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PACER FUNDS TRUST
PTLC
PTMC
PTEU
Pacer Trendpilot® US Large Cap ETF
Pacer Trendpilot® US Mid Cap ETF
Pacer Trendpilot® European Index ETF
COWZ
CALF GCOW
ICOW
Pacer US Cash Cows 100 ETF
Pacer US Small Cap Cash Cows 100 ETF
Pacer Global Cash Cows Dividend ETF
Pacer Developed Markets International Cash Cows 100 ETF
PAEU
PIEL
PWS
Pacer Autopilot Hedged European Index ETF
Pacer International Export Leaders ETF
Pacer WealthShield ETF
VIRS
Pacer BioThreat Strategy ETF
each of the above is listed on Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.
SZNG
SZNE
ROOM
RXRE
INDS
SRVR
PAD
Pacer CFRA-Stovall Global Seasonal Rotation ETF
Pacer CFRA-Stovall Equal Weight Seasonal Rotation ETF
Pacer Hotel & Lodging Real Estate ETF
Pacer Healthcare Real Estate ETF
Pacer Industrial Real Estate ETF
Pacer Data & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF
Pacer Apartments & Residential Real Estate ETF
AFTY
PTBD
PTIN
TRND
BUL
ALTL
PAMC
Pacer CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF
Pacer Trendpilot® US Bond ETF
Pacer Trendpilot® International ETF
Pacer Trendpilot® Fund of Funds ETF
Pacer US Cash Cows Growth ETF
Pacer Lunt Large Cap Alternator ETF
Pacer Lunt MidCap Multi-Factor Alternator ETF
PEXL
FLRT
TRPL
QDPL
Pacer US Export Leaders ETF
Pacer Pacific Asset Floating Rate High Income ETF
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 300 ETF
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 400 ETF
PALC

TRFK
SHPP
Pacer Lunt Large Cap Multi-Factor Alternator ETF
Pacer Data and Digital Revolution ETF
Pacer Industrials and Logistics ETF
each of the above is listed on the NYSE Arca, Inc.
ECOW
Pacer Emerging Markets Cash Cows 100 ETF
HERD
Pacer Cash Cows Fund of Funds ETF
COWG Pacer US Large Cap Cash Cows Growth Leaders ETF
PTNQ
Pacer Trendpilot® 100 ETF
each of the above is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
August 31, 2023
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a Prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the current Prospectus, as may be revised from time to time (“Prospectus”), for the exchange traded funds (“ETFs”) listed above (each a “Fund” and collectively the “Funds”), each a separate series of Pacer Funds Trust (the “Trust”). The current Prospectus for the Funds is dated August 31, 2023. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. A copy of the Prospectus for the Funds may be obtained, without charge, by calling 1-800-617-0004, visiting www.PacerETFs.com, or writing to Pacer Funds Trust, c/o U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, P.O. Box 701, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-0701.
For Funds other than the Pacer Autopilot Hedged European Index ETF, Pacer Apartments & Residential Real Estate ETF, Pacer Healthcare Real Estate ETF, Pacer Hotel & Lodging Real Estate ETF, Pacer CFRA Global Seasonal Rotation ETF, and Pacer International Export Leaders ETF, the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2023 are incorporated herein by reference to the Funds’ Annual Report dated April 30, 2023 (File No. 811-23024). A copy of the Funds’ Annual Report may be obtained without charge by contacting the Funds at the address or phone number noted above.
An investment in a Fund is not a deposit of any bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or any other government agency or any bank. An investment in a Fund involves investment risks, including possible loss of principal.




