Legg Mason Global Asset Management Trust

 

May 1, 2023

LEGG MASON GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT TRUST

 

Fund   

Ticker Symbol

      Class A      Class C    Class C1    Class FI    Class R    Class I    Class IS
               

BRANDYWINEGLOBAL – FLEXIBLE BOND FUND

(“Flexible Bond Fund”)

     LFLAX        LFLCX      N/A      N/A    —        LFLIX      LFLSX
               

BRANDYWINEGLOBAL – GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES BOND FUND

(“Global Opportunities Bond Fund”)

     GOBAX        LGOCX        GOBCX        GOBFX        LBORX        GOBIX        GOBSX  
               

BRANDYWINEGLOBAL – GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES BOND FUND (USD HEDGED)

(“Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)”)

     GLOAX        GLOCX      N/A      N/A    —        GBUSX      GLOBX
               

BRANDYWINEGLOBAL – SMALL CAP VALUE FUND

(“Small Cap Value Fund”)

     LEGDX        LEGEX      N/A      N/A      LEGHX      LEGFX      LEGGX

100 International Drive

Baltimore, Maryland 21202

877-6LM-FUND/656-3863

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus and is meant to be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of the Fund, dated May 1, 2023, as amended or supplemented from time to time, and is incorporated by reference in its entirety into each Prospectus. This SAI contains additional information about each fund listed above (references to the “Fund” mean each Fund listed on this cover page, unless otherwise noted).

Additional information about the Fund’s investments is available in the Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. The annual report contains financial statements that are incorporated herein by reference (https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1474103/000119312523052810/d411999dncsr.htm https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1474103/000119312523055615/d434404dncsr.htm https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1474103/000119312523052890/d414100dncsr.htm https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1474103/000119312523053135/d428123dncsr.htm). The Fund’s Prospectus and copies of the annual and semi-annual reports may be obtained free of charge by contacting banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies, investment advisers, financial consultants or advisers, mutual fund supermarkets and other financial intermediaries that have entered into an agreement with the Fund’s distributor to sell shares of the Fund (each called a “Service Agent”), by writing the Fund at Legg Mason Funds, P.O. Box 33030, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-8030, by calling the telephone number set forth above, by sending an e-mail request to [email protected] or by visiting www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfundsliterature. Franklin Distributors, LLC (“Franklin Distributors” or the “Distributor”), an indirect, wholly-owned broker/dealer subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc., serves as the Fund’s sole and exclusive distributor.

THIS SAI IS NOT A PROSPECTUS AND IS AUTHORIZED FOR DISTRIBUTION TO PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS ONLY IF PRECEDED OR ACCOMPANIED BY AN EFFECTIVE PROSPECTUS.

No person has been authorized to give any information or to make any representations not contained in the Prospectus or this SAI in connection with the offering made by the Prospectus and, if given or made, such information or representations must not be relied upon as having been authorized by the Fund or the Distributor. The Prospectus and this SAI do not constitute an offering by the Fund or by the Distributor in any jurisdiction in which such offering may not lawfully be made.


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS      1  
INVESTMENT POLICIES      3  

Investment Objective and Strategies

     3  

Fundamental and Non-Fundamental Investment Policies—General

     4  

Fundamental Investment Policies

     4  

Diversification

     8  

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

     8  

Commodity Exchange Act Regulation—Exclusion from Commodity Pool Operator Definition

     9  
INVESTMENT PRACTICES AND RISK FACTORS      9  
MANAGEMENT      58  

Trustees and Officers

     58  

Qualifications of Trustees, Board Leadership Structure and Oversight and Standing Committees

     61  

Trustee Ownership of Securities

     64  

Trustee Compensation

     65  
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AND SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION      65  

Manager

     65  

Subadviser

     68  

Expenses

     69  

Portfolio Managers

     69  

Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers

     69  

Portfolio Managers Securities Ownership

     74  

Conflicts of Interest

     75  

Portfolio Manager Compensation

     76  

Custodian and Transfer Agent

     76  

Fund Counsel

     77  

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

     77  
PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE      77  

Portfolio Transactions

     77  

Brokerage and Research Services

     77  

Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid

     78  

Securities of Regular Broker/Dealers

     79  

Portfolio Turnover

     79  
SHARE OWNERSHIP      80  

Principal Shareholders

     80  
DISTRIBUTOR      89  

Dealer Commissions and Concessions

     92  

Sales Charges

     93  

Initial Sales Charges

     93  

Contingent Deferred Sales Charges

     93  

Services and Distribution Plan

     94  
PURCHASE OF SHARES      97  
REDEMPTION OF SHARES      105  
EXCHANGE OF SHARES      107  
VALUATION OF SHARES      108  
PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES      109  
DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS      109  

General Rules/Website Disclosure

     109  

Ongoing Arrangements

     110  

Release of Limited Portfolio Holdings Information

     112  

Exceptions to the Policy

     112  

Limitations of Policy

     112  
THE TRUST      113  
TAXES      115  
CODES OF ETHICS      127  


 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS      127  
APPENDIX A—PROXY VOTING POLICIES      A-1  
APPENDIX B—CREDIT RATINGS      B-1  


GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Because the following is a combined glossary of terms used for all the Legg Mason Funds, certain terms below may not apply to your fund. Any terms used but not defined herein have the meaning ascribed to them in the applicable Fund’s prospectus.

“12b-1 Plans” means the Fund’s distribution and shareholder services plan.

“1933 Act” means the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

“1934 Act” means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

“1940 Act” means the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

“1940 Act Vote” means the vote of the lesser of: (a) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund; or (b) 67% or more of the shares of the Fund present at a shareholders’ meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding shares of that Fund are represented at the meeting in person or by proxy.

“Advisers Act” means the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended.

“Board” means the Board of Trustees or Board of Directors, as applicable.

“CEA” means the Commodity Exchange Act, as amended.

“CFTC” means the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

“Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

“Corporation” (if applicable) means the corporation listed on the cover page of this SAI.

“Directors” means the directors of the Corporation.

“Distributor” means the party that is responsible for the distribution or sale of the Fund’s shares. Franklin Distributors, LLC (“Franklin Distributors”) is the Fund’s distributor.

“FINRA” means the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.

“Franklin Resources” means Franklin Resources, Inc.

“Fund” means the Fund or Funds listed on the cover of this SAI unless stated otherwise.

“Fundamental Investment Policy” means an investment policy of the Fund that may be changed only by a 1940 Act Vote. Only those policies expressly designated as such are fundamental investment policies. All other policies and restrictions may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.

“Independent Director” or “Independent Trustee” (as applicable) means a Director of the Corporation or a Trustee of the Trust who is not an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Corporation or Trust (as applicable).

“IRAs” means Individual Retirement Accounts.

“IRS” means Internal Revenue Service.

 

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“Legg Mason” means Legg Mason, Inc.

“Legg Mason Funds” means the funds managed by Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC or an affiliate.

“Manager” or “LMPFA” means Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC.

“NAV” means net asset value.

“NRSROs” means nationally recognized (or non-U.S.) statistical rating organizations, including, but not limited to, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings, a subsidiary of S&P Global Inc. (“S&P”).

“NYSE” means the New York Stock Exchange.

“Prospectus” means the prospectus of a Fund as referenced on the cover page of this SAI.

“SAI” means this Statement of Additional Information.

“SEC” means the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Service Agent” means each bank, broker, dealer, insurance company, investment adviser, financial consultant or adviser, mutual fund supermarket and any other financial intermediaries that have entered into an agreement with the Distributor to sell shares of the Fund.

“Subadviser” means Brandywine Global Investment Management, LLC, as referred to in the Fund’s Prospectus and this SAI.

“Trust” (if applicable) means the trust listed on the cover page of this SAI.

“Trustees” means the trustees of the Trust.

 

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INVESTMENT POLICIES

Investment Objective and Strategies

The Fund is registered under the 1940 Act as an open-end management investment company. The Fund’s Prospectus discusses the Fund’s investment objective and strategies. The following is a summary of certain additional strategies and investment limitations of the Fund and supplements the description of the Fund’s investment strategies in its Prospectus. Additional information regarding investment practices and risk factors with respect to the Fund may also be found below in the section entitled Investment Practices and Risk Factors.

Flexible Bond Fund

 

·  

Investment Objective: Current income and capital appreciation

·  

Under normal market conditions the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in fixed income securities or other instruments with similar economic characteristics.

·  

Under normal market conditions the Fund’s foreign currency exposure will be limited to 25% of the Fund’s assets.

·  

The Fund may invest up to:

   

25% of its assets in asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities that are not issued or guaranteed by, or

comprised of securities issued or guaranteed by, a U.S. government agency or U.S. government-sponsored entity

   

25% of its assets in convertible securities

   

10% of its assets in preferred equity securities of companies of any size

   

10% of its assets in common equity securities of companies of any size

·  

The Fund may not invest more than 5% of its assets in any one non-sovereign issue at time of purchase.

·  

Generally, the Fund may purchase and sell any type of derivative. However, as an operating policy, the Fund will only purchase or sell a particular derivative if the Fund is authorized to invest in the type of asset by which the return on, or value of, the derivative is primarily measured. Since the Fund is authorized to invest in foreign securities, the Fund may purchase and sell foreign currency derivatives.

·  

The Fund may enter into futures contracts and related options provided that not more than 5% of its net assets are required as a futures contract deposit and/or premium; in addition, the Fund may not enter into futures contracts or related options if, as a result, more than 20% of the Fund’s total assets would be so invested.

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

 

·  

Investment Objective: To maximize total return consisting of income and capital appreciation

·  

Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in fixed income securities of issuers located in developed market countries, as described in the Fund’s prospectus. The Fund may not change its 80% policy without providing shareholders at least 60 days’ prior notice.

·  

The Fund intends to invest less than 35% of its net assets in below investment grade fixed income securities (commonly known as “high yield debt” or “junk bonds”).

·  

The Fund may invest up to 25% of its net assets in convertible debt securities.

·  

Generally, the Fund may purchase and sell any type of derivative. However, as an operating policy, the Fund will only purchase or sell a particular derivative if the Fund is authorized to invest in the type of asset by which the return on, or value of, the derivative is primarily measured. Since the Fund is authorized to invest in foreign securities, the Fund may purchase and sell foreign currency derivatives.

·  

The Fund may enter into futures contracts and related options provided that not more than 15% of its net assets are required as a futures contract deposit and/or premium.

Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)

 

·  

Investment Objective: To maximize total return consisting of income and capital appreciation

·  

Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in fixed income securities of issuers located in developed market countries. In addition, under normal market conditions, the Fund will maintain at least 80% of its net assets in U.S. dollar currency exposure. The Fund may not change its 80% policy without providing shareholders at least 60 days’ prior notice.

 

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·  

The Fund intends to invest less than 35% of its net assets in below investment grade fixed income securities (commonly known as “high yield debt” or “junk bonds”).

·  

The Fund may invest up to 25% of its net assets in convertible debt securities.

·  

The Fund may enter into futures contracts and related options provided that not more than 15% of its net assets are required as a futures contract deposit and/or premium.

Small Cap Value Fund

 

·  

Investment Objective: The Fund seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation.

·  

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in equity securities of small-cap companies. Small-cap companies are companies whose market capitalizations at the time of investment are similar to market capitalizations of companies in the Russell 2000 Index, which varies due to market conditions and the composition of the index. Securities of companies that no longer meet this definition after purchase by the Fund will still be considered to be securities of small-cap companies for purposes of the Fund’s 80% investment policy. The Fund may not change its 80% investment policy without providing shareholders at least 60 days’ prior notice.

·  

The Fund may invest up to 25% of its net assets in equity securities of foreign issuers.

Fundamental and Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

General

The Fund has adopted the fundamental and non-fundamental investment policies below for the protection of shareholders. Fundamental investment policies of the Fund may not be changed without a 1940 Act Vote. The Board may change non-fundamental investment policies at any time without shareholder approval and upon notice to shareholders.

If any percentage restriction described below (other than the limitation on borrowing) is complied with at the time of an investment, a later increase or decrease in the percentage resulting from a change in asset values or characteristics will not constitute a violation of such restriction, unless otherwise noted below. An investment will be deemed to have been made at the time the Fund enters into a binding commitment to complete the investment. The Fund will monitor the level of borrowing in its portfolio and will make necessary adjustments to maintain the required asset coverage.

The Fund’s investment objective is non-fundamental.

Fundamental Investment Policies

Flexible Bond Fund

The Fund’s fundamental investment policies are as follows:

Borrowing: The Fund may not borrow money except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Underwriting: The Fund may not engage in the business of underwriting the securities of other issuers except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Lending: The Fund may lend money or other assets to the extent permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Senior Securities: The Fund may not issue senior securities except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Real Estate: The Fund may not purchase or sell real estate except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

 

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Commodities: The Fund may purchase or sell commodities or contracts related to commodities to the extent permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Concentration: Except as permitted by exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, the Fund may not make any investment if, as a result, the Fund’s investments will be concentrated in any one industry.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth above, the 1940 Act permits a fund to borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose, and to borrow up to 5% of the fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes. (A fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, the 1940 Act requires a fund to maintain an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings, provided that in the event that the fund’s asset coverage falls below 300%, the fund is required to reduce the amount of its borrowings so that it meets the 300% asset coverage threshold within three days (not including Sundays and holidays). Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of a fund’s total assets (including amounts borrowed), minus liabilities other than borrowings, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowing, and thus, subject to the 1940 Act restrictions. Borrowing money to increase portfolio holdings is known as “leveraging.” Borrowing, especially when used for leverage, may cause the value of the Fund’s shares to be more volatile than if the Fund did not borrow. This is because borrowing tends to magnify the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of the Fund’s portfolio holdings. Borrowed money thus creates an opportunity for greater gains, but also greater losses. To repay borrowings, the Fund may have to sell securities at a time and at a price that is unfavorable to the Fund. There also are costs associated with borrowing money, and these costs would offset and could eliminate the Fund’s net investment income in any given period. Currently, the Fund does not contemplate borrowing money for leverage, but if it does so, it will not likely do so to a substantial degree. The policy above will be interpreted to permit the Fund to engage in trading practices and investments that may be considered to be borrowing to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to underwriting set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from engaging in the underwriting business or from underwriting the securities of other issuers; in fact, the 1940 Act permits a fund to have underwriting commitments of up to 25% of its assets under certain circumstances. Those circumstances currently are that the amount of the fund’s underwriting commitments, when added to the value of the fund’s investments in issuers where the fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of those issuers, cannot exceed the 25% cap. A fund engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act. Under the 1933 Act, an underwriter may be liable for material omissions or misstatements in an issuer’s registration statement or prospectus. Securities purchased from an issuer and not registered for sale under the 1933 Act are considered restricted securities. There may be a limited market for these securities. If these securities are registered under the 1933 Act, they may then be eligible for sale but participating in the sale may subject the seller to underwriter liability. These risks could apply to a fund investing in restricted securities. Although it is not believed that the application of the 1933 Act provisions described above would cause the Fund to be engaged in the business of underwriting, the policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities, regardless of whether the Fund may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to lending set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from making loans; however, SEC staff interpretations currently prohibit funds from lending more than one-third of their total assets, except through the purchase of debt obligations or the use of repurchase agreements. (A repurchase agreement is an agreement to purchase a security, coupled with an agreement to sell that security back to the original seller on an agreed-upon date at a price that reflects current interest rates. The SEC frequently treats repurchase agreements as loans.) While lending securities may be a source of income to the Fund, as with other extensions of credit, there are risks of delay in recovery or even loss of rights in the underlying securities should the borrower fail financially. However, loans would be made only when the Fund’s Manager or Subadviser believes the income justifies the attendant risks. The Fund also will be permitted by this policy to make loans of money, including to other funds. The Fund would have to obtain exemptive relief from the SEC to make loans to other funds. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from purchasing or investing in debt obligations and loans. In

 

5


addition, collateral arrangements with respect to options, forward currency and futures transactions and other derivative instruments, as well as delays in the settlement of securities transactions, will not be considered loans.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to issuing senior securities set forth above, “senior securities” are defined as fund obligations that have a priority over a fund’s shares with respect to the payment of dividends or the distribution of fund assets. The 1940 Act prohibits a fund from issuing senior securities, except that a fund may borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose. A fund also may borrow up to 5% of the fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes, and these borrowings are not considered senior securities. The issuance of senior securities by a fund can increase the speculative character of a fund’s outstanding shares through leveraging. Leveraging of the Fund’s portfolio through the issuance of senior securities magnifies the potential for gain or loss on monies, because even though the Fund’s net assets remain the same, the total risk to investors is increased to the extent of the Fund’s gross assets. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent collateral arrangements with respect to swaps, options, forward or futures contracts or other derivatives, or the posting of initial or variation margin.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to real estate set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from owning real estate; however, a fund is limited in the amount of illiquid assets it may purchase. Investing in real estate may involve risks, including that real estate is generally considered illiquid and may be difficult to value and sell. Owners of real estate may be subject to various liabilities, including environmental liabilities. To the extent that investments in real estate are considered illiquid, an SEC rule limits a fund’s purchases of illiquid securities to 15% of net assets. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from investing in real estate-related companies, companies whose businesses consist in whole or in part of investing in real estate, instruments (like mortgages) that are secured by real estate or interests therein, or real estate investment trust securities.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to commodities set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from owning commodities, whether physical commodities and contracts related to physical commodities (such as oil or grains and related futures contracts), or financial commodities and contracts related to financial commodities (such as currencies and, possibly, currency futures). However, a fund is limited in the amount of illiquid assets it may purchase. To the extent that investments in commodities are considered illiquid, an SEC rule limits a fund’s purchases of illiquid securities to 15% of net assets. If the Fund were to invest in a physical commodity or a physical commodity-related instrument, the Fund would be subject to the additional risks of the particular physical commodity and its related market. The value of commodities and commodity- related instruments may be extremely volatile and may be affected either directly or indirectly by a variety of factors. There also may be storage charges and risks of loss associated with physical commodities. The policy above will be interpreted to permit investments in exchange traded funds that invest in physical and/ or financial commodities.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to concentration set forth above, the 1940 Act does not define what constitutes “concentration” in an industry. The SEC staff has taken the position that investment of 25% or more of a fund’s total assets in one or more issuers conducting their principal activities in the same industry or group of industries constitutes concentration. It is possible that interpretations of concentration could change in the future. A fund that invests a significant percentage of its total assets in a single industry may be particularly susceptible to adverse events affecting that industry and may be more risky than a fund that does not concentrate in an industry. The policy above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time. The policy also will be interpreted to permit investment without limit in the following: securities of the U.S. government and its agencies or instrumentalities; securities of state, territory, possession or municipal governments and their authorities, agencies, instrumentalities or political subdivisions; and repurchase agreements collateralized fully by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry. For purposes of the policy above, securities issued or guaranteed by governments other than the U.S. Government or by foreign supranational entities are not considered to be the securities of issuers in a single industry or group of industries for purposes of this fundamental policy. There also will be no limit on investment in issuers domiciled in a single jurisdiction or country. The policy also will be interpreted to give broad authority to the Fund as to how to classify issuers within or among industries or groups of industries.

The Fund’s fundamental policies are written and will be interpreted broadly. For example, the policies will be interpreted to refer to the 1940 Act and the related rules as they are in effect from time to time, and to interpretations and modifications of or relating to the 1940 Act by the SEC and others as they are given from time to time. When a policy provides

 

6


that an investment practice may be conducted as permitted by the 1940 Act, the policy will be interpreted to mean either that the 1940 Act expressly permits the practice or that the 1940 Act does not prohibit the practice.

Global Opportunities Bond Fund, Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) and Small Cap Value Fund

The Fund’s fundamental investment policies are as follows:

Borrowing: The Fund may not borrow money, except (1) in an amount not exceeding 33 1/3% of the Fund’s total assets (including the amount borrowed) less liabilities (other than borrowings) or (2) by entering into reverse repurchase agreements or dollar rolls;

Underwriting: The Fund may not engage in the business of underwriting the securities of other issuers, except as permitted by the 1940 Act, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, as such statute, rules, and regulations are amended from time to time or are interpreted from time to time by the SEC or SEC staff or to the extent that the Fund may be permitted to do so by exemptive order or other relief from the SEC or SEC staff (collectively, “1940 Act Laws, Interpretations and Exemptions”). This restriction does not prevent the Fund from engaging in transactions involving the acquisition, disposition or resale of portfolio securities, regardless of whether the Fund may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act;

Loans: The Fund may not lend money or other assets, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act Laws, Interpretations and Exemptions. This restriction does not prevent the Fund from purchasing debt obligations in pursuit of its investment program, or for defensive or cash management purposes, entering into repurchase agreements, loaning its portfolio securities to financial intermediaries, institutions or institutional investors, or investing in loans, including assignments and participation interests;

Senior Securities: The Fund may not issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act Laws, Interpretations and Exemptions;

Real Estate: The Fund may not purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments. This restriction does not prevent the Fund from investing in issuers that invest, deal, or otherwise engage in transactions in or hold real estate or interests therein, investing in instruments that are secured by real estate or interests therein, or exercising rights under agreements relating to such securities, including the right to enforce security interests;

Commodities: The Fund may not purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments. This restriction does not prevent the Fund from engaging in transactions involving foreign currency, futures contracts and options, forward contracts, swaps, caps, floors, collars, securities purchased or sold on a forward-commitment or delayed-delivery basis or other similar financial instruments, or investing in securities or other instruments that are secured by physical commodities;

Concentration: The Fund may not make any investment if, as a result, the Fund’s investments will be concentrated (as that term may be defined or interpreted by the 1940 Act Laws, Interpretations and Exemptions) in any one industry. This restriction does not limit the Fund’s investment in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities and repurchase agreements with respect thereto, or securities of municipal issuers.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to issuing senior securities set forth above, “senior securities” are defined as fund obligations that have a priority over a fund’s shares with respect to the payment of dividends or the distribution of Fund assets. The 1940 Act prohibits a fund from issuing senior securities except that the fund may borrow money in amounts of up to one third of the fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose. A fund may also borrow up to 5% of the fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes, and these borrowings are not considered senior securities. The issuance of senior securities by the Fund can increase the speculative character of the Fund’s outstanding shares through leveraging. Leveraging of the Fund’s portfolio through the issuance of senior securities magnifies the potential for gain or loss on monies, because even though the Fund’s net assets remain the same, the total risk to investors is increased to the extent of the Fund’s gross assets. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent collateral arrangements with respect to swaps, options, forward or futures contracts or other derivatives, or the posting of initial or variation margin.

 

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Although not a part of the Fund’s fundamental investment limitation on concentration, it is the current position of the SEC staff that a fund’s investments are concentrated in an industry when 25% or more of the fund’s net assets are invested in issuers whose principal business is in that industry. It is also the current position of the SEC staff that, to the extent a fund invests in a private activity municipal debt security issued by a non-governmental entity, the fund must look through to such non-governmental issuer’s industry for purposes of applying the fund’s concentration policy. To the extent practicable, Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) will seek to obtain information about the non-governmental issuer’s industry and consider the exposure to that industry for purposes of applying its concentration policy.

Diversification

Flexible Bond Fund, Global Opportunities Bond Fund and Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)

The Fund is currently classified as a non-diversified fund under the 1940 Act. A non-diversified fund can invest a greater portion of its assets in a single issuer or a limited number of issuers than may a diversified fund. In this regard, the Fund is subject to greater risk than a diversified fund. Under the 1940 Act, a fund may change its classification from non-diversified to diversified without shareholder approval.

The Fund intends to continue to qualify for treatment as a regulated investment company under the Code. Compliance with the diversification requirements of the Code may limit the flexibility of the Fund.

Small Cap Value Fund

The Fund is diversified under the 1940 Act. Although not a part of the Fund’s fundamental investment restrictions, the 1940 Act currently states that the Fund is diversified if it invests at least 75% of the value of its total assets in cash and cash items (including receivables), U.S. Government securities, securities of other investment companies and other securities limited in respect of any one issuer to (1) no more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and (2) no more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer. Under the 1940 Act, the Fund cannot change its classification from diversified to non-diversified without shareholder approval.

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

Unless otherwise stated, the Fund’s investment policies and limitations are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.

The following are some of the non-fundamental investment limitations that Flexible Bond Fund currently observes:

Illiquid Securities: The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities. If, due to subsequent fluctuations in value or any other reasons, the value of the Fund’s illiquid securities exceeds the percentage limitation applicable at the time of acquisition, the Fund will consider what actions, if any, are necessary to maintain adequate liquidity. The Fund monitors the portion of its total assets that is invested in illiquid securities on an ongoing basis, not only at the time of investment in such securities.

Investment Companies: If at any time another registered open-end investment company that is part of the same group of investment companies as the Fund, invests in the Fund in reliance upon the provisions of subparagraphs (G) or (F) of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, the Fund will not invest in other registered open-end investment companies and registered unit investment trust in reliance upon the provisions of subparagraphs (G) or (F) of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act.

The following are some of the non-fundamental investment limitations that Global Opportunities Bond Fund and Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) currently observe:

Borrowing: The Fund will not borrow for investment purposes in an amount in excess of 5% of its total assets.

Illiquid Securities: The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities. If, due to subsequent fluctuations in value or any other reasons, the value of the Fund’s illiquid securities exceeds the percentage limitation applicable at the time of acquisition, the Fund will consider what actions, if any, are necessary to maintain adequate liquidity. The Fund monitors the portion of its total assets that is invested in illiquid securities on an ongoing basis, not only at the time of investment in such securities.

 

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Short Sales: The Fund may not sell securities short (unless it owns or has the right to obtain securities equivalent in kind and amount to the securities sold short). This restriction does not prevent the Fund from entering into short positions in foreign currency, futures contracts, options, forward contracts, swaps, caps, floors, collars, securities purchased or sold on a forward-commitment or delayed-delivery basis or other financial instruments.

Margin Purchases: The Fund may not purchase securities on margin, except that (1) the Fund may obtain such short-term credits as are necessary for the clearance of transactions and (2) the Fund may make margin payments in connection with foreign currency, futures contracts, options, forward contracts, swaps, caps, floors, collars, securities purchased or sold on a forward-commitment or delayed-delivery basis or other financial instruments.

Investment Companies: The Fund may not invest in other registered open-end investment companies and registered unit investment trusts in reliance upon the provisions of subparagraphs (G) or (F) of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. The foregoing investment policy does not restrict the Fund from (i) acquiring securities of other registered investment companies in connection with a merger, consolidation, reorganization, or acquisition of assets; or (ii) purchasing the securities of registered closed-end investment companies, to the extent permissible under Section 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act.

The following are some of the non-fundamental investment limitations that Small Cap Value Fund currently observes:

Illiquid Securities: The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities. If, due to subsequent fluctuations in value or any other reasons, the value of the Fund’s illiquid securities exceeds the percentage limitation applicable at the time of acquisition, the Fund will consider what actions, if any, are necessary to maintain adequate liquidity. The Fund monitors the portion of its total assets that is invested in illiquid securities on an ongoing basis, not only at the time of investment in such securities.

Borrowing: The Fund will not borrow for investment purposes.

Commodity Exchange Act Regulation- Exclusion from Commodity Pool Operator Definition

The Fund is operated by persons who have claimed an exclusion, granted to operators of registered investment companies like the Fund, from registration as a “commodity pool operator” with respect to the Fund under the CEA and, therefore are not subject to registration or regulation with respect to the Fund under the CEA. As a result, the Fund is limited in its ability to trade instruments subject to the CFTC’s jurisdiction, including commodity futures (which include futures on broad-based securities indexes, interest rate futures and currency futures), options on commodity futures, and certain swaps or other investments, either directly or indirectly through investments in other investment vehicles (collectively, “Commodity Interests”).

Under this exclusion, the Fund must satisfy one of the following two trading limitations whenever it establishes a new Commodity Interest position: (1) the aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish the Fund’s Commodity Interest positions does not exceed 5% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio (after accounting for unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such investments); or (2) the aggregate net notional value of the Fund’s Commodity Interests, determined at the time the most recent position was established, does not exceed 100% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio (after accounting for unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). The Fund is not required to consider its exposure to such instruments if they are held for “bona fide hedging” purposes, as such term is defined in the rules of the CFTC. In addition to meeting one of the foregoing trading limitations, the Fund may not be marketed as a commodity pool or otherwise as a vehicle for trading in the markets for Commodity Interests.

If the Fund’s operators were to lose their ability to claim this exclusion with respect to the Fund, such persons would be required to comply with certain CFTC rules regarding commodity pools that could impose additional regulatory requirements and compliance obligations.

INVESTMENT PRACTICES AND RISK FACTORS

In addition to the investment strategies and the risks described in the Fund’s Prospectus and in this SAI under Investment Objective and Strategies, the Fund may employ other investment practices and may be subject to other risks, which are described below. The Fund may engage in the practices described below to the extent consistent with its investment

 

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objectives, strategies, policies and restrictions. However, as with any investment or investment technique, even when the Fund’s Prospectus or this discussion indicates that the Fund may engage in an activity, the Fund may not actually do so for a variety of reasons. In addition, new types of instruments and other securities may be developed and marketed from time to time. Consistent with its investment limitations, the Fund expects to invest in those new types of securities and instruments that its portfolio manager believes may assist the Fund in achieving its investment objective.

This discussion is not intended to limit the Fund’s investment flexibility, unless such a limitation is expressly stated, and therefore will be construed by the Fund as broadly as possible. Statements concerning what the Fund may do are not intended to limit any other activity.

Bank Obligations

The Fund may invest in all types of bank obligations, including certificates of deposit (“CDs”), time deposits and bankers’ acceptances. CDs are short-term negotiable obligations of commercial banks. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Bankers’ acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers usually in connection with international transactions.

U.S. commercial banks organized under federal law are supervised and examined by the Comptroller of the Currency and are required to be members of the Federal Reserve System and to be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”). U.S. banks organized under state law are supervised and examined by state banking authorities, but are members of the Federal Reserve System only if they elect to join. Most state banks are insured by the FDIC (although such insurance may not be of material benefit to the Fund, depending upon the principal amount of CDs of each bank held by the Fund) and are subject to federal examination and to a substantial body of federal law and regulation. As a result of federal and state laws and regulations, U.S. branches of U.S. banks are, among other things, generally required to maintain specified levels of reserves, and are subject to other supervision and regulation designed to promote financial soundness. Banks may be particularly susceptible to certain economic factors, such as interest rate changes and adverse developments in the market for real estate. Fiscal and monetary policy and general economic cycles can affect the availability and cost of funds, loan demand and asset quality and thereby impact the earnings and financial conditions of banks.

Obligations of foreign branches of U.S. banks, such as CDs and time deposits, may be general obligations of the parent bank in addition to the issuing branch, or may be limited by the terms of a specific obligation and governmental regulation. Such obligations are subject to different risks than are those of U.S. banks or U.S. branches of foreign banks. These risks relate to foreign economic and political developments, foreign governmental restrictions that may adversely affect payment of principal and interest on the obligations, foreign exchange controls and foreign withholding and other taxes on interest income. Foreign branches of U.S. banks and foreign branches of foreign banks are not necessarily subject to the same or similar regulatory requirements that apply to U.S. banks, such as mandatory reserve requirements, loan limitations and accounting, auditing and financial recordkeeping requirements. In addition, less information may be publicly available about a foreign branch of a U.S. bank or about a foreign bank than about a U.S. bank.

Obligations of U.S. branches of foreign banks may be general obligations of the parent bank, in addition to the issuing branch, or may be limited by the terms of a specific obligation and by federal and state regulation as well as governmental action in the country in which the foreign bank has its head office. A U.S. branch of a foreign bank with assets in excess of $1 billion may or may not be subject to reserve requirements imposed by the Federal Reserve System or by the state in which the branch is located if the branch is licensed in that state. In addition, branches licensed by the Comptroller of the Currency and branches licensed by certain states (“State Branches”) may or may not be required to: (a) pledge to the regulator, by depositing assets with a designated bank within the state; and (b) maintain assets within the state in an amount equal to a specified percentage of the aggregate amount of liabilities of the foreign bank payable at or through all of its agencies or branches within the state. The deposits of State Branches may not necessarily be insured by the FDIC. In addition, there may be less publicly available information about a U.S. branch of a foreign bank than about a U.S. bank.

Commercial Paper

Commercial paper (including variable amount master demand notes and funding agreements) consists of short-term, unsecured promissory notes issued by corporations, partnerships, trusts and other entities to finance short-term credit needs.

 

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Common Stock

Common stocks are shares of ownership in a corporation or other entity that entitle the holder to a pro rata share of the profits of the corporation, if any, distributed as dividends to holders of common stock, without preference over any other shareholder or class of shareholders, including holders of the entity’s preferred stock and other senior equity securities. Common stock usually carries with it the right to vote and frequently an exclusive right to do so.

Contingent Convertible Securities (“CoCos”)

CoCos are a form of hybrid debt security, typically issued by banking institutions, and are intended to either convert into equity or have their principal written down upon the occurrence of certain “triggers.” The triggers are generally linked to regulatory capital requirements or regulatory actions calling into question the issuing banking institution’s continued viability as a going-concern. CoCos’ unique equity conversion or principal write-down features are tailored to the issuing banking institution and its regulatory requirements. Some additional risks associated with CoCos include, but are not limited to:

Loss absorption risk. CoCos have fully discretionary coupons. This means coupons can potentially be cancelled or adjusted downward to below the original par value upon the occurrence of a trigger at the banking institution’s discretion or at the request of the relevant regulatory authority in order to help the bank absorb losses. A write down of the par value would occur automatically and would not entitle the holders to seek bankruptcy of the company. In addition, an automatic write-down could result in a reduced income rate if the dividend or interest payment is based on the security’s par value. Such securities may, but are not required to, provide for circumstances under which the liquidation value may be adjusted back up to par, such as an improvement in capitalization and/or earnings. Similarly, if a CoCo provides for a mandatory conversion of the security into the issuer’s equity securities in the event of certain circumstances, the Fund could experience a reduced income rate (even to zero) if such conversion event occurs and the issuer’s equity securities pay little or no dividend.

Subordination risk. CoCos will, in the majority of circumstances, be issued in the form of subordinated debt instruments in order to provide the appropriate regulatory capital treatment prior to a conversion. Accordingly, in the event of liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of an issuer prior to a conversion having occurred, the rights and claims of the holders of the CoCos, such as the Fund, against the issuer in respect of or arising under the terms of the CoCos will generally rank junior to the claims of all holders of unsubordinated obligations of the issuer. In addition, if the CoCos are converted into the issuer’s underlying equity securities following a conversion event, each holder will be subordinated due to their conversion from being the holder of a debt instrument to being the holder of an equity instrument, hence worsening the holder’s standing in a bankruptcy. In addition, some CoCos also provide for an automatic write-down if the price of the common stock is below the conversion price on the conversion date.

Market risk. The value of CoCos is unpredictable and will be influenced by many factors including, without limitation: (i) the creditworthiness of the issuer and/or fluctuations in such issuer’s applicable capital ratios; (ii) supply and demand for the CoCos; (iii) general market conditions and available liquidity; and (iv) economic, financial and political events that affect the issuer, its particular market or the financial markets in general. It is often difficult to predict when, if at all, an automatic write-down or conversion event will occur, but any indication that an automatic write-down or conversion event may occur can be expected to have a material adverse effect on the market price of affected CoCos. Accordingly, the trading behavior of CoCos may not follow the trading behavior of other types of debt and preferred securities. CoCos are a relatively new form of security and the full effects of an automatic write-down or conversion event have not been experienced broadly in the marketplace. The occurrence of an automatic write-down or conversion event may be unpredictable and the potential effects of such event on the Fund’s yield, NAV and/or market price may be adverse.

Convertible Securities

Convertible securities are fixed income securities (usually debt or preferred stock) that may be converted or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock or other equity securities of the same or a different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt or the dividend paid on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion or exchange, convertible securities ordinarily provide a stream of income with generally higher yields than those of common stocks of the same or similar issuers, but lower than the yield of nonconvertible debt. However, there can be no assurance of current income because the issuers of the convertible securities may default on their obligations. Convertible

 

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securities are usually subordinated to comparable nonconvertible debt or preferred stock, but rank senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure.

