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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV
Prospectus
First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF
Ticker Symbol:
HYLS
Exchange:
Nasdaq
First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF (the “Fund”) lists and principally trades its shares on The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ("Nasdaq" or the “Exchange”). Market prices may differ to some degree from the net asset value of the shares. Unlike mutual funds, the Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value, only in large specified blocks of shares called "Creation Units."
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV (the “Trust”) and an actively managed exchange-traded fund organized as a separate series of a registered management investment company.
Except when aggregated in Creation Units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the Fund.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
NOT FDIC INSURED MAY LOSE VALUE NO BANK GUARANTEE
March 1, 2022


Summary Information
Investment Objectives
The First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF's (the "Fund") investment objective is to provide current income. The Fund's secondary investment objective is to provide capital appreciation.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. Investors may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
None
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees
0.95%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees
0.00%
Other Expenses(1)
0.18%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses
1.13%
(1)
Other Expenses include margin interest expense and interest on investments sold short.
Example
The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds.
The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then hold or sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain at current levels. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year
3 Years
5 Years
10 Years
$115
$359
$622
$1,375
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 50% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in high yield debt securities that are rated below investment grade at the time of purchase or unrated securities deemed by the Fund’s advisor to be of comparable quality. Below investment grade securities are those that, at the time of purchase, are rated lower than “BBB–” by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Group, a division of the McGraw Hill Companies, Inc. (“S&P”), or lower than “Baa3” by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), or comparably rated by another nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”). High yield debt securities that are rated below investment grade are commonly referred to as “junk” debt. Such securities may include U.S. and non-U.S. corporate debt obligations, bank loans and convertible bonds. For purposes of determining whether a security is below investment grade, the lowest available rating will be considered.
The Fund may invest up to 10% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in non-U.S. securities denominated in non-U.S. currencies. The Fund may invest in non-income producing securities including Distressed Securities (as defined below) and common stocks. Companies whose financial condition is troubled or uncertain and that may be involved in bankruptcy proceedings, reorganizations or financial restructurings are referred to herein as “Distressed Securities.” The Fund invests no more than 15% of its net assets in Distressed Securities, as determined at the time of the investment. The Fund may receive
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equity, warrants, corporate bonds and other such securities (i) in conjunction with the restructuring or reorganization, as applicable, of an issuer or any debt issued by an issuer, whether accomplished within or outside of a bankruptcy proceeding (or any other similar statutory restructuring or reorganization proceeding) or (ii) together with (e.g., as part of a unit or package that includes) one or more high yield debt securities (or other debt instruments) of an issuer. The Fund may also invest in investment grade corporate debt obligations and government securities to manage overall credit and duration risk. The Fund does not have any portfolio maturity limitation and may invest its assets in securities with short-term, medium-term or long-term maturities. The Fund may also invest in covenant-lite loans, defaulted securities and companies with various market capitalizations.
The Fund may, under normal market conditions, invest up to 40% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in bank loans; however the Fund will invest no more than 15% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in loans other than first lien senior secured floating rate bank loans.
The Fund may invest in listed and over-the-counter derivatives to the extent permitted by the listing rules of the Exchange. Derivatives with comparable economic characteristics to high yield debt securities may be used to satisfy the Fund’s stated policy to invest at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in high yield debt securities.
As part of its investment strategy, the Fund intends to maintain both long and short positions in securities under normal market conditions. The Fund takes long positions in securities that the investment advisor believes in the aggregate to have the potential to outperform the Fund’s benchmark, the ICE BofA US High Yield Constrained Index (the “Index”). The Fund takes short positions in securities that the investment advisor believes will decline or in the aggregate will underperform the Index. The Fund’s long positions may total up to 130% of the Fund’s net assets. The Fund’s short positions will range between 0% and 30% of the Fund’s net assets. Under normal market conditions, the Fund takes short positions in U.S. Treasury securities and/or corporate debt obligations, which may be rated investment grade or rated or deemed to be high yield securities.
Short sales are transactions in which the Fund sells a security or other instrument (such as an option, forward, futures or other derivative contract) that it does not own. Short selling allows the Fund to profit from a decline in market price to the extent such decline exceeds the transaction costs and the costs of borrowing the securities. If a security sold short increases in price, the Fund may have to cover its short position at a higher price than the short sale price, resulting in a loss. The proceeds received from the Fund’s short sales of securities will generally be used to purchase all or a portion of the Fund’s additional long positions in securities, particularly high yield debt securities. By investing the proceeds received from selling securities short, the Fund could be deemed to be employing a form of leverage, which creates special risks. The use of leverage may increase the Fund’s exposure to long securities positions and make any change in the Fund’s net asset value greater than it would be without the use of leverage, which could result in increased volatility of returns. There is no guarantee that any leveraging strategy the Fund employs will be successful during any period in which it is employed.
The Fund’s investment advisor combines a fundamental credit selection process with relative value analysis and top-down macroeconomic perspectives when selecting investment opportunities. The Fund’s investment advisor believes that an evolving investment environment offers varying degrees of investment risk opportunities in the high yield, bank loan and other fixed income instrument markets. To capitalize on attractive investments and effectively manage potential risk, the Fund’s investment advisor believes that the combination of thorough and continuous credit analysis, market evaluation, diversification and the ability to reallocate investments is critical to achieving higher risk-adjusted returns.
Principal Risks
You could lose money by investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objectives will be achieved. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
BANK LOANS RISK. Investments in bank loans are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding bank loans and because loan borrowers may be leveraged and tend to be more adversely
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affected by changes in market or economic conditions. If the Fund holds a bank loan through another financial institution or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. It is possible that any collateral securing a loan may be insufficient or unavailable to the Fund, particularly for second lien loans or other junior or subordinated loans held by the Fund. The Fund’s rights to collateral also may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for bank loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods (in some cases longer than 7 days) which may cause the Fund to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. In addition, bank loans are generally not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be considered “securities,” and the Fund may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
CALL RISK. Some debt securities may be redeemed, or “called,” at the option of the issuer before their stated maturity date. In general, an issuer will call its debt securities if they can be refinanced by issuing new debt securities which bear a lower interest rate. The Fund is subject to the possibility that during periods of falling interest rates an issuer will call its high yielding debt securities. The Fund would then be forced to invest the proceeds at lower interest rates, likely resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund will effect some or all of its creations and redemptions for cash rather than in-kind. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects all of its creations and redemptions in-kind. Because the Fund may effect redemptions for cash, it may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. A sale of portfolio securities may result in capital gains or losses and may also result in higher brokerage costs.
CONVERTIBLE SECURITIES RISK. A convertible security has characteristics of both equity and debt securities and, as a result, is exposed to risks that are typically associated with both types of securities. The value of convertible securities may rise and fall with the market value of the underlying stock or, like a debt security, vary with changes in interest rates and the credit quality of the issuer. A convertible security tends to perform more like a stock when the underlying stock price is high relative to the conversion price and more like a debt security when the underlying stock price is low relative to the conversion price.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. Fund transactions involving a counterparty are subject to the risk that the counterparty will not fulfill its obligation to the Fund. Counterparty risk may arise because of the counterparty’s financial condition (i.e., financial difficulties, bankruptcy, or insolvency), market activities and developments, or other reasons, whether foreseen or not. A counterparty’s inability to fulfill its obligation may result in significant financial loss to the Fund. The Fund may be unable to recover its investment from the counterparty or may obtain a limited recovery, and/or recovery may be delayed.
COVENANT-LITE LOANS RISK. Substantially all of the senior loans in which the Fund invests are expected to be covenant-lite loans. Covenant-lite loans contain fewer maintenance covenants than traditional loans, or no maintenance covenants at all, and may not include terms that allow the lender to monitor the financial performance of the borrower and declare a default if certain criteria are breached. This may hinder the Fund’s ability to reprice credit risk associated with the borrower and reduce the Fund’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, the Fund’s exposure to losses on such investments is increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle.
CREDIT RISK. An issuer or other obligated party of a debt security may be unable or unwilling to make dividend, interest and/or principal payments when due. In addition, the value of a debt security may decline because of concerns about the issuer’s ability or unwillingness to make such payments.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests or the Fund’s third-party service providers, such as its administrator, transfer agent, custodian, or sub-advisor, as applicable, can also subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches. Although the Fund has established risk
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management systems designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially because the Fund does not directly control the cyber security systems of issuers or third-party service providers.
DEBT SECURITIES RISK. Investments in debt securities subject the holder to the credit risk of the issuer. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer or other obligor of a security will not be able or willing to make payments of interest and principal when due. Generally, the value of debt securities will change inversely with changes in interest rates. To the extent that interest rates rise, certain underlying obligations may be paid off substantially slower than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply. During periods of falling interest rates, the income received by the Fund may decline. If the principal on a debt security is prepaid before expected, the prepayments of principal may have to be reinvested in obligations paying interest at lower rates. Debt securities generally do not trade on a securities exchange making them generally less liquid and more difficult to value than common stock.
DEFAULTED SECURITIES RISK. Defaulted securities pose a greater risk that principal will not be repaid than non-defaulted securities. The reorganization or liquidation of an issuer of a defaulted security may result in the Fund losing its entire investment or being required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. It may also be difficult to obtain complete and accurate information regarding the true financial condition of the issuer of a defaulted security. Defaulted securities and any securities received in an exchange for such securities may be subject to restrictions on resale.
EXTENSION RISK. Extension risk is the risk that, when interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the issuer (or other obligated party) more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these debt securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of debt securities, making their market value more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term debt securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term debt securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value.
FLOATING RATE DEBT INSTRUMENTS RISK. Investments in floating rate debt instruments are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Floating rate debt instruments include debt securities issued by corporate and governmental entities, as well as bank loans, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities. Floating rate debt instruments are structured so that the security’s coupon rate fluctuates based upon the level of a reference rate. Most commonly, the coupon rate of a floating rate debt instrument is set at the level of a widely followed interest rate, plus a fixed spread. As a result, the coupon on floating rate debt instrument will generally decline in a falling interest rate environment, causing the Fund to experience a reduction in the income it receives from the instrument. A floating rate debt instrument’s coupon rate resets periodically according to its terms. Consequently, in a rising interest rate environment, floating rate debt instruments with coupon rates that reset infrequently may lag behind the changes in market interest rates. Floating rate debt instruments may also contain terms that impose a maximum coupon rate the issuer will pay, regardless of the level of the reference rate. To the extent the Fund invests in floating rate loans, such instruments may be subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such securities. It is possible that the collateral securing a floating rate loan may be insufficient or unavailable to the Fund, and that the Fund’s rights to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, floating rate loans may not be considered “securities” under federal securities laws, and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
HIGH YIELD SECURITIES RISK. High yield securities, or “junk” bonds, are subject to greater market fluctuations, are less liquid and provide a greater risk of loss than investment grade securities, and therefore, are considered to be highly speculative. In general, high yield securities may have a greater risk of default than other types of securities and could cause income and principal losses for the Fund.
INCOME RISK. The Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall or if there are defaults in its portfolio. This decline can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as debt securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional debt securities.
INDEX OR MODEL CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking exchange-traded funds or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund’s shares, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and
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the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity in the Fund’s shares.
INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline.
INTEREST RATE RISK. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of the debt securities in the Fund’s portfolio will decline because of rising market interest rates. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term debt securities and higher for longer-term debt securities. The Fund may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates than would normally be the case due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. Duration is a reasonably accurate measure of a debt security’s price sensitivity to changes in interest rates and a common measure of interest rate risk. Duration measures a debt security’s expected life on a present value basis, taking into account the debt security’s yield, interest payments and final maturity. In general, duration represents the expected percentage change in the value of a security for an immediate 1% change in interest rates. For example, the price of a debt security with a three-year duration would be expected to drop by approximately 3% in response to a 1% increase in interest rates. Therefore, prices of debt securities with shorter durations tend to be less sensitive to interest rate changes than debt securities with longer durations. As the value of a debt security changes over time, so will its duration.
LEVERAGE RISK. Leverage may result in losses that exceed the amount originally invested and may accelerate the rates of losses. Leverage tends to magnify, sometimes significantly, the effect of any increase or decrease in the Fund’s exposure to an asset or class of assets and may cause the value of the Fund’s shares to be volatile and sensitive to market swings.
LIBOR TRANSITION RISK. The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, intends to cease making LIBOR available as a reference rate over a phase-out period that is currently expected to begin after the end of 2021. However, subsequent announcements by the FCA, the LIBOR administrators, and other regulators indicate that it is possible that the most widely used LIBOR rates may continue until mid-2023. The unavailability or replacement of LIBOR may affect the value, liquidity or return on certain Fund investments and may result in costs incurred in connection with closing out positions and entering into new trades. Any potential effects of the transition away from LIBOR on the Fund or on certain instruments in which the Fund invests can be difficult to ascertain, and they may vary depending on a variety of factors. In the United States, it is anticipated that in many instances the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) will replace LIBOR as the reference rate for many of the floating rate instruments held by the Fund. There is no assurance that the composition or characteristics of SOFR, or any alternative reference rate, will be similar to or produce the same value or economic equivalence as LIBOR or that instruments using an alternative rate will have the same volume or liquidity. As a result, the transition process might lead to increased volatility and reduced liquidity in markets that currently rely on LIBOR to determine interest rates; a reduction in the value of some LIBOR-based investments; increased difficulty in borrowing or refinancing and diminished effectiveness of any applicable hedging strategies against instruments whose terms currently include LIBOR; and/or costs incurred in connection with temporary borrowings and closing out positions and entering into new agreements. Any such effects (as well as other unforeseen effects) of the transition away from LIBOR and the adoption of alternative reference rates could result in losses to the Fund.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund may hold certain investments that may be subject to restrictions on resale, trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or lack an active trading market. Accordingly, the Fund may not be able to sell or close out of such investments at favorable times or prices (or at all), or at the prices approximating those at which the Fund currently values them. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objectives.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which
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could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. For example, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of reasonably normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease. As this global pandemic illustrated, such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. These events also adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets. Any of such circumstances could have a materially negative impact on the value of the Fund’s shares and result in increased market volatility. During any such events, the Fund’s shares may trade at increased premiums or discounts to their net asset value.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. Non-U.S. securities are subject to higher volatility than securities of domestic issuers due to possible adverse political, social or economic developments, restrictions on foreign investment or exchange of securities, capital controls, lack of liquidity, currency exchange rates, excessive taxation, government seizure of assets, the imposition of sanctions by foreign governments, different legal or accounting standards, and less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges in foreign countries.
OPERATIONAL RISK. The Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund relies on third-parties for a range of services, including custody. Any delay or failure relating to engaging or maintaining such service providers may affect the Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective. Although the Fund and the Fund's investment advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. The Fund’s investment advisor cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), the Fund’s investment advisor believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained. During stressed market conditions, the market for the Fund’s shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the market for the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which could in turn lead to differences between the market price of the Fund’s shares and their net asset value.
PREPAYMENT RISK. Prepayment risk is the risk that the issuer of a debt security will repay principal prior to the scheduled maturity date. Debt securities allowing prepayment may offer less potential for gains during a period of declining interest rates, as the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds of any prepayment at lower interest rates. These factors may cause the value of an investment in the Fund to change.
SENIOR LOAN RISK. Senior loans represent debt obligations of sub-investment grade corporate borrowers, similar to high yield bonds; however, senior loans are different from traditional high yield bonds in that senior loans are typically senior to other obligations of the borrower and generally secured by a lien on all or some portion of the assets of the borrower. The senior loan market has seen a significant increase in loans with weaker lender protections including, but not limited to, limited financial maintenance covenants or, in some cases, no financial maintenance covenants (i.e., “covenant-lite loans”) that would typically be included in a traditional loan agreement and general weakening of other restrictive covenants applicable to the
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borrower such as limitations on incurrence of additional debt, restrictions on payments of junior debt or restrictions on dividends and distributions. Weaker lender protections such as the absence of financial maintenance covenants in a loan agreement and the inclusion of “borrower-favorable” terms may impact recovery values and/or trading levels of senior loans in the future. The absence of financial maintenance covenants in a loan agreement generally means that the lender may not be able to declare a default if financial performance deteriorates. This may hinder the Fund’s ability to reprice credit risk associated with a particular borrower and reduce the Fund’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, the Fund’s exposure to losses on investments in senior loans may be increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle or changes in market or economic conditions.
Senior loans are also subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding senior loans. If the Fund holds a senior loan through another financial institution or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. Although senior loans are generally secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal or that such collateral could be readily liquidated.
No active trading market may exist for certain senior loans, which may impair the ability of the Fund to realize full value in the event of the need to sell its position in a senior loan and which may make it difficult to accurately value senior loans. Lastly, senior loans may not be considered “securities,” and the Fund may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
SHORT SALES RISK. In connection with a short sale of a security or other instrument, the Fund is subject to the risk that instead of declining, the price of the security or other instrument sold short will rise. If the price of the security or other instrument sold short increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the security or other instrument borrowed to make the short sale, the Fund will experience a loss, which is theoretically unlimited since there is a theoretically unlimited potential for the market price of a security or other instrument sold short to increase. In addition, as a series of an investment company registered under the 1940 Act, the Fund must segregate liquid assets, or engage in other measures to “cover” open positions with respect to short sales. The Fund may nonetheless incur significant losses on short sales even if they are covered.
SIGNIFICANT EXPOSURE RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a significant percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A significant exposure makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater market risk than a fund that is more broadly diversified.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments, and their securities may be less liquid and may experience greater price volatility than larger, more established companies as a result of several factors, including limited trading volumes, fewer products or financial resources, management inexperience and less publicly available information. Accordingly, such companies are generally subject to greater market risk than larger, more established companies.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Trading in Fund shares on the Exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in Fund shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small, the Fund does not have enough shareholders, or if the Fund is unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders.
VALUATION RISK. The Fund may hold securities or other assets that may be valued on the basis of factors other than market quotations. This may occur because the asset or security does not trade on a centralized exchange, or in times of market turmoil or reduced liquidity. There are multiple methods that can be used to value a portfolio holding when market quotations are not readily available. The value established for any portfolio holding at a point in time might differ from what would be produced using a different methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations. Portfolio holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” assets or securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their valuations from one day to the next than if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that the Fund could sell or close out a portfolio position for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that the Fund
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would incur a loss because a portfolio position is sold or closed out at a discount to the valuation established by the Fund at that time. The Fund’s ability to value investments may be impacted by technological issues or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.
Annual Total Return
The bar chart and table below illustrate the annual calendar year returns of the Fund based on net asset value as well as the average annual Fund returns. The bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year-to-year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns based on net asset value compared to those of a market index. See “Total Return Information” for additional performance information regarding the Fund. The Fund’s performance information is accessible on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF
Calendar Year Total Returns as of 12/31
During the periods shown in the chart above:
Best Quarter
 
