485BPOS
PIMCO Equity Series
Statement of Additional Information
October 30, 2023
This Statement of Additional Information is not a prospectus, and should be read in conjunction with the prospectuses of PIMCO Equity Series (the “Trust”), as described below and as supplemented from time to time.
The Trust is an open-end management investment company (“mutual fund”) currently consisting of nineteen separate portfolios, sixteen of which are discussed in this Statement of Additional Information (each such portfolio discussed in this Statement of Additional Information is referred to herein as a “Fund” and collectively as the “Funds”). The Trust offers up to seven classes of shares of the Funds: Institutional Class, I-2, I-3, Administrative Class, Class A, Class C and Class R. The ticker symbols for each class of shares of the Funds are:
 
Inst.
I-2
I-3
Admin.
A
C
R
PIMCO Dividend and Income Fund
PQIIX
PQIPX
PQIZX
PQICX
PIMCO RAE Emerging Markets Fund
PEIFX
PEPFX
PEAFX
PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund
PZRIX
PZRPX
PZRAX
PIMCO RAE International Fund
PPYIX
PPYPX
PPYAX
PIMCO RAE US Fund
PKAIX
PKAPX
PKAAX
PIMCO RAE US Small Fund
PMJIX
PMJPX
PMJAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Income Fund
PBRNX
PBRDX
PBRAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2025 Fund
PPZRX
PPZDX
PPZAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2030 Fund
PBPNX
PBPRX
PBPAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2035 Fund
PDGZX
PDGDX
PDGAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2040 Fund
PVPNX
PVPRX
PVPAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2045 Fund
PVQNX
PVQDX
PVQAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2050 Fund
PPQZX
PPQDX
PPQAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2055 Fund
PRQZX
PRQDX
PRQAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2060 Fund
PRBMX
PRBEX
PRBAX
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2065 Fund
PBLIX
 
 
PBLMX
PBLLX
 
 
The Institutional Class, I-2, I-3, Class A and Class C shares of the PIMCO Dividend and Income Fund, PIMCO RAE Emerging Markets Fund, PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund, PIMCO RAE International Fund, PIMCO RAE US Fund and PIMCO RAE US Small Fund are offered through a Prospectus dated October 30, 2023, the Institutional Class, Administrative Class, Class A and/or Class R shares of the PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Income Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2025 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2030 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2035 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2040 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2045 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2050 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2055 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2060 Fund and PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2065 Fund (collectively, the “PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Funds”) are offered through a Prospectus dated October 30, 2023, as supplemented from time to time (each a “Prospectus” and collectively, the “Prospectuses”). A copy of the Prospectuses may be obtained free of charge at the address and telephone number listed below.
Pacific Investment Management Company LLC (“PIMCO” or the “Adviser”), 650 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, California 92660, is the investment adviser to the Funds.
Audited financial statements for the Trust as of June 30, 2023, including the notes thereto, and the reports of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP thereon, are incorporated herein by reference from the Trust’s June 30, 2023 Annual Report.

A copy of the Prospectus, Annual Report or Semi-Annual Report for each Fund may be obtained free of charge at the telephone number and address listed below or by visiting https://www.pimco.com/en-us/product-finder.
PIMCO Equity Series
Regulatory Document Request
650 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, California 92660
Telephone: 1.888.87.PIMCO

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The Trust
The Trust is a Delaware statutory trust established under a Declaration of Trust dated March 30, 2010, as amended and restated May 17, 2017. The Trust is an open-end management investment company (“mutual fund”) currently consisting of nineteen separate investment portfolios, including the following fifteen investment portfolios:
PIMCO Dividend and Income Fund
PIMCO RAE Emerging Markets Fund
PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund
PIMCO RAE International Fund
PIMCO RAE US Fund
PIMCO RAE US Small Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Income Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2025 Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2030 Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2035 Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2040 Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2045 Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2050 Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2055 Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2060 Fund
PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2065 Fund
The following Funds are diversified: PIMCO Dividend and Income Fund, PIMCO RAE Emerging Markets Fund, PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund, PIMCO RAE International Fund, PIMCO RAE US Fund, PIMCO RAE US Small Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Income Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2025 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2030 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2035 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2040 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2045 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2050 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2055 Fund, PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2060 Fund and PIMCO REALPATH® Blend 2065 Fund.
Each of PIMCO RAE Emerging Markets Fund, PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund, PIMCO RAE International Fund, PIMCO RAE US Fund and PIMCO RAE US Small Fund (each, a “PIMCO RAE Fund”) acquired substantially all of the assets and liabilities of a corresponding privately offered fund managed by Research Affiliates, LLC (“Research Affiliates” or the “Sub-Adviser”), each Fund’s sub-adviser, in a reorganization completed on or about June 5, 2015. Each privately offered fund had an investment objective and strategies that were, in all material respects, the same as those of its corresponding PIMCO RAE Fund and was managed in a manner that, in all material respects, complied with the investment guidelines and restrictions of its corresponding PIMCO RAE Fund. However, the privately offered funds were not registered as investment companies under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), and were not subject to certain investment limitations, diversification requirements, liquidity requirements and other restrictions imposed by the 1940 Act and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”).
Investment Objectives And Policies
The investment objectives and general investment policies of the Funds are described in the Prospectuses. The following discussion provides additional information about certain strategies and risks associated with the Funds.
The PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Funds invest substantially all of their assets in other series of the Trust and PIMCO Funds, and in other affiliated funds, including funds of PIMCO ETF Trust, except funds of funds and PIMCO California Municipal Intermediate Value Fund, PIMCO California Municipal Opportunistic Value Fund, PIMCO National Municipal Intermediate Value Fund and PIMCO National Municipal Opportunistic Value Fund (“Underlying PIMCO Funds”), and unaffiliated funds that are registered under the 1940 Act (together with the Underlying PIMCO Funds, the “Acquired Funds”). The PIMCO Dividend and Income Fund may invest in the least expensive class of shares of any actively managed or smart beta Underlying PIMCO Fund and may also invest in other unaffiliated Acquired Funds. By investing in Underlying PIMCO Funds, the PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Funds, the PIMCO Dividend and Income Fund and any other funds of funds managed by PIMCO that invest all or a significant portion of their assets in the Underlying PIMCO Funds (together with the PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Funds and the PIMCO Dividend and Income Fund, the “PIMCO Funds of Funds”), may have indirect exposure to some or all of the securities and instruments described below depending upon how their assets are allocated among the Underlying PIMCO Funds. Since the PIMCO Funds of Funds may invest substantially all or a significant portion of their assets in the Underlying PIMCO Funds, investment decisions made with respect to the PIMCO Funds of Funds could, under certain circumstances, negatively impact the Underlying PIMCO Funds, including with respect to the expenses and investment performance of the Underlying PIMCO Funds. Similarly, certain funds managed by investment advisers affiliated with PIMCO (“Affiliated Funds of Funds”) may invest some or all of their assets in the Underlying PIMCO Funds, and
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investment decisions made with respect to Affiliated Funds of Funds similarly could, under certain circumstances, negatively impact the Underlying PIMCO Funds, including with respect to the expenses and investment performance of the Underlying PIMCO Funds. Please see “Investments in Underlying PIMCO Funds” and “Regulatory Matters” below for more information regarding potential risks related to the Underlying PIMCO Funds as well as certain regulatory changes potentially impacting the PIMCO Funds of Funds’ and Underlying PIMCO Funds’ investment strategies and operations.
The PIMCO REALPATH® Blend Funds may also invest substantially all of their assets in equity securities, fixed income instruments of varying maturities, or related derivatives on any securities mentioned above, to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act or any exemptive relief therefrom.
The PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund invests, under normal circumstances, substantially all of its assets in (i) Institutional Class shares of the PIMCO RAE International Fund (“International Fund”) and the PIMCO RAE Emerging Markets Fund (“Emerging Markets Fund”), (ii) equity securities of small companies economically tied to non-U.S. countries, and (iii) securities that are eligible investments for the International Fund and Emerging Markets Fund (collectively, the International Fund and the Emerging Markets Fund, are referred to herein as the “PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds”). By investing in PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds, the PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund and any other PIMCO Funds of Funds may have indirect exposure to some or all of the securities and instruments described below depending upon how their assets are allocated among the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds. Because the PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund may invest substantially all or a significant portion of its assets in the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds, investment decisions made with respect to the PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund could, under certain circumstances, negatively impact the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds, including with respect to the expenses and investment performance of the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds. Similarly, Affiliated Funds of Funds may invest some or all of their assets in the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds, and investment decisions made with respect to Affiliated Funds of Funds similarly could, under certain circumstances, negatively impact the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds, including with respect to the expenses and investment performance of the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds. Please see “Investments in PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds” below for more information regarding potential risks to the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds.
Equity Securities
Equity securities, such as common stock, represent an ownership interest, or the right to acquire an ownership interest, in an issuer. Common stock generally takes the form of shares in a corporation. The value of a company’s stock may fall as a result of factors directly relating to that company, such as decisions made by its management or lower demand for the company’s products or services. A stock’s value also may fall because of factors affecting not just the company, but also companies in the same industry or in a number of different industries, such as increases in production costs. The value of a company’s stock also may be affected by changes in financial markets that are relatively unrelated to the company or its industry, such as changes in interest rates or currency exchange rates. In addition, a company’s stock generally pays dividends only after the company invests in its own business and makes required payments to holders of its bonds, other debt and preferred securities. For this reason, the value of a company’s stock will usually react more strongly than its bonds, other debt and preferred securities to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects. Stocks of smaller companies may be more vulnerable to adverse developments than those of larger companies. Stocks of companies that the portfolio managers believe are fast-growing may trade at a higher multiple of current earnings than other stocks. The value of such stocks may be more sensitive to changes in current or expected earnings than the values of other stocks. The Funds generally consider a small-cap company to be a company with a market capitalization of up to $1.5 billion, a mid-cap company to be a company with a market capitalization of between $1.5 billion and $10 billion, and a large-cap company to be a company with a market capitalization of greater than $10 billion. As described in the relevant Funds’ prospectus, certain Funds rank company size by fundamental size, as determined by Research Affiliates, rather than by market capitalization.
Different types of equity securities provide different voting and dividend rights and priority in the event of the bankruptcy and/or insolvency of the issuer. A Fund may purchase equity securities to seek to influence or control management of an issuer or may invest in other companies that do so, when the portfolio manager(s) believe such actions would benefit the Fund. In addition to common stock, equity securities may include preferred securities, convertible securities and warrants, which are discussed elsewhere in the Prospectuses and this Statement of Additional Information. Equity securities other than common stock are subject to many of the same risks as common
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stock, although possibly to different degrees. The risks of equity securities are generally magnified in the case of equity investments in distressed companies.
Convertible Securities
The Funds may invest in convertible securities, which may offer higher income than the common stocks into which they are convertible.
A convertible security is a bond, debenture, note, preferred security, or other security that entitles the holder to acquire common stock or other equity securities of the same or a different issuer. A convertible security generally entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion, convertible securities have characteristics similar to non-convertible debt or preferred securities, as applicable. Convertible securities rank senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure and, therefore, generally entail less risk than the corporation’s common stock, although the extent to which such risk is reduced depends in large measure upon the degree to which the convertible security sells above its value as a fixed income security. Convertible securities are subordinate in rank to any senior debt obligations of the issuer, and, therefore, an issuer’s convertible securities entail more risk than its debt obligations. Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible debt securities of similar credit quality because of the potential for capital appreciation. In addition, convertible securities are often lower-rated securities.
Because of the conversion feature, the price of the convertible security will normally fluctuate in some proportion to changes in the price of the underlying asset, and as such is subject to risks relating to the activities of the issuer and/or general market and economic conditions. The income component of a convertible security may tend to cushion the security against declines in the price of the underlying asset. However, the income component of convertible securities causes fluctuations based upon changes in interest rates and the credit quality of the issuer.
If the convertible security’s “conversion value,” which is the market value of the underlying common stock that would be obtained upon the conversion of the convertible security, is substantially below the “investment value,” which is the value of a convertible security viewed without regard to its conversion feature (i.e., strictly on the basis of its yield), the price of the convertible security is governed principally by its investment value. If the conversion value of a convertible security increases to a point that approximates or exceeds its investment value, the value of the security will be principally influenced by its conversion value. A convertible security will sell at a premium over its conversion value to the extent investors place value on the right to acquire the underlying common stock while holding an income-producing security.
A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a predetermined price. If a convertible security held by a Fund is called for redemption, the Fund would be required to permit the issuer to redeem the security and convert it to underlying common stock, or would sell the convertible security to a third party, which may have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
A third party or PIMCO also may create a “synthetic” convertible security by combining separate securities that possess the two principal characteristics of a traditional convertible security, i.e., an income-producing security (“income-producing component”) and the right to acquire an equity security (“convertible component”). The income-producing component is achieved by investing in non-convertible, income-producing securities such as bonds, preferred securities and money market instruments, which may be represented by derivative instruments. The convertible component is achieved by investing in securities or instruments such as warrants or options to buy common stock at a certain exercise price, or options on a stock index. Unlike a traditional convertible security, which is a single security having a single market value, a synthetic convertible comprises two or more separate securities, each with its own market value. Therefore, the “market value” of a synthetic convertible security is the sum of the values of its income-producing component and its convertible component. For this reason, the values of a synthetic convertible security and a traditional convertible security may respond differently to market fluctuations.
More flexibility is possible in the assembly of a synthetic convertible security than in the purchase of a convertible security. Although synthetic convertible securities may be selected where the two components are issued by a single issuer, thus making the synthetic convertible security similar to the traditional convertible security, the character of a synthetic convertible security allows the combination of components representing distinct issuers, when PIMCO believes that such a combination may better achieve a Fund’s investment objective. A synthetic convertible
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security also is a more flexible investment in that its two components may be purchased separately. For example, a Fund may purchase a warrant for inclusion in a synthetic convertible security but temporarily hold short-term investments while postponing the purchase of a corresponding bond pending development of more favorable market conditions.
A holder of a synthetic convertible security faces the risk of a decline in the price of the security or the level of the index involved in the convertible component, causing a decline in the value of the security or instrument, such as a call option or warrant, purchased to create the synthetic convertible security. Should the price of the stock fall below the exercise price and remain there throughout the exercise period, the entire amount paid for the call option or warrant would be lost. Because a synthetic convertible security includes the income-producing component as well, the holder of a synthetic convertible security also faces the risk that interest rates will rise, causing a decline in the value of the income-producing instrument.
The Funds also may purchase synthetic convertible securities created by other parties, including convertible structured notes. Convertible structured notes are income-producing debentures linked to equity, and are typically issued by investment banks. Convertible structured notes have the attributes of a convertible security; however, the investment bank that issues the convertible note, rather than the issuer of the underlying common stock into which the note is convertible, assumes credit risk associated with the underlying investment, and a Fund in turn assumes credit risk associated with the convertible note.
Contingent Convertible Instruments.Contingent convertible securities (“CoCos”) are a form of hybrid debt security that are intended to either convert into equity or have their principal written down (including potentially to zero) upon the occurrence of certain “triggers.” The triggers are generally linked to regulatory capital thresholds or regulatory actions calling into question the issuing banking institution’s continued viability as a going-concern. CoCos’ unique equity conversion or principal write-down features are tailored to the issuing banking institution and its regulatory requirements. Some additional risks associated with CoCos include, but are not limited to:
Loss absorption risk.CoCos have fully discretionary coupons. This means coupons can potentially be cancelled at the banking institution’s discretion or at the request of the relevant regulatory authority in order to help the bank absorb losses.
Subordinated instruments.CoCos will, in the majority of circumstances, be issued in the form of subordinated debt instruments in order to provide the appropriate regulatory capital treatment prior to a conversion. Accordingly, in the event of liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of an issuer prior to a conversion having occurred, the rights and claims of the holders of the CoCos, such as the Funds, against the issuer in respect of or arising under the terms of the CoCos shall generally rank junior to the claims of all holders of unsubordinated obligations of the issuer and may also become junior to other obligations of the issuer. In addition, if the CoCos are converted into the issuer’s underlying equity securities following a conversion event (i.e., a “trigger”), each holder will be subordinated due to their conversion from being the holder of a debt instrument to being the holder of an equity instrument.
Market value will fluctuate based on unpredictable factors.The value of CoCos is unpredictable and will be influenced by many factors including, without limitation: (i) the creditworthiness of the issuer and/or fluctuations in such issuer’s applicable capital ratios; (ii) supply and demand for the CoCos; (iii) general market conditions and available liquidity; and (iv) economic, financial and political events that affect the issuer, its particular market or the financial markets in general.
Preferred Securities
The Funds may invest in preferred securities. Preferred securities represent an equity interest in a company that generally entitles the holder to receive, in preference to the holders of other stocks such as common stocks, dividends and a fixed share of the proceeds resulting from a liquidation of the company. Some preferred securities also entitle their holders to receive additional liquidation proceeds on the same basis as holders of a company’s common stock, and thus also represent an ownership interest in that company.
Preferred securities may pay fixed or adjustable rates of return. Preferred securities are subject to issuer-specific and market risks applicable generally to equity securities. In addition, a company’s preferred securities generally pay dividends only after the company makes required payments to holders of its bonds and other debt. For this reason, the value of preferred securities will usually react more strongly than bonds and other debt to actual or perceived changes
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in the company’s financial condition or prospects. Preferred securities of smaller companies may be more vulnerable to adverse developments than preferred securities of larger companies.
Depositary Receipts
The Funds may invest in American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) and similar securities that represent interests in a company’s securities that have been deposited with a bank or trust and that trade on an exchange or over-the-counter (“OTC”). For example, ADRs represent interests in a non-U.S. company but trade on a U.S. exchange or OTC and are denominated in U.S. dollars. These securities represent the right to receive securities of the foreign issuer deposited with the bank or trust. ADRs, EDRs and GDRs can be sponsored by the issuing bank or trust company or the issuer of the underlying securities. Although the issuing bank or trust company may impose charges for the collection of dividends and the conversion of such securities into the underlying securities, there are generally no fees imposed on the purchase or sale of these securities, other than transaction fees ordinarily involved with trading stock. Such securities may be relatively less liquid or may trade at a lower price than the underlying securities of the issuer. Additionally, receipt of corporate information about the underlying issuer and proxy disclosure may be untimely.
Warrants to Purchase Securities
The Funds may invest in or acquire warrants to purchase equity or fixed income securities. Warrants are instruments that give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy a security directly from an issuer at a specific price for a specific period of time. Changes in the value of a warrant do not necessarily correspond to changes in the value of its underlying security. The price of a warrant may be more volatile than the price of its underlying security, and a warrant may offer greater potential for capital appreciation as well as capital loss. Warrants do not entitle a holder to dividends or voting rights with respect to the underlying security, do not represent any rights in the assets of the issuing company and are subject to the risk that the issuer-counterparty may fail to honor its obligations. A warrant ceases to have value if it is not exercised prior to its expiration date. These factors can make warrants more speculative than other types of investments. Bonds with warrants attached to purchase equity securities have many characteristics of convertible bonds and their prices may, to some degree, reflect the performance of the underlying stock. Bonds also may be issued with warrants attached to purchase additional fixed income securities at the same coupon rate. A decline in interest rates would permit a Fund to buy additional bonds at the favorable rate or to sell the warrants at a profit. If interest rates rise, the warrants would generally expire with no value.
A Fund may from time to time use non-standard warrants, including low exercise price warrants or low exercise price options (“LEPOs”), to gain exposure to issuers in certain countries. LEPOs are different from standard warrants in that they do not give their holders the right to receive a security of the issuer upon exercise. Rather, LEPOs pay the holder the difference in price of the underlying security between the date the LEPO was purchased and the date it is sold. Additionally, LEPOs entail the same risks as other OTC derivatives, including the risks that the counterparty or issuer of the LEPO may not be able to fulfill its obligations, that the holder and counterparty or issuer may disagree as to the meaning or application of contractual terms, or that the instrument may not perform as expected. Furthermore, while LEPOs may be listed on an exchange, there is no guarantee that a liquid market will exist or that the counterparty or issuer of a LEPO will be willing to repurchase such instrument when a Fund wishes to sell it.
U.S. Government Securities
U.S. Government securities are obligations of and, in certain cases, guaranteed by, the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities. The U.S. Government does not guarantee the net asset value of a Fund’s shares. Some U.S. Government securities, such as Treasury bills, notes and bonds, and securities guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”), are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States; others, such as those of the Federal Home Loan Banks, are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the “U.S. Treasury”); others, such as those of the Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”), are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase the agency’s obligations; and still others, such as securities issued by members of the Farm Credit System, are supported only by the credit of the agency, instrumentality or corporation. U.S. Government securities may include zero coupon securities, which do not distribute interest on a current basis and tend to be subject to greater risk than interest-paying securities of similar maturities.
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Securities issued by U.S. Government agencies or government-sponsored enterprises may not be guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury. GNMA, a wholly owned U.S. Government corporation, is authorized to guarantee, with the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, the timely payment of principal and interest on securities issued by institutions approved by GNMA and backed by pools of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Government-related guarantors (i.e., not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government) include the FNMA and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”). Pass-through securities issued by FNMA are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by FNMA but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. FHLMC guarantees the timely payment of interest and ultimate collection of principal, but its participation certificates are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. Instead, they are supported only by the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase the agency’s obligations.
Mortgage-Related Securities and Asset-Backed Securities
Mortgage-related securities are interests in pools of residential or commercial mortgage loans, including mortgage loans made by savings and loan institutions, mortgage bankers, commercial banks and others. Such mortgage loans may include non-performing loans, which are loans considered in default or close to default, and reperforming loans (“RPLs”), which are loans that have previously been delinquent but are current at the time securitized. Pools of mortgage loans are assembled as securities for sale to investors by various governmental, government-related and private organizations. See “Mortgage Pass-Through Securities,” below. The Funds also may invest in debt securities which are secured with collateral consisting of mortgage-related securities (see “Collateralized Mortgage Obligations”).
The financial downturn of the late 2000s adversely affected the market for mortgage-related securities. The downturn saw dramatic declines in the housing market, with falling home prices and increasing foreclosures and unemployment, and significant asset write-downs by financial institutions. Between 2008 and 2009, the market for mortgage-related securities (and other asset-backed securities) was particularly adversely impacted by, among other factors, the failure of certain large financial institutions and the events leading to the conservatorship and the control by the U.S. Government of FNMA and FHLMC, as described below. These events, coupled with the general economic downturn, resulted in a substantial level of uncertainty in the financial markets, particularly with respect to mortgage-related investments. There is no assurance that the U.S. Government would take similar or further action to support the mortgage-related securities industry, as it has in the past, should the economy experience another downturn. Further, any future government actions may significantly alter the manner in which the mortgage-related securities market functions. Each of these factors could ultimately increase the risk that a Fund could realize losses on mortgage-related securities.
Mortgage Pass-Through Securities. Interests in pools of mortgage-related securities differ from other forms of debt securities, which normally provide for periodic payment of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or specified call dates. Instead, these securities provide a monthly payment which consists of both interest and principal payments. In effect, these payments are a “pass-through” of the monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on their residential or commercial mortgage loans, net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of such securities. Additional payments are caused by repayments of principal resulting from the sale of the underlying property, refinancing or foreclosure, net of fees or costs which may be incurred. Some mortgage-related securities (such as securities issued by GNMA) are described as “modified pass-through.” These securities entitle the holder to receive all interest and principal payments owed on the mortgage pool, net of certain fees, at the scheduled payment dates regardless of whether or not the mortgagor actually makes the payment.
The rate of pre-payments on underlying mortgages will affect the price and volatility of a mortgage-related security, and may have the effect of shortening or extending the effective duration of the security relative to what was anticipated at the time of purchase. To the extent that unanticipated rates of pre-payment on underlying mortgages increase the effective duration of a mortgage-related security, the volatility of such security can be expected to increase. The residential mortgage market in the United States has experienced in the past, and could experience in the future, difficulties that may adversely affect the performance and market value of certain of the Funds’ mortgage-related investments. Delinquencies, defaults and losses on residential mortgage loans may increase substantially over certain periods. A decline in or flattening of housing values may exacerbate such delinquencies and losses on residential mortgages. Borrowers with adjustable rate mortgage loans are more sensitive to changes in interest rates, which affect their monthly mortgage payments, and may be unable to secure replacement mortgages at
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comparably low interest rates. As a result of the 2008 financial crisis, a number of residential mortgage loan originators experienced serious financial difficulties or bankruptcy. Owing largely to the foregoing, reduced investor demand for mortgage loans and mortgage-related securities and increased investor yield requirements caused limited liquidity in the secondary market for certain mortgage-related securities, which adversely affected the market value of mortgage-related securities. It is possible that such limited liquidity in such secondary markets could recur or worsen in the future.
Agency Mortgage-Related Securities. The principal governmental guarantor of mortgage-related securities is GNMA. GNMA is a wholly owned United States Government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. GNMA is authorized to guarantee, with the full faith and credit of the United States Government, the timely payment of principal and interest on securities issued by institutions approved by GNMA (such as savings and loan institutions, commercial banks and mortgage bankers) and backed by pools of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (the “FHA”), or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”).
Government-related guarantors (i.e., not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government) include FNMA and FHLMC. FNMA is a government-sponsored corporation. FNMA purchases conventional (i.e., not insured or guaranteed by any government agency) residential mortgages from a list of approved seller/servicers which include state and federally chartered savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks and credit unions and mortgage bankers. Pass-through securities issued by FNMA are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by FNMA, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. FHLMC was created by Congress in 1970 for the purpose of increasing the availability of mortgage credit for residential housing. It is a government-sponsored corporation that issues Participation Certificates (“PCs”), which are pass-through securities, each representing an undivided interest in a pool of residential mortgages. FHLMC guarantees the timely payment of interest and ultimate collection of principal, but PCs are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.
FNMA and FHLMC also securitize RPLs. For example, in FNMA’s case, the RPLs are single-family, fixed rate reperforming loans that generally were previously placed in a mortgage-backed securities trust guaranteed by FNMA, purchased from the trust by FNMA and held as a distressed asset after four or more months of delinquency, and subsequently became current (i.e., performing) again. Such RPLs may have exited delinquency through efforts at reducing defaults (e.g., loan modification). In selecting RPLs for securitization, FNMA follows certain criteria related to length of time the loan has been performing, the type of loan (single-family, fixed rate), and the status of the loan as first lien, among other things. FNMA may include different loan structures and modification programs in the future.
Since September 6, 2008, FNMA and FHLMC have operated under a conservatorship administered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”). As the conservator, FHFA succeeded to all rights, titles, powers and privileges of FNMA and FHLMC and of any stockholder, officer or director of FNMA and FHLMC with respect to FNMA and FHLMC and the assets of FNMA and FHLMC. In connection with the conservatorship, the U.S. Treasury entered into a Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement to provide additional financing to FNMA and FHLMC.
FNMA and FHLMC continue to operate as going concerns while in conservatorship and each remain liable for all of its obligations, including its guaranty obligations, associated with its mortgage-backed securities. The Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement is intended to enhance each of FNMA’s and FHLMC’s ability to meet its obligations. The FHFA has indicated that the conservatorship of each enterprise will end when the director of FHFA determines that FHFA’s plan to restore the enterprise to a safe and solvent condition has been completed.
Under the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 (the “Reform Act”), which was included as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, FHFA, as conservator or receiver, has the power to repudiate any contract entered into by FNMA or FHLMC prior to FHFA’s appointment as conservator or receiver, as applicable, if FHFA determines, in its sole discretion, that performance of the contract is burdensome and that repudiation of the contract promotes the orderly administration of FNMA’s or FHLMC’s affairs. The Reform Act requires FHFA to exercise its right to repudiate any contract within a reasonable period of time after its appointment as conservator or receiver.
FHFA, in its capacity as conservator, has indicated that it has no intention to repudiate the guaranty obligations of FNMA or FHLMC because FHFA views repudiation as incompatible with the goals of the conservatorship. However, in the event that FHFA, as conservator or if it is later appointed as receiver for FNMA or FHLMC, were to repudiate
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any such guaranty obligation, the conservatorship or receivership estate, as applicable, would be liable for actual direct compensatory damages in accordance with the provisions of the Reform Act. Any such liability could be satisfied only to the extent of FNMA’s or FHLMC’s assets available therefor.
In the event of repudiation, the payments of interest to holders of FNMA or FHLMC mortgage-backed securities would be reduced if payments on the mortgage loans represented in the mortgage loan groups related to such mortgage-backed securities are not made by the borrowers or advanced by the servicer. Any actual direct compensatory damages for repudiating these guaranty obligations may not be sufficient to offset any shortfalls experienced by such mortgage-backed security holders.
Further, in its capacity as conservator or receiver, FHFA has the right to transfer or sell any asset or liability of FNMA or FHLMC without any approval, assignment or consent. Although FHFA has stated that it has no present intention to do so, if FHFA, as conservator or receiver, were to transfer any such guaranty obligation to another party, holders of FNMA or FHLMC mortgage-backed securities would have to rely on that party for satisfaction of the guaranty obligation and would be exposed to the credit risk of that party.
In addition, certain rights provided to holders of mortgage-backed securities issued by FNMA and FHLMC under the operative documents related to such securities may not be enforced against FHFA, or enforcement of such rights may be delayed, during the conservatorship or any future receivership. The operative documents for FNMA and FHLMC mortgage-backed securities may provide (or with respect to securities issued prior to the date of the appointment of the conservator may have provided) that upon the occurrence of an event of default on the part of FNMA or FHLMC, in its capacity as guarantor, which includes the appointment of a conservator or receiver, holders of such mortgage-backed securities have the right to replace FNMA or FHLMC as trustee if the requisite percentage of mortgage-backed securities holders consent. The Reform Act prevents mortgage-backed security holders from enforcing such rights if the event of default arises solely because a conservator or receiver has been appointed. The Reform Act also provides that no person may exercise any right or power to terminate, accelerate or declare an event of default under certain contracts to which FNMA or FHLMC is a party, or obtain possession of or exercise control over any property of FNMA or FHLMC, or affect any contractual rights of FNMA or FHLMC, without the approval of FHFA, as conservator or receiver, for a period of 45 or 90 days following the appointment of FHFA as conservator or receiver, respectively.
FHFA and the White House have made public statements regarding plans to consider ending the conservatorships of FNMA and FHLMC. In the event that FNMA and FHLMC are taken out of conservatorship, it is unclear how the capital structure of FNMA and FHLMC would be constructed and what effects, if any, there may be on FNMA’s and FHLMC’s creditworthiness and guarantees of certain mortgage-backed securities. It is also unclear whether the U.S. Treasury would continue to enforce its rights or perform its obligations under the Senior Preferred Stock Programs. Should FNMA’s and FHLMC’s conservatorship end, there could be an adverse impact on the value of their securities, which could cause losses to a Fund.
FNMA and FHLMC have entered into a joint initiative to develop and operate a common securitization platform for the issuance of a uniform mortgage-backed security (“UMBS”) (the “Single Security Initiative”) that aligns the characteristics of FNMA and FHLMC certificates. In June 2019, under the Single Security Initiative, FNMA and FHLMC started issuing UMBS in place of their current offerings of to-be-announced (“TBA”)-eligible securities. The Single Security Initiative seeks to support the overall liquidity of the TBA market and aligns the characteristics of FNMA and FHLMC certificates. The long-term effects that the Single Security Initiative may have on the market for TBA and other mortgage-backed securities are uncertain.
Government-Sponsored Enterprise (“GSE”) Credit Risk Transfer Securities and GSE Credit-Linked Notes. GSE credit risk transfer securities are notes issued directly by a GSE, such as FNMA or FHLMC, and GSE credit-linked notes are notes issued by a special purpose vehicle (“SPV”) sponsored by a GSE. Investors in these notes provide credit protection for the applicable GSE’s mortgage-related securities guarantee obligations. In this regard, a noteholder receives compensation for providing credit protection to the GSE and, when a specified level of losses on the relevant mortgage loans occurs, the principal balance and certain payments owed to the noteholder may be reduced. In addition, noteholders may receive a return of principal prior to the stated maturity date reflecting prepayment on the underlying mortgage loans and in any other circumstances that may be set forth in the applicable
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loan agreement. The notes may be issued in different tranches representing the issuance of different levels of credit risk protection to the GSE on the underlying mortgage loans and the notes are not secured by the reference mortgage loans.