The value of a convertible security is generally related to (1) its yield in comparison with the yields of other securities of comparable maturity and quality that do not have a conversion privilege and/or (2) its worth, at market value, if converted or exchanged into the underlying common stock. A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the convertible security’s governing instrument, which may be less than the ultimate conversion or exchange value.

Convertible securities are subject to stock market and other risks associated with equity securities, as well as credit, interest rate and other risks associated with fixed income securities. As the market price of the equity security underlying a convertible security falls, the convertible security tends to trade on the basis of its yield and other fixed income characteristics. As the market price of such equity security rises, the convertible security tends to trade on the basis of its equity conversion features. Investments in convertible securities generally entail less risk than investments in common stock of the same issuer.

Synthetic Convertible Securities

A synthetic convertible security is comprised of two distinct securities that together resemble convertible securities in certain respects. Synthetic convertible securities are created by combining non-convertible bonds or preferred shares with common stocks, warrants or stock call options. The options that will form elements of synthetic convertible securities will be listed on a securities exchange. The two components of a synthetic convertible security, which will be issued with respect to the same entity, generally are not offered as a unit, and may be purchased and sold by the Fund at different times. Synthetic convertible securities differ from convertible securities in certain respects, including that each component of a synthetic convertible security has a separate market value and responds differently to market fluctuations. Investing in synthetic convertible securities involves the risk normally involved in holding the securities comprising the synthetic convertible security.

Custodial Receipts

The Fund may acquire custodial receipts or certificates underwritten by securities dealers or banks that evidence ownership of future interest payments, principal payments or both on certain municipal obligations. The underwriter of these certificates or receipts typically purchases municipal obligations and deposits the obligations in an irrevocable trust or custodial account with a custodian bank, which then issues receipts or certificates that evidence ownership of the periodic unmatured coupon payments and the final principal payment on the obligations. Although under the terms of a custodial receipt, the Fund would be typically authorized to assert its rights directly against the issuer of the underlying obligation, the Fund could be required to assert through the custodian bank those rights as may exist against the underlying issuer. Thus, in the event the underlying issuer fails to pay principal and/or interest when due, the Fund may be subject to delays, expenses and risks that are greater than those that would have been involved if the Fund had purchased a direct obligation of the issuer. In addition, in the event that the trust or custodial account in which the underlying security has been deposited is determined to be an association taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the yield on the underlying security would be reduced by any entity-level corporate taxes paid by the issuer.

Custodial receipts may also evidence ownership of future interest payments, principal payments or both on certain U.S. government obligations. Such obligations are held in custody by a bank on behalf of the owners. Custodial receipts are generally not considered obligations of the U.S. government for purposes of securities laws.

Cybersecurity Risk

With the increased use of technologies such as mobile devices and Web-based or “cloud” applications, and the dependence on the Internet and computer systems to conduct business, the Fund is susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events (arising from external or internal sources) that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption, physical damage to a computer or network system or lose operational capacity. Cybersecurity attacks include, but are not limited to, infection by malicious software, such as malware or computer viruses or gaining unauthorized access to digital systems, networks or devices that are used to service the Fund’s operations (e.g., through “hacking,” “phishing” or malicious software coding) or other means for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cybersecurity attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as

 

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causing denial-of-service attacks on the Fund’s websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate cybersecurity attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing. In addition, authorized persons could inadvertently or intentionally release confidential or proprietary information stored on the Fund’s systems.

Cybersecurity incidents affecting the Fund’s Manager, the Subadviser, and other service providers to the Fund or its shareholders (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses to both the Fund and its shareholders, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, impediments to trading, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business and the Fund to process transactions (including fulfillment of Fund share purchases and redemptions), violations of applicable privacy and other laws (including the release of private shareholder information) and attendant breach notification and credit monitoring costs, regulatory fines, penalties, litigation costs, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, forensic investigation and remediation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. Similar adverse consequences could result from cybersecurity incidents affecting issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, counterparties with which the Fund engages in transactions, governmental and other regulatory authorities, exchange and other financial market operators, banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies and other financial institutions (including financial intermediaries and other service providers) and other parties. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to safeguard against and reduce the risk of any cybersecurity incidents in the future. In addition to administrative, technological and procedural safeguards, the Fund’s Manager and the Subadviser have established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent or reduce the impact of, such cybersecurity incidents. However, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified, as well as the rapid development of new threats. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by its service providers or any other third parties whose operations may affect the Fund and its shareholders. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

Because technology is frequently changing, new ways to carry out cyber attacks are always developing. Therefore, there is a chance that some risks have not been identified or prepared for, or that an attack may not be detected, which puts limitations on the Fund’s ability to plan for or respond to a cyber attack. Like other funds and business enterprises, the Fund, the Manager and the Subadviser and their service providers are subject to the risk of cyber incidents occurring from time to time.

Debt and Fixed Income Securities

The Fund may invest in a variety of debt and fixed income securities, which may be issued by governmental, corporate or other issuers. Debt securities may pay fixed, floating or variable rates of interest or interest at a rate contingent upon some other factor. Variable rate securities reset at specified intervals, while floating rate securities reset whenever there is a change in a specified index rate. In most cases, these reset provisions reduce the effect of market interest rates on the value of the security. However, some securities do not track the underlying index directly, but reset based on formulas that can produce an effect similar to leveraging; others may provide for interest payments that vary inversely with market rates. The market prices of these securities may fluctuate significantly when interest rates change.

These securities share principal risks. For example, the level of interest income generated by the Fund’s fixed income investments may decline due to a decrease in market interest rates. Thus, when fixed income securities mature or are sold, they may be replaced by lower-yielding investments. Also, their values fluctuate with changes in interest rates. A decrease in interest rates will generally result in an increase in the value of the Fund’s fixed income investments. Conversely, during periods of rising interest rates, the value of the Fund’s fixed income investments will generally decline. However, a change in interest rates will not have the same impact on all fixed rate securities. For example, the magnitude of these fluctuations will generally be greater when the Fund’s duration or average maturity is longer. In addition, certain fixed income securities are subject to credit risk, which is the risk that an issuer of securities will be unable to pay principal and interest when due, or that the value of the security will suffer because investors believe the issuer is unable to pay. Recently, there have been inflationary price movements. As such, fixed income securities markets may experience heightened levels of interest rate volatility and liquidity risk.

Changing Interest Rates. In a low or negative interest rate environment, debt securities may trade at, or be issued with, negative yields, which means the purchaser of the security may receive at maturity less than the total amount invested. To the extent the Fund holds a negatively-yielding debt security, the Fund would generate a negative return on that investment. Cash positions may also subject the Fund to increased counterparty risk to the Fund’s bank. Debt market conditions are highly

 

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unpredictable and some parts of the market are subject to dislocations. In a low or negative interest rate environment, some investors may seek to reallocate assets to other income-producing assets. This may cause the price of such higher yielding instruments to rise, could further reduce the value of instruments with a negative yield, and may limit the Fund’s ability to locate fixed income instruments containing the desired risk/return profile. In the past, the U.S. government and certain foreign central banks have taken steps to stabilize markets by, among other things, reducing interest rates. In recent years, the U.S. government began implementing increases to the federal funds interest rate and there may be further rate increases. As interest rates rise, there is risk that rates across the financial system also may rise. To the extent rates increase substantially and/or rapidly, the Fund may be subject to significant losses. Changing interest rates could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed income markets to heightened volatility, increased redemptions, and potential illiquidity.

Fixed Income Securities Ratings. Securities rated in the fourth highest ratings category by a NRSRO, such as those rated BBB by S&P, or Baa by Moody’s, and unrated securities of comparable quality, are generally regarded as having adequate capacity to pay interest and repay principal but may have some speculative characteristics. Securities rated below the fourth highest ratings category by a NRSRO, including those rated below Baa by Moody’s or BBB by S&P, and unrated securities of comparable quality, are generally considered below “investment grade,” and may have speculative characteristics, including a greater possibility of default or bankruptcy of the issuers of such securities, market price volatility based upon interest rate sensitivity, questionable creditworthiness and relative liquidity of the secondary trading market. Changes in economic conditions or other circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity for lower rated securities to make principal and interest payments, including a greater possibility of default or bankruptcy of the issuer, than is the case for high rated securities. Appendix B to this SAI contains further information concerning the rating categories of NRSROs and their significance.

Derivatives — Generally

A derivative is a financial instrument that has a value based on, or derived from, the value of one or more underlying reference instruments or measures of value or interest rates (“underlying instruments”), such as a security, a commodity, a currency, an index, an interest rate or a currency exchange rate. A derivative can also have a value based on the likelihood that an event will or will not occur. Derivatives include futures contracts, forward contracts, options and swaps.

The Fund may use derivatives for any purpose, including but not limited to, to attempt to enhance income, yield or return, as a substitute for investing directly in a security or asset, or as a hedging technique in an attempt to manage risk in the Fund’s portfolio. The Fund may choose not to make use of derivatives for a variety of reasons, and no assurance can be given that any derivatives strategy employed will be successful. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments may be limited from time to time by applicable law, availability or by policies adopted by the Board or Manager.

The Fund may utilize multiple derivative instruments and combinations of derivative instruments to seek to adjust the risk and return characteristics of its overall position. Combined positions will typically contain elements of risk that are present in each of its component transactions. It is possible that the combined position will not achieve its intended goal and will instead increase losses or risk to the Fund. Because combined positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.

The Fund may enter into derivatives with standardized terms that have no or few special or unusual components, which are generally traded on an exchange, as well as derivatives with more complex features, singly or in combination. Non-standardized derivatives are generally traded over the counter (“OTC”). OTC derivatives may be standardized or have customized features and may have limited or no liquidity. The Fund’s derivatives contracts may be centrally cleared or settled bilaterally directly with a counterparty. The Fund’s derivatives contracts may be cash settled or physically settled.

In addition to the instruments and strategies discussed in this section, additional opportunities in connection with derivatives and other similar or related techniques may become available to the Fund as a result of the development of new techniques, the development of new derivative instruments or a regulatory authority broadening the range of permitted transactions. The Fund may utilize these opportunities and techniques to the extent that they are consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives and permitted by its investment limitations and applicable regulatory authorities. These opportunities and techniques may involve risks different from or in addition to those summarized herein.

 

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Risks of Derivatives Generally. The use of derivatives involves special considerations and risks, certain of which are summarized below, and may result in losses to the Fund. In general, derivatives may increase the volatility of the Fund and

 

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may involve a small investment of cash relative to the magnitude of the risk or exposure assumed. Even a small investment in derivatives may magnify or otherwise increase investment losses to the Fund.

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Market risk. Derivatives can be complex, and their success depends in part upon the portfolio manager’s ability to forecast correctly future market or other trends or occurrences or other financial or economic factors or the value of the underlying instrument. Even if the portfolio manager’s forecasts are correct, other factors may cause distortions or dislocations in the markets that result in losses or otherwise unsuccessful transactions. Derivatives may behave in unexpected ways, especially in abnormal or volatile market conditions. The market value of the derivative itself or the market value of underlying instruments may change in a way that is adverse to the Fund’s interest. There is no assurance that the use of derivatives will be advantageous to the Fund or that the portfolio manager will use derivatives to hedge at an appropriate time.

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Illiquidity risk. The Fund’s ability to close out or unwind a derivative prior to expiration or maturity depends on the existence of a liquid market or, in the absence of such a market, the ability and willingness of the other party to the transaction (the “counterparty”) to enter into a transaction closing out the position. If there is no market or the Fund is not successful in its negotiations, the Fund may not be able to sell or unwind the derivative position at an advantageous or anticipated time or price. This may also be the case if the counterparty becomes insolvent. The Fund may be required to make delivery of portfolio securities or other underlying instruments in order to settle a position or to sell portfolio securities or assets at a disadvantageous time or price in order to obtain cash to settle the position. While a position remains open, the Fund continues to be subject to investment risk on a derivative. The Fund may or may not be able to take other actions or enter into other transactions, including hedging transactions, to limit or reduce its exposure to the derivative. Illiquidity risk may be enhanced if a derivative transaction is particularly large. Certain derivatives, including certain OTC options and swaps, may be considered illiquid and therefore subject to the Fund’s limitation on illiquid investments.

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Leverage risk. Certain derivative transactions may have a leveraging effect on the Fund, meaning that the Fund can obtain significant investment exposure in return for meeting a relatively small margin or other investment requirement. An adverse change in the value of an underlying instrument can result in losses substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. When the Fund engages in transactions that have a leveraging effect, the value of the Fund is likely to be more volatile and certain other risks also are likely to be compounded. This is because leverage generally magnifies the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of an investment. Certain derivatives have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment.

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Margin risk. Certain derivatives require the Fund to make initial margin payments, a form of security deposit intended to protect against nonperformance of the derivative contract. The Fund may have to post additional margin (known as “variation margin”) if the value of the derivative position changes in a manner adverse to the Fund. Derivatives may be difficult to value, which may result in increased payment requirements to counterparties or a loss of value to the Fund. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet additional margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a disadvantageous time.

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Speculation risk. Derivatives used for non-hedging purposes may result in losses which are not offset by increases in the value of portfolio holdings or declines in the cost of securities or other assets to be acquired. In the event that the Fund uses a derivative as an alternative to purchasing or selling other investments or in order to obtain desired exposure to an index or market, the Fund will be exposed to the same risks as are incurred in purchasing or selling the other investments directly, as well as the risks of the derivative transaction itself, such as counterparty risk.

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Counterparty risk. Derivatives involve the risk of loss resulting from the actual or potential insolvency or bankruptcy of the counterparty or the failure by the counterparty to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the contract. In the event of default by a counterparty (or its affiliates), the Fund may have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction, which may be limited by applicable law in the case of the counterparty’s (or its affiliates’) bankruptcy. The Fund may not be able to recover amounts owed to it by an insolvent counterparty.

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Operational risk. There may be incomplete or erroneous documentation or inadequate collateral or margin, or transactions may fail to settle. The Fund may have only contractual remedies in the event of a counterparty default, and there may be delays, costs or disagreements as to the meaning of contractual terms and litigation in enforcing those remedies.

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OTC risk. Derivative transactions that are traded OTC, such as options, swaps, forward contracts, and options on foreign currencies, are entered into directly with counterparties or financial institutions acting as market makers, rather than being traded on exchanges or centrally cleared. Because OTC derivatives and other transactions are traded between counterparties based on contractual relationships, the Fund is subject to increased risk that its counterparty will not perform

 

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its obligations under the related contracts. Although the Fund intends to enter into transactions only with counterparties which the Fund believes to be creditworthy, there can be no assurance that a counterparty will not default and that the Fund will not sustain a loss on a transaction as a result. Information available on counterparty creditworthiness may be incomplete or outdated, thus reducing the ability to anticipate counterparty defaults. The Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under an OTC derivative in the event of the default or bankruptcy of the counterparty to the OTC derivative. When a counterparty’s obligations are not fully secured by collateral, then the Fund is essentially an unsecured creditor of the counterparty. If the counterparty defaults, the Fund will have contractual remedies, but there is no assurance that a counterparty will be able to meet its obligations pursuant to such contracts or that, in the event of default, the Fund will succeed in enforcing contractual remedies. Credit/counterparty risk still exists even if a counterparty’s obligations are secured by collateral because the Fund’s interest in collateral may not be perfected or additional collateral may not be promptly posted as required. Credit/counterparty risk also may be more pronounced if a counterparty’s obligations exceed the amount of collateral held by the Fund (if any), the Fund is unable to exercise its interest in collateral upon default by the counterparty, or the termination value of the instrument varies significantly from the marked-to-market value of the instrument.

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Non-U.S. derivatives risk. Derivative transactions may be conducted OTC outside of the United States or traded on foreign exchanges. Such transactions may not be regulated as effectively as similar transactions in the United States, may not involve a clearing mechanism and related guarantees and are subject to the risk of governmental actions affecting trading in, or the price of, foreign securities or currencies. The value of such positions also could be adversely affected by (1) other foreign political, legal and economic factors, (2) lesser availability than in the United States of data on which to make trading decisions, (3) delays in the Fund’s ability to act upon economic events occurring in foreign markets during non-business hours in the United States, (4) the imposition of different exercise and settlement terms, procedures, margin requirements, fees, taxes or other charges than in the United States and (5) lesser trading volume. Counterparty risk and many of the risks of OTC derivatives transactions are also applicable to derivative transactions conducted outside the United States.

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Currency derivatives risk. Currency related transactions may be negatively affected by factors such as government exchange controls, blockages, and manipulations. Exchange rates may be influenced by factors extrinsic to a country’s economy. Also, there is no systematic reporting of last sale information with respect to foreign currencies. As a result, the information on which trading in currency derivatives is based may not be as complete as, and may be delayed beyond, comparable data for other types of transactions.

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Turnover risk. Use of derivatives involves transaction costs, which may be significant. The Fund may be required to sell or purchase investments in connection with derivative transactions, potentially increasing the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and transaction costs. Use of derivatives also may increase the amount of taxable income to shareholders.

Risks Associated with Hedging with Derivatives. If the portfolio manager uses a hedging strategy at the wrong time or judges market conditions incorrectly, hedging strategies may reduce the Fund’s return. Successful use of derivatives to hedge positions depends on the correlation between the price of the derivative and the price of the hedged asset.

The Fund may attempt to protect against declines in the value of the Fund’s portfolio assets by entering into a variety of derivatives transactions, including selling futures contracts, entering into swaps or purchasing puts on indices or futures contracts (short hedging). Short hedging involves the risk that the prices of the futures contracts or the value of the swap or the applicable index will correlate imperfectly with price movements in the Fund’s assets. If the value of the assets held in the Fund’s portfolio declines while the Fund has used derivative instruments in a short hedge, and the prices referenced in the short hedge do not also decline, the value of the Fund’s assets would decline, and the short hedge would not hedge or mitigate the loss in the value of the assets. With respect to a derivative transaction based on an index, the risk of imperfect correlation increases as the composition of the Fund’s portfolio diverges from the assets included in the applicable index. To compensate for the imperfect correlation of movements in the price of the portfolio securities being hedged and movements in the price of the hedging instruments, the Fund may use derivative instruments in a greater dollar amount than the dollar amount of portfolio assets being hedged. It might do so if the historical volatility of the prices of the portfolio assets being hedged is more than the historical volatility of the applicable index.

If the Fund has used derivatives to hedge or otherwise reduce the Fund’s risk exposure to a particular position and then disposes of that position at a time at which it cannot also settle, terminate or close out the corresponding hedge position, this

 

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may create short investment exposure. Certain “short” derivative positions involve investment leverage, and the amount of the Fund’s potential loss is theoretically unlimited.

The Fund can use derivative instruments to establish a position in the market as a temporary substitute for the purchase of individual securities or other assets (long hedging) by buying futures contracts and/or calls on such futures contracts, indices or on securities or other assets, or entering into swaps. It is possible that when the Fund does so the market might decline. If the Fund then decides not to invest in the assets because of concerns that the market might decline further or for other reasons, the Fund will realize a loss on the hedge position that is not offset by a reduction in the price of the asset the Fund had intended to purchase.

Risk of Government Regulation of Derivatives. The regulation of derivatives transactions and funds that engage in such transactions is an evolving area of law and is subject to modification by government, self-regulatory organization and judicial action. Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act, which became effective August 19, 2022, governs the use of derivative investments and certain financing transactions (e.g. reverse repurchase agreements) by registered investment companies. Among other things, Rule 18f-4 requires funds that invest in derivative instruments beyond a specified limited amount to apply a value-at-risk based limit to their use of certain derivative instruments and financing transactions and to adopt and implement a derivatives risk management program. A fund that uses derivative instruments in a limited amount is not subject to the full requirements of Rule 18f-4. Compliance with Rule 18f-4 could restrict the Fund’s ability to engage in certain derivatives transactions and/or increase the costs of such derivatives transactions, which could adversely affect the value or performance of the Fund.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) has caused broad changes to the OTC derivatives market and granted significant authority to the SEC and the CFTC to regulate OTC derivatives and market participants. Pursuant to such authority, rules have been enacted that currently require clearing of many OTC derivatives transactions and may require clearing of additional OTC derivatives transactions in the future and that impose minimum margin and capital requirements for uncleared OTC derivatives transactions. Similar regulations have been or are being adopted in other jurisdictions around the world. The implementation of the clearing requirement has increased the costs of derivatives transactions since investors have to pay fees to clearing members and are typically required to post more margin for cleared derivatives than had historically been the case. While the new rules and regulations and central clearing of some derivatives transactions are designed to reduce systemic risk (i.e., the risk that the interdependence of large derivatives dealers could cause them to suffer liquidity, solvency or other challenges simultaneously), there is no assurance that they will achieve that result, and mandatory clearing of derivatives may expose the Fund to new kinds of costs and risks.

Additionally, new regulations may result in increased uncertainty about credit/counterparty risk and may limit the flexibility of the Fund to protect its interests in the event of an insolvency of a derivatives counterparty. In the event of a counterparty’s (or its affiliate’s) insolvency, the Fund’s ability to exercise remedies, such as the termination of transactions, netting of obligations and realization on collateral, could be stayed or eliminated under the rules of the applicable exchange or clearing corporation or under relatively new special resolution regimes adopted in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and various other jurisdictions. Such regimes provide government authorities with broad authority to intervene when a financial institution is experiencing financial difficulty. In particular, with respect to counterparties who are subject to such proceedings in the United Kingdom and the European Union, the liabilities of such counterparties to the Fund could be reduced, eliminated, or converted to equity in such counterparties (sometimes referred to as a “bail in”).

Foreign Currency Instruments and Hedging Strategies

The Fund may use options and futures contracts on foreign currencies and forward currency contracts and currency swap agreements (collectively, “Currency Instruments”), deliverable and non-deliverable, to attempt to hedge against movements in the values of the foreign currencies in which the Fund’s securities are denominated or to attempt to enhance the Fund’s return or yield. The Fund may also use such investments to attempt to establish a short position or to gain exposure to a market that would be more costly or difficult to access with other types of investments, such as bonds or currency. The Fund may also engage in foreign currency transactions on a spot (cash) basis at the rate prevailing in the currency exchange market at the time of the transaction. Flexible Bond Fund and Global Opportunities Bond Fund may determine not to hedge and may be completely unhedged at any point in time. In cases when a particular currency is difficult to hedge or difficult to hedge against the U.S. dollar, the Fund may seek to hedge against price movements in that currency by entering into transactions using Currency Instruments on another currency or a basket of currencies, the value of which the portfolio manager believes will have a high degree of positive correlation to the value of the currency being hedged. The risk that movements in the price of the Currency

 

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Instrument will not correlate perfectly with movements in the price of the currency subject to the hedging transaction is magnified when this strategy is used.

Currency Instruments Risks. In addition to the risks found under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” Currency Instruments are subject to the following risks:

The value of Currency Instruments depends on the value of the underlying foreign currency relative to the U.S. dollar. Because foreign currency transactions occurring in the interbank market might involve substantially larger amounts than those involved in the Fund’s use of such Currency Instruments, the Fund could be disadvantaged by having to deal in the odd lot market (generally consisting of transactions of less than $1 million) for the underlying foreign currencies at prices that are less favorable than for round lots. There is no systematic reporting of last sale information for foreign currencies or any regulatory requirement that quotations available through dealers or other market sources be firm or revised on a timely basis. Quotation information generally is representative of very large transactions in the interbank market and thus might not reflect odd-lot transactions where rates might be less favorable. The interbank market in foreign currencies is a global, round-the-clock market. To the extent the U.S. options or futures markets are closed while the markets for the underlying currencies remain open, significant price and rate movements might take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the U.S. markets for the Currency Instruments until they reopen.

Settlement of hedging transactions involving foreign currencies might be required to take place within the country issuing the underlying currency. Thus, the Fund might be required to accept or make delivery of the underlying foreign currency in accordance with any U.S. or foreign regulations regarding the maintenance of foreign banking arrangements by U.S. residents and might be required to pay any fees, taxes and charges associated with such delivery assessed in the issuing country.

Forward Currency Contracts

The Fund may enter into forward currency contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies for a fixed amount of U.S. dollars or another currency at a future date and at a price set by the parties to the forward currency contract. Forward currency contracts are traded directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers (such as the Fund).

The Fund may purchase a forward currency contract to lock in the U.S. dollar price of a security denominated in a foreign currency that the Fund intends to acquire (a long hedge). The Fund may sell a forward currency contract to lock in the U.S. dollar equivalent of the proceeds from the anticipated sale of a security, dividend or interest payment denominated in a foreign currency (a short hedge). A “position hedge” is when the Fund owns a security denominated in, for example, euros and to protect against a possible decline in the euro’s value, the Fund enters into a forward currency contract to sell euros in return for U.S. dollars. A “position hedge” tends to offset both positive and negative currency fluctuations but would not offset changes in security values caused by other factors. A “proxy hedge” is when the Fund owns a security denominated in, for example, euros and to protect against a possible decline in the euro’s value, the Fund enters into a forward currency contract to sell a currency expected to perform similarly to the euro in return for U.S. dollars. A “proxy hedge” could offer advantages in terms of cost, yield or efficiency, but generally would not hedge currency exposure as effectively as a position hedge to the extent the proxy currency does not perform similarly to the targeted currency. The Fund could, in fact, lose money on both legs of the hedge, i.e., between the euro and proxy currency, and between the proxy currency and the dollar. The Fund also may use forward currency contracts to attempt to enhance return or yield. The Fund could use forward currency contracts to increase its exposure to foreign currencies that the portfolio manager believes might rise in value relative to the U.S. dollar, or shift its exposure to foreign currency fluctuations from one currency to another. For example, if the Fund’s portfolio manager believes that the U.S. dollar will increase in value relative to the euro, the Fund could write a forward contract to buy U.S. dollars in three months at the current price in order to sell those U.S. dollars for a profit if the U.S. dollar does in fact appreciate in value relative to the euro. The cost to the Fund of engaging in forward currency contracts varies with factors such as the currency involved, the length of the contract period and the market conditions then prevailing. Because forward currency contracts are usually entered into on a principal basis, no fees or commissions are involved. When the Fund enters into a forward currency contract, it relies on the counterparty to make or take delivery of the underlying currency at the maturity of the contract or to otherwise fulfill its obligations in connection with settlement. Failure by the counterparty to do so would result in the loss of any expected benefit of the transaction.

The precise matching of forward currency contract amounts, and the value of the securities involved generally will not be possible because the value of such securities, measured in the foreign currency, will change after the forward currency contract has been established. Thus, the Fund may need to purchase or sell foreign currencies in the spot (i.e., cash) market to

 

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the extent such foreign currencies are not covered by forward currency contracts. The projection of short-term currency market movements is extremely difficult, and the successful execution of a short-term hedging strategy is highly uncertain.

Successful use of forward currency contracts depends on the portfolio manager’s skill in analyzing and predicting currency values. Forward currency contracts may substantially change the Fund’s exposure to changes in currency exchange rates and could result in losses to the Fund if currencies do not perform as the portfolio manager anticipates. There is no assurance that the portfolio manager’s use of forward currency contracts will be advantageous to the Fund or that the portfolio manager will hedge at an appropriate time.

Non-deliverable Forwards. The consummation of a deliverable foreign exchange forward requires the actual exchange of the principal amounts of the two currencies in the contract (i.e., settlement on a physical basis). Forward currency contracts in which the Fund may engage also include non-deliverable forwards (“NDFs”). NDFs are cash-settled, forward contracts on foreign currencies (each a “Reference Currency”) that are non-convertible and that may be thinly traded or illiquid. NDFs involve an obligation to pay an amount equal to the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate for the Reference Currency and the agreed upon exchange rate, with respect to an agreed notional amount. NDFs are subject to many of the risks associated with derivatives in general and forward currency transactions, including risks associated with fluctuations in foreign currency and the risk that the counterparty will fail to fulfill its obligations.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, NDFs are classified as “swaps” and are therefore subject to the full panoply of CFTC swap regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act. Although NDFs have historically been traded OTC, in the future, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, they may be subject to mandatory clearing. Non-centrally-cleared NDFs are subject to mandatory minimum margin requirements for uncleared swaps. Deliverable foreign exchange forwards that solely involve the exchange of two different currencies on a specific future date at a fixed rate agreed upon by the parties are not considered “swaps” and accordingly are not subject to many of the regulations that apply to NDFs. However, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act and set forth in CFTC regulations adopted thereunder, foreign exchange forwards must be reported to a swap data repository, and swap dealers and major swap participants who are party to such transactions remain subject to the business conduct standards pertaining to swaps in connection with such deliverable foreign exchange forwards.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts

Generally, a futures contract is an exchange-traded, standardized agreement that obligates the seller of the contract to sell a specified quantity of an underlying instrument or asset, such as a security, currency or commodity, to the purchaser of the contract, who has the obligation to buy the underlying instrument or asset, at a specified price and date. In the case of futures on indices, the two parties agree to take or make delivery of an amount of cash equal to the difference between the level of the index calculated for purposes of settlement and the price at which the contract originally was written. Options on futures give the purchaser the right to assume a position in a futures contract at the specified exercise price at any time during the period of the option or at the expiration of the option, depending on the terms of the option.

Futures contracts, by their terms, have stated expirations and, at a specified point in time prior to expiration, trading in a futures contract for the current delivery month will cease. As a result, an investor wishing to maintain exposure to a futures contract with the nearest expiration must close out the position in the expiring contract and establish a new position in the contract for the next delivery month, a process referred to as “rolling.” The process of rolling a futures contract can be profitable or unprofitable depending in large part on whether the futures price for the subsequent delivery month is less than or more than the price of the expiring contract.

Futures contracts and related options may be used for hedging and non-hedging purposes, such as to simulate full investment in the underlying instrument or asset while retaining a cash balance for portfolio management purposes, as a substitute for direct investment in the underlying instrument or asset, to facilitate trading, to reduce transaction costs, or to seek higher investment returns (e.g., when a futures contract or option is priced more attractively than the underlying instrument). In addition, futures strategies can be used to manage the average duration of the Fund’s fixed income portfolio, if applicable. The Fund may sell a debt futures contract or a call option thereon or purchase a put option on that futures contract to attempt to shorten the portfolio’s average duration. Alternatively, the Fund may buy a debt futures contract or a call option thereon or sell a put option thereon to attempt to lengthen the portfolio’s average duration.

At the inception of a futures contract the Fund is required to deposit “initial margin” with a futures commission merchant (“FCM”) in an amount at least equal to the amount designated by the futures exchange. Margin must also be deposited

 

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when writing a call or put option on a futures contract, in accordance with applicable exchange rules. Unlike margin in securities transactions, initial margin on futures contracts does not represent a borrowing, but rather is in the nature of a performance bond or good-faith deposit that is required to be returned to the Fund at the termination of the transaction if all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Under certain circumstances, such as periods of high volatility, the Fund may be required by an exchange or by its FCM to increase the level of its initial margin payment, and initial margin requirements might be increased generally in the future by regulatory action.

In addition to initial margin payments, during the life of the transaction “variation margin” payments are made to and from the FCM as the value of the margin and the underlying derivative transaction varies, a process known as “marking-to-market.” Variation margin is intended to represent a daily settlement of the Fund’s obligations to or from an FCM. When the Fund purchases an option on a futures contract, the premium paid plus transaction costs is all that is at risk. However, there may be circumstances when the purchase of an option on a futures contract would result in a loss to the Fund when the use of a futures contract would not, such as when there is no movement in the value of the securities or currencies being hedged. In that case, the Fund would lose the premium it paid for the option plus transaction costs. In contrast, when the Fund purchases or sells a futures contract or writes a call or put option thereon, it is subject to daily variation margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a time when such sales are disadvantageous.

Although some futures and options on futures call for making or taking delivery of the underlying instrument or asset, generally those contracts are closed out prior to delivery by offsetting purchases or sales of matching futures or options (involving the same instrument or asset and delivery month). If an offsetting purchase price is less than the original sale price, the Fund realizes a gain, or if it is more, the Fund realizes a loss. If an offsetting sale price is more than the original purchase price, the Fund realizes a gain, or if it is less, the Fund realizes a loss. The Fund will also bear transaction costs for each contract, which will be included in these calculations. Positions in futures and options on futures may be closed only on an exchange or board of trade that provides a secondary market. However, there can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market will exist for a particular contract at a particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures contract or options position.

Under certain circumstances, futures exchanges may establish daily limits on the amount that the price of a futures contract or an option on a futures contract can vary from the previous day’s settlement price; once that limit is reached, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond the limit. Daily price limits do not limit potential losses because prices could move to the daily limit for several consecutive days with little or no trading, thereby preventing liquidation of unfavorable positions. If the Fund were unable to liquidate a futures contract or an option on a futures position due to the absence of a liquid secondary market, the imposition of price limits or otherwise, it could incur substantial losses. The Fund would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position. In addition, except in the case of purchased options, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily variation margin payments.

Risks of Futures Contracts and Options Thereon. In addition to the risks found under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” futures contracts and options on futures contracts are subject to the following risks:

Successful use of futures contracts and related options depends upon the ability of the portfolio manager to assess movements in the direction of prices of securities, commodities, measures of value, or interest or exchange rates, which requires different skills and techniques than assessing the value of individual securities. Moreover, futures contracts relate not to the current price level of the underlying instrument or asset, but to the anticipated price level at some point in the future; accordingly trading of stock index futures may not reflect the trading of the securities that are used to formulate the index or even actual fluctuations in the index itself. There is, in addition, the risk that movements in the price of the futures contract will not correlate with the movements in the prices of the securities or other assets being hedged. Price distortions in the marketplace, resulting from increased participation by speculators in the futures market (among other things), may also impair the correlation between movements in the prices of futures contracts and movements in the prices of the hedged assets. If the price of the futures contract moves less than the price of assets that are the subject of the hedge, the hedge will not be fully effective; but if the price of the assets being hedged has moved in an unfavorable direction, the Fund would be in a better position than if it had not hedged at all. If the price of the assets being hedged has moved in a favorable direction, this advantage may be partially offset by losses on the futures position.

Positions in futures contracts and related options may be closed out only on an exchange or board of trade that provides a market for such contracts. Although the Fund intends to purchase and sell futures and related options only on

 

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exchanges or boards of trade where there appears to be a liquid market, there is no assurance that such a market will exist for any particular contract at any particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures position and, in the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would continue to be required to make variation margin payments, where applicable. Options have a limited life and thus can be disposed of only within a specific time period.

Purchasers of options on futures contracts pay a premium in cash at the time of purchase which, in the event of adverse price movements, could be lost. Sellers of options on futures contracts must post initial margin and are subject to additional margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. Because of the low margin deposits required, futures trading involves a high degree of leverage; as a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss, or gain, to the Fund. In addition, the Fund’s activities in the futures markets may result in a higher portfolio turnover rate (see “Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage”) and additional transaction costs in the form of added brokerage commissions.

As noted above, exchanges may impose limits on the amount by which the price of a futures contract or related option is permitted to change in a single day. If the price of a contract moves to the limit for several consecutive days, the Fund may be unable during that time to close its position in that contract and may have to continue making payments of variation margin. The CFTC and domestic exchanges have also established (and continue to evaluate and revise) speculative position limits on the maximum speculative position that any person, or group of persons acting in concert, may hold or control in particular contracts. Under current rules and regulations, other accounts managed by the Manager or, if applicable, Subadviser are combined with the positions held by the Fund under the Manager’s or, if applicable, Subadviser’s management for position limit purposes, unless an exemption applies. This aggregation could preclude additional trading by the Fund in such contracts and may require positions held by the Fund to be liquidated, which may adversely affect the performance of the Fund.