Worst Quarter
 
7.77%
June 30, 2020
-10.60%
March 31, 2020
The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.
Returns before taxes do not reflect the effects of any income or capital gains taxes. All after-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of any state or local tax. Returns after taxes on distributions reflect the taxed return on the payment of dividends and capital gains. Returns after taxes on distributions and sale of shares assume you sold your shares at period end, and, therefore, are also adjusted for any capital gains or losses incurred. Returns for the market indices do not include expenses, which are deducted from Fund returns, or taxes.
Your own actual after-tax returns will depend on your specific tax situation and may differ from what is shown here. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold Fund shares in tax-deferred accounts such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or employee-sponsored retirement plans.
Average Annual Total Returns for the Periods Ended December 31, 2021
 
1 Year
5 Years
Since
Inception
Inception
Date
Return Before Taxes
3.60%
5.33%
5.15%
2/25/2013
Return After Taxes on Distributions
1.34%
3.01%
2.72%
 
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares
2.11%
3.05%
2.83%
 
ICE BofA US High Yield Constrained Index (reflects no deduction
for fees, expenses or taxes)
5.35%
6.08%
5.68%
 
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Management
Investment Advisor
First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”)
Portfolio Managers
The following persons serve as portfolio managers of the Fund.
William Housey, CFA, Managing Director of Fixed Income and Senior Portfolio Manager of First Trust
Jeffrey Scott, CFA, Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager of First Trust
The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Mr. Housey has served as a part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2013, while Mr. Scott has served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2020.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in large blocks of shares called “Creation Units.” Individual shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold on the secondary market through a broker-dealer. Since shares of the Fund trade on securities exchanges in the secondary market at their market price rather than their net asset value, the Fund’s shares may trade at a price greater than (premium) or less than (discount) the Fund’s net asset value. An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”). Recent information, including the Fund’s net asset value, market price, premiums and discounts, bid-ask spreads and the median bid-ask spread for the Fund’s most recent fiscal year, is available online at https://www.ftportfolios.com/Retail/etf/home.aspx.
Tax Information
The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions on shares held in a tax-deferred account, while not immediately taxable, will be subject to tax when the shares are no longer held in a tax-deferred account.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), First Trust and First Trust Portfolios L.P., the Fund’s distributor, may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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Additional Information on the Fund's Investment Objectives and Strategies
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV and is regulated as an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "1940 Act"). The Fund is actively managed and does not seek to track the performance of an index. The Fund’s investment objectives are fundamental and may not be changed without approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Unless an investment policy is identified as being fundamental, all investment policies included in this prospectus and the Fund's Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) without shareholder approval. If there is a material change to the Fund’s principal investment strategies, you should consider whether the Fund remains an appropriate investment for you. There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objectives.
The Fund has adopted a non-fundamental name policy pursuant to Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act, whereby the Fund, under normal market conditions, invests at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in high yield debt securities that are rated below investment grade at the time of purchase or unrated securities deemed by the Advisor to be of comparable quality. The Name Policy may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval upon 60 days’ prior written notice.
Additional Information on the Fund’s Strategy
The Fund’s investments in high yield debt securities may include senior and subordinated corporate debt obligations and senior floating rate loans, debtor-in-possession (DIP) loans and other junior or bridge loans. The Fund’s investments may also include loan interests that are not secured by any specific collateral of the borrower, loan interests that have a lower than first lien priority on collateral of the borrower, loans to foreign borrowers, loans in foreign currencies and other loans with characteristics that the Advisor believes qualify as bank loans. The Fund may also invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities. The Fund may receive equity, warrants, corporate bonds and other such securities as a result of the restructuring of the debt of an issuer, or a reorganization of a bank loan or bond, or as part of a package of securities acquired together with a high yield bond or bank loan(s) of an issuer. The Fund may sell securities for a variety of reasons, including, without limitation, to take advantage of a profit on a security, to mitigate risk and to meet redemptions.
The Fund under normal market conditions, invests at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in high yield debt securities that are rated below investment grade at the time of purchase or unrated securities deemed by the Advisor to be of comparable quality. Such securities may include U.S. and non-U.S. corporate debt obligations, bank loans and convertible bonds. High yield debt securities that are rated below investment grade are commonly referred to as “junk” debt. For purposes of determining whether a security is below investment grade, the lowest available rating will be considered. The Fund’s long positions may total up to 130% of the Fund’s net assets. The Fund will take short positions in securities that the Advisor believes will decline or in the aggregate will underperform the Index. These securities may consist of securities included in the Index or other securities, including U.S. Treasury securities, that the Advisor believes will decline or in the aggregate will underperform the Index. The Fund’s short positions will range between 0% and 30% of the Fund’s net assets.
Fund Investments
Principal Investments
Bank Loans
The Fund may invest up to 40% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in bank loans; however the Fund invests no more than 15% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in junior loans, and all other bank loans in which the Fund invests are Senior Loans. However, this 40% limit does not apply to investment companies purchased by the Fund that invest principally in bank loans. At least 75% of the Fund’s net assets that are invested in bank loans would be invested in tranches that have a minimum principal amount outstanding of $100 million or more with respect to U.S. borrowers and $200 million or more with respect to non-U.S. borrowers. The Fund may invest in such loans by purchasing assignments on all or a portion of loans or loan participations from third parties. These loans are made by or issued to corporations primarily to finance acquisitions, refinance existing debt, support organic growth, or pay out dividends, and are typically originated by large banks and then syndicated out to institutional investors as well as to other banks. Bank loans typically bear interest at a floating rate although some loans pay a fixed rate. Due to their subordination in the borrower’s capital structure, unsecured and/or subordinated loans involve a higher degree of overall risk than senior bank loans of the same borrower. Unfunded contracts are commitments by lenders (such as the Fund) to loan an amount in the future or that is due to be contractually funded in the future.
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Senior floating rate loans are made to companies whose debt is rated below investment grade. Senior floating rate loans typically hold or share a first lien priority and pay interest at rates which are determined periodically on the basis of a floating base lending rate, such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), the Secured Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR"), a similar reference rate, or the prime rate offered by one or more major U.S. banks, plus a premium. Senior floating rate loans are typically made to U.S. and, to a lesser extent, non-U.S. corporations, partnerships and other business entities which operate in various industries and geographical regions. Borrowers may obtain these loans to, among other reasons, refinance existing debt and for acquisitions, dividends, leveraged buyouts, and general corporate purposes.
Senior floating rate loans typically are rated below investment grade. Below investment grade securities often are regarded as having predominately speculative characteristics with respect to an issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Although many of the Fund’s investments may consist of securities rated below investment grade, the Fund reserves the right to invest in debt securities, including senior floating rate loans, of any credit quality, maturity and duration.
The senior loan market has seen a significant increase in loans with few or none of the financial maintenance covenants (i.e., “covenant-lite loans”) that have traditionally protected lenders including more aggressive terms that favor borrowers with respect to restrictions regarding additional debt, payment terms, income requirements and asset dispositions. A substantial amount of the senior loans held by the Fund are expected to be covenant-lite loans, meaning the Fund may be unable to declare an event of default if financial performance deteriorates, renegotiate the terms of the loan based upon the elevated risk levels or take other actions to help mitigate losses.
Corporate Debt Securities
The Fund may invest corporate debt securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. companies of all kinds, including those with small, mid and large capitalizations. Corporate debt securities are fixed income securities issued by businesses to finance or expand their operations. Notes, bonds, debentures and commercial paper are the most common types of corporate debt securities, with the primary differences being their maturities and secured or unsecured status. Commercial paper has the shortest term and is usually unsecured. Such debt instruments are typically issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest-bearing notes, or by an affiliated business trust of a corporation, generally in the form of (i) beneficial interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities or (ii) more senior debt securities that pay income and trade in a manner similar to preferred securities. Corporate debt may be rated investment grade or below investment grade and may carry fixed or floating rates of interest.
Derivatives
The Fund may invest up to 30% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in derivative instruments to allow the Fund to seek to enhance return, to hedge some of the risks of its investments in securities, as a substitute for a position in an underlying asset, to reduce transaction costs, to maintain full market exposure (which means to adjust the characteristics of its investments to more closely approximate those of the markets in which it invests), to manage cash flows, to preserve capital or to manage its foreign currency exposures.
The Fund will comply with the regulatory requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with respect to coverage of options and futures positions by registered investment companies and, if the guidelines so require, will earmark or set aside cash, U.S. Government securities, high grade liquid debt securities and/or other liquid assets permitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission in a segregated custodial account in the amount prescribed (or take such other actions permitted by law). Securities earmarked or held in a segregated account cannot be sold while the futures or options position is outstanding, unless replaced with other permissible assets, and will be marked to market daily.
High Yield Debt
The Fund invests primarily in debt instruments (e.g., bonds, loans and convertible bonds) that are rated below investment grade, or unrated securities deemed by the Advisor to be of comparable quality. Debt securities rated below investment grade are commonly referred to as “high yield” or “junk” debt. For purposes of determining whether a security is below investment grade, the lowest available rating will be considered. High yield debt may be issued by companies without long track records of sales and earnings, or by issuers that have questionable credit strength. High yield debt and comparable unrated debt securities: (a) will likely have some quality and protective characteristics that, in the judgment of the rating agency evaluating the instrument, are out weighed by large uncertainties or major risk exposures to adverse conditions; and (b) are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay dividends or interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation.
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Non-U.S. Debt Securities
Non-U.S. debt securities include debt securities issued or guaranteed by companies organized under the laws of countries other than the United States, debt securities issued or guaranteed by foreign, national, provincial, state, municipal or other governments with taxing authority or by their agencies or instrumentalities and debt obligations of supranational governmental entities such as the World Bank or European Union. These debt securities may be U.S. dollar-denominated or non-U.S. dollar-denominated. Non-U.S. debt securities also include U.S. dollar-denominated debt obligations, such as “Yankee Dollar” obligations, of foreign issuers and of supranational government entities. Yankee Dollar obligations are U.S. dollar-denominated obligations issued in the U.S. capital markets by foreign corporations, banks and governments. Non-U.S. debt securities also may be traded on non-U.S. securities exchanges or in over-the-counter capital markets. Under normal market conditions, up to 10% of the net assets (including investment borrowings) of the Fund may be denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. To the extent the Fund invests in such instruments, the value of the assets of the Fund as measured in U.S. dollars will be affected by changes in exchange rates. Generally, the Fund’s currency exchange transactions will be conducted on a spot (i.e., cash) basis at the spot rate prevailing in the currency exchange market. The cost of the Fund’s currency exchange transactions will generally be the difference between the bid and offer spot rate of the currency being purchased or sold. In order to protect against uncertainty in the level of future currency exchange rates, the Fund is authorized to enter into various currency exchange transactions.
Senior Loans
Senior loans represent debt obligations of sub-investment grade corporate borrowers, similar to high yield bonds; however, senior loans are different from traditional high yield bonds in that senior loans are typically senior to other obligations of the borrower and generally secured by a lien on all or some portion of the assets of the borrower. These loans are often arranged by a syndicate of banks to refinance a borrower’s existing debt, to finance acquisitions, dividends, leveraged buyouts, and for general corporate purposes. Senior loans may be acquired by the Fund in whole or through the purchase of a participation. Senior loans rank at the top of a borrower’s capital structure in terms of priority of payment, ahead of any subordinated debt or the borrower’s preferred or common equity. These loans are often secured, as the holders of these loans typically hold or share a first lien priority on most if not all of the corporate borrower’s plant, property, equipment, receivables, cash balances, licenses, trademarks, etc. Senior loans typically pay interest at rates which are determined periodically on the basis of a floating base lending rate, primarily the LIBOR, plus a premium. Senior loans are typically made to U.S. and, to a lesser extent, non-U.S. corporations, partnerships and other business entities which operate in various industries and geographical regions.
The senior loan market has seen a significant increase in loans with few or none of the financial maintenance covenants (i.e.,“covenant-lite loans”) that have traditionally protected lenders including more aggressive terms that favor borrowers with respect to restrictions regarding additional debt, payment terms, income requirements and asset dispositions. A substantial amount of the senior loans held by the Fund are expected to be covenant-lite loans, meaning the Fund may be unable to declare an event of default if financial performance deteriorates, renegotiate the terms of the loan based upon the elevated risk levels or take other actions to help mitigate losses.
Non-Principal Investments
Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments
Normally, the Fund invests substantially all of its assets to meet its investment objectives. The Fund may invest the remainder of its assets in securities with maturities of less than one year or cash equivalents, or each may hold cash. The percentage of the Fund invested in such holdings varies and depends on several factors, including market conditions. For temporary defensive purposes and during periods of high cash inflows or outflows, the Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies and invest part or all of its assets in these securities, or it may hold cash. During such periods, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objectives. The Fund may adopt a defensive strategy when the portfolio managers believe securities in which the Fund normally invests have elevated risks due to political or economic factors and in other extraordinary circumstances. For more information on eligible short-term investments, see the Fund's SAI.
Convertible Bonds
The Fund may invest in convertible bonds. Convertible bonds combine the investment characteristics of bonds and common stocks. Convertible bonds typically consist of debt securities or preferred securities that may be converted within a specified period of time (typically for the entire life of the security) into a certain amount of common stock or other equity security of the same or a different issuer at a predetermined price. They also include debt securities with warrants or common stock attached and derivatives combining the features of debt securities and equity securities. Convertible bonds entitle the holder
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to receive interest paid or accrued on debt, or dividends paid or accrued on preferred securities, until the securities mature or are redeemed, converted or exchanged.
Illiquid Investments
The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in securities and other instruments that are, at the time of investment, illiquid (determined using the Securities and Exchange Commission's standard applicable to investment companies, i.e., any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment). For this purpose, illiquid investments may include, but are not limited to, certain restricted securities (securities the disposition of which is restricted under the federal securities laws), certain securities that may only be resold pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act, that are deemed to be illiquid, and certain repurchase agreements.
Investment Companies and Other Pooled Investment Vehicles
The Fund may invest in securities of other investment companies, including other exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”). As a shareholder in a pooled investment vehicle, the Fund bears its ratable share of that vehicle's expenses and would remain subject to payment of the Fund's management fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other pooled investment vehicles. In addition, the Fund will incur brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of ETFs and closed-end investment companies. Securities of other pooled investment vehicles may be leveraged, in which case the value and/or yield of such securities will tend to be more volatile than securities of unleveraged vehicles. The Fund may satisfy the Name Policy by investing in investment companies and other pooled investment vehicles that are subject to a comparable name policy and invest in the types of securities in which the Fund may invest directly.
The Fund's ability to invest in other investment companies is limited by the 1940 Act and the related rules and interpretations. The Fund has adopted a policy that it will not invest in other investment companies in excess of 1940 Act limits in reliance on Sections 12(d)(1)(F) and 12(d)(1)(G).
Mortgage-Backed Securities
Although not a part of the Fund’s principal investment strategy, the Fund may invest in mortgage-backed securities, which represent direct or indirect participations in, or are secured by and payable from, mortgage loans secured by real property and can include single- and multi-class pass-through securities and collateralized mortgage obligations. Mortgage-backed securities are based on different types of mortgages, including those on commercial real estate or residential properties. These securities often have stated maturities of up to thirty years when they are issued, depending upon the length of the mortgages underlying the securities. The Fund may also invest in U.S. agency mortgage-backed securities and collateralized mortgage securities issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”), the Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”).
Preferred Securities
The Fund may invest in preferred securities, which generally pay fixed or adjustable-rate dividends or interest to investors and have preference over common stock in the payment of dividends or interest and the liquidation of a company’s assets, which means that a company typically must pay dividends or interest on its preferred securities before paying any dividends on its common stock. Preferred securities are generally junior to all forms of the company’s debt, including both senior and subordinated debt.
While some preferred securities are issued with a final maturity date, others are perpetual in nature. In certain instances, a final maturity date may be extended and/or the final payment of principal may be deferred at the issuer’s option for a specified time without any adverse consequence to the issuer. No redemption can typically take place unless all cumulative payment obligations to preferred security investors have been met, although issuers may be able to engage in open-market repurchases without regard to any cumulative dividends or interest payable. A portion of the portfolio may include investments in non-cumulative preferred securities, whereby the issuer does not have an obligation to make up any arrearages to holders of such securities. Should an issuer default on its obligations under such a security, the amount of income earned by the Fund may be adversely affected.
Preferred securities may be issued by trusts or other special purpose entities established by operating companies, and therefore may not be direct obligations of operating companies. At the time a trust or special purpose entity sells its preferred securities to investors, the trust or special purpose entity generally purchases debt of the operating company (with terms comparable
15