GSE Credit Risk Transfer Securities Structure. In this structure, the GSE receives the note sale proceeds. The GSE pays noteholders monthly interest payments and a return of principal on the stated maturity date based on the initial investment amount, as reduced by any covered losses on the reference mortgage loans.
GSE Credit-Linked Notes Structure. In this structure, the SPV receives the note sale proceeds and the SPV’s obligations to the noteholder are collateralized by the note sale proceeds. The SPV invests the proceeds in cash or other short-term assets. The SPV also enters into a credit protection agreement with the GSE pursuant to which the GSE pays the SPV monthly premium payments and the SPV compensates the GSE for covered losses on the reference mortgage loans. The SPV pays noteholders monthly interest payments based on the premium payments paid by the GSE and the performance on the invested note sale proceeds. The noteholders also receive a return of principal on a stated maturity date based on the initial investment amount, as reduced by any covered losses on the reference mortgage loans paid by the SPV or the GSE.
Risks Related to GSE Credit Risk Transfer Securities and GSE Credit-Linked Notes. GSE credit risk transfer securities are general obligations issued by a GSE and are unguaranteed and unsecured. GSE credit-linked notes are similar, except that the notes are issued by an SPV, rather than by a GSE, and the obligations of the SPV are collateralized by the note proceeds as invested by the SPV, which are invested in cash or short-term securities. Although both GSE credit risk transfer securities and GSE credit-linked notes are unguaranteed, obligations of an SPV are also not backstopped by the Department of Treasury or an obligation of a GSE.
The risks associated with these investments are different than the risks associated with an investment in mortgage-backed securities issued by GSEs or a private issuer. If a GSE fails to pay principal or interest on its credit risk transfers or goes through a bankruptcy, insolvency or similar proceeding, holders of such credit risk transfers will have no direct recourse to the underlying mortgage loans. In addition, some or all of the mortgage default risk associated with the underlying mortgage loans is transferred to noteholders. As a result, there can be no assurance that losses will not occur on an investment in GSE credit risk transfer securities or GSE credit-linked notes and Funds investing in these instruments may be exposed to the risk of loss on their investment. In addition, these investments are subject to prepayment risk.
In the case of GSE credit-linked notes, if a GSE fails to make a premium or other required payment to the SPV, the SPV may be unable to pay a noteholder the entire amount of interest or principal payable to the noteholder. In the event of a default on the obligations to noteholders, the SPV’s principal and interest payment obligations to noteholders will be subordinated to the SPV’s credit protection payment obligations to the GSE. Payment of such amounts to noteholders depends on the cash available in the trust from the loan proceeds and the GSE’s premium payments.
Any income earned by the SPV on investments of loan proceeds is expected to be less than the interest payments amounts to be paid to noteholders of the GSE credit-linked notes and interest payments to noteholders will be reduced if the GSE fails to make premium payments to the SPV. An SPV’s investment of loan proceeds may also be concentrated in the securities of a few number of issuers. A noteholder bears any investment losses on the allocable portion of the loan proceeds.
An SPV that issues GSE credit-linked notes may fall within the definition of a “commodity pool” under the Commodity Exchange Act. Certain GSEs are not registered as commodity pool operators in reliance on CFTC no-action relief, subject to certain conditions similar to those under CFTC Rule 4.13(a)(3), with respect to the operation of the SPV. If the GSE or SPV fails to comply with such conditions, noteholders that are investment vehicles, such as the Funds, may become ineligible to claim an exclusion from CFTC regulation, to the extent they are currently eligible to claim the exclusion. These Funds may consider steps in order to continue to qualify for exemption from CFTC regulation, or may determine to operate subject to CFTC regulation, which could cause such a Fund to incur increased costs.
Privately Issued Mortgage-Related Securities. Commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers also create pass-through pools of
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conventional residential mortgage loans. Such issuers may be the originators and/or servicers of the underlying mortgage loans as well as the guarantors of the mortgage-related securities. Pools created by such non-governmental issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than government and government-related pools because there are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in the former pools. However, timely payment of interest and principal of these pools may be supported by various forms of insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance and letters of credit, which may be issued by governmental entities or private insurers. Such insurance and guarantees and the creditworthiness of the issuers thereof will be considered in determining whether a mortgage-related security meets the Trust’s investment quality standards. There can be no assurance that insurers or guarantors can meet their obligations under the insurance policies or guarantee arrangements. The Funds may buy mortgage-related securities without insurance or guarantees if, through an examination of the loan experience and practices of the originators/servicers and poolers, PIMCO determines that the securities meet the Trust’s quality standards. Securities issued by certain private organizations may not be readily marketable. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity.
Privately issued mortgage-related securities are not subject to the same underwriting requirements for the underlying mortgages that are applicable to those mortgage-related securities that have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee. As a result, the mortgage loans underlying privately issued mortgage-related securities may, and frequently do, have less favorable collateral, credit risk or other underwriting characteristics than government or government-sponsored mortgage-related securities and have wider variances in a number of terms including interest rate, term, size, purpose and borrower characteristics. Mortgage pools underlying privately issued mortgage-related securities more frequently include second mortgages, high loan-to-value ratio mortgages and manufactured housing loans, in addition to commercial mortgages and other types of mortgages where a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee is not available. The coupon rates and maturities of the underlying mortgage loans in a privately-issued mortgage-related securities pool may vary to a greater extent than those included in a government guaranteed pool, and the pool may include subprime mortgage loans. Subprime loans are loans made to borrowers with weakened credit histories or with a lower capacity to make timely payments on their loans. For these reasons, the loans underlying these securities have had in many cases higher default rates than those loans that meet government underwriting requirements.
The risk of non-payment is greater for mortgage-related securities that are backed by loans that were originated under weak underwriting standards, including loans made to borrowers with limited means to make repayment. A level of risk exists for all loans, although, historically, the poorest performing loans have been those classified as subprime. Other types of privately issued mortgage-related securities, such as those classified as pay-option adjustable rate or Alt-A have also performed poorly. Even loans classified as prime have experienced higher levels of delinquencies and defaults. The substantial decline in real property values across the U.S. has exacerbated the level of losses that investors in privately issued mortgage-related securities have experienced. It is not certain when these trends may reverse. Market factors that may adversely affect mortgage loan repayment include adverse economic conditions, unemployment, a decline in the value of real property, or an increase in interest rates.
Privately issued mortgage-related securities are not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, mortgage-related securities held in a Fund’s portfolio may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying mortgage loans.
The Funds may purchase privately issued mortgage-related securities that are originated, packaged and serviced by third party entities. It is possible these third parties could have interests that are in conflict with the holders of mortgage-related securities, and such holders (such as a Fund) could have rights against the third parties or their affiliates. For example, if a loan originator, servicer or its affiliates engaged in negligence or willful misconduct in carrying out its duties, then a holder of the mortgage-related security could seek recourse against the originator/servicer or its affiliates, as applicable. Also, as a loan originator/servicer, the originator/servicer or its affiliates may make certain representations and warranties regarding the quality of the mortgages and properties underlying a mortgage-related security. If one or more of those representations or warranties is false, then the holders of the mortgage-related securities (such as a Fund) could trigger an obligation of the originator/servicer or its affiliates, as applicable, to repurchase the mortgages from the issuing trust.
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Notwithstanding the foregoing, many of the third parties that are legally bound by trust and other documents have failed to perform their respective duties, as stipulated in such trust and other documents, and investors have had limited success in enforcing terms. To the extent third party entities involved with privately issued mortgage-related securities are involved in litigation relating to the securities, actions may be taken that are adverse to the interests of holders of the mortgage-related securities, including the Funds. For example, third parties may seek to withhold proceeds due to holders of the mortgage-related securities, including the Funds, to cover legal or related costs. Any such action could result in losses to the Funds.
Mortgage-related securities that are issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities, are not subject to the Funds' industry concentration restrictions, set forth below under “Investment Restrictions” by virtue of the exclusion from that test available to all U.S. Government securities. The assets underlying privately issued mortgage-related securities may be represented by a portfolio of residential or commercial mortgages (including both whole mortgage loans and mortgage participation interests that may be senior or junior in terms of priority of repayment) or portfolios of mortgage pass-through securities issued or guaranteed by GNMA, FNMA or FHLMC. Mortgage loans underlying a mortgage-related security may in turn be insured or guaranteed by the FHA or the VA. In the case of privately issued mortgage-related securities whose underlying assets are neither U.S. Government securities nor U.S. Government-insured mortgages, to the extent that real properties securing such assets may be located in the same geographical region, the security may be subject to a greater risk of default than other comparable securities in the event of adverse economic, political or business developments that may affect such region and, ultimately, the ability of residential homeowners to make payments of principal and interest on the underlying mortgages.
PIMCO seeks to manage the portion of any Fund’s assets committed to privately issued mortgage-related securities in a manner consistent with the Fund’s investment objective, policies and overall portfolio risk profile. In determining whether and how much to invest in privately issued mortgage-related securities, and how to allocate those assets, PIMCO will consider a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to: (1) the nature of the borrowers (e.g., residential vs. commercial); (2) the collateral loan type (e.g., for residential: First Lien - Jumbo/Prime, First Lien - Alt-A, First Lien - Subprime, First Lien - Pay-Option or Second Lien; for commercial: Conduit, Large Loan or Single Asset / Single Borrower); and (3) in the case of residential loans, whether they are fixed rate or adjustable mortgages. Each of these criteria can cause privately issued mortgage-related securities to have differing primary economic characteristics and distinguishable risk factors and performance characteristics.
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (“CMOs”). A CMO is a debt obligation of a legal entity that is collateralized by mortgages and divided into classes. Similar to a bond, interest and prepaid principal is paid, in most cases, on a monthly basis. CMOs may be collateralized by whole mortgage loans or private mortgage bonds, but are more typically collateralized by portfolios of mortgage pass-through securities guaranteed by GNMA, FHLMC, or FNMA, and their income streams.
CMOs are structured into multiple classes, often referred to as “tranches,” with each class bearing a different stated maturity and entitled to a different schedule for payments of principal and interest, including pre-payments. Actual maturity and average life will depend upon the pre-payment experience of the collateral. In the case of certain CMOs (known as “sequential pay” CMOs), payments of principal received from the pool of underlying mortgages, including pre-payments, are applied to the classes of CMOs in the order of their respective final distribution dates. Thus, no payment of principal will be made to any class of sequential pay CMOs until all other classes having an earlier final distribution date have been paid in full.
In a typical CMO transaction, a corporation (“issuer”) issues multiple series (e.g., A, B, C, Z) of CMO bonds (“Bonds”). Proceeds of the Bond offering are used to purchase mortgages or mortgage pass-through certificates (“Collateral”). The Collateral is pledged to a third party trustee as security for the Bonds. Principal and interest payments from the Collateral are used to pay principal on the Bonds in the order A, B, C, Z. The Series A, B and C Bonds all bear current interest. Interest on the Series Z Bond is accrued and added to principal and a like amount is paid as principal on the Series A, B, or C Bond currently being paid off. When the Series A, B and C Bonds are paid in full, interest and principal on the Series Z Bond begins to be paid currently. CMOs may be less liquid and may exhibit greater price volatility than other types of mortgage- or asset-backed securities.
As CMOs have evolved, some classes of CMO bonds have become more common. For example, the Funds may invest in parallel-pay and planned amortization class (“PAC”) CMOs and multi-class pass-through certificates.
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Parallel-pay CMOs and multi-class pass-through certificates are structured to provide payments of principal on each payment date to more than one class. These simultaneous payments are taken into account in calculating the stated maturity date or final distribution date of each class, which, as with other CMO and multi-class pass-through structures, must be retired by its stated maturity date or final distribution date but may be retired earlier. PACs generally require payments of a specified amount of principal on each payment date. PACs are parallel-pay CMOs with the required principal amount on such securities having the highest priority after interest has been paid to all classes. Any CMO or multi-class pass through structure that includes PAC securities must also have support tranches—known as support bonds, companion bonds or non-PAC bonds—which lend or absorb principal cash flows to allow the PAC securities to maintain their stated maturities and final distribution dates within a range of actual prepayment experience. These support tranches are subject to a higher level of maturity risk compared to other mortgage-related securities, and usually provide a higher yield to compensate investors. If principal cash flows are received in amounts outside a pre-determined range such that the support bonds cannot lend or absorb sufficient cash flows to the PAC securities as intended, the PAC securities are subject to heightened maturity risk. Consistent with a Fund’s investment objectives and policies, PIMCO may invest in various tranches of CMO bonds, including support bonds.
Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities. Commercial mortgage-backed securities include securities that reflect an interest in, and are secured by, mortgage loans on commercial real property. Many of the risks of investing in commercial mortgage-backed securities reflect the risks of investing in the real estate securing the underlying mortgage loans. These risks reflect the effects of local and other economic conditions on real estate markets, the ability of tenants to make loan payments, and the ability of a property to attract and retain tenants. Commercial mortgage-backed securities may be less liquid and exhibit greater price volatility than other types of mortgage- or asset-backed securities.
Other Mortgage-Related Securities. Other mortgage-related securities include securities other than those described above that directly or indirectly represent a participation in, or are secured by and payable from, mortgage loans on real property, including mortgage dollar rolls, CMO residuals or stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBS”). Other mortgage-related securities may be equity or debt securities issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, homebuilders, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks, partnerships, trusts and special purpose entities of the foregoing.
Mortgage-related securities include, among other things, securities that reflect an interest in reverse mortgages. In a reverse mortgage, a lender makes a loan to a homeowner based on the homeowner’s equity in his or her home. While a homeowner must be age 62 or older to qualify for a reverse mortgage, reverse mortgages may have no income restrictions. Repayment of the interest or principal for the loan is generally not required until the homeowner dies, sells the home, or ceases to use the home as his or her primary residence.
There are three general types of reverse mortgages: (1) single-purpose reverse mortgages, which are offered by certain state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations; (2) federally-insured reverse mortgages, which are backed by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and (3) proprietary reverse mortgages, which are privately offered loans. A mortgage-related security may be backed by a single type of reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgage-related securities include agency and privately issued mortgage-related securities. The principal government guarantor of reverse mortgage-related securities is GNMA.
Reverse mortgage-related securities may be subject to risks different than other types of mortgage-related securities due to the unique nature of the underlying loans. The date of repayment for such loans is uncertain and may occur sooner or later than anticipated. The timing of payments for the corresponding mortgage-related security may be uncertain. Because reverse mortgages are offered only to persons 62 and older and there may be no income restrictions, the loans may react differently than traditional home loans to market events. Additionally, there can be no assurance that service providers to reverse mortgage trusts (“RMTs”) will diligently and appropriately execute their duties with respect to servicing such trusts. As a result, investors (which may include the Funds) in notes issued by RMTs may be deprived of payments to which they are entitled. This could result in losses to the Funds. Investors, including the Funds, may determine to pursue negotiations or legal claims or otherwise seek compensation from RMT service providers in certain instances. This may involve the Funds incurring costs and expenses associated with such actions.
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CMO Residuals. CMO residuals are mortgage securities issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, homebuilders, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose entities of the foregoing.
The cash flow generated by the mortgage assets underlying a series of CMOs is applied first to make required payments of principal and interest on the CMOs and second to pay the related administrative expenses and any management fee of the issuer. The residual in a CMO structure generally represents the interest in any excess cash flow remaining after making the foregoing payments. Each payment of such excess cash flow to a holder of the related CMO residual represents income and/or a return of capital. The amount of residual cash flow resulting from a CMO will depend on, among other things, the characteristics of the mortgage assets, the coupon rate of each class of CMO, prevailing interest rates, the amount of administrative expenses and the pre-payment experience on the mortgage assets. In particular, the yield to maturity on CMO residuals is extremely sensitive to pre-payments on the related underlying mortgage assets, in the same manner as an interest-only (“IO”) class of stripped mortgage-backed securities. See “Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities” below. In addition, if a series of a CMO includes a class that bears interest at an adjustable rate, the yield to maturity on the related CMO residual will also be extremely sensitive to changes in the level of the index upon which interest rate adjustments are based. As described below with respect to stripped mortgage-backed securities, in certain circumstances a Fund may fail to recoup fully its initial investment in a CMO residual.
CMO residuals are generally purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers. Transactions in CMO residuals are generally completed only after careful review of the characteristics of the securities in question. In addition, CMO residuals may, or pursuant to an exemption therefrom, may not have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). CMO residuals, whether or not registered under the 1933 Act, may be subject to certain restrictions on transferability. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage-Backed Securities. Adjustable rate mortgage-backed securities (“ARMBSs”) have interest rates that reset at periodic intervals. Acquiring ARMBSs permits a Fund to participate in increases in prevailing current interest rates through periodic adjustments in the coupons of mortgages underlying the pool on which ARMBSs are based. Such ARMBSs generally have higher current yield and lower price fluctuations than is the case with more traditional fixed income debt securities of comparable rating and maturity. In addition, when prepayments of principal are made on the underlying mortgages during periods of rising interest rates, a Fund can reinvest the proceeds of such prepayments at rates higher than those at which they were previously invested. Mortgages underlying most ARMBSs, however, have limits on the allowable annual or lifetime increases that can be made in the interest rate that the mortgagor pays. Therefore, if current interest rates rise above such limits over the period of the limitation, a Fund, when holding an ARMBS, does not benefit from further increases in interest rates. Moreover, when interest rates are in excess of coupon rates (i.e., the rates being paid by mortgagors) of the mortgages, ARMBSs behave more like fixed income securities and less like adjustable rate securities and are subject to the risks associated with fixed income securities. In addition, during periods of rising interest rates, increases in the coupon rate of adjustable rate mortgages generally lag current market interest rates slightly, thereby creating the potential for capital depreciation on such securities.
Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities. SMBS are derivative multi-class mortgage securities. SMBS may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government, or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose entities of the foregoing.
SMBS are usually structured with two classes that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of SMBS will have one class receiving some of the interest and most of the principal from the mortgage assets, while the other class will receive most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (the “IO” class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (the principal-only or “PO” class). The yield to maturity on an IO class is extremely sensitive to the rate of principal payments (including pre-payments) on the related underlying mortgage assets, and a rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on a Fund’s yield to maturity from these securities. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated pre-payments of principal, a
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Fund may fail to recoup some or all of its initial investment in these securities even if the security is in one of the highest rating categories.
Collateralized Bond Obligations, Collateralized Loan Obligations and Other Collateralized Debt Obligations. The Funds may invest in each of collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”), other collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is a trust which is often backed by a diversified pool of high risk, below investment grade fixed income securities. The collateral can be from many different types of fixed income securities such as high yield debt, residential privately issued mortgage-related securities, commercial privately issued mortgage-related securities, trust preferred securities and emerging market debt. A CLO is a trust typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and foreign senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. Other CDOs are trusts backed by other types of assets representing obligations of various parties. CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses.
For CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs, the cash flows from the trust are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche which bears the first loss from any defaults from the bonds or loans in the trust, although more senior tranches may also bear losses. Since they are partially protected from defaults, senior tranches from a CBO trust, CLO trust or trust of another CDO typically have higher ratings and lower yields than their underlying securities, and can be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO, CLO or other CDO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as aversion to CBO, CLO or other CDO securities as a class.
The risks of an investment in a CBO, CLO or other CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the instrument in which a Fund invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus, are not registered under the securities laws. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed income securities discussed elsewhere in this Statement of Additional Information and the Funds' Prospectuses (e.g., prepayment risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, market risk, structural risk, legal risk and interest rate risk (which may be exacerbated if the interest rate payable on a structured financing changes based on multiples of changes in interest rates or inversely to changes in interest rates)), CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs carry additional risks including, but are not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the quality of the collateral may decline in value or default; (iii) risks related to the capability of the servicer of the securitized assets; (iv) the risk that a Fund may invest in CBOs, CLOs or other CDOs that are subordinate to other classes; and (v) the complex structure of the security may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results.
Asset-Backed Securities. Asset-backed securities (“ABS”) are bonds backed by pools of loans or other receivables. The credit quality of an ABS transaction depends on the performance of the underlying assets. ABS are created from many types of assets, including, but not limited to, auto loans, accounts receivable such as credit card receivables and hospital account receivables, home equity loans, student loans, boat loans, mobile home loans, recreational vehicle loans, manufactured housing loans, aircraft leases, computer leases, syndicated bank loans, peer-to-peer loans and litigation finance loans. These loans or other receivables are subject to risks of prepayment, delinquency and default similar to those present in mortgage loans. Consumer loans may be backed by collateral (as in automobile loans) or they may be unsecured. Moreover, Congress, regulators such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the individual states may further regulate the consumer credit industry in ways that make it more difficult for servicers of such loans to collect payments on such loans, resulting in reduced collections. Changes to federal or state bankruptcy or debtor relief laws may also impede collection efforts or alter timing and amount of collections. ABS are issued through special purpose vehicles that are bankruptcy remote from the issuer of the collateral. To protect ABS investors from the possibility that some borrowers could miss payments or even default on their loans, ABS include various forms of credit enhancement.
Some ABS, particularly home equity loan transactions, are subject to interest-rate risk and prepayment risk. A change in interest rates can affect the pace of payments on the underlying loans, which in turn, affects total return on the securities. ABS also carry credit or default risk. If many borrowers on the underlying loans default, losses could exceed the credit enhancement level and result in losses to investors in an ABS transaction. Additionally, the value of
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ABS is subject to risks associated with the servicers’ performance. In some circumstances, a servicer’s or originator’s mishandling of documentation related to the underlying collateral (e.g., failure to properly document a security interest in the underlying collateral) may affect the rights of the security holders in and to the underlying collateral. Finally, ABS have structure risk due to a unique characteristic known as early amortization, or early payout, risk. Built into the structure of most ABS are triggers for early payout, designed to protect investors from losses. These triggers are unique to each transaction and can include: a big rise in defaults on the underlying loans, a sharp drop in the credit enhancement level, or even the bankruptcy of the originator. Once early amortization begins, all incoming loan payments (after expenses are paid) are used to pay investors as quickly as possible based upon a predetermined priority of payment.
Consistent with each Fund’s investment objectives and policies, PIMCO also may invest in other types of asset-backed securities.
Real Estate Assets and Related Derivatives
Certain Funds may generally gain exposure to the real estate sector by investing in real estate-linked derivatives, real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), and common, preferred and convertible securities of issuers in real estate-related industries. These Funds may also invest in loans or other investments secured by real estate and may, as a result of default, foreclosure or otherwise, take possession of and hold real estate as a direct owner (see “Loans and Other Indebtedness, Loan Participations and Assignments” below). Each of these types of investments are subject, directly or indirectly, to risks associated with ownership of real estate, including changes in the general economic climate or local conditions (such as an oversupply of space or a reduction in demand for space), including reduced demand for commercial and office space as well as increased maintenance or tenant improvement costs to convert properties for other uses, default risk of tenants and borrowers, the financial condition of tenants, buyers and sellers, and the inability to re-lease space on attractive terms or to obtain mortgage financing on a timely basis or at all, loss to casualty or condemnation, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, zoning law amendments, changes in interest rates, overbuilding and increased competition, including competition based on rental rates, variations in market value, changes in the financial condition of tenants, changes in operating costs, attractiveness and location of the properties, adverse changes in the real estate markets generally or in specific sectors of the real estate industry and possible environmental liabilities. Real estate-related investments may entail leverage and may be highly volatile.
REITs are pooled investment vehicles that own, and typically operate, income-producing real estate. If a REIT meets certain requirements, including distributing to shareholders substantially all of its taxable income (other than net capital gains), then it is generally not taxed on the income distributed to shareholders. REITs are subject to management fees and other expenses, and so the Funds that invest in REITs will bear their proportionate share of the costs of the REITs’ operations. Dividends received by a Fund from a REIT generally will not constitute qualified dividend income. REITs may not provide complete tax information to a Fund until after the calendar year-end. Consequently, because of the delay, it may be necessary for a Fund to request permission from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to extend the deadline for issuance of Form 1099-DIV.
There are three general categories of REITs: Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs and Hybrid REITs. Equity REITs invest primarily in direct fee ownership or leasehold ownership of real property; they derive most of their income from rents. Mortgage REITs invest mostly in mortgages on real estate, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans, and the main source of their income is mortgage interest payments. Hybrid REITs hold both ownership and mortgage interests in real estate.
Along with the risks common to different types of real estate-related securities, REITs, no matter the type, involve additional risk factors. These include poor performance by the REIT’s manager, changes to the tax laws, and failure by the REIT to qualify for tax-free distribution of income or exemption under the 1940 Act. Furthermore, REITs are not diversified and are heavily dependent on cash flow. Investments in REIT equity securities could require a Fund to accrue and distribute income not yet received by the Fund. On the other hand, investments in REIT equity securities can also result in a Fund’s receipt of cash in excess of the REIT’s earnings; if the Fund distributes such amounts, such distribution could constitute a return of capital to Fund shareholders for federal income tax purposes. A Fund or some of the REITs in which a Fund may invest may be permitted to hold senior or residual interests in real estate mortgage investment conduits (“REMICs”) or debt or equity interests in taxable mortgage pools (“TMPs”). A Fund may also hold interests in “Re-REMICs,” which are interests in securitizations formed by the contribution of asset backed or other similar securities into a trust which then issues securities in various tranches. The Funds may participate in the
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creation of a Re-REMIC by contributing assets to the trust and receiving junior and/or senior securities in return. An interest in a Re-REMIC security may be riskier than the securities originally held by and contributed to the trust, and the holders of the Re-REMIC securities will bear the costs associated with the securitization.
Bank Obligations
Bank obligations in which the Funds may invest include certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, and fixed time deposits. Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued against funds deposited in a commercial bank for a definite period of time and earning a specified return. Bankers’ acceptances are negotiable drafts or bills of exchange, normally drawn by an importer or exporter to pay for specific merchandise, which are “accepted” by a bank, meaning, in effect, that the bank unconditionally agrees to pay the face value of the instrument on maturity. Fixed time deposits are bank obligations payable at a stated maturity date and bearing interest at a fixed rate. Fixed time deposits may be withdrawn on demand by the investor, but may be subject to early withdrawal penalties which vary depending upon market conditions and the remaining maturity of the obligation. There are no contractual restrictions on the right to transfer a beneficial interest in a fixed time deposit to a third party, although there is no market for such deposits. The Funds may limit investments in fixed time deposits which: (i) are not subject to prepayment; or (ii) provide for withdrawal penalties upon prepayment (other than overnight deposits). Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity.
The activities of U.S. banks and most foreign banks are subject to comprehensive regulations which, in the case of U.S. regulations, have undergone substantial changes in the past decade and are currently subject to legislative and regulatory scrutiny. The enactment of new legislation or regulations, as well as changes in interpretation and enforcement of current laws, may affect the manner of operations and profitability of U.S. and foreign banks. Significant developments in the U.S. banking industry have included increased competition from other types of financial institutions, increased acquisition activity and geographic expansion. Banks may be particularly susceptible to certain economic factors, such as interest rate changes and adverse developments in the market for real estate. Fiscal and monetary policy and general economic cycles can affect the availability and cost of funds, loan demand and asset quality and thereby impact the earnings and financial conditions of banks.
Subject to the Trust’s limitation on concentration of no more than 25% of its total assets in the securities of issuers in a particular industry, as described in the “Investment Restrictions” section below, there is no additional limitation on the amount of a Fund’s assets which may be invested in obligations of foreign banks which meet the conditions set forth herein.
U.S. and global markets recently have experienced increased volatility, including as a result of the recent failures of certain U.S. and non-U.S. banks, which could be harmful to the Funds and issuers in which they invest. For example, if a bank at which a Fund or issuer has an account fails, any cash or other assets in bank or custody accounts, which may be substantial in size, could be temporarily inaccessible or permanently lost by the Fund or issuer. If a bank that provides a subscription line credit facility, asset-based facility, other credit facility and/or other services to an issuer or to a fund fails, the issuer or fund could be unable to draw funds under its credit facilities or obtain replacement credit facilities or other services from other lending institutions with similar terms.
Issuers in which a Fund may invest can be affected by volatility in the banking sector. Even if banks used by issuers in which a Fund invests remain solvent, continued volatility in the banking sector could contribute to, cause or intensify an economic recession, increase the costs of capital and banking services or result in the issuers being unable to obtain or refinance indebtedness at all or on as favorable terms as could otherwise have been obtained. Conditions in the banking sector are evolving, and the scope of any potential impacts to the Funds and issuers, both from market conditions and also potential legislative or regulatory responses, are uncertain. Such conditions and responses, as well as a changing interest rate environment, can contribute to decreased market liquidity and erode the value of certain holdings, including those of U.S. and non-U.S. banks. Continued market volatility and uncertainty and/or a downturn in market and economic and financial conditions, as a result of developments in the banking industry or otherwise (including as a result of delayed access to cash or credit facilities), could have an adverse impact on a Fund and issuers in which it invests.
Obligations of foreign banks involve somewhat different investment risks than those affecting obligations of United States banks, including the possibilities that their liquidity could be impaired because of future political and economic developments, that their obligations may be less marketable than comparable obligations of United States
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banks, that a foreign jurisdiction might impose withholding taxes on interest income payable on those obligations, that foreign deposits may be seized or nationalized, that foreign governmental restrictions such as exchange controls may be adopted which might adversely affect the payment of principal and interest on those obligations and that the selection of those obligations may be more difficult because there may be less publicly available information concerning foreign banks or the accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements applicable to foreign banks may differ from those applicable to United States banks. Foreign banks are not generally subject to examination by any United States Government agency or instrumentality.
Loans and Other Indebtedness, Loan Participations and Assignments
The Funds may purchase indebtedness and participations in commercial loans, as well as interests and/or servicing or similar rights in such loans. Such instruments may be secured or unsecured and may be newly-originated (and may be specifically designed for a Fund). Indebtedness is different from traditional debt securities in that debt securities are part of a large issue of securities to the public whereas indebtedness may not be a security and may represent a specific commercial loan to a borrower. Loan participations typically represent direct participation, together with other parties, in a loan to a corporate borrower, and generally are offered by banks or other financial institutions or lending syndicates. The Funds may participate in such syndications, or can buy part or all of a loan. When purchasing indebtedness and loan participations, a Fund assumes the credit risk associated with the corporate borrower and may assume the credit risk associated with an interposed bank or other financial intermediary. The indebtedness and loan participations that a Fund may acquire may not be rated by any nationally recognized rating service.
A loan is often administered by an agent bank acting as agent for all holders. The agent bank administers the terms of the loan, as specified in the loan agreement. In addition, the agent bank is normally responsible for the collection of principal and interest payments from the corporate borrower and the apportionment of these payments to the credit of all institutions which are parties to the loan agreement. Unless, under the terms of the loan or other indebtedness, a Fund has direct recourse against the corporate borrower, the Fund may have to rely on the agent bank or other financial intermediary to apply appropriate credit remedies against a corporate borrower. This may subject the Fund to delays, expenses and risks that are greater than those that would be involved if the Fund could enforce its rights directly against the corporate borrower. Also, in the event of the insolvency of the lender or interposed bank or other financial intermediary who sold the participation interest to the Fund, the Fund may not have any exclusive or senior claim with respect to the lender's interest in the corporate loan, or in any collateral securing the corporate loan. If the Fund has purchased the whole loan, the Fund would generally assume all of the rights of the lender in a commercial loan, including the right to receive payments of principal and interest and other amounts directly from the borrower and to enforce its rights as a lender directly against the borrower.
A financial institution’s employment as agent bank might be terminated in the event that it fails to observe a requisite standard of care or becomes insolvent. A successor agent bank would generally be appointed to replace the terminated agent bank, and assets held by the agent bank under the loan agreement should remain available to holders of such indebtedness. However, if assets held by the agent bank for the benefit of a Fund were determined to be subject to the claims of the agent bank’s general creditors, the Fund might incur certain costs and delays in realizing payment on a loan or loan participation and could suffer a loss of principal and/or interest. In situations involving other interposed financial institutions (e.g., an insurance company or governmental agency) similar risks may arise.