TABLE OF CONTENTS
INVESTMENT ADVISER & SUB-ADVISERS
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GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TRUST AND THE FUNDS
The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on August 12, 2014 and is authorized to issue multiple series or portfolios. The Trust is an open-end, management investment company, registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The offering of the Trust’s shares is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). Each Fund’s ticker symbol appears on the cover of this SAI, and references to specific Funds in the sections below will refer to such Funds by their ticker symbol.
The Funds described in this SAI seek to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of their respective indices (each, an “Index”).
Pacer Advisors, Inc. (“Pacer” or the “Adviser”) is the investment adviser to the Funds. Pacer Financial, Inc. is the distributor (the “Distributor”) of the shares of the Funds and is an affiliate of the Adviser. CSOP Asset Management Limited (“CSOP Asset Management”) serves as sub-adviser to AFTY, Aristotle Pacific Capital LLC (“Aristotle Pacific”) serves as sub-adviser to FLRT, Metaurus Advisors LLC (“Metaurus”) serves as sub-adviser to TRPL and QDPL, and Vident Advisory, LLC (d/b/a Vident Asset Management) (“VA” and collectively with CSOP Asset Management, Aristotle Pacific, and Metaurus, the “Sub-Advisers”) serves as sub-adviser to PTBD.
The Funds issue and redeem shares (“Shares”) at net asset value per share (“NAV”) only in large blocks of Shares (“Creation Units” or “Creation Unit Aggregations”). Currently, Creation Units generally consist of the following number of shares:
Name of Fund Creation Unit Size
FLRT, TRFK, & SHPP 20,000
TRPL, VIRS, & COWG 25,000
QDPL 30,000
PTBD 100,000
All other Funds 50,000
These amounts may change from time to time. These transactions are usually in exchange for a basket of securities included in its portfolio and an amount of cash. As a practical matter, only institutions or large investors (authorized participants) who have entered into agreements with the Trust’s distributor, can purchase or redeem Creation Units. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, Shares of the Funds are not redeemable securities.
Shares of the Funds are listed on a national securities exchange, such as Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc., NYSE Arca, Inc., or The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (individually or collectively, the “Exchange”), as indicated on the cover of this SAI, and trade throughout the day on the Exchange and other secondary markets at market prices that may differ from NAV. As in the case of other publicly traded securities, brokers’ commissions on transactions will be based on negotiated commission rates at customary levels.
The Trust reserves the right to adjust the prices of Shares in the future to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the applicable Fund.
Prior to November 1, 2017, the Pacer Trendpilot US Large Cap ETF was known as the Pacer Trendpilot 750 ETF and the Pacer Trendpilot US Mid Cap ETF was known as the Pacer Trendpilot 450 ETF. Prior to November 1, 2022, the Pacer Industrial Real Estate ETF was known as the Pacer Benchmark Industrial Real Estate SCTR ETF and the Pacer Data & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF was known as the Pacer Benchmark Data & Infrastructure Real Estate SCTR ETF.
AFTY is the successor to the investment performance and financial history of the CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF, a series of CSOP ETF Trust (the “Predecessor CSOP Fund”), as a result of the reorganization of the Predecessor CSOP Fund into AFTY on January 22, 2020.
FLRT is the successor in interest to the Pacific Global Senior Loan ETF, a series of Pacific Global ETF Trust, which was managed by Pacific Global Advisors LLC and sub-advised by Pacific Asset Management LLC (now known as Aristotle Pacific), and has the substantially similar investment objective, strategies, and policies as those of the Pacific Global Senior Loan ETF since the Fund’s inception in February 28, 2015, with the exception of the Fund’s 80% policy and related risks. On October 20, 2021, the shareholders of the Pacific Global Senior Loan ETF approved the reorganization of the Pacific Global Senior Loan ETF into FLRT and, effective as of the close of business on October 22, 2021, the assets and liabilities of the Pacific Global Senior Loan ETF were transferred to FLRT in exchange for shares of the Pacer Pacific Asset Floating Rate High Income ETF. Previously, the Pacific Global Senior Loan ETF, a series of Pacific Global ETF Trust, acquired all of the assets and liabilities of the AdvisorShares Pacific Asset Enhanced Floating Rate ETF, a series of AdvisorShares Trust, in a tax-free reorganization on December 27, 2019 (together, the “Predecessor FLRT Fund”).
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Accordingly, the Pacific Global Senior Loan ETF was the successor to the investment performance of the AdvisorShares Pacific Asset Enhanced Floating Rate ETF, as a result of the December 27, 2019 reorganization.
The below table illustrates the inception date for each Fund.
Name of Fund Inception Date Name of Fund Inception Date
PTLC June 11, 2015 GCOW February 22, 2016
PTMC June 11, 2015 COWZ December 16, 2016
PTNQ June 11, 2015 CALF June 16, 2017
PTEU December 14, 2015 ICOW June 16, 2017
PAEU PEXL July 23, 2018
PIEL AFTY March 10, 2015
PWS December 11, 2017 PTBD October 22, 2019
SZNG PTIN May 2, 2019
SZNE July 23, 2018 TRND May 3, 2019
ROOM BUL May 2, 2019
RXRE HERD May 3, 2019
INDS May 14, 2018 VIRS June 24, 2020
SRVR May 15, 2018 ALTL June 24, 2020
PAD PAMC June 24, 2020
ECOW May 2, 2019 PALC June 24, 2020
FLRT February 18, 2015 TRPL July 12, 2021
QDPL July 12, 2021 TRFK June 8, 2022
SHPP June 8, 2022 COWG December 21, 2022
INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS
Each Fund’s investment objective, principal investment strategies and associated risks are described in the Funds’ Prospectus. The sections below supplement these principal investment strategies and risks and describe each Fund’s additional investment policies and the different types of investments that may be made by a Fund as a part of its non-principal investment strategies. With respect to each Fund’s investments, unless otherwise noted, if a percentage limitation on investment is adhered to at the time of investment or contract, a subsequent increase or decrease as a result of market movement or redemption will not result in a violation of such investment limitation.
Each Fund intends to qualify each year as a regulated investment company (a “RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), so that it will not be subject to federal income tax on income and gains that are timely distributed to Fund shareholders. The Funds will seek to invest their assets, and otherwise conduct their operations, in a manner that is intended to satisfy the qualifying income, diversification and distribution requirements necessary to establish and maintain RIC qualification under Subchapter M of the Code.
GENERAL RISKS
An investment in a Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of that Fund’s portfolio securities may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of an issuer or counterparty, changes in specific economic, political, public health or cyber conditions that affect a particular security or issuer and changes in general economic, political, public health or cyber conditions. An investor in the Funds could lose money over short or long periods of time.
An investment in a Fund should also be made with an understanding of the risks inherent in an investment in equity securities, including the risk that the financial condition of issuers may become impaired or that the general condition of the stock market may deteriorate (either of which may cause a decrease in the value of a Fund’s portfolio securities and therefore a decrease in the value of Shares of that Fund). Common stocks are susceptible to general stock market fluctuations and to volatile increases and decreases in value as market confidence and perceptions change. These investor perceptions are based on various and unpredictable factors, including expectations regarding government, economic, monetary and fiscal policies; inflation and interest rates; economic expansion or contraction; and global or regional political, economic, public health, cyber, or banking crises.
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Holders of common stocks incur more risk than holders of preferred stocks and debt obligations because common stockholders, as owners of the issuer, generally have inferior rights to receive payments from the issuer in comparison with the rights of creditors or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks. Further, unlike debt securities, which typically have a stated principal amount payable at maturity (whose value, however, is subject to market fluctuations prior thereto), or preferred stocks, which typically have a liquidation preference and which may have stated optional or mandatory redemption provisions, common stocks have neither a fixed principal amount nor a maturity. Common stock values are subject to market fluctuations as long as the common stock remains outstanding.
Although all of the equity securities in the Indexes are listed on major U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges, there can be no guarantee that a liquid market for the securities held by the Funds will be maintained. The existence of a liquid trading market for certain securities may depend on whether dealers will make a market in such securities. There can be no assurance that a market will be made or maintained or that any such market will be or remain liquid. The price at which securities may be sold and the value of the Shares will be adversely affected if trading markets for a Fund’s portfolio securities are limited or absent, or if bid/ask spreads are wide.
Cyber Security Risk. As the use of technology has become more prevalent in the course of business, the Funds may be more susceptible to operational and financial risks associated with cyber security, including: theft, loss, misuse, improper release, corruption and destruction of, or unauthorized access to, confidential or highly restricted data relating to a Fund and its shareholders; and compromises or failures to systems, networks, devices and applications relating to the operations of a Fund and its service providers. Cyber security risks may result in financial losses to a Fund and its shareholders; the inability of a Fund to transact business with its shareholders; delays or mistakes in the calculation of a Fund’s NAV or other materials provided to shareholders; the inability to process transactions with shareholders or other parties; violations of privacy and other laws; regulatory fines, penalties and reputational damage; and compliance and remediation costs, legal fees and other expenses. A Fund’s service providers (including, but not limited to, its investment adviser, any sub-advisers, administrator, transfer agent, and custodian or their agents), financial intermediaries, companies in which a Fund invests and parties with which a Fund engages in portfolio or other transactions also may be adversely impacted by cyber security risks in their own businesses, which could result in losses to a Fund or its shareholders. While measures have been developed which are designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that those measures will be effective, particularly since the Funds do not directly control the cyber security defenses or plans of their service providers, financial intermediaries and companies in which they invest or with which they do business.
Pandemic Risk. Beginning in the first quarter of 2020, financial markets in the United States and around the world experienced extreme and, in many cases, unprecedented volatility and severe losses due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, a novel coronavirus. The pandemic resulted in a wide range of social and economic disruptions, including closed borders, voluntary or compelled quarantines of large populations, stressed healthcare systems, reduced or prohibited domestic or international travel, and supply chain disruptions affecting the United States and many other countries. Some sectors of the economy and individual issuers have experienced particularly large losses as a result of these disruptions, and such disruptions may continue for an extended period of time or reoccur in the future to a similar or greater extent. In response, the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have taken extraordinary actions to support the domestic economy and financial markets. Many countries, including the U.S., are subject to few restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19. It is unknown how long circumstances related to the pandemic will persist, whether they will reoccur in the future, whether efforts to support the economy and financial markets will be successful, and what additional implications may follow from the pandemic. The impact of these events and other epidemics or pandemics in the future could adversely affect Fund performance.
Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, and corresponding events in late February 2022, have had, and could continue to have, severe adverse effects on regional and global economic markets for securities and commodities. Moreover, this event has had an adverse effect on global markets performance and liquidity. The duration of ongoing hostilities and the vast array of sanctions and related events cannot be predicted. Those events present material uncertainty and risk with respect to markets globally and the performance of the Funds and their investments or operations could be negatively impacted.
A discussion of some of the other risks associated with investments in the Funds is contained in the Funds’ Prospectus.
Index Calculation
To minimize any potential for conflicts caused by the fact that Index Design Group, an affiliate of the Adviser, acts as Index provider (”IDG”) to certain Funds, as described in the Prospectus (collectively, the “IDG Funds”), the Adviser has retained an unaffiliated third party to calculate each such Index (the “Calculation Agent”). The Calculation Agent, using the applicable rules-based methodology, will calculate, maintain, and disseminate each such Index on a daily basis. IDG will monitor the results produced by the Calculation Agent to help ensure that each such Index is being calculated in accordance with the rules-based methodologies. In addition, IDG and the Adviser have established policies and procedures designed to prevent non-public information about pending changes to such Indexes from being used or disseminated in an improper manner. Furthermore, IDG and the Adviser have established policies and procedures designed to prevent improper use and dissemination of non-public information about each Fund’s portfolio strategies.
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DIVERSIFICATION
Each of PTLC, PTMC, PTEU, PTIN, TRND, GCOW, COWZ, CALF, ICOW, ECOW, HERD, PWS, PEXL, SZNE, PTBD, and AFTY (collectively, the “Diversified Funds”) is “diversified” within the meaning of the 1940 Act. Under applicable federal laws, to qualify as a diversified fund, a Fund, with respect to 75% of its total assets, may not invest greater than 5% of its total assets in any one issuer and may not hold greater than 10% of the securities of one issuer, other than investments in cash and cash items (including receivables), U.S. government securities, and securities of other investment companies. The remaining 25% of such Fund’s total assets does not need to be “diversified” and may be invested in securities of a single issuer, subject to other applicable laws. The diversification of a Fund’s holdings is measured at the time the Fund purchases a security. However, if the Fund purchases a security and holds it for a period of time, the security may become a larger percentage of the Fund’s total assets due to movements in the financial markets. If the market affects several securities held by a Fund, the Fund may have a greater percentage of its assets invested in securities of a single issuer or a small number of issuers.
AFTY is “diversified,” but may invest more of its assets in the securities of a single issuer or small number of issuers than would otherwise be permitted for a diversified fund solely where the additional issuer weightings result from the index weighting of one or more FTSE China A50 Net Total Return Index constituents.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION
Each Fund other than the Diversified Funds (collectively, the “Non-Diversified Funds”) is classified as a non-diversified investment company under the 1940 Act. A “non-diversified” classification means that a Fund is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of its total assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer. This means that a Fund may invest a greater portion of its total assets in the securities of a single issuer or a small number of issuers than if it was a diversified fund. The securities of a particular issuer may constitute a greater portion of the Index and, therefore, those securities may constitute a greater portion of a Fund’s portfolio. This may have an adverse effect on a Fund’s performance or subject a Fund’s Shares to greater price volatility than more diversified investment companies. Moreover, in pursuing its objective, a Fund may hold the securities of a single issuer in an amount exceeding 10% of the value of the outstanding securities of the issuer, subject to restrictions imposed by the Code. In particular, as a Fund’s size grows and its assets increase, it will be more likely to hold more than 10% of the securities of a single issuer if the issuer has a relatively small public float as compared to other components in the Index.
Although each Non-Diversified Fund is non-diversified for purposes of the 1940 Act, each Non-Diversified Fund intends to maintain the required level of diversification and otherwise conduct its operations so as to qualify as a RIC for purposes of the Code, and to relieve the Fund of any liability for federal income tax to the extent that its earnings are distributed to shareholders. Compliance with the diversification requirements of the Code may limit the investment flexibility of a Fund and may make it less likely that a Fund will meet its investment objectives. See “Federal Income Taxes” in this SAI for further discussion.
SPECIFIC INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
The following are descriptions of the Funds’ permitted investments and investment practices and the associated risk factors. A Fund will only invest in any of the following instruments or engage in any of the following investment practices if such investment or activity is consistent with a Fund’s investment objective and permitted by a Fund’s stated investment policies.
BORROWING. While the Funds do not intend to borrow for investment purposes, the Funds reserve the right to do so. Borrowing for investment purposes is a form of leverage. Leveraging investments, by purchasing securities with borrowed money, is a speculative technique that increases investment risk, but also increases investment opportunity. The Funds also may enter into certain transactions, including reverse repurchase agreements, which can be viewed as constituting a form of leveraging by the Funds. Leveraging will exaggerate the effect on the net asset value per share (“NAV”) of the Funds of any increase or decrease in the market value of the Funds’ portfolio. Because substantially all of the Funds’ assets will fluctuate in value, whereas the interest obligations on borrowings may be fixed, the NAV of the Funds will increase more when the Funds’ portfolio assets increase in value and decrease more when the Funds’ portfolio assets decrease in value than would otherwise be the case. Moreover, interest costs on borrowings may fluctuate with changing market rates of interest and may partially offset or exceed the returns on the borrowed funds. Under adverse conditions, the Funds might have to sell portfolio securities to meet interest or principal payments at a time when investment considerations would not favor such sales. Generally, the Funds would use this form of leverage during periods when the Advisor believes that the Funds’ investment objective would be furthered.
The Funds also may borrow money to facilitate management of the Funds’ portfolio by enabling the Funds to meet redemption requests when the liquidation of portfolio instruments would be inconvenient or disadvantageous. Such borrowing is not for investment purposes and will be repaid by the Funds promptly. As required by the 1940 Act, the Funds must maintain continuous asset coverage (total assets, including assets acquired with borrowed funds, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of 300% of all amounts borrowed. If, at any time, the value of the Funds’ assets should fail to meet this 300% coverage test, the Funds, within three days (not including Sundays and holidays), will reduce the amount of the Funds’ borrowings to the extent necessary to meet this 300% coverage
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requirement. Maintenance of this percentage limitation may result in the sale of portfolio securities at a time when investment considerations otherwise indicate that it would be disadvantageous to do so.
In addition to the foregoing, the Funds are authorized to borrow money as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes in amounts not in excess of 5% of the value of the Funds’ total assets. Borrowings for extraordinary or emergency purposes are not subject to the foregoing 300% asset coverage requirement. While the Funds do not anticipate doing so, the Funds are authorized to pledge (i.e., transfer a security interest in) portfolio securities in an amount up to one-third of the value of the Funds’ total assets in connection with any borrowing.
COMMERCIAL PAPER. The Funds may invest in high-quality, short-term commercial paper. Commercial paper is the term used to designate unsecured, short-term promissory notes issued by corporations and other entities. Maturities on these issues vary from a few days up to 270 days. The Funds may invest up to 20% of its net assets in commercial paper.
CONCENTRATION. A Fund may concentrate its investments in a particular industry or group of industries, as described in the Prospectus. The securities of issuers in particular industries may dominate a Fund’s Index and consequently the Fund’s portfolio. This may adversely affect the Fund’s performance or subject its shares to greater price volatility than that experienced by less concentrated investment companies.
CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS. The Funds may enter into foreign currency forward and foreign currency futures contracts for the purpose of hedging against declines in the value of a Fund’s total assets that are denominated in one or more foreign currencies, to facilitate local securities settlements, or to protect against currency exposure in connection with distributions to shareholders.
Forward Foreign Currency Contracts. A forward foreign currency exchange contract (“forward contract”) involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts are principally traded in the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers. Forward contracts are contracts between parties in which one party agrees to make a payment to the other party (the counterparty) based on the market value or level of a specified currency. In return, the counterparty agrees to make payment to the first party based on the return of a different specified currency. A forward contract generally has no margin deposit requirement, and no commissions are charged at any stage for trades. These contracts typically are settled by physical delivery of the underlying currency or currencies in the amount of the full contract value.
A non-deliverable forward contract is a forward contract where there is no physical settlement of two currencies at maturity. Non-deliverable forward contracts will usually be done on a net basis, with the Funds receiving or paying only the net amount of the two payments. The net amount of the excess, if any, of a Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each non-deliverable forward contract is accrued on a daily basis and an amount of cash or highly liquid securities having an aggregate value at least equal to the accrued excess is maintained in an account at the Fund’s custodian bank. The risk of loss with respect to non-deliverable forward contracts generally is limited to the net amount of payments that a Fund is contractually obligated to make or receive.
Foreign Currency Futures Contracts. A foreign currency futures contract is a contract involving an obligation to deliver or acquire the specified amount of a specific currency, at a specified price and at a specified future time. Futures contracts may be settled on a net cash payment basis rather than by the sale and delivery of the underlying currency.
Currency exchange transactions involve a significant degree of risk and the markets in which currency exchange transactions are effected are highly volatile, highly specialized and highly technical. Significant changes, including changes in liquidity and prices, can occur in such markets within very short periods of time, often within minutes. Currency exchange trading risks include, but are not limited to, exchange rate risk, maturity gap, interest rate risk, and potential interference by foreign governments through regulation of local exchange markets, foreign investment or particular transactions in foreign currency. If a Fund utilizes foreign currency transactions at an inappropriate time, such transactions may not serve their intended purpose of improving the correlation of the Fund’s return with the performance of its underlying Index and may lower the Fund’s return. A Fund could experience losses if the value of any currency forwards and futures positions is poorly correlated with its other investments or if it could not close out its positions because of an illiquid market. Such contracts are subject to the risk that the counterparty will default on its obligations. In addition, the Funds will incur transaction costs, including trading commissions, in connection with certain foreign currency transactions.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS. To the extent the Funds invest in stocks of foreign corporations, a Fund’s investment in securities of foreign companies may be in the form of depositary receipts or other securities convertible into securities of foreign issuers. American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) are dollar-denominated receipts representing interests in the securities of a foreign issuer, which 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 United States banks and trust companies which evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a
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foreign corporation. Generally, ADRs in registered form are designed for use in domestic securities markets and are traded on exchanges or over-the-counter in the United States. Depositary receipts will not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as their underlying securities.
The Funds will not invest in any unlisted Depositary Receipts or any Depositary Receipt that the Adviser deems to be illiquid or for which pricing information is not readily available. In addition, all Depositary Receipts generally must be sponsored; however, the Funds may invest in unsponsored Depositary Receipts under certain limited circumstances. The issuers of unsponsored Depositary Receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the United States, and, therefore, there may be less information available regarding such issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the Depositary Receipts. The use of Depositary Receipts may increase tracking error relative to an underlying Index.
DERIVATIVES. A Fund may use derivative instruments as part of its investment strategies. Generally, derivatives are financial contracts whose value depends upon, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, reference rate, or index, and may relate to bonds, interest rates, currencies, commodities, and related indexes. To the extent the Fund’s use of derivative instruments creates liabilities for the Fund, such derivative instruments will be underpinned by investments in short-term, high-quality instruments, such as U.S. money market securities.
The use of derivatives presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. The use of derivatives can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying asset, index or rate, which may be magnified by certain features of the derivatives. In addition, when the Fund invests in certain derivative securities, the Fund is effectively leveraging its investments which could result in exaggerated changes in the net asset value of the Fund’s shares and can result in losses that exceed the amount originally invested. The success of the derivatives strategies will depend on the ability to assess and predict the impact of market or economic developments on the underlying asset, index or rate and the derivative itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the derivative under all possible market conditions. Liquidity risk exists when a security cannot be purchased or sold at the time desired, or cannot be purchased or sold without adversely affecting the price. Certain specific risks associated with an investment in derivatives may include: market risk, credit risk, correlation risk, liquidity risk, legal risk and systemic or “interconnection” risk, as specified below.
Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act permits a Fund to enter into Derivatives Transactions (as defined below) and certain other transactions notwithstanding the restrictions on the issuance of “senior securities” under Section 18 of the 1940 Act. Section 18 of the 1940 Act, among other things, prohibits open-end funds, including the Funds, from issuing or selling any “senior security,” other than borrowing from a bank (subject to a requirement to maintain 300% “asset coverage”).
Under Rule 18f-4, “Derivatives Transactions” include the following: (1) any swap, security-based swap (including a contract for differences), futures contract, forward contract, option (excluding purchased options), any combination of the foregoing, or any similar instrument, under which the Fund is or may be required to make any payment or delivery of cash or other assets during the life of the instrument or at maturity or early termination, whether as margin or settlement payment or otherwise; (2) any short sale borrowing; (3) reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions (e.g., recourse and non-recourse tender option bonds, and borrowed bonds), if the Fund elects to treat these transactions as Derivatives Transactions under Rule 18f-4; and (4) when-issued or forward-settling securities (e.g., firm and standby commitments, including to-be-announced (“TBA”) commitments, and dollar rolls) and non-standard settlement cycle securities, unless the Fund intends to physically settle the transaction and the transaction will settle within 35 days of its trade date (the “Delayed-Settlement Securities Provision”).
Unless the Fund is relying on the Limited Derivatives User Exception (as defined below), the Fund must comply with Rule 18f-4 with respect to its Derivatives Transactions. Rule 18f-4, among other things, requires the Fund to adopt and implement a comprehensive written derivatives risk management program (“DRMP”) and comply with a relative or absolute limit on Fund leverage risk calculated based on value-at-risk (“VaR”). The DRMP is administered by a “derivatives risk manager,” who is appointed by the Board, including a majority of Independent Trustees, and periodically reviews the DRMP and reports to the Board.
Rule 18f-4 provides an exception from the DRMP, VaR limit and certain other requirements if the Fund’s “derivatives exposure” (as defined in Rule 18f-4) is limited to 10% of its net assets (as calculated in accordance with Rule 18f-4) and the Fund adopts and implements written policies and procedures reasonably designed to manage its derivatives risks (the “Limited Derivatives User Exception”).
Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act permits a Fund to enter into reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions (e.g., recourse and non-recourse tender option bonds, borrowed bonds) notwithstanding the limitation on the issuance of senior securities in Section 18 of the 1940 Act, provided that the Fund either (i) complies with the 300% asset coverage ratio with respect to such transactions and any other borrowings in the aggregate, or (ii) treats such transactions as Derivatives Transactions under Rule 18f-4. See “—Regulation Regarding Derivatives” above.
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Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowings or involve leverage and thus are subject to the 1940 Act restrictions. In accordance with Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act, when the Fund engages in reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions, the Fund may either (i) maintain asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to such transactions and any other borrowings in the aggregate, or (ii) treat such transactions as “derivatives transactions” and comply with Rule 18f-4 with respect to such transactions. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.
Market Risk. Market risk is the risk that the value of the underlying assets may go up or down. Adverse movements in the value of an underlying asset can expose the Fund to losses. Derivative instruments may include elements of leverage and, accordingly, fluctuations in the value of the derivative instrument in relation to the underlying asset may be magnified. The successful use of derivative instruments depends upon a variety of factors, particularly the ability to predict movements of the securities markets, which may be different than the ability to predict changes in the prices of individual securities. There can be no assurance that any particular strategy adopted will succeed. A decision to engage in a derivative transaction will reflect a judgment that the derivative transaction will provide value to the Fund and its shareholders and is consistent with such Fund’s objective, investment limitations, and operating policies.
Credit Risk/Counterparty Risk. Credit risk is the risk that a loss may be sustained as a result of the failure of a counterparty to comply with the terms of a derivative instrument. With respect to exchange-traded derivatives, there is less counterparty risk, because generally a clearing agency, which is the issuer or counterparty to each exchange-traded instrument, provides a guarantee of performance. For privately negotiated instruments, there is no similar clearing agency guarantee. In all transactions, the Fund will bear the risk that the counterparty will default, and this could result in a loss of the expected benefit of the derivative transactions and possibly other losses to the Fund. The Fund will enter into transactions in derivative instruments only with counterparties that the reasonably believes are capable of performing under the contract.
Correlation Risk. Correlation risk is the risk that there might be an imperfect correlation, or even no correlation, between price movements of a derivative instrument and price movements of investments being hedged. When a derivative transaction is used to completely hedge another position, changes in the market value of the combined position (the derivative instrument plus the position being hedged) result from an imperfect correlation between the price movements of the two instruments. With a perfect hedge, the value of the combined position remains unchanged with any change in the price of the underlying asset. With an imperfect hedge, the value of the derivative instrument and its hedge are not perfectly correlated. The effectiveness of hedges using instruments on indices will depend, in part, on the degree of correlation between price movements in the index and the price movements in the investments being hedged.
Liquidity Risk. Liquidity risk is the risk that a derivative instrument cannot be sold, closed out or replaced quickly at or very close to its fundamental value. Generally, exchange contracts are very liquid because the exchange clearinghouse is the counterparty of every contract. The Fund might be required by applicable regulatory requirements to make margin payments when taking positions in derivative instruments involving obligations to third parties. If the Fund is unable to close out its positions in such instruments, it might be required to continue to maintain such assets or accounts or make such payments until the position expires, matures or is closed out. These requirements might impair the Fund’s ability to sell a security or make an investment at a time when it would otherwise be favorable to do so, or require that the Fund sell a portfolio security at a disadvantageous time. The Fund’s ability to sell or close out a position in an instrument prior to expiration or maturity depends upon the existence of a liquid secondary market or, in the absence of such a market, the ability and willingness of the counterparty to enter into a transaction closing out the position. Due to liquidity risk, there is no assurance that any derivatives position can be sold or closed out at a time and price that is favorable to the Fund.
With regard to the Funds, the Adviser will claim relief from the definition of commodity pool operator (“CPO”) under revised U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) Rule 4.5. Specifically, pursuant to CFTC Rule 4.5, the Adviser may claim exclusion from the definition of CPO, and thus from having to register as a CPO, with regard to a Fund that enters into commodity futures, commodity options, or swaps solely for “bona fide hedging purposes,” or that limits its investment in commodities to a “de minimis” amount, as defined in CFTC rules, so long as the Shares of a Fund are not marketed as interests in a commodity pool or other vehicle for trading in commodity futures, commodity options, or swaps. It is expected that the Funds will be able to operate pursuant to the limitations under the revised CFTC Rule 4.5 without materially adversely affecting its ability to achieve its investment objective. If, however, these limitations were to make it difficult for a Fund to achieve its investment objective in the future, the Trust may determine to operate a Fund as a regulated commodity pool pursuant to the Adviser’s CPO registration or to reorganize or close the Fund or to materially change the Fund’s investment objective and strategy.
Futures and Options. Futures contracts and options may from time to time be used by the Funds to facilitate trading or to reduce transaction costs. The Fund may enter into futures contracts and options that are traded on a U.S. or non-U.S. exchange. The Funds will not use futures or options for speculative purposes.
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Risk of Futures and Options. There are several risks accompanying the utilization of futures contracts and options on futures contracts. A position in futures contracts and options on futures contracts may be closed only on the exchange on which the contract was made (or a linked exchange). While the Fund plans to utilize futures contracts only if an active market exists for such contracts, there is no guarantee that a liquid market will exist for the contract at a specified time. In the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments to maintain its required margin. In such situations, if the Fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell portfolio securities to meet daily margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, the Fund may be required to deliver the instruments underlying the futures contracts it has sold.
The risk of loss in trading futures contracts or uncovered call options in some strategies (e.g., selling uncovered stock index futures contracts) is potentially unlimited. The Fund does not plan to use futures and options contracts in this way. The risk of a futures position may still be large as traditionally measured due to the low margin deposits required. In many cases, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss or gain to the investor relative to the size of a required margin deposit. The Fund, however, intends to utilize futures and options contracts in a manner designed to limit their risk exposure to levels comparable to a direct investment in the types of stocks in which they invest.
There is a risk of loss by the Fund of the initial and variation margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which the Fund has an open position in a futures contract. The assets of the Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because the Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds and margin segregated on behalf of an FCM’s customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use the Fund’s assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM's other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty.
Utilization of futures and options on futures by the Fund involves the risk of imperfect or even negative correlation to its underlying index if the index underlying the futures contract differs from the underlying index. There is also the risk of loss of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom the Fund has an open position in the futures contract or option. The purchase of put or call options will be based upon predictions by the Adviser as to anticipated trends, which predictions could prove to be incorrect.
Because the futures market generally imposes less burdensome margin requirements than the securities market, an increased amount of participation by speculators in the futures market could result in price fluctuations. Certain financial futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. The daily limit establishes the maximum amount by which the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day's settlement price at the end of a trading session. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular type of contract, no trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. It is possible that futures contract prices could move to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of futures positions and subjecting the Fund to substantial losses. In the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin.
Futures. Futures contracts provide for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified amount of a specific asset, currency, rate or index at a specified future time and at a specified price. Stock index futures are based on investments that reflect the market value of common stock of the firms included in an underlying index. The Fund may enter into futures contracts to purchase securities indexes when the Adviser anticipates purchasing the underlying securities and believes prices will rise before the purchase will be made. To the extent required by law, liquid assets committed to futures contracts will be maintained.
Futures contracts may be bought and sold on U.S. and non-U.S. exchanges. Futures contracts in the U.S. have been designed by exchanges that have been designated “contract markets” by the CFTC and must be executed through a futures commission merchant (“FCM”), which is a brokerage firm that is a member of the relevant contract market. Each exchange guarantees performance of the contracts as between the clearing members of the exchange, thereby reducing the risk of counterparty default. Futures contracts may also be entered into on certain exempt markets, including exempt boards of trade and electronic trading facilities, available to certain market participants. Because all transactions in the futures market are made, offset or fulfilled by an FCM through a clearinghouse associated with the exchange on which the contracts are traded, the Fund will incur brokerage fees when it buys or sells futures contracts.
Upon entering into a futures contract, the Fund will be required to deliver to an account controlled by the FCM an amount of cash or cash equivalents known as “initial margin,” which is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract and is returned to the Fund upon termination of the futures contract, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin,” to and from the FCM will be made daily as the price of the instrument or
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index underlying the futures contract fluctuates, making the long and short positions in the futures contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.”
At any time prior to the expiration of a futures contract, the Fund may elect to close the position by taking an opposite position, which will operate to terminate the Fund’s existing position in the contract. This transaction, which is effected through a member of an exchange, cancels the obligation to make or take delivery of the underlying instrument or asset. Although some futures contracts by their terms require the actual delivery or acquisition of the underlying instrument or asset, some require cash settlement.
A call option gives a holder the right to purchase a specific security at a specified price (“exercise price”) within a specified period of time. A put option gives a holder the right to sell a specific security at a specified exercise price within a specified period of time. The initial purchaser of a call option pays the “writer” a premium, which is paid at the time of purchase and is retained by the writer whether or not such option is exercised. The Fund may purchase put options to hedge its portfolio against the risk of a decline in the market value of securities held and may purchase call options to hedge against an increase in the price of securities it is committed to purchase. The Fund may write put and call options along with a long position in options to increase its ability to hedge against a change in the market value of the securities it holds or is committed to purchase.
Options. An option on a futures contract, as contrasted with the direct investment in such a contract, gives the purchaser the right, but not the obligation, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in the underlying futures contract at a specified exercise price at any time prior to the expiration date of the option. The writer of the option becomes contractually obligated to take the opposite futures position specified in the option.
Upon exercise of an option on a futures contract, the delivery of the futures position by the writer of the option to the holder of the option will be accompanied by delivery of the accumulated balance in the writer's futures margin account that represents the amount by which the market price of the futures contract exceeds (in the case of a call) or is less than (in the case of a put) the exercise price of the option on the futures contract. The potential for loss related to the purchase of an option on a futures contract is limited to the premium paid for the option plus transaction costs. Because the value of the option is fixed at the point of sale, there are no daily cash payments by the purchaser to reflect changes in the value of the underlying contract; however, the value of the option changes daily and that change would be reflected in the NAV per Share of the Fund.
The Fund may purchase and write put and call options on futures contracts that are traded on an exchange as a hedge against changes in value of its portfolio securities, or in anticipation of the purchase of securities, and may enter into closing transactions with respect to such options to terminate existing positions. There is no guarantee that such closing transactions can be effected.
The Fund’s use of options on futures contracts is subject to the risks related to derivative instruments generally. In addition, the amount of risk the Fund assumes when it purchases an option on a futures contract is the premium paid for the option plus related transaction costs. The purchase of an option also entails the risk that changes in the value of the underlying futures contract will not be fully reflected in the value of the option purchased. The writer of an option on a futures contract is subject to the risk of having to take a possibly adverse futures position if the purchaser of the option exercises its rights. If the writer were required to take such a position, it could bear substantial losses. The potential for loss related to writing call options is unlimited. The potential for loss related to writing put options is limited to the agreed upon price per share, also known as the "strike price," less the premium received from writing the put.
Swaps. The Funds may enter into swap agreements, including interest rate swaps and currency swaps. A typical interest rate swap involves the exchange of a floating interest rate payment for a fixed interest payment. A typical foreign currency swap involves the exchange of cash flows based on the notional differences among two or more currencies (e.g., the U.S. dollar and the euro). Swap agreements may be used to hedge or achieve exposure to, for example, currencies, interest rates, and money market securities without actually purchasing such currencies or securities. A Fund may use swap agreements to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of the underlying securities in circumstances in which direct investment is restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise impracticable. Swap agreements will tend to shift a Fund’s investment exposure from one type of investment to another or from one payment stream to another. Depending on their structure, swap agreements may increase or decrease a Fund’s exposure to long- or short-term interest rates (in the United States or abroad), foreign currencies, corporate borrowing rates, or other factors, and may increase or decrease the overall volatility of a Fund’s investments and its share price.
OTC swap agreements are contracts between parties in which one party agrees to make payments to the other party based on the change in market value or level of a specified index or asset. In return, the other party agrees to make payments to the first party based on the return of a different specified index or asset. Although OTC swap agreements entail the risk that a party will default on its payment obligations thereunder, the Fund seeks to reduce this risk by entering into agreements that involve payments no less frequently than quarterly. The net amount of the excess, if any, of the Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each swap is accrued on a daily basis and an amount of cash or highly liquid securities having an aggregate value at least equal to the accrued excess is maintained in an account at the Trust's custodian bank.
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The use of such swap agreements involves certain risks. For example, if the counterparty, under a swap agreement, defaults on its obligation to make payments due from it as a result of its bankruptcy or otherwise, the Fund may lose such payments altogether or collect only a portion thereof, which collection could involve costs or delays.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) and related regulatory developments require the eventual clearing and exchange-trading of many standardized OTC derivative instruments that the CFTC and Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently defined as “swaps” and “security-based swaps,” respectively. Mandatory exchange-trading and clearing is occurring on a phased-in basis based on the type of market participant and CFTC approval of contracts for central clearing and exchange trading. In a cleared swap, the Fund’s ultimate counterparty is a central clearinghouse rather than a brokerage firm, bank or other financial institution. The Fund initially will enter into cleared swaps through an executing broker. Such transactions will then be submitted for clearing and, if cleared, will be held at regulated futures commission merchants (“FCMs”) that are members of the clearinghouse that serves as the central counterparty. When the Fund enters into a cleared swap, it must deliver to the central counterparty (via an FCM) an amount referred to as “initial margin.” Initial margin requirements are determined by the central counterparty, but an FCM may require additional initial margin above the amount required by the central counterparty. During the term of the swap agreement, a “variation margin” amount may also be required to be paid by the Fund or may be received by the Fund in accordance with margin controls set for such accounts, depending upon changes in the price of the underlying reference asset subject to the swap agreement. At the conclusion of the term of the swap agreement, if the Fund has a loss equal to or greater than the margin amount, the margin amount is paid to the FCM along with any loss in excess of the margin amount. If the Fund has a loss of less than the margin amount, the excess margin is returned to the Fund. If the Fund has a gain, the full margin amount and the amount of the gain is paid to the Fund.
Central clearing is designed to reduce counterparty credit risk compared to uncleared swaps because central clearing interposes the central clearinghouse as the counterparty to each participant's swap, but it does not eliminate those risks completely. There is also a risk of loss by the Fund of the initial and variation margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which the Fund has an open position in a swap contract. The assets of the Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because the Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available Funds and margin segregated on behalf of an FCM's customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use the Fund's assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM's other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty. Exchange trading is expected to increase liquidity of swaps trading.
In addition, with respect to cleared swaps, the Fund may not be able to obtain as favorable terms as it would be able to negotiate for an uncleared swap. In addition, an FCM may unilaterally impose position limits or additional margin requirements for certain types of swaps in which the Fund may invest. Central counterparties and FCMs generally can require termination of existing cleared swap transactions at any time, and can also require increases in margin above the margin that is required at the initiation of the swap agreement. Margin requirements for cleared swaps vary on a number of factors, and the margin required under the rules of the clearinghouse and FCM may be in excess of the collateral required to be posted by the Fund to support its obligations under a similar uncleared swap. However, regulators are expected to adopt rules imposing certain margin requirements, including minimums, on uncleared swaps in the near future, which could change this comparison.
The Fund is also subject to the risk that, after entering into a cleared swap with an executing broker, no FCM or central counterparty is willing or able to clear the transaction. In such an event, the central counterparty would void the trade. Before the Fund can enter into a new trade, market conditions may become less favorable to the Fund.
The Adviser will continue to monitor developments regarding trading and execution of cleared swaps on exchanges, particularly to the extent regulatory changes affect the Fund’s ability to enter into swap agreements and the costs and risks associated with such investments.
U.S. Federal Tax Treatment of Futures Contracts. The Fund may be required for federal income tax purposes to mark-to-market and recognize as income for each taxable year its net unrealized gains and losses on certain futures contracts or options contracts as of the end of the year as well as those actually realized during the year. Gain or loss from futures contracts or options contracts on broad-based indexes required to be marked-to-market will be 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gain or loss. Application of this rule may alter the timing and character of distributions to shareholders. The Fund may be required to defer the recognition of losses on futures contracts or options contracts to the extent of any unrecognized gains on related positions held by the Fund.
In order for the Fund to continue to qualify for U.S. federal income tax treatment as a “regulated investment company” under Section 851 of the Code, at least 90% of the Fund’s gross income for a taxable year must be derived from qualifying sources, including, dividends, interest, income derived from loans of securities, gains from the sale of securities or of foreign currencies or other income derived with respect to the Fund’s business of investing in securities. It is anticipated that any net gain realized from
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the closing out of futures contracts or options contracts will be considered gain from the sale of securities and, therefore, will be qualifying income for purposes of the 90% requirement.
The Fund intends to distribute to shareholders annually any net capital gains that have been recognized for U.S. federal income tax purposes (including unrealized gains at the end of the Fund's fiscal year) on futures transactions and certain options contracts. Such distributions are combined with distributions of capital gains realized on the Fund’s other investments, and shareholders are advised on the nature of the distributions.
Leverage Risk. Leverage is investment exposure that exceeds the initial amount invested. The loss on a leveraged investment may far exceed the Fund’s principal amount invested. Leverage can magnify the Fund’s gains and losses and, therefore, increase its volatility. There is no guarantee that the Fund leveraging strategy will be successful. The Fund cannot guarantee that the use of leverage will produce a high return on an investment. The use of leverage may result in the Fund having to liquidate holdings when it may not be advantageous to do so in order to satisfy its obligation or to meet segregation requirements.
EQUITY SECURITIES. Equity securities, such as the common stocks of an issuer, are subject to stock market fluctuations and therefore may experience volatile changes in value as market conditions, consumer sentiment or the financial condition of the issuers change. A decrease in value of the equity securities in the Fund’s portfolio may also cause the value of Shares to decline.
An investment in a Fund should be made with an understanding of the risks inherent in an investment in equity securities, including the risk that the financial condition of issuers may become impaired or that the general condition of the stock market may deteriorate (either of which may cause a decrease in the value of a Fund’s portfolio securities and therefore a decrease in the value of Shares). Common stocks are susceptible to general stock market fluctuations and to volatile increases and decreases in value as market confidence and perceptions change. These investor perceptions are based on various and unpredictable factors, including expectations regarding government, economic, monetary and fiscal policies; inflation and interest rates; economic expansion or contraction; and global or regional political, economic, public health, cyber or banking crises.
All countries are vulnerable economically to the impact of a public health crisis, which could depress consumer demand, reduce economic output, and potentially lead to market closures, travel restrictions, and quarantines, all of which would negatively impact the country’s economy and could affect the economies of its trading partners.
Holders of common stocks incur more risk than holders of preferred stocks and debt obligations because common stockholders, as owners of the issuer, generally have inferior rights to receive payments from the issuer in comparison with the rights of creditors or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks. Further, unlike debt securities, which typically have a stated principal amount payable at maturity (whose value, however, is subject to market fluctuations prior thereto), or preferred stocks, which typically have a liquidation preference and which may have stated optional or mandatory redemption provisions, common stocks have neither a fixed principal amount nor a maturity. Common stock values are subject to market fluctuations as long as the common stock remains outstanding.
When-Issued Securities - A when-issued security is one whose terms are available and for which a market exists, but which has not been issued. When a Fund engages in when-issued transactions, it relies on the other party to consummate the sale. If the other party fails to complete the sale, a Fund may miss the opportunity to obtain the security at a favorable price or yield.
When purchasing a security on a when-issued basis, a Fund assumes the rights and risks of ownership of the security, including the risk of price and yield changes. At the time of settlement, the value of the security may be more or less than the purchase price. The yield available in the market when the delivery takes place also may be higher than those obtained in the transaction itself. Because a Fund does not pay for the security until the delivery date, these risks are in addition to the risks associated with its other investments.
Decisions to enter into “when-issued” transactions will be considered on a case-by-case basis when necessary to maintain continuity in a company’s index membership. A Fund will segregate cash or liquid securities equal in value to commitments for the when-issued transactions. A Fund will segregate additional liquid assets daily so that the value of such assets is equal to the amount of the commitments.
Types of Equity Securities:
Common Stocks — Common stocks represent units of ownership in a company. Common stocks usually carry voting rights and earn dividends. Unlike preferred stocks, which are described below, dividends on common stocks are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of the company’s board of directors.
Preferred Stocks — Preferred stocks are also units of ownership in a company. Preferred stocks normally have preference over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of the company. However, in all other respects, preferred stocks are subordinated to the liabilities of the issuer. Unlike common stocks, preferred stocks are generally not entitled to vote on corporate matters. Types of preferred stocks include adjustable-rate preferred stock, fixed dividend preferred stock, perpetual preferred stock, and sinking fund preferred stock.
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Generally, the market values of preferred stock with a fixed dividend rate and no conversion element vary inversely with interest rates and perceived credit risk.
Rights and Warrants — A right is a privilege granted to existing shareholders of a corporation to subscribe to shares of a new issue of common stock before it is issued. Rights normally have a short life of usually two to four weeks, are freely transferable and entitle the holder to buy the new common stock at a lower price than the public offering price. Warrants are securities that are usually issued together with a debt security or preferred stock and that give the holder the right to buy proportionate amount of common stock at a specified price. Warrants are freely transferable and are traded on major exchanges. Unlike rights, warrants normally have a life that is measured in years and entitles the holder to buy common stock of a company at a price that is usually higher than the market price at the time the warrant is issued. Corporations often issue warrants to make the accompanying debt security more attractive.
An investment in warrants and rights may entail greater risks than certain other types of investments. Generally, rights and warrants do not carry the right to receive dividends or exercise voting rights with respect to the underlying securities, and they do not represent any rights in the assets of the issuer. In addition, their value does not necessarily change with the value of the underlying securities, and they cease to have value if they are not exercised on or before their expiration date. Investing in rights and warrants increases the potential profit or loss to be realized from the investment as compared with investing the same amount in the underlying securities.
Smaller Companies — The securities of small- and mid-capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse issuer, market, political, public health, cyber, or economic developments than securities of larger-capitalization companies. The securities of small- and mid- capitalization companies generally trade in lower volumes and are subject to greater and more unpredictable price changes than larger capitalization stocks or the stock market as a whole. Some small- or mid-capitalization companies have limited product lines, markets, and financial and managerial resources and tend to concentrate on fewer geographical markets relative to larger capitalization companies. There is typically less publicly available information concerning small- and mid-capitalization companies than for larger, more established companies. Small- and mid-capitalization companies also may be particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates, government regulation, borrowing costs, and earnings.
Tracking Stocks — The Funds may invest in tracking stocks. A tracking stock is a separate class of common stock whose value is linked to a specific business unit or operating division within a larger company and which is designed to “track” the performance of such business unit or division. The tracking stock may pay dividends to shareholders independent of the parent company. The parent company, rather than the business unit or division, generally is the issuer of tracking stock. However, holders of the tracking stock may not have the same rights as holders of the company’s common stock.
ETFs. ETFs are pooled investment vehicles whose ownership interests are purchased and sold on a securities exchange. ETFs may be structured investment companies, depositary receipts or other pooled investment vehicles. As shareholders of an ETF, the Funds will bear their pro rata portion of any fees and expenses of the ETFs. Although shares of ETFs are traded on an exchange, shares of certain ETFs may not be redeemable to the ETF. In addition, ETFs may trade at a price below their net asset value (also known as a discount).
The Funds may use ETFs to help replicate their respective indexes. By way of example, ETFs may be structured as broad based ETFs that invest in a broad group of stocks from different industries and market sectors; select sectors; or market ETFs that invest in debt securities from a select sector of the economy (e.g., Treasury securities) a single industry or related industries; other types of ETFs continue to be developed and the Funds may invest in them to the extent consistent with their investment objectives, policies and restrictions. The ETFs in which the Funds invest are subject to the risks applicable to the types of securities and investments used by the ETFs.
ETFs may be actively managed or index-based. Actively managed ETFs are subject to management risk and may not achieve their objective if the ETF’s manager’s expectations regarding particular securities or markets are not met. An index-based ETF’s objective is to track the performance of a specified index. Index based ETFs invest in a securities portfolio that includes substantially all of the securities in substantially the same amount as the securities included in the designated index. Because passively managed ETFs are designed to track an index, securities may be purchased, retained and sold at times when an actively managed ETF would not do so. As a result, shareholders of a Fund that invest in such an ETF can expect greater risk of loss (and a correspondingly greater prospect of gain) from changes in the value of securities that are heavily weighted in the index than would be the case if ETF were not fully invested in such securities. This risk is increased if a few component securities represent a highly concentrated weighting in the designated index.
Unless permitted by the 1940 Act or a rule issued by the SEC (see “Investment Companies” below for more information), the Funds’ investments in unaffiliated ETFs that are structured as investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act are subject to certain percentage limitations of the 1940 Act regarding investments in other investment companies.
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EXCHANGE-TRADED NOTES. The Funds may invest in exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”). ETNs generally are senior, unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities issued by a sponsor, such as an investment bank. ETNs are traded on exchanges and the returns are linked to the performance of market indexes. In addition to trading ETNs on exchanges, investors may redeem ETNs directly with the issuer on a periodic basis, typically in a minimum amount of 50,000 units, or hold the ETNs until maturity. The value of an ETN may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market, changes in the applicable interest rates, and economic, legal, political or geographic events that affect the referenced market. Because ETNs are debt securities, they are subject to credit risk. If the issuer has financial difficulties or goes bankrupt, a Fund may not receive the return it was promised. If a rating agency lowers an issuer’s credit rating, the value of the ETN may decline and a lower credit rating reflects a greater risk that the issuer will default on its obligation. There may be restrictions on a Fund’s right to redeem its investment in an ETN. There are no periodic interest payments for ETNs, and principal is not protected. A Fund’s decision to sell its ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market.
FIXED INCOME SECURITIES. The Funds may invest in fixed income securities. Even though interest-bearing securities are investments that promise a stable stream of income, the prices of such securities are affected by changes in interest rates. In general, fixed income security prices rise when interest rates fall and fall when interest rates rise. Securities with shorter maturities, while offering lower yields, generally provide greater price stability than longer term securities and are less affected by changes in interest rates. The values of fixed income securities also may be affected by changes in the credit rating or financial condition of the issuing entities. Once the rating of a portfolio security has been changed, the Funds will consider all circumstances deemed relevant in determining whether to continue to hold the security.
Fixed income investments bear certain risks, including credit risk, or the ability of an issuer to pay interest and principal as they become due. Generally, higher yielding bonds are subject to more credit risk than lower yielding bonds. Interest rate risk refers to the fluctuations in value of fixed income securities resulting from the inverse relationship between the market value of outstanding fixed income securities and changes in interest rates. An increase in interest rates will generally reduce the market value of fixed income investments and a decline in interest rates will tend to increase their value.
Call risk is the risk that an issuer will pay principal on an obligation earlier than scheduled or expected, which would accelerate cash flows from, and shorten the average life of, the security. Bonds are typically called when interest rates have declined because the issuer can refinance at a lower rate, similar to a homeowner refinancing a mortgage. In the event of a bond being called, the Adviser or applicable Sub-Adviser may have to reinvest the proceeds in lower yielding securities to the detriment of the Funds.
Extension risk is the risk that an issuer may pay principal on an obligation slower than expected, having the effect of extending the average life and duration of the obligation. This typically happens when interest rates have increased.
Duration is a calculation that seeks to measure the price sensitivity of a debt security, or a Fund that invests in debt securities, to changes in interest rates. It measures sensitivity more accurately than maturity because it takes into account the time value of cash flows generated over the life of a debt security. Future interest payments and principal payments are discounted to reflect their present value and then are multiplied by the number of years they will be received to produce a value expressed in years – the duration. Effective duration takes into account call features and sinking Fund prepayments that may shorten the life of a debt security. A number of factors, including changes in a central bank’s monetary policies or general improvements in the economy, may cause interest rates to rise. Fixed income securities with longer durations are more sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with shorter durations, making them more volatile. This means their prices are more likely to experience a considerable reduction in response to a rise in interest rates.
When investing in fixed income securities, the Funds may purchase securities regardless of their rating, including fixed income securities rated below investment grade – securities rated below investment grade are often referred to as high yield securities or “junk bonds.” High yield securities or “junk bonds,” are usually issued by smaller, less credit-worthy and/or highly leveraged (indebted companies) and involve special risks in addition to the risks associated with investments in higher rated fixed income securities. While offering a greater potential opportunity for capital appreciation and higher yields, high yield securities may be subject to greater levels of interest rate, credit and liquidity risk, may entail greater potential price volatility, and may be less liquid than higher rated fixed income securities. High yield securities may be regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s continuing ability to meet principal and interest payments. They may also be more susceptible to real or perceived adverse economic and competitive industry conditions than higher rated securities. Fixed income securities rated in the lowest investment grade categories by the rating agencies may also possess speculative characteristics. If securities are in default with respect to the payment of interest or the repayment of principal, or present an imminent risk of default with respect to such payments, the issuer of such securities may fail to resume principal or interest payments, in which case a Fund may lose its entire investment in the high yield security. In addition, to the extent that there is no established retail secondary market, there may be thin trading of high yield securities, and this may have an impact on a Fund’s ability to accurately value high yield securities and the Fund’s assets and on the Fund’s ability to dispose of the securities. Adverse publicity and investor perception, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may decrease the values and
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liquidity of high yield securities especially in a thinly traded market. The following risks apply to FLRT’s investments in fixed income securities:
Creditor Liability and Participation on Creditors’ Committees. Generally, when the Fund holds bonds or other similar fixed income securities of an issuer, the Fund becomes a creditor of the issuer. If the Fund is a creditor of an issuer it, may be subject to challenges related to the securities that it holds, either in connection with the bankruptcy of the issuer or in connection with another action brought by other creditors of the issuer, shareholders of the issuer or the issuer itself. The Fund may from time to time participate on committees formed by creditors to negotiate with the management of financially troubled issuers of securities held by the Fund. Such participation may subject the Fund to expenses such as legal fees and may make the Fund an “insider” of the issuer for purposes of the federal securities laws, and therefore may restrict the Fund’s ability to trade in or acquire additional positions in a particular security when it might otherwise desire to do so. Participation by the Fund on such committees also may expose the Fund to potential liabilities under the federal bankruptcy laws or other laws governing the rights of creditors and debtors. The Fund will participate on such committees only when its Adviser believes that such participation is necessary or desirable to enforce the Fund’s rights as a creditor or to protect the value of securities held by the Fund. Further, the Adviser or Sub-Adviser has the authority to represent the Trust, or the Fund, on creditors’ committees or similar committees and generally with respect to challenges related to the securities held by the Fund relating to the bankruptcy of an issuer or in connection with another action brought by other creditors of the issuer, shareholders of the issuer or the issuer itself.
Variable and Floating Rate Securities. Variable and floating rate instruments involve certain obligations that may carry variable or floating rates of interest, and may involve a conditional or unconditional demand feature. Such instruments bear interest at rates which are not fixed, but which vary with changes in specified market rates or indices. The interest rates on these securities may be reset daily, weekly, quarterly, or some other reset period, and may have a set floor or ceiling on interest rate changes. There is a risk that the current interest rate on such obligations may not accurately reflect existing market interest rates. A demand instrument with a demand notice exceeding seven days may be considered illiquid if there is no secondary market for such security.
Asset-Backed Securities. The Fund may invest in asset-backed securities (“ABSs”), which are bonds backed by pools of loans or other receivables. ABSs are created from many types of assets, including auto loans, credit card receivables, home equity loans, and student loans. ABSs are issued through special purpose vehicles that are bankruptcy remote from the issuer of the collateral. The credit quality of an ABS transaction depends on the performance of the underlying assets. To protect ABS investors from the possibility that some borrowers could miss payments or even default on their loans, ABSs include various forms of credit enhancement. Some ABSs, particularly home equity loan transactions, are subject to interest-rate risk and prepayment risk. A change in interest rates can affect the pace of payments on the underlying loans, which in turn, affects total return on the securities. ABSs also carry credit or default risk. If many borrowers on the underlying loans default, losses could exceed the credit enhancement level and result in losses to investors in an ABS transaction. Finally, ABSs have structure risk due to a unique characteristic known as early amortization, or early payout, risk. Built into the structure of most ABSs are triggers for early payout, designed to protect investors from losses. These triggers are unique to each transaction and can include a big rise in defaults on the underlying loans, a sharp drop in the credit enhancement level, or even the bankruptcy of the originator. Once early amortization begins, all incoming loan payments (after expenses are paid) are used to pay investors as quickly as possible based upon a predetermined priority of payment. Consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives and policies, the Adviser also may invest in other types of ABSs.
Bank Loans. Bank loans (also known as floating rate loans) are usually rated below investment grade. The market for floating rate loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads, and extended trade settlement periods. In addition, a significant portion of floating rate loans may be “covenant lite” loans that may contain fewer or less restrictive covenants on the borrower or may contain other borrower-friendly characteristics. The Fund’s investment in loans may take the form of a participation or an assignment. Loan participations typically represent direct participation in a loan to a borrower, and generally are offered by financial institutions or lending syndicates. The Fund may participate in such syndications, or can buy part of a loan, becoming a part lender. When purchasing loan participations, the Fund assumes the credit risk associated with the borrower and may assume the credit risk associated with an interposed financial intermediary. If the lead lender in a typical lending syndicate becomes insolvent, enters Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) receivership or, if not FDIC insured, enters into bankruptcy, the Fund may incur certain costs and delays in receiving payment or may suffer a loss of principal and/or interest. When the Fund is a purchaser of an assignment, it succeeds to all the rights and obligations under the loan agreement of the assigning bank or other financial intermediary and becomes a lender under the loan agreement with the same rights and obligations as the assigning bank or other financial intermediary. For example, if a loan is foreclosed, the Fund could become part owner of any collateral, and would bear the costs and liabilities associated with owning and disposing of the collateral.
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Bank Obligations. Bank obligations may include certificates of deposit, bankers' acceptances, and fixed time deposits. Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued against funds deposited in a commercial bank for a definite period of time and earning a specified return. Bankers' acceptances are negotiable drafts or bills of exchange, normally drawn by an importer or exporter to pay for specific merchandise, which are "accepted" by a bank, meaning, in effect, that the bank unconditionally agrees to pay the face value of the instrument on maturity. Fixed time deposits are bank obligations payable at a stated maturity date and bearing interest at a fixed rate. Fixed time deposits may be withdrawn on demand by the investor, but may be subject to early withdrawal penalties which vary depending upon market conditions and the remaining maturity of the obligation. There are no contractual restrictions on the right to transfer a beneficial interest in a fixed time deposit to a third party, although there is no market for such deposits. The Fund will not invest in fixed time deposits which (1) are not subject to prepayment or (2) provide for withdrawal penalties upon prepayment (other than overnight deposits) if, in the aggregate, more than 15% of its net assets would be invested in such deposits, repurchase agreements with remaining maturities of more than seven days and other illiquid assets. Subject to the Trust's limitation on concentration, as described in the "Investment Restrictions" section below, there is no limitation on the amount of the Fund’s assets which may be invested in obligations of foreign banks which meet the conditions set forth herein.
Obligations of foreign banks involve somewhat different investment risks than those affecting obligations of U.S. banks, including the possibilities that their liquidity could be impaired because of future political and economic developments, that their obligations may be less marketable than comparable obligations of U.S. banks, that a foreign jurisdiction might impose withholding taxes on interest income payable on those obligations, that foreign deposits may be seized or nationalized, that foreign governmental restrictions such as exchange controls may be adopted which might adversely affect the payment of principal and interest on those obligations and that the selection of those obligations may be more difficult because there may be less publicly available information concerning foreign banks or the accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements applicable to foreign banks may differ from those applicable to United States banks. Foreign banks are not generally subject to examination by any United States Government agency or instrumentality.
Below Investment-Grade Debt Securities. The Fund may invest in below investment-grade securities. Below investment-grade securities, also referred to as “high yield securities” or “junk bonds,” are debt securities that are rated lower than the four highest rating categories by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (for example, lower than Baa3 by Moody's Investors Service, Inc. or (“Moody’s”) lower than BBB- by Standard & Poor's (“S&P”) or are determined to be of comparable quality by the Fund’s Sub-Adviser. These securities are generally considered to be, on balance, predominantly speculative with respect to capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation, and will generally involve more credit risk than securities in the investment-grade categories. Investment in these securities generally provides greater income and increased opportunity for capital appreciation than investments in higher quality securities, but they also typically entail greater price volatility and principal and income risk.
Analysis of the creditworthiness of issuers of high yield securities may be more complex than for issuers of investment-grade securities. Thus, reliance on credit ratings in making investment decisions entails greater risks for high yield securities than for investment-grade debt securities. The success of the Fund Sub-Adviser in managing the Fund’s high yield securities is more dependent upon its own credit analysis than is the case with investment-grade securities.
Some high yield securities are issued by smaller, less-seasoned companies, while others are issued as part of a corporate restructuring, such as an acquisition, merger, or leveraged buyout. Companies that issue high yield securities are often highly leveraged and may not have available to them more traditional methods of financing. Therefore, the risk associated with acquiring the securities of such issuers generally is greater than is the case with investment-grade securities. Some high yield securities were once rated as investment-grade but have been downgraded to junk bond status because of financial difficulties experienced by their issuers.
The market values of high yield securities tend to reflect individual issuer developments to a greater extent than do investment-grade securities, which in general react to fluctuations in the general level of interest rates. High yield securities also tend to be more sensitive to economic conditions than are investment-grade securities. A projection of an economic downturn or of a period of rising interest rates, for example, could cause a decline in junk bond prices because the advent of a recession could lessen the ability of a highly leveraged company to make principal and interest payments on its debt securities. If an issuer of high yield securities defaults, in addition to risking payment of all or a portion of interest and principal, the Fund investing in such securities may incur additional expenses to seek recovery.
The secondary market on which high yield securities are traded may be less liquid than the market for investment-grade securities. Less liquidity in the secondary trading market could adversely affect the ability of the Fund to sell a high yield security or the price at which the Fund could sell a high yield security, and could adversely affect the daily NAV of Fund shares. When secondary markets for high yield securities are less liquid than the market for investment-grade securities, it
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may be more difficult to value the securities because such valuation may require more research, and elements of judgment may play a greater role in the valuation because there is less reliable, objective data available.
The Fund will not necessarily dispose of a security if a credit-rating agency downgrades the rating of the security below its rating at the time of purchase. However, its Sub-Adviser will monitor the investment to determine whether continued investment in the security is in the best interest of shareholders.
Collateralized Bond Obligations, Collateralized Loan Obligations, and Other Collateralized Debt Obligations. The Fund may invest in each of collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”), other collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is a trust which is often backed by a diversified pool of high risk, below investment-grade fixed income securities. The collateral can be from many different types of fixed income securities such as high yield debt, residential privately issued mortgage-related securities, commercial privately issued mortgage-related securities, trust preferred securities and emerging market debt. A CLO is a trust typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and foreign senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment-grade or equivalent unrated loans. Other CDOs are trusts backed by other types of assets representing obligations of various parties. CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses.
For CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs, the cash flows from the trust are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the "equity" tranche which bears the bulk of defaults from the bonds or loans in the trust and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default in all but the most severe circumstances. Since they are partially protected from defaults, senior tranches from a CBO trust, CLO trust or trust of another CDO typically have higher ratings and lower yields than their underlying securities, and can be rated investment-grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO, CLO or other CDO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as aversion to CBO, CLO or other CDO securities as a class.
The risks of an investment in a CBO, CLO or other CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the instrument in which the Fund invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus, are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs may be characterized by the Fund as illiquid securities, however, an active dealer market may exist for CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs allowing them to qualify for Rule 144A transactions. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed income securities discussed elsewhere in this SAI and the Fund Prospectus (e.g., fixed income risk and credit risk), CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs carry additional risks including, but are not limited to, (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments, (ii) the quality of the collateral may decline in value or default, (iii) the risk that the Fund may invest in CBOs, CLOs or other CDOs that are subordinate to other classes, and (iv) the possibility that the complex structure of the security may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results.
Commercial Paper. The Fund may invest in commercial paper. Commercial paper is a short-term obligation with a maturity ranging from one to 270 days issued by banks, corporations and other borrowers. Such investments are unsecured and usually discounted. The Fund may invest in commercial paper rated A-1 or A-2 by S&P or Prime-1 or Prime-2 by Moody’s.
Corporate Debt Securities. The Fund may invest in corporate debt securities representative of one or more high yield bond or credit derivative indices, which may change from time to time. Selection will generally be dependent on independent credit analysis or fundamental analysis performed by the Fund’s Adviser or Sub-Adviser. The Fund may invest in all grades of corporate debt securities, including below investment-grade securities, as discussed below. See Appendix A for a description of corporate bond ratings. The Fund also may invest in unrated securities.
Corporate debt securities are typically fixed-income securities issued by businesses to finance their operations. Notes, bonds, debentures and commercial paper are the most common types of corporate debt securities. The primary differences between the different types of corporate debt securities are their maturities and secured or unsecured status. Commercial paper has the shortest term and is usually unsecured. The broad category of corporate debt securities includes debt issued by domestic or foreign companies of all kinds, including those with small-, mid- and large-capitalizations. Corporate debt may be rated investment-grade or below investment-grade and may carry variable or floating rates of interest.
Because of the wide range of types, and maturities, of corporate debt securities, as well as the range of creditworthiness of its issuers, corporate debt securities have widely varying potentials for return and risk profiles. For example, commercial paper issued by a large established domestic corporation that is rated investment-grade may have a modest return on principal, but carries relatively limited risk. On the other hand, a long-term corporate note issued by a small foreign corporation from an
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emerging market country that has not been rated may have the potential for relatively large returns on principal, but carries a relatively high degree of risk.
Corporate debt securities carry both credit risk and interest rate risk. Credit risk is the risk that the Fund could lose money if the issuer of a corporate debt security is unable to pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Some corporate debt securities that are rated below investment-grade are generally considered speculative because they present a greater risk of loss, including default, than higher quality debt securities. The credit risk of a particular issuer's debt security may vary based on its priority for repayment. For example, higher ranking (senior) debt securities have a higher priority than lower-ranking (subordinated) securities. This means that the issuer might not make payments on subordinated securities while continuing to make payments on senior securities. In addition, in the event of bankruptcy, holders of higher-ranking senior securities may receive amounts otherwise payable to the holders of more junior securities. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of certain corporate debt securities will tend to fall when interest rates rise. In general, corporate debt securities with longer terms tend to fall more in value when interest rates rise than corporate debt securities with shorter terms.
Inflation-Indexed Bonds. The Fund may invest in inflation-indexed bonds, which are fixed income securities whose principal value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. Two structures are common. The U.S. Treasury and some other issuers use a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Most other issuers pay out the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) accruals as part of a semiannual coupon.
Inflation-indexed securities issued by the U.S. Treasury have maturities of five, ten or thirty years, although it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. U.S. Treasury securities pay interest on a semi-annual basis, equal to a fixed percentage of the inflation-adjusted principal amount. For example, if the Fund purchased an inflation-indexed bond with a par value of $1,000 and a 3% real rate of return coupon (payable 1.5% semi-annually), and inflation over the first six months was 1%, the mid-year par value of the bond would be $1,010 and the first semi-annual interest payment would be $15.15 ($1,010 times 1.5%). If inflation during the second half of the year resulted in the whole years' inflation equaling 3%, the end-of-year par value of the bond would be $1,030 and the second semi-annual interest payment would be $15.45 ($1,030 times 1.5%).
If the periodic adjustment rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds will be adjusted downward, and consequently the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. Repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity (as adjusted for inflation) is guaranteed in the case of U.S. Treasury inflation-indexed bonds, even during a period of deflation. However, the current market value of the bonds is not guaranteed, and will fluctuate. The Fund also may invest in other inflation related bonds which may or may not provide a similar guarantee. If a guarantee of principal is not provided, the adjusted principal value of the bond repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal.
The value of inflation-indexed bonds is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. Therefore, if inflation were to rise at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation-indexed bonds. In contrast, if nominal interest rates increased at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates might rise, leading to a decrease in value of inflation-indexed bonds.
While these securities are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to changes in currency exchange rates), investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bond's inflation measure.
The periodic adjustment of U.S. inflation-indexed bonds is tied to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), which is calculated monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy. Inflation-indexed bonds issued by a foreign government are generally adjusted to reflect a comparable inflation index, calculated by that government. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U or any foreign inflation index will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. Moreover, there can be no assurance that the rate of inflation in a foreign country will be correlated to the rate of inflation in the United States.
Any increase in the principal amount of an inflation-indexed bond will be considered taxable ordinary income, even though investors do not receive their principal until maturity.
Structured Notes. A structured note is a derivative security for which the amount of principal repayment and/or interest payments is based on the movement of one or more “factors.” These factors include, but are not limited to, currency exchange rates, interest rates (such as the prime lending rate, the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), or the Secured
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Overnight Funding Rate (“SOFR”)), referenced bonds, and stock indices. Some of these factors may or may not correlate to the total rate of return on one or more underlying instruments referenced in such notes. Investments in structured notes involve risks including interest rate risk, credit risk and market risk. Depending on the factor(s) used and the use of multipliers or deflators, changes in interest rates and movement of such factor(s) may cause significant price fluctuations. Structured notes may be less liquid than other types of securities and more volatile than the reference factor underlying the note.
Unrated Debt Securities. The Fund may invest in unrated debt securities. Unrated debt, while not necessarily lower in quality than rated securities, may not have as broad a market. Because of the size and perceived demand for the issue, among other factors, certain issuers may decide not to pay the cost of getting a rating for their bonds. The creditworthiness of the issuer, as well as any financial institution or other party responsible for payments on the security, will be analyzed to determine whether to purchase unrated bonds.
Zero Coupon Bonds. The Fund may invest in U.S. Treasury zero coupon bonds. These securities are U.S. Treasury bonds which have been stripped of their un-matured interest coupons, the coupons themselves, and receipts or certificates representing interests in such stripped debt obligations and coupons. Interest is not paid in cash during the term of these securities, but is accrued and paid at maturity. Such obligations have greater price volatility than coupon obligations and other normal interest-paying securities, and the value of zero coupon securities reacts more quickly to changes in interest rates than do coupon bonds. Because dividend income is accrued throughout the term of the zero coupon obligation, but is not actually received until maturity, the Fund may have to sell other securities to pay said accrued dividends prior to maturity of the zero coupon obligation. Unlike regular U.S. Treasury bonds, which pay semi-annual interest, U.S. Treasury zero coupon bonds do not generate semi-annual coupon payments. Instead, zero coupon bonds are purchased at a substantial discount from the maturity value of such securities, the discount reflecting the current value of the deferred interest; this discount is amortized as interest income over the life of the security, and is taxable even though there is no cash return until maturity. Zero coupon U.S. Treasury issues originally were created by government bond dealers who bought U.S. Treasury bonds and issued receipts representing an ownership interest in the interest coupons or in the principal portion of the bonds. Subsequently, the U.S. Treasury began directly issuing zero coupon bonds with the introduction of STRIPS. While zero coupon bonds eliminate the reinvestment risk of regular coupon issues, that is, the risk of subsequently investing the periodic interest payments at a lower rate than that of the security held, zero coupon bonds fluctuate much more sharply than regular coupon-bearing bonds. Thus, when interest rates rise, the value of zero coupon bonds will decrease to a greater extent than will the value of regular bonds having the same interest rate.
Collateral Risk. A loan may not be fully collateralized and can decline significantly in value. In addition, the Fund’s access to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or other insolvency laws. Further, loans held by the Fund may not be considered securities and, therefore, purchasers, such as the Fund, may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
Counterparty Risk. The Fund may invest in financial instruments involving counterparties for the purpose of attempting to gain exposure to a particular group of securities, index or asset class without actually purchasing those securities or investments, or to hedge a position. Such financial instruments may include, among others, total return, index, interest rate, and credit default swap agreements. The use of swap agreements and similar instruments exposes the Funds to risks that are different than those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. For example, the Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If a counterparty defaults on its payment obligations to the Fund, this default will cause the value of your investment in the Fund to decrease. In addition, the Fund may enter into swap agreements with a limited number of counterparties, which may increase the Fund’s exposure to counterparty credit risk. Similarly, if the credit quality of an issuer or guarantor of a debt instrument improves, this change may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investment.
Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that the Fund could lose money if an issuer or guarantor of a debt instrument becomes unwilling or unable to make timely principal and/or interest payments, or to otherwise meet its obligations. The Fund is also subject to the risk that its investment in a debt instrument could decline because of concerns about the issuer's credit quality or perceived financial condition. Fixed income securities are subject to varying degrees of credit risk, which are sometimes reflected in credit ratings.
High Yield Securities Risk. Securities rated “BB” or below by S&P or “Ba” or below by Moody's are known as high yield securities and are commonly referred to as “junk bonds.” Such securities entail greater price volatility and credit and interest rate risk than investment-grade securities. Analysis of the creditworthiness of high yield issuers is more complex than for higher-rated securities, making it more difficult for the Sub-Adviser to accurately predict risk. There is a greater risk with high yield fixed income securities that an issuer will not be able to make principal and interest payments when due. If the Fund pursues missed payments, there is a risk the Fund expenses could increase. In addition, lower-rated securities may not
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trade as often and may be less liquid than higher-rated securities, especially during periods of economic uncertainty or change. As a result of all of these factors, these securities are generally considered to be speculative.
Income Risk. The market value of fixed income investments changes in response to interest rate changes and other factors. The Fund’s income could decline due to falling market interest rates. This is because, in a falling interest rate environment, the Fund generally will have to invest the proceeds from sales of Fund shares, as well as the proceeds from maturing portfolio securities in lower-yielding securities. During periods of falling interest rates, the values of outstanding fixed income securities generally rise. Moreover, while securities with longer maturities tend to produce higher yields, the prices of longer maturity securities are also subject to greater market fluctuations as a result of changes in interest rates. During periods of falling interest rates, certain debt obligations with high interest rates may be prepaid (or “called”) by the issuer prior to maturity.
Interest Rate Risk. The values of fixed rate debt securities usually rise and fall in response to changes in interest rates. Declining interest rates generally increase the value of existing debt instruments, and rising interest rates generally decrease the value of existing debt instruments. Changes in a debt instrument’s value usually will not affect the amount of interest income paid to the Fund, but will affect the value of the Fund’s shares. Interest rate risk is generally greater for investments with longer maturities. Certain securities pay interest at variable or floating rates. Variable rate securities reset at specified intervals, while floating rate securities reset whenever there is a change in a specified index rate. In most cases, these reset provisions reduce the effect of changes in market interest rates on the value of the security. However, some securities do not track the underlying index directly, but reset based on formulas that can produce an effect similar to leveraging; others may also provide for interest payments that vary inversely with market rates. The market prices of these securities may fluctuate significantly when interest rates change.
Some investments give the issuer the option to call or redeem an investment before its maturity date. If an issuer calls or redeems an investment during a time of declining interest rates, the Fund might have to reinvest the proceeds in an investment offering a lower yield, and therefore it might not benefit from any increase in value as a result of declining interest rates.
Other Floating Rate Loan Risks. Floating rate loans generally are subject to restrictions on transfer, and the Fund may be unable to sell its bank loans at a time when it may otherwise be desirable to do so or may be able to sell them only at prices that are less than their fair market value. The Fund may find it difficult to establish a fair value for loans it holds. Further, the trading market for floating rate loans could be impacted by regulatory action or reforms around the manner in which floating interest rates are determined. If a published rate is unavailable, the rate of interest on a floating rate loan could effectively become fixed, which would in turn adversely affect the value of the floating rate loan. In addition, floating rate loans generally are subject to extended settlement periods in excess of seven days, which may impair the Fund’s ability to sell or realize the full value of its loans in the event of a need to liquidate such loans.
If the Fund acquires a participation in a loan, the Fund may not be able to control the exercise of remedies that the lender would have under the loan and likely would not have any rights against the borrower directly. A loan participation agreement involves the purchase of a share of a loan made by a bank to a company in return for a corresponding share of borrower's principal and interest payments. The principal credit risk associated with acquiring loan participation interests is the credit risk associated with the underlying corporate borrower. There is also a risk that there may not be a readily available market for loan participation interests and, in some cases, this could result in the Fund disposing of such securities at a substantial discount from face value or holding such securities until maturity.
Loans made to finance highly leveraged corporate acquisitions may be especially vulnerable to adverse changes in economic or market conditions. A loan may also be in the form of a bridge loan, which are designed to provide temporary or “bridge” financing to a borrower, pending the sale of identified assets or the arrangement of longer-term loans or the issuance and sale of debt obligations. A borrower's use of a bridge loan involves a risk that the borrower may be unable to locate permanent financing to replace the bridge loan, which may impair the borrower's perceived creditworthiness.
Floating rate loans, like other debt securities, may be paid off early if the issuer of a security can repay principal prior to the maturity date. If interest rates are falling, the Fund may have to reinvest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates, resulting in a decline in the Fund's income.
A loan may be a senior loan or a junior loan. Senior loans typically provide lenders with a first right to cash flows or proceeds from the sale of a borrower's collateral if the borrower becomes insolvent (subject to certain limitations of bankruptcy law). However, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower's obligation in the event of a default or that such collateral could be readily liquidated. In addition, senior loans are subject to the risk that a court could subordinate such senior loans to presently existing or future indebtedness of the borrower, or take other action detrimental to the holders of senior loans including, in certain circumstances, invalidating such senior loans or causing interest previously
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paid to be refunded to the borrower. Any such actions could negatively affect the Fund’s performance. To the extent the Fund invests in junior loans, these loans involve a higher degree of overall risk than senior loans of the same borrower because of their lower place in the borrower's capital structure and possible unsecured status.
The loans in which the Fund will invest will generally be secured and senior to other indebtedness of the borrower. Each loan generally will be secured by collateral such as accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, real estate, intangible assets such as trademarks, copyrights and patents, and securities of subsidiaries or affiliates. Collateral also may include guarantees or other credit support by affiliates of the borrower. The value of the collateral generally will be determined by reference to financial statements of the borrower, by an independent appraisal, by obtaining the market value of such collateral, in the case of cash or securities if readily ascertainable, or by other customary valuation techniques considered appropriate by the Adviser or Sub-Adviser. The value of collateral may decline after the Fund’s investment, and collateral may be difficult to sell in the event of default. Consequently, the Fund may not receive all the payments to which it is entitled. The loan agreement may or may not require the borrower to pledge additional collateral to secure the senior loan if the value of the initial collateral declines. In certain circumstances, the loan agreement may authorize the agent to liquidate the collateral and to distribute the liquidation proceeds pro rata among the lenders. By virtue of their senior position and collateral, senior loans typically provide lenders with the first right to cash flows or proceeds from the sale of a borrower's collateral if the borrower becomes insolvent (subject to the limitations of bankruptcy law, which may provide higher priority to certain claims such as employee salaries, employee pensions, and taxes). This means senior loans generally are repaid before unsecured bank loans, corporate bonds, subordinated debt, trade creditors, and preferred or common stockholders. To the extent that the Fund invests in unsecured loans, if the borrower defaults on such loan, there is no specific collateral on which the lender can foreclose. If the borrower defaults on a subordinated loan, the collateral may not be sufficient to cover both the senior and subordinated loans. In addition, if the loan is foreclosed, the Fund could become part owner of any collateral and could bear the costs and liabilities of owning and disposing of the collateral.
Senior loans generally are arranged through private negotiations between a borrower and several financial institutions represented by an agent who is usually one of the originating lenders. In larger transactions, it is common to have several agents; however, generally only one such agent has primary responsibility for ongoing administration of a senior loan. Agents typically are paid fees by the borrower for their services.
The agent is responsible primarily for negotiating the loan agreement which establishes the terms and conditions of the senior loan and the rights of the borrower and the lenders. The agent is paid a fee by the borrower for its services. The agent generally is required to administer and manage the senior loan on behalf of other lenders. The agent also is responsible for monitoring collateral and for exercising remedies available to the lenders such as foreclosure upon collateral. The agent may rely on independent appraisals of specific collateral. The agent need not, however, obtain an independent appraisal of assets pledged as collateral in all cases. The agent generally also is responsible for determining that the lenders have obtained a perfected security interest in the collateral securing a senior loan. The Fund normally relies on the agent to collect principal of and interest on a senior loan. The Fund also relies in part on the agent to monitor compliance by the borrower with the restrictive covenants in the loan agreement and to notify the Fund (or the lender from whom the Fund has purchased a participation) of any adverse change in the borrower's financial condition. Insolvency of the agent or other persons positioned between the Fund and the borrower could result in losses for the Fund.
Loan agreements may provide for the termination of the agent's agency status in the event that it fails to act as required under the relevant loan agreement, becomes insolvent, enters FDIC receivership or, if not FDIC insured, enters into bankruptcy. Should such an agent, lender or assignor, with respect to an assignment interpositioned between the Fund and the borrower, become insolvent or enter FDIC receivership or bankruptcy, any interest in the senior loan of such person and any loan payment held by such person for the benefit of the Fund should not be included in such person's or entity's bankruptcy estate. If, however, any such amount were included in such person's or entity's bankruptcy estate, the fund would incur certain costs and delays in realizing payment or could suffer a loss of principal or interest. In this event, the fund could experience a decrease in its NAV.
Most borrowers pay their debts from cash flow generated by their businesses. If a borrower’s cash flow is insufficient to pay its debts, it may attempt to restructure its debts rather than sell collateral. Borrowers may try to restructure their debts by filing for protection under the federal bankruptcy laws or negotiating a work-out. If a borrower becomes involved in a bankruptcy proceeding, access to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy and other laws. If a court decides that access to collateral is limited or void, the fund may not recover the full amount of principal and interest that is due.
A borrower must comply with certain restrictive covenants contained in the loan agreement. In addition to requiring the scheduled payment of principal and interest, these covenants may include restrictions on the payment of dividends and other distributions to the borrower’s shareholders, provisions requiring compliance with specific financial ratios, and limits on total indebtedness. The agreement also may require the prepayment of the loans from excess cash flow. A breach of a covenant
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that is not waived by the agent (or lenders directly) is normally an event of default, which provides the agent and lenders the right to call for repayment of the outstanding loan.
In the process of buying, selling and holding senior loans, the fund may receive and/or pay certain fees. These fees are in addition to interest payments received and may include facility fees, commitment fees, commissions and prepayment penalty fees. Facility fees are paid to lenders when a senior loan is originated. Commitment fees are paid to lenders on an ongoing basis based on the unused portion of a senior loan commitment. Lenders may receive prepayment penalties when a borrower prepays a senior loan. Whether the fund receives a facility fee in the case of an assignment, or any fees in the case of a participation, depends on negotiations between the Fund and the lender selling such interests. When the fund buys an assignment, it may be required to pay a fee to the lender selling the assignment, or to forgo a portion of interest and fees payable to the Fund. Occasionally, the assignor pays a fee to the assignee. A person selling a participation to the fund may deduct a portion of the interest and any fees payable to the Fund as an administrative fee.
Notwithstanding its intention in certain situations not to receive material, non-public information with respect to its management of investments in loans, the Adviser or the Sub-Adviser may from time to time come into possession of material, non-public information about the issuers of loans that may be held in the Fund’s portfolio. Possession of such information may in some instances occur despite the Adviser’s or the Sub-Adviser’s efforts to avoid such possession, but in other instances the Adviser or the Sub-Adviser may choose to receive such information (for example, in connection with participation in a creditors' committee with respect to a financially distressed issuer). The Adviser’s or the Sub-Adviser's ability to trade in these loans for the account of the fund could potentially be limited by its possession of such information. Such limitations on the Adviser's or the Sub-Adviser's ability to trade could have an adverse effect on the fund by, for example, preventing the Fund from selling a loan that is experiencing a material decline in value. In some instances, these trading restrictions could continue in effect for a substantial period of time.
Although the overall size and number of participants in the market for floating rate loans (or bank loans) has grown over the past decade, floating rate loans continue to trade in an unregulated inter-dealer or inter-bank secondary market. Purchases and sales of floating rate loans are generally subject to contractual restrictions that must be satisfied before a floating rate loan can be bought or sold. These restrictions may impede the Fund's ability to buy or sell floating rate loans, negatively impact the transaction price, and impede the Fund’s ability to timely vote or otherwise act with respect to floating rate loans. As a result, it may take longer than seven days for transactions in floating rate loans to settle, which make it more difficult for the Fund to raise cash to pay investors when they redeem their shares in the Fund. The Fund may be adversely affected by having to sell other investments at an unfavorable time and/or under unfavorable conditions, hold cash, temporarily borrow from banks or other lenders or take other actions to meet short-term liquidity needs in order to satisfy redemption requests from Fund shareholders. These actions may impact the Fund’s performance (in the case of holding cash or selling securities) or increase the Fund’s expenses (in the case of borrowing).
It is also unclear whether the U.S. federal securities laws, which afford certain protections against fraud and misrepresentation in connection with the offering or sale of a security, as well as against manipulation of trading markets for securities, would be available to the Fund’s investments in a loan. This is because a loan may not be deemed to be a security in certain circumstances. In these instances, the Fund may need to rely on contractual provisions in the loan documents for some protections and also avail itself of common law fraud protections under applicable state law, which could increase the risk and expense to the Fund of investing in loans. In addition, holders of such loans may from time to time receive confidential information about the borrower. In certain circumstances, this confidential information may be considered material non-public information. Because U.S. laws and regulations generally prohibit trading in securities of issuers while in possession of material, non-public information, the Fund that receives confidential information about a borrower for loan investments might be unable to trade securities or other instruments issued by the borrower when it would otherwise be advantageous to do so and, as such, could incur a loss. For this reason, the Fund or its Manager may determine not to receive confidential information about a borrower for loan investments, which may disadvantage the Fund relative to other investors who do receive such information.
Some covenant lite loans may be in the market from time to time which tend to have fewer or no financial maintenance covenants and restrictions. A covenant lite loan typically contains fewer clauses which allow an investor to proactively enforce financial covenants or prevent undesired actions by the borrower/issuer.
Covenant lite loans also generally provide fewer investor protections if certain criteria are breached. The Fund may experience losses or delays in enforcing its rights on its holdings of covenant lite loans.
Prepayment/Extension Risk. Floating rate loans are also subject to prepayment risk (also called extension risk). Borrowers may pay off their loans sooner than expected particularly when interest rates are falling. The Fund investing in such securities will be forced to reinvest this money at lower yields, which can reduce the Fund’s returns. Similarly, debt obligations with
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call features have the risk that an issuer will exercise the right to pay an obligation (such as a mortgage-backed security) earlier than expected. Pre-payment and call risk typically occur when interest rates are declining. Conversely, when interest rates are rising, the duration of such securities tends to extend, making them more sensitive to changes in interest rates.
FIXED-INCOME SECURITIES RATINGS. Nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (together, rating agency) publish ratings based upon their assessment of the relative creditworthiness of rated fixed-income securities. Generally, a lower rating indicates higher credit risk, and higher yields are ordinarily available from fixed-income securities in the lower rating categories to compensate investors for the increased credit risk. Any use of credit ratings in evaluating fixed-income securities can involve certain risks. For example, ratings assigned by the rating agencies are based upon an analysis completed at the time of the rating of the obligor’s ability to pay interest and repay principal, typically relying to a large extent on historical data. Rating agencies typically rely to a large extent on historical data which may not accurately represent present or future circumstances. Ratings do not purport to reflect to risk of fluctuations in market value of the fixed-income security and are not absolute standards of quality and only express the rating agency’s current opinion of an obligor’s overall financial capacity to pay its financial obligations. A credit rating is not a statement of fact or a recommendation to purchase, sell or hold a fixed-income obligation. Also, credit quality can change suddenly and unexpectedly, and credit ratings may not reflect the issuer’s current financial condition or events since the security was last rated. Rating agencies may have a financial interest in generating business, including the arranger or issuer of the security that normally pays for that rating, and a low rating might affect future business. While rating agencies have policies and procedures to address this potential conflict of interest, there is a risk that these policies will fail to prevent a conflict of interest from impacting the rating. Additionally, legislation has been enacted in an effort to reform rating agencies. The SEC has also adopted rules to require rating agencies to provide additional disclosure and reduce conflicts of interest, and further reform has been proposed. It is uncertain how such legislation or additional regulation might impact the ratings agencies business and the Adviser’s or Sub-Adviser’s investment process.
Prepayment risk occurs when a fixed-income investment held by a Fund may be repaid in whole or in part prior to its maturity. The amount of prepayable obligations a Fund invests in from time to time may be affected by general business conditions, market interest rates, borrowers’ financial conditions and competitive conditions among lenders. In a period of declining interest rates, borrowers may repay investments more quickly than anticipated, reducing the yield to maturity and the average life of the relevant investment. Moreover, when a Fund reinvests the proceeds of a prepayment in these circumstances, it will likely receive a rate of interest that is lower than the rate on the security that was prepaid. To the extent that a Fund purchases a relevant investment at a premium, prepayments may result in a loss to the extent of the premium paid. If a Fund buys such investments at a discount, both scheduled payments and unscheduled prepayments will increase current and total returns and unscheduled prepayments will also accelerate the recognition of income. In a period of rising interest rates, prepayments of investments may occur at a slower than expected rate, creating maturity extension risk. This particular risk may effectively change an investment that was considered short- or intermediate-term at the time of purchase into a longer-term investment. Since the value of longer-term investments generally fluctuates more widely in response to changes in interest rates than short-term investments, maturity extension risk could increase the volatility of a Fund. When interest rates decline, the value of an investment with prepayment features may not increase as much as that of other fixed-income securities and, as noted above, changes in market rates of interest may accelerate or delay prepayments and thus affect maturities.
FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS. The Funds may invest directly and indirectly in foreign currencies. The Fund may conduct foreign currency transactions on a spot (i.e., cash) or forward basis i.e., by entering into forward contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies). Currency transactions made on a spot basis are for cash at the spot rate prevailing in the currency exchange market for buying or selling currency. Although foreign exchange dealers generally do not charge a fee for such conversions, they do realize a profit based on the difference between the prices at which they are buying and selling various currencies. Thus, a dealer may offer to sell a foreign currency at one rate, while offering a lesser rate of exchange should the counterparty desire to resell that currency to the dealer. When used for hedging purposes, forward currency contracts tend to limit any potential gain that may be realized if the value of the Fund’s foreign holdings increases because of currency fluctuations.
Investments in foreign currencies are subject to numerous risks, not the least of which is the fluctuation of foreign currency exchange rates with respect to the U.S. dollar. Exchange rates fluctuate for a number of reasons.
Inflation. Exchange rates change to reflect changes in a currency’s buying power. Different countries experience different inflation rates due to different monetary and fiscal policies, different product and labor market conditions, and a host of other factors.
Trade Deficits. Countries with trade deficits tend to experience a depreciating currency. Inflation may be the cause of a trade deficit, making a country’s goods more expensive and less competitive and so reducing demand for its currency.
Interest Rates. High interest rates may raise currency values in the short term by making such currencies more attractive to investors. However, since high interest rates are often the result of high inflation, long-term results may be the opposite.
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Budget Deficits and Low Savings Rates. Countries that run large budget deficits and save little of their national income tend to suffer a depreciating currency because they are forced to borrow abroad to finance their deficits. Payments of interest on this debt can inundate the currency markets with the currency of the debtor nation. Budget deficits also can indirectly contribute to currency depreciation if a government chooses inflationary measures to cope with its deficits and debts.
Political Factors. Political instability in a country can cause a currency to depreciate. Demand for a certain currency may fall if a country appears a less desirable place in which to invest and do business.
Government Control. Through their own buying and selling of currencies, the world’s central banks sometimes manipulate exchange rate movements. In addition, governments occasionally issue statements to influence people’s expectations about the direction of exchange rates, or they may instigate policies with an exchange rate target as the goal. The value of the Fund’s investments is calculated in U.S. dollars each day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) is open for business. As a result, to the extent that the Fund’s assets are invested in instruments denominated in foreign currencies and the currencies appreciate relative to the U.S. dollar, the Fund’s NAV as expressed in U.S. dollars (and, therefore, the value of your investment) should increase. If the U.S. dollar appreciates relative to the other currencies, the opposite should occur. The currency-related gains and losses experienced by the Fund will be based on changes in the value of portfolio securities attributable to currency fluctuations only in relation to the original purchase price of such securities as stated in U.S. dollars. Gains or losses on shares of the Fund will be based on changes attributable to fluctuations in the NAV of such shares, expressed in U.S. dollars, in relation to the original U.S. dollar purchase price of the shares. The amount of appreciation or depreciation in the Fund’s assets also will be affected by the net investment income generated by the money market instruments in which the Fund invests and by changes in the value of the securities that are unrelated to changes in currency exchange rates.
The Funds may incur currency exchange costs when it sells instruments denominated in one currency and buys instruments denominated in another.
Currency-Related Derivatives and Other Financial Instruments
The Funds may use currency transactions in order to hedge the value of portfolio holdings denominated in particular currencies against fluctuations in relative value. Currency transactions include forward currency contracts, exchange-listed currency futures and options thereon, exchange-listed and over-the-counter (“OTC”) options on currencies, and currency swaps. A forward currency contract involves a privately negotiated obligation to purchase or sell (with delivery generally required) a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts are traded in the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large, commercial banks) and their customers. A forward foreign currency contract generally has no deposit requirement, and no commissions are charged at any stage for trades. A currency swap is an agreement to exchange cash flows based on the notional difference among two or more currencies and operates similarly to an interest rate swap, which is described below. The Fund may enter into currency transactions with counterparties which have received (or the guarantors of the obligations of which have received) a short-term credit rating of A-1 or P-1 by S&P or Moody’s, respectively, or that have an equivalent rating from a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (“NRSRO”) or (except for OTC currency options) are determined to be of equivalent credit quality by the Adviser.