to those of the trust or special purpose entity securities). The trust or special purpose entity, as the holder of the operating company’s debt, has priority with respect to the operating company’s earnings and profits over the operating company’s common shareholders, but is typically subordinated to other classes of the operating company’s debt. Typically a preferred share has a rating that is below that of its corresponding operating company’s senior debt securities due to its subordinated nature.
U.S. Government Securities
The Fund may invest in U.S. government securities. U.S. government securities include U.S. Treasury obligations and securities issued or guaranteed by various agencies of the U.S. government, or by various instrumentalities that have been established or sponsored by the U.S. government. U.S. Treasury obligations are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government. Securities issued or guaranteed by federal agencies and U.S. government sponsored instrumentalities may or may not be backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings
The Fund’s portfolio holdings are available on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com. A description of the policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund's portfolio securities is included in the Fund's SAI, which is also available on the Fund's website.
Risks of Investing in the Fund
Risk is inherent in all investing. Investing in the Fund involves risk, including the risk that you may lose all or part of your investment. There can be no assurance that the Fund will meet its stated objectives. Before you invest, you should consider the following disclosure pertaining to the Principal Risks set forth above as well as additional Non-Principal Risks set forth below in this prospectus. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Principal Risks
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. However, participants are not obligated to make a market in the Fund’s shares or submit purchase and redemption orders for creation units. To the extent that these institutions exit the business, reduce their role or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
BANK LOANS RISK. The Fund may invest in secured and unsecured participations in bank loans and assignments of such loans. In making investments in such loans, which are made by banks or other financial intermediaries to borrowers, the Fund will depend primarily upon the creditworthiness of the borrower for payment of principal and interest which will expose the Fund to the credit risk of the underlying borrower. Participations by the Fund in a lender's portion of a bank loan typically will result in the Fund having a contractual relationship only with such lender, not with the borrower. The Fund may have the right to receive payments of principal, interest and any fees to which it is entitled only from the lender selling a loan participation and only upon receipt by such lender of such payments from the borrower, which exposes the Fund to the credit risk of the lender. In connection with purchasing participations, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the borrower with the terms of the loan agreement, nor any rights with respect to any funds acquired by other lenders through set-off against the borrower, and the Fund may not directly benefit from any collateral supporting the loan in which it has purchased the participation. There is also the risk that the value of any collateral securing a loan may decline and that the collateral may be insufficient to cover the amount owed on the loan, particularly for second lien loans or other junior or subordinated loans held by the Fund. The secondary market for bank loans may not be highly liquid, and the Fund may have difficulty selling bank loans (other than at a discount) and it may experience settlement delays with respect to bank loan trades (in some cases longer than 7 days.) Further, loans held by the Fund may not be considered securities and, therefore, purchasers, such as the Fund, may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws and would be forced to rely upon the contractual persons in the loan agreement and states law to enforce its rights to repayment. Many of the loans in which the Fund may invest or obtain exposure to may be “covenant-lite” loans. The amount of public information available with respect to bank loans may be less extensive than available for registered or exchange-traded securities. Covenant-lite loans may contain fewer or no maintenance covenants compared to other loans and may not include terms which allow the lender to monitor the performance of the borrower and declare a default if certain criteria are breached. The Fund may experience relatively greater realized or unrealized losses or delays in enforcing its rights on its holdings of covenant-lite loans than its holdings of loans with the usual covenants.
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CALL RISK. Some debt securities may be redeemed at the option of the issuer, or “called,” before their stated maturity date. In general, an issuer will call its debt securities if they can be refinanced by issuing new debt securities which bear a lower interest rate. The Fund is subject to the possibility that during periods of falling interest rates an issuer will call its high yielding debt securities. The Fund would then be forced to invest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates, likely resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income. Such redemptions and subsequent reinvestments would also increase a Fund’s portfolio turnover. If a called debt security was purchased by a Fund at a premium, the value of the premium may be lost in the event of a redemption.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund will effect some or all of its creations and redemptions for cash rather than in-kind. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects its creations and redemptions only in-kind. ETFs are able to make in-kind redemptions and avoid being taxed on gains on the distributed portfolio securities at the fund level. A Fund that effects redemptions for cash may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. Any recognized gain on these sales by the Fund will generally cause the Fund to recognize a gain it might not otherwise have recognized, or to recognize such gain sooner than would otherwise be required if it were to distribute portfolio securities only in-kind. The Fund intends to distribute these gains to shareholders to avoid being taxed on this gain at the fund level and otherwise comply with the special tax rules that apply to it. This strategy may cause shareholders to be subject to tax on gains they would not otherwise be subject to, or at an earlier date than if they had made an investment in a different ETF. Moreover, cash transactions may have to be carried out over several days if the securities market is relatively illiquid and may involve considerable brokerage fees and taxes. These brokerage fees and taxes, which will be higher than if the Fund sold and redeemed its shares entirely in-kind, will be passed on to those purchasing and redeeming Creation Units in the form of creation and redemption transaction fees. In addition, these factors may result in wider spreads between the bid and the offered prices of the Fund’s shares than for ETFs that distribute portfolio securities in-kind.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. The Fund is subject to counterparty risk. If the Fund enters into an investment or transaction that depends on the performance of another party, the Fund becomes subject to the credit risk of that counterparty. The Fund's ability to profit from these types of investments and transactions depends on the willingness and ability of the Fund’s counterparty to perform its obligations. If a counterparty fails to meet its contractual obligations, the Fund may be unable to terminate or realize any gain on the investment or transaction, resulting in a loss to the Fund. The Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery in an insolvency, bankruptcy, or other reorganization proceeding involving a counterparty (including recovery of any collateral posted by it) and may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances. If the Fund holds collateral posted by its counterparty, it may be delayed or prevented from realizing on the collateral in the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency proceeding relating to the counterparty. Under applicable law or contractual provisions, including if the Fund enters into an investment or transaction with a financial institution and such financial institution (or an affiliate of the financial institution) experiences financial difficulties, then the Fund may in certain situations be prevented or delayed from exercising its rights to terminate the investment or transaction, or to realize on any collateral and may result in the suspension of payment and delivery obligations of the parties under such investment or transactions or in another institution being substituted for that financial institution without the consent of the Fund. Further, the Fund may be subject to “bail-in” risk under applicable law whereby, if required by the financial institution's authority, the financial institution's liabilities could be written down, eliminated or converted into equity or an alternative instrument of ownership. A bail-in of a financial institution may result in a reduction in value of some or all of securities and, if the Fund holds such securities or has entered into a transaction with such a financial security when a bail-in occurs, the Fund may also be similarly impacted.
COVENANT-LITE LOANS RISK. Substantially all of the senior loans in which the Fund invests are expected to be covenant-lite loans. The loan agreement, which sets forth the terms of a loan and the obligations of the borrower and lender, contains certain covenants that mandate or prohibit certain borrower actions, including financial covenants that dictate certain minimum and maximum financial performance levels. Covenants that require the borrower to maintain certain financial metrics during the life of the loan (such as maintaining certain levels of cash flow and limiting leverage) are known as “maintenance covenants.” These covenants are included to permit the lender to monitor the performance of the borrower and declare an event of default if breached, allowing the lender to renegotiate the terms of the loan based upon the elevated risk levels or take other actions to help mitigate losses. Covenant-lite loans contain fewer or no maintenance covenants making an investment in these types of loans inherently riskier than an investment in loans containing provisions allowing the lender reprice credit risk associated with the borrower or restructure a problematic loan. The Fund’s elevated exposure to such loans during a downturn in the credit cycle could cause the Fund to experience outsized losses.
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CREDIT RISK. An issuer or other obligated party of a debt security may be unable or unwilling to make dividend, interest and/or principal payments when due. In addition, the value of a debt security may decline because of concerns about the issuer’s ability or unwillingness to make such payments. Debt securities are subject to varying degrees of credit risk which are often reflected in credit ratings. The credit rating of a debt security may be lowered if the issuer or other obligated party suffers adverse changes to its financial condition. These adverse changes may lead to greater volatility in the price of the debt security and affect the security’s liquidity. High yield and comparable unrated debt securities, while generally offering higher yields than investment grade debt with similar maturities, involve greater risks, including the possibility of dividend or interest deferral, default or bankruptcy, and are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay dividends or interest and repay principal. To the extent that the Fund holds debt securities that are secured or guaranteed by financial institutions, changes in credit quality of such financial institutions could cause values of the debt security to deviate.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. These risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the systems of the Advisor, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, sub-advisors, index providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, authorized participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value; disclosure of confidential trading information; impediments to trading; submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; or additional compliance costs. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or authorized participants. However, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, and the Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
DEBT SECURITIES RISK. Investments in debt securities subject the holder to the credit risk of the issuer. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer or other obligor of a security will not be able or willing to make payments of interest and principal when due. Generally, the value of debt securities will change inversely with changes in interest rates. To the extent that interest rates rise, certain underlying obligations may be paid off substantially slower than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply. During periods of falling interest rates, the income received by the Fund may decline. If the principal on a debt security is prepaid before expected, the prepayments of principal may have to be reinvested in obligations paying interest at lower rates. Debt securities generally do not trade on a centralized securities exchange making them generally less liquid and more difficult to value than common stock. The values of debt securities may also increase or decrease as a result of market fluctuations, actual or perceived inability or unwillingness of issuers, guarantors or liquidity providers to make scheduled principal or interest payments or illiquidity in debt securities markets generally.
DEFAULTED SECURITIES RISK. Defaulted securities pose a greater risk that principal will not be repaid than non-defaulted securities. The reorganization or liquidation of an issuer of a defaulted security may result in the Fund losing its entire investment or being required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. It may also be difficult to obtain complete and accurate information regarding the true financial condition of the issuer of a defaulted security. Defaulted securities and any securities received in an exchange for such securities may be subject to restrictions on resale.
EXTENSION RISK. Extension risk is the risk that, when interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the issuer (or other obligated party) more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these debt securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of debt securities, making them more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term debt securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term debt securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value. Extension risk is particularly
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prevalent for a callable debt security where an increase in interest rates could result in the issuer of that security choosing not to redeem the debt security as anticipated on the security’s call date. Such a decision by the issuer could have the effect of lengthening the debt security’s expected maturity, making it more vulnerable to interest rate risk and reducing its market value.
FLOATING RATE DEBT INSTRUMENTS RISK. Investments in floating rate debt instruments are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Floating rate debt instruments include debt securities issued by corporate and governmental entities, as well as bank loans, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities. Floating rate debt instruments are structured so that the security’s coupon rate fluctuates based upon the level of a reference rate. Most commonly, the coupon rate of a floating rate debt instrument is set at the level of a widely followed interest rate, plus a fixed spread. As a result, the coupon on floating rate debt instrument will generally decline in a falling interest rate environment, causing the Fund to experience a reduction in the income it receives from the instrument. A floating rate debt instrument’s coupon rate resets periodically according to its terms. Consequently, in a rising interest rate environment, floating rate debt instruments with coupon rates that reset infrequently may lag behind the changes in market interest rates. Floating rate debt instruments may also contain terms that impose a maximum coupon rate the issuer will pay, regardless of the level of the reference rate. The Fund may invest in floating rate loans considered to be high yield, or “junk,” instruments and considered speculative because of the credit risk of their issuers. Such issuers are more likely than investment grade issuers to default on their payments of interest and principal owed to the Fund. An economic downturn would also generally lead to a higher non-payment rate, and a floating rate debt instrument may lose significant market value before a default occurs. To the extent the Fund invests in floating rate loans, such instruments may be subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such securities. It is possible that the collateral securing a floating rate loan may be insufficient or unavailable to Fund, and that the Fund’s rights to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for floating rate loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods which may cause the Fund to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. Lastly, floating rate loans may not be considered “securities,” and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
HIGH YIELD SECURITIES RISK. The Fund’s investment in high yield securities, or “junk” bonds, may entail increased credit risks and the risk that the value of the Fund’s assets will decline, and may decline precipitously, with increases in interest rates. In recent years there have been wide fluctuations in interest rates and therefore in the value of debt securities generally. High yield securities are, under most circumstances, subject to greater market fluctuations and risk of loss of income and principal than are investments in lower-yielding, higher-rated debt securities. As interest rates rise, the value of high yield securities may decline precipitously. Increased rates may also indicate a slowdown in the economy which may adversely affect the credit of issuers of high yield securities resulting in a higher incidence of defaults among such issuers. A slowdown in the economy, or a development adversely affecting an issuer’s creditworthiness, may result in the issuer being unable to maintain earnings or sell assets at the rate and at the prices, respectively, that are required to produce sufficient cash flow to meet its interest and principal requirements. The Fund’s portfolio managers cannot predict future economic policies or their consequences or, therefore, the course or extent of any similar market fluctuations in the future. In addition, high yield securities are generally less liquid than investment grade securities.
INCOME RISK. The Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall. This decline can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as debt securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional debt securities. In addition, the Fund’s income could decline when the Fund experiences defaults on the debt securities it holds.
INDEX OR MODEL CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking ETFs or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund’s shares. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity. To the extent buying or selling activity increases, the Fund can be exposed to increased brokerage costs and adverse tax consequences and the market price of the Fund can be negatively affected.
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INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline. This risk is more prevalent with respect to debt securities held by the Fund. Inflation creates uncertainty over the future real value (after inflation) of an investment. Inflation rates may change frequently and drastically as a result of various factors, including unexpected shifts in the domestic or global economy, and the Fund’s investments may not keep pace with inflation, which may result in losses to Fund investors.