Purchasers of loans and other forms of direct indebtedness depend primarily upon the creditworthiness of the corporate borrower for payment of principal and interest. If a Fund does not receive scheduled interest or principal payments on such indebtedness, the Fund’s share price and yield could be adversely affected. Loans that are fully secured offer a Fund more protection than an unsecured loan in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal. However, there is no assurance that the liquidation of collateral from a secured loan would satisfy the corporate borrower’s obligation, or that the collateral can be liquidated. In the event of the bankruptcy of a borrower, a Fund could experience delays or limitations in its ability to realize the benefits of any collateral securing a loan.
The Funds may acquire loan participations with credit quality comparable to that of issuers of its securities investments. Indebtedness of companies whose creditworthiness is poor involves substantially greater risks, and may be highly speculative. Some companies may never pay off their indebtedness, or may pay only a small fraction of the amount owed. Consequently, when acquiring indebtedness of companies with poor credit, a Fund bears a substantial risk of losing the entire amount of the instrument acquired. The Funds may make purchases of indebtedness and loan participations to achieve income and/or capital appreciation. Because the Fund establishes a direct contractual
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relationship with the lender or participant, the Fund is subject to the credit risk of the lender or participant in addition to the usual credit risk of the corporate borrower and any agent bank. Under normal market conditions, loan participations that sell at a discount to the secondary loan price may indicate the borrower has credit problems or other issues associated with the credit risk of the loan. To the extent the credit problems are not resolved, loan participations may not appreciate in value.
Certain Funds that are diversified limit the amount of their total assets that they will invest in any one issuer and all Funds limit the amount of their total assets that they will invest in issuers within the same industry (see “Investment Restrictions”). For purposes of these limits, a Fund generally will treat the corporate borrower as the “issuer” of indebtedness held by the Fund. In the case of loan participations where a bank or other lending institution serves as a financial intermediary between a Fund and the corporate borrower, if the participation does not shift to the Fund the direct debtor-creditor relationship with the corporate borrower, the Funds will treat both the lending bank or other lending institution and the corporate borrower as “issuers” for purposes of a Fund’s policy with respect to diversification under Fundamental Investment Restriction 2 below in accordance with written guidance from the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Treating a financial intermediary as an issuer of indebtedness may restrict a Fund’s ability to invest in indebtedness related to a single financial intermediary even if the underlying borrowers represent many different companies.
Loans and other types of direct indebtedness (which a Fund may originate, acquire or otherwise gain exposure to) may not be readily marketable and may be subject to restrictions on resale. A secondary market in corporate loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods, which may impair the ability to accurately value existing and prospective investments and to realize in a timely fashion the full value on sale of a corporate loan. In some cases, negotiations involved in disposing of indebtedness may require weeks to complete. Consequently, some indebtedness may be difficult or impossible to dispose of readily at what PIMCO believes to be a fair price. In addition, valuation of illiquid indebtedness involves a greater degree of judgment in determining a Fund’s net asset value than if that value were based on available market quotations, and could result in significant variations in the Fund’s daily share price. At the same time, some loan interests are traded among certain financial institutions and accordingly may be deemed liquid. As the market for different types of indebtedness develops, the liquidity of these instruments is expected to improve. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity. Acquisitions of loan participations are considered to be debt obligations for purposes of the Trust’s investment restriction relating to the lending of funds or assets by a Fund.
Acquisition of loans through a purchase of a loan or a direct assignment of a financial institution’s interests with respect to the loan may involve additional risks to a Fund. The purchaser of an assignment typically succeeds to all the rights and obligations under the loan agreement with the same rights and obligations as the assigning lender. Assignments may, however, be arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and potential assignors, and the rights and obligations acquired by the purchaser of an assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the assigning lender. For example, if a loan is foreclosed, a Fund could become owner, in whole or in part, of any collateral, which could include, among other assets, real estate or other real or personal property, and would bear the costs and liabilities associated with owning and holding or disposing of the collateral. In addition, it is conceivable that under emerging legal theories of lender liability, a Fund could be held liable as a co-lender. It is unclear whether loans and other forms of direct indebtedness offer securities law protections against fraud and misrepresentation. In the absence of definitive regulatory guidance, a Fund relies on PIMCO’s research in an attempt to avoid situations where fraud or misrepresentation could adversely affect the Fund.
The Funds may make, participate in or acquire debtor-in-possession financings (commonly known as “DIP financings”). DIP financings are arranged when an entity seeks the protections of the bankruptcy court under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. These financings allow the entity to continue its business operations while reorganizing under Chapter 11. Such financings constitute senior liens on unencumbered security (i.e., security not subject to other creditors’ claims). There is a risk that the entity will not emerge from Chapter 11 and be forced to liquidate its assets under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In the event of liquidation, a Fund’s only recourse will be against the property securing the DIP financing.
The Funds may act as the originator for direct loans to a borrower. Direct loans between a Fund and a borrower may not be administered by an underwriter or agent bank. The Funds may provide financing to commercial borrowers
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directly or through companies acquired (or created) and owned by or otherwise affiliated with one or more Funds. The terms of the direct loans are negotiated with borrowers in private transactions. A direct loan may be secured or unsecured.
In determining whether to make a direct loan, a Fund will rely primarily upon the creditworthiness of the borrower and/or any collateral for payment of interest and repayment of principal. In making a direct loan, a Fund is exposed to the risk that the borrower may default or become insolvent and, consequently, that the Fund will lose money on the loan. Furthermore, direct loans may subject a Fund to liquidity and interest rate risk and certain direct loans may be deemed illiquid. Direct loans are not publicly traded and may not have a secondary market. The lack of a secondary market for direct loans may have an adverse impact on the ability of a Fund to dispose of a direct loan and/or to value the direct loan.
When engaging in direct lending, a Fund’s performance may depend, in part, on the ability of the Fund to originate loans on advantageous terms. In originating and purchasing loans, a Fund will often compete with a broad spectrum of lenders. Increased competition for, or a diminishment in the available supply of, qualifying loans could result in lower yields on and/or less advantageous terms of such loans, which could reduce Fund performance.
As part of its lending activities, a Fund may originate loans to companies that are experiencing significant financial or business difficulties, including companies involved in bankruptcy or other reorganization and liquidation proceedings. Although the terms of such financing may result in significant financial returns to the Fund, they involve a substantial degree of risk. The level of analytical sophistication, both financial and legal, necessary for successful financing to companies experiencing significant business and financial difficulties is unusually high. Different types of assets may be used as collateral for a Fund’s loans and, accordingly, the valuation of and risks associated with such collateral will vary by loan. There is no assurance that a Fund will correctly evaluate the value of the assets collateralizing the Fund’s loans or the prospects for a successful reorganization or similar action. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a company that a Fund funds, the Fund may lose all or part of the amounts advanced to the borrower or may be required to accept collateral with a value less than the amount of the loan advanced by the Fund or its affiliates to the borrower. Furthermore, in the event of a default by a borrower, a Fund may have difficulty disposing of the assets used as collateral for a loan.
Various state licensing requirements could apply to a Fund with respect to the origination, acquisition, holding, servicing, foreclosure and/or disposition of loans and similar assets. The licensing requirements could apply depending on the location of the borrower, the location of the collateral securing the loan, or the location where the Fund or PIMCO operates or has offices. In states in which it is licensed, the Fund or PIMCO will be required to comply with applicable laws and regulations, including consumer protection and anti-fraud laws, which could impose restrictions on the Fund’s or PIMCO’s ability to take certain actions to protect the value of its holdings in such assets and impose compliance costs. Failure to comply with such laws and regulations could lead to, among other penalties, a loss of a Fund’s or PIMCO’s license, which in turn could require the Fund to divest assets located in or secured by real property located in that state. These risks will also apply to issuers and entities in which a Fund invests that hold similar assets, as well as any origination company or servicer in which a Fund owns an interest.
Loan origination and servicing companies are routinely involved in legal proceedings concerning matters that arise in the ordinary course of their business. These legal proceedings range from actions involving a single plaintiff to class action lawsuits with potentially tens of thousands of class members. In addition, a number of participants in the loan origination and servicing industry (including control persons of industry participants) have been the subject of regulatory actions by state regulators, including state Attorneys General, and by the federal government. Governmental investigations, examinations or regulatory actions, or private lawsuits, including purported class action lawsuits, may adversely affect such companies’ financial results. To the extent a Fund seeks to engage in origination and/or servicing directly, or has a financial interest in, or is otherwise affiliated with, an origination or servicing company, a Fund will be subject to enhanced risks of litigation, regulatory actions and other proceedings. As a result, the Fund may be required to pay legal fees, settlement costs, damages, penalties or other charges, any or all of which could materially adversely affect the Fund and its holdings.
Trade Claims
The Funds may purchase trade claims and similar obligations or claims against companies in bankruptcy proceedings. Trade claims are non-securitized rights of payment arising from obligations that typically arise when
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vendors and suppliers extend credit to a company by offering payment terms for products and services. If the company files for bankruptcy, payments on these trade claims stop and the claims are subject to compromise along with the other debts of the company. Trade claims may be purchased directly from the creditor or through brokers. There is no guarantee that a debtor will ever be able to satisfy its trade claim obligations. Trade claims are subject to the risks associated with low-quality obligations.
Corporate Debt Securities
A Fund’s investments in U.S. dollar or foreign currency-denominated corporate debt securities of domestic or foreign issuers are limited to corporate debt securities (corporate bonds, debentures, notes and other similar corporate debt instruments, including convertible securities) which meet the minimum ratings criteria set forth for a Fund, or, if unrated, are in PIMCO’s opinion comparable in quality to corporate debt securities in which a Fund may invest. The rate of interest on a corporate debt security may be fixed, floating or variable, and may vary inversely with respect to a reference rate. The rate of return or return of principal on some debt obligations may be linked or indexed to the level of exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and a foreign currency or currencies. Debt securities may be acquired with warrants attached. In addition, corporate debt securities may be highly customized and as a result may be subject to, among others, liquidity risk and pricing transparency risks.
Corporate debt securities are subject to the risk of the issuer’s inability to meet principal and interest payments on the obligation and may also be subject to price volatility due to such factors as interest rate sensitivity, market perception of the creditworthiness of the issuer and general market liquidity. When interest rates rise, the value of corporate debt securities can be expected to decline. Debt securities with longer maturities tend to be more sensitive to interest rate movements than those with shorter maturities. Company defaults can impact the level of returns generated by corporate debt securities. An unexpected default can reduce income and the capital value of a corporate debt security. Furthermore, market expectations regarding economic conditions and the likely number of corporate defaults may impact the value of corporate debt securities.
Securities rated Baa and BBB are the lowest which are considered “investment grade” obligations. Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”) describes securities rated Baa as judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”) describes securities rated BBB as exhibiting adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation. Fitch Ratings, Inc. (“Fitch”) describes securities rated BBB as having good credit quality with current low expectations of default. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate, but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity. For a discussion of securities rated below investment grade, see “High Yield Securities (“Junk Bonds”) and Securities of Distressed Companies” below. The Funds may invest in debt securities that are rated in any category established by one or more independent rating organizations or that are unrated.
High Yield Securities (“Junk Bonds”) and Securities of Distressed Companies
Investments in securities rated below investment grade that are eligible for purchase by certain Funds are described as “speculative” by Moody’s, S&P and Fitch. Investment in lower rated corporate debt securities (“high yield securities” or “junk bonds”) and securities of distressed companies generally provides greater income and increased opportunity for capital appreciation than investments in higher quality securities, but they also typically entail greater price volatility and principal and income risk. Securities of distressed companies include both debt and equity securities. High yield securities and debt securities of distressed companies are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s continuing ability to meet principal and interest payments. Issuers of high yield and distressed company securities may be involved in restructurings or bankruptcy proceedings that may not be successful. Analysis of the creditworthiness of issuers of debt securities that are high yield or debt securities of distressed companies may be more complex than for issuers of higher quality debt securities.
High yield securities and debt securities of distressed companies may be more susceptible to real or perceived adverse economic and competitive industry conditions than investment grade securities. The prices of these securities have been found to be less sensitive to interest-rate changes than higher-rated investments, but more sensitive to adverse economic downturns or individual corporate developments. A projection of an economic downturn, for example, could cause a decline in prices of high yield securities and debt securities of distressed companies because
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the advent of a recession could lessen the ability of a highly leveraged company to make principal and interest payments on its debt securities, and a high yield security may lose significant market value before a default occurs. If an issuer of securities defaults, in addition to risking payment of all or a portion of interest and principal, the Funds by investing in such securities, may incur additional expenses to seek recovery of their respective investments. In the case of securities structured as zero-coupon or pay-in-kind securities, their market prices are affected to a greater extent by interest rate changes, and therefore tend to be more volatile than securities which pay interest periodically and in cash. PIMCO seeks to reduce these risks through diversification, credit analysis and attention to current developments and trends in both the economy and financial markets.
High yield and distressed company securities may not be listed on any exchange and a secondary market for such securities may be comparatively illiquid relative to markets for other more liquid fixed income securities. Consequently, transactions in high yield and distressed company securities may involve greater costs than transactions in more actively traded securities, which could adversely affect the price at which the Funds could sell a high yield or distressed company security, and could adversely affect the daily net asset value of the shares. A lack of publicly-available information, irregular trading activity and wide bid/ask spreads among other factors, may, in certain circumstances, make high yield debt more difficult to sell at an advantageous time or price than other types of securities or instruments. These factors may result in a Fund being unable to realize full value for these securities and/or may result in a Fund not receiving the proceeds from a sale of a high yield or distressed company security for an extended period after such sale, each of which could result in losses to the Fund. In addition, adverse publicity and investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may decrease the values and liquidity of high yield and distressed company securities, especially in a thinly-traded market. When secondary markets for high yield and distressed company securities are less liquid than the market for other types of securities, it may be more difficult to value the securities because such valuation may require more research, and elements of judgment may play a greater role in the valuation because there is less reliable, objective data available. PIMCO seeks to minimize the risks of investing in all securities through diversification, in-depth analysis and attention to current market developments.
The use of credit ratings as the sole method of evaluating high yield securities and debt securities of distressed companies can involve certain risks. For example, credit ratings evaluate the safety of principal and interest payments of a debt security, not the market value risk of a security. Also, credit rating agencies may fail to change credit ratings in a timely fashion to reflect events since the security was last rated. PIMCO does not rely solely on credit ratings when selecting debt securities for a Fund, and develops its own independent analysis of issuer credit quality. If a credit rating agency changes the rating of a debt security held by a Fund, the Fund may retain the security if PIMCO deems it in the best interest of shareholders.
Creditor Liability and Participation on Creditors’ Committees
Generally, when a Fund holds bonds or other similar fixed income securities of an issuer, the Fund becomes a creditor of the issuer. If a Fund is a creditor of an issuer it may be subject to challenges related to the securities that it holds, either in connection with the bankruptcy of the issuer or in connection with another action brought by other creditors of the issuer, shareholders of the issuer or the issuer itself. Although under no obligation to do so, PIMCO, as investment adviser to the Fund, may from time to time have an opportunity to consider, on behalf of the Fund and other similarly situated clients, negotiating or otherwise participating in the restructuring of the Fund’s portfolio investment or the issuer of such investment. PIMCO, in its judgment and discretion and based on the considerations deemed by PIMCO to be relevant, may believe that it is in the best interests of the Fund to negotiate or otherwise participate in such restructuring. Accordingly, and subject to applicable procedures approved by the Board of Trustees, the Fund may from time to time participate on committees formed by creditors to negotiate with the management of financially troubled issuers of securities held by the Fund. Such participation may subject the Fund to expenses such as legal fees and may make the Fund an “insider” of the issuer for purposes of the federal securities laws, and therefore may restrict such Fund’s ability to trade in or acquire additional positions in a particular security when it might otherwise desire to do so. Participation by the Fund on such committees also may expose the Fund to potential liabilities under the federal bankruptcy laws or other laws governing the rights of creditors and debtors. Similarly, subject to the above-mentioned procedures, PIMCO may actively participate in bankruptcy court and related proceedings on behalf of the Fund in order to protect the Fund’s interests in connection with a restructuring transaction, and PIMCO may cause the Fund to enter into an agreement reasonably indemnifying third parties or advancing from the Fund’s assets any legal fees or other costs to third parties, including parties involved in or assisting the Fund with a restructuring transaction, such as trustees, servicers and other third parties. Further, PIMCO has the authority, subject to the above-mentioned procedures, to represent the Trust, or any Fund(s) thereof, on creditors’
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committees (or similar committees) or otherwise in connection with the restructuring of an issuer’s debt and generally with respect to challenges related to the securities held by the Funds relating to the bankruptcy of an issuer or in connection with another action brought by other creditors of the issuer, shareholders of the issuer or the issuer itself.
Variable and Floating Rate Securities
Variable and floating rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the obligations. The terms of such obligations must provide that interest rates are adjusted periodically based upon an interest rate adjustment index as provided in the respective obligations. The adjustment intervals may be regular, and range from daily up to annually, or may be event based, such as based on a change in the prime rate.
The Funds may invest in floating rate debt instruments (“floaters”) and engage in credit spread trades. The interest rate on a floater is a variable rate which is tied to another interest rate, such as a money-market index or Treasury bill rate. The interest rate on a floater resets periodically, typically every six months. While, because of the interest rate reset feature, floaters provide a Fund with a certain degree of protection against rises in interest rates, the Fund will participate in any declines in interest rates as well. A credit spread trade is an investment position relating to a difference in the prices or interest rates of two securities or currencies, where the value of the investment position is determined by movements in the difference between the prices or interest rates, as the case may be, of the respective securities or currencies.
Certain Funds also may invest in inverse floating rate debt instruments (“inverse floaters”). The interest rate on an inverse floater resets in the opposite direction from the market rate of interest to which the inverse floater is indexed. An inverse floating rate security may exhibit greater price volatility than a fixed rate obligation of similar credit quality. Certain Funds may invest up to 5% of its total assets in any combination of mortgage-related and or other asset-backed IO, PO, or inverse floater securities. See “Mortgage-Related and Other Asset-Backed Securities” for a discussion of IOs and POs. To the extent permitted by each Fund’s investment objectives and general investment policies, a Fund may invest in residual interest bonds without limitation. The term “residual interest bonds” generally includes tender option bond trust residual interest certificates and instruments designed to receive residual interest payments or other excess cash flows from collateral pools once other interest holders and expenses have been paid.
Foreign Securities
The Funds may invest, without limitation, in common or preferred or preference stock of foreign issuers, corporate debt securities of foreign issuers, certain foreign bank obligations (see “Bank Obligations”) and U.S. dollar- or foreign currency-denominated obligations of foreign governments or their subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities, international agencies and supranational entities.
For those Funds not sub-advised by Research Affiliates, PIMCO generally considers an instrument to be economically tied to a non-U.S. country if the issuer is a foreign government (or any political subdivision, agency, authority or instrumentality of such government), or if the issuer is organized under the laws of a non-U.S. country. In the case of money market instruments other than commercial paper and certificates of deposit, such instruments will be considered economically tied to a non-U.S. country if the issuer of such money market instrument is organized under the laws of a non-U.S. country. In the case of commercial paper and certificates of deposit, such instruments will be considered economically tied to a non-U.S. country if the “country of exposure” of such instrument is a non-U.S. country, as determined by the criteria set forth below. With respect to derivative instruments, PIMCO generally considers such instruments to be economically tied to non-U.S. countries if the underlying assets are foreign currencies (or baskets or indexes of such currencies), or instruments or securities that are issued by foreign governments or issuers organized under the laws of a non-U.S. country (or if the underlying assets are money market instruments other than commercial paper and certificates of deposit, the issuer of such money market instrument is organized under the laws of a non-U.S. country or, in the case of underlying assets that are commercial paper or certificates of deposit, if the “country of exposure” of such money market instrument is a non-U.S. country). A security’s “country of exposure” is determined by PIMCO using certain factors provided by a third-party analytical service provider. The factors are applied in order such that the first factor to result in the assignment of a country determines the “country of exposure.” Both the factors and the order in which they are applied may change in the discretion of PIMCO. The current factors, listed in the order in which they are applied, are: (i) if an asset-backed or other collateralized security, the country in which the collateral backing the security is located; (ii) the “country of risk” of the issuer; (iii) if the security is guaranteed by the government of a country (or any political subdivision,
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agency, authority or instrumentality of such government), the country of the government or instrumentality providing the guarantee; (iv) the “country of risk” of the issuer’s ultimate parent; or (v) the country where the issuer is organized or incorporated under the laws thereof. “Country of risk” is a separate four-part test determined by the following factors, listed in order of importance: (i) management location; (ii) country of primary listing; (iii) sales or revenue attributable to the country; and (iv) reporting currency of the issuer.
For those Funds sub-advised by Research Affiliates, Research Affiliates generally considers an instrument to be economically tied to a non-U.S. country based on the country of primary listing, the issuer’s domicile and the issuer’s country of incorporation. When these factors conflict, Research Affiliates will consider additional factors, such as the domicile of the issuer’s parent company, the issuer’s management location, the issuer’s source of sales, and the issuer’s reporting currency, for purposes of determining whether an instrument is economically tied to a non-U.S. country.
To the extent that a Fund invests in instruments economically tied to non-U.S. countries, it may invest in a range of countries and, as such, the value of the Fund’s assets may be affected by uncertainties such as international political developments, including the imposition of sanctions and other similar measures, changes in government policies, changes in taxation, restrictions on foreign investment and currency repatriation, currency fluctuations, changes or uncertainty in exchange rates (and related risks, such as uncertainty regarding the reliability of issuers’ financial reporting) and other developments in the laws and regulations of countries in which investment may be made. Certain foreign exchanges impose requirements on the transaction settlement process with respect to certain securities, such as requirements to pre-deliver securities (for a sale) or pre-fund cash (for a buy) to a broker’s account. Such requirements may limit a Fund’s ability to transact in such securities in a timely manner and will subject the Fund to the risk of loss that could result if the broker is unable or unwilling to meet its obligations with respect to pre-delivered securities or pre-funded cash.
For those Funds not sub-advised by Research Affiliates, PIMCO generally considers an instrument to be economically tied to an emerging market country if: the issuer is organized under the laws of an emerging market country; the currency of settlement of the security is a currency of an emerging market country; the security is guaranteed by the government of an emerging market country (or any political subdivision, agency, authority or instrumentality of such government); for an asset-backed or other collateralized security, the country in which the collateral backing the security is located is an emerging market country; or the security’s “country of exposure” is an emerging market country, as determined by the criteria set forth below. With respect to derivative instruments, PIMCO generally considers such instruments to be economically tied to emerging market countries if the underlying assets are currencies of emerging market countries (or baskets or indexes of such currencies), or instruments or securities that are issued or guaranteed by governments of emerging market countries or by entities organized under the laws of emerging market countries or if an instrument’s “country of exposure” is an emerging market country. A security’s “country of exposure” is determined by PIMCO using certain factors provided by a third-party analytical service provider. The factors are applied in order such that the first factor to result in the assignment of a country determines the “country of exposure.” Both the factors and the order in which they are applied may change in the discretion of PIMCO. The current factors, listed in the order in which they are applied, are: (i) if an asset-backed or other collateralized security, the country in which the collateral backing the security is located; (ii) the “country of risk” of the issuer; (iii) if the security is guaranteed by the government of a country (or any political subdivision, agency, authority or instrumentality of such government), the country of the government or instrumentality providing the guarantee; (iv) the “country of risk” of the issuer’s ultimate parent; or (v) the country where the issuer is organized or incorporated under the laws thereof. “Country of risk” is a separate four-part test determined by the following factors, listed in order of importance: (i) management location; (ii) country of primary listing; (iii) sales or revenue attributable to the country; and (iv) reporting currency of the issuer. PIMCO has broad discretion to identify countries that it considers to qualify as emerging markets. In exercising such discretion, PIMCO identifies countries as emerging markets consistent with the strategic objectives of the particular Fund. For example, a Fund may consider a country to be an emerging market country based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, if the country is classified as an emerging or developing economy by any supranational organization such as the World Bank or the United Nations, or related entities, or if the country is considered an emerging market country for purposes of constructing emerging markets indices. In some cases, this approach may result in PIMCO identifying a particular country as an emerging market with respect to certain Funds but not others.
For those Funds sub-advised by Research Affiliates, Research Affiliates generally considers an instrument to be economically tied to an emerging market country based on the country of primary listing, the issuer’s domicile and the issuer’s country of incorporation. When these factors conflict, Research Affiliates will consider additional factors, such
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as the domicile of the issuer’s parent company, the issuer’s management location, the issuer’s source of sales, and the issuer’s reporting currency, for purposes of determining whether an instrument is economically tied to an emerging market country. Research Affiliates has broad discretion to identify countries that it considers to qualify as emerging markets. In exercising such discretion, Research Affiliates identifies countries as emerging markets consistent with the strategic objectives of the particular Fund. For example, Research Affiliates may consider a country to be an emerging market country based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, if the country is considered an emerging market country for purposes of constructing emerging markets indices.
Investment risk may be particularly high to the extent that a Fund invests in instruments economically tied to emerging market countries. These securities may present market, credit, currency, liquidity, legal, political and other risks different from, or greater than, the risks of investing in developed countries. The Funds may invest in emerging markets that may be in the process of opening to trans-national investment, which may increase these risks. Risks particular to emerging market countries include, but are not limited to, the following risks.
General Emerging Market Risk. The securities markets of countries in which a Fund may invest may be relatively small, with a limited number of companies representing a small number of industries. Additionally, issuers in countries in which a Fund may invest may not be subject to a high degree of regulation and the financial institutions with which a Fund may trade may not possess the same degree of financial sophistication, creditworthiness or resources as those in developed markets. Furthermore, the legal infrastructure and accounting, auditing and reporting standards in certain countries in which a Fund may invest may not provide the same degree of investor protection or information to investors as would generally apply in major securities markets. Emerging market countries typically have less established legal, accounting, recordkeeping and financial reporting systems than those in more developed markets, which may reduce the scope or quality of financial information available to investors. Governments in emerging market countries are often less stable and more likely to take extra legal action with respect to companies, industries, assets, or foreign ownership than those in more developed markets. Moreover, it can be more difficult for investors to bring litigation or enforce judgments against issuers in emerging markets or for U.S. regulators to bring enforcement actions against such issuers.
Nationalization, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, currency blockage, political changes or diplomatic developments, including the imposition of sanctions or other similar measures, could adversely affect a Fund’s investments in a foreign country. In the event of nationalization, expropriation or other confiscation, a Fund could lose its entire investment in that country. Adverse conditions in a certain region can adversely affect securities of other countries whose economies appear to be unrelated. To the extent a Fund invests in emerging market securities that are economically tied to a particular region, country or group of countries, the Fund may be more sensitive to adverse political or social events affecting that region, country or group of countries. Economic, business, political, or social instability may affect emerging market securities differently, and often more severely, than developed market securities.
Restrictions on Foreign Investment. A number of emerging securities markets restrict foreign investment to varying degrees. Furthermore, repatriation of investment income, capital and the proceeds of sales by foreign investors may require governmental registration and/or approval in some countries. While a Fund that may invest in securities and instruments that are economically tied to emerging market countries will only invest in markets where these restrictions are considered acceptable, new or additional repatriation or other restrictions might be imposed subsequent to the Fund’s investment. If such restrictions were to be imposed subsequent to a Fund’s investment in the securities markets of a particular country, the Fund’s response might include, among other things, applying to the appropriate authorities for a waiver of the restrictions or engaging in transactions in other markets designed to offset the risks of decline in that country. Such restrictions will be considered in relation to a Fund’s liquidity needs and all other acceptable positive and negative factors. Some emerging markets limit foreign investment, which may decrease returns relative to domestic investors. The Funds may seek exceptions to those restrictions. If those restrictions are present and cannot be avoided by a Fund, the Fund’s returns may be lower.
Settlement Risks. Settlement systems in emerging markets may be less well organized and less transparent than in developed markets and transactions may take longer to settle as a result. Supervisory authorities may also be unable to apply standards which are comparable with those in developed markets. Thus there may be risks that settlement may be delayed and that cash or securities belonging to a Fund may be in jeopardy because of failures of or defects in the systems. In particular, market practice may require that payment shall be made prior to receipt of the security which is being purchased or that delivery of a security must be made before payment is received. In such cases, default by a
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broker or bank (the “Counterparty”) through whom the relevant transaction is effected might result in a loss being suffered by a Fund. The Funds may not know the identity of a Counterparty, which may increase the possibility of a Fund not receiving payment or delivery of securities in a transaction. The Funds will seek, where possible, to use Counterparties whose financial status is such that this risk is reduced. However, there can be no certainty that a Fund will be successful in eliminating or reducing this risk, particularly as Counterparties operating in emerging market countries frequently lack the substance, capitalization and/or financial resources of those in developed countries.
There may also be a danger that, because of uncertainties in the operation of settlement systems in individual markets, competing claims may arise in respect of securities held by or to be transferred to a Fund. Furthermore, compensation schemes may be non-existent, limited or inadequate to meet a Fund’s claims in any of these events.
Counterparty Risk. Trading in the securities of developing markets presents additional credit and financial risks. The Funds may have limited access to, or there may be a limited number of, potential Counterparties that trade in the securities of emerging market issuers. Governmental regulations may restrict potential Counterparties to certain financial institutions located or operating in the particular emerging market. Potential Counterparties may not possess, adopt or implement creditworthiness standards, financial reporting standards or legal and contractual protections similar to those in developed markets. Currency hedging techniques may not be available or may be limited. The Funds may not be able to reduce or mitigate risks related to trading with emerging market Counterparties. The Funds will seek, where possible, to use Counterparties whose financial status is such that the risk of default is reduced, but the risk of losses resulting from default is still possible.
Government in the Private Sector. Government involvement in the private sector varies in degree among the emerging markets in which a Fund invests. Such involvement may, in some cases, include government ownership of companies in certain sectors, wage and price controls or imposition of trade barriers and other protectionist measures. With respect to any emerging market country, there is no guarantee that some future economic or political crisis will not lead to price controls, forced mergers of companies, expropriation, or creation of government monopolies, to the possible detriment of a Fund’s investment in that country.
Litigation. The Funds may encounter substantial difficulties in obtaining and enforcing judgments against individuals and companies located in certain emerging market countries. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain or enforce legislation or remedies against governments, their agencies and sponsored entities.
Fraudulent Securities. It is possible, particularly in markets in emerging market countries, that purported securities in which a Fund invests may subsequently be found to be fraudulent and as a consequence the Fund could suffer losses.
Taxation. Non-U.S. laws governing the taxation of income and capital gains accruing to non-residents varies among emerging market countries and, in some cases, is comparatively high. In addition, certain emerging market countries may not have well-defined tax laws and procedures and such laws or procedures may permit retroactive taxation so that a Fund could in the future become subject to local tax liabilities that had not been anticipated in conducting its investment activities or valuing its assets. The Funds will seek to reduce these risks by careful management of their assets. However, there can be no assurance that these efforts will be successful.
Political Risks/Risks of Conflicts. Recently, various countries have seen significant internal conflicts and in some cases, civil wars may have had an adverse impact on the securities markets of the countries concerned. In addition, the occurrence of new disturbances due to acts of war or terrorism or other political developments cannot be excluded. Apparently stable systems may experience periods of disruption or improbable reversals of policy. Nationalization, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, currency blockage, political changes, government regulation, political, regulatory or social instability or uncertainty or diplomatic developments, including the imposition of sanctions or other similar measures, could adversely affect a Fund’s investments. The transformation from a centrally planned, socialist economy to a more market oriented economy has also resulted in many economic and social disruptions and distortions. Moreover, there can be no assurance that the economic, regulatory and political initiatives necessary to achieve and sustain such a transformation will continue or, if such initiatives continue and are sustained, that they will be successful or that such initiatives will continue to benefit foreign (or non-national) investors. Certain instruments, such as inflation index instruments, may depend upon measures compiled by governments (or entities under their influence) which are also the obligors.
