensation committee.

 

17


2. All members of the governance committee when a shareholder resolution is excluded from the meeting agenda but the SEC has declined to state a view on whether such resolution should be excluded, or when the SEC has verbally permitted a company to exclude a shareholder proposal but there is no written record provided by the SEC about such determination and the company has not provided any disclosure concerning this no-action relief.

3. The governance committee chair when the chair is not independent and an independent lead or presiding director has not been appointed.23

4. The governance committee chair at companies with a multi-class share structure and unequal voting rights when the company does not provide for a reasonable sunset of the multi-class share structure (generally seven years or less).

5. In the absence of a nominating committee, the governance committee chair when there are fewer than five, or the whole governance committee when there are more than 20 members on the board.

6. The governance committee chair when the committee fails to meet at all during the year.

7. The governance committee chair, when for two consecutive years the company provides what we consider to be “inadequate” related party transaction disclosure (i.e., the nature of such transactions and/or the monetary amounts involved are unclear or excessively vague, thereby preventing a share-holder from being able to reasonably interpret the independence status of multiple directors above and beyond what the company maintains is compliant with SEC or applicable stock exchange listing requirements).

8. The governance committee chair, when during the past year the board adopted a forum selection clause (i.e., an exclusive forum provision)24 designating either a state’s courts for intra-corporate disputes, and/or federal courts for matters arising under the Securities Act of 1933 without shareholder approval,25 or if the board is currently seeking shareholder approval of a forum selection clause pursuant to a bundled bylaw amendment rather than as a separate proposal.

9. All members of the governance committee during whose tenure the board adopted, without shareholder approval, provisions in its charter or bylaws that, through rules on director compensation, may inhibit the ability of shareholders to nominate directors.

10. The governance committee chair when the board takes actions to limit shareholders’ ability to vote on matters material to shareholder rights (e.g., through the practice of excluding a shareholder proposal by means of ratifying a management proposal that is materially different from the shareholder proposal).

11. The governance committee chair when directors’ records for board and committee meeting attendance are not disclosed, or when it is indicated that a director attended less than 75% of board and committee meetings but disclosure is sufficiently vague that it is not possible to determine which specific director’s attendance was lacking.

12. The governance committee chair when a detailed record of proxy voting results from the prior annual meeting has not been disclosed.

23 

We believe that one independent individual should be appointed to serve as the lead or presiding director. When such a position is rotated among directors from meeting to meeting, we will recommend voting against the governance committee chair as we believe the lack of fixed lead or presiding director means that, effectively, the board does not have an independent board leader.

24 

A forum selection clause is a bylaw provision stipulating that a certain state or federal jurisdiction is the exclusive forum for specified legal matters. Such a clause effectively limits a shareholder’s legal remedy regarding appropriate choice of venue and related relief.

25 

Glass Lewis will evaluate the circumstances surrounding the adoption of any forum selection clause as well as the general provisions contained therein. Where it can be reasonably determined that a forum selection clause is narrowly crafted to suit the particular circumstances facing the company and/or a reasonable sunset provision is included, we may make an exception to this policy.

 

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In addition, we may recommend that shareholders vote against the chair of the governance committee, or the entire committee, where the board has amended the company’s governing documents to reduce or remove important shareholder rights, or to otherwise impede the ability of shareholders to exercise such right, and has done so without seeking shareholder approval. Examples of board actions that may cause such a recommendation include: the elimination of the ability of shareholders to call a special meeting or to act by written consent; an increase to the ownership threshold required for shareholders to call a special meeting; an increase to vote requirements for charter or bylaw amendments; the adoption of provisions that limit the ability of shareholders to pursue full legal recourse — such as bylaws that require arbitration of shareholder claims or that require shareholder plaintiffs to pay the company’s legal expenses in the absence of a court victory (i.e., “fee-shifting” or “loser pays” bylaws); the adoption of a classified board structure; and the elimination of the ability of shareholders to remove a director without cause.

Regarding the nominating committee, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against the following:

1. All members of the nominating committee, when the committee nominated or renominated an individual who had a significant conflict of interest or whose past actions demonstrated a lack of integrity or inability to represent shareholder interests.

2. The nominating committee chair, if the nominating committee did not meet during the year.

3. In the absence of a governance committee, the nominating committee chair when the chair is not independent, and an independent lead or presiding director has not been appointed.