INTEREST RATE RISK. The value of debt securities held by the Fund will fluctuate in value with changes in interest rates. In general, debt securities will increase in value when interest rates fall and decrease in value when interest rates rise. The Fund may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates than would normally be the case due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term investments and higher for longer term investments. Duration is a common measure of interest rate risk. Duration measures a debt security’s expected life on a present value basis, taking into account the debt security’s yield, interest payments and final maturity. Duration is a reasonably accurate measure of a debt security’s price sensitivity to changes in interest rates. The longer the duration of a debt security, the greater the debt security’s price sensitivity is to changes in interest rates. Rising interest rates also may lengthen the duration of debt securities with call features, since exercise of the call becomes less likely as interest rates rise, which in turn will make the securities more sensitive to changes in interest rates and result in even steeper price declines in the event of further interest rate increases. An increase in interest rates could also cause principal payments on a debt security to be repaid at a slower rate than expected. This risk is particularly prevalent for a callable debt security where an increase in interest rates could cause the issuer of that security to not redeem the security as anticipated on the call date, effectively lengthening the security’s expected maturity, in turn making that security more vulnerable to interest rate risk and reducing its market value. When interest rates fall, the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds from the sale, redemption or early prepayment of a debt security at a lower interest rate.
LEVERAGE RISK. The Fund has exposure to instruments subjecting them to leverage risk. Leverage may result in losses that exceed the amount originally invested and may accelerate the rates of losses. Leverage tends to magnify, sometimes significantly, the effect of any increase or decrease in the Fund’s exposure to an asset or class of assets and may cause the value of the Fund’s portfolio and the Fund’s shares to be volatile and sensitive to market swings. Certain instruments have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment.
LIBOR TRANSITION RISK. The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, intends to cease making LIBOR available as a reference rate over a phase-out period that is currently expected to begin after the end of 2021. However, subsequent announcements by the FCA, the LIBOR administrators, and other regulators indicate that it is possible that the most widely used LIBOR rates may continue until mid-2023. The unavailability or replacement of LIBOR may affect the value, liquidity or return on certain Fund investments and may result in costs incurred in connection with closing out positions and entering into new trades. Any potential effects of the transition away from LIBOR on the Fund or on certain instruments in which the Fund invests can be difficult to ascertain, and they may vary depending on a variety of factors. In the United States, it is anticipated that in many instances the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) will replace LIBOR as the reference rate for many of the floating rate instruments held by the Fund. There is no assurance that the composition or characteristics of SOFR, or any alternative reference rate, will be similar to or produce the same value or economic equivalence as LIBOR or that instruments using an alternative rate will have the same volume or liquidity. As a result, the transition process might lead to increased volatility and reduced liquidity in markets that currently rely on LIBOR to determine interest rates; a reduction in the value of some LIBOR-based investments; increased difficulty in borrowing or refinancing and diminished effectiveness of any applicable hedging strategies against instruments whose terms currently include LIBOR; and/or costs incurred in connection with temporary borrowings and closing out positions and entering into new agreements. Any such effects (as well as other unforeseen effects) of the transition away from LIBOR and the adoption of alternative reference rates could result in losses to the Fund.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund may have investments that it may not be able to dispose of or close out readily at a favorable time or price (or at all), or at a price approximating the Fund’s valuation of the investment. For example, certain investments may be subject to restrictions on resale, may trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or may not have an active trading market. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value. It may be difficult for the Fund to value illiquid securities accurately. The market for certain investments may become illiquid under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the conditions of a particular issuer. If the Fund needed to sell a large block of illiquid securities to meet shareholder redemption request or
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to raise cash, these sales could further reduce the securities’ prices and adversely affect performance of the Fund. Disposal of illiquid securities may entail registration expenses and other transaction costs that are higher than those for liquid securities.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective(s), meet relevant benchmarks or perform as well as other funds with similar objectives.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments due to short-term market movements or any longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. For example, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of reasonably normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease. As this global pandemic illustrated, such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. These events also adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets. Any of such circumstances could have a materially negative impact on the value of the Fund’s shares and result in increased market volatility. During any such events, the Fund’s shares may trade at increased premiums or discounts to their net asset value.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. The Fund may invest in non-U.S. securities. An investment in securities of non-U.S. companies involves risks not associated with domestic issuers. Investment in non-U.S. securities may involve higher costs than investment in U.S. securities, including higher transaction and custody costs as well as the imposition of additional taxes by non-U.S. governments. Non-U.S. investments may also involve risks associated with the level of currency exchange rates, less complete financial information about the issuers, less market liquidity, more market volatility and political instability. Future political and economic developments, the possible imposition of withholding taxes on dividend income, the possible seizure or nationalization of non-U.S. holdings, the imposition of sanctions by foreign governments, the possible establishment of capital controls, exchange controls or freezes on the convertibility of currency or the adoption of other governmental restrictions might adversely affect an investment in non-U.S. securities. Additionally, non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less stringent regulation, and to different accounting, auditing and recordkeeping requirements. The U.S. and non-U.S. markets often rise and fall at different times or by different amounts due to economic or other regional developments particular to a given country or region.
OPERATIONAL RISK. The Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund relies on third-parties for a range of services, including custody. Any delay or failure relating to engaging or maintaining such service providers may affect the Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective. Although the Fund and the Fund’s investment advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. First Trust cannot predict
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whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), First Trust believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained absent disruptions to the creation and redemption mechanism, extreme market volatility or potential lack of authorized participants. During stressed market conditions, the market for the Fund’s shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the market for the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which could in turn lead to differences between the market price of the Fund’s shares and their net asset value.
PREPAYMENT RISK. Prepayment risk is the risk that the issuer of a debt security will repay principal (in part or in whole) prior to the scheduled maturity date. Debt securities allowing prepayment may offer less potential for gains during a period of declining interest rates, as the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds of any prepayment at lower interest rates, reducing its income. If the Fund purchased the debt securities at a premium, prepayments on the securities could cause the Fund to lose a portion of its principal investment. These factors may cause the value of an investment in the Fund to change. The impact of prepayments on the price of a debt security may be difficult to predict and may increase the security’s volatility.
SENIOR LOAN RISK. Senior loans represent debt obligations of sub-investment grade corporate borrowers, similar to high yield bonds; however, senior loans are different from traditional high yield bonds in that senior loans are typically senior to other obligations of the borrower and generally secured by the assets of the borrower. The senior loan market has seen a significant increase in loans with limited financial maintenance covenants or, in some cases, no financial maintenance covenants (i.e., “covenant-lite loans”) that would typically be included in a traditional loan credit agreement and general weakening of other restrictive covenants applicable to the borrower such as limitations on incurrence of additional debt, restrictions on payments of junior debt or restrictions on dividends and distributions, all of which may impact recovery values and/or trading levels of senior loans in the future. The absence of financial maintenance covenants in a loan agreement generally means that the lender may be unable to declare a default if financial performance deteriorates. This may hinder the Fund’s ability to reprice credit risk associated with the borrower and reduce the Fund’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, the Fund’s exposure to losses on investments in senior loans may be increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle or changes in market or economic conditions.
Senior loans are also subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding senior loans and because loan borrowers may be more highly leveraged and tend to be more adversely affected by changes in market or economic conditions. If the Fund holds a senior loan through another financial institution or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. Although senior loans are generally secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal or that such collateral could be readily liquidated. To the extent that a senior loan is collateralized by equity interests in the borrower or its subsidiaries, such equity interest may lose all of its value in the event of the bankruptcy of the borrower. Uncollateralized senior loans involve a greater risk of loss. Senior loans made in connection with highly leveraged transactions are subject to greater risks than other senior loans. For example, the risks of default or bankruptcy of the borrower or the risks that other creditors of the borrower may seek to nullify or subordinate the Fund’s claims on any collateral securing the loan are greater in highly leveraged transactions.
Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for senior loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods, which may cause the Fund to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. Lastly, senior loans may not be considered “securities,” and the Fund may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws and could be forced to rely on the contractual provisions in the loan agreement and state law to enforce its right to repayment.
SHORT SALES RISK. In connection with a short sale of a security or other instrument, the Fund is subject to the risk that instead of declining, the price of the security or other instrument sold short will rise. If the price of the security or derivative that is the subject of a short sale increases, then the Fund will incur a loss equal to the increase in price from the time that the short sale was entered into plus any premiums and interest paid to a third party in connection with the short sale. The risk of
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loss on a shorted position arises from the increase in value of the security sold short and is potentially unlimited unlike the risk of loss on a long position, which is limited to the amount paid for the investment plus transaction costs. Therefore, short sales involve the risk that losses may be exaggerated, potentially losing more money than the actual cost of the investment. Also, there is the risk that the third party to the short sale may fail to honor its contract terms, causing a loss to the Fund. Further, in times of unusual or adverse economic, market or political conditions, the Fund may not be able to fully or partially implement its short selling strategy. In addition, as a series of an investment company registered under the 1940 Act, the Fund must segregate liquid assets, or engage in other measures to “cover” open positions with respect to short sales. The Fund may nonetheless incur significant losses on short sales even if they are covered.
SIGNIFICANT EXPOSURE RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a significant percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development that affected a particular asset class, region or industry may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A significant exposure makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater volatility and market risk than a fund that is more broadly diversified.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. The Fund invests in the securities of small and/or mid capitalization companies. The stock price of small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more volatile than those of larger companies and therefore the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than those of funds that invest a larger percentage of their assets in stocks issued by large capitalization companies. Stock prices of small and/or mid capitalization companies are also generally more vulnerable than those of large capitalization companies to adverse business and economic developments. Securities of small and/or mid capitalization companies may be thinly traded, making it difficult for the Fund to buy and sell them. In addition, small and/or mid capitalization companies are typically less financially stable than larger, more established companies and may reinvest a high proportion of their earnings in their business and may not pay dividends. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may also depend on a small number of essential personnel who may also be less experienced than the management of larger companies, making these companies more vulnerable to experiencing adverse effects due to the loss or inexperience of personnel. Small and/or mid capitalization companies also normally have less diverse product lines than those of large capitalization companies and are more susceptible to adverse developments concerning their products.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Trading in Fund shares on the Exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in Fund shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small, the Fund does not have enough shareholders, or if the Fund is unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders.
VALUATION RISK. The Fund may hold securities or other assets that may be valued on the basis of factors other than market quotations. This may occur because the asset or security does not trade on a centralized exchange, or in times of market turmoil or reduced liquidity. There are multiple methods that can be used to value a portfolio holding when market quotations are not readily available. The value established for any portfolio holding at a point in time might differ from what would be produced using a different methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations. Portfolio holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” assets or securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their valuations from one day to the next than if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that the Fund could sell or close out a portfolio position for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that the Fund would incur a loss because a portfolio position is sold or closed out at a discount to the valuation established by the Fund at that time. The Fund’s ability to value investments may be impacted by technological issues or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.
Non-Principal Risks
BORROWING AND LEVERAGE RISK. If the Fund borrows money, it must pay interest and other fees, which may reduce the Fund’s returns. Any such borrowings are intended to be temporary. However, under certain market conditions, including periods of decreased liquidity, such borrowings might be outstanding for longer periods of time. As prescribed by the 1940 Act, the Fund will be required to maintain specified asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to any bank borrowing immediately following such borrowing and at all times thereafter. The Fund may be required to dispose of assets on unfavorable terms if market fluctuations or other factors reduce the Fund’s asset coverage to less than the prescribed amount.
CREDIT RATING AGENCY RISK. Credit ratings are determined by credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Inc., Moody’s Investors Services, Inc. and Fitch Inc., and are only the opinions of such entities. Ratings assigned by a rating agency are not
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absolute standards of credit quality and do not evaluate market risk or the liquidity of securities. Any shortcomings or inefficiencies in credit rating agencies’ processes for determining credit ratings may adversely affect the credit ratings of securities held by the Fund and, as a result, may adversely affect those securities’ perceived or actual credit risk.
CURRENCY RISK. The Fund may invest in securities denominated in a non-U.S. currency. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, the value of dividends and interest earned from such securities and gains and losses realized on the sale of such securities. The Fund’s net asset value could decline if a currency to which the Fund has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. Changes in currency exchange rates may affect the Fund's net asset value, the value of dividends and interest earned, and gains and losses realized on the sale of securities. An increase in the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies may cause the value of the Fund to decline. Certain non-U.S. currencies may be particularly volatile, and non-U.S. governments may intervene in the currency markets, causing a decline in value or liquidity in the Fund's non-U.S. holdings whose value is tied to the affected non-U.S. currency. Additionally, the prices of non-U.S. securities that are traded in U.S. dollars are often indirectly influenced by currency fluctuations.
DEPENDENCE ON KEY PERSONNEL RISK. The Advisor is dependent upon the experience and expertise of the Fund’s portfolio managers in providing advisory services with respect to the Fund’s investments. If the Advisor were to lose the services of any of these portfolio managers, its ability to service the Fund could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for any of the portfolio managers in the event of their death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Advisor.
DERIVATIVES RISK. The use of derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and other traditional investments. These risks include: (i) the risk that the counterparty to a derivative transaction may not fulfill its contractual obligations; (ii) risk of mispricing or improper valuation; and (iii) the risk that changes in the value of the derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying asset. Derivative prices are highly volatile and may fluctuate substantially during a short period of time. Such prices are influenced by numerous factors that affect the markets, including, but not limited to: changing supply and demand relationships; government programs and policies; national and international political and economic events, changes in interest rates, inflation and deflation and changes in supply and demand relationships. Trading derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities. Derivative contracts ordinarily have leverage inherent in their terms. The low margin deposits normally required in trading derivatives, including futures contracts, permit a high degree of leverage. Accordingly, a relatively small price movement may result in an immediate and substantial loss. The use of leverage may also cause the Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so in order to satisfy its obligations or to meet collateral segregation requirements. The use of leveraged derivatives can magnify potential for gain or loss and, therefore, amplify the effects of market volatility on share price.