When the Fund engages in futures transactions, it will also be exposed to the credit risk of its FCM. If the Fund’s FCM becomes bankrupt or insolvent, or otherwise defaults on its obligations to the Fund, the Fund may not receive all amounts owed to it in respect of its trading, even if the clearinghouse fully discharges all of its obligations. If an FCM were not to appropriately segregate client assets to the full extent required by the CEA, the Fund might not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of an FCM. In the event of an FCM’s bankruptcy, the Fund would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds segregated on behalf of an FCM’s combined customer accounts for the relevant account class, even if certain property held by an FCM is specifically traceable to the Fund (for example, U.S. Treasury bills deposited by the Fund). Such situations could arise due to various factors, or a combination of factors, including inadequate FCM capitalization, inadequate controls on customer trading and inadequate customer capital. In addition, in the event of the bankruptcy or insolvency of a clearinghouse, the Fund might experience a loss of funds deposited through its FCM as margin with the clearinghouse, a loss of unrealized profits on its open positions and the loss of funds owed to it as realized profits on closed positions. Such a bankruptcy or insolvency might also cause a substantial delay before the Fund could obtain the return of funds owed to it by an FCM who is a member of such clearinghouse.

Options

A call option gives the purchaser the right to buy, and obligates the writer to sell, an underlying investment (such as a specified security, commodity, currency, interest rate, currency exchange rate or index) at an agreed-upon price (“strike price”). A put option gives the purchaser the right to sell, and obligates the writer to buy, an underlying investment at an agreed-upon price. An American-style option may be exercised at any time during the term of the option, while a European-style option may be exercised only at the expiration of the option. Purchasers of options pay an amount, known as a premium, to the option writer in exchange for the right granted under the option contract.

The value of an option position will reflect, among other things, the current market value of the underlying instrument, the time remaining until expiration, the relationship of the strike price to the market price of the underlying instrument, the historical price volatility of the underlying instrument and general market conditions. If the purchaser does not exercise the option, it will expire and the purchaser will have only lost the premium paid. If a secondary market exists, a purchaser or the writer may terminate a put option position prior to its exercise by selling it in the secondary market at its current price. The Fund will pay a brokerage commission each time it buys or sells an option. Such commissions may be higher than those that would apply to direct purchases or sales of the underlying instrument.

 

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Exchange-traded options in the United States are issued by a clearing organization affiliated with the exchange on which the option is listed and are standardized with respect to the underlying instrument, expiration date, contract size and strike price. In contrast, OTC options (options not traded on exchanges) are contracts between the Fund and a counterparty (usually a securities dealer or a bank) with no clearing organization guarantee. The terms of OTC options generally are established through negotiation with the other party to the option contract (the counterparty). For a discussion on options on futures see “Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts”.

Put Options. In return for receipt of the premium, the writer of a put option assumes the obligation to pay the strike price for the option’s underlying instrument if the buyer exercises the option. A put writer would generally expect to profit, although its gain would be limited to the amount of the premium it received, if the underlying instrument’s price remains greater than or equal to the strike price. If the underlying instrument’s price falls below the strike price, the put writer would expect to suffer a loss. The buyer of a put option can expect to realize a gain if the underlying instrument’s price falls enough to offset the cost of purchasing the option. Any losses suffered by the buyer would be limited to the amount of the premium plus related transaction costs.

Optional delivery standby commitments are a type of put that gives the buyer of an underlying instrument the right to sell the underlying instrument back to the seller on specified terms to induce a purchase of the underlying instrument.

Call Options. In return for the receipt of the premium, the writer of a call option assumes the obligation to sell the underlying instrument at the strike price to the buyer upon exercise of the option. A call writer would generally expect to profit, although its gain would be limited to the amount of the premium it received, if the option goes unexercised, which typically occurs when the underlying instrument’s price remains less than or equal to the strike price. If the underlying instrument’s price were to rise above the strike price, the writer of the call option would generally expect to suffer a loss, which is theoretically unlimited. A call buyer’s maximum loss is the premium paid for the call option, whereas the buyer’s maximum profit is theoretically unlimited.

Straddles. A long straddle is the purchase of a call and a put option with the same expiration date and relating to the same underlying instrument where the strike price of the put is less than or equal to the strike price of the call. The Fund may enter into a long straddle when its portfolio manager believes that the underlying instrument’s price will move significantly during the term of the options. A short straddle is a combination of a call and a put written on the same underlying instrument with the same expiration date where the strike price of the put is less than or equal to the strike price of the call. In a covered short straddle, the underlying instrument is considered cover for both the put and the call that the Fund has written. The Fund may enter into a short straddle when the portfolio manager believes that it is unlikely that the underlying instrument’s prices will experience volatility during the term of the options.

Options on Indices. Puts and calls on indices are similar to puts and calls on other underlying instruments except that all settlements are in cash and gains or losses depend on changes in the level of the index rather than on price movements of individual underlying instruments. The writer of a call on an index receives a premium and the obligation to pay the purchaser an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and the strike price times a specified multiple (“multiplier”), if the closing level of the index is greater than the strike price of the call. The writer of a put on an index receives a premium and the obligation to deliver to the buyer an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and strike price times the multiplier if the closing level is less than the strike price.

Risks of Options – In addition to the risks described under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” options are also subject to the following risks:

Options on Indices Risk. The risks of investment in options on indices may be greater than options on securities and other instruments. Because index options are settled in cash, when the Fund writes a call on an index it generally cannot provide in advance for other underlying instruments because it may not be practical for the call writer to hedge its potential settlement obligations by acquiring and holding the underlying securities. The Fund can offset some of the risk of writing a call index option by holding a diversified portfolio of securities similar to those on which the underlying index is based. However, the Fund cannot, as a practical matter, acquire and hold a portfolio containing exactly the same securities as underlie the index and, as a result, bears a risk that the value of the securities held will vary from the value of the index.

If the Fund exercises an index option before the closing index value for that day is available, there is the risk that the level of the underlying index may subsequently change. If such a change causes the exercised option to fall out-of-the-money,

 

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the Fund will be required to pay the difference between the closing index value and the strike price of the option (times the applicable multiplier) to the assigned writer.

Timing Risk. The hours of trading for options may not conform to the hours during which the underlying instrument are traded. To the extent that the options markets close before the markets for the underlying instrument, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the options markets. Options are marked to market daily and their value will be affected by changes in the value of the underlying instrument, changes in the dividend rates of the underlying securities, an increase in interest rates, changes in the actual or perceived volatility of the stock market and the underlying instrument and the remaining time to the options’ expiration. Additionally, the exercise price of an option may be adjusted downward before the option’s expiration as a result of the occurrence of certain corporate or other events affecting the underlying instrument, such as extraordinary dividends, stock splits, merger or other extraordinary distributions or events. A reduction in the exercise price of an option would reduce the Fund’s capital appreciation potential on an underlying instrument.

Swaps

Generally, a swap agreement involves the exchange between two parties of their respective commitments to pay or receive cash flows, e.g., an exchange of floating rate payments for fixed-rate payments. Swaps may be negotiated bilaterally and traded OTC (OTC swaps) or, for certain types of swaps, must be executed through a centralized exchange or regulated facility and be cleared through a regulated clearinghouse (cleared swaps). Swaps include but are not limited to, interest rate swaps, total return swaps, index swaps, inflation indexed swaps, currency swaps, credit default swaps and options on swaps or “swaptions”.

OTC swap agreements can be individually negotiated and structured to include exposure to a variety of different types of investments (such as individual securities, baskets of securities and securities indices) or market factors. The swapped returns are generally calculated with respect to a notional amount, that is, the nominal or face amount used to calculate the payments to be made between the parties to the OTC swap.

The Fund may enter into a swap agreement for hedging or non-hedging purposes, including but not limited to, to enhance returns, increase liquidity, protect against currency and security price fluctuations, manage duration and gain exposure to certain markets or securities in a more cost-efficient manner.

Risks of Swaps Generally. In addition to the risks found under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” swaps are subject to the following risks:

Depending on their structure, swap agreements may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investments and its share price and yield and may affect the Fund’s exposure to long- or short-term interest rates (in the United States or abroad), foreign currency values, mortgage-backed security values, corporate borrowing rates or other market factors such as security prices or inflation rates.

Swap agreements will tend to shift the Fund’s investment exposure from one type of investment to another. For example, if the Fund agrees to exchange payments in U.S. dollars for payments in foreign currency, the swap agreement would tend to decrease the Fund’s exposure to U.S. interest rates and increase its exposure to foreign currency and interest rates.

The absence of a central exchange or market for OTC swap transactions may lead, in some instances, to difficulties in trading and valuation, especially in the event of market disruptions.

Cleared Swaps. Relatively recent legislation and implementing regulation require certain swaps to be cleared through a regulated clearinghouse. Although this clearing mechanism is generally intended to reduce counterparty credit risk, it may disrupt or limit the swap market and may result in swaps being more difficult to trade or value. As swaps become more standardized, the Fund may not be able to enter into swaps that meet its investment needs. The Fund also may not be able to find a clearing member and clearinghouse willing to accept a swap for clearing. In a cleared swap, a central clearing organization will be the counterparty to the transaction. The Fund will assume the risk that the clearinghouse and the clearing member through which the Fund holds its position may be unable to or may otherwise fail to perform their obligations.

When the Fund enters into a cleared swap transaction, the Fund is subject to the credit and counterparty risk of the clearinghouse and the clearing member through which it holds its cleared position. Credit/counterparty risk of market participants with respect to centrally cleared swaps is concentrated in a few clearinghouses, and it is not clear how an insolvency proceeding of a clearinghouse would be conducted and what impact an insolvency of a clearinghouse would have on the financial system. A clearing member is obligated by contract and by applicable regulation to segregate all funds received

 

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from customers with respect to cleared derivatives transactions from the clearing member’s proprietary assets. However, all funds and other property received by a clearing broker from its customers generally are held by the clearing broker on a commingled basis in an omnibus account by account class, and the clearing member may invest those funds in certain instruments permitted under the applicable regulations. The assets of the Fund might not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the Fund’s clearing member, because the Fund would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds segregated on behalf of the clearing broker’s customers for a relevant account class. Also, the clearing member is required to transfer to the clearing organization the amount of margin required by the clearing organization for cleared derivatives, which amounts generally are held in an omnibus account at the clearing organization for all customers of the clearing member. Regulations promulgated by the CFTC require that the clearing member notify the clearinghouse of the amount of initial margin provided by the clearing member to the clearing organization that is attributable to each cleared swaps customer. However, if the clearing member does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is subject to the risk that a clearing organization will use the Fund’s assets held in an omnibus account at the clearing organization to satisfy payment obligations of a defaulting customer of the clearing member to the clearing organization. In addition, clearing members generally provide to the clearing organization the net amount of variation margin required for cleared swaps for all of its customers in the aggregate, rather than the gross amount of each customer. The Fund is therefore subject to the risk that a clearing organization will not make variation margin payments owed to the Fund if another customer of the clearing member has suffered a loss and is in default, and the risk that the Fund will be required to provide additional variation margin to the clearinghouse before the clearinghouse will move the Fund’s cleared derivatives transactions to another clearing member. In addition, if a clearing member does not comply with the applicable regulations or its agreement with the Fund, or in the event of fraud or misappropriation of customer assets by a clearing member, the Fund could have only an unsecured creditor claim in an insolvency of the clearing member with respect to the margin held by the clearing member.

In some ways, centrally cleared swaps arrangements are less favorable to the Fund than OTC swaps arrangements. For example, the Fund may be required to provide greater amounts of margin for cleared swaps than for OTC swaps. Also, in contrast to OTC swaps, following a period of notice to the Fund, a clearing member generally can require termination of existing cleared swaps at any time or increases in margin requirements above the margin that the clearing member required at the beginning of a transaction. Clearinghouses also have broad rights to increase margin requirements for existing transactions or to terminate transactions at any time. Any increase in margin requirements or termination by the clearing member or the clearinghouse could interfere with the ability of the Fund to pursue its investment strategy. Further, any increase in margin requirements by a clearing member could also expose the Fund to greater credit risk of its clearing member, because margin for cleared swaps in excess of clearinghouse margin requirements typically is held by the clearing member. While the documentation in place between the Fund and its clearing members generally provides that the clearing members will accept for clearing all transactions submitted for clearing that are within credit limits (specified in advance) for the Fund, the Fund is still subject to the risk that no clearing member will be willing or able to clear a transaction. In those cases, the transaction might have to be terminated, and the Fund could lose some or all of the benefit of the transaction, including loss of an increase in the value of the transaction and/or loss of hedging protection offered by the transaction. In addition, the documentation governing the relationship between the Fund and its clearing members is developed by the clearing members and generally is less favorable to the Fund than typical OTC swap documentation. For example, this documentation generally includes a one-way indemnity by the Fund in favor of the clearing member, indemnifying the clearing member against losses it incurs in connection with acting as the Fund’s clearing member, and the documentation typically does not give the Fund any rights to exercise remedies if the clearing member defaults or becomes insolvent.

Some types of cleared swaps are required to be executed on an exchange or on a swap execution facility (“SEF”). A SEF is a trading platform where multiple market participants can execute swaps by accepting bids and offers made by multiple other participants in the platform. While this execution requirement is designed to increase transparency and liquidity in the cleared swap market, trading on a SEF can create additional costs and risks for the Fund. For example, SEFs typically charge fees, and if the Fund executes swaps on a SEF through a broker intermediary, the intermediary may impose fees as well. Also, the Fund may indemnify a SEF, or a broker intermediary who executes cleared swaps on a SEF on the Fund’s behalf, against any losses or costs that may be incurred as a result of the Fund’s transactions on the SEF.

The Fund may enter into swap transactions with certain counterparties pursuant to master netting agreements. A master netting agreement provides that all swaps entered into between the Fund and that counterparty shall be regarded as parts of an integral agreement. If amounts are payable on a particular date in the same currency in respect of more than one

 

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swap transaction, the amount payable shall be the net amount. In addition, the master netting agreement may provide that if one party (or its affiliates) defaults generally or on any swap, the counterparty can terminate all outstanding swaps with that party. As a result, to the extent the Fund enters into master netting agreements with a counterparty, the Fund may be required to terminate a greater number of swap agreements than if it had not entered into such an agreement, which may result in losses to the Fund.

Interest Rate Swaps, Caps and Floors. Interest rate swaps are agreements between two parties to exchange interest rate payment obligations. Typically, one party’s obligation is based on a fixed interest rate while the other party’s obligation is based on an interest rate that fluctuates with changes in a designated benchmark. An interest rate cap transaction entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index exceeds a predetermined value, to receive payments on a notional principal amount from the party selling the cap. An interest rate floor transaction entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index falls below a predetermined value, to receive payments on a notional principal amount from the party selling the floor. A collar combines elements of buying a cap and a floor. Caps and floors have an effect similar to buying or writing options. Caps and floors typically have lower liquidity than swaps.

Options on Swaps (“Swaptions”). A swaption is a contract that gives the counterparty the right, but not the obligation to enter into a new swap agreement or to shorten, extend, cancel or otherwise modify an existing swap agreement, at some designated future time on specified terms. The Fund may write (sell) and purchase put and call swaptions. Swaptions are generally subject to the same risks involved in the use of options and swaps. Depending on the terms of the option agreement, the Fund will generally incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a swaption than it will incur when it purchases a swaption. When the Fund purchases a swaption, only the amount of premium the Fund paid is at risk should the option expire unexercised. However, when the Fund writes a swaption, upon exercise of the option the Fund will become obligated according to the terms of the underlying agreement, which may result in losses to the Fund in excess of the premium it received.

Credit Default Swaps and Related Investments. The Fund may enter into credit default swap contracts for investment purposes and to add leverage to its investment portfolio. As the seller in a credit default swap contract, the Fund would be required to pay the par (or other agreed-upon) value of a debt-reference obligation to the counterparty in the event of a default by a third party on the debt obligation. In return, the Fund would receive from the counterparty a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract provided that no event of default has occurred. If no default occurs, the Fund would keep the stream of payments and would have no payment obligations. As the seller, the Fund would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its net assets, the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the swap. Credit default swap contracts involve special risks and may result in losses to the Fund. Credit default swaps may in some cases be illiquid, and they increase credit risk since the Fund has exposure to both the issuer of the referenced obligation and the counterparty to the credit default swap. As there is no central exchange or market for certain credit default swap transactions, they may be difficult to trade or value, especially in the event of market disruptions. It is possible that developments in the swap market, including new or modified government regulation, could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to terminate existing credit default swap agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.

The Fund may also purchase credit default swap contracts to attempt to hedge against the risk of default of debt securities held in its portfolio, in which case the Fund would function as the counterparty referenced in the preceding paragraph. This would involve the risk that the investment may expire worthless and would only generate income in the event of an actual default by the issuer of the underlying obligation (or, as applicable, a credit downgrade or other indication of financial instability). It would also involve credit risk—that the seller may fail to satisfy its payment obligations to the Fund in the event of a default.

The Fund may invest in credit default swap index products that provide exposure to obligations of multiple issuers. The Fund can either buy the index (take on credit exposure) or sell the index (pass credit exposure to a counterparty). Such investments are subject to the associated risks with investments in credit default swaps discussed above.

Total Return Swaps. Total return swaps are contracts in which, during a specified period, one party agrees to make periodic payments based on the change in market value of an underlying instrument, which may include a specified security, basket of securities or security indexes, in return for periodic payments based on a fixed or variable interest rate or the total return from other underlying assets. Alternatively, a total return swap can be structured so that one party will make payments to the other party if the value of an underlying instrument increases but receive payments from the other party if the value of that

 

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underlying instrument decreases. Total return swap agreements may be used to obtain exposure to a security or market without owning or taking physical custody of such security or asset.

Inflation Index Swaps. Inflation index swaps are contracts in which one party agrees to pay the cumulative percentage increase in a price index, such as the Consumer Price Index, over the term of the swap (with some lag on the referenced inflation index), and the other party pays a compounded fixed rate. Inflation index swaps can be designated as zero coupon, whereby both sides of the swap compound interest over the life of the swap and then the accrued interest is paid out only at the swap’s maturity. The value of inflation index swap agreements is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. If nominal interest rates increase at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates may rise, leading to a decrease in value of an inflation index swap agreement.

Distressed Debt Securities

Distressed debt securities are debt securities that are purchased in the secondary market and are the subject of bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise in default as to the repayment of principal and/or interest at the time of acquisition by the Fund or are rated in the lower rating categories (Ca or lower by Moody’s and CC or lower by S&P) or, if unrated, are in the judgment of the portfolio manager of equivalent quality. Investment in distressed debt securities is speculative and involves significant risk. The risks associated with high yield securities are heightened when investing in distressed debt securities.

The Fund may make such investments when the portfolio manager believes it is reasonably likely that the issuer of the distressed debt securities will make an exchange offer or will be the subject of a plan of reorganization pursuant to which the Fund will receive new securities (e.g., equity securities) and/or other assets. However, there can be no assurance that such an exchange offer will be made or that such a plan of reorganization will be adopted. In addition, a significant period of time may pass between the time at which the Fund makes its investment in distressed debt securities and the time that any such exchange offer or plan of reorganization is completed. During this period, it is unlikely that the Fund will receive any interest payments on the distressed debt securities, the Fund will be subject to significant uncertainty as to whether the exchange offer or plan will be completed and the Fund may be required to bear extraordinary expenses to protect or recover its investment. Even if an exchange offer is made or a plan of reorganization is adopted with respect to the distressed debt securities held by the Fund, there can be no assurance that the securities or other assets received by the Fund in connection with such exchange offer or plan of reorganization will not have a lower value or income potential than may have been anticipated when the investment was made. Moreover, any securities received by the Fund upon completion of an exchange offer or plan of reorganization may be restricted as to resale. As a result of the Fund’s participation in negotiations with respect to any exchange offer or plan of reorganization with respect to an issuer of distressed debt securities, the Fund may be restricted from disposing of such securities.

Equity Securities

Equity securities include exchange-traded and over-the-counter common and preferred stocks, warrants and rights, and securities convertible into common stocks. Equity securities fluctuate in price based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. The value of a particular security may decline due to factors that affect a particular industry or industries, such as an increase in production costs, competitive conditions or labor shortages; or due to general market conditions, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates or generally adverse investor sentiment. The value of an equity security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole. The value of a company’s equity securities may deteriorate because of a variety of factors, including disappointing earnings reports by the issuer, unsuccessful products or services, loss of major customers, major litigation against the issuer or changes in government regulations affecting the issuer or the competitive environment.

Exchange Traded Funds (“ETFs”)

ETFs are ownership interests in investment companies, unit investment trusts, depositary receipts and other pooled investment vehicles that are traded on an exchange and that hold a portfolio of securities or other financial instruments (the “Underlying Assets”). The Underlying Assets are typically selected to correspond to the securities that comprise a particular broad based sector or international index, or to provide exposure to a particular industry sector or asset class, including precious metals or other commodities. “Short ETFs” seek a return similar to the inverse, or a multiple of the inverse, of a reference index.

 

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Short ETFs carry additional risks because their Underlying Assets may include a variety of financial instruments, including futures and options on futures, options on securities and securities indexes, swap agreements and forward contracts, and a short ETF may engage in short sales. An ETF’s losses on short sales are potentially unlimited; however, the Fund’s risk would be limited to the amount it invested in the ETF. Certain ETFs are actively managed by a portfolio manager or management team that makes investment decisions on Underlying Assets without seeking to replicate the performance of a reference index or industry sector or asset class.

Unlike shares of typical open-end management investment companies or unit investment trusts, shares of ETFs are designed to be traded throughout the trading day and bought and sold based on market price rather than net asset value. Shares can trade at either a premium or discount to net asset value. The portfolios held by ETFs are typically publicly disclosed on each trading day and an approximation of actual net asset value is disseminated throughout the trading day. An ETF will generally gain or lose value depending on the performance of the Underlying Assets. In the future, as new products become available, the Fund may invest in ETFs that do not have this same level of transparency and, therefore, may be more likely to trade at a larger discount or premium to actual net asset values.

Gains or losses on the Fund’s investment in ETFs will ultimately depend on the purchase and sale price of the ETF. An active trading market for an ETF’s shares may not develop or be maintained and trading of an ETF’s shares may be halted if the listing exchange’s officials deem such action appropriate, the shares are delisted from the exchange or the activation of market-wide “circuit breakers” (which are tied to large decreases in stock prices) halts stock trading generally. The performance of an ETF will be reduced by transaction and other expenses, including fees paid by the ETF to service providers. Investors in ETFs are eligible to receive their portion of income, if any, accumulated on the securities held in the portfolio, less fees and expenses of the ETF.

An investment in an ETF involves risks similar to investing directly in the Underlying Assets, including the risk that the value of the Underlying Assets may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of their issuers, the value of securities and other financial instruments generally, and other market factors.

If an ETF is a registered investment company (as defined in the 1940 Act), the limitations applicable to the Fund’s ability to purchase securities issued by other investment companies apply absent certain exemptive rules or other available exemptive relief. However, under Rule 12d1-4, the Fund may invest in other investment companies, including ETFs, in excess of these limits, subject to certain conditions. These restrictions may limit the Fund’s ability to invest in ETFs to the extent desired. Some ETFs are not structured as investment companies and thus are not regulated under the 1940 Act.

Foreign Securities

The risks of investing in securities of non-U.S. issuers or issuers with significant exposure to non-U.S. markets may be related, among other things, to (i) differences in size, liquidity and volatility of, and the degree and manner of regulation of, the securities markets of certain non-U.S. markets compared to the securities markets in the U.S.; (ii) economic, political and social factors; and (iii) foreign exchange matters, such as restrictions on the repatriation of capital, fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the currencies in which the Fund’s portfolio securities are quoted or denominated, exchange control regulations and costs associated with currency exchange. The political and economic structures in certain foreign countries, particularly emerging markets, are expected to undergo significant evolution and rapid development, and such countries may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of more developed countries.

Unanticipated political or social developments may affect the values of the Fund’s investments in such countries. The economies and securities and currency markets of many emerging markets have experienced significant disruption and declines. There can be no assurances that these economic and market disruptions will not continue.

Legal remedies available to investors in certain foreign countries may be less extensive than those available to investors in the U.S. or other foreign countries. Accounting standards in other countries are also not necessarily the same as in the United States. If the accounting standards in another country do not require as much detail as U.S. accounting standards, it may be harder for the portfolio manager to completely and accurately determine a company’s financial condition. In addition, the U.S. Government has from time to time in the past imposed restrictions, through penalties and otherwise, on foreign investments by U.S. investors such as the Fund. Also, brokerage commissions and other costs of buying or selling securities often are higher in foreign countries than they are in the U.S. This reduces the amount the Fund can earn on its investments.

 

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The Fund generally holds its foreign securities and cash in foreign banks and securities depositories. Some foreign banks and securities depositories may be recently organized or new to the foreign custody business. In addition, there may be limited or no regulatory oversight over their operations. Also, the laws of certain countries may put limits on the Fund’s ability to recover its assets if a foreign bank or depository or issuer of a security or any of their agents goes bankrupt. In addition, it is often more expensive for the Fund to buy, sell and hold securities in certain foreign markets than in the U.S. The increased expense of investing in foreign markets reduces the amount the Fund can earn on its investments and typically results in a higher operating expense ratio for the Fund as compared to investment companies that invest only in the United States.

Securities of some foreign companies have lower liquidity, and their prices are more volatile, than securities of comparable domestic companies. Certain foreign countries are known to experience long delays between the trade and settlement dates of securities purchased or sold resulting in increased exposure of the Fund to market and foreign exchange fluctuations brought about by such delays, and to the corresponding negative impact on Fund liquidity.

Foreign Currency Risks

The U.S. dollar value of securities denominated in a foreign currency will vary with changes in currency exchange rates, which can be volatile. Accordingly, changes in the value of the currency in which the Fund’s investments are denominated relative to the U.S. dollar will affect the Fund’s net asset value. Exchange rates are generally affected by the forces of supply and demand in the international currency markets, the relative merits of investing in different countries and the intervention or failure to intervene of U.S. or foreign governments and central banks. However, currency exchange rates may fluctuate based on factors intrinsic to a country’s economy. Some emerging market countries also may have managed currencies, which are not free floating against the U.S. dollar. In addition, emerging markets are subject to the risk of restrictions upon the free conversion of their currencies into other currencies. Any devaluations relative to the U.S. dollar in the currencies in which the Fund’s securities are quoted would reduce the Fund’s net asset value per share.

Investment in Emerging Markets

Investors are strongly advised to consider carefully the special risks involved in emerging markets, which are in addition to the usual risks of investing in developed foreign markets around the world.

The risks of investing in securities in emerging countries include: (i) less social, political and economic stability; (ii) the smaller size of the markets for such securities and lower volume of trading, which result in a lack of liquidity and in greater price volatility; (iii) certain national policies that may restrict the Fund’s investment opportunities, including restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests; (iv) foreign taxation; (v) the absence of developed structures governing private or foreign investment or allowing for judicial redress for injury to private property; and (vi) military unrest, war and terrorism.

Investors should note that upon the accession to power of authoritarian regimes, the governments of a number of emerging market countries previously expropriated large quantities of real and personal property similar to the property which may be represented by the securities purchased by the Fund. The claims of property owners against those governments were never finally settled. There can be no assurance that any property represented by securities purchased by the Fund will not also be expropriated, nationalized, or otherwise confiscated at some time in the future. If such confiscation were to occur, the Fund could lose a substantial portion or all of its investments in such countries. The Fund’s investments would similarly be adversely affected by exchange control regulation in any of those countries.

Certain countries in which the Fund may invest may have vocal groups that advocate radical religious or revolutionary philosophies or support ethnic independence. Any disturbance on the part of such individuals could carry the potential for widespread destruction or confiscation of property owned by individuals and entities foreign to such country and could cause the loss of the Fund’s investment in those countries.

Settlement mechanisms in emerging market securities may be less efficient and reliable than in more developed markets. In such emerging securities markets there may be delays and failures in share registration and delivery. In certain markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions. The inability of the Fund to make intended securities purchases due to settlement problems could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Inability to dispose of a portfolio security caused by settlement problems could result either in losses to the Fund due to subsequent declines in the value of the portfolio security or,

 

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if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the security, in possible liability to the purchaser. There may also be a danger that, because of uncertainties in the operation of settlement systems in individual markets, competing claims may arise in respect of securities held by or to be transferred to the Fund. Furthermore, compensation schemes may be non-existent, limited or inadequate to meet the Fund’s claims in any of these events.

Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and may continue to have, very negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain emerging markets. While some emerging market countries have sought to develop a number of corrective mechanisms to reduce inflation or mitigate its effects, inflation may continue to have significant effects both on emerging market economies and their securities markets. In addition, many of the currencies of emerging market countries have experienced steady devaluations relative to the U.S. dollar and major devaluations have occurred in certain countries. Economies in emerging markets generally are heavily dependent upon international trade and, accordingly, have been and may continue to be affected adversely by economic conditions, trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which they trade.

Because of the high levels of foreign-denominated debt owed by many emerging market countries, fluctuating exchange rates can significantly affect the debt service obligations of those countries. This could, in turn, affect local interest rates, profit margins and exports, which are a major source of foreign exchange earnings.

To the extent an emerging market country faces a liquidity crisis with respect to its foreign exchange reserves, it may increase restrictions on the outflow of any foreign exchange. Repatriation is ultimately dependent on the ability of the Fund to liquidate its investments and convert the local currency proceeds obtained from such liquidation into U.S. dollars. Where this conversion must be done through official channels (usually the central bank or certain authorized commercial banks), the ability to obtain U.S. dollars is dependent on the availability of such U.S. dollars through those channels and, if available, upon the willingness of those channels to allocate those U.S. dollars to the Fund. The Fund’s ability to obtain U.S. dollars may be adversely affected by any increased restrictions imposed on the outflow of foreign exchange. If the Fund is unable to repatriate any amounts due to exchange controls, it may be required to accept an obligation payable at some future date by the central bank or other governmental entity of the jurisdiction involved. If such conversion can legally be done outside official channels, either directly or indirectly, the Fund’s ability to obtain U.S. dollars may not be affected as much by any increased restrictions except to the extent of the price which may be required to be paid in U.S. dollars. Furthermore, repatriation of investment income, capital and the proceeds of sales by foreign investors may require governmental registration and/or approval in some countries.

Many emerging market countries have little experience with the corporate form of business organization and may not have well-developed corporation and business laws or concepts of fiduciary duty in the business context. The Fund may encounter substantial difficulties in obtaining and enforcing judgments against individuals and companies located in certain emerging market countries. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain or enforce legislation or remedies against governments, their agencies and sponsored entities.

Disclosure and regulatory standards in emerging markets in many respects are less stringent than in the United States and other major markets. There also may be a lower level of monitoring and regulation of emerging markets and the activities of investors in such markets; enforcement of existing regulations has been extremely limited. Additionally, accounting, auditing and financial reporting and recordkeeping standards in emerging markets may not provide the same degree of investor protection or information to investors as would generally apply in more developed markets. The Public Accounting Oversight Board, which regulates auditors of U.S. public companies, is unable to inspect audit work papers in certain foreign or emerging market countries.

Trading in the securities of emerging markets presents additional credit and financial risks. The Fund may have limited access to, or there may be a limited number of, potential counterparties that trade in the securities of emerging market issuers. Governmental regulations may restrict potential counterparties to certain financial institutions located or operating in the particular emerging market. Potential counterparties may not possess, adopt or implement creditworthiness standards, financial reporting standards or legal and contractual protections similar to those in developed markets. Currency hedging techniques may not be available or may be limited. The Fund may not be able to reduce or mitigate risks related to trading with emerging market counterparties.

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 the Fund’s portfolio securities in such markets

 

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may not be readily available. Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act permits a registered investment company to suspend redemption of its shares for any period during which an emergency exists, as determined by the SEC. Accordingly, if the Fund believes that appropriate circumstances warrant, it may apply to the SEC for a determination that an emergency exists within the meaning of Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act. During the period commencing from the Fund’s identification of such conditions until the date of SEC action, the portfolio securities in the affected markets will be valued at fair value as determined by the Manager in accordance with the Fund’s valuation policy.

Although it might be theoretically possible to hedge for anticipated income and gains, the ongoing and indeterminate nature of the risks associated with emerging market investing (and the costs associated with hedging transactions) makes it very difficult to hedge effectively against such risks.

Europe — Recent Events

A number of countries in Europe have experienced severe economic and financial difficulties. Many non-governmental issuers, and even certain governments, have defaulted on, or been forced to restructure, their debts; many other issuers have faced difficulties obtaining credit or refinancing existing obligations; financial institutions have in many cases required government or central bank support, have needed to raise capital, and/or have been impaired in their ability to extend credit; and financial markets in Europe and elsewhere have experienced extreme volatility and declines in asset values and liquidity. These difficulties may continue, worsen or spread within and outside of Europe. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not work, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and others of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world.

In addition, the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” Following a transition period, the United Kingdom’s post-Brexit trade agreement with the European Union passed into law in December 2020, was provisionally applied effective January 1, 2021, and formally entered into force on May 1, 2021. There is significant market uncertainty regarding Brexit’s ramifications. The range and potential implications of possible political, regulatory, economic, and market outcomes cannot be fully known but could be significant, potentially resulting in increased volatility and illiquidity and lower economic growth for companies that rely significantly on Europe for their business activities and revenues. The United Kingdom has one of the largest economies in Europe and is a major trading partner with the European Union countries and the United States. Brexit may create additional and substantial economic stresses for the United Kingdom, including a contraction of the United Kingdom’s economy, decreased trade, capital outflows, devaluation of the British pound, as well as a decrease in business and consumer spending and investment. The negative impact on not only the United Kingdom and other European economies but also the broader global economy could be significant. Moreover, other countries may seek to withdraw from the European Union and/or abandon the euro, the common currency of the European Union. A number of countries in Europe have suffered terror attacks, and additional attacks may occur in the future. Europe has also been struggling with mass migration from the Middle East and Africa.

The ultimate effects of these events and other socio-political or geopolitical issues are not known but could profoundly affect global economies and markets. Whether or not the Fund invests in securities of issuers located in Europe or with significant exposure to European issuers or countries, these events could negatively affect the value and liquidity of the Fund’s investments.

Risks Related to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 resulted in the United States, other countries and certain international organizations levying broad economic sanctions against Russia. These sanctions froze certain Russian assets and prohibited, among other things, trading in certain Russian securities and doing business with specific Russian corporate entities, large financial institutions, officials and oligarchs. The sanctions also included the removal of some Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), the electronic network that connects banks globally, and imposed restrictive measures to prevent the Russian Central Bank from undermining the impact of the sanctions. The United States and other countries have also imposed economic sanctions on Belarus and may impose sanctions on other countries that support Russia’s military invasion. A number of large corporations and U.S. states have also announced plans to divest interests or otherwise curtail business dealings with certain Russian businesses. These sanctions and any additional sanctions or other intergovernmental actions that may be undertaken against Russia or other countries that support Russia’s military invasion in the

 

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future may result in the devaluation of Russian or other affected currencies, a downgrade in the sanctioned country’s credit rating, and a decline in the value and liquidity of Russian securities and securities of issuers in other countries that support the invasion. The potential for wider conflict may further decrease the value and liquidity of certain Russian securities and securities of issuers in other countries affected by the invasion. In addition, the ability to price, buy, sell, receive, or deliver such securities is also affected due to these measures. For example, the Fund may be prohibited from investing in securities issued by companies subject to such sanctions. In addition, the sanctions may require the Fund to freeze its existing investments in companies operating in or having dealings with Russia or other sanctioned countries, which would prevent the Fund from selling these investments. Any exposure that the Fund may have to Russian counterparties or counterparties in other sanctioned countries also could negatively impact the Fund’s portfolio.

Additionally, Russia has taken retaliatory actions, including preventing repatriation of capital by U.S. and other investors. The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant market disruptions, including in certain markets, industries and sectors, such as the oil and natural gas markets, and negatively affected global supply chains, food supplies, inflation and global growth. The extent and duration of Russia’s military actions and the repercussions of such actions (including sanctions, retaliatory actions and countermeasures, including cyber attacks) are impossible to predict. These and any related events could significantly impact the Fund’s performance and the value of an investment in the Fund, even beyond any direct exposure the Fund may have to Russian issuers or issuers in other countries directly affected by the invasion.

Eurodollar or Yankee Obligations

Eurodollar bank obligations are U.S. dollar denominated debt obligations issued outside the U.S. capital markets by non-U.S. branches of U.S. banks and by non-U.S. banks. Yankee obligations are U.S. dollar denominated obligations issued in the U.S. capital markets by non-U.S. issuers. Eurodollar (and to a limited extent, Yankee) obligations are subject to certain sovereign risks. One such risk is the possibility that a non-U.S. government might prevent U.S. dollar denominated funds from flowing across its borders. Other risks include: adverse political and economic developments in a non-U.S. country; the extent and quality of government regulation of financial markets and institutions; the imposition of non-U.S. withholding taxes; and expropriation or nationalization of non-U.S. issuers.

Sovereign Government and Supranational Debt Obligations

The Fund may invest in all types of debt securities of governmental issuers in all countries, including emerging markets. These sovereign debt securities may include: debt securities issued or guaranteed by governments, governmental agencies or instrumentalities and political subdivisions located in emerging market countries; debt securities issued by government owned, controlled or sponsored entities located in emerging market countries; interests issued for the purpose of restructuring the investment characteristics of instruments issued by any of the above issuers; Brady Bonds, which are debt securities issued under the framework of the Brady Plan as a means for debtor nations to restructure their outstanding external indebtedness; participations in loans between emerging market governments and financial institutions; or debt securities issued by supranational entities such as the World Bank. A supranational entity is a bank, commission or company established or financially supported by the national governments of one or more countries to promote reconstruction or development. Included among these entities are the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Supranational organizations have no taxing authority and are dependent on their members for payments of interest and principal. There is no guarantee that one or more members of a supranational organization will continue to make capital contributions. If such contributions are not made, the organization may be unable to pay interest or repay principal on its debt securities, and the Fund may lose money on such investments. Further, the lending activities of such entities are limited to a percentage of their total capital, reserves and net income.

Sovereign debt is subject to risks in addition to those relating to non-U.S. investments generally. As a sovereign entity, the issuing government may be immune from lawsuits in the event of its failure or refusal to pay the obligations when due. The debtor’s willingness or ability to repay in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its non-U.S. currency reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign currency exchange on the date a payment is due, the relative size of the debt service burden to the economy as a whole, the sovereign debtor’s policy toward principal international lenders and the political constraints to which the sovereign debtor may be subject. Sovereign debtors may also be dependent on disbursements or assistance from non-U.S. governments or multinational agencies, the country’s access to trade and other international credits, and the country’s balance of trade. Assistance may be dependent on a country’s implementation of

 

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austerity measures and reforms, economic performance and/or the timely service of such debtor’s obligations. Failure to implement such reforms, achieve such levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of such third parties’ commitments to lend funds to the governmental entity, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to service its debts in a timely manner. Some sovereign debtors have rescheduled their debt payments, declared moratoria on payments or restructured their debt to effectively eliminate portions of it, and similar occurrences may happen in the future. There is no bankruptcy proceeding by which sovereign debt on which governmental entities have defaulted may be collected in whole or in part.

Depositary Receipts

Depositary receipts demonstrate ownership of shares of a foreign issuer and are alternatives to directly purchasing the underlying foreign security. Depositary receipts may be sponsored or unsponsored and include American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) and non-voting depositary receipts (“NVDRs”). ADRs in registered form are typically issued by a U.S. bank or trust company, traded in U.S. dollars, and are designed for use in the domestic market. GDRs, EDRs, NVDRs and other similar instruments may be issued by a U.S. or non-U.S. entity and may be traded in other currencies. GDRs are tradable both in the United States and Europe and are designed for use throughout the world. EDRs are issued in bearer form and are designed for use in European securities markets.

Depositary receipts in general are subject to many of the risks associated with foreign investing (e.g., increased market, illiquidity, currency, political, information and other risks), and even where traded in U.S. dollars are subject to currency risk if the underlying security is traded in a foreign currency. Unsponsored depositary receipts are issued without the participation of the issuer of the underlying foreign security and there may be less information available about such issuers than there is with respect to domestic companies and issuers of securities underlying sponsored depositary receipts. Even if there is information available, there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts.

High Yield (“Junk”) Bonds

High yield securities are medium or lower rated securities and unrated securities of comparable quality, sometimes referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds. Generally, such securities offer a higher current yield than is offered by higher rated securities, but also are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the securities. The market values of certain of these securities also tend to be more sensitive to individual corporate developments and changes in economic conditions than higher quality bonds. In addition, medium and lower rated securities and comparable unrated securities generally present a higher degree of credit risk. The risk of loss because of default by issuers of these securities is significantly greater because medium and lower rated securities generally are unsecured and frequently subordinated to senior indebtedness. In addition, the market value of securities in lower rated categories is generally more volatile than that of higher quality securities, and the markets in which medium and lower rated securities are traded are more limited than those in which higher rated securities are traded. The existence of limited markets may make it more difficult for the Fund to obtain accurate market quotations for purposes of valuing its securities and calculating its net asset value. Moreover, the lack of a liquid trading market may restrict the availability of securities for the Fund to purchase and may also limit the ability of the Fund to sell securities at their fair value either to meet redemption requests or to respond to changes in the economy or the financial markets.

Lower rated debt obligations often have redemption features that permit an issuer to repurchase the security from the Fund before it matures. If an issuer exercises that right, the Fund may have to replace the security with a lower yielding security, resulting in a decreased return for investors. If the Fund experiences unexpected net redemptions, it may be forced to sell its higher rated bonds, resulting in a decline in the overall credit quality of the securities held by the Fund and increasing the exposure of the Fund to the risks of lower rated securities. Investments in lower rated zero coupon bonds may be more speculative and subject to greater fluctuations in value because of changes in interest rates than lower rated bonds that pay interest currently.

Subsequent to its purchase by the Fund, an issue of securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum required for purchase by the Fund (if applicable). Neither event will require sale of these securities by the Fund, but the portfolio manager will consider the event in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the security.

 

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Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities

The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid security is any security which the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the security. To the extent required by applicable law and SEC guidance, the Fund will not acquire an illiquid security if such acquisition would cause the aggregate value of illiquid securities to exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets. If at any time the portfolio manager determines that the value of illiquid securities held by the Fund exceeds 15% of the Fund’s net assets, the portfolio manager will take such steps as it considers appropriate to reduce the percentage within a reasonable period of time consistent with applicable regulatory requirements. Because illiquid investments may not be readily marketable, the Fund may not be able to dispose of them in a timely manner. As a result, the Fund may be forced to hold illiquid investments while their price depreciates. Depreciation in the price of illiquid investments may cause the net asset value of the Fund to decline.

Restricted securities are securities subject to legal or contractual restrictions on their resale, such as private placements. Such restrictions might prevent the sale of restricted securities at a time when the sale would otherwise be desirable. Under SEC regulations, certain restricted securities acquired through private placements can be traded freely among qualified purchasers. While restricted securities are generally presumed to be illiquid, it may be determined that a particular restricted security is liquid. Investing in these restricted securities could have the effect of increasing the Fund’s illiquidity if qualified purchasers become, for a time, uninterested in buying these securities.

Restricted securities may be sold only (1) pursuant to SEC Rule 144A or another exemption, (2) in privately negotiated transactions or (3) in public offerings with respect to which a registration statement is in effect under the 1933 Act. Rule 144A securities, although not registered in the U.S., may be sold to qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. As noted above, the Fund may determine that some Rule 144A securities are liquid. Where registration is required, the Fund may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses and a considerable period may elapse between the time of the decision to sell and the time the Fund may be permitted to sell a restricted security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, the Fund might obtain a less favorable price than prevailed when it decided to sell.

Illiquid securities may be difficult to value, and the Fund may have difficulty disposing of such securities promptly. The Fund does not consider non-U.S. securities to be restricted if they can be freely sold in the principal markets in which they are traded, even if they are not registered for sale in the U.S.

Liquidity Risk Management. Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act requires, among other things, that the Fund and other Legg Mason open-end funds establish a liquidity risk management program (“LRMP”) that is reasonably designed to assess and manage liquidity risk. Rule 22e-4 defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that a fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by the fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interests in the fund. The Fund has implemented a LRMP to meet the relevant requirements. Additionally, the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, approved the designation of the Fund’s LRMP administrator to administer such program and will review no less frequently than annually a written report prepared by the LRMP administrator that addresses the operation of the LRMP and assesses its adequacy and effectiveness of implementation. Among other things, the LRMP provides for the classification of each Fund investment as a “highly liquid investment,” “moderately liquid investment,” “less liquid investment” or “illiquid investment.” The liquidity risk classifications of the Fund’s investments are determined after reasonable inquiry and taking into account relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations. To the extent that a Fund investment is deemed to be an “illiquid investment” or a “less liquid investment,” the Fund can expect to be exposed to greater illiquidity risk. There is no guarantee the LRMP will be effective in its operations, and complying with Rule 22e-4, including bearing related costs, could impact the Fund’s performance and its ability to achieve its investment objective.

Inflation Indexed Securities

Inflation indexed bonds are fixed income securities whose principal value or coupon (interest payment) is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. Two structures are common. The U.S. Treasury and some other issuers use a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Most other issuers pay out the index-based accruals as part of a semiannual coupon. The Fund may also invest in inflation-indexed securities with other structures or characteristics as such securities become available in the market. It is currently expected that other types of inflation-indexed securities would have characteristics similar to those described below.

 

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U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (“U.S. TIPS”) are fixed income securities issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury, the principal amounts of which are adjusted daily based upon changes in the rate of inflation (currently represented by the non-seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), calculated with a three-month lag). The U.S. Department of Treasury issues U.S. TIPS in maturities of five, ten and thirty years, although it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. U.S. TIPS pay interest on a semi-annual basis, equal to a fixed percentage of the inflation-adjusted principal amount. The interest rate on these bonds is fixed at issuance, but over the life of the bond this interest may be paid on an increasing or decreasing principal value that has been adjusted for inflation.

Repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity (as adjusted for inflation) is guaranteed for U.S. TIPS, even during a period of deflation. However, because the principal amount of U.S. TIPS would be adjusted downward during a period of deflation, the Fund will be subject to deflation risk with respect to its investments in these securities. In addition, the current market value of the bonds is not guaranteed, and will fluctuate. If the Fund purchases U.S. TIPS in the secondary market whose principal values have been adjusted upward due to inflation since issuance, the Fund may experience a loss if there is a subsequent period of deflation. The Fund may also invest in other inflation-related bonds which may or may not provide a guarantee of principal.

The value of inflation-indexed bonds is expected to fluctuate in response to changes in real interest rates, which are in turn tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. Therefore, if inflation were to rise at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation indexed bonds. In contrast, if nominal interest rates increased at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates might rise, leading to a decrease in value of inflation indexed bonds. If inflation is lower than expected during the period the Fund holds the security, the Fund may earn less on the security than on a conventional bond. Any increase in principal value is taxable in the year the increase occurs, even though holders do not receive cash representing the increase at that time. As a result, if the Fund invests in inflation-indexed securities, it could be required at times to liquidate other investments, including when it is not advantageous to do so, in order to satisfy its distribution requirements as a regulated investment company and to eliminate any fund-level income tax liability under the Code.

While these securities are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to changes in currency exchange rates), investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.

The U.S. Treasury began issuing inflation-indexed bonds in 1997. Certain non-U.S. governments, such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, have a longer history of issuing inflation indexed bonds, and there may be a more liquid market in certain of these countries for these securities. The Fund may invest in inflation-indexed securities issued in any country.

The periodic adjustment of U.S. TIPS is currently tied to the CPI-U, which is calculated by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy. Inflation-indexed bonds issued by a non-U.S. government are generally adjusted to reflect a comparable inflation index, calculated by that government. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U or any non-U.S. inflation index will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. In addition, there can be no assurance that the rate of inflation in a non-U.S. country will be correlated to the rate of inflation in the United States. The three-month lag in calculating the CPI-U for purposes of adjusting the principal value of U.S. TIPS may give rise to risks under certain circumstances.

Investments by Other Funds and by Other Significant Investors

Certain investment companies, including those that are affiliated with the Fund because they are managed by the Manager or an affiliate of the Manager, may invest in the Fund and may at times have substantial investments in one or more funds. Other investors also may at times have substantial investments in one or more funds.

From time to time, the Fund may experience relatively large redemptions or investments due to transactions in Fund shares by a fund or other significant investor. The effects of these transactions could adversely affect the Fund’s performance. In the event of such redemptions or investments, the Fund could be required to sell securities or to invest cash at a time when it is not advantageous to do so. Such transactions may increase brokerage and/or other transaction costs of the Fund. A large redemption could cause the Fund’s expenses to increase and could result in the Fund becoming too small to be economically

 

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viable. Redemptions of Fund shares could also accelerate the realization of taxable capital gains in the Fund if sales of securities result in capital gains. The impact of these transactions is likely to be greater when a fund or other significant investor purchases, redeems, or owns a substantial portion of the Fund’s shares.

The Manager and the Subadviser are subject to potential conflicts of interest in connection with investments in the Fund by an affiliated fund due to their affiliation. For example, the Manager or the Subadviser could have the incentive to permit an affiliated fund to become a more significant shareholder (with the potential to cause greater disruption) than would be permitted for an unaffiliated investor. Investments by an affiliated fund may also give rise to conflicts in connection with the voting of fund shares. The Manager, the Subadviser and/or its advisory affiliates intend to seek to address these potential conflicts of interest in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders, although there can be no assurance that such efforts will be successful. The Manager and the Subadviser will consider how to minimize potential adverse impacts of affiliated fund investments, and, may take such actions as each deems appropriate to address potential adverse impacts, including redemption of shares in-kind, rather than in cash.

Investments in Other Investment Companies

Subject to applicable statutory and regulatory limitations described below, the Fund may invest in shares of other investment companies, including shares of open-end and closed-end investment companies affiliated or unaffiliated with the Fund, business development companies, exchange-traded funds and unregistered investment companies.

An investment in an investment company is subject to the risks associated with that investment company’s portfolio securities. Investments in closed-end funds may entail the additional risk that the market value of such investments may be substantially less than their net asset value. To the extent the Fund invests in shares of another investment company, the Fund will indirectly bear a proportionate share of that investment company’s advisory fees and other operating expenses. These fees are in addition to the advisory fees and other operational expenses incurred directly by the Fund. In addition, the Fund could incur a sales charge in connection with purchasing an investment company security or a redemption fee upon the redemption of such security.

Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act provides that a fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire the securities of other investment companies if, as a result of such purchase or acquisition, it would own: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired investment company; (ii) securities issued by any one investment company having a value in excess of 5% of the fund’s total assets; or (iii) securities issued by all investment companies having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the fund’s total assets. These limitations are subject to certain statutory and regulatory exemptions including Rule 12d1-4, which permits the Fund to invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits, subject to certain conditions. Among other conditions, the Rule prohibits a fund from acquiring control of another investment company (other than an investment company in the same group of investment companies), including by acquiring more than 25% of its voting securities. In addition, the Rule imposes certain voting requirements when a fund’s ownership of another investment company exceeds particular thresholds. If shares of a fund are acquired by another investment company, the “acquired” fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire the securities of an investment company or private fund if immediately after such purchase or acquisition, the securities of investment companies and private funds owned by that acquired fund have an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the acquired fund, subject to certain exceptions. These restrictions may limit the Fund’s ability to invest in other investment companies to the extent desired. In addition, other unaffiliated investment companies may impose other investment limitations or redemption restrictions which may also limit the Fund’s flexibility with respect to making investments in those unaffiliated investment companies.

Private Investment Companies

The Fund may also invest in the securities of private investment companies, including “hedge funds” and private equity funds, subject to applicable law (including the limits described above with respect to investments in other investment companies) and the Fund’s policy prohibiting it from purchasing or otherwise acquiring such securities if, as a result, more than 15% of its net assets would be invested in securities that are illiquid. As with investments in other investment companies, if the Fund invests in a private investment company, the Fund will be charged its proportionate share of the advisory fees including incentive compensation and other operating expenses of such company. These fees, which can be substantial, would be in addition to the advisory fees and other operating expenses incurred by the Fund. In addition, private investment companies are not registered with the SEC and may not be registered with any other regulatory authority. Accordingly, they are not subject to certain

 

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regulatory requirements and oversight to which registered issuers are subject. There may be very little public information available about their investments and performance. Moreover, because sales of shares of private investment companies are generally restricted to certain qualified purchasers, such shares may be illiquid and it could be difficult for the Fund to sell its shares at an advantageous price and time. Finally, because shares of private investment companies are not publicly traded, a fair value for the Fund’s investment in these companies typically will be determined by the Manager in accordance with the Fund’s valuation policy.

Investment in Money Market Funds

The Fund may invest in money market instruments, including money market funds managed by the Manager or its affiliates and money market funds managed by unaffiliated advisers. Money market funds invest in high-quality, U.S. dollar-denominated short-term debt securities and must follow strict rules as to the credit quality, liquidity, diversification and maturity of their investments. The Fund may lose money on its investment in money market funds. If the Fund invests in money market funds it will indirectly bear its proportionate share of the management fees and other expenses that are charged by the money market fund in addition to the management fees and other expenses paid by the Fund. If the Fund invests in money market funds that are managed by the Manager or its affiliates, it is possible that a conflict of interest among the Fund and the affiliated funds could affect how the Fund’s Manager and its affiliates fulfill their fiduciary duty to the Fund and the affiliated funds.

Loans

Loans are negotiated and underwritten by a bank or syndicate of banks and other institutional investors. The Fund may acquire an interest in loans through the primary market by acting as one of a group of lenders of a loan. The primary risk in an investment in loans is that the borrower may be unable to meet its interest and/or principal payment obligations. The occurrence of such a default with regard to a loan in which the Fund had invested would have an adverse effect on the Fund’s net asset value. In addition, a sudden and significant increase in market interest rates may cause a decline in the value of these investments and in the Fund’s net asset value. Other factors, such as rating downgrades, credit deterioration, or large downward movement in stock prices, a disparity in supply and demand of certain securities or market conditions that reduce liquidity could reduce the value of loans, impairing the Fund’s net asset value. Loans may not be considered “securities” for certain purposes and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.

Loans in which the Fund may invest may be collateralized or uncollateralized and senior or subordinate. Investments in uncollateralized and/or subordinate loans entail a greater risk of nonpayment than do investments in loans which hold a more senior position in the borrower’s capital structure or that are secured with collateral. In the case of collateralized senior loans, however, there is no assurance that sale of the collateral would raise enough cash to satisfy the borrower’s payment obligation or that the collateral can or will be liquidated. As a result, the Fund might not receive payments to which it is entitled and thereby may experience a decline in the value of its investment and its net asset value. In the event of bankruptcy, liquidation may not occur and the court may not give lenders the full benefit of their senior positions. If the terms of a senior loan do not require the borrower to pledge additional collateral, the Fund will be exposed to the risk that the value of the collateral will not at all times equal or exceed the amount of the borrower’s obligations under the senior loans. To the extent that a senior loan is collateralized by stock in the borrower or its subsidiaries, such stock may lose all of its value in the event of bankruptcy of the borrower.

The Fund may also acquire an interest in loans by purchasing participations (“Participations”) in and/or assignments (“Assignments”) of portions of loans from third parties. By purchasing a Participation, the Fund acquires some or all of the interest of a bank or other lending institution in a loan to a borrower. Participations typically will result in the Fund’s having a contractual relationship only with the lender and not the borrower. The Fund will have the right to receive payments of principal, interest and any fees to which it is entitled only from the lender selling the Participation and only upon receipt by the lender of the payments from the borrower. In connection with purchasing Participations, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the borrower with the terms of the loan agreement relating to the loan, nor any rights of set-off against the borrower, and the Fund may not directly benefit from any collateral supporting the loan in which it has purchased the Participation. As a result, the Fund will assume the credit risk of both the borrower and the lender that is selling the Participation.

When the Fund purchases Assignments from lenders, the Fund will acquire direct rights against the borrower on the loan. However, since Assignments are arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and assignors, the

 

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rights and obligations acquired by the Fund as the purchaser of an Assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the lender from which the Fund is purchasing the Assignments. Certain of the Participations or Assignments acquired by the Fund may involve unfunded commitments of the lenders or revolving credit facilities under which a borrower may from time to time borrow and repay amounts up to the maximum amount of the facility. In such cases, the Fund would have an obligation to advance its portion of such additional borrowings upon the terms specified in the loan documentation.

The Fund may acquire loans of borrowers that are experiencing, or are more likely to experience, financial difficulty, including loans of borrowers that have filed for bankruptcy protection. Although loans in which the Fund will invest generally will be secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of nonpayment of scheduled interest or principal, or that such collateral could be readily liquidated. In the event of bankruptcy of a borrower, the Fund could experience delays or limitations with respect to its ability to realize the benefits of the collateral securing a senior loan.

In addition, the Fund may have difficulty disposing of its investments in loans. The liquidity of such securities is limited and the Fund anticipates that such securities could be sold only to a limited number of institutional investors. The lack of a liquid secondary market could have an adverse impact on the value of such securities and on the Fund’s ability to dispose of particular loans or Assignments or Participations when necessary to meet the Fund’s liquidity needs or in response to a specific economic event, such as a deterioration in the creditworthiness of the borrower. The lack of a liquid secondary market for loans may also make it more difficult for the Fund to assign a value to those securities for purposes of valuing the Fund’s investments and calculating its net asset value.

The issuer of a loan may offer to provide material, non-public information about the issuer to investors, such as the Fund. The Fund’s portfolio manager may avoid receiving this type of information about the issuer of a loan either held by or considered for investment by the Fund, because of prohibitions on trading in securities of issuers while in possession of such information. The decision not to receive material, non-public information may place the Fund at a disadvantage, relative to other loan investors, in assessing a loan or the loan’s issuer.

Covenant Lite Loans

Loan agreements, which set forth the terms of a loan and the obligations of the borrower and lender, contain certain covenants that mandate or prohibit certain borrower actions, including financial covenants that dictate certain minimum and maximum financial performance levels. Covenants that require the borrower to maintain certain financial metrics during the life of the loan (such as maintaining certain levels of cash flow and limiting leverage) are known as “maintenance covenants.” These covenants are included to permit the lender to monitor the performance of the borrower and declare an event of default if breached, allowing the lender to renegotiate the terms of the loan based upon the elevated risk levels or take other actions to help mitigate losses. Covenant lite loans contain fewer maintenance covenants than traditional loans, or no maintenance covenants at all, and may not include terms that allow the lender to monitor the financial performance of the borrower and declare a default if certain criteria are breached. This may expose the Fund to greater credit risk associated with the borrower and reduce the Fund’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, the Fund’s exposure to losses on such investments may be increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle.

London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) Replacement and Other Reference Rates Risk

Many debt securities, derivatives, and other financial instruments, including some of the Fund’s investments, utilize benchmark or reference rates such as LIBOR, Euro Interbank Offer Rate (“EURIBOR”), Sterling Overnight Index Average Rate (“SONIA”), and other similar types of reference rates for variable interest rate calculations. Instruments in which the Fund invests may pay interest at floating rates based on LIBOR or other similar types of reference rates or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on such reference rates. The Fund and issuers of instruments in which the Fund invests may also obtain financing at floating rates based on such reference rates. The elimination of a reference rate or any other changes to or reforms of the determination or supervision of reference rates could have an adverse impact on the market for—or value of—any instruments or payments linked to those reference rates.

In 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) announced its intention to cease compelling banks to provide the quotations needed to sustain LIBOR after 2021. ICE Benchmark Administration, the administrator of LIBOR, ceased publication of most LIBOR settings on a representative basis at the end of 2021 and is expected to cease publication of the remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR settings on a representative basis after June 30, 2023. In addition, global regulators have announced that, with

 

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limited exceptions, no new LIBOR-based contracts should be entered into after 2021. Actions by regulators have resulted in the establishment of alternative reference rates to LIBOR in most major currencies. Markets are developing in response to these new rates but questions around liquidity in these rates and how to appropriately adjust these rates to eliminate any economic value transfer at the time of transition remain a significant concern. The effect of any changes to—or discontinuation of—LIBOR on the Fund will vary depending on, among other things, existing fallback provisions in individual contracts and whether, how, and when industry participants develop and widely adopt new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products and instruments. In March 2022, the U.S. federal government enacted legislation to establish a process for replacing LIBOR in certain existing contracts that do not already provide for the use of a clearly defined or practicable replacement benchmark rate as described in the legislation. Generally speaking, for contracts that do not contain a fallback provision as described in the legislation, a benchmark replacement recommended by the Federal Reserve Board will effectively automatically replace the USD LIBOR benchmark in the contract after June 30, 2023. The recommended benchmark replacement will be based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including certain spread adjustments and benchmark replacement conforming changes. It is difficult to predict the full impact of the transition away from LIBOR on the Fund. The transition process may involve, among other things, increased volatility or illiquidity in markets for instruments that rely on LIBOR. The transition may also result in a reduction in the value of certain LIBOR-based investments held by the Fund or reduce the effectiveness of related transactions such as hedges. Any such effects of the transition away from LIBOR, as well as other unforeseen effects, could result in losses for the Fund. Because the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark may deteriorate during the transition period, these effects could occur at any time.

Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”)

MLPs are limited partnerships or limited liability companies usually taxable as partnerships. MLPs may derive income and gains from, among other things, the exploration, development, mining or production, processing, refining, transportation (including pipelines transporting gas, oil, or products thereof), storage, or the marketing of, or the provision of infrastructure related services relating to, minerals or other natural resources. The value of an investment in some MLPs may be directly affected by the prices of natural resources. The volatility and interrelationships of commodity prices can also indirectly affect certain MLPs due to the potential impact on the volume of commodities transported, processed, stored or distributed. The Fund’s investment in such an MLP may be adversely affected by market perceptions that the performance and distributions or dividends of MLPs are directly tied to commodity prices. In addition, MLPs are generally considered interest-rate sensitive investments, and during periods of interest rate volatility, may not provide attractive returns.

MLPs generally have two classes of owners, the general partner and limited partners. The general partner is typically owned by a major company (often an energy company), an investment fund, the direct management of the MLP or is an entity owned by one or more of such parties. The general partner may be structured as a private or publicly traded corporation or other entity. The general partner typically controls the operations and management of the MLP through an equity interest of up to 2% in the MLP plus, in many cases, ownership of common units and subordinated units. Limited partners own the remainder of the partnership, through ownership of common units, and have a limited role in the partnership’s operations and management.

MLPs are typically structured such that common units and general partner interests have first priority to receive quarterly cash distributions up to an established minimum amount (“minimum quarterly distributions” or “MQD”). Common and general partner interests also accrue arrearages in distributions to the extent the MQD is not paid. Once common and general partner interests have been paid, subordinated units receive distributions of up to the MQD; however, subordinated units do not accrue arrearages. Distributable cash in excess of the MQD paid to both common and subordinated units is distributed to both common and subordinated units generally on a pro rata basis. The general partner is also eligible to receive incentive distributions if the general partner operates the business in a manner which results in distributions paid per common unit surpassing specified target levels. As the general partner increases cash distributions to the limited partners, the general partner receives an increasingly higher percentage of the incremental cash distributions. A common arrangement provides that the general partner can reach a tier where it receives 50% of every incremental dollar paid to common and subordinated unit holders. These incentive distributions encourage the general partner to streamline costs, increase capital expenditures and acquire assets in order to increase the partnership’s cash flow and raise the quarterly cash distribution in order to reach higher tiers. Such results increase costs to the limited partners.

MLP common units represent a limited partnership interest in the MLP. Common units are listed and traded on U.S. securities exchanges, with their value fluctuating predominantly based on prevailing market conditions and the success of the

 

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MLP. Unlike owners of common stock of a corporation, owners of common units have limited voting rights and have no ability annually to elect directors. In the event of liquidation, common units have preference over subordinated units, but not over debt or preferred units, to the remaining assets of the MLP.

General partner interests of MLPs are typically retained by the original sponsors of an MLP, such as its founders, corporate partners and entities that sell assets to the MLP. The holder of the general partner interest can be liable in certain circumstances for amounts greater than the amount of the holder’s investment in the general partner. General partner interests often confer direct board participation rights in, and in many cases control over the operations of, the MLP. General partner interests can be privately held or owned by publicly traded entities.

Money Market Instruments Generally

Money market instruments are short-term IOUs issued by banks or other non-governmental issuers, the U.S. or non-U.S. governments, or state or local governments. Money market instruments generally have maturity dates of 13 months or less, and may pay interest at fixed, floating or adjustable rates, or may be issued at a discount. Money market instruments may include certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, variable rate demand securities (where the interest rate is reset periodically and the holder may demand payment from the issuer or another obligor at any time), preferred shares, fixed-term obligations, commercial paper (short-term unsecured debt), asset-backed commercial paper, other mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities and repurchase agreements. Asset-backed commercial paper refers to a debt security with an original term to maturity of up to 270 days that may be backed by residential and commercial mortgage loans or mortgage-backed securities or other types of receivables. Payments due on asset-backed commercial paper are supported by cash flows from underlying assets, or one or more liquidity or credit support providers, or both.

Mortgage-Backed and Other Asset-Backed Securities – Generally

An asset-backed security is a fixed income security that derives its value primarily from cash flows relating to a pool of assets. There are a number of different types of asset-backed and related securities, including mortgage-backed securities, securities backed by other pools of collateral (such as automobile loans, student loans, sub-prime mortgages, and credit card receivables), collateralized mortgage obligations, and collateralized debt obligations.

Asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities differ from conventional bonds in that principal is paid over the life of the securities rather than at maturity. As a result, payments of principal of and interest on mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities are made more frequently than are payments on conventional debt securities. The average life of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities is likely to be substantially less than the original maturity of the underlying asset pools as a result of prepayments or foreclosures of mortgages, as applicable. In addition, holders of mortgage-backed securities and of certain asset-backed securities (such as asset-backed securities backed by home equity loans) may receive unscheduled payments of principal at any time representing prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans or financial assets. When the holder of the security attempts to reinvest prepayments or even the scheduled payments of principal and interest, it may receive a rate of interest that is higher or lower than the rate on the mortgage-backed security or asset-backed security originally held. To the extent that mortgage-backed securities or asset-backed securities are purchased by the Fund at a premium, mortgage foreclosures and principal prepayments may result in a loss to the extent of the premium paid. To the extent the loans underlying a security representing an interest in a pool of mortgages or other assets are prepaid, the Fund may experience a loss (if the price at which the respective security was acquired by the Fund was at a premium over par, which represents the price at which the security will be redeemed upon prepayment) or a gain (if the price at which the respective security was acquired by the Fund was at a discount from par). In addition, prepayments of such securities held by the Fund will reduce the share price of the Fund to the extent the market value of the securities at the time of prepayment exceeds their par value, and will increase the share price of the Fund to the extent the par value of the securities exceeds their market value at the time of prepayment. Prepayments may occur with greater frequency in periods of declining interest rates because, among other reasons, it may be possible for borrowers to refinance their outstanding obligation at lower interest rates. When market interest rates increase, the market values of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities decline. At the same time, however, refinancing slows, which lengthens the effective maturities of these securities. As a result, the negative effect of the rate increase on the market value of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities is usually more pronounced than it is for other types of fixed income securities.

 

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Changes in the market’s perception of the mortgages or assets backing the security, the creditworthiness of the servicing agent for the loan pool, the originator of the loans, or the financial institution providing any credit enhancement, will all affect the value of an asset-backed or mortgage-backed security, as will the exhaustion of any credit enhancement.

The risks of investing in asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities ultimately depend upon the payment of the underlying loans by the individual borrowers. In its capacity as purchaser of an asset-backed security or mortgage-backed security, the Fund would generally have no recourse to the entity that originated the loans in the event of default by the borrower. The risk of non-payment is greater for asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities that are backed by pools that contain subprime loans, but a level of risk exists for all loans. Market factors adversely affecting loan repayments may include a general economic turndown and high unemployment. Mortgage-backed securities may be adversely affected by a general slowdown in the real estate market, a drop in the market prices of real estate, or an increase in interest rates resulting in higher mortgage payments by holders of adjustable rate mortgages. The economic impacts of COVID-19 have created a unique challenge for real estate markets. Many businesses have either partially or fully transitioned to a remote-working environment and this transition may negatively impact the occupancy rates of commercial real estate over time. Similarly, trends in favor of online shopping may negatively affect the real estate market for commercial properties.

Additional information regarding different types of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities is provided below. Governmental, government-related or private entities may create pools of loan assets offering pass-through investments in addition to those described below. As new types of asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities are developed and offered to investors, the portfolio manager may, consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and policies, consider making investments in such new types of securities.

Mortgage-backed securities. Mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) represent interests in pools of mortgage loans made by lenders such as savings and loan institutions, mortgage bankers, commercial banks and others, to finance purchases of homes, commercial buildings or other real estate. The individual mortgage loans are assembled for sale to investors (such as the Fund) by various governmental or government-related agencies and private organizations, such as dealers.

Government-sponsored MBS. Some government sponsored mortgage-related securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the principal guarantor of such securities, is a wholly-owned United States government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Other government-sponsored mortgage-related securities are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Issuers of such securities include Fannie Mae (formally known as the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (formally known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation). Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored corporation which is subject to general regulation by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Pass-through securities issued by Fannie Mae are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress and subject to general regulation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Participation certificates representing interests in mortgages from Freddie Mac’s national portfolio are guaranteed as to the timely payment of interest and ultimate collection of principal by Freddie Mac. The U.S. government has provided financial support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the past, but there can be no assurances that it will support these or other government-sponsored entities in the future.

Privately issued MBS. Unlike MBS issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or certain government-sponsored entities, MBS issued by private issuers do not have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee, but may have credit enhancement provided by external entities such as banks or financial institutions or achieved through the structuring of the transaction itself.

In addition, MBS that are issued by private issuers are not subject to the underwriting requirements for the underlying mortgages that are applicable to those MBS that have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee. As a result, the mortgage loans underlying private MBS may, and frequently do, have less favorable collateral, credit risk or other underwriting characteristics than government or government-sponsored MBS and have wider variances in a number of terms including interest rate, term, size, purpose and borrower characteristics. Privately issued pools more frequently include second mortgages, high loan-to-value mortgages and manufactured housing loans. The coupon rates and maturities of the underlying mortgage loans in a private-label MBS pool may vary to a greater extent than those included in a government guaranteed pool, and the pool may include subprime mortgage loans. Subprime loans refer to loans made to borrowers with weakened credit histories or with a

 

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lower capacity to make timely payments on their loans. For these reasons, the loans underlying these securities have had in many cases higher default rates than those loans that meet government underwriting requirements.

Privately issued mortgage-backed securities are not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, mortgage-backed securities held in the Fund’s portfolio may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying mortgage loans.

Credit risk transfer securities. Another type of mortgage security is one issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but without any government guaranty, including “credit risk transfer securities.” Credit risk transfer securities are fixed- or floating rate unsecured general obligation mortgage securities issued from time to time by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or other government sponsored entities (each, a “GSE”). Typically, such securities are issued at par and have stated final maturities. The credit risk transfer securities are structured so that: (i) interest is paid directly by the issuing GSE; and (ii) principal is paid by the issuing GSE in accordance with the principal payments and default performance of a certain pool of residential mortgage loans acquired by the GSE. The issuing GSE selects the pool of mortgage loans based on that GSE’s eligibility criteria. The performance of the credit risk transfer securities will be directly affected by the selection of the underlying mortgage loans by the GSE. Credit risk transfer securities are issued in tranches to which are allocated certain principal repayments and credit losses corresponding to the seniority of the particular tranche. Each tranche will have credit exposure to the underlying mortgage loans and the yield to maturity will be directly related to the amount and timing of certain defined credit events on the underlying mortgage loans, any prepayments by borrowers and any removals of a mortgage loan from the pool.