A Fund’s dealings in forward currency contracts and other currency transactions such as futures, options on futures, options on currencies and swaps will be limited to hedging involving either specific transactions (“Transaction Hedging”) or portfolio positions (“Position Hedging”). Transaction Hedging is entering into a currency transaction with respect to specific assets or liabilities of the Fund or an underlying Fund, which will generally arise in connection with the purchase or sale of its portfolio securities or the receipt of income therefrom. The Fund may be able to protect itself against possible losses resulting from changes in the relationship between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies during the period between the date the security is purchased or sold and the date on which payment is made or received by entering into a forward contract for the purchase or sale, for a fixed amount of dollars, of the amount of the foreign currency involved in the underlying security transactions.
Position Hedging is entering into a currency transaction with respect to portfolio security positions denominated or generally quoted in that currency. The Fund may enter into a forward foreign currency contract to sell, for a fixed amount of dollars, the amount of foreign currency approximating the value of some or all of its portfolio securities denominated in such foreign currency. The precise matching of the forward foreign currency contract amount and the value of the portfolio securities involved may not have a perfect correlation since the future value of the securities hedged will change as a consequence of the market between the date the forward contract is entered into and the date it matures. The projection of short-term currency market movement is difficult, and the successful execution of this short-term hedging strategy is uncertain.
A Fund will not enter into a transaction to hedge currency exposure to an extent greater, after netting all transactions intended wholly or partially to offset other transactions, than the aggregate market value (at the time of entering into the transaction) of the securities held in its portfolio that are denominated or generally quoted in or currently convertible into such currency.
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A Fund in which it invests may also cross-hedge currencies by entering into transactions to purchase or sell one or more currencies that are expected to decline in value relative to other currencies to which the Fund has or in which the Fund expects to have portfolio exposure.
Currency hedging involves some of the same risks and considerations as other transactions with similar instruments. Currency transactions can result in losses to the Fund if the currency being hedged fluctuates in value to a degree or in a direction that is not anticipated. If the Fund enters into a currency hedging transaction, the Fund will “cover” its position so as not to create a “senior security” as defined in Section 18 of the 1940 Act.
Currency transactions are subject to risks different from those of other portfolio transactions. Because currency control is of great importance to the issuing governments and influences economic planning and policy, purchase and sales of currency and related instruments can be negatively affected by government exchange controls, blockages, and manipulations or exchange restrictions imposed by governments. These actions can result in losses to the Fund if it is unable to deliver or receive currency or funds in settlement of obligations and could also cause hedges it has entered into to be rendered useless, resulting in full currency exposure as well as incurring transaction costs. Buyers and sellers of currency futures are subject to the same risks that apply to the use of futures generally. Furthermore, settlement of a currency futures contract for the purchase of most currencies must occur at a bank based in the issuing nation. Trading options on currency futures is relatively new, and the ability to establish and close out positions on such options is subject to the maintenance of a liquid market, which may not always be available. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate based on factors extrinsic to that country’s economy. Although forward foreign currency contracts and currency futures tend to minimize the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged currency, at the same time they tend to limit any potential gain which might result should the value of such currency increase.
The Funds are not required to enter into forward currency contracts for hedging purposes and it is possible that the Fund may not be able to hedge against a currency devaluation that is so generally anticipated that the Fund is unable to contract to sell the currency at a price above the devaluation level it anticipates. It also is possible that, under certain circumstances, the Fund may have to limit its currency transactions to qualify as a regulated investment company under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).
GEOGRAPHIC CONCENTRATION IN CHINA (AFTY only). Funds that are less diversified across countries or geographic regions are generally riskier than more geographically diversified funds. Because the Fund focuses on a single country, China, the Fund is more exposed to China’s economic cycles, currency exchange rates, stock market valuations and political risks, among other issues, than a more geographically diversified fund.
Government Intervention and Restriction Risk. Governments and regulators may intervene in the financial markets, such as by the imposition of trading restrictions, a ban on “naked” short selling or the suspension of short selling for certain stocks. This may affect the operation and market making activities of the Fund, and may have an unpredictable impact on the Fund. Furthermore, such market interventions may have a negative impact on the market sentiment which may in turn affect the performance of the Index and as a result the performance of the Fund.
Recently, the A-Shares market has experienced considerable volatility and been subject to frequent and extensive trading halts and suspensions. These trading halts and suspensions have, among other things, contributed to uncertainty in the markets and reduced the liquidity of the securities subject to such trading halts and suspensions, including a number of securities held by the Fund. If the trading in a significant number of the Fund’s A-Share holdings is halted or suspended, the Fund’s portfolio could become illiquid. In such event, the Fund may have difficulty selling its portfolio positions until the trading halt or suspension is lifted, or may not be able to sell such securities at all. As a result, the Fund may need to sell other more liquid portfolio holdings at a loss or at times when it otherwise would not do so in order to generate sufficient cash to satisfy redemption requests. This could have a negative impact on the Fund’s performance and increase the tracking error of the Fund against its Index. If a significant number of securities held by the Fund are suspended or unavailable for sale, the Fund is permitted to delay settlement of redemption requests up to seven days, as further discussed below. Trading halts or suspensions may make it difficult for the Fund to obtain prices for such securities and may cause the Fund to “fair-value” a portion of its portfolio holdings. Furthermore, trading halts or suspensions of the Fund’s underlying portfolio securities may also have a negative impact on secondary market trading of Fund shares in U.S. market.
ILLIQUID INVESTMENTS. Each Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments, as such term is defined by Rule 22e-4 of the 1940 Act. The Funds may not invest in illiquid investments if, as a result of such investment, more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets would be invested in illiquid investments. Illiquid investments include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets. The inability of a Fund to dispose of illiquid investments readily or at a reasonable price could impair the Fund’s ability to raise cash for redemptions or other purposes. The liquidity of securities purchased by a Fund that are eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A, except for certain 144A bonds, will be monitored by the Funds on an ongoing basis. In the event that more than 15% of its net assets are invested in illiquid investments,
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the Funds, in accordance with Rule 22e-4(b)(1)(iv), will report the occurrence to both the Board and the SEC and seek to reduce its holdings of illiquid investments within a reasonable period of time.
INVESTMENT COMPANIES. The Funds may invest in the securities of other investment companies, including ETFs and money market funds, subject to applicable limitations under Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act and Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act. Investing in another pooled vehicle exposes a Fund to all the risks of that pooled vehicle. Pursuant to Section 12(d)(1), a Fund may invest in the securities of another investment company (the “acquired company”) provided that such Fund, immediately after such purchase or acquisition, does not own in the aggregate: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired company; (ii) securities issued by the acquired company having an aggregate value in excess of 5% of the value of the total assets of such Fund; or (iii) securities issued by the acquired company and all other investment companies (other than treasury stock of such Fund) having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the applicable Fund. To the extent allowed by law or regulation, the Funds may invest their assets in securities of investment companies that are money market funds in excess of the limits discussed above.
The Funds may rely on Section 12(d)(1)(F) and Rule 12d1-3 under the 1940 Act, which provide an exemption from Section 12(d)(1) that allow the Funds to invest all of its assets in other registered funds, including ETFs, if, among other conditions: (a) a Fund, together with its affiliates, acquires no more than three percent of the outstanding voting stock of any acquired fund, and (b) the sales load charged on a Fund’s Shares is no greater than the limits set forth in Rule 2341 of the Rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”). In addition, the Funds may invest beyond the limits of Section 12(d)(1) subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act, including that the Funds enter into an agreement with the acquired company.
If the Fund invests in and, thus, is a shareholder of, another investment company, the Fund’s shareholders will indirectly bear the Fund’s proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory fees, in addition to both the management fees payable directly by the Fund to the Fund’s own investment adviser and the other expenses that the Fund bears directly in connection with the Fund’s own operations.
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by registered investment companies (“Investing Funds”) in the securities of other registered investment companies, including TRND and HERD. The acquisition of Shares by Investing Funds is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, except as may be permitted by exemptive rules under the 1940 Act such as Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act, subject to certain terms and conditions, including that the Investing Fund enter into an agreement with the Funds regarding the terms of the investment.
Investing Funds are not permitted to invest in TRND and HERD beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) in reliance on Rule 12d1-4 because TRND and HERD operate as a fund of funds and/or invests a significant portion of its assets in other investment companies. Thus, these Funds are unable to satisfy the terms and conditions of Rule 12d1-4. Accordingly, Investing Funds must adhere to the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) when investing in TRND and HERD.
INVESTMENTS IN CHINA A-SHARES AND H-SHARES (AFTY only). A-Shares and H-Shares are each a specific classification of equity securities issued by companies incorporated in the People’s Republic of China (“China” or the “PRC”). H-Shares are denominated and traded in Hong Kong dollars and are traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. A company incorporated in China may issue both A-Shares and H-Shares, however the prices that such shares trade at may differ. A-Shares are denominated and traded in RMB, the official currency of the PRC, on the Shenzhen and Shanghai Stock Exchanges.
Since November of 2014, foreign investors have been permitted to invest in eligible China A-Shares listed on Shanghai Stock Exchange through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program. The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program; which was launched in 2014, established a securities trading and clearing program which enables mutual stock market access between mainland China and Hong Kong. Investors should note that the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges on which China A-Shares are traded are undergoing development and the market capitalization of, and trading volumes on, those exchanges may be lower than those in more developed financial markets. Market volatility and settlement difficulties in the China A-Shares markets may result in significant fluctuation in the prices of the securities traded on such markets and thereby changes in the Net Asset Value of the Fund. The China A-Shares markets are considered volatile and unstable (with the risk of suspension of a particular stock or government intervention).
The Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges divide listed shares into two classes: A-Shares and B-Shares. Companies whose shares are traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges that are incorporated in mainland China may issue both A-Shares and B-Shares. In China, the A-Shares and B-Shares of an issuer may only trade on one exchange. A-Shares and B-Shares may both be listed on either the Shanghai Stock Exchange or the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Both classes represent an ownership interest comparable to a share of common stock, and all shares are entitled to substantially the same rights and benefits associated with ownership.
Through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program, foreign investors, such as the Fund, can trade eligible China A-Shares, subject to trading limits and rules and regulations as may be issued from time to time. More recently, in December of 2016, foreign investors also are permitted to invest in eligible China A-Shares listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange through the Shenzhen-Hong
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Kong Stock Connect program. While the Fund may access China A-Shares through the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect program in the future, it has no immediate plans to do so.
Investing Through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect Program — The Fund invests in eligible securities listed and traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program, a securities trading and clearing program developed by The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited and the CSDCC for the establishment of mutual market access between The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Unlike other programs for foreign investment in Chinese securities, no individual investment quotas or licensing requirements apply to investors investing via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program. In addition, there are no lock-up periods or restrictions on the repatriation of principal and profits.
Among other restrictions, investors in securities obtained via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program are generally subject to Chinese securities regulations and Shanghai Stock Exchange rules. Thus, investors in Stock Connect securities are generally subject to Chinese securities regulations and SSE listing rules, among other restrictions. Securities obtained via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program generally may only be sold, purchased or otherwise transferred through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program in accordance with applicable rules. Although the Fund is not subject to individual investment quotas, daily investment quotas designed to limit the maximum daily net purchases on any particular day apply to all participants in the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program. These daily investment quotas which may restrict or preclude the ability of any Fund to invest in securities obtained via the program. The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program is newly-established and further developments are likely. It is unclear whether or how such developments may restrict or affect the Fund. Additionally, how the laws and regulations of Hong Kong and China, as well as the rules, policies or guidelines of relevant regulators and exchanges, will be interpreted or applied with respect to the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program is uncertain.
MASTER LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS (“MLPs”). MLPs are limited partnerships in which the ownership units are publicly traded. MLP units are registered with the SEC and are freely traded on a securities exchange or in the OTC market. MLPs often own several properties or businesses (or own interests) that are related to real estate development and oil and gas industries, but they also may finance motion pictures, research and development and other projects. Generally, an MLP is operated under the supervision of one or more managing general partners. Limited partners are not involved in the day-to-day management of the partnership.
The risks of investing in an MLP are generally those involved in investing in a partnership as opposed to a corporation. For example, state law governing partnerships is often less restrictive than state law governing corporations. Accordingly, there may be fewer protections afforded investors in an MLP than investors in a corporation. Additional risks involved with investing in an MLP are risks associated with the specific industry or industries in which the partnership invests, such as the risks of investing in real estate, or oil and gas industries.
MLPs are generally treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes. When a Fund invests in the equity securities of an MLP or any other entity that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, a Fund will be treated as a partner in the entity for tax purposes. Accordingly, in calculating a Fund’s taxable income, it will be required to take into account its allocable share of the income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits recognized by each such entity, regardless of whether the entity distributes cash to the Fund. Distributions from such an entity to a Fund are not generally taxable unless the cash amount (or, in certain cases, the fair market value of marketable securities) distributed to a Fund exceeds the Fund’s adjusted tax basis in its interest in the entity. In general, a Fund’s allocable share of such an entity’s net income will increase the Fund’s adjusted tax basis in its interest in the entity, and distributions to a Fund from such an entity and a Fund’s allocable share of the entity’s net losses will decrease the Fund’s adjusted basis in its interest in the entity, but not below zero. A Fund may receive cash distributions from such an entity in excess of the net amount of taxable income a Fund is allocated from its investment in the entity. In other circumstances, the net amount of taxable income a Fund is allocated from its investment in such an entity may exceed cash distributions received from the entity. Thus, a Fund’s investments in such an entity may lead a Fund to make distributions in excess of its earnings and profits, or a Fund may be required to sell investments, including when not otherwise advantageous to do so, in order to satisfy the distribution requirements applicable to regulated investment companies under the Code.
Depreciation or other cost recovery deductions passed through to a Fund from any investments in MLPs in a given year will generally reduce a Fund’s taxable income, but those deductions may be recaptured in the Fund’s income in one or more subsequent years. When recognized and distributed, recapture income will generally be taxable to a Fund’s shareholders at the time of the distribution at ordinary income tax rates, even though those shareholders might not have held Shares in a Fund at the time the deductions were taken, and even though those shareholders may not have corresponding economic gain on their Shares at the time of the recapture. To distribute recapture income or to fund redemption requests, a Fund may need to liquidate investments, which may lead to additional taxable income.
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MONEY MARKET INSTRUMENTS. The Funds may invest a portion of their assets in high-quality money market instruments or in money market mutual funds on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. The instruments in which a Fund or money market mutual fund may invest include: (i) short-term obligations issued by the U.S. Government; (ii) negotiable certificates of deposit (“CDs”), fixed time deposits and bankers’ acceptances of U.S. and foreign banks and similar institutions; (iii) commercial paper rated at the date of purchase “Prime-1” by Moody’s or “A-1+” or “A-1” by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) or, if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Fund; and (iv) repurchase agreements. CDs are short-term negotiable obligations of commercial banks. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Banker’s acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.
MORTGAGE-RELATED SECURITIES (FLRT Only). The Funds may invest in mortgage-related and asset-backed securities. Mortgage-related securities are interests in pools of residential or commercial mortgage loans, including mortgage loans made by savings and loan institutions, mortgage bankers, commercial banks and others. Pools of mortgage loans are assembled as securities for sale to investors by various governmental, government-related and private organizations. See “Mortgage Pass-Through Securities.” A Fund also may invest in debt securities which are secured with collateral consisting of mortgage-related securities (see “Collateralized Mortgage Obligations”).
The 2008 financial downturn, particularly the increase in delinquencies and defaults on residential mortgages, falling home prices, and unemployment, adversely affected the market for mortgage-related securities. In addition, various market and governmental actions may impair the ability to foreclose on or exercise other remedies against underlying mortgage holders, or may reduce the amount received upon foreclosure. These factors have caused certain mortgage-related securities to experience lower valuations and reduced liquidity. There is also no assurance that the U.S. government will take action to support the mortgage-related securities industry, as it has in the past, should the economy experience another downturn. Further, future government actions may significantly alter the manner in which the mortgage-related securities market functions. Each of these factors could ultimately increase the risk that a Fund could realize losses on mortgage-related securities.
Mortgage Pass-Through Securities
The Funds may invest in mortgage pass-through securities. Interests in pools of mortgage-related securities differ from other forms of debt securities, which normally provide for periodic payment of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or specified call dates. Instead, these securities provide a monthly payment which consists of both interest and principal payments. In effect, these payments are a “pass-through” of the monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on their residential or commercial mortgage loans, net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of such securities. Additional payments are caused by repayments of principal resulting from the sale of the underlying property, refinancing or foreclosure, net of fees or costs which may be incurred. Some mortgage-related securities (such as securities issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”)) are described as “modified pass-through.” These securities entitle the holder to receive all interest and principal payments owed on the mortgage pool, net of certain fees, at the scheduled payment dates regardless of whether or not the mortgagor actually makes the payment.
The rate of pre-payments on underlying mortgages will affect the price and volatility of a mortgage-related security, and may have the effect of shortening or extending the effective duration of the security relative to what was anticipated at the time of purchase. To the extent that unanticipated rates of pre-payment on underlying mortgages increase the effective duration of a mortgage-related security, the volatility of such security can be expected to increase. The residential mortgage market in the United States recently has experienced difficulties that may adversely affect the performance and market value of certain of the Funds’ mortgage-related investments. Delinquencies and losses on residential mortgage loans (especially subprime and second-lien mortgage loans) generally have increased recently and may continue to increase, and a decline in or flattening of housing values (as has recently been experienced and may continue to be experienced in many housing markets) may exacerbate such delinquencies and losses. Borrowers with adjustable rate mortgage loans are more sensitive to changes in interest rates, which affect their monthly mortgage payments, and may be unable to secure replacement mortgages at comparably low interest rates. Also, a number of residential mortgage loan originators have experienced serious financial difficulties or bankruptcy. Owing largely to the foregoing, reduced investor demand for mortgage loans and mortgage-related securities and increased investor yield requirements have caused limited liquidity in the secondary market for certain mortgage-related securities, which can adversely affect the market value of mortgage-related securities. It is possible that such limited liquidity in such secondary markets could continue or worsen.
Agency Mortgage-Related Securities
The Funds may invest in agency mortgage-related securities. The principal governmental guarantor of mortgage-related securities is Ginnie Mae. Ginnie Mae is a wholly owned United States government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ginnie Mae is authorized to guarantee, with the full faith and credit of the United States government, the timely payment of principal and interest on securities issued by institutions approved by Ginnie Mae (such as savings and loan institutions,
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commercial banks and mortgage bankers) and backed by pools of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (the “FHA”), or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”).
Government-related guarantors (i.e., not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government) include the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”). Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored corporation. Fannie Mae purchases conventional (i.e., not insured or guaranteed by any government agency) residential mortgages from a list of approved seller/servicers which include state and federally chartered savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks and credit unions and mortgage bankers. Pass-through securities issued by Fannie Mae are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by Fannie Mae, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Freddie Mac was created by Congress in 1970 for the purpose of increasing the availability of mortgage credit for residential housing. It is a government-sponsored corporation that issues Participation Certificates (“PCs”), which are pass-through securities, each representing an undivided interest in a pool of residential mortgages. Freddie Mac guarantees the timely payment of interest and ultimate collection of principal, but PCs are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
On September 6, 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. As the conservator, FHFA succeeded to all rights, titles, powers and privileges of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and of any stockholder, officer or director of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with respect to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the assets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA selected a new chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors for each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In connection with the conservatorship, the U.S. Treasury entered into a Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement with each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pursuant to which the U.S. Treasury will purchase a limited amount of each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to maintain a positive net worth in each enterprise. The SPAs contain various covenants that severely limit each enterprise’s operations. In exchange for entering into these agreements, the U.S. Treasury received $1 billion of each enterprise’s senior preferred stock and warrants to purchase 79.9% of each enterprise’s common stock. Please see "U.S. Government Securities" for additional information on these agreements.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are continuing to operate as going concerns while in conservatorship and each remain liable for all of its obligations, including its guaranty obligations, associated with its mortgage-backed securities. The FHFA has indicated that the conservatorship of each enterprise will end when the director of FHFA determines that FHFA’s plan to restore the enterprise to a safe and solvent condition has been completed.
Under the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 (the “Reform Act”), which was included as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, FHFA, as conservator or receiver, has the power to repudiate any contract entered into by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to FHFA’s appointment as conservator or receiver, as applicable, if FHFA determines, in its sole discretion, that performance of the contract is burdensome and that repudiation of the contract promotes the orderly administration of Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac’s affairs. The Reform Act requires FHFA to exercise its right to repudiate any contract within a reasonable period of time after its appointment as conservator or receiver.
FHFA, in its capacity as conservator, has indicated that it has no intention to repudiate the guaranty obligations of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac because FHFA views repudiation as incompatible with the goals of the conservatorship. However, in the event that FHFA, as conservator or if it is later appointed as receiver for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, were to repudiate any such guaranty obligation, the conservatorship or receivership estate, as applicable, would be liable for actual direct compensatory damages in accordance with the provisions of the Reform Act. Any such liability could be satisfied only to the extent of Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac's assets available therefor.
In the event of repudiation, the payments of interest to holders of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities would be reduced if payments on the mortgage loans represented in the mortgage loan groups related to such mortgage-backed securities are not made by the borrowers or advanced by the servicer. Any actual direct compensatory damages for repudiating these guaranty obligations may not be sufficient to offset any shortfalls experienced by such mortgage-backed security holders.
Further, in its capacity as conservator or receiver, FHFA has the right to transfer or sell any asset or liability of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac without any approval, assignment or consent. Although FHFA has stated that it has no present intention to do so, if FHFA, as conservator or receiver, were to transfer any such guaranty obligation to another party, holders of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities would have to rely on that party for satisfaction of the guaranty obligation and would be exposed to the credit risk of that party.
In addition, certain rights provided to holders of mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the operative documents related to such securities may not be enforced against FHFA, or enforcement of such rights may be delayed, during the conservatorship or any future receivership. The operative documents for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities may provide (or with respect to securities issued prior to the date of the appointment of the conservator may have provided)
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that upon the occurrence of an event of default on the part of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, in its capacity as guarantor, which includes the appointment of a conservator or receiver, holders of such mortgage-backed securities have the right to replace Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as trustee if the requisite percentage of mortgage-backed securities holders consent. The Reform Act prevents mortgage-backed security holders from enforcing such rights if the event of default arises solely because a conservator or receiver has been appointed. The Reform Act also provides that no person may exercise any right or power to terminate, accelerate or declare an event of default under certain contracts to which Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac is a party, or obtain possession of or exercise control over any property of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or affect any contractual rights of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, without the approval of FHFA, as conservator or receiver, for a period of 45 or 90 days following the appointment of FHFA as conservator or receiver, respectively.
In addition, in a February 2011 report to Congress from the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Obama administration provided a plan to reform America’s housing finance market. The plan would reduce the role of and eventually eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Notably, the plan does not propose similar significant changes to Ginnie Mae, which guarantees payments on mortgage-related securities backed by federally insured or guaranteed loans such as those issued by the Federal Housing Association or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The report also identified three proposals for Congress and the administration to consider for the long-term structure of the housing finance markets after the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including implementing (i) a privatized system of housing finance that limits government insurance to very limited groups of creditworthy low- and moderate-income borrowers, (ii) a privatized system with a government backstop mechanism that would allow the government to insure a larger share of the housing finance market during a future housing crisis, and (iii) a privatized system where the government would offer reinsurance to holders of certain highly-rated mortgage-related securities insured by private insurers and would pay out under the reinsurance arrangements only if the private mortgage insurers were insolvent.
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (“CMOs”)
The Funds may invest in CMOs, which are debt obligations of a legal entity that are collateralized by mortgages and divided into classes. Similar to a bond, interest and prepaid principal is paid, in most cases, on a monthly basis. CMOs may be collateralized by whole mortgage loans or private mortgage bonds, but are more typically collateralized by portfolios of mortgage pass-through securities guaranteed by Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Fannie Mae, and their income streams.
CMOs are structured into multiple classes, often referred to as “tranches,” with each class bearing a different stated maturity and entitled to a different schedule for payments of principal and interest, including pre-payments. Actual maturity and average life will depend upon the prepayment experience of the collateral. In the case of certain CMOs (known as “sequential pay” CMOs), payments of principal received from the pool of underlying mortgages, including pre-payments, are applied to the classes of CMOs in the order of their respective final distribution dates. Thus, no payment of principal will be made to any class of sequential pay CMOs until all other classes having an earlier final distribution date have been paid in full.
In a typical CMO transaction, a corporation (“issuer”) issues multiple series (e.g., A, B, C, Z) of CMO bonds (“Bonds”). Proceeds of the Bond offering are used to purchase mortgages or mortgage pass-through certificates (“Collateral”). The Collateral is pledged to a third-party trustee as security for the Bonds. Principal and interest payments from the Collateral are used to pay principal on the Bonds in the order A, B, C, Z. The Series A, B, and C Bonds all bear current interest. Interest on the Series Z Bond is accrued and added to principal and a like amount is paid as principal on the Series A, B, or C Bond currently being paid off. When the Series A, B, and C Bonds are paid in full, interest and principal on the Series Z Bond begins to be paid currently. CMOs may be less liquid and may exhibit greater price volatility than other types of mortgage- or asset-backed securities.
As CMOs have evolved, some classes of CMO bonds have become more common. For example, the Funds may invest in parallel-pay and planned amortization class (“PAC”) CMOs and multi-class pass-through certificates. Parallel-pay CMOs and multi-class pass-through certificates are structured to provide payments of principal on each payment date to more than one class. These simultaneous payments are taken into account in calculating the stated maturity date or final distribution date of each class, which, as with other CMO and multi-class pass-through structures, must be retired by its stated maturity date or final distribution date but may be retired earlier. PACs generally require payments of a specified amount of principal on each payment date. PACs are parallel-pay CMOs with the required principal amount on such securities having the highest priority after interest has been paid to all classes. Any CMO or multi-class pass-through structure that includes PAC securities must also have support tranches-known as support bonds, companion bonds or non-PAC bonds which lend or absorb principal cash flows to allow the PAC securities to maintain their stated maturities and final distribution dates within a range of actual prepayment experience. These support tranches are subject to a higher level of maturity risk compared to other mortgage-related securities, and usually provide a higher yield to compensate investors. If principal cash flows are received in amounts outside a pre-determined range such that the support bonds cannot lend or absorb sufficient cash flows to the PAC securities as intended, the PAC securities are subject to heightened maturity risk. Consistent with a Fund’s investment objectives and policies, its Adviser may invest in various tranches of CMO bonds, including support bonds.
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Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities
The Funds may invest in commercial mortgage-backed securities, which include securities that reflect an interest in, and are secured by, mortgage loans on commercial real property. Many of the risks of investing in commercial mortgage-backed securities reflect the risks of investing in the real estate securing the underlying mortgage loans. These risks reflect the effects of local and other economic conditions on real estate markets, the ability of tenants to make loan payments, and the ability of a property to attract and retain tenants. Commercial mortgage-backed securities may be less liquid and exhibit greater price volatility than other types of mortgage- or asset-backed securities.
Other Mortgage-Related Securities
The Funds may invest in other mortgage-related securities, which include securities other than those described above that directly or indirectly represent a participation in, or are secured by and payable from, mortgage loans on real property, including mortgage dollar rolls, CMO residuals or stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBS”). Other mortgage-related securities may be equity or debt securities issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, homebuilders, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks, partnerships, trusts and special purpose entities of the foregoing.
CMO Residuals
The Funds may invest in CMO residuals, which are mortgage securities issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, homebuilders, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose entities of the foregoing.
The cash flow generated by the mortgage assets underlying a series of CMOs is applied first to make required payments of principal and interest on the CMOs and second to pay the related administrative expenses and any management fee of the issuer. The residual in a CMO structure generally represents the interest in any excess cash flow remaining after making the foregoing payments. Each payment of such excess cash flow to a holder of the related CMO residual represents income and/or a return of capital. The amount of residual cash flow resulting from a CMO will depend on, among other things, the characteristics of the mortgage assets, the coupon rate of each class of CMO, prevailing interest rates, the amount of administrative expenses and the pre-payment experience on the mortgage assets. In particular, the yield to maturity on CMO residuals is extremely sensitive to pre-payments on the related underlying mortgage assets, in the same manner as an interest-only (“IO”) class of stripped mortgage-backed securities. See “Other Mortgage-Related Securities — Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities.” In addition, if a series of a CMO includes a class that bears interest at an adjustable rate, the yield to maturity on the related CMO residual will also be extremely sensitive to changes in the level of the index upon which interest rate adjustments are based. As described below with respect to stripped mortgage-backed securities, in certain circumstances a Fund may fail to recoup fully its initial investment in a CMO residual.
CMO residuals are generally purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers. Transactions in CMO residuals are generally completed only after careful review of the characteristics of the securities in question. In addition, CMO residuals may, or pursuant to an exemption therefrom, may not have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”). CMO residuals, whether or not registered under the Securities Act, may be subject to certain restrictions on transferability, and may be deemed "illiquid" and subject to a Fund’s limitations on investment in illiquid securities.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage-Backed Securities (“ARMBSs”)
The Funds may invest in ARMBSs, which have interest rates that reset at periodic intervals. Acquiring ARMBSs permits the Funds to participate in increases in prevailing current interest rates through periodic adjustments in the coupons of mortgages underlying the pool on which ARMBSs are based. Such ARMBSs generally have higher current yield and lower price fluctuations than is the case with more traditional fixed income debt securities of comparable rating and maturity. In addition, when prepayments of principal are made on the underlying mortgages during periods of rising interest rates, a Fund can reinvest the proceeds of such prepayments at rates higher than those at which they were previously invested. Mortgages underlying most ARMBSs, however, have limits on the allowable annual or lifetime increases that can be made in the interest rate that the mortgagor pays. Therefore, if current interest rates rise above such limits over the period of the limitation, a Fund, when holding an ARMBS, does not benefit from further increases in interest rates. Moreover, when interest rates are in excess of coupon rates (i.e., the rates being paid by mortgagors) of the mortgages, ARMBSs behave more like fixed income securities and less like adjustable rate securities and are subject to the risks associated with fixed income securities. In addition, during periods of rising interest rates, increases in the coupon rate of adjustable rate mortgages generally lag current market interest rates slightly, thereby creating the potential for capital depreciation on such securities.
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Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities (“SMBSs”)
The Funds may invest in SMBS, which are derivative multi-class mortgage securities. SMBSs may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government, or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose entities of the foregoing.
SMBSs are usually structured with two classes that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of SMBS will have one class receiving some of the interest and most of the principal from the mortgage assets, while the other class will receive most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (the “IO” class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (the principal-only or “PO” class). The yield to maturity on an IO class is extremely sensitive to the rate of principal payments (including pre-payments) on the related underlying mortgage assets, and a rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on a Fund yield to maturity from these securities. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated pre-payments of principal, the Funds may fail to recoup some or all of its initial investment in these securities even if the security is in one of the highest rating categories.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES. The Funds may invest in non-U.S. securities. Investments in non-U.S. securities involve certain risks that may not be present in investments in U.S. securities. For example, non-U.S. securities may be subject to currency risks or to political, social, or economic instability. There may be less information publicly available about a non-U.S. issuer than about a U.S. issuer, and a foreign issuer may or may not be subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices comparable to those in the U.S. Investments in non-U.S. securities may be subject to withholding or other taxes and may be subject to additional trading, settlement, custodial, and operational risks. Other risks of investing in such securities include political, social, or economic instability in the country involved, the difficulty of predicting international trade patterns and the possibility of imposition of exchange controls. The prices of such securities may be more volatile than those of domestic securities. With respect to certain foreign countries, there is a possibility of expropriation of assets or nationalization, imposition of withholding taxes on dividend or interest payments, difficulty in obtaining and enforcing judgments against foreign entities or diplomatic developments which could affect investment in these countries. Losses and other expenses may be incurred in converting between various currencies in connection with purchases and sales of foreign securities. Because foreign exchanges may be open on days when the Funds do not price their Shares, the value of the securities in a Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell Shares. Conversely, Shares may trade on days when foreign exchanges are closed. Each of these factors can make investments in the Funds more volatile and potentially less liquid than other types of investments.
Non-U.S. stock markets may not be as developed or efficient as, and may be more volatile than, those in the U.S. While the volume of shares traded on non-U.S. stock markets generally has been growing, such markets usually have substantially less volume than U.S. markets. Therefore, a Fund’s investment in non-U.S. equity securities may be less liquid and subject to more rapid and erratic price movements than comparable securities listed for trading on U.S. exchanges. Non-U.S. equity securities may trade at price/earnings multiples higher than comparable U.S. securities and such levels may not be sustainable. There may be less government supervision and regulation of foreign stock exchanges, brokers, banks and listed companies abroad than in the U.S. Moreover, settlement practices for transactions in foreign markets may differ from those in U.S. markets. Such differences may include delays beyond periods customary in the U.S. and practices, such as delivery of securities prior to receipt of payment, that increase the likelihood of a failed settlement, which can result in losses to the Funds. The value of non-U.S. investments and the investment income derived from them may also be affected unfavorably by changes in currency exchange control regulations. Foreign brokerage commissions, custodial expenses and other fees are also generally higher than for securities traded in the U.S. This may cause the Funds to incur higher portfolio transaction costs than domestic equity funds. Fluctuations in exchange rates may also affect the earning power and asset value of the foreign entity issuing a security, even one denominated in U.S. dollars. Dividend and interest payments may be repatriated based on the exchange rate at the time of disbursement, and restrictions on capital flows may be imposed.
Investing in emerging markets can have more risk than investing in developed foreign markets. The risks of investing in these markets may be exacerbated relative to investments in foreign markets. Governments of developing and emerging market countries may be more unstable as compared to more developed countries. Developing and emerging market countries may have less developed securities markets or exchanges, and legal and accounting systems. It may be more difficult to sell securities at acceptable prices and security prices may be more volatile than in countries with more mature markets. Currency values may fluctuate more in developing or emerging markets. Developing or emerging market countries may be more likely to impose government restrictions, including confiscatory taxation, expropriation or nationalization of a company’s assets, and restrictions on foreign ownership of local companies. In addition, emerging markets may impose restrictions on the Funds’ ability to repatriate investment income or capital and thus, may adversely affect the operations of the Funds. Certain emerging markets may impose constraints on currency exchange and some currencies in emerging markets may have been devalued significantly against the U.S. dollar. For these and other reasons, the prices of securities in emerging markets can fluctuate more significantly than the prices of securities of companies in developed countries. The less developed the country, the greater effect these risks may have on the Funds.
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Set forth below for certain markets in which the Funds may invest are brief descriptions of some of the conditions and risks in each such market.
Investments in Canada. The U.S. is Canada’s largest trading partner and foreign investor. As a result, changes to the U.S. economy may significantly affect the Canadian economy. The Canadian economy is reliant on the sale of natural resources and commodities, which can pose risks such as the fluctuation of prices and the variability of demand for exportation of such products. Canada is a major producer of commodities such as zinc, uranium, forest products, metals, agricultural products, and energy related products like oil, gas, and hydroelectricity. Changes in spending on Canadian products by the economies of other countries or changes in any of these economies may cause a significant impact on the Canadian economy.
Investments in China and Hong Kong. Investing in ADRs with underlying shares organized, listed or domiciled in China involves special considerations not typically associated with investing in countries with more democratic governments or more established economies or securities markets. Such risks may include: (i) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (ii) greater social, economic and political uncertainty (including the risk of war); (iii) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (iv) increasing competition from Asia’s other low-cost emerging economies; (v) higher rates of inflation; (vi) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital; (vii) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (viii) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support the economic reform programs implemented since 1978 and could return to the prior, completely centrally planned, economy; (ix) the fact that Chinese companies, particularly those located in China, may be smaller, less seasoned and newly organized; (x) the differences in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers, particularly in China where, for example, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) lacks access to inspect PCAOB-registered accounting firms; (xi) the fact that statistical information regarding the economy of China may be inaccurate or not comparable to statistical information regarding the U.S. or other economies; (xii) the less extensive, and still developing, regulation of the securities markets, business entities and commercial transactions; (xiii) the fact that the settlement period of securities transactions in foreign markets may be longer; (xiv) the fact that the willingness and ability of the Chinese government to support the Chinese and Hong Kong economies and markets is uncertain; (xv) the risk that it may be more difficult, or impossible, to obtain and/or enforce a judgment than in other countries; (xvi) the rapid and erratic nature of growth, particularly in China, resulting in inefficiencies and dislocations; (xvii) the risk that, because of the degree of interconnectivity between the economies and financial markets of China and Hong Kong, any sizable reduction in the demand for goods from China, or an economic downturn in China, could negatively affect the economy and financial market of Hong Kong as well; and (xviii) the risk that certain companies in the Fund’s Index may have dealings with countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government or identified as state sponsors of terrorism.
China is also vulnerable economically to the impact of a public health crisis, which could depress consumer demand, reduce economic output, and potentially lead to market closures, travel restrictions, and quarantines, all of which would negatively impact China’s economy and could affect the economies of its trading partners.
After many years of steady growth, the growth rate of China’s economy had slowed prior to 2020. Although this slowdown was to some degree intentional, the slowdown also slowed the once rapidly growing Chinese real estate market and left local governments with high debts with few viable means to raise revenue, especially with the fall in demand for housing. In the first quarter of 2021, however, as China recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, these trends reversed as China’s economy grew over 18% on a year-over-year basis and demand grew within the Chinese real estate market. It remains unclear though whether these trends will continue given global economic uncertainties caused by trade relations and fears that the Chinese real estate market may be overheating. Recently, limited growth and companies’ ability to pay down debt has impacted China’s economy through rising default rates, specifically among real estate developers.
Investments in Hong Kong are also subject to certain political risks not associated with other investments. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party in 1949, the Chinese government renounced various debt obligations incurred by China’s predecessor governments, which obligations remain in default, and expropriated assets without compensation. There can be no assurance that the Chinese government will not take similar action in the future. Investments in China and Hong Kong involve risk of a total loss due to government action or inaction. China has committed by treaty to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy and its economic, political and social freedoms for 50 years from the July 1, 1997 transfer of sovereignty from Great Britain to China. However, if China would exert its authority so as to alter the economic, political or legal structures or the existing social policy of Hong Kong, investor and business confidence in Hong Kong could be negatively affected, which in turn could negatively affect markets and business performance. In addition, the Hong Kong dollar trades at a fixed exchange rate in relation to (or, is “pegged” to) the U.S. dollar, which has contributed to the growth and stability of the Hong Kong economy. However, it is uncertain how long the currency peg will continue or what effect the establishment of an alternative exchange rate system would have on the Hong Kong economy. Because the Fund’s NAV is denominated in U.S.
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dollars, the establishment of an alternative exchange rate system could result in a decline in the Fund’s NAV. These and other factors could have a negative impact on the Fund’s performance.
Investments in Europe. Most developed countries in Western Europe are members of the European Union (“EU”), and many are also members of the European Monetary Union (EMU), which requires compliance with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, and debt levels. Unemployment in certain European nations is historically high and several countries face significant debt problems. These conditions can significantly affect every country in Europe. The euro is the official currency of the EU. Funds that invest in Europe may have significant exposure to the euro and events affecting the euro. Recent market events affecting several of the EU member countries have adversely affected the sovereign debt issued by those countries, and ultimately may lead to a decline in the value of the euro. A significant decline in the value of the euro may produce unpredictable effects on trade and commerce generally and could lead to increased volatility in financial markets worldwide.
The United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the European Union (EU) on January 31, 2020 following a June 2016 referendum referred to as “Brexit.” Although the UK and EU agreed to a trade deal in December 2020, certain post-EU arrangements, such as those relating to the offering of cross-border financial services and sharing of cross-border data, have yet to be reached and the EU’s willingness to grant equivalency to the UK remains uncertain. There is significant market uncertainty regarding Brexit’s ramifications, and the range of possible political, regulatory, economic and market outcomes are difficult to predict. The uncertainty surrounding the UK’s economy, and its legal, political, and economic relationship with the remaining member states of the EU, may cause considerable disruption in securities markets, including decreased liquidity and increased volatility, as well as currency fluctuations in the British pound’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar.
The effects of Brexit will depend, in part, on agreements the UK negotiates to retain access to EU markets, either during a transitional period or more permanently, including, but not limited to, current trade and finance agreements. Brexit could lead to legal and tax uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations, as the UK determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. The extent of the impact of the withdrawal negotiations in the UK and in global markets, as well as any associated adverse consequences, remain unclear, and the uncertainty may have a significant negative effect on the value of the Fund’s investments. If one or more other countries were to exit the EU or abandon the use of the euro as a currency, the value of investments tied to those countries or the euro could decline significantly and unpredictably.
Investments in Japan. A significant portion of a Fund’s assets may be invested in Japanese securities. To the extent a Fund invests in Japanese securities, it will be subject to risks related to investing in Japan. The Japanese economy may be subject to considerable degrees of economic, political and social instability, which could have a negative impact on Japanese securities. Since the year 2000, Japan’s economic growth rate has remained relatively low and it may remain low in the future. In addition, Japan is subject to the risk of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons and tsunamis. Additionally, decreasing U.S. imports, new trade regulations, changes in the U.S. dollar exchange rates, a recession in the United States or continued increases in foreclosure rates may have an adverse impact on the economy of Japan. Japan also has few natural resources, and any fluctuation or shortage in the commodity markets could have a negative impact on Japanese securities.
Investments in Russia and other Eastern European Countries. Many formerly communist, eastern European countries have experienced significant political and economic reform over the past decade. However, the democratization process is still relatively new in a number of the smaller states and political turmoil and popular uprisings remain threats. Investments in these countries are particularly subject to political, economic, legal, market and currency risks. The risks include uncertain political and economic policies and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets, short-term market volatility, poor accounting standards, corruption and crime, an inadequate regulatory system, unpredictable taxation, the imposition of capital controls and/or foreign investment limitations by a country and the imposition of sanctions on an Eastern European country by other countries, such as the United States. Adverse currency exchange rates are a risk, and there may be a lack of available currency hedging instruments.
These securities markets, as compared to U.S. markets, have significant price volatility, less liquidity, a smaller market capitalization and a smaller number of exchange-traded securities. A limited volume of trading may result in difficulty in obtaining accurate prices and trading. There is little publicly available information about issuers. Settlement, clearing, and registration of securities transactions are subject to risks because of insufficient registration systems that may not be subject to effective government supervision. This may result in significant delays or problems in registering the transfer of shares. It is possible that a Fund's ownership rights could be lost through fraud or negligence. While applicable regulations may impose liability on registrars for losses resulting from their errors, it may be difficult for a Fund to enforce any rights it may have against the registrar or issuer of the securities in the event of loss of share registration.
Political risk in Russia remains high, and steps that Russia may take to assert its geopolitical influence may increase the tensions in the region and affect economic growth. Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on exportation of natural resources, which may be particularly vulnerable to economic sanctions by other countries during times of political tension or crisis.
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In response to recent political and military actions undertaken by Russia, the United States and certain other countries, as well as the European Union, have instituted economic sanctions against certain Russian individuals and companies. The political and economic situation in Russia, and the current and any future sanctions or other government actions against Russia, may result in the decline in the value and liquidity of Russian securities, devaluation of Russian currency, a downgrade in Russia’s credit rating, the inability to freely trade sanctioned companies (either due to the sanctions imposed or related operational issues) and/or other adverse consequences to the Russian economy, any of which could negatively impact a Fund’s investments in Russian securities. Sanctions could result in the immediate freeze of Russian securities, impairing the ability of a Fund to buy, sell, receive, or deliver those securities. Both the current and potential future sanctions or other government actions against Russia also could result in Russia taking counter measures or retaliatory actions, which may impair further the value or liquidity of Russian securities and negatively impact a Fund. Any or all of these potential results could lead Russia’s economy into a recession.
Investments in South Korea. The South Korean government has historically imposed significant restrictions and controls on foreign investors. As a result, the Funds may be limited in their investments or precluded from investing in certain South Korean companies, which may adversely affect the performance of the Funds. Investments by the Funds in the securities of South Korean issuers may involve investment risks different from those of U.S. issuers, including possible political, economic or social instability in South Korea, and changes in South Korean law or regulations. In addition, there is the possibility of the imposition of currency-exchange controls, foreign withholding tax on the interest income payable on such instruments, foreign controls, seizure or nationalization of foreign deposits or assets, or the adoption of other foreign government restrictions that might adversely affect the South Korean securities held by the Funds. Political instability and/or military conflict involving North Korea may adversely affect the value of the Funds’ assets. Foreign securities may also be subject to greater fluctuations in price than securities of domestic corporations or the U.S. government. There may be less publicly available information about a South Korean company than about a U.S. company. Brokers in South Korea may not be as well capitalized as those in the U.S., so that they may be more susceptible to financial failure in times of market, political or economic stress. Additionally, South Korean accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and requirements differ, in some cases significantly, from those applicable to U.S. issuers. In particular, the assets and profits appearing on the financial statements of a South Korean issuer may not reflect its financial position or results of operations in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. There is a possibility of expropriation, nationalization, confiscatory taxation or diplomatic developments that could adversely affect investments in South Korea.
Investments in Taiwan. Investments in Taiwanese issuers may subject a Fund to legal, regulatory, political, currency and economic risks that are specific to Taiwan. Specifically, Taiwan’s geographic proximity and history of political contention with China have resulted in ongoing tensions between the two countries. These tensions may materially affect the Taiwanese economy and its securities market. Taiwan’s economy is export-oriented, so it depends on an open world trade regime and remains vulnerable to fluctuations in the world economy. The Taiwanese economy is dependent on the economies of Asia, mainly those of Japan and China, and the United States. Reduction in spending by any of these countries on Taiwanese products and services or negative changes in any of these economies may cause an adverse impact on the Taiwanese economy.
OTHER SHORT-TERM INSTRUMENTS. In addition to repurchase agreements, a Fund may invest in short-term instruments, including money market instruments, on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. Money market instruments are generally short-term investments that may include but are not limited to: (i) shares of money market funds; (ii) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities (including government-sponsored enterprises); (iii) negotiable certificates of deposit (“CDs”), bankers’ acceptances, fixed time deposits and other obligations of U.S. and foreign banks (including foreign branches) and similar institutions; (iv) commercial paper rated at the date of purchase “Prime-1” by Moody’s or “A-1” by S&P or, if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Adviser, or Sub-Adviser as applicable; (v) non-convertible corporate debt securities (e.g., bonds and debentures) with remaining maturities at the date of purchase of not more than 397 days and that satisfy the rating requirements set forth in Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; and (vi) short-term U.S. dollar-denominated obligations of foreign banks (including U.S. branches) that, in the opinion of the Adviser, or Sub-Adviser as applicable, are of comparable quality to obligations of U.S. banks which may be purchased by the Fund. Any of these instruments may be purchased on a current or a forward-settled basis. Money market instruments also include shares of money market funds. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Bankers’ acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.
PRC BROKER AND PRC CUSTODIAN RISK (AFTY only). The Sub-Adviser is responsible for selecting a PRC Broker(s) to execute transactions for the Fund in the PRC markets. In its selection of a PRC Broker(s), the Sub-Adviser, will consider factors such as the competitiveness of commission rates, size of the relevant orders and execution standards.
The Sub-Adviser is responsible for selecting a custodian in the PRC (the “PRC Custodian”) to maintain its assets pursuant to local Chinese laws and regulations. According to the RQFII regulations and market practice, the securities and cash accounts for the Fund in the PRC are to be maintained by the PRC Custodian in the joint names of the Sub-Adviser as the RQFII holder and the Fund. The
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Fund’s PRC Custodian is HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited. The PRC Custodian maintains the Fund’s RMB deposit accounts and oversees each Fund’s investments in A-Shares in the PRC to ensure their compliance with the rules and regulations of the CSRC, the SAFE and the People’s Bank of China (the “PBOC”). A-Shares that are traded on the Shanghai or Shenzhen Stock Exchanges are dealt and held in book-entry form through the China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited (“CSDCC”).
The assets held or credited in the Fund’s securities trading account(s) maintained by the PRC Custodian are segregated and independent from the proprietary assets of the PRC Custodian. However, under PRC law, cash deposited in the Fund’s cash account(s) maintained with the PRC Custodian will not be segregated, but will be a debt owed from the PRC Custodian to the Fund as a depositor. Such cash will be co-mingled with cash that the PRC Custodian has received from other clients or creditors of the PRC Custodian. In the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the PRC Custodian, the Fund will not have any proprietary rights to the cash deposited in such cash account(s), and the Fund will become an unsecured creditor, ranking pari passu with all other unsecured creditors, of the PRC Custodian.
There is a risk that the Fund may suffer losses from the default, bankruptcy or disqualification of the PRC Broker(s) or the PRC Custodian. In such event, the Fund may be adversely affected in the execution of any transaction, face difficulty and/or encounter delays in recovering its assets, or may not be able to recover its assets in full or at all. The Fund may also incur losses due to the acts or omissions of the PRC Broker(s) and/or the PRC Custodian in the execution or settlement of any transaction or in the transfer of any funds or securities. Subject to the applicable laws and regulations in the PRC, the Sub-Adviser will make arrangements to ensure that the PRC Broker(s) and the PRC Custodian have appropriate procedures to properly safe-keep the Fund’s assets.
Economic, Political and Social Risks of the PRC — The economy of China, which has been in a state of transition from a planned economy to a more market oriented economy, differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the level of government involvement, its state of development, its growth rate, control of foreign exchange, protection of intellectual property rights and allocation of resources.
Although the majority of productive assets in China are still owned by the government of the PRC at various levels, in recent years, the PRC has implemented economic reform measures emphasizing utilization of market forces in the development of the economy of China and a high level of management autonomy. The economy of China has experienced significant growth in the past 20 years, but growth has been uneven both geographically and among various sectors of the economy. Economic growth has also been accompanied by periods of high inflation. The PRC has implemented various measures from time to time to control inflation and restrain the rate of economic growth.
For more than 20 years, the PRC has carried out economic reforms to achieve decentralization and utilization of market forces to develop the economy of the PRC. These reforms have resulted in significant economic growth and social progress. There can, however, be no assurance that the PRC will continue to pursue such economic policies or, if it does, that those policies will continue to be successful. Any such adjustment and modification of those economic policies may have an adverse impact on the securities market in the PRC as well as the portfolio securities of the Fund. Further, the PRC may from time to time adopt corrective measures to control the growth of the PRC’s economy, which may also have an adverse impact on the capital growth and performance of the Fund. Political changes, social instability and adverse diplomatic developments in the PRC could result in the imposition of additional government restrictions including expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxes or nationalization of some or all of the property held by the underlying issuers of the Fund’s portfolio securities.
PRC Laws and Regulations Risk — The regulatory and legal framework for capital markets and joint stock companies in the PRC may not be as well developed as those of developed countries. PRC laws and regulations affecting securities markets are relatively new and evolving, and because of the limited volume of published cases, judicial interpretations and their non-binding nature, interpretation and enforcement of these regulations involve significant uncertainties. In addition, as the PRC’s legal system develops, no assurance can be given that changes in such laws and regulations, their interpretation or their enforcement will not have a material adverse effect on their business operations.
Taxation Risk — Uncertainties in the PRC tax rules governing taxation of income and gains from investments in A-Shares could result in unexpected tax liabilities for the Fund. The Fund’s investments in securities, including A-Shares, issued by PRC companies may cause the Fund to become subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by the PRC.
If the Trust or the Fund were considered to be a tax resident enterprise of the PRC, it would be subject to PRC corporate income tax at the rate of 25% on its worldwide taxable income. If the Trust or the Fund were considered to be a non-tax resident enterprise with a “permanent establishment” in the PRC, it would be subject to PRC corporate income tax on the profits attributable to the permanent establishment. The Adviser and Sub-Adviser intend to operate the Trust and the Fund in a manner that will prevent them from being treated as tax resident enterprises of the PRC and from having a permanent establishment in the PRC. It is possible, however, that the PRC could disagree with that conclusion, or that changes in PRC tax law could affect the PRC corporate income tax status of the Trust or the Fund.
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Unless reduced or exempted by the applicable tax treaties, the PRC generally imposes withholding income tax at the rate of 10% on dividends, premiums, interest and capital gains originating in the PRC and paid to a company that is not a resident of the PRC for tax purposes and that has no permanent establishment in China. The State Administration of Taxation has confirmed the application to a QFII of the withholding income tax on dividends, premiums and interest. Effective as of November 17, 2014, Chinese authorities issued two circulars (Caishui [2014] 79 and Caishui [2014] 81) clarifying the corporate income tax policy of China with respect to QFIIs and RQFIIs and investments through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program. Pursuant to the circulars, the Fund is expected to be temporarily exempt from withholding tax on capital gains out of trading in A-Shares. Since there is no indication how long the temporary exemption will remain in effect, it is possible the Fund may be subject to such withholding tax in future. If in the future China begins applying tax rules regarding the taxation of income from A-Shares investment to QFIIs and RQFIIs or investments through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program, and/or begins collecting capital gains taxes on such investments, the Fund could be subject to withholding tax liability if the Fund determines that such liability cannot be reduced or eliminated by applicable tax treaties. The negative impact of any such tax liability the Fund’s return could be substantial.
The Adviser, the Sub-Adviser, or the Fund may also potentially be subject to PRC value added tax at the rate of 6% on capital gains derived from trading of A-Shares and interest income (if any). Existing guidance provides a temporary value added tax exemption for QFIIs and RQFIIs in respect of their gains derived from the trading of PRC securities. Since there is no indication of how long the temporary exemption will remain in effect, it is possible the Fund may be subject to such value added tax in the future. In addition, urban maintenance and construction tax (currently at rates ranging from 1% to 7%), educational surcharge (currently at the rate of 3%) and local educational surcharge (currently at the rate of 2%) (collectively, the “surtaxes”) are imposed based on value added tax liabilities, so if the Adviser, the Sub-Adviser, or the Fund were liable for value added tax it would also be required to pay the applicable surtaxes.
The PRC rules for taxation of RQFIIs and QFIIs are evolving, and the tax regulations to be issued by the PRC State Administration of Taxation and/or PRC Ministry of Finance to clarify the subject matter may apply retrospectively, even if such rules are adverse to a Fund and its shareholders.
As described below under “Taxes,” the Fund may elect, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, to treat PRC taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by the Fund as paid by its shareholders. Even if a Fund is qualified to make that election and does so, however, your ability to claim a credit for certain PRC taxes may be limited under general U.S. tax principles.
RMB Exchange Controls and Restrictions Risk — It should be noted that the RMB is currently not a freely convertible currency as it is subject to foreign exchange control policies and repatriation restrictions imposed by the PRC government. There is no assurance that there will always be RMB available in sufficient amounts for the Fund to remain fully invested. Since 1994, the conversion of RMB into U.S. dollars has been based on rates set by the PBOC, which are set daily based on the previous day’s PRC interbank foreign exchange market rate. On July 21, 2005, the PRC government introduced a managed floating exchange rate system to allow the value of RMB to fluctuate within a regulated band based on market supply and demand and by reference to a basket of currencies. In addition, a market maker system was introduced to the interbank spot foreign exchange market. In July 2008, China announced that its exchange rate regime was further transformed into a managed floating mechanism based on market supply and demand. Given the domestic and overseas economic developments, the PBOC decided to further improve the RMB exchange rate regime in June 2010 to enhance the flexibility of the RMB exchange rate. In March 2014, the PBOC decided to take a further step to increase the flexibility of the RMB exchange rate by expanding the daily trading band from +/-1% to +/-2%.
However, it should be noted that the PRC government’s policies on exchange control and repatriation restrictions are subject to change, and any such change may adversely impact the Fund. There can be no assurance that the RMB exchange rate will not fluctuate widely against the U.S. dollar or any other foreign currency in the future. Foreign exchange transactions under the capital account, including principal payments in respect of foreign currency-denominated obligations, currently continue to be subject to significant foreign exchange controls and require the approval of the SAFE. On the other hand, the existing PRC foreign exchange regulations have significantly reduced government foreign exchange controls for transactions under the current account, including trade- and service-related foreign exchange transactions and payment of dividends. Nevertheless, the Adviser and/or Sub-Adviser cannot predict whether the PRC government will continue its existing foreign exchange policy, or when the PRC government will allow free conversion of the RMB to foreign currency.
RMB Trading and Settlement Risk — The trading and settlement of RMB-denominated securities are recent developments in Hong Kong, and there is no assurance that problems will not be encountered with the systems or that other logistical problems will not arise.
Future Movements in RMB Exchange Rates Risk — The exchange rate of RMB ceased to be pegged to U.S. dollars on July 21, 2005, resulting in a more flexible RMB exchange rate system. The China Foreign Exchange Trading System, authorized
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by the PBOC, promulgates the central parity rate of RMB against U.S. dollars, Euros, Yen, pounds sterling and Hong Kong dollars at 9:15 a.m. on each business day, which will be the daily central parity rate for transactions on the Inter-bank Spot Foreign Exchange Market and over-the-counter transactions of banks. The exchange rate of RMB against the above-mentioned currencies fluctuates within a range above or below such central parity rate. As the exchange rates are based primarily on market forces, the exchange rates for RMB against other currencies, including U.S. dollars and Hong Kong dollars, are susceptible to movements based on external factors. There can be no assurance that such exchange rates will not fluctuate widely against U.S. dollars, Hong Kong dollars or any other foreign currency in the future. From 1994 to July 2005, the exchange rate for RMB against the U.S. dollar and the Hong Kong dollar was relatively stable. Since July 2005, the appreciation of RMB has begun to accelerate. But since August 2015, the depreciation of RMB has begun to accelerate. Although the PRC government has constantly reiterated its intention to maintain the stability of RMB, it may introduce measures (such as a reduction in the rate of export tax refund) to address the concerns of the PRC’s trading partners. Therefore, the possibility that the depreciation of RMB will be further accelerated cannot be dismissed. On the other hand, there can be no assurance that RMB will not be subject to appreciation.
Offshore RMB Market Risk — The onshore RMB (“CNY”) is the only official currency of the PRC and is used in all financial transactions between individuals, state and corporations in the PRC. Hong Kong is the first jurisdiction to allow accumulation of RMB deposits outside the PRC. Since June 2010, the offshore RMB (“CNH”) is traded officially, regulated jointly by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the PBOC. While both CNY and CNH represent RMB, they are traded in different and separated markets. The two RMB markets operate independently where the flow between them is highly restricted. Though the CNH is a proxy of the CNY, they do not necessarily have the same exchange rate and their movement may not be in the same direction. This is because these currencies act in separate jurisdictions, which leads to separate supply and demand conditions for each, and therefore separate but related currency markets.
Currently, the amount of RMB-denominated financial assets outside the PRC is limited. As of the end of October 2017, the total amount of RMB (CNH) deposits held by institutions authorized to engage in RMB banking business in Hong Kong amounted to approximately RMB 540 billion. In addition, participating authorized institutions are also required by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to maintain a total amount of RMB (in the form of cash and its settlement account balance with a Renminbi clearing bank) of no less than 25% of their RMB deposits, which further limits the availability of RMB that participating authorized institutions can utilize for conversion services for their customers such as the Fund. RMB business participating banks do not have direct RMB liquidity support from PBOC. Only the Renminbi clearing bank has access to onshore liquidity support from PBOC (subject to annual and quarterly quotas imposed by PBOC) to square open positions of participating banks for limited types of transactions, including open positions resulting from conversion services for corporations relating to cross-border trade settlement and for individual customers of up to RMB20,000 per Hong Kong resident person per day. The Renminbi clearing bank is not obliged to square for participating banks any open positions resulting from other foreign exchange transactions or conversion services, and the participating banks will need to source RMB (CNH) from the offshore market to square such open positions. Although it is expected that the offshore RMB (CNH) market will continue to grow in depth and size, its growth is subject to many constraints as a result of PRC laws and regulations on foreign exchange. There is no assurance that new PRC regulations will not be promulgated or that the Settlement Agreement will not be terminated or amended in the future which will have the effect of restricting availability of RMB (CNH) offshore.
REAL ESTATE SECTOR. Companies in the real estate sector include companies that invest in real estate, such as a REIT or a real estate holding company (collectively, “Real Estate Companies”). Investing in Real Estate Companies exposes investors to the risks of owning real estate directly, as well as to risks that relate specifically to the way in which Real Estate Companies are organized and operated. The real estate industry is highly sensitive to general and local economic conditions and developments, and characterized by intense competition and periodic overbuilding. Investing in Real Estate Companies involves various risks. Some risks that are specific to Real Estate Companies are discussed in greater detail below.
Interest Rate Risk. Rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for Real Estate Companies, which could negatively impact a Real Estate Company’s ability to meet its payment obligations. Declining interest rates could result in increased prepayment on loans and require redeployment of capital in less desirable investments.
Leverage Risk. Real Estate Companies may use leverage (and some may be highly leveraged), which increases investment risk and could adversely affect a Real Estate Company’s operations and market value in periods of rising interest rates. Real Estate Companies are also exposed to the risks normally associated with debt financing. Financial covenants related to a Real Estate Company’s leverage may affect the ability of the Real Estate Company to operate effectively. In addition, real property may be subject to the quality of credit extended and defaults by borrowers and tenants. If the properties do not generate sufficient income to meet operating expenses, including, where applicable, debt service, ground lease payments, tenant improvements, third-party leasing commissions and other capital expenditures, the income and ability of a Real Estate Company to make payments of any interest and principal on its debt securities will be adversely affected.
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Loan Foreclosure Risk. Real Estate Companies may foreclose on loans that the Real Estate Company originated or acquired. Foreclosure may generate negative publicity for the underlying property that affects its market value. In addition to length and expense, foreclosure proceedings may not fully uphold the validity of all of the terms of the applicable loan. Claims and defenses asserted by borrowers or other lenders may interfere with the enforcement of rights by a Real Estate Company. Parallel proceedings, such as bankruptcy, may also delay resolution and limit the amount of recovery on a foreclosed loan by a Real Estate Company even where the property underlying the loan is liquidated.
Property Risk. Real Estate Companies may be subject to risks relating to functional obsolescence or reduced desirability of properties; extended vacancies due to economic conditions and tenant bankruptcies; catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist acts; and casualty or condemnation losses. Real estate income and values also may be greatly affected by demographic trends, such as population shifts or changing tastes and values, or increasing vacancies or declining rents resulting from legal, cultural, technological, global or local economic developments.
Distressed Investment Risk. Real Estate Companies may invest in distressed, defaulted or out-of-favor bank loans. Identification and implementation by a Real Estate Company of loan modification and restructure programs involves a high degree of uncertainty. Even successful implementation may still require adverse compromises and may not prevent bankruptcy. Real Estate Companies may also invest in other debt instruments that may become non-performing, including the securities of companies with higher credit and market risk due to financial or operational difficulties. Higher risk securities may be less liquid and more volatile than the securities of companies not in distress.
Underlying Investment Risk. Real Estate Companies make investments in a variety of debt and equity instruments with varying risk profiles. For instance, Real Estate Companies may invest in debt instruments secured by commercial property that have high risks of delinquency and foreclosure than loans on single family homes due to a variety of factors associated with commercial property, including the tie between income available to service debt and productive use of the property. Real Estate Companies may also invest in debt instruments and preferred equity that are junior in an issuer’s capital structure and that involve privately negotiated structures. Subordinated debt investments, such as B-Notes and mezzanine loans, involve a greater credit risk of default due to the need to service more senior debt of the issuer. Similarly, preferred equity investments involve a greater risk of loss than conventional debt financing due to their non-collateralized nature and subordinated ranking. Investments in commercial mortgage-backed securities may also be junior in priority in the event of bankruptcy or similar proceedings. Investments in senior loans may be effectively subordinated if the senior loan is pledged as collateral. The ability of a holder of junior claims to proceed against a defaulting issuer is circumscribed by the terms of the particular contractual arrangement, which vary considerably from transaction to transaction.
Management Risk. Real Estate Companies are dependent upon management skills and may have limited financial resources. Real Estate Companies are generally not diversified and may be subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers and voluntary liquidation. In addition, transactions between Real Estate Companies and their affiliates may be subject to conflicts of interest, which may adversely affect a Real Estate Company’s shareholders. A Real Estate Company may also have joint venture investments in certain of its properties, and, consequently, its ability to control decisions relating to such properties may be limited.
Liquidity Risk. Investing in Real Estate Companies may involve risks similar to those associated with investing in small-capitalization companies. Real Estate Company securities, like the securities of small-capitalization companies, may be more volatile than, and perform differently from, shares of large-capitalization companies. There may be less trading in Real Estate Company shares, which means that buy and sell transactions in those shares could have a magnified impact on share price, resulting in abrupt or erratic price fluctuations. In addition, real estate is relatively illiquid, and, therefore, a Real Estate Company may have a limited ability to vary or liquidate properties in response to changes in economic or other conditions.
Concentration Risk. Real Estate Companies may own a limited number of properties and concentrate their investments in a particular geographic region or property type. Economic downturns affecting a particular region, industry or property type may lead to a high volume of defaults within a short period.
U.S. Tax Risk. Certain U.S. Real Estate Companies are subject to special U.S. federal tax requirements. A REIT that fails to comply with such tax requirements may be subject to U.S. federal income taxation, which may affect the value of the REIT and the characterization of the REIT’s distributions. The U.S. federal tax requirement that a REIT distribute substantially all of its net income to its shareholders may result in a REIT having insufficient capital for future expenditures. A REIT that successfully maintains its qualification may still become subject to U.S. federal, state and local taxes, including excise, penalty, franchise, payroll, mortgage recording, and transfer taxes, both directly and indirectly through its subsidiaries.
Regulatory Risk. Real estate income and values may be adversely affected by such factors as applicable domestic and foreign laws (including tax laws). Government actions, such as tax increases, zoning law changes or environmental regulations, also may have a major impact on real estate. In addition, quarterly compliance with regulation limiting the proportion of asset types held by a REIT may force certain Real Estate Companies to liquidate or restructure otherwise attractive investments.
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REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS. The Funds may invest in the securities of real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) to the extent allowed by law. Risks associated with investments in securities of REITs include decline in the value of real estate, risks related to general and local economic conditions, overbuilding and increased competition, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, changes in zoning laws, casualty or condemnation losses, variations in rental income, changes in neighborhood values, the appeal of properties to tenants, and increases in interest rates. REITs are dependent upon management skills, may not be diversified and are subject to the risks of financing projects. If an issuer of debt securities collateralized by real estate defaults, it is conceivable that the REITs could end up holding the underlying real estate. A REIT is a corporation or business trust (that would otherwise be taxed as a corporation) which meets the definitional requirements of the Code. The Code permits a qualifying REIT to deduct from taxable income the dividends paid, thereby effectively eliminating corporate level federal income tax. To meet the definitional requirements of the Code, a REIT must, among other things: invest substantially all of its assets in interests in real estate (including mortgages and other REITs), cash and government securities; derive most of its income from rents from real property or interest on loans secured by mortgages on real property; and, in general, distribute annually 90% or more of its taxable income (other than net capital gains) to shareholders.
REITs are sometimes informally characterized as Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs. An Equity REIT invests primarily in the fee ownership or leasehold ownership of land and buildings (e.g., commercial equity REITs and residential equity REITs); a Mortgage REIT invests primarily in mortgages on real property, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans.
REITs may be affected by changes in underlying real estate values, which may have an exaggerated effect to the extent that REITs in which the Fund invests may concentrate investments in particular geographic regions or property types. Additionally, rising interest rates may cause investors in REITs to demand a higher annual yield from future distributions, which may in turn decrease market prices for equity securities issued by REITs. Rising interest rates also generally increase the costs of obtaining financing, which could cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline. During periods of declining interest rates, certain Mortgage REITs may hold mortgages that the mortgagors elect to prepay, which prepayment may diminish the yield on securities issued by such Mortgage REITs. In addition, Mortgage REITs may be affected by the ability of borrowers to repay when due the debt extended by the REIT and Equity REITs may be affected by the ability of tenants to pay rent.
Certain REITs have relatively small market capitalization, which may tend to increase the volatility of the market price of securities issued by such REITs. Furthermore, REITs are dependent upon specialized management skills, have limited diversification and are, therefore, subject to risks inherent in operating and financing a limited number of projects. By investing in REITs indirectly through the Fund, a shareholder will bear not only his or her proportionate share of the expenses of the Fund, but also, indirectly, similar expenses of the REITs. REITs depend generally on their ability to generate cashflow to make distributions to shareholders.
In addition to these risks, Equity REITs may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned by the trusts, while Mortgage REITs may be affected by the quality of any credit extended. Further, Equity and Mortgage REITs are dependent upon management skills and generally may not be diversified. Equity and Mortgage REITs are also subject to heavy cashflow dependency defaults by borrowers and self-liquidation. In addition, Equity and Mortgage REITs could possibly fail to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment generally available to REITs under the Code or fail to maintain their exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act. The above factors may also adversely affect a borrower’s or a lessee’s ability to meet its obligations to the REIT. In the event of default by a borrower or lessee, the REIT may experience delays in enforcing its rights as a mortgagee or lessor and may incur substantial costs associated with protecting its investments.
REPURCHASE AGREEMENTS. Each Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with counterparties that are deemed to present acceptable credit risks. A repurchase agreement is a transaction in which a Fund purchases securities or other obligations from a bank or securities dealer (or its affiliate) and simultaneously commits to resell them to a counterparty at an agreed-upon date or upon demand and at a price reflecting a market rate of interest unrelated to the coupon rate or maturity of the purchased obligations. A Fund maintains custody of the underlying obligations prior to their repurchase, either through its regular custodian or through a special “tri-party” custodian or sub-custodian that maintains separate accounts for both the Fund and its counterparty. Thus, the obligation of the counterparty to pay the repurchase price on the date agreed to or upon demand is, in effect, secured by such obligations.
Repurchase agreements carry certain risks not associated with direct investments in securities, including a possible decline in the market value of the underlying obligations. If their value becomes less than the repurchase price, plus any agreed-upon additional amount, the counterparty must provide additional collateral so that at all times the collateral is at least equal to the repurchase price plus any agreed- upon additional amount. The difference between the total amount to be received upon repurchase of the obligations and the price that was paid by the Fund upon acquisition is accrued as interest and included in its net investment income. Repurchase agreements involving obligations other than U.S. Government securities (such as commercial paper and corporate bonds) may be subject to special risks and may not have the benefit of certain protections in the event of the counterparty’s insolvency. If the seller or guarantor becomes insolvent, the Fund may suffer delays, costs and possible losses in connection with the disposition of collateral.
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REVERSE REPURCHASE AGREEMENTS. The Funds may enter into reverse repurchase agreements, which involve the sale of securities held by a Fund subject to its agreement to repurchase the securities at an agreed-upon date or upon demand and at a price reflecting a market rate of interest. Reverse repurchase agreements are subject to a Fund’s limitation on borrowings and may be entered into only with banks or securities dealers or their affiliates. While a reverse repurchase agreement is outstanding, a Fund will maintain the segregation, either on its records or with the Trust’s custodian, of cash or other liquid securities, marked-to-market daily, in an amount at least equal to its obligations under the reverse repurchase agreement.
Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the buyer of the securities sold by a Fund might be unable to deliver them when that Fund seeks to repurchase. If the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, the buyer or trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce a Fund’s obligation to repurchase the securities, and the Fund’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement may effectively be restricted pending such decision.
SECURITIES LENDING. Each Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain creditworthy borrowers, including the Fund’s securities lending agent. Loans of portfolio securities provide a Fund with the opportunity to earn additional income on the Fund’s portfolio securities. All securities loans will be made pursuant to agreements requiring the loans to be continuously secured by collateral in cash, or money market instruments, or money market funds at least equal at all times to the market value of the loaned securities. The borrower pays to the Fund an amount equal to any dividends or interest received on loaned securities. The Fund retains all or a portion of the interest received on investment of cash collateral or receives a fee from the borrower. Lending portfolio securities involves risks of delay in recovery of the loaned securities or in some cases loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower fail financially. Furthermore, because of the risks of delay in recovery, the Fund may lose the opportunity to sell the securities at a desirable price. The Fund will generally not have the right to vote securities while they are being loaned.
SHORT SALES (FLRT only). The Fund may engage regularly in short sales transactions in which the Fund sells a security it does not own. To complete such a transaction, the Fund must borrow or otherwise obtain the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund then is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing the security at the market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund 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, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold. The Fund may also use repurchase agreements to satisfy delivery obligations in short sales transactions. 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. Any short sales conducted by the Fund will comply with the requirements of Rule 18f-4 of the 1940 Act.
TAX RISKS. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in Shares will be taxed. The tax information in the Prospectus and this SAI is provided as general information. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in Shares.
The Funds invest in partnerships that elect to be classified as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Such entities are required to pay U.S. federal income tax on its taxable income. This has the effect of reducing the amount of cash available for distribution to a Fund, which may result in a reduction of the value of your investment in the Fund, as compared to if such entity were not taxed as a corporation.
Unless your investment in Shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an individual retirement account, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Shares.
U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES. A Fund may invest in U.S. government securities to the extent consistent with its investment objective and strategies. Not all U.S. government obligations carry the same credit support. Although many U.S. government securities in which the fund may invest, such as those issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be chartered or sponsored by Acts of Congress, their securities are neither issued nor guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury and, therefore, are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Some, such as those of Ginnie Mae, are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Other obligations, such as those of the Federal Home Loan Banks, are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; and others are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase the agency’s obligations. Still others are supported only by the credit of the instrumentality or sponsored enterprise. The maximum potential liability of the issuers of some U.S. government securities held by the fund may greatly exceed their current resources, including their legal right to support from the U.S. Treasury. It is possible that these issuers will not have the funds to meet their payment obligations in the future. No assurance can be given that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises if it is not obligated to do so by law.
As agency of the U.S. government has placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship, a statutory process with the objective of returning the entities to normal business operations. It is unclear what effect this conservatorship will have on the securities issued
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or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. As a result, these securities are subject to more credit risk than U.S. government securities that are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States (e.g., U.S. Treasury bonds).
To the extent a Fund invests in debt instruments or securities of non-U.S. government entities that are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, there is a possibility that such guarantee may be discontinued or modified at a later date.
The total public debt of the United States as a percentage of gross domestic product has grown rapidly since the beginning of the 2008‑2009 financial downturn and is expected to grow even greater as a result of efforts to support the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in 2020. Although high debt levels do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, they may create certain systemic risks if sound debt management practices are not implemented. A high national debt can raise concerns that the U.S. government will not be able to make principal or interest payments when they are due. This increase has also necessitated the need for the U.S. Congress to negotiate adjustments to the statutory debt ceiling to increase the cap on the amount the U.S. government is permitted to borrow to meet its existing obligations and finance current budget deficits. In August 2011, S&P lowered its long term sovereign credit rating on the U.S. In explaining the downgrade at that time, S&P cited, among other reasons, controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and growth in public spending. Any controversy or ongoing uncertainty regarding the statutory debt ceiling negotiations may impact the U.S. long-term sovereign credit rating and may cause market uncertainty. As a result, market prices and yields of securities supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government may be adversely affected. Increased government spending in response to COVID-19 can cause the national debt to rise higher, which could heighten these associated risks.
FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS. The Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Board”) may, in the future, authorize a Fund to invest in securities contracts and investments other than those listed in this SAI and in the Fund’s Prospectus, provided they are consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and do not violate any investment restrictions or policies.
INVESTMENT LIMITATIONS
The Trust has adopted the following investment restrictions as fundamental policies with respect to the Funds. These restrictions cannot be changed with respect to a Fund without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. For the purposes of the 1940 Act, a “majority of outstanding shares” means the vote of the lesser of: (1) 67% or more of the voting securities of the Fund present at the meeting if the holders of more than 50% of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities are present or represented by proxy; or (2) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.
Except with the approval of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, each Fund (other than TRPL and QDPL) may not:
1.Concentrate its investments (i.e., hold more than 25% of its total assets) in any industry or group of related industries, except that the Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its Index concentrates in the securities of such particular industry or group of related industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), registered investment companies, repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities and tax-exempt securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
Except with the approval of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, each of TRPL and QDPL may not:
1.Concentrate its investments (i.e., hold more than 25% of its total assets) in any industry or group of related industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, registered investment companies, and tax-exempt securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
In addition, except with the approval of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, each Fund (other than FLRT) may not:
2.Borrow money or issue senior securities (as defined under the 1940 Act), except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act.
3.Make loans, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act.
4.Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. This shall not prevent the Fund from investing in securities or other instruments backed by real estate, real estate investment trusts or securities of companies engaged in the real estate business.
5.Purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. This shall not prevent the Fund from purchasing or selling options and futures contracts or from investing in securities or other instruments backed by physical commodities.
6.Underwrite securities issued by other persons, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act.
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7.Each Diversified Fund will not, with respect to 75% of its total assets, purchase the securities of any one issuer if, immediately after and as a result of such purchase, (a) the value of the Fund’s holdings in the securities of such issuer exceeds 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets, or (b) the Fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer (with the exception that this restriction does not apply to the Fund’s investments in the securities of the U.S. government, or its agencies or instrumentalities, or other investment companies).
With respect to FLRT, the Trust has adopted the following investment restrictions as fundamental policies with respect to the Fund. These restrictions cannot be changed with respect to the Fund without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. For the purposes of the 1940 Act, a “majority of outstanding shares” means the vote of the lesser of: (1) 67% or more of the voting securities of the Fund present at the meeting if the holders of more than 50% of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities are present or represented by proxy; or (2) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.
Under these restrictions:
1.FLRT may not make loans, except that the Fund may: (i) lend portfolio securities; (ii) enter into repurchase agreements; (iii) purchase all or a portion of an issue of debt securities, bank loan or participation interests, bank certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, debentures or other securities, whether or not the purchase is made upon the original issuance of the securities; and (iv) participate in an interfund lending program with other registered investment companies;
2.FLRT may not borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified by regulation from time to time;
3.FLRT may not issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified by regulation from time to time;
4.FLRT may not purchase or sell real estate, except that the Fund may: (i) invest in securities of issuers that invest in real estate or interests therein; (ii) invest in mortgage-related securities and other securities that are secured by real estate or interests therein; and (iii) hold and sell real estate acquired by the Fund as a result of the ownership of securities;
5.FLRT may not engage in the business of underwriting securities issued by others, except to the extent that the Fund may be considered an underwriter within the meaning of the Securities Act, in the disposition of restricted securities or in connection with its investments in other investment companies;
6.FLRT may not purchase or sell commodities, unless acquired as a result of owning securities or other instruments, but it may purchase, sell or enter into financial options and futures, forward and spot currency contracts, swap transactions and other financial contracts or derivative instruments and may invest in securities or other instruments backed by commodities; and
7.FLRT may not purchase any security if, as a result of that purchase, more than 25% of the Fund net assets would be invested in securities of issuers having their principal business activities in the same industry or group of industries. This limit does not apply to securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities.
In addition to the investment restrictions adopted as fundamental policies as set forth above, the Funds observe the following non-fundamental restrictions, which may be changed without a shareholder vote.
1.Each Fund will not hold illiquid investments in excess of 15% of its net assets. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment.
2.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of PTBD’s net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, will be invested in bonds denominated in U.S. dollars.
3.Under normal circumstances, ALTL and PALC will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in securities of large cap companies. The Fund considers a company to be a “large cap company” at the time of purchase if it was included in the S&P 500 at any time within the prior twelve months.
4.Under normal circumstances, PAMC will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in securities of mid cap companies. The Fund considers a company to be a “mid cap company” at the time of purchase if it was included in the S&P MidCap 400 at any time within the prior twelve months.
5.Under normal circumstances, ROOM will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in companies in the hotel and lodging real estate sector. The Fund defines the hotel and lodging real estate sector as consisting of companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues or profits from owning or managing hotels, motels, resorts, or other lodging properties that rent space to guests.
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6.Under normal circumstances, PAD will invest at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in companies in the apartments and residential real estate sector. The Fund defines the apartments and residential real estate sector as consisting of companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues or profits from owning or managing apartment buildings, student housing, manufactured homes, and single-family homes.
7.Under normal circumstances, RXRE will invest at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in companies in the healthcare real estate sector. The Fund defines the healthcare real estate sector as consisting of companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues or profits from owning or managing healthcare real estate (e.g., senior living facilities, hospitals, medical office buildings, skilled nursing facilities).
8.Under normal circumstances, INDS will invest at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in companies the industrial real estate sector. The Fund defines the industrial real estate sector as consisting of companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues or profits from owning or managing land or buildings used for industrial purposes (e.g., warehouses, distribution facilities, storage or self-storage facilities).
9.Under normal circumstances, SRVR will invest at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in companies the data and infrastructure real estate sector. The Fund defines the data and infrastructure real estate sector as consisting of companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues or profits from owning or managing real estate used to store, compute, or transmit large amounts of data (e.g., data centers, communications towers).
10.Under normal circumstances, FLRT will invest at least 80% of its net assets (plus any borrowings for investment purposes) in senior secured floating rate loans and other adjustable rate securities. Other adjustable rate securities will typically include collateralized loan obligations, asset-backed securities, and commercial mortgage backed securities (collectively, “Adjustable Rate Securities”). The Fund may not purchase any security if, as a result of that purchase, more than 25% of the Fund net assets would be invested in securities of issuers having their principal business activities in the same industry or group of industries. This limit does not apply to securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities.
11.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of TRPL and QDPL’s net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, will be invested in large cap equity securities that are principally traded in the United States and derivatives based on those securities. The Funds define “equity securities” to mean common and preferred stocks, rights, warrants, depositary receipts, and ETFs. Additionally, the Funds define “large cap” to mean a company included in the S&P 500 Index.
12.Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the SHPP’s net assets (plus any borrowings for investment purposes) will be invested in companies in Industrials and Logistics companies.
13.Under normal circumstances, COWG will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in securities of large cap companies that are principally traded in the United States. The Fund considers a company to be a “large cap company” at the time of purchase if it was included in the Russell 1000 Index at any time within the prior twelve months.
14.With the exception of PTNQ, PWS, VIRS, SZNE, ROOM, RXRE, INDS, SRVR, PAD, PALC, ALTL, PAMC, and PTBD, each Fund has adopted a policy to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the Fund’s total assets (exclusive of collateral held from securities lending) in the component securities of its Index. In addition to investments in the component securities of the applicable Index, the following investments will count towards such 80% policy:
i.investments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the economic characteristics of such component securities (e.g., depositary receipts);
ii.ETFs that seek to track the performance of some or all of the component securities of the applicable Index in the same approximate weight as such component securities; and
iii.if one or more component securities are other ETFs (“Underlying ETFs”), the underlying holdings of such Underlying ETFs in the same approximate weight as such holdings are assigned in the applicable Underlying ETF, adjusted to reflect the weight of such Underlying ETF in the Fund’s Index (i.e., a Fund that is a fund-of-funds may invest in either the Underlying ETFs comprising the Fund’s Index or directly in such Underlying ETFs’ underlying holdings).
If a percentage limitation is adhered to at the time of investment or contract, a later increase or decrease in percentage resulting from any change in value or total or net assets will not result in a violation of such restriction, except with respect to the borrowing of money. With respect to the limitation on illiquid securities, in the event that a subsequent change in net assets or other circumstances cause a Fund to exceed its limitation, the Fund will take steps to bring the aggregate amount of illiquid instruments back within the limitations as soon as reasonably practicable. With respect to the limitation on borrowing, in the event that a subsequent change in net
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assets or other circumstances cause a Fund to exceed its limitation, the Fund will take steps to bring the aggregate amount of borrowing back within the limitations within three days thereafter (not including Sundays and holidays).
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
The Trust’s Board of Trustees has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of information about the Funds’ security holdings. As exchange-traded funds, information about each Fund’s portfolio holdings is made available on a daily basis in accordance with the provisions of an Order of the SEC applicable to the Funds, regulations of the Exchange and other applicable SEC regulations, orders and no-action relief. Such information typically reflects all or a portion of each Fund’s anticipated portfolio holdings as of the next Business Day. A “Business Day” is any day on which the Exchange is open for business. As of the date of this SAI, the Exchange observes the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day (observed), Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. This information is used in connection with the creation and redemption process and is disseminated on a daily basis through the Exchange, the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) and/or third-party service providers.
The Funds will disclose on their website at the start of each Business Day the identities and quantities of the securities and other assets held by each Fund that will form the basis of the Fund’s calculation of its NAV on that Business Day. The portfolio holdings so disclosed will be based on information as of the close of business on the prior Business Day and/or trades that have been completed prior to the opening of business on that Business Day and that are expected to settle on that Business Day.
Each Fund may disclose its complete portfolio holdings or a portion of its portfolio holdings online at www.PacerETFs.com. Each Fund will disclose its complete portfolio holdings schedule in public filings with the SEC on a quarterly basis, based on the Fund’s fiscal year, within sixty (60) days of the end of the quarter, and will provide that information to shareholders, as required by federal securities laws and regulations thereunder.
The Trust’s portfolio holdings policy provides that neither the Funds nor their Adviser, Sub-Advisers, distributor or any agent, or any employee thereof (“Fund Representative”) will disclose a Fund’s portfolio holdings information to any person other than in accordance with the policy. For purposes of the policy, “portfolio holdings information” means a Fund’s non-public actual portfolio holdings, as well as non-public information about its trading strategies or pending transactions including the portfolio holdings, trading strategies or pending transactions of any commingled fund portfolio which contains identical holdings as the Fund. Under the policy, neither a Fund nor any Fund Representative may solicit or accept any compensation or other consideration in connection with the disclosure of portfolio holdings information. A Fund Representative may provide portfolio holdings information to third parties if such information has been included in a Fund’s public filings with the SEC or is disclosed on the Fund’s publicly accessible website. Information posted on a Fund’s website may be separately provided to any person commencing the day after it is first published on the Fund’s website.
Under the policy, each business day each Fund’s portfolio holdings information will be provided to the distributor or other agent for dissemination through the facilities of the NSCC and/or other fee based subscription services to NSCC members and/or subscribers to those other fee based subscription services, including Authorized Participants (defined below), and to entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading Shares of Funds in the secondary market. The distributor may also make available portfolio holdings information to other institutional market participants and entities that provide information services. This information typically reflects each Fund’s anticipated holdings on the following business day. “Authorized Participants” are generally large institutional investors that have been authorized by the distributor to purchase and redeem large blocks of Shares (known as Creation Units) pursuant to legal requirements, including the exemptive order granted by the SEC, to which the Funds offer and redeem Shares.
Other than portfolio holdings information made available in connection with the creation/redemption process, as discussed above, portfolio holdings information that is not filed with the SEC or posted on the publicly available website may be provided to third parties only in limited circumstances. Third-party recipients will be required to keep all portfolio holdings information confidential and prohibited from trading on the information they receive. Disclosure to such third parties must be approved in advance by the Trust’s President or one of the principal officers of the Adviser. Disclosure to providers of auditing, custody, proxy voting and other similar services for the Funds, as well as rating and ranking organizations, will generally be permitted; however, information may be disclosed to other parties (including, without limitation, individuals, institutional investors, and Authorized Participants that sell Shares of a Fund) only upon approval by the Trust’s President or one of the principal officers of the Adviser, who must first determine that the Fund has a legitimate business purpose for doing so. In general, each recipient of non-public portfolio holding information must sign a confidentiality and non-trading agreement, although this requirement will not apply when the recipient is otherwise subject to a duty of confidentiality as determined by the Trust’s President or one of the principal officers of the Adviser.
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CONTINUOUS OFFERING
The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of Shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of Shares are issued and sold on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the Securities Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Unit Aggregations after placing an order with the Trust’s Distributor, breaks them down into constituent Shares, and sells such Shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new Shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for Shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a categorization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are affecting transactions in Shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of Shares, generally are required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to Shares of a Fund are reminded that, pursuant to Rule 153 under the Securities Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to an exchange member in connection with the sale on the Listing Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at the Listing Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is only available with respect to transactions on an exchange.
MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST
Board Responsibilities. The management and affairs of the Trust and its series are overseen by a Board of Trustees. The Board elects the officers of the Trust who are responsible for administering the day-to-day operations of the Trust and the Funds. The Board has approved contracts, as described below, under which certain companies provide essential services to the Trust.
Like most ETFs, the day-to-day business of the Trust, including the management of risk, is performed by third party service providers, such as the Adviser, the Sub-Advisers, the Distributor and the Administrator. The Trustees are responsible for overseeing the Trust’s service providers and, thus, have oversight responsibility with respect to risk management performed by those service providers. Risk management seeks to identify and address risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of the Funds. The Funds and their service providers employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify various of those possible events or circumstances, in an attempt to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Each service provider is responsible for one or more discrete aspects of the Trust’s business (e.g., the Adviser, or applicable Sub-Adviser, is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Funds’ portfolio investments) and, consequently, for managing the risks associated with that business. The Board has emphasized to the Funds’ service providers the importance of maintaining vigorous risk management.
The Board’s role in risk oversight begins before the inception of a Fund, at which time certain of the Fund’s service providers present the Board with information concerning the investment objectives, strategies and risks of the Fund as well as proposed investment limitations for the Fund. Additionally, the Adviser and Sub-Advisers provide the Board with an overview of, among other things, its investment philosophy, brokerage practices and compliance infrastructure. Thereafter, the Board continues its oversight function as various personnel, including the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer, as well as personnel of the Adviser, and other service providers such as the Fund’s independent accountants, make periodic reports to the Audit Committee or to the Board with respect to various aspects of risk management. The Board and the Audit Committee oversee efforts by management and service providers to manage risks to which a Fund may be exposed.
The Board is responsible for overseeing the nature, extent, and quality of the services provided to the Funds by the Adviser and Sub-Advisers and receives information about those services at its regular meetings. In addition, on an annual basis, (following the initial two-year period for new Funds), in connection with its consideration of whether to renew the Investment Advisory Agreements with the Adviser, and Sub-Advisory Agreements with the Sub-Advisers, the Board meets with the Adviser and/or Sub-Advisers to review such services. Among other things, the Board regularly considers the Adviser’s adherence to the Funds’ investment restrictions and compliance with various Fund policies and procedures and with applicable securities regulations. The Board also reviews information about each Fund’s performance and the Fund’s investments, including, for example, portfolio holdings schedules.
The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer reports regularly to the Board to review and discuss compliance issues and Fund and Adviser risk assessments. At least annually, the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer, as well as personnel of the Adviser, provides the Board with a report reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s policies and procedures and those of its service providers, including the Adviser and Sub-Advisers. The report addresses the operation of the policies and procedures of the Trust and each service provider
46