DISTRESSED SECURITIES RISK. The Fund may invest in distressed debt securities. Distressed securities are speculative and involve substantial risks in addition to the risks of investing in high-yield debt securities that are not in default. In some instances, the Fund will not receive interest payments from the distressed securities it holds and may incur additional expenses to protect its investment. These securities may present a substantial risk of default and there is a substantial risk that the principal will not be repaid. A Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal or of interest on its portfolio holdings. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio company, the Fund may lose its entire investment or may be required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. Distressed securities and any securities received in exchange for such securities may be subject to restrictions on resale.
EMERGING MARKETS RISK. The Fund may invest in securities issued by emerging market governments and companies incorporated in emerging market countries. Investments in securities issued by governments and companies operating in emerging market countries involve additional risks relating to political, economic, or regulatory conditions not associated with investments in securities and instruments issued by U.S. companies or by companies operating in other developed market countries. This is due to, among other things, the potential for greater market volatility, lower trading volume, a lack of liquidity, potential for market manipulation, higher levels of inflation, political and economic instability, greater risk of a market shutdown and more governmental limitations on foreign investments in emerging market countries than are typically found in more developed market countries. Moreover, emerging market countries often have less uniformity in accounting and reporting requirements, unsettled securities laws, less reliable securities valuations and greater risks associated with custody of securities than developed markets. In addition, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which regulates auditors of U.S. public
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companies, is unable to inspect audit work papers in certain emerging market countries. Emerging market countries often have greater risk of capital controls through such measures as taxes or interest rate control than developed markets. Certain emerging market countries may also lack the infrastructure necessary to attract large amounts of foreign trade and investment. Local securities markets in emerging market countries may trade a small number of securities and may be unable to respond effectively to increases in trading volume, potentially making prompt liquidation of holdings difficult or impossible. Settlement procedures in emerging market countries are frequently less developed and reliable than those in the U.S. and other developed market countries. In addition, significant delays may occur in registering the transfer of securities. Settlement or registration problems may make it more difficult for the Fund to value its portfolio securities and could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Investing in emerging market countries involves a higher risk of expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and on repatriation of capital invested by certain emerging market countries. Enforcing legal rights may be made difficult, costly and slow in emerging markets as there may be additional problems enforcing claims against non-U.S. governments. As such, the rights and remedies associated with emerging market investment securities may be different than those available for investments in more developed markets. For example, it may be more difficult for shareholders to bring derivative litigation or for U.S. regulators to bring enforcement actions against issuers in emerging markets.
In addition, due to the differences in regulatory, accounting, audit and financial recordkeeping standards, including financial disclosures, less information about emerging market companies is publicly available and information that is available may be unreliable or outdated. This may affect the Index Provider’s ability to compute and construct the Index and may further impede the Advisor’s ability to accurately evaluate the index data provided. This potential for error in index construction and index data could affect the overall performance of the Fund.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors' perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market. Additionally, holders of an issuer's common stock may be subject to greater risks than holders of its preferred stock and debt securities because common stockholders' claims are subordinated to those of holders of preferred stocks and debt securities upon the bankruptcy of an issuer.
EUROPE RISK. The Fund may invest in the securities of European issuers. Therefore, in addition to the risks associated with investments in non-U.S. securities generally, the Fund is subject to certain risks associated specifically with investments in securities of European issuers. Political or economic disruptions in European countries, even in countries in which the Fund is not invested, may adversely affect security values and thus the Fund’s holdings. A significant number of countries in Europe are member states in the EU, and the member states no longer control their own monetary policies by directing independent interest rates for their currencies. In these member states, the authority to direct monetary policies, including money supply and official interest rates for the Euro, is exercised by the European Central Bank. In a 2016 referendum, the United Kingdom elected to withdraw from the EU. After years of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU, a withdrawal agreement was reached whereby the United Kingdom formally left the EU. As the second largest economy among EU members, the implications of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal are difficult to gauge and cannot be fully known. Trade between the United Kingdom and the EU is highly integrated through supply chains and trade in services, as well as through multinational companies. The United Kingdom’s departure may negatively impact the EU and Europe as a whole by causing volatility within the EU, triggering prolonged economic downturns in certain European countries or sparking additional member states to contemplate departing the EU (thereby perpetuating political instability in the region).
FAILURE TO QUALIFY AS A REGULATED INVESTMENT COMPANY RISK. If, in any year, the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company under the applicable tax laws, the Fund would be taxed as an ordinary corporation. In such circumstances, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment.
INTERNATIONAL CLOSED MARKET TRADING RISK. Because securities held by the Fund will trade on non-U.S. exchanges that are closed when the Fund's primary listing exchange is open, there are likely to be deviations between the current price of an underlying security and the last quoted price for the underlying security (i.e., the Fund’s quote from the closed foreign market), resulting in premiums or discounts to the Fund's net asset value that may be greater than those experienced by other ETFs. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at the Fund’s net asset value, it is not expected
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that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of the Fund will be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset values).
INVESTMENT COMPANIES RISK. The Fund may invest in securities of other investment companies. As a shareholder in another investment company, the Fund will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Fund’s advisory and administrative fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies. In addition, the Fund will incur brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of exchange-traded investment companies.
ISSUER SPECIFIC CHANGES RISK. The value of an individual security or particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole.
LATIN AMERICA RISK. The Fund may invest in Latin American issuers. The economies of Latin American countries have in the past experienced considerable difficulties, including high inflation rates, high interest rates, high unemployment, government overspending and political instability. International economic conditions, particularly those in the United States, Europe and Asia, as well as world prices for oil and other commodities may also influence the development of Latin American economies. Many Latin American countries are highly reliant on the exportation of commodities and their economies may be significantly impacted by fluctuations in commodity prices and the global demand for certain commodities. In the past, certain Latin American economies have been influenced by changing supply and demand for a particular currency, monetary policies of governments (including exchange control programs, restrictions on local exchanges or markets and limitations on foreign investment in a country or on investment by residents of a country in other countries), and currency devaluations and revaluations. Other Latin American investment risks may include inadequate investor protection, less developed regulatory, accounting, auditing and financial standards, unfavorable changes in laws or regulations, natural disasters, corruption and military activity. The governments of many Latin American countries may also exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector, and any such exercise could have a significant effect on companies in which the Fund invests. Securities of companies in Latin America may also be subject to significant price volatility.
LEGISLATION/LITIGATION RISK. From time to time, various legislative initiatives are proposed in the United States and abroad which may have a negative impact on certain companies represented owned by the Fund. In addition, litigation regarding any of the issuers of the securities owned by the Fund, or industries represented by these issuers, may negatively impact the value of the securities. Such legislation or litigation may cause the Fund to lose value or may result in higher portfolio turnover if the Sub-Advisor determines to sell such a holding.
MORTGAGE-RELATED SECURITIES RISK. Mortgage-related securities are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. However, these investments make the Fund more susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory events that affect the value of real estate. Mortgage-related securities are also significantly affected by the rate of prepayments and modifications of the mortgage loans underlying those securities, as well as by other factors such as borrower defaults, delinquencies, realized or liquidation losses and other shortfalls. The incidence of borrower defaults or delinquencies may rise significantly during financial downturns and could adversely affect the value of mortgage-related securities held by the Fund. Events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events that result in broad and simultaneous financial hardships for individuals and businesses could have a significant negative impact on the value of mortgage-related securities. Mortgage-related securities are particularly sensitive to prepayment risk and extension risk, given that mortgage loans generally allow borrowers to refinance. In periods of declining interest rates, borrowers may be more apt to prepay their mortgage sooner than expected. This can reduce the returns to the security holder as the amount of interest related to the price may be reduced while the proceeds may have to be reinvested at lower prevailing interest rates. This is prepayment risk. In periods of rising interest rates, borrowers may be less likely to refinance than expected thus extending the cash flows of the security such that there is increased downward price sensitivity to interest rate changes. This is extension risk. As the timing and amount of prepayments cannot be accurately predicted, the timing of changes in the rate of prepayments of the mortgage loans may significantly affect the Fund's actual yield to maturity on any mortgage-related securities. Along with prepayment risk, mortgage-related securities are significantly affected by interest rate risk.
PREFERRED SECURITIES RISK. Preferred securities combine some of the characteristics of both common stocks and bonds. Preferred securities are typically subordinated to bonds and other debt securities in a company’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income, subjecting them to greater credit risk than those debt securities. Preferred securities often include provisions that permit the issuer, at its discretion, to defer distributions for a stated period without any adverse consequences to the issuer. If the Fund owns a preferred security that is deferring its distributions, the Fund may be required to report income for federal income tax purposes although it has not yet received such income in cash. Generally, holders of
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preferred securities have no voting rights with respect to the issuing company unless preferred dividends have been in arrears for a specified number of periods, at which time the preferred security holders may elect a number of directors to the issuer’s board of director. Generally, once the issuer pays all the arrearages, the preferred security holders no longer have voting rights. In certain circumstances, an issuer of preferred securities may redeem the securities prior to a specified date. For instance, for certain types of preferred securities, a redemption may be triggered by a change in federal income tax or securities laws or a change in regulatory trademark. As with redemption provisions of debt securities, a special redemption by the issuer may negatively impact the return of the preferred security held by the Fund. Preferred securities may also be substantially less liquid than other securities, including common stock.
RESTRICTED SECURITIES RISK. Restricted securities are securities that cannot be offered for public resale unless registered under the applicable securities laws or that have a contractual restriction that prohibits or limits their resale. Restricted securities include private placement securities that have not been registered under the applicable securities laws, such as Rule 144A securities, and securities of U.S. and non-U.S. issuers that are issued pursuant to Regulation S. Private placements are generally subject to strict restrictions on resale. Restricted securities may be illiquid as they generally are not listed on an exchange and may have no active trading market. The Fund may be unable to sell a restricted security on short notice or may be able to sell them only at a price below current value. It may be more difficult to determine a market value for a restricted security. Also, the Fund may get limited information about the issuer of a restricted security, so it may be less able to predict a loss. In addition, if Fund management receives material non-public information about the issuer, the Fund may as a result be unable to sell the securities. Certain restricted securities may involve a high degree of business and financial risk and may result in substantial losses.
WARRANTS RISK. The prices of warrants, which entitle the holder to purchase equity securities at specific prices for a certain period of time, do not necessarily move parallel to the prices of the underlying securities and likely fluctuate more than the prices of the underlying securities. Warrants have no voting rights, receive no dividends, and have no rights with respect to the assets of the issuer.
Fund Organization
The Fund is a series of the Trust, an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund is treated as a separate fund with its own investment objectives and policies. The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. The Board is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Trust. The Board elects the Trust’s officers and approves all significant agreements, including those with the Advisor, custodian and fund administrative and accounting agent.
Management of the Fund
First Trust Advisors L.P., 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, is the investment advisor to the Fund. In this capacity, First Trust is responsible for the investment of the Fund’s assets, managing the Fund’s business affairs and providing certain clerical, bookkeeping and other administrative services.
First Trust is a limited partnership with one limited partner, Grace Partners of DuPage L.P., and one general partner, The Charger Corporation. Grace Partners of DuPage L.P. is a limited partnership with one general partner, The Charger Corporation, and a number of limited partners. The Charger Corporation is an Illinois corporation controlled by James A. Bowen, the Chief Executive Officer of First Trust. First Trust discharges its responsibilities subject to the policies of the Board.
First Trust serves as advisor or sub-advisor for 8 mutual fund portfolios, 10 exchange-traded funds consisting of 193 series and 16 closed-end funds. It is also the portfolio supervisor of certain unit investment trusts sponsored by First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), an affiliate of First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. FTP specializes in the underwriting, trading and distribution of unit investment trusts and other securities. FTP is the principal underwriter of the shares of the Fund.
William Housey and Jeffrey Scott are the Fund’s portfolio managers and share responsibilities for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s investment portfolio.
William Housey, CFA, Managing Director of Fixed Income, Senior Portfolio Manager. Mr. Housey joined First Trust Advisors L.P. in June 2010 as the Senior Portfolio Manager for the Leveraged Finance Investment Team and has 26 years of investment experience. Mr. Housey is a Managing Director of Fixed Income and is also a member of the First Trust Strategic Model Investment Committee and the Fixed Income Sub-Committee. Prior to joining First Trust, Mr. Housey was at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and its wholly owned
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subsidiary, Van Kampen Funds, Inc. for 11 years where he last served as Executive Director and Co-Portfolio Manager. Mr. Housey has extensive experience in the portfolio management of both leveraged and unleveraged credit products, including senior loans, high-yield bonds, credit derivatives and corporate restructurings. Mr. Housey received a B.S. in Finance from Eastern Illinois University and an M.B.A. in Finance as well as Management and Strategy from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. He also holds the FINRA Series 7, Series 52 and Series 63 licenses. Mr. Housey also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Chicago. Mr. Housey also serves on the Village of Glen Ellyn, IL Police Pension Board.
Jeffrey Scott, CFA, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager. Mr. Scott is a Portfolio Manager for the Leveraged Finance Investment Team at First Trust Advisors L.P. He has 32 years of experience in the investment management industry and has extensive experience in credit analysis, product development, and product management. Prior to joining First Trust, Mr. Scott served as an Assistant Portfolio Manager and as a Senior Credit Analyst for Morgan Stanley/Van Kampen from October 2008 to June 2010. As Assistant Portfolio Manager, Mr. Scott served on a team that managed over $4.0 billion of Senior Loan assets in three separate funds: Van Kampen Senior Loan Fund; Van Kampen Senior Income Trust; and Van Kampen Dynamic Credit Opportunities Fund. His responsibilities included assisting with portfolio construction, buy and sell decision making, and monitoring fund liquidity and leverage. Mr. Scott earned a B.S. in Finance and Economics from Elmhurst College and an M.B.A. with specialization in Analytical Finance and Econometrics and Statistics from the University of Chicago. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Chicago.
For additional information concerning First Trust, including a description of the services provided to the Fund, see the Fund’s SAI. Additional information about the portfolio managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and the portfolio managers’ ownership of shares in the Fund is provided in the SAI.
Management Fee
