VICTORY FUNDS
STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
March 1, 2021
FUND NAME
CLASS
A
CLASS
C
CLASS
I
CLASS
R
CLASS
R6
CLASS
Y
MEMBER
CLASS
Victory Diversified Stock Fund
SRVEX
VDSCX
VDSIX
GRINX
VDSRX
VDSYX
Victory INCORE Fund for Income
IPFIX
VFFCX
VFFIX
GGIFX
VFFRX
VFFYX
VFFMX
Victory INCORE Investment Grade
Convertible Fund
SBFCX
VICIX
SBFMX
Victory NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund
VFGAX
VFGCX
VFGIX
VFGYX
Victory Special Value Fund
SSVSX
VSVCX
VSPIX
VSVGX
VSVYX
Victory Strategic Allocation Fund
SBALX
VBFCX
VBFIX
VBFGX
Victory Sycamore Established Value Fund
VETAX
VEVCX
VEVIX
GETGX
VEVRX
VEVYX
Victory Sycamore Small Company
Opportunity Fund
SSGSX
VSOIX
GOGFX
VSORX
VSOYX
(each a “Fund” and together, the “Funds”)
Each Fund is a series of Victory Portfolios (the”Trust”)
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus and should be read in conjunction with each Fund’s prospectus, dated March 1, 2021, as it may be amended or supplemented from time to time (each, a “Prospectus”). This SAI is incorporated by reference, in its entirety, into each Prospectus. Copies of the Prospectus of each Fund can be obtained without charge upon request made to Victory Funds, P.O Box 182593, Columbus, Ohio 43218-2593, by calling toll free 800-539-FUND (800-539-3863) or at www.VictoryFunds.com.
This SAI incorporates by reference the Funds’ financial statements for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020 contained in the Funds’ October 31, 2020 Annual Reports, including the Financial Highlights and the related reports of Cohen & Company, Ltd., the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm. You may obtain a copy of the Funds’ most recent Annual Reports at no charge by writing to the address or calling the phone number noted above. The Funds’ most recent Annual Reports are also available at no charge at www.VictoryFunds.com. The Funds' October 31, 2020 Annual Reports, including the Financial Highlights and the related reports of Cohen & Company, Ltd., however, do not include information related to the Funds' Member Class share class.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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GENERAL INFORMATION
The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust (formerly referred to as a “business trust”) on December 6, 1995 as a successor to a company of a similar name organized as a Massachusetts business trust on February 5, 1986. The Trust is an open-end management investment company. The Trust currently consists of 42 series of units of beneficial interest (“shares”).
Victory Capital Management Inc. (the “Adviser” or “Victory Capital”) is the Funds’ investment adviser. Each Fund’s investment objective(s), restrictions and policies are more fully described below and in the Fund’s Prospectus. The Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Board” or “Trustees”) may organize and offer shares of a new fund or a new share class of an existing Fund or liquidate a Fund or share class at any time.
This SAI relates to the shares of eight Funds and their respective classes. Each Fund, except for the Strategic Allocation Fund, INCORE Fund for Income and INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund, are referred to in this SAI, collectively, as the “Equity Funds.” The INCORE Fund for Income and INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund are referred to in this SAI, collectively, as the “Fixed Income Funds.” The Strategic Allocation Fund and INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund are referred to in this SAI, collectively, as the “Hybrid Funds.”
Much of the information contained in this SAI expands on subjects discussed in each Fund’s Prospectus. Capitalized terms not defined herein are used as defined in the Prospectuses. No investment in shares of a Fund should be made without first reading that Fund’s Prospectus.
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES, POLICIES AND LIMITATIONS
Investment Objectives
Each Fund’s investment objective is fundamental, meaning it may not be changed by a vote of the Trustees without a vote of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. There can be no assurance that a Fund will achieve its investment objective.
Investment Policies and Limitations of the Funds
Unless a policy of a Fund is expressly deemed to be a fundamental policy of the Fund, changeable only by an affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of that Fund’s outstanding voting securities, the Fund’s policies are non-fundamental and may be changed without a shareholder vote.
A Fund may, following notice to its shareholders, employ other investment practices that presently are not contemplated for use by the Fund or that currently are not available but that may be developed to the extent such investment practices are both consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and legally permissible for the Fund. Such investment practices, if they arise, may involve risks that exceed those involved in the activities described in the Fund’s Prospectus.
A Fund’s classification and sub-classification is a matter of fundamental policy. Each Fund is classified as an open-end investment company. Each Fund is sub-classified as a diversified investment company, which under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) means that, with respect to 75% of a Fund’s total assets, the Fund may not invest in securities of any issuer if, immediately after such investment, (i) more than 5% of the total assets of the Fund (taken at current value) would be invested in the securities of that issuer or (ii) more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer would be held by the Fund (this limitation does not apply to obligations of the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities and securities of other investment companies). A diversified Fund is not subject to this limitation with respect to the remaining 25% of its total assets. In addition, each Fund has elected to qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). To qualify as a regulated investment company, the Funds must meet certain diversification requirements as determined at the close of each quarter of each taxable year. The Code’s diversification test is described in “TAXES.”
The policies and limitations stated in this SAI supplement the Funds’ investment policies set forth in each Fund’s Prospectus. Unless otherwise noted, whenever an investment policy or limitation states a maximum percentage of a Fund’s assets that may be invested in any security or other asset, or sets forth a policy regarding quality standards, such standard or percentage limitation will be determined immediately after and as a result of the Fund’s acquisition of such security or other asset except in the case of borrowing (or other activities that may be deemed to result in the issuance of a “senior security” under the 1940 Act). Accordingly, any subsequent change in values, net assets, or other circumstances will not be considered when determining whether the investment complies with a Fund’s investment policies and limitations. If the value of a Fund’s holdings of illiquid investments at any time exceeds the percentage limitation applicable at the time of acquisition due to subsequent fluctuations in value or other reasons, the Trust’s Board will consider what actions, if any, are appropriate to maintain adequate liquidity.
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Fundamental Investment Policies and Limitations of the Funds
The following investment policies and limitations are fundamental and may not be changed without the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities, as defined under the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund means the affirmative vote of the lesser of (a) 67% or more of the shares of the Fund present at a meeting at which the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund are represented in person or by proxy, or (b) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. Portions of the Funds’ fundamental investment restrictions (e.g., references to “except as permitted under the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified from time to time by regulatory authorities having jurisdiction”) provide the Funds with flexibility to change limitations in connection with changes in applicable law, rules, regulations or exemptive relief. The language used in these restrictions provides the necessary flexibility to allow the Board of Trustees to respond efficiently to these kinds of developments without the delay and expense of a shareholder meeting.
Senior Securities
None of the Funds may issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified from time to time by regulatory authorities having jurisdiction.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) takes the position that transactions that have the effect of increasing the leverage of the capital structure of a fund are the economic equivalent of borrowing, and they can be viewed as a type of borrowing known as a “senior security” for purposes of the 1940 Act. Examples of such transactions and trading practices include: reverse repurchase agreements; mortgage-dollar-roll transactions; selling securities short (other than selling short “against the box”); buying and selling certain derivatives contracts, such as futures contracts; writing or selling put and call options; engaging in sale-buybacks; firm commitment and standby commitment agreements; when-issued, delayed delivery and forward commitment transactions; and other similar transactions. A transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance by a Fund of a “senior security,” as that term is defined in Section 18(g) of the 1940 Act, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% minimum asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by a Fund, if the Fund segregates liquid assets or covers the transaction in accordance with applicable SEC or staff guidance and procedures adopted by the Board. In most cases the Fund need not physically segregate the assets. Instead, the Fund’s custodian may note on the Fund’s books the assets that are “segregated.” Segregated liquid assets may not be used to cover other obligations, and if disposed of, must be replaced. In order to comply with the applicable regulatory requirements regarding cover, a Fund may be required to buy or sell securities at a disadvantageous time or when the prices then available are deemed disadvantageous. In addition, segregated assets may not be readily available to satisfy redemption requests or for other purposes.
Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act (“Rule 18f-4”), which becomes fully effective in 2022, will regulate the use of derivatives by the Funds. Rule 18f-4 generally will permit a Fund to enter into derivatives transactions provided it complies with certain conditions. See “Derivatives” below. Rule 18f-4 will permit a Fund to treat reverse repurchase transactions (and other similar financing transactions) either as borrowings or as “derivatives transactions” subject to the risk-based limits of Rule 18f-4, and would not require a Fund to maintain segregated assets to meet its asset coverage requirements. Rule 18f-4 also permits the Funds to invest in securities on a when-issued or forward-settling basis, or with a non-standard settlement cycle. These transactions will not be deemed to involve a senior security, and thus generally will not require the Funds to maintain a “segregated account” when engaging in these types of transactions, subject to certain conditions and any other restrictions that the Funds have adopted.
Underwriting
None of the Funds may underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that a Fund may be considered an underwriter within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), in the disposition of restricted securities.
Borrowing
None of the Funds may borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, or by order of the SEC and as interpreted or modified from time to time by regulatory authorities having jurisdiction.
A Fund’s ability to borrow money is limited by its investment policies and limitations, by the 1940 Act, and by applicable exemptions, no action letters, interpretations, and other pronouncements issued from time to time by regulatory authorities, including the SEC and its staff. Under the 1940 Act, a Fund is required to maintain continuous asset coverage (that is, total assets including the proceeds of borrowings, less liabilities excluding borrowings) of not less than 300% of the amount borrowed, with an exception for borrowings not in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets made for temporary purposes. Any borrowings for temporary purposes in excess of 5% are subject to the minimum 300% asset coverage requirement. If the value of the assets set aside to meet the 300% asset coverage were to decline below 300% due to market fluctuations or other causes, a Fund may be required to sell some of its portfolio holdings within three days (excluding Sundays and holidays) to reduce the debt and comply with the 300% minimum asset coverage requirement, even in circumstances where it is considered disadvantageous from an investment perspective to sell securities at that time or at the prices then available.
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Real Estate
None of the Funds may purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of direct ownership of securities or other instruments. This restriction shall not prevent any of these Funds from investing in the following: (i) securities or other instruments backed by real estate; (ii) securities of real estate operating companies; or (iii) securities of companies engaged in the real estate business, including real estate investment trusts. This restriction does not preclude any of these Funds from buying securities backed by mortgages on real estate or securities of companies engaged in such activities.
Lending
None of the Funds may make loans, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified from time to time by regulatory authorities having jurisdiction.
Generally, the 1940 Act prohibits loans if a fund’s investment policies do not permit loans, and if the loans are made, directly or indirectly, to persons deemed to control or to be under common control with the registered investment company.
Commodities
None of the Funds may purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this shall not prevent a Fund from purchasing or selling options and futures contracts or from investing in securities or other instruments backed by physical commodities).
Concentration
None of the Funds may concentrate its investments in a particular industry, as the term “concentration” is used in the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified from time to time by regulatory authorities having jurisdiction. This restriction shall not prevent any Fund from investing all of its assets in a “master” fund that has adopted similar investment objectives, policies and restrictions.
Concentration means investing more than 25% of a Fund’s net assets in a particular industry or a specified group of industries.
For purposes of determining compliance with this concentration policy, the Strategic Allocation Fund generally does not look through to the investments of the Underlying Funds (as such term is defined below in “Investment Practices, Instruments and Risks”) for purposes of applying concentration limitations unless an Underlying Fund itself has a policy to concentrate in a particular industry. In that case, the particular industry in which the Underlying Fund invests would be counted for purposes of calculating the Strategic Allocation Fund’s concentration limitation.
Non-Fundamental Investment Policies and Limitations of the Funds
The following investment policies restrictions are non-fundamental and may be changed by a vote of a majority of the Trustees.
Illiquid Investments
No Fund may invest more than 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments.
Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act (the “Liquidity Rule”) requires the Funds to establish and maintain a liquidity risk management program. The Liquidity Rule defines “illiquid investment” as any investment that a 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. Such investments include, but are not limited to, time deposits and repurchase agreements with maturities longer than seven days. Investments that may be resold under Rule 144A, investments offered pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act, or investments otherwise subject to restrictions or limitations on resale under the Securities Act shall not be deemed illiquid solely by reason of being unregistered. Victory Capital, under oversight of the Board, determines whether a particular investment is deemed to be liquid based on the trading markets for the specific investment and other factors.
Short Sales and Purchases on Margin
No Fund may make short sales of securities, other than short sales “against the box,” or purchase securities on margin except for short-term credits necessary for clearance of portfolio transactions, provided that this restriction will not be applied to limit the use of options, futures contracts and related options, in the manner otherwise permitted by the investment restrictions, policies and investment program of the Fund.
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Other Investment Companies
No Fund, except the Strategic Allocation Fund, may purchase the securities of any registered open-end investment company or registered unit investment trust in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(F) or Section 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act, which permits operation as a “fund of funds.”
While Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act (“Rule 12d1-4”) would permit a Fund, absent any other investment restrictions to the contrary and subject to the conditions of Rule 12d1-4, to invest in ETFs in excess of the limits set forth in Section 12(d) of the 1940 Act, the Funds do not intend to rely on Rule 12d1-4.
Except as provided in the next paragraph with respect to money market funds and as described further below under “Other Pooled Investment Vehicles,” none of the Funds, except the Strategic Allocation Fund, may: (1) invest more than 5% of its total assets in the securities of any one investment company; (2) own more than 3% of the securities of any one investment company; or (3) invest more than 10% of its total assets in the securities of other investment companies.
Each Fund may purchase and redeem shares issued by a money market fund without limit, provided that either: (1) the acquiring Fund pays no “sales charge” or “service fee” (as each of those terms is defined in the FINRA Conduct Rules); or (2) the Adviser waives its advisory fee in an amount necessary to offset any such sales charge or service fee.
Miscellaneous
a. Concentration
For purposes of calculating concentration of investments in the utility and finance categories, each Fund will operate as follows: neither finance companies as a group nor utility companies as a group are considered a single industry for purposes of a Fund’s concentration policy (i.e., finance companies will be considered a part of the industry they finance and utilities will be divided according to the types of services they provide).
b. Foreign Issuers
The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may not invest in excess of 10% of its total assets in the securities of foreign issuers, excluding from such limitation securities listed on any U.S. securities exchange.
c. Unseasoned Issuers
The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may not invest in excess of 5% of its total assets in securities of issuers which, including predecessors, do not have a record of at least three years’ operation.
d. Mortgage, Pledge or Hypothecation of Securities or Assets
The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may not pledge or hypothecate any of its assets. For the purpose of this limitation, collateral arrangements with respect to stock options or forward transactions are not deemed to be a pledge of assets.
e. Lending or Borrowing
No Fund intends to borrow money for leveraging purposes.
Secondary Investment Strategies
In addition to the investment strategies described in each Fund’s Prospectus, the Funds may engage in other investment strategies outlined below.
• The INCORE Fund for Income may, but is not required to, use derivative instruments.
• The Diversified Stock Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in preferred stocks, investment grade corporate debt securities, short-term debt obligations and U.S. government obligations; and may, but is not required to, use derivative instruments.
• The NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in preferred stocks, investment grade corporate debt securities, short-term debt obligations and U.S. government obligations.
• The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may invest up to 35% of its total assets in corporate debt securities, common stock, U.S. government securities and high-quality short-term debt obligations, preferred stock and repurchase agreements; and up to 10% of its total assets in foreign debt and equity securities.
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• The Sycamore Established Value Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in short-term U.S. government obligations, repurchase agreements, short-term debt obligations and investment grade debt securities.
• The Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in equity securities of larger companies (those with market capitalizations in the top 20% of the 5,000 largest U.S. companies), investment-grade securities, preferred stocks, short-term debt obligations and repurchase agreements.
• The Special Value Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in investment-grade debt securities and preferred stocks; and may, but is not required to, use derivative instruments. The Special Value Fund may invest up to 35% of its total assets in short-term corporate debt obligations.
• The Equity Funds may invest in futures contracts, exchange-traded fund (“ETFs”), options on futures contracts, ETFs and other similar investment vehicles that provide exposure to commodities such as gold or other precious metals, energy or other commodities, regardless of whether such vehicles invest in mines, producers, bullion or futures.
• Each of the Diversified Stock Fund, Established Value Fund, INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund, NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund, Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund and Special Value Fund may invest no more than 20% of their assets in securities of foreign companies traded on U.S. exchanges, including in American and Global Depositary Receipts (“ADRs” and” GDRs”).
INVESTMENT PRACTICES, INSTRUMENTS AND RISKS
In addition to the principal investment strategies and the principal risks of the Funds described in each Prospectus, each Fund may, but will not necessarily, employ other investment practices and may be subject to additional risks which are described further below. Because the following is a combined description of investment strategies and risks for all of the Funds, certain strategies and/or risks described below may not apply to every Fund. Unless a strategy or policy described below is specifically prohibited with respect to a particular Fund by the investment restrictions listed in the Prospectus, under “Investment Objectives Policies and Limitations” in this SAI, or by applicable law, a Fund may, but will not necessarily, engage in each of the practices described below.
A Fund may, following notice to its shareholders, take advantage of other investment practices that presently are not contemplated for use by the Fund or that currently are not available but that may be developed, to the extent such investment practices are both consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and are legally permissible for the Fund. Such investment practices, if they arise, may involve risks that exceed those involved in the activities described in a Fund’s Prospectus and this SAI.
The Strategic Allocation Fund operates as a “fund of funds,” meaning that it seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing primarily in other funds advised by the Adviser (“Victory-Managed Funds”), and, in limited cases, unaffiliated investment companies in order to gain exposure to asset classes not currently offered by the Victory-Managed Funds. The Victory-Managed Funds and any other unaffiliated investment companies in which the Fund may invest are referred to in this SAI as the “Underlying Funds.” Most of the Underlying Funds currently are advised by the Adviser and are considered to be “affiliates” of and within the same “group of investment companies” as the Strategic Allocation Fund. The Underlying Funds may include ETFs. For ease of reference, unless otherwise specified, the Funds and Underlying Funds are both referred to as a “Fund” in this section.
Temporary Defensive Measures. For temporary defensive purposes in response to market conditions, each Fund may hold up to 100% of its assets in cash or high quality, short-term obligations such as domestic and foreign commercial paper (including variable-amount master demand notes), bankers’ acceptances, CDs and demand and time deposits of domestic and foreign branches of U.S. banks and foreign banks and repurchase agreements. (See “International and Foreign Investments” for a description of risks associated with investments in foreign securities.) These temporary defensive measures may result in performance that is inconsistent with a Fund’s investment objective.
Debt Securities
Corporate Obligations. Corporate debt obligations include bonds, debentures and notes. Debentures represent unsecured promises to pay, while notes and bonds may be secured by mortgages on real property or security interests in personal property. Bonds include, but are not limited to, debt instruments with maturities of approximately one year or more, debentures, mortgage-related securities, stripped government securities and zero coupon obligations. Bonds, notes and debentures in which the Funds may invest may differ in interest rates, maturities and times of issuance. The market value of a Fund’s fixed income investments will change in response to interest rate changes and other factors. During periods of falling interest rates, the values of outstanding fixed income securities generally rise. Conversely, during periods of rising interest rates, the values of such securities generally decline. Moreover, while securities with longer maturities tend to produce higher yields, the price of longer maturity securities also are subject to greater market fluctuations as a result of changes in interest rates.
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Changes by nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (“NRSROs”) in the rating of any fixed income security and in the ability of an issuer to make payments of interest and principal also affect the value of these investments. Except under conditions of default, changes in the value of a Fund’s securities will not affect cash income derived from these securities but may affect the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”). Ratings represent a rating agency’s opinion regarding the quality of the security and are not a guarantee of quality. In addition, rating agencies may fail to make timely changes to credit ratings in response to subsequent events and a rating may become stale in that it fails to reflect changes in an issuer’s financial condition. See Appendix A to this SAI for a more detailed discussion of securities ratings.
Convertible and Exchangeable Debt Obligations. A convertible debt obligation is typically a bond or preferred stock that may be converted at a stated price within a specified period of time into a specified number of shares of common stock of the same or a different issuer. Convertible debt obligations are usually senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure, but usually are subordinate to similar non-convertible debt obligations. While providing a fixed income stream (generally higher in yield than the income derivable from a common stock but lower than that afforded by a similar non-convertible debt obligation), a convertible debt obligation also affords an investor the opportunity, through its conversion feature, to participate in the capital appreciation of the common stock into which it is convertible.
An exchangeable debt obligation is debt that is redeemable in either cash or a specified number of common shares of a company different from the issuing company. Exchangeable debt obligations have characteristics and risks similar to those of convertible debt obligations and behave in the market place the same way as convertible debt obligations.
In general, the market value of a convertible debt obligation is at least the higher of its “investment value” (i.e., its value as a fixed income security) or its “conversion value” (i.e., the value of the underlying share of common stock if the security is converted). As a fixed-income security, a convertible debt obligation tends to increase in market value when interest rates decline and tends to decrease in value when interest rates rise. However, the price of a convertible debt obligation also is influenced by the market value of the security’s underlying common stock. Thus, the price of a convertible debt obligation tends to increase as the market value of the underlying stock increases, and tends to decrease as the market value of the underlying stock declines. While no securities investment is without some risk, investments in convertible debt obligations generally entail less risk than investments in the common stock of the same issuer.
Securities received upon conversion of convertible debt obligations or upon exercise of call options or warrants forming elements of synthetic convertibles (described below) may be retained temporarily to permit orderly disposition or to defer realization of gain or loss for federal tax purposes, and will be included in calculating the amount of the Fund’s total assets invested in true and synthetic convertibles.
The Funds may invest in securities convertible into common stock, such as convertible bonds, convertible notes, and convertible preferred stocks. In making investment decisions involving convertible securities, the Adviser considers the attractiveness of the underlying common stock, the financial condition of the issuer, the effect on portfolio diversification, equity sensitivity or delta, current income or yield, upside/downside analysis (how the Adviser expects the convertible security to perform over a given time period given a change in the underlying common stock), convertible valuation (convertible price relative to its theoretical value), and the liquidity of the security.
Synthetic Convertibles. The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund also may invest in “synthetic convertibles.” A synthetic convertible is created by combining separate securities that possess the two principal characteristics of a true convertible security, i.e., fixed income (“fixed-income component”) and the right to acquire equity securities (“convertibility component”). The fixed-income component is achieved by investing in non-convertible bonds, preferred stocks and money market instruments. The convertibility component is achieved by investing in warrants or exchange listed call options or stock index call options granting the holder the right to purchase a specified quantity of securities within a specified period of time at a specified price or to receive cash in the case of stock index options.
A holder of a synthetic convertible faces the risk of a decline in the price of the stock or the level of the index involved in the convertibility component, causing a decline in the value of the option or warrant. Should the price of the stock fall below the exercise price and remain there throughout the exercise period, the entire amount paid for the call option or warrant would be lost. Since a synthetic convertible includes the fixed-income component as well, the holder of a synthetic convertible also faces the risk that interest rates will rise, causing a decline in the value of the fixed-income instrument.
Short-Term Corporate Obligations. Corporations and other business organizations may issue short-term obligations in order to finance their short-term credit needs. Corporate bonds in which a Fund may invest generally consist of those rated in the two highest rating categories of an NRSRO that possess many favorable investment attributes. In the lower end of this category, credit quality may be more susceptible to potential future changes in circumstances.
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Demand Features. A Fund may acquire securities that are subject to puts and standby commitments (“demand features”) to purchase the securities at their principal amount (usually with accrued interest) within a fixed period (usually seven days) following a demand by the Fund. The demand feature may be issued by the issuer of the underlying securities, a dealer in the securities or by another third party, and may not be transferred separately from the underlying security. A Fund uses these arrangements to obtain liquidity and not to protect against changes in the market value of the underlying securities. The bankruptcy, receivership or default by the issuer of the demand feature, or a default on the underlying security or other event that terminates the demand feature before its exercise, will adversely affect the liquidity of the underlying security. Demand features that are exercisable even after a payment default on the underlying security may be treated as a form of credit enhancement.
Bankers’ Acceptances are negotiable drafts or bills of exchange, typically drawn by an importer or exporter to pay for specific merchandise, which are “accepted” by a bank, meaning, in effect, that the bank unconditionally agrees to pay the face value of the instrument on maturity. Bankers’ acceptances will be those guaranteed by domestic and foreign banks, if at the time of purchase such banks have capital, surplus and undivided profits in excess of $100 million (as of the date of their most recently published financial statements).
Certificates of Deposit (“CDs”) are negotiable certificates issued against funds deposited in a commercial bank or a savings and loan association for a definite period of time and earning a specified return. A Fund may invest in CDs and demand and time deposits of domestic and foreign banks and savings and loan associations, if (a) at the time of purchase such financial institutions have capital, surplus and undivided profits in excess of $100 million (as of the date of their most recently published financial statements) or (b) the principal amount of the instrument is insured in full by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”) or the Savings Association Insurance Fund.
Eurodollar CDs are U.S. dollar-denominated CDs issued by branches of foreign and domestic banks located outside the United States. Eurodollar time deposits are U.S. dollar-denominated deposits in a foreign branch of a U.S. bank or a foreign bank.
Yankee CDs are issued by a U.S. branch of a foreign bank denominated in U.S. dollars and held in the U.S.
Canadian Time Deposits are U.S. dollar-denominated CDs issued by Canadian offices of major Canadian banks.
Commercial Paper is comprised of unsecured promissory notes, usually issued by corporations. Except as noted below with respect to variable amount master demand notes, issues of commercial paper normally have maturities of less than nine months and fixed rates of return. In addition to corporate issuers, borrowers that issue municipal securities also may issue tax-exempt commercial paper. The Funds will purchase only commercial paper that is rated, at the time of purchase, in one of the two highest rating categories by at least one NRSRO. To the extent that the ratings accorded by NRSROs may change as a result of changes in their rating systems, the Funds will attempt to use comparable ratings as standards for its investments, in accordance with the investment policies contained herein. Where necessary to ensure that an instrument meets, or is of comparable quality to, a Fund’s rating criteria, the Fund may require that the issuer’s obligation to pay the principal of, and the interest on, the instrument be backed by insurance or by an unconditional bank letter or line of credit, guarantee, or commitment to lend. In addition, each of the Funds may acquire commercial paper and corporate bonds of issuers that are not rated but are determined by the Adviser at the time of purchase to be of comparable quality to instruments of issuers that may be acquired by such Fund as previously described.
Ratings represent a rating agency’s opinion regarding the quality of the security and are not a guarantee of quality. In addition, rating agencies may fail to make timely changes to credit ratings in response to subsequent events and a rating may become stale in that it fails to reflect changes in an issuer’s financial condition. In some cases, the ratings of commercial paper issuers have been downgraded abruptly, leaving holders with little opportunity to avoid losses.
Short-Term Funding Agreements. Short-term funding agreements (sometimes referred to as guaranteed investment contracts or “GICs”) are issued by insurance companies. Pursuant to such agreements, a Fund makes cash contributions to a deposit fund of the insurance company’s general account. The insurance company then credits the Fund, on a monthly basis, guaranteed interest that is based on an index. The short-term funding agreement provides that this guaranteed interest will not be less than a certain minimum rate. Because the principal amount of a short-term funding agreement may not be received from the insurance company on seven days’ notice or less, the agreement is considered to be an illiquid investment and subject to the restrictions on investing in illiquid investments. In determining dollar-weighted average portfolio maturity, a short-term funding agreement will be deemed to have a maturity equal to the period of time remaining until the next readjustment of the guaranteed interest rate.
Variable and Adjustable Rate Debt Securities
Variable Amount Master Demand Notes are unsecured demand notes that permit the indebtedness thereunder to vary and provide for periodic adjustments in the interest rate according to the terms of the instrument. Although there is no secondary market for these notes, a Fund may demand payment of principal and accrued interest at any time and may resell the notes at any time to a third party. The absence of an active secondary market, however, could make it difficult for a Fund to dispose of a variable amount master demand
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note if the issuer defaulted on its payment obligations, and the Fund could, for this or other reasons, suffer a loss to the extent of the default. While the notes typically are not rated by credit rating agencies, issuers of variable amount master demand notes must satisfy the same criteria as set forth above for unrated commercial paper, and the Adviser will monitor continuously the issuer’s financial status and ability to make payments due under the instrument. Where necessary to ensure that a note is of “high quality,” a Fund will require that the issuer’s obligation to pay the principal of the note be backed by an unconditional bank letter or line of credit, guarantee or commitment to lend. For purposes of a Fund’s investment policies, a variable amount master demand note will be deemed to have a maturity equal to the longer of the period of time remaining until the next readjustment of its interest rate or the period of time remaining until the principal amount can be recovered from the issuer through demand.
Variable Rate Demand Notes are tax-exempt obligations containing a floating or variable interest rate adjustment formula, together with an unconditional right to demand payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest upon a short notice period, generally not to exceed seven days. The Funds also may invest in participation variable rate demand notes, which provide a Fund with an undivided interest in underlying variable rate demand notes held by major investment banking institutions. Any purchase of variable rate demand notes will meet applicable diversification and concentration requirements.
Variable and Floating Rate Notes. A variable rate note is one whose terms provide for the readjustment of its interest rate on set dates and that, upon such readjustment, reasonably can be expected to have a market value that approximates its par value. A floating rate note is one whose terms provide for the readjustment of its interest rate whenever a specified interest rate changes and that, at any time, reasonably can be expected to have a market value that approximates its par value. Such notes frequently are not rated by credit rating agencies; however, unrated variable and floating rate notes purchased by the Fund will only be those determined by the Adviser, pursuant to guidelines approved by the Trustees, to pose minimal credit risks and to be of comparable quality, at the time of purchase, to rated instruments eligible for purchase under the Fund’s investment policies. In making such determinations, the Adviser will consider the earning power, cash flow and other liquidity ratios of the issuers of such notes (such issuers include financial, merchandising, bank holding and other companies) and will continuously monitor their financial condition. Although there may be no active secondary market with respect to a particular variable or floating rate note purchased by a Fund, the Fund may resell the note at any time to a third party. The absence of an active secondary market, however, could make it difficult for a Fund to dispose of a variable or floating rate note in the event that the issuer of the note defaulted on its payment obligations and a Fund could, for this or other reasons, suffer a loss to the extent of the default. Bank letters of credit may secure variable or floating rate notes.
The maturities of variable or floating rate notes are determined as follows:
1. A variable or floating rate note that is issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or any agency thereof and that has a variable rate of interest readjusted no less frequently than annually will be deemed to have a maturity equal to the period remaining until the next readjustment of the interest rate.
2. A variable or floating rate note, the principal amount of which is scheduled on the face of the instrument to be paid in one year or less, will be deemed by the Fund to have a maturity equal to the period remaining until the next readjustment of the interest rate.
3. A variable or floating rate note that is subject to a demand feature scheduled to be paid in one year or more will be deemed to have a maturity equal to the longer of the period remaining until the next readjustment of the interest rate or the period remaining until the principal amount can be recovered through demand.
4. A variable or floating rate note that is subject to a demand feature will be deemed to have a maturity equal to the period remaining until the principal amount can be recovered through demand.
As used above, a note is “subject to a demand feature” where a Fund is entitled to receive the principal amount of the note either at any time on no more than 30 days’ notice or at specified intervals not exceeding one year and upon no more than 30 days’ notice.
The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may invest up to 35% of its total assets in variable and floating rate notes. The INCORE Fund for Income may invest up to 35% of its total assets in variable and floating rate U.S. government securities. Each of the Diversified Stock, NewBridge Large Cap Growth, and Special Value Funds may invest up to 20% of its total assets in variable amount master demand notes.
Extendible Debt Securities are securities that can be retired at the option of a Fund at various dates prior to maturity. In calculating average portfolio maturity, a Fund may treat extendible debt securities as maturing on the next optional retirement date.
Receipts and Zero Coupon Bonds
Receipts are separately traded interest and principal component parts of bills, notes, and bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury that are transferable through the federal book entry system, known as “separately traded registered interest and principal securities” (“STRIPS”) and “coupon under book entry safekeeping” (“CUBES”). These instruments are issued by banks and brokerage firms and are created by depositing U.S. Treasury notes and U.S. Treasury bonds into a special account at a custodian bank; the custodian holds the interest
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and principal payments for the benefit of the registered owners of the certificates or receipts. The custodian arranges for the issuance of the certificates or receipts evidencing ownership and maintains the register. Receipts include U.S. Treasury receipts (“TRs”), U.S. Treasury investment growth receipts (“TIGRs”), and certificates of accrual on U.S. Treasury securities (“CATS”).
The INCORE Fund for Income may invest up to 20% of its total assets in U.S. government security receipts. Each of the Diversified Stock, Sycamore Established Value, NewBridge Large Cap Growth, Sycamore Small Company Opportunity and Special Value Funds may invest up to 20% of its total assets in receipts.
Zero Coupon Bonds are purchased at a discount from the face amount because the buyer receives only the right to a fixed payment on a certain date in the future and does not receive any periodic interest payments. The effect of owning instruments that do not make current interest payments is that a fixed yield is earned not only on the original investment but also, in effect, on accretion during the life of the obligations. This implicit reinvestment of earnings at the same rate eliminates the risk of being unable to reinvest distributions at a rate as high as the implicit yields on the zero coupon bond, but at the same time eliminates the holder’s ability to reinvest at higher rates. For this reason, zero coupon bonds are subject to substantially greater price fluctuations during periods of changing market interest rates than are comparable securities that pay interest currently. This fluctuation increases in accordance with the length of the period to maturity.
The INCORE Fund for Income may invest up to 20% of its total assets in zero coupon U.S. government securities.
Investment Grade and High Quality Securities. The Funds may invest in “investment grade” obligations, which are those that are rated at the time of purchase within the four highest rating categories assigned by an NRSRO or, if unrated, are obligations that the Adviser determines to be of comparable quality. The applicable securities ratings are described in Appendix A to this SAI. “High-quality” short-term obligations are those obligations that, at the time of purchase, (1) possess a rating in one of the two highest ratings categories from at least one NRSRO (for example, commercial paper rated “A-1” or “A-2” by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) or “P-1” or “P-2” by Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”)) or (2) are unrated by an NRSRO but are determined by the Adviser to present minimal credit risks and to be of comparable quality to rated instruments eligible for purchase by the Funds under guidelines adopted by the Board.
Ratings represent a rating agency’s opinion regarding the quality of the security and are not a guarantee of quality. In addition, rating agencies may fail to make timely changes to credit ratings in response to subsequent events and a rating may become stale in that it fails to reflect changes in an issuer’s financial condition.
High-Yield Debt Securities. High-yield debt securities are below-investment grade debt securities, commonly referred to as “junk bonds” (those rated “Ba” to “C” by Moody’s or “BB” to “C” by S&P), that have poor protection with respect to the payment of interest and repayment of principal, or may be in default. These securities are often considered to be speculative and involve greater risk of loss or price changes due to changes in the issuer’s capacity to pay. The market prices of high-yield debt securities may fluctuate more than those of higher-rated debt securities and may decline significantly in periods of general economic difficulty, which may follow periods of rising interest rates.
An economic downturn could disrupt the high yield debt market and impair the ability of issuers to repay principal and interest. Also, an increase in interest rates would have a greater adverse impact on the value of such obligations than on higher quality debt securities. During an economic downturn or period of rising interest rates, highly leveraged issues may experience financial stress which would adversely affect their ability to service their principal and interest payment obligations. Prices and yields of high yield securities will fluctuate over time and, during periods of economic uncertainty, volatility of high yield securities may adversely affect a Fund’s NAV.
While the market for high-yield debt securities has been in existence for many years and has weathered previous economic downturns, the 1980s brought a dramatic increase in the use of such securities to fund highly leveraged corporate acquisitions and restructurings. Past experience may not provide an accurate indication of future performance of the high yield bond market, especially during periods of economic recession.
The market for high-yield debt securities may be thinner and less active than that for higher-rated debt securities, which can adversely affect the prices at which the former are sold. If market quotations are not available, high-yield debt securities will be valued in accordance with procedures established by the Board, including the use of outside pricing services.
Judgment plays a greater role in valuing high-yield debt securities than is the case for securities for which more external sources for quotations and last-sale information are available. Adverse publicity and changing investor perceptions may affect the ability of outside pricing services to value high-yield debt securities and a Fund’s ability to sell these securities.
Credit quality (or perceived credit quality) in the high-yield securities market can change suddenly and unexpectedly, and even recently issued credit ratings may not fully reflect the actual risks posed by a particular high- yield security. Ratings represent a rating agency’s opinion regarding the quality of the security and are not a guarantee of quality. In addition, rating agencies may fail to make timely changes to credit ratings in response to subsequent events and a rating may become stale in that it fails to reflect changes in an issuer’s
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financial condition. For these reasons, among others, the Adviser will not to rely exclusively on ratings issued by established credit rating agencies, but to supplement such ratings with its own independent and on-going review of credit quality. The achievement of a Fund’s investment objective by investment in such securities may be more dependent on the Adviser’s credit analysis than is the case for higher quality bonds. Should the rating of a portfolio security be downgraded, the Adviser will determine whether it is in the best interests of the Fund to retain or dispose of such security.
Since the risk of default is higher for high-yield debt securities, the Adviser’s research and credit analysis are an especially important part of managing securities of this type held by a Fund. In considering investments for a Fund, the Adviser will attempt to identify those issuers of high-yielding debt securities whose financial conditions are adequate to meet future obligations, has improved, or is expected to improve in the future. Analysis by the Adviser focuses on relative values based on such factors as interest or dividend coverage, asset coverage, earnings prospects, and the experience and managerial strength of the issuer.
Prices for high-yield debt securities may also be affected by legislative and regulatory developments. For example, new federal rules require savings and loan institutions to gradually reduce their holdings of this type of security. Congress has from time to time considered legislation which would restrict or eliminate the corporate tax deduction for interest payments in these securities and regulate corporate restructurings. Such legislation may significantly depress the prices of outstanding securities of this type.
A Fund may choose, at its expense or in conjunction with others, to pursue litigation or otherwise exercise its rights as security holder to seek to protect the interests of security holders if it determines this to be in the best interest of the Fund’s shareholders.
The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may invest up to 20% in securities that are either not rated or rated below investment grade. Included within this limit are credit derivatives that are considered high yield instruments.
Loans and Other Direct Debt Instruments. Loans and other direct debt instruments are interests in amounts owed by a corporate, governmental, or other borrower to another party. They may represent amounts owed to lenders or lending syndicates (loans and loan participations), to suppliers of goods or services (trade claims or other receivables), or to other parties. Direct debt instruments involve a risk of loss in case of default or insolvency of the borrower and may offer less legal protection to a Fund in the event of fraud or misrepresentation. In addition, loan participations involve a risk of insolvency of the lending bank or other financial intermediary. Direct debt instruments also may include standby financing commitments that obligate a Fund to supply additional cash to the borrower on demand.
U.S. Government Obligations
U.S. Government Securities are obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies and instrumentalities. Obligations of certain agencies and instrumentalities of the U.S. government are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury; others are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; others are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase the agency’s obligations; and still others are supported only by the credit of the agency or instrumentality. Although a Fund may hold securities that carry U.S. government guarantees, these guarantees do not extend to shares of the Fund itself and do not guarantee the market prices of the securities. No assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support to U.S. government-sponsored agencies or instrumentalities if it is not obligated to do so by law. The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may invest up to 35% of its total assets in these securities. Each of the Diversified Stock, Sycamore Established Value, NewBridge Large Cap Growth, Sycamore Small Company Opportunity and Special Value Funds may invest up to 20% of its total assets in U.S. government securities.
Wholly-Owned Government Corporations include: (A) the Commodity Credit Corporation; (B) the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund; (C) the Export-Import Bank of the United States; (D) the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation; (E) Federal Prison Industries, Incorporated; (F) the Corporation for National and Community Service; (G) the Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”); (H) the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; (I) the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation; (J) the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; (K) the Rural Telephone Bank until the ownership, control and operation of the Bank are converted under section 410(a) of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 950(a)); (L) the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; (M) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development when carrying out duties and powers related to the Federal Housing Administration Fund; (N) the Tennessee Valley Authority; (O) the Panama Canal Commission; and (P) the Alternative Agricultural Research and Commercialization Corporation.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (“TVA”), a federal corporation and the nation’s largest public power company, issues a number of different power bonds, quarterly income debt securities (“QUIDs”) and discount notes to provide capital for its power program. TVA bonds include: global and domestic power bonds, valley inflation-indexed power securities, which are indexed to inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index; and put-able automatic rate reset securities, which are 30-year non-callable securities. QUIDs pay interest quarterly, are callable after five years and are due at different times. TVA discount notes are available in various amounts and with maturity dates less than one year from the date of issue. Although TVA is a federal corporation, the U.S. government does not guarantee its securities, although TVA may borrow under a line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.
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In recent periods, the values of U.S. government securities have been affected substantially by increased demand. Increases (or decreases) in demand of such securities may occur at any time and may result in increased volatility in the values of those securities.
Municipal Obligations
The Funds may invest in municipal securities. Municipal securities are obligations, typically bonds and notes, issued by or on behalf of states, territories and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies, authorities and instrumentalities, the interest on which, in the opinion of the issuer’s bond counsel at the time of issuance, is both exempt from federal income tax and not treated as a preference item for individuals for purposes of the federal alternative minimum tax.
Generally, municipal securities are issued by governmental entities to obtain funds for various public purposes, such as the construction of a wide range of public facilities, the refunding of outstanding obligations, the payment of general operating expenses and the extension of loans to other public institutions and facilities. Municipal securities may include fixed, variable, or floating rate obligations. Municipal securities may be purchased on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis (including refunding contracts).
The prices and yields on municipal securities are subject to change from time to time and depend upon a variety of factors, including general money market conditions, the financial condition of the issuer (or other entities whose financial resources are supporting the municipal security), general conditions in the market for tax-exempt obligations, the size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation and the rating(s) of the issue. There are variations in the quality of municipal securities, both within a particular category of municipal securities and between categories. Current information about the financial condition of an issuer of tax-exempt bonds or notes usually is not as extensive as that which is made available by corporations whose securities are publicly traded.
An issuer’s obligations under its municipal obligations are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors, such as the Federal Bankruptcy Code, and laws, if any, which may be enacted by federal or state legislatures extending the time for payment of principal or interest, or both, or imposing other constraints upon enforcement of such obligations or upon the ability of municipalities to levy taxes. The power or ability of an issuer to meet its obligations for the payment of interest on and principal of its municipal obligations may be materially adversely affected by litigation or other conditions. Moreover, changes in the financial health of a municipality or other issuer, or an insurer of municipalities, may make it difficult to pay interest and principal when due and may affect the overall municipal securities market.
From time to time, proposals have been introduced before Congress for the purpose of restricting or eliminating the federal income tax exemption for interest on tax-exempt bonds, and similar proposals may be introduced in the future. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that Congress has the constitutional authority to enact such legislation. It is not possible to determine what effect the adoption of such proposals could have on the availability of tax-exempt bonds for investment by a Fund and the value of its portfolio. Proposals also may be introduced before state legislatures that would affect the state tax treatment of municipal securities. If such proposals were enacted, the availability of municipal securities and their value would be affected.
The ratings of NRSROs represent their opinions as to the quality of municipal securities. In this regard, it should be emphasized that the ratings of any NRSRO are general and are not absolute standards of quality, and municipal securities with the same maturity, interest rate and rating may have different yields, while municipal securities of the same maturity and interest rate with different ratings may have the same yield. Subsequent to purchase by a Fund, an issue of municipal securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum rating required for purchase by the Fund. The Adviser will consider such an event in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the obligation.
Subsequent to its purchase by a Fund, an issue of rated municipal obligations may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum required for purchase by the Fund. Neither event will require the sale of such municipal obligations by the Fund. To the extent that the ratings given by Moody’s or S&P for municipal obligations may change as a result of changes in such organizations or their rating systems, the Fund will attempt to use comparable ratings as standards for its investments in accordance with the investment policies contained in the Prospectus and this SAI. See Appendix A to this SAI for a more detailed discussion of securities ratings.
Municipal bonds are generally considered riskier investments than U.S. Treasury securities. Contrary to historical trends, in recent years, the market has encountered downgrades, increased rates of default and lower yields on municipal bonds. This is a product of significant reductions in revenues for many states and municipalities as well as residual effects of a generally weakened economy.
Mortgage- and Asset-Backed Securities
Mortgage-Backed Securities are backed by mortgage obligations including, among others, conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage obligations, graduated payment mortgage obligations, 15-year mortgage obligations and adjustable-rate mortgage obligations. All of these mortgage obligations can be used to create pass-through securities. A pass-through security is created when mortgage obligations
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are pooled together and undivided interests in the pool or pools are sold. The cash flow from the mortgage obligations is passed through to the holders of the securities in the form of periodic payments of interest, principal, and prepayments (net of a service fee).
Prepayments occur when the holder of an individual mortgage obligation prepays the remaining principal before the mortgage obligation’s scheduled maturity date. As a result of the pass-through of prepayments of principal on the underlying securities, mortgage-backed securities are often subject to more rapid prepayment of principal than their stated maturity indicates. Because the prepayment characteristics of the underlying mortgage obligations vary, it is not possible to predict accurately the realized yield or average life of a particular issue of pass-through certificates. Prepayment rates are important because of their effect on the yield and price of the securities.
Accelerated prepayments have an adverse impact on yields for pass-throughs purchased at a premium (i.e., a price in excess of principal amount) and may involve additional risk of loss of principal because the premium may not have been fully amortized at the time the obligation is repaid. The opposite is true for pass-throughs purchased at a discount. A Fund may purchase mortgage-backed securities at a premium or at a discount. Among the U.S. government securities in which a Fund may invest are government mortgage-backed securities (or government guaranteed mortgage-related securities). Such guarantees do not extend to the value of yield of the mortgage-backed securities themselves or of the Fund’s shares.
The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may invest up to 35% of its total assets in tax-exempt mortgage-backed securities.
Federal Farm Credit Bank Securities. A U.S. government-sponsored institution, the Federal Farm Credit Bank (“FFCB”) consolidates the financing activities of the component banks of the Federal Farm Credit System, established by the Farm Credit Act of 1971 to provide credit to farmers and farm-related enterprises. The FFCB sells short-term discount notes maturing in 1 to 365 days, short-term bonds with three- and six-month maturities and adjustable rate securities through a national syndicate of securities dealers. Several dealers also maintain an active secondary market in these securities. FFCB securities are not guaranteed by the U.S. government and no assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support to this instrumentality.
Federal Home Loan Bank Securities. Similar to the role played by the Federal Reserve System with respect to U.S. commercial banks, the Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”), created in 1932, supplies credit reserves to savings and loans, cooperative banks and other mortgage lenders. FHLB sells short-term discount notes maturing in one to 360 days and variable rate securities, and lends the money to mortgage lenders based on the amount of collateral provided by the institution. FHLB securities are not guaranteed by the U.S. government, although FHLB may borrow under a line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.
U.S. Government Mortgage-Backed Securities. Certain obligations of certain agencies and instrumentalities of the U.S. government are mortgage-backed securities. Some such obligations, such as those issued by GNMA, are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury; others, such as those of the Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”), are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the Treasury; others are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase the agency’s obligations; still others, such as those of FFCB or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”), are supported only by the credit of the instrumentality. No assurance can be given that the U.S. government would provide financial support to U.S. government-sponsored agencies and instrumentalities if it is not obligated to do so by law.
GNMA is the principal governmental (i.e., backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government) guarantor of mortgage-backed securities. GNMA is a wholly-owned U.S. government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. GNMA is authorized to guarantee, with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, the timely payment of principal and interest on securities issued by institutions approved by GNMA (such as savings and loan institutions, commercial banks and mortgage bankers) and pools of FHA-insured or VA- guaranteed mortgages. Government-related (i.e., not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government) guarantors include FNMA and FHLMC, which are government-sponsored corporations owned entirely by private stockholders. Pass-through securities issued by FNMA and FHLMC are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
GNMA Certificates are mortgage-backed securities that evidence an undivided interest in a pool or pools of mortgages. GNMA Certificates that a Fund may purchase are the “modified pass-through” type, which entitle the holder to receive timely payment of all interest and principal payments due on the mortgage pool, net of fees paid to the “issuer” and GNMA, regardless of whether or not the mortgagor actually makes the payment.
The National Housing Act authorizes GNMA to guarantee the timely payment of principal and interest on securities backed by a pool of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) or guaranteed by the Veterans Administration (“VA”). The GNMA guarantee is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. GNMA also is empowered to borrow without limitation from the U.S. Treasury if necessary to make any payments required under its guarantee.
The estimated average life of a GNMA Certificate is likely to be substantially shorter than the original maturity of the underlying mortgages. Prepayments of principal by mortgagors and mortgage foreclosures usually will result in the return of the greater part of
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principal investment long before the maturity of the mortgages in the pool. Foreclosures impose no risk to principal investment because of the GNMA guarantee, except to the extent that a Fund has purchased the certificates above par in the secondary market.
A Fund may purchase construction loan securities, a form of GNMA certificate, that are issued to finance building costs. The funds are paid by a Fund and disbursed as needed or in accordance with a prearranged plan over a period as long as three years. The securities provide for the timely payment to the registered holder of interest at the specified rate plus scheduled installments of principal. Upon completion of the construction phase, the construction loan securities are terminated and project loan securities are issued. GNMA certificates are recorded on the day after trade date and to segregate assets to cover its commitments on the day after trade date as well. When a Fund sells a construction loan security, the settlement of the trade is not completed as to any additional funds that are scheduled to be paid by the owner of the security until those payments are made, which may be as long as three years. During this period of time prior to settlement of the trade, the Fund’s segregation of assets continues in the amount of the additional funds scheduled to be paid by the owner of the security. If the security fails to settle at any time during this period because the current owner fails to make a required additional payment of funds, a Fund could be subject to a loss similar to the loss that a seller normally is subject to upon the failed settlement of a security.
FHLMC Securities. FHLMC was created in 1970 to promote development of a nationwide secondary market in conventional residential mortgages. FHLMC issues two types of mortgage pass-through securities (“FHLMC Certificates”), mortgage participation certificates and collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”). Participation Certificates resemble GNMA Certificates in that each Participation Certificate represents a pro rata share of all interest and principal payments made and owed on the underlying pool. FHLMC guarantees timely monthly payment of interest on Participation Certificates and the ultimate payment of principal. FHLMC Gold Participation Certificates guarantee the timely payment of both principal and interest.
FHLMC CMOs are backed by pools of agency mortgage-backed securities and the timely payment of principal and interest of each tranche is guaranteed by the FHLMC. Although the FHLMC guarantee is not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, FHLMC may borrow under a line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.
FNMA Securities. FNMA was established in 1938 to create a secondary market in mortgages insured by the FHA, but has expanded its activity to the secondary market for conventional residential mortgages. FNMA primarily issues two types of mortgage-backed securities, guaranteed mortgage pass-through certificates (“FNMA Certificates”) and CMOs. FNMA Certificates resemble GNMA Certificates in that each FNMA Certificate represents a pro rata share of all interest and principal payments made and owed on the underlying pool. FNMA guarantees timely payment of interest and principal on FNMA Certificates and CMOs. Although the FNMA guarantee is not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, FNMA may borrow under a line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.
SLMA Securities. Established by federal decree in 1972 to increase the availability of education loans to college and university students, the Student Loan Marketing Association (“SLMA”) is a publicly traded corporation that guarantees student loans traded in the secondary market. SLMA purchases student loans from participating financial institutions that originate these loans and provides financing to state education loan agencies. SLMA issues short- and medium-term notes and floating rate securities. SLMA securities are not guaranteed by the U.S. government, although SLMA may borrow under a line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations. Mortgage-backed securities also may include CMOs. CMOs are securities backed by a pool of mortgages in which the principal and interest cash flows of the pool are channeled on a prioritized basis into two or more classes, or tranches, of bonds. The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may invest up to 35% of its total assets in CMOs.
Non-Government Mortgage-Backed Securities. A Fund may invest in mortgage-related securities issued by non- government entities. Commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers also create pass-through pools of conventional residential mortgage loans. Such issuers also may be the originators of the underlying mortgage loans as well as the guarantors of the mortgage-related securities. Pools created by such non-government issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than government and government-related pools because there are not direct or indirect government guarantees of payments in the former pools. However, timely payment of interest and principal of these pools is supported by various forms of insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance. The insurance and guarantees are issued by government entities, private insurers and the mortgage poolers. Such insurance and guarantees and the creditworthiness of the issuers, thereof will be considered in determining whether a non-government mortgage-backed security meets a Fund’s investment quality standards. There can be no assurance that the private insurers can meet their obligations under the policies. A Fund may buy non-government mortgage-backed securities without insurance or guarantees if, through an examination of the loan experience and practices of the poolers, the Adviser determines that the securities meet the Fund’s quality standards. Although the market for such securities is becoming increasingly liquid, securities issued by certain private organizations may not be readily marketable and subject to a Fund’s restrictions on acquiring illiquid investments.
A Fund may purchase mortgage-related securities with stated maturities in excess of 10 years. Mortgage-related securities include CMOs and participation certificates in pools of mortgages. The average life of mortgage-related securities varies with the maturities
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of the underlying mortgage instruments, which have maximum maturities of 40 years. The average life is likely to be substantially less than the original maturity of the mortgage pools underlying the securities as the result of mortgage prepayments. The rate of such prepayments, and hence the average life of the certificates, will be a function of current market interest rates and current conditions in the relevant housing markets. The impact of prepayment of mortgages is described under “Mortgage-Backed Securities.” Estimated average life will be determined by the Adviser. Various independent mortgage-related securities dealers publish estimated average life data using proprietary models, and in making such determinations, the Adviser will rely on such data except to the extent such data are deemed unreliable by the Adviser. The Adviser might deem data unreliable that appeared to present a significantly different estimated average life for a security than data relating to the estimated average life of comparable securities as provided by other independent mortgage-related securities dealers.
Forward Roll Transactions. A Fund can enter into “forward roll” transactions with respect to mortgage-related securities. In this type of transaction, the Fund sells a mortgage-related security to a buyer and simultaneously agrees to repurchase a similar security (the same type of security and having the same coupon and maturity) at a later date at a set price. The securities that are repurchased will have the same interest rate as the securities that are sold, but typically will be collateralized by different pools of mortgages (with different prepayment histories) than the securities that have been sold. Proceeds from the sale are invested in short-term instruments, such as repurchase agreements. The income from those investments, plus the fees from the forward roll transaction, are expected to generate income to the Fund in excess of the yield on the securities that have been sold. A Fund will only enter into “covered” rolls. To assure its future payment of the purchase price, the Fund will identify on its books liquid assets in an amount equal to the payment obligation under the roll. For financial reporting and tax purposes, the Fund treats each forward roll transaction as two separate transactions: one involving the purchase of a security and a separate transaction involving a sale. The Funds currently do not intend to enter into forward roll transactions that are accounted for as a financing.
Asset-Backed Securities are debt securities backed by pools of automobile or other commercial or consumer finance loans. The collateral backing asset-backed securities cannot be foreclosed upon. These issues are normally traded over-the-counter and typically have a short to intermediate maturity structure, depending on the pay-down characteristics of the underlying financial assets that are passed through to the security holder. The value of asset- backed securities, including those issued by structured investment vehicles (“SIVs”), may be affected by, among other things, changes in: interest rates, the quality of underlying assets or the market’s assessment of those assets, factors concerning the interests in and structure of the issuer or the originator of the receivables, or the creditworthiness of entities that provide any credit enhancements. SIVs generally have experienced significantly decreased liquidity as well as declines in the market value of certain categories of collateral underlying the SIVs.
Prime Rate Indexed Adjustable Rate Securities. Floating rate notes include prime rate-indexed adjustable rate securities, which are securities whose interest rate is calculated based on the prime rate, that is, the interest rate that banks charge to their most creditworthy customers. Market forces affecting a bank’s cost of funds and the rates that borrowers will accept determine the prime rate. The prime rate tends to become standard across the banking industry when a major bank moves its prime rate up or down.
Repurchase Agreements. Securities held by a Fund may be subject to repurchase agreements. Repurchase agreements with maturities of more than seven days are considered illiquid for purposes of complying with a Fund’s restriction on purchasing illiquid investments. Under the terms of a repurchase agreement, a Fund would acquire securities from financial institutions or registered broker-dealers deemed creditworthy by the Adviser pursuant to guidelines adopted by the Trustees, subject to the seller’s agreement to repurchase such securities at a mutually agreed upon date and price. The seller is required to maintain the value of collateral held pursuant to the agreement at not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). If the seller were to default on its repurchase obligation or become insolvent, a Fund would suffer a loss to the extent that the proceeds from a sale of the underlying portfolio securities were less than the repurchase price, or to the extent that the disposition of such securities by the Fund is delayed pending court action.
The acquisition of a repurchase agreement will be deemed to be an acquisition of the underlying securities, provided that the obligation of the seller to repurchase the securities from a Fund is collateralized fully and the Adviser, pursuant to its authority as delegated by the Board, has evaluated the seller’s creditworthiness. In this regard, the underlying securities must be consistent with a Fund’s investment policies and limitations.
Each of the INCORE Fund for Income and INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Funds may invest up to 35% of its total assets in repurchase agreements. Each of the Diversified Stock, Sycamore Established Value, NewBridge Large Cap Growth, Sycamore Small Company Opportunity and Special Value Funds may invest up to 20% of its total assets in repurchase agreements. All of the other Funds may invest in repurchase agreements without limit. Subject to the conditions of an exemptive order (if any) from the SEC, the Adviser may be able to combine repurchase transactions among one or more Funds into a single transaction.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements. A Fund may borrow funds for temporary purposes by entering into reverse repurchase agreements. Reverse repurchase agreements are considered to be borrowings under the 1940 Act. Pursuant to such an agreement, a Fund would sell a portfolio security to a financial institution, such as a bank or a broker-dealer, and agree to repurchase such security at a mutually agreed-upon date and price. At the time a Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it will segregate assets (such as cash or liquid securities) consistent with a Fund’s investment restrictions having a value equal to the repurchase price (including accrued
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interest). The collateral will be marked-to-market on a daily basis and will be monitored continuously to ensure that such equivalent value is maintained. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities sold by a Fund may decline below the price at which the Fund is obligated to repurchase the securities.
Rule 18f-4, which becomes fully effective in 2022, will permit a Fund to treat reverse repurchase transactions (and other similar financing transactions) either as borrowings or as “derivatives transactions” subject to the risk-based limits of Rule 18f-4, and would not require a Fund to maintain segregated assets to meet its asset coverage requirements.
When-Issued Securities. A Fund may purchase securities on a when-issued basis (i.e., for delivery beyond the normal settlement date at a stated price and yield). When a Fund agrees to purchase securities on a when issued basis, the custodian will set aside cash or liquid securities equal to the amount of the commitment in a separate account. Normally, the custodian will set aside portfolio securities to satisfy the purchase commitment, and in such a case, a Fund may be required subsequently to segregate additional assets in order to assure that the value of the segregated assets remains equal to the amount of the Fund’s commitment. It may be expected that a Fund’s net assets will fluctuate to a greater degree when it sets aside portfolio securities to cover such purchase commitments than when it sets aside cash. When a Fund engages in when-issued transactions, it relies on the seller to consummate the trade. Failure of the seller to do so may result in the Fund incurring a loss or missing the opportunity to obtain a price considered to be advantageous. The Funds do not intend to purchase when-issued securities for speculative purposes, but only in furtherance of their investment objectives.
Rule 18f-4, which becomes fully effective in 2022, generally has eliminated the requirement to maintain “segregated accounts” for Funds that engage in these types of transactions, provided that the Fund complies with Rule 18f-4’s risk-based limits on leverage and other conditions.
Delayed-Delivery Transactions. A Fund may buy and sell securities on a delayed-delivery basis. These transactions involve a commitment by a Fund to purchase or sell specific securities at a predetermined price or yield, with payment and delivery taking place after the customary settlement period for that type of security (and more than seven days in the future). Typically, no interest accrues to the purchaser until the security is delivered. A Fund may receive fees for entering into delayed-delivery transactions.
When purchasing securities on a delayed-delivery basis, a Fund assumes the rights and risks of ownership, including the risks of price and yield fluctuations in addition to the risks associated with a Fund’s other investments. Because a Fund is not required to pay for securities until the delivery date, these delayed-delivery purchases may result in a form of leverage. When delayed-delivery purchases are outstanding, a Fund will segregate cash and appropriate liquid assets to cover its purchase obligations. When a Fund has sold a security on a delayed-delivery basis, it does not participate in further gains or losses with respect to the security. If the other party to a delayed-delivery transaction fails to deliver or pay for the securities, a Fund could miss a favorable price or yield opportunity or suffer a loss.
A Fund may renegotiate delayed-delivery transactions after they are entered into or may sell underlying securities before they are delivered, either of which may result in capital gains or losses.
Rule 18f-4, which becomes fully effective in 2022, generally has eliminated the requirement to maintain “segregated accounts” for Funds that engage in these types of transactions, provided that the Fund complies with Rule 18f-4’s risk-based limits on leverage and other conditions.
To-Be-Announced Securities. A Fund may purchase securities that are to-be-announced (“TBA”). The term TBA is derived from the fact that the actual mortgage-backed security that will be delivered to fulfill a TBA trade is not designated at the time the trade is made. In a TBA transaction, a seller generally agrees to deliver a mortgage- backed security meeting certain criteria at a future date. Failure of the seller to do so may result in the Fund incurring a loss or missing the opportunity to obtain a price considered to be advantageous. The Funds do not intend to purchase TBA securities for speculative purposes, but only in furtherance of their investment objectives.
Rule 18f-4, which becomes fully effective in 2022, generally has eliminated the requirement to maintain “segregated accounts” for Funds that engage in these types of transactions, provided that the Fund complies with Rule 18f-4’s risk-based limits on leverage and other conditions.
Forward Transactions. A Fund may invest in securities (including, for example, Government Mortgage-Backed Securities) on a forward basis. When purchasing securities on a forward basis, a Fund assumes the rights and risks of ownership, including the risks of price and yield fluctuations in addition to the risks associated with a Fund’s other investments. Because a Fund is not required to pay for securities until the settlement date, these forward purchases may result in a form of leverage. When forward purchases are outstanding, the Fund will segregate cash and appropriate liquid assets to cover its purchase obligations. When a Fund has sold a security on a forward basis, it does not participate in further gains or losses with respect to the security. If the other party to a forward transaction fails to deliver or pay for the securities, a Fund could miss a favorable price or yield opportunity or suffer a loss.
When a Fund enters into a forward transaction, the Fund may be required to provide collateral to cover potential losses of the counterparty, due to changes in the value of the security, in the event that the transaction is unable to settle (e.g., in the event of a default
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or a failure to deliver the security). Similarly, the counterparty may be required to provide collateral to cover the potential losses of the Fund, due to changes in the value of the security, in the event that the transaction is unable to settle. A Fund may reduce the amount of liquid assets it will segregate to the extent it provides such collateral.
Rule 18f-4, which becomes fully effective in 2022, generally has eliminated the requirement to maintain “segregated accounts” for Funds that engage in these types of transactions, provided that the Fund complies with Rule 18f-4’s risk-based limits on leverage and other conditions.
International and Foreign Investments
General considerations. There may be less information publicly available about a foreign issuer than about a U.S. issuer, and foreign issuers may not be subject to accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices comparable to those in the U.S. The securities of some foreign issuers are less liquid and at times more volatile than securities of comparable U.S. issuers. Foreign brokerage commissions and other fees are also generally higher than in the U.S. Foreign settlement procedures and trade regulations may involve certain risks (such as delay in payment or delivery of securities or in the recovery of a Fund’s assets held abroad) and expenses not present in the settlement of investments in U.S. markets. Payment for securities without delivery may be required in certain foreign markets.
In addition, foreign securities may be subject to the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets, imposition of currency exchange controls or restrictions on the repatriation of foreign currency, confiscatory taxation, political or financial instability and diplomatic developments which could affect the value of a Fund’s investments in certain foreign countries. Governments of many countries have exercised and continue to exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector through the ownership or control of many companies, including some of the largest in these countries. As a result, government actions in the future could have a significant effect on economic conditions which may adversely affect prices of certain portfolio securities. There is also generally less government supervision and regulation of stock exchanges, brokers, and listed companies than in the U.S. Dividends or interest on, or proceeds from the sale of, foreign securities may be subject to foreign withholding taxes, and special U.S. tax considerations may apply. Moreover, foreign economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross national product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self- sufficiency and balance of payments position.
Legal remedies available to investors in certain foreign countries may be more limited than those available with respect to investments in the U.S. or in other foreign countries. The laws of some foreign countries may limit a Fund’s ability to invest in securities of certain issuers organized under the laws of those foreign countries.
Of particular importance, many foreign countries are heavily dependent upon exports, particularly to developed countries, and, accordingly, have been and may continue to be adversely affected by trade barriers, managed adjustments in relative currency values, and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the U.S. and other countries with which they trade. These economies also have been and may continue to be negatively impacted by economic conditions in the U.S. and other trading partners, which can lower the demand for goods produced in those countries.
The risks described above, including the risks of nationalization or expropriation of assets, typically are increased in connection with investments in “emerging markets.” For example, political and economic structures in these countries may be in their infancy and developing rapidly, and such countries may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of more developed countries (including amplified risk of war and terrorism).
Certain countries have in the past failed to recognize private property rights and have at times nationalized and expropriated the assets of private companies. Investments in emerging markets may be considered speculative.
The currencies of certain emerging market countries have experienced devaluations relative to the U.S. dollar, and future devaluations may adversely affect the value of assets denominated in such currencies. In addition, currency hedging techniques may be unavailable in certain emerging market countries. Many emerging market countries have experienced substantial, and in some periods extremely high, rates of inflation or deflation for many years, and future inflation may adversely affect the economies and securities markets of such countries.
In addition, unanticipated political or social developments may affect the value of investments in emerging markets and the availability of additional investments in these markets. Any change in the leadership or politics of emerging market countries, or the countries that exercise a significant influence over those countries, may halt the expansion of or reverse the liberalization of foreign investment policies now occurring and adversely affect existing investment opportunities. The small size, limited trading volume and relative inexperience of the securities markets in these countries may make investments in securities traded in emerging markets illiquid and more volatile than investments in securities traded in more developed countries. For example, limited market size may cause prices to be unduly influenced by traders who control large positions. In addition, a Fund may be required to establish special custodial or other arrangements before making investments in securities traded in emerging markets. There may be little financial or accounting
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information available with respect to issuers of emerging market securities, and it may be difficult as a result to assess the value of prospects of an investment in such securities.
The risk also exists that an emergency situation may arise in one or more emerging markets as a result of which trading of securities may cease or may be substantially curtailed and prices for a Fund’s securities in such markets may not be readily available. A Fund may suspend redemption of its shares for any period during which an emergency exists, as determined by the SEC. Accordingly, if a Fund believes that appropriate circumstances exist, it may apply to the SEC for a determination that an emergency is present. During the period commencing from a Fund’s identification of such condition until the date of the SEC action, a Fund’s securities in the affected markets will be valued at fair value determined in good faith by or under the direction of a Fund’s Board.
Foreign markets may offer less protection to investors than U.S. markets. Foreign issuers, brokers and securities markets may be subject to less government supervision. Foreign security trading practices, including those involving the release of assets in advance of payment, may involve increased risks in the event of a failed trade or the insolvency of a broker-dealer, which may result in substantial delays. It also may be difficult to enforce legal rights in foreign countries.
Investing abroad also involves different political and economic risks. Foreign investments may be affected by actions of foreign governments adverse to the interests of U.S. investors, including the possibility of expropriation or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, restrictions on U.S. investment or on the ability to repatriate assets or convert currency into U.S. dollars, or other government intervention. There may be a greater possibility of default by foreign governments or foreign government-sponsored enterprises. Investments in foreign countries also involve a risk of local political, economic, or social instability, military action or unrest, or adverse diplomatic developments. Additionally, economic or other sanctions imposed on the United States by a foreign country, or imposed on a foreign country or issuer by the United States, could impair a Fund’s ability to buy, sell, hold, receive, deliver, or otherwise transact in certain investment securities. Sanctions could also affect the value and/or liquidity of a foreign security. There is no assurance that the Adviser will be able to anticipate these potential events or counter their effects.
The considerations noted above generally are intensified for investments in developing countries. Emerging countries may have relatively unstable governments, economies based on only a few industries, and securities markets that trade a small number of securities.
A Fund may invest in foreign securities that impose restrictions on transfer within the U.S. or to U.S. persons. Although securities subject to transfer restrictions may be marketable abroad, they may be less liquid than foreign securities of the same class that are not subject to such restrictions.
Depositary Receipts. A Fund may invest in sponsored or unsponsored ADRs, European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), GDRs, International Depositary Receipts (“IDRs”) and other types of depositary receipts (which, together with ADRs, EDRs, GDRs and IDRs are hereinafter referred to as “Depositary Receipts”). Depositary Receipts provide indirect investment in securities of foreign issuers. Prices of unsponsored Depositary Receipts may be more volatile than if they were sponsored by the issuer of the underlying securities. Depositary Receipts may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the underlying securities into which they may be converted. In addition, the issuers of the stock of unsponsored Depositary Receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the U.S. and, therefore, there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the Depositary Receipts.
ADRs are depositary receipts which are bought and sold in the U.S. and are typically issued by a U.S. bank or trust company which evidences ownership of underlying securities by a foreign corporation. GDRs, IDRs and other types of Depositary Receipts are typically issued by foreign banks or trust companies, although they may also be issued by U.S. banks or trust companies, and evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by either a foreign or a United States corporation. Generally, Depositary Receipts in registered form are designed for use in the U.S. securities markets and Depositary Receipts in bearer form are designed for use in securities markets outside the United States.
For purposes of a Fund’s investment policies, a Fund’s investments in ADRs, GDRs, IDRs and other types of Depositary Receipts will be deemed to be investments in the underlying securities. Depositary Receipts, including those denominated in U.S. dollars will be subject to foreign currency exchange rate risk. However, by investing in U.S. dollar-denominated ADRs rather than directly in foreign issuers’ stock, a Fund avoids currency risks during the settlement period. In general, there is a large, liquid market in the United States for most ADRs. However, certain Depositary Receipts may not be listed on an exchange and therefore may be illiquid investments. Depositary Receipts continue to be subject to many of the risks associated with investing directly in foreign securities. Positions in these securities are not necessarily denominated in the same currency as the common stocks into which they may be converted, and there may be imperfect correlation between the market value of depositary receipts and the underlying foreign securities.