since the date of the last report; any material changes to the policies and procedures since the date of the last report; any recommendations for material changes to the policies and procedures; and any material compliance matters since the date of the last report.
The Board receives reports from the Funds’ service providers regarding operational risks and risks related to the valuation and liquidity of portfolio securities. Annually, the independent registered public accounting firm reviews with the Audit Committee its audit of each Fund’s financial statements, focusing on major areas of risk encountered by the Fund and noting any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the Fund’s internal controls. Additionally, in connection with its oversight function, the Board oversees Fund management’s implementation of disclosure controls and procedures, which are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Trust in its periodic reports with the SEC are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the required time periods. The Board also oversees the Trust’s internal controls over financial reporting, which comprise policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of the Trust’s financial reporting and the preparation of the Trust’s financial statements.
From their review of these reports and discussions with the Adviser, the Sub-Advisers, the Chief Compliance Officer, the independent registered public accounting firm and other service providers, the Board and the Audit Committee learn in detail about the material risks of each Fund, 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 a Fund 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) to achieve a Fund’s goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Trustees as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information. Most of the Funds’ investment management and business affairs are carried out by or through the Adviser, Sub-Advisers, 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 a Fund’s and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s ability to monitor and manage risk, as a practical matter, is subject to limitations.
Members of the Board and Officers of the Trust. There are four members of the Board of Trustees (each, a “Trustee”), three of whom are not interested persons of the Trust, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (“Independent Trustees”). Joe M. Thomson serves as Chairman of the Board, and Deborah G. Wolk serves as the Trust’s Lead Independent Trustee. The Lead Independent Trustee may preside at meetings, participate in formulating agendas for meetings, and/or coordinate with management to serve as a liaison between the Independent Trustees and management on matters. The Board of Trustees is comprised of a super-majority (75 percent) of Independent Trustees. There is an Audit Committee of the Board that is chaired by an Independent Trustee and comprised solely of Independent Trustees. The Audit Committee chair presides at the Committee meetings, participates in formulating agendas for Committee meetings, and coordinates with management to serve as a liaison between the Independent Trustees and management on matters within the scope of responsibilities of the Committee as set forth in its Board-approved charter. The Trust has determined its leadership structure is appropriate given the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Trust. The Trust made this determination in consideration of, among other things, the number of Independent Trustees that constitute the Board, the amount of assets under management in the Trust, and the number of Funds overseen by the Board. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information to the Independent Trustees from Fund management.
The Board of Trustees has two standing committees: the Audit Committee and Nominating Committee. Each Committee is chaired by an Independent Trustee and composed of Independent Trustees.
The Audit Committee is comprised of all of the Independent Trustees. The function of the Audit Committee is to review the scope and results of the annual audit of the Funds and any matters bearing on the audit or a Fund’s financial statements and to ensure the integrity of the Funds’ financial reporting. The Audit Committee also recommends to the Board of Trustees the annual selection of the independent registered public accounting firm for the Funds and it reviews and pre-approves audit and certain non-audit services to be provided by the independent registered public accounting firm. During the fiscal year ended April 30, 2023, the Audit Committee met four times.
The Nominating Committee, comprised of all the Independent Trustees, is responsible for seeking and reviewing candidates for consideration as nominees for Trustees. The Committee meets on an as needed basis. The Nominating Committee will accept and review shareholder nominations for Trustees, which may be submitted to the Trust by sending the nomination to the Trust’s Secretary, c/o Pacer Advisors, Inc., 500 Chesterfield Parkway, Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355. During the fiscal year ended April 30, 2023, the Nominating Committee met one time.
Additional information about each Trustee of the Trust is set forth below. The address of each Trustee of the Trust is c/o Pacer Advisors, Inc., 500 Chesterfield Parkway, Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355.
47






