ck0001540305-20201031

PROSPECTUS

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AAM S&P 500 HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
(SPDV)

AAM S&P EMERGING MARKETS HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
(EEMD)

AAM S&P DEVELOPED MARKETS HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
(DMDV)

AAM LOW DURATION PREFERRED AND INCOME SECURITIES ETF
(PFLD)



Listed on NYSE Arca, Inc.
February 28, 2021

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has not approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.




TABLE OF CONTENTS
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF





AAM S&P 500 HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
Investment Objective
The AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of the S&P 500 Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index (the “Index”).
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy, hold, and sell shares of the Fund (“Shares”). This table and the Example below do not include the brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries that investors may pay on their purchases and sales of Shares.
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees 0.29%
Distribution and/or Service (Rule 12b-1) Fees None
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.29%
Expense Example
This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. The Example does not take into account brokerage commissions that you may pay on your purchases and sales of Shares. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
$30 $93 $163 $368
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 84% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund uses a “passive management” (or indexing) approach to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of the Index.
S&P 500 Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index
The Index is a rules-based, equal-weighted index that is designed to provide exposure to the constituents of the S&P 500® Index that exhibit both high dividend yield and sustainable dividend distribution characteristics, while maintaining diversified sector exposure. The Index was developed in 2017 by S&P Dow Jones Indices, a division of S&P Global. The S&P 500 Index consists of approximately 500 leading U.S.-listed companies representing approximately 80% of the U.S. equity market capitalization.
Construction of the Index begins with the universe of equity securities that are included in the S&P 500 Index. For each equity security in the S&P 500 Index, the security’s dividend yield and free-cash-flow yield (i.e., a company’s cash flow from operations less capital expenditures divided by its market capitalization) are adjusted to account for outliers. If a security’s dividend yield or free-cash-flow yield is in the top or bottom 2.5% of the S&P 500 Index, the dividend yield or free-cash-flow yield, as applicable, for such security is replaced with the dividend yield or free-cash-flow yield of the security nearest to such top or bottom 2.5% threshold. The universe is then screened to keep only equity securities with a positive indicated annual dividend yield (i.e., yield based on a company’s most recent dividend amount) and free-cash-flow yield. The remaining securities are referred to as the “Selection Pool”.
For each security in the Selection Pool, the security’s dividend yield and free-cash-flow yield are then scored using a statistical normalization model (i.e., a tool to compare how close each yield is to the average yield for the Selection Pool) to assign a dividend yield score and free-cash-flow yield score from zero to one for each company. The equity securities in the Selection Pool are then ranked by the product of their dividend yield score and free-cash-flow yield score, and the top five scoring securities are selected from each sector (collectively, the “Index Constituents”). The Index uses Standard & Poor’s Global Industry Classification Standards to define companies within one of the following sectors: consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financials, health care,
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industrials, information technology, materials, real estate, communication services, and utilities. Fewer than five securities may be selected if there are fewer than five securities in the Selection Pool for a given sector.
The Index is reconstituted (i.e., Index Constituents are added or deleted and weights are reset to equal-weight) semi-annually after the close of the last business day in January and July. At the time of each reconstitution of the Index, Index Constituents are added or deleted based on company data as of the last business day of December and June, respectively, and the Index Constituents are equally-weighted based on closing prices as of five business days prior to the last business day of the reconstitution month. If an Index Constituent is removed from the S&P 500 Index, such security will simultaneously be removed from the Index. Additions to the Index Constituents only take place during the semi-annual reconstitutions.
The Fund’s Investment Strategy
The Fund will generally use a “replication” strategy to achieve its investment objective, meaning the Fund generally will invest in all of the component securities of the Index in approximately the same proportion as in the Index. However, the Fund may use a “representative sampling” strategy, meaning it may invest in a sample of the securities in the Index whose risk, return, and other characteristics closely resemble the risk, return, and other characteristics of the Index as a whole, when the Fund’s sub-adviser believes it is in the best interests of the Fund (e.g., when replicating the Index involves practical difficulties or substantial costs, an Index constituent becomes temporarily illiquid, unavailable, or less liquid, or as a result of legal restrictions or limitations that apply to the Fund but not to the Index).
The Fund may invest in securities or other investments not included in the Index, but which the Fund’s sub-adviser believes will help the Fund track the Index. For example, the Fund may invest in securities that are not components of the Index to reflect various corporate actions and other changes to the Index (such as reconstitutions, additions, and deletions).
To the extent the Index concentrates (i.e., holds more than 25% of its total assets) in the securities of a particular industry or group of related industries, the Fund will concentrate its investments to approximately the same extent as the Index.
Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the Fund’s net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, will be invested in equity securities that (i) are included in the S&P 500 Index and (ii) have had a positive indicated annual dividend yield within the past year.
Principal Investment Risks
The principal risks of investing in the Fund are summarized below. The principal risks are presented in alphabetical order to facilitate finding particular risks and comparing them with other funds. Each risk summarized below is considered a “principal risk” of investing in the Fund, regardless of the order in which it appears. As with any investment, there is a risk that you could lose all or a portion of your investment in the Fund. Some or all of these risks may adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and/or ability to meet its objectives. For more information about the risks of investing in the Fund, see the section in the Fund’s Prospectus titled “Additional Information About the Funds.”
Concentration Risk. The Fund’s investments will be concentrated in an industry or group of industries to the extent that the Index is so concentrated. In such event, the value of the Shares may rise and fall more than the value of shares of a fund that invests in securities of companies in a broader range of industries.
Equity Market Risk. The equity securities held in the Fund’s portfolio may experience sudden, unpredictable drops in value or long periods of decline in value. This may occur because of factors that affect securities markets generally or factors affecting specific issuers, industries, or sectors in which the Fund invests. Common stocks are generally exposed to greater risk than other types of securities, such as preferred stock and debt obligations, because common stockholders generally have inferior rights to receive payment from issuers. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. For example, the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, has had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused prolonged disruptions to the normal business operations of companies around the world and the impact of such disruptions is hard to predict. Such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. Such events could adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets.
ETF Risks. The Fund is an ETF, and, as a result of an ETF’s structure, it is exposed to the following risks:
Authorized Participants, Market Makers, and Liquidity Providers Concentration Risk. The Fund has a limited number of financial institutions that may act as Authorized Participants (“APs”). In addition, there may be a limited number of market makers and/or liquidity providers in the marketplace. To the extent either of the following events occur, Shares may trade at a material discount to NAV and possibly face delisting: (i) APs exit the business or otherwise become unable to process creation and/or redemption orders and no other APs step forward to perform these services, or (ii) market makers and/or
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liquidity providers exit the business or significantly reduce their business activities and no other entities step forward to perform their functions.
Costs of Buying or Selling Shares. Due to the costs of buying or selling Shares, including brokerage commissions imposed by brokers and bid-ask spreads, frequent trading of Shares may significantly reduce investment results and an investment in Shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.
Shares May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. As with all ETFs, Shares may be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. Although it is expected that the market price of Shares will approximate the Fund’s NAV, there may be times when the market price of Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount) due to supply and demand of Shares or during periods of market volatility. This risk is heightened in times of market volatility, periods of steep market declines, and periods when there is limited trading activity for Shares in the secondary market, in which case such premiums or discounts may be significant.
Trading. Although Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”) and may be traded on U.S. exchanges other than the Exchange, there can be no assurance that Shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange. In stressed market conditions, the liquidity of Shares may begin to mirror the liquidity of the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which can be significantly less liquid than Shares.
High Dividend Investing Risk. Companies with a high yield or payout ratio may reduce their dividend or stop paying dividends entirely while they are included in the Index. Such events could lower the price or yield of such company’s equity securities. Additionally, equity securities with a high yield or payout ratio may underperform other securities in certain market conditions.
Market Risk. The trading prices of equity securities and other instruments fluctuate in response to a variety of factors. The Fund’s NAV and market price may fluctuate significantly in response to these and other factors. As a result, an investor could lose money over short or long periods of time.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and its sub-adviser would not sell shares of an equity security due to current or projected underperformance of a security, industry, or sector, unless that security is removed from the Index or the selling of shares of that security is otherwise required upon a reconstitution or rebalancing of the Index in accordance with the Index methodology.
Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may trade all or a significant portion of the securities in its portfolio in connection with each rebalance and reconstitution of its Index. A high portfolio turnover rate increases transaction costs, which may increase the Fund’s expenses. Frequent trading may also cause adverse tax consequences for investors in the Fund due to an increase in short-term capital gains.
Tracking Error Risk. As with all index funds, the performance of the Fund and the Index may differ from each other for a variety of reasons. For example, the Fund incurs operating expenses and portfolio transaction costs not incurred by the Index. In addition, the Fund may not be fully invested in the securities of the Index at all times or may hold securities not included in the Index.
Performance
The following performance information indicates some of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart shows the Fund’s performance for calendar years ended December 31. The table illustrates how the Fund’s average annual returns for the 1-year and since inception periods compare with those of a broad measure of market performance and the Index. The Fund’s past performance, before and after taxes, does not necessarily indicate how it will perform in the future. Updated performance information is available on the Fund’s website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
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Calendar Year Total Returns
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During the period of time shown in the bar chart, the Fund’s highest quarterly return was 16.61% for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 and the lowest quarterly return was -33.03% for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.
Average Annual Total Returns
For the Periods Ended December 31, 2020
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF
1 Year
Since Inception
(11/28/17)
Return Before Taxes -6.16% 3.40%
Return After Taxes on Distributions -7.23% 2.42%
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares -3.22% 2.51%
S&P 500 Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
-5.95% 3.72%
S&P 500® Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
18.40% 14.45%
After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates during the period covered by the table above and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold their Shares through tax-deferred arrangements such as an individual retirement account (“IRA”) or other tax-advantaged accounts. In certain cases, the figure representing “Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares” may be higher than the other return figures for the same period. A higher after-tax return results when a capital loss occurs upon redemption and provides an assumed tax deduction that benefits the investor.
Portfolio Management
Adviser
Advisors Asset Management, Inc. (“AAM” or the “Adviser”)
Sub-Adviser
Vident Investment Advisory, LLC (“VIA” or the “Sub-Adviser”)
Portfolio Managers Austin Wen, CFA, Portfolio Manager for VIA, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since November 2017, and Rafael Zayas, CFA, SVP, Head of Portfolio Management and Trading for VIA, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since June 2020.
Purchase and Sale of Shares
Shares are listed on the Exchange, and individual Shares may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through brokers at market prices, rather than NAV. Because Shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, Shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount).
The Fund issues and redeems Shares at NAV only in large blocks known as “Creation Units,” which only APs (typically, broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a portfolio of securities and/or a designated amount of U.S. cash.
Investors may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase Shares (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for Shares (ask) when buying or selling Shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask
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spread”). Recent information about the Fund, including its NAV, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads is available on the Fund’s website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
Tax Information
Fund distributions are generally taxable as ordinary income, qualified dividend income, or capital gains (or a combination), unless your investment is in an IRA or other tax-advantaged account. Distributions on investments made through tax-deferred arrangements may be taxed later upon withdrawal of assets from those accounts.
Financial Intermediary Compensation
If you purchase Shares through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Adviser or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.
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AAM S&P EMERGING MARKETS HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
Investment Objective
The AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of the S&P Emerging Markets Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index (the “Index”).
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy, hold, and sell shares of the Fund (“Shares”). This table and the Example below do not include the brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries that investors may pay on their purchases and sales of Shares.
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees 0.49%
Distribution and/or Service (Rule 12b-1) Fees None
Other Expenses 0.00%
Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses1
0.01%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.50%
1 Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses are the indirect costs of investing in other investment companies. Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses do not reflect Fund expenses paid indirectly and do not correlate to the expense ratios in the Fund’s Financial Highlights because the Financial Highlights include only the direct operating expenses incurred by the Fund and exclude Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses.
Expense Example
This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. The Example does not take into account brokerage commissions that you may pay on your purchases and sales of Shares. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
$51 $160 $280 $628
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 121% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund uses a “passive management” (or indexing) approach to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of the Index.
S&P Emerging Markets Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index
The Index is a rules-based, equal-weighted index that is designed to provide exposure to the constituents of the S&P Emerging Plus LargeMidCap Index that exhibit both high dividend yield and sustainable dividend distribution characteristics, while maintaining diversified sector exposure. The Index was developed in 2017 by S&P Dow Jones Indices, a division of S&P Global. The S&P Emerging Plus LargeMidCap Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization securities in emerging markets. The S&P Emerging Plus LargeMidCap Index includes equity securities that are listed in Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates (collectively, the “Emerging Markets”).
Construction of the Index begins with the universe of equity securities that are included in the S&P Emerging Plus LargeMidCap Index, have a minimum float-adjusted market capitalization of US$300 million, and have a median daily traded value of at least US$1 million. For each equity security in the S&P Emerging Plus LargeMidCap Index, the security’s dividend yield and free-cash-flow yield (i.e., a company’s cash flow from operations less capital expenditures divided by its market capitalization) are then adjusted to account for outliers. If a security’s dividend yield or free-cash-flow yield is in the top or bottom 2.5% of the S&P Emerging Plus LargeMidCap Index, the dividend yield or free-cash-flow yield, as applicable, for such security is replaced with the dividend yield or
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free-cash-flow yield of the security nearest to such top or bottom 2.5% threshold. The universe is then screened to keep only equity securities with a positive realized dividend yield (i.e., yield based on the total dividends paid for the most recent 12-month period) and free-cash-flow yield. The remaining securities are referred to as the “Selection Pool”.
For each security in the Selection Pool, the security’s dividend yield and free-cash-flow yield are then scored using a statistical normalization model (i.e., a tool to compare how close each yield is to the average yield for the Selection Pool) to assign a dividend yield score and free-cash-flow yield score from zero to one for each company. The equity securities in the Selection Pool are then ranked by the product of their dividend yield score and free-cash-flow yield score, and the top five scoring securities are selected from each sector (collectively, the “Index Constituents”). The Index uses Standard & Poor’s Global Industry Classification Standards to define companies within one of the following sectors: consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financials, health care, industrials, information technology, materials, real estate, communication services, and utilities. Fewer than five securities may be selected if there are fewer than five securities in the Selection Pool for a given sector.
The Index is reconstituted (i.e., Index Constituents are added or deleted and weights are reset to equal-weight) semi-annually after the close of the last business day in January and July. At the time of each reconstitution of the Index, Index Constituents are added or deleted based on company data as of the last business day of December and June, respectively, and the Index Constituents are equally-weighted based on closing prices as of five business days prior to the last business day of the reconstitution month. If an Index Constituent is removed from the S&P Emerging Plus LargeMidCap Index, such security will simultaneously be removed from the Index. Additions to the Index Constituents only take place during the semi-annual reconstitutions. If multiple share classes of a single company qualify for inclusion in the Index, only the share class with the highest liquidity, measured by median daily value traded, is selected. As of December 31, 2020, the Index included significant exposure to companies in China, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The Fund’s Investment Strategy
The Fund will generally use a “replication” strategy to achieve its investment objective, meaning the Fund generally will invest in all of the component securities of the Index in approximately the same proportion as in the Index. However, the Fund may use a “representative sampling” strategy, meaning it may invest in a sample of the securities in the Index whose risk, return, and other characteristics closely resemble the risk, return, and other characteristics of the Index as a whole, when the Fund’s sub-adviser believes it is in the best interests of the Fund (e.g., when replicating the Index involves practical difficulties or substantial costs, an Index constituent becomes temporarily illiquid, unavailable, or less liquid, or as a result of legal restrictions or limitations that apply to the Fund but not to the Index).
The Fund generally may invest in securities or other investments not included in the Index, but which the Fund’s sub-adviser believes will help the Fund track the Index. For example, the Fund may invest in securities that are not components of the Index to reflect various corporate actions and other changes to the Index (such as reconstitutions, additions, and deletions).
To the extent the Index concentrates (i.e., holds more than 25% of its total assets) in the securities of a particular industry or group of related industries, the Fund will concentrate its investments to approximately the same extent as the Index.
Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the Fund’s net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, will be invested in equity securities that (i) are tied economically to Emerging Markets countries and (ii) have had a positive realized annual dividend yield within the past year.
Principal Investment Risks
The principal risks of investing in the Fund are summarized below. The principal risks are presented in alphabetical order to facilitate finding particular risks and comparing them with other funds. Each risk summarized below is considered a “principal risk” of investing in the Fund, regardless of the order in which it appears. As with any investment, there is a risk that you could lose all or a portion of your investment in the Fund. Some or all of these risks may adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and/or ability to meet its objectives. For more information about the risks of investing in the Fund, see the section in the Fund’s Prospectus titled “Additional Information About the Funds.”
Capital Controls and Sanctions Risk. Economic conditions, such as volatile currency exchange rates and interest rates, political events, military action and other conditions may, without prior warning, lead to foreign government intervention (including intervention by the U.S. government with respect to foreign governments, economic sectors, foreign companies and related securities and interests) and the imposition of capital controls and/or sanctions, which may also include retaliatory actions of one government against another government, such as seizure of assets. Capital controls and/or sanctions include the prohibition of, or restrictions on, the ability to transfer currency, securities or other assets. Capital controls and/or sanctions may also impact the ability of the Fund to buy, sell or otherwise transfer securities or currency, negatively impact the value and/or liquidity of such instruments, adversely affect the trading market and price for Shares, and cause the Fund to decline in value.
Concentration Risk. The Fund’s investments will be concentrated in an industry or group of industries to the extent that the Index is so concentrated. In such event, the value of the Shares may rise and fall more than the value of shares of a fund that invests in securities of companies in a broader range of industries.
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Currency Exchange Rate Risk. The Fund invests primarily in investments denominated in non-U.S. currencies or in securities that provide exposure to such currencies. Changes in currency exchange rates and the relative value of non-U.S. currencies will affect the value of the Fund’s investment and the value of your Shares. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. As a result, the value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning and you may lose money.
Depositary Receipt Risk. Depositary Receipts involve risks similar to those associated with investments in foreign securities, such as changes in political or economic conditions of other countries and changes in the exchange rates of foreign currencies. Depositary Receipts listed on U.S. exchanges are issued by banks or trust companies and entitle the holder to all dividends and capital gains that are paid out on the underlying foreign shares (“Underlying Shares”). When the Fund invests in Depositary Receipts as a substitute for an investment directly in the Underlying Shares, the Fund is exposed to the risk that the Depositary Receipts may not provide a return that corresponds precisely with that of the Underlying Shares.
Emerging Markets Risk. The Fund invests primarily in companies organized in emerging market nations. Investments in securities and instruments traded in developing or emerging markets, or that provide exposure to such securities or markets, can involve additional risks relating to political, economic, or regulatory conditions not associated with investments in U.S. securities and instruments or investments in more developed international markets. Such conditions may impact the ability of the Fund to buy, sell or otherwise transfer securities, adversely affect the trading market and price for Shares and cause the Fund to decline in value. Less information may be available about companies in emerging markets than in developed markets because such emerging markets companies may not be subject to accounting, auditing, and financial reporting standards or to other regulatory practices required by U.S. companies. Additionally, limitations on the availability of financial and business information about companies in emerging markets may affect the Index Provider’s ability to accurately determine the companies that meet the Index’s criteria.
Equity Market Risk. The equity securities held in the Fund’s portfolio may experience sudden, unpredictable drops in value or long periods of decline in value. This may occur because of factors that affect securities markets generally or factors affecting specific issuers, industries, or sectors in which the Fund invests. Common stocks are generally exposed to greater risk than other types of securities, such as preferred stock and debt obligations, because common stockholders generally have inferior rights to receive payment from issuers. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. For example, the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, has had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused prolonged disruptions to the normal business operations of companies around the world and the impact of such disruptions is hard to predict. Such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. Such events could adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets.