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Recent examples of the above include conflict, loss of life and disaster connected to ongoing armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine in Europe and Hamas and Israel in the Middle East, and an example of a country undergoing transformation is Venezuela. The extent, duration and impact of these conflicts, related sanctions and retaliatory actions are difficult to ascertain, but could be significant and have severe adverse effects on the region, including significant adverse effects on the regional or global economies and the markets for certain securities and commodities. These impacts could negatively affect a Fund’s investments in securities and instruments that are economically tied to the applicable region, and include (but are not limited to) declines in value and reductions in liquidity. In addition, to the extent new sanctions are imposed or previously relaxed sanctions are reimposed (including with respect to countries undergoing transformation), complying with such restrictions may prevent a Fund from pursuing certain investments, cause delays or other impediments with respect to consummating such investments or divestments, require divestment or freezing of investments on unfavorable terms, render divestment of underperforming investments impracticable, negatively impact a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective, prevent a Fund from receiving payments otherwise due it, increase diligence and other similar costs to a Fund, render valuation of affected investments challenging, or require a Fund to consummate an investment on terms that are less advantageous than would be the case absent such restrictions. Any of these outcomes could adversely affect a Fund’s performance with respect to such investments, and thus a Fund’s performance as a whole.
Investment in sovereign debt can involve a high degree of risk. The governmental entity that controls the repayment of sovereign debt may not be able or willing to repay the principal and/or interest when due in accordance with the terms of the debt. A governmental entity’s willingness or ability to repay principal and interest due in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its foreign reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange on the date a payment is due, the relative size of the debt service burden to the economy as a whole, the governmental entity’s policy toward the International Monetary Fund, and the political constraints to which a governmental entity may be subject. Governmental entities also may depend on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and others to reduce principal and interest arrearages on their debt. The commitment on the part of these governments, agencies and others to make such disbursements may be conditioned on a governmental entity’s implementation of economic reforms and/or economic performance and the timely service of such debtor’s obligations. Failure to implement such reforms, achieve such levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of such third parties’ commitments to lend funds to the governmental entity, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to service its debts in a timely manner. Consequently, governmental entities may default on their sovereign debt. Holders of sovereign debt (including a Fund) may be requested to participate in the rescheduling of such debt and to extend further loans to governmental entities. There is no bankruptcy proceeding by which sovereign debt on which governmental entities have defaulted may be collected in whole or in part.
A Fund’s investments in foreign currency denominated debt obligations, if any, and hedging activities would likely produce a difference between its book income and its taxable income. This difference may cause a portion of the Fund’s income distributions to constitute returns of capital for tax purposes or require the Fund to make distributions exceeding book income to qualify as a regulated investment company for federal tax purposes.
Euro- and EU-related risks. In the past, economic crisis brought several small economies in Europe to the brink of bankruptcy and many other economies into recession and weakened the banking and financial sectors of many European countries. For example, the governments of Greece, Spain, Portugal, and the Republic of Ireland experienced severe economic and financial difficulties between 2009 and 2012, an event that is commonly referred to as the “European sovereign debt crisis.” As was the case during the European sovereign debt crisis, large public deficits could cause some European countries to become dependent on assistance from other European governments and institutions or other central banks or supranational agencies such as the International Monetary Fund. Assistance may be dependent on a country’s implementation of reforms or reaching a certain level of performance. Failure to reach those objectives or an insufficient level of assistance could result in a deep economic downturn. Responses to economic or financial difficulties by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may be ineffective, may limit future economic growth or recovery, and/or may result in social unrest or other unintended consequences. Any of the forgoing events could significantly affect the value of a Fund’s European investments.
The national politics of European countries can be unpredictable and subject to influence by disruptive political groups or ideologies. The occurrence of conflicts, war or terrorist activities in Europe could have an adverse impact on financial markets. For example, Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The extent,
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duration and impact of Russia’s military action in Ukraine, related sanctions and retaliatory actions are difficult to ascertain, but could be significant and have severe adverse effects on the region, including significant adverse effects on the regional, European, and global economies and the markets for certain securities and commodities, such as oil and natural gas, as well as other sectors, and on a Fund’s investments in securities and instruments that are economically tied to the region, including declines in value and reductions in liquidity.
The Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (“EMU”) is comprised of the European Union (“EU”) members that have adopted the euro currency. By adopting the euro as its currency, a member state relinquishes control of its own monetary policies. As a result, European countries are significantly affected by fiscal and monetary policies implemented by the EMU and European Central Bank. The euro currency may not fully reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the various economies that comprise the EMU and Europe generally.
It is possible that one or more EMU member countries could abandon the euro and return to a national currency and/or that the euro will cease to exist as a single currency in its current form. The effects of such an abandonment or a country’s forced expulsion from the euro on that country, the rest of the EMU, and global markets are impossible to predict, but are likely to be negative. The exit of any country out of the euro may have an extremely destabilizing effect on other eurozone countries and their economies and a negative effect on the global economy as a whole. Such an exit by one country may also increase the possibility that additional countries may exit the euro should they face similar financial difficulties. In addition, in the event of one or more countries’ exit from the euro, it may be difficult to value investments denominated in euros or in a replacement currency.
On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the EU (commonly known as “Brexit”). Upon the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, the EU and the United Kingdom entered into a transition phase, which concluded on December 31, 2020. Negotiators representing the United Kingdom and EU came to a preliminary trade agreement that took effect on January 1, 2021, but many aspects of the United Kingdom-EU trade relationship remain subject to further negotiation. Uncertainties remain relating to certain aspects of the United Kingdom’s future economic, trading and legal relationships with the European Union and with other countries. Due to political uncertainty, it is not possible to anticipate the form or nature of the future trading relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU. The UK, EU and broader global economy may experience substantial volatility in foreign exchange markets and a sustained weakness in the British pound’s exchange rate against the United States dollar, the euro and other currencies, which may impact Fund returns. Brexit may also destabilize some or all of the other EU member countries and/or the eurozone. These developments could result in losses to the Funds, as there may be negative effects on the value of a Funds' investments and/or on a Funds' ability to enter into certain transactions or value certain investments, and these developments may make it more difficult for a Fund to exit certain investments at an advantageous time or price. Such events could result from, among other things, increased uncertainty and volatility in the United Kingdom, the EU and other financial markets; fluctuations in asset values; fluctuations in exchange rates; decreased liquidity of investments located, traded or listed within the United Kingdom, the EU or elsewhere; changes in the willingness or ability of financial and other counterparties to enter into transactions or the price and terms on which other counterparties are willing to transact; and/or changes in legal and regulatory regimes to which Fund investments are or become subject. Any of these events, as well as an exit or expulsion of an EU member state other than the United Kingdom from the EU, could negatively impact Fund returns.
Investments in Russia. Certain Funds may have investments in securities and instruments that are economically tied to Russia. In determining whether an instrument is economically tied to Russia, PIMCO uses the criteria for determining whether an instrument is economically tied to an emerging market country as set forth above under “Foreign Securities.” In addition to the risks listed above under “Foreign Securities,” investing in Russia presents additional risks. In particular, investments in Russia are subject to the risk that the United States and/or other countries may impose economic sanctions, export or import controls or other similar measures. Other similar measures may include, but are not limited to, banning or expanding bans on Russia or certain persons or entities associated with Russia from global payment systems that facilitate cross-border payments, restricting the settlement of securities transactions by certain investors, and freezing Russian assets or those of particular countries, entities or persons with ties to Russia (e.g., Belarus). Such sanctions or other similar measures– which may impact companies in many sectors, including energy, financial services, technology, accounting, quantum computing, shipping, aviation, metals and mining, defense, architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and transportation, among others – and Russia’s countermeasures may negatively impact the Fund’s performance and/or ability to achieve its investment objective. For example, certain investments in Russian companies or instruments tied to Russian companies may be prohibited and/or existing investments may become illiquid (e.g., in the event that transacting in certain existing
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investments is prohibited, securities markets close, or market participants cease transacting in certain investments in light of geopolitical events, sanctions or related considerations), which could render any such securities held by a Fund unmarketable for an indefinite period of time and/or cause the Fund to sell portfolio holdings at a disadvantageous time or price or continue to hold investments that the Fund no longer seeks to hold. It is also possible that such sanctions, export or import controls, or similar measures may prevent U.S.-based entities that provide services to the Funds from transacting with Russian or Belarusian entities. Under such circumstances, the Funds may not receive payments due with respect to certain investments, such as the payments due in connection with a Fund’s holding of a fixed income security. In addition, such sanctions and other similar measures, and the Russian government’s response, could result in a downgrade of Russia’s credit rating or of securities of issuers located in or economically tied to Russia, devaluation of Russia’s currency and/or increased volatility with respect to Russian securities and the ruble. More generally, investments in Russian securities are highly speculative and involve significant risks and special considerations not typically associated with investments in the securities markets of the U.S. and most other developed countries. Over the past century, Russia has experienced political, social and economic turbulence and has endured decades of communist rule under which tens of millions of its citizens were collectivized into state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s government has been faced with the daunting task of stabilizing its domestic economy, while transforming it into a modern and efficient structure able to compete in international markets and respond to the needs of its citizens. However, to date, many of the country’s economic reform initiatives have floundered. In this environment, there is always the risk that the nation’s government will abandon the current program of economic reform and replace it with radically different political and economic policies that would be detrimental to the interests of foreign investors, a risk that has been at least partially realized in connection with Russia's countersanctions. Further changes could entail a return to a centrally planned economy and nationalization of private enterprises similar to what existed under the old Soviet Union.
Russia has attempted, and may attempt in the future, to assert its influence in the region surrounding it through economic or military measures. In February 2022, Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. As a result, Russia, and other countries, persons and entities that have provided material aid to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, have been the subject of economic sanctions and import and export controls imposed by countries throughout the world, including the United States. Such measures have had and may continue to have an adverse effect on the Russian, Belarusian and other securities and economies, which may, in turn, negatively impact a Fund. Moreover, disruptions caused by Russian military action or other actions (including cyberattacks, espionage or other asymmetric measures) or resulting actual or threatened responses to such activity may impact Russia’s economy and Russian and other issuers of securities in which a Fund is invested. Such resulting actual or threatened responses may include, but are not limited to, purchasing and financing restrictions, withdrawal of financial intermediaries, boycotts or changes in consumer or purchaser preferences, sanctions, export or import controls, tariffs or cyberattacks on the Russian government, Russian companies or Russian individuals, including politicians. Any actions by Russia made in response to such sanctions or retaliatory measures could further impair the value and liquidity of Fund investments. Sanctions and other similar measures have resulted in defaults on debt obligations by certain corporate issuers and the Russian Federation that could lead to cross-defaults or cross-accelerations on other obligations of these issuers.
Poor accounting standards, inept management, pervasive corruption, insider trading and crime, and inadequate regulatory protection for the rights of investors all pose a significant risk, particularly to foreign investors. In addition, there is the risk that the Russian tax system will not be reformed to prevent inconsistent, retroactive, and/or exorbitant taxation, or, in the alternative, the risk that a reformed tax system may result in the inconsistent and unpredictable enforcement of the new tax laws. Investments in Russia may be subject to the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets. Regional armed conflict and its collateral economic and market effects may also pose risks for investments in Russia.
Compared to most national securities markets, the Russian securities market suffers from a variety of problems not encountered in more developed markets. There is little long-term historical data on the Russian securities market because it is relatively new and a substantial proportion of securities transactions in Russia are privately negotiated outside of stock exchanges. The inexperience of the Russian securities market and the limited volume of trading in securities in the market may make obtaining accurate prices on portfolio securities from independent sources more difficult than in more developed markets. Additionally, because of less stringent auditing and financial reporting standards than apply to U.S. companies, there may be little reliable corporate information available to investors. As a result, it may be difficult to assess the value or prospects of an investment in Russian companies. Securities of Russian
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companies also may experience greater price volatility than securities of U.S. companies. These issues can be magnified as a result of sanctions and other similar measures that may be imposed and the Russian government’s response.
Because of the recent formation of the Russian securities market as well as the underdeveloped state of the banking and telecommunications systems, settlement, clearing and registration of securities transactions are subject to significant risks. Prior to the implementation of the National Settlement Depository (“NSD”), a recognized central securities depository, there was no central registration system for equity share registration in Russia and registration was carried out by either the issuers themselves or by registrars located throughout Russia. Title to Russian equities held through the NSD is now based on the records of the NSD and not the registrars. Although the implementation of the NSD has enhanced the efficiency and transparency of the Russian securities market, issues resulting in loss still can occur. In addition, sanctions by the European Union against the NSD, as well as the potential for sanctions by other governments, could make it more difficult to conduct or confirm transactions involving Russian securities. Ownership of securities issued by Russian companies that are not held through depositories such as the NSD may be defined according to entries in the company’s share register and normally evidenced by extracts from the register or by formal share certificates. These services may be carried out by the companies themselves or by registrars located throughout Russia. In such cases, the risk is increased that a Fund could lose ownership rights through fraud, negligence, or even mere oversight. While a Fund will endeavor to ensure that its interest continues to be appropriately recorded either itself or through a custodian or other agent by inspecting the share register and by obtaining extracts of share registers through regular confirmations, these extracts have no legal enforceability and it is possible that subsequent illegal amendment or other fraudulent act may deprive the Fund of its ownership rights or improperly dilute its interests. In addition, while applicable Russian regulations impose liability on registrars for losses resulting from their errors, it may be difficult for a Fund to enforce any rights it may have against the registrar or issuer of the securities in the event of loss of share registration. Furthermore, significant delays or problems may occur in registering the transfer of securities, which could cause a Fund to incur losses due to a counterparty’s failure to pay for securities the Fund has delivered or the Fund’s inability to complete its contractual obligations because of theft or other reasons.
In addition, issuers and registrars are still prominent in the validation and approval of documentation requirements for corporate action processing in Russia. Because the documentation requirements and approval criteria vary between registrars and issuers, there remain unclear and inconsistent market standards in the Russian market with respect to the completion and submission of corporate action elections. In addition, sanctions or Russian countermeasures may prohibit or limit a Fund’s ability to participate in corporate actions, and therefore require the Fund to forego voting on or receiving funds that would otherwise be beneficial to the Fund.
To the extent that a Fund suffers a loss relating to title or corporate actions relating to its portfolio securities, it may be difficult for the Fund to enforce its rights or otherwise remedy the loss. Russian securities laws may not recognize foreign nominee accounts held with a custodian bank, and therefore the custodian may be considered the ultimate owner of securities they hold for their clients. A Fund also may experience difficulty in obtaining and/or enforcing judgments in Russia.
The Russian economy is heavily dependent upon the export of a range of commodities including most industrial metals, forestry products, oil, and gas. Accordingly, it is strongly affected by international commodity prices and is particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products, and to sanctions or other actions that may be directed at the Russian economy as a whole or at Russian oil, natural gas, metals or timber industries.
Foreign investors also face a high degree of currency risk when investing in Russian securities and a lack of available currency hedging instruments. In addition, Russia has implemented certain capital controls on foreign portfolio investments and there is the risk that the Russian government will impose additional capital controls on foreign portfolio investments. Such capital controls may prevent the sale of a portfolio of foreign assets and the repatriation of investment income and capital.
Investments in the People’s Republic of China. Certain Funds that may invest in emerging market countries may invest in securities and instruments that are economically tied to the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan for the purpose of this disclosure, unless otherwise specified herein) (“PRC”). Such investment may be made through various available market access programs including but not limited to PRC qualified foreign institutional investor program (“FII” program, including the qualified foreign institutional investor (“QFII”)
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program and the RMB qualified foreign institutional investor (“RQFII”) program, which have merged into one program based on recent PRC regulatory developments).
In addition to the risks listed above with respect to investing in non-U.S. securities and in emerging markets, including those associated with investing in emerging markets, investing in the PRC presents additional risks. These additional risks include (without limitation): (a) inefficiencies resulting from erratic growth; (b) the unavailability of consistently-reliable economic data; (c) potentially high rates of inflation; (d) dependence on exports and international trade; (e) relatively high levels of asset price volatility; (f) potential shortage of liquidity and limited accessibility by foreign investors; (g) greater competition from regional economies; (h) fluctuations in currency exchange rates or currency devaluation by the PRC government or central bank, particularly in light of the relative lack of currency hedging instruments and controls on the ability to exchange local currency for U.S. dollars; (i) the relatively small size and absence of operating history of many PRC companies; (j) the developing nature of the legal and regulatory framework for securities markets, custody arrangements and commerce; (k) uncertainty and potential changes with respect to the rules and regulations of the FII program and other market access programs through which such investments are made; (l) the commitment of the PRC government to continue with its economic reforms; (m) Chinese regulators may suspend trading in Chinese issuers (or permit such issuers to suspend trading) during market disruptions, and that such suspensions may be widespread; (n) different regulatory and audit requirements related to the quality of financial statements of Chinese issuers; (o) limitations on the ability to inspect the quality of audits performed in China, particularly the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (“PCAOB’s”) lack of access to inspect PCAOB-registered accounting firms in China; (p) limitations on the ability of U.S. authorities to enforce actions against non-U.S. companies and non-U.S. persons; and (q) limitations on the rights and remedies of investors as a matter of law.
In addition, there also exists control on foreign investment in the PRC and limitations on repatriation of invested capital. Under the FII program, there are certain regulatory restrictions particularly on aspects including (without limitation to) investment scope, repatriation of funds, foreign shareholding limit and account structure. Although the relevant FII regulations have recently been revised to relax certain regulatory restrictions on the onshore investment and capital management by FIIs (including but not limited to removing investment quota limits and simplifying routine repatriation of investment proceeds), it is a relatively new development and therefore subject to uncertainties as to how well it will be implemented in practice, especially at the early stage. On the other hand, the recently amended FII regulations are also enhancing ongoing supervision on FIIs in terms of information disclosure among other aspects. In particular, FIIs are required to procure their underlying clients (such as any Fund investing in PRC securities via the FII program) to comply with PRC disclosure of interest rules (e.g., the 5% substantial shareholder reporting obligation and the applicable aggregation with concerted parties and across holdings under various access channels including FII program and Stock Connect (as defined below)) and make the required disclosure on behalf of such underlying investors.
Where a Fund invests in fixed income securities and/or eligible securities through the FII program, such securities will be maintained by a local custodian pursuant to PRC regulations through appropriate securities accounts and such other relevant depositories in such name as may be permitted or required in accordance with PRC law. Any securities acquired by a Fund held by the FII will be maintained by the PRC custodian and should be registered in the joint names of the FII and the relevant Fund and for the sole benefit and use of such Fund. Although the Fund should be the party entitled to the securities, the related security may still be vulnerable to a claim by a liquidator of the Fund and may not be as well protected as if they were registered solely in the name of the respective Fund.
In addition, investors should note that cash deposited in the cash account of the relevant Fund with the relevant PRC custodian will not be segregated but will be a debt owing from the PRC custodian to the relevant Fund as a depositor. Such cash will be co-mingled with cash belonging to other clients of that local custodian. In the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the local custodian, the relevant Fund will not have any proprietary rights to the cash deposited in such cash account, and the relevant Fund will become an unsecured creditor, ranking equal with all other unsecured creditors, of the PRC custodian. The relevant Fund may face difficulty and/or encounter delays in recovering such debt, or may not be able to recover it in full or at all, in which case the relevant Fund will suffer losses.
As a result of PRC regulatory requirements, the Fund may be limited in its ability to invest in securities or instruments tied to the PRC and/or may be required to liquidate its holdings in securities or instruments tied to the PRC. Under certain instances such as when the price of the securities is at a low level, the involuntary liquidations
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may result in losses for the Fund. In addition, securities exchanges in the PRC typically have the right to suspend or limit trading in any security traded on the relevant exchange. The PRC government or relevant PRC regulators may also implement policies that may adversely affect the PRC financial markets. Such suspensions, limitations or policies may have a negative impact on the performance of a Fund’s investments.
Although the PRC has experienced a relatively stable political environment in recent years, there is no guarantee that such stability will be maintained in the future.
The PRC is ruled by the Communist Party. Investments in the PRC are subject to risks associated with greater governmental control over and involvement in the economy. Unlike in the United States, the PRC’s currency is not entirely determined by the market, but is instead managed at artificial levels relative to the U.S. dollar. This type of system can lead to sudden and large adjustments in the currency, which, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors. The PRC also may restrict the free conversion of its currency into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar. Currency repatriation restrictions may have the effect of making securities and instruments tied to the PRC relatively illiquid, particularly in connection with redemption requests. In addition, the government of the PRC exercises significant control over economic growth through direct and heavy involvement in resource allocation and monetary policy, control over payment of foreign currency denominated obligations and provision of preferential treatment to particular industries and/or companies. Economic reform programs in the PRC have contributed to growth, but there is no guarantee that such reforms will continue.
The PRC has historically been prone to natural disasters such as droughts, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis, and the region’s economy may be affected by such environmental events in the future. A Fund’s investment in the PRC is, therefore, subject to the risk of such events. In addition, the relationship between the PRC and Taiwan is particularly sensitive, and hostilities between the PRC and Taiwan may present a risk to a Fund’s investments in the PRC.
The application of tax laws (e.g., the imposition of withholding taxes on dividend or interest payments) or confiscatory taxation may also affect a Fund’s investment in the PRC. Because the rules governing taxation of investments in securities and instruments economically tied to the PRC are not always clear, PIMCO may provide for capital gains taxes on Funds investing in such securities and instruments by reserving both realized and unrealized gains from disposing or holding securities and instruments economically tied to the PRC. This approach is based on current market practice and PIMCO’s understanding of the applicable tax rules. Changes in market practice or understanding of the applicable tax rules may result in the amounts reserved being too great or too small relative to actual tax burdens.
Investing through Stock Connect. Certain Funds may invest in eligible securities (“Stock Connect Securities”) listed and traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (“SSE”) or the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (“SZSE”) through the Shanghai - Hong Kong Stock Connect program and the Shenzhen - Hong Kong Stock Connect program (collectively, “Stock Connect”). Stock Connect allows non-Chinese investors (such as the Funds) to purchase certain PRC-listed equities via brokers in Hong Kong. Purchases of securities through Stock Connect are subject to market-wide daily quota limitations, which may prevent a Fund from purchasing Stock Connect securities when it is otherwise advantageous to do so. Once such daily quota on SSE or SZSE is used up, acceptance of the corresponding buy orders on SSE or SZSE (as applicable) will be immediately suspended and no further buy orders will be accepted for the remainder of the trading day. Buy orders which have been accepted will not be affected by the using up of the daily quota, while sell orders will continue to be accepted. An investor cannot purchase and sell the same security on the same trading day, which may restrict a Fund’s ability to invest in China A-shares through Stock Connect and to enter into or exit trades where it is advantageous to do so on the same trading day. Because Stock Connect trades are routed through Hong Kong brokers and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Stock Connect is affected by trading holidays in either the PRC or Hong Kong, and there are trading days in the PRC when Stock Connect investors will not be able to trade. As a result, prices of Stock Connect securities may fluctuate at times when the Fund is unable to add to or exit its position. Only certain China A-shares and ETFs are eligible to be accessed through Stock Connect. Such securities may lose their eligibility at any time, in which case they could be sold but could no longer be purchased through Stock Connect. In addition, the applicable rules as well as trading, settlement and information technology (“IT”) systems required to operate Stock Connect are continuing to evolve. In the event that the relevant systems do not function properly, trading through Stock Connect could be disrupted.
Stock Connect is subject to regulations by both Hong Kong and the PRC. Regulators in both jurisdictions are allowed to suspend Stock Connect trading; Chinese regulators may also suspend trading in Chinese issuers (or permit
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such issuers to suspend trading) during market disruptions, and such suspensions may be widespread. There can be no assurance that further regulations will not affect the availability of securities under Stock Connect, operational arrangements or other limitations. Stock Connect transactions are not covered by investor protection programs of either the Hong Kong Stock Exchanges, SSE or SZSE, although for defaults by Hong Kong brokers occurring on or after January 1, 2020, the Hong Kong Investor Compensation Fund will cover losses incurred by investors with a cap at HK $500,000 per investor with respect to securities traded on a stock market operated by the SSE and/or SZSE and in respect of which an order for sale or purchase is permitted to be routed through the northbound link of the Stock Connect. In the PRC, Stock Connect securities are held on behalf of ultimate investors (such as the Fund) by the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited (“HKSCC”) as nominee. While Chinese regulators have affirmed that the ultimate investors hold a beneficial interest in Stock Connect securities, the mechanisms that beneficial owners may use to enforce their rights are untested. In addition, courts in China have limited experience in applying the concept of beneficial ownership and the law surrounding beneficial ownership will continue to evolve. To the extent HKSCC is deemed to be performing safekeeping functions with respect to assets held through it, a Fund has no legal relationship with HKSCC and no direct legal recourse against HKSCC in the event that the Fund suffers losses resulting from the performance or insolvency of HKSCC. In this event, a Fund may not fully recover its losses and the process could be delayed. A Fund may not be able to participate in corporate actions affecting Stock Connect securities due to time constraints or for other operational reasons. Similarly, a Fund will not be able to vote in shareholders’ meetings except through HKSCC and will not be able to attend shareholders’ meetings. HKSCC as nominee holder shall have no obligation to take any legal action or court proceeding to enforce any rights on behalf of the investors in respect of the Stock Connect securities in the PRC or elsewhere. Therefore, even though a Fund’s ownership may be ultimately recognized, the Fund may suffer difficulties or delays in enforcing their rights in A-shares. Stock Connect trades are settled in Renminbi (RMB), the Chinese currency, and investors must have timely access to a reliable supply of RMB in Hong Kong, which cannot be guaranteed.
Stock Connect trades are either subject to certain pre-trade requirements or must be placed in special segregated accounts that allow brokers to comply with these pre-trade requirements by confirming that the selling shareholder has sufficient Stock Connect securities to complete the sale. If a Fund does not utilize a special segregated account, a Fund will not be able to sell the shares on any trading day where it fails to comply with the pre-trade checks. In addition, these pre-trade requirements may, as a practical matter, limit the number of brokers that a Fund may use to execute trades. While the Fund may use special segregated accounts in lieu of the pre-trade check, relevant market practice with respect to special segregated accounts is continuing to evolve.
Investing through CIBM Direct. To the extent permissible by the relevant PRC regulations or authorities, the Funds may also directly invest in permissible products (which include cash bonds) traded on China inter-bank bond market (“CIBM”) in compliance with the relevant rules issued by the People’s Bank of China (“PBOC”, including its Shanghai Head Office) in 2016 including the Announcement No.3 and its implementing rules (“CIBM Direct Rules”). An onshore trading and settlement agent shall be engaged by PIMCO as the manager of the Fund to make the filing on behalf of the relevant Fund and conduct trading and settlement agency services for the Fund. PBOC will exercise on-going supervision on the onshore settlement agent and the Fund’s trading under the CIBM Direct Rules and may take relevant administrative actions such as suspension of trading and mandatory exit against the Fund and/or PIMCO in the event of any incompliance with the CIBM Direct Rules. Although there is no quota limitation regarding investment via the CIBM Direct, a Fund is required to make further filings with the PBOC if it wishes to increase its anticipated investment size. There is no guarantee the PBOC will accept such further filings. In the event any further filings for an increase in the anticipated investment size are not accepted by the PBOC, a Fund’s ability to invest via the CIBM Direct will be limited and the performance of the relevant Fund may be unfavorably affected as a result. Since the relevant filings, registration with PBOC, and account opening for investment in the CIBM via the CIBM Direct have to be carried out via an onshore settlement agent, registration agent or other third parties (as the case may be), the relevant Fund is subject to the risks of default or errors on the part of such third parties. The relevant Fund may also incur losses due to the acts or omissions of the onshore settlement agent in the process of settling any transactions. As a result, the net asset value of the relevant Fund may be adversely affected. In addition, investors should note that cash deposited in the cash account of the relevant Fund with the relevant onshore settlement agent will not be segregated. In the event of the bankruptcy or liquidation of the onshore settlement agent, the relevant Fund will not have any proprietary rights to the cash deposited in such cash account and may face difficulty and/or encounter delays in recovering such assets, or may not be able to recover it in full or at all, in which case the Fund will suffer losses. The CIBM Direct Rules are relatively new and are still subject to continuous evolvement, which may adversely affect the Fund's capability to invest in the CIBM. A Fund will be tested for compliance with investment limitations for instruments traded on CIBM (including instruments traded through both CIBM Direct and the Bond Connect
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Program) prior to the trade. Therefore, a Fund will not be in violation of an investment limitation if the Fund submits a trade for an instrument traded on CIBM and the trade is not completed until the following day if the Fund was in compliance with the applicable limitation at the time of the initial compliance test. Similarly, a Fund will not be in violation of an investment limitation if the Fund submits a trade for two complementary instruments (such as a foreign currency transaction and a bond) traded on CIBM and one of the trades is not completed until the following day if the Fund was in compliance with the applicable percentage limitation for both instruments at the time of the initial compliance test. Investing in the CIBM via CIBM Direct is also subject to certain restrictions imposed by the PRC authorities on fund remittance and repatriation which may potentially affect a Fund’s performance and liquidity. Any non-compliance with or failure to meet the fund remittance and repatriation requirements may result in regulatory sanctions which in turn may have an adverse impact on the portion of a Fund’s investment via the CIBM Direct. Further, there is no assurance that the fund remittance and repatriation requirements in relation to investment in CIBM will not be changed as a result of change in government policies or foreign exchange control policies. A Fund may incur loss in the event such change in the fund remittance and repatriation requirements in relation to investment in CIBM occurs.
CIBM Direct RFQ Trading. In September 2020, CIBM direct RFQ trading service was launched by the National Interbank Funding Center (“CFETS”). Under such service, foreign investors under CIBM Direct may solicit cash bond trading with domestic market makers by requesting for quotation (“RFQ”) and confirm the trades in CFETS system. As a novel arrangement under CIBM Direct, CIBM direct RFQ trading may be subject to further adjustments and uncertainties in implementation, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investment to the extent the Fund transacts via CIBM direct RFQ trading mechanism.
Investing through Bond Connect. In addition to the risks described under “Foreign Securities” and “Investments in the People’s Republic of China,” there are risks associated with a Fund’s investment in Chinese government bonds and other PRC-based debt instruments traded on the CIBM through the Bond Connect program. The Bond Connect refers to the arrangement between Hong Kong and PRC that enables the PRC and overseas investors to trade various types of debt securities in each other’s bond markets through connection between the relevant respective financial infrastructure institutions. Trading through Bond Connect is subject to a number of restrictions that may affect a Fund’s investments and returns. Investments made through Bond Connect are subject to order, clearance and settlement procedures that are relatively untested in the PRC, which could pose risks to a Fund. Furthermore, securities purchased via Bond Connect will be held on behalf of ultimate investors (such as a Fund) via a book entry omnibus account in the name of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Central Money Markets Unit maintained with a PRC-based custodian (either the China Central Depository & Clearing Co. (“CDCC”) or the Shanghai Clearing House (“SCH”)). A Fund’s ownership interest in Bond Connect securities will not be reflected directly in book entry with CDCC or SCH and will instead only be reflected on the books of its Hong Kong sub-custodian. This recordkeeping system also subjects a Fund to various risks, including the risk that the Fund may have a limited ability to enforce rights as a bondholder as well as the risks of settlement delays and counterparty default of the Hong Kong sub-custodian. While the ultimate investors hold a beneficial interest in Bond Connect securities, the mechanisms that beneficial owners may use to enforce their rights are untested and courts in the PRC have limited experience in applying the concept of beneficial ownership. As such, a Fund may not be able to participate in corporate actions affecting its rights as a bondholder, such as timely payment of distributions, due to time constraints or for other operational reasons. Investors who wish to participate in Bond Connect do so through an offshore custody agent, registration agent or other third parties (as the case may be), who would be responsible for making the relevant filings and account opening with the relevant authorities. A Fund is therefore subject to the risk of default or errors on the part of such agents. Bond Connect trades are settled in RMB and investors must have timely access to a reliable supply of RMB in Hong Kong, which cannot be guaranteed. Moreover, securities purchased through Bond Connect generally may not be sold, purchased or otherwise transferred other than through Bond Connect in accordance with applicable rules.