4. The nominating committee chair, when there are fewer than five, or the whole nominating committee when there are more than 20 members on the board.

5. The nominating committee chair, when a director received a greater than 50% against vote the prior year and not only was the director not removed, but the issues that raised shareholder concern were not corrected.26

6. The chair of the nominating committee of a board with fewer than two gender diverse directors,27 or all members of the nominating committee of a board with no gender diverse directors, at companies within the Russell 3000 index. For companies outside of the Russell 3000 index, and all boards with six or fewer total directors, we will recommend voting against the chair of the nominating committee if there are no gender diverse directors.

7. The nominating committee chair when, alongside other governance or board performance concerns, the average tenure of non-executive directors is 10 years or more and no new independent directors have joined the board in the past five years. We will not be making voting recommendations solely on this basis; rather, insufficient board refreshment may be a contributing factor in our recommendations when additional board-related concerns have been identified.

In addition, we may consider recommending shareholders vote against the chair of the nominating committee where the board’s failure to ensure the board has directors with relevant experience, either through periodic director assessment or board refreshment, has contributed to a company’s poor performance. Where these issues warrant an against vote in the absence of both a governance and a nominating committee, we will recommend voting against the board chair, unless the chair also serves as the CEO, in which case we will recommend voting against the longest-serving director.

Board-level Risk Management Oversight

Glass Lewis evaluates the risk management function of a public company board on a strictly case-by-case basis. Sound risk management, while necessary at all companies, is particularly important at financial firms which inherently maintain significant exposure to financial risk. We believe such financial firms should have a chief risk officer reporting directly to the board and a dedicated risk committee or a committee of the board charged with risk oversight. Moreover, many non-financial firms maintain strategies which involve a high level of exposure to financial risk. Similarly, since many non-financial firms have complex hedging or trading strategies, those firms should also have a chief risk officer and a risk committee.

26 

Considering that shareholder disapproval clearly relates to the director who received a greater than 50% against vote rather than the nominating chair, we review the severity of the issue(s) that initially raised shareholder concern as well as company responsiveness to such matters, and will only recommend voting against the nominating chair if a reasonable analysis suggests that it would be most appropriate. In rare cases, we will consider recommending against the nominating chair when a director receives a substantial (i.e., 20% or more) vote against based on the same analysis.

27 

Women and directors that identify with a gender other than male or female.

 

19


Our views on risk oversight are consistent with those expressed by various regulatory bodies. In its December 2009 Final Rule release on Proxy Disclosure Enhancements, the SEC noted that risk oversight is a key competence of the board and that additional disclosures would improve investor and shareholder understanding of the role of the board in the organization’s risk management practices. The final rules, which became effective on February 28, 2010, now explicitly require companies and mutual funds to describe (while allowing for some degree of flexibility) the board’s role in the oversight of risk.

When analyzing the risk management practices of public companies, we take note of any significant losses or writedowns on financial assets and/or structured transactions. In cases where a company has disclosed a sizable loss or writedown, and where we find that the company’s board-level risk committee’s poor oversight contributed to the loss, we will recommend that shareholders vote against such committee members on that basis. In addition, in cases where a company maintains a significant level of financial risk exposure but fails to disclose any explicit form of board-level risk oversight (committee or otherwise),28 we will consider recommending to vote against the board chair on that basis. However, we generally would not recommend voting against a combined chair/CEO, except in egregious cases.

Board Oversight of Environmental and Social Issues

Glass Lewis recognizes the importance of ensuring the sustainability of companies’ operations. We believe that insufficient oversight of material environmental and social issues can present direct legal, financial, regulatory and reputational risks that could serve to harm shareholder interests. Therefore, we believe that these issues should be carefully monitored and managed by companies, and that all companies should have an appropriate oversight structure in place to ensure that they are mitigating attendant risks and capitalizing on related opportunities to the best extent possible.

To that end, Glass Lewis believes that companies should ensure that boards maintain clear oversight of material risks to their operations, including those that are environmental and social in nature. These risks could include, but are not limited to, matters related to climate change, human capital management, diversity, stakeholder relations, and health, safety & environment.