ETF Risks. The Fund is an ETF, and, as a result of an ETF’s structure, it is exposed to the following risks:
Authorized Participants, Market Makers, and Liquidity Providers Concentration Risk. The Fund has a limited number of financial institutions that may act as Authorized Participants (“APs”). In addition, there may be a limited number of market makers and/or liquidity providers in the marketplace. To the extent either of the following events occur, Shares may trade at a material discount to NAV and possibly face delisting: (i) APs exit the business or otherwise become unable to process creation and/or redemption orders and no other APs step forward to perform these services, or (ii) market makers and/or liquidity providers exit the business or significantly reduce their business activities and no other entities step forward to perform their functions.
Costs of Buying or Selling Shares. Due to the costs of buying or selling Shares, including brokerage commissions imposed by brokers and bid-ask spreads, frequent trading of Shares may significantly reduce investment results and an investment in Shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.
Shares May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. As with all ETFs, Shares may be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. Although it is expected that the market price of Shares will approximate the Fund’s NAV, there may be times when the market price of Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount) due to supply and demand of Shares or during periods of market volatility. This risk is heightened in times of market volatility, periods of steep market declines, and periods when there is limited trading activity for Shares in the secondary market, in which case such premiums or discounts may be significant. Because securities held by the Fund trade on foreign exchanges that are closed when the Fund’s primary listing exchange is open, the Fund is likely to experience premiums and discounts greater than those of domestic ETFs.
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Trading. Although Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”) and may be traded on U.S. exchanges other than the Exchange, there can be no assurance that Shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange. In stressed market conditions, the liquidity of Shares may begin to mirror the liquidity of the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which can be significantly less liquid than Shares.
Foreign Securities Risk. Investments in non-U.S. securities involve certain risks that may not be present with investments in U.S. securities. For example, investments in non-U.S. securities may be subject to risk of loss due to foreign currency fluctuations or to political or economic instability. Investments in non-U.S. securities also may be subject to withholding or other taxes and may be subject to additional trading, settlement, custodial, and operational risks. These and other factors can make investments in the Fund more volatile and potentially less liquid than other types of investments.
Geographic Investment Risk. To the extent the Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in the securities of companies of a single country or region, it is more likely to be impacted by events or conditions affecting that country or region.
Risks of Investing in China: Investments in Chinese issuers subject the Fund to risks specific to China. China may be subject to considerable degrees of economic, political and social instability. China is a developing market and demonstrates significantly higher volatility from time to time in comparison to developed markets. Over the past 25 years, the Chinese government has undertaken reform of economic and market practices and is expanding the sphere of private ownership of property in China. However, Chinese markets generally continue to experience inefficiency, volatility and pricing anomalies resulting from governmental influence, a lack of publicly available information and/or political and social instability. Internal social unrest or confrontations with other neighboring countries, including military conflicts in response to such events, may also disrupt economic development in China and result in a greater risk of currency fluctuations, currency convertibility, interest rate fluctuations and higher rates of inflation. Export growth continues to be a major driver of China’s rapid economic growth. Reduction in spending on Chinese products and services, institution of tariffs or other trade barriers, or a downturn in any of the economies of China’s key trading partners may have an adverse impact on the Chinese economy. 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.
Risks of Investing in South Korea: Investments in South Korean issuers may subject the Fund to legal, regulatory, political, currency, security, and economic risks that are specific to South Korea. In addition, economic and political developments of South Korea’s neighbors may have an adverse effect on the South Korean economy.
Risks of Investing in Taiwan: Investments in Taiwanese issuers may subject the Fund to risks. Taiwan is a small island state with few raw material resources and limited land area and is reliant on imports for its commodity needs. Any fluctuations or shortages in the commodity markets could have a negative impact on the Taiwanese economy. Also, continued labor outsourcing may adversely affect the Taiwanese economy. Taiwan’s economy is intricately linked with economies of Asian countries that have experienced over-extensions of credit, frequent and pronounced currency fluctuations, currency devaluations, currency repatriation, rising unemployment and fluctuations in inflation. The Taiwanese economy is dependent on the economies of Japan and China, as well as the United States, and negative changes in their economies or a reduction in purchases by any of them of Taiwanese products and services would likely have an adverse impact on the Taiwanese economy. Taiwan’s geographic proximity to China and Taiwan’s history of political contention with China have resulted in ongoing tensions with China, including the risk of war with China. These tensions may materially affect the Taiwanese economy and securities markets.
Geopolitical Risk. Some countries and regions in which the Fund invests have experienced security concerns, war or threats of war and aggression, terrorism, economic uncertainty, natural and environmental disasters and/or systemic market dislocations that have led, and in the future may lead, to increased short-term market volatility and may have adverse long-term effects on the U.S. and world economies and markets generally, each of which may negatively impact the Fund’s investments.
High Dividend Investing Risk. Companies with a high yield or payout ratio may reduce their dividend or stop paying dividends entirely while they are included in the Index. Such events could lower the price or yield of such company’s equity securities. Additionally, equity securities with a high yield or payout ratio may underperform other securities in certain market conditions.
Market Risk. The trading prices of equity securities and other instruments fluctuate in response to a variety of factors. The Fund’s NAV and market price may fluctuate significantly in response to these and other factors. As a result, an investor could lose money over short or long periods of time.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and its sub-adviser would not sell shares of an equity security due to current or projected underperformance of a security, industry, or sector, unless that security is removed from the Index or the selling of shares of that security is otherwise required upon a reconstitution or rebalancing of the Index in accordance with the Index methodology.
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Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may trade all or a significant portion of the securities in its portfolio in connection with each rebalance and reconstitution of its Index. A high portfolio turnover rate increases transaction costs, which may increase the Fund’s expenses. Frequent trading may also cause adverse tax consequences for investors in the Fund due to an increase in short-term capital gains.
Smaller Companies Risk. The equity securities of smaller companies have historically been subject to greater investment risk than securities of larger companies. The prices of equity securities of smaller companies tend to be more volatile and less liquid than the prices of equity securities of larger companies.
Tracking Error Risk. As with all index funds, the performance of the Fund and the Index may differ from each other for a variety of reasons. For example, the Fund incurs operating expenses and portfolio transaction costs not incurred by the Index. In addition, the Fund may not be fully invested in the securities of the Index at all times or may hold securities not included in the Index.
Performance
The following performance information indicates some of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart shows the Fund’s performance for calendar years ended December 31. The table illustrates how the Fund’s average annual returns for the 1-year and since inception periods compare with those of a broad measure of market performance and the Index. The Fund’s past performance, before and after taxes, does not necessarily indicate how it will perform in the future. Updated performance information is available on the Fund’s website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
Calendar Year Total Returns
ck0001540305-20201031_g3.jpg
During the period of time shown in the bar chart, the Fund’s highest quarterly return was 25.51% for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 and the lowest quarterly return was -30.76% for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.
Average Annual Total Returns
For the Periods Ended December 31, 2020
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF
1 Year
Since Inception
(11/28/17)
Return Before Taxes -0.06% 0.17%
Return After Taxes on Distributions -0.75% -0.69%
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares 0.84% 0.34%
S&P Emerging Markets Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
0.15% 0.81%
S&P Emerging Plus LargeMidCap® Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
18.62% 6.83%
After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates during the period covered by the table above and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold their Shares through tax-deferred arrangements such as an individual retirement account (“IRA”) or other tax-advantaged accounts. In certain cases, the figure representing “Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares” may be higher than the other return figures for the same period. A higher after-tax return results when a capital loss occurs upon redemption and provides an assumed tax deduction that benefits the investor.
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Portfolio Management
Adviser
Advisors Asset Management, Inc. (“AAM” or the “Adviser”)
Sub-Adviser
Vident Investment Advisory, LLC (“VIA” or the “Sub-Adviser”)
Portfolio Managers Austin Wen, CFA, Portfolio Manager for VIA, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since November 2017, and Rafael Zayas, CFA, SVP, Head of Portfolio Management and Trading for VIA, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since June 2020.
Purchase and Sale of Shares
Shares are listed on the Exchange, and individual Shares may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through brokers at market prices, rather than NAV. Because Shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, Shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount).
The Fund issues and redeems Shares at NAV only in large blocks known as “Creation Units,” which only APs (typically, broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a portfolio of securities and/or a designated amount of U.S. cash.
Investors may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase Shares (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for Shares (ask) when buying or selling Shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”). Recent information about the Fund, including its NAV, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads is available on the Fund’s website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
Tax Information
Fund distributions are generally taxable as ordinary income, qualified dividend income, or capital gains (or a combination), unless your investment is in an IRA or other tax-advantaged account. Distributions on investments made through tax-deferred arrangements may be taxed later upon withdrawal of assets from those accounts.
Financial Intermediary Compensation
If you purchase Shares through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Adviser or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.
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AAM S&P DEVELOPED MARKETS HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
Investment Objective
The AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of the S&P Developed Ex-U.S. Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index (the “Index”).
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy, hold, and sell shares of the Fund (“Shares”). This table and the Example below do not include the brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries that investors may pay on their purchases and sales of Shares.
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees 0.39%
Distribution and/or Service (Rule 12b-1) Fees None
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.39%
Expense Example
This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. The Example does not take into account brokerage commissions that you may pay on your purchases and sales of Shares. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
$40 $125 $219 $493
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. For the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 106% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund uses a “passive management” (or indexing) approach to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of the Index.
S&P Developed Ex-U.S. Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index
The Index is a rules-based, equal-weighted index that is designed to provide exposure to the constituents of the S&P Developed BMI Ex-U.S. & Korea LargeMidCap Index (the “BMI Index”) that exhibit both high dividend yield and sustainable dividend distribution characteristics, while maintaining diversified sector exposure. The Index was developed in 2018 by S&P Dow Jones Indices, a division of S&P Global. The BMI Index is a comprehensive benchmark including stocks from developed markets excluding the United States and Korea. The BMI Index includes equity securities that are listed in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (collectively, the “Developed ex-U.S. & Korea Markets”).
Construction of the Index begins with the universe of equity securities that are included in the BMI Index, have a minimum float-adjusted market capitalization of US$1 billion, and have a median daily traded value of at least US$5 million. For each equity security in the BMI Index, the security’s dividend yield and free-cash-flow yield (i.e., a company’s cash flow from operations less capital expenditures divided by its market capitalization) are then adjusted to account for outliers. If a security’s dividend yield or free-cash-flow yield is in the top or bottom 2.5% of the BMI Index, the dividend yield or free-cash-flow yield, as applicable, for such security is replaced with the dividend yield or free-cash-flow yield of the security nearest to such top or bottom 2.5% threshold. The universe is then screened to keep only equity securities with a positive realized dividend yield (i.e., yield based on the total dividends paid for the most recent 12-month period) and free-cash-flow yield. These remaining securities are referred to as the “Selection Pool”.
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For each security in the Selection Pool, the security’s dividend yield and free-cash-flow yield are then scored using a statistical normalization model (i.e., a tool to compare how close each yield is to the average yield for the Selection Pool) to assign a dividend yield score and free-cash-flow yield score from zero to one for each company. The equity securities in the Selection Pool are then ranked by the product of their dividend yield score and free-cash-flow yield score, and the top five scoring securities are selected from each of the eleven sectors for a total of 55 securities (collectively, the “Index Constituents”). The Index uses Standard & Poor’s Global Industry Classification Standards to define companies within one of the following sectors: communication services, consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financials, health care, industrials, information technology, materials, real estate, and utilities. Fewer than five securities may be selected if there are fewer than five securities in the Selection Pool for a given sector. At the time of each reconstitution of the Index, up to 25% of the Index’s weight (i.e., 13 stocks) may be from any individual country.
The Index is reconstituted (i.e., Index Constituents are added or deleted and weights are reset to equal-weight) semi-annually after the close of the third business day in January and July. At the time of each reconstitution of the Index, Index Constituents are added or deleted based on company data as of the last business day of December and June, respectively, and the Index Constituents are equally-weighted based on closing prices as of five business days prior to the last business day of the reconstitution month. If an Index Constituent is removed from the BMI Index, such security will simultaneously be removed from the Index. Additions to the Index Constituents only take place during the semi-annual reconstitutions. If multiple share classes of a single company qualify for inclusion in the Index, only the share class with the highest liquidity, measured by median daily value traded, is selected. As of December 31, 2020, the Index included significant exposure to companies in the United Kingdom and Japan.
The Fund’s Investment Strategy
The Fund will generally use a “replication” strategy to achieve its investment objective, meaning the Fund generally will invest in all of the component securities of the Index in approximately the same proportions as in the Index. However, the Fund may use a “representative sampling” strategy, meaning it may invest in a sample of the securities in the Index whose risk, return, and other characteristics closely resemble the risk, return, and other characteristics of the Index as a whole, when the Fund’s sub-adviser believes it is in the best interests of the Fund (e.g., when replicating the Index involves practical difficulties or substantial costs, an Index constituent becomes temporarily illiquid, unavailable, or less liquid, or as a result of legal restrictions or limitations that apply to the Fund but not to the Index).
The Fund generally may invest in securities or other investments not included in the Index, but which the Fund’s sub-adviser believes will help the Fund track the Index. For example, the Fund may invest in securities that are not components of the Index to reflect various corporate actions and other changes to the Index (such as reconstitutions, additions, and deletions).
To the extent the Index concentrates (i.e., holds more than 25% of its total assets) in the securities of a particular industry or group of related industries, the Fund will concentrate its investments to approximately the same extent as the Index.
Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the Fund’s net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, will be invested in equity securities that (i) are tied economically to Emerging Markets countries and (ii) have had a positive realized annual dividend yield within the past year.
Principal Investment Risks
The principal risks of investing in the Fund are summarized below. The principal risks are presented in alphabetical order to facilitate finding particular risks and comparing them with other funds. Each risk summarized below is considered a “principal risk” of investing in the Fund, regardless of the order in which it appears. As with any investment, there is a risk that you could lose all or a portion of your investment in the Fund. Some or all of these risks may adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and/or ability to meet its objectives. For more information about the risks of investing in the Fund, see the section in the Fund’s Prospectus titled “Additional Information About the Funds.”
Concentration Risk. The Fund’s investments will be concentrated in an industry or group of industries to the extent that the Index is so concentrated. In such event, the value of the Shares may rise and fall more than the value of shares of a fund that invests in securities of companies in a broader range of industries.
Currency Exchange Rate Risk. The Fund invests primarily in investments denominated in non-U.S. currencies or in securities that provide exposure to such currencies. Changes in currency exchange rates and the relative value of non-U.S. currencies will affect the value of the Fund’s investment and the value of your Shares. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. As a result, the value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning and you may lose money.
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Depositary Receipt Risk. Depositary Receipts involve risks similar to those associated with investments in foreign securities, such as changes in political or economic conditions of other countries and changes in the exchange rates of foreign currencies. Depositary Receipts listed on U.S. exchanges are issued by banks or trust companies and entitle the holder to all dividends and capital gains that are paid out on the underlying foreign shares (“Underlying Shares”). When the Fund invests in Depositary Receipts as a substitute for an investment directly in the Underlying Shares, the Fund is exposed to the risk that the Depositary Receipts may not provide a return that corresponds precisely with that of the Underlying Shares.
Equity Market Risk. The equity securities held in the Fund’s portfolio may experience sudden, unpredictable drops in value or long periods of decline in value. This may occur because of factors that affect securities markets generally or factors affecting specific issuers, industries, or sectors in which the Fund invests. Common stocks are generally exposed to greater risk than other types of securities, such as preferred stock and debt obligations, because common stockholders generally have inferior rights to receive payment from issuers. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. For example, the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, has had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused prolonged disruptions to the normal business operations of companies around the world and the impact of such disruptions is hard to predict. Such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. Such events could adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets.
ETF Risks. The Fund is an ETF, and, as a result of an ETF’s structure, it is exposed to the following risks:
Authorized Participants, Market Makers, and Liquidity Providers Concentration Risk. The Fund has a limited number of financial institutions that may act as Authorized Participants (“APs”). In addition, there may be a limited number of market makers and/or liquidity providers in the marketplace. To the extent either of the following events occur, Shares may trade at a material discount to NAV and possibly face delisting: (i) APs exit the business or otherwise become unable to process creation and/or redemption orders and no other APs step forward to perform these services, or (ii) market makers and/or liquidity providers exit the business or significantly reduce their business activities and no other entities step forward to perform their functions.
Costs of Buying or Selling Shares. Due to the costs of buying or selling Shares, including brokerage commissions imposed by brokers and bid-ask spreads, frequent trading of Shares may significantly reduce investment results and an investment in Shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.
Shares May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. As with all ETFs, Shares may be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. Although it is expected that the market price of Shares will approximate the Fund’s NAV, there may be times when the market price of Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount) due to supply and demand of Shares or during periods of market volatility. This risk is heightened in times of market volatility, periods of steep market declines, and periods when there is limited trading activity for Shares in the secondary market, in which case such premiums or discounts may be significant. Because securities held by the Fund trade on foreign exchanges that are closed when the Fund’s primary listing exchange is open, the Fund is likely to experience premiums and discounts greater than those of domestic ETFs.
Trading. Although Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”) and may be traded on U.S. exchanges other than the Exchange, there can be no assurance that Shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange. In stressed market conditions, the liquidity of Shares may begin to mirror the liquidity of the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which can be significantly less liquid than Shares.
Foreign Securities Risk. Investments in non-U.S. securities involve certain risks that may not be present with investments in U.S. securities. For example, investments in non-U.S. securities may be subject to risk of loss due to foreign currency fluctuations or to political or economic instability. Investments in non-U.S. securities also may be subject to withholding or other taxes and may be subject to additional trading, settlement, custodial, and operational risks. These and other factors can make investments in the Fund more volatile and potentially less liquid than other types of investments.
Geographic Investment Risk. To the extent the Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in the securities of companies of a single country or region, it is more likely to be impacted by events or conditions affecting that country or region.
Risks Related to Investing in Europe: The economies and markets of European countries are often closely connected and interdependent, and events in one country in Europe can have an adverse impact on other European countries. The Fund makes investments in securities of issuers that are domiciled in, or have significant operations in, member countries of the European Union (“EU”) that are subject to economic and monetary controls that can adversely affect the Fund’s investments. The European financial markets have experienced volatility and adverse trends in recent years and these events have
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adversely affected the exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect other European countries. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro, the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member country may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member countries and their trading partners, including some or all of the European countries in which the Fund invests.
The UK formally exited from the EU on January 31, 2020 (known as “Brexit”), and effective December 31, 2020, the UK ended a transition period during which it continued to abide by the EU’s rules and the UK’s trade relationships with the EU were generally unchanged. Following this transition period, the impact on the UK and European economies and the broader global economy could be significant, resulting in negative impacts, such as increased volatility and illiquidity, and potentially lower economic growth of markets in the UK, Europe and globally, which may adversely affect the value of a Fund’s investments.
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.
High Dividend Investing Risk. Companies with a high yield or payout ratio may reduce their dividend or stop paying dividends entirely while they are included in the Index. Such events could lower the price or yield of such company’s equity securities. Additionally, equity securities with a high yield or payout ratio may underperform other securities in certain market conditions.
Market Capitalization Risk. The securities of large-capitalization companies may be relatively mature compared to smaller companies and therefore subject to slower growth during times of economic expansion. The securities of mid-capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse issuer, market, political, or economic developments than securities of large-capitalization companies. The securities of mid-capitalization companies generally trade in lower volumes and are subject to greater and more unpredictable price changes than large capitalization stocks or the stock market as a whole.