A primary feature of Bond Connect is the application of the home market’s laws and rules applicable to investors in Chinese fixed income instruments. Therefore, a Fund’s investments in securities via Bond Connect are generally subject to Chinese securities regulations and listing rules, among other restrictions. Such securities may lose their eligibility at any time, in which case they could be sold but could no longer be purchased through Bond Connect. A Fund will not benefit from access to Hong Kong investor compensation funds, which are set up to protect against defaults of trades, when investing through Bond Connect. Bond Connect is only available on days when markets in both the PRC and Hong Kong are open. As a result, prices of securities purchased through Bond Connect may fluctuate at times when a Fund is unable to add to or exit its position and, therefore, may limit the Fund’s ability to
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trade when it would be otherwise attractive to do so. Finally, uncertainties in the PRC tax rules governing taxation of income and gains from investments via Bond Connect could result in unexpected tax liabilities for a Fund. The withholding tax treatment of dividends and capital gains payable to overseas investors currently is unsettled.
The Bond Connect program is a relatively new program and may be subject to further interpretation and guidance. In addition, the trading, settlement and IT systems required for non-Chinese investors in Bond Connect are relatively new and continuing to evolve. In the event that the relevant systems do not function properly, trading through Bond Connect could be disrupted. There can be no assurance that further regulations will not affect the availability of securities in the program, the frequency of redemptions or other limitations. In addition, the application and interpretation of the laws and regulations of Hong Kong and the PRC, and the rules, policies or guidelines published or applied by relevant regulators and exchanges in respect of the Bond Connect program are uncertain, and they may have a detrimental effect on a Fund’s investments and returns.
There are still some uncertainties in the PRC tax rules governing taxation of income and gains from investments in the PRC due to the lack of formal guidance from the PRC tax authorities that could result in unexpected tax liabilities for a Fund. If a Fund is considered a tax resident enterprise of the PRC, it will be subject to PRC corporate income tax (“CIT”) at 25% on its worldwide taxable income. If a Fund is considered a non-tax resident enterprise with a permanent establishment or place or establishment of business (“PE”) in the PRC, the profits attributable to that PE would be subject to CIT at 25%. Under the PRC CIT Law effective from December 29, 2018 and its implementation rules, a non-PRC tax resident enterprise without a PE in the PRC will generally be subject to withholding income tax (“WIT”) of 10% on its PRC sourced income, including but not limited to passive income (e.g. dividends, interest, gains arising from transfer of assets, etc.). Unless a specific exemption is applicable, non-PRC tax resident enterprises are subject to WIT on the payment of interests on debt instruments issued by PRC tax resident enterprises, including bonds issued by enterprises established within the PRC. The general WIT rate applicable is 10%, subject to reduction under an applicable double tax treaty and agreement by the PRC tax authorities.
Interest derived from government bonds issued by the in-charge Finance Bureau of the State Council and/or local government bonds approved by the State Council is exempt from CIT under the PRC Law. According to a tax circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Finance of the PRC (“MoF”) and the State Administration of Taxation of the PRC (“SAT”) on November 7, 2018, i.e. Circular on the Enterprise Income Tax and Value-Added Tax Policies for Foreign Institutions investing in Onshore Bond Markets (“Circular 108”), the foreign institutional investors were temporarily exempt from PRC CIT with respect to bond interest income derived in the PRC bond market for the period from November 7, 2018 to November 6, 2021. On November 26, 2021, the PRC Ministry of Finance and PRC State Taxation Administration jointly issued Caishui [2021] No. 34 (“Circular 34”) to formally extend the tax exemption period provided in Circular 108 to December 31, 2025. The scope of such PRC CIT exemption has excluded bond interest gained by foreign investors’ onshore entities/establishment that are directly connected with such onshore entities/establishment. However, there is no guarantee that such temporary tax exemption will continue to apply, will not be repealed and re-imposed retrospective, or that no new tax regulations and practice in China specifically relating to the PRC bond market will not be promulgated in the future.
Variable Interest Entities. Certain Funds may obtain exposure to companies based or operated in the PRC by investing through legal structures known as variable interest entities (“VIEs”). Because of Chinese governmental restrictions on non-Chinese ownership of companies in certain industries in the PRC, certain Chinese companies have used VIEs to facilitate foreign investment without distributing direct ownership of companies based or operated in the PRC. In such cases, the Chinese operating company establishes an offshore company, and the offshore company enters into contractual arrangements (such as powers of attorney, equity pledge agreements and other services or business cooperation agreements) with the operating company. These contractual arrangements are intended to give the offshore company the ability to exercise power over and obtain economic rights from the operating company. Shares of the offshore company, in turn, are listed and traded on exchanges outside of the PRC and are available to non-Chinese investors such as a Fund. This arrangement allows non-Chinese investors in the offshore company to obtain economic exposure to the Chinese company without direct equity ownership in the Chinese company.
Although VIEs are a longstanding industry practice and well known to officials and regulators in the PRC, VIEs are not formally recognized under Chinese law. There is a risk that the PRC may cease to tolerate VIEs at any time or impose new restrictions on the structure, in each case either generally or with respect to specific industries, sectors or companies. Investments involving a VIE may also pose additional risks because such investments are made through a company whose interests in the underlying operating company are established through contract rather than through
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equity ownership. For example, in the event of a dispute, the offshore company’s contractual claims with respect to the operating company may be deemed unenforceable in the PRC, thus limiting (or eliminating) the remedies and rights available to the offshore company and its investors. Such legal uncertainty may also be exploited against the interests of the offshore company and its investors. Further, the interests of the equity owners of the operating company may conflict with the interests of the investors of the offshore company, and the fiduciary duties of the officers and directors of the operating company may differ from, or conflict with, the fiduciary duties of the officers and directors of the offshore company. Foreign companies listed on U.S. exchanges, including offshore companies that utilize a VIE structure, also could face delisting or other ramifications for failure to meet the requirements of the SEC, the PCAOB or other United States regulators. Any of the foregoing risks and events could negatively impact a Fund’s performance.
Sanctions, Trade and Investment Restrictions Relating to PRC. In recent years, various governmental bodies have considered and, in some cases, imposed sanctions, trade and investment restrictions and/or notification requirements targeting the PRC (inclusive of Hong Kong and Macau), and it is possible that additional restrictions may be imposed in the future. Given the complex and evolving relationship between the PRC and certain other countries, it is difficult to predict the impact of such restrictions on market conditions. Further, complying with such restrictions may prevent a Fund from pursuing certain investments, cause delays or other impediments with respect to consummating such investments, require notification of such investments to government authorities, require divestment or freezing of investments on unfavorable terms, render divestment of underperforming investments impracticable, negatively impact a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective, prevent the Fund from receiving payments otherwise due it, require a Fund to obtain information about underlying investors, increase diligence and other similar costs to the Fund, render valuation of China-related investments challenging, or require a Fund to consummate an investment on terms that are less advantageous than would be the case absent such restrictions. Any of these outcomes could adversely affect the Fund’s performance with respect to such investments, and thus a Fund’s performance as a whole. New and contemplated sanctions, trade, and other investment restrictions and obligations could also have adverse impacts to a Fund in various and unpredictable ways. In addition, the Funds reserve the right to restrict an investor’s ability to purchase Fund shares and, to the extent permitted by applicable law, to redeem existing shareholders as necessary or appropriate to facilitate compliance with such sanctions and other restrictions. Disruptions caused by such sanctions and other restrictions may also impact the PRC’s economy, as well as the PRC and other issuers of securities in which a Fund is invested, and may result in the PRC imposing countermeasures which may also have adverse impacts on the Fund and its investments.
U.S. PRC Relations. International relations, such as the China-U.S. relationship regarding trade, currency exchange, intellectual property protection, among other things, could also have implications with respect to capital flow and business operations. U.S. social, political, regulatory and economic conditions prompting changes in laws and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, developments and investments in the PRC could adversely affect the performance of a Fund’s investments. For example, in recent years, the U.S. federal government implemented an aggressive trade policy with respect to the PRC, including imposing tariffs on certain imports of the PRC, criticizing the PRC government for its trade policies, taking actions against individual PRC companies, imposing sanctions on certain officials of the Hong Kong government and the PRC central government and issuing executive orders that prohibit certain transactions with certain China-based companies and their respective subsidiaries. Recent events have added to uncertainty in such relations, including restrictions imposed by the U.S. government limiting the ability of U.S. persons to invest in certain Chinese companies and the ability of Chinese companies to engage in activities or transactions inside the U.S. In addition, the PRC government has implemented, and may further implement, measures in response to new trade policies, treaties and tariffs initiated by the U.S. government, for example, the passing of the Hong Kong national security law by the National People’s Congress of China (the “National Security Law”) which criminalizes certain offenses including subversion of the Chinese government and collusion with foreign entities. The National Security Law subsequently prompted the promulgation in the U.S. of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act and executive orders setting forth additional sanctions. The U.S. has also imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials and certain employees of Chinese technology companies, adding a number of new Chinese companies to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List. The United Kingdom also suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extended its arms embargo on China to Hong Kong. It is possible that additional sanctions, export controls and/or investment restrictions will be announced. Escalation of China-U.S. tensions resulting from these events and the retaliatory countermeasures that the national and state governments have taken and may take (including U.S. sanctions and anti-sanction laws in China), as well as other economic, social or political unrest in the future, could have a material adverse effect on or could limit the activities of PIMCO, a Fund or the companies in which a Fund has invested.
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State Law Restrictions on Ownership of Real Property. Certain U.S. states have proposed, recently enacted, or are in the process of adopting new legislation that restricts the ability of a wide range of governmental bodies and persons or entities from or domiciled in foreign countries of concern, as defined in the applicable U.S. state’s laws (e.g., the People’s Republic of China) (any such direct or indirect investor, a “Covered Investor”) to directly or indirectly own or acquire interests in “real property” (e.g., land, buildings, fixtures, and all other improvements to land) located in the relevant states, subject to certain limited exceptions (such laws as in effect from time to time, the “State Real Estate Laws”). Certain investments made by a Fund may constitute investments in “real property” for purposes of these laws (such investments, “Restricted Investments”). The State Real Estate Laws may impose different thresholds on the ownership of Restricted Investments by Covered Investors.
The impact of the State Real Estate Laws on a Fund and its investors may vary on a state-by-state basis, particularly to the extent that a state adopts an exemption from the ownership restrictions for commingled funds. Given the developing nature of the State Real Estate Laws, it is difficult to predict the full scope of their impact on a Fund’s investments and investor base. Complying with such restrictions may prevent a Fund from pursuing certain investments, cause delays or other impediments with respect to consummating such investments, require notification of such investments to government authorities, require divestment or freezing of investments on unfavorable terms, negatively impact a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective, prevent a Fund from receiving payments otherwise due it, require a Fund to obtain information about underlying investors or increase diligence and other similar costs to a Fund. Any of these outcomes could make it difficult for a Fund to act successfully on investment opportunities and may adversely affect a Fund’s performance as a whole. The Funds reserve the right to restrict an investor’s ability to purchase Fund shares and, to the extent permitted by applicable law, to redeem existing shareholders as necessary or appropriate to facilitate compliance with State Real Estate Laws.
The Funds intend to comply with the State Real Estate Laws to the extent applicable to their shareholder base, and may, to comply with such laws, request and report confidential information about a shareholder if required by the State Real Estate Laws and, if applicable, any underlying beneficial ownership, to applicable authorities if PIMCO determines that it is in the best interests of the Fund in light of the relevant laws or regulations or upon the request of regulators. Shareholders may be required to cooperate with PIMCO to facilitate compliance with the State Real Estate Laws.
Foreign Currency Transactions
A Fund may purchase and sell foreign currency options and foreign currency futures contracts and related options (see “Derivative Instruments”), and may engage in foreign currency transactions either on a spot (cash) basis at the rate prevailing in the currency exchange market at the time or through forward currency contracts (“forwards”). Funds may engage in these transactions in order to attempt to protect against uncertainty in the level of future foreign exchange rates in the purchase and sale of securities. Funds also may use foreign currency options, foreign currency forward contracts, foreign currency futures and foreign currency spot transactions to increase exposure to a foreign currency or to shift exposure to foreign currency fluctuations from one currency to another. Since some foreign exchange transactions for the Funds are directed to the Funds’ custodian for execution, execution of such transactions may be better or worse than comparable transactions effected by other intermediaries.
A forward involves an obligation to purchase or sell a certain amount of a specific currency at a future date, which may be three business days or more from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts may be bought or sold to protect a Fund against a possible loss resulting from an adverse change in the relationship between foreign currencies and the U.S. dollar or to increase exposure to a particular foreign currency. Although, when used for hedging, forwards are intended to minimize the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged currencies, at the same time, they tend to limit any potential gain which might result should the value of such currencies increase. Forwards are subject to the risks discussed under “Derivative Instruments” below. Forwards are used primarily to adjust the foreign exchange exposure of a Fund with a view to protecting the outlook, and the Funds might be expected to enter into such contracts under the following circumstances:
Lock In.When PIMCO desires to lock in the U.S. dollar price on the purchase or sale of a security denominated in a foreign currency.
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Cross Hedge.If a particular currency is expected to decrease against another currency, a Fund may sell the currency expected to decrease and purchase a currency which is expected to increase against the currency sold in an amount approximately equal to some or all of the Fund’s portfolio holdings denominated in the currency sold.
Direct Hedge.If PIMCO wants to eliminate substantially all of the risk of owning a particular currency, and/or if PIMCO thinks that a Fund can benefit from price appreciation in a given country’s bonds but does not want to hold the currency, it may employ a direct hedge back into the U.S. dollar. In either case, a Fund would enter into a forward contract to sell the currency in which a portfolio security is denominated and purchase U.S. dollars at an exchange rate established at the time it initiated the contract. The cost of the direct hedge transaction may offset most, if not all, of the yield advantage offered by the foreign security, but a Fund would hope to benefit from an increase (if any) in value of the bond.
Proxy Hedge.PIMCO might choose to use a proxy hedge, which may be less costly than a direct hedge. In this case, a Fund, having purchased a security, will sell a currency whose value is believed to be closely linked to the currency in which the security is denominated. Interest rates prevailing in the country whose currency was sold would be expected to be closer to those in the United States and lower than those of securities denominated in the currency of the original holding. This type of hedging entails greater risk than a direct hedge because it is dependent on a stable relationship between the two currencies paired as proxies and the relationships can be very unstable at times.
Costs of Hedging.When a Fund purchases a foreign bond with a higher interest rate than is available on U.S. bonds of a similar maturity, the additional yield on the foreign bond could be substantially reduced or lost if the Fund were to enter into a direct hedge by selling the foreign currency and purchasing the U.S. dollar. This is what is known as the “cost” of hedging. Proxy hedging attempts to reduce this cost through an indirect hedge back to the U.S. dollar.
It is important to note that hedging costs are treated as capital transactions and are not, therefore, deducted from a Fund’s dividend distribution and are not reflected in its yield. Instead such costs will, over time, be reflected in a Fund’s net asset value per share.
A Fund may enter into foreign currency transactions as a substitute for cash investments and for other investment purposes not involving hedging, including, without limitation, to exchange payments received in a foreign currency into U.S. dollars or in anticipation of settling a transaction that requires the Fund to deliver a foreign currency.
The forecasting of currency market movement is extremely difficult, and whether any hedging strategy will be successful is highly uncertain. Moreover, it is impossible to forecast with precision the market value of portfolio securities at the expiration of a foreign currency forward contract. Accordingly, a Fund may be required to buy or sell additional currency on the spot market (and bear the expense of such transaction) if PIMCO’s predictions regarding the movement of foreign currency or securities markets prove inaccurate. Also, foreign currency transactions, like currency exchange rates, can be affected unpredictably by intervention (or the failure to intervene) by U.S. or foreign governments or central banks, or by currency controls or political developments. Such events may prevent or restrict a Fund’s ability to enter into foreign currency transactions, force the Fund to exit a foreign currency transaction at a disadvantageous time or price or result in penalties for the Fund, any of which may result in a loss to the Fund. In addition, the use of cross-hedging transactions may involve special risks, and may leave a Fund in a less advantageous position than if such a hedge had not been established. Because foreign currency forward contracts are privately negotiated transactions, there can be no assurance that a Fund will have the flexibility to roll-over a foreign currency forward contract upon its expiration if it desires to do so. Additionally, there can be no assurance that the other party to the contract will perform its services thereunder. Under definitions adopted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and SEC, many non-deliverable foreign currency forwards are considered swaps for certain purposes, including the determination of whether such instruments need to be exchange-traded and centrally cleared as discussed further in “Risks of Potential Government Regulation of Derivatives.” These changes are expected to reduce counterparty risk as compared to bilaterally negotiated contracts.
The Funds may hold a portion of their assets in bank deposits denominated in foreign currencies, so as to facilitate investment in foreign securities as well as to protect against currency fluctuations and the need to convert such assets into U.S. dollars (thereby also reducing transaction costs). To the extent these monies are converted back into U.S. dollars, the value of the assets so maintained will be affected favorably or unfavorably by changes in foreign currency exchange rates and exchange control regulations.
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Tax Consequences of Hedging.Under applicable tax law, a Fund may be required to limit its gains from hedging in foreign currency forwards, futures, and options. Although a Fund is expected to comply with such limits, the extent to which these limits apply is subject to tax regulations as yet unissued. Hedging also may result in the application of the mark-to-market and straddle provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Those provisions could result in an increase (or decrease) in the amount of taxable dividends paid by a Fund and could affect whether dividends paid by the Fund are classified as capital gains or ordinary income.
Foreign Currency Exchange-Related Securities
Foreign currency warrants.Foreign currency warrants such as Currency Exchange WarrantsTM (“CEWsTM”) are warrants which entitle the holder to receive from their issuer an amount of cash (generally, for warrants issued in the United States, in U.S. dollars) which is calculated pursuant to a predetermined formula and based on the exchange rate between a specified foreign currency and the U.S. dollar as of the exercise date of the warrant. Foreign currency warrants generally are exercisable upon their issuance and expire as of a specified date and time. Foreign currency warrants have been issued in connection with U.S. dollar-denominated debt offerings by major corporate issuers in an attempt to reduce the foreign currency exchange risk which, from the point of view of prospective purchasers of the securities, is inherent in the international fixed income marketplace. Foreign currency warrants may attempt to reduce the foreign exchange risk assumed by purchasers of a security by, for example, providing for a supplemental payment in the event that the U.S. dollar depreciates against the value of a major foreign currency such as the Japanese yen or the euro. The formula used to determine the amount payable upon exercise of a foreign currency warrant may make the warrant worthless unless the applicable foreign currency exchange rate moves in a particular direction (e.g., unless the U.S. dollar appreciates or depreciates against the particular foreign currency to which the warrant is linked or indexed). Foreign currency warrants are severable from the debt obligations with which they may be offered, and may be listed on exchanges. Foreign currency warrants may be exercisable only in certain minimum amounts, and an investor wishing to exercise warrants who possesses less than the minimum number required for exercise may be required either to sell the warrants or to purchase additional warrants, thereby incurring additional transaction costs. In the case of any exercise of warrants, there may be a time delay between the time a holder of warrants gives instructions to exercise and the time the exchange rate relating to exercise is determined, during which time the exchange rate could change significantly, thereby affecting both the market and cash settlement values of the warrants being exercised. The expiration date of the warrants may be accelerated if the warrants should be delisted from an exchange or if their trading should be suspended permanently, which would result in the loss of any remaining “time value” of the warrants (i.e., the difference between the current market value and the exercise value of the warrants), and, in the case the warrants were “out-of-the-money,” in a total loss of the purchase price of the warrants. Warrants are generally unsecured obligations of their issuers and are not standardized foreign currency options issued by the Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”). Unlike foreign currency options issued by OCC, the terms of foreign exchange warrants generally will not be amended in the event of governmental or regulatory actions affecting exchange rates or in the event of the imposition of other regulatory controls affecting the international currency markets. The initial public offering price of foreign currency warrants is generally considerably in excess of the price that a commercial user of foreign currencies might pay in the interbank market for a comparable option involving significantly larger amounts of foreign currencies. Foreign currency warrants are subject to significant foreign exchange risk, including risks arising from complex political or economic factors.
Principal exchange rate linked securities.Principal exchange rate linked securities (“PERLsTM”) are debt obligations the principal on which is payable at maturity in an amount that may vary based on the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and a particular foreign currency at or about that time. The return on “standard” PERLsTM is enhanced if the foreign currency to which the security is linked appreciates against the U.S. dollar, and is adversely affected by increases in the foreign exchange value of the U.S. dollar; “reverse” PERLsTM are like the “standard” securities, except that their return is enhanced by increases in the value of the U.S. dollar and adversely impacted by increases in the value of foreign currency. Interest payments on the securities are generally made in U.S. dollars at rates that reflect the degree of foreign currency risk assumed or given up by the purchaser of the notes (i.e., at relatively higher interest rates if the purchaser has assumed some of the foreign exchange risk, or relatively lower interest rates if the issuer has assumed some of the foreign exchange risk, based on the expectations of the current market). PERLsTM may in limited cases be subject to acceleration of maturity (generally, not without the consent of the holders of the securities), which may have an adverse impact on the value of the principal payment to be made at maturity.
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Performance indexed paper.Performance indexed paper (“PIPsTM”) is U.S. dollar-denominated commercial paper the yield of which is linked to certain foreign exchange rate movements. The yield to the investor on PIPsTM is established at maturity as a function of spot exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and a designated currency as of or about that time (generally, the index maturity two days prior to maturity). The yield to the investor will be within a range stipulated at the time of purchase of the obligation, generally with a guaranteed minimum rate of return that is below, and a potential maximum rate of return that is above, market yields on U.S. dollar-denominated commercial paper, with both the minimum and maximum rates of return on the investment corresponding to the minimum and maximum values of the spot exchange rate two business days prior to maturity.
Borrowing
Except as described below, a Fund may borrow money to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, and as interpreted, modified or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time. This means that, in general, a Fund may borrow money from banks for any purpose in an amount up to 1/3 of the Fund’s total assets. A Fund also may borrow money for temporary purposes in an amount not to exceed 5% of the Fund’s total assets.
Specifically, provisions of the 1940 Act require a Fund to maintain continuous asset coverage (that is, total assets including borrowings, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of 300% of the amount borrowed, with an exception for borrowings not in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets made for temporary purposes. Any borrowings for temporary purposes in excess of 5% of a Fund’s total assets must maintain continuous asset coverage. If the 300% asset coverage should decline as a result of market fluctuations or other reasons, a Fund may be required to sell some of its portfolio holdings within three days to reduce the debt and restore the 300% asset coverage, even though it may be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint to sell securities at that time.
As noted below, a Fund also may enter into certain transactions, including reverse repurchase agreements, mortgage dollar rolls and sale-buybacks, that can be viewed as constituting a form of borrowing or financing transaction by the Fund. Such transactions also can be subject to the risks discussed under “Derivative Instruments” below, in addition to the risks discussed in this section.
Borrowing will tend to exaggerate the effect on net asset value of any increase or decrease in the market value of a Fund’s portfolio. Money borrowed will be subject to interest costs, which may or may not be recovered by appreciation of the securities purchased. The Funds also may be required to maintain minimum average balances in connection with such borrowing or to pay a commitment or other fee to maintain a line of credit; either of these requirements would increase the cost of borrowing over the stated interest rate.
A Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements, mortgage dollar rolls, and economically similar transactions. A reverse repurchase agreement involves the sale of a portfolio-eligible security by a Fund to another party, such as a bank or broker-dealer, coupled with its agreement to repurchase the instrument at a specified time and price. Under a reverse repurchase agreement, a Fund continues to receive any principal and interest payments on the underlying security during the term of the agreement. However, reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of securities retained by a Fund may decline below the repurchase price of the securities sold by the Fund which it is obligated to repurchase. With respect to reverse repurchase agreements in which banks are counterparties, a Fund may treat such transactions as bank borrowings, which would be subject to the Fund’s limitations on borrowings. Such treatment would, among other things, restrict the aggregate of such transactions (plus any other borrowings) to one-third of a Fund’s total assets. The Investment Company Act of 1940 and related rules no longer require asset segregation for derivatives transactions, however asset segregation and posting of collateral may still be utilized for risk management or other purposes. A Fund may be required to hold additional cash or sell other investments in order to obtain cash to close out a position and changes in the value of a derivative may also create margin delivery or settlement payment obligations for a Fund.
A “mortgage dollar roll” is similar to a reverse repurchase agreement in certain respects. In a “dollar roll” transaction a Fund sells a mortgage-related security, such as a security issued by GNMA, to a dealer and simultaneously agrees to repurchase a similar security (but not the same security) in the future at a pre-determined price. A “dollar roll” can be viewed, like a reverse repurchase agreement, as a collateralized borrowing in which a Fund pledges a mortgage-related security to a dealer to obtain cash. Unlike in the case of reverse repurchase agreements, the dealer with which a Fund enters into a dollar roll transaction is not obligated to return the same
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securities as those originally sold by the Fund, but only securities which are “substantially identical.” To be considered “substantially identical,” the securities returned to a Fund generally must: (1) be collateralized by the same types of underlying mortgages; (2) be issued by the same agency and be part of the same program; (3) have a similar original stated maturity; (4) have identical net coupon rates; (5) have similar market yields (and therefore price); and (6) satisfy “good delivery” requirements, meaning that the aggregate principal amounts of the securities delivered and received back must be within a specified percentage of the initial amount delivered.
A Fund also may effect simultaneous purchase and sale transactions that are known as “sale-buybacks.” A sale buyback is similar to a reverse repurchase agreement, except that in a sale-buyback, the counterparty that purchases the security is entitled to receive any principal or interest payments made on the underlying security pending settlement of a Fund’s repurchase of the underlying security.
It is possible that changing government regulation may affect a Fund’s use of these strategies. Changes in regulatory requirements concerning margin for certain types of financing transactions, such as repurchase agreements, reverse repurchase agreements, and securities lending and borrowing, could impact a Fund’s ability to utilize these investment strategies and techniques.
Commodities
Each Fund may purchase or sell derivatives, securities or other instruments that provide exposure to commodities. A Fund’s investments in commodities-related instruments may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The value of commodity-related instruments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, foreign currency exchange rates, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or supply and demand factors affecting a particular industry or commodity market, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, pandemics and public health emergencies, embargoes, taxation, war, terrorism, cyber hacking, economic and political developments, environmental proceedings, tariffs, changes in storage costs, availability of transportation systems, and international economic, political and regulatory developments. An unexpected surplus of a commodity caused by one of the aforementioned factors, for example, may cause a significant decrease in the value of the commodity (and a decrease in the value of any investments directly correlated to the commodity). Conversely, an unexpected shortage of a commodity caused by one of the aforementioned factors may cause a significant increase in the value of the commodity (and a decrease in the value of any investments inversely correlated to that commodity). The commodity markets are subject to temporary distortions and other disruptions due to, among other factors, lack of liquidity, the participation of speculators, and government regulation and other actions.
Each Fund may focus its commodity-related investments in a particular sector of the commodities market (such as gold, oil, metal, carbon or agricultural products). As a result, to the extent a Fund focuses its investments in a particular sector of the commodities market, the Fund may be more susceptible to risks associated with those sectors, including the risk of loss due to adverse economic, business or political developments affecting a particular sector. See “Derivative Instruments” below for a more detailed discussion of risks related to commodities, including additional discussion of commodity-related derivative instruments.
Derivative Instruments
In pursuing its objective, a Fund may, to the extent permitted by its investment objectives and policies, purchase and sell (write) both put options and call options on securities, swap agreements, recovery locks, securities indexes, commodity indexes and foreign currencies, and enter into interest rate, foreign currency, index and commodity futures contracts and purchase and sell options on such futures contracts (“futures options”) for hedging purposes, to seek to replicate the composition and performance (or inverse performance) of a particular index, or as part of its overall investment strategies. Each Fund also may purchase and sell foreign currency options for purposes of increasing exposure to a foreign currency or to shift exposure to foreign currency fluctuations from one currency to another. The Funds also may enter into swap agreements with respect to interest rates, commodities, and indexes of securities or commodities, and to the extent it may invest in foreign currency-denominated securities, may enter into swap agreements with respect to foreign currencies. The Funds may invest in structured notes and enter into transactions involving other similar instruments as discussed herein. All of these transactions are referred to collectively herein as “derivatives”. If other types of financial instruments, including other types of options, futures contracts, or futures options are traded in the future, a Fund also may use those instruments, provided that their use is consistent with the Fund’s investment objective.
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The value of some derivative instruments in which the Funds invest may be particularly sensitive to changes in prevailing interest rates, and, like the other investments of the Funds, the ability of a Fund to successfully utilize these instruments may depend in part upon the ability of PIMCO to forecast interest rates and other economic factors correctly. If PIMCO incorrectly forecasts such factors and has taken positions in derivative instruments contrary to prevailing market trends, the Funds could be exposed to additional, unforeseen risks, including the risk of loss.
Certain Acquired Funds may concentrate their respective assets in a particular sector of the commodities market (such as oil, metal or agricultural products). As a result, to the extent that the PIMCO Funds of Funds invests in such Acquired Funds, the PIMCO Funds of Funds may be more susceptible to risks associated with those sectors. Investments in commodity-linked derivative instruments may subject the investing fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The value of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariffs and international economic, political and regulatory developments.
The Funds might not employ any of the strategies described herein, and no assurance can be given that any strategy used will succeed. Like most other investments, derivatives are subject to the risk that the market value of the instrument will change in a way detrimental to a Fund's interest. If PIMCO incorrectly forecasts interest rates, market values or other economic factors in using a derivatives strategy for a Fund, the Fund might have been in a better position if it had not entered into the transaction at all. Also, suitable derivatives transactions may not be available in all circumstances. The use of these strategies involves certain special risks, including a possible imperfect correlation, or even no correlation, between price movements of derivative instruments and price movements of related investments. Because many derivatives have a leverage component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, reference rate or index could result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. The use of certain derivatives involves the risk that a loss may be sustained as a result of the failure of another party (usually referred to as a “counterparty”) to make required payments or otherwise comply with the contract’s terms. Counterparty risk also includes the risks of having concentrated exposure to a counterparty. Using derivatives is also subject to operational and legal risks. Operational risk generally refers to risk related to potential operational issues, including documentation issues, settlement issues, systems failures, inadequate controls, and human error. Legal risk generally refers to insufficient documentation, insufficient capacity or authority of counterparty, or legality or enforceability of a contract. While some strategies involving derivative instruments can reduce the risk of loss, they can also reduce the opportunity for gain or even result in losses by offsetting favorable price movements in related investments or otherwise. This is due, in part, to liquidity risk, which refers to the possible inability of a Fund to purchase or sell a portfolio security at a time that otherwise would be favorable, or the possible need to sell a portfolio security at a disadvantageous time and the possible inability of a Fund to close out or to liquidate its derivatives positions. A Fund may be required to hold additional cash or sell other investments in order to obtain cash to close out derivatives to meet the liquidity demands that derivatives can create to make payments of margin, collateral or settlement payments to counterparties. A Fund may have to sell a security at a disadvantageous time or price to meet such obligations. In addition, a Fund’s use of such instruments may cause the Fund to realize higher amounts of short-term capital gains (generally taxed upon distribution at ordinary income tax rates) than if it had not used such instruments. For Funds that gain exposure to an asset class using derivative instruments backed by a collateral portfolio of fixed income instruments, changes in the value of the fixed income instruments may result in greater or lesser exposure to that asset class than would have resulted from a direct investment in securities comprising that asset class. The Funds may invest in derivatives to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act and rules and interpretations thereunder and other federal securities laws.