For companies in the Russell 1000 index and in instances where we identify material oversight concerns, Glass Lewis will review a company’s overall governance practices and identify which directors or board-level committees have been charged with oversight of environmental and/or social issues. Furthermore, given the importance of the board’s role in overseeing environmental and social risks, Glass Lewis will generally recommend voting against the governance committee chair of a company in the S&P 500 index that fails to provide explicit disclosure concerning the board’s role in overseeing these issues.

While we believe that it is important that these issues are overseen at the board level and that shareholders are afforded meaningful disclosure of these oversight responsibilities, we believe that companies should determine the best structure for this oversight. In our view, this oversight can be effectively conducted by specific directors, the entire board, a separate committee, or combined with the responsibilities of a key committee.

When evaluating the board’s role in overseeing environmental and/or social issues, we will examine a company’s proxy statement and governing documents (such as committee charters) to determine if directors maintain a meaningful level of oversight of and accountability for a company’s material environmental and social impacts.

Board Accountability for Environmental and Social Performance

Glass Lewis carefully monitors companies’ performance with respect to environmental and social issues, including those related to climate and human capital management. In situations where we believe that a company has not properly managed or mitigated material environmental or social risks to the detriment of shareholder value, or when such mismanagement has threatened shareholder value, Glass Lewis may recommend that shareholders vote against the members of the board who are responsible for oversight of environmental and social risks. In the absence of explicit board oversight of environmental and social issues, Glass Lewis may recommend that shareholders vote against members of the audit committee. In making these determinations, Glass Lewis will carefully review the situation, its effect on shareholder value, as well as any corrective action or other response made by the company.

For more information on how Glass Lewis evaluates environmental and social issues, please see Glass Lewis’ Overall Approach to ESG as well as our comprehensive Proxy Paper Guidelines for Environmental, Social & Governance Initiatives available at www.glasslewis.com/voting-policies-current/.

28 

A committee responsible for risk management could be a dedicated risk committee, the audit committee, or the finance committee, depending on a given company’s board structure and method of disclosure. At some companies, the entire board is charged with risk management.

 

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Director Commitments

We believe that directors should have the necessary time to fulfill their duties to shareholders. In our view, an overcommitted director can pose a material risk to a company’s shareholders, particularly during periods of crisis. In addition, recent research indicates that the time commitment associated with being a director has been on a significant upward trend in the past decade.29 As a result, we generally recommend that shareholders vote against a director who serves as an executive officer of any public company30 while serving on more than two public company boards and any other director who serves on more than five public company boards.

Because we believe that executives will primarily devote their attention to executive duties, we generally will not recommend that shareholders vote against overcommitted directors at the companies where they serve as an executive.

When determining whether a director’s service on an excessive number of boards may limit the ability of the director to devote sufficient time to board duties, we may consider relevant factors such as the size and location of the other companies where the director serves on the board, the director’s board roles at the companies in question, whether the director serves on the board of any large privately-held companies, the director’s tenure on the boards in question, and the director’s attendance record at all companies. In the case of directors who serve in executive roles other than CEO (e.g., executive chair), we will evaluate the specific duties and responsibilities of that role in determining whether an exception is warranted.

We may also refrain from recommending against certain directors if the company provides sufficient rationale for their continued board service. The rationale should allow shareholders to evaluate the scope of the directors’ other commitments, as well as their contributions to the board including specialized knowledge of the company’s industry, strategy or key markets, the diversity of skills, perspective and background they provide, and other relevant factors. We will also generally refrain from recommending to vote against a director who serves on an excessive number of boards within a consolidated group of companies or a director that represents a firm whose sole purpose is to manage a portfolio of investments which include the company.

Other Considerations

In addition to the three key characteristics — independence, performance, experience — that we use to evaluate board members, we consider conflict-of-interest issues as well as the size of the board of directors when making voting recommendations.

Conflicts of Interest

We believe board members should be wholly free of identifiable and substantial conflicts of interest, regardless of the overall level of independent directors on the board. Accordingly, we recommend that shareholders vote against the following types of directors:

1. A CFO who is on the board: In our view, the CFO holds a unique position relative to financial reporting and disclosure to shareholders. Due to the critical importance of financial disclosure and reporting, we believe the CFO should report to the board and not be a member of it.