Name and Year of Birth
Position(s)
Held with the
Trust
Term of Office
and Length of
Time Served
Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years
Number of
Portfolios in Fund
Complex Overseen
By Trustee
Other
Directorships held
by Trustee During
Past Five Years
Interested Trustee
Joe M. Thomson
Born: 1944
Trustee, Chairman, President, and Principal
Executive Officer
Indefinite Term; since 2014 Founder/President at Pacer Advisors, Inc. (since 2005) 53 Director, First Cornerstone Bank (2000–2016)
Independent Trustees
Deborah G. Wolk
Born: 1950
Lead Independent Trustee Indefinite Term; since 2015 Self-employed providing accounting services and computer modeling (since 1997) 53 0
Jane K. Sagendorph
Born: 1951
Trustee Indefinite Term; since 2021 Accountant, BluFish Designs (since 2011) 53 0
Colin C. Lake
Born: 1971
Trustee Indefinite Term; since 2021 Founder/President, Developing the Next Leaders, Inc. (consulting) (since 2016) 53 0
Individual Trustee Qualifications. The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees should serve on the Board because of their ability to review and understand information about the Funds provided to them by management, to identify and request other information they may deem relevant to the performance of their duties, to question management and other service providers regarding material factors bearing on the management and administration of the Funds, and to exercise their business judgment in a manner that serves the best interests of each Fund’s shareholders. The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees should serve as a Trustee based on their own experience, qualifications, attributes and skills as described below.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Thomson should serve as Trustee because of the experience he has gained as Founder and President of Pacer Advisors, Inc., Pacer Financial, Inc., and in his past roles with various registered broker-dealers and investment management firms. In addition, he holds the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®), Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®), Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), and Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC®) designations, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) General Principal’s license, and the Pennsylvania Life & Annuity Insurance license.
The Trust has concluded that Ms. Wolk should serve as Trustee because of her experience in accounting services and computer modeling expertise to small business clients, as well as her prior positions in the corporate finance field. In addition, she holds the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation. The Trust believes that Ms. Wolk’s extensive experience in accounting and finance provides an appropriate background in areas applicable to investment company oversight.
The Trust has concluded that Ms. Sagendorph should serve as Trustee because of her experience in the financial services industry as a comptroller of a financial marketing and wholesaling firm, as well as her experience providing accounting services to a small business client. The Trust believes that Ms. Sagendorph’s extensive experience in accounting and finance provides an appropriate background in areas applicable to investment company oversight.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Lake should serve as Trustee because of his experience in the financial services industry. The Trust believes that Mr. Lake’s business acumen and understanding of financial issues provide an appropriate background in areas applicable to investment company oversight.
In its periodic assessment of the effectiveness of the Board, the Board considers the complementary individual skills and experience of the individual Trustees primarily in the broader context of the Board’s overall composition so that the Board, as a body, possesses the appropriate (and appropriately diverse) skills and experience to oversee the business of the Funds.
48