Credit risk transfer securities are unguaranteed and unsecured debt securities issued by the GSE and therefore are not directly linked to or backed by the underlying mortgage loans. Thus, although the payment of principal and interest on such securities is tied to the performance of the pool of underlying mortgage loans, the holders of the credit risk transfer securities will have no interest in the underlying mortgage loans. As a result, in the event that a GSE fails to pay principal or interest on its credit risk transfer securities or goes through a bankruptcy, insolvency or similar proceeding, holders of such credit risk transfer securities have no direct recourse to the underlying mortgage loans. Such holders will receive recovery on par with other unsecured note holders (agency debentures) in such a scenario.

The Fund may also invest in credit risk transfer securities that are issued by private entities, such as banks or other financial institutions. Credit risk transfer securities issued by private entities are structured similarly to those issued by a GSE and are generally subject to the same types of risks, including credit (risk of non-payment of principal and interest when due), prepayment, extension, interest rate and market risks.

The risks associated with an investment in credit risk transfer securities will be different than the risks associated with an investment in mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or other GSEs or issued by a private issuer because some or all of the mortgage default or credit risk associated with the underlying mortgage loans is transferred to investors, such as the Fund. As a result, investors in these securities could lose some or all of their investment in these securities if the underlying mortgage loans default.

Adjustable rate mortgage-backed securities. Adjustable rate mortgage-backed securities (“ARMBS”) are pass-through securities collateralized by mortgages with adjustable rather than fixed rates. Adjustable rate mortgages eligible for inclusion in a mortgage pool generally provide for a fixed initial mortgage interest rate for a set number of scheduled monthly payments. After that schedule of payments has been completed, the interest rates of the adjustable rate mortgages are subject to periodic adjustment based on changes to a designated benchmark index.

Mortgages underlying most ARMBS may contain maximum and minimum rates beyond which the mortgage interest rate may not vary over the lifetime of the mortgage. In addition, certain adjustable rate mortgages provide for additional limitations on the maximum amount by which the mortgage interest rate may adjust for any single adjustment period. In the event that market rates of interest rise more rapidly to levels above that of the maximum rate for the adjustable rate mortgages underlying an ARMBS, the ARMBS’ coupon may represent a below market rate of interest. In these circumstances, the market value of the ARMBS will likely have fallen. During periods of declining interest rates, income to the Fund derived from adjustable rate mortgages that remain in the mortgage pool underlying the ARMBS may decrease in contrast to the income on fixed rate mortgages, which will remain constant. Adjustable rate mortgages also have less potential for appreciation in value as interest

 

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rates decline than do fixed rate investments. In addition, the current yields on ARMBS may be different than market yields during interim periods between coupon reset dates.

Stripped mortgage-backed securities. Stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBS”) are structured with two or more classes of securities that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of SMBS will have at least one class receiving only a small portion of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (“IO” or interest-only class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (“PO” or principal-only class). The yield to maturity on IOs, POs and other mortgage-backed securities that are purchased at a substantial premium or discount generally are extremely sensitive not only to changes in prevailing interest rates but also to the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying mortgage assets, and a rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on such securities’ yield to maturity. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities even if the securities have received the highest rating by a NRSRO.

SMBS have greater volatility than other types of securities. Although SMBS are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, the market for such securities has not yet been fully developed. Accordingly, the secondary market for SMBS may be more volatile and have lower liquidity than that for other MBS, potentially limiting the Fund’s ability to buy or sell SMBS at any particular time.

Collateralized mortgage obligations. Another type of security representing an interest in a pool of mortgage loans is known as a collateralized mortgage obligation (“CMO”). CMOs represent interests in a short-term, intermediate-term or long-term portion of a mortgage pool. Each portion of the pool receives monthly interest payments, but the principal repayments pass through to the short-term CMO first and to the long-term CMO last. A CMO permits an investor to more accurately predict the rate of principal repayments. CMOs are issued by private issuers, such as broker-dealers, and by government agencies, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Investments in CMOs are subject to the same risks as direct investments in the underlying mortgage-backed securities. In addition, in the event of a bankruptcy or other default of a broker that issued the CMO held by the Fund, the Fund could experience delays in liquidating both its position and losses. The Fund may invest in CMOs in any rating category of the recognized rating services and may invest in unrated CMOs. The Fund may also invest in “stripped” CMOs, which represent only the income portion or the principal portion of the CMO. The values of stripped CMOs are very sensitive to interest rate changes; accordingly, these instruments present a greater risk of loss than conventional mortgage-backed securities.

Tiered index bonds. Tiered index bonds are relatively new forms of mortgage-related securities. The interest rate on a tiered index bond is tied to a specified index or market rate. So long as this index or market rate is below a predetermined “strike” rate, the interest rate on the tiered index bond remains fixed. If, however, the specified index or market rate rises above the “strike” rate, the interest rate of the tiered index bond will decrease. Thus, under these circumstances, the interest rate on a tiered index bond, like an inverse floater, will move in the opposite direction of prevailing interest rates, with the result that the price of the tiered index bond would decline and may be considerably more volatile than that of a fixed-rate bond.

Other Asset-Backed Securities – Additional Information

Similar to mortgage-backed securities, other types of asset-backed securities may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government (including those whose securities are neither guaranteed nor insured by the U.S. government), foreign governments (or their agencies or instrumentalities), or non-governmental issuers. These securities include securities backed by pools of automobile loans, educational loans, home equity loans, and credit card receivables. The underlying pools of assets are securitized through the use of trusts and special purpose entities. These securities may be subject to the risks described above under “Mortgage-Backed and Other Asset-Backed Securities — Generally,” including risks associated with changes in interest rates and prepayment of underlying obligations.

Certain types of asset-backed securities present additional risks that are not presented by mortgage-backed securities. In particular, certain types of asset-backed securities may not have the benefit of a security interest in the related assets. For example, many securities backed by credit card receivables are unsecured. Even when security interests are present, the ability of an issuer of certain types of asset-backed securities to enforce those interests may be more limited than that of an issuer of mortgage-backed securities. For instance, automobile receivables generally are secured by automobiles rather than by real property. Most issuers of automobile receivables permit loan servicers to retain possession of the underlying assets. In addition, because of the large number of underlying vehicles involved in a typical issue of asset-backed securities and technical

 

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requirements under state law, the trustee for the holders of the automobile receivables may not have a proper security interest in all of the automobiles. Therefore, recoveries on repossessed automobiles may not be available to support payments on these securities.

In addition, certain types of asset-backed securities may experience losses on the underlying assets as a result of certain rights provided to consumer debtors under federal and state law. In the case of certain consumer debt, such as credit card debt, debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on their credit cards (or other debt), thereby reducing their balances due. For instance, a debtor may be able to offset certain damages for which a court has determined that the creditor is liable to the debtor against amounts owed to the creditor by the debtor on his or her credit card.

Additionally, an asset-backed security is subject to risks associated with the servicing agent’s or originator’s performance. For example, a servicing agent or originator’s mishandling of documentation related to the underlying collateral (e.g., failure to properly document a security interest in the underlying collateral) may affect the rights of the security holders in and to the underlying collateral.

Asset-backed commercial paper. The Fund may purchase commercial paper, including asset-backed commercial paper (“ABCP”) that is issued by structured investment vehicles or other conduits. These conduits may be sponsored by mortgage companies, investment banking firms, finance companies, hedge funds, private equity firms and special purpose finance entities. ABCP typically refers to a debt security with an original term to maturity of up to 270 days, the payment of which is supported by cash flows from underlying assets, or one or more liquidity or credit support providers, or both. Assets backing ABCP, which may be included in revolving pools of assets with large numbers of obligors, include credit card, car loan and other consumer receivables and home or commercial mortgages, including subprime mortgages. The repayment of ABCP issued by a conduit depends primarily on the cash collections received from the conduit’s underlying asset portfolio and the conduit’s ability to issue new ABCP. Therefore, there could be losses to the Fund investing in ABCP in the event of credit or market value deterioration in the conduit’s underlying portfolio, mismatches in the timing of the cash flows of the underlying asset interests and the repayment obligations of maturing ABCP, or the conduit’s inability to issue new ABCP. To protect investors from these risks, ABCP programs may be structured with various protections, such as credit enhancement, liquidity support, and commercial paper stop-issuance and wind-down triggers. However there can be no guarantee that these protections will be sufficient to prevent losses to investors in ABCP.

Some ABCP programs provide for an extension of the maturity date of the ABCP if, on the related maturity date, the conduit is unable to access sufficient liquidity through the issue of additional ABCP. This may delay the sale of the underlying collateral and the Fund may incur a loss if the value of the collateral deteriorates during the extension period. Alternatively, if collateral for ABCP deteriorates in value, the collateral may be required to be sold at inopportune times or at prices insufficient to repay the principal and interest on the ABCP. ABCP programs may provide for the issuance of subordinated notes as an additional form of credit enhancement. The subordinated notes are typically of a lower credit quality and have a higher risk of default. A fund purchasing these subordinated notes will therefore have a higher likelihood of loss than investors in the senior notes.

Collateralized debt obligations. The Fund may invest in collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), which include collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CDOs are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is a trust or other special purpose entity (“SPE”) which is typically backed by a diversified pool of fixed income securities (which may include high risk, below investment grade securities). A CLO is a trust or other SPE that is typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and non-U.S. senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. Although certain CDOs may receive credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, over-collateralization or bond insurance, such enhancement may not always be present, and may fail to protect the Fund against the risk of loss on default of the collateral. Certain CDOs may use derivatives contracts to create “synthetic” exposure to assets rather than holding such assets directly, which entails the risks of derivative instruments described elsewhere in this SAI. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of the Fund.

For both CBOs and CLOs, the cashflows from the SPE are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche, which bears the first loss from defaults from the bonds or loans in the SPE and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default (though such protection is not complete). Since it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CBO or CLO typically has higher ratings and lower yields than its underlying

 

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securities, and may be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO or CLO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as investor aversion to CBO or CLO securities as a class. Interest on certain tranches of a CDO may be paid in kind (paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments.

The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the CDO in which the Fund invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus, are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in CDOs may be characterized by the Fund as illiquid securities. However, an active dealer market may exist for CDOs, allowing a CDO to qualify for Rule 144A transactions. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed income securities discussed elsewhere in this SAI and the Prospectus (e.g., interest rate risk and credit risk), CDOs carry additional risks including, but not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the collateral may decline in value or default or its credit rating may be downgraded, if rated by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization; (iii) the Fund may invest in tranches of CDOs that are subordinate to other tranches; (iv) the complex structure of the security may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results; and (v) the CDO’s manager may perform poorly.

Mortgage Dollar Rolls

In a mortgage dollar roll, also known as a forward roll transaction, the Fund sells MBS for delivery in the current month and simultaneously contracts to repurchase substantially similar (same type, coupon and maturity) MBS on a specified future date. The Fund may enter into a mortgage dollar roll commitment with the intention of entering into an offsetting transaction whereby, rather than accepting delivery of the security on the specified future date, the Fund sells the security and then agrees to repurchase a similar security at a later time. In this case, the Fund forgoes interest on the security during the roll period and is compensated by the interest earned on the cash proceeds of the initial sale of the security and by the difference between the sale price and the lower repurchase price at the future date.

Mortgage dollar rolls involve the risk that the market value of the securities the Fund is obligated to repurchase under the agreement may decline below the repurchase price. In the event the buyer of securities under a mortgage dollar roll files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, the Fund’s use of proceeds of the dollar roll may be restricted pending a determination by the other party, or its trustee or receiver, whether to enforce the Fund’s obligation to repurchase the securities.

Forward roll transactions may have a leveraging effect on the Fund, making the value of an investment in the Fund more volatile and increasing the Fund’s overall investment exposure. Successful use of mortgage dollar rolls may depend on the portfolio manager’s ability to correctly predict interest rates and prepayments. There is no assurance that mortgage dollar rolls can be successfully employed.

Municipal Securities

Municipal securities (which are also referred to herein as “municipal obligations” or “municipal bonds”) generally include debt obligations (including, but not limited to bonds, notes or commercial paper) issued by or on behalf of any of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and public authorities, certain other governmental issuers (such as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam) or other qualifying issuers, participations or other interests in these securities and other related investments. The interest paid on municipal securities is generally excluded from gross income for regular U.S. federal income tax purposes, although it may be subject to a U.S. federal alternative minimum tax (“AMT”). To the extent the Fund invests in municipal securities, it does not anticipate holding municipal securities in sufficient quantities to qualify to pay exempt-interest dividends. As a result, distributions to Fund shareholders are expected to be treated for federal income tax purposes as ordinary dividends without regard to the character of any interest that was received on municipal securities.

Municipal securities are issued to obtain funds for various public purposes, including the construction of a wide range of public facilities, such as airports, bridges, highways, housing, hospitals, mass transportation, schools, streets, water and sewer works, gas, and electric utilities. They may also be issued to refund outstanding obligations, to obtain funds for general operating expenses, or to obtain funds to loan to other public institutions and facilities and in anticipation of the receipt of revenue or the issuance of other obligations.

 

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The two principal classifications of municipal securities are “general obligation” securities and “limited obligation” or “revenue” securities. General obligation securities are secured by a municipal issuer’s pledge of its full faith, credit, and taxing power for the payment of principal and interest. Accordingly, the capacity of the issuer of a general obligation bond to pay interest and repay principal when due is affected by the issuer’s maintenance of its tax base. Revenue securities are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise tax or other specific revenue source. Accordingly, the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal in accordance with the terms of the revenue security is a function of the economic viability of the facility or revenue source. Revenue securities include private activity bonds which are not payable from the unrestricted revenues of the issuer. Consequently, the credit quality of private activity bonds is usually directly related to the credit standing of the corporate user of the facility involved. Municipal securities may also include “moral obligation” bonds, which are normally issued by special purpose public authorities. If the issuer of moral obligation bonds is unable to meet its debt service obligations from current revenues, it may draw on a reserve fund the restoration of which is a moral commitment but not a legal obligation of the state or municipality which created the issuer.

Private Activity Bonds. Private activity bonds are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to provide funds, usually through a loan or lease arrangement, to a private entity for the purpose of financing construction of privately operated industrial facilities, such as warehouse, office, plant and storage facilities and environmental and pollution control facilities. Such bonds are secured primarily by revenues derived from loan repayments or lease payments due from the entity, which may or may not be guaranteed by a parent company or otherwise secured. Private activity bonds generally are not secured by a pledge of the taxing power of the issuer of such bonds. Therefore, repayment of such bonds generally depends on the revenue of a private entity. The continued ability of an entity to generate sufficient revenues for the payment of principal and interest on such bonds will be affected by many factors, including the size of the entity, its capital structure, demand for its products or services, competition, general economic conditions, government regulation and the entity’s dependence on revenues for the operation of the particular facility being financed.

Under U.S. federal income tax law, interest on municipal bonds issued after August 7, 1986 which are specified private activity bonds, and the proportionate share of any exempt-interest dividend paid by a regulated investment company that receives interest from such private activity bonds, will be treated as an item of tax preference for purposes of the AMT. For regular U.S. federal income tax purposes such interest is tax-exempt. Bonds issued in 2009 and 2010 generally will not be treated as private activity bonds, and interest earned on such bonds generally will not be treated as a tax preference item.

Municipal Leases. Municipal leases or installment purchase contracts are issued by a U.S. state or local government to acquire equipment or facilities. Municipal leases frequently have special risks not normally associated with general obligation bonds or revenue bonds. Many leases include “non-appropriation” clauses that provide that the governmental issuer has no obligation to make future payments under the lease or contract unless money is appropriated for such purpose by the appropriate legislative body on a yearly or other periodic basis. Although the obligations are typically secured by the leased equipment or facilities, the disposition of the property in the event of non-appropriation or foreclosure might, in some cases, prove difficult or, if sold, may not fully cover the Fund’s exposure.

Participation Interests. Tax-exempt participation interests in municipal obligations (such as private activity bonds and municipal lease obligations) are typically issued by a financial institution. A participation interest gives the Fund an undivided interest in the municipal obligation in the proportion that the Fund’s participation interest bears to the total principal amount of the municipal obligation. Participation interests in municipal obligations may be backed by an irrevocable letter of credit or guarantee of, or a right to put to, a bank (which may be the bank issuing the participation interest, a bank issuing a confirming letter of credit to that of the issuing bank, or a bank serving as agent of the issuing bank with respect to the possible repurchase of the participation interest) or insurance policy of an insurance company. The Fund has the right to sell the participation interest back to the institution or draw on the letter of credit or insurance after a specified period of notice, for all or any part of the full principal amount of the Fund’s participation in the security, plus accrued interest.

Issuers of participation interests will retain a service and letter of credit fee and a fee for providing the liquidity feature, in an amount equal to the excess of the interest paid on the instruments over the negotiated yield at which the participations were purchased on behalf of the Fund. The issuer of the participation interest may bear the cost of insurance backing the participation interest, although the Fund may also purchase insurance, in which case the cost of insurance will be an expense of the Fund. Participation interests may be sold prior to maturity. Participation interests may include municipal lease

 

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obligations. Purchase of a participation interest may involve the risk that the Fund will not be deemed to be the owner of the underlying municipal obligation for purposes of the ability to claim tax exemption of interest paid on that municipal obligation.

Additional Risks Relating to Municipal Securities

Tax Risk. The Code imposes certain continuing requirements on issuers of tax-exempt bonds regarding the use, expenditure and investment of bond proceeds and the payment of rebates to the U.S. government. Failure by the issuer to comply after the issuance of tax-exempt bonds with certain of these requirements could cause interest on the bonds to become includable in gross income retroactive to the date of issuance.

From time to time, proposals have been introduced before the U.S. Congress for the purpose of restricting or eliminating the U.S. federal income tax exemption for interest on municipal obligations. In this regard, for bonds issued after December 31, 2017, the tax-advantaged treatment previously available to “tax credit bonds” and “advance refunding bonds” is no longer available. Further, similar proposals may be introduced in the future. In addition, the U.S. federal income tax exemption has been, and may in the future be, the subject of litigation. If one of these proposals were enacted, or if any such litigation were adversely decided, the availability of tax-exempt obligations for investment by the Fund and the value of the Fund’s investments could be affected.

Opinions relating to the validity of municipal obligations and to the exclusion of interest thereon from gross income for regular federal and/or state income tax purposes are rendered by bond counsel to the respective issuers at the time of issuance. The Fund and its service providers will rely on such opinions and will not review the proceedings relating to the issuance of municipal obligations or the bases for such opinions.

Information Risk. Information about the financial condition of issuers of municipal obligations may be less available than about corporations whose securities are publicly traded.

U.S. State and Federal Law Risk. Municipal obligations are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors, such as the U.S. federal Bankruptcy Code, and laws, if any, that may be enacted by the U.S. Congress 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. There is also the possibility that, as a result of litigation or other conditions, the power or ability of any one or more issuers to pay, when due, the principal of and interest on its or their municipal obligations may be materially affected.

Market and Ratings Risk. The yields on municipal obligations are dependent on a variety of factors, including economic and monetary conditions, general market conditions, supply and demand, general conditions of the municipal market, size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation and the rating of the issue. Adverse economic, business, legal or political developments might affect all or substantial portions of the Fund’s municipal obligations in the same manner.

Unfavorable developments in any economic sector may have far-reaching ramifications for the municipal market overall or any state’s municipal market. Although the ratings of tax-exempt securities by ratings agencies are relative and subjective, and are not absolute standards of quality, such ratings reflect the assessment of the ratings agency, at the time of issuance of the rating, of the economic viability of the issuer of a general obligation bond or, with respect to a revenue bond, the special revenue source, with respect to the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation, but do not reflect an assessment of the market value of the obligation. See Appendix B for additional information regarding ratings. Consequently, municipal obligations with the same maturity, coupon and rating may have different yields when purchased in the open market, while municipal obligations of the same maturity and coupon with different ratings may have the same yield.

Risks Associated with Sources of Liquidity or Credit Support. Issuers of municipal obligations may employ various forms of credit and liquidity enhancements, including letters of credit, guarantees, swaps, puts and demand features, and insurance, provided by U.S. or non-U.S. entities such as banks and other financial institutions. Changes in the credit quality of the entities providing the enhancement could affect the value of the securities or the Fund’s share price. U.S. banks and certain financial institutions are subject to extensive governmental regulation which may limit both the amounts and types of loans and other financial commitments which may be made and interest rates and fees which may be charged. Non-U.S. banks and financial institutions may be less regulated than their U.S. counterparts and may be subject to additional risks, such as those relating to foreign economic and political developments and foreign governmental restrictions. The profitability of the banking

 

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industry is largely dependent upon the availability and cost of capital for the purpose of financing lending operations under prevailing money market conditions. Also, general economic conditions play an important part in the operation of the banking industry, and exposure to credit losses arising from possible financial difficulties of borrowers might affect a bank’s ability to meet its obligations under a letter of credit.

Other. Securities may be sold in anticipation of a market decline (a rise in interest rates) or purchased in anticipation of a market rise (a decline in interest rates). In addition, a security may be sold and another purchased at approximately the same time to take advantage of what the portfolio manager believes to be a temporary disparity in the normal yield relationship between the two securities. In general, the secondary market for tax-exempt securities in the Fund’s portfolio may have lower liquidity than that for taxable fixed income securities. Accordingly, the ability of the Fund to make purchases and sales of securities in the foregoing manner may be limited. Yield disparities may occur for reasons not directly related to the investment quality of particular issues or the general movement of interest rates, but instead due to such factors as changes in the overall demand for or supply of various types of tax-exempt securities or changes in the investment objectives of investors.

Municipal Obligations of Other U.S. Territories

Municipal securities include the obligations of the governments of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories and their political subdivisions (such as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam). Payment of interest and preservation of principal is dependent upon the continuing ability of such issuers and/or obligors of territorial, municipal and public authority debt obligations to meet their obligations thereunder. The sources of payment for such obligations and the marketability thereof may be affected by financial and other difficulties experienced by such issuers.

Puerto Rico. Municipal securities of issuers located in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico may be affected by political, social and economic conditions in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s economy has been in a recession since late 2006, which has contributed to a steep increase in unemployment rates, funding shortfalls of state employees’ retirement systems, a budget deficit resulting from a structural imbalance, and reduced government revenues. In May 2017, Puerto Rico made a filing in the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico to commence a debt restructuring process similar to that of a traditional municipal bankruptcy. Puerto Rico had previously defaulted on certain agency debt payments and the Governor had warned of its inability to meet additional pending obligations, including under general obligation bonds.

On March 15, 2022, Puerto Rico’s government formally exited bankruptcy, completing the largest public debt restructuring in U.S. history. Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring plan was approved by a federal judge in January 2022, and reduced claims against Puerto Rico’s government from $33 billion to just over $7.4 billion. The restructuring is related to Puerto Rico’s general obligation bonds, and did not resolve the bankruptcy proceedings for Puerto Rico’s Highways and Transportation Authority and the Electric Power Company, which owed nearly $9 billion, the largest debt of any government agency. The continued debt restructuring process could adversely affect the value of Puerto Rico municipal securities, including Puerto Rico municipal securities that are not subject to the debt restructuring process. In addition, Puerto Rico municipal securities remain subject to all of the other risks applicable to fixed income securities, including the risk of non-payment. To the extent that the Fund holds any Puerto Rico municipal securities, the Fund may lose some or all of the value of those investments.

Additionally, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also caused unprecedented damage to Puerto Rico’s economy. Because of Puerto Rico’s close ties to the United States’ mainland economy, a downturn in the U.S. economy indirectly affects Puerto Rico. These indirect impacts stem from the slowdown of the overall U.S. economy and the continued threat of a prolonged recession that will affect many industries, including retail, manufacturing, oil and gas, tourism, gaming and lodging, transportation, healthcare, and education, to name a few. Government revenue collections have been materially adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following is a brief summary of certain factors affecting Puerto Rico’s economy and does not purport to be a complete description of such factors.

The dominant sectors of the Puerto Rico economy are manufacturing and services. The manufacturing sector has undergone fundamental changes over the years as a result of increased emphasis on higher wage, high technology industries, such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, computers, microprocessors, professional and scientific instruments, and certain high technology machinery and equipment. The services sector, including finance, insurance, real estate, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, communications and public utilities and other services, also plays a major role in the economy. It ranks second only to manufacturing in contribution to the gross domestic product and leads all sectors in providing employment.

 

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Most external factors that affect the Puerto Rico economy are determined by the policies and performance of the United States. These external factors include exports, direct investment, the amount of federal transfer payments, the level of interest rates, the rate of inflation, and tourist expenditures.

Guam. General obligations and/or revenue bonds of issuers located in Guam may be affected by political, social and economic conditions in Guam. The following is a brief summary of factors affecting the economy of Guam and does not purport to be a complete description of such factors.

Guam, the westernmost territory of the U.S., is located 3,800 miles to the west-southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii and approximately 1,550 miles south-southeast of Tokyo, Japan. The population of Guam was estimated to be 172,715 in March 2023. Guam’s unemployment rate was at 4.4% as of January 2023.

Guam’s economy depends in large measure on tourism and the U.S. military presence, each of which is subject to uncertainties as a result of global economic, social and political events. Tourism, particularly from Japan, which has been a source of a majority of visitors to Guam, represents the primary source of income for Guam’s economy. A weak economy, war, severe weather, epidemic outbreaks or the threat of terrorist activity, among other influences that are beyond Guam’s control, can adversely affect its tourism industry. Guam is also exposed to periodic typhoons, tropical storms, super typhoons and earthquakes, such as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan and caused a decline in tourism for a period of time. The U.S. military presence also affects economic activity on Guam in various ways and recently has been a positive contributor to the economy. The U.S. Department of Defense is in the process of relocating certain military forces from Okinawa, Japan to Guam. Nevertheless, economic, geopolitical, and other influences which are beyond Guam’s control could cause the U.S. military to reduce its existing presence on Guam or forgo any planned enhancements to its presence on Guam. Any reduction in tourism or the U.S. military presence could adversely affect Guam’s economy. Additionally, the ultimate financial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Guam’s economy is uncertain.

United States Virgin Islands. General obligations and/or revenue bonds of issuers located in the U.S. Virgin Islands may be affected by political, social and economic conditions in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The territory has experienced high levels of debt, increasing pension obligations and a declining population. The credit rating of certain bonds issued by the territory are rated below investment grade due to a perceived increased possibility that the territory may be forced to restructure its debts to address its financial problems.

In September 2017, the territory was hit by two hurricanes within the span of two weeks. Together, the hurricanes caused significant damage to the most populated islands, including to their infrastructure, hospitals, homes and other structures.

The following is a brief summary of factors affecting the economy of the U.S. Virgin Islands and does not purport to be a complete description of such factors.

The U.S. Virgin Islands consists of four main islands: St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, and Water Island and approximately 70 smaller islands, islets and cays. The total land area is about twice the size of Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is located 60 miles east of Puerto Rico and 1,075 miles south of Miami, Florida in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The population of the U.S. Virgin Islands was estimated to be 104,447 in January 2023.

Tourism, trade, and other services, including manufacturing (rum distilling, watch assembly, pharmaceuticals, and electronics), are the primary economic activities, accounting for a substantial portion of the Virgin Islands’ gross domestic product and civilian employment. The agricultural sector is small, with most of the islands’ food being imported. A weak economy, severe weather, war, epidemic outbreaks or the threat of terrorist activity, among other influences that are beyond the control of the territory, can adversely affect its tourism and other industries. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant effect on the tourism industry in the Virgin Islands. The coastal and marine communities of the U.S. Virgin Islands are susceptible to climate change, including warming water temperatures, increasing storm intensity, beach erosion, ocean acidification, increasing hazardous coastal conditions, and loss of life-sustaining marine, coastal and island resources. Climate change is anticipated to add to the stresses of coastal environments by altering temperatures and precipitation patterns, increasing the likelihood of extreme precipitation events, and accelerating rates of sea level rise.

 

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Preferred Securities

There are two basic types of preferred securities: traditional and hybrid-preferred securities. Traditional preferred securities consist of preferred stock issued by an entity taxable as a corporation. Preferred stocks, which may offer fixed or floating rate dividends, are perpetual instruments and considered equity securities. Preferred stocks are subordinated to debt instruments in a company’s capital structure, in terms of priority to corporate income and claim to corporate assets, and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than debt instruments. Alternatively, hybrid-preferred securities may be issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest-bearing notes with preferred securities characteristics, or by an affiliated trust or partnership of the corporation, generally in the form of preferred interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities. The hybrid-preferred securities market consists of both fixed and adjustable coupon rate securities that are either perpetual in nature or have stated maturity dates.

Traditional Preferred Securities. Traditional preferred securities pay fixed or floating dividends to investors and have “preference” over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of a company’s assets. This means that a company must pay dividends on preferred stock before paying any dividends on its common stock. In order to be payable, distributions on such preferred securities must be declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Income payments on preferred securities may be cumulative, causing dividends and distributions to accumulate even if not declared by the board of directors or otherwise made payable. In such a case, all accumulated dividends must be paid before any dividend on the common stock can be paid. However, many traditional preferred stocks are non-cumulative, in which case dividends do not accumulate and need not ever be paid. There is no assurance that dividends or distributions on the traditional preferred securities in which the Fund invests will be declared or otherwise made payable. Preferred securities may also contain provisions under which payments must be stopped (i.e., stoppage is compulsory, not discretionary). The conditions under which this occurs may relate to, for instance, capitalization levels. Hence, if a company incurs significant losses that deplete retained earnings automatic payment stoppage could occur. In some cases the terms of the preferred securities provide that the issuer would be obligated to attempt to issue common shares to raise funds for the purpose of making the preferred payments. However, there is no guarantee that the issuer would be successful in placing common shares.

Preferred stockholders usually have no right to vote for corporate directors or on other matters. Shares of traditional preferred securities have a liquidation preference that generally equals the original purchase price at the date of issuance. The market value of preferred securities may be affected by, among other factors, favorable and unfavorable changes impacting the issuer or industries in which they operate, movements in interest rates and inflation, and the broader economic and credit environments, and by actual and anticipated changes in tax laws, such as changes in corporate and individual income tax rates. Because the claim on an issuer’s earnings represented by traditional preferred securities may become onerous when interest rates fall below the rate payable on such securities, the issuer may redeem the securities. Thus, in declining interest rate environments in particular, the Fund’s holdings of higher rate-paying fixed rate preferred securities may be reduced, and the Fund may be unable to acquire securities of comparable credit quality paying comparable rates with the redemption proceeds.

Hybrid-Preferred Securities. Hybrid-preferred securities are typically junior and fully subordinated liabilities of an issuer or the beneficiary of a guarantee that is junior and fully subordinated to the other liabilities of the guarantor. In addition, hybrid-preferred securities typically permit an issuer to defer the payment of income for eighteen months or more without triggering an event of default. Generally, the maximum deferral period is five years. Because of their subordinated position in the capital structure of an issuer, the ability to defer payments for extended periods of time without default consequences to the issuer, and certain other features (such as restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when full cumulative payments on the hybrid preferred securities have not been made), these hybrid-preferred securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors. Hybrid-preferred securities have many of the key characteristics of equity due to their subordinated position in an issuer’s capital structure and because their quality and value are heavily dependent on the profitability of the issuer rather than on any legal claims to specific assets or cash flows. Hybrid-preferred securities include, but are not limited to, trust preferred securities (TRUPS®); enhanced trust preferred securities (Enhanced TRUPS®); trust-originated preferred securities (TOPrS®); monthly-income preferred securities (MIPS®); quarterly-income bond securities (QUIBS®); quarterly-income debt securities (QUIDS®); quarterly-income preferred securities (QUIPSSM); corporate trust securities (CorTS®); public income notes (PINES®); and other hybrid-preferred securities. Hybrid-preferred securities are typically issued with a final maturity date. In certain instances, a final maturity date may be extended and/or the final payment of principal may be deferred at the issuer’s option for a specified time without default. No redemption can typically

 

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take place unless all cumulative payment obligations have been met, although issuers may be able to engage in open-market repurchases without regard to whether all payments have been paid.

Many hybrid-preferred securities are issued by trusts or other special purpose entities established by operating companies and are not a direct obligation of an operating company. At the time the trust or special purpose entity sells such preferred securities to investors, it purchases debt of the operating company (with terms comparable to those of the trust or special purpose entity securities), and the operating company deducts for tax purposes the interest paid on the debt held by the trust or special purpose entity. The trust or special purpose entity is generally required to be treated as transparent for U.S. federal income tax purposes such that the holders of the trust preferred securities are treated as owning beneficial interests in the underlying debt of the operating company. Accordingly, payments on the hybrid-preferred securities are generally treated as interest rather than dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, are not eligible for the dividends-received deduction for corporate taxpayers or the reduced rates of tax that apply to qualified dividend income for non-corporate taxpayers. The trust or special purpose entity in turn is a holder of the operating company’s debt and has priority with respect to the operating company’s earnings and profits over the operating company’s common stockholders, but is typically subordinated to other classes of the operating company’s debt. Typically a preferred security has a credit rating that is lower than that of its corresponding operating company’s senior debt securities.

Within the category of hybrid-preferred securities are senior debt instruments that trade in the broader preferred securities market. These debt instruments, which are sources of long-term capital for the issuers, have structural features similar to other preferred securities such as maturities ranging from 30 years to perpetuity, call features, quarterly payments, exchange listings and the inclusion of accrued interest in the trading price. Preferred securities may be subject to changes in regulations and there can be no assurance that the current regulatory treatment of preferred securities will continue.

Ratings as Investment Criteria

In general, the ratings of NRSROs represent the opinions of these agencies as to the quality of securities that they rate. Such ratings, however, are relative and subjective, are not absolute standards of quality and do not evaluate the market value risk of the securities. These ratings will be used by the Fund as initial criteria for the selection of portfolio securities, but the Fund also will rely upon the independent advice of the portfolio manager to evaluate potential investments. Among the factors that will be considered are the long-term ability of the issuer to pay principal and interest and general economic trends. Appendix B to this SAI contains further information concerning the rating categories of NRSROs and their significance.

If a security is rated by different agencies and receives different ratings from these agencies, Flexible Bond Fund will consider bonds to be below investment grade if they are rated below Baa/BBB by at least one NRSRO, or unrated securities determined by the Subadviser to be of comparable quality. Global Opportunities Bond Fund and Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) will consider bonds to be below investment grade if they are rated below Baa/BBB by all three NRSROs, or unrated securities determined by the Subadviser to be of comparable quality. The Subadviser will consider a security’s quality and credit rating when determining whether such security is an appropriate investment. Subject to its investment objective, policies and applicable law, the Fund may purchase a security with the lowest rating.

In addition to ratings assigned to individual bond issues, the Subadviser will analyze interest rate trends and developments that may affect individual issuers, including factors such as liquidity, profitability and asset quality. The yields on bonds and other debt securities in which the Fund invests are dependent on a variety of factors, including general money market conditions, general conditions in the bond market, the financial conditions of the issuer, the size of the offering, the maturity of the obligation and its rating. There may be a wide variation in the quality of bonds, both within a particular classification and between classifications. A bond issuer’s obligations are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of bond holders or other creditors of an issuer; litigation or other conditions may also adversely affect the power or ability of bond issuers to meet their obligations for the payment of principal and interest. Regardless of ratings levels, all debt securities considered for purchase (whether rated or unrated) are analyzed by the Subadviser to determine, to the extent possible, that the planned investment is sound.

If a security purchased by the Fund is subsequently given a lower rating, the Subadviser will consider that fact in determining whether to retain the security in the Fund’s portfolio, but is not required to dispose of it.

 

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Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)

REITs are pooled investment vehicles which invest primarily in income producing real estate or real estate-related loans or interests. REITs are generally classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs or a combination of equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling properties that have appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income from the collection of interest payments. REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with the applicable requirements of the Code. Debt securities issued by REITs, for the most part, are general and unsecured obligations and are subject to risks associated with REITs. Like mutual funds, REITs have expenses, including advisory and administration fees paid by certain REITs and, as a result, the Fund is indirectly subject to those fees if the Fund invests in REITs.

Investing in REITs involves certain risks, including declines in the value of the underlying real estate, risks related to general and local economic conditions, possible lack of availability of mortgage funds, overbuilding, extended vacancies of properties, increased competition, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, changes in zoning laws, losses due to costs resulting from the clean-up of environmental problems, liability to third parties for damages resulting from environmental problems, casualty or condemnation losses, limitations on rents, changes in neighborhood values and in the appeal of properties to tenants. Equity REITs may also be subject to property and casualty risks as their insurance policies may not completely recover repair or replacement of assets damaged by fires, floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters. In addition, global climate change may have an adverse effect on property and security values. A rise in sea levels or an increase in flooding could cause certain properties to lose value or become unmarketable altogether. Losses related to climate change could adversely affect the value of REITs. REITs whose underlying assets are concentrated in properties used by a particular industry, such as healthcare, are also subject to industry-related risks. Certain “special purpose” REITs may invest their assets in specific real estate sectors, such as hotels, nursing homes or warehouses, and are therefore subject to the risks associated with adverse developments in any such sectors.

REITs (especially mortgage REITs) are subject to interest rate risks. When interest rates decline, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed income obligations can be expected to rise. Conversely, when interest rates rise, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed-rate obligations can be expected to decline. If the REIT invests in adjustable rate debt instruments the interest rates on which are reset periodically, yields on a REIT’s investments in such loans will gradually align themselves to reflect changes in market interest rates. This causes the value of such investments to fluctuate less dramatically in response to interest rate fluctuations than would investments in fixed-rate obligations. However, REIT shares can be more volatile than, and perform differently from, larger company securities since REITs tend to be small- to medium-sized companies in relation to the equity markets as a whole. REITs may have limited financial resources, may trade less frequently and in a limited volume and may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements than larger company securities.

REITs are dependent upon the skills of their managers and are generally not diversified. REITs may be highly leveraged, and financial covenants may affect the ability of REITs to operate effectively. REITs are generally dependent upon maintaining cash flows to repay borrowings, to cover operating costs, and to make distributions to shareholders and are subject to the risk of default by lessees and borrowers. In the event of a default by a borrower or lessee, the REIT may experience delays in enforcing its rights as a mortgagee or lessor and may incur substantial costs associated with protecting its investments. If REITs are net sellers of assets or do not reinvest principal, they are also subject to self-liquidation. In addition, REITs could possibly fail to qualify for tax-free pass-through of net income and gains under the Code or to maintain their exemptions from registration as an investment company under the 1940 Act. In the event of any such failure to qualify as a REIT under the Code, the company would be subject to corporate level taxation, significantly reducing the return to the Fund on its investment in such company.

Redemption Risk

The Fund may experience periods of heavy redemptions that could cause the Fund to liquidate its assets at inopportune times or at a loss or depressed value, particularly during periods of declining or illiquid markets. Redemption risk is greater to the extent that the Fund has investors with large shareholdings, short investment horizons, or unpredictable cash flow needs. In addition, redemption risk is heightened during periods of overall market turmoil. The redemption by one or more large shareholders of their holdings in the Fund could hurt performance and/or cause the remaining shareholders in the Fund to lose money. The Fund’s redemption risk is increased if one decision maker has control of fund shares owned by separate fund

 

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shareholders, including clients or affiliates of the Fund’s Manager. If the Fund is forced to liquidate its assets under unfavorable conditions or at inopportune times, the value of your investment could decline.

Repurchase Agreements

Under the terms of a typical repurchase agreement, the Fund would acquire one or more underlying debt securities from a counterparty (typically a bank or a broker-dealer), subject to the counterparty’s obligation to repurchase, and the Fund to resell, the securities at an agreed-upon time and price. The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements where the underlying collateral consists entirely of cash items and/or securities of the U.S. Government, its agencies, its instrumentalities, or U.S. Government sponsored enterprises. The Fund may also enter into repurchase agreements where the underlying collateral consists of other types of securities, including securities the Fund could not purchase directly. For such repurchase agreements, the underlying securities which serve as collateral may include, but are not limited to, U.S. government securities, municipal securities, corporate debt obligations, asset-backed securities (including collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”)), convertible securities and common and preferred stock and may be of below investment grade quality. The repurchase price is typically greater than the purchase price paid by the Fund, thereby determining the Fund’s yield. A repurchase agreement is similar to, and may be treated as, a secured loan, where the Fund loans cash to the counterparty and the loan is secured by the underlying securities as collateral. All repurchase agreements entered into by the Fund are required to be collateralized so that at all times during the term of a repurchase agreement, the value of the underlying securities is at least equal to the amount of the repurchase price. Also, the Fund or its custodian is required to have control of the collateral, which the portfolio manager believes will give the Fund a valid, perfected security interest in the collateral.

Repurchase agreements could involve certain risks in the event of default or insolvency of the counterparty, including possible delays or restrictions upon the Fund’s ability to dispose of the underlying securities, the risk of a possible decline in the value of the underlying securities during the period in which the Fund seeks to assert its right to them, the risk that there may be a limited market or no market for disposition of such underlying securities, the risk of incurring expenses associated with asserting those rights and the risk of losing all or part of the income from the agreement. The Fund will seek to mitigate these risks but there is no guarantee that such efforts will be successful. If the Fund enters into a repurchase agreement involving securities the Fund could not purchase directly, and the counterparty defaults, the Fund may become the holder of such securities. Repurchase agreements collateralized by securities other than U.S. government securities may be subject to greater risks and are more likely to have a term to maturity of longer than seven days. Repurchase agreements with a maturity of more than seven days are considered to be illiquid.

Repurchase agreements may be entered into or novated with a financial clearinghouse, which would become the Fund’s counterparty. The Fund would then become subject to the rules of the clearinghouse, which may limit the Fund’s rights and remedies (including recourse to collateral) or delay or restrict the rights and remedies, and expose the Fund to the risks of the clearinghouses’ insolvency.

Pursuant to an exemptive order issued by the SEC, the Fund, along with other affiliated entities managed by the Manager, may transfer uninvested cash balances into one or more joint accounts for the purpose of entering into repurchase agreements secured by cash and U.S. government securities, subject to certain conditions.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

The Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements. A reverse repurchase agreement has the characteristics of a secured borrowing by the Fund and creates leverage in the Fund’s portfolio. In a reverse repurchase transaction, the Fund sells a portfolio instrument to another person, such as a financial institution or broker-dealer, in return for cash. At the same time, the Fund agrees to repurchase the instrument at an agreed-upon time and at a price that is greater than the amount of cash that the Fund received when it sold the instrument, representing the equivalent of an interest payment by the Fund for the use of the cash. During the term of the transaction, the Fund will continue to receive any principal and interest payments (or the equivalent thereof) on the underlying instruments.

The Fund may engage in reverse repurchase agreements as a means of raising cash to satisfy redemption requests or for other temporary or emergency purposes. Unless otherwise limited in the Fund’s Prospectus or this SAI, the Fund may also engage in reverse repurchase agreements to the extent permitted by its fundamental investment policies in order to raise additional cash to be invested by the Fund’s portfolio manager in other securities or instruments in an effort to increase the Fund’s investment returns.

 

52


During the term of the transaction, the Fund will remain at risk for any fluctuations in the market value of the instruments subject to the reverse repurchase agreement as if it had not entered into the transaction. When the Fund reinvests the proceeds of a reverse repurchase agreement in other securities, the Fund will also be at risk for any fluctuations in the market value of the securities in which the proceeds are invested. Like other forms of leverage, this makes the value of an investment in the Fund more volatile and increases the Fund’s overall investment exposure. In addition, if the Fund’s return on its investment of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement does not equal or exceed the implied interest that it is obligated to pay under the reverse repurchase agreement, engaging in the transaction will lower the Fund’s return.

When the Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it is subject to the risk that the buyer under the agreement may file for bankruptcy, become insolvent or otherwise default on its obligations to the Fund. In the event of a default by the counterparty, there may be delays, costs and risks of loss involved in the Fund’s exercising its rights under the agreement, or those rights may be limited by other contractual agreements or obligations or by applicable law.

In addition, the Fund may be unable to sell the instruments subject to the reverse repurchase agreement at a time when it would be advantageous to do so, or may be required to liquidate portfolio securities at a time when it would be disadvantageous to do so in order to make payments with respect to its obligations under a reverse repurchase agreement. This could adversely affect the Fund’s strategy and result in lower fund returns.

The Fund will treat reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions either (i) consistently with Section 18 of the 1940 Act by maintaining asset coverage of at least 300% of the value of such transactions or (ii) as derivatives transactions for purposes of Rule 18f-4, including, as applicable, the value-at-risk based limit on leverage risk.

Securities Lending

The Fund may lend its portfolio securities, provided that cash or equivalent collateral, equal to at least 100% of the market value of such securities, is continuously maintained by the other party with the Fund. During the pendency of the transaction, the other party will pay the Fund an amount equivalent to any dividends or interest paid on such securities, and the Fund may invest the cash collateral and earn additional income, or it may receive an agreed upon amount of interest income from the other party who has delivered equivalent collateral. These transactions are subject to termination at the option of the Fund or the other party. The Fund may pay administrative and custodial fees in connection with these transactions and may pay a negotiated portion of the interest earned on the cash or equivalent collateral to the other party or placing agent or broker. Although voting rights or rights to consent with respect to the relevant securities generally pass to the other party, the Fund will make arrangements to vote or consent with respect to a material event affecting such securities. The risks in lending portfolio securities include possible delay in recovering or the failure to recover the securities and possible loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower fail financially. The Fund runs the risk that the counterparty to a loan transaction will default on its obligation and that the value of the collateral received may decline before the Fund can dispose of it. If the Fund receives cash as collateral and invests that cash, the Fund is subject to the risk that the collateral will decline in value before the Fund must return it to the counterparty. Subject to the foregoing, loans of fund securities are effectively borrowings by the Fund and have economic characteristics similar to reverse repurchase agreements. The Fund does not currently intend to engage in securities lending, although it may engage in transactions (such as reverse repurchase agreements) which have similar characteristics.

Small and Mid Cap Companies

Investments in securities of companies with small and medium market capitalizations may offer greater opportunity for appreciation than larger companies, but involve special risks. The securities of those companies may be subject to more abrupt fluctuations in market price and may be more sensitive to economic conditions than larger, more established companies. Small and mid cap company stock prices may, to a degree, fluctuate independently of larger company stock prices, i.e., small and mid cap company stocks may decline in price as the prices of large company stocks rise or vice versa.

Small and mid cap companies may have newer or limited product lines, limited markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent upon a limited or inexperienced management group. In addition, securities of these companies are subject to the risk that, during certain periods, the liquidity of particular issuers or industries will shrink or disappear with little forewarning as a result of adverse economic or market conditions, or adverse investor perceptions, whether or not accurate. Securities of small and mid cap companies may not be widely traded and it may be difficult for the Fund to dispose of such securities, or receive an advantageous price.

 

53


Small and mid cap companies may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, to finance expansion or to maintain their competitive position; and may have substantial borrowings or may otherwise have a weak financial condition, and may be susceptible to bankruptcy. Transaction costs for these investments are often higher than those of larger capitalization companies. There is typically less publicly available information about small cap companies.

Some small and mid cap companies also may be relatively new issuers, which carries risks in addition to the risks of other small and mid cap companies. New issuers may be more speculative because such companies are relatively unseasoned. These companies will often be involved in the development or marketing of a new product with no established market, which could lead to significant losses.

Stripped Securities

Stripped securities may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government, or by private originators of, or investors in, government securities or mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing. Stripped securities have greater volatility than other types of securities. Although mortgage securities are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, the market for such securities has not yet been fully developed. Accordingly, stripped securities may be illiquid.

Stripped securities are structured with two or more classes of securities that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of assets. A common type of stripped mortgage security will have at least one class receiving only a small portion of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (“IO” or interest-only class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (“PO” or principal-only class). The yield to maturity on IOs, POs and other mortgage-backed securities that are purchased at a substantial premium or discount generally are extremely sensitive not only to changes in prevailing interest rates but also to the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying mortgage assets, and a rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on such securities’ yield to maturity. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities even if the securities have received the highest rating by a NRSRO.

Structured Notes and Related Instruments

“Structured” notes and other related instruments, including indexed securities, are derivative debt instruments, the interest rate or principal of which is determined by an unrelated underlying instrument (for example, a currency, security, commodity or index thereof). Structured instruments are generally privately negotiated debt obligations issued by corporations, including banks, as well as by governmental agencies and frequently are assembled in the form of medium-term notes, but a variety of forms are available and may be used in particular circumstances. The terms of such structured instruments normally provide that their principal and/or interest payments are to be adjusted upwards or downwards (but ordinarily not below zero) to reflect changes in the underlying instrument while the instruments are outstanding. As a result, the interest and/or principal payments that may be made on a structured product may vary widely. The rate of return on structured notes may be determined by applying a multiplier to the performance or differential performance of the underlying instrument or other asset(s). Application of a multiplier involves leverage that will serve to magnify the potential for gain and the risk of loss. Investment in indexed securities and structured notes involves certain risks, including the credit risk of the issuer and the normal risks of price changes in response to changes in interest rates. Further, in the case of certain indexed securities or structured notes, a decline in the underlying instrument may cause the interest rate to be reduced to zero, and any further declines in the underlying instrument may then reduce the principal amount payable on maturity. Finally, these securities may have lower liquidity than other types of securities and may be more volatile than their underlying instruments. Subordinated “structured” notes, which are subordinated to the right of payment of another class of the structured note, typically have higher yields and present greater risks than unsubordinated “structured” notes.

Subordinated Securities

Subordinated securities include securities which are subordinated or “junior” to more senior securities of the issuer, or which represent interests in pools of such subordinated or junior securities. Such securities may include so-called “high yield” or “junk” bonds (i.e., bonds that are rated below investment grade by a rating agency or that are determined by the Fund’s portfolio manager to be of equivalent quality) and preferred stock. Under the terms of subordinated securities, payments that would

 

54


otherwise be made to their holders may be required to be made to the holders of more senior securities, and/or the subordinated or junior securities may have junior liens, if they have any rights at all, in any collateral (meaning proceeds of the collateral are required to be paid first to the holders of more senior securities). As a result, subordinated or junior securities will be disproportionately adversely affected by a default or even a perceived decline in creditworthiness of the issuer.

Temporary Defensive Investing

The Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies in response to adverse market, economic or political conditions by taking temporary defensive positions, including by investing in any type of investment grade, government, corporate and money market instruments and short-term debt securities or holding cash without regard to any percentage limitations. If a significant amount of the Fund’s assets is used for defensive investing purposes, the Fund will be less likely to achieve its investment objective. Although the portfolio manager has the ability to take defensive positions, they may choose not to do so for a variety of reasons, even during volatile market conditions.

U.S. Government Securities

U.S. Government securities include (1) U.S. Treasury bills (maturity of one year or less), U.S. Treasury notes (maturity of one to ten years) and U.S. Treasury bonds (maturities generally greater than ten years); (2) obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities which are supported by any of the following: (a) the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government (such as certificates issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”)); (b) the right of the issuer to borrow an amount limited to a specific line of credit from the U.S. Government (such as obligations of the Federal Home Loan Banks); (c) the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase certain obligations of agencies or instrumentalities (such as securities issued by the Federal National Mortgage Association); or (d) only the credit of the agency or instrumentality (such as securities issued by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation); and (3) obligations issued by non-governmental entities (like financial institutions) that carry direct guarantees from U.S. government agencies as part of government initiatives in response to a market crisis or otherwise. Agencies and instrumentalities of the U.S. Government include but are not limited to: Farmers Home Administration, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Federal Housing Administration, Federal Land Banks, Federal Financing Bank, Central Bank for Cooperatives, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, Farm Credit Bank System, Federal Home Loan Banks, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Federal National Mortgage Association, General Services Administration, Government National Mortgage Association, Student Loan Marketing Association, United States Postal Service, Maritime Administration, Small Business Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, Washington D.C. Armory Board and any other instrumentality established or sponsored by the U.S. Government.

In the case of obligations not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, the Fund must look principally to the agency or instrumentality issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment and may not be able to assert a claim against the United States itself in the event the agency or instrumentality does not meet its commitments. Neither the U.S. Government nor any of its agencies or instrumentalities guarantees the market value of the securities they issue. Therefore, the market value of such securities will fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates and other factors. In addition, any downgrade of the credit rating of the securities issued by the U.S. Government may result in a downgrade of securities issued by its agencies or instrumentalities, including government-sponsored entities. From time to time, uncertainty regarding the status of negotiations in the U.S. government to increase the statutory debt ceiling could increase the risk that the U.S. government may default on payments on certain U.S. government securities, cause the credit rating of the U.S. government to be downgraded, increase volatility in the stock and bond markets, result in higher interest rates, reduce prices of U.S. Treasury securities, and/or increase the costs of various kinds of debt. If a U.S. Government-sponsored entity is negatively impacted by legislative or regulatory action (or lack thereof), is unable to meet its obligations, or its creditworthiness declines, the performance of a fund that holds securities of the entity will be adversely impacted.

U.S. Treasury Obligations

U.S. Treasury obligations are direct debt obligations issued by the U.S. government. Treasury bills, with maturities normally from 4 weeks to 52 weeks, are typically issued at a discount as they pay interest only upon maturity. Treasury bills are non-callable. Treasury notes have a maturity between two and ten years and typically pay interest semi-annually, while Treasury bonds have a maturity of over ten years and pay interest semi- annually. U.S. Treasury obligations also include STRIPS, TIPS, and FRNs. STRIPS are Treasury obligations with separately traded principal and interest component parts of such obligations that are transferable through the federal book-entry system. The principal and interest components of U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining

 

55


maturities of longer than ten years are eligible to be traded independently under the STRIPS program. Under the STRIPS program, the principal and interest components are separately issued through depository financial institutions, which then trade the component parts separately. Each interest payment and the principal payment becomes a separate zero-coupon security. STRIPS pay interest only at maturity. The interest component of STRIPS may be more volatile than that of U.S. Treasury bills with comparable maturities. TIPS are Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, the principal of which increases with inflation and decreases with deflation. The inflation adjustment is based on a three month-lagged value of the non-seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U). TIPS entitle the holder, upon maturity, to the adjusted principal or original principal, whichever is greater, thus providing a deflation floor. TIPS pay interest twice a year, at a fixed rate. The rate is applied to the adjusted principal; so, like the principal, interest payments rise with inflation and fall with deflation. However, because the interest rate is fixed, TIPS may lose value when market interest rates increase, particularly during periods of low inflation. FRNs are floating rate notes, the interest on which is indexed to the most recent 13-week Treasury bill auction High Rate, which is the highest accepted discount rate in a Treasury bill auction.

Variable and Floating Rate Securities

Variable and floating rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the obligations. The terms of such obligations provide that interest rates are adjusted periodically based upon an interest rate adjustment index as provided in the respective obligations. The adjustment intervals may be regular, and range from daily up to annually, or may be event-based, such as based on a change in the prime rate.

The Fund may invest in floating rate debt instruments (“floaters”) and engage in credit spread trades. The interest rate on a floater is a variable rate which is tied to another interest rate, such as a corporate bond index or U.S. Treasury bill rate. The interest rate on a floater resets periodically, typically every six months. While, because of the interest rate reset feature, floaters may provide the Fund with a certain degree of protection against rising interest rates, the Fund will participate in any declines in interest rates as well. A credit spread trade is an investment position relating to a difference in the prices or interest rates of two bonds or other securities or currencies, where the value of the investment position is determined by movements in the difference between the prices or interest rates, as the case may be, of the respective securities or currencies.

The Fund may also invest in inverse floating rate debt instruments (“inverse floaters”). The interest rate on an inverse floater resets in the opposite direction from the market rate of interest to which the inverse floater is indexed. An inverse floating rate security may exhibit greater price volatility than a fixed rate obligation of similar credit quality.

A floater may be considered to be leveraged to the extent that its interest rate varies by a magnitude that exceeds the magnitude of the change in the index rate of interest. The higher degree of leverage inherent in some floaters is associated with greater volatility in their market values.

The Fund may also invest in variable amount master demand notes, which permit the indebtedness thereunder to vary in addition to providing for periodic adjustments in the interest rate. The absence of an active secondary market with respect to particular variable and floating rate instruments could make it difficult for the Fund to dispose of a variable or floating rate note if the issuer were to default on its payment obligation or during periods that the Fund is not entitled to exercise its demand rights, and the Fund could, for these or other reasons, suffer a loss with respect to such instruments. In determining average-weighted portfolio maturity, an instrument will be deemed to have a maturity equal to either the period remaining until the next interest rate adjustment or the time the Fund can recover payment of principal as specified in the instrument, depending on the type of instrument involved.

Warrants and Rights

Warrants are instruments that give the holder the right to purchase equity securities at a specific price valid for a specified time period. Warrants are typically issued with preferred stock or bonds but can often be traded separately from the securities with which they were initially sold. Warrants may be purchased with values that vary depending on the change in value of one or more specified indexes (“index warrants”). Index warrants are generally issued by banks or other financial institutions and give the holder the right, at any time during the term of the warrant, to receive upon exercise of the warrant a cash payment from the issuer based on the value of the underlying index. Rights are similar to warrants but typically have a shorter duration than warrants and are issued directly by an issuer to existing stockholders and provide those holders the right to purchase additional shares of stock at a later date.

 

56


Warrants and rights may be considered speculative in that they have no voting rights, pay no dividends, and have no rights with respect to the assets of the issuer. The prices of warrants and rights do not necessarily move with the prices of the underlying securities. If the market price of the underlying security does not exceed the exercise price of the warrant or right plus the cost thereof before the expiration date, the Fund could sustain losses despite advantageous changes in the market price of the underlying security. Warrants and rights not exercised before their expiration date cease to have value.

Low Exercise Price Call Warrants. Low exercise price call warrants, sometimes also referred to as equity-linked participation certificates, are used to gain exposure to stocks in difficult to access local markets. These warrants typically have a strike price set where the value of the warrants will be identical to the price of the underlying stock. The value of these warrants fluctuates in line with the value of the underlying stock price and therefore, the risk and return profile of the warrants is very similar to owning the underlying securities, but the Fund may also be exposed to the risk of the counterparty that issued the warrant. These warrants have no voting rights. Dividends issued to the warrant issuer by the underlying issuer will be distributed to the warrant holders, net of any taxes or commissions imposed by the local jurisdiction in respect of the receipt of such amount. In addition, these warrants are not exchangeable into the ordinary shares of the underlying stock. These warrants are typically sold in private placement transactions and may be classified as derivative instruments.

When-Issued Securities and Forward Commitments

Securities may be purchased on a “when-issued” or “to be announced” or “forward delivery” basis. The payment obligation and the interest rate that will be received on the “when-issued” securities are fixed at the time the buyer enters into the commitment although settlement, i.e., delivery of and payment for the securities, takes place at a later date. In a “to be announced” transaction, the Fund commits to purchase securities for which all specific information is not known at the time of the trade.

Securities purchased on a “when-issued” or “forward delivery” basis are subject to changes in value based upon the market’s perception of the creditworthiness of the issuer and changes, real or anticipated, in the level of interest rates. The value of these securities experiences appreciation when interest rates decline and depreciation when interest rates rise. Purchasing securities on a “when-issued” or “forward delivery” basis can involve a risk that the yields available in the market on the settlement date may actually be higher or lower than those obtained in the transaction itself.

An increase in the percentage of the Fund’s assets committed to the purchase of securities on a “when-issued” basis may increase the volatility of its net asset value.

Zero Coupon, Pay-In-Kind and Deferred Interest Securities

Zero Coupon Bond. A zero coupon bond is a security that makes no fixed interest payments but instead is sold at a discount from its face value. The bond is redeemed at its face value on the specified maturity date. Zero coupon bonds may be issued as such, or they may be created by a broker who strips the coupons from a bond and separately sells the rights to receive principal and interest. The prices of zero coupon bonds tend to fluctuate more in response to changes in market interest rates than do the prices of interest-paying debt securities with similar maturities. Zero coupon bonds with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance will be treated as debt obligations that are issued originally at a discount for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Generally, the original issue discount (“OID”) is treated as interest income and is included in the Fund’s income and required to be distributed by the Fund over the term of the bond, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, upon partial or full repayment or disposition of the bond. The Fund may thus be required to pay out as an income distribution each year an amount which is greater than the total amount of cash the Fund actually received, and may have to dispose of other securities, including at times when it may be disadvantageous to do so, to generate the cash necessary for the distribution of income attributable to its zero coupon bonds.

Pay-In-Kind Securities. Pay-in-kind securities are bonds which pay interest through the issuance of additional debt or equity securities. Pay-in-kind securities have characteristics similar to those of zero coupon securities, but interest on such securities may be paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash. Similar to zero coupon obligations, pay-in-kind bonds also carry additional risk as holders of these types of securities realize no cash until the cash payment date unless a portion of such securities is sold and, if the issuer defaults, the Fund may obtain no return at all on its investment. The market price of pay-in-kind bonds is affected by interest rate changes to a greater extent, and therefore tends to be more volatile, than that of securities which pay interest in cash. Similar to zero coupon bonds, current Federal tax law requires the holder of pay-in-kind bonds to accrue income with respect to these securities prior to the receipt of cash payments. To maintain its qualification

 

57


as a regulated investment company and avoid liability for Federal income and excise taxes, the Fund may be required to distribute income accrued with respect to these securities and may have to dispose of portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances in order to generate cash to satisfy these distribution requirements.

Deferred Interest Bonds. Deferred interest bonds are debt obligations that generally provide for a period of delay before the regular payment of interest begins and that are issued at a significant discount from face value. The original discount approximates the total amount of interest the bonds will accrue and compound over the period until the first interest accrual date at a rate of interest reflecting the market rate of the security at the time of issuance. Although this period of delay is different for each deferred interest bond, a typical period is approximately one-third of the bond’s term to maturity. Such investments benefit the issuer by mitigating its initial need for cash to meet debt service, but some also provide a higher rate of return to attract investors who are willing to defer receipt of such cash.

Zero-coupon, pay-in-kind and deferred interest securities may be subject to greater fluctuation in value and lesser liquidity in the event of adverse market conditions than comparably rated securities paying cash interest at regular interest payment periods.

MANAGEMENT

Trustees and Officers

The business and affairs of the Fund are conducted by management under the supervision and subject to the direction of its Board. The business address of each Trustee (including each Independent Trustee) is c/o Jane Trust, Franklin Templeton, 100 International Drive, 11th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. The tables below provide information about each of the Trustees and officers of the Trust.

Independent Trustees#:

 

Name and

Year of Birth

  Position(s) with Trust  

Term of Office*

and Length of

Time Served**

 

Principal Occupation(s)

During

the Past Five Years

 

Number of Funds in the Legg Mason Funds Complex Overseen

by Trustee***

    Other Board Memberships     Held by Trustee During the     Past Five Years  

 

Paul R. Ades

Born 1940

 

Trustee

 

Since 1983

  Paul R. Ades, PLLC (law firm) (since 2000)   57  

None

Andrew L. Breech

Born 1952

 

Trustee

 

Since 1991

  President, Dealer Operating Control Service, Inc. (automotive retail management) (since 1985)   57  

None

Althea L. Duersten

Born 1951

 

Trustee and

Chair of the Board

 

Since 2014 (Chair

of the Board since 2021)

  Retired (since 2011); formerly, Chief Investment Officer, North America, JP Morgan Chase (investment bank) and member of JPMorgan Executive Committee (2007 to 2011)   57  

Formerly, Non-Executive Director, Rokos Capital Management LLP (2019 to 2020)

Stephen R. Gross

Born 1947

 

Trustee

 

Since 1986

  Chairman Emeritus (since 2011) and formerly, Chairman, HLB Gross Collins, P.C. (accounting and consulting firm) (1979 to 2011); Executive Director of Business Builders Team, LLC (since 2005); Principal, Gross Consulting Group, LLC (since 2011); CEO, Gross Capital Partners, LLC (since 2014); CEO, Trusted CFO Solutions, LLC (since 2011)   57  

None

 

58


Susan M. Heilbron

Born 1945

 

Trustee

 

Since 1991

  Retired; formerly, President, Lacey & Heilbron (communications consulting) (1990 to 2002); General Counsel and Executive Vice President, The Trump Organization (1986 to 1990); Senior Vice President, New York State Urban Development Corporation (1984 to 1986); Associate, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP (1980 to 1984 and 1977 to 1979)   57  

None

Arnold L. Lehman

Born 1944

 

Trustee

 

Since 1982

  Senior Advisor, Phillips (auction house) (since 2015); formerly, Fellow Ford Foundation (2015 to 2016); Director of the Brooklyn Museum (1997 to 2015)   57  

Trustee of American Federation of Arts (since 2002)

Robin J.W. Masters

Born 1955

 

Trustee

 

Since 2002

  Retired; formerly, Chief Investment Officer of ACE Limited (insurance) (1986 to 2000)   57  

Director of HSBC Managed Portfolios Limited and HSBC Specialist Funds Limited (since 2020); formerly, Director of Cheyne Capital International Limited (investment advisory firm) (2005 to 2020); Director/Trustee of Legg Mason Institutional Funds plc, Western Asset Fixed Income Funds plc and Western Asset Debt Securities Fund plc (2007 to 2011)

Ken Miller

Born 1942

 

Trustee

 

Since 1983

  Retired; formerly, President, Young Stuff Apparel Group, Inc. (apparel manufacturer), division of Li & Fung (1963 to 2012)   57  

None

G. Peter O’Brien

Born 1945

 

Trustee

 

Since 1999

  Retired, Trustee Emeritus of Colgate University (since 2005); Board Member, Hill House, Inc. (residential home care) (since 1999); formerly, Board Member, Bridges School (pre-school) (2006 to 2017); Managing Director, Equity Capital Markets Group of Merrill Lynch & Co. (1971 to 1999)  

Trustee of Legg Mason Funds consisting of 57 portfolios; Director/

Trustee of the Royce Family Funds consisting of 16 portfolios

 

Formerly, Director of TICC Capital Corp. (2003 to 2017)

Thomas F. Schlafly

Born 1948

 

Trustee

 

Since 1983

  Chairman, The Saint Louis Brewery, LLC (brewery) (since 2012); formerly, President, The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc. (1989 to 2012); Senior Counsel (since 2017) and formerly, Partner (2009 to 2016), Thompson Coburn LLP (law firm)   57  

Director, CNB St. Louis Bank (since 2020); formerly, Director, Citizens National Bank of Greater St. Louis (2006 to 2020)

Interested Trustee and Officer:

 

59


Jane Trust, CFA†

Born 1962

 

Trustee, President and

Chief Executive Officer

 

Since 2015

  Senior Vice President, Fund Board Management, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Officer and/or Trustee/Director of 127 funds associated with LMPFA or its affiliates (since 2015); President and Chief Executive Officer of LMPFA (since 2015); formerly, Senior Managing Director (2018 to 2020) and Managing Director (2016 to 2018) of Legg Mason & Co., LLC (“Legg Mason & Co.”); Senior Vice President of LMPFA (2015)   127  

None

 

 

#

Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust within the meaning of Section 2(a)(19) of the 1940 Act.

*

Each Trustee serves until his or her respective successor has been duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal.

**

Indicates the earliest year in which the Trustee became a board member for a fund in the Legg Mason Funds complex.

***

Information is for the calendar year ended December 31, 2022, except as otherwise noted.

 

Ms. Trust is an “interested person” of the Trust, as defined in the 1940 Act, because of her position with LMPFA and/or certain of its affiliates.

Additional Officers:

 

Name, Year of

Birth

and Address

  Position(s) with Trust  

Term of Office*

and Length of

Time Served**

 

Principal Occupation(s)

During the Past Five Years

Ted P. Becker

Born 1951

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

 

Chief Compliance Officer

 

Since 2007

 

Vice President, Global Compliance of Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Chief Compliance Officer of LMPFA (since 2006); Chief Compliance Officer of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); formerly, Director of Global Compliance at Legg Mason (2006 to 2020); Managing Director of Compliance of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

 

Christopher Berarducci

Born 1974

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

 

Treasurer and Principal Financial Officer

 

Since 2010 and 2019

  Vice President, Fund Administration and Reporting, Franklin Templeton (since 2020), Treasurer (since 2010) and Principal Financial Officer (since 2019) of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates; formerly, Managing Director (2020), Director (2015 to 2020), and Vice President (2011 to 2015) of Legg Mason & Co.

Marc A. De Oliveira

Born 1971

Franklin Templeton

100 First Stamford Place

6th Floor

Stamford, CT 06902

 

Secretary and Chief Legal Officer

 

Since 2020

  Associate General Counsel of Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Assistant Secretary of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); formerly, Managing Director (2016 to 2020) and Associate General Counsel of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

 

60


Jeanne Kelly

Born 1951

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

 

Senior Vice President

 

Since 2007

  U.S. Fund Board Team Manager, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Senior Vice President of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2007); Senior Vice President of LMPFA (since 2006); President and Chief Executive Officer of LM Asset Services, LLC (“LMAS”) and Legg Mason Fund Asset Management, Inc. (“LMFAM”) (formerly registered investment advisers) (since 2015); formerly, Managing Director of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020), and Senior Vice President of LMFAM (2013 to 2015)

Susan Kerr

Born 1949

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

 

Chief Anti-Money

Laundering

Compliance

Officer

 

Since 2013

  Senior Compliance Analyst, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Chief Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2013) and Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer (since 2012), Senior Compliance Officer (since 2011) and Assistant Vice President (since 2010) of the Distributor; formerly, Assistant Vice President of Legg Mason & Co. (2010 to 2020)

Thomas C. Mandia

Born 1962

Franklin Templeton

100 First Stamford Place

6th Floor

Stamford, CT 06902

 

Senior Vice President

 

Since 2020

  Senior Associate General Counsel to Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Secretary of LMPFA (since 2006); Assistant Secretary of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); Secretary of LMAS (since 2002) and LMFAM (formerly registered investment advisers) (since 2013); formerly, Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

 

*

Each officer serves until his or her respective successor has been duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal.

**

Indicates the earliest year in which the officer took such office.

Qualifications of Trustees, Board Leadership Structure and Oversight and Standing Committees

The Independent Trustees were selected to join the Board based upon the following as to each Trustee: character and integrity; service as a board member of predecessor funds and/or other funds in the Legg Mason Funds complex; willingness to serve and willingness and ability to commit the time necessary to perform the duties of a Trustee; such person’s skills, experience, judgment, analytical ability, intelligence, and common sense; their current or previous profit and non-profit board membership; such person’s considerable familiarity with the special regulatory requirements governing regulated investment companies and the special responsibilities of investment company trustees; and the Trustee’s status as not being an “interested person” of the Fund, as defined in the 1940 Act. Ms. Trust was selected to join the Board based upon her investment management and risk oversight experience as an executive and portfolio manager and leadership roles with Legg Mason and affiliated entities. The Board also considered her character and integrity, her willingness to serve and willingness and ability to commit the time necessary to perform the duties of a Trustee, her skills, experience, judgment, analytical ability, intelligence, and common sense, her considerable familiarity with the special regulatory requirements governing regulated investment companies and the special responsibilities of investment company trustees, and her status as a representative of Franklin Templeton. Ms. Trust is an interested person of the Fund. Ms. Duersten serves as Chair of the Board and is an Independent Trustee. Independent Trustees constitute more than 75% of the Board.

The Board believes that each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of the other Trustees lead to the conclusion that the Board possesses the requisite attributes and skills. The Board believes that the Trustees’ ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Manager, the Subadviser(s), other service providers, counsel and the independent registered public accounting firm, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties support this conclusion. In addition, the following specific experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills apply to each Trustee.

Each Trustee, except for Ms. Trust and Ms. Duersten, has served as a board member of the Fund and/or other funds in the Legg Mason Funds complex for at least eight years. Mr. Ades has substantial experience practicing law and advising clients with respect to various business transactions. Mr. Breech has substantial experience as the chief executive of a private

 

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corporation. Ms. Duersten has substantial experience as a global investment and trading manager in capital markets across multiple asset classes, including as the chief investment officer for the North American region of a major investment bank and service on its executive committee. Mr. Gross has a substantial accounting background and experience as an officer, trustee and board member of various organizations. Ms. Heilbron has substantial legal background and experience, business and consulting experience, and experience as a board member of public companies. Dr. Lehman has experience as chief executive officer of major museums and other entities involved in the arts, has previously served as a lead independent trustee and board chair for certain funds in the Legg Mason Funds complex and has experience as a founding director of the Legg Mason Funds. Ms. Masters has investment management experience as chief investment officer, as a director of an investment advisory firm and from her service on the boards of other investment companies. Mr. Miller has substantial experience as a senior executive of an operating company. Mr. O’Brien has experience at senior levels of a large financial services company and has experience from his service on the boards of academic institutions and a residential home care company. Mr. Schlafly has substantial experience practicing law and also serves as the non-executive Chairman of a private corporation and as director of a bank. Ms. Trust has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Trust and other funds in the fund complex since 2015 and has investment management and risk oversight experience as an executive and portfolio manager and in leadership roles with Franklin Templeton (and before that, Legg Mason) and affiliated entities. References to the experience, qualifications, attributes and skills of Trustees are pursuant to requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission, do not constitute holding out of the Board or any Trustee as having any special expertise, and shall not impose any greater responsibility or liability on any such person or on the Board.

The Board has five standing committees: the Audit Committee, the Contract Committee, the Performance Committee, the Governance Committee, and the Compensation and Nominating Committee (which is a sub-committee of the Governance Committee). Each Committee is chaired by an Independent Trustee. The Audit Committee and the Governance Committee are composed of all of the Independent Trustees. The Contract Committee is composed of five Independent Trustees. The Performance Committee is composed of four Independent Trustees. The Compensation and Nominating Committee is composed of four Independent Trustees. Where deemed appropriate, the Board may constitute ad hoc committees.

The Chair of the Board and the chairs of the Audit and Performance Committees work with the Chief Executive Officer of the Trust to set the agendas for Board and committee meetings. The Chair of the Board also serves as a key point person for interaction between management and the other Independent Trustees. Through the committees the Independent Trustees consider and address important matters involving the Fund, including those presenting conflicts or potential conflicts of interest for management. The Independent Trustees also regularly meet outside the presence of management and are advised by independent legal counsel. The Board has determined that its committees help ensure that the Fund has effective and independent governance and oversight. The Board also has determined that its leadership structure, in which the Chair of the Board is not affiliated with Franklin Templeton or Legg Mason, is appropriate. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information between the Independent Trustees and management, including the Fund’s Subadviser.

The Audit Committee oversees the scope of the Fund’s audit, the Fund’s accounting and financial reporting policies and practices and its internal controls. The Audit Committee assists the Board in fulfilling its responsibility for oversight of the integrity of the Fund’s accounting, auditing and financial reporting practices, the qualifications and independence of the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm and the Fund’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The Audit Committee approves, and recommends to the Board for ratification, the selection, appointment, retention or termination of the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm and approves the compensation of the independent registered public accounting firm. The Audit Committee also approves all audit and permissible non-audit services provided to the Fund by the independent registered public accounting firm and all permissible non-audit services provided by the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm to the Manager and any affiliated service providers if the engagement relates directly to the Fund’s operations and financial reporting.

The Contract Committee is charged with assisting the Board in requesting and evaluating such information from the Manager and the Subadviser as may reasonably be necessary to evaluate the terms of the Fund’s investment management agreement, subadvisory arrangements and distribution arrangements.

The Performance Committee is charged with assisting the Board in carrying out its oversight responsibilities over the Fund and fund management with respect to investment management, objectives, strategies, policies and procedures, performance and performance benchmarks, and the applicable risk management process.

 

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The Governance Committee is charged with overseeing Board governance and related Trustee practices, including selecting and nominating persons for election or appointment by the Board as Trustees of the Trust. The Governance Committee has formed the Compensation and Nominating Committee, the function of which is to recommend to the Board the appropriate compensation for serving as a Trustee on the Board. In addition, the Compensation and Nominating Committee is responsible for, among other things, selecting and recommending candidates to fill vacancies on the Board. The Committee may consider nominees recommended by a shareholder. In evaluating potential nominees, including any nominees recommended by shareholders, the Committee takes into consideration various factors, including, among any others it may deem relevant, character and integrity, business and professional experience, and whether the committee believes the person has the ability to apply sound and independent business judgment and would act in the interest of the Fund and its shareholders. Shareholders who wish to recommend a nominee should send recommendations to the Trust’s Secretary that include all information relating to such person that is required to be disclosed in solicitations of proxies for the election of Trustees. A recommendation must be accompanied by a written consent of the individual to stand for election if nominated by the Board and to serve if elected by the shareholders.

Service providers to the Fund, primarily the Fund’s Manager, the Subadviser and, as appropriate, their affiliates, have responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Fund, which includes responsibility for risk management. As an integral part of its responsibility for oversight of the Fund, the Board oversees risk management of the Fund’s investment program and business affairs. Oversight of the risk management process is part of the Board’s general oversight of the Fund and its service providers. The Board has emphasized to the Fund’s Manager and the Subadviser the importance of maintaining vigorous risk management. The Board exercises oversight of the risk management process primarily through the Audit Committee and the Performance Committee, and through oversight by the Board itself.

The Fund is subject to a number of risks, including investment risk, counterparty risk, valuation risk, reputational risk, cybersecurity risk, risk of operational failure or lack of business continuity, and legal, compliance and regulatory risk. Risk management seeks to identify and address risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of the Fund. The Fund’s Manager and the Subadviser, the affiliates of the Manager and the Subadviser, or various service providers to the Fund employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify various of those possible events or circumstances, to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Different processes, procedures and controls are employed with respect to different types of risks. Various personnel, including the Fund’s and the Manager’s Chief Compliance Officer and the Manager’s chief risk officer, as well as personnel of the Subadviser and other service providers, such as the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, make periodic reports to the Audit Committee, the Performance Committee or to the Board with respect to various aspects of risk management, as well as events and circumstances that have arisen and responses thereto. The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the Fund can be identified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve the Fund’s goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Trustees as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s risk management oversight is subject to inherent limitations.

During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the Board met 5 times, the Audit Committee met 4 times, the Governance Committee met 4 times, the Performance Committee met 4 times, the Compensation and Nominating Committee met 1 time, and the Contract Committee met 1 time.

 

63


Trustee Ownership of Securities

The following tables show the dollar range of equity securities owned by the Trustees in the Fund and other investment companies in the Legg Mason Funds complex overseen by the Trustees as of December 31, 2022.

 

     Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in the Fund ($)
        

Name of Trustee

   Flexible Bond
Fund
     Global
Opportunities
Bond Fund
     Global
Opportunities
Bond Fund
(USD Hedged)
     Small Cap
Value Fund
     Aggregate Dollar
Range of Equity
Securities in All
Registered
Investment
Companies in Legg
Mason Funds
Complex Overseen
by Trustee ($)
 

Independent Trustees:

              

Paul R. Ades

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

Andrew L. Breech

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

Althea L. Duersten

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

Stephen R. Gross

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

Susan M. Heilbron

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

Arnold L. Lehman

     None        10,001 to 50,000        None        None        Over 100,000  

Robin J.W. Masters

     None        10,001 to 50,000        None        None        Over 100,000  

Ken Miller

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

G. Peter O’Brien

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

Thomas F. Schlafly

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

Interested Trustee:

              

Jane Trust

     None        None        None        None        Over 100,000  

As of December 31, 2022, none of the Independent Trustees or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of the Manager, the Subadviser, or the Distributor of the Fund, or of a person (other than a registered investment company) directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by or under common control with the Manager, the Subadviser, or the Distributor of the Fund.

For serving as a Trustee of the Trust, each Independent Trustee receives an annual retainer plus fees for attending each regularly scheduled meeting and special Board meeting they attend in person or by telephone. Each Independent Trustee is also reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses relating to attendance at such meetings. Those Independent Trustees who serve in leadership positions of the Board or Board committees, and members of the Contract Committee, the Performance Committee, and the Compensation and Nominating Committee, receive additional compensation. The Board reviews the level of Trustee compensation periodically and Trustee compensation may change from time to time. Ms. Trust, an “interested person” of the Trust, as defined in the 1940 Act, does not receive compensation from the Fund for her service as Trustee. The Fund pays its pro rata share of the fees and expenses of the Trustees based upon asset size.

Officers of the Trust receive no compensation from the Fund, although they may be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket travel expenses for attending Board meetings.

 

64


Trustee Compensation

Information regarding compensation paid to the Trustees is shown below.

 

   

Aggregate Compensation from the Fund*($)

             
Name of
Trustee
  Flexible Bond
Fund
   Global
Opportunities
Bond Fund
   Global
Opportunities
Bond Fund (USD
Hedged)
   Small Cap
Value Fund
   Total Pension
or
Retirement
Benefits Paid
as Part of
Fund
Expenses*
($)
    

Total
Compensation
        from Legg Mason        
Funds Complex

Paid to
Trustee**
($)

 

Independent Trustees:

     

Paul R. Ades

Andrew L.

 

1,312

   13,506    819    25      None        446,000  

Breech

Althea L.

 

1,361

   14,022    851    26      None        463,000  

Duersten

Stephen R.

 

1,587

   16,389    996    30      None        541,000  

Gross

Susan M.

 

1,320

   13,582    824    25      None        448,500  

Heilbron

Howard J.

 

1,255

   12,900    782    24      None        426,000  

Johnson***,§

Arnold L.

 

1,312

   13,506    819    25      None        446,000  

Lehman

Robin J.W.

 

1,240

   12,748    773    24      None        421,000  

Masters

Jerome H.

 

1,312

   13,506    819    25      None        446,000  

Miller***

 

1,327

   13,658    829    25      None        451,000  

Ken Miller

 

1,327

   13,658    829    25      None        451,000  

G. Peter

O’Brien

 

1,240

   12,748    773    24      None        669,300  

Thomas F.

Schlafly

 

1,312

   13,506    819    25      None        446,000  

Interested

Trustee:

                

Jane Trust†

 

None

   None    None    None      None        None  

 

*

Information is for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.

**

Information is for the calendar year ended December 31, 2022.

***

Messrs. Johnson and Miller retired from the Board effective December 31, 2022.

§

The total amount of deferred compensation accrued by the Trust (including earnings or depreciation in value of amounts deferred) through December 31, 2022 for Mr. Howard J. Johnson is $160,364.

 

Ms. Trust is not compensated by the Trust for her services as a Trustee because of her affiliations with the Manager.

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AND SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION

Manager

The Manager, a limited liability company organized under the laws of the State of Delaware, serves as investment manager to the Fund and provides administrative and certain oversight services to the Fund, pursuant to an investment

 

65


management agreement (the “Management Agreement”). The Manager has offices at 280 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10017 and also serves as the investment manager of other Legg Mason Funds. The Manager is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, a Delaware corporation. Franklin Resources, whose principal executive offices are at One Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, California 94403, is a global investment management organization operating, together with its subsidiaries, as Franklin Templeton.

The Manager has agreed, under the Management Agreement, subject to the supervision of the Board, to provide the Fund with investment research, advice, management and supervision, furnish a continuous investment program for the Fund’s portfolio of securities and other investments consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives, policies and restrictions, and place orders pursuant to its investment determinations. The Manager is permitted to enter into contracts with subadvisers or subadministrators, subject to the Board’s approval. The Manager has entered into subadvisory agreements, as described below.

As compensation for services performed, facilities furnished and expenses assumed by the Manager, the Fund pays the Manager a fee computed daily at an annual rate of the Fund’s average daily net assets as described below. The Manager also performs administrative and management services as reasonably requested by the Fund necessary for the operation of the Fund, such as (i) supervising the overall administration of the Fund, including negotiation of contracts and fees with, and monitoring of performance and billings of, the Fund’s transfer agent, shareholder servicing agents, custodian and other independent contractors or agents; (ii) providing certain compliance, fund accounting, regulatory reporting and tax reporting services; (iii) preparing or participating in the preparation of Board materials, registration statements, proxy statements and reports and other communications to shareholders; (iv) maintaining the Fund’s existence; and (v) maintaining the registration or qualification of the Fund’s shares under federal and state laws.

The Management Agreement will continue in effect for its initial term and thereafter from year to year, provided continuance is specifically approved at least annually (a) by the Board or by a 1940 Act Vote, and (b) in either event, by a majority of the Independent Trustees, with such Independent Trustees casting votes in person at a meeting called for such purpose.

The Management Agreement provides that the Manager may render services to others. The Management Agreement for each of Flexible Bond Fund, Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) and Small Cap Value Fund provides that it is terminable without penalty by the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund on not more than 60 days’ nor less than 30 days’ written notice to the Manager, or by the Manager on not less than 90 days’ written notice to the Fund as applicable, and will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act) by the Manager. The Global Opportunities Bond Fund Management Agreement is terminable without penalty by the Board, by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, or by the Manager, on not less than 60 days’ notice to the other party and will be terminated upon the mutual written consent of the Manager and the Trust, and will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act) by the Manager. No Management Agreement is assignable by the Trust except with the consent of the Manager.

The Management Agreement for each of Flexible Bond Fund, Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) and Small Cap Value Fund provides that the Manager, its affiliates performing services contemplated by the Management Agreement, and the partners, shareholders, directors, officers and employees of the Manager and such affiliates, will not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law, for any loss arising out of any investment, or for any act or omission in the execution of securities transactions for the Fund, but the Manager is not protected against any liability to the Fund to which the Manager would be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Management Agreement.

The Global Opportunities Bond Fund Management Agreement provides that the Manager will not be liable for any action of the Board in following or declining to follow any advice or recommendations of the Manager, but the Manager is not protected against any liability to the Fund or its shareholders to which the Manager would be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Management Agreement.

 

66


For its services under the Fund’s Management Agreement, the Manager receives an investment management fee that is calculated daily and payable monthly at an annual rate according to the following schedule:

 

        Fund            

           Average Daily Net Assets                Investment Management Fee    
Rate

(% of Average Daily Net
Assets)

Flexible Bond Fund

   N/A    0.55

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

   N/A    0.50

Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)

   N/A    0.50

Small Cap Value Fund

   First $1 billion

 

Next $2 billion

 

Over $3 billion

   0.800

 

0.750

 

0.700

The table below sets forth the management fees paid by the Fund to the Manager (waived/reimbursed amounts are in parentheses), with respect to the fiscal periods indicated:

 

Fund

       For the Fiscal Period Ended    
December 31,
   Gross
    Management    
Fees ($)
       Management Fees    
Waived/Expenses
Reimbursed ($)
   Net Management
Fees (After
Waivers/Expense
Reimbursements) ($)

Flexible Bond Fund1

   2022
2021
2020
   1,275,996
665,372
109,863
   (211,007)
(145,208)
(201,969)
   1,064,989
520,164

—  

Global Opportunities Bond Fund2

   2022
2021
2020
   11,092,289
12,388,854
12,004,893
   (44,021)
(89,928)
(63,352)
   11,048,268
12,298,926
11,941,541

Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)3

   2022
2021
2020
   587,871
1,651,016
1,547,466
   (130,550)
(15,359)
17,641
   457,321
1,635,657
1,565,107

Small Cap Value Fund4

   2022    41,606    (154,546)    —  

 

  1 

For the fiscal period ended December 31, 2022, the Manager recaptured $12 of fees that were previously waived and/or reimbursed.

  2 

For the fiscal period ended December 31, 2021, the Manager recaptured $2,094 of fees that were previously waived and/or reimbursed.

 

67


  3 

For the fiscal period ended December 31, 2020, the Manager recaptured $20,075 of fees that were previously waived and/or reimbursed.

  4

For the period August 31, 2022 (inception date) to December 31, 2022.

Any expense limitation arrangements in place during the Fund’s past three fiscal periods can be found in the Fund’s Prospectus in effect (as amended or supplemented from time to time) for such year.

Subadviser

Brandywine Global Investment Management, LLC serves as the subadviser to the Fund (the “Subadviser”) pursuant to a subadvisory agreement between the Manager and the Subadviser (the “Subadvisory Agreement”). The Subadviser has offices at 1735 Market Street, 18th Floor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. The Subadviser is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, a global investment management organization.

Under the Subadvisory Agreement, subject to the supervision of the Board and the Manager, the Subadviser regularly provides with respect to the portion of the Fund’s assets allocated to it by the Manager, investment research, advice, management and supervision; furnishes a continuous investment program for the allocated assets consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives, policies and restrictions; and places orders pursuant to its investment determinations. The Subadviser may delegate to companies that the Subadviser controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, certain of the Subadviser’s duties under a Subadvisory Agreement, subject to the Subadviser’s supervision, provided the Subadviser will not be relieved of its duties or obligations under the Subadvisory Agreement as a result of any delegation.

Each Subadvisory Agreement will continue in effect for its initial term and thereafter from year to year provided such continuance is specifically approved at least annually (a) by the Board or by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act), and (b) in either event, by a majority of the Independent Trustees with such Independent Trustees casting votes in person at a meeting called for such purpose.

The Flexible Bond Fund, Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) and Small Cap Value Fund Subadvisory Agreements are terminable without penalty by vote of the Board or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act), in each case on not more than 60 days’ nor less than 30 days’ written notice to the Subadviser. The Subadviser may terminate the respective Subadvisory Agreement, on 90 days’ written notice to the Fund and the Manager. Each Subadvisory Agreement may be terminated upon the mutual written consent of the Manager and the Subadviser. The Subadvisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act) by the Subadviser, and shall not be assignable by the Manager without the consent of the Subadviser.

The Global Opportunities Bond Fund Subadvisory Agreement is terminable without penalty, by vote of the Board, by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, by the Manager or by the Subadviser, on not less than 60 days’ notice to the applicable party. The Subadviser, the Manager, and the Fund may terminate the Subadvisory Agreement upon their mutual written consent. The Subadvisory Agreement for Global Opportunities Bond Fund will terminate immediately upon termination of the Global Opportunities Bond Fund Management Agreement or in the event of assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act) by the Subadviser.

For each of Flexible Bond Fund, Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) and Small Cap Value Fund, the Subadvisory Agreement provides that the Subadviser, its affiliates performing services contemplated by the Subadvisory Agreement, and the partners, shareholders, directors, officers and employees of the Subadviser and such affiliates will not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law, or for any loss arising out of any investment, or for any act or omission in the execution of securities transactions for the Fund, but the Subadviser is not protected against any liability to the Fund or the Manager to which the Subadviser would be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Subadvisory Agreement.

The Global Opportunities Bond Fund Subadvisory Agreement provides that the Subadviser will not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss suffered by the Manager of by the Fund in connection with the performance of the Subadvisory Agreement, except a loss resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty with respect to the receipt of compensation

 

68


for services or a loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on the Subadviser’s part in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard by it of its obligations or duties under the Subadvisory Agreement.

For each of Flexible Bond Fund and Global Opportunities Bond Fund as compensation for its services, the Manager pays to the Subadviser a fee equal to 90% of the management fee paid to the Manager by the Fund, net of any waivers and expense reimbursements. For Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged) and Small Cap Value Fund, as compensation for its services, the Manager pays to the Subadviser a fee equal to 70% of the management fee paid to the Manager by the Fund, net of any waivers and expense reimbursements.

Expenses

In addition to amounts payable under the Management Agreement and the 12b-1 Plan (as discussed in this SAI), the Fund is responsible for its own expenses, including, among other things: interest; taxes; governmental fees; voluntary assessments and other expenses incurred in connection with membership in investment company organizations; organizational costs of the Fund; costs (including interest, brokerage commissions, transaction fees or charges or acquired fund fees and expenses, if any) in connection with the purchase or sale of the Fund’s securities and other investments and any losses in connection therewith; fees and expenses of custodians, transfer agents, registrars, independent pricing vendors or other agents; legal expenses; loan commitment fees; expenses relating to the issuance and redemption or repurchase of the Fund’s shares and servicing shareholder accounts; expenses of registering and qualifying the Fund’s shares for sale under applicable federal and state law; expenses of preparing, setting in print, printing and distributing prospectuses and statements of additional information and any supplements thereto, reports, proxy statements, notices and dividends to the Fund’s shareholders; costs of stationery; website costs; costs of meetings of the Board or any committee thereof, meetings of shareholders and other meetings of the Fund; Board fees; audit fees; travel expenses of officers, Trustees and employees of the Fund, if any; the Fund’s pro rata portion of premiums on any fidelity bond and other insurance covering the Fund and its officers, Trustees and employees; and litigation expenses and any non-recurring or extraordinary expenses as may arise, including, without limitation, those relating to actions, suits or proceedings to which the Fund is a party and any legal obligation which the Fund may have to indemnify the Fund’s Trustees and officers with respect thereto.

Management may agree to implement an expense cap, waive fees and/or reimburse operating expenses for one or more classes of shares. Any such expense caps, waived fees and/or reimbursed expenses are described in the Fund’s Prospectus. The expense caps, waived fees and/or reimbursed expenses do not cover extraordinary expenses, such as (a) any expenses or charges related to litigation, derivative actions, demands related to litigation, regulatory or other government investigations and proceedings, “for cause” regulatory inspections and indemnification or advancement of related expenses or costs, to the extent any such expenses are considered extraordinary expenses for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A as the same may be amended from time to time; (b) transaction costs (such as brokerage commissions and dealer and underwriter spreads) and taxes; (c) other extraordinary expenses as determined for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A, as the same may be amended from time to time; and (d) any other exclusions enumerated in the Fund’s particular expense cap. Without limiting the foregoing, extraordinary expenses are generally those that are unusual or expected to recur only infrequently, and may include such expenses, by way of illustration, as (i) expenses of the reorganization, restructuring, redomiciling or merger of the Fund or class or the acquisition of all or substantially all of the assets of another fund or class; (ii) expenses of holding, and soliciting proxies for, a meeting of shareholders of the Fund or class (except to the extent relating to routine items such as the election of Trustees or the approval of the independent registered public accounting firm); and (iii) expenses of converting to a new custodian, transfer agent or other service provider, in each case to the extent any such expenses are considered extraordinary expenses for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A as the same may be amended from time to time. In order to implement an expense limitation, the Manager will, as necessary, waive management fees or reimburse operating expenses. However, the Manager is permitted to recapture amounts waived and/or reimbursed to a class within three years after the fiscal year in which the Manager earned the fee or incurred the expense if the class’ total annual fund operating expenses have fallen to a level below the class’ expense limitation. In no case will the Manager recapture any amount that would result, on any particular business day of the Fund, in the class’ total annual fund operating expenses exceeding such expense limitation or any other lower limit then in effect. These arrangements may be reduced or terminated under certain circumstances.

Portfolio Managers

Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers

 

69


The table below identifies the portfolio managers, the number of accounts (other than the Fund) for which the portfolio managers have day-to-day management responsibilities and the total assets in such accounts, within each of the following categories: registered investment companies, other pooled investment vehicles, and other accounts. For each category, the number of accounts and total assets in the accounts where fees are based on performance are also indicated, as applicable. Unless noted otherwise, all information is provided as of December 31, 2022.

 

  Portfolio
  Managers
      

Type of

Account

   Number of
Accounts
Managed
  

Total

Assets

Managed
(Billions)

($)

   Number of
Accounts
Managed for
which Advisory
Fee is
Performance-
Based
   Assets Managed
for which
Advisory Fee is
Performance-
Based
(Billions) ($)
                              
Flexible Bond Fund

Michael Arno

 

    

   Registered Investment Companies   

1

  

0.08

   None    None
     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    23    4.89    1    0.16
     Other Accounts    4    0.33    4    1.15

Tracy Chen

     Registered Investment Companies   

15

  

5.10

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.31    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    51    11.55    13    7.35

Brian Kloss

     Registered Investment Companies   

15

  

5.10

   None    None
     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.31    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    51    11.55    13    7.35

Renato Latini

     Registered Investment Companies   

1

  

0.08

  

None

  

None

     Other    23    4.89    1    0.16

 

70


 

    

   Pooled Investment Vehicles            
     Other Accounts    4    0.33    4    1.15

John P. McIntyre

     Registered Investment Companies   

14

  

4.99

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.27    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    52    12.28    13    7.35

Anujeet Sareen

     Registered Investment Companies   

14

  

4.99

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.27    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    52    12.28    13    7.35
Global Opportunities Bond Fund

Tracy Chen

     Registered Investment Companies   

15

  

3.35

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.31    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    51    11.55    13    7.35

David F. Hoffman

     Registered Investment Companies   

5

  

0.82

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    31    6.46    1    0.26
     Other Accounts    38    10.17    9    6.20

 

71


Brian Kloss

 

    

   Registered Investment Companies   

15

  

3.35

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.31    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    51    11.55    13    7.35

John P. McIntyre

     Registered Investment Companies   

14

  

3.25

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.27    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    52    12.28    13    7.35

Anujeet Sareen

     Registered Investment Companies   

14

  

3.25

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.27    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    52    12.28    13    7.35
Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)

Tracy Chen

     Registered Investment Companies   

15

  

5.28

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.31    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    51    11.55    13    7.35

David F. Hoffmann

     Registered Investment Companies   

5

  

2.74

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment   

31

  

6.46

   1   

0.26

 

72


     Vehicles            
     Other Accounts    38    10.17    9    6.20

Brian Kloss

     Registered Investment Companies   

15

  

5.28

   None    None
     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.31    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    51    11.55    13    7.35

John P. McIntyre

     Registered Investment Companies   

14

  

5.17

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.27    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    52    12.28    13    7.35

Anujeet Sareen

     Registered Investment Companies   

14

  

5.17

   None   

None

     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    50    11.27    2    0.42
     Other Accounts    52    12.28    13    7.35
Small Cap Value Fund

Justin C. Bennitt

     Registered Investment Companies    None    None    None    None
     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    2    0.016    None    None
     Other Accounts    26    0.425    None    None

Gregory P.

     Registered Investment    None    None    None    None

 

73


Manley

     Companies            
     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    2    0.016    None    None
     Other Accounts    26    0.425    None    None

Steven D. Shin

     Registered Investment Companies    None    None    None    None
     Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    2    0.016    None    None
     Other Accounts    26    0.425    None    None

Portfolio Managers Securities Ownership

The table below identifies ownership of equity securities of the Fund by the portfolio managers responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund as of December 31, 2022.

 

  Portfolio Managers

  

Dollar Range of Ownership of Securities ($)

  Flexible Bond Fund   

Michael Arno

Tracy Chen

Brian Kloss

Renato Latini

Jack McIntyre

Anujeet Sareen

  

None

None

     1-10,000

None

None

None

Global Opportunities Bond Fund   

Tracy Chen

David Hoffman

Brian Kloss

Jack McIntyre

Anujeet Sareen

  

None

None

None

None

None

Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)

Tracy Chen

David Hoffman

Brian Kloss

Jack McIntyre

Anujeet Sareen

  

None

None

None

None

None

 

74


Small Cap Value Fund

 

        Justin C. Bennitt

        Gregory P. Manley

        Steven D. Shin

  

50,001-100,000

None

None

Conflicts of Interest

The Subadviser maintains policies and procedures reasonably designed to detect and minimize material conflicts of interest inherent in circumstances when a portfolio manager has day-to-day portfolio management responsibilities for multiple portfolios. Nevertheless, no set of policies and procedures can possibly anticipate or relieve all potential conflicts of interest. These conflicts may be real, potential, or perceived; certain of these conflicts are described in detail below.

Allocation of Limited Investment Opportunities. If a portfolio manager identifies a limited investment opportunity (including initial public offerings) that may be suitable for multiple portfolios, the investment opportunity may be allocated among these several portfolios, which may limit a portfolio’s ability to take full advantage of the investment opportunity, due to liquidity constraints or other factors.

The Subadviser has adopted trade allocation procedures designed to ensure that allocations of limited investment opportunities are conducted in a fair and equitable manner between portfolios. Nevertheless, investment opportunities may be allocated differently among portfolios due to the particular characteristics of a portfolio, such as the size of the portfolio, cash position, investment guidelines and restrictions or its sector/ country/region exposure or other risk controls, market restrictions or for other reasons.

Similar Investment Strategies. The Subadviser and its portfolio management team may manage multiple portfolios with similar investment strategies. Investment decisions for each portfolio are generally made based on each portfolio’s investment objectives and guidelines, cash availability, and current holdings. Purchases or sales of securities for the portfolios may be appropriate for other portfolios with like objectives and may be bought or sold in different amounts and at different times in multiple portfolios. Purchase and sale orders for a portfolio may be combined with those of other portfolios in the interest of achieving the most favorable net results for all portfolios.

Differences in Financial Incentives. A conflict of interest may arise where the financial or other benefits available to a portfolio manager or an investment adviser differ among the portfolios under management. For example, when the structure of an investment adviser’s management fee differs among the portfolios under its management (such as where certain portfolios pay higher management fees or performance-based management fees), a portfolio manager might be motivated to favor certain portfolios over others. Performance-based fees could also create an incentive for an investment adviser to make investments that are riskier or more speculative. In addition, a portfolio manager might be motivated to favor portfolios in which he or she or the investment adviser and/or its affiliates have a financial interest. Similarly, the desire to maintain or raise assets under management or to enhance the portfolio manager’s performance record in a particular investment strategy or to derive other rewards, financial or otherwise, could influence a portfolio manager to lend preferential treatment to those portfolios that could most significantly benefit the portfolio manager.

To manage conflicts that may arise from management of portfolios with performance-based fees, the Subadviser has developed trade allocation procedures as described above and the Subadviser periodically reviews the performance and trading in portfolios with like strategies to seek to ensure that no portfolio or group of portfolios receives preference in the trading process.

Personal Account Trading. The Subadviser may, from time to time, recommend to clients that they buy or sell securities in which employees have a financial interest. These types of transactions may present a conflict of interest in that employees might benefit from market activity by a client in a security held by an employee. In order to prevent conflicts of interest between the Subadviser and its client, employee trading is monitored under the Code of Ethics (the “Code”). The Code includes policies and procedures (a) restricting personal trading, (b) requiring the pre-clearance of most types of personal securities transactions, (c) requiring the reporting to the Subadviser of all required personal securities holdings and transactions, and (d) mandating blackout periods during which employees are prohibited from making personal transactions in certain securities.

 

75


The Subadviser and its employees may also invest in mutual funds and other pooled investment vehicles, including private investment vehicles that are managed by the Subadviser. This may result in a potential conflict of interest since the Subadviser employees have knowledge of such funds’ investment holdings, which is non-public information.

Broker Selection and Soft Dollar Usage. Investment professionals may be able to influence the selection of broker-dealers that are used to execute securities transactions for the portfolios they manage. In addition to executing trades, some brokers and dealers provide brokerage and research services, which may result in the payment of higher brokerage commissions than might otherwise be available and may provide an incentive to increase trading with such brokers. All soft dollar arrangements in which the Subadviser is involved are subject to the Subadviser’s policy of seeking best execution and are structured to comply with the safe harbor of Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act, and the rules and interpretations thereof as issued by the SEC. Nonetheless, the research services obtained from brokers and dealers may be used to service portfolios other than those paying commissions to the broker-dealers providing the research services, and also may benefit some portfolios more than others.

Portfolio Manager Compensation

All portfolio managers receive a competitive base salary. In addition, from the firm’s profits, a bonus is paid quarterly and based in part on the performance of the portfolio managers’ investment strategies relative to a relevant peer-group universe over one-quarter, one-, three- and five-year time periods. More subjective measurements of an individual’s contributions to the success of their product group and to the overall success of the firm are also considered as part of the individual allocation decision. After this performance-based incentive compensation is allocated, profits associated with individual product groups are allocated as follows: a majority is retained within the product group and the remainder is allocated to a pool shared by all product groups. The Subadviser believes this system achieves the goal of retaining top-quality investment professionals, as it provides extremely competitive compensation with entrepreneurial potential, and of fostering excellent performance, growth, and teamwork.

Custodian and Transfer Agent

The Fund has entered into an agreement with The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY Mellon”), 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York 10286, to serve as custodian of the Fund. BNY Mellon, among other things, maintains a custody account or accounts in the name of the Fund, receives and delivers all assets for the Fund upon purchase and upon sale or maturity, collects and receives all income and other payments and distributions on account of the assets of the Fund and makes disbursements on behalf of the Fund. BNY Mellon neither determines the Fund’s investment policies nor decides which securities the Fund will buy or sell. For its services, BNY Mellon receives a monthly fee based upon the daily average market value of securities held in custody and also receives securities transaction charges, including out-of-pocket expenses. The Fund may also periodically enter into arrangements with other qualified custodians with respect to certain types of securities or other transactions such as repurchase agreements or derivatives transactions. BNY Mellon may also act as the Fund’s securities lending agent and in that case would receive a share of the income generated by such activities.

Franklin Templeton Investor Services, LLC (“Investor Services”) is the Fund’s shareholder servicing agent and acts as the Fund’s transfer agent and dividend-paying agent. Investor Services is located at 3344 Quality Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670-7313. Please send all correspondences relating to the Fund to Investor Services at P.O. Box 33030, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-8030.

Investor Services receives a fee for servicing Fund shareholder accounts. The Fund also will reimburse Investor Services for certain out-of-pocket expenses necessarily incurred in servicing the shareholder accounts in accordance with the terms of its servicing contract with the Fund.

In addition, Investor Services may make payments (or cause payments to be made) to financial intermediaries that provide administrative services to defined benefit plans. Investor Services does not seek reimbursement by the Fund for such payments.

For all classes of shares of the Fund, except for Class IS shares, Investor Services may also pay servicing fees, that will be reimbursed by the Fund, in varying amounts to certain financial institutions (to help offset their costs associated with client account maintenance support, statement preparation and transaction processing) that (i) maintain omnibus accounts with the Fund in the institution’s name on behalf of numerous beneficial owners of Fund shares who are either direct clients of the institution or are participants in an IRS-recognized tax-deferred savings plan (including Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans and

 

76


Section 529 Plans) for which the institution, or its affiliate, provides participant level recordkeeping services (called “Beneficial Owners”); or (ii) provide support for Fund shareholder accounts by sharing account data with Investor Services through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) networking system. In addition to servicing fees received from the Fund, these financial institutions also may charge a fee for their services directly to their clients. Investor Services will also receive a fee from the Fund (other than for Class IS shares) for services provided in support of Beneficial Owners and NSCC networking system accounts.

Fund Counsel

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, located at One Federal Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, serves as legal counsel to the Trust and the Fund.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 100 East Pratt Street, Suite 2600, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, serves as the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm.

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

Portfolio Transactions

Pursuant to the Subadvisory Agreement and subject to the general supervision of the Board and in accordance with the Fund’s investment objectives and strategies, the Subadviser is responsible for the execution of the Fund’s portfolio transactions with respect to assets allocated to the Subadviser. The Subadviser is authorized to place orders pursuant to its investment determinations for the Fund either directly with the issuer or with any broker or dealer, foreign currency dealer, futures commission merchant or others selected by it.

In certain instances, there may be securities that are suitable as an investment for the Fund as well as for one or more of the other clients of the Subadviser. Investment decisions for the Fund and for the Subadviser’s other clients are made with a view to achieving their respective investment objectives. It may develop that a particular security is bought or sold for only one client even though it might be held by, or bought or sold for, other clients. Likewise, a particular security may be bought for one or more clients when one or more clients are selling the same security. Some simultaneous transactions are inevitable when several clients receive investment advice from the same investment adviser, particularly when the same security is suitable for the investment objectives of more than one client. When two or more clients are simultaneously engaged in the purchase or sale of the same security, the securities are allocated among clients in a manner believed to be equitable to each. It is recognized that in some cases this system could adversely affect the price of or the size of the position obtainable in a security for the Fund. When purchases or sales of the same security for the Fund and for other portfolios managed by the Subadviser occur contemporaneously, the purchase or sale orders may be aggregated in order to obtain any price advantages available to large volume purchases or sales.