Investing through Stock Connect. Certain Funds may invest in developing markets through trading structures or protocols that subject them to certain risks (such as risks associated with illiquidity, custody of assets, different settlement and clearance procedures, asserting legal title under developing legal and regulatory regimes and other risks) to a greater degree than in developed markets or even other developing markets. For example, a Fund may invest in certain eligible Chinese securities (“China A-Shares”) listed and traded on
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Chinese stock exchanges such as the Shanghai Stock Exchange (“SSE”) through the Hong Kong—Shanghai Stock Connect (“Stock Connect”) program. Stock Connect is a securities trading and clearing program developed by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (“SEHK”), SSE, Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited and China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited for the establishment of mutual market access between SEHK and SSE. Stock Connect is subject to regulations promulgated by regulatory authorities for both SSE and SEHK. Further regulations or restrictions, such as limitations on redemptions or suspension of trading, may adversely affect Stock Connect and the value of the China A-Shares held by a Fund. There is no guarantee that the systems required to operate Stock Connect will function properly or will continue to be adapted to changes and developments in both markets or that both exchanges will continue to support Stock Connect in the future. In the event that the relevant systems do not function properly, trading through Stock Connect could be disrupted.
Although trading through Stock Connect is not subject to individual investment quotas, daily and aggregate investment quotas apply to the aggregate volume of trading on Stock Connect, which may restrict or preclude a Fund’s ability to invest in Stock Connect securities or to enter into or exit trades on a timely basis. In addition, Stock Connect securities generally may not be sold, purchased or otherwise transferred other than through Stock Connect pursuant to the program’s rules, which may further subject a Fund to liquidity risk in respect of China A- Shares. Stock Connect can only operate when both Chinese and Hong Kong markets are open for trading and when banking services are available in both markets on the corresponding settlement days. As a result, if either or both of these markets are closed on a U.S. trading day, a Fund may not be able to dispose of its China A-Shares in a timely manner, which could adversely affect the Fund’s performance. Because of the way in which China A-Shares are held through Stock Connect, a Fund may not be able to exercise the rights of a shareholder and may be limited in its ability to pursue claims against the issuer of a security, and may suffer losses in the event the depository of the SSE becomes insolvent. Only certain China A shares are eligible to be accessed through Stock Connect. Such securities may lose their eligibility at any time, in which case they presumably could be sold but could no longer be purchased through Stock Connect. Investments in China A-shares may not be covered by the securities investor protection programs of either exchange and, without the protection of such programs, will be subject to the risk of default by the broker.
Brexit
The United Kingdom (“UK”) ceased to be a member of the European Union (“EU”) on January 31, 2020 (“Brexit”). During a prescribed period (the “Transition Period”), certain transitional arrangements were in effect, such that the UK continued to be treated, in most respects, as if it were still a member of the EU, and generally remained subject to EU law. On December 24, 2020, the EU and the UK reached an agreement in principle on the terms of certain agreements and declarations governing the ongoing relationship between the EU and the UK, including the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “Agreement”), and on December 30, 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a decision authorizing the signature of the Agreement and its provisional application for a limited period between January 1, 2021 to February 28, 2021, pending ratification of the Agreement by the European Parliament. The Transition Period ended on December 31, 2020. The Agreement is limited in its scope primarily to the trade of goods, transport, energy links and fishing, and uncertainties remain relating to certain aspects of the UK’s future economic, trading and legal relationships with the EU and with other countries. The actual or potential consequences of Brexit, and the associated uncertainty, could adversely affect economic and market conditions in the UK, in the EU and its member states and elsewhere, and could contribute to instability in global financial markets.
The impact of such events on the Funds is difficult to predict but they may adversely affect the return on a Fund and its investments. There may be detrimental implications for the value of a Fund’s investments, a Fund’s ability to enter into transactions or to value or realize such investments or otherwise to implement its investment program. It is possible that a Fund’s investments may need to be restructured to enable the Fund’s objectives to be pursued fully. This may increase costs or make it more difficult for a Fund to pursue its investment objectives.
The London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) Transition
A Fund may invest in certain debt securities, derivatives or other financial instruments that utilize LIBOR as a “benchmark” or “reference rate” for various interest rate calculations. In July 2017, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates the LIBOR administrator, announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. Such announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021.
However, for U.S. dollar LIBOR, it now appears that the relevant date may be deferred to June 30, 2023 for the most common tenors (overnight and one, three, six and 12 months). As to those tenors, the LIBOR administrator has published a consultation regarding its intention to cease publication of U.S. dollar LIBOR as of June 30, 2023 (instead of December 31, 2021, as previously expected), apparently based on continued rate submissions from banks. The FCA and other regulators have stated that they welcome the LIBOR administrator’s action. An extension to 2023 would mean that many legacy U.S. dollar LIBOR contracts would terminate before related LIBOR rates cease to be published. However, the same regulators emphasized that, despite any continued publication of U.S. dollar LIBOR through June 30, 2023, no new contracts using U.S. dollar LIBOR should be entered into after December 31, 2021. Moreover,
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the LIBOR administrator’s consultation also relates to the LIBOR administrator’s intention to cease publication of non-U.S. dollar LIBOR after December 31, 2021. Although the foregoing may provide some sense of timing, there is no assurance that LIBOR, of any particular currency and tenor, will continue to be published until any particular date, and it appears highly likely that LIBOR will be discontinued or modified after December 31, 2021 or June 30, 2023, depending on the currency and tenor.
Although the financial regulators and industry working groups have suggested alternative reference rates, such as the European Interbank Offer Rate (“EURIBOR”), Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (“SONIA”) and Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), global consensus on alternative rates is incomplete, and the process for amending existing contracts or instruments to transition from LIBOR remains unclear. There is no assurance that the characteristics of any benchmark replacement will be similar to LIBOR, or that any benchmark replacement will produce the economic equivalent of LIBOR.
It is not possible to predict the effect that these announcements or any such discontinuance will have on LIBOR or on floating rate securities linked to LIBOR (“LIBOR-linked securities”). Many, but not all, LIBOR-linked securities have provisions that will change their interest rate basis upon the occurrence of certain benchmark transitions events. If the calculation agent (or other party in certain cases) for such a security determines that a benchmark transition event and its related benchmark replacement date have occurred with respect to LIBOR for particular LIBOR-linked securities, then a benchmark replacement may be selected by the calculation agent (or other party) in accordance with the benchmark transition provisions of the relevant securities. The selection of a benchmark replacement, and any decisions, determinations or elections made by the calculation agent (or other party) in connection with implementing a benchmark replacement with respect to LIBOR-linked securities in accordance with the relevant benchmark transition provisions could result in adverse consequences to the interest rate, which could adversely affect the return on, value of and market for LIBOR-linked securities. Moreover, uncertainty and risk also remain regarding the willingness and ability of issuers and lenders to include revised provisions in new and existing contracts or instruments. Consequently, the transition away from LIBOR to other reference rates may lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets that are tied to LIBOR, fluctuations in values of LIBOR-related investments or investments in issuers that utilize LIBOR, increased difficulty in borrowing or refinancing and diminished effectiveness of hedging strategies, adversely affecting a Fund's performance. Furthermore, the risks associated with the expected discontinuation of LIBOR and transition may be exacerbated if the work necessary to effect an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate is not completed in a timely manner. Because the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark could deteriorate during the transition period, these effects could occur prior to the end of the transition period.
International and Foreign Debt Securities
International Bonds include Yankee and Euro obligations, which are U.S. dollar-denominated international bonds for which the primary trading market is in the United States (“Yankee Bonds”), or for which the primary trading market is abroad (“Eurodollar Bonds”). International bonds also include Canadian and supranational agency bonds (e.g., those issued by the International Monetary Fund). (See “Foreign Debt Securities” for a description of risks associated with investments in foreign securities.)
Foreign Debt Securities. Investments in securities of foreign companies generally involve greater risks than are present in U.S. investments. Compared to U.S. companies, there generally is less publicly available information about foreign companies and there may be less governmental regulation and supervision of foreign stock exchanges, brokers and listed companies.
Foreign companies generally are not subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements comparable to those prevalent in the U.S. Securities of some foreign companies are less liquid, and their prices more volatile, than securities of comparable U.S. companies. Settlement of transactions in some foreign markets may be delayed or may be less frequent than in the U.S., which could affect the liquidity of a Fund’s investment.
In addition, with respect to some foreign countries, there is the possibility of nationalization, expropriation, or confiscatory taxation; limitations on the removal of securities, property, or other assets of a Fund; political or social instability; increased difficulty in obtaining legal judgments; or diplomatic developments that could affect U.S. investments in those countries. The Adviser will take such factors into consideration in managing a Fund’s investments.
Since most foreign debt securities are not rated, a Fund will invest in those foreign debt securities based on the Adviser’s analysis without relying on published ratings. Achievement of a Fund’s goals, therefore, may depend more upon the abilities of the Adviser than would otherwise be the case. The value of the foreign debt securities held by a Fund, and thus the net asset value of a Fund’s shares, generally will fluctuate with (a) changes in the perceived creditworthiness of the issuers of those securities, (b) movements in interest rates, and (c) changes in the relative values of the currencies in which a Fund’s investments in debt securities are denominated with respect to the U.S. dollar. The extent of the fluctuation will depend on various factors, such as the average maturity of a Fund’s investments in foreign debt securities, and the extent to which a Fund hedges its interest rate, credit and currency exchange rate risks. A longer average maturity generally is associated with a higher level of volatility in the market value of such securities in response to changes in market conditions. In the event of default, there may be limited or no legal recourse in that, generally, remedies for defaults must be pursued in the courts of the defaulting party.
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Foreign Currency Considerations. Because investments in foreign securities usually involve currencies of foreign countries, and because a Fund may hold foreign currencies and forward contracts, futures contracts, options on foreign currencies and foreign currency futures contracts and other currency related instruments, the value of the assets of a Fund as measured in U.S. dollars may be affected favorably or unfavorably by changes in foreign currency exchange rates and exchange control regulations, and a Fund may incur costs and experience conversion difficulties and uncertainties in connection with conversions between various currencies. Fluctuations in exchange rates may also affect the earning power and asset value of the foreign entity issuing the security.
The value of securities denominated in or indexed to foreign currencies and of dividends and interest from such securities, can change significantly when foreign currencies strengthen or weaken relative to the U.S. dollar. The strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar against these currencies is responsible for part of a Fund’s investment performance. If the dollar falls in value relative to the Japanese yen, for example, the dollar value of a Japanese stock held in the portfolio will rise even though the price of the stock remains unchanged. Conversely, if the dollar rises in value relative to the yen, the dollar value of the Japanese stock will fall. Many foreign currencies have experienced significant devaluation relative to the dollar.
Although a Fund values its assets daily in terms of U.S. dollars, it does not intend to convert its holdings of foreign currencies into U.S. dollars on a daily basis. It will do so from time to time, and investors should be aware of the costs of currency conversion. Although foreign exchange dealers do not charge a fee for conversion, they do realize a profit based on the difference (the “spread”) between the prices at which they are buying and selling various currencies. Thus, a dealer may offer to sell a foreign currency to a Fund at one rate, while offering a lesser rate of exchange should a Fund desire to resell that currency to the dealer. A Fund will conduct its foreign currency exchange transactions either on a spot (i.e., cash) basis at the spot rate prevailing in the foreign currency exchange market, or through entering into options or forward or futures contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies.
Derivatives
The use of derivatives is a highly specialized activity that can involve investment techniques and risks different from, and in some respects greater than, those associated with investing in more traditional investments such as stocks and bonds. Derivatives may have a return that is tied to a formula based upon an interest rate, index or other measurement, which may differ from the return of a simple security of the same maturity. A formula may have a cap or other limitation on the rate of interest to be paid. Derivatives may have varying degrees of volatility at different times, or under different market conditions, and may perform in unanticipated ways. The SEC has adopted Rule 18f-4, which will regulate the use of derivatives for certain funds registered under the 1940 Act. Unless a Fund qualifies as a “limited derivatives user” as defined, Rule 18f-4 would, among other things, require the Funds to establish a comprehensive derivatives risk management program, to comply with certain value-at-risk based leverage limits, to appoint a derivatives risk manager and to provide additional disclosure both publicly and to the SEC regarding its derivatives positions. Rule 18f-4 also has eliminated the general asset segregation requirement in connection with certain derivatives transactions, in light of Rule 18f-4’s requirements for funds to establish and maintain derivatives risk management programs that comply with certain risk-based limits. For Funds that qualify as limited derivatives users, Rule 18f-4 requires that the funds have policies and procedures to manage aggregate derivatives risk. These requirements could have an impact on a Fund, including a potential increase in cost to enter into derivatives transactions. The full impact of Rule 18f-4 on the Funds, however, remains uncertain. Due to the compliance timeline of Rule 18f-4, it is unlikely that the Funds will be required to fully comply with the requirements until 2022.
Forward Contracts. A forward currency exchange contract (“forward contract”) involves an obligation to buy or sell a specific currency at a future date that may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts are traded in the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks). A Fund may engage in cross- hedging by using forward contracts in one currency to hedge against fluctuations in the value of securities denominated in a different currency if the managers determine that there is a pattern of correlation between the two currencies. A Fund may also buy and sell forward contracts (to the extent they are not deemed “commodities”) for non-hedging purposes when the managers anticipate that the foreign currency will appreciate or depreciate in value, but securities denominated in that currency do not present attractive investment opportunities and are not held in a Fund’s portfolio.
A Fund’s custodian bank will place cash or liquid high grade debt securities (securities rated in one of the top three ratings categories by Moody’s or S&P or, if unrated, deemed by the managers to be of comparable quality) into a segregated account of the Fund maintained by its custodian bank in an amount equal to the value of the Fund’s total assets committed to the forward foreign currency exchange contracts requiring the funds to purchase foreign currencies. If the value of the securities placed in the segregated account declines, additional cash or securities is placed in the account on a daily basis so that the value of the account equals the amount of the Fund’s commitments with respect to such contracts. The segregated account is marked-to-market on a daily basis.
Although the contracts are not presently regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”), a U.S. governmental agency, the CFTC may in the future assert authority to regulate these contracts. In such event, a Fund’s ability to utilize forward foreign currency exchange contracts may be restricted. A Fund generally will not enter into a forward contract with a term of greater than one year. A Fund will not enter into forward currency exchange contracts or maintain a net exposure to such contracts where the completion
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of the contracts would obligate the Fund to deliver an amount of currency other than U.S. dollars in excess of the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other assets denominated in that currency or, in the case of cross-hedging, in a currency closely correlated to that currency.
Hedging the Fund’s currency risks through forward foreign currency exchange contracts involves the risk of mismatching the Fund’s objectives under a forward foreign currency exchange contract with the value of securities denominated in a particular currency. There is additional risk that such transactions reduce or preclude the opportunity for gain and that currency contracts create exposure to currencies in which the Fund’s securities are not denominated.
Futures Contracts. A Fund may enter into futures contracts, including stock index futures contracts and options on futures contracts for the purposes of remaining fully invested and reducing transaction costs. Futures contracts provide for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified amount of a specific security, class of securities, or an index, at a specified future time and at a specified price. In a stock index futures contract, two parties agree to receive or deliver a specified amount of cash multiplied by the difference between the stock index value at the close of trading of the contracts and the price at which the futures contract is originally struck.
Futures contracts, which are standardized as to maturity date and underlying financial instrument, are traded on national futures exchanges. The CFTC regulates futures exchanges and trading under the Commodity Exchange Act. Pursuant to a claim for exemption filed with the National Futures Association, the Funds are deemed not to be a commodity pool or a commodity pool operator under the Commodity Exchange Act and are not subject to registration or regulation as such. In connection with this exemption, each Fund has undertaken to submit to any CFTC special calls for information.
Although futures contracts by their terms call for actual delivery and receipt of the underlying securities, in most cases these contracts are closed out before the settlement date without actual delivery or receipt. Closing out an open futures position is done by taking an offsetting position in an identical contract to terminate the position (buying a contract that has previously been “sold,” or “selling” a contract previously purchased). Taking an offsetting position also can be accomplished by the acquisition of put and call options on futures contracts that will, respectively, give a Fund the right (but not the obligation), in return for the premium paid, for a specified price, to sell or to purchase the underlying futures contract, upon exercise of the option, at any time during the option period. Brokerage commissions are incurred when a futures contract is bought or sold.
Futures traders, such as the Funds, are required to make a good faith margin deposit in cash or liquid securities with a broker or custodian to initiate and maintain open positions in futures contracts. A margin deposit is intended to assure completion of the contract (delivery or acceptance of the underlying security) if it is not terminated prior to the specified delivery date. Minimal initial margin requirements are established by the futures exchange and are subject to change. Brokers may establish deposit requirements that are higher than the exchange minimums. Initial margin deposits on futures contracts are customarily set at levels much lower than the prices at which the underlying securities are purchased and sold, typically ranging upward from less than 5% of the value of the contract being traded.
After a futures contract position is opened, the value of the contract is marked-to-market daily. If the futures contract price changes to the extent that the margin on deposit does not satisfy margin requirements, payment of additional “variation” margin will be required. Conversely, change in the contract value may reduce the required margin, resulting in a repayment of excess margin to the contract holder. Variation margin payments are made to and from the futures broker for as long as the contract remains open. The Funds expect to earn interest income on their margin deposits.
When interest rates are expected to rise or market values of portfolio securities are expected to fall, a Fund may seek to offset a decline in the value of its portfolio securities through the sale of futures contracts. When interest rates are expected to fall or market values of portfolio securities are expected to rise, a Fund may purchase futures contracts in an attempt to secure better rates or prices on anticipated purchases than those that might later be available in the market.
Positions in futures contracts may be closed out only on an exchange that provides a secondary market for such futures. However, there can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market will exist for any particular futures contract at any specific time. Thus, it may not be possible to close a futures position. In the event of adverse price movements, a Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments to maintain the required margin. In such situations, if a Fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell portfolio securities to meet daily margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, a Fund may be required to make delivery of the instruments underlying the futures contracts that it holds. The inability to close options and futures positions also could have an adverse impact on the ability to effectively hedge them. A Fund will minimize the risk that it will be unable to close out a futures contract by only entering into futures contracts that are traded on national futures exchanges and for which there appears to be a liquid secondary market.
The risk of loss in trading futures contracts in some strategies can be substantial, due both to the low margin deposits required and the extremely high degree of leverage involved in futures pricing. Because the deposit requirements in the futures markets are less onerous
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than margin requirements in the securities markets, there may be increased participation by speculators in the futures market that also may cause temporary price distortions. A relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss (as well as gain) to the investor. For example, if at the time of purchase, 10% of the value of the futures contract is deposited as margin, a subsequent 10% decrease in the value of the futures contract would result in a total loss of the margin deposit, before any deduction for the transaction costs, if the account were then closed out. A 15% decrease would result in a loss equal to 150% of the original margin deposit if the contract were closed out. Thus, a purchase or sale of a futures contract may result in losses in excess of the amount invested in the contract. However, because the futures strategies engaged in by the Funds are generally only for hedging purposes, the Adviser does not believe that the Funds are subject to the risks of loss frequently associated with futures transactions. The Funds would presumably have sustained comparable losses if, instead of the futures contract, it had invested in the underlying financial instrument and sold it after the decline.
Use of futures transactions by the Funds involves the risk of imperfect or no correlation where the securities underlying futures contract have different maturities than the portfolio securities being hedged. It also is possible that a Fund could both lose money on futures contracts and also experience a decline in value of its portfolio securities. There also is the risk of loss by the Funds of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom the Funds have open positions in a futures contract or related option.
A Fund may lose the expected benefit of futures transactions if interest rates, exchange rates or securities prices move in an unanticipated manner. Such unanticipated changes also may result in poorer overall performance than if a Fund had not entered into any futures transactions. Futures transactions involve brokerage costs and require a Fund to segregate assets to cover contracts that would require it to purchase securities or currencies.
Restrictions on the Use of Futures Contracts. Any Fund (other than the Sycamore Established Value Fund and NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund) may invest in futures contracts, including stock index futures contracts and options on futures contracts, in a manner consistent with its policies for investing in derivative instruments, as established by the Board.
These investments may be made (i) as a substitute for investing directly in securities to keep the Fund fully invested and reduce transaction costs, (ii) for speculative purposes (for example, to generate income), (iii) to hedge, and (iv) as a temporary substitute to maintain exposure to a particular market or security pending investment in that market or security. The Funds will not enter into futures contract transactions for purposes other than bona fide hedging if, immediately thereafter, the sum of its initial margin deposits on open contracts exceeds 5% of the market value of the Fund’s total assets. In addition, the Funds will not enter into futures contracts to the extent that the value of the futures contracts held would exceed 1/3 of a Fund’s total assets. In addition, futures transactions may be limited by a Fund’s intention to remain qualified as a regulated investment company under the Code. A Fund will only sell futures contracts to protect securities it owns against price declines or purchase contracts to protect against an increase in the price of securities it intends to purchase.
In addition to the margin restrictions discussed above, transactions in futures contracts may involve the segregation of funds pursuant to requirements imposed by the SEC. Under those requirements, where a Fund has a long position in a futures contract, it may be required to establish a segregated account (not with a futures commission merchant or broker) containing cash or liquid securities equal to the purchase price of the contract (less any margin on deposit). For a short position in futures contracts held by a Fund, those requirements may mandate the establishment of a segregated account (not with a futures commission merchant or broker) with cash or liquid securities that, when added to the amounts deposited as margin, equal the notional value of the instruments underlying the futures contracts (but is not less than the price at which the short position was established). However, segregation of assets is not required if a Fund “covers” a long position. For example, instead of segregating assets, a Fund, when holding a long position in a futures contract, could purchase a put option on the same futures contract with a strike price as high as or higher than the price of the contract held by the Fund. In addition, where a Fund takes short positions, it need not segregate assets if it “covers” these positions. For example, where a Fund holds a short position in a futures contract, it may cover by owning the instruments underlying the contract. A Fund also may cover such a position by holding a call option permitting it to purchase the same futures contract at a price no higher than the price at which the short position was established. Where a Fund sells a call option on a futures contract, it may cover either by entering into a long position in the same contract at a price no higher than the strike price of the call option or by owning the instruments underlying the futures contract. A Fund also could cover this position by holding a separate call option permitting it to purchase the same futures contract at a price no higher than the strike price of the call option sold by the Fund. Rule 18f-4, which becomes fully effective in 2022, will not require a Fund to maintain segregated assets to meet its asset coverage test with respect to futures contracts and other derivatives transactions, provided the Fund complies with the risk-based limits and other conditions of Rule 18f-4.
Options. Options are complex instruments whose value depends on many variables. Options may be listed on a national securities exchange or traded over-the-counter. Call options and put options typically have similar structural characteristics and operational mechanics regardless of the underlying instrument on which they are purchased or sold. Thus, the following general discussion relates to each of the particular types of options discussed in greater detail below.
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Exchange-listed options are traded on U.S. securities exchanges, such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and the Pacific Stock Exchange. Exchange-listed options are issued by a regulated intermediary such as the Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”), which guarantees the performance of the obligations of the parties to such options.
Rather than taking or making delivery of the underlying instrument through the process of exercising the option, listed options are frequently closed by entering into offsetting purchase or sale transactions that do not result in ownership of the new option. A Fund’s ability to close out its position as a purchaser or seller of an OCC or exchange-listed put or call option is dependent, in part, upon the liquidity of the option market. If a secondary trading market in options were to become unavailable, the Fund could no longer engage in closing transactions which may limit the Fund’s ability to realize its profits or limit its losses and adversely affect the performance of the Funds. Among the possible reasons for the absence of a liquid option market on an exchange are: (i) insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions on transactions imposed by an exchange; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options or underlying securities including reaching daily price limits; (iv) interruption of the normal operations of the OCC or an exchange; (v) inadequacy of the facilities of an exchange or OCC to handle current trading volume; or (vi) a decision by one or more exchanges to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the relevant market for that option on that exchange would cease to exist, although outstanding options on that exchange would generally continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.
The hours of trading for listed options may not coincide with the hours during which the underlying financial instruments are traded. To the extent that the option markets close before the markets for the underlying financial instruments, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the option markets.
Over-the-counter (“OTC”) options are purchased from or sold to securities dealers, financial institutions or other parties (“Counterparties”) through direct bilateral agreement with the Counterparty. In contrast to exchange-listed options, which generally have standardized terms and performance mechanics, all the terms of an OTC option, including such terms as method of settlement, term, exercise price, premium, guarantees and security, are set by negotiation of the parties.
Unless the parties provide for it, there is no central clearing or guaranty function in an OTC option. As a result, if the Counterparty fails to make or take delivery of the security, currency or other instrument underlying an OTC option it has entered into with the Fund or fails to make a cash settlement payment due in accordance with the terms of that option, the Fund will lose any premium it paid for the option as well as any anticipated benefit of the transaction. Accordingly, the Adviser must assess the creditworthiness of each such Counterparty or any guarantor or credit enhancement
Utilizing options is a specialized investment technique that entails a substantial risk, up to and including a complete loss of the amount invested.
Call Options. A call option, upon payment of a premium, gives the purchaser of the option the right to buy, and the seller the obligation to sell, the underlying instrument at the exercise price. The seller of a call option remains obligated to sell the security to the buyer until the expiration of the option. A seller also may enter into “closing purchase transactions” in order to terminate its obligation as a writer of a call option prior to the expiration of the option. A call option is said to be covered when the seller of a call option owns the underlying instrument at all times prior to the exercise or expiration of the call option.
A Fund may purchase a call option on a security, financial future, index, currency or other instrument to protect the Fund against an increase in the price of the underlying instrument that it intends to purchase in the future by fixing the price at which it may purchase such instrument.
A Fund may write (i.e., sell) call options in an attempt to realize a greater level of current income than would be realized on the securities alone as the writer of a call option receives a premium for undertaking the obligation to sell the underlying security at a fixed price during the option period, if the option is exercised. A Fund also may write call options as a partial hedge against a possible stock market decline. In view of its investment objective, a Fund generally would write call options only in circumstances where the Adviser does not anticipate significant appreciation of the underlying security in the near future or has otherwise determined to dispose of the security.
The following risks are associated with call writing transactions:
• So long as a Fund remains obligated as a call option writer, it forgoes the opportunity to profit from increases in the market price of the underlying security above the exercise price of the option, except insofar as the premium represents such a profit.
• A Fund retains the risk of loss should the value of the underlying security decline.
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• Although the writing of call options only on national securities exchanges increases the likelihood of a Fund’s ability to make closing purchase transactions, there is no assurance that a Fund will be able to effect such transactions at any particular time or at any acceptable price.
• Call option writing could result in increases in the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate, especially during periods when market prices of the underlying securities appreciate.
• The Fund may be forced to acquire the underlying security of an uncovered call option transaction at a price in excess of the exercise price of the option, that is, the price at which the Fund has agreed to sell the underlying security to the purchaser of the option.
Put Options. A put option gives the purchaser of the option, upon payment of a premium, the right to sell, and the writer the obligation to buy, the underlying security, commodity, index, currency or other instrument at the exercise price. A put option is said to be covered when the buyer of a put option owns the underlying instrument at all times prior to the exercise or expiration of the put option. A Fund’s purchase of a put option on a security might be designed to protect its holdings in the underlying instrument (or, in some cases, a similar instrument) against a substantial decline in the market value by giving the Fund the right to sell such instrument at the option exercise price.
A Fund may sell, transfer, or assign a put only in conjunction with the sale, transfer, or assignment of the underlying security or securities. The amount payable to the Fund upon its exercise of a “put” is normally (i) the Fund’s acquisition cost of the securities (excluding any accrued interest that the Fund paid on the acquisition), less any amortized market premium or plus any amortized market or original issue discount during the period the Fund owned the securities, plus (ii) all interest accrued on the securities since the last interest payment date during that period.
A Fund may acquire puts to facilitate the liquidity of its portfolio assets. A Fund also may use puts to facilitate the reinvestment of its assets at a rate of return more favorable than that of the underlying security. A Fund generally will acquire puts only where the puts are available without the payment of any direct or indirect consideration. However, if necessary or advisable, a Fund may pay for puts either separately in cash or by paying a higher price for portfolio securities that are acquired subject to the puts (thus reducing the yield to maturity otherwise available for the same securities). The Funds intend to acquire puts only from dealers, banks and broker-dealers that, in the Adviser’s opinion, present minimal credit risks.
The risk of writing put options is that the Fund may be unable to terminate its position in a put option before exercise by closing out the option in the secondary market at its current price if the secondary market is not liquid for a put option the Fund has written. In such a case, the Fund must continue to be prepared to pay the strike price while the option is outstanding, regardless of price changes and must continue to set aside assets to cover its position. Upon the exercise of a put option written by the Fund, the Fund is not entitled to the gains in excess of the strike price, if any, on securities underlying the options.
Restrictions on the use of Options. Except where allowed below, a Fund must at all times have in its portfolio the securities that it may be obligated to deliver if the option is exercised.
The following Funds may write (i.e., sell) call options that are traded on national securities exchanges with respect to common stock in its portfolio: Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund and Special Value Fund. Each of these Funds may write covered calls on up to 25% of its total assets.
The INCORE Fund for Income may write covered call options on up to 25% of its total assets and may also invest up to 5% of its total assets to purchase options or to close out open options transactions.
The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may purchase and write call options that are traded on U.S. securities exchanges. The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may write call options only if they are covered, on portfolio securities amounting to up to 25% of its total assets and the options must remain covered so long as the Fund is obligated as a writer.
The Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund may write (i.e. sell) call options that are traded on national securities exchanges with respect to common stock in its portfolio on up to 25% of its total assets. The Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund may write uncovered calls or puts on up to 5% of its total assets, that is, put or call options on securities that it does not own. Such options may be listed on a national securities exchange and issued by the OCC or traded over-the-counter. The Fund also may purchase index put and call options and write index options. Through the writing or purchase of index options, the Fund may seek to achieve many of the same objectives as through the use of options on individual securities.
Credit Default Swap Agreements. In a credit default swap transaction (“CDS”), the “buyer” in a credit default contract is obligated to pay the “seller” a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract provided that no event of default on an underlying reference obligation has occurred. If an event of default occurs, the seller must pay the buyer the full notional value, or “par value,” of the reference obligation in exchange for the reference obligation. A Fund may be either the buyer or the seller in a credit default
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transaction. If a Fund is a buyer and no event of default occurs, the Fund will lose its investment and recover nothing. However, if an event of default occurs, the Fund (if the buyer) will receive the full notional value of the reference obligation that may have little or no value. As a seller, a Fund receives a quarterly fixed rate of income throughout the term of the contract, the contract of which typically is between six months and ten years, provided that there is no default event. If an event of default occurs, the seller must pay the buyer the full notional value of the reference obligation. CDS involve greater risks than if a Fund had invested in the reference obligation directly.
Whether a Fund’s use of CDS agreements will be successful in furthering its investment objective of total return will depend on the Adviser’s ability to predict correctly whether certain types of investments are likely to produce greater returns than other investments. Because they are two party contracts and because they may have terms of greater than seven days, CDS agreements may be considered to be illiquid. Moreover, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a CDS agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a CDS agreement counterparty. The Funds will enter into CDS agreements only with counterparties that meet certain standards of creditworthiness (generally, such counterparties would have to be eligible counterparties under the terms of the Funds’ repurchase agreement guidelines). Certain restrictions imposed on the Funds by the Code may limit the Fund’s ability to use CDS agreements. The swap market is a relatively new market and is largely unregulated. It is possible that developments in the swaps market, including potential government regulation, could adversely affect a Fund’s ability to terminate existing CDS agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.
Most swap agreements entered into by the Funds would calculate the obligations of the parties to the agreement on a “net basis.” Consequently, a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under a swap agreement will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). A Fund’s current obligations under a swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to the Fund) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by the segregation or “earmarking” of assets determined to be liquid by the Adviser, pursuant to procedures approved by the Trustees, to avoid any potential leveraging of the Fund’s portfolio. Obligations under swap agreements so covered will not be construed to be “senior securities” for purposes of a Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities. Rule 18f-4, which becomes fully effective in 2022, will not require a Fund to maintain segregated assets to meet its asset coverage test with respect to swaps and other derivatives transactions, provided the Fund complies with the risk-based limits and other conditions of Rule 18f-4.
Initial Public Offerings (“IPOs”)
The Funds may invest in securities that are made available in IPOs. IPO securities may be volatile, and a Fund cannot predict whether its investments in IPOs will be successful. Securities issued through an IPO can experience an immediate drop in value if the demand for the securities does not continue to support the offering price. Information about the issuers of IPO securities is also difficult to acquire since they are new to the market and may not have lengthy operating histories. Any short-term trading in connection with IPO investments could produce higher trading costs and adverse tax consequences. As a Fund grows in size, the positive effect of any IPO investments on the Fund may decrease.
Other Investments and Investment Practices
Illiquid Investments. No Fund may invest more than 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. Under the Liquidity Rule, the term “illiquid investment” is defined as any investment that a 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. If the limitation on illiquid investments is exceeded, other than by a change in market values, the condition will be reported to the Board and, when required by the Liquidity Rule, to the SEC. Compliance with the Liquidity Rule could impact a Fund’s performance and its ability to achieve its investment objective.
Under the supervision of the Board, the Adviser determines the liquidity of the Funds’ investments and, through reports from the Adviser, the Board monitors investments in illiquid instruments. In determining the liquidity of a Fund’s investments, the Adviser may consider various factors, including (1) the frequency of trades and quotations, (2) the number of dealers and prospective purchasers in the marketplace, (3) dealer undertakings to make a market, (4) the nature of the security (including any demand or tender features), and (5) the nature of the marketplace for trades (including the ability to assign or offset the Funds’ rights and obligations relating to the investment). The Funds have adopted and implemented a written liquidity risk management program, under the supervision of the Board, that is reasonably designed to assess and manage liquidity risk.
Investments currently considered by the Funds to be illiquid include repurchase agreements not entitling the holder to payment of principal and interest within seven days and certain restricted securities the Adviser has determined not to be liquid.
In the absence of market quotations, illiquid investments are priced at fair value as determined in good faith pursuant to procedures approved by the Trustees. If, through a change in values, net assets, or other circumstances, a Fund were to exceed its limitations on investing in illiquid investments, the Fund would consider appropriate actions to protect liquidity.
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Master Limited Partnerships. Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”) are publicly traded limited partnerships that combine the tax benefits of limited partnerships with the liquidity of common stock. MLPs have a partnership structure, with one or more general partners who oversee the business operations and one or more limited partners who contribute capital. MLPs issue investment units that are registered with the SEC and trade freely on a securities exchange or in the over-the-counter market. To be considered an MLP, a firm must earn 90% of its income through activities or interest and dividend payments relating to real estate, natural resources or commodities.
As a limited partner in an MLP, a Fund will have limited control of the partnership and limited rights to vote on matters affecting the partnership. While a Fund would not be liable for the debts of an MLP beyond the amounts a Fund has contributed, it will not be shielded from potential liability to the same extent it would be if it were a shareholder of a corporation. In certain circumstances, creditors of an MLP may have the right to seek a return of capital that has been distributed to a limited partner, such as a Fund. This right continues even after a Fund has sold its interest in the MLP. Each Equity Fund may, from time to time, invest in MLPs.
Restricted Securities. Restricted securities are securities that generally can be sold in privately negotiated transactions, pursuant to an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, or in a registered public offering. Where registration is required, a Fund may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expense and a considerable period may elapse between the time it decides to seek registration and the time the Fund may be permitted to sell a security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, a Fund might obtain a less favorable price than that which prevailed when it decided to seek registration of the shares.
Subject to the limitation on illiquid investments, the Funds may invest in restricted securities without limit.
Securities of Smaller-Capitalization Companies. While historically small- and mid-capitalization company stocks have outperformed the stocks of larger companies, the stocks of smaller companies have customarily involved more investment risk as well. There can be no assurance that this will continue to be true in the future. Smaller-capitalization companies may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources; may lack management depth or experience; and may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments than large companies. The prices of small-capitalization company securities are often more volatile than prices associated with large company issues, and can display abrupt or erratic movements at times, due to limited trading volumes and less publicly available information.
In addition, because smaller-capitalization companies normally have fewer shares outstanding and these shares trade less frequently than larger companies, it may be more difficult for a Fund to buy and sell significant amounts of such shares without an unfavorable impact on prevailing market prices. Some of the companies in which a Fund may invest may distribute, sell or produce products that have recently been brought to market and may be dependent on key personnel. The securities of micro-capitalization companies are often traded over-the-counter and may not be traded in the volumes typical on a national securities exchange. Consequently, in order to sell this type of holding, a Fund may need to discount the securities from recent prices or dispose of the securities over a long period of time.
Participation Interests. The Funds may purchase interests in securities from financial institutions such as commercial and investment banks, savings and loan associations and insurance companies. These interests may take the form of participation, beneficial interests in a trust, partnership interests or any other form of indirect ownership. The Funds invest in these participation interests in order to obtain credit enhancement or demand features that would not be available through direct ownership of the underlying securities.
Warrants. Warrants are securities that give a Fund the right to purchase equity securities from the issuer at a specific price (the strike price) for a limited period of time. The strike price of warrants typically is much lower than the current market price of the underlying securities, yet warrants are subject to greater price fluctuations. As a result, warrants may be more volatile investments than the underlying securities and may offer greater potential for capital appreciation as well as capital loss. Each Equity Fund may invest up to 10% of its total assets in warrants. The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may invest up to 5% of its total assets in warrants that are attached to the underlying securities.
Refunding Contracts. Securities may be purchased on a when-issued basis in connection with the refinancing of an issuer’s outstanding indebtedness. Refund contracts require the issuer to sell and a purchaser to buy refunded municipal obligations at a stated price and yield on a settlement date that may be several months or several years in the future. A Fund generally will not be obligated to pay the full purchase price if it fails to perform under a refunding contract. Instead, refunding contracts generally provide for payment of liquidated damages to the issuer (currently 15-20% of the purchase price). A Fund may secure its obligations under a refunding contract by depositing collateral or a letter of credit equal to the liquidated damages provisions of the refunding contract. When required by SEC guidelines, a Fund will place liquid assets in a segregated custodial account equal in amount to its obligations under refunding contracts.
Standby Commitments. A Fund may enter into standby commitments, which are puts that entitle holders to same- day settlement at an exercise price equal to the amortized cost of the underlying security plus accrued interest, if any, at the time of exercise. The Funds
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may acquire standby commitments to enhance the liquidity of portfolio securities. Ordinarily, the Funds may not transfer a standby commitment to a third party, although they could sell the underlying municipal security to a third party at any time. The Funds may purchase standby commitments separate from or in conjunction with the purchase of securities subject to such commitments. In the latter case, the Funds would pay a higher price for the securities acquired, thus reducing their yield to maturity. Standby commitments are subject to certain risks, including the ability of issuers of standby commitments to pay for securities at the time the commitments are exercised; the fact that standby commitments are not marketable by the Funds; and the possibility that the maturities of the underlying securities may be different from those of the commitments.
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles. A Fund may invest in securities of other pooled investment vehicles, including shares of open- or closed-end investment companies and ETFs. Provisions of the 1940 Act may limit the ability of a Fund to invest in certain investment companies or may limit the amount of its assets that a Fund may invest in any investment company or investment companies in general.
As an investor in a pooled investment vehicle, a Fund will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, in addition to the fees and expenses the Fund bears directly in connection with its own operations. These securities represent interests in professionally managed portfolios that may invest in various types of instruments pursuant to a wide range of investment styles. A Fund would also bear the risk of all of the underlying investments held by the other investment company. An investment company may not achieve its investment objective.
Generally, for investments in other investment companies other than money market funds, a Fund may invest up to 5% of its total assets in the securities of any one investment company, but may not own more than 3% of the securities of any one investment company or invest more than 10% of its total assets in the securities of other investment companies. The Strategic Allocation Fund is subject to these limits with respect to any unaffiliated Underlying Fund in which it may invest. With respect to Victory-Managed Funds, the Strategic Allocation Fund may invest without limit.
Each Fund may purchase and redeem shares issued by a money market fund without limit, provided that either: (1) the Fund pays no “sales charge” or “service fee” (as each of those terms is defined in the FINRA Conduct Rules); or (2) the Adviser waives its advisory fee in an amount necessary to offset any such sales charge or service fee. For purposes of this investment restriction, a “money market fund” is either: (1) an open-end investment company registered under the 1940 Act and regulated as a money market fund in accordance with Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; or (2) a company that is exempt from registration as in investment company under Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act and that: (a) limits its investments to those permitted under Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; and (b) undertakes to comply with all the other requirements of Rule 2a-7, except that, if the company has no board of directors, the company’s investment adviser performs the duties of the board of directors.
ETFs are investment companies the shares of which trade throughout the day on an exchange. ETFs often pursue investment objectives to achieve the same rate of return as a particular market index or commodity. Certain ETFs are actively managed portfolios rather than being based upon an underlying index. ETF shares are sold initially in the primary market generally in units of 50,000 or more (“creation units”). A creation unit represents a bundle of securities or commodities that replicates, or is a representative sample of, a particular index or commodity and that is deposited with the ETF. Once owned, the individual shares comprising each creation unit are traded on an exchange in secondary market transactions for cash. The secondary market for ETF shares allows them to be readily converted into cash, like commonly traded stocks. The combination of primary and secondary markets permits ETF shares to be traded throughout the day close to the value of the ETF’s underlying portfolio securities. A Fund would purchase and sell individual shares of ETFs in the secondary market. These secondary market transactions require the payment of commissions.
Absent any other investment restrictions to the contrary, Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act (“Rule 12d1-4”), would permit a Fund to invest in ETFs in excess of the limits set forth in Section 12(d) of the 1940 Act, subject to the conditions of Rule 12d1-4.
Unit investment trusts (“UITs”) are investment companies that hold a fixed portfolio of securities until the fixed maturity date of the UIT. The Fund would generally only purchase UITs in the secondary market for cash, which would result in the payment of commissions.
ETF and UIT shares are subject to the same risk of price fluctuation due to supply and demand as any other stock traded on an exchange, which means that a Fund could receive less from the sale of shares of an ETF or UIT it holds than it paid at the time it purchased those shares. Furthermore, there may be times when the exchange halts trading, in which case a Fund owning ETF or UIT shares would be unable to sell them until trading is resumed. There can be no assurance that an ETF or UIT will continue to meet the listing requirements of the exchange or that an active secondary market will develop for shares. In addition, because ETFs and UITs invest in a portfolio of common stocks or other instruments or commodities, the value of an ETF or UIT could decline if prices of those instruments or commodities decline. An overall decline of those instruments or commodities comprising an ETF’s or UIT’s benchmark index could have a greater impact on the ETF or UIT and investors than might be the case in an investment company with a more widely diversified portfolio. Losses could also occur if the ETF or UIT is unable to replicate the performance of the chosen benchmark index. There may be times when the market price for an ETF or UIT and its NAV vary significantly and a Fund may pay more than (premium) or less than (discount) NAV when buying shares on the secondary market. The market price of an ETF’s or UIT’s shares
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includes a “bid-ask spread” charged by the exchange specialists, market makers or other participants that trade the particular security. In times of severe market disruption, the bid-ask spread often increases significantly. This means that the shares may trade at a discount to NAV and the discount is likely to be greatest when the price of shares is falling fastest.
Other risks associated with ETFs and UITs include the possibility that: (i) an ETF’s or UIT’s distributions may decline if the issuers of the ETF’s or UIT’s portfolio securities fail to continue to pay dividends; and (ii) under certain circumstances, an ETF or UIT could be terminated. Should termination occur, the ETF or UIT could have to liquidate its portfolio securities when the prices for those securities are falling. In addition, inadequate or irregularly provided information about an ETF or UIT or its investments, because ETFs and UITs are generally passively managed, could expose investors in ETFs and UITs to unknown risks. Actively managed ETFs are also subject to the risk of underperformance relative to their chosen benchmark.
Passive Investment Strategies. Some of the Underlying Funds in which the Strategic Allocation Fund may invest may pursue a passive or “indexing” strategy. A passively managed Underlying Fund will not buy or sell shares of an equity security due to current or projected performance of a security, industry or sector, unless that security is added to or removed, respectively, from the respective index each is designed to track. The Underlying Fund’s return may not match the return of its index for a number of reasons, including: the Fund incurs operating expenses not applicable to the index, and incurs costs in buying and selling securities; the Underlying Fund may not be fully invested at times; differences in the valuation of securities and differences between the Underlying Fund’s portfolio and the index resulting from legal restrictions, cost or liquidity constraints. There is no assurance that an index will be compiled or calculated accurately. In some cases, the index tracked by an affiliated Underlying Fund may be a proprietary index of the Adviser, which may create potential conflicts of interest. Potential conflicts include the possibility of misuse or improper dissemination of non-public information about contemplated changes to the composition of the Index. For the affiliated Underlying Funds, the Adviser has adopted policies and procedures which it believes are reasonably designed to prevent or mitigate these potential conflicts.
Precious Metals and Other Commodities. Investments in precious metal and other commodities or in shares of companies principally engaged in activities related to precious metals or other commodities may be subject to the risk of sharp price volatility and may fluctuate in price significantly over short periods of time due to a variety of global economic, financial, and political factors. These factors include without limitation: economic cycles; changes in inflation or expectations about inflation in various countries; interest rates; currency fluctuations; metal sales by governments, central banks, or international agencies; investment speculation; resource availability; commodity prices; fluctuations in industrial and commercial supply and demand; government regulation of the metals and other commodities industries; and government prohibitions or restrictions on the private ownership of certain precious and rare metals.
Convertible Preferred Stock. The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund and Special Value Fund may invest in convertible preferred stock, which is a class of stock that pays dividends at a specified rate and that has preference over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of assets and it convertible into common stock.
Preferred Stocks are instruments that combine qualities both of equity and debt securities. Individual issues of preferred stock will have those rights and liabilities that are spelled out in the governing document. Preferred stocks usually pay a fixed dividend per quarter (or annum) and are senior to common stock in terms of liquidation and dividend rights and preferred stocks typically do not have voting rights. The INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund may invest up to 35% of its total assets in preferred stocks. Each of the Diversified Stock Fund, NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund, Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund and Special Value Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in preferred stocks.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”) are corporations or business trusts that invest in real estate, mortgages or real estate-related securities. REITs are often grouped into three investment structures: Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs and Hybrid REITs. Equity REITs invest in and own real estate properties. Their revenues come principally from rental income of their properties. Equity REITs provide occasional capital gains or losses from the sale of properties in their portfolio. Mortgage REITs deal in investment and ownership of property mortgages. These REITs typically loan money for mortgages to owners of real estate, or invest in existing mortgages or mortgage backed securities. Their revenues are generated primarily by the interest that they earn on the mortgage loans. Hybrid REITs combine the investment strategies of Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs by investing in both properties and mortgages. Each of the Diversified Stock Fund, Sycamore Established Value Fund, INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund, Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund and Special Value Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in REITs. The NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in REITs. The Funds’ investments in REITs present certain further risks that are unique and in addition to the risks associated with investing directly in the real estate industry in general. The real estate industry has been subject to substantial fluctuations and declines on a local, regional and national basis in the past and may continue to be in the future. Real property values and income from real property may decline due to general and local economic conditions, overbuilding and increased competition, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, changes in zoning laws, casualty or condemnation losses, regulatory limitations on rents, changes in neighborhoods and in demographics, increases in market interest rates, or other factors. Factors such as these may adversely affect companies, which own and operate real estate directly, companies which lend to such companies, and companies which service the real estate industry.
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Interfund Borrowing and Lending. The Funds have obtained an exemptive order from the SEC allowing them to lend money to, and borrow money from, each other pursuant to a master interfund lending agreement (the “Interfund Lending Program”). Under the Interfund Lending Program, the Funds may lend or borrow money for temporary purposes directly to or from one another (an “Interfund Loan”), subject to meeting the conditions of the SEC exemptive order. All Interfund Loans will consist only of uninvested cash reserves that the lending Fund otherwise would invest in short-term repurchase agreements or other short-term instruments.
If a Fund has outstanding bank borrowings, any Interfund Loans to the Fund would: (a) be at an interest rate equal to or lower than that of any outstanding bank borrowing, (b) be secured at least on an equal priority basis with at least an equivalent percentage of collateral to loan value as any outstanding bank loan that requires collateral, (c) have a maturity no longer than any outstanding bank loan (and in any event not over seven days), and (d) provide that, if an event of default occurs under any agreement evidencing an outstanding bank loan to the Fund, that event of default by the Fund will automatically (without need for action or notice by the lending Fund) constitute an immediate event of default under the master interfund lending agreement, entitling the lending Fund to call the Interfund Loan immediately (and exercise all rights with respect to any collateral), and that such call will be made if the lending bank exercises its right to call its loan under its agreement with the borrowing Fund.
A Fund may borrow on an unsecured basis through the Interfund Lending Program only if its outstanding borrowings from all sources immediately after the interfund borrowing total 10% or less of its total assets, provided that if the borrowing Fund has a secured loan outstanding from any other lender, including but not limited to another Fund, the lending Fund’s Interfund Loan will be secured on at least an equal priority basis with at least an equivalent percentage of collateral to loan value as any outstanding loan that requires collateral. If a borrowing Fund’s total outstanding borrowings immediately after an Interfund Loan would be greater than 10% of its total assets, the Fund may borrow through the Interfund Lending Program only on a secured basis. A Fund may not borrow under the Interfund Lending Program or from any other source if its total outstanding borrowings immediately after the borrowing would be more than 33 1/3% of its total assets or any lower threshold provided for by the Fund’s fundamental restrictions or non-fundamental policies.
No Fund may lend to another Fund through the Interfund Lending Program if the loan would cause the lending Fund’s aggregate outstanding loans through the Interfund Lending Program to exceed 15% of its current net assets at the time of the loan. A Fund’s Interfund Loans to any one Fund shall not exceed 5% of the lending Fund’s net assets. The duration of Interfund Loans will be limited to the time required to receive payment for securities sold, but in no event more than seven days, and for purposes of this condition, loans effected within seven days of each other will be treated as separate loan transactions. Each Interfund Loan may be called on one business day’s notice by a lending Fund and may be repaid on any day by a borrowing Fund. The limitations detailed above and the other conditions of the SEC exemptive order permitting interfund borrowing and lending are designed to minimize the risks associated with interfund borrowing and lending for both a lending Fund and a borrowing Fund. However, no borrowing or lending activity is without risk. When a Fund borrows money from another Fund, there is a risk that the Interfund Loan could be called on one business day’s notice or not renewed, in which case the Fund may have to borrow from a bank at higher rates if an Interfund Loan is not available from another Fund. Interfund Loans are subject to the risk that a borrowing Fund could be unable to repay the loan when due, and a delay in repayment to a lending Fund or from a borrowing Fund could result in a lost investment opportunity or additional costs. No Fund may borrow more than the amount permitted by its investment limitations. The Interfund Lending Program is subject to the oversight and periodic review of the Board.
Lending Portfolio Securities. A Fund may from time to time lend securities from their portfolios to broker-dealers, banks, financial institutions and institutional borrowers of securities and receive collateral in the form of cash or U.S. government obligations. Under current practices (which are subject to change), a Fund must receive initial collateral equal to 102% of the market value of the loaned securities, plus any interest due in the form of cash or U.S. government obligations. This collateral must be valued daily and should the market value of the loaned securities increase, the borrower must furnish additional collateral to a Fund sufficient to maintain the value of the collateral equal to at least 100% of the value of the loaned securities. The lending agent receives a pre-negotiated percentage of the net earnings on the investment of the collateral. A Fund will not lend portfolio securities to: (a) any “affiliated person” (as that term is defined in the 1940 Act) of any Fund; (b) any affiliated person of the Adviser; or (c) any affiliated person of such an affiliated person. During the time portfolio securities are on loan, the borrower will pay a Fund any dividends or interest paid on such securities plus any fee negotiated between the parties to the lending agreement. Loans will be subject to termination by a Fund or the borrower at any time. While a Fund will not have the right to vote securities on loan, they intend to terminate loans and regain the right to vote if that is considered important with respect to the investment. A Fund will enter into loan arrangements only with broker-dealers, banks or other institutions that either the Fund’s adviser or the lending agent has determined are creditworthy under guidelines established by the Fund’s Board. Although these loans are fully collateralized, there are risks associated with securities lending. A Fund’s performance could be hurt if a borrower defaults or becomes insolvent, or if a Fund wishes to sell a security before its return can be arranged. The return on invested cash collateral will result in gains and losses for the Fund. A Fund will limit its securities lending to 33-1/3% of its total assets.
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Additional Risk Factors and Special Considerations
New or Smaller Funds. Funds with limited operating history and/or small asset base may involve additional risk. For example, there can be no assurance that a new or smaller Fund will grow to or maintain an economically viable size. Should a Fund not grow to or maintain an economically viable size, the Board may determine to liquidate the Fund. Although the interests of shareholders in each Fund are the principal concern of the Board, in the event the Board determines to liquidate a Fund, the timing of any possible liquidation might not be favorable to certain individual shareholders.
Impact of Activity by Other Shareholders. The Funds, like all mutual funds, pools the investments of many investors. Actions by one shareholder or multiple shareholders may have an impact on the Fund and, therefore, indirectly on other shareholders. For example, significant levels of new investments in the Fund by shareholders may cause the Fund to have more cash than would otherwise be the case, which might have a positive or negative impact on Fund performance. Similarly, redemption activity might cause the Fund to sell portfolio securities, which may increase transaction costs and might generate a capital gain or loss, or cause it to borrow funds on a short-term basis to cover redemptions, which would cause the Fund to incur costs that, in effect, would be borne by all shareholders, not just the redeeming shareholders. Shareholder purchase and redemption activity also may affect the per share amount of the Fund’s distributions of its net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, thereby affecting the tax burden on the Fund’s shareholders subject to federal income tax. To the extent a larger shareholder (including, for example, a fund-of-funds) invests in a Fund, the Fund may experience large inflows or outflows of cash from time to time. This activity could magnify these adverse effects on the Fund.
Recent Market Conditions and Events. Global economies and financial markets are increasingly interconnected, which increases the possibilities that conditions in one country or region might adversely affect issuers in another country or region. Geopolitical and other risks, including war, terrorism, trade disputes, political or economic dysfunction within some nations, public health crises and related geopolitical events, as well as environmental disasters such as earthquakes, fires and floods, may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Changes in trade policies and international trade agreements could affect the economies of many countries in unpredictable ways. Likewise, systemic market dislocations of the kind that occurred during the financial crisis that began in 2008, if repeated, would be highly disruptive to economies and markets, adversely affecting individual companies and industries, securities markets, interest rates, credit ratings, inflation, investor sentiment, and other factors affecting the value of a Fund’s investments. In addition, the expanded influence of social media platforms on the market, combined with the access to low cost retail brokerage, can exacerbate the volatility of particular instruments. Some countries, including the United States, are adopting more protectionist trade policies and are moving away from the tighter financial industry regulations that followed the 2008 financial crisis, which may also affect the value of a Fund’s investments.
Political events within the United States at times have resulted, and may in the future result, in a shutdown of government services, which could negatively affect the U.S. economy, decrease the value of a Fund’s investments, increase uncertainty in or impair the operation of the United States or other securities markets and degrade investor and consumer confidence, perhaps suddenly and to a significant degree.
Certain illnesses spread rapidly and have the potential to significantly and adversely affect the global economy and the value of a Fund’s investments. Outbreaks of illnesses and diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), influenza of various types and, most recently, COVID-19, or other similarly infectious diseases, may have material adverse impacts on a Fund. Epidemics and/or pandemics, such as COVID-19, have and may further result in, among other things, border closings and other significant travel restrictions and disruptions, significant disruptions to business operations, supply chains and customer activity, significant challenges to healthcare service preparation and delivery, and quarantines and stay-at-home orders, as well as general concern and uncertainty that has negatively affected the economic environment. These impacts have caused significant volatility and declines in global financial markets, which have caused losses for investors. The impact of COVID-19, and other epidemics and/or pandemics that may arise in the future, has negatively affected and may continue to affect the economies of many nations, individual companies and the global securities and commodities markets, including their liquidity, in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. Historical patterns of correlation among asset classes may break down in unanticipated ways during times of high volatility, disrupting investment programs and potentially causing losses. The impact of public health crises, including COVID-19, may last for an extended period of time.
The U.S. federal government and certain foreign central banks have taken a variety of unprecedented actions to stimulate the economy and calm the financial markets and may continue to do so, but the ultimate impact of these efforts and interventions is uncertain. In the future, the U.S. federal government or other governments may take actions that could affect the overall economy as well as the securities in which a Fund invests, the markets in which they trade, or the issuers of such securities, in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. Governmental and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators throughout the world, such as the U.S. Federal Reserve (the “Fed”), have in the past responded to major economic disruptions with a variety of significant fiscal and monetary policy changes, including but not limited to, direct capital infusions into companies, new monetary programs, and dramatically lower interest rates. Certain of those policy changes have been or are being implemented or considered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fed has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to keep credit flowing through short-term money markets since
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mid-September 2019 when a shortage of liquidity caused a spike in overnight borrowing rates, and again in 2020 and 2021 with large stimulus initiatives intended to respond to economic stresses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of infectious diseases in developing and emerging market countries, however, may be greater due to less established health care systems and fewer government resources to bolster their economies. Public health crises may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries.
In the past, instability in the global capital markets resulted in disruptions in liquidity in the debt capital markets, significant write-offs in the financial services sector, the repricing of credit risk in credit markets and the failure of major domestic and international financial institutions. Precise interest rate predictions are difficult to make, and interest rates may change unexpectedly and dramatically in response to extreme changes in market or economic conditions. As a result, the value of fixed income securities may vary widely under certain market conditions and may result in heightened market volatility and a decline in the value of a Fund’s portfolio. Changes in government policies or central banks could negatively affect the value and liquidity of a Fund’s investments and cause it to lose money. The markets could react strongly to expectations for changes in government policies, which could increase volatility, especially if the market’s expectations are not borne out. There can be no assurance that the initiatives undertaken by governments and central banks will be successful.
COVID-19, and future epidemics or pandemics, could also impair the information technology and other operational systems upon which a Fund’s service providers rely, and could otherwise disrupt the ability of a Fund’s service providers to perform essential tasks. These could impair a Fund’s ability to maintain operational standards (such as with respect to satisfying redemption requests), disrupt the operations of a Fund’s service providers, and negatively impact a Fund’s performance. In certain cases, an exchange or market may close or issue trading halts on either specific securities or even the entire market, which may result in a Fund being, among other things, unable to buy or sell certain securities or financial instruments or accurately value its investments.
Markets generally and the energy sector specifically, including MLPs and energy companies in which a Fund may invest, have also been adversely impacted by reduced demand for oil and other energy commodities as a result of the slowdown in economic activity resulting from the spread of COVID-19 and by price competition among key oil producing countries. Recently, global oil prices have declined significantly and experienced significant volatility, including a period where an oil-price futures contract fell into negative territory for the first time in history, as demand for oil has slowed and oil storage facilities reach their storage capacities. Although the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”) and other oil-producing countries have responded, continued oil price volatility may adversely impact MLPs and energy infrastructure companies. Such companies’ growth prospects and ability to pay dividends may be negatively impacted, which could adversely impact a Fund's performance. Additionally, an extended period of reduced oil prices may significantly lengthen the time the energy sector would need to recover after a stabilization of prices.
Some countries, including the United States, are adopting more protectionist trade policies and are moving away from the tighter financial industry regulations that followed the 2008 financial crisis. The United States may also be considering significant new investments in infrastructure and national defense which, coupled with potentially lower federal taxes, could lead to sharply increased government borrowing and higher interest rates. The exact shape of these policies is still being considered through the political process, but the equity and debt markets may react strongly to expectations, which could increase volatility, especially if the market’s expectations for changes in government policies are not borne out.
High public debt in the United States and other countries creates ongoing systemic and market risks and policymaking uncertainty. There may be additional increases in the amount of debt due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interest rates have been unusually low in recent years in the United States and abroad, and central banks have reduced rates further in an effort to combat the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because there is little precedent for this situation, it is difficult to predict the impact on various markets of a significant rate increase or other significant policy changes, whether brought about by U.S. policy makers or by dislocations in world markets. Extremely low or negative interest rates may become more prevalent. To the extent a Fund has a bank deposit or holds a debt instrument with a negative interest rate to maturity, a Fund would generate a negative return on that investment. Similarly, negative rates on investments by a fund that is a money market fund would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the fund to maintain a stable $1 net asset value per share without financial support from the fund’s sponsor or other persons. There is no assurance that such support would be provided, which could lead to losses on investments in a Fund. While negative yields may reduce the demand, liquidity and valuation of fixed income investments, investors may be willing to continue to purchase such investments for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, price insensitivity, arbitrage opportunities across fixed income markets or rules-based investment strategies. If negative interest rates become more prevalent, investors may over time seek to reallocate assets to other income-producing assets or equity investments that pay a dividend, which may cause the price of such instruments to rise while triggering a corresponding decrease in yield and the value of debt instruments over time. Over the longer term, rising interest rates may present a greater risk than has historically been the case due to the current period of low rates and the effect of government fiscal and monetary policy initiatives and potential market reaction to those initiatives.
Some countries where economic conditions are still recovering from the 2008 crisis are perceived as still fragile. The crisis caused strains among countries in the euro-zone that have not been fully resolved, and it is not yet clear what measures, if any, EU or individual
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country officials may take in response. Withdrawal of government support, failure of efforts in response to the strains, or investor perception that such efforts are not succeeding could adversely impact the value and liquidity of certain securities and currencies.
In addition, global climate change may have an adverse effect on property and security values. A rise in sea levels, an increase in powerful windstorms and/or a storm-driven increase in flooding could cause coastal properties to lose value or become unmarketable altogether. Large wildfires driven by high winds and prolonged drought may devastate entire communities and may be very costly to any business found to be responsible for the fire or conducting operations in affected areas. These losses could adversely affect corporate borrowers and mortgage lenders, the value of mortgage-backed securities, the bonds of municipalities that depend on tax revenues and tourist dollars generated by such properties, and insurers of the property and/or of corporate, municipal or mortgage-backed securities. Since property and security values are driven largely by buyers’ perceptions, it is difficult to know the time period over which these effects might unfold. Economists warn that, unlike previous declines in the real estate market, properties in affected coastal zones may never recover their value. Regulatory changes and divestment movements tied to concerns about climate change could adversely affect the value of certain land and the viability of industries whose activities or products are seen as accelerative to climate change.
Some market participants have expressed concern that passively-managed index funds and other indexed products inflate the value of their component securities. If the component securities in such indices decline in value for this and other reasons, the value of a Fund’s investments in these securities will also decline.
Risks Related to Cybersecurity. The Funds and their service providers have administrative and technical safeguards in place with respect to information security. Nevertheless, the Funds and their service providers are potentially susceptible to operational and information security risks resulting from a cyber-attack as the Funds are highly dependent upon the effective operation of their computer systems and those of their business partners. These risks include, among other things, the theft, misuse, corruption and destruction of data maintained online or digitally, denial of service on websites and other operational disruption and unauthorized release of confidential customer information. Cyber-attacks affecting the Adviser, Victory Capital Services, Inc. (the “Distributor,”), the Funds, the custodian, the transfer agent, financial intermediaries and other affiliated or third-party service providers may adversely affect the Funds and their shareholders. For instance, cyber-attacks may interfere with the processing of Fund transactions, including the processing of orders, impact a Fund’s ability to calculate net asset values, cause the release and possible destruction of confidential customer or business information, impede trading, subject a Fund and/or its service providers and intermediaries to regulatory fines and financial losses and/or cause reputational damage. Cybersecurity risks may also affect the issuers of securities in which a Fund invests, which may cause a Fund’s investments to lose value. A Fund may also incur additional costs for cybersecurity risk management in the future. Although the Funds and their service providers have adopted security procedures to minimize the risk of a cyber-attack, there can be no assurance that the Funds or their service providers will avoid losses affecting the Funds due to cyber-attacks or information security breaches in the future.
DETERMINING NET ASSET VALUE (“NAV”) AND VALUING PORTFOLIO SECURITIES
Each Fund’s NAV is determined, and the shares of each Fund are priced normally as of the valuation time(s) indicated in the Prospectus on each Business Day. A “Business Day” is a day on which the NYSE is open. The Fixed Income Funds are authorized to close earlier than is customary for a Business Day upon the recommendation of both the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Adviser. In the event that a Fixed Income Fund closes earlier than is customary for a Business Day, the Fund’s NAV calculation for that day will occur as of the time of the earlier close.  The NYSE is generally closed in observance of the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. In addition to closing in observance of the same holidays as the NYSE, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is also closed on Columbus Day and Veterans Day.
In the event of an emergency or other disruption in trading on the NYSE, a Fund’s share price will normally be determined based upon the close of the NYSE. In the event of an emergency or other disruption in trading on the bond market, a Fixed Income Fund's share price will normally be determined based upon the close of the bond market. 
The Funds generally value their investments based upon their last reported sale prices, market quotations, or estimates of value provided by an independent pricing service as of the time as of which the Fund’s share price is calculated.
Investment Company Securities
Shares of another open-end investment company (mutual fund) held by a Fund are valued at the latest closing NAV of such mutual fund. Shares of any ETFs held by a Fund are valued in the manner described below under “Equity Securities.”
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Fixed Income Securities
Fixed income securities held by a Fund are valued on the basis of security valuations provided by an independent pricing service, approved by the Board, that determines value by using, among other things, information with respect to transactions of a security, quotations from dealers, market transactions in comparable securities and various relationships between securities. Specific investment securities that are not priced by the approved pricing service will be valued according to quotations obtained from dealers who are market makers in those securities. Investment securities with less than 60 days to maturity when purchased are valued at amortized cost that approximates market value. Investment securities not having readily available market quotations will be priced at fair value using a methodology approved in good faith by the Board.
Convertible Fixed Income Securities
Convertible fixed income securities are valued in the same manner as any fixed income security. Non-convertible fixed income securities are valued on the basis of prices provided by independent pricing services. Prices provided by the pricing service may be determined without exclusive reliance on quoted prices and may reflect appropriate factors such as institution-sized trading in similar groups of securities, developments related to special securities, yield, quality, coupon rate, maturity, type of issue, individual trading characteristics, and other market data. Securities for which market quotations are not readily available are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the supervision of the Trust’s officers in a manner specially authorized by the Board. Short-term obligations having 60 days or less to maturity are valued on the basis of amortized cost, except for convertible fixed income securities.
Equity Securities
Each equity security (including ETFs) held by a Fund is valued at the closing price on the exchange where the security is principally traded. Each security traded in the over-the-counter market (but not including securities the trading activity of which is reported on NASDAQ’s Automated Confirmation Transaction (“ACT”) System) is valued at the bid based upon quotes furnished by market makers for such securities. Each security the trading activity of which is reported on NASDAQ’s ACT System is valued at the NASDAQ Official Closing Price.
Futures and Options Contracts
For purposes of determining NAV, futures and options contracts generally will be valued 15 minutes after the close of trading of the NYSE.
Funds that Invest a Significant Amount of their Assets in Foreign Securities
Time zone arbitrage. Funds that invest a significant amount of their assets in foreign securities, may be exposed to attempts by investors to engage in “time-zone arbitrage.” For the Strategic Allocation Fund, to the extent the Fund invests in Underlying Funds that invest primarily in foreign securities, the Fund may be indirectly exposed to attempts by investors to engage in "time-zone arbitrage." Using this technique, investors seek to take advantage of differences in the values of foreign securities that might result from events that occur after the close of the foreign securities market on which a security is traded and before the close of the NYSE that day, when the Funds calculate their NAV.
If successful, time zone arbitrage might dilute the interests of other shareholders. These Funds use “fair value pricing” under certain circumstances, to adjust the closing market prices of foreign securities to reflect what the Adviser and the Board consider to be their fair value. Fair value pricing may also help to deter time zone arbitrage.
If market quotations are not readily available, or (in the Adviser’s judgment) do not accurately reflect the fair value of a security, or if after the close of the principal market on which a security held by a Fund is traded and before the time as of which the Fund’s NAV is calculated that day, an event occurs that the Adviser learns of and believes in the exercise of its judgment will cause a material change in the value of that security from the closing price of the security on the principal market on which it is traded, that security may be valued by another method that the Board believes would more accurately reflect the security’s fair value.
The Funds’ use of fair value pricing procedures involves subjective judgments and it is possible that the fair value determined for a security may be materially different from the value that could be realized upon the sale of that security. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that a Fund could obtain the fair value assigned to a security if it were to sell the security at approximately the same time at which the Fund determines its net asset value per share.
Other Valuation Information
Under the 1940 Act, the Funds are required to act in good faith in determining the fair value of portfolio securities. The SEC has recognized that a security’s valuation may differ depending on the method used for determining value. The fair value ascertained for
33