Participation in the markets for derivative instruments involves investment risks and transaction costs to which a Fund may not be subject absent the use of these strategies. The skills needed to successfully execute derivative strategies may be different from those needed for other types of transactions. If the Fund incorrectly forecasts the value and/or creditworthiness of securities, currencies, interest rates, counterparties or other economic factors involved in a derivative transaction, the Fund might have been in a better position if the Fund had not entered into such derivative transaction. In evaluating the risks and contractual obligations associated with particular derivative instruments, it is important to consider that certain derivative transactions may be modified or terminated only by mutual consent of the Fund and its counterparty and certain derivative transactions may be terminated by the counterparty or the Fund, as the case may be, upon the occurrence of certain Fund-related or counterparty-related events, which may result in losses or gains to the Fund based on the market value of the derivative transactions entered into between the Fund and the counterparty. In addition, such early terminations may result in taxable events and accelerate gain or loss recognition
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for tax purposes. It may not be possible for a Fund to modify, terminate, or offset the Fund’s obligations or the Fund’s exposure to the risks associated with a derivative transaction prior to its termination or maturity date, which may create a possibility of increased volatility and/or decreased liquidity to the Fund. Upon the expiration or termination of a particular contract, a Fund may wish to retain its position in the derivative instrument by entering into a similar contract, but may be unable to do so if the counterparty to the original contract is unwilling or unable to enter into the new contract and no other appropriate counterparty can be found, which could cause the Fund not to be able to maintain certain desired investment exposures or not to be able to hedge other investment positions or risks, which could cause losses to the Fund. Furthermore, after such an expiration or termination of a particular contract, a Fund may have fewer counterparties with which to engage in additional derivative transactions, which could lead to potentially greater counterparty risk exposure to one or more counterparties and which could increase the cost of entering into certain derivatives. In such cases, the Fund may lose money.
A Fund may engage in investment strategies, including the use of derivatives, to, among other things, generate current, distributable income, even if such strategies could potentially result in declines in the Fund’s net asset value. A Fund’s income and gain-generating strategies, including certain derivatives strategies, may generate current income and gains taxable as ordinary income sufficient to support distributions, even in situations when the Fund has experienced a decline in net assets due to, for example, adverse changes in the broad U.S. or non-U.S. securities markets or the Fund’s portfolio of investments, or arising from its use of derivatives. Consequently, Fund shareholders may receive distributions subject to tax at ordinary income rates at a time when their investment in the Fund has declined in value, which may be economically similar to a taxable return of capital.
The tax treatment of certain derivatives may be open to different interpretations. Any recharacterization of payments made or received by a Fund pursuant to derivatives potentially could affect the amount, timing or characterization of Fund distributions. In addition, the tax treatment of such investment strategies may be changed by regulation or otherwise.
Options on Securities and Indexes. A Fund may, to the extent specified herein or in the Prospectuses, purchase and sell both put and call options on equity, fixed income or other securities (including securities to be purchased in when-issued, delayed delivery and forward commitment transactions) or indexes in standardized contracts traded on foreign or domestic securities exchanges, boards of trade, or similar entities, or quoted on NASDAQ or on an OTC market, and agreements, sometimes called cash puts, which may accompany the purchase of a new issue of bonds from a dealer.
An option on a security (or index) is a contract that gives the holder of the option, in return for a premium, the right to buy from (in the case of a call) or sell to (in the case of a put) the writer of the option the security underlying the option (or the cash value of an option that is on an index or cash-settled) at a specified exercise price, often at any time during the term of the option for American options or only at expiration for European options. The writer of an option on a security that requires physical delivery has the obligation upon exercise of the option to deliver the underlying security upon payment of the exercise price (in the case of a call) or to pay the exercise price upon delivery of the underlying security (in the case of a put). Certain put options written by a Fund, which counterparties may use as a source of liquidity, may be structured to have an exercise price that is less than the market value of the underlying securities that would be received by the Fund. Upon exercise, the writer of an option on an index or cash-settled option on a security is obligated to pay the difference between the cash value of the index or security and the exercise price multiplied by the specified multiplier for the option. (An index is designed to reflect features of a particular financial or securities market, a specific group of financial instruments or securities, or certain economic indicators.)
If an option written by a Fund expires unexercised, the Fund realizes a capital gain equal to the premium received at the time the option was written. If an option purchased by a Fund expires unexercised, the Fund realizes a capital loss equal to the premium paid. Prior to the earlier of exercise or expiration, an exchange-traded option may be closed out by an offsetting purchase or sale of an option of the same series (type, exchange, underlying security or index, exercise price, and expiration). There can be no assurance, however, that a closing purchase or sale transaction can be effected when the Fund desires.
A Fund may sell put or call options it has previously purchased, which could result in a net gain or loss depending on whether the amount realized on the sale is more or less than the premium and other transaction costs paid on the put or call option which is sold. Prior to exercise or expiration, an option may be closed out by an offsetting purchase or sale of an option of the same series. A Fund will realize a capital gain from a closing purchase transaction if the cost of
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the closing option is less than the premium received from writing the option, or, if it is more, the Fund will realize a capital loss. If the premium received from a closing sale transaction is more than the premium paid to purchase the option, the Fund will realize a capital gain or, if it is less, the Fund will realize a capital loss. The principal factors affecting the market value of a put or a call option include supply and demand, interest rates, the current market price of the underlying security or index in relation to the exercise price of the option, the volatility of the underlying security or index, and the time remaining until the expiration date.
The premium paid for a put or call option purchased by a Fund is an asset of the Fund. The premium received for an option written by a Fund is recorded as a deferred credit. The value of an option purchased or written is marked-to-market daily and is valued at the closing price on the exchange on which it is traded or, if not traded on an exchange or no closing price is available, at the mean between the last bid and ask prices.
The Funds may write straddles consisting of a combination of a call and a put written on the same underlying security.
Risks Associated with Options on Securities and Indexes. There are several risks associated with transactions in options on securities and on indexes. For example, there are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objectives. A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well-conceived transaction may be unsuccessful to some degree because of market behavior or unexpected events.
The writer of an American option often has no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation as a writer of the option. Once an option writer has received an exercise notice, it cannot effect a closing purchase transaction in order to terminate its obligation under the option and must deliver the underlying security at the exercise price. To the extent a Fund writes a put option, the Fund has assumed the obligation during the option period to purchase the underlying investment from the put buyer at the option’s exercise price if the put buyer exercises its option, regardless of whether the value of the underlying investment falls below the exercise price. This means that a Fund that writes a put option may be required to take delivery of the underlying investment and make payment for such investment at the exercise price. This may result in losses to the Fund and may result in the Fund holding the underlying investment for some period of time when it is disadvantageous to do so.
If a put or call option purchased by a Fund is not sold when it has remaining value, and if the market price of the underlying security remains equal to or greater than the exercise price (in the case of a put), or remains less than or equal to the exercise price (in the case of a call), the Fund will lose its entire investment in the option. Also, where a put or call option on a particular security is purchased to hedge against price movements in a related security, the price of the put or call option may move more or less than the price of the related security.
There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist when a Fund seeks to close out an option position. If a Fund were unable to close out an option that it had purchased on a security, it would have to exercise the option in order to realize any profit or the option may expire worthless.
If trading were suspended in an option purchased by a Fund, the Fund would not be able to close out the option. If restrictions on exercise were imposed, the Fund might be unable to exercise an option it has purchased. Movements in the index may result in a loss to the Fund; however, such losses may be mitigated by changes in the value of the Fund’s securities during the period the option was outstanding.
To the extent that a Fund writes a call option on a security it holds in its portfolio, the Fund has, in return for the premium on the option, given up the opportunity to profit from a price increase in the underlying security above the exercise price during the option period, but, as long as its obligation under such call option continues, has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline.
Foreign Currency Options. The Funds may buy or sell put and call options on foreign currencies either on exchanges or in the OTC market. A put option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to sell a foreign currency at the exercise price until the option expires. A call option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to purchase the currency at the exercise price until the option expires. Currency options traded on U.S. or other exchanges may be subject to position limits which may limit the ability of a Fund to reduce foreign
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currency risk using such options. OTC options differ from exchange-traded options in that they are bilateral contracts with price and other terms negotiated between buyer and seller, and generally do not have as much market liquidity as exchange-traded options. Under definitions adopted by the CFTC and SEC, many foreign currency options are considered swaps for certain purposes, including determination of whether such instruments need to be exchange-traded and centrally cleared as discussed further in “Risks of Potential Government Regulation of Derivatives.”
Futures Contracts and Futures Options. A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a security or other asset for a set price on a future date. These contracts are traded on exchanges, so that, in most cases, a party can close out its position on the exchange for cash, without delivering the underlying security or other underlying asset. An option on a futures contract gives the holder of the option the right to buy or sell a position in a futures contract from or to the writer of the option, at a specified price and on or before a specified expiration date.
Each Fund may invest in futures contracts and futures options with respect to, but not limited to, interest rates, commodities, and security or commodity indexes. A Fund may also invest in futures contracts on carbon offset credits. A carbon offset credit represents the reduction or removal of a specific amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas (“GHG”) from the atmosphere. Carbon offset credits are designed to provide a mechanism for people and businesses to mitigate the adverse environmental impact of their GHG-generating activities. To the extent that a Fund may invest in foreign currency-denominated securities, it also may invest in foreign currency futures contracts and options thereon.
An interest rate, commodity, foreign currency or index futures contract provides for the future sale or purchase of a specified quantity of a financial instrument, commodity, foreign currency or the cash value of an index at a specified price and time. A futures contract on an index is an agreement pursuant to which a party agrees to pay or receive an amount of cash equal to the difference between the value of the index at the close of the last trading day of the contract and the price at which the index contract was originally written. Although the value of an index might be a function of the value of certain specified securities, no physical delivery of these securities is made. A public market exists in futures contracts covering a number of indexes as well as financial instruments and foreign currencies, including , but not limited to: the S&P 500; the S&P Midcap 400; the Nikkei 225; the Markit CDX credit index; the iTraxx credit index; U.S. Treasury bonds; U.S. Treasury notes; U.S. Treasury bills; 90-day commercial paper; bank certificates of deposit; Eurodollar certificates of deposit; the Australian dollar; the Canadian dollar; the British pound; the Japanese yen; the Swiss franc; the Mexican peso; and certain multinational currencies, such as the euro. It is expected that other futures contracts will be developed and traded in the future. Certain futures contracts on indexes, financial instruments or foreign currencies may represent new investment products that lack performance track records. Certain of the Funds also may invest in commodity futures contracts and options thereon. A commodity futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a commodity, such as an energy, agricultural, metal or carbon commodity at a later date at a price and quantity agreed-upon when the contract is bought or sold.
A Fund may purchase and write call and put futures options, as specified for that Fund in the Prospectuses. Futures options possess many of the same characteristics as options on securities and indexes (discussed above). A futures option gives the holder the right, in return for the premium paid, to assume a long position (call) or short position (put) in a futures contract at a specified exercise price at any time during the period of the option. Upon exercise of a call option, the holder acquires a long position in the futures contract and the writer is assigned the opposite short position. In the case of a put option, the opposite is true. A call option is “in the money” if the value of the futures contract that is the subject of the option exceeds the exercise price. A put option is “in the money” if the exercise price exceeds the value of the futures contract that is the subject of the option.
To the extent any Funds are, or become, ineligible to claim an exclusion from CFTC regulation, these Funds may consider steps in order to continue to qualify for exemption from CFTC regulation, or may determine to operate subject to CFTC regulation.
Limitations on Use of Futures and Futures Options. A Fund that may use futures and futures options will only enter into futures contracts and futures options which are standardized and traded on a U.S. or foreign exchange, board of trade, or similar entity, or quoted on an automated quotation system.
When a purchase or sale of a futures contract is made by a Fund, the Fund is required to deposit with its custodian (or broker, if legally permitted) a specified amount of assets determined to be liquid by PIMCO (“initial margin”). The
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margin required for a futures contract is set by the exchange on which the contract is traded and may be modified during the term of the contract. Margin requirements on foreign exchanges may be different than U.S. exchanges. The initial margin is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the futures contract which is returned to a Fund upon termination of the contract, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. A Fund expects to earn interest income on its initial margin deposits. A futures contract held by a Fund is valued daily at the official settlement price of the exchange on which it is traded. Each day a Fund pays or receives cash, called “variation margin,” equal to the daily change in value of the futures contract. This process is known as “marking-to-market.” Variation margin does not represent a borrowing or loan by a Fund but is instead a settlement between the Fund and the broker of the amount one would owe the other if the futures contract expired. In computing daily net asset value, a Fund will mark-to-market its open futures positions.
A Fund is also required to deposit and maintain margin with respect to put and call futures options written by it. Such margin deposits will vary depending on the nature of the underlying futures contract (and the related initial margin requirements), the current market value of the option, and other futures positions held by a Fund. Customer account agreements and related addenda govern cleared derivatives transactions such as futures, options on futures, and cleared OTC derivatives. Such transactions require posting of initial margin as determined by each relevant clearing agency which is segregated in an account at a futures commission merchant (“FCM”) registered with the CFTC. In the United States, counterparty risk may be reduced as creditors of an FCM cannot have a claim to Fund assets in the segregated account. Portability of exposure reduces risk to the Fund. Variation margin, or changes in market value, are generally exchanged daily, but may not be netted between futures and cleared OTC derivatives unless the parties have agreed to a separate arrangement in respect of portfolio margining.
Although some futures contracts call for making or taking delivery of the underlying securities or commodities, generally these obligations are closed out prior to delivery by offsetting purchases or sales of matching futures contracts (same exchange, underlying security or index, and delivery month). Closing out a futures contract sale is effected by purchasing an offsetting futures contract for the same aggregate amount of the specific type of financial instrument or commodity with the same delivery date. If an offsetting purchase price is less than the original sale price, a Fund realizes a capital gain, or if it is more, the Fund realizes a capital loss. Conversely, if an offsetting sale price is more than the original purchase price, a Fund realizes a capital gain, or if it is less, the Fund realizes a capital loss. The transaction costs must also be included in these calculations.
The requirements for qualification as a regulated investment company also may limit the extent to which a Fund may enter into futures, futures options and forward contracts. See “Taxation.”
Risks Associated with Futures and Futures Options. There are several risks associated with the use of futures contracts and futures options as hedging techniques. A purchase or sale of a futures contract may result in losses in excess of the amount invested in the futures contract. There can be no guarantee that there will be a correlation between price movements in the hedging vehicle and in the Fund securities being hedged. In addition, there are significant differences between the securities and futures markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between the markets, causing a given hedge not to achieve its objectives. The degree of imperfection of correlation depends on circumstances such as variations in speculative market demand for futures and futures options on securities, including technical influences in futures trading and futures options, and differences between the financial instruments being hedged and the instruments underlying the standard contracts available for trading in such respects as interest rate levels, maturities, and creditworthiness of issuers. A decision as to whether, when and how to hedge involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well-conceived hedge may be unsuccessful to some degree because of market behavior or unexpected interest rate trends.
Futures contracts on U.S. Government securities historically have reacted to an increase or decrease in interest rates in a manner similar to that in which the underlying U.S. Government securities reacted. To the extent, however, that a Fund enters into such futures contracts, the value of such futures will not vary in direct proportion to the value of such Fund’s holdings of U.S. Government securities. Thus, the anticipated spread between the price of the futures contract and the hedged security may be distorted due to differences in the nature of the markets. The spread also may be distorted by differences in initial and variation margin requirements, the liquidity of such markets and the participation of speculators in such markets.
Additionally, the price of index futures may not correlate perfectly with movement in the relevant index due to certain market distortions. First, all participants in the futures market are subject to margin deposit and maintenance
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requirements. Rather than meeting additional margin deposit requirements, investors may close futures contracts through offsetting transactions which could distort the normal relationship between the index and futures markets. Second, the deposit requirements in the futures market are less onerous than margin requirements in the securities market, and as a result, the futures market may attract more speculators than does the securities market. Increased participation by speculators in the futures market may also cause temporary price distortions. In addition, trading hours for foreign stock index futures may not correspond perfectly to hours of trading on the foreign exchange to which a particular foreign stock index futures contract relates. This may result in a disparity between the price of index futures and the value of the relevant index due to the lack of continuous arbitrage between the index futures price and the value of the underlying index.
Futures exchanges may limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in certain futures contract prices during a single trading day. The daily limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price at the end of the current trading session. Once the daily limit has been reached in a futures contract subject to the limit, no more trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movements during a particular trading day and therefore does not limit potential losses because the limit may work to prevent the liquidation of unfavorable positions. For example, futures prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of positions and subjecting some holders of futures contracts to substantial losses.
There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist at a time when a Fund seeks to close out a futures or a futures option position, and that Fund would remain obligated to meet margin requirements until the position is closed. In addition, many of the contracts discussed above are relatively new instruments without a significant trading history. As a result, there can be no assurance that an active secondary market will develop or continue to exist.
Risks Associated with Commodity Futures Contracts. There are several additional risks associated with transactions in commodity futures contracts, including but not limited to:
Storage. Unlike the financial futures markets, in the commodity futures markets there are costs of physical storage associated with purchasing the underlying commodity. The price of the commodity futures contract will reflect the storage costs of purchasing the physical commodity, including the time value of money invested in the physical commodity. To the extent that the storage costs for an underlying commodity change while a Fund is invested in futures contracts on that commodity, the value of the futures contract may change proportionately.
Reinvestment. In the commodity futures markets, producers of the underlying commodity may decide to hedge the price risk of selling the commodity by selling futures contracts today to lock in the price of the commodity at delivery tomorrow. In order to induce speculators to purchase the other side of the same futures contract, the commodity producer generally must sell the futures contract at a lower price than the expected future spot price. Conversely, if most hedgers in the futures market are purchasing futures contracts to hedge against a rise in prices, then speculators will only sell the other side of the futures contract at a higher futures price than the expected future spot price of the commodity. The changing nature of the hedgers and speculators in the commodity markets will influence whether futures prices are above or below the expected future spot price, which can have significant implications for a Fund. If the nature of hedgers and speculators in futures markets has shifted when it is time for a Fund to reinvest the proceeds of a maturing contract in a new futures contract, the Fund might reinvest at higher or lower futures prices, or choose to pursue other investments.
Other Economic Factors. The commodities which underlie commodity futures contracts may be subject to additional economic and non-economic variables, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariffs, and international economic, political and regulatory developments. These factors may have a larger impact on commodity prices and commodity-linked instruments, including futures contracts, than on traditional securities. Certain commodities are also subject to limited pricing flexibility because of supply and demand factors. Others are subject to broad price fluctuations as a result of the volatility of the prices for certain raw materials and the instability of supplies of other materials. These additional variables may create additional investment risks which subject a Fund’s investments to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities.
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Additional Risks of Options on Securities, Futures Contracts, Options on Futures Contracts, and Forward Currency Exchange Contracts and Options Thereon. Options on securities, futures contracts, futures options, forward currency exchange contracts and options on forward currency exchange contracts may be traded on foreign (non-U.S.) exchanges. Such transactions may not be regulated as effectively as similar transactions in the United States, may not involve a clearing mechanism and related guarantees, and are subject to the risk of governmental actions affecting trading in, or the prices of, foreign (non-U.S.) securities. The value of such positions also could be adversely affected by: (i) other complex foreign (non-U.S.) political, legal and economic factors; (ii) lesser availability than in the United States of data on which to make trading decisions; (iii) delays in a Fund’s ability to act upon economic events occurring in foreign (non-U.S.) markets during non-business hours in the United States; (iv) the imposition of different exercise and settlement terms and procedures and margin requirements than in the United States; and (v) lesser trading volume.
Swap Agreements and Options on Swap Agreements. The Funds may engage in swap transactions, including, but not limited to, swap agreements on interest rates, security or commodity indexes, specific securities and commodities, and credit and event-linked swaps. To the extent a Fund may invest in foreign (non-U.S.) currency-denominated securities, it also may invest in currency exchange rate swap agreements. The Funds also may enter into options on swap agreements (“swaptions”).
A Fund may enter into swap transactions for any legal purpose consistent with its investment objectives and policies, such as attempting to obtain or preserve a particular return or spread at a lower cost than obtaining a return or spread through purchases and/or sales of instruments in other markets, to protect against currency fluctuations, as a duration management technique, to protect against any increase in the price of securities the Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date, or to gain exposure to certain markets in a more cost efficient manner.
OTC swap agreements are bilateral contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a few weeks to more than one year. In a standard OTC swap transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are generally calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on or change in value of a particular dollar amount invested at a particular interest rate, in a particular foreign (non-U.S.) currency, or in a “basket” of securities or commodities representing a particular index. A “quanto” or “differential” swap combines both an interest rate and a currency transaction. Certain swap agreements, such as interest rate swaps, are traded on exchanges and cleared through central clearing counterparties. Other forms of swap agreements include interest rate caps, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates exceed a specified rate, or “cap”; interest rate floors, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates fall below a specified rate, or “floor”; and interest rate collars, under which a party sells a cap and purchases a floor or vice versa in an attempt to protect itself against interest rate movements exceeding given minimum or maximum levels. A total return swap agreement is a contract in which one party agrees to make periodic payments to another party based on the change in market value of underlying assets, which may include a single stock, a basket of stocks, or a stock index during the specified period, in return for periodic payments based on a fixed or variable interest rate or the total return from other underlying assets. Consistent with a Fund’s investment objectives and general investment policies, certain of the Funds may invest in commodity swap agreements. For example, an investment in a commodity swap agreement may involve the exchange of floating-rate interest payments for the total return on a commodity index. In a total return commodity swap, a Fund will receive the price appreciation of a commodity index, a portion of the index, or a single commodity in exchange for paying an agreed-upon fee. If the commodity swap is for one period, a Fund may pay a fixed fee, established at the outset of the swap. However, if the term of the commodity swap is more than one period, with interim swap payments, a Fund may pay an adjustable or floating fee. With a “floating” rate, the fee may be pegged to a base rate and is adjusted each period. Therefore, if interest rates increase over the term of the swap contract, a Fund may be required to pay a higher fee at each swap reset date.
The Funds also may enter into combinations of swap agreements in order to achieve certain economic results. For example, a Fund may enter into two swap transactions, one of which offsets the other for a period of time. After the offsetting swap transaction expires, the Fund would be left with the economic exposure provided by the remaining swap transaction. The intent of such an arrangement would be to lock in certain terms of the remaining swap transaction that a Fund may wish to gain exposure to in the future without having that exposure during the period the offsetting swap is in place.
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The Funds also may enter into swaptions. A swaption is a contract that gives a counterparty the right (but not the obligation) in return for payment of a premium, to enter into a new swap agreement or to shorten, extend, cancel or otherwise modify an existing swap agreement, at some designated future time on specified terms. The Funds may write (sell) and purchase put and call swaptions.
Depending on the terms of the particular option agreement, a Fund will generally incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a swaption than it will incur when it purchases a swaption. When a Fund purchases a swaption, it risks losing only the amount of the premium it has paid should it decide to let the option expire unexercised. However, when a Fund writes a swaption, upon exercise of the option the Fund will become obligated according to the terms of the underlying agreement.
A Fund also may enter into forward volatility agreements, also known as volatility swaps. In a volatility swap, the counterparties agree to make payments in connection with changes in the volatility (i.e., the magnitude of change over a specified period of time) of an underlying reference instrument, such as a currency, rate, index, security or other financial instrument. Volatility swaps permit the parties to attempt to hedge volatility risk and/or take positions on the projected future volatility of an underlying reference instrument. For example, a Fund may enter into a volatility swap in order to take the position that the reference instrument’s volatility will increase over a particular period of time. If the reference instrument’s volatility does increase over the specified time, the Fund will receive a payment from its counterparty based upon the amount by which the reference instrument’s realized volatility level exceeds a volatility level agreed upon by the parties. If the reference instrument’s volatility does not increase over the specified time, the Fund will make a payment to the counterparty based upon the amount by which the reference instrument’s realized volatility level falls below the volatility level agreed upon by the parties. Payments on a volatility swap will be greater if they are based upon the mathematical square of volatility (i.e., the measured volatility multiplied by itself, which is referred to as “variance”). This type of a volatility swap is frequently referred to as a variance swap. Certain of the Funds may engage in variance swaps.
Most types of swap agreements entered into by the Funds will calculate the obligations of the parties to the agreement on a “net basis.” Consequently, a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under a swap agreement will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). A Fund’s current obligations under a swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to the Fund).
A Fund also may enter into OTC and cleared credit default swap agreements. A credit default swap agreement may reference one or more debt securities or obligations that are not currently held by a Fund. The protection “buyer” in an OTC credit default swap contract is generally obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract until a credit event, such as a default, on a reference obligation has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the “par value” (full notional value) of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity described in the swap, or the seller may be required to deliver the related net cash amount if the swap is cash settled. A Fund may be either the buyer or seller in the transaction. If a Fund is a buyer and no credit event occurs, the Fund may recover nothing if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the buyer may receive the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. As a seller, a Fund generally receives an upfront payment or a fixed rate of income throughout the term of the swap provided that there is no credit event. As the seller, a Fund would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its total net assets, the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.
The spread of a credit default swap is the annual amount the protection buyer must pay the protection seller over the length of the contract, expressed as a percentage of the notional amount. When spreads rise, market-perceived credit risk rises and when spreads fall, market-perceived credit risk falls. Wider credit spreads and decreasing market values, when compared to the notional amount of the swap, represent a deterioration of the credit soundness of the issuer of the reference obligation and a greater likelihood or risk of default or other credit event occurring as defined under the terms of the agreement. For credit default swap agreements on asset-backed securities and credit indices, the quoted market prices and resulting values, as well as the annual payment rate, serve as an indication of the current status of the payment/performance risk.
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Credit default swap agreements sold by a Fund may involve greater risks than if a Fund had invested in the reference obligation directly since, in addition to general market risks, credit default swaps are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk (with respect to OTC credit default swaps) and credit risk. A Fund will enter into uncleared credit default swap agreements only with counterparties that meet certain standards of creditworthiness. A buyer generally also will lose its investment and recover nothing should no credit event occur and the swap is held to its termination date. If a credit event were to occur, the value of any deliverable obligation received by the seller, coupled with the upfront or periodic payments previously received, may be less than the full notional value it pays to the buyer, resulting in a loss of value to the seller. In addition, there may be disputes between the buyer and seller of a credit default swap agreement or within the swaps market as a whole as to whether a credit event has occurred or what the payment should be. Such disputes could result in litigation or other delays, and the outcome could be adverse for the buyer or seller. The Fund’s obligations under a credit default swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owing to the Fund).
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) and related regulatory developments require the clearing and exchange-trading of certain standardized OTC derivative instruments that the CFTC and SEC have defined as “swaps.” The CFTC has implemented mandatory exchange-trading and clearing requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act and the CFTC continues to approve contracts for central clearing. Uncleared swaps are subject to certain margin requirements that mandate the posting and collection of minimum margin amounts on certain uncleared swaps transactions, which may result in the Fund and its counterparties posting higher margin amounts for uncleared swaps than would otherwise be the case. These amounts beyond coverage of daily exposure, if any, may (or if required by law, will) be segregated with a third-party custodian. To the extent a Fund is required by regulation to post additional collateral beyond coverage of daily exposure, it could potentially incur costs, including in procuring eligible assets to meet collateral requirements, associated with such posting. PIMCO will continue to monitor developments in this area, particularly to the extent regulatory changes affect the Funds’ ability to enter into swap agreements.
Whether a Fund’s use of swap agreements or swaptions will be successful in furthering its investment objective will depend on PIMCO’s ability to predict correctly whether certain types of investments are likely to produce greater returns than other investments. Moreover, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. The Funds will enter into OTC swap agreements only with counterparties that meet certain standards of creditworthiness. Certain restrictions imposed on the Funds by the Internal Revenue Code may limit the Funds’ ability to use swap agreements. The swaps market is subject to increasing regulations, in both U.S. and non-U.S. markets. It is possible that developments in the swaps market, including additional government regulation, could adversely affect a Fund’s ability to terminate existing swap agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.
Swaps are highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques, risk analyses, and tax planning different from those associated with traditional investments. The use of a swap requires an understanding not only of the reference asset, reference rate, or index but also of the swap itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the swap under all possible market conditions. Because OTC swap agreements are bilateral contracts that may be subject to contractual restrictions on transferability and termination and because they may have remaining terms of greater than seven days, swap agreements may be considered to be illiquid and subject to regulatory limitations on investments in illiquid investments. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity. To the extent that a swap is not liquid, it may not be possible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price, which may result in significant losses.
Like most other investments, swap agreements are subject to the risk that the market value of the instrument will change in a way detrimental to a Fund’s interest. A Fund bears the risk that PIMCO will not accurately forecast future market trends or the values of assets, reference rates, indexes, or other economic factors in establishing swap positions for the Fund. If PIMCO attempts to use a swap as a hedge against, or as a substitute for, a portfolio investment, the Fund will be exposed to the risk that the swap will have or will develop imperfect or no correlation with the portfolio investment. This could cause substantial losses for the Fund. While hedging strategies involving swap instruments can reduce the risk of loss, they can also reduce the opportunity for gain or even result in losses by offsetting favorable price movements in other Fund investments. Many swaps are complex and often valued subjectively.
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A Fund also may enter into recovery locks. A recovery lock is an agreement between two parties that provides for a fixed payment by one party and the delivery of a reference obligation, typically a bond, by the other party upon the occurrence of a credit event, such as a default, by the issuer of the reference obligation. Recovery locks are used to “lock in” a recovery amount on the reference obligation at the time the parties enter into the agreement. In contrast to a credit default swap where the final settlement amount may be dependent on the market price for the reference obligation upon the credit event, a recovery lock fixes the settlement amount in advance and is not dependent on the market price of the reference obligation at the time of the credit event. Unlike certain other types of derivatives, recovery locks generally do not involve upfront or periodic cash payments by either of the parties. Instead, payment and settlement occurs after there has been a credit event. If a credit event does not occur prior to the termination date of a recovery lock, the agreement terminates and no payments are made by either party. A Fund may enter into a recovery lock to purchase or sell a reference obligation upon the occurrence of a credit event.
Recovery locks are subject to the risk that PIMCO will not accurately forecast the value of a reference obligation upon the occurrence of a credit event. For example, if a Fund enters into a recovery lock and agrees to deliver a reference obligation in exchange for a fixed payment upon the occurrence of a credit event, the value of the reference obligation or eventual recovery on the reference obligation following the credit event may be greater than the fixed payment made by the counterparty to the Fund. If this occurs, the Fund will incur a loss on the transaction. In addition to general market risks, recovery locks are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk and credit risk. The market for recovery locks is relatively new and is smaller and less liquid than the market for credit default swaps and other derivatives. Elements of judgment may play a role in determining the value of a recovery lock. It may not be possible to enter into a recovery lock at an advantageous time or price. A Fund will only enter into recovery locks with counterparties that meet certain standards of creditworthiness.
A Fund’s obligations under a recovery lock will be determined daily.
Synthetic Equity Swaps. Certain Funds or Underlying PIMCO Funds may also enter into synthetic equity swaps, in which one party to the contract agrees to pay the other party the total return earned or realized on a particular “notional amount” of value of an underlying equity security including any dividends distributed by the underlying security. The other party to the contract makes regular payments, typically at a fixed rate or at a floating rate based on a variable interest rate based on the notional amount. Similar to currency swaps, synthetic equity swaps are generally entered into on a net basis, which means the two payment streams are netted out and a Fund or Underlying PIMCO Fund will either pay or receive the net amount. A Fund or Underlying PIMCO Fund may enter into a synthetic equity swap instead of purchasing the reference security when the synthetic equity swap provides a more efficient or less expensive way of gaining exposure to a security compared with a direct investment in the security.
Risks of Potential Government Regulation of Derivatives. It is possible that additional government regulation of various types of derivative instruments, including futures, options and swap agreements, and regulation of certain market participants’ use of the same, may limit or prevent a Fund from using such instruments as a part of its investment strategy, and could ultimately prevent a Fund from being able to achieve its investment objective. It is impossible to fully predict the effects of past, present or future legislation and regulation by multiple regulators in this area, but the effects could be substantial and adverse. It is possible that legislative and regulatory activity could limit or restrict the ability of a Fund to use certain instruments as a part of its investment strategy. These risks may be particularly acute for the Underlying PIMCO Funds, such as the PIMCO CommoditiesPLUS® Strategy Fund and PIMCO CommodityRealReturn Strategy Fund®, that make extensive use of commodity-related derivative instruments in seeking to achieve their investment objectives, but would not necessarily be limited to those Funds pursuing a commodity-related investment strategy.