Principal Officers of the Trust. The officers of the Trust conduct and supervise its daily business. The address of each officer of the Trust, unless otherwise indicated below, is c/o Pacer Advisors, Inc., 500 Chesterfield Parkway, Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355.
Name and Year of Birth Position(s) Held with
Funds
Term of Office
and Length of
Time Served
Principal Occupation(s) During
Past Five Years
Joe M. Thomson
Born: 1944
Trustee, Chairman, President, and Principal Executive Officer
Indefinite Term; since 2014
Founder/President, Pacer Advisors, Inc. (since 2005); President and Chief Compliance Officer, Pacer Financial, Inc. (since 2004)
Sean E. O’Hara
Born: 1962
Treasurer and Principal Financial Officer
Indefinite Term; since 2014
Director, Index Design Group (since 2015); Director, Pacer Financial, Inc. (since 2007); Director, Pacer Advisors, Inc. (since 2007)
Bruce Kavanaugh
Born: 1964
Secretary and Portfolio Manager
Indefinite Term; since 2016
Vice President, Pacer Advisors, Inc. (since 2005); Vice President, Pacer Financial, Inc. (since 2004)
Liam Clarke
Gateway Corporate Center
Suite 216
223 Wilmington West Chester Pike
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Born: 1996
Chief Compliance Officer and AML Officer
Indefinite Term; since 2023 Director, Vigilant, (since 2021); Financial Services Assurance Experienced Associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers, (2018-2021)