Market Risk. The trading prices of equity securities and other instruments fluctuate in response to a variety of factors. The Fund’s NAV and market price may fluctuate significantly in response to these and other factors. As a result, an investor could lose money over short or long periods of time.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and its sub-adviser would not sell shares of an equity security due to current or projected underperformance of a security, industry, or sector, unless that security is removed from the Index or the selling of shares of that security is otherwise required upon a reconstitution or rebalancing of the Index in accordance with the Index methodology.
Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may trade all or a significant portion of the securities in its portfolio in connection with each rebalance and reconstitution of its Index. A high portfolio turnover rate increases transaction costs, which may increase the Fund’s expenses. Frequent trading may also cause adverse tax consequences for investors in the Fund due to an increase in short-term capital gains.
Tracking Error Risk. As with all index funds, the performance of the Fund and the Index may differ from each other for a variety of reasons. For example, the Fund incurs operating expenses and portfolio transaction costs not incurred by the Index. In addition, the Fund may not be fully invested in the securities of the Index at all times or may hold securities not included in the Index.
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Performance
The following performance information indicates some of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart shows the Fund’s performance for calendar years ended December 31. The table illustrates how the Fund’s average annual returns for the 1-year and since inception periods compare with those of a broad measure of market performance and the Index. The Fund’s past performance, before and after taxes, does not necessarily indicate how it will perform in the future. Updated performance information is available on the Fund’s website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
Calendar Year Total Returns
ck0001540305-20201031_g4.jpg
During the period of time shown in the bar chart, the Fund’s highest quarterly return was 16.08% for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 and the lowest quarterly return was -33.11% for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.
Average Annual Total Returns
For the Periods Ended December 31, 2020
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF
1 Year
Since Inception
(11/27/18)
Return Before Taxes -11.55% -0.49%
Return After Taxes on Distributions -11.97% -1.30%
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares -6.13% -0.08%
S&P Developed Ex-U.S. Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
-11.33% -0.03%
S&P Developed BMI Ex-U.S. & Korea LargeMidcap Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
8.33% 11.91%
After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates during the period covered by the table above and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold their Shares through tax-deferred arrangements such as an individual retirement account (“IRA”) or other tax-advantaged accounts. In certain cases, the figure representing “Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares” may be higher than the other return figures for the same period. A higher after-tax return results when a capital loss occurs upon redemption and provides an assumed tax deduction that benefits the investor.
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Portfolio Management
Adviser
Advisors Asset Management, Inc. (“AAM” or the “Adviser”)
Sub-Adviser
Vident Investment Advisory, LLC (“VIA” or the “Sub-Adviser”)
Portfolio Managers Austin Wen, CFA, Portfolio Manager for VIA, and Rafael Zayas, CFA, SVP, Head of Portfolio Management and Trading for VIA, have been portfolio managers of the Fund since June 2020.
Purchase and Sale of Shares
Shares are listed on the Exchange, and individual Shares may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through brokers at market prices, rather than NAV. Because Shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, Shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount).
The Fund issues and redeems Shares at NAV only in large blocks known as “Creation Units,” which only APs (typically, broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a portfolio of securities and/or a designated amount of U.S. cash.
Investors may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase Shares (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for Shares (ask) when buying or selling Shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”). Recent information about the Fund, including its NAV, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads is available on the Fund’s website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
Tax Information
Fund distributions are generally taxable as ordinary income, qualified dividend income, or capital gains (or a combination), unless your investment is in an IRA or other tax-advantaged account. Distributions on investments made through tax-deferred arrangements may be taxed later upon withdrawal of assets from those accounts.
Financial Intermediary Compensation
If you purchase Shares through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Adviser or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.
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AAM LOW DURATION PREFERRED AND INCOME SECURITIES ETF
Investment Objective
The AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of the ICE 0-5 Year Duration Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index (the “Index”).
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund (“Shares”). This table and the Example below do not include the brokerage commissions that investors may pay on their purchases and sales of Shares.
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees 0.45%
Distribution and/or Service (Rule 12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses
0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.45%
Expense Example
This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
$46 $144 $252 $567
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. For the fiscal period November 19, 2019 (commencement of operations) through October 31, 2020, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 202% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund uses a “passive management” (or indexing) approach to track the total return performance, before fees and expenses, of the Index.
ICE 0-5 Year Duration Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index
The Index measures the performance of exchange-listed, U.S. dollar-denominated preferred securities and hybrid securities listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) or NASDAQ Capital Market (“NASDAQ”) with an option-adjusted duration of less than five years. The Index was developed by ICE Data Indices, LLC (“IDI”), the Fund’s index provider (the “Index Provider”) and an affiliate of the NYSE.
Duration is a measure of a security’s price sensitivity to changes in yields or interest rates and a lower duration indicates less sensitivity to interest rates. For example, the price of a security with a three-year duration would be expected to drop by approximately 3% in response to a 1% increase in interest rates. A security’s “option-adjusted duration” is a measure of its sensitivity to changes in interest rates, while factoring in the call features associated with such security.
Preferred stock generally refers to a unit of ownership in a company (like common stock) that has preference over common stock in the payment of dividends and in the event of a company’s liquidation. Unlike common stocks, preferred stocks are generally not entitled to vote on corporate matters. Preferred stock in the Index includes U.S.-listed preferred stock and American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) representing preferred stock issued by non-U.S. companies.
“Hybrid” securities are those that have characteristics of both equity and fixed income securities. Hybrid securities typically have preference over an issuer’s common stock with respect to the payment of dividends and in the event of a company’s liquidation and are issued and traded in a similar manner to traditional preferred stock. Holders of hybrid securities may be eligible to receive fixed, periodic payments from the issuer of a hybrid security, although the issuer may have the right to defer such payments or extend the
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hybrid security’s maturity date. Preferred stocks and hybrid securities generally are issued with a fixed par value and pay dividends based on a percentage of that par value at a fixed or variable rate.
Additionally, preferred stocks and hybrid securities often have a liquidation value that generally equals the original purchase price of such security at the date of issuance. The Index may include many different categories of preferred stock and hybrid securities, such as floating and fixed rate preferreds, fixed-to-floating rate securities, callable preferreds, convertible preferreds, cumulative and non-cumulative preferreds, certain capital securities, preferred REITs or hybrid REITs, trust preferreds or various other preferred stock and hybrid securities. The Index may include preferred and hybrid securities of any quality, including high-yield securities (also known as junk bonds), and securities that are not rated by any rating agencies. The Index uses a market capitalization weighted methodology subject to certain constraints and is rebalanced monthly.
At the time of each monthly rebalance and reconstitution of the Index, the Index includes issuances of preferred stocks and notes with at least $100 million face amount outstanding and hybrid securities with at least $250 million face amount outstanding that meet minimum price, liquidity, trading volume, maturity, and other requirements, as applicable, as determined by the Index methodology. To be eligible for inclusion in the Index, corporate hybrid debt must have at least 18 months to final maturity at the time of issuance. Additionally, to qualify for inclusion in the Index a security must be priced at no more than 105% of its face value. Once included in the Index, a security remains eligible for inclusion so long as its option-adjusted duration is less than six years.
The Index may include large-, mid- or small-capitalization companies and includes preferred stocks of non-U.S. issuers. As of December 31, 2020, a significant portion of the Index was represented by securities of companies in the banking, real estate, and financials sectors. Also as of December 31, 2020, the Index was comprised of 170 components and had an effective duration of 0.7 years.
The Index uses a market capitalization weighted methodology subject to certain constraints, including a maximum allocation of 4.75% to any individual issuer. The Index is rebalanced on the last calendar day of each month, based on closing prices as of three business days prior to the last business day of the month.
The Fund’s Investment Strategy
The Fund will generally use a “replication” strategy to achieve its investment objective, meaning the Fund generally will invest in all of the component securities of the Index in approximately the same proportion as in the Index. However, the Fund may use a “representative sampling” strategy, meaning it may invest in a sample of the securities in the Index whose risk, return and other characteristics closely resemble the risk, return and other characteristics of the Index as a whole, when the Fund’s sub-adviser believes it is in the best interests of the Fund (e.g., when replicating the Index involves practical difficulties or substantial costs, an Index constituent becomes temporarily illiquid, unavailable or less liquid, or as a result of legal restrictions or limitations that apply to the Fund but not to the Index).
The Fund generally may invest in securities or other investments not included in the Index, but which the Fund’s sub-adviser believes will help the Fund track the Index. For example, the Fund may invest in securities that are not components of the Index to reflect various corporate actions and other changes to the Index (such as reconstitutions, additions and deletions).
To the extent the Index concentrates (i.e., holds more than 25% of its total assets) in the securities of a particular industry or group of related industries, the Fund will concentrate its investments to approximately the same extent as the Index.
Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the Fund’s net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, will be invested in preferred and income securities.
Principal Investment Risks
The principal risks of investing in the Fund are summarized below. The principal risks are presented in alphabetical order to facilitate finding particular risks and comparing them with other funds. Each risk summarized below is considered a “principal risk” of investing in the Fund, regardless of the order in which it appears. As with any investment, there is a risk that you could lose all or a portion of your investment in the Fund. Some or all of these risks may adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and/or ability to meet its objectives. For more information about the risks of investing in the Fund, see the section in the Fund’s Prospectus titled “Additional Information About the Funds.”
Call Risk. During periods of falling interest rates, an issuer of a callable security held by the Fund may “call” or repay the security before its stated maturity, and the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds at lower interest rates, resulting in a decline in the Fund's income.
Cash Redemption Risk. The Fund’s investment strategy may require it to redeem shares for cash or to otherwise include cash as part of its redemption proceeds. The Fund may be required to sell or unwind portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. This may cause the Fund to recognize a capital gain that it might not have recognized if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may pay out higher annual capital gain distributions than if the in-kind redemption process was used.
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Concentration Risk. The Fund’s investments will be concentrated in an industry or group of industries to the extent that the Index is so concentrated. In such event, the value of the Shares may rise and fall more than the value of shares of a fund that invests in securities of companies in a broader range of industries.
Credit Risk. Debt issuers and other counterparties may not honor their obligations or may have their debt downgraded by ratings agencies. Changes in an issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may also adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investment in that issuer.
Depositary Receipt Risk. ADRs involve risks similar to those associated with investments in foreign securities, such as changes in political or economic conditions of other countries and changes in the exchange rates of foreign currencies. ADRs listed on U.S. exchanges are issued by banks or trust companies, and entitle the holder to all dividends and capital gains that are paid out on the underlying foreign shares (“Underlying Shares”). When the Fund invests in ADRs as a substitute for an investment directly in the Underlying Shares, the Fund is exposed to the risk that the ADRs may not provide a return that corresponds precisely with that of the Underlying Shares.
Dividend Risk. There is no guarantee that issuers of the securities held by the Fund will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will either remain at current levels or increase over time.
Equity Market Risk. Equity securities, including preferred stocks, and hybrid securities that have equity characteristics may experience sudden, unpredictable drops in value or long periods of decline in value. This may occur because of factors that affect securities markets generally or factors affecting specific issuers, industries, sectors or companies in which the Fund invests. Preferred stocks and hybrid securities generally are subject to more risks than debt securities because stockholders’ claims are subordinated to those of holders of debt securities upon the bankruptcy of the issuer. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. For example, the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, has had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused prolonged disruptions to the normal business operations of companies around the world and the impact of such disruptions is hard to predict. Such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. Such events could adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets.
Extension Risk. During periods of rising interest rates, certain debt obligations will be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income and potentially in the value of the Fund’s investments.
ETF Risks. The Fund is an ETF, and, as a result of an ETF’s structure, it is exposed to the following risks:
Authorized Participants, Market Makers, and Liquidity Providers Concentration Risk. The Fund has a limited number of financial institutions that may act as Authorized Participants (“APs”). In addition, there may be a limited number of market makers and/or liquidity providers in the marketplace. To the extent either of the following events occur, Shares may trade at a material discount to NAV and possibly face delisting: (i) APs exit the business or otherwise become unable to process creation and/or redemption orders and no other APs step forward to perform these services, or (ii) market makers and/or liquidity providers exit the business or significantly reduce their business activities and no other entities step forward to perform their functions.
Costs of Buying or Selling Shares. Due to the costs of buying or selling Shares, including brokerage commissions imposed by brokers and bid-ask spreads, frequent trading of Shares may significantly reduce investment results and an investment in Shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.
Shares May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. As with all ETFs, Shares may be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. Although it is expected that the market price of Shares will approximate the Fund’s NAV, there may be times when the market price of Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount) due to supply and demand of Shares or during periods of market volatility. This risk is heightened in times of market volatility, periods of steep market declines, and periods when there is limited trading activity for Shares in the secondary market, in which case such premiums or discounts may be significant.
Trading. Although Shares are listed for trading on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”) and may be traded on U.S. exchanges other than the Exchange, there can be no assurance that Shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange. In stressed market conditions, the liquidity of Shares may begin to mirror the liquidity of the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which can be significantly less liquid than Shares.
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Foreign Investment Risk. Because of the Fund’s investment in ADRs representing preferred stock issued by non-U.S. companies, changes in foreign economies and political climates are more likely to affect the Fund than a fund that invests exclusively in U.S. companies. There may be less government supervision of foreign markets, resulting in non-uniform accounting practices and less publicly available information. The value of foreign investments may be affected by changes in exchange control regulations, application of foreign tax laws (including withholding tax), changes in governmental administration or economic or monetary policy (in this country or abroad) or changed circumstances in dealings between nations.
High-Yield Securities Risk. High-yield securities (also known as “junk bonds”) carry a greater degree of risk and are considered speculative by the major credit rating agencies. High-yield securities may be issued by companies that are restructuring, are smaller and less creditworthy, or are more highly indebted than other companies. This means that they may have more difficulty making scheduled payments of principal and interest. Changes in the value of high-yield securities are influenced more by changes in the financial and business position of the issuing company than by changes in interest rates when compared to investment grade securities. High-yield securities have greater volatility because there is less certainty that principal and interest payments will be made as scheduled. The Fund’s investments in high-yield securities expose it to a substantial degree of credit risk. These investments are considered speculative under traditional investment standards. Prices of high-yield securities will rise and fall primarily in response to actual or perceived changes in the issuer's financial health, although changes in market interest rates also will affect prices. High-yield securities may experience reduced liquidity and sudden and substantial decreases in price.
Hybrid Securities Risk. Hybrid securities are subject to the risks of equity securities and debt securities. The claims of holders of hybrid securities of an issuer are generally subordinated to those of holders of traditional debt securities in bankruptcy, and thus hybrid securities may be more volatile and subject to greater risk than traditional debt securities, and may in certain circumstances even be more volatile than traditional equity securities. At the same time, hybrid securities may not fully participate in gains of their issuer and thus potential returns of such securities are generally more limited than traditional equity securities, which would participate in such gains.
Interest Rate Risk. An increase in interest rates may cause the value of fixed-income securities as well as hybrid securities with fixed income characteristics to decline. The Fund may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives.
Issuer-Specific Risk. Issuer-specific events, including changes in the financial condition of an issuer, can have a negative impact on the value of the Fund.
Limited Operating History. The Fund is a recently organized investment company with a limited operating history. As a result, prospective investors have a limited track record or history on which to base their investment decision.
Market Capitalization Risk. The securities of large-capitalization companies may be relatively mature compared to smaller companies and therefore subject to slower growth during times of economic expansion. The securities of mid-capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse issuer, market, political, or economic developments than securities of large-capitalization companies. The securities of small-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.
Market Risk. The trading prices of preferred stocks and hybrid securities and other instruments fluctuate in response to a variety of factors. The Fund’s NAV and market price may fluctuate significantly in response to these and other factors. As a result, an investor could lose money over short or long periods of time.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and its sub-adviser would not sell shares of an equity security due to current or projected underperformance of a security, industry, or sector, unless that security is removed from the Index or the selling of shares of that security is otherwise required upon a reconstitution or rebalancing of the Index in accordance with the Index methodology.
Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may trade all or a significant portion of the securities in its portfolio in connection with each rebalance and reconstitution of its Index. A high portfolio turnover rate increases transaction costs, which may increase the Fund’s expenses. Frequent trading may also cause adverse tax consequences for investors in the Fund due to an increase in short-term capital gains.
Preferred Securities Risk. Preferred stocks are subject to the risks of equity securities generally and also risks associated with fixed-income securities, such as interest rate risk. A company’s preferred stock generally pays dividends only after the company makes required payments to creditors. As a result, the value of a company’s preferred stock will react more strongly than bonds and other debt to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects. Preferred stock may be less liquid than many other types of securities, such as common stock, and generally has limited or no voting rights. In addition, preferred stock is subject to the risks that a company may defer or not pay dividends, and, in certain situations, may call or redeem its preferred stock or convert it to common stock.
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Prepayment Risk. This is the risk that a borrower will prepay some or the entire principal owed to the Fund. If that happens, the Fund may have to replace the security by investing the proceeds in a security with a lower yield. This could reduce the share price and income distributions of the Fund.
Sector Risk. To the extent the Fund invests more heavily in particular sectors of the economy, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors.
Financial Sector Risk. Companies in the financial sector may be significantly affected by changes in interest rates, government regulation, the rate of defaults on corporate, consumer and government debt, the availability and cost of capital, and fallout from the housing and sub-prime mortgage crisis. This sector has experienced significant losses in the recent past, and the impact of more stringent capital requirements and of recent or future regulation on any individual financial company or on the sector as a whole cannot be predicted. In recent years, cyber attacks and technology malfunctions and failures have become increasingly frequent in this sector and have caused significant losses.
Real Estate Sector Risk. Real estate companies, including real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and real estate operating companies, may have limited financial resources, may trade less frequently and in limited volume, and may be more volatile than other securities. The risks of investing in real estate companies include certain risks associated with the direct ownership of real estate and the real estate industry in general. Securities in the real estate sector are subject to the risk that the value of their underlying real estate may go down. Many factors may affect real estate values, including the general and local economies, the amount of new construction in a particular area, the laws and regulations (including zoning and tax laws) affecting real estate, and the costs of owning, maintaining and improving real estate.
Utilities Sector Risk. Utility companies are affected by supply and demand, operating costs, government regulation, environmental factors, liabilities for environmental damage and general civil liabilities, and rate caps or rate changes. Although rate changes of a regulated utility usually fluctuate in approximate correlation with financing costs, due to political and regulatory factors rate changes ordinarily occur only following a delay after the changes in financing costs. This factor will tend to favorably affect a regulated utility company’s earnings and dividends in times of decreasing costs, but conversely, will tend to adversely affect earnings and dividends when costs are rising. The value of regulated utility equity securities may tend to have an inverse relationship to the movement of interest rates. Certain utility companies have experienced full or partial deregulation in recent years. These utility companies are frequently more similar to industrial companies in that they are subject to greater competition and have been permitted by regulators to diversify outside of their original geographic regions and their traditional lines of business. These opportunities may permit certain utility companies to earn more than their traditional regulated rates of return. Some companies, however, may be forced to defend their core business and may be less profitable. In addition, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, government intervention or other factors may render a utility company’s equipment unusable or obsolete and negatively impact profitability.
Tracking Error Risk. As with all index funds, the performance of the Fund and the Index may vary somewhat for a variety of reasons. For example, the Fund incurs operating expenses and portfolio transaction costs not incurred by the Index. In addition, the Fund may not be fully invested in the securities of the Index at all times or may hold securities not included in the Index.
Performance
The following performance information indicates some of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart shows the Fund’s performance for the most recent calendar year ended December 31. The table illustrates how the Fund’s average annual returns for the 1-year and since inception periods compare with those of a broad measure of market performance and the Index. The Fund’s past performance, before and after taxes, does not necessarily indicate how it will perform in the future. Updated performance information is available on the Fund’s website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
Calendar Year Total Returns
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During the period of time shown in the bar chart, the Fund’s highest quarterly return was 10.75% for the quarter ended June 30, 2020 and the lowest quarterly return was -14.62% for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.
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Average Annual Total Returns
For the Periods Ended December 31, 2020
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF

1 Year
Since Inception
(11/19/19)
Return Before Taxes 5.24% 5.69%
Return After Taxes on Distributions 3.63% 3.98%
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares 3.53% 3.85%
ICE 0-5 Year Duration Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
5.84% 6.31%
ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
8.58% 9.30%
After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates during the period covered by the table above and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold their Shares through tax-deferred arrangements such as an individual retirement account (“IRA”) or other tax-advantaged accounts.
Portfolio Management
Adviser
Advisors Asset Management, Inc. (“AAM” or the “Adviser”)
Sub-Adviser
Vident Investment Advisory, LLC (“VIA” or the “Sub-Adviser”)
Portfolio Managers Austin Wen, CFA, Portfolio Manager for VIA, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since November 2017, and Rafael Zayas, CFA, SVP, Head of Portfolio Management and Trading for VIA, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since June 2020.
Purchase and Sale of Shares
Shares are listed on the Exchange, and individual Shares may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through brokers at market prices, rather than NAV. Because Shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, Shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount).
The Fund issues and redeems Shares at NAV only in large blocks known as “Creation Units,” which only APs (typically, broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a portfolio of securities and/or a designated amount of U.S. cash.
Investors may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase Shares (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for Shares (ask) when buying or selling Shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”). Recent information about the Fund, including its NAV, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads is available on the Fund’s website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
Tax Information
Fund distributions are generally taxable as ordinary income, qualified dividend income, or capital gains (or a combination), unless your investment is in an IRA or other tax-advantaged account. Distributions on investments made through tax-deferred arrangements may be taxed later upon withdrawal of assets from those accounts.
Financial Intermediary Compensation
If you purchase Shares through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Adviser or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE INDEXES
S&P 500 Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index, S&P Emerging Markets Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index, and S&P Developed Ex-U.S. Dividend and Free Cash Flow Yield Index (each, an “S&P Index”)
The Adviser has licensed each S&P Index for use by the applicable Fund from S&P Opco, LLC, such Funds’ index provider and a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a division of S&P Global. Each S&P Index is calculated by an independent third-party calculation agent that is not affiliated with the applicable Fund, Adviser, Sub-Adviser, distributor, or any of their affiliates.
ICE 0-5 Year Duration Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index (the “ICE Index”)
The Adviser has licensed the ICE Index from IDI for use by the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF. The ICE Index is calculated by an independent third-party calculation agent that is not affiliated with the applicable Fund, Adviser, Sub-Adviser, distributor, or any of their affiliates. IDI provides information to the Fund about the ICE Index constituents and does not provide investment advice with respect to the desirability of investing in, purchasing, or selling securities.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FUNDS
Investment Objectives
Each Fund’s investment objective has been adopted as a non-fundamental investment policy and may be changed without shareholder approval upon written notice to shareholders.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Funds have adopted the following policies to comply with Rule 35d-1 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”). Such policies have been adopted as non-fundamental investment policies and may be changed without shareholder approval upon 60 days’ written notice to shareholders. With respect to the policies below, the Funds define “equity securities” to mean common and preferred stocks, rights, warrants, depositary receipts, equity interests in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), and master limited partnerships. With respect to the policies below, the Fund defines “preferred and income” to mean preferred stocks (including ADRs representing foreign preferred stocks) and securities that distributed income (e.g., dividends or interest) during the past 12 months.
Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF will be invested in equity securities that (i) are included in the S&P 500 Index and (ii) have had a positive indicated annual dividend yield within the past year.
Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF will be invested in equity securities that (i) are tied economically to Emerging Markets countries and (ii) have had a positive realized annual dividend yield within the past year.
Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF will be invested in equity securities that (i) are traded principally on an exchange in a Developed ex-U.S. & Korea Markets country and (ii) have had a positive realized annual dividend yield within the past year.
Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, of the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF will be invested in preferred and income securities.
Principal Investment Risks
This section provides additional information regarding the principal risks described in each Fund Summary above. As in each Fund Summary, the principal risks below are presented in alphabetical order to facilitate finding particular risks and comparing them with other funds. Each risk described below is considered a “principal risk” of investing in the applicable Fund, regardless of the order in which it appears. Each of the factors below could have a negative impact on the applicable Fund’s performance and trading prices.
Call Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). During periods of falling interest rates, an issuer of a callable bond held by the Fund may “call” or repay the security before its stated maturity, which may result in the Fund having to reinvest the proceeds at lower interest rates, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.
Capital Controls and Sanctions Risk (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF only). Economic conditions, such as volatile currency exchange rates and interest rates, political events, military action and other conditions, may, without prior warning, lead to government intervention (including intervention by the U.S. government with respect to foreign governments, economic sectors, foreign companies and related securities and interests) and the imposition of capital controls and/or sanctions, which may also include retaliatory actions of one government against another government, such as seizure of assets. Capital controls and/or sanctions include the prohibition of, or restrictions on, the ability to transfer currency, securities or other assets. Levies may be placed on profits repatriated by foreign entities (such as the Fund). Capital controls and/or sanctions may
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also impact the ability of the Fund to buy, sell or otherwise transfer securities or currency, negatively impact the value and/or liquidity of such instruments, adversely affect the trading market and price for Shares, and cause the Fund to decline in value.
Cash Redemption Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). When the Fund’s investment strategy requires it to redeem Shares for cash or to otherwise include cash as part of its redemption proceeds, it may be required to sell or unwind portfolio investments in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. This may cause the Fund to recognize a capital gain that it might not have recognized if it had made a redemption in-kind (i.e., distribute securities as payment of redemption proceeds). As a result, the Fund may pay out higher annual capital gain distributions than if the in-kind redemption process was used.
Concentration Risk. Each Fund’s investments will be concentrated in an industry or group of industries to the extent that the Fund’s Index is so concentrated. In such event, the value of the Shares may rise and fall more than the value of shares of a fund that invests in securities of companies in a broader range of industries.
Credit Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). Credit risk is the risk that an issuer or guarantor of debt instruments or the counterparty to a derivatives contract, repurchase agreement or loan of portfolio securities will be unable or unwilling to make its timely interest and/or principal payments or to otherwise honor its obligations. Debt instruments are subject to varying degrees of credit risk, which may be reflected in their credit ratings. There is the chance that the Fund’s portfolio holdings will have their credit ratings downgraded or will default (i.e., fail to make scheduled interest or principal payments), potentially reducing the Fund’s income level or share price.
Currency Exchange Rate Risk (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF and AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF only). Changes in currency exchange rates and the relative value of non-U.S. currencies will affect the value of the Fund’s investments and the value of your Shares. Because the Fund’s NAV is determined on the basis of U.S. dollars, the U.S. dollar value of your investment in the Fund may go down if the value of the local currency of the non-U.S. markets in which the Fund invests depreciates against the U.S. dollar. This is true even if the local currency value of securities in the Fund’s holdings goes up. Conversely, the dollar value of your investment in the Fund may go up if the value of the local currency appreciates against the U.S. dollar. The value of the U.S. dollar measured against other currencies is influenced by a variety of factors. These factors include: national debt levels and trade deficits, changes in balances of payments and trade, domestic and foreign interest and inflation rates, global or regional political, economic or financial events, monetary policies of governments, actual or potential government intervention, and global energy prices. Political instability, the possibility of government intervention and restrictive or opaque business and investment policies may also reduce the value of a country’s currency. Government monetary policies and the buying or selling of currency by a country’s government may also influence exchange rates. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. As a result, the value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning, and you may lose money.
Depositary Receipt Risk (each Fund other than the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF). Each Fund may hold the securities of non-U.S. companies in the form of American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) and Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”). ADRs are negotiable certificates issued by a U.S. financial institution that represent a specified number of shares in a foreign stock and trade on a U.S. national securities exchange, such as the NYSE. Sponsored ADRs are issued with the support of the issuer of the foreign stock underlying the ADRs and carry all of the rights of common shares, including voting rights. GDRs are similar to ADRs but may be issued in bearer form and are typically offered for sale globally and held by a foreign branch of an international bank. The underlying issuers of certain depositary receipts, particularly unsponsored or unregistered depositary receipts, are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities. Issuers of unsponsored depositary receipts are not contractually obligated to disclose material information in the U.S. and, therefore, such information may not correlate to the market value of the unsponsored depositary receipt. The underlying securities of the ADRs and GDRs in a Fund’s portfolio are usually denominated or quoted in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. As a result, changes in foreign currency exchange rates may affect the value of a Fund’s portfolio. In addition, because the underlying securities of ADRs and GDRs trade on foreign exchanges at times when the U.S. markets are not open for trading, the value of the securities underlying the ADRs and GDRs may change materially at times when the U.S. markets are not open for trading, regardless of whether there is an active U.S. market for Shares.
Dividend Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). There is no guarantee that issuers of the securities held by the Fund will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will either remain at current levels or increase over time.
Emerging Markets Risk (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF only). Investments in securities and instruments traded in developing or emerging markets, or that provide exposure to such securities or markets, can involve additional risks relating to political, economic, or regulatory conditions not associated with investments in U.S. securities and instruments. For example, developing and emerging markets may be subject to (i) greater market volatility, (ii) lower trading volume and liquidity, (iii) greater social, political and economic uncertainty, (iv) governmental controls on foreign investments and limitations on repatriation of invested capital, (v) lower disclosure, corporate governance, auditing and financial reporting
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standards, (vi) fewer protections of property rights, (vii) restrictions on the transfer of securities or currency, and (viii) settlement and trading practices that differ from those in U.S. markets. Each of these factors may impact the ability of the Fund to buy, sell or otherwise transfer securities, adversely affect the trading market and price for Shares and cause the Fund to decline in value. In addition, investors in emerging market companies may have limited rights relative to investors in U.S. companies. Investors may also have limited avenues of recourse against emerging market companies in the form of shareholder claims, such as class action lawsuits and fraud claims, which may be difficult or impossible to pursue in emerging markets as a matter of law or practicality.
Equity Market Risk. Equity securities, including common stocks and preferred stocks, and hybrid securities that have equity characteristics are susceptible to general stock market fluctuations and to volatile increases and decreases in value as market confidence in and perceptions of their issuers 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, and banking crises.
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 has 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, supply chain disruptions, and so-called “stay-at-home” orders throughout much of the United States and many other countries. The fall-out from these disruptions has included the rapid closure of businesses deemed “non-essential” by federal, state, or local governments and rapidly increasing unemployment, as well as greatly reduced liquidity for certain instruments at times. Some sectors of the economy and individual issuers have experienced particularly large losses. 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, resulting in very low interest rates and in some cases negative yields. 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.
(All Funds other than AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF). If you held common stock, or common stock equivalents, of any given issuer, you would generally be exposed to greater risk than if you held preferred stocks and debt obligations of the issuer because common stockholders, or holders of equivalent interests, generally have inferior rights to receive payments from issuers in comparison with the rights of preferred stockholders, bondholders, and other creditors of such issuers.
(AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). Preferred stocks and hybrid securities generally are subject to more risks than debt securities because stockholders’ claims are subordinated to those of holders of debt securities upon the bankruptcy of the issuer.
ETF Risks. Each Fund is an ETF, and, as a result of an ETF’s structure, is exposed to the following risks:
APs, Market Makers, and Liquidity Providers Concentration Risk. The Fund has a limited number of financial institutions that may act as APs. In addition, there may be a limited number of market makers and/or liquidity providers in the marketplace. To the extent either of the following events occur, Shares may trade at a material discount to NAV and possibly face delisting: (i) APs exit the business or otherwise become unable to process creation and/or redemption orders and no other APs step forward to perform these services, or (ii) market makers and/or liquidity providers exit the business or significantly reduce their business activities and no other entities step forward to perform their functions.
Costs of Buying or Selling Shares. Investors buying or selling Shares in the secondary market will pay brokerage commissions or other charges imposed by brokers, as determined by that broker. Brokerage commissions are often a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell relatively small amounts of Shares. In addition, secondary market investors will also incur the cost of the difference between the price at which an investor is willing to buy Shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which an investor is willing to sell Shares (the “ask” price). This difference in bid and ask prices is often referred to as the “spread” or “bid-ask spread.” The bid-ask spread varies over time for Shares based on trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if Shares have more trading volume and market liquidity and higher if Shares have little trading volume and market liquidity. Further, a relatively small investor base in the Fund, asset swings in the Fund, and/or increased market volatility may cause increased bid-ask spreads. Due to the costs of buying or selling Shares, including bid-ask spreads, frequent trading of Shares may significantly reduce investment results and an investment in Shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.
Shares May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. As with all ETFs, Shares may be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. Although it is expected that the market price of Shares will approximate the Fund’s NAV, there may be times when the market price of Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount) due to
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supply and demand of Shares or during periods of market volatility. This risk is heightened in times of market volatility, periods of steep market declines, and periods when there is limited trading activity for Shares in the secondary market, in which case such premiums or discounts may be significant. Because securities held by the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF and AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF trade on foreign exchanges that are closed when such Funds’ primary listing exchange is open, these Funds are likely to experience premiums and discounts greater than those of domestic ETFs.
Trading. Although Shares are listed for trading on the Exchange and may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such Shares will develop or be maintained. Trading in Shares may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in Shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in Shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to Exchange “circuit breaker” rules, which temporarily halt trading on the Exchange when a decline in the S&P 500® Index during a single day reaches certain thresholds (e.g., 7%, 13%, and 20%). Additional rules applicable to the Exchange may halt trading in Shares when extraordinary volatility causes sudden, significant swings in the market price of Shares. There can be no assurance that Shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange. In stressed market conditions, the liquidity of Shares may begin to mirror the liquidity of the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which can be significantly less liquid than Shares.
Extension Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). During periods of rising interest rates, certain debt obligations will be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income and potentially in the value of the Fund’s investments.
Foreign Investment Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). Because of the Fund’s investment in ADRs representing preferred stock issued by non-U.S. companies, changes in foreign economies and political climates are more likely to affect the Fund than a fund that invests exclusively in U.S. companies. There may also be less government supervision of foreign markets, resulting in non-uniform accounting practices and less publicly available information. The value of foreign investments may be affected by changes in exchange control regulations, application of foreign tax laws (including withholding tax), changes in governmental administration or economic or monetary policy (in this country or abroad) or changed circumstances in dealings between nations. Investments in foreign issues could be affected by other factors not present in the United States, including expropriation, armed conflict, confiscatory taxation, and potential difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations.
Foreign Securities Risk (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF and AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF only). Investments in non-U.S. securities involve certain risks that may not be present with investments in U.S. securities. For example, investments in non-U.S. securities may be subject to risk of loss due to foreign currency fluctuations or to political or economic instability. There may be less information publicly available about a non-U.S. issuer than a U.S. issuer. Non-U.S. issuers may be subject to different accounting, auditing, financial reporting and investor protection standards than U.S. issuers. 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. With respect to certain countries, there is the possibility of government intervention and expropriation or nationalization of assets. Because legal systems differ, there is also the possibility that it will be difficult to obtain or enforce legal judgments in certain countries. Since foreign exchanges may be open on days when a Fund does not price its 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 the Fund’s Shares. Conversely, Shares may trade on days when foreign exchanges are closed. Each of these factors can make investments in a Fund more volatile and potentially less liquid than other types of investments.
Geographic Investment Risk (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF and AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF only). To the extent that a Fund’s Index invests a significant portion of its assets in the securities of companies of a single country or region, it is more likely to be impacted by events or conditions affecting that country or region. For example, political and economic conditions and changes in regulatory, tax, or economic policy in a country could significantly affect the market in that country and in surrounding or related countries and have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance. Currency developments or restrictions, political and social instability, and changing economic conditions have resulted in significant market volatility.
Risks of Investing in China (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF only): The Chinese economy is subject to a considerable degree of economic, political and social instability:
Political and Social Risk: The Chinese government is authoritarian and has periodically used force to suppress civil dissent. Disparities of wealth and the pace of economic liberalization may lead to social turmoil, violence and labor unrest. In addition, China continues to experience disagreements related to integration with Hong Kong and religious and nationalist disputes in Tibet and Xinjiang. There is also a greater risk in China than in many other countries of currency fluctuations, currency convertibility, interest rate fluctuations and higher rates of inflation as a result of internal social unrest or conflicts with other countries. Unanticipated political or social developments may result in sudden and
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significant investment losses. China’s growing income inequality and worsening environmental conditions also are factors that may affect the Chinese economy. 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.
Government Control and Regulations: The Chinese government has implemented significant economic reforms in order to liberalize trade policy, promote foreign investment in the economy, reduce government control of the economy and develop market mechanisms. There can be no assurance these reforms will continue or that they will be effective. Despite recent reform and privatizations, significant regulation of investment and industry is still pervasive, and the Chinese government may restrict foreign ownership of Chinese corporations and/or repatriate assets. Chinese markets generally continue to experience inefficiency, volatility and pricing anomalies that may be connected to governmental influence, a lack of publicly-available information and/or political and social instability.
Economic Risk: The Chinese economy has grown rapidly during the past several years and there is no assurance that this growth rate will be maintained. In fact, the Chinese economy may experience a significant slowdown as a result of, among other things, a deterioration in global demand for Chinese exports, as well as contraction in spending on domestic goods by Chinese consumers. In addition, China may experience substantial rates of inflation or economic recessions, which would have a negative effect on the economy and securities market. Delays in enterprise restructuring, slow development of well-functioning financial markets and widespread corruption have also hindered performance of the Chinese economy. China continues to receive substantial pressure from trading partners to liberalize official currency exchange rates.
Expropriation Risk: The Chinese government maintains a major role in economic policymaking, and investing in China involves risk of loss due to expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property, or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and on repatriation of capital invested.
Hong Kong Political Risk: Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997 as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC under the principle of “one country, two systems.” Although China is obligated to maintain the current capitalist economic and social system of Hong Kong through June 30, 2047, the continuation of economic and social freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong is dependent on the government of China. Any attempt by China to tighten its control over Hong Kong’s political, economic, legal or social policies may result in an adverse effect on Hong Kong’s markets. 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. dollars, the establishment of an alternative exchange rate system could result in a decline in the Fund’s NAV.
Risks Related to Investing in Europe (AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF only): The economies of Europe are highly dependent on each other, both as key trading partners and as in many cases as fellow members maintaining the euro. Reduction in trading activity among European countries may cause an adverse impact on each nation’s individual economies. European countries that are part of the Economic and Monetary Union of the EU are required to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels, and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro, the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, and recessions in an EU member country may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member countries and their trading partners.
The European financial markets have recently experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about rising government debt levels of several European countries, including Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and Portugal. These events have adversely affected the exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect every country in Europe. For some countries, the ability to repay sovereign debt is in question, and default is possible, which could affect their ability to borrow in the future. For example, Greece has been required to impose harsh austerity measures on its population to receive financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and EU member countries. These austerity measures have also led to social uprisings within Greece, as citizens have protested – at times violently – the actions of their government. The persistence of these factors may seriously reduce the economic performance of Greece and pose serious risks for the country’s economy in the future. Furthermore, there is the possibility of contagion that could occur if one country defaults on its debt, and that a default in one country could trigger declines and possible additional defaults in other countries in the region.
Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not work, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other
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unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets, and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro, the common currency of the EU, and/or withdraw from the EU alongside the UK, as discussed below. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching.
The UK formally exited from the EU on January 31, 2020 (known as “Brexit”), and effective December 31, 2020, the UK ended a transition period during which it continued to abide by the EU’s rules and the UK’s trade relationships with the EU were generally unchanged. Following this transition period, the impact on the UK and European economies and the broader global economy could be significant, resulting in negative impacts, such as increased volatility and illiquidity, and potentially lower economic growth of markets in the UK, Europe and globally, which may adversely affect the value of a Fund’s investments.
Risks Related to Investing in Japan (AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF only): 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.
Risks of Investing in South Korea (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High-Dividend Value ETF only): Investments in South Korean issuers involve risks that are specific to South Korea, including legal, regulatory, political, currency, security and economic risks. Substantial political tensions exist between North Korea and South Korea and recently these political tensions have escalated. The outbreak of hostilities between the two nations, or even the threat of an outbreak of hostilities, will likely adversely impact the South Korean economy. In addition, South Korea’s economic growth potential has recently been on a decline, mainly because of a rapidly aging population and structural problems.
Risks of Investing in Taiwan (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF only): Investments in Taiwanese issuers may subject the Fund to risks. Taiwan is a small island state with few raw material resources and limited land area and is reliant on imports for its commodity needs. Any fluctuations or shortages in the commodity markets could have a negative impact on the Taiwanese economy. Also, continued labor outsourcing may adversely affect the Taiwanese economy. Taiwan’s economy is intricately linked with economies of Asian countries that have experienced over-extensions of credit, frequent and pronounced currency fluctuations, currency devaluations, currency repatriation, rising unemployment and fluctuations in inflation. The Taiwanese economy is dependent on the economies of Japan and China, as well as the United States, and negative changes in their economies or a reduction in purchases by any of them of Taiwanese products and services would likely have an adverse impact on the Taiwanese economy. Taiwan’s geographic proximity to China and Taiwan’s history of political contention with China have resulted in ongoing tensions with China, including the risk of war with China. These tensions may materially affect the Taiwanese economy and securities markets.
Geopolitical Risk (AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF only). Some countries and regions in which the Fund invests have experienced security concerns, war or threats of war and aggression, terrorism, economic uncertainty, natural and environmental disasters and/or systemic market dislocations that have led, and in the future may lead, to increased short-term market volatility and may have adverse long-term effects on the U.S. and world economies and markets generally. Such geopolitical and other events may also disrupt securities markets and, during such market disruptions, the Fund’s exposure to the other risks described herein will likely increase. Each of the foregoing may negatively impact the Fund’s investments.
High Dividend Investing Risk. Companies with a high yield or payout ratio may reduce their dividend or stop paying dividends entirely while they are included in the Index. Such events could lower the price or yield of such company’s equity securities. Additionally, equity securities with a high yield or payout ratio may underperform other securities in certain market conditions.
High-Yield Securities Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). Below investment grade instruments are commonly referred to as “junk” or high-yield instruments and are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Lower grade instruments may be particularly susceptible to economic downturns. It is likely that a prolonged or deepening economic recession could adversely affect the ability of the issuers of such instruments to repay principal and pay interest thereon, increase the incidence of default for such instruments and severely disrupt the market value of such instruments.
Lower grade instruments, though higher yielding, are characterized by higher risk. They may be subject to certain risks with respect to the issuing entity and to greater market fluctuations than certain lower yielding, higher rated instruments. The retail secondary market for lower grade instruments may be less liquid than that for higher rated instruments. Adverse publicity and
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investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may also decrease the value and liquidity of these high-yield securities. Adverse conditions could make it difficult at times for the Fund to sell certain instruments or could result in lower prices than those used in calculating the Fund’s NAV. Because of the substantial risks associated with investments in lower grade instruments, investors could lose money on their investment in the Fund, both in the short-term and the long-term.
The Fund’s investments in distressed and defaulted securities may be considered speculative and involve substantial risks in addition to the risks of investing in junk bonds. The Fund will generally not receive interest payments on the distressed securities and the principal may also be at risk. These securities may present a substantial risk of default or may be in default at the time of investment, requiring the Fund to incur additional costs.
Hybrid Securities Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). Hybrid securities are subject to the risks of equity securities and debt securities. The claims of holders of hybrid securities of an issuer are generally subordinated to those of holders of traditional debt securities in bankruptcy, and thus hybrid securities may be more volatile and subject to greater risk than traditional debt securities, and may in certain circumstances even be more volatile than traditional equity securities. At the same time, hybrid securities may not fully participate in gains of their issuer and thus potential returns of such securities are generally more limited than traditional equity securities, which would participate in such gains.
Interest Rate Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). As interest rates rise, the value of a fixed-income security held by the Fund is likely to decrease. Securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making them more volatile than securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer-term durations, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline significantly.
Issuer-Specific Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). Changes in the financial condition of an issuer or counterparty, changes in specific economic or political conditions that affect a particular type of security or issuer, and changes in general economic or political conditions can affect a security’s or instrument’s value. The value of securities of smaller, less well-known issuers can be more volatile than that of larger issuers. Issuer-specific events can have a negative impact on the value of the Fund.
Limited Operating History (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). The Fund is a recently organized investment company with a limited operating history. As a result, prospective investors have a limited track record or history on which to base their investment decision.
Market Capitalization Risk.
Large-Capitalization Investing. The securities of large-capitalization companies may be relatively mature compared to smaller companies and therefore subject to slower growth during times of economic expansion. Large-capitalization companies may also be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges, such as changes in technology and consumer tastes.
Mid-Capitalization Investing (each Fund other than the AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF). The securities of mid-capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse issuer, market, political, or economic developments than securities of large-capitalization companies. The securities of mid-capitalization companies generally trade in lower volumes and are subject to greater and more unpredictable price changes than large capitalization stocks or the stock market as a whole. Some mid-capitalization companies have limited product lines, markets, financial resources, and management personnel and tend to concentrate on fewer geographical markets relative to large-capitalization companies.
Small-Capitalization Investing (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). The securities of small-capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse issuer, market, political, or economic developments than securities of larger-capitalization companies. The securities of small-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 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 smaller-capitalization companies than for larger, more established companies. Small-capitalization companies also may be particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates, government regulation, borrowing costs and earnings.
Market Risk. The trading prices of preferred stocks and debt securities and other instruments fluctuate in response to a variety of factors. These factors include events impacting the entire market or specific market segments, such as political, market and economic developments, as well as events that impact specific issuers. A Fund’s NAV and market price, like security and commodity prices generally, may fluctuate significantly in response to these and other factors. As a result, an investor could lose money over short or long periods of time.
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Passive Investment Risk. Each Fund invests in the securities included in, or representative of, its Index regardless of their investment merit. Each Fund does not attempt to outperform its Index or take defensive positions in declining markets. As a result, a Fund’s performance may be adversely affected by a general decline in the market segments relating to its Index. The returns from the types of securities in which a Fund invests may underperform returns from the various general securities markets or different asset classes. This may cause a Fund to underperform other investment vehicles that invest in different asset classes. Different types of securities (for example, large-, mid- and small-capitalization stocks) tend to go through cycles of doing better – or worse – than the general securities markets. In the past, these periods have lasted for as long as several years.
Portfolio Turnover Risk. Each Fund may trade all or a significant portion of the securities in its portfolio in connection with each rebalance and reconstitution of the Index. A high portfolio turnover rate increases transaction costs, which may increase a Fund’s expenses. Frequent trading may also cause adverse tax consequences for investors in a Fund due to an increase in short-term capital gains.
Preferred Securities Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). Preferred stocks are subject to the risks of equity securities generally and also risks associated with fixed income securities, such as interest rate risk. A company’s preferred stock, which may pay fixed or variable rates of return, generally pays dividends only after the company makes required payments to creditors, including vendors, depositors, counterparties, holders of its bonds and other fixed income securities. As a result, the value of a company’s preferred stock will react more strongly than bonds and other debt to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects. Preferred stock may be less liquid than many other types of securities, such as common stock, and generally has limited or no voting rights. In addition, preferred stock is subject to the risks that a company may defer or not pay dividends, and, in certain situations, may call or redeem its preferred stock or convert it to common stock. To the extent that the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in convertible preferred stocks, declining common stock values may also cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline.
Prepayment Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). This is the risk that a borrower will prepay some or the entire principal owed to the Fund. If that happens, the Fund may have to replace the security by investing the proceeds in a security with a lower yield. This could reduce the share price and income distributions of the Fund.
Sector Risk (AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF only). To the extent the Fund invests more heavily in particular sectors of the economy, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors. The Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in the following sectors and, therefore, the performance of the Fund could be negatively impacted by events affecting each of these sectors.
Financial Sector Risk. This sector can be significantly affected by changes in interest rates, government regulation, the rate of defaults on corporate, consumer and government debt, the availability and cost of capital, and fallout from the housing and sub-prime mortgage crisis. Insurance companies, in particular, may be significantly affected by changes in interest rates, catastrophic events, price and market competition, the imposition of premium rate caps, or other changes in government regulation or tax law and/or rate regulation, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability. This sector has experienced significant losses in the recent past, and the impact of more stringent capital requirements and of recent or future regulation on any individual financial company or on the sector as a whole cannot be predicted. In recent years, cyber attacks and technology malfunctions and failures have become increasingly frequent in this sector and have caused significant losses.
Real Estate Investment Risk. Investments in real estate companies involve unique risks. Real estate companies, including REITs and real estate operating companies, may have limited financial resources, may trade less frequently and in limited volume, and may be more volatile than other securities. The risks of investing in real estate companies include certain risks associated with the direct ownership of real estate and the real estate industry in general. Securities in the real estate sector are subject to the risk that the value of their underlying real estate may go down. Many factors may affect real estate values, including the general and local economies, the amount of new construction in a particular area, the laws and regulations (including zoning and tax laws) affecting real estate, and the costs of owning, maintaining and improving real estate. The availability of mortgages and changes in interest rates may also affect real estate values. Real estate companies are also subject to heavy cash flow dependency, defaults by borrowers, and self-liquidation. Because the Fund invests primarily in real estate companies, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect real estate companies.
Utilities Sector Risk. Utility companies are affected by supply and demand, operating costs, government regulation, environmental factors, liabilities for environmental damage and general civil liabilities, and rate caps or rate changes. Although rate changes of a regulated utility usually fluctuate in approximate correlation with financing costs, due to political and regulatory factors, rate changes ordinarily occur only following a delay after the changes in financing costs. This factor will tend to favorably affect a regulated utility company’s earnings and dividends in times of decreasing costs, but conversely, will tend to adversely affect earnings and dividends when costs are rising. The value of regulated utility equity securities may tend to have an inverse relationship to the movement of interest rates. Certain utility companies have experienced full or partial deregulation in recent years. These utility companies are frequently more similar to industrial
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companies in that they are subject to greater competition and have been permitted by regulators to diversify outside of their original geographic regions and their traditional lines of business. These opportunities may permit certain utility companies to earn more than their traditional regulated rates of return. Some companies, however, may be forced to defend their core business and may be less profitable. In addition, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, government intervention or other factors may render a utility company’s equipment unusable or obsolete and negatively impact profitability.
Among the risks that may affect utility companies are the following: risks of increases in fuel and other operating costs; the high cost of borrowing to finance capital construction during inflationary periods; restrictions on operations and increased costs and delays associated with compliance with environmental and nuclear safety regulations; and the difficulties involved in obtaining natural gas for resale or fuel for generating electricity at reasonable prices. Other risks include those related to the construction and operation of nuclear power plants, the effects of energy conservation and the effects of regulatory changes.
Tracking Error Risk. As with all index funds, the performance of each Fund and its respective Index may differ from each other for a variety of reasons. For example, the Funds incur operating expenses and portfolio transaction costs not incurred by an Index. In addition, the Funds may not be fully invested in the securities of their respective Index at all times or may hold securities not included in the Index. A Fund may use a representative sampling strategy to achieve its investment objective, if the Fund’s Sub-Adviser believes it is in the best interest of the Fund, which generally can be expected to produce a greater non-correlation risk.
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS INFORMATION
Information about each Fund’s daily portfolio holdings is available at www.aamlive.com/ETF. A complete description of the Funds’ policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Funds’ portfolio holdings is available in the Funds’ Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”).
MANAGEMENT
Investment Adviser
AAM serves as the investment adviser and has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Funds. AAM also arranges for sub-advisory, transfer agency, custody, fund administration, distribution and all other services necessary for the Funds to operate. AAM provides oversight of the Sub-Adviser, monitoring of the Sub-Adviser’s buying and selling of securities for the Funds, and review of the Sub-Adviser’s performance. For the services it provides to the Funds, each of the Funds pays AAM a unified management fee, which is calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate based on the applicable Fund’s average daily net assets as set forth in the table below.
Name of Fund Management Fee
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF 0.29%
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF 0.49%
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF 0.39%
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF
0.45%
Under the Investment Advisory Agreement (the “Advisory Agreement”), AAM has agreed to pay all expenses of the Funds, except for: the fee paid to AAM pursuant to the Advisory Agreement, interest charges on any borrowings, dividends, and other expenses on securities sold short, 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. AAM, in turn, compensates the Sub-Adviser from the management fee it receives.
AAM shall not be liable to the Trust or any shareholder for anything done or omitted by it, except acts or omissions arising out of the Adviser’s willful misfeasance, bad faith, or gross negligence in the performance of its duties under the Advisory Agreement or its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Advisory Agreement or for any losses that may be sustained in the purchase, holding, or sale of any security.
AAM’s headquarters is located at 18925 Base Camp Road, Suite 203, Monument, Colorado 80132. AAM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AAM Holdings, Inc., which is primarily owned by current and former employees of AAM and affiliated entities. AAM is a registered broker dealer, member FINRA and SIPC, and SEC registered investment adviser. AAM provides portfolio supervisory and evaluation services to AAM-sponsored unit investment trusts registered under the 1940 Act and provides investment advisory services to separately managed accounts, mutual funds, and the Funds.
The basis for the Funds’ Board of Trustees (the “Board”) approval of the Advisory Agreement for each Fund other than the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF is available in the Funds’ Annual Report to Shareholders for the period ended October 31, 2020.
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The basis for the Board’s approval of the Advisory Agreement for the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF is available in the Fund’s Semi-Annual Report to Shareholders for the period ended April 30, 2020.
Sub-Adviser
The Adviser has retained Vident Investment Advisory, LLC to serve as sub-adviser for the Funds. VIA is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Funds. VIA, a registered investment adviser, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vident Financial, LLC. Its principal office is located at 1125 Sanctuary Parkway, Suite 515, Alpharetta, Georgia 30009. VIA was formed in 2014 and provides investment advisory services to ETFs, including the Funds. The Sub-Adviser is responsible for trading portfolio securities for the Funds, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions or in connection with any rebalancing or reconstitution of the Indexes, subject to the supervision of the Adviser and the Board. For its services, the Sub-Adviser is paid a fee by the Adviser, which fee is calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate based on the average daily net assets of each Fund, and subject to a minimum annual fee as follows:
Name of Fund Sub-Advisory Fee Minimum
Annual Fee
AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF
0.04% on the first $250 million;
0.03% on the next $250 million; and
0.02% on net assets in excess of $500 million
$12,000
AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF
0.06% on the first $250 million;
0.05% on the next $250 million; and
0.04% on net assets in excess of $500 million
$25,000
AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF
0.05% on the first $250 million in net assets;
0.04% on the next $250 million in net assets; and
0.03% on net assets in excess of $500 million
$18,000
AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF 0.04% on the first $250 million;
0.03% on the next $250 million; and
0.02% on net assets in excess of $500 million
$20,000
The basis for the Board’s approval of the Sub-Advisory Agreement for each Fund other than the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF is available in the Funds’ Annual Report to Shareholders for the period ended October 31, 2020.
The basis for the Board’s approval of the Sub-Advisory Agreement for the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF is available in the Fund’s Semi-Annual Report to Shareholders for the period ended April 30, 2020.
Manager of Managers Structure
The Funds and the Adviser have received exemptive relief from the SEC permitting the Adviser (subject to certain conditions and the approval of the Board) to change or select sub-advisers without obtaining shareholder approval. The relief also permits the Adviser to materially amend the terms of agreements with a sub-adviser (including an increase in the fee paid by the Adviser to the sub-adviser (and not paid by the applicable Fund)) or to continue the employment of a sub-adviser after an event that would otherwise cause the automatic termination of services with Board approval, but without shareholder approval. Shareholders will be notified of any sub-adviser changes.
Portfolio Managers
The Funds are managed by VIA’s portfolio management team. The individual members of the team responsible for the day-today management of the Funds’ portfolio are listed below.
Austin Wen, CFA, is a portfolio manager for each Fund. Mr. Wen has been a Portfolio Manager of VIA since 2016 and has seven years of investment management experience. His focus at VIA is on portfolio management and trading, risk monitoring and investment analysis. Previously, he was an analyst for Vident Financial beginning in 2014, working on the development and review of investment solutions. He began his career in 2011 as a State Examiner for the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. Mr. Wen obtained a BA in Finance from the University of Georgia and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Rafael Zayas, CFA, is a Portfolio Manager for each Fund. Mr. Zayas became SVP, Head of Portfolio Management and Trading at VIA in June 2020. From 2017 to 2020, he was Senior Portfolio Manager – International Equity at VIA and has over 15 years of experience that includes managing international equity portfolios, including in emerging and frontier markets. Prior to joining VIA, he was a Portfolio Manager – Direct Investments for seven years at Russell Investments, a global asset manager, where he co-managed more than $4 billion in quantitative strategies across global markets, including the Russell Strategic Call Overwriting Fund, a mutual fund. Mr. Zayas also helped Russell Investments launch its sponsored ETF initiative and advised on index methodologies. Prior to joining Russell Investments, Mr. Zayas was a Portfolio Manager – Equity Indexing at Mellon Capital Management, where he managed assets for internationally listed global equity ETFs. Mr. Zayas graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University
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and obtained a Certificate in Computational Finance and Risk Management from the University of Washington. He also attained the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2010.
The Funds’ SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers’ compensation structure, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers, and the Portfolio Managers’ ownership of Shares of each Fund.
HOW TO BUY AND SELL SHARES
Each Fund issues and redeems Shares at NAV only in Creation Units. Only APs may acquire Shares directly from a Fund, and only APs may tender their Shares for redemption directly to a Fund, at NAV. APs must be a member or participant of a clearing agency registered with the SEC and must execute a Participant Agreement that has been agreed to by the Distributor (defined below), and that has been accepted by a Fund’s transfer agent, with respect to purchases and redemptions of Creation Units. Once created, Shares trade in the secondary market in quantities less than a Creation Unit.
Most investors buy and sell Shares in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares are listed for trading on the secondary market on the Exchange and can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other publicly traded securities.
When buying or selling Shares through a broker, you will incur customary brokerage commissions and charges, and you may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offer price in the secondary market on each leg of a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction. In addition, because secondary market transactions occur at market prices, you may pay more than NAV when you buy Shares and receive less than NAV when you sell those Shares.
Book Entry
Shares are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding Shares.
Investors owning Shares are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all Shares. DTC’s participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of Shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have Shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of Shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of Shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other securities that you hold in book entry or “street name” through your brokerage account.
Share Trading Prices on the Exchange