There is a possibility of future regulatory changes altering, perhaps to a material extent, the nature of an investment in the Funds or the ability of the Funds to continue to implement their investment strategies. The futures, options and swaps markets are subject to comprehensive statutes, regulations, and margin requirements. In addition, the SEC, CFTC and the exchanges are authorized to take extraordinary actions in the event of a market emergency, including, for example, the implementation or reduction of speculative position limits, the implementation of higher margin requirements, the establishment of daily price limits and the suspension of trading. The regulation of futures, options and swaps transactions in the United States is a changing area of law and is subject to modification by government and judicial action. The CFTC and various exchanges have rules limiting the maximum net long or short positions which any person or group may own, hold or control in any given futures contract or option on such futures contract. PIMCO will need to consider whether the exposure created under these contracts might exceed the applicable
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limits in managing the Funds, and the limits may constrain the ability of the Fund to use such contracts. In addition, the CFTC in October 2020 adopted amendments to its position limits rules that establish certain new and amended position limits for 25 specified physical commodity futures and related options contracts traded on exchanges, other futures contracts and related options directly or indirectly linked to such 25 specified contracts, and any OTC transactions that are economically equivalent to the 25 specified contracts. PIMCO will need to consider whether the exposure created under these contracts might exceed the new and amended limits in anticipation of the applicable compliance dates, and the limits may constrain the ability of a Fund to use such contracts. The amendments also modify the bona fide hedging exemption for which certain swap dealers are currently eligible, which could limit the amount of speculative OTC transaction capacity each such swap dealer would have available for the Funds prior to the applicable compliance date.
In particular, the Dodd-Frank Act sets forth a legislative framework for OTC derivatives, including financial instruments, such as swaps, in which the Funds may invest. Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act makes broad changes to the OTC derivatives market, grants significant authority to the SEC and the CFTC to regulate OTC derivatives and market participants, and requires clearing and exchange trading of many OTC derivatives transactions.
Provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act include capital and margin requirements and the mandatory use of clearinghouse mechanisms for many OTC derivative transactions. The CFTC, SEC and other federal regulators have adopted the rules and regulations enacting the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. However, swap dealers, major market participants and swap counterparties are experiencing, and will continue to experience, new and additional regulations, requirements, compliance burdens and associated costs. The Dodd-Frank Act and the rules promulgated thereunder may negatively impact a Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective either through limits or requirements imposed on it or upon its counterparties. In particular, new position limits imposed on a Fund or its counterparties may impact that Fund’s ability to invest in futures, options and swaps in a manner that efficiently meets its investment objective. In addition, and as described below, the SEC adopted a final rule related to the use of derivatives, reverse repurchase agreements and certain other transactions by registered investment companies. New requirements, even if not directly applicable to the Funds, including margin requirements, changes to the CFTC speculative position limits regime and mandatory clearing, may increase the cost of a Fund’s investments and cost of doing business, which could adversely affect investors.
Additionally, the U.S. government and the EU have adopted mandatory minimum margin requirements for bilateral derivatives. Such requirements could increase the amount of margin required to be provided by the Fund in connection with its derivatives transactions and, therefore, make derivatives transactions more expensive.
Also, in the event of a counterparty’s (or its affiliate’s) insolvency, the possibility exists that the Fund’s ability to exercise remedies, such as the termination of transactions, netting of obligations and realization on collateral, could be stayed or eliminated under new special resolution regimes adopted in the United States, the EU and various other jurisdictions. Such regimes provide government authorities broad authority to intervene when a financial institution is experiencing financial difficulty. In particular, in the EU, governmental authorities could reduce, eliminate, or convert to equity the liabilities to the Fund of a counterparty experiencing financial difficulties (sometimes referred to as a “bail in”).
Structured Products
The Funds may invest in structured products, including instruments such as credit-linked securities, commodity-linked notes and other products, structured notes, indexed securities, equity-linked securities and equity-linked notes, which are potentially high-risk investments. A structured product generally is a privately-negotiated debt or equity investment the terms of which may combine the features of a traditional stock, bond, or commodity with the features of a derivative such as an option or forward contract. Generally, the principal amount, amount payable upon maturity or redemption, and/or interest rate of a structured product is tied (positively or negatively) to the price of a commodity, currency, securities index, interest rate, or some other economic factor (each a “benchmark”). The interest rate or (unlike most fixed income securities) the principal amount payable at maturity of a structured product may be increased or decreased, depending on changes in the value of the benchmark. An example of a structured product could be a bond issued by an oil company that pays a small base level of interest with additional interest that accrues in correlation to the extent to which oil prices exceed a certain predetermined level. Such a structured product would represent a combination of the features of a bond and a purchased call option on oil.
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Structured products can be used as an efficient means of pursuing a variety of investment goals, including currency hedging, duration management, and increased total return. A Fund may invest in structured products as a cash management tool in order to gain exposure to the relevant markets and/or to remain fully invested when more traditional securities are not available.
Structured products may not bear interest or pay dividends. The value of a structured product or its interest rate may be a multiple of a benchmark and, as a result, may be leveraged and move (up or down) more steeply and rapidly than the benchmark. These benchmarks may be sensitive to economic and political events, such as commodity shortages and currency devaluations, which cannot be readily foreseen by the investor in a structured product. The assets underlying a structured product may decline in value or default and, under certain conditions, the return on a structured product could be zero. Thus, an investment in a structured product may entail significant market risks that are not associated with an investment in a traditional bond that has a fixed principal amount and pays a fixed rate or floating rate of interest or equity security. Structured products expose a Fund to the risks of the underlying asset or benchmark in addition to the credit risk of the issuer of the structured product and its counterparties or the issuers of its underlying investments. Investors in structured products may not have direct rights against the underlying counterparties or issuers. To the extent the security is tied to derivative instruments, a Fund’s investments in structured products are indirectly subject to the risks associated with derivative instruments, including, among others, credit risk, default or similar event risk, counterparty risk, interest rate risk, leverage risk and management risk. It is expected that structured products generally will be exempt from registration under the 1933 Act. Accordingly, there may be no established trading market for the securities and they may constitute illiquid investments. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity.
Structured products also may be more volatile and more difficult to accurately price than less complex securities and instruments or more traditional debt securities. These risks may cause significant fluctuations in the net asset value of the Fund. To the extent a Fund invests in structured products issued by foreign issuers, it will be subject to the risks associated with the securities of foreign issuers and with securities denominated in foreign currencies. Certain issuers of structured products may be deemed to be investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act. As a result, the Funds’ investments in these structured products may be subject to limits applicable to investments in investment companies and may be subject to restrictions contained in the 1940 Act.
Credit-Linked Securities. Credit-linked securities generally are issued by a limited purpose trust or other vehicle that, in turn, invests in a basket of derivative instruments, such as credit default swaps, interest rate swaps and other securities, in order to provide exposure to certain high yield or other fixed income markets. The credit-linked securities discussed herein do not include credit risk transfer securities and credit-linked notes (see “Mortgage-Related Securities and Asset-Backed Securities—Government Sponsored Enterprise Credit Risk Transfer Securities and GSE Credit-Linked Notes”). Like an investment in a bond, investments in credit-linked securities generally represent the right to receive periodic income payments (in the form of distributions) and payment of principal at the end of the term of the security.
However, these payments are conditioned on the issuer’s receipt of payments from, and the issuer’s potential obligations to, the counterparties to the derivative instruments and other securities in which the issuer invests. For instance, the issuer may sell one or more credit default swaps, under which the issuer would receive a stream of payments over the term of the swap agreements provided that no event of default has occurred with respect to the referenced debt obligation upon which the swap is based. If a default occurs, the stream of payments may stop and the issuer would be obligated to pay the counterparty the par (or other agreed upon value) of the referenced debt obligation. This, in turn, would reduce the amount of income and principal that a Fund would receive as an investor in the issuer.
Commodity-Linked Notes and Products. Commodity-linked structured products provide exposure to the commodities markets. These are securities with one or more commodity-linked components that have payment features similar to commodity futures contracts, commodity options, or similar instruments. Commodity-linked structured products may be either equity or debt securities, leveraged or unleveraged, and have both security and commodity-like characteristics. A portion of the value of these instruments may be derived from the value of a commodity, futures contract, index or other economic variable. The Funds will only invest in commodity-linked structured products that qualify under applicable rules of the CFTC for an exemption from the provisions of the CEA.
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Structured Notes and Indexed Securities. Structured notes are debt instruments, the interest rate or principal of which is determined by an unrelated indicator (for example, a currency, security, commodity or index thereof). Indexed securities may include structured notes as well as structured securities other than debt securities, the interest rate or principal of which is determined by a benchmark. Indexed securities may include a multiplier that multiplies the benchmark by a specified factor and, therefore, the value of such securities may be volatile. The terms of structured notes and indexed securities may be “structured” by the purchaser and the issuer and may provide that in certain circumstances no principal is due at maturity, which may result in a loss of invested capital. Structured notes and indexed securities may be positively or negatively tied to the benchmark, so that appreciation of the benchmark may produce an increase or a decrease in the interest rate paid on the structured note or indexed security or the value of the structured note or indexed security at maturity may be calculated as a specified multiple of the change in the value of the benchmark. Therefore, the value of such notes and securities may be very volatile. To the extent a Fund invests in these notes and securities, however, PIMCO analyzes these notes and securities in its overall assessment of the effective duration of the Fund’s holdings in an effort to monitor the Fund’s interest rate risk.
Certain issuers of structured products may be deemed to be investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act. As a result, the Funds’ investments in these structured products may be subject to limits applicable to investments in investment companies and may be subject to restrictions contained in the 1940 Act.
Equity-Linked Securities and Equity-Linked Notes. A Fund may invest a portion of its assets in equity-linked securities. Equity-linked securities are privately issued securities that have a return component based on the performance of a benchmark that is a single stock, a basket of stocks, or a stock index. Equity-linked securities are often used for many of the same purposes as, and share many of the same risks with, certain derivative instruments.
An equity-linked note is a note, typically issued by a company or financial institution, whose performance is tied to a benchmark that is a single stock, a basket of stocks, or a stock index. Generally, upon the maturity of the note, the holder receives a return of principal based on the capital appreciation of the benchmark. The terms of an equity-linked note may also provide for the periodic interest payments to holders at either a fixed or floating rate. Because the notes are equity-linked, they may return a lower amount at maturity due to a decline in value of the benchmark.
Bank Capital Securities
Certain Funds may invest in bank capital securities. Bank capital securities are issued by banks to help fulfill their regulatory capital requirements. There are two common types of bank capital: Tier I and Tier II. Bank capital is generally, but not always, of investment grade quality. Tier I securities often take the form of common and non-cumulative preferred securities. Tier II securities are commonly thought of as hybrids of debt and preferred securities, are often perpetual (with no maturity date), callable and, under certain conditions, allow for the issuer bank to withhold payment of interest until a later date. Subject to certain regulatory requirements, both Tier I and Tier II securities may include trust preferred securities. As a general matter, trust preferred securities are being phased out as Tier I and Tier II capital of banking organizations unless they qualify for grandfather treatment.
Perpetual Bonds
Certain Funds may invest in perpetual bonds. Perpetual bonds are fixed income securities with no maturity date but pay a coupon in perpetuity (with no specified ending or maturity date). Unlike typical fixed income securities, there is no obligation for perpetual bonds to repay principal. The coupon payments, however, are mandatory. While perpetual bonds have no maturity date, they may have a callable date in which the perpetuity is eliminated and the issuer may return the principal received on the specified call date. Additionally, a perpetual bond may have additional features, such as interest rate increases at periodic dates or an increase as of a predetermined point in the future.
Trust Preferred Securities
Certain Funds may invest in trust preferred securities. Trust preferred securities have the characteristics of both subordinated debt and preferred securities. Generally, trust preferred securities are issued by a trust that is wholly-owned by a financial institution or other corporate entity, typically a bank holding company. The financial institution creates the trust and owns the trust’s common securities. The trust uses the sale proceeds of its common securities to purchase subordinated debt issued by the financial institution. The financial institution uses the proceeds from the subordinated debt sale to increase its capital while the trust receives periodic interest payments from the
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financial institution for holding the subordinated debt. The trust uses the funds received to make dividend payments to the holders of the trust preferred securities. The primary advantage of this structure is that the trust preferred securities are treated by the financial institution as debt securities for tax purposes and as equity for the calculation of capital requirements.
Trust preferred securities typically bear a market rate coupon comparable to interest rates available on debt of a similarly rated issuer. Typical characteristics include long-term maturities, early redemption by the issuer, periodic fixed or variable interest payments, and maturities at face value. Holders of trust preferred securities have limited voting rights to control the activities of the trust and no voting rights with respect to the financial institution. The market value of trust preferred securities may be more volatile than those of conventional debt securities. Trust preferred securities may be issued in reliance on Rule 144A under the 1933 Act and subject to restrictions on resale. There can be no assurance as to the liquidity of trust preferred securities and the ability of holders, such as a Fund, to sell their holdings. In identifying the risks of the trust preferred securities, PIMCO will look to the condition of the financial institution as the trust typically has no business operations other than to issue the trust preferred securities. If the financial institution defaults on interest payments to the trust, the trust will not be able to make dividend payments to holders of its securities, such as a Fund.
As a result of trust preferred securities being phased out of Tier I and Tier II capital of banking organizations, a Fund’s ability to invest in trust preferred securities may be limited. This may impact a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”)
MLPs are limited partnerships in which ownership units are publicly traded. Generally, an MLP is operated under the supervision of one or more managing general partners. Limited partners are not involved in the day-to-day management of the partnership. Investments in MLPs are generally subject to many of the risks that apply to partnerships. For example, holders of the units of MLPs may have limited control and limited voting rights on matters affecting the partnership. There may be fewer corporate protections afforded investors in an MLP than investors in a corporation. Conflicts of interest may exist among unit holders, subordinated unit holders and the general partner of an MLP, including those arising from incentive distribution payments. MLPs that concentrate in a particular industry or region are subject to risks associated with such industry or region. MLPs holding credit-related investments are subject to interest rate risk and the risk of default on payment obligations by debt issuers. Investments held by MLPs may be illiquid. MLP units may trade infrequently and in limited volume, and they may be subject to abrupt or erratic price movements.
Exchange-Traded Notes
Exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) are senior, unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities whose returns are linked to the performance of a particular market benchmark or strategy minus applicable fees. ETNs are traded on an exchange (e.g., the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”)) during normal trading hours. However, investors can also hold the ETN until maturity. At maturity, the issuer pays to the investor a cash amount equal to the principal amount, subject to the day’s market benchmark or strategy factor.
ETNs do not make periodic coupon payments or provide principal protection. ETNs are subject to credit risk and the value of the ETN may drop due to a downgrade in the issuer’s credit rating, despite the underlying market benchmark or strategy remaining unchanged. The value of an ETN may also be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in underlying assets, changes in the applicable interest rates, changes in the issuer’s credit rating, and economic, legal, political, or geographic events that affect the referenced underlying asset. When a Fund invests in ETNs it will bear its proportionate share of any fees and expenses borne by the ETN. A Fund’s decision to sell its ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market. In addition, although an ETN may be listed on an exchange, the issuer may not be required to maintain the listing and there can be no assurance that a secondary market will exist for an ETN.
ETNs are also subject to tax risk. No assurance can be given that the IRS will accept, or a court will uphold, how the Funds characterize and treat ETNs for tax purposes. The timing and character of income and gains derived by a Fund from investments in ETNs may be affected by future legislation.
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An ETN that is tied to a specific market benchmark or strategy may not be able to replicate and maintain exactly the composition and relative weighting of securities, commodities or other components in the applicable market benchmark or strategy. Some ETNs that use leverage can, at times, be relatively illiquid and, thus, they may be difficult to purchase or sell at a fair price. Leveraged ETNs are subject to the same risk as other instruments that use leverage in any form.
The market value of ETN shares may differ from their market benchmark or strategy. This difference in price may be due to the fact that the supply and demand in the market for ETN shares at any point in time is not always identical to the supply and demand in the market for the securities, commodities or other components underlying the market benchmark or strategy that the ETN seeks to track. As a result, there may be times when an ETN share trades at a premium or discount to its market benchmark or strategy.
Participatory Notes
Participatory notes are instruments issued by banks or broker-dealers and are designed to offer a return linked to a particular underlying equity or debt security, currency or market. If a participatory note were held to maturity, the issuer would pay to, or receive from, the purchaser the difference between the nominal value of the underlying instrument at the time of purchase and that instrument’s value at maturity. The holder of a participatory note that is linked to a particular underlying security or instrument may be entitled to receive any dividends paid in connection with that underlying security or instrument, but typically does not receive voting rights as it would if it directly owned the underlying security or instrument. Participatory notes involve transaction costs. Investments in participatory notes involve the same risks associated with a direct investment in the underlying security or instrument that they seek to replicate.
In addition, there can be no assurance that the value of participatory notes will equal the value of the underlying security or instrument that they seek to replicate. Participatory notes constitute general unsecured contractual obligations of the banks or broker-dealers that issue them. Accordingly, there is counterparty risk associated with these investments because a Fund is relying on the creditworthiness of such counterparty and has no rights under a participation note against the issuer of the underlying security or instrument.
Municipal Bonds
The Funds may invest in securities issued by states, territories, possessions, municipalities and other political subdivisions, agencies, authorities and instrumentalities of states, territories, possessions and multi-state agencies or authorities, the income of which is exempt from federal income tax (“Municipal Bonds”).
Municipal Bonds share the attributes of debt/fixed income securities in general, but are generally issued by states, municipalities and other political subdivisions, agencies, authorities and instrumentalities of states and multi-state agencies or authorities. The Municipal Bonds which the Funds may purchase include general obligation bonds and limited obligation bonds (or revenue bonds), including industrial development bonds issued pursuant to former federal tax law. General obligation bonds are obligations involving the credit of an issuer possessing taxing power and are payable from such issuer’s general revenues and not from any particular source. Limited obligation bonds are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise or other specific revenue source or annual revenues. Tax-exempt private activity bonds and industrial development bonds generally are also revenue bonds and thus are not payable from the issuer’s general revenues. The credit and quality of private activity bonds and industrial development bonds are usually related to the credit of the corporate user of the facilities. Payment of interest on and repayment of principal of such bonds is the responsibility of the corporate user (and/or any guarantor).
A Fund may be more sensitive to adverse economic, business or political developments if it invests a substantial portion of its assets in the bonds of similar projects or industrial development bonds.
Each Fund that may invest in Municipal Bonds may invest in pre-refunded Municipal Bonds. Pre-refunded Municipal Bonds are tax-exempt bonds that have been refunded to a call date prior to the final maturity of principal, or, in the case of pre-refunded Municipal Bonds commonly referred to as “escrowed-to-maturity bonds,” to the final maturity of principal, and remain outstanding in the municipal market. The payment of principal and interest of the pre-refunded Municipal Bonds held by a Fund is funded from securities in a designated escrow account that holds
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U.S. Treasury securities or other obligations of the U.S. Government (including its agencies and instrumentalities (“Agency Securities”)). As the payment of principal and interest is generated from securities held in an escrow account established by the municipality and an independent escrow agent, the pledge of the municipality has been fulfilled and the original pledge of revenue by the municipality is no longer in place. Pre-refunded and/or escrowed to maturity Municipal Bonds may bear an investment grade rating (for example, if re-rated by a rating service or, if not re-rated, determined by PIMCO to be of comparable quality) because they are backed by U.S. Treasury securities, Agency Securities or other investment grade securities. For the avoidance of any doubt, PIMCO’s determination of an issue’s credit rating will generally be used for compliance with a Fund’s investment parameters when an issue either loses its rating or is not re-rated upon pre-refunding. The escrow account securities pledged to pay the principal and interest of the pre-refunded Municipal Bond do not guarantee the price movement of the bond before maturity. Issuers of Municipal Bonds refund in advance of maturity the outstanding higher cost debt and issue new, lower cost debt, placing the proceeds of the lower cost issuance into an escrow account to pre-refund the older, higher cost debt. Investments in pre-refunded Municipal Bonds held by a Fund may subject the Fund to interest rate risk, market risk and credit risk. In addition, while a secondary market exists for pre-refunded Municipal Bonds, if a Fund sells pre-refunded Municipal Bonds prior to maturity, the price received may be more or less than the original cost, depending on market conditions at the time of sale. To the extent permitted by the SEC and the IRS, a Fund’s investment in pre-refunded Municipal Bonds backed by U.S. Treasury and Agency securities in the manner described above, will, for purposes of diversification tests applicable to certain Funds, be considered an investment in the respective U.S. Treasury and Agency securities. Tax legislation in 2017 eliminated the tax exemption for advance refunding of municipal bonds on a go-forward basis.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, certain limited obligation bonds are considered “private activity bonds” and interest paid on such bonds is treated as an item of tax preference for purposes of calculating federal alternative minimum tax liability.
Each Fund may invest in Build America Bonds. Build America Bonds are tax credit bonds created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which authorizes state and local governments to issue Build America Bonds as taxable bonds in 2009 and 2010, without volume limitations, to finance any capital expenditures for which such issuers could otherwise issue traditional tax-exempt bonds. State and local governments may receive a direct federal subsidy payment for a portion of their borrowing costs on Build America Bonds equal to 35% of the total coupon interest paid to investors. The state or local government issuer can elect to either take the federal subsidy or pass the 35% tax credit along to bondholders. A Fund’s investments in Build America Bonds will result in taxable income and the Fund may elect to pass through to shareholders the corresponding tax credits. The tax credits can generally be used to offset federal income taxes and the alternative minimum tax, but such credits are generally not refundable. Build America Bonds involve similar risks as Municipal Bonds, including credit and market risk. They are intended to assist state and local governments in financing capital projects at lower borrowing costs and are likely to attract a broader group of investors than tax-exempt Municipal Bonds. Although Build America Bonds were only authorized for issuance during 2009 and 2010, the program may have resulted in reduced issuance of tax-exempt Municipal Bonds during the same period. The Build America Bond program expired on December 31, 2010, at which point no further issuance of new Build America Bonds was permitted. As of the date of this Statement of Additional Information, there is no indication that Congress will renew the program to permit issuance of new Build America Bonds.
The Funds may invest in municipal lease obligations. Municipal leases are instruments, or participations in instruments, issued in connection with lease obligations or installment purchase contract obligations of municipalities (“municipal lease obligations”). Although municipal lease obligations do not constitute general obligations of the issuing municipality, a lease obligation may be backed by the municipality’s covenant to budget for, appropriate funds for and make the payments due under the lease obligation. However, certain municipal lease obligations contain “non-appropriation” clauses, which provide that the municipality has no obligation to make lease or installment purchase payments in future years unless money is appropriated for such purpose in the relevant years. In deciding whether to purchase a lease obligation, the Funds will assess the financial condition of the borrower or obligor, the merits of the project, the level of public support for the project, other credit characteristics of the obligor, and the legislative history of lease financing in the state. Municipal lease obligations may be less readily marketable than other municipal securities.
Projects financed with certificates of participation generally are not subject to state constitutional debt limitations or other statutory requirements that may apply to other municipal securities. Payments by the public entity on the
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obligation underlying the certificates are derived from available revenue sources. That revenue might be diverted to the funding of other municipal service projects. Payments of interest and/or principal with respect to the certificates are not guaranteed and do not constitute an obligation of a state or any of its political subdivisions.
Municipal leases may also be subject to “abatement risk.” The leases underlying certain municipal lease obligations may state that lease payments are subject to partial or full abatement. That abatement might occur, for example, if material damage to or destruction of the leased property interferes with the lessee’s use of the property. However, in some cases that risk might be reduced by insurance covering the leased property, or by the use of credit enhancements such as letters of credit to back lease payments, or perhaps by the lessee’s maintenance of reserve monies for lease payments. While the obligation might be secured by the lease, it might be difficult to dispose of that property in case of a default.
The Funds may purchase unrated municipal lease obligations if determined by PIMCO to be of comparable quality to rated securities in which the Fund is permitted to invest. A Fund may also acquire illiquid municipal lease obligations, subject to regulatory limitations on investments in illiquid investments generally. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity.
The Funds may seek to enhance their yield through the purchase of private placements. These securities are sold through private negotiations, usually to institutions or mutual funds, and may have resale restrictions. Their yields are usually higher than comparable public securities to compensate the investor for their limited marketability. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity.
Some longer-term Municipal Bonds give the investor the right to “put” or sell the security at par (face value) within a specified number of days following the investor’s request - usually one to seven days. This demand feature enhances a security’s liquidity by shortening its effective maturity and enables it to trade at a price equal to or very close to par. If a demand feature terminates prior to being exercised, a Fund would hold the longer-term security, which could experience substantially more volatility.
The Funds may invest in municipal warrants, which are essentially call options on Municipal Bonds. In exchange for a premium, municipal warrants give the purchaser the right, but not the obligation, to purchase a Municipal Bond in the future. A Fund may purchase a warrant to lock in forward supply in an environment where the current issuance of bonds is sharply reduced. Like options, warrants may expire worthless and they may have reduced liquidity.
The Funds may invest in Municipal Bonds with credit enhancements such as letters of credit, municipal bond insurance and Standby Bond Purchase Agreements (“SBPAs”). Letters of credit are issued by a third party, usually a bank, to enhance liquidity and ensure repayment of principal and any accrued interest if the underlying Municipal Bond should default. Municipal bond insurance, which is usually purchased by the bond issuer from a private, nongovernmental insurance company, provides an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee that the insured bond’s principal and interest will be paid when due. Insurance does not guarantee the price of the bond or the share price of any fund. The credit rating of an insured bond reflects the credit rating of the insurer, based on its claims-paying ability. The obligation of a municipal bond insurance company to pay a claim extends over the life of each insured bond. Although defaults on insured Municipal Bonds have been low to date and municipal bond insurers have met their claims, there is no assurance this will continue. A higher-than-expected default rate could strain the insurer’s loss reserves and adversely affect its ability to pay claims to bondholders. A significant portion of insured Municipal Bonds that have been issued and are outstanding are insured by a small number of insurance companies. An event involving one or more of these insurance companies, such as a credit rating downgrade, could have a significant adverse effect on the value of the Municipal Bonds insured by that insurance company and on the Municipal Bond markets as a whole. Downgrades of certain insurance companies have negatively impacted the price of certain insured Municipal Bonds. Given the large number of potential claims against the insurers of Municipal Bonds, there is a risk that they will not be able to meet all future claims. An SBPA is a liquidity facility provided to pay the purchase price of bonds that cannot be re-marketed. The obligation of the liquidity provider (usually a bank) is only to advance funds to purchase tendered bonds that cannot be remarketed and does not cover principal or interest under any other circumstances. The liquidity provider’s obligations under the SBPA are usually subject to numerous conditions, including the continued creditworthiness of the underlying borrower.
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Certain Funds may invest in trust certificates issued in tender option bond programs. In a tender option bond transaction (“TOB”), a tender option bond trust (“TOB Trust”) issues floating rate certificates (“TOB Floater”) and residual interest certificates (“TOB Residual”) and utilizes the proceeds of such issuance to purchase a fixed-rate municipal bond (“Fixed Rate Bond”) that either is owned or identified by a Fund. The TOB Floater is generally issued to third party investors (typically a money market fund) and the TOB Residual is generally issued to the Fund that sold or identified the Fixed Rate Bond. The TOB Trust divides the income stream provided by the Fixed Rate Bond to create two securities, the TOB Floater, which is a short-term security, and the TOB Residual, which is a longer-term security. The interest rates payable on the TOB Residual issued to a Fund bear an inverse relationship to the interest rate on the TOB Floater. The interest rate on the TOB Floater is reset by a remarketing process typically every 7 to 35 days. After income is paid on the TOB Floater at current rates, the residual income from the Fixed Rate Bond goes to the TOB Residual. Therefore, rising short-term rates result in lower income for the TOB Residual, and vice versa. In the case of a TOB Trust that utilizes the cash received (less transaction expenses) from the issuance of the TOB Floater and TOB Residual to purchase the Fixed Rate Bond from a Fund, the Fund may then invest the cash received in additional securities, generating leverage for the Fund. Other PIMCO-managed accounts may also contribute municipal bonds to a TOB Trust into which a Fund has contributed Fixed Rate Bonds. If multiple PIMCO-managed accounts participate in the same TOB Trust, the economic rights and obligations under the TOB Residual will be shared among the funds ratably in proportion to their participation in the TOB Trust.
The TOB Residual may be more volatile and less liquid than other municipal bonds of comparable maturity. In most circumstances the TOB Residual holder bears substantially all of the underlying Fixed Rate Bond’s downside investment risk and also benefits from any appreciation in the value of the underlying Fixed Rate Bond. Investments in a TOB Residual typically will involve greater risk than investments in Fixed Rate Bonds.
The TOB Residual held by a Fund provides the Fund with the right to: (1) cause the holders of the TOB Floater to tender their notes at par, and (2) cause the sale of the Fixed-Rate Bond held by the TOB Trust, thereby collapsing the TOB Trust. TOB Trusts are generally supported by a liquidity facility provided by a third party bank or other financial institution (the “Liquidity Provider”) that provides for the purchase of TOB Floaters that cannot be remarketed. The holders of the TOB Floaters have the right to tender their certificates in exchange for payment of par plus accrued interest on a periodic basis (typically weekly) or on the occurrence of certain mandatory tender events. The tendered TOB Floaters are remarketed by a remarketing agent, which is typically an affiliated entity of the Liquidity Provider. If the TOB Floaters cannot be remarketed, the TOB Floaters are purchased by the TOB Trust either from the proceeds of a loan from the Liquidity Provider or from a liquidation of the Fixed Rate Bond.
The TOB Trust may also be collapsed without the consent of a Fund, as the TOB Residual holder, upon the occurrence of certain “tender option termination events” (or “TOTEs”) as defined in the TOB Trust agreements. Such termination events typically include the bankruptcy or default of the municipal bond, a substantial downgrade in credit quality of the municipal bond, or a judgment or ruling that interest on the Fixed Rate Bond is subject to federal income taxation. Upon the occurrence of a termination event, the TOB Trust would generally be liquidated in full with the proceeds typically applied first to any accrued fees owed to the trustee, remarketing agent and liquidity provider, and then to the holders of the TOB Floater up to par plus accrued interest owed on the TOB Floater and a portion of gain share, if any, with the balance paid out to the TOB Residual holder. In the case of a mandatory termination event (“MTE”), after the payment of fees, the TOB Floater holders would be paid before the TOB Residual holders (i.e., a Fund). In contrast, in the case of a TOTE, after payment of fees, the TOB Floater holders and the TOB Residual holders would be paid pro rata in proportion to the respective face values of their certificates. If there are insufficient proceeds from the liquidation of the TOB Trust, the party that would bear the losses would depend upon whether a Fund holds a non-recourse TOBs Residual or a recourse TOBs Residual. If a Fund holds a non-recourse TOBs Residual, the Liquidity Provider or holders of the TOBs Floaters would bear the losses on those securities and there would be no recourse to the Fund's assets. If a Fund holds a recourse TOBs Residual, the Fund (and, indirectly, holders of the Fund's shares) would typically bear the losses. In particular, if the Fund holds a recourse TOBs Residual, it will typically have entered into an agreement pursuant to which the Fund would be required to pay to the Liquidity Provider the difference between the purchase price of any TOBs Floaters put to the Liquidity Provider by holders of the TOBs Floaters and the proceeds realized from the remarketing of those TOBs Floaters or the sale of the assets in the TOBs Issuer. A Fund may invest in both non-recourse and recourse TOBs Residuals to leverage its portfolio.
In December 2013, regulators finalized rules implementing Section 619 (the “Volcker Rule”) and Section 941 (the “Risk Retention Rules”) of the Dodd-Frank Act. Both the Volcker Rule and the Risk Retention Rules apply to tender
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option bond programs and place restrictions on the way certain sponsors may participate in tender option bond programs. Specifically, the Volcker Rule generally prohibits banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading or from acquiring or retaining an ownership interest in, or sponsoring, a hedge fund or private equity fund (“covered fund”), subject to certain exemptions and limitations. Tender option bond programs generally are considered to be covered funds under the Volcker Rule, and, thus, may not be sponsored by a banking entity absent an applicable exemption. The Volcker Rule does not provide for any exemption that would allow banking entities to sponsor tender option bonds in the same manner as they did prior to the Volcker Rule’s compliance date, which was July 21, 2017.