Pursuant to an investment management agreement between First Trust and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund (the "Investment Management Agreement"), First Trust manages the investment of the Fund's assets. First Trust is paid an annual unitary management fee by the Fund equal to 0.95% of the Fund’s average daily net assets and is responsible for the expenses of the Fund including the cost of transfer agency, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services, but excluding fee payments under the Investment Management Agreement, interest, taxes, acquired fund fees and expenses, if any, brokerage commissions and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio transactions, expenses associated with short sales transactions, distribution and service fees pursuant to a Rule 12b-1 plan, if any, and extraordinary expenses.
A discussion regarding the Board’s approval of the continuation of the Investment Management Agreement is available in the Fund’s Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2021.
How to Buy and Sell Shares
Most investors buy and sell shares of the Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the secondary market on one or more national securities exchanges. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other publicly traded shares. There is no minimum investment when buying shares on the Exchange. Although shares are generally purchased and sold in “round lots” of 100 shares, brokerage firms typically permit investors to purchase or sell shares in smaller “odd lots,” at no per-share price differential. When buying or selling shares through a broker, investors should expect to pay brokerage commissions, investors may receive less than the net asset value of the shares because shares are bought and sold at market prices rather than at net asset value, and investors may pay some or all of the bid-ask spread for each transaction (purchase or sale) of Fund shares. Share prices are reported in dollars and cents per share.
Under normal circumstances, the Fund will pay out redemption proceeds to a redeeming authorized participant within two days after the authorized participant’s redemption request is received, in accordance with the process set forth in the Fund’s SAI and in the agreement between the authorized participant and the Fund’s distributor. However, the Fund reserves the right, including under stressed market conditions, to take up to seven days after the receipt of a redemption request to pay an authorized participant, all as permitted by the 1940 Act. If the Fund has foreign investments in a country where a local market holiday, or series of consecutive holidays, or the extended delivery cycles for transferring foreign investments to redeeming authorized participants prevents the Fund from delivering such foreign investments to an authorized participant in response
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to a redemption request, the Fund may take up to 15 days after the receipt of the redemption request to deliver such investments to the authorized participant.
For purposes of the 1940 Act, the Fund is treated as a registered investment company and the acquisition of shares by other registered investment companies and companies relying on Sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act and the related rules and interpretations.
Book Entry
Shares are held in book-entry form, which means that no share certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Fund and is recognized as the owner of all shares for all purposes.
Investors owning shares are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all shares. Participants in DTC include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of share certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other stocks that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Trading Prices
The trading price of shares of the Fund on the secondary market is based on market price and may differ from the Fund’s daily net asset value and can be affected by market forces of supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of the Fund's Shares
The Fund imposes no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions (“market timing”). In determining not to approve a written, established policy, the Board evaluated the risks of market timing activities by the Fund's shareholders. The Board considered that the Fund's shares can only be purchased and redeemed directly from the Fund in Creation Units by broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (i.e., authorized participants (“APs”)) and that the vast majority of trading in the Fund's shares occurs on the secondary market. Because the secondary market trades do not involve the Fund directly, it is unlikely those trades would cause many of the harmful effects of market timing, including dilution, disruption of portfolio management, increases in the Fund's trading costs and the realization of capital gains. With respect to trades directly with the Fund, to the extent effected in-kind (i.e., for securities), those trades do not cause any of the harmful effects that may result from frequent cash trades. To the extent that the Fund may effect the purchase or redemption of Creation Units in exchange wholly or partially for cash, the Board noted that such trades could result in dilution to the Fund and increased transaction costs, which could negatively impact the Fund's ability to achieve its investment objectives. However, the Board noted that direct trading by APs is critical to ensuring that the shares trade at or close to net asset value. In addition, the Fund imposes fixed and variable transaction fees on purchases and redemptions of Creation Units to cover the custodial and other costs incurred by the Fund in effecting trades. Finally, the Advisor monitors purchase and redemption orders from APs for patterns of abusive trading and the Fund reserves the right to not accept orders from APs that the Advisor has determined may be disruptive to the management of the Fund, or otherwise not in the Fund's best interests.
Dividends, Distributions and Taxes
Dividends from net investment income, if any, are declared and paid monthly by the Fund. The Fund distributes its net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders at least annually.
Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole shares only if the broker through whom you purchased shares makes such option available. Such shares will generally be reinvested by the broker based upon the market price of those shares and investors may be subject to customary brokerage commissions charged by the broker.
Federal Tax Matters
This section summarizes some of the main U.S. federal income tax consequences of owning shares of the Fund. This section is current as of the date of this prospectus. Tax laws and interpretations change frequently, and these summaries do not describe
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all of the tax consequences to all taxpayers. For example, these summaries generally do not describe your situation if you are a corporation, a non-U.S. person, a broker-dealer, or other investor with special circumstances. In addition, this section does not describe your state, local or non-U.S. tax consequences.
This federal income tax summary is based in part on the advice of counsel to the Fund. The Internal Revenue Service could disagree with any conclusions set forth in this section. In addition, counsel to the Fund may not have been asked to review, and may not have reached a conclusion with respect to, the federal income tax treatment of the assets to be included in the Fund. The following disclosure may not be sufficient for you to use for the purpose of avoiding penalties under federal tax law.
As with any investment, you should seek advice based on your individual circumstances from your own tax advisor.
Fund Status
The Fund intends to continue to qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the federal tax laws. If the Fund qualifies as a regulated investment company and distributes its income as required by the tax law, the Fund generally will not pay federal income taxes.
Distributions
The Fund’s distributions are generally taxable. After the end of each year, you will receive a tax statement that separates the distributions of the Fund into two categories, ordinary income distributions and capital gain dividends. Ordinary income distributions are generally taxed at your ordinary tax rate, however, as discussed below, certain ordinary income distributions received from the Fund may be taxed at the capital gains tax rates. Generally, you will treat all capital gain dividends as long-term capital gains regardless of how long you have owned your shares. To determine your actual tax liability for your capital gain dividends, you must calculate your total net capital gain or loss for the tax year after considering all of your other taxable transactions, as described below. In addition, the Fund may make distributions that represent a return of capital for tax purposes and thus will generally not be taxable to you; however, such distributions may reduce your tax basis in your shares, which could result in you having to pay higher taxes in the future when shares are sold or redeemed, even if you sell or redeem the shares at a loss from your original investment. A “return of capital” is a return, in whole or in part, of the funds that you previously invested in the Fund. A return of capital distribution should not be considered part of a Fund’s dividend yield or total return of an investment in Fund shares. The tax status of your distributions from the Fund is not affected by whether you reinvest your distributions in additional shares or receive them in cash. The income from the Fund that you must take into account for federal income tax purposes is not reduced by amounts used to pay a deferred sales fee, if any. The tax laws may require you to treat distributions made to you in January as if you had received them on December 31 of the previous year.
Income from the Fund may also be subject to a 3.8% “Medicare tax.” This tax generally applies to your net investment income if your adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold amounts, which are $250,000 in the case of married couples filing joint returns and $200,000 in the case of single individuals.
Dividends Received Deduction
A corporation that owns shares generally will not be entitled to the dividends received deduction with respect to many dividends received from the Fund because the dividends received deduction is generally not available for distributions from regulated investment companies. However, certain ordinary income dividends on shares that are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund from certain corporations may be reported by the Fund as being eligible for the dividends received deduction.
Capital Gains and Losses and Certain Ordinary Income Dividends
If you are an individual, the maximum marginal stated federal tax rate for net capital gain is generally 20% (15% or 0% for taxpayers with taxable income below certain thresholds). Some capital gains, including some portion of your capital gain dividends may be taxed at a higher maximum stated tax rate. Capital gains may also be subject to the Medicare tax described above.
Net capital gain equals net long-term capital gain minus net short-term capital loss for the taxable year. Capital gain or loss is long-term if the holding period for the asset is more than one year and is short-term if the holding period for the asset is one year or less. You must exclude the date you purchase your shares to determine your holding period. However, if you receive a capital gain dividend from the Fund and sell your share at a loss after holding it for six months or less, the loss will be recharacterized as long-term capital loss to the extent of the capital gain dividend received. The tax rates for capital gains
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realized from assets held for one year or less are generally the same as for ordinary income. The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, treats certain capital gains as ordinary income in special situations.
An election may be available to you to defer recognition of the gain attributable to a capital gain dividend if you make certain qualifying investments within a limited time. You should talk to your tax advisor about the availability of this deferral election and its requirements.
Ordinary income dividends received by an individual shareholder from a regulated investment company such as the Fund are generally taxed at the same rates that apply to net capital gain (as discussed above), provided certain holding period requirements are satisfied and provided the dividends are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund itself. The Fund will provide notice to its shareholders of the amount of any distribution which may be taken into account as a dividend which is eligible for the capital gains tax rates.
Sale of Shares
If you sell or redeem your shares, you will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss. To determine the amount of this gain or loss, you must subtract your tax basis in your shares from the amount you receive in the transaction. Your tax basis in your shares is generally equal to the cost of your shares, generally including sales charges. In some cases, however, you may have to adjust your tax basis after you purchase your shares. An election may be available to you to defer recognition of capital gain if you make certain qualifying investments within a limited time. You should talk to your tax advisor about the availability of this deferral election and its requirements.
Taxes on Purchase and Redemption of Creation Units
If you exchange securities for Creation Units you will generally recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and your aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the cash component paid. If you exchange Creation Units for securities, you will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between your basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and the cash redemption amount. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units or Creation Units for securities cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Treatment of Fund Expenses
Expenses incurred and deducted by the Fund will generally not be treated as income taxable to you.
Non-U.S. Tax Credit
Because the Fund invests in non-U.S. securities, the tax statement that you receive may include an item showing non-U.S. taxes the Fund paid to other countries. In this case, dividends taxed to you will include your share of the taxes the Fund paid to other countries. You may be able to deduct or receive a tax credit for your share of these taxes.
Non-U.S. Investors
If you are a non-U.S. investor (i.e., an investor other than a U.S. citizen or resident or a U.S. corporation, partnership, estate or trust), you should be aware that, generally, subject to applicable tax treaties, distributions from the Fund will be characterized as dividends for federal income tax purposes (other than dividends which the Fund properly reports as capital gain dividends) and will be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, subject to certain exceptions described below. However, distributions received by a non-U.S. investor from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met. Distributions from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as an interest-related dividend attributable to certain interest income received by the Fund or as a short-term capital gain dividend attributable to certain net short-term capital gain income received by the Fund may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes when received by certain non-U.S. investors, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met.
Distributions may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% in the case of distributions to (i) certain non-U.S. financial institutions that have not entered into an agreement with the U.S. Treasury to collect and disclose certain information and are not resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into such an agreement with the U.S. Treasury and (ii) certain other non-U.S. entities that do not provide certain certifications and information about the entity’s U.S. owners. This withholding tax is also
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currently scheduled to apply to the gross proceeds from the disposition of securities that produce U.S. source interest or dividends. However, proposed regulations may eliminate the requirement to withhold on payments of gross proceeds from dispositions.
Investments in Certain Non-U.S. Corporations
If the Fund holds an equity interest in any passive foreign investment companies, which are generally certain non-U.S. corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, certain rents and royalties or capital gains) or that hold at least 50% of their assets in investments producing such passive income, the Fund could be subject to U.S. federal income tax and additional interest charges on gains and certain distributions with respect to those equity interests, even if all the income or gain is timely distributed to its shareholders. The Fund will not be able to pass through to its shareholders any credit or deduction for such taxes. The Fund may be able to make an election that could ameliorate these adverse tax consequences. In this case, the Fund would recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such passive foreign investment company shares, and as ordinary loss any decrease in such value to the extent it did not exceed prior increases included in income. Under this election, the Fund might be required to recognize in a year income in excess of its distributions from passive foreign investment companies and its proceeds from dispositions of passive foreign investment company stock during that year, and such income would nevertheless be subject to the distribution requirement and would be taken into account for purposes of the 4% excise tax. Dividends paid by passive foreign investment companies are not treated as qualified dividend income
Distribution Plan
FTP serves as the distributor of Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. FTP does not maintain a secondary market in shares.
The Board has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with the Rule 12b-1 plan, the Fund is authorized to pay an amount up to 0.25% of its average daily net assets each year to reimburse FTP for amounts expended to finance activities primarily intended to result in the sale of Creation Units or the provision of investor services. FTP may also use this amount to compensate securities dealers or other persons that are APs for providing distribution assistance, including broker-dealer and shareholder support and educational and promotional services.
The Fund does not currently pay 12b-1 fees, and pursuant to a contractual arrangement, the Fund will not pay 12b-1 fees any time before March 31, 2023. However, in the event 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of the Fund's assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.
Net Asset Value
The Fund’s net asset value is determined as of the close of trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day the New York Stock Exchange is open for business. Net asset value is calculated for the Fund by taking the market price of the Fund’s total assets, including interest or dividends accrued but not yet collected, less all liabilities, and dividing such amount by the total number of shares outstanding. The result, rounded to the nearest cent, is the net asset value per share. All valuations are subject to review by the Board or its delegate.
The Fund’s investments are valued daily in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Board, and in accordance with provisions of the 1940 Act. Certain securities in which the Fund may invest are not listed on any securities exchange or board of trade. Such securities are typically bought and sold by institutional investors in individually negotiated private transactions that function in many respects like an over-the-counter secondary market, although typically no formal market makers exist. Certain securities, particularly debt securities, have few or no trades, or trade infrequently, and information regarding a specific security may not be widely available or may be incomplete. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Because there is less reliable, objective data available, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities. Typically, debt securities are valued using information provided by a third-party pricing service. The third- party pricing service primarily uses broker quotes to value the securities.
The Fund’s investments are valued daily at market value or, in the absence of market value with respect to any portfolio securities, at fair value in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the 1940 Act. Portfolio securities listed on any exchange other than Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market
32