a security is an estimate and there is no assurance, given the limited information available at the time of fair valuation, that a security’s fair value will be the same as or close to the subsequent opening market price for that security.
The Board has adopted valuation procedures for the Funds and has delegated the day-to-day responsibility for fair valuation determinations to the Adviser and the Adviser’s Pricing Committee. Those determinations may include consideration of recent transactions in comparable securities, information relating to a specific security, developments in and performance of foreign securities markets, current valuations of foreign or U.S. indices, and adjustment co-efficients based on fair value models developed by independent service providers. The Adviser may, for example, adjust the value of portfolio securities based on fair value models supplied by the service provider when the Adviser believes that the adjustments better reflect actual prices as of the close of the NYSE.
Generally, trading in foreign securities, corporate bonds, U.S. government securities and money market instruments is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of each Fund’s shares generally are determined at such times. Foreign currency exchange rates are also generally determined prior the close of the NYSE. Occasionally, events affecting the values of such securities and such exchange rates may occur between the times at which such values are determined and the close of the NYSE. If events affecting the value of securities occur during such a period, and a Fund’s NAV is materially affected by such changes in the value of the securities, then these securities will be valued at their fair value as determined in good faith by or under the supervision of the Board. Other securities and assets for which market quotations are not readily available or for which valuation cannot be provided are valued as determined in good faith in accordance with procedures approved by the Board.
PERFORMANCE COMPARISON
Each Fund will calculate performance in accordance with formulas prescribed by the SEC.
In addition, a Fund may publish the ranking of its performance or the performance of a particular class of Fund shares by Thomson Reuters Lipper, Inc. (“Lipper”), a widely-recognized independent mutual fund monitoring service. Lipper monitors the performance of regulated investment companies and ranks the performance of the Funds and their classes against all other funds in similar categories, for both equity and “fixed income” funds. The Lipper performance rankings are based on total returns that include the reinvestment of capital gains distributions and income dividends but do not take sales charges or taxes into consideration.
From time to time a Fund may publish its rating or that of a particular class of Fund shares by Morningstar, Inc., an independent mutual fund monitoring service that rates mutual funds, in broad investment categories (e.g., domestic equity, international equity, taxable bond, or municipal bond) monthly, based upon each Fund’s three, five and ten-year average annual total returns (when available) and a risk adjustment factor that reflects Fund performance relative to three-month U.S. Treasury bill monthly returns. Such returns are adjusted for fees and sales loads. There are five rating categories with a corresponding number of stars: highest (5), above average (4), neutral (3), below average (2) and lowest (1).
The total return on an investment made in a Fund or that of a particular class of Fund shares may be compared with the performance for the same period of one or more broad-based securities market indices, as described in a Prospectus. These indices are unmanaged indices of securities that do not reflect reinvestment of capital gains or take investment costs into consideration, as these items are not applicable to indices. The Funds' total returns also may be compared with the Consumer Price Index, a measure of change in consumer prices, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
From time to time, the yields and the total returns of the Funds or that of a particular class of Fund shares may be quoted in and compared to other mutual funds with similar investment objectives in advertisements, shareholder reports or other communications to shareholders. A Fund also may include calculations in such communications that describe hypothetical investment results. (Such performance examples are based on an express set of assumptions and are not indicative of the performance of any Fund.) Such calculations may from time to time include discussions or illustrations of the effects of compounding in advertisements. “Compounding” refers to the fact that, if dividends or other distributions on a Fund’s investment are reinvested by being paid in additional Fund shares, any future income or capital appreciation of a Fund would increase the value, not only of the original Fund investment, but also of the additional Fund shares received through reinvestment. As a result, the value of a Fund investment would increase more quickly than if dividends or other distributions had been paid in cash.
A Fund also may include discussions or illustrations of the potential investment goals of a prospective investor (including but not limited to tax and/or retirement planning), investment management techniques, policies or investment suitability of a Fund, economic conditions, legislative developments (including pending legislation), the effects of inflation and historical performance of various asset classes, including but not limited to stocks, bonds and U.S. Treasury bills.
From time to time advertisements or communications to shareholders may summarize the substance of information contained in shareholder reports (including the investment composition of a Fund, as well as the views of the Adviser as to current market, economic, trade and interest rate trends, legislative, regulatory and monetary developments, investment strategies and related matters
34