The Risk Retention Rules took effect in December 2016 and require the sponsor to a TOB Trust to retain at least five percent of the credit risk of the underlying assets supporting the TOB Trust’s Municipal Bonds. The Risk Retention Rules may adversely affect the Funds’ ability to engage in TOB Trust transactions or increase the costs of such transactions in certain circumstances.
The Funds have restructured their TOB Trusts in conformity with regulatory guidelines. Under the new TOB Trust structure, the Liquidity Provider or remarketing agent will no longer purchase the tendered TOB Floaters, even in the event of failed remarketing. This may increase the likelihood that a TOB Trust will need to be collapsed and liquidated in order to purchase the tendered TOB Floaters. The TOB Trust may draw upon a loan from the Liquidity Provider to purchase the tendered TOB Floaters. Any loans made by the Liquidity Provider will be secured by the purchased TOB Floaters held by the TOB Trust and will be subject to an increased interest rate based on the number of days the loan is outstanding.
The Funds also may invest in participation interests. Participation interests are various types of securities created by converting fixed rate bonds into short-term, variable rate certificates. These securities have been developed in the secondary market to meet the demand for short-term, tax-exempt securities. The Funds will invest only in such securities deemed tax-exempt by a nationally recognized bond counsel, but there is no guarantee the interest will be exempt because the IRS has not issued a definitive ruling on the matter.
Municipal Bonds are subject to credit and market risk. Generally, prices of higher quality issues tend to fluctuate less with changes in market interest rates than prices of lower quality issues and prices of longer maturity issues tend to fluctuate more than prices of shorter maturity issues.
The recent economic downturn and budgetary constraints have made Municipal Bonds more susceptible to downgrade, default and bankruptcy. In addition, difficulties in the Municipal Bond markets could result in increased illiquidity, volatility and credit risk, and a decrease in the number of Municipal Bond investment opportunities. The value of Municipal Bonds may also be affected by uncertainties involving the taxation of Municipal Bonds or the rights of Municipal Bond holders in the event of a bankruptcy. Proposals to restrict or eliminate the federal income tax exemption for interest on Municipal Bonds are introduced before Congress from time to time. These legal uncertainties could affect the Municipal Bond market generally, certain specific segments of the market, or the relative credit quality of particular securities.
The Funds may purchase and sell portfolio investments to take advantage of changes or anticipated changes in yield relationships, markets or economic conditions. The Funds also may sell Municipal Bonds due to changes in PIMCO’s evaluation of the issuer or cash needs resulting from redemption requests for Fund shares. The secondary market for Municipal Bonds typically has been less liquid than that for taxable debt/fixed income securities, and this may affect a Fund’s ability to sell particular Municipal Bonds at then-current market prices, especially in periods when other investors are attempting to sell the same securities. Additionally, Municipal Bonds rated below investment grade (i.e., high yield Municipal Bonds) may not be as liquid as higher-rated Municipal Bonds. Reduced liquidity in the secondary market may have an adverse impact on the market price of a Municipal Bond and on a Fund’s ability to sell a Municipal Bond in response to changes or anticipated changes in economic conditions or to meet the Fund’s cash needs. Reduced liquidity may also make it more difficult to obtain market quotations based on actual trades for purposes of valuing a Fund’s portfolio. For more information on high yield securities please see “High Yield Securities (“Junk Bonds”) and Securities of Distressed Companies” above.
Prices and yields on Municipal Bonds are dependent on a variety of factors, including general money-market conditions, the financial condition of the issuer, general conditions of the Municipal Bond market, the size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation and the rating of the issue. A number of these factors, including the ratings of particular issues, are subject to change from time to time. Information about the financial condition of an
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issuer of Municipal Bonds may not be as extensive as that which is made available by corporations whose securities are publicly traded.
The Funds may purchase custodial receipts representing the right to receive either the principal amount or the periodic interest payments or both with respect to specific underlying Municipal Bonds. In a typical custodial receipt arrangement, an issuer or third party owner of Municipal Bonds deposits the bonds with a custodian in exchange for two classes of custodial receipts. The two classes have different characteristics, but, in each case, payments on the two classes are based on payments received on the underlying Municipal Bonds. In no event will the aggregate interest paid with respect to the two classes exceed the interest paid by the underlying Municipal Bond. Custodial receipts are sold in private placements. The value of a custodial receipt may fluctuate more than the value of a Municipal Bond of comparable quality and maturity.
The perceived increased likelihood of default among issuers of Municipal Bonds has resulted in constrained illiquidity, increased price volatility and credit downgrades of issuers of Municipal Bonds. Local and national market forces—such as declines in real estate prices and general business activity—may result in decreasing tax bases, fluctuations in interest rates, and increasing construction costs, all of which could reduce the ability of certain issuers of Municipal Bonds to repay their obligations. Certain issuers of Municipal Bonds have also been unable to obtain additional financing through, or must pay higher interest rates on, new issues, which may reduce revenues available for issuers of Municipal Bonds to pay existing obligations. In addition, events have demonstrated that the lack of disclosure rules in this area can make it difficult for investors to obtain reliable information on the obligations underlying Municipal Bonds. Adverse developments in the Municipal Bond market may negatively affect the value of all or a substantial portion of a fund’s holdings in Municipal Bonds.
Obligations of issuers of Municipal Bonds are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors. Congress or state legislatures may seek to extend the time for payment of principal or interest, or both, or to impose other constraints upon enforcement of such obligations. There is also the possibility that as a result of litigation or other conditions, the power or ability of issuers to meet their obligations for the payment of interest and principal on their Municipal Bonds may be materially affected or their obligations may be found to be invalid or unenforceable. Such litigation or conditions may from time to time have the effect of introducing uncertainties in the market for Municipal Bonds or certain segments thereof, or of materially affecting the credit risk with respect to particular bonds. Adverse economic, business, legal or political developments might affect all or a substantial portion of a Fund’s Municipal Bonds in the same manner.
From time to time, proposals have been introduced before Congress for the purpose of restricting or eliminating the federal income tax exemption for interest on certain types of Municipal Bonds. Additionally, certain other proposals have been introduced that would have the effect of taxing a portion of exempt interest and/or reducing the tax benefits of receiving exempt interest. It can be expected that similar proposals may be introduced in the future. As a result of any such future legislation, the availability of such Municipal Bonds for investment by the Funds and the value of such Municipal Bonds held by the Funds may be affected. In addition, it is possible that events occurring after the date of a Municipal Bond’s issuance, or after a Fund’s acquisition of such obligation, may result in a determination that the interest paid on that obligation is taxable, in certain cases retroactively.
Puerto Rico.Each Fund investing in municipal securities issued by Puerto Rico may be particularly affected by political, economic, environmental, social, regulatory or restructuring developments affecting the ability of Puerto Rican municipal issuers to pay interest or repay principal. As a result of the ongoing financial challenges faced by Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth’s economic circumstances may change negatively and more rapidly than usual, and the Commonwealth may be less able to maintain up-to-date information for the public.
Beginning in 2006, the Commonwealth began to face significant budget shortfalls and endured continuous economic decline through 2018. On June 30, 2016, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (“PROMESA”) was signed into law by President Obama. PROMESA established a federally-appointed oversight board (the “Oversight Board”) to oversee the Commonwealth’s financial operations and allows the Commonwealth and its instrumentalities, with approval of the Oversight Board, to file cases to restructure debt and other obligations in a “Title III” proceeding. Title III incorporates many provisions of the federal Bankruptcy Code and incorporates legal mechanisms for a litigation stay and restructuring of pension and debt obligations, among other provisions. Title III petitions were filed for, among others, the Commonwealth, the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation, and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, three of the largest issuers of Commonwealth debt. The Oversight Board is
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required by law to remain in place until, based on audited financials, four consecutive fiscal years have ended with balanced operations and Puerto Rico has demonstrated affordable market access to short-term and long-term credit markets at reasonable interest rates.
The Commonwealth has been in bankruptcy proceedings for approximately five years. However, in the first quarter of 2022, the central government of Puerto Rico executed a debt exchange and exited bankruptcy, which impacted a majority of Puerto Rico’s outstanding debt. A debt adjustment plan (the “Plan”) was approved by Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy court in January 2022, and the debt exchange became effective in March 2022. Puerto Rico’s direct debt obligations were reduced from $34.3 billion to $7.4 billion, and its annual debt service was reduced from $4.2 billion to $1.15 billion.
The Plan requires that Puerto Rico adopt debt management policies in order to ensure that debt service does not become unmanageable. The policies dictate, among other things, that debt proceeds may only be used to fund capital projects and that debt to cover deficits will no longer be acceptable. Future debt refundings are required to result in cash flow savings each fiscal year and may not raise principal. Additionally, new debt is required to begin amortizing within two years and may not have a maturity greater than 30 years.
The Plan has substantially reduced the outstanding debt obligations of Puerto Rico and certain of its instrumentalities, but there can be no assurances that Puerto Rico will be able to negotiate settlements with respect to its remaining outstanding debt and Title III proceedings. In addition, the composition of the Oversight Board has changed significantly in recent years, and there can be no guarantee that the members of the Oversight Board will approve future restructuring agreements with other creditors.
The budget process will continue to require the Oversight Board, the governor of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico’s Legislative Assembly to develop a budget that complies with the fiscal plan developed by the Oversight Board and the governor of Puerto Rico. The 2023 fiscal plan was certified by the Oversight Board on April 3, 2023 (“2023 Fiscal Plan”). The 2023 Fiscal Plan projections reflect $14.0 billion of revenues (post-measures and structural reforms) for fiscal year 2023, which include estimated personal income tax receipts of $3.0 billion, sales and use receipts of $2.7 billion, and corporation tax receipts of $4.8 billion. Against these revenues, the 2023 Fiscal Plan projections reflect $12.4 billion of expenditures for fiscal year 2023. The 2023 Fiscal Plan notes that through successive federal stimulus and recovery packages, Puerto Rico has received approximately $120 billion in federal funds, and the 2023 Fiscal Plan assumes full deployment of these funds by 2035.
On June 30, 2023 the budget for fiscal year 2024 was certified and certain budgetary reprogramming requests were approved on July 31, 2023. The fiscal year 2024 budget provides for General Fund expenditures of approximately $12.7 billion. General Fund allocations in the fiscal year 2024 budget to education, health care, and economic development were approximately $2.6 billion, $1.5 billion, and $64.1 million, respectively.
The Commonwealth’s budget is impacted by extensive unfunded pension obligations related to its retirement systems, which include the Employees Retirement System, the Teachers Retirement System, and the Judiciary Retirement System. The Commonwealth’s pension systems operate on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, and the General Fund has assumed any payments that the pension systems could not make. As a result, the Commonwealth may have fewer resources for other priorities, including payments on its outstanding debt obligations. Alternatively, the Commonwealth may be forced to raise revenue or issue additional debt. Either outcome could increase pressure on the Commonwealth’s budget, which could have an adverse impact on a Fund’s investments in Puerto Rico.
Investors should be aware that Puerto Rico relies heavily on transfers from the federal government related to specific programs and activities in the Commonwealth. These transfers include, among others, entitlements for previously performed services, or those resulting from contributions to programs such as Social Security, Veterans’ Benefits, Medicare and U.S. Civil Service retirement pensions, as well as grants such as Nutritional Assistance Program grants and Pell Grant scholarships for higher education. There is considerable uncertainty about which federal policy changes may be enacted in the coming years and the economic impact of those changes. Due to the Commonwealth’s dependence on federal transfers, any actions that reduce or alter these transfers may cause increased fiscal stress in Puerto Rico, which may have a negative impact on the value of the Commonwealth’s municipal securities.
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There can be no assurances that the Commonwealth will not continue to face severe fiscal stress or that such circumstances will not become even more difficult in the future. Furthermore, there can be no guarantee that future developments will not have a materially adverse impact on the Commonwealth’s finances. Any further deterioration in the Commonwealth’s financial condition may have a negative effect on the payment of principal and interest, the marketability, liquidity or value of the securities issued by the Commonwealth, which could reduce the performance of a Fund.
Since PROMESA was enacted, there have been various legal proceedings initiated by creditors of Puerto Rico and other constituencies. These groups asserted a number of complex legal claims that questioned the efficacy and validity of PROMESA, calling into question the validity of Oversight Board appointments. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided that the appointment of the members to the Oversight Board was valid. In addition, certain Title III proceedings remain ongoing and certain Plans of Adjustment remain subject to judicial attack. The Commonwealth, its officials and employees are named as defendants in legal proceedings that occur in the normal course of governmental operations. Some of these proceedings involve claims for substantial amounts, which if decided against the Commonwealth might require the Commonwealth to make significant future expenditures or substantially impair future revenue sources. Because of the prospective nature of these proceedings, it is not presently possible to predict the ultimate outcome of such proceedings, estimate the potential impact on the ability of the Commonwealth to pay debt service costs on its obligations, or determine what impact, if any, such proceedings may have on a Fund’s investments.
In September 2017, two successive hurricanes – Irma and Maria – caused severe damage to Puerto Rico. The Commonwealth’s infrastructure was severely damaged by high winds and substantial flooding, including damage to the Commonwealth’s water, power, and telecommunications infrastructure, and resulted in more than 1 million people losing power. In late December 2019 and January 2020, a series of earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.4 earthquake—the strongest to hit the island in more than a century—caused an estimated $200 million in damage. The aftershocks from these earthquakes may continue for years, and it is not currently possible to predict the extent of the damage that could arise from any aftershocks. The full extent of the natural disasters’ impact on Puerto Rico’s economy and foreign investment in Puerto Rico is difficult to estimate, but is expected to have substantially adverse effects on Puerto Rico’s economy. In addition to diverting funds to relief and recovery efforts, Puerto Rico is expected to lose substantial revenue as a result of decreased tourism and general business operations. There can be no assurances that Puerto Rico will receive the necessary aid to rebuild from the damage caused by hurricanes or earthquakes or that future catastrophic weather events or natural disasters will not cause similar damage.
In addition, the Commonwealth was significantly impacted by COVID-19. Efforts to respond to and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 had a negative impact on the Commonwealth and national economies. In March 2020, the Oversight Board authorized the Commonwealth to implement a $787 million relief package to fight the pandemic and its economic impacts, of which $500 million was incremental new spending made available through a special appropriation. Any reduction in the Commonwealth’s revenues as a result of the pandemic could have a negative impact on the Commonwealth’s ability to meet its debt service obligations, including with respect to debt held by a Fund. Further, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) in March 2020, which provided for approximately $2.2 trillion in disaster relief. Among other things, the CARES Act established the Coronavirus Relief Fund (“CRF”), from which Puerto Rico received $2.2 billion. In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan was signed into law, which provided an additional $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments, including $4.5 billion specifically for relief to U.S. territories. The rate and level at which the federal government and the Commonwealth took on new debt could have a negative impact on their fiscal health, which could lead to prolonged challenges. A failure by Puerto Rico to meet its debt obligations could lead to a significant decline in the value, liquidity, and marketability of Fund investments.
As of the date of this SAI, S&P, Moody’s and Fitch each have withdrawn their unenhanced ratings of Puerto Rico’s general obligation debt. The withdrawals reflect only the views of the respective rating agency, an explanation of which may be obtained from each such rating agency. There is no assurance that the withdrawals will continue for any given period of time or that they will not be reversed by the rating agency if, in the judgment of such rating agency, circumstances so warrant. A downward revision or withdrawal of a general obligation bond rating may have an adverse effect on the market prices of the securities issued by the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions, instrumentalities, and authorities.
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Delayed Funding Loans and Revolving Credit Facilities
The Funds may enter into, or acquire participations in, delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities are borrowing arrangements in which the lender agrees to make loans up to a maximum amount upon demand by the borrower during a specified term. A revolving credit facility differs from a delayed funding loan in that as the borrower repays the loan, an amount equal to the repayment may be borrowed again during the term of the revolving credit facility. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities usually provide for floating or variable rates of interest. These commitments may have the effect of requiring a Fund to increase its investment in a company at a time when it might not otherwise decide to do so (including at a time when the company’s financial condition makes it unlikely that such amounts will be repaid).
The Funds may invest in delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities with credit quality comparable to that of issuers of its securities investments. Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities may be subject to restrictions on transfer, and only limited opportunities may exist to resell such instruments. As a result, a Fund may be unable to sell such investments at an opportune time or may have to resell them at less than fair market value. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity. For a further discussion of the risks involved in investing in loan participations and other forms of direct indebtedness see “Loans and Other Indebtedness, Loan Participations and Assignments.” Participation interests in revolving credit facilities will be subject to the limitations discussed in “Loans and Other Indebtedness, Loan Participations and Assignments.” Delayed funding loans and revolving credit facilities are considered to be debt obligations for purposes of the Trust’s investment restriction relating to the lending of funds or assets by a Fund.
When-Issued, Delayed Delivery and Forward Commitment Transactions
A Fund may purchase or sell securities on a when-issued, delayed delivery, or forward commitment basis. These transactions may be known as to-be-announced (“TBA”) transactions.
When purchasing a security on a when-issued, delayed delivery, or forward commitment basis, a Fund assumes the rights and risks of ownership of the security, including the risk of price and yield fluctuations, and takes such fluctuations into account when determining its net asset value. Because a Fund is not required to pay for the security until the delivery date, these risks are in addition to the risks associated with the Fund’s other investments. If the other party to a transaction fails to deliver the securities, a Fund could miss a favorable price or yield opportunity. If a Fund remains substantially fully invested at a time when when-issued, delayed delivery, or forward commitment purchases are outstanding, the purchases may result in a form of leverage.
When a Fund has sold a security on a when-issued, delayed delivery, or forward commitment basis, the Fund does not participate in future gains or losses with respect to the security. If the other party to a transaction fails to pay for the securities, a Fund could suffer a loss. Additionally, when selling a security on a when-issued, delayed delivery, or forward commitment basis without owning the security, a Fund will incur a loss if the security’s price appreciates in value such that the security’s price is above the agreed upon price on the settlement date.
A Fund may dispose of or renegotiate a transaction after it is entered into, and may purchase or sell when-issued, delayed delivery or forward commitment securities before the settlement date, which may result in a gain or loss. There is no percentage limitation on the extent to which the Funds may purchase or sell securities on a when-issued, delayed delivery, or forward commitment basis. Such transactions also can be subject to the risks discussed under “Derivative Instruments” above.
Standby Commitment Agreements
A Fund and certain of the Underlying PIMCO Funds may enter into standby commitment agreements, which are agreements that obligate a party, for a set period of time, to buy a certain amount of a security that may be issued and sold at the option of the issuer. The price of a security purchased pursuant to a standby commitment agreement is set at the time of the agreement. In return for its promise to purchase the security, a Fund or Underlying PIMCO Fund receives a commitment fee based upon a percentage of the purchase price of the security. A Fund or Underlying PIMCO Fund receives this fee whether or not it is ultimately required to purchase the security.
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There is no guarantee that the securities subject to a standby commitment agreement will be issued or, if such securities are issued, the value of the securities on the date of issuance may be more or less than the purchase price. A Fund or Underlying PIMCO Fund may be required to limit its investments in standby commitment agreements with remaining terms exceeding seven days pursuant to the Fund’s regulatory limitation on investments in illiquid investments. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity. A Fund or Underlying PIMCO Fund will record the purchase of a standby commitment agreement, and will reflect the value of the security in the Fund’s or Underlying PIMCO Fund's net asset value, on the date on which the security can reasonably be expected to be issued.
Infrastructure Investments
Infrastructure entities include companies in the infrastructure business and infrastructure projects and assets representing a broad range of businesses, types of projects and assets. The risks that may be applicable to an infrastructure entity vary based on the type of business, project or asset, its location, the developmental stage of a project and an investor’s level of control over the management or operation of the entity.
Infrastructure entities are typically subject to significant government regulations and other regulatory and political risks, including expropriation; political violence or unrest, including war, sabotage or terrorism; and unanticipated regulatory changes by a government or the failure of a government to comply with international treaties and agreements. Additionally, an infrastructure entity may do business with state-owned suppliers or customers that may be unable or unwilling to fulfill their contractual obligations. Changing public perception and sentiment may also influence a government’s level of support or involvement with an infrastructure entity.
Companies engaged in infrastructure development and construction and infrastructure projects or assets that have not been completed will be subject to construction risks, including construction delays; delays in obtaining permits and regulatory approvals; unforeseen expenses resulting from budget and cost overruns; inexperienced contractors and contractor errors; and problems related to project design and plans. Due to the numerous risks associated with construction and the often incomplete or unreliable data about projected revenues and income for a project, investing in the construction of an infrastructure project involves significant risks. The ability to obtain initial or additional financing for an infrastructure project is often directly tied to its stage of development and the availability of operational data. A project that is complete and operational is more likely to obtain financing than a project at an earlier stage of development. Additionally, an infrastructure entity may not be able to obtain needed additional financing, particularly during periods of turmoil in the capital markets. The cost of compliance with international standards for project finance may increase the cost of obtaining capital or financing for a project. Alternatively, an investment in debt securities of infrastructure entities may also be subject to prepayment risk if lower-cost financing becomes available.
Infrastructure projects or assets may also be subject to operational risks, including the project manager’s ability to manage the project; unexpected maintenance costs; government interference with the operation of an infrastructure project or asset; obsolescence of project; and the early exit of a project’s equity investors. Additionally, the operator of an infrastructure project or asset may not be able to pass along the full amount of any cost increases to customers.
An infrastructure entity may be organized under a legal regime that may provide investors with limited recourse against the entity’s assets, the sponsor or other non-project assets and there may be restrictions on the ability to sell or transfer assets. Financing for infrastructure projects and assets is often secured by cash flows, underlying contracts, and project assets. An investor may have limited options and there may be significant costs associated with foreclosing upon any assets that secure repayment of a financing.
Short Sales
A Fund may make short sales of securities: (i) to offset potential declines in long positions in similar securities; (ii) to increase the flexibility of the Fund; (iii) for investment return; (iv) as part of a risk arbitrage strategy; and (v) as part of its overall portfolio management strategies involving the use of derivative instruments. A short sale is a transaction in which a Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline.
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When a Fund makes a short sale, it will often borrow the security sold short and deliver it to the broker-dealer through which it made the short sale as collateral for its obligation to deliver the security upon conclusion of the sale. In connection with short sales of securities, a Fund may pay a fee to borrow securities or maintain an arrangement with a broker to borrow securities, and is often obligated to pay over any accrued interest and dividends on such borrowed securities.
If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time that a Fund replaces the borrowed security, the Fund will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Fund will realize a capital gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss increased, by the transaction costs described above. If a Fund engages in short sales as part of a hedging strategy, the successful use of short selling may be adversely affected by imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the security sold short and the securities being hedged.
A Fund may invest pursuant to a risk arbitrage strategy to take advantage of a perceived relationship between the values of two securities. Frequently, a risk arbitrage strategy involves the short sale of a security.
The Funds will engage in short selling to the extent permitted by the federal securities laws and rules and interpretations thereunder. To the extent a Fund engages in short selling in foreign (non-U.S.) jurisdictions, the Fund will do so to the extent permitted by the laws and regulations of such jurisdiction. Such transactions also can be subject to the risks discussed under “Derivative Instruments” above.
144A Securities
In addition to a Fund’s investments in privately placed and unregistered securities, a Fund may also invest in securities sold pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. Such securities are commonly known as “144A securities” and may only be resold under certain circumstances to other institutional buyers. 144A securities frequently trade in an active secondary market. As a result of the resale restrictions on 144A securities, there is a greater risk that they will become illiquid than securities registered with the SEC. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity.
Regulation S Securities
Certain Underlying PIMCO Funds may invest in the securities of U.S. and non-U.S. issuers that are issued through private offerings without registration with the SEC pursuant to Regulation S under the 1933 Act (“Regulation S Securities”). Offerings of Regulation S Securities may be conducted outside of the United States. Because Regulation S Securities are subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, Regulation S Securities may be considered illiquid. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” below for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity. Furthermore, because Regulation S Securities are generally less liquid than registered securities, a Fund may take longer to liquidate these positions than would be the case for publicly traded securities. Although Regulation S Securities may be resold in privately negotiated transactions, the price realized from these sales could be less than those originally paid by a Fund. Further, companies whose securities are not publicly traded may not be subject to the disclosure and other investor protection requirements that would be applicable if their securities were publicly traded. Accordingly, Regulation S Securities may involve a high degree of business and financial risk and may result in substantial losses.
Illiquid Investments
In accordance with Rule 22e-4 (the “Liquidity Rule”) under the 1940 Act, each Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in “illiquid investments” that are assets. For these purposes, “illiquid investments” are investments that cannot reasonably be expected to be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment.
For each Fund, each portfolio investment must be classified at least monthly into one of four liquidity categories (highly liquid, moderately liquid, less liquid and illiquid), which are defined pursuant to the Liquidity Rule. Such classification is to be made using information obtained after reasonable inquiry and taking into account relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations. Moreover, in making such classification determinations, a Fund determines whether trading varying portions of a position in a particular portfolio investment or asset class, in sizes that the Fund would reasonably anticipate trading, is reasonably expected to significantly affect its liquidity, and
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if so, the Fund takes this determination into account when classifying the liquidity of that investment. The Funds may be assisted in classification determinations by one or more third-party service providers. Assets classified according to this process as “illiquid investments” are those subject to the 15% limit on illiquid investments.
Repurchase Agreements
Each Fund may enter into repurchase agreements, which involve an agreement to purchase a security and to sell that security back to the original seller. If the party agreeing to repurchase should default, the Fund may seek to sell the securities which it holds. This could involve procedural costs or delays in addition to a loss on the securities if their value should fall below their repurchase price. Please refer to “Illiquid Investments” above for further discussion of regulatory considerations and constraints relating to investment liquidity.
Loans of Portfolio Securities
For the purpose of achieving income, a Fund may lend its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers, and other financial institutions, provided: (i) the loan is fully collateralized; (ii) the Fund may at any time call the loan and obtain the return of the securities loaned; (iii) the Fund will receive any interest or dividends paid on the loaned securities; and (iv) the aggregate market value of securities loaned will not at any time exceed 33 1/3% of the total assets of the Fund (including the collateral received with respect to such loans). A Fund’s performance will continue to reflect the receipt of either interest through investment of cash collateral by the Fund in permissible investments, or a fee, if the collateral is U.S. Government securities. Securities lending involves the risk of loss of rights in the collateral or delay in recovery of the collateral should the borrower fail to return the securities loaned or become insolvent. A Fund may pay lending fees to the party arranging the loan. Cash collateral received by a Fund in securities lending transactions may be invested in short-term liquid fixed income instruments or in money market or short-term funds, or similar investment vehicles, including affiliated money market or short-term funds. As a shareholder of an investment company or other pooled vehicle, a Fund may indirectly bear investment advisory fees, supervisory and administrative fees, service fees and other fees which are in addition to the fees the Fund pays its service providers. To the extent such cash collateral is invested in an affiliated money market or short-term mutual fund, such fees generally will not be waived, and PIMCO expects to select such an investment without considering or canvassing the universe of available unaffiliated investment companies. A Fund bears the risk of such investments.
Investments in Business Development Companies (“BDCs”)
Certain of the Funds may invest in BDCs, which typically operate to invest in, or lend capital to, early stage-to-mature private companies as well as small public companies. BDCs are regulated under the 1940 Act and are generally taxed as regulated investment companies under the Internal Revenue Code. BDCs realize operating income when their investments are sold off or as income is received in connection with lending, and therefore maintain complex organizational, operational, tax and compliance requirements. For tax purposes, BDCs generally intend to qualify for taxation as regulated investment companies. To so qualify, BDCs must satisfy certain asset diversification and source of income tests and must generally distribute at least 90% of their taxable earnings as dividends. Under the 1940 Act, BDCs are also required to invest at least 70% of their total assets primarily in securities of private companies or thinly traded U.S. public companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and high quality debt investments that mature in one year or less. Generally, little public information exists for private and thinly traded companies in which a BDC may invest, and therefore there is a risk that investors may not be able to make a fully informed decision. In addition, investments made by BDCs are typically illiquid and may be difficult to value. A BDC may only incur indebtedness in amounts such that the BDC’s asset coverage, subject to certain conditions, equals at least 150% after such incurrence. These limitations on asset mix and leverage may prohibit the way that the BDC raises capital.
Investments in Underlying PIMCO Funds
The PIMCO Funds of Funds may invest substantially all or a significant portion of their assets in Underlying PIMCO Funds. Please see the “Principal Investment Strategies” section in the Prospectuses for a description of the asset allocation strategies and general investment policies of each Fund. In some cases, the PIMCO Funds of Funds and Affiliated Funds of Funds may be the predominant or sole shareholders of a particular Underlying PIMCO Fund. As noted above, investment decisions made with respect to the PIMCO Funds of Funds and Affiliated Funds of Funds could, under certain circumstances, negatively impact the Underlying PIMCO Funds.
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For instance, the PIMCO Funds of Funds and Affiliated Funds of Funds may purchase and redeem shares of an Underlying PIMCO Fund as part of a reallocation or rebalancing strategy, which may result in the Underlying PIMCO Fund having to sell securities or invest cash when it otherwise would not do so. Such transactions could increase an Underlying PIMCO Fund’s transaction costs and accelerate the realization of taxable income if sales of securities resulted in gains. Adverse impacts to an Underlying PIMCO Fund, such as these examples, may be exacerbated when the Underlying PIMCO Fund is invested in by another fund, that itself is invested in by other funds. Such structures could make asset flows, performance and other factors more volatile at the Underlying PIMCO Fund level. Similarly, large purchases of shares of an Underlying PIMCO Fund by the PIMCO Funds of Funds and Affiliated Funds of Funds may adversely affect the Underlying PIMCO Fund’s performance to the extent the Underlying PIMCO Fund is delayed in investing new cash and, as a result, holds a proportionally larger cash position than under ordinary circumstances.
Investment decisions by other investors may have similar adverse impacts on the Underlying PIMCO Funds, which may indirectly affect the PIMCO Funds of Funds. For instance, large Underlying PIMCO Fund share purchases by investors may adversely affect the Underlying PIMCO Fund’s performance to the extent the Underlying PIMCO Fund is delayed in investing new cash and, as a result, holds a proportionally larger cash position than under ordinary circumstances. Similarly, large Underlying PIMCO Fund share redemptions by investors may adversely affect the Underlying PIMCO Fund’s performance to the extent the Underlying PIMCO Fund is required to sell securities when it otherwise would not do so. Such transactions could increase an Underlying PIMCO Fund’s transaction costs and accelerate the realization of taxable income if sales of securities resulted in gains. Such adverse impact on an Underlying PIMCO Fund may have an indirect adverse impact on any PIMCO Funds of Funds invested in such Underlying PIMCO Fund.
As the PIMCO Funds of Funds and Affiliated Funds of Funds may invest substantially all or a significant portion of their assets in Underlying PIMCO Funds, the Underlying PIMCO Funds may not acquire securities of other registered open-end investment companies in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(F) or Section 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act, thus limiting the Underlying PIMCO Funds’ investment flexibility. In addition, as discussed in more detail in the “Regulatory Matters” section below, certain regulatory changes adopted by the SEC may further limit the Underlying PIMCO Funds’ investment flexibility.
Investments in PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds
The PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund may invest substantially all or a significant portion of its assets in PIMCO RAE Underlying PIMCO Funds. Please see the “Principal Investment Strategies” section in the Prospectus for a description of the asset allocation strategies and general investment policies of the Fund. In some cases, the PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund and Affiliated Funds of Funds may be the predominant or sole shareholders of a particular PIMCO RAE Underlying Fund. As noted above, investment decisions made with respect to the PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund and Affiliated Funds of Funds could, under certain circumstances, negatively impact the PIMCO RAE Underlying Funds.
For instance, the PIMCO RAE Global ex-US Fund and Affiliated Funds of Funds may purchase and redeem shares of a PIMCO RAE Underlying Fund as part of a reallocation or rebalancing strategy, which may result in the PIMCO RAE Underlying Fund having to sell securities or invest cash when it otherwise would not do so. Such transactions could increase a PIMCO RAE Underlying Fund’s transaction costs and accelerate the realization of