Fund Shares Owned by Board Members. The Funds are required to show the dollar amount ranges of each Trustee’s “beneficial ownership” of Shares of the Funds and each other series of the Trust as of the end of the most recently completed calendar year. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the Exchange Act.
As of December 31, 2022, Mr. Thomson owned between $10,000 - $50,000 of Shares of VIRS and ALTL and over $100,000 of Shares of each of COWZ, CALF, GCOW, and PEXL. No other Trustee owned Shares of the Funds as of December 31, 2022.
Board Compensation. Independent Trustees are paid by the Adviser from the unified management fee paid to the Adviser and not by the Funds. The Independent Trustees each receive a per meeting trustee fee of $2,500, as well as reimbursement for travel and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with attendance at Board meetings, a $500 for any committee or special Board meeting attended, an annual retainer fee of $10,000 per year, and an additional retainer of $500 fee for each committee chair. The Trust has no pension or retirement plan. No officer, director or employee of the Adviser, including Mr. Thomson, receives any compensation from the Funds for acting as a Trustee or officer of the Trust. The following table shows the compensation earned by each Trustee for the Funds’ fiscal year ended April 30, 2023. Trustee compensation does not include reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with attendance at meetings.
Name Aggregate Compensation From Each Fund Total Compensation From Fund Complex Paid to Trustees
Interested Trustees
Joe M. Thomson $0 $0
Independent Trustees
Deborah G. Wolk $0 $18,000
Jane K. Sagendorph $0 $18,000
Colin C. Lake $0 $18,000
Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities. A principal shareholder is any person who owns of record or beneficially 5% or more of the outstanding Shares of a Fund. A control person is a shareholder that owns beneficially or through controlled companies more than 25% of the voting securities of a Fund or acknowledges the existence of control. Shareholders owning voting securities in excess of 25% may determine the outcome of any matter affecting and voted on by shareholders of a Fund. As of August 1, 2023, the Trustees and officers, as a group, owned approximately 2% of PEXL, and less than 1% of the Shares of the other Funds, and the following shareholders were considered to be a principal shareholder of the Funds:
49