2. A director who provides — or a director who has an immediate family member who provides — material consulting or other material professional services to the company. These services may include legal, consulting,31 or financial services. We question the need for the company to have consulting relationships with its directors. We view such relationships as creating conflicts for directors, since they may be forced to weigh their own interests against shareholder interests when making board decisions. In addition, a company’s decisions regarding where to turn for the best professional services may be compromised when doing business with the professional services firm of one of the company’s directors.

29 

For example, the 2015-2016 NACD Public Company Governance Survey states that, on average, directors spent a total of 248.2 hours annual on board-related matters during the past year, which it describes as a “historically high level” that is significantly above the average hours recorded in 2006. Additionally, the 2020 Spencer Stuart Board Index indicates that, while 39% of S&P 500 CEOs serve on one additional public board, just 2% of S&P 500 CEOs serve on two additional public boards and only one CEO serves on three.

30 

When the executive officer in question serves only as an executive at a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) we will generally apply the higher threshold of five public company directorships.

31

We will generally refrain from recommending against a director who provides consulting services for the company if the director is excluded from membership on the board’s key committees and we have not identified significant governance concerns with the board.

 

21


3. A director, or a director who has an immediate family member, engaging in airplane, real estate, or similar deals, including perquisite-type grants from the company, amounting to more than $50,000. Directors who receive these sorts of payments from the company will have to make unnecessarily complicated decisions that may pit their interests against shareholder interests.

4. Interlocking directorships: CEOs or other top executives who serve on each other’s boards create an interlock that poses conflicts that should be avoided to ensure the promotion of shareholder interests above all else.32

5. All board members who served at a time when a poison pill with a term of longer than one year was adopted without shareholder approval within the prior twelve months.33 In the event a board is classified and shareholders are therefore unable to vote against all directors, we will recommend voting against the remaining directors the next year they are up for a shareholder vote. If a poison pill with a term of one year or less was adopted without shareholder approval, and without adequate justification, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against all members of the governance committee. If the board has, without seeking shareholder approval, and without adequate justification, extended the term of a poison pill by one year or less in two consecutive years, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against the entire board.

Size of the Board of Directors

While we do not believe there is a universally applicable optimal board size, we do believe boards should have at least five directors to ensure sufficient diversity in decision-making and to enable the formation of key board committees with independent directors. Conversely, we believe that boards with more than 20 members will typically suffer under the weight of “too many cooks in the kitchen” and have difficulty reaching consensus and making timely decisions. Sometimes the presence of too many voices can make it difficult to draw on the wisdom and experience in the room by virtue of the need to limit the discussion so that each voice may be heard.

To that end, we typically recommend voting against the chair of the nominating committee (or the governance committee, in the absence of a nominating committee) at a board with fewer than five directors or more than 20 directors.

Controlled Companies

We believe controlled companies warrant certain exceptions to our independence standards. The board’s function is to protect shareholder interests; however, when an individual, entity (or group of shareholders party to a formal agreement) owns more than 50% of the voting shares, the interests of the majority of shareholders

Independence Exceptions

The independence exceptions that we make for controlled companies are as follows:

1. We do not require that controlled companies have boards that are at least two-thirds independent. So long as the insiders and/or affiliates are connected with the controlling entity, we accept the presence of non-independent board members.

2. The compensation committee and nominating and governance committees do not need to consist solely of independent directors.

a. We believe that standing nominating and corporate governance committees at controlled companies are unnecessary. Although having a committee charged with the duties of searching for, selecting, and nominating independent directors can be beneficial, the unique composition of a controlled company’s shareholder base makes such committees weak and irrelevant.

b. Likewise, we believe that independent compensation committees at controlled companies are unnecessary. Although independent directors are the best choice for approving and monitoring senior executives’ pay, controlled companies serve a unique shareholder population whose voting power ensures the protection of its interests. As such, we believe that having affiliated directors on a controlled company’s compensation committee is acceptable. However, given that a controlled company has certain obligations to minority shareholders we feel that an insider should not serve on the compensation committee. Therefore, Glass Lewis will recommend voting against any insider (the CEO or otherwise) serving on the compensation committee.

32 

We do not apply a look-back period for this situation. The interlock policy applies to both public and private companies. We will also evaluate multiple board interlocks among non-insiders (i.e., multiple directors serving on the same boards at other companies), for evidence of a pattern of poor oversight.