Transactions on stock exchanges and other agency transactions involve the payment of negotiated brokerage commissions by the Fund. Transactions in foreign securities often involve the payment of brokerage commissions that may be higher than those in the United States. Fixed income securities are generally traded on a net basis (i.e., without a commission) through dealers acting as principal for their own account and not as brokers. This means that a dealer makes a market for securities by offering to buy at one price and selling the security at a slightly higher price. The difference between the prices is known as a “spread.” Other portfolio transactions may be executed through brokers acting as agents and the Fund will pay a spread or commission in connection with such transactions. The cost of securities purchased from underwriters includes an underwriting commission, concession or a net price. The Fund may also purchase securities directly from the issuer. The aggregate brokerage commissions paid by the Fund for the three most recent fiscal years or periods, as applicable, are set forth below under “Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid.”

Brokerage and Research Services

The general policy of the Subadviser in selecting brokers and dealers is to obtain the best results achievable in the context of a number of factors which are considered both in relation to individual trades and broader trading patterns. The Fund may not always pay the lowest commission or spread available. Rather, in placing orders on behalf of the Fund, the Subadviser

 

77


also takes into account other factors bearing on the overall quality of execution, such as size of the order, difficulty of execution, the reliability of the broker/dealer, the competitiveness of the price and the commission, the research services received and whether the broker/dealer commits its own capital.

In connection with the selection of such brokers or dealers and the placing of such orders, subject to applicable law, brokers or dealers may be selected who also provide brokerage and research services (as those terms are defined in Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act) to the Fund and/or the other accounts over which the Subadviser or its affiliates exercise investment discretion. The Subadviser is authorized to pay a broker or dealer that provides such brokerage and research services a commission for executing a portfolio transaction for the Fund which is in excess of the amount of commission another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting that transaction if the Subadviser determines in good faith that such amount of commission is reasonable in relation to the value of the brokerage and research services provided by such broker or dealer. Investment research services include information and analysis on particular companies and industries as well as market or economic trends and portfolio strategy, market quotations for portfolio evaluations, analytical software and similar products and services. If a research service also assists the Subadviser in a non-research capacity (such as bookkeeping or other administrative functions), then only the percentage or component that provides assistance to the Subadviser in the investment decision making process may be paid in commission dollars. This determination may be viewed in terms of either that particular transaction or the overall responsibilities that the Subadviser and its affiliates have with respect to accounts over which they exercise investment discretion. The Subadviser may also have arrangements with brokers pursuant to which such brokers provide research services to the Subadviser in exchange for a certain volume of brokerage transactions to be executed by such brokers. While the payment of higher commissions increases the Fund’s costs, the Subadviser does not believe that the receipt of such brokerage and research services significantly reduces its expenses as Subadviser. Arrangements for the receipt of research services from brokers (so-called “soft dollar” arrangements) may create conflicts of interest. Although the Subadviser is authorized to use soft dollar arrangements in order to obtain research services, it is not required to do so, and the Subadviser may not be able or may choose not to use soft dollar arrangements because of regulatory restrictions, operational considerations or for other reasons.

Research services furnished to the Subadviser by brokers that effect securities transactions for the Fund may be used by the Subadviser in servicing other investment companies and accounts which the Subadviser manages. Similarly, research services furnished to the Subadviser by brokers that effect securities transactions for other investment companies and accounts which the Subadviser manages may be used by the Subadviser in servicing the Fund. Not all of these research services are used by the Subadviser in managing any particular account, including the Fund.

Firms that provide research and brokerage services to the Subadviser may also promote the sale of the Fund or other pooled investment vehicles advised by the Subadviser, and the Subadviser and/or its affiliates may separately compensate them for doing so. Such brokerage business is placed on the basis of brokerage and research services provided by the firm and is not based on any sales of the Fund or other pooled investment vehicles advised by the Subadviser.

The Fund contemplates that, consistent with the policy of obtaining the best net results, brokerage transactions may be conducted through “affiliated broker/dealers,” as defined in the 1940 Act. The Fund’s Board has adopted procedures in accordance with Rule 17e-1 under the 1940 Act to ensure that all brokerage commissions paid to such affiliates are reasonable and fair in the context of the market in which such affiliates operate. For the three most recent fiscal periods (as applicable), the Fund did not pay any brokerage commission to its affiliates.

For the fiscal period ended December 31, 2022, the Fund did not direct any brokerage transactions related to research services and did not pay any brokerage commissions related to research services.

Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid

The table below shows the aggregate brokerage commissions paid by the Fund during the periods indicated.

 

78


Fund

   For the
Fiscal Period
Ended
December 31,
  Aggregate
Brokerage
Commissions
Paid ($)
Flexible Bond Fund      2022*   7,276
   2021   1,452
   2020   428
Global Opportunities Bond Fund    2022   28,554
   2021   21,680
   2020   34,605

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

(USD Hedged)

   2022   1,561
   2021   2,789
   2020   4,674
Small Cap Value Fund       2022**   6,440

 

*

The increase in aggregate brokerage commissions paid between fiscal periods ended December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2022, was due to an increased volume in futures trades.

**

For the fiscal period August 31, 2022 (inception date) to December 31, 2022.

Securities of Regular Broker/Dealers

As of December 31, 2022, the value of the Fund’s holdings of the securities of its regular broker/dealers (as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the 1940 Act) were as follows:

 

Fund

   Broker/
Dealer
   Type of
Security
Owned
D=Debt
E=Equity
   Market
Value (000’s)
($)
Flexible Bond Fund    Goldman
Sachs &
Co.
   D            1,153
   HSBC
Securities
(U.S.A.)
Inc.
   D            575
Global Opportunities Bond Fund    Goldman
Sachs &
Co.
   D            40,404

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

(USD Hedged)

   Goldman
Sachs &
Co.
   D            1,033

Securities of Regular Broker/Dealers

As of December 31, 2022, Small Cap Value Fund did not hold securities issued by its regular broker/dealers (as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the 1940 Act).

Portfolio Turnover

For reporting purposes, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate is calculated by dividing the lesser of purchases or sales of portfolio securities for the fiscal year by the monthly average of the value of the portfolio securities owned by the Fund during the fiscal year. In determining such portfolio turnover, all securities whose maturities at the time of acquisition were one year or less

 

79


are excluded. A 100% portfolio turnover rate would occur, for example, if all of the securities in the Fund’s investment portfolio (other than short-term money market securities) were replaced once during the fiscal year.

In the event that portfolio turnover increases, this increase necessarily results in correspondingly greater transaction costs which must be paid by the Fund. To the extent the portfolio trading results in recognition of net short-term capital gains, shareholders will generally be taxed on distributions of such gains at ordinary tax rates (except shareholders who invest through IRAs and other retirement plans which are not taxed currently on accumulations in their accounts).

Portfolio turnover will not be a limiting factor should the Subadviser deem it advisable to purchase or sell securities.

 

Fund

  

For the Fiscal Period Ended

2022 (%)

  

For the Fiscal Period Ended

2021 (%)

Flexible Bond Fund    122    55
Global Opportunities Bond Fund    90    51

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

(USD Hedged)

   118    68
Small Cap Value Fund    211   

1 For the period August 31, 2022 (inception date) to December 31, 2022.

SHARE OWNERSHIP

Principal Shareholders

As of March 31, 2023, to the knowledge of the Trust, the following shareholders owned of record or beneficially 5% or more of the outstanding shares of the classes of the Fund as set forth below:

 

Class

  

Name and Address

  

Percent of Class (%)

Flexible Bond Fund      
A   

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   17.41
A   

AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SVC

707 2ND AVE S

MINNEAPOLIS MN 55402-2405

   13.45
A   

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF

OUR CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPARTMENT 4TH FL

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310

   12.37
A   

LPL FINANCIAL

OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT

4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE

SAN DIEGO CA 92121

   12.30

 

80


Class

 

Name and Address

  

Percent of Class (%)

A  

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC

SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS

211 MAIN STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

   6.03
A  

TBBK PLEDGEE

SADOFF FAMILY PARTNERSHIP LLLP

PLEDGOR

26 W MUNDHANK RD

SOUTH BARRINGTON IL 60010-9557

   5.18
C  

AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SVC

707 2ND AVE S

MINNEAPOLIS MN 55402-2405

   43.11
C  

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   31.73
I  

AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SVC

707 2ND AVE S

MINNEAPOLIS MN 55402-2405

   34.00
I  

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP

FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010

   19.43
I  

LPL FINANCIAL

OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT

4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE

SAN DIEGO CA 92121

   17.24
I  

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   12.53
I  

RAYMOND JAMES

OMNIBUS FOR MUTUAL FUNDS

880 CARILLON PKWY

ST PETERSBURG FL 33716-1100

   5.96

 

81


Class

  

Name and Address

  

Percent of Class (%)

I   

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC

SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS

211 MAIN STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

   5.82
IS   

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC

SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS

211 MAIN STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

   61.66
IS   

TD AMERITRADE INC FOR THE

EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CLIENTS

PO BOX 2226

OMAHA NE 68103-2226

   32.44
Global Opportunities Bond Fund      
A   

EDWARD D JONES & CO

FOR THE BENEFIT OF CUSTOMERS

12555 MANCHESTER RD

SAINT LOUIS MO 63131-3729

   15.57
A   

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF

OUR CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPARTMENT 4TH FL

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310

   12.44
A   

MLPF&S FOR THE SOLE BENEFIT OF ITS CUSTOMERS

ATTN: FUND ADMINISTRATION

4800 DEER LAKE DRIVE EAST 3RD FLOOR

JACKSONVILLE FL 32246-6484

   10.75
A   

BNY MELLON INVESTMENT SERVICING (US) INC

FBO PRIMERICA FINANCIAL SERVICES 760 MOORE RD

KING OF PRUSSIA PA 19406-1212

   8.95
A   

TD AMERITRADE INC FOR THE

EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CLIENTS

PO BOX 2226

OMAHA NE 68103-2226

   6.90

 

82


Class

  

Name and Address

  

Percent of Class (%)

C   

RAYMOND JAMES

OMNIBUS FOR MUTUAL FUNDS

880 CARILLON PKWY

ST PETERSBURG FL 33716-1100

   39.58
C   

AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SVC

707 2ND AVE S

MINNEAPOLIS MN 55402-2405

   11.65
C   

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF

OUR CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPARTMENT 4TH FL

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310

   8.58
C   

MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF ITS CUSTOMERS 1 NEW YORK PLAZA FL 12

NEW YORK NY 10004-1901

   7.27
C   

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   7.16
C   

MLPF&S FOR THE SOLE BENEFIT OF ITS

CUSTOMERS

ATTN: FUND ADMINISTRATION

4800 DEER LAKE DRIVE EAST 3RD FLOOR

JACKSONVILLE FL 32246-6484

   5.80
C   

LPL FINANCIAL

OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT

4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE

SAN DIEGO CA 92121

   5.06
C1   

DCGT AS TTEE AND/OR CUST

FBO PLIC VARIOUS RETIREMENT PLANS OMNIBUS

ATTN NPIO TRADE DESK

711 HIGH STREET

DES MOINES, IA 50392

   83.53
C1   

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY ST CUST ACCT KY

UNCLAIMED PROP DIVISION

PO BOX 1990

TALLAHASSEE FL 32302-1990

   16.42

 

83


Class

  

Name and Address

  

Percent of Class (%)

FI   

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC

SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS

211 MAIN STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

   44.08
FI   

WELLS FARGO CLEARING SVCS LLC

2801 MARKET STREET

SAINT LOUIS, MO 63103

   15.06
FI   

MASSMUTUAL

C/O FUND OPERATIONS

1295 STATE STREET

SPRINGFIELD MA 01111

   8.74
FI   

TD AMERITRADE INC FOR THE

EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CLIENTS

PO BOX 2226

OMAHA NE 68103-2226

   5.55
FI   

MATRIX TRUST COMPANY CUST FBO

WALBEC GROUP RETIREMENT PLAN

PO BOX 52129

PHOENIX AZ 85072

   5.09
I   

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP

FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010

   25.47
I   

MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF ITS CUSTOMERS

1 NEW YORK PLAZA FL 12

NEW YORK NY 10004-1901

   11.44
I   

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC

SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS

211 MAIN STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

   6.16
I   

MLPF&S FOR THE SOLE BENEFIT OF ITS CUSTOMERS

ATTN: FUND ADMINISTRATION

4800 DEER LAKE DRIVE EAST 3RD FLOOR

JACKSONVILLE FL 32246-6484

   5.78

 

84


Class

  

Name and Address

  

Percent of Class (%)

I   

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   5.76
I   

TD AMERITRADE INC FOR THE

EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CLIENTS

PO BOX 2226

OMAHA NE 68103-2226

   5.24
IS   

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP
FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR 499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010

   26.18
IS   

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC

SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS

211 MAIN STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

   17.70
IS   

EMPOWER TRUST FBO

WELLS FARGO CO GLOBAL BOND

8515 E ORCHARD RD

GREENWOOD VILLAGE CO 80111

   8.23
IS   

EDWARD D JONES & CO

FOR THE BENEFIT OF CUSTOMERS

12555 MANCHESTER RD

SAINT LOUIS MO 63131-3729

   6.74
R   

THE HARTFORD

ONE HARTFORD PLAZA

HARTFORD CT 06155

   33.77
R   

STATE STREET BANK AND TRUST TTEE

AND/OR CUSTODIAN

(FBO) ADP ACCESS PRODUCT

1 LINCOLN ST

BOSTON MA 02111-2901

   23.12
R   

MASSACHUSETTS MUTUAL INSURANCE

1295 STATE ST

SPRINGFIELD MA 01111-0001

   12.62

 

85


Class

  

Name and Address

  

Percent of Class (%)

R   

DCGT AS TTEE AND/OR CUST

FBO PLIC VARIOUS RETIREMENT PLANS OMNIBUS

ATTN NPIO TRADE DESK

711 HIGH STREET

DES MOINES, IA 50392

   9.67
R   

MID ATLANTIC TRUST COMPANY FBO

GCAT LLC 401(K) PROFIT SHARING PLAN 1251 WATERFRONT PLACE, SUITE 525

PITTSBURGH, PA 15222

   5.03
Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)   
A   

EDWARD D JONES & CO

FOR THE BENEFIT OF CUSTOMERS

12555 MANCHESTER RD

SAINT LOUIS MO 63131-3729

   18.80
A   

FTIOS CUST FOR THE ROLLOVER IRA OF

SHIRLEY MOSKOWITZ

16451 ORINDA WAY

BONITA SPRINGS FL 34135-9134

   15.60
A   

FTIOS CUST FOR THE ROLLOVER IRA OF

CHARLES A MOSKOWITZ

16451 ORINDA WAY

BONITA SPRINGS FL 34135-9134

   12.96
A   

FTIOS CUST FOR THE SIMPLE-IRA OF

SOUTH FLORIDA DENTAL ASSOCIATES INC

18540 LONG LAKE DR

BOCA RATON FL 33496-1937

   12.19
A   

IBEW LOCAL 223

DEFERRED INCOME FUND

PO BOX 5817

WALLINGFORD CT 06492

   7.14
A   

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   7.05
C   

LPL FINANCIAL

OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT 4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE

SAN DIEGO CA 92121

   55.03
C   

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   26.21

 

86


Class

  

Name and Address

  

Percent of Class (%)

C   

EDWARD D JONES & CO

FOR THE BENEFIT OF CUSTOMERS

12555 MANCHESTER RD

SAINT LOUIS MO 63131-3729

   14.55
I   

AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SVC

707 2ND AVE S

MINNEAPOLIS MN 55402-2405

   63.17
I   

LPL FINANCIAL

OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT 4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE

SAN DIEGO CA 92121

   23.47
I   

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP

FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR 499 WASHINGTON BLVD JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010

   6.58
IS   

MAC & CO

FBO FT CONSERVATIVE GROWTH FUND

ATTN MUTUAL FUND OPERATIONS

500 GRANT STREET

ROOM 151-1010

PITTSBURGH PA 15258

   45.55
IS   

MAC & CO

FBO FT DEFENSIVE GROWTH FUND

ATTN MUTUAL FUND OPERATIONS

500 GRANT STREET

ROOM 151-1010

PITTSBURGH PA 15258

   29.36
IS   

MAC & CO

FBO FT MODERATE GROWTH FUND

ATTN MUTUAL FUND OPERATIONS

500 GRANT STREET

ROOM 151-1010

PITTSBURGH PA 15258

   21.93
Small Cap Value Fund      
A   

FTIOS CUST

17697 SIERRA CIELO LN

JAMUL CA 91935-5023

   16.70
A   

FTIOS CUST

2025 CONAN DOYLE WAY

ELDERSBURG MD 21784-6875

   7.68

 

87


A   

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   6.08
A   

FTIOS CUST

2201 1400TH ST

BEASON IL 62512-9759

   5.15
C   

FTIOS CUST

4604 CASTLE GROVE WAY

ELK GROVE CA 95758-3948

   27.08
C   

ROBERT CLEMENT

AND LISA GONZALES CLEMENT

7503 PARK ST

SHAWNEE KS 66216-4270

   25.56
C   

TEMPLETON INTERNATIONAL INC

CORPORATE ACCOUNTING

1 FRANKLIN PKWY

SAN MATEO CA 94403-1906

   20.49
C   

JOSEPH P KUCKELMAN

1517 PARK PLACE DR

ATCHISON KS 66002-8204

   17.27
C   

FTIOS CUST FOR THE SIMPLE-IRA OF

SPARKBOX

1100 CALHOUN ST UNIT D302

BEAUFORT SC 29902-4217

   5.15
I   

NELSON KONG TR

NELSON KONG TRSTE

3813 PANDA LN

SAN JOSE CA 95117-2776

   64.39
I   

TEMPLETON INTERNATIONAL INC

CORPORATE ACCOUNTING

1 FRANKLIN PKWY

SAN MATEO CA 94403-1906

   35.61
IS   

RASMUSON FOUNDATION

301 W NORTHERN LIGHTS BLVD STE 601

ANCHORAGE AK 99503-2650

   93.26
R   

TEMPLETON INTERNATIONAL INC

CORPORATE ACCOUNTING

1 FRANKLIN PKWY

SAN MATEO CA 94403-1906

   100.00

 

88


As of March 31, 2023, to the knowledge of the Trust, the following shareholders owned of record or beneficially 25% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund as set forth below. Shareholders who beneficially own 25% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund or who are otherwise deemed to “control” the Fund may be able to determine or significantly influence the outcome of matters submitted to a vote of the Fund’s shareholders.

 

Fund

  

Name and Address

  

Percent of Fund (%)

Flexible Bond Fund   

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC

SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS

211 MAIN STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

   26.15
Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)   

MAC & CO

FBO FT CONSERVATIVE GROWTH FUND

ATTN MUTUAL FUND OPERATIONS

500 GRANT STREET

ROOM 151-1010

PITTSBURGH PA 15258

   43.01
  

MAC & CO

FBO FT DEFENSIVE GROWTH FUND

ATTN MUTUAL FUND OPERATIONS

500 GRANT STREET

ROOM 151-1010

PITTSBURGH PA 15258

   27.73
Small Cap Value Fund   

RASMUSON FOUNDATION

301 W NORTHERN LIGHTS BLVD STE 601

ANCHORAGE AK 99503-2650

   91.37

As of March 31, 2023, the Trustees and officers of the Trust, as a group, owned less than 1% of the outstanding shares of each class of the Fund.

DISTRIBUTOR

Franklin Distributors, LLC, an indirect, wholly-owned broker/dealer subsidiary of Franklin Resources, located at 100 International Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, serves as the sole and exclusive distributor of the Fund pursuant to a written agreement (as amended, the “Distribution Agreement”).

Under the Distribution Agreement, the Distributor is appointed as principal underwriter and distributor in connection with the offering and sale of shares of the Fund. The Distributor offers the shares on an agency or “best efforts” basis under which the Fund issues only the number of shares actually sold. Shares of the Fund are continuously offered by the Distributor.

The Distribution Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to the Fund if approved (a) by the Board or by a vote of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities, and (b) by the affirmative vote of a majority of Trustees who are not parties to such agreement or interested persons of any party by votes cast in person at a meeting called for such purpose.

The Distribution Agreement is terminable with respect to the Fund without penalty by the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, or by the Distributor, on not less than 60 days’ written notice to the other party (unless the notice period is waived by mutual consent). The Distribution Agreement will automatically and immediately terminate in the event of its assignment.

 

89


The Distributor may be deemed to be an underwriter for purposes of the 1933 Act. Dealer reallowances, if any, are described in the Fund’s Prospectus.

The Distributor, the Manager, their affiliates and their personnel have interests in promoting sales of the Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds, including remuneration, fees and profitability relating to services to and sales of the funds. Associated persons of the Manager, the Distributor or their affiliates (including wholesalers registered with the Distributor) may receive additional compensation related to the sale of individual Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds or categories of Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds. The Manager, the Subadviser, and their advisory or other personnel may also benefit from increased amounts of assets under management.

Service Agents also may benefit from the sales of shares of funds sold by the Distributor. For example, in connection with such sales, Service Agents may receive compensation from the Fund (with respect to the Fund as a whole or a particular class of shares) and/or from the Manager, the Distributor, and/or their affiliates, as further described below. The structure of these compensation arrangements, as well as the amounts paid under such arrangements, vary and may change from time to time. In addition, new compensation arrangements may be negotiated at any time. The compensation arrangements described in this section are not mutually exclusive, and a single Service Agent may receive multiple types of compensation.

The Distributor has agreements in place with Service Agents defining how much each firm will be paid for the sale of the Fund from sales charges, if any, paid by Fund shareholders and from 12b-1 Plan fees, if any, paid to the Distributor by the Fund. These Service Agents then pay their employees or associated persons who sell such fund shares from the sales charges and/or fees they receive. The Service Agent, and/or its employees or associated persons may receive a payment when a sale is made and will, in most cases, continue to receive ongoing payments while you are invested in the Fund. In other cases, the Distributor may retain all or a portion of such fees and sales charges.

In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates may make additional payments (which are often referred to as “revenue sharing” payments) to the Service Agents from their past profits and other available sources, including profits from their relationships with the Fund. Revenue sharing payments are a form of compensation paid to a Service Agent in addition to the sales charges paid by Fund shareholders or 12b-1 Plan fees paid by the Fund. The Manager, the Distributor and/or certain of its affiliates may revise the terms of any existing revenue sharing arrangement and may enter into additional revenue sharing arrangements with other Service Agents.

Revenue sharing arrangements are intended, among other things, to foster the sale of Fund shares and/or to compensate financial services firms for assisting in marketing or promotional activities in connection with the sale of Fund shares. In exchange for revenue sharing payments, the Manager and the Distributor generally expect to receive the opportunity for the Fund to be sold through the Service Agents’ sales forces or to have access to third-party platforms or other marketing programs, including but not limited to mutual fund “supermarket” platforms or other sales programs. To the extent that Service Agents receiving revenue sharing payments sell more shares of the Fund, the Manager and the Distributor and/or their affiliates benefit from the increase in Fund assets as a result of the fees they receive from the Fund. The Distributor, LMPFA or their affiliates consider revenue sharing arrangements based on a variety of factors and services to be provided.

Revenue sharing payments are usually calculated based on a percentage of Fund sales and/or Fund assets attributable to a particular Service Agent. Payments are at times based on other criteria or factors such as, for example, a fee per each transaction. Specific payment formulas are negotiated based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, reputation in the industry, ability to attract and retain assets, target markets, customer relationships and scope and quality of services provided. In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates may pay flat fees on a one-time or irregular basis for the initial set-up of the Fund on a Service Agent’s systems, participation or attendance at a Service Agent’s meetings, or for other reasons. Furthermore, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates at times pay certain education and training costs of Service Agents (including, in some cases, travel expenses) to train and educate the personnel of the Service Agents. In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates at times may provide access to technology and other tools and support services that facilitate the marketing and promotion of investment management portfolios sponsored by Legg Mason, Franklin Templeton and/or their affiliates. It is likely that Service Agents that execute portfolio transactions for the Fund will include those firms with which the Manager, the Distributor and/or certain of their affiliates have entered into revenue sharing arrangements.

 

90


The Fund generally pays the transfer agent for certain recordkeeping and administrative services. In addition, the Fund may pay Service Agents for certain recordkeeping, administrative, sub-accounting and networking services. These services include maintenance of shareholder accounts by the firms, such as recordkeeping and other activities that otherwise would be performed by the Fund’s transfer agent. Administrative fees may be paid to a firm that undertakes, for example, shareholder communications on behalf of the Fund. Networking services are services undertaken to support the electronic transmission of shareholder purchase and redemption orders through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”). These payments are generally based on either (1) a percentage of the average daily net assets of Fund shareholders serviced by a Service Agent or (2) a fixed dollar amount for each account serviced by a Service Agent. The Distributor, the Manager and/or their affiliates may make all or a portion of these payments.

In addition, the Fund reimburses the Distributor for NSCC fees that are invoiced to the Distributor as the party to the agreement with NSCC for the administrative services provided by NSCC to the Fund and its shareholders. These services include transaction processing and settlement through Fund/SERV, electronic networking services to support the transmission of shareholder purchase and redemption orders to and from Service Agents, and related recordkeeping provided by NSCC to the Fund and its shareholders.

If your Fund shares are purchased through a retirement plan, the Distributor, the Manager or certain of their affiliates at times also make similar payments to those described in this section to the plan’s recordkeeper or an affiliate.

Revenue sharing payments, as well as the other types of compensation arrangements described in this section, create an incentive for Service Agents and their employees or associated persons to recommend the Fund over other investments or sell shares of the Fund to customers and in doing so may create conflicts of interest between the firms’ financial interests and the interests of their customers. The total amount of these payments is substantial, may be substantial to any given recipient and may exceed the costs and expenses incurred by the recipient for any Fund-related marketing or shareholder servicing activities.

As of December 31, 2022, the Distributor, the Manager or their affiliates made revenue sharing payments to the Service Agents listed below (or their affiliates or successors). It is possible that each Service Agent listed is not receiving payments with respect to each fund sold by the Distributor. This list of intermediaries will change over time, and any additions, modifications or deletions thereto that have occurred since December 31, 2022 are not reflected.

 

Acadia Life Limited    ADP Retirement Services
Advisor Group Inc.    Allianz
American Enterprise Investment Services, Inc.    American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc.
American United Life Insurance Company    Ascensus, Inc.
Aspire Financial Services, LLC    Avantax Wealth Management
AXA Advisors, LLC    Axos Financial, Inc
BBVA Securities, Inc.    Benefit Plan Administrators, Inc.
Benjamin F. Edwards & Company, Inc.    Brighthouse Financial
Cadaret Grant & Co., Inc.    CAIS Capital, LLC
Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.    Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
Cetera Advisors LLC    Charles Schwab & Co.
Cetera Investment Services LLC    Cetera Financial Specialists LLC
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.    Citizens Securities, Inc.
Commonwealth Financial Network    CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.
CUSO Financial Services, L.P.    Deutsche Bank
Digital Retirement Solutions    DWC-The 401(K) Experts
E*TRADE Securities LLC.    Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P.
Empower Retirement    ePlan Services, Inc.
Fidelity Investments Institutional Operations Company, Inc.    First Allied Securities, Inc.
First Command Financial Planning, Inc.    FPS Services LLC.
FSC Securities Corporation    Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company
Goldman, Sachs & Co,    Group 4 Financial LLC.
Hantz Financial Services, Inc.    Investacorp, Inc.
Janney Montgomery Scott LLC    Jefferson National Life Insurance Company

 

91


John Hancock Distributors LLC    JP Morgan Securities LLC
KMS Financial Services, Inc.    LaSalle St. Securities
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation    Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation
Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc.    Lincoln Retirement Services Company LLC
Lombard International LLC    LPL Financial
M&T Securities, Inc.    Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
Merrill Lynch    MetLife Insurance Company USA
Midland National Insurance Company    Minnesota Life Insurance Company
MML Investors Services, LLC    Morgan Stanley
MSCS Financial Services LLC    National Security Life and Annuity Company
Nationwide Financial Services, Inc.    New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation
Northwestern Mutual Investment Svcs LLC    Ohio National Financial Services
Pacific Life Insurance Company    Paychex Securities Corporation
Pershing, LLC    PFS Investments, Inc.
PNC Investments LLC    Principal Financial Group
Princor Financial Services    Protective Life Insurance
Prudential Insurance Company of America    Raymond James & Associates, Inc.
RBC Capital Markets LLC    Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.
Royal Alliance Associates    SagePoint Financial, Inc.
Sammons Financial Group, Inc.    Securities America, Inc.
Securities Service Network, Inc.    Sorrento Pacific Financial, LLC
Stifel Financial Corporation    Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (US)
TD Ameritrade Trust Company    TFS Securities, Inc.
The Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company, Inc.    The Huntington Investment Company
The Investment Center, Inc.    TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC
TIFIN Wealth    Transamerica Advisors Life Insurance Company
U.S. Bancorp Investments    UBS Financial Services, Inc.
UnionBanc Investment Services, LLC    USI Advisors, Inc.
Valor Financial Securities, LLC    Vestwell Holdings, Inc.
Voya Financial Advisors, LLC    Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
Western International Securities, Inc.    Woodbury Financial Services, Inc.

The Distributor, the Manager or their affiliates may also pay fees, from their own assets, to Service Agents for providing other distribution-related services as well as recordkeeping, administrative, subaccounting, and networking services (or portions thereof), and other shareholder or administrative services in connection with investments in the Fund. These payments may be considered revenue sharing payments. The Service Agents receiving such payments may not be listed above.

You should assume that your Service Agent receives revenue sharing payments and/or other compensation described in this SAI. Please contact your Service Agent for details about any payments it (and its employees) may receive from the Fund and/or from the Distributor, the Manager and/or their affiliates. You should review your Service Agent’s disclosure and/or talk to your Service Agent to obtain more information on how this compensation may have influenced your Service Agent’s recommendation of the Fund.

Dealer Commissions and Concessions

From time to time, the Distributor or the Manager, at its expense, may provide compensation or promotional incentives (“concessions”) to dealers that sell or arrange for the sale of shares of the Fund or a managed account strategy of which the Fund is part. Such concessions provided by the Distributor or the Manager may include financial assistance to dealers in connection with preapproved conferences or seminars, sales or training programs for invited registered representatives and other employees, payment for travel expenses, including lodging, incurred by registered representatives and other employees for such seminars or training programs, seminars for the public, advertising and sales campaigns regarding one or more funds, and/or other dealer-sponsored events. From time to time, the Distributor or the Manager may make expense reimbursements for special training of a dealer’s registered representatives and other employees in group meetings or to help pay the expenses of sales

 

92


contests. Other concessions may be offered to the extent not prohibited by applicable laws or any self-regulatory agency, such as the FINRA.

Sales Charges

The following expenses were incurred during the fiscal periods indicated:

Initial Sales Charges

The aggregate dollar amounts of initial sales charges received on Class A shares and the amounts retained by the Distributor were as follows:

Class A Shares

 

Fund

  

For the Fiscal Period
Ended
December 31,

  

Total
Commissions ($)

  

Amounts
Retained by
Distributor ($)

Flexible Bond Fund

   2022    58,667    4,870
   2021    39,753    11,993
   2020    4,694    716

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

   2022    62,199    7,218
   2021    147,716    18,067
   2020    41,932    4,157

Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)

   2022    272    0
   2021    638    38
   2020    0    0

Small Cap Value Fund1

   2022    64    6

1 For the period August 31, 2022 (inception date) to December 31, 2022.

Contingent Deferred Sales Charges

The aggregate dollar amounts of contingent deferred sales charges on Class A, Class C, and Class C1 shares received and retained by the Distributor were as follows:

Class A Shares

 

Fund

  

For the Fiscal Period Ended
December 31,

  

Amounts Retained by
Distributor ($)

Flexible Bond Fund

   2022    1,270
   2021    0
   2020    0

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

   2022    452
   2021    1,784
   2020    9

Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)

   2022    0
   2021    0
   2020    0

 

93


Small Cap Value Fund1

   2022    0
     

1 For the period August 31, 2022 (inception date) to December 31, 2022.

Class C Shares

 

Fund

  

For the Fiscal Period Ended
December 31,

  

Amounts Retained by
Distributor ($)

Flexible Bond Fund

   2022    0
   2021    0
   2020    0

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

   2022    0
   2021    754
   2020    98

Global Opportunities Bond Fund (USD Hedged)

   2022    0
   2021    0
   2020    0

Small Cap Value Fund1

   2022    0

1 For the period August 31, 2022 (inception date) to December 31, 2022.

Class C1 Shares

 

Fund

  

For the Fiscal Period Ended
December 31,

  

Amounts
Retained by
Distributor ($)

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

   2022    0
   2021    0
   2020    0

Services and Distribution Plan

The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has adopted a 12b-1 Plan in accordance with Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. Under the 12b-1 Plan, the Fund may pay monthly fees to the Distributor at up to the annual rates set forth below (as a percentage of the average daily net assets of the Fund attributable to the applicable share class).

 

Fund/Class

  

Rate (%)

Flexible Bond Fund

  

Class A

Class C

Class R

  

0.25

1.00

0.50

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

  

Class A

Class C

  

0.25

1.00

 

94


Class C1

Class FI

Class R

  

0.70

0.25

0.50

Global Opportunities Bond Fund

(USD Hedged)

  

Class A

Class C

Class R

  

0.25

1.00

0.50

Small Cap Value Fund

  

Class A

Class C

Class R

  

0.25

1.00

0.50

The Fund will provide the Board with periodic reports of amounts expended under the 12b-1 Plan and the purposes for which such expenditures were made. Fees under the 12b-1 Plan may be used to make payments to the Distributor, Service Agents and other parties with respect to the sale of Fund shares for advertising, marketing or other promotional activity, and payments for preparation, printing, and distribution of prospectuses, statements of additional information and reports for recipients other than existing shareholders. The Fund also may make payments to the Distributor, Service Agents and others for providing personal service or the maintenance of shareholder accounts. The amounts paid to each recipient may vary based upon certain factors, including, among other things, the levels of sales of shares and/or shareholder services; provided, however, that the fees paid to a recipient with respect to a particular class that may be used to cover expenses primarily intended to result in the sale of shares of that class, or that may be used to cover expenses primarily intended for personal service and/or maintenance of shareholder accounts, may not exceed the maximum amounts, if any, as may from time to time be permitted for such services under FINRA Conduct Rule 2341 or any successor rule, in each case as amended or interpreted by FINRA.

Since fees paid under the 12b-1 Plan are not tied directly to expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others), the amount of the fees paid by a class of the Fund during any year may be more or less than actual expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others). This type of distribution fee arrangement is characterized by the staff of the SEC as being of the “compensation variety” (in contrast to “reimbursement” arrangements by which a distributor’s payments are directly linked to its expenses). Thus, even if the Distributor’s expenses exceed the fees provided for by the 12b-1 Plan, the Fund will not be obligated to pay more than those fees and, if expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others) are less than the fees paid to the Distributor and others, they will realize a profit.

The 12b-1 Plan recognizes that various service providers to the Fund, such as the Manager, may make payments for distribution, marketing or sales-related expenses out of their own resources of any kind, including profits or payments received from the Fund for other purposes, such as management fees. The 12b-1 Plan provides that, to the extent that such payments might be deemed to be indirect financing of any activity primarily intended to result in the sale of shares of the Fund, the payments are deemed to be authorized by the 12b-1 Plan.

Under its terms, the 12b-1 Plan continues in effect for successive annual periods, provided continuance is specifically approved at least annually by vote of the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees who have no direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the 12b-1 Plan or in any agreements related to it (“Qualified Trustees”). The 12b-1 Plan may not be amended to increase the amount of the service and distribution fees without shareholder approval, and all amendments of the 12b-1 Plan also must be approved by the Trustees, including the Qualified Trustees, in the manner described above. The 12b-1 Plan may be terminated with respect to a class of the Fund at any time, without penalty, by vote of a majority of the Qualified Trustees or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that class (as defined in the 1940 Act).

The following service and distribution fees were incurred by the Fund pursuant to the 12b-1 Plan in effect during the fiscal period ended December 31, 2022:

 

95


Fund/Class