(“AIM”) are valued at the last sale price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. Securities listed on Nasdaq or the AIM are valued at the official closing price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. If there has been no sale on such day, or no official closing price in the case of securities traded on Nasdaq or the AIM, the securities are fair valued at the mean of the most recent bid and ask prices on such day. Portfolio securities traded on more than one securities exchange are valued at the last sale price or official closing price, as applicable, on the business day as of which such value is being determined at the close of the exchange representing the principal market for such securities. Portfolio securities traded in the over-the-counter market, but excluding securities trading on Nasdaq or the AIM, are fair valued at the mean of the most recent bid and asked price, if available, and otherwise at the closing bid price. Short-term investments that mature in less than 60 days when purchased are fair valued at cost adjusted for amortization of premiums and accretion of discount, provided the Advisor’s Pricing Committee has determined that the use of amortized cost is an appropriate reflection of fair value given market and issuer-specific conditions existing at the time of determination. Net asset value may change on days when investors may not sell or redeem Fund shares.
Senior Loans in which the Fund invests are not listed on any securities exchange or board of trade. Senior Loans are typically bought and sold by institutional investors in individually negotiated private transactions that function in many respects like an over-the-counter secondary market, although typically no formal market-makers exist. This market, while having grown substantially since its inception, generally has fewer trades and less liquidity than the secondary market for other types of securities. Some Senior Loans have few or no trades, or trade infrequently, and information regarding a specific Senior Loan may not be widely available or may be incomplete. Accordingly, determinations of the market value of Senior Loans may be based on infrequent and dated information. Because there is less reliable, objective data available, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of Senior Loans than for other types of securities. Typically, Senior Loans are fair valued using information provided by a third-party pricing service. The third-party pricing service primarily uses over-the-counter pricing from dealer runs and broker quotes from indicative sheets to value the Senior Loans.
Certain securities may not be able to be priced by pre-established pricing methods. Such securities may be valued by the Board or its delegate, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee, at fair value. The use of fair value pricing by the Fund is governed by valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act. These securities generally include, but are not limited to, certain restricted securities (securities which may not be publicly sold without registration under the Securities Act) for which a pricing service is unable to provide a market price; securities whose trading has been formally suspended; a security whose market or fair value price is not available from a pre-established pricing source; a security with respect to which an event has occurred that is likely to materially affect the value of the security after the market has closed but before the calculation of the Fund’s net asset value or make it difficult or impossible to obtain a reliable market quotation; and a security whose price, as provided by the pricing service, does not reflect the security’s fair value. As a general principle, the current fair value of a security would appear to be the amount which the owner might reasonably expect to receive for the security upon its current sale. When fair value prices are used, generally they will differ from the current market valuations. See the Fund’s SAI for details.
Because foreign securities exchanges may be open on different days than the days during which an investor may purchase or sell shares of the Fund, the value of the Fund’s securities may change on days when investors are not able to purchase or sell shares of the Fund. The value of securities denominated in foreign currencies is converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rates in effect at the time of valuation.
Fund Service Providers
The Bank of New York Mellon, 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York 10286, acts as the administrator, custodian and fund accounting and transfer agent for the Fund. Chapman and Cutler LLP, 320 S. Canal St., Chicago, Illinois 60606, serves as legal counsel to the Fund.
Premium/Discount Information
Information showing the number of days the market price of the Fund's shares was greater (at a premium) and less (at a discount) than the Fund's net asset value for the most recently completed year, and the most recently completed calendar quarters since that year (or life of the Fund, if shorter), is available at https://www.ftportfolios.com/Retail/etf/home.aspx.
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Total Return Information
The table below compares the total return of the Fund to the Fund's benchmark index. The information presented for the Fund is for the period indicated.
“Average annual total returns” represent the average annual change in the value of an investment over the period indicated. “Cumulative total returns” represent the total change in value of an investment over the period indicated. The return information shown under “Annual Total Return” in the Fund’s summary prospectus represents the average annual total returns of the Fund as of the calendar year end, while the information presented below is as of the Fund’s fiscal year end. The net asset value per share of the Fund is the value of one share of the Fund and is computed by dividing the value of all assets of the Fund (including accrued interest and dividends), less liabilities (including accrued expenses and dividends declared but unpaid), by the total number of outstanding shares. The net asset value return is based on the net asset value per share of the Fund and the market return is based on the market price per share of the Fund. The price used to calculate market return (“Market Price”) is determined by using the midpoint of the national best bid and offer price (“NBBO”) as of the time that the Fund’s net asset value is calculated. Under SEC rules, the NBBO consists of the highest displayed buy and lowest sell prices among the various exchanges trading the Fund at the time the Fund's net asset value is calculated. Prior to January 1, 2019, the price used was the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest offer on the stock exchange on which shares of the Fund were listed for trading as of the time that the Fund's net asset value was calculated. Since the shares of the Fund typically do not trade in the secondary market until several days after the Fund's inception, for the period from inception to the first day of secondary market trading in shares of the Fund, the net asset value of the Fund is used as a proxy for the secondary market trading price to calculate market returns. Market and net asset value returns assume that all distributions have been reinvested in the Fund at Market Price and net asset value, respectively. An index is a statistical composite that tracks a specified financial market or sector. Unlike the Fund, an index does not actually hold a portfolio of securities and therefore does not incur the expenses incurred by the Fund. These expenses negatively impact the performance of the Fund. Also, market returns do not include brokerage commissions that may be payable on secondary market transactions. If brokerage commissions were included, market returns would be lower. The total returns reflect the reinvestment of dividends on securities in the index. The returns shown in the table below do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of shares of the Fund. The investment return and principal value of shares of the Fund will vary with changes in market conditions. Shares of the Fund may be worth more or less than their original cost when they are redeemed or sold in the market. The Fund's past performance is no guarantee of future results.
First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF (HYLS)
Total Returns as of October 31, 2021
 