33 

Refer to the “Governance Structure and the Shareholder Franchise” section for further discussion of our policies regarding anti-takeover measures, including poison pills. are the interests of that entity or individual. Consequently, Glass Lewis does not apply our usual two-thirds board independence rule and therefore we will not recommend voting against boards whose composition reflects the makeup of the shareholder population.

 

22


3. Controlled companies do not need an independent chair or an independent lead or presiding director. Although an independent director in a position of authority on the board — such as chair or presiding director — can best carry out the board’s duties, controlled companies serve a unique shareholder population whose voting power ensures the protection of its interests.

Size of the Board of Directors

We have no board size requirements for controlled companies.

Audit Committee Independence

Despite a controlled company’s status, unlike for the other key committees, we nevertheless believe that audit committees should consist solely of independent directors. Regardless of a company’s controlled status, the interests of all shareholders must be protected by ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the company’s financial statements. Allowing affiliated directors to oversee the preparation of financial reports could create an insurmountable conflict of interest.

Board Responsiveness at Multi-Class Companies

With regard to companies where voting control is held through a multi-class share structure with disproportionate voting and economic rights, we will carefully examine the level of approval or disapproval attributed to unaffiliated shareholders when determining whether board responsiveness is warranted. Where vote results indicate that a majority of unaffiliated shareholders supported a shareholder proposal or opposed a management proposal, we believe the board should demonstrate an appropriate level of responsiveness.

Significant Shareholders

Where an individual or entity holds between 20-50% of a company’s voting power, we believe it is reasonable to allow proportional representation on the board and committees (excluding the audit committee) based on the individual or entity’s percentage of ownership.

Governance Following an IPO, Spin-off, or Direct Listing

We believe companies that have recently completed an initial public offering (IPO), spin-off, or direct listing should be allowed adequate time to fully comply with marketplace listing requirements and meet basic corporate governance standards. Generally speaking, Glass Lewis refrains from making recommendations on the basis of governance standards (e.g., board independence, committee membership and structure, meeting attendance, etc.) during the one-year period following an IPO.

However, some cases warrant shareholder action against the board of a company that have completed an IPO, spin-off, or direct listing within the past year. When evaluating companies that have recently gone public, Glass Lewis will review the terms of the applicable governing documents in order to determine whether shareholder rights are being severely restricted indefinitely. We believe boards that approve highly restrictive governing documents have demonstrated that they may subvert shareholder interests following the IPO. In conducting this evaluation, Glass Lewis will consider:

1. The adoption of anti-takeover provisions such as a poison pill or classified board

2. Supermajority vote requirements to amend governing documents

3. The presence of exclusive forum or fee-shifting provisions

4. Whether shareholders can call special meetings or act by written consent

5. The voting standard provided for the election of directors

6. The ability of shareholders to remove directors without cause

7. The presence of evergreen provisions in the company’s equity compensation arrangements

8. The presence of a multi-class share structure which does not afford common shareholders voting power that is aligned with their economic interest

 

23


In cases where Glass Lewis determines that the board has approved overly restrictive governing documents, we will generally recommend voting against members of the governance committee. If there is no governance committee, or if a portion of such committee members are not standing for election due to a classified board structure, we will expand our recommendations to additional director nominees, based on who is standing for election.

In cases where, preceding an IPO, the board adopts a multi-class share structure where voting rights are not aligned with economic interest, or an anti-takeover provision, such as a poison pill or classified board, we will generally recommend voting against all members of the board who served at the time of the IPO if the board: (i) did not also commit to submitting these provisions to a shareholder vote at the company’s first shareholder meeting following the IPO; or (ii) did not provide for a reasonable sunset of these provisions (generally three to five years in the case of a classified board or poison pill; or seven years or less in the case of a multi-class share structure). In the case of a multi-class share structure, if these provisions are put to a shareholder vote, we will examine the level of approval or disapproval attributed to unaffiliated shareholders when determining the vote outcome.

In our view, adopting an anti-takeover device unfairly penalizes future shareholders who (except for electing to buy or sell the stock) are unable to weigh in on a matter that could potentially negatively impact their ownership interest. This notion is strengthened when a board adopts a classified board with an infinite duration or a poison pill with a five- to ten-year term immediately prior to going public, thereby insulating management for a substantial amount of time.