Trading prices of Shares on the Exchange may differ from the applicable Fund’s daily NAV. Market forces of supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors may affect the trading prices of Shares. To provide additional information regarding the indicative value of Shares, the Exchange or a market data vendor disseminates information every 15 seconds through the facilities of the Consolidated Tape Association, or other widely disseminated means an updated “intraday indicative value” (“IIV”) for Shares as calculated by an information provider or market data vendor. The Funds are not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IIVs and make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the IIVs. If the calculation of the IIV is based on the basket of Deposit Securities and/or a designated amount of U.S. cash, such IIV may not represent the best possible valuation of a Fund’s portfolio because the basket of Deposit Securities does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current Fund portfolios at a particular point in time and does not include a reduction for the fees, operating expenses, or transaction costs incurred by the Fund. The IIV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of a Fund’s NAV because the IIV may not be calculated in the same manner as the NAV, which is computed only once a day, typically at the end of the business day. The IIV is generally determined by using both current market quotations and/or price quotations obtained from broker-dealers that may trade in the Deposit Securities.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of Shares
The Funds impose no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions of Shares. In determining not to approve a written, established policy, the Board evaluated the risks of market timing activities by Fund shareholders. Purchases and redemptions by APs, who are the only parties that may purchase or redeem Shares directly with a Fund, are an essential part of the ETF process and help keep Share trading prices in line with NAV. As such, the Funds accommodate frequent purchases and redemptions by APs. However, the Board has also determined that frequent purchases and redemptions for cash may increase tracking error and portfolio transaction costs and may lead to the realization of capital gains. To minimize these potential consequences of frequent purchases and redemptions, the Funds employ fair value pricing and may impose transaction fees on purchases and redemptions of Creation Units to cover the custodial and other costs incurred by a Fund in effecting trades. In addition, the Funds and the Adviser reserve the right to reject any purchase order at any time.
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Determination of NAV
Each Fund’s NAV is calculated as of the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE, generally 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, each day the NYSE is open for business. Each NAV for a Fund is calculated by dividing the applicable Fund’s net assets by its Shares outstanding.
In calculating its NAV, each Fund generally values its assets on the basis of market quotations, last sale prices, or estimates of value furnished by a pricing service or brokers who make markets in such instruments. The values of non-U.S. dollar denominated securities are converted to U.S. dollars using foreign currency exchange rates generally determined as of 4:00 p.m., London time. If such information is not available for a security held by a Fund or is determined to be unreliable, the security will be valued at fair value estimates under guidelines established by the Board (as described below).
Fair Value Pricing
The Board has adopted procedures and methodologies to fair value Fund securities whose market prices are not “readily available” or are deemed to be unreliable. For example, such circumstances may arise when: (i) a security has been de-listed or has had its trading halted or suspended; (ii) a security’s primary pricing source is unable or unwilling to provide a price; (iii) a security’s primary trading market is closed during regular market hours; or (iv) a security’s value is materially affected by events occurring after the close of the security’s primary trading market. Generally, when fair valuing a security, the Funds will take into account all reasonably available information that may be relevant to a particular valuation including, but not limited to, fundamental analytical data regarding the issuer, information relating to the issuer’s business, recent trades or offers of the security, general and/or specific market conditions and the specific facts giving rise to the need to fair value the security. Fair value determinations are made in good faith and in accordance with the fair value methodologies included in the Board-adopted valuation procedures. Due to the subjective and variable nature of fair value pricing, there can be no assurance that the Adviser or Sub-Adviser will be able to obtain the fair value assigned to the security upon the sale of such security.
Delivery of Shareholder Documents – Householding
Householding is an option available to certain investors of the Funds. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Householding for the Funds is available through certain broker-dealers. If you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, please contact your broker-dealer. If you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status, please contact your broker-dealer.
Investments by Registered Investment Companies
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by registered investment companies in the securities of other investment companies, including Shares. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in a Fund beyond the limits set forth in section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Adviser or rule under the 1940 Act, including that such investment companies enter into an agreement with a Fund.
DIVIDENDS, DISTRIBUTIONS, AND TAXES
Dividends and Distributions
Each Fund intends to pay out dividends, if any, and distribute any net realized capital gains to its shareholders at least annually. Each Fund will declare and pay capital gain distributions, if any, in cash. Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole Shares only if the broker through whom you purchased Shares makes such option available. Your broker is responsible for distributing the income and capital gain distributions to you.
Taxes
The following discussion is a summary of some important U.S. federal income tax considerations generally applicable to investments in a Fund. Your investment in a Fund may have other tax implications. Please consult your tax advisor about the tax consequences of an investment in Shares, including the possible application of foreign, state, and local tax laws.
Each Fund has elected and intends to qualify each year for treatment as a regulated investment company (“RIC”). If a Fund meets certain minimum distribution requirements, a RIC is not subject to tax at the fund level on income and gains from investments that are timely distributed to shareholders. However, a Fund’s failure to qualify as a RIC or to meet minimum distribution requirements would result (if certain relief provisions were not available) in fund-level taxation and, consequently, a reduction in income available for distribution to shareholders.
Unless your investment in Shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-advantaged account, such as an IRA plan, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when a Fund makes distributions, when you sell your Shares listed on the Exchange; and when you purchase or redeem Creation Units (institutional investors only).
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Taxes on Distributions
Each Fund intends to distribute, at least annually, substantially all of its net investment income and net capital gains. For federal income tax purposes, distributions of investment income are generally taxable as ordinary income or qualified dividend income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains (if any) are determined by how long a Fund owned the investments that generated them, rather than how long a shareholder has owned his or her Shares. Sales of assets held by a Fund for more than one year generally result in long-term capital gains and losses, and sales of assets held by a Fund for one year or less generally result in short-term capital gains and losses. Distributions of a Fund’s net capital gain (the excess of net long-term capital gains over net short-term capital losses) that are reported by such Fund as capital gain dividends (“Capital Gain Dividends”) will be taxable as long-term capital gains, which for non-corporate shareholders are subject to tax at reduced rates of up to 20% (lower rates apply to individuals in lower tax brackets). Distributions of short-term capital gain will generally be taxable as ordinary income. Dividends and distributions are generally taxable to you whether you receive them in cash or reinvest them in additional Shares.
Distributions reported by a Fund as “qualified dividend income” are generally taxed to non-corporate shareholders at rates applicable to long-term capital gains, provided holding period and other requirements are met. “Qualified dividend income” generally is income derived from dividends paid by U.S. corporations or certain foreign corporations that are either incorporated in a U.S. possession or eligible for tax benefits under certain U.S. income tax treaties. In addition, dividends that the Fund receives in respect of stock of certain foreign corporations may be qualified dividend income if that stock is readily tradable on an established U.S. securities market. Corporate shareholders may be entitled to a dividends-received deduction for the portion of dividends they receive from a Fund that are attributable to dividends received by the Fund from U.S. corporations, subject to certain limitations. Since the AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF and AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF invest primarily in securities of non-U.S. issuers, it is not expected that a significant portion of the dividends received from these Funds will qualify for the dividends-received deduction for corporations. Dividends received by a Fund from a REIT may be treated as qualified dividend income generally only to the extent so reported by such REIT, however, dividends received by a Fund from a REIT are generally not treated as qualified dividend income.
Shortly after the close of each calendar year, you will be informed of the character of any distributions received from a Fund.
U.S. individuals with income exceeding specified thresholds are subject to a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on all or a portion of their “net investment income,” which includes interest, dividends, and certain capital gains (generally including capital gains distributions and capital gains realized on the sale of Shares). This 3.8% tax also applies to all or a portion of the undistributed net investment income of certain shareholders that are estates and trusts.
In general, your distributions are subject to federal income tax for the year in which they are paid. Certain distributions paid in January, however, may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year. Distributions are generally taxable even if they are paid from income or gains earned by a Fund before your investment (and thus were included in the Shares’ NAV when you purchased your Shares).
You may wish to avoid investing in a Fund shortly before a dividend or other distribution, because such a distribution will generally be taxable even though it may economically represent a return of a portion of your investment.
If a Fund’s distributions exceed its earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made for a taxable year may be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders. A return of capital distribution will generally not be taxable, but will reduce each shareholder’s cost basis in Shares and result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when the Shares are sold. After a shareholder’s basis in Shares has been reduced to zero, distributions in excess of earnings and profits in respect of those Shares will be treated as gain from the sale of the Shares.
If you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the United States or if you are a foreign entity, distributions (other than Capital Gain Dividends) paid to you by a Fund will generally be subject to a U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30%, unless a lower treaty rate applies. A Fund may, under certain circumstances, report all or a portion of a dividend as an “interest-related dividend” or a “short-term capital gain dividend,” which would generally be exempt from this 30% U.S. withholding tax, provided certain other requirements are met.
Each Fund (or a financial intermediary, such as a broker, through which a shareholder owns Shares) generally is required to withhold and remit to the U.S. Treasury a percentage of the taxable distributions and sale or redemption proceeds paid to any shareholder who fails to properly furnish a correct taxpayer identification number, who has underreported dividend or interest income, or who fails to certify that he, she or it is not subject to such withholding.
Taxes When Shares are Sold on the Exchange
Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Shares generally is treated as a long-term capital gain or loss if Shares have been held for more than one year and as a short-term capital gain or loss if Shares have been held for one year or less. However, any capital loss on a sale of Shares held for six months or less is treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of Capital Gain Dividends paid with respect to such Shares. The ability to deduct capital losses may be limited.
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Taxes on Purchases and Redemptions of Creation Units
An AP having the U.S. dollar as its functional currency for U.S. federal income tax purposes who exchanges securities for Creation Units generally recognizes a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the value of the Creation Units at the time of the exchange and the exchanging AP’s aggregate basis in the securities delivered, plus the amount of any cash paid for the Creation Units. An AP who exchanges Creation Units for securities will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanging AP’s basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate U.S. dollar market value of the securities received, plus any cash received for such Creation Units. The Internal Revenue Service may assert, however, that a loss that is realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units may not be currently deducted under the rules governing “wash sales” (for an AP who does not mark-to-market their holdings), or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position. Persons exchanging securities should consult their own tax advisor with respect to whether wash sale rules apply and when a loss might be deductible.
Any capital gain or loss realized upon redemption of Creation Units is generally treated as long-term capital gain or loss if Shares have been held for more than one year and as a short-term capital gain or loss if Shares have been held for one year or less.
Each Fund may include a payment of cash in addition to, or in place of, the delivery of a basket of securities upon the redemption of Creation Units. Such Fund may sell portfolio securities to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. This may cause such Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gains or losses that it might not have recognized if it had completely satisfied the redemption in-kind. As a result, such Fund may be less tax efficient if it includes such a cash payment in the proceeds paid upon the redemption of Creation Units.
Taxation of REIT Investments
The AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF and the AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF may invest in REITs. “Qualified REIT dividends” (i.e., ordinary REIT dividends other than capital gain dividends and portions of REIT dividends designated as qualified dividend income eligible for capital gain tax rates) are eligible for a 20% deduction by non-corporate taxpayers. This deduction, if allowed in full, equates to a maximum effective tax rate of 29.6% (37% top rate applied to income after 20% deduction). Distributions by a Fund to its shareholders that are attributable to qualified REIT dividends received by such Fund and which the Fund properly reports as “section 199A dividends,” are treated as “qualified REIT dividends” in the hands of non-corporate shareholders. A section 199A dividend is treated as a qualified REIT dividend only if the shareholder receiving such dividend holds the dividend-paying RIC shares for at least 46 days of the 91-day period beginning 45 days before the shares become ex-dividend, and is not under an obligation to make related payments with respect to a position in substantially similar or related property. A Fund is permitted to report such part of its dividends as section 199A dividends as are eligible, but is not required to do so.
REITs in which a Fund invests often do not provide complete and final tax information to a Fund until after the time that such Fund issues a tax reporting statement. As a result, a Fund may at times find it necessary to reclassify the amount and character of its distributions to you after it issues your tax reporting statement. When such reclassification is necessary, a Fund (or a financial intermediary, such as a broker, through which a shareholder owns Shares) will send you a corrected, final Form 1099-DIV to reflect the reclassified information. If you receive a corrected Form 1099-DIV, use the information on this corrected form, and not the information on the previously issued tax reporting statement, in completing your tax returns.
Foreign Investments by the Funds
Interest and other income received by a Fund with respect to foreign securities may give rise to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes. If as of the close of a taxable year more than 50% of the value of a Fund’s assets consists of certain foreign stock or securities, each such Fund will be eligible to elect to “pass through” to investors the amount of foreign income and similar taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by such Fund during that taxable year. This means that investors would be considered to have received as additional income their respective Shares of such foreign taxes, but may be entitled to either a corresponding tax deduction in calculating taxable income, or, subject to certain limitations, a credit in calculating federal income tax. If a Fund does not so elect, each such Fund will be entitled to claim a deduction for certain foreign taxes incurred by such Fund. A Fund (or a financial intermediary, such as a broker, through which a shareholder owns Shares) will notify you if it makes such an election and provide you with the information necessary to reflect foreign taxes paid on your income tax return.
The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the possible consequences under current federal tax law of an investment in each Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. You also may be subject to state and local tax on Fund distributions and sales of Shares. Consult your personal tax advisor about the potential tax consequences of an investment in Shares under all applicable tax laws. For more information, please see the section entitled “Federal Income Taxes” in the SAI.
DISTRIBUTION
The Distributor, Quasar Distributors, LLC, is a broker-dealer registered with the SEC. The Distributor distributes Creation Units for the Funds on an agency basis and does not maintain a secondary market in Shares. The Distributor has no role in determining the
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policies of the Funds or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Funds. The Distributor’s principal address is 111 East Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 2200, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202.
The Board has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan (the “Plan”) pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with the Plan, each Fund is authorized to pay an amount up to 0.25% of its average daily net assets each year for certain distribution-related activities and shareholder services.
No Rule 12b-1 fees are currently paid by the Funds, and there are no plans to impose these fees. However, in the event Rule 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because the fees are paid out of Fund assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT INFORMATION
Information regarding how often Shares traded on the Exchange at a price above (i.e., at a premium) or below (i.e., at a discount) the NAV per Share is available, free of charge, on the Funds’ website at www.aamlive.com/ETF.
ADDITIONAL NOTICES
Shares are not sponsored, endorsed, or promoted by the Exchange. The Exchange makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Shares or any member of the public regarding the ability of the Funds to track the total return performance of their respective Index or the ability of the Indexes identified herein to track the performance of their constituent securities. The Exchange is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the compilation or the calculation of the Indexes, nor in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of the Shares to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Shares are redeemable. The Exchange has no obligation or liability to owners of the Shares in connection with the administration, marketing, or trading of the Shares.
The Exchange does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the Indexes or the data included therein. The Exchange makes no warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the Funds, owners of the Shares, or any other person or entity from the use of the Indexes or the data included therein. The Exchange makes no express or implied warranties, and hereby expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the Indexes or the data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall the Exchange have any liability for any lost profits or indirect, punitive, special, or consequential damages even if notified of the possibility thereof.
The Adviser, the Sub-Adviser, the Exchange, and each Fund make no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of Shares or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Fund particularly or the ability of an Index to track general stock market performance. The Funds, the Adviser, and the Sub-Adviser do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or performance of an Index or the data included therein and shall have no liability in connection with the Index or Index calculation. The Index Calculation Agent maintains and calculates the Index used by each Fund. The Index Calculation Agent shall have no liability for any errors or omissions in calculating an Index.
Each S&P Index is a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a division of S&P Global, or its affiliates (“SPDJI”), and has been licensed for use by the Adviser. Standard & Poor’s®, S&P®, and S&P 500® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”); Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (“Dow Jones”); and these trademarks have been licensed for use by SPDJI and sublicensed for certain purposes by the Adviser. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. The Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P, any of their respective affiliates (collectively, “S&P Dow Jones Indices”). S&P Dow Jones Indices makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the Funds or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Funds particularly. Past performance of an index is not an indication or guarantee of future results. S&P Dow Jones Indices’ only relationship to the Adviser with respect to each Index is the licensing of each Index and certain trademarks, service marks and/or trade names of S&P Dow Jones Indices and/or its licensors. Each Index is determined, composed and calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices without regard to the Adviser or the Funds. S&P Dow Jones Indices has no obligation to take the needs of the Adviser or the owners of the Funds into consideration in determining, composing or calculating each Index. S&P Dow Jones Indices is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the prices, and amount of shares of the Funds or the timing of the issuance or sale of shares of the Funds or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which shares of the Funds are to be converted into cash, surrendered or redeemed, as the case may be. S&P Dow Jones Indices has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Funds. There is no assurance that investment products based on each Index will accurately track index performance or provide positive investment returns. S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC is not an investment or tax advisor. A tax advisor should be consulted to evaluate the impact of any tax-exempt securities on portfolios and the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by S&P Dow Jones Indices to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
S&P DOW JONES INDICES DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF EACH S&P INDEX OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO OR ANY COMMUNICATION, INCLUDING
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BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ORAL OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION (INCLUDING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS) WITH RESPECT THERETO. S&P DOW JONES INDICES SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR DELAYS THEREIN. S&P DOW JONES INDICES MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE OR AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY THE ADVISER, OWNERS OF THE FUNDS, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF EACH S&P INDEX OR WITH RESPECT TO ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT WHATSOEVER SHALL S&P DOW JONES INDICES BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OF PROFITS, TRADING LOSSES, LOST TIME OR GOODWILL, EVEN IF THEY HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE. THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARIES OF ANY AGREEMENTS OR ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN S&P DOW JONES INDICES AND THE ADVISER, OTHER THAN THE LICENSORS OF S&P DOW JONES INDICES.
Source ICE Data Indices, LLC (“ICE Data”), is used with permission. “ICESM/®” is a service/trade mark of ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates and has been licensed, along with the ICE 0-5 Year Duration Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index (“Index”) for use by the Adviser in connection with the Fund. Neither the Adviser, ETF Series Solutions (the “Trust”), nor the Fund, as applicable, is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by ICE Data Indices, LLC, its affiliates or its Third Party Suppliers (“ICE Data and its Suppliers”). ICE Data and its Suppliers make no representations or warranties regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally, in the Fund particularly, the Trust or the ability of the Index to track general stock market performance. ICE Data’s only relationship to the Adviser is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names and the Index or components thereof. The Index is determined, composed and calculated by ICE Data without regard to the Adviser or the Fund or its holders. ICE Data has no obligation to take the needs of the Adviser or the holders of the Fund into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Index. ICE Data is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of the Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Fund is to be priced, sold, purchased, or redeemed. Except for certain custom index calculation services, all information provided by ICE Data is general in nature and not tailored to the needs of the Adviser or any other person, entity or group of persons. ICE Data has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing, or trading of the Fund. ICE Data is not an investment advisor. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by ICE Data to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
ICE DATA AND ITS SUPPLIERS DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS AND/OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE, INCLUDING THE INDICES, INDEX DATA AND ANY INFORMATION INCLUDED IN, RELATED TO, OR DERIVED THEREFROM (“INDEX DATA”). ICE DATA AND ITS SUPPLIERS SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS OR COMPLETENESS OF THE INDICES AND THE INDEX DATA, WHICH ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” BASIS AND YOUR USE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
The financial highlights tables are intended to help you understand each Fund’s financial performance for each Fund’s five most recent fiscal years (or the life of the Fund, if shorter). Certain information reflects financial results for a single Share. The total returns in the tables represent the rate that an investor would have earned or lost on an investment in a Fund (assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions). This information has been audited by Cohen & Company, Ltd., the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm, whose report, along with the Funds’ financial statements, is included in the Funds’ annual report, which is available upon request.
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AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
For a capital share outstanding throughout the year/period
Year Ended October 31, 2020
Year Ended October 31, 2019
Period Ended
October 31, 2018(1)
Net asset value, beginning of year/period
$ 26.54  $ 25.83  $ 25.00 
INCOME (LOSS) FROM INVESTMENT OPERATIONS:
   Net investment income (loss)(2)
0.95  0.97  0.75 
   Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) on investments(3)
(5.28) 0.64  0.76 
Total from investment operations
(4.33) 1.61  1.51 
DISTRIBUTIONS TO SHAREHOLDERS:
Distributions from:
   Net investment income
(1.07) (0.90) (0.68)
Total distributions
(1.07) (0.90) (0.68)
CAPITAL SHARE TRANSACTIONS:
Transaction fees
— 