Pacer Trendpilot® US Large Cap ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
16.12% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
13.84% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
12.03% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
10.98% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.24% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
9.14% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
7.68% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
5.71% Record
Pacer Trendpilot® US Mid Cap ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
14.49% Record
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
13.75% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
12.83% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
12.78% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
10.79% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
8.40% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
5.78% Record
50



Pacer Trendpilot® 100 ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
12.73% Record
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
12.14% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
11.89% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
10.46% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.51% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
9.38% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
8.67% Record
Pacer Trendpilot® European Index ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
27.71% Record
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
15.83% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
13.00% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
10.07% Record
UBS Financial Services, Inc.
1200 Harbor Boulevard
Weehawken, NJ 07086
7.40% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
5.78% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
5.54% Record
51



Pacer Trendpilot® US Bond ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
14.75% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
13.86% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
13.32% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
13.27% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
7.66% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
6.66% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
5.43% Record
U.S. Bank
60 Livingston Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55107
5.10% Record
Pacer Trendpilot® International ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
31.55% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
13.94% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
10.71% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
10.10% Record
U.S. Bank
60 Livingston Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55107
7.51% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
6.96% Record
52



Pacer Trendpilot® Fund of Funds ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
45.32% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
10.63% Record
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
10.20% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
9.83% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
6.30% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
5.09% Record
Pacer US Cash Cows 100 ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
23.78% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
10.26% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
10.23% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
9.57% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
8.20% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
7.28% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
6.61% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
5.59% Record
53



Pacer US Small Cap Cash Cows 100 ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
20.70% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
13.47% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
10.15% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
8.63% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
7.62% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
7.13% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
6.13% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
5.94% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
5.82% Record
Pacer Global Cash Cows Dividend ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
19.59% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
11.84% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
11.41% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.11% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
8.80% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
6.68% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
6.40% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
6.04% Record
54



Pacer Developed Markets International Cash Cows 100 ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
17.90% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
17.50% Record
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
11.10% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
9.30% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
9.10% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
7.10% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
6.70% Record
Pacer Emerging Markets Cash Cows 100 ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
32.04% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
23.90% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
9.92% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.46% Record
Wells Fargo Clearing Services
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2523
9.29% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
6.11% Record
55



Pacer US Large Cap Cash Cows Growth Leaders ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
25.59% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
22.40% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
21.61% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
17.00% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
6.21% Record
Pacer US Cash Cows Growth ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
U.S. Bank
60 Livingston Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55107
30.50% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
24.13% Record
D. A. Davidson & Co.
8 Third Street North
Great Falls, MT 59401
10.13% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
7.00% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
6.76% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
6.43% Record
Pacer Cash Cow Fund of Funds ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
26.71% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
26.63% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
21.84% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
11.79% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
9.02% Record
56



Pacer US Export Leaders ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
37.59% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
30.42% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
9.72% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
6.94% Record
Pacer CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
17.61% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
12.91% Record
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
140 Broadway
New York, NY 10005-1108
11.58% Record
Citibank N.A.
388 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
11.31% Record
J.P. Morgan Chase Clearing, Corp.
3 Chase Metrotech Center, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11245-0001
8.45% Record
Apex Clearing Corporation
One Dallas Center
350 N. ST. Paul, Suite 1300
Dallas, TX 75201
6.63% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
5.94% Record
E*Trade Securities, LLC
200 Hudson Street, Suite 501
Jersey City, NJ 07311
5.02% Record
57



Pacer Industrial Real Estate ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
20.53% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
16.67% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
12.61% Record
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
10.62% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
7.53% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
5.41% Record
Pacer Data & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
43.35% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
10.33% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
7.88% Record
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC
Harborside Financial Center Plaza, 23rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
7.81% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
7.74% Record
Pacer WealthShield ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
45.90% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
15.47% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
13.34% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
8.69% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
7.34% Record
58



Pacer CFRA-Stovall Equal Weight Seasonal Rotation ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
RBC Capital Markets
3 World Financial Center
200 Vesey Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10281
23.16% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
22.79% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
13.74% Record
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
9.44% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
8.91% Record
Pacer BioThreat Strategy ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
RBC Capital Markets
3 World Financial Center
200 Vesey Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10281
32.06% Record
Bofa Securities, Inc.
One Bryant Park
New York, NY 10036
19.07% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
17.70% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.93% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
6.76% Record
59



Pacer Lunt Large Cap Alternator ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
American Enterprise Investment Services, Inc.
903 3rd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55402
20.76% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
15.74% Record
Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
14.49% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
10.60% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.49% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
6.26% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
5.90% Record
Pacer Lunt MidCap Multi-Factor Alternator ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
25.96% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
22.28% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
15.48% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
11.71% Record
Folio Investments Inc.
8180 Greensboro Drive, 8th Floor
McLean, VA 22102
10.45% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
8.39% Record
60



Pacer Lunt Large Cap Multi-Factor Alternator ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
American Enterprise Investment Services, Inc.
903 3rd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55402
20.71% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
16.13% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
14.47% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
13.92% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.63% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
9.61% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
5.69% Record
Pacer Pacific Asset Floating Rate High Income ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Bank of New York Mellon
240 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10286
30.47% Record
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
28.07% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
15.30% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
9.81% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
6.81% Record
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 300 ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC
200 West Street
New York, NY 10282-2198
45.60% Record
Bofa Securities, Inc.
One Bryant Park
New York, NY 10036
24.48% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
7.96% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
6.67% Record
61



Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 400 ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
32.07% Record
LPL Financial
75 State Street, 22nd Floor
Boston, MA 02109
20.91% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
10.78% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
10.56% Record
Pershing, LLC
For the Benefit of Its Customers
PO Box 2052
Jersey City, NJ 07303-2052
5.68% Record
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
5.60% Record
Pacer Data and Digital Revolution ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 2226
Omaha, NE 68103-2226
40.75% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
35.29% Record
National Financial Services LLC
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
7.48% Record
Pacer Industrials and Logistics ETF
Name and Address % Ownership Type of Ownership
J.P. Morgan Chase Clearing, Corp.
3 Chase Metrotech Center, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11245-0001
65.85% Record
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
211 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1905
11.65% Record
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
140 Broadway
New York, NY 10005
9.50% Record


62



INVESTMENT ADVISER AND SUB-ADVISERS
Pacer Advisors, Inc. serves as investment adviser to the Funds pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between the Trust, on behalf of the Funds, and the Adviser (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”). The Adviser is a Pennsylvania company located at 500 Chesterfield Parkway, Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355. The Adviser is majority owned by Joe M. Thomson.
Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Adviser provides investment advice to the Funds and oversees the day-to-day operations of the Funds, subject to the direction and control of the Board and the officers of the Trust. The Adviser also arranges for sub-advisory (as applicable), transfer agency, custody, fund administration and all other non-distribution-related services necessary for the Funds to operate. Each Fund pays the Adviser a fee equal to a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, as follows:
Name of Fund Management Fee
Pacer Trendpilot US Large Cap ETF 0.60%
Pacer Trendpilot US Mid Cap ETF 0.60%
Pacer Trendpilot 100 ETF 0.65%
Pacer Trendpilot European Index ETF 0.65%
Pacer Trendpilot US Bond ETF 0.60%
Pacer Trendpilot International ETF 0.65%
Pacer Trendpilot Fund of Funds ETF 0.15%
Pacer US Cash Cows 100 ETF 0.49%
Pacer US Small Cap Cash Cows 100 ETF 0.59%
Pacer Global Cash Cows Dividend ETF 0.60%
Pacer Developed Markets International Cash Cows 100 ETF 0.65%
Pacer Emerging Markets Cash Cows 100 ETF 0.70%
Pacer US Large Cap Cash Cows Growth Leaders ETF 0.49%
Pacer US Cash Cows Growth ETF 0.60%
Pacer Cash Cows Fund of Funds ETF 0.15%
Pacer US Export Leaders ETF 0.60%
Pacer International Export Leaders ETF 0.60%
Pacer CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF 0.70%
Pacer Hotel & Lodging Real Estate ETF 0.60%
Pacer Apartments & Residential Real Estate ETF 0.60%
Pacer Healthcare Real Estate ETF 0.60%
Pacer Industrial Real Estate ETF 0.60%
Pacer Data & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF 0.60%
Pacer Autopilot Hedged European Index ETF 0.65%
Pacer WealthShield ETF 0.60%
Pacer CFRA-Stovall Global Seasonal Rotation ETF 0.60%
Pacer CFRA-Stovall Equal Weight Seasonal Rotation ETF 0.60%
Pacer BioThreat Strategy ETF 0.70%
Pacer Lunt Large Cap Alternator ETF 0.60%
Pacer Lunt MidCap Multi-Factor Alternator ETF 0.60%
Pacer Lunt Large Cap Multi-Factor Alternator ETF 0.60%
Pacer Pacific Asset Floating Rate High Income ETF 0.60%
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 300 ETF 0.79%
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 400 ETF 0.79%
Pacer Data and Digital Revolution ETF 0.60%
Pacer Industrials and Logistics ETF 0.60%
Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Adviser has agreed to pay all expenses of the Funds, except for: the fees paid to the Adviser pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement, interest charges on any borrowings, taxes, brokerage commissions and other expenses incurred in placing orders for the purchase and sale of securities and other investment instruments, acquired fund fees and expenses, accrued deferred tax liability, extraordinary expenses, and distribution (12b-1) fees and expenses, if any.
The Adviser, from its own resources, including profits from advisory fees received from the Funds, provided such fees are legitimate and not excessive, may make payments to broker-dealers and other financial institutions for their expenses in connection with the distribution of Fund Shares, and otherwise currently pays all distribution costs for Fund Shares.
63



The Investment Advisory Agreement, with respect to the Funds, continues in effect for two years from its effective date, and thereafter is subject to annual approval by (i) the Board of Trustees of the Trust or (ii) the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Funds, provided that in either event such continuance also is approved by a vote of a majority of the Trustees of the Trust who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Funds, by a vote cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. If the shareholders of a Fund fail to approve the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Adviser may continue to serve in the manner and to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act and rules and regulations thereunder.
The Investment Advisory Agreement with respect to the Funds is terminable without any penalty, by vote of the Board of Trustees of the Trust or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Funds, or by the Adviser, in each case on not less than thirty (30) days’ nor more than sixty (60) days’ prior written notice to the other party; provided that a shorter notice period shall be permitted for the Funds in the event Shares are no longer listed on a national securities exchange. The Investment Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically and immediately in the event of its “assignment” (as defined in the 1940 Act).
Fund Expenses. Pursuant to an operating expense limitation agreement between the Adviser, INDS, and SRVR, the Adviser has agreed to waive its management fees and/or reimburse expenses to ensure that the total amount of each Fund’s operating expenses (excluding any front-end or contingent deferred loads, Rule 12b-1 plan fees, shareholder servicing plan fees, taxes, leverage (i.e., any expenses incurred in connection with borrowings made by the Fund), interest (including interest incurred in connection with bank and custody overdrafts), brokerage commissions and other transactional expenses, expenses incurred in connection with any merger or reorganization, dividends or interest on short positions, acquired fund fees and expenses or extraordinary expenses such as litigation (collectively, “Excludable Expenses”)) does not exceed 0.55% of each Fund’s average daily net assets. To the extent the Funds incur Excludable Expenses, Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursement may exceed 0.55%. The Adviser may request recoupment of previously waived fees and paid expenses from the Funds for up to three years from the date such fees and expenses were waived or paid, subject to the operating expense limitation agreement, if such reimbursement will not cause each Fund’s total expense ratio to exceed the lesser of: (1) the expense limitation in place at the time of the waiver and/or expense payment; or (2) the expense limitation in place at the time of the recoupment. The Funds must pay their current ordinary operating expenses before the Adviser is entitled to any recoupment of management fees and/or expenses. This operating expense limitation agreement is in effect through at least October 31, 2023, and may be terminated only by, or with the consent of, the Board of Trustees.
64



Management fees paid by the Funds to the Adviser or previous investment adviser, as applicable, for the three most recently completed fiscal years ended April 30 were as follows:
Management Fees Paid for the Fiscal Year Ended April 30,
Name of Fund* 2023 2022 2021
Pacer Trendpilot US Large Cap ETF $12,071,078 $11,704,204 $12,031,964
Pacer Trendpilot US Mid Cap ETF $2,605,975 $2,639,914 $2,650,719
Pacer Trendpilot 100 ETF $4,481,745 $5,042,740 $5,242,752
Pacer Trendpilot European Index ETF $290,158 $339,728 $424,871
Pacer Trendpilot US Bond ETF $2,521,826 $7,130,317 $2,270,355
Pacer Trendpilot International ETF $775,940 $901,621 $873,343
Pacer Trendpilot Fund of Funds ETF $86,929 $90,594 $52,792
Pacer US Cash Cows 100 ETF $44,297,410 $7,072,763 $1,181,592
Pacer US Small Cap Cash Cows 100 ETF $7,739,370 $3,248,079 $432,434
Pacer US Large Cap Cash Cows Growth Leaders ETF $12,212 ** N/A N/A
Pacer US Cash Cows Growth ETF $152,860 $66,180 $13,000
Pacer Global Cash Cows Dividend ETF $5,219,319 $1,016,723 $776,785
Pacer Emerging Markets Cash Cows 100 ETF $163,644 $62,475 $14,678
Pacer Developed Markets International Cash Cows 100 ETF $1,461,919 $345,903 $96,706
Pacer Cash Cows Fund of Funds ETF $37,285 $5,730 $2,776
Pacer US Export Leaders ETF $58,627 $16,143 $9,885
Pacer International Export Leaders ETF N/A N/A N/A
Pacer CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF $38,381 $62,633 $67,259
Pacer Hotel & Lodging Real Estate ETF N/A N/A N/A
Pacer Apartments & Residential Real Estate ETF N/A N/A N/A
Pacer Healthcare Real Estate ETF N/A N/A N/A
Pacer Autopilot Hedged European Index ETF N/A N/A N/A
Pacer WealthShield ETF $191,072 $297,845 $310,038
Pacer CFRA-Stovall Global Seasonal Rotation ETF N/A N/A N/A
Pacer CFRA-Stovall Equal Weight Seasonal Rotation ETF $437,399 $496,031 $361,722
Pacer BioThreat Strategy ETF $30,775 $42,945 $31,349
Pacer Lunt Large Cap Alternator ETF $5,088,819 $1,620,632 $268,065
Pacer Lunt MidCap Multi-Factor Alternator ETF $215,029 $241,185 $94,914
Pacer Lunt Large Cap Multi-Factor Alternator ETF $1,329,064 $918,753 $93,497
Pacer Pacific Asset Floating Rate High Income ETF $476,291 $224,013 $201,085
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 300 ETF $12,649 $13,034 N/A
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 400 ETF $608,442 $180,757 N/A
Pacer Data and Digital Revolution ETF $5,032 ** N/A N/A
Pacer Industrials and Logistics ETF $5,071 ** N/A N/A

*The following Funds had not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI: ROOM, RXRE, PAD, SZNG, and PIEL. With respect to PAEU, all outstanding shares of the Fund were redeemed on December 22, 2016, and shares of the Fund are not currently offered for purchase.
**For TRFK, SHPP, and COWG, the information in the table reflects the period since each Fund’s inception through April 30, 2023.


65



Management Fees Paid for INDS and SRVR
Gross Advisory Fees Earned Advisory Fees Waived & Fund Expenses Reimbursed Net Advisory Paid to Adviser
Pacer Industrial Real Estate ETF
2021 $683,492 $0 $683,492
2022 $1,930,171 $0 $1,930,171
2023 $1,500,156 $(54,148) $1,446,008
Pacer Data & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF
2021 $5,552,732 $0 $5,552,732
2022 $8,615,531 $0 $8,615,531
2023 $5,919,096 $(206,699) $5,712,397
Aristotle Pacific Capital, LLC
The Trust, on behalf of the FLRT, and the Adviser have retained Aristotle Pacific Capital, LLC (“Aristotle Pacific”), located at 840 Newport Drive, 7th Floor, Newport Beach, California 92660, to serve as sub-adviser for FLRT. Aristotle Pacific is a subsidiary of Aristotle Capital Management, LLC (“Aristotle Capital”). Aristotle Capital is an investment management organization that specializes in equity and fixed income portfolio management for institutional and advisory clients worldwide.
Pursuant to a Sub-Advisory Agreement between the Adviser and Aristotle Pacific (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”), Aristotle Pacific is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of FLRT, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. For the services it provides to FLRT, Aristotle Pacific is compensated by the Adviser from the management fees paid by FLRT to the Adviser. The Sub-Advisory Agreement was approved by the Trustees (including all the Independent Trustees) and the Adviser, as sole shareholder of FLRT, in compliance with the 1940 Act. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will continue in force for an initial period of two years. Thereafter, the Sub-Advisory Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to FLRT, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Board or, with respect to FLRT, by a majority of the outstanding Shares of the Fund, on not less than 30 days’ nor more than 60 days’ written notice to Aristotle Pacific, or by Aristotle Pacific on 60 days’ written notice to the Adviser and the Trust. The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that Aristotle Pacific shall not be protected against any liability to the Trust or its shareholders by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on its part in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard of its obligations or duties thereunder. The table below shows management fees paid by the Adviser to Aristotle Pacific in relation to FLRT for the fiscal period/years ended April 30.
Fiscal Period/Year Ended Sub-Advisory Fee Paid
2022 $4,317
2023 $111,185
CSOP Asset Management
The Trust, on behalf of AFTY, and the Adviser have retained CSOP Asset Management Limited (“CSOP”), located at Suite 2802, Two Exchange Square, 8 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong, to serve as sub-adviser for AFTY. CSOP was established in January 2008 as a subsidiary of China Southern Asset Management Co. Limited. CSOP is the first Hong Kong subsidiary set up by mainland Chinese fund houses to carry out asset management and securities advisory activities in Hong Kong. CSOP is dedicated to serving investors as a gateway for investment between China and the rest of the world, and provides discretionary management services and advisory services to both institutional investors and investment funds, including other ETFs.
Pursuant to a Sub-Advisory Agreement between the Adviser and CSOP (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”), CSOP is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of AFTY, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions as instructed by the Adviser or in connection with any rebalancing or reconstitution of AFTY’s respective Index, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. For the services it provides to AFTY, CSOP is compensated by the Adviser from the management fees paid by AFTY to the Adviser. The Sub-Advisory Agreement was approved by the Trustees (including all the Independent Trustees) and the Adviser, as sole shareholder of AFTY, in compliance with the 1940 Act. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will continue in force for an initial period of two years. Thereafter, the Sub-Advisory Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to the Fund, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full
66



Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Board or, with respect to AFTY, by a majority of the outstanding Shares of AFTY, on not less than 30 days’ nor more than 60 days’ written notice to CSOP, or by the Sub-Adviser on 60 days’ written notice to the Adviser and the Trust. The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that CSOP shall not be protected against any liability to the Trust or its shareholders by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on its part in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard of its obligations or duties thereunder.
The table below shows management fees paid by the Adviser to CSOP in relation to AFTY for the fiscal period/years ended April 30.
Fiscal Period/Year Ended Sub-Advisory Fee Paid
2021 $5,562
2022 $4,719
2023 $2,427
Metaurus Advisors LLC
The Adviser has retained Metaurus, located at 22 Hudson Place, Third Floor, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, to serve as sub-adviser for TRPL and QDPL. Metaurus was established in 2016 and is controlled by Metaurus LLC, a privately-held Delaware corporation.
Pursuant to a Sub-Advisory Agreement between the Adviser and Metaurus (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”), Metaurus is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of TRPL and QDPL, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions as instructed by the Adviser or in connection with any rebalancing or reconstitution of the Funds’ respective Index, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. Pursuant to the Sub-Advisory Agreement, Metaurus is entitled to receive a sub-advisory fee, which is paid by the Adviser, not TRPL or QDPL.
The Sub-Advisory Agreement was approved by the Trustees (including all the Independent Trustees) and the Adviser, as sole shareholder of TRPL and QDPL, in compliance with the 1940 Act. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will continue in force for an initial period of two years. Thereafter, the Sub-Advisory Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to TRPL and QDPL, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Board or, with respect to TRPL and QDPL, by a majority of the outstanding Shares of TRPL and QDPL, on not less than 30 days’ nor more than 60 days’ written notice to Metaurus, or by Metaurus on 60 days’ written notice to the Adviser and the Trust. The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that Metaurus shall not be protected against any liability to the Trust or its shareholders by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on its part in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard of its obligations or duties thereunder. The table below shows management fees paid by the Adviser to Metaurus in relation to TRPL and QDPL for the fiscal period/years ended April 30.
Sub-Advisory Fees Paid for the Fiscal Period Ended April 30,
Name of Fund 2022 2023
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 300 ETF $3,500 $48,888
Pacer Metaurus US Large Cap Dividend Multiplier 400 ETF $3,500 $48,888
Vident Advisory, LLC
The Trust, on behalf of PTBD, and the Adviser have retained Vident Advisory, LLC (“VA”) (d/b/a Vident Asset Management), located at 1125 Sanctuary Parkway, Suite 515, Alpharetta, GA 30009, to serve as sub-adviser for PTBD. VA was formed in 2016 and commenced operations and registered with the SEC as an investment adviser in January 2019. VA is majority owned by Vident Capital Holdings, LLC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MM VAM, LLC, which is entirely controlled by Casey Crawford.
Pursuant to a Sub-Advisory Agreement between the Adviser and VA (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”), VA is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of PTBD, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions as instructed by the Adviser or in connection with any rebalancing or reconstitution of PTBD’s respective Index, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. For the services it provides to PTBD, VA is compensated by the Adviser from the management fees paid by PTBD to the Adviser.
The Sub-Advisory Agreement was approved by the Trustees (including all the Independent Trustees) and the Adviser, as sole shareholder of PTBD, in compliance with the 1940 Act. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will continue in force for an initial period of two years. Thereafter, the Sub-Advisory Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to PTBD, so long as its continuance is approved at least annually (1) by the vote, cast in person at a meeting called for that purpose, of a majority of those Trustees who are
67



not “interested persons” of the Trust; and (2) by the majority vote of either the full Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Board or, with respect to PTBD, by a majority of the outstanding Shares of PTBD, on not less than 30 days’ nor more than 60 days’ written notice to VA, or by VA on 60 days’ written notice to the Adviser and the Trust. The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that VA shall not be protected against any liability to the Trust or its shareholders by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on its part in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard of its obligations or duties thereunder.
The table below shows management fees paid by the Adviser to VA in relation to PTBD for the fiscal period/years ended April 30.