believed to be of relevance to a Fund). A Fund also may include in advertisements, charts, graphs or drawings that illustrate the potential risks and rewards of investment in various investment vehicles, including but not limited to stock, bonds and U.S. Treasury bills, as compared to an investment in shares of a Fund, as well as charts or graphs that illustrate strategies such as dollar cost averaging and comparisons of hypothetical yields of investment in tax-exempt versus taxable investments. In addition, advertisements or shareholder communications may include a discussion of certain attributes or benefits to be derived by an investment in a Fund. Such advertisements or communications may include symbols, headlines or other material that highlight or summarize the information discussed in more detail therein. With proper authorization, a Fund may reprint articles (or excerpts) written regarding a Fund and provide them to prospective shareholders. The Funds’ performance information is generally available by calling toll free 800-539-FUND (800-539- 3863) or at www.VictoryFunds.com Performance information regarding Member Class shares is also available by calling 800-235-8396.
Investors also may judge, and a Fund may at times advertise, the performance of a Fund or that of a particular class of Fund shares by comparing it to the performance of other mutual funds or mutual fund portfolios with comparable investment objectives and policies, which performance may be contained in various unmanaged mutual fund or market indices or rankings. In addition to yield information, general information about a Fund that appears in a publication may also be quoted or reproduced in advertisements or in reports to shareholders.
Advertisements and sales literature may include discussions of specifics of a portfolio manager’s investment strategy and process, including, but not limited to, descriptions of security selection and analysis. Advertisements may also include descriptive information about the investment adviser, including, but not limited to, its status within the industry, other services and products it makes available, total assets under management and its investment philosophy.
When comparing yield, total return and investment risk of an investment in shares of a Fund with other investments, investors should understand that certain other investments have different risk characteristics than an investment in shares of a Fund. For example, CDs may have fixed rates of return and may be insured as to principal and interest by the FDIC, while a Fund’s returns will fluctuate and its share values and returns are not guaranteed. Money market accounts offered by banks also may be insured by the FDIC and may offer stability of principal. U.S. Treasury securities are guaranteed as to principal and interest by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
ADDITIONAL PURCHASE, EXCHANGE AND REDEMPTION INFORMATION
The NYSE holiday closing schedule indicated in this SAI under “Determining Net Asset Value (“NAV”) and Valuing Portfolio Securities” is subject to change. When the NYSE is closed or when trading is restricted for any reason other than its customary weekend or holiday closings, or under emergency circumstances as determined by the SEC to warrant such action, the Funds may not be able to accept purchase or redemption requests. A Fund’s NAV may be affected to the extent that its securities are traded on days that are not Business Days. Each Fund reserves the right to reject any purchase order in whole or in part.
The Trust has elected, pursuant to Rule 18f-1 under the 1940 Act, to redeem shares of each Fund solely in cash up to the lesser of $250,000 or 1.00% of the NAV of the Fund during any 90-day period for any one shareholder. The remaining portion of the redemption may be made in securities or other property, valued for this purpose as they are valued in computing the NAV of each class of the Fund. Shareholders receiving securities or other property on redemption may realize a gain or loss for tax purposes and may incur additional costs as well as the associated inconveniences of holding and/or disposing of such securities or other property.
Pursuant to Rule 11a-3 under the 1940 Act, the Funds are required to give shareholders at least 60 days’ notice prior to terminating or modifying a Fund’s exchange privilege. The 60-day notification requirement may, however, be waived if (1) the only effect of a modification would be to reduce or eliminate an administrative fee, redemption fee, or CDSC ordinarily payable at the time of exchange or (2) a Fund temporarily suspends the offering of shares as permitted under the 1940 Act or by the SEC or because it is unable to invest amounts effectively in accordance with its investment objective and policies.
The Funds reserve the right at any time without prior notice to shareholders to refuse exchange purchases by any person or group if, in the Adviser’s judgment, a Fund would be unable to invest effectively in accordance with its investment objective and policies, or would otherwise be adversely affected.
Each Fund has authorized one or more brokers or other financial services institutions to accept on its behalf purchase and redemption orders. Such brokers or other financial services institutions are authorized to designate plan administrators and other intermediaries to accept purchase and redemption orders on a Fund’s behalf. A Fund will be deemed to have received a purchase or redemption order when an authorized broker or other financial services institutions, or, if applicable, a broker’s or other financial services institutions authorized designee, accepts the order. Customer orders will be priced at each Fund’s NAV next computed after they are accepted by an authorized broker or other financial services institutions or the broker’s or other financial services institution’s authorized designee.
35

If you hold your Fund shares in an account established with a financial intermediary, contact your financial intermediary in advance of placing a request for an exchange to confirm your ability to exchange with a particular Victory Fund.
Purchasing Shares
Alternative Sales Arrangements — Class A, C, I, R, R6, Y and Member Class Shares. Alternative sales arrangements permit an investor to choose the method of purchasing shares that is more beneficial depending on the amount of the purchase, the length of time the investor expects to hold shares and other relevant circumstances. When comparing the classes of shares, when more than one is offered in the same Fund, investors should understand that the purpose and function of the Class C and Class R shares asset-based sales charge are the same as those of the Class A initial sales charge. Any salesperson or other person entitled to receive compensation for selling Fund shares may receive different compensation with respect to one class of shares in comparison to another class of shares. Generally, Class A shares have lower ongoing expenses than Class C shares, but are subject to an initial sales charge. Which class would be advantageous to an investor depends on the number of years the shares will be held. Over very long periods of time, the lower expenses of Class A shares may offset the cost of the Class A initial sales charge. Not all Investment Professionals (as described in each Fund’s Prospectus) will offer all classes of shares.
Each class of shares represents interests in the same portfolio investments of a Fund. However, each class has different shareholder privileges and features. The net income attributable to a particular class and the dividends payable on these shares will be reduced by incremental expenses borne solely by that class, including any asset-based sales charge to which these shares may be subject.
No initial sales charge is imposed on Class C shares. The Distributor may pay sales commissions to dealers and institutions who sell Class C shares of the Funds at the time of such sales. Payments with respect to Class C shares will equal 1.00% of the purchase price of the Class C shares sold by the dealer or institution. The Distributor will retain all payments received by it relating to Class C shares for the first year after they are purchased. After the first full year, the Distributor will make monthly payments in the amount of 0.75% for distribution services and 0.25% for personal shareholder services to dealers and institutions based on the average NAV of Class C shares, which are attributable to shareholders for whom the dealers and institutions are designated as dealers of record. Some of the compensation paid to dealers and institutions is recouped through the CDSC imposed on shares redeemed within 12 months of their purchase. Class C shares are subject to the Rule 12b-1 fees described in the SAI under “Rule 12b-1 Distribution and Service Plans.” Class C shares of the Funds will automatically convert to Class A shares under circumstances described in the Funds’ Prospectuses. Financial institutions may be permitted to exchange Class C shares for a share class with lower expenses under circumstances described in a Fund’s Prospectus. Any options with respect to the reinvestment of distributions made by the Funds to Class C shareholders are offered only by the broker through whom the shares were acquired.
No initial sales charges or CDSCs are imposed on Class R shares. Class R shares are subject to the Rule 12b-1 fees described in this SAI under “Rule 12b-1 Distribution and Service Plans.” There is no automatic conversion feature applicable to Class R shares. Distributions paid to holders of a Fund’s Class R shares may be reinvested in additional Class R shares of that Fund or Class R shares of a different Fund. Only certain investors are eligible to buy Class R shares, as set forth in the Prospectus, and your financial adviser or other financial intermediary can help you determine whether you are eligible to invest.
No initial sales charges or CDSCs are imposed on Class R6 shares. Class R6 shares are not subject to the Rule 12b-1 fees described in this SAI under “Rule 12b-1 Distribution and Service Plans.” There is no automatic conversion feature applicable to Class R6 shares. Distributions paid to holders of a Fund’s Class R6 shares may be reinvested in additional Class R6 shares of that Fund or Class R6 shares of a different Fund. Class A shareholders, Class C shareholders whose shares are not subject to a CDSC and Class I shareholders may exchange into Class R6 shares of a Fund offering such shares provided they meet the eligibility requirements applicable to Class R6. Only certain investors are eligible to buy Class R6 shares, as set forth in a Fund’s Prospectus, and your financial adviser or other financial intermediary can help you determine whether you are eligible to invest.
No initial sales charges or CDSCs are imposed on Class I shares. Class I shares are not subject to the Rule 12b-1 fees described in this SAI under “Rule 12b-1 Distribution and Service Plans.” There is no automatic conversion feature applicable to Class I shares. Distributions paid to holders of a Fund’s Class I shares may be reinvested in additional Class I shares of that Fund or Class I shares of a different Fund.
The minimum investment required to open an account for Class I shares is $2,000,000. Class I shares are also available for purchase by retirement plans, including Section 401 and 457 Plans sponsored by a Section 501(c)(3) organization and certain non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements that operate in a similar manner to qualified plans. The Fund will consider a lower initial investment if, in the opinion of the Distributor, the investor has the adequate intent and availability of assets to reach a future level of investment of $2,000,000. Only certain investors are eligible to buy Class I shares and your financial adviser or other financial intermediary can help you determine whether you are eligible to invest.
Only certain investors are eligible to buy Member Class shares, as set forth in a Fund's Prospectus, and your financial adviser or other financial intermediary can help you determine whether you are eligible to invest.
36

No initial sales charges or CDSCs are imposed on Class Y shares. Class Y shares are not subject to the Rule 12b-1 fees described in this SAI under “Rule 12b-1 Distribution and Service Plans.” There is no automatic conversion feature applicable to Class Y shares. Distributions paid to holders of a Fund’s Class Y shares may be reinvested in additional Class Y shares of that Fund or Class Y shares of a different Fund. Only certain investors are eligible to buy Class Y shares, as set forth in a Fund’s Prospectus, and your financial adviser or other financial intermediary can help you determine whether you are eligible to invest.
Each Fund reserves the right to change the criteria for eligible investors and the investment minimums related to each class of shares. Each Fund also reserves the right to refuse a purchase order for any reason, including if it believes that doing so would be in the best interest of the Fund and shareholders.
The methodology for calculating the NAV, dividends and distributions of the share classes of each Fund recognizes two types of expenses. General expenses that do not pertain specifically to a class are allocated to the shares of each class, based upon the percentage that the net assets of such class bears to a Fund’s total net assets and then pro rata to each outstanding share within a given class. Such general expenses include (1) management fees, (2) legal, bookkeeping and audit fees, (3) printing and mailing costs of shareholder reports, prospectuses, statements of additional information and other materials for current shareholders, (4) fees to the Trustees who are not affiliated with the Adviser, (5) custodian expenses, (6) share issuance costs, (7) organization and start-up costs, (8) interest, taxes and brokerage commissions, and (9) non-recurring expenses, such as litigation costs. Other expenses that are directly attributable to a class are allocated equally to each outstanding share within that class. Such expenses include (1) Rule 12b-1 distribution fees and shareholder servicing fees, (2) incremental transfer and shareholder servicing agent fees and expenses, (3) registration fees, and (4) shareholder meeting expenses, to the extent that such expenses pertain to a specific class rather than to a Fund as a whole.
Dealer Reallowances. The following table shows the amount of the front-end sales load that is reallowed to dealers as a percentage of the offering price of Class A shares of the Equity Funds.
Amount of
Purchase
Initial Sales Charge:
% of Offering Price
Concession to Dealers:
% of Offering Price
Up to $49,999
5.75%
5.00%
$ 50,000 to $99,999
4.50%
4.00%
$ 100,000 to $249,999
3.50%
3.00%
$ 250,000 to $499,999
2.50%
2.00%
$ 500,000 to $999,999
2.00%
1.75%
$ 1,000,000 and above*
0.00%
**
*
There is no initial sales charge on purchases of $1 million or more; however a sales concession and/or advance of a Rule 12b-1 fee may be paid and such purchases are potentially subject to a CDSC, as set forth below.
**
Investment Professionals may receive payment on purchases of $1 million or more of Class A shares that are sold at NAV as follows: 0.75% of the current purchase amount if cumulative prior purchases sold at NAV plus the current purchase is less than $3 million; 0.50% of the current purchase amount if the cumulative prior purchases sold at NAV plus the current purchase is $3 million to $4,999,999; and 0.25% on of the current purchase amount if the cumulative prior purchases sold at NAV plus the current purchase is $5 million or more. In addition, in connection with such purchases, the Distributor or its affiliates may advance Rule 12b-1 fees of 0.25% of the purchase amount to Investment Professionals for providing services to shareholders.
Except as noted in this SAI, a CDSC of up to 0.75% may be imposed on any such shares redeemed within the first 18 months after purchase. CDSCs are based on the lower of the cost of the shares or NAV at the time of redemption. No CDSC is imposed on reinvested distributions.
The Distributor reserves the right to pay the entire commission to dealers. If that occurs, the dealer may be considered an “underwriter” under federal securities laws.
The following table shows the amount of the front-end sales load that is reallowed to dealers as a percentage of the offering price of the Class A shares of the Strategic Allocation Fund and the Fixed Income Funds. 
Your Investment in the Fund
Initial Sales Charge:
% of Offering Price
Concession to Dealers:
% of Offering Price
Up to $99,999
2.25%
2.00%
$100,000 up to $249,999
1.75%
1.50%
$250,000 and above*
0.00%
**
*
There is no initial sales charge on purchases of $250,000 or more; however a sales concession and/or advance of a Rule 12b-1 fee may be paid and such purchases are potentially subject to a CDSC, as set forth below.
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**
Investment Professionals may receive payment on purchases of $250,000 or more of Class A shares that are sold at NAV as follows: 0.75% of the current purchase amount if cumulative prior purchases sold at NAV plus the current purchase is less than $3 million; 0.50% of the current purchase amount if the cumulative prior purchases sold at NAV plus the current purchase is $3 million to $4,999,999; and 0.25% on of the current purchase amount if the cumulative prior purchases sold at NAV plus the current purchase is $5 million or more. In addition, in connection with such purchases, the Distributor or its affiliates may advance Rule 12b-1 fees of 0.25% of the purchase amount to Investment Professionals for providing services to shareholders.
Except as noted in this SAI, a CDSC of up to 0.75% may be imposed on any such shares redeemed within the first 18 months after purchase. CDSCs are based on the lower of the cost of the shares or NAV at the time of redemption. No CDSC is imposed on reinvested distributions.
The Distributor reserves the right to pay the entire commission to dealers. If that occurs, the dealer may be considered an “underwriter” under federal securities laws.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries. If you purchase the Fund through a financial intermediary (including broker-dealers, banks, third party administrators, retirement plan record-keepers or other financial intermediaries) the Fund may pay for sub-transfer agent, recordkeeping and/or similar administrative services (administrative services) for all classes other than Class R6. Depending upon the particular share class and/or contractual agreement, these payments may be calculated based on average net assets of the Fund that are serviced by the intermediary or on a per account basis. The administrative services may be related to investments by participants in retirement and benefit plans, investors in mutual fund advisory programs, and clients of financial intermediaries that maintain omnibus or other accounts for their clients. Services provided include but are not limited to the following: transmitting net purchase and redemption orders; maintaining separate records for shareholders that reflect purchases, redemptions and share balances; mailing shareholder confirmations and periodic statements; and furnishing proxy materials and periodic fund reports, prospectuses and other communications to shareholders as required.
In addition, the Adviser (or its affiliates), from its own resources, may make substantial payments to various financial intermediaries for the sale of Fund shares and related services for investments in all classes other than Class R6. The Adviser also may reimburse the Distributor (or the Distributor’s affiliates) for making these payments. Depending on the particular share class and/or contractual arrangement, these payments may be calculated based on average net assets of the Fund that are serviced by the intermediary or on a per account basis.
These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the financial intermediary and its salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
As of October 31, 2020, the Adviser and its affiliates had arrangements in place with respect to the Funds with the following intermediaries:
ADP Broker-Dealer, Inc.
Advisor Group
Alight Financial
American United Life
Ameriprise Financial
Benefit Plans Administrators
Benefit Trust Company
Charles Schwab
Conduent HR Services, LLC
Fidelity Investments Institutional Operations Co., Inc.
Financial Data Services, Inc.
GWFS Equities Inc
Hartford Life
John Hancock (New York Life)
John Hancock Life Insurance Co (USA)
Lincoln Financial Advisors
Lincoln Financial Securities
Lincoln Retirement Services, Co
LPL Financial
Mass Mutual Life Insurance
MassMutual Financial Group
Merrill Lynch
Mid Atlantic Capital Corp
Morgan Stanley
MSCS Financial Services (Comerica, SEI)
Nationwide Investment Services Corp.
Plan Administration Inc
Princor Financial Services
38