0.00 
(3)
Net asset value, end of year/period
$ 21.14  $ 26.54  $ 25.83 
Total return
-16.47  % 6.44  % 5.98  %
(4)
SUPPLEMENTAL DATA:
Net assets at end of year/period (000’s)
$ 23,788  $ 37,150  $ 19,370 
RATIOS TO AVERAGE NET ASSETS:
Expenses to average net assets
0.29  % 0.29  % 0.29  %
(5)
Net investment income (loss) to average net assets
4.06  % 3.78  % 3.05  %
(5)
Portfolio turnover rate(6)
84  % 42  % 38  %
(4)
(1)
Commencement of operations on November 28, 2017.
(2)
Calculated based on average shares outstanding during the period.
(3)
Less than $0.005.
(4)
Not annualized.
(5)
Annualized
(6)
Excludes the impact of in-kind transactions
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AAM S&P Emerging Markets High Dividend Value ETF

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
For a capital share outstanding throughout the year/period
Year Ended October 31, 2020
Year Ended October 31, 2019
Period Ended
October 31, 2018(1)
Net asset value, beginning of year/period
$ 21.39  $ 21.75  $ 25.00 
INCOME (LOSS) FROM INVESTMENT OPERATIONS:
Net investment income (loss)(2)
0.93  1.01  1.13 
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) on investments and foreign currency (3.57) (0.51) (3.55)
Total from investment operations
(2.64) 0.50  (2.42)
DISTRIBUTIONS TO SHAREHOLDERS:
Distribution from:
Net investment income (1.26) (0.87) (0.93)
Total distributions
(1.26) (0.87) (0.93)
CAPITAL SHARE TRANSACTIONS:
Transaction fees
0.01  0.10 
Net asset value, end of year/period $ 17.49  $ 21.39  $ 21.75 
Total return
-12.83  % 2.40  % -9.65  %
(3)
SUPPLEMENTAL DATA:
Net assets at end of year/period (000’s)
$ 5,686  $ 3,209  $ 2,175 
RATIOS TO AVERAGE NET ASSETS:
Expenses to average net assets
0.49  % 0.49  % 0.49  %
(4)
Net investment income (loss) to average net assets
4.99  % 4.61  % 4.95  %
(4)
Portfolio turnover rate(5)
121  % 124  % 104  %
(3)
(1)
Commencement of operations on November 28, 2017.
(2)
Calculated based on average shares outstanding during the period.
(3)
Not annualized.
(4)
Annualized.
(5)
Excludes the impact of in-kind transactions.
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AAM S&P Developed Markets High Dividend Value ETF
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
For a capital share outstanding throughout the year/period
Year Ended October 31, 2020
Period Ended
October 31, 2019(1)
Net asset value, beginning of year/period $ 25.35  $ 24.83 
INCOME (LOSS) FROM INVESTMENT OPERATIONS:
   Net investment income (loss)(2)
0.64  1.07 
   Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) on investments and foreign currency
(6.18) 0.29 
Total from investment operations
(5.54) 1.36 
DISTRIBUTIONS TO SHAREHOLDERS:
Distribution from:
   Net investment income
(1.32) (0.84)
Total distributions
(1.32) (0.84)
CAPITAL SHARE TRANSACTIONS:
Transaction fees
Net asset value, end of year/period
$ 18.49  $ 25.35 
Total return
-22.83  % 5.64  %
(3)
SUPPLEMENTAL DATA:
Net assets at end of period (000’s)
$ 1,849  $ 2,535 
RATIOS TO AVERAGE NET ASSETS:
Expenses to average net assets
0.39  % 0.39  %
(4)
Net investment income (loss) to average net assets
3.03  % 4.65  %
(4)
Portfolio turnover rate(5)
106  % 87  %
(3)