 
Average Annual
Cumulative
 
1 Year
5 Years
Inception
(2/25/2013)
5 Years
Inception
(2/25/2013)
Fund Performance
 
 
 
 
 
Net Asset Value
7.25%
5.26%
5.12%
29.23%
54.21%
Market Price
7.18%
5.32%
5.14%
29.58%
54.45%
Index Performance
 
 
 
 
 
ICE BofA US High Yield Constrained Index
10.74%
6.23%
5.69%
35.27%
61.64%
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Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help you understand the Fund's financial performance for the periods shown. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of the Fund. The total returns represent the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the Fund (assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions). The information for the periods indicated has been derived from financial statements audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, whose report, along with the Fund's financial statements, is included in the Fund's Annual Report to Shareholders dated October 31, 2021 and is incorporated by reference in the Fund's SAI, which is available upon request.
First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV
Financial Highlights
For a share outstanding throughout each period
First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF (HYLS)
 
Year Ended October 31,
 
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
Net asset value, beginning of period
$47.00
$48.06
$47.02
$48.95
$48.31
Income from investment operations:
 
 
 
 
 
Net investment income (loss)
2.47
2.33
2.49
2.52
2.56
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)
0.91
(1.00)
1.13
(1.76)
0.66
Total from investment operations
3.38
1.33
3.62
0.76
3.22
Distributions paid to shareholders from:
 
 
 
 
 
Net investment income
(2.63)
(2.39)
(2.56)
(2.69)
(2.58)
Return of capital
(0.02)
(0.00) (a)
Total distributions
(2.63)
(2.39)
(2.58)
(2.69)
(2.58)
Net asset value, end of period
$47.75
$47.00
$48.06
$47.02
$48.95
Total Return (b)
7.25%
2.92%
7.90%
1.60%
6.79%
Ratios/supplemental data:
 
 
 
 
 
Net assets, end of period (in 000’s)
$2,306,440
$1,974,126
$1,432,088
$1,253,035
$1,250,565
Ratios to average net assets:
 
 
 
 
 
Ratio of total expenses to average net assets
1.05%
1.01%
1.23%
1.16%
1.10%
Ratio of total expenses to average net assets excluding
interest expense
0.95%
0.95%
0.95%
0.95%
0.95%
Ratio of net investment income (loss) to average net
assets
5.11%
5.02%
5.22%
5.26%
5.25%
Portfolio turnover rate (c)
50%
68%
50%
52%
75%
(a)
Amount represents less than $0.01 per share.
(b)
Total return is calculated assuming an initial investment made at the net asset value at the beginning of the period, reinvestment of all distributions at net asset value during the period, and redemption at net asset value on the last day of the period. The returns presented do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of Fund shares. Total return is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year.
(c)
Portfolio turnover is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year and does not include securities received or delivered from processing creations or redemptions and in-kind transactions.
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Other Information
Continuous Offering
The Fund issues, on a continuous offering basis, its shares in one or more groups of a fixed number of Fund shares (each such group of such specified number of individual Fund shares, a “Creation Unit Aggregation”). The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of Fund shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur at any point. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the Securities Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Unit Aggregations after placing an order with FTP, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a characterization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. As a result, broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not underwriters but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted with ordinary secondary market transactions) and thus dealing with the shares that are part of an overallotment within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the Securities Act would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares are reminded that, under the Securities Act Rule 153, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to a broker-dealer in connection with a sale on the Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available from the Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange, a trading facility or an alternative trading system.
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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV


First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF
For More Information
For more detailed information on the Fund, several additional sources of information are available to you. The SAI, incorporated by reference into this prospectus, contains detailed information on the Fund's policies and operation. Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the Fund's annual report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly impacted the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year. The Fund's most recent SAI, annual and semi-annual reports and certain other information are available free of charge by calling the Fund at (800) 621-1675, on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com or through your financial advisor. Shareholders may call the toll-free number above with any inquiries.
You may obtain this and other information regarding the Fund, including the SAI and the Codes of Ethics adopted by First Trust, FTP and the Trust, directly from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Information on the SEC’s website is free of charge. Visit the SEC’s online EDGAR database at www.sec.gov. You may also request information regarding the Fund by sending a request (along with a duplication fee) to the SEC by sending an electronic request to publicinfo@sec.gov.
First Trust Advisors L.P.
120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
(800) 621-1675
www.ftportfolios.com
SEC File #: 333-174332
811-22559