Prudential Retirement Services
Raymond James
RBC Wealth Management
Reliance Trust Company
T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services
TD Ameritrade Trust Co.
TIAA - CREF (Retirement)
UBS
VALIC Retirement Services
VOYA
VOYA America Insurance Holdings Inc.
Wells Fargo Bank, NA
Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC
Sample Calculation of Maximum Offering Price
Class A shares of the Equity Funds and the Strategic Allocation Fund are sold with a maximum initial sales charge of 5.75% and Class A shares of the Fixed Income Fund are sold with a maximum initial sales charge of 2.25%. Set forth below is an example of the method of computing the offering price of the Class A shares of the Funds. The example assumes a purchase of Class A shares aggregating less than $50,000 subject to the schedule of sales charges set forth in the Prospectus at a price based upon the NAV of the Class A shares.
All Equity Funds
 
NAV per share
$10.00
Per Share Sales Charge—5.75% of public offering price (6.10% of net asset value per share) for each Fund
$0.61
Per Share Offering Price to the Public
$10.61
Fixed Income Funds and Strategic Allocation Fund
 
NAV per share
$10.00
Per Share Sales Charge—2.25% of public offering price (2.30% of net asset value per share) for each Fund
$0.23
Per Share Offering Price to the Public
$10.23
Class C shares of each relevant Fund are sold at NAV without any initial sales charges and with a 1.00% CDSC on shares redeemed within 12 months of purchase. Class I, Class R, Class R6 Class Y, and Member Class shares of each relevant Fund are sold at NAV without any initial sales charges or CDSCs.
Member Class shares of each Fund are sold at NAV without any initial sales charges or CDSCs.
Reinstatement Privilege. Within 90 days of a redemption, a shareholder may reinvest all or part of the redemption proceeds of Class A or Class C shares in the same class of shares of a Fund or any of the other Funds into which shares of the Fund are exchangeable, as described above, at the NAV next computed after receipt by the transfer agent of the reinvestment order. No service charge is currently made for reinvestment in shares of the Funds. Class C share proceeds reinstated do not result in a refund of any CDSC paid by the shareholder, but the reinstated shares will be treated as CDSC exempt upon reinstatement. The shareholder must ask the Distributor for such privilege at the time of reinvestment. Any capital gain that was realized when the shares were redeemed is taxable, even if the proceeds are reinvested. Depending on the timing and amount of a potential reinvestment, some or all of a capital loss from redemption may not be deductible. If the redemption proceeds of Fund shares on which a sales charge was paid are reinvested in shares of the same Fund or another Fund offered by the Trust within 90 days of payment of the sales charge, the shareholder’s basis in the redeemed shares may not include the amount of the sales charge paid. Without the additional basis, the shareholder will have more gain or less loss upon redemption. The Funds may amend, suspend, or cease offering this reinvestment privilege at any time as to shares redeemed after the date of such amendment, suspension, or cessation. The reinstatement must be into an account bearing the same registration.
Redemptions in Kind. Subject to its election under Rule 18f-1 under the 1940 Act, each Fund reserves the right to honor requests for redemption or repurchase orders by making payment in whole or in part in readily marketable securities (“redemption in kind”) if the amount of such request is large enough to affect operations (for example, if the request is greater than $250,000 or 1% of the Fund’s assets). The securities will be chosen by the Fund and valued at the price used in calculating the Fund’s NAV on the day of redemption. A shareholder may incur transaction expenses in converting these securities to cash.
39

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST
Board Leadership Structure
The Trust is governed by the Board, which is comprised of nine Trustees, eight of whom are not “interested persons” of the Trust within the meaning of that term under the 1940 Act (the “Independent Trustees”). The Chair of the Board is an Independent Trustee, who functions as the lead Trustee. The Chair serves as liaison between the Board and its Committees, the Adviser and other service providers. The Chair is actively involved in setting the Board meeting agenda, and participates on certain Board Committees.
Board Role in Risk Oversight
In considering risks related to the Funds, the Board consults and receives reports from officers of the Funds and personnel of the Adviser, who are charged with the day-to-day risk oversight function. Matters regularly reported to the Board or a designated committee include certain risks involving, among other things, the Funds’ investment portfolios, trading practices, operational matters, financial and accounting controls, and legal and regulatory compliance. The Board has delegated to each of the Compliance Committee and Audit and Risk Oversight Committee certain responsibilities for reviewing reports relating to compliance and enterprise risk, including operational risk, liquidity and personnel. The Board relies on the Investment Committee to review reports relating to investment risks, that is, risks to the Funds resulting from pursuing the Funds’ investment strategies (e.g., credit risk and market risk).
Trustees and Officers
The following tables list the Trustees and Officers, their ages, position with the Trust, length of time served, principal occupations during the past five years and, where applicable, any directorships of other investment companies or companies whose securities are registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“1934 Act”), or who file reports under the 1934 Act. Each Trustee currently oversees 42 portfolios in the Trust, 27 portfolios in Victory Portfolios II and 8 portfolios in Victory Variable Insurance Funds, each of which is a registered investment company that, together with the Trust, are referred to as the Victory Fund Complex. Mr. Brown is a trustee of USAA Mutual Funds Trust, a registered investment company, and oversees 46 portfolios of USAA Mutual Funds Trust. There is no defined term of office and each Trustee serves until the earlier of his or her resignation, retirement, removal, death, or the election of a qualified successor. Each Trustee’s and Officer’s address is c/o Victory Funds, 4900 Tiedeman Road, 4th Floor, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144.
Independent Trustees
Name and Age
Position
Held with
the Trust
Date
Commenced
Service
Principal Occupation
During Past 5 Years
Other Directorships
Held During the
Past 5 Years
David Brooks
Adcock,
Born October
1951
Trustee
May 2005
Consultant (since 2006).
Chairman, Board of
Trustees, Turner Funds
(December 2016
-December 2017).
Nigel
D.T.Andrews,
Born April 1947
Trustee
August 2002
Retired.
Director, TCG BDC II,
Inc. (since 2017)
Director, TCG BDC I,
Inc. (formerly Carlyle
GMS Finance, Inc.)
(since 2012).
E. Lee Beard*,
Born August
1951
Trustee
May 2005
Retired.
None.
Dennis M.
Bushe,
Born January
1944
Trustee
July 2016
Retired.
Trustee, RS Investment
Trust and RS Variable
Products Trust
(November 2011 - July
2016).
40

Name and Age
Position
Held with
the Trust
Date
Commenced
Service
Principal Occupation
During Past 5 Years
Other Directorships
Held During the
Past 5 Years
John L. Kelly,
Born April 1953
Vice Chair and
Trustee
February 2015
Partner, McCarvill
Capital Partners
(September
2016-September 2017);
Advisor (January
2016-April 2016) and
Managing Partner
(August 2014 -January
2016) Endgate
Commodities LLC.
Director, Caledonia
Mining Corporation
(since May 2012).
David L.
Meyer*,
Born April 1957
Trustee
December 2008
Retired.
None.
Gloria S.
Nelund,
Born May 1961
Trustee
July 2016
Chair, CEO, and
Co-Founder of TriLinc
Global, LLC, an
investment firm.
TriLinc Global Impact
Fund, LLC (since
2012); Trustee, RS
Investment Trust and
RS Variable Products
Trust (November
2007-July 2016).
Leigh A. Wilson,
Born December
1944
Chair and
Trustee
November 1994
Private Investor.
Chair (since 2013),
Caledonia Mining
Corporation.
Interested Trustee
Name and Age
Position
Held with
the Trust
Date
Commenced
Service
Principal Occupation
During Past 5 Years
Other
Directorships
Held During the
Past 5 Years
David C.
Brown**,
Born May 1972
Trustee
May 2008
Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer (since
2013), the Adviser;
Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer (since
2013), Victory Capital
Holdings, Inc.
Trustee, USAA Mutual
Funds Trust.
*
The Board has designated Ms. Beard and Mr. Meyer as its Audit Committee Financial Experts.
**
Mr. Brown is an “Interested Person” by reason of his relationship with the Adviser.
Trustee Qualifications
The following summarizes the experience and qualifications of the Trustees.
• David Brooks Adcock. Mr. Adcock served for many years as general counsel to Duke University and Duke University Health System, where he provided oversight to complex business transactions such as mergers and acquisitions and dispositions. He has served for more than 20 years as a public interest arbitrator for, among others, the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, the National Futures Association, FINRA and the American Arbitration Association. The Board believes that Mr. Adcock’s knowledge of complex business transactions and the securities industry combined with his previous service on the boards of other mutual funds qualifies him to serve on the Board.
• Nigel D.T. Andrews. Mr. Andrews served for many years as a management consultant for a nationally recognized consulting company and as a senior executive at GE, including Vice President of Corporate Business Development, reporting to the Chairman, and as Executive Vice President of GE Capital. He also served as a Director and member of the Audit and Risk Committee of Old Mutual plc, a large publicly traded company whose shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange. Mr. Andrews also formerly served as the non-executive chairman of Old Mutual’s U.S. asset management business, where he also served on the audit and risk committee. Mr. Andrews also served as a Governor of the London Business School. He serves as a director of TCG BDC II, Inc. and TCG BDC I, Inc. (formerly Carlyle GMS Finance, Inc.), each a business development
41

company. The Board believes that his experience in these positions, particularly with respect to oversight of risk and the audit function of public companies, as well as his previous service on the boards of other mutual funds qualifies him to serve as a Trustee.
• E. Lee Beard. Ms. Beard, a certified public accountant, has served as the president, chief executive officer and director, and as a chief financial officer, of public, federally insured depository institutions. As such, Ms. Beard is familiar with issues relating to audits of financial institutions. The Board believes that Ms. Beard’s experience as the chief executive officer of a depository institution, her service on the boards of other mutual funds and her knowledge of audit and accounting matters qualifies her to serve as a Trustee.
• David C. Brown. Mr. Brown serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (since 2013) of the Adviser and, as such, is an “interested person” of the Trust. Previously, he served as Co-Chief Executive Officer (2011 - 2013), and President — Investments and Operations (2010 - 2011) and Chief Operating Officer (2004 - 2011) of the Adviser. The Board believes that his position and experience with the Adviser and his previous experience in the investment management business qualifies him to serve as a Trustee.
• Dennis M. Bushe. Mr. Bushe has experience in fixed income investment management and research. He is a former chief investment risk officer of a large investment management firm. Mr. Bushe previously served as a Trustee of the boards of the RS Investment Trust and RS Variable Products Trust. The Board believes that Mr. Bushe’s experience qualifies him to serve as a Trustee.
• John L. Kelly. Mr. Kelly has more than 35 years of experience and leadership roles in the financial services industry including institutional electronic trading, capital markets, corporate and investment banking, retail brokerage, private equity, asset/wealth management, institutional services, mutual funds and related technology enabled services. He previously served as an Independent Trustee of Victory Portfolios, Victory Institutional Funds, and Victory Variable Insurance Funds from 2008 to 2011. The Board believes that this experience qualifies him to serve as a Trustee.
• David L. Meyer. For six years, Mr. Meyer served as chief operating officer, Investment Wealth Management Division, of Mercantile Bankshares Corp (now PNC Financial Services Corp.) and has served as an officer or on the boards of other mutual funds for many years. The Board believes that his experience, particularly as it related to the operation of registered investment companies, qualifies him to serve as a Trustee.
• Gloria S. Nelund. Ms. Nelund has executive and investment management industry experience, including service as chief executive officer of two investment advisory firms. Ms. Nelund also has experience as a co-founder and chief executive officer of an investment firm. Ms. Nelund previously served as the Chairman and Trustee of the boards of the RS Investment Trust and RS Variable Products Trust. The Board believes that this experience qualifies her to serve as a Trustee.
• Leigh A. Wilson. Mr. Wilson served for many years as Chief Executive Officer of Paribas North America and as such has extensive experience in the financial sector. He serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Caledonia Mining Corporation, a Canadian mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. As a former director of the Mutual Fund Directors Forum (“MFDF”), he is familiar with the operation and regulation of registered investment companies. He served on a MFDF steering committee created at the request of then-SEC Chairman William Donaldson to recommend best practices to independent mutual fund directors. He received the Small Fund Trustee of the Year award from Institutional Investor Magazine in 2006. The Board believes that this experience and his previous service on the boards of other mutual funds qualifies him to serve as a Trustee.
During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020, the Board held seven meetings. The Audit and Risk Oversight Committee held five meetings; the Compliance Committee held four meetings; the Investment Committee held four meetings; the Service Provider Committee held four meetings; and the Board Governance and Nominating Committee held four meetings. The Continuing Education Committee met informally during the fiscal year.
Committees of the Board
The following standing Committees of the Board are currently in operation: Audit and Risk Oversight, Compliance, Continuing Education, Investment, Service Provider, Board Governance and Nominating, and Agenda. In addition to these standing Committees, the Board may form temporary Sub- or Special Committees to address particular areas of concern. A Committee may form a Sub-Committee to address particular areas of concern to that Committee.
• The members of the Audit and Risk Oversight Committee, all of whom are Independent Trustees, are Mr. Meyer (Chair), Ms. Beard (Vice Chair), Mr. Adcock, Ms. Nelund and Mr. Wilson. The primary purpose of this Committee is to oversee the Trust’s accounting and financial reporting policies, practices and internal controls, as required by the statutes and regulations administered by the SEC, including the 1940 Act. The Committee also has overall responsibility for reviewing periodic reports
42

with respect to compliance and enterprise risk, including operational risk and personnel. The Board has designated Mr. Meyer and Ms. Beard as its Audit Committee Financial Experts.
• The members of the Compliance Committee are Mr. Adcock (Chair), Ms. Beard, Mr. Meyer and Ms. Nelund. The Compliance Committee oversees matters related to the Funds’ compliance program and compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations and meets regularly with the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer.
• The members of the Continuing Education Committee are Mr. Meyer (Chair), Ms. Beard and Mr. Kelly. The function of this Committee is to develop programs to educate the Trustees to enhance their effectiveness as a Board and individually.
• The members of the Investment Committee are Mr. Kelly (Chair), Mr. Bushe (Vice Chair), Mr. Andrews, and Mr. Wilson. The function of this Committee is to oversee the Fund’s compliance with investment objectives, policies and restrictions, including those imposed by law or regulation, and assist the Board in its annual review of the Funds’ investment advisory agreements.
• The members of the Service Provider Committee are Ms. Beard (Chair), Ms. Nelund (Vice Chair), Mr. Adcock and Mr. Meyer. This Committee oversees the negotiation of the terms of the written agreements with the Funds’ service providers, evaluates the quality of periodic reports from the service providers (including reports submitted by sub-service providers) and assists the Board in its review of each Fund’s service providers, other than the investment adviser and independent auditors.
• The Board Governance and Nominating Committee consists of all of the Independent Trustees. Mr. Andrews currently serves as the Chair of this Committee. The functions of this Committee are: to oversee Fund governance, including the nomination and selection of Trustees; to evaluate and recommend to the Board the compensation and expense reimbursement policies applicable to Trustees; and periodically, to coordinate and facilitate an evaluation of the performance of the Board.
• The Board Governance and Nominating Committee will consider nominee recommendations from Fund shareholders, in accordance with procedures established by the Committee. A Fund shareholder should submit a nominee recommendation in writing to the attention of the Chair of the Trust, 4900 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144. The Committee (or a designated sub-committee) will screen shareholder recommendations in the same manner as it screens nominations received from other sources, such as current Trustees, management of the Fund or other individuals, including professional recruiters. The Committee need not consider any recommendations when no vacancy on the Board exists, but the Committee will consider any such recommendation if a vacancy occurs within six months after receipt of the recommendation. In administering the shareholder recommendation process, the Chair, in the Chair’s sole discretion, may retain the services of counsel to the Trust or to the Independent Trustees, management of the Fund or any third party. The Committee will communicate the results of the evaluation of any shareholder recommendation to the shareholder who made the recommendation.
• The Agenda Committee consists of the Chair of the Board and the Chair of each other Committee.
Officers of the Trust
The officers of the Trust are elected by the Board to actively supervise the Trust’s day-to-day operations. The officers of the Trust, their ages, the length of time served, and their principal occupations during the past five years, are detailed in the following table. Each individual holds the same position with the other registered investment companies in the Victory Fund Complex, and each officer serves until the earlier of his or her resignation, removal, retirement, death, or the election of a successor. The mailing address of each officer of the Trust is 4900 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn Ohio 44144. The officers of the Trust receive no compensation directly from the Trust for performing the duties of their offices.
Name and Age
Position with
the Trust
Date
Commenced
Service
Principal Occupation During Past 5 Years
Christopher K.
Dyer,
Born February
1962
President
February 2006*
Director of Mutual Fund Administration, the Adviser.
Scott A. Stahorsky,
Born July 1969
Vice President
December 2014
Manager, Fund Administration, the Adviser (since
2015).
Erin G. Wagner,
Born February
1974
Secretary
December 2014
Associate General Counsel, the Adviser (since 2013).
43