(1)
Commencement of operations on November 27, 2018.
(2)
Calculated based on average shares outstanding during the period.
(3)
Not annualized.
(4)
Annualized.
(5)
Excludes the impact of in-kind transactions.
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AAM Low Duration Preferred and Income Securities ETF


FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
For a capital share outstanding throughout the period
Period Ended
October 31, 2020(1)
Net asset value, beginning of period
$ 24.97 
INCOME (LOSS) FROM INVESTMENT OPERATIONS:
   Net investment income (loss)(2)
1.17 
   Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) on investments (0.98)
Total from investment operations
0.19 
DISTRIBUTIONS TO SHAREHOLDERS:
Distributions from:
   Net investment income
(1.10)
Total distributions
(1.10)
CAPITAL SHARE TRANSACTIONS:
Transaction fees
0.01 
Net asset value, end of period $ 24.07 
Total return
0.98  %
(3)
SUPPLEMENTAL DATA:
Net assets at end of period (000’s)
$ 3,611 
RATIOS TO AVERAGE NET ASSETS:
Expenses to average net assets
0.45  %
(4)
Net investment income (loss) to average net assets
5.15  %
(4)
Portfolio turnover rate(5)
202  %
(3)

(1)
Commencement of operations on November 19, 2019.
(2)
Calculated based on average shares outstanding during the period.
(3)
Not annualized.
(4)
Annualized.
(5)
Excludes the impact of in-kind transactions.
44



AAM S&P 500 HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
AAM S&P EMERGING MARKETS HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
AAM S&P DEVELOPED MARKETS HIGH DIVIDEND VALUE ETF
AAM LOW DURATION PREFERRED AND INCOME SECURITIES ETF
Adviser
Advisors Asset Management, Inc.
18925 Base Camp Road, Suite 203
Monument, Colorado 80132
Transfer Agent,
Index Receipt
Agent, and Administrator
U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC
d/b/a U.S. Bank Global Fund Services
615 East Michigan Street 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Index Providers
S&P Opco, LLC
c/o S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC
55 Water Street
New York, New York 10041

ICE Data Indices, LLC
5660 New Northside Drive NW, 3rd Floor
Atlanta, Georgia 30328
Sub-Adviser
Vident Investment Advisory, LLC
1125 Sanctuary Parkway, Suite 515
Alpharetta, Georgia 30009
Custodian
U.S. Bank National Association
1555 N. Rivercenter Drive, Suite 302
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212
Distributor
Quasar Distributors, LLC
111 East Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 2200
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
Cohen & Company, Ltd.
342 North Water Street, Suite 830
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Legal Counsel
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004-2541
Investors may find more information about the Funds in the following documents:
Statement of Additional Information: The Funds’ SAI provides additional details about the investments of the Funds and certain other additional information. A current SAI dated February 28, 2021, as supplemented from time to time is on file with the SEC and is herein incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. It is legally considered a part of this Prospectus.
Annual/Semi-Annual Reports: Additional information about each Fund’s investments is available in the Funds’ annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the annual report you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected each Fund’s performance.
You can obtain free copies of these documents, request other information or make general inquiries about the Fund by contacting the Fund at c/o U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, P.O. Box 701, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-0701 or by calling 1-800-617-0004.
Shareholder reports and other information about the Fund are also available:
Free of charge from the SEC’s EDGAR database on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov; or
Free of charge from the Funds’ Internet web site at https://www.aamlive.com/ETF; or
For a fee, by e-mail request to publicinfo@sec.gov.

(SEC Investment Company Act File No. 811-22668)
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