In addition, shareholders should also be wary of companies that adopt supermajority voting requirements before their IPO. Absent explicit provisions in the articles or bylaws stipulating that certain policies will be phased out over a certain period of time, long-term shareholders could find themselves in the predicament of having to attain a supermajority vote to approve future proposals seeking to eliminate such policies.

Governance Following a Business Combination with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company

The business combination of a private company with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) facilitates the private entity becoming a publicly traded corporation. Thus, the business combination represents the private company’s de-facto IPO. We believe that some cases warrant shareholder action against the board of a company that have completed a business combination with a SPAC within the past year.

At meetings where shareholders vote on the business combination of a SPAC with a private company, shareholders are generally voting on a new corporate charter for the post-combination company as a condition to approval of the business combination. In many cases, shareholders are faced with the dilemma of having to approve corporate charters that severely restrict shareholder rights to facilitate the business combination. Therefore, when shareholders are required to approve binding charters as a condition to approval of a business combination with a SPAC, we believe shareholders should also be provided with advisory votes on material charter amendments as a means to voice their opinions on such restrictive governance provisions.

When evaluating companies that have recently gone public via business combination with a SPAC, Glass Lewis will review the terms of the applicable governing documents to determine whether shareholder rights are being severely restricted indefinitely and whether these restrictive provisions were put forth for a shareholder vote on an advisory basis at the prior meeting where shareholders voted on the business combination.

In cases where, prior to the combined company becoming publicly traded, the board adopts a multi-class share structure where voting rights are not aligned with economic interest, or an anti-takeover provision, such as a poison pill or classified board, we will generally recommend voting against all members of the board who served at the time of the combined company becoming publicly traded if the board: (i) did not also submit these provisions to a shareholder vote on an advisory basis at the prior meeting where shareholders voted on the business combination; (ii) did not also commit to submitting these provisions to a shareholder vote at the company’s first shareholder meeting following the company becoming publicly traded; or (iii) did not provide for a reasonable sunset of these provisions (generally three to five years in the case of a classified board or poison pill; or seven years or less in the case of a multi-class share structure).

Consistent with our view on IPOs, adopting an anti-takeover device unfairly penalizes future shareholders who (except for electing to buy or sell the stock) are unable to weigh in on a matter that could potentially negatively impact their ownership interest.

Dual-Listed or Foreign-Incorporated Companies

For companies that trade on multiple exchanges or are incorporated in foreign jurisdictions but trade only in the U.S., we will apply the governance standard most relevant in each situation. We will consider a number of factors in determining which Glass Lewis country-specific policy to apply, including but not limited to: (i) the corporate governance structure and features of the company

 

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including whether the board structure is unique to a particular market; (ii) the nature of the proposals; (iii) the location of the company’s primary listing, if one can be determined; (iv) the regulatory/governance regime that the board is reporting against; and (v) the availability and completeness of the company’s SEC filings.

OTC-listed Companies

Companies trading on the OTC Bulletin Board are not considered “listed companies” under SEC rules and therefore not subject to the same governance standards as listed companies. However, we believe that more stringent corporate governance standards should be applied to these companies given that their shares are still publicly traded.

When reviewing OTC companies, Glass Lewis will review the available disclosure relating to the shareholder meeting to determine whether shareholders are able to evaluate several key pieces of information, including: (i) the composition of the board’s key committees, if any; (ii) the level of share ownership of company insiders or directors; (iii) the board meeting attendance record of directors; (iv) executive and non-employee director compensation; (v) related-party transactions conducted during the past year; and (vi) the board’s leadership structure and determinations regarding director independence.

We are particularly concerned when company disclosure lacks any information regarding the board’s key committees. We believe that committees of the board are an essential tool for clarifying how the responsibilities of the board are being delegated, and specifically for indicating which directors are accountable for ensuring: (i) the independence and quality of directors, and the transparency and integrity of the nominating process; (ii) compensation programs that are fair and appropriate; (iii) proper oversight of the company’s accounting, financial reporting, and internal and external audits; and (iv) general adherence to principles of good corporate governance.

In cases where shareholders are unable to identify which board members are responsible for ensuring oversight of the above-mentioned re