Name and Age
Position with
the Trust
Date
Commenced
Service
Principal Occupation During Past 5 Years
Allan Shaer,
Born March 1965
Treasurer
May 2017
Senior Vice President, Financial Administration, Citi
Fund Services Ohio, Inc. (since 2016); Vice President,
Mutual Fund Administration, JP Morgan
Chase(2011-2016).
Christopher Ponte,
Born March 1984
Assistant
Treasurer*
December 2017
Manager, Fund Administration, the Adviser (since
2017); Senior Analyst, Fund Administration, the
Adviser (prior to 2017); Principal Financial Officer,
Victory Capital Advisers, Inc. (since 2018).
Colin Kinney,
Born October 1973
Chief
Compliance
Officer
July 2017
Chief Compliance Officer (since 2013) and Chief Risk
Officer (2009-2017), the Adviser.
Charles Booth,
Born April 1960
Anti-Money
Laundering
Compliance
Officer and
Identity Theft
Officer
May 2015
Director, Regulatory Administration and CCO Support
Services, Citi Fund Services Ohio, Inc.
Jay G. Baris,
Born January 1954
Assistant
Secretary
December 1997
Partner, Sidley Austin LLP (since April 2020); Partner,
Shearman & Sterling LLP (January 2018 - April 2020);
Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP (2011 – January
2018).
*
On December 5, 2017, Mr. Ponte resigned as Treasurer and accepted the position of Assistant Treasurer of the Trust.
Trustees’ Fund Ownership
The following tables show the dollar ranges of Fund shares (and of shares of all series of the Victory Fund Complex) beneficially owned by each Trustee as of December 31, 2020. No Independent Trustee (or any immediate family member) owns beneficially or of record an interest in the Adviser or the Distributor or in any person directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Adviser or the Distributor (other than Funds in the Victory Fund Complex). As of December 31, 2020, the Trustees and officers as a group owned beneficially less than 1% of each class of outstanding shares of those series of the Trust.
Independent Trustees
Trustee
Dollar Range of Beneficial
Ownership of Fund Shares
Aggregate Dollar Range
of Ownership of Shares
of All Series of the
Victory Fund Complex
Mr. Adcock
INCORE Fund for Income: Over $100,000
Over $100,000
Mr. Andrews
INCORE Fund for Income: $1 - $10,000
INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund: Over $100,000
Sycamore Established Value: Over $100,000
Over $100,000
Ms. Beard
INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund: $10,001 - $50,000
Sycamore Established Value: $50,001 - $100,000
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity: $10,001 - $50,000
Over $100,000
Mr. Bushe
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity: $50,001 - $100,000
Over $100,000
Mr. Kelly
Diversified Stock: $10,001 - $50,000
Special Value: $10,001 - $50,000
Sycamore Established Value: $50,001 - $100,000
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity: $10,001 - $50,000
Over $100,000
Mr. Meyer
Diversified Stock: $50,001 - $100,000 Special Value: $10,001 - $50,000
Sycamore Established Value: $50,001 - $100,000
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity: $10,001 - $50,000
Over $100,000
Ms. Nelund
None.
Over $100,000
Mr. Wilson
None.
Over $100,000
44

Interested Trustee
Trustee
Dollar Range of Beneficial Ownership of Fund Shares
Aggregate Dollar Range
of Ownership of Shares
of All Series of the
Victory Fund Complex
Mr. Brown*
INCORE Fund for Income: Over $100,000
INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund: Over $100,000
NewBridge Large Cap Growth: Over $100,000
Strategic Allocation: Over $100,000
Sycamore Established Value: Over $100,000
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity: Over $100,000
Over $100,000
*
Mr. Brown is an “Interested Person” by reason of his relationship with the Adviser.
Trustees Compensation
The Victory Fund Complex pays each Independent Trustee $330,000 per year for his or her services to the Complex. The Board Chair is paid an additional retainer of $150,000 per year. Effective January 1, 2021, the Board Vice Chair and the Chair of the Board Governance and Nominating Committee are each paid an additional retainer of $100,000 per year. While the Board reserves the right to award reasonable compensation to any Interested Trustee, as of the date of this SAI no Interested Trustee receives compensation for services as a Trustee.
The following tables indicate the compensation received by each Trustee from the Funds covered in this SAI and from the Victory Fund Complex for the year ended October 31, 2020. As of October 31, 2020, there were 75 funds in the Victory Fund Complex for which the Trustees listed below were compensated. The Trust does not maintain a retirement plan for its Trustees.
Independent Trustees
Trustee
Aggregate Compensation
from the Funds
Total Compensation from the
Victory Fund Complex
Mr. Adcock
$155,050
$330,000
Mr. Andrews
$155,050
$330,000
Ms. Beard
$155,050
$330,000
Mr. Bushe
$155,050
$330,000
Mr. Kelly
$155,050
$330,000
Mr. Meyer
$155,050
$330,000
Ms. Nelund
$155,050
$330,000
Mr. Wilson
$225,528
$480,000
Interested Trustee
Trustee
Aggregate Compensation
from the Trust
Total Compensation from
the Victory Fund Complex
Mr. Brown*
None
None
*
Mr. Brown is an “Interested Person” by reason of his relationship with the Adviser.
Deferred Compensation
Each Trustee may elect to defer a portion of his or her compensation from the Victory Fund Complex in accordance with a Deferred Compensation Plan adopted by the Board (the “Plan”). Such amounts are invested in one or more Funds in the Victory Fund Complex offered under the Plan or a money market fund, as selected by the Trustee.
As of the last completed fiscal year, the following current Trustees have elected to defer a portion of his or her compensation from the Victory Fund Complex.
Trustee
Aggregate Compensation
from the Funds
Total Compensation from
the Victory Fund Complex
Mr. Adcock
$23,258
$49,500
Mr. Bushe
$155,050
$330,000
45

INVESTMENT ADVISER AND OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS
Investment Adviser
Victory Capital Management Inc. (the “Adviser”), a New York corporation registered as an investment adviser with the SEC, serves as investment adviser to the Funds. The Adviser’s principal business address is 15935 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78256. Subject to the authority of the Board, the Adviser is responsible for the overall management and administration of the Funds’ business affairs. Each of the Adviser’s multiple investment teams, referred to separately as investment franchises utilizes its own independent approach to investing. The Adviser is responsible for selecting each Fund’s investments according to its investment objective, policies, and restrictions. The Adviser is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Victory Capital Holdings, Inc. (“VCH”), a publicly traded Delaware corporation. As of December 31, 2020 the Adviser managed assets totaling in excess of $147.2 billion for numerous clients including large corporate and public retirement plans, Taft-Hartley plans, foundations and endowments, high net worth individuals and mutual funds.
The Advisory Agreement
The Adviser serves as the Funds’ investment adviser pursuant to an advisory agreement dated as of August 1, 2013 (the “Advisory Agreement”). Unless sooner terminated, the Advisory Agreement between the Adviser and the Trust, on behalf of the Funds, provides that it will continue in effect as to the Funds for two years and for consecutive one-year terms thereafter, provided that such renewal is approved at least annually by the Trustees or by vote of the majority of the outstanding shares of each such Fund (as defined under “Miscellaneous” below) and, in either case, by a majority of the Trustees who are not parties to the Advisory Agreement or “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of any party to the Advisory Agreement, by votes cast in person at a meeting called for such purpose. The Advisory Agreement is terminable as to any particular Fund at any time on 60 days’ written notice without penalty by a vote of the majority of the outstanding shares of a Fund, by vote of the Trustees, or as to all applicable Funds by the Adviser. The Advisory Agreement also terminates automatically in the event of any assignment, as defined by the 1940 Act.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 13, 2020, the SEC issued an order (subsequently modified and extended on March 25, 2020 and June 19, 2020) (the “Order”) providing temporary relief through at least December 31, 2020 from in person voting requirements subject to meeting certain conditions of the Order.
The Advisory Agreement provides that the Adviser shall not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss suffered by the Funds in connection with the performance of the services pursuant thereto, except a loss resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty with respect to the receipt of compensation for services or a loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence on the part of the Adviser in the performance of its duties, or from reckless disregard by the Adviser of its duties and obligations thereunder.
Under the Advisory Agreement, the Adviser may delegate a portion of its responsibilities to a sub-adviser. In addition, the agreements provide that the Adviser may render services through its own employees or the employees of one or more affiliated companies that are qualified to act as an investment adviser of the Fund provided all such persons are functioning as part of an organized group of persons, managed by authorized officers of the Adviser.
The following schedule lists the advisory fees for each Fund, as an annual percentage of its average daily net assets.
Equity Funds
Fund
Advisory Fee
Diversified Stock
0.65% on the first $800 million, 0.60% on the next $1.6 billion and 0.55% on assets in
excess of $2.4 billion
NewBridge Large Cap Growth
0.75% on the first $400 million, 0.65% on the next $400 million and 0.60% on assets in
excess of $800 million
Special Value
0.75% on the first $400 million, 0.65% on the next $400 million and 0.60% on assets in
excess of $800 million
Sycamore Established Value
0.65% on the first $100 million, 0.55% on the next $100 million and 0.45% on assets in
excess of $200 million
Sycamore Small Company
Opportunity
0.85% on the first $500 million and 0.75% on assets in excess of $500 million
46

Hybrid Funds
Fund
Advisory Fee
INCORE Investment Grade
Convertible
0.75% on the first $400 million, 0.65% on the next $400 million and 0.60% on assets in
excess of $800 million
Strategic Allocation
0.10%
Taxable Fixed Income Funds
Fund
Advisory Fee
INCORE Fund for Income
0.50% on the first $400 million, 0.45% on the next $400 million and 0.40% on assets in
excess of $800 million
Advisory fees paid by the Funds to the Adviser for the last three fiscal years ended October 31 are shown in the table below:
Fund
2020
Fees Paid
2019
Fees Paid
2018
Fees Paid
Diversified Stock
$1,740,520
$2,074,829
$2,973,547
INCORE Fund for Income
$4,030,905
$3,161,376
$3,454,520
INCORE Investment Grade Convertible
$2,231,693
$1,457,137
$1,093,521
NewBridge Large Cap Growth
$122,281
$140,415
$205,297
Special Value
$360,269
$438,205
$606,334
Strategic Allocation
$24,390
$27,346
$38,476
Sycamore Established Value
$48,627,318
$49,355,456
$50,308,006
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity
$38,645,774
$39,868,405
$40,091,811
Management Fee Waiver/Expense Reimbursement
For some of the Funds, the Adviser has contractually agreed to waive its management fee and/or reimburse Fund expenses so that the total annual operating expenses (excluding any acquired fund fees and expenses and certain other items such as interest, taxes, dividend and interest expenses on short sales and brokerage commissions) of a Fund (by share class) do not exceed a certain percentage for a predetermined amount of time. In these instances, the fee and expense table in the Fund’s Prospectus provides more details about this arrangement and shows the impact it will have on the Fund’s total annual fund operating expenses. Under its contractual agreement with the Funds, the Adviser is permitted to recoup advisory fees waived and expenses reimbursed for up to three years after the fiscal year in which the waiver or reimbursement took place, subject to the lesser of any operating expense limits in effect at the time of: (a) the original waiver or expense reimbursement; or (b) the recoupment, after giving effect to the recoupment amount. This agreement may only be terminated by the Board. From time to time, the Adviser may also voluntarily waive its management fee and/or reimburse expenses for a Fund. These voluntary reductions are not reflected in the fee and expense table in the Fund’s Prospectus.
From time to time, the Adviser may, without prior notice to shareholders, waive all or any portion of fees or agree to reimburse expenses incurred by a Fund. As a result of the Funds’ expense limitation agreement, for the last three fiscal years ended October 31 Victory Capital reimbursed the Funds the amounts indicated in the table below:
Fund
2020 Fees Waived
2019 Fees Waived
2018 Fees Waived
Diversified Stock
$ 35,710
$ 29,661
$ 26,888
INCORE Fund for Income
$ 104,754
$ 85,901
$ 60,587
NewBridge Large Cap Growth
$ 58,456
$ 76,082
$ 63,516
Special Value
$ 76,074
$ 91,071
$ 101,695
Strategic Allocation
$ 118,874
$ 123,850
$ 120,827
47

Portfolio Manager
This section includes information about the Funds’ portfolio manager, including information concerning other accounts managed, the dollar range of Fund shares owned and compensation. For each Fund, the portfolio managers listed in the following table manage all of the other investment companies, other pooled investment vehicles and other accounts shown below as a team.
Other Accounts
The following table lists the number and types of accounts managed by the portfolio managers and assets under management in those accounts as of the end of the last completed fiscal year:
 
Registered
Investment
Company Accounts
Pooled Investment
Vehicle Accounts
Other Accounts
 
 
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Total
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Ms. Adelman
$1,041.10
1
$293.93
4
$187.43
3
$1,522.46
Mr. Albers
$18,447.49
6
$586,58
4
$1,535.14
22
$20,569.21
Mr. Cliff
$24.54
1
$
0
$
0
$24.54
Mr. Conners
$18,447.49
6
$586,58
4
$1,535.14
22
$20,569.21
Mr. Crosby
$1,378.48
7
$
0
$442.24
32
$1,820.72
Mr. Dahl
$1,787.98
4
$
0
$914.00
13
$2,701.98
Mr. Dong
$1,378.48
7
$
0
$442.24
32
$1,820.72
Ms. Fong
$1,787.98
4
$
0
$914.00
13
$2,701.98
Mr. Graff
$18,447.49
6
$586,58
4
$1,535.14
22
$20,569.21
Mr. Gura
$678.87
4
$
0
$110.03
11
$788.90
Mr. Hayman
$1,378.48
7
$
0
$442.24
32
$1,820.72
Mr. Kaesberg
$293.74
1
$
0
$1,802.61
8
$2,096.35
Mr. Kefer
$1,787.98
4
$
0
$914.00
13
$2,701.98
Mr. Koskuba
$1,787.98
4
$
0
$914.00
13
$2,701.98
Mr. Maronak
$1,787.98
4
$
0
$914.00
13
$2,701.98
Mr. Miller
$18,447.49
6
$586,58
4
$1,535.14
22
$20,569.21
Mr. Rodarte
$18,447.49
6
$586,58
4
$1,535.14
22
$20,569.21
Ms. Uhlir
$1,041.10
1
$293.93
4
$187.43
3
$1,522.46
Mr. Vucenovic
$293.74
1
$
0
$1,802.61
8
$2,096.35
The following table sets forth performance-based accounts for which the Funds’ portfolio managers were primarily responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management as of the last completed fiscal year:
 
Registered
Investment
Company Accounts
Pooled Investment
Vehicle Accounts
Other Accounts
 
 
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Total
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Ms. Adelman
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Mr. Albers
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Mr. Cliff
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Mr. Conners
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Mr. Crosby
$167.63
1
$
0
$
0
$167.63
Mr. Dahl
$ 1,771.09
3
$
0
$
0
$ 1,771.09
Mr. Dong
$167.63
1
$
0
$
0
$167.63
Ms. Fong
$ 1,771.09
3
$
0
$
0
$ 1,771.09
Mr. Graff
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Mr. Gura
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
48

 
Registered
Investment
Company Accounts
Pooled Investment
Vehicle Accounts
Other Accounts
 
 
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Number of
Accounts
Total
Assets
Managed
(In Millions)
Mr. Hayman
$167.63
1
$
0
$
0
$167.63
Mr. Kaesberg
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Mr. Kefer
$ 1,771.09
3
$
0
$
0
$ 1,771.09
Mr. Koskuba
$ 1,771.09
3
$
0
$
0
$ 1,771.09
Mr. Maronak
$ 1,771.09
3
$
0
$
0
$ 1,771.09
Mr. Miller
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Mr. Rodarte
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Ms. Uhlir
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Mr. Vucenovic
$
0
$
0
$
0
$0
Fund Ownership
As of the end of the last completed fiscal year, the portfolio managers of the Funds owned equity securities of the Funds in the amount indicated in the table below:
Portfolio
Manager
Fund
Dollar Range of Shares
Beneficially Owned as of
October 31, 2020
Ms. Adelman
INCORE Fund for Income
$100,001 to $500,000
Mr. Albers
Sycamore Established Value Fund
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund
Over $1,000,000
Over $1,000,000
Mr. Cliff
Strategic Allocation Fund
Over $1,000,000
Mr. Conners
Sycamore Established Value Fund
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund
Over $1,000,000
$500,001 to $1,000,000
Mr. Crosby
Diversified Stock Fund
Special Value Fund
None.
None.
Mr. Dahl
NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund
None.
Mr. Dong
Diversified Stock Fund
Special Value Fund
None.
None.
Ms. Fong
NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund
None.
Mr. Graff
Sycamore Established Value Fund
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund
$500,001 to $1,000,000
$100,001 to $500,000
Mr. Gura
Diversified Stock Fund
Special Value Fund
None.
None.
Mr. Hayman
Diversified Stock Fund
Special Value Fund
None.
None.
Mr. Kaesberg
INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund
$10,001 to $50,000
Mr. Kefer
NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund
$1 to $10,000
Mr. Koskuba
NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund
$100,001 to $500,000
Mr. Maronak
NewBridge Large Cap Growth Fund
None.
Mr. Miller
Sycamore Established Value Fund
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund
Over $1,000,000
$100,001 to $500,000
Mr. Rodarte
Sycamore Established Value Fund
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity Fund
$500,001 to $1,000,000
$500,001 to $1,000,000
Ms. Uhlir
INCORE Fund for Income
$50,001 to $100,000
Mr. Vucenovic
INCORE Investment Grade Convertible Fund
None.
Portfolio Manager Compensation
The Adviser has designed the structure of its portfolio managers’ compensation to (1) align portfolio managers’ interests with those of the Adviser’s clients with an emphasis on long-term, risk-adjusted investment performance, (2) help the Adviser attract and retain
49

high-quality investment professionals, and (3) contribute to the Adviser’s overall financial success. Each of the portfolio managers receives a base salary plus an annual incentive bonus for managing a Fund, separate accounts, other investment companies, other pooled investment vehicles and other accounts (including any accounts for which the Adviser receives a performance fee) (together, “Accounts”). A portfolio manager’s base salary is dependent on the manager’s level of experience and expertise. The Adviser monitors each manager’s base salary relative to salaries paid for similar positions with peer firms by reviewing data provided by various independent third-party consultants that specialize in competitive salary information. Such data, however, is not considered to be a definitive benchmark.
Each of the Adviser’s investment franchises may earn incentive compensation based on a percentage of the Adviser’s revenue attributable to fees paid by Accounts managed by the team. The chief investment officer of each team, in coordination with the Adviser, determines the allocation of the incentive compensation earned by the team among the team’s portfolio managers by establishing a “target” incentive for each portfolio manager based on the manager’s level of experience and expertise in the manager’s investment style. Individual performance is based on objectives established annually using performance metrics such as portfolio structure and positioning, research, stock selection, asset growth, client retention, presentation skills, marketing to prospective clients and contribution to the Adviser’s philosophy and values, such as leadership, risk management and teamwork. The annual incentive bonus also factors in individual investment performance of each portfolio manager’s portfolio or Fund relative to a selected peer group(s). The overall performance results for a manager are based on the composite performance of all Accounts managed by that manager on a combination of one, three and five year rolling performance periods as compared to the performance information of a peer group of similarly-managed competitors.
The Adviser’s portfolio managers may participate in the equity ownership plan of the Adviser’s parent company. There is an ongoing annual equity pool granted to certain employees based on their contribution to the firm. Eligibility for participation in these incentive programs depends on the manager’s performance and seniority.
Conflicts of Interest
The Adviser’s portfolio managers are often responsible for managing one or more Funds as well as other accounts, such as separate accounts, and other pooled investment vehicles, such as collective trust funds or unregistered hedge funds. A portfolio manager may manage other accounts which have materially higher fee arrangements than a Fund and may, in the future, manage other accounts which have a performance-based fee. A portfolio manager also may make personal investments in accounts he or she manages or supports. The side-by-side management of the Funds along with other accounts may raise potential conflicts of interest by incenting a portfolio manager to direct a disproportionate amount of: (1) their attention; (2) limited investment opportunities, such as less liquid securities or initial public offering; and/or (3) desirable trade allocations, to such other accounts. In addition, certain trading practices, such as cross-trading between Funds or between a Fund and another account, raise conflict of interest issues. The Adviser has adopted numerous compliance policies and procedures, including a Code of Ethics, and brokerage and trade allocation policies and procedures, which seek to address the conflicts associated with managing multiple accounts for multiple clients. In addition, the Adviser has a designated Chief Compliance Officer (selected in accordance with the federal securities laws) and compliance staff whose activities are focused on monitoring the activities of the Adviser’s investment franchises and employees in order to detect and address potential and actual conflicts of interest. However, there can be no assurance that the Adviser’s compliance program will achieve its intended result.
Compliance Services
The Trust and the Adviser are parties to the Agreement to Provide Compliance Services (“Compliance Agreement”) pursuant to which the Adviser furnishes its compliance personnel, including the services of the CCO, and other resources reasonably necessary to provide the Trust with compliance oversight services related to the design, administration and oversight of a compliance program for the Trust in accordance with Rule 38a-1 under 1940 Act. The funds in the Victory Fund Complex, in the aggregate, compensate the Adviser for these services.
For the three most recent fiscal years ended October 31, the Funds paid the Adviser the following fees under the terms of the Compliance Agreement:
Fund
2020
Fees Paid
2019
Fees Paid
2018
Fees Paid
Diversified Stock
$ 2,293
$2,646
$4,022
INCORE Fund for Income
$ 7,233
$5,227
$7,413
INCORE Investment Grade Convertible
$ 2,515
$1,493
$1,217
NewBridge Large Cap Growth
$ 139
$156
$153
Special Value
$ 412
$480
$750
Strategic Allocation
$ 208
$89
$47
50

Fund
2020
Fees Paid
2019
Fees Paid
2018
Fees Paid
Sycamore Established Value
$ 91,773
$87,354
$103,646
Sycamore Small Company Opportunity
$ 43,574
$41,993
$48,682
Administrator and Fund Accountant
Victory Capital serves as the administrator and fund accountant to the Trust pursuant to an agreement dated July 1, 2006, as amended (the “Administration and Fund Accounting Agreement”). Citi Fund Services Ohio, Inc. (“Citi”) serves as sub-administrator and sub-fund accountant to the Trust pursuant to an agreement with Victory Capital dated July 1, 2006, as amended (the “Sub-Administration and Sub-Fund Accounting Agreement”). As administrator, Victory Capital supervises the Trust’s operations, including the services that Citi provides to the Funds as sub-administrator and sub-fund accountant, but excluding those that Victory Capital supervises as investment adviser, subject to the supervision of the Board.
Under the Administration and Fund Accounting Agreement, for the administration and fund accounting services that Victory Capital renders to the Funds, the Trust, Victory Portfolios II (“VP II”) and Victory Variable Insurance Funds (“VVIF”) pay Victory Capital an annual fee, accrued daily and paid monthly, at the following annual rates based on the aggregate average daily net assets of the Trust, VP II and VVIF: 0.08% of the first $15 billion in aggregate Trust, VP II and VVIF net assets, plus 0.05% of aggregate Trust, VP II and VVIF net assets in excess of $15 billion to $30 billion, plus 0.04% of aggregate Trust, VP II and VVIF net assets in excess of $30 billion. Victory Capital may periodically waive all or a portion of the amount of its fee that is allocated to any Fund in order to increase the Fund’s net income available for distribution to shareholders. In addition, the Trust, VP II and VVIF reimburse Victory Capital for all of its reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of providing the services under the Administration and Fund Accounting Agreement, including costs associated with implementing new reports required by the new RIC Modernization rules adopted by the SEC under the 1940 Act.
Except as otherwise provided in the Administration and Fund Accounting Agreement, Victory Capital pays all expenses that it incurs in performing its services and duties as administrator. Unless sooner terminated, the Administration and Fund Accounting Agreement continues in effect for a period of three years and for consecutive one-year terms thereafter, provided that such continuance is approved by the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding shares of each Fund and, in either case, by a majority of the Independent Trustees. The Administration and Fund Accounting Agreement provides that Victory Capital shall not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or any loss suffered by the Trust in connection with the matters to which the Agreement relates, except a loss resulting from bad faith, willful misfeasance, negligence or reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Agreement.
Under the Administration and Fund Accounting Agreement, Victory Capital, among other things, coordinates the preparation, filing and distribution of amendments to the Trust’s registration statement on Form N-1A, supplements to prospectuses and SAIs, and proxy materials in connection with shareholder meetings; drafts shareholder communications, including annual and semi-annual reports; administers the Trust’s other service provider contracts; monitors compliance with investment restrictions imposed by the 1940 Act, each Fund’s investment objective, defined investment policies, and restrictions, tax diversification, and distribution and income requirements; coordinates the Funds’ service arrangements with financial institutions that make the Funds’ shares available to their customers; assists with regulatory compliance; supplies individuals to serve as Trust officers; prepares Board meeting materials; and annually determines whether the services that it provides (or the services that Citi provides as sub-administrator) are adequate and complete.
Victory Capital also performs fund accounting services for each Fund, excluding those services that Citi performs as sub-fund accountant. The fund accountant calculates each Fund’s NAV, its dividend and capital gain distribution, if any, and its yield. The fund accountant also provides a current security position report, a summary report of transactions and pending maturities, a current cash position report, and maintains the general ledger accounting records for the Funds. The fees that Citi receives for sub-administration and sub-fund accounting services are described in the SAI section entitled “Sub-Administrator and Sub-Fund Accountant.”
The following table reflects fees that each Fund paid to Victory Capital under the Administration and Fund Accounting Agreement for the last three fiscal years ended October 31:
Fund
2020
Fees Paid
2019
Fees Paid
2018
Fees Paid
Diversified Stock
$ 162,533
$202,567
$271,410
INCORE Fund for Income
$525,656
$410,612
$430,119
INCORE Investment Grade Convertible
$181,088
$124,798
$86,775
NewBridge Large Cap Growth
$9,917
$16,080
$16,246
Special Value
$29,155
$41,740
$47,944
Strategic Allocation
$14,821
$21,143
$22,848
51