STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
FROST GROWTH EQUITY FUND
(Institutional Class Shares: FICEX)
(Investor Class Shares: FACEX)
FROST TOTAL RETURN BOND FUND
(Institutional Class Shares: FIJEX)
(Investor Class Shares: FATRX)
(A Class Shares: FAJEX)
FROST CREDIT FUND
(Institutional Class Shares: FCFIX)
(Investor Class Shares: FCFAX)
(A Class Shares: FCFBX)
FROST LOW DURATION BOND FUND
(Institutional Class Shares: FILDX)
(Investor Class Shares: FADLX)
FROST MUNICIPAL BOND FUND
(Institutional Class Shares: FIMUX)
(Investor Class Shares: FAUMX)
each, a series of FROST FAMILY OF FUNDS
November 28, 2022
Frost Investment Advisors, LLC
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. This SAI is intended to provide additional information regarding the activities and operations of Frost Family of Funds (the “Trust”) and the Frost Growth Equity Fund, the Frost Total Return Bond Fund, the Frost Credit Fund, the Frost Low Duration Bond Fund and the Frost Municipal Bond Fund (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”). This SAI is incorporated by reference into and should be read in conjunction with the Funds’ prospectus, dated November 28, 2022, as it may be amended from time to time (the “Prospectus”). Capitalized terms not defined herein are defined in the Prospectus. The most recent Annual Report for the Funds, which includes the Funds' audited financial statements dated July 31, 2022, is incorporated by reference into this SAI. The Prospectus or Annual Report may be obtained by writing to the Funds at Frost Funds, P.O. Box 219009, Kansas City, Missouri 64121-9009 (Express Mail Address: Frost Funds, c/o DST Systems, Inc., 430 West 7th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105) or calling toll-free 1-877-71-FROST (1-877-713-7678).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES||S-2|
|DESCRIPTION OF PERMITTED INVESTMENTS||S-3|
|PAYMENTS TO FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES||S-52|
|THE TRANSFER AGENT||S-54|
|INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM||S-55|
|TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS OF THE TRUST||S-55|
|PURCHASING AND REDEEMING SHARES||S-66|
|DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE||S-66|
|DESCRIPTION OF SHARES||S-86|
|LIMITATION OF TRUSTEES’ LIABILITY||S-86|
|CODES OF ETHICS||S-87|
|PRINCIPAL SHAREHOLDERS AND CONTROL PERSONS||S-87|
|APPENDIX A – DESCRIPTION OF RATINGS||A-1|
|APPENDIX B – PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES||B-1|
|November 28, 2022||FIA-SX-001-1900|
General. Each Fund is a separate series of the Trust. The Trust is an open-end investment management company established under Delaware law as a Delaware statutory trust under a Declaration of Trust dated December 11, 2019 (the “Declaration of Trust”). The Declaration of Trust permits the Trust to offer separate series (“funds”) of shares of beneficial interest (“shares”). The Trust reserves the right to create and issue shares of additional funds. Each fund is a separate mutual fund, and each share of each fund represents an equal proportionate interest in that fund. All consideration received by the Trust for shares of any fund and all assets of such fund belong solely to that fund and would be subject to any liabilities related thereto. Each fund of the Trust pays its (i) operating expenses, including fees of its service providers, expenses of preparing prospectuses, proxy solicitation material and reports to shareholders, costs of custodial services and registering its shares under federal and state securities laws, pricing and insurance expenses, brokerage costs, interest charges, taxes and organization expenses; and (ii) pro rata share of the fund’s other expenses, including audit and legal expenses. Expenses attributable to a specific fund shall be payable solely out of the assets of that fund. Expenses not attributable to a specific fund are allocated across all of the funds on the basis of relative net assets.
Description of Multiple Classes of Shares. The Trust is authorized to offer shares of the Funds, except for the Frost Total Return Bond Fund and the Frost Credit Fund, in Institutional Class Shares and Investor Class Shares. The Trust is authorized to offer shares of the Frost Total Return Bond Fund and the Frost Credit Fund, in Institutional Class Shares, Investor Class Shares and A Class Shares. The different classes provide for variations in sales charges, certain distribution and shareholder servicing expenses and minimum investment requirements. Minimum investment requirements and investor eligibility are described in the Prospectus. The Trust reserves the right to create and issue additional classes of shares. For more information on distribution and shareholder servicing expenses, see the “Payments to Financial Intermediaries” section in this SAI.
History of Certain Funds. Each Fund is a successor to a corresponding predecessor mutual fund of the same name that was a series of The Advisors' Inner Circle Fund II (each, a "Predecessor Fund" and collectively, the "Predecessor Funds"). Each Predecessor Fund was managed by Frost Investment Advisors, LLC (the "Adviser" or "Frost") using substantially the same investment objectives, strategies, policies and restrictions as those used by its corresponding Fund. Each Predecessor Fund was reorganized into its corresponding Fund on June 24, 2019 in connection with each Fund's commencement of operations.
Voting Rights. Each shareholder of record is entitled to one vote for each share held on the record date for the meeting. Each Fund will vote separately on matters relating solely to it. As a Delaware statutory trust, the Trust is not required, and does not intend, to hold annual meetings of shareholders. Approval of shareholders will be sought, however, for certain changes in the operation of the Trust and for the election of the Trust’s Board of Trustees (each, a “Trustee” and collectively, the “Board”) under certain circumstances. Under the Declaration of Trust, the Trustees have the power to liquidate one or more Funds without shareholder approval. While the Trustees have no present intention of exercising this power, they may do so if a Fund fails to reach a viable size within a reasonable amount of time or for such other reasons as may be determined by the Board.
In addition, a Trustee may be removed by the remaining Trustees or by shareholders at a special meeting called upon written request of shareholders owning at least 10% of the outstanding shares of the Trust. In the event that such a meeting is requested, the Trust will provide appropriate assistance and information to the shareholders requesting the meeting.
Any series of the Trust may reorganize or merge with one or more other series of the Trust or of another investment company. Any such reorganization or merger shall be pursuant to the terms and conditions specified in an agreement and plan of reorganization authorized and approved by the Trustees and entered into by the relevant series in connection therewith. In addition, such reorganization or merger may be authorized by vote of a majority of the Trustees then in office and, to the extent permitted by applicable law and the Declaration of Trust, without the approval of shareholders of any series.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES
Each Fund’s investment objective and principal investment strategies are described in the Prospectus. Each Fund, except the Frost Growth Equity Fund, is classified as a “diversified” investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). This means that with respect to 75% of its total assets, a “diversified” Fund may not purchase securities of any issuer (other than obligations of, or guaranteed by, the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities, or securities of other investment companies) if, as a result, more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of such issuer, or more than 10% of the issuer’s voting securities would be held by the Fund. Under applicable federal securities laws, the diversification of a mutual fund’s holdings is measured at the time a fund purchases a security. If a Fund holds securities that perform well on a relative basis, the value of those securities could appreciate such that the value of the Fund’s securities that constitute more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets, in the aggregate, might exceed 25% of the Fund’s total assets. In these circumstances, the Adviser might determine that it is in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders not to reduce one or more of the Fund’s holdings in securities that constitute more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets. If the Adviser makes such a determination, the Fund’s holdings in such securities would continue to exceed 25% of the Fund’s total assets, and the Fund would not purchase any additional shares of securities that constituted more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets. The Fund would continue to qualify as a “diversified” fund under applicable federal securities laws. If more than 25% of a Fund’s assets were invested, in the aggregate, in securities of issuers that individually represented more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets, the Fund would be subject to the risk that its performance could be disproportionately affected by the performance of such securities.
Non-Diversification. The Frost Growth Equity Fund is “non-diversified,” as that term is defined under the 1940 Act, which means that it may invest a greater percentage of its total assets in the securities of fewer issuers than a “diversified” fund, which increases the risk that a change in the value of any one investment held by the Fund could affect the overall value the Fund more than it would affect that of a “diversified” fund holding a greater number of investments. Accordingly, the value of the shares of the Fund may be more susceptible to any single economic, political or regulatory occurrence than the shares of a “diversified” fund would be. The Fund, however, intends to satisfy the diversification requirements necessary to qualify as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). For more information, see “Taxes” below.
The following information supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Prospectus. For a description of certain permitted investments, see the “Description of Permitted Investments” section in this SAI.
Portfolio Turnover Rate. Portfolio turnover is calculated by dividing the lesser of total purchases or sales of portfolio securities for the fiscal year by the monthly average value of portfolio securities owned during the fiscal year. Excluded from both the numerator and denominator are amounts relating to securities whose maturities at the time of acquisition were one year or less. Instruments excluded from the calculation of portfolio turnover may include futures contracts in which the Funds may invest since such contracts generally have remaining maturities of less than one year. The Funds may at times hold investments in other short-term instruments, such as repurchase agreements, which are excluded for purposes of computing portfolio turnover.
For the fiscal years ended July 31, 2021 and 2022, the portfolio turnover rates for each Fund were as follows:
|Frost Growth Equity Fund||17%||7%|
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund1||38%||73%|
|Frost Credit Fund||21%||29%|
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund||49%||36%|
|Frost Municipal Bond Fund||0%||8%|
|1||The portfolio turnover rate of the Frost Total Return Bond Fund for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2022 was higher than the portfolio turnover rate for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2021 because of fund redemptions and market conditions.|
DESCRIPTION OF PERMITTED INVESTMENTS
The following are descriptions of the permitted investments and investment practices of the Funds and the associated risk factors. Each Fund may invest in any of the following instruments or engage in any of the following investment practices unless such investment or activity is inconsistent with or is not permitted by that Fund’s stated investment policies, including those stated below.
Types of Equity Securities:
Common Stocks – Common stocks represent units of ownership in a company. Common stocks usually carry voting rights and earn dividends. Unlike preferred stocks, which are described below, dividends on common stocks are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of the company’s board of directors.
Preferred Stocks – Preferred stocks are also units of ownership in a company. Preferred stocks normally have preference over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of the company. However, in all other respects, preferred stocks are subordinated to the liabilities of the issuer. Unlike common stocks, preferred stocks are generally not entitled to vote on corporate matters. Types of preferred stocks include adjustable-rate preferred stock, fixed dividend preferred stock, perpetual preferred stock, and sinking fund preferred stock. Generally, the market value of preferred stock with a fixed dividend rate and no conversion element varies inversely with interest rates and perceived credit risk.
Convertible Securities – Convertible securities are securities that may be exchanged for, converted into, or exercised to acquire a predetermined number of shares of the issuer’s common stock at a Fund’s option during a specified time period (such as convertible preferred stocks, convertible debentures and warrants). A convertible security is generally a fixed income security that is senior to common stock in an issuer’s capital structure, but is usually subordinated to similar non-convertible securities. In exchange for the conversion feature, many corporations will pay a lower rate of interest on convertible securities than debt securities of the same corporation. In general, the market value of a convertible security is at least the higher of its “investment value” (i.e., its value as a fixed income security) or its “conversion value” (i.e., its value upon conversion into its underlying common stock).
Convertible securities are subject to the same risks as similar securities without the convertible feature. The price of a convertible security is more volatile during times of steady interest rates than other types of debt securities. The price of a convertible security tends to increase as the market value of the underlying stock rises, whereas it tends to decrease as the market value of the underlying common stock declines.
A synthetic convertible security is a combination investment in which a Fund purchases both (i) high-grade cash equivalents or a high grade debt obligation of an issuer or U.S. Government securities and (ii) call options or warrants on the common stock of the same or different issuer with some or all of the anticipated interest income from the associated debt obligation that is earned over the holding period of the option or warrant.
While providing a fixed income stream (generally higher in yield than the income derivable from common stock but lower than that afforded by a similar non-convertible security), a convertible security also affords an investor the opportunity, through its conversion feature, to participate in the capital appreciation attendant upon a market price advance in the convertible security’s underlying common stock. A synthetic convertible position has similar investment characteristics, but may differ with respect to credit quality, time to maturity, trading characteristics, and other factors. Because a Fund will create synthetic convertible positions only out of high grade fixed income securities, the credit rating associated with the Fund’s synthetic convertible investments is generally expected to be higher than that of the average convertible security, many of which are rated below high grade. However, because the options used to create synthetic convertible positions will generally have expirations between one month and three years of the time of purchase, the maturity of these positions will generally be shorter than average for convertible securities. Since the option component of a convertible security or synthetic convertible position is a wasting asset (in the sense of losing “time value” as maturity approaches), a synthetic convertible position may lose such value more rapidly than a convertible security of longer maturity; however, the gain in option value due to appreciation of the underlying stock may exceed such time value loss. The market price of the option component generally reflects these differences in maturities, and the Adviser takes such differences into account when evaluating such positions. When a synthetic convertible position “matures” because of the expiration of the associated option, a Fund may extend the maturity by investing in a new option with longer maturity on the common stock of the same or a different issuer. If a Fund does not so extend the maturity of a position, it may continue to hold the associated fixed income security.
Rights and Warrants – A right is a privilege granted to existing shareholders of a corporation to subscribe to shares of a new issue of common stock before it is issued. Rights normally have a short life, usually two to four weeks, are freely transferable and entitle the holder to buy the new common stock at a lower price than the public offering price. Warrants are securities that are usually issued together with a debt security or preferred stock and that give the holder the right to buy proportionate amounts of common stock at a specified price. Warrants are freely transferable and are traded on major exchanges. Unlike rights, warrants normally have a life that is measured in years and entitles the holder to buy common stock of a company at a price that is usually higher than the market price at the time the warrant is issued. Corporations often issue warrants to make the accompanying debt security more attractive.
An investment in warrants and rights may entail greater risks than certain other types of investments. Generally, rights and warrants do not carry the right to receive dividends or exercise voting rights with respect to the underlying securities, and they do not represent any rights in the assets of the issuer. In addition, their value does not necessarily change with the value of the underlying securities, and they cease to have value if they are not exercised on or before their expiration date. Investing in rights and warrants increases the potential profit or loss to be realized from the investment as compared with investing the same amount in the underlying securities.
Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”) – MLPs are limited partnerships or limited liability companies, whose partnership units or limited liability interests are listed and traded on a U.S. securities exchange, and are treated as publicly traded partnerships for federal income tax purposes. To qualify to be treated as a partnership for tax purposes, an MLP must receive at least 90% of its income from qualifying sources as set forth in Section 7704(d) of the Code. These qualifying sources include activities such as the exploration, development, mining, production, processing, refining, transportation, storage and marketing of mineral or natural resources. To the extent that an MLP’s interests are concentrated in a particular industry or sector, such as the energy sector, the MLP will be negatively impacted by economic events adversely impacting that industry or sector.
MLPs that are formed as limited partnerships generally have two classes of owners, the general partner and limited partners, while MLPs that are formed as limited liability companies generally have two analogous classes of owners, the managing member and the members. For purposes of this section, references to general partners also apply to managing members and references to limited partners also apply to members.
The general partner is typically owned by a major 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 as much as 2% in the MLP plus, in many cases, ownership of common units and subordinated units. A holder of general partner interests can be liable under certain circumstances for amounts greater than the amount of the holder’s investment in the general partner interest. General partner interests are not publicly traded and generally cannot be converted into common units. The general partner interest can be redeemed by the MLP if the MLP unitholders choose to remove the general partner, typically with a supermajority vote by limited partner unitholders.
Limited partners own the remainder of the MLP through ownership of common units and have a limited role in the MLP’s operations and management. 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 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.
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 benefit all security holders of the MLP.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”) – A U.S. REIT is a corporation or business trust (that would otherwise be taxed as a corporation) which meets the definitional requirements of the Code. The Code permits a qualifying REIT to deduct from taxable income the dividends paid, thereby effectively eliminating corporate level federal income tax. To meet the definitional requirements of the Code, a REIT must, among other things: invest substantially all of its assets in interests in real estate (including mortgages and other REITs), cash and government securities; derive most of its income from rents from real property or interest on loans secured by mortgages on real property; and distribute annually 90% or more of its otherwise taxable income to shareholders.
REITs are sometimes informally characterized as Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs. An Equity REIT invests primarily in the fee ownership or leasehold ownership of land and buildings; a Mortgage REIT invests primarily in mortgages on real property, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans.
REITs may be affected by changes in underlying real estate values, which may have an exaggerated effect to the extent that REITs in which the Funds invest may concentrate investments in particular geographic regions or property types. Certain REITs have relatively small market capitalization, which may tend to increase the volatility of the market price of securities issued by such REITs. Additionally, rising interest rates may cause investors in REITs to demand a higher annual yield from future distributions, which may in turn decrease market prices for equity securities issued by REITs. Rising interest rates also generally increase the costs of obtaining financing, which could cause the value of a Fund’s investments to decline. During periods of declining interest rates, certain Mortgage REITs may hold mortgages that the mortgagors elect to prepay, which prepayment may diminish the yield on securities issued by such Mortgage REITs. Equity and Mortgage REITs are also subject to heavy cash flow dependency, defaults by borrowers and self-liquidation. In addition, Mortgage REITs may be affected by the ability of borrowers to repay when due the debt extended by the REIT and Equity REITs may be affected by the ability of tenants to pay rent. The above factors may adversely affect a borrower’s or a lessee’s ability to meet its obligations to the REIT. In the event of 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.
Furthermore, REITs are dependent upon specialized management skills, have limited diversification and are, therefore, subject to risks inherent in operating and financing a limited number of projects. By investing in REITs indirectly through a Fund, a shareholder will bear not only his proportionate share of the expenses of the Fund, but also, indirectly, similar expenses of the REITs. REITs depend generally on their ability to generate cash flow to make distributions to shareholders. In addition, REITs could possibly fail to qualify for tax free pass-through of income under the Code or to maintain their exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act.
Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”) – The Funds may invest in ETFs. ETFs may be structured as investment companies that are registered under the 1940 Act, typically as open-end funds or unit investment trusts. These ETFs are generally based on specific domestic and foreign market securities indices. An “index-based ETF” seeks to provide investment results that match the performance of an index by holding in its portfolio either the contents of the index or a representative sample of the securities in the index. An “enhanced ETF” seeks to provide investment results that match a positive or negative multiple of the performance of an underlying index. In seeking to provide such results, an ETF, in particular, an enhanced ETF, may engage in short sales of securities included in the underlying index and may invest in derivatives instruments, such as equity index swaps, futures contracts, and options on securities, futures contracts, and stock indices. Alternatively, ETFs may be structured as grantor trusts or other forms of pooled investment vehicles that are not registered or regulated under the 1940 Act. These ETFs typically hold commodities, precious metals, currency or other non-securities investments. ETFs, like mutual funds, have expenses associated with their operation, such as advisory and custody fees. When a Fund invests in an ETF, in addition to directly bearing expenses associated with its own operations, including the brokerage costs associated with the purchase and sale of shares of the ETF, the Fund will bear a pro rata portion of the ETF’s expenses. In addition, it may be more costly to own an ETF than to directly own the securities or other investments held by the ETF because of ETF expenses. The risks of owning shares of an ETF generally reflect the risks of owning the underlying securities or other investments held by the ETF, although lack of liquidity in the market for the shares of an ETF could result in the ETF’s value being more volatile than the underlying securities or other investments.
Risks of Investing in Equity Securities:
General Risks of Investing in Stocks – While investing in stocks allows investors to participate in the benefits of owning a company, such investors must accept the risks of ownership. Unlike bondholders, who have preference to a company’s earnings and cash flow, preferred stockholders, followed by common stockholders in order of priority, are entitled only to the residual amount after a company meets its other obligations. For this reason, the value of a company’s stock will usually react more strongly to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects than its debt obligations. Stockholders of a company that fares poorly can lose money.
Stock markets tend to move in cycles with short or extended periods of rising and falling stock prices. The value of a company’s stock may fall because of:
|▪||Factors that directly relate to that company, such as decisions made by its management or lower demand for the company’s products or services;|
|▪||Factors affecting an entire industry, such as increases in production costs; and|
|▪||Changes in financial market conditions that are relatively unrelated to the company or its industry, such as changes in interest rates, currency exchange rates or inflation rates.|
Because preferred stock is generally junior to debt securities and other obligations of the issuer, deterioration in the credit quality of the issuer will cause greater changes in the value of a preferred stock than in a more senior debt security with similar stated yield characteristics.
Small and Medium-Sized Companies – Investors in small and medium-sized companies typically take on greater risk and price volatility than they would by investing in larger, more established companies. This increased risk may be due to the greater business risks of their small or medium size, limited markets and financial resources, narrow product lines and frequent lack of management depth. The securities of small and medium-sized companies are often traded in the over-the-counter market and might not be traded in volumes typical of securities traded on a national securities exchange. Thus, the securities of small and medium capitalization companies are likely to be less liquid, and subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements, than securities of larger, more established companies.
Technology Companies – Stocks of technology companies have tended to be subject to greater volatility than securities of companies that are not dependent upon or associated with technological issues. Technology companies operate in various industries. Since these industries frequently share common characteristics, an event or issue affecting one industry may significantly influence other, related industries. For example, technology companies may be strongly affected by worldwide scientific or technological developments and their products and services may be subject to governmental regulation or adversely affected by governmental policies.
Initial Public Offerings (“IPO”) – Each Fund may invest a portion of its assets in securities of companies offering shares in IPOs. IPOs may have a magnified performance impact on a Fund with a small asset base. A Fund may hold IPO shares for a very short period of time, which may increase the turnover of the Fund’s portfolio and may lead to increased expenses for the Fund, such as commissions and transaction costs. By selling IPO shares, the Fund may realize taxable gains it will subsequently distribute to shareholders. In addition, the market for IPO shares can be speculative and/or inactive for extended periods of time. The limited number of shares available for trading in some IPOs may make it more difficult for a Fund to buy or sell significant amounts of shares without an unfavorable impact on prevailing prices. Holders of IPO shares can be affected by substantial dilution in the value of their shares, by sales of additional shares and by concentration of control in existing management and principal shareholders.
A Fund’s investment in IPO shares may include the securities of unseasoned companies (companies with less than three years of continuous operations), which presents risks considerably greater than common stocks of more established companies. These companies may have limited operating histories and their prospects for profitability may be uncertain. These companies may be involved in new and evolving businesses and, compared to their better-established, larger cap peers, may be more vulnerable to competition and changes in technology, markets and economic conditions. They may be more dependent on key managers and third parties and may have limited product lines.
Corporations and governments use debt securities to borrow money from investors. Most debt securities promise a variable or fixed rate of return and repayment of the amount borrowed at maturity. Some debt securities, such as zero coupon bonds, do not pay current interest and are purchased at a discount from their face value.
Types of Debt Securities:
U.S. Government Securities – Each Fund may invest in U.S. Government securities. Securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities include U.S. Treasury securities, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury and which differ only in their interest rates, maturities, and times of issuance. U.S. Treasury bills have initial maturities of one-year or less; U.S. Treasury notes have initial maturities of one to ten years; and U.S. Treasury bonds generally have initial maturities of greater than ten years. U.S. Treasury notes and bonds typically pay coupon interest semi-annually and repay the principal at maturity. Certain U.S. Government securities are issued or guaranteed by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government including, but not limited to, obligations of U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the Small Business Administration, the Federal Farm Credit Administration, the Federal Home Loan Banks, Banks for Cooperatives (including the Central Bank for Cooperatives), the Federal Land Banks, the Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Federal Financing Bank, the Student Loan Marketing Association, the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (“Farmer Mac”).
Some obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies and instrumentalities, including, for example, Ginnie Mae pass-through certificates, are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Other obligations issued by or guaranteed by federal agencies, such as those securities issued by Fannie Mae, are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase certain obligations of the federal agency. Additionally, some obligations are issued by or guaranteed by federal agencies, such as those of the Federal Home Loan Banks, which are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. While the U.S. Government provides financial support to such U.S. Government-sponsored federal agencies, no assurance can be given that the U.S. Government will always do so, since the U.S. Government is not so obligated by law. Guarantees of principal by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities may be a guarantee of payment at the maturity of the obligation so that in the event of a default prior to maturity there might not be a market and thus no means of realizing on the obligation prior to maturity. Guarantees as to the timely payment of principal and interest do not extend to the value or yield of these securities nor to the value of the Funds’ shares.
On September 7, 2008, the U.S. Treasury announced a federal takeover of Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”), placing the two federal instrumentalities in conservatorship. Under the takeover, the U.S. Treasury agreed to acquire $1 billion of senior preferred stock of each instrumentality and obtained warrants for the purchase of common stock of each instrumentality (the “Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement” or “Agreement”). Under the Agreement, the U.S. Treasury pledged to provide up to $200 billion per instrumentality as needed, including the contribution of cash capital to the instrumentalities in the event their liabilities exceed their assets. This was intended to ensure that the instrumentalities maintain a positive net worth and meet their financial obligations, preventing mandatory triggering of receivership. On December 24, 2009, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was amending the Agreement to allow the $200 billion cap on the U.S. Treasury’s funding commitment to increase as necessary to accommodate any cumulative reduction in net worth through the end of 2012. The unlimited support the U.S. Treasury extended to the two companies expired at the beginning of 2013 – Fannie Mae’s support is now capped at $125 billion and Freddie Mac has a limit of $149 billion.
On August 17, 2012, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was again amending the Agreement to terminate the requirement that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each pay a 10% annual dividend. Instead, the companies will transfer to the U.S. Treasury on a quarterly basis all profits earned during a quarter that exceed a capital reserve amount. The capital reserve amount was $3 billion in 2013, and decreased by $600 million in each subsequent year through 2017. It is believed that this amendment put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a better position to service their debt because it eliminated the need for the companies to have to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to make fixed dividend payments. As part of the new terms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also will be required to reduce their investment portfolios over time. On December 21, 2017, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was again amending the Agreement to reinstate the $3 billion capital reserve amount. On September 30, 2019, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was further amending the Agreement, now permitting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to retain earnings beyond the $3 billion capital reserves previously allowed through the 2017 amendment. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now permitted to maintain capital reserves of $25 billion and $20 billion, respectively.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the subject of several continuing class action lawsuits and investigations by federal regulators over certain accounting, disclosure or corporate governance matters, which (along with any resulting financial restatements) may adversely affect the guaranteeing entities. Importantly, the future of the entities is in serious question as the U.S. Government reportedly is considering multiple options, ranging from nationalization, privatization, consolidation, or abolishment of the entities.
Corporate Bonds – Corporations issue bonds and notes to raise money for working capital or for capital expenditures such as plant construction, equipment purchases and expansion. In return for the money loaned to the corporation by investors, the corporation promises to pay investors interest, and repay the principal amount of the bond or note.
Mortgage-Backed Securities – Mortgage-backed securities are interests in pools of mortgage loans that various governmental, government-related and private organizations assemble as securities for sale to investors. Unlike most debt securities, which pay interest periodically and repay principal at maturity or on specified call dates, mortgage-backed securities make monthly payments that consist of both interest and principal payments. In effect, these payments are a “pass-through” of the monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on their mortgage loans, net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of such securities. Since homeowners usually have the option of paying either part or all of the loan balance before maturity, the effective maturity of a mortgage-backed security is often shorter than is stated.
Governmental entities, private insurers and mortgage poolers may insure or guarantee the timely payment of interest and principal of these pools through various forms of insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance and letters of credit. The Adviser will consider such insurance and guarantees and the creditworthiness of the issuers thereof in determining whether a mortgage-related security meets its investment quality standards. It is possible that the private insurers or guarantors will not meet their obligations under the insurance policies or guarantee arrangements.
Although the market for such securities is becoming increasingly liquid, securities issued by certain private organizations may not be readily marketable.
Municipal Securities – Municipal notes include, but are not limited to, general obligation notes, tax anticipation notes (notes sold to finance working capital needs of the issuer in anticipation of receiving taxes on a future date), revenue anticipation notes (notes sold to provide needed cash prior to receipt of expected non-tax revenues from a specific source), bond anticipation notes, certificates of indebtedness, demand notes and construction loan notes.
The Adviser may purchase industrial development and pollution control bonds if the interest paid is exempt from federal income tax. These bonds are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to raise money to finance various privately operated facilities for business and manufacturing, housing, sports, and pollution control. These bonds are also used to finance public facilities such as airports, mass transit systems, ports, and parking. The payment of the principal and interest on such bonds is dependent solely on the ability of the facility’s user to meet its financial obligations and the pledge, if any, of real and personal property so financed as security for such payment.
Other types of tax-exempt instruments include floating rate notes. Investments in such floating rate instruments will normally involve industrial development or revenue bonds which provide that the rate of interest is set as a specific percentage of a designated base rate (such as the prime rate) at a major commercial bank, and that a Fund can demand payment of the obligation at all times or at stipulated dates on short notice (not to exceed 30 days) at par plus accrued interest. A Fund may use the longer of the period required before the Fund is entitled to prepayment under such obligations or the period remaining until the next interest rate adjustment date for purposes of determining the maturity. Such obligations are frequently secured by letters of credit or other credit support arrangements provided by banks. The quality of the underlying credit or of the bank, as the case may be, must in the Adviser’s opinion be equivalent to the long-term bond or commercial paper ratings stated above. The Adviser will monitor the earning power, cash flow and liquidity ratios of the issuers of such instruments and the ability of an issuer of a demand instrument to pay principal and interest on demand. The Adviser may purchase other types of tax-exempt instruments as long as they are of a quality equivalent to the bond ratings in “Appendix A – Description of Ratings” or commercial paper ratings stated below.
The Adviser has the authority to purchase securities at a price which would result in a yield to maturity lower than that generally offered by the seller at the time of purchase when the Adviser can simultaneously acquire the right to sell the securities back to the seller, the issuer, or a third party (the “writer”) at an agreed-upon price at any time during a stated period or on a certain date. Such a right is generally denoted as a “standby commitment” or a “put.” The purpose of engaging in transactions involving puts is to maintain flexibility and liquidity to permit a Fund to meet redemptions and remain as fully invested as possible in municipal securities. Each Fund reserves the right to engage in put transactions. The right to put the securities depends on the writer’s ability to pay for the securities at the time the put is exercised. Each Fund would limit its put transactions to institutions which the Adviser believes present minimum credit risks, and the Adviser would use its best efforts to initially determine and continue to monitor the financial strength of the sellers of the options by evaluating their financial statements and such other information as is available in the marketplace. It may, however be difficult to monitor the financial strength of the writers because adequate current financial information may not be available. In the event that any writer is unable to honor a put for financial reasons, a Fund would be general creditor (i.e., on a parity with all other unsecured creditors) of the writer. Furthermore, particular provisions of the contract between a Fund and the writer may excuse the writer from repurchasing the securities; for example, a change in the published rating of the underlying municipal securities or any similar event that has an adverse effect on the issuer’s credit or a provision in the contract that the put will not be exercised except in certain special cases, for example, to maintain portfolio liquidity. A Fund could, however, at any time sell the underlying portfolio security in the open market or wait until the portfolio security matures, at which time it should realize the full par value of the security.
The municipal securities purchased subject to a put may be sold to third persons at any time, even though the put is outstanding, but the put itself, unless it is an integral part of the security as originally issued, may not be marketable or otherwise assignable. Therefore, the put would have value only to the Fund. Sale of the securities to third parties or lapse of time with the put unexercised may terminate the right to put the securities. Prior to the expiration of any put option, a Fund could seek to negotiate terms for the extension of such an option. If such a renewal cannot be negotiated on terms satisfactory to the Fund, the Fund could, of course, sell the portfolio security. The maturity of the underlying security will generally be different from that of the put. There will be no limit to the percentage of portfolio securities that a Fund may purchase subject to a put but the amount paid directly or indirectly for puts which are not integral parts of the security as originally issued held in the Fund will not exceed 1/2 of 1% of the value of the total assets of such Fund calculated immediately after any such put is acquired. For the purpose of determining the “maturity” of securities purchased subject to an option to put, and for the purpose of determining the dollar-weighted average maturity of the Fund including such securities, the Trust will consider “maturity” to be the first date on which it has the right to demand payment from the writer of the put although the final maturity of the security is later than such date.
General Considerations Relating to State Specific Municipal Securities – With respect to municipal securities issued by a state and its political subdivisions, as well as certain other governmental issuers such as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Trust cannot predict what legislation, if any, may be proposed in the state’s legislature in regards to the state’s personal income tax status of interest on such obligations, or which proposals, if any, might be enacted. Such proposals, if enacted, might materially adversely affect the availability of the state’s municipal securities for investment by a Fund and the value of a Fund’s investments.
Special Considerations Relating to Texas Municipal Securities – The Frost Municipal Bond Fund may invest more than 25% of its total assets in securities issued by Texas and its municipalities, and as a result is more vulnerable to unfavorable developments in Texas than funds that invest a lesser percentage of their assets in such securities. For example, important sectors of the State’s economy include the oil and gas industry (including drilling, production, refining, chemicals and energy-related manufacturing) and high-technology manufacturing (including computers, electronics and telecommunications equipment), along with an increasing emphasis on international trade. Each of these sectors has from time to time suffered from economic downturns. Adverse conditions in one or more of these sectors could have an adverse impact on Texas municipal securities.
Government National Mortgage Association – Ginnie Mae is the principal governmental guarantor of mortgage-related securities. Ginnie Mae is a wholly owned corporation of the U.S. Government within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Securities issued by Ginnie Mae are treasury securities, which means the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government backs them. Ginnie Mae guarantees the timely payment of principal and interest on securities issued by institutions approved by Ginnie Mae and backed by pools of FHA-insured or VA-guaranteed mortgages. Ginnie Mae does not guarantee the market value or yield of mortgage-backed securities or the value of a Fund’s shares. To buy Ginnie Mae securities, a Fund may have to pay a premium over the maturity value of the underlying mortgages, which the Fund may lose if prepayment occurs.
Federal National Mortgage Association – Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored corporation owned entirely by private stockholders. Fannie Mae is regulated by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Fannie Mae purchases conventional mortgages from a list of approved sellers and service providers, including state and federally-chartered savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks and credit unions and mortgage bankers. Securities issued by Fannie Mae are agency securities, which mean Fannie Mae, but not the U.S. Government, guarantees their timely payment of principal and interest.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation – Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation established by the U.S. Congress to create a continuous flow of funds to mortgage lenders. Freddie Mac supplies lenders with the money to make mortgages and packages the mortgages into marketable securities. The system is designed to create a stable mortgage credit system and reduce the rates paid by homebuyers. Freddie Mac, not the U.S. Government, guarantees timely payment of principal and interest.
Commercial Banks, Savings and Loan Institutions, Private Mortgage Insurance Companies, Mortgage Bankers and other Secondary Market Issuers – Commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers also create pass-through pools of conventional mortgage loans. In addition to guaranteeing the mortgage-related security, such issuers may service and/or have originated the underlying mortgage loans. Pools created by these issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than pools created by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because they are not guaranteed by a government agency.
Risks of Mortgage-Backed Securities – Yield characteristics of mortgage-backed securities differ from those of traditional debt securities in a variety of ways. The most significant differences of mortgage-backed securities are:
|▪||Payments of interest and principal are more frequent (usually monthly); and|
|▪||Falling interest rates generally cause individual borrowers to pay off their mortgage earlier than expected, which results in prepayments of principal on the securities, thus forcing a Fund to reinvest the money at a lower interest rate.|
In addition to the risks associated with changes in interest rates described in “Factors Affecting the Value of Debt Securities,” a variety of economic, geographic, social and other factors, such as the sale of the underlying property, refinancing or foreclosure, can cause investors to repay the loans underlying a mortgage-backed security sooner than expected. If the prepayment rates increase, a Fund may have to reinvest the principal at a rate of interest that is lower than the rate on existing mortgage-backed securities.
Other Asset-Backed Securities – These securities are interests in pools of a broad range of assets other than mortgages, such as automobile loans, computer leases and credit card receivables. Like mortgage-backed securities, these securities are pass-through. In general, the collateral supporting these securities is of shorter maturity than mortgage loans and is less likely to experience substantial prepayments with interest rate fluctuations, but may still be subject to prepayment risk.
Asset-backed securities present certain risks that are not presented by mortgage-backed securities. Primarily, these securities may not have the benefit of any security interest in the related assets, which raises the possibility that recoveries on repossessed collateral may not be available to support payments on these securities. For example, credit card receivables are generally unsecured and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which allow debtors to reduce their balances by offsetting certain amounts owed on the credit cards. Most issuers of asset-backed securities backed by automobile receivables permit the servicers of such receivables to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the related asset-backed securities. Due to the quantity of vehicles involved and requirements under state laws, asset-backed securities backed by automobile receivables may not have a proper security interest in all of the obligations backing such receivables.
To lessen the effect of failures by obligors on underlying assets to make payments, the entity administering the pool of assets may agree to ensure the receipt of payments on the underlying pool occurs in a timely fashion (“liquidity protection”). In addition, asset-backed securities may obtain insurance, such as guarantees, policies or letters of credit obtained by the issuer or sponsor from third parties, for some or all of the assets in the pool (“credit support”). Delinquency or loss more than that anticipated or failure of the credit support could adversely affect the return on an investment in such a security.
A Fund may also invest in residual interests in asset-backed securities, which consists of the excess cash flow remaining after making required payments on the securities and paying related administrative expenses. The amount of residual cash flow resulting from a particular issue of asset-backed securities depends in part on the characteristics of the underlying assets, the coupon rates on the securities, prevailing interest rates, the amount of administrative expenses and the actual prepayment experience on the underlying assets.
Collateralized Bond Obligations, Collateralized Loan Obligations and other Collateralized Debt Obligations – A Fund may invest in each of collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”), other collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is a trust which is often backed by a diversified pool of high risk, below investment grade fixed income securities. The collateral can be from many different types of fixed income securities such as high yield debt, residential privately issued mortgage-related securities, commercial privately issued mortgage related securities, trust preferred securities and emerging market debt. A CLO is a trust typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and foreign senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. Other CDOs are trusts backed by other types of assets representing obligations of various parties. CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses.
For CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs, the cash flows from the trust are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche which bears the bulk of defaults from the bonds or loans in the trust and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default in all but the most severe circumstances. Since they are partially protected from defaults, senior tranches from a CBO trust, CLO trust or trust of another CDO typically have higher ratings and lower yields than their underlying securities, and can be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO, CLO or other CDO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as aversion to CBO, CLO or other CDO securities as a class.
The risks of an investment in a CBO, CLO or other CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the instrument in which a Fund invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus, are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs may be characterized by the Funds as illiquid investments, however an active dealer market may exist for CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs allowing them 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, CBOs, CLOs and other 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 quality of the collateral may decline in value or default; (iii) the risk that Funds may invest in CBOs, CLOs or other CDOs that are subordinate to other classes; and (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.
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (“CMOs”) – CMOs are one type of mortgage-backed security, which were first introduced in the early 1980s. CMOs generally retain many of the yield and credit quality characteristics as mortgage pass-through securities, while reducing some of the disadvantages of pass-throughs. CMOs may be backed by several types of varying mortgage collateral. The most prevalent types of collateral are: U.S. agency (e.g., Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac) guaranteed mortgage pass-through securities, non-agency guaranteed mortgage loans, and commercial mortgage loans.
Some CMOs are also characterized as a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (“REMIC”). A REMIC is a CMO that qualifies for special tax treatment under the Code and invests in certain mortgages primarily secured by interests in real property and other permitted investments.
A key difference between traditional mortgage pass-through securities and CMOs is the mechanics of the principal payment process. Unlike pass-through securities, which simply pay a pro rata distribution of any principal and interest payments from the underlying mortgage collateral, CMOs are structured into multiple classes, each bearing a different stated maturity and each potentially having different credit rating levels. Each class of CMO, often referred to as a “tranche”, may be issued with a specific fixed interest rate or may pay a variable interest rate, which may change monthly. Each tranche must be fully retired by its final distribution date. Generally, all classes of CMOs pay or accrue interest monthly similar to pass-through securities.
The credit risk of all CMOs is not identical and must be assessed on a security by security basis. Generally, the credit risk of CMOs is heavily dependent upon the type of collateral backing the security. For example, a CMO collateralized by U.S. agency guaranteed pass-through securities will have a different credit risk profile compared to a CMO collateralized by commercial mortgage loans. Investing in the lowest tranche of CMO or REMIC certificates often involves risk similar to those associated with investing in non-investment grade rated corporate bonds. Additionally, CMOs may at times be less liquid than a regular mortgage pass-through security.
Short-Term Investments – To earn a return on uninvested assets, meet anticipated redemptions, or for temporary defensive purposes, a Fund may invest a portion of its assets in the short-term securities listed below, U.S. Government securities and investment-grade corporate debt securities. Unless otherwise specified, a short-term debt security has a maturity of one year or less.
|•||Bank Obligations – A Fund will only invest in a security issued by a commercial bank if the bank:|
|▪||Has total assets of at least $1 billion, or the equivalent in other currencies (based on the most recent publicly available information about the bank); and|
|▪||Is a U.S. bank and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; or is a foreign branch of a U.S. bank and the Adviser believes the security is of an investment quality comparable with other debt securities that the Fund may purchase.|
|•||Time Deposits – Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits, such as savings accounts or certificates of deposit, held by a financial institution for a fixed term with the understanding that the depositor can withdraw its money only by giving notice to the institution. However, there may be early withdrawal penalties depending upon market conditions and the remaining maturity of the obligation. A Fund may only purchase time deposits maturing from two calendar days through seven calendar days.|
|•||Certificates of Deposit – Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued against funds deposited in a commercial bank or savings and loan association for a definite period of time and earning a specified return.|
|•||Bankers’ Acceptance – A bankers’ acceptance is a time draft drawn on a commercial bank by a borrower, usually in connection with an international commercial transaction (to finance the import, export, transfer or storage of goods).|
|•||Commercial Paper – Commercial paper is a short-term obligation with a maturity ranging from one to 270 days issued by banks, corporations and other borrowers. Such investments are unsecured and usually discounted. A Fund may invest in commercial paper rated A-1, A-2 or A-3 by S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”) or P-1, P-2 or P-3 by Moody’s Investors Services, Inc. (“Moody’s”) or equivalent ratings of another nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) or, if not rated, commercial paper of equivalent quality as determined by the Adviser. See “Appendix A – Description of Ratings” for a description of commercial paper ratings.|
Yankee Bonds – Yankee bonds are dollar-denominated bonds issued inside the United States by foreign entities. Investments in these securities involve certain risks that are not typically associated with investing in domestic securities. See “Foreign Securities.”
Zero Coupon Bonds – These securities are sold at a (usually substantial) discount and redeemed at face value at their maturity date without interim cash payments of interest or principal. When held to maturity, their entire income, which consists of accretion of discount, comes from the difference between the issue price and their value at maturity. The amount of the discount rate varies depending on factors including the time remaining until maturity, prevailing interest rates, the security’s liquidity and the issuer’s credit quality. The market prices of zero coupon securities are generally more volatile than the market prices of securities that have similar maturity but that pay interest periodically. Zero coupon securities are likely to respond to a greater degree to interest rate changes than are non-zero coupon securities with similar maturity and credit qualities. A Fund’s investments in pay-in-kind, delayed and zero coupon bonds may require it to sell certain of its securities to generate sufficient cash to satisfy certain income distribution requirements.
These securities may include treasury securities, such as Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities (“STRIPS”), that have had their interest payments (“coupons”) separated from the underlying principal (“corpus”) by their holder, typically a custodian bank or investment brokerage firm. Once the holder of the security has stripped or separated corpus and coupons, it may sell each component separately. The principal or corpus is then sold at a deep discount because the buyer receives only the right to receive a future fixed payment on the security and does not receive any rights to periodic interest (cash) payments. Typically, the coupons are sold separately or grouped with other coupons with like maturity dates and sold bundled in such form. The underlying treasury security is held in book-entry form at the Federal Reserve Bank or, in the case of bearer securities (i.e., unregistered securities which are owned ostensibly by the bearer or holder thereof), in trust on behalf of the owners thereof. Purchasers of stripped obligations acquire, in effect, discount obligations that are economically identical to the zero coupon securities that the U.S. Treasury sells itself.
Exchange-Traded Notes (“ETNs”) – Certain Funds may invest in exchange-traded notes. ETNs are debt obligations of investment banks which are traded on exchanges and the returns of which are linked to the performance of market indexes. In addition to trading ETNs on exchanges, investors may redeem ETNs directly with the issuer on a weekly basis, typically in a minimum amount of 50,000 units, or hold the ETNs until maturity. ETNs may be riskier than ordinary debt securities and may have no principal protection. A Fund’s investment in an ETN may be influenced by many unpredictable factors, including highly volatile commodities prices, changes in supply and demand relationships, weather, agriculture, trade, changes in interest rates, and monetary and other governmental policies, action and inaction. Investing in ETNs is not equivalent to investing directly in index components or the relevant index itself. Because ETNs are debt securities, they possess credit risk; if the issuer has financial difficulties or goes bankrupt, the investor may not receive the return it was promised.
Terms to Understand:
Maturity – Every debt security has a stated maturity date when the issuer must repay the amount it borrowed (principal) from investors. Some debt securities, however, are callable, meaning the issuer can repay the principal earlier, on or after specified dates (call dates). Debt securities are most likely to be called when interest rates are falling because the issuer can refinance at a lower rate, similar to a homeowner refinancing a mortgage. The effective maturity of a debt security is usually its nearest call date.
A Fund that invests in debt securities has no real maturity. Instead, it calculates its weighted average maturity. This number is an average of the effective or anticipated maturity of each debt security held by a Fund, with the maturity of each security weighted by the percentage of the assets of the Fund it represents.
Duration – Duration is a calculation that seeks to measure the price sensitivity of a debt security, or a Fund that invests in debt securities, to changes in interest rates. Duration measures sensitivity more accurately than maturity because it takes into account the time value of cash flows generated over the life of a debt security. Future interest payments and principal payments are discounted to reflect their present value and then are multiplied by the number of years they will be received to produce a value expressed in years – the duration. Effective duration takes into account call features and sinking Fund prepayments that may shorten the life of a debt security.
An effective duration of four years, for example, would suggest that for each 1% reduction in interest rates at all maturity levels, the price of a security is estimated to increase by 4%. An increase in rates by the same magnitude is estimated to reduce the price of the security by 4%. By knowing the yield and the effective duration of a debt security, one can estimate total return based on an expectation of how much interest rates, in general, will change. While serving as a good estimator of prospective returns, effective duration is an imperfect measure.
Factors Affecting the Value of Debt Securities – The total return of a debt instrument is composed of two elements: the percentage change in the security’s price and interest income earned. The yield to maturity of a debt security estimates its total return only if the price of the debt security remains unchanged during the holding period and coupon interest is reinvested at the same yield to maturity. The total return of a debt instrument, therefore, will be determined not only by how much interest is earned, but also by how much the price of the security and interest rates change.
The price of a debt security generally moves in the opposite direction from interest rates (i.e., if interest rates go up, the value of the bond will go down, and vice versa).
This risk affects mainly mortgage-backed securities. Unlike other debt securities, falling interest rates can adversely affect the value of mortgage-backed securities, which may cause your share price to fall. Lower rates motivate borrowers to pay off the instruments underlying mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities earlier than expected, resulting in prepayments on the securities. A Fund may then have to reinvest the proceeds from such prepayments at lower interest rates, which can reduce its yield. The unexpected timing of mortgage and asset-backed prepayments caused by the variations in interest rates may also shorten or lengthen the average maturity of a Fund. If left unattended, drifts in the average maturity of a Fund can have the unintended effect of increasing or reducing the effective duration of the Fund, which may adversely affect the expected performance of the Fund.
The other side of prepayment risk occurs when interest rates are rising. Rising interest rates can cause a Fund’s average maturity to lengthen unexpectedly due to a drop in mortgage prepayments. This relationship would increase both the sensitivity of a Fund to rising rates as well as the potential for price declines. Extending the average life of a mortgage-backed security increases the risk of depreciation due to future increases in market interest rates. For these reasons, mortgage-backed securities may be less effective than other types of U.S. Government securities as a means of “locking in” interest rates.
Coupon interest is offered to investors of debt securities as compensation for assuming risk, although short-term treasury securities, such as three-month treasury bills, are considered “risk free.” Corporate securities offer higher yields than treasury securities because their payment of interest and complete repayment of principal is less certain. The credit rating or financial condition of an issuer may affect the value of a debt security. Generally, the lower the quality rating of a security, the greater the risks that the issuer will fail to pay interest and return principal. To compensate investors for taking on increased risk, issuers with lower credit ratings usually offer their investors a higher “risk premium” in the form of higher interest rates than those available from comparable treasury securities.
Changes in investor confidence regarding the certainty of interest and principal payments of a corporate debt security will result in an adjustment to this “risk premium.” Since an issuer’s outstanding debt carries a fixed coupon, adjustments to the risk premium must occur in the price, which affects the yield to maturity of the bond. If an issuer defaults or becomes unable to honor its financial obligations, the bond may lose some or all of its value.
A security rated within the four highest rating categories by a rating agency is called investment-grade because its issuer is more likely to pay interest and repay principal than an issuer of a lower rated bond. Adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances, however, may weaken the capacity of the issuer to pay interest and repay principal. If a security is not rated or is rated under a different system, the Adviser may determine that it is of investment-grade. The Adviser may retain securities that are downgraded, if the Adviser believes that keeping those securities is warranted.
Debt securities rated below investment-grade (junk bonds) are highly speculative securities that are usually issued by smaller, less credit worthy and/or highly leveraged (indebted) companies. A corporation may issue a junk bond because of a corporate restructuring or other similar event. Compared with investment-grade bonds, junk bonds carry a greater degree of risk and are less likely to make payments of interest and principal. Market developments and the financial and business condition of the issuer of these securities influence their price and liquidity more than changes in interest rates, when compared to investment-grade debt securities. Insufficient liquidity in the junk bond market may make it more difficult to dispose of junk bonds and may cause a Fund to experience sudden and substantial price declines. A lack of reliable, objective data or market quotations may make it more difficult to value junk bonds accurately.
Rating agencies are organizations that assign ratings to securities based primarily on the rating agency’s assessment of the issuer’s financial strength. The Funds currently use ratings compiled by Moody’s, S&P and Fitch Ratings Inc. (“Fitch”). Credit ratings are only an agency’s opinion, not an absolute standard of quality, and they do not reflect an evaluation of market risk.
The section “Appendix A – Description of Ratings” contains further information concerning the ratings of certain rating agencies and their significance.
The Adviser may use ratings produced by ratings agencies as guidelines to determine the rating of a security at the time a Fund buys it. A rating agency may change its credit ratings at any time. The Adviser monitors the rating of the security and will take such action, if any, it believes appropriate when it learns that a rating agency has reduced the security’s rating. A Fund is not obligated to dispose of securities whose issuers subsequently are in default or which are downgraded below the above-stated ratings.
Foreign securities are debt and equity securities that are traded in markets outside of the United States. The markets in which these securities are located can be developed or emerging. Consistent with their respective investment strategies, the Funds can invest in foreign securities in a number of ways, including:
|▪||They can invest directly in foreign securities denominated in a foreign currency;|
|▪||They can invest in American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) and other similar global instruments; and|
|▪||They can invest in investment funds.|
American Depositary Receipts – ADRs as well as other “hybrid” forms of ADRs, including EDRs and Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), are certificates evidencing ownership of shares of a foreign issuer. These certificates are issued by depository banks and generally trade on an established market in the United States or elsewhere. A custodian bank or similar financial institution in the issuer’s home country holds the underlying shares in trust. The depository bank may not have physical custody of the underlying securities at all times and may charge fees for various services, including forwarding dividends and interest and corporate actions. ADRs are alternatives to directly purchasing the underlying foreign securities in their national markets and currencies. ADRs are subject to many of the risks associated with investing directly in foreign securities. EDRs are similar to ADRs, except that they are typically issued by European banks or trust companies.
ADRs can be sponsored or unsponsored. While these types are similar, there are differences regarding a holder’s rights and obligations and the practices of market participants. A depository may establish an unsponsored facility without participation by (or acquiescence of) the underlying issuer; typically, however, the depository requests a letter of non-objection from the underlying issuer prior to establishing the facility. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs of the facility. The depository usually charges fees upon the deposit and withdrawal of the underlying securities, the conversion of dividends into U.S. dollars or other currency, the disposition of non-cash distributions, and the performance of other services. Sponsored depositary receipt facilities are created in generally the same manner as unsponsored facilities, except that sponsored depositary receipts are established jointly by a depository and the underlying issuer through a deposit agreement. The deposit agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of the underlying issuer, the depository, and the depositary receipt holders. With sponsored facilities, the underlying issuer typically bears some of the costs of the depositary receipts (such as dividend payment fees of the depository), although most sponsored depositary receipts holders may bear costs such as deposit and withdrawal fees. Depositories of most sponsored depositary receipts agree to distribute notices of shareholder meetings, voting instructions, and other shareholder communications and information to the depositary receipt holders at the underlying issuer’s request. The depositary of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the issuer of the deposited security or to pass through, to the holders of the receipts, voting rights with respect to the deposited securities.
Emerging Markets – An “emerging market country” is generally a country that the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“World Bank”) and the International Finance Corporation would consider to be an emerging or developing country. Typically, emerging markets are in countries that are in the process of industrialization, with lower gross national products (“GNP”) than more developed countries.
Investment Funds – Some emerging countries currently prohibit direct foreign investment in the securities of their companies. Certain emerging countries, however, permit indirect foreign investment in the securities of companies listed and traded on their stock exchanges through investment funds that they have specifically authorized. Investments in these investment funds are subject to the provisions of the 1940 Act. If a Fund invests in such investment funds, shareholders will bear not only their proportionate share of the expenses (including operating expenses and the fees of the Adviser), but also will indirectly bear similar expenses of the underlying investment funds. In addition, these investment funds may trade at a premium over their net asset value.
Risks of Foreign Securities:
Foreign securities, foreign currencies, and securities issued by U.S. entities with substantial foreign operations may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.
Political and Economic Factors – Local political, economic, regulatory, or social instability, military action or unrest, or adverse diplomatic developments may affect the value of foreign investments. Listed below are some of the more important political and economic factors that could negatively affect an investment in foreign securities:
|▪||The economies of foreign countries may differ from the economy of the United States in such areas as growth of GNP, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency, budget deficits and national debt;|
|▪||Foreign governments sometimes participate to a significant degree, through ownership interests or regulation, in their respective economies. Actions by these governments could significantly influence the market prices of securities and payment of dividends;|
|▪||The economies of many foreign countries are dependent on international trade and their trading partners and they could be severely affected if their trading partners were to enact protective trade barriers and economic conditions;|
|▪||The internal policies of a particular foreign country may be less stable than in the United States. Other countries face significant external political risks, such as possible claims of sovereignty by other countries or tense and sometimes hostile border clashes;|
|▪||A foreign government may act adversely to the interests of U.S. investors, including expropriation or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation and other restrictions on U.S. investment. A country may restrict or control foreign investments in its securities markets. These restrictions could limit a Fund’s ability to invest in a particular country or make it very expensive for the Fund to invest in that country. Some countries require prior governmental approval, may limit the types or amount of securities or companies in which a foreigner can invest, or may restrict the ability of foreign investors to repatriate their investment income and capital gains; and|
|▪||Periodic U.S. Government restrictions on investments in issuers from certain foreign countries may result in a Fund having to sell such prohibited securities at inopportune times. Such prohibited securities may have less liquidity as a result of such U.S. Government designation and the market price of such prohibited securities may decline, which may cause the Fund to incur losses.|
On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) formally withdrew from the European Union (the “EU”) (commonly referred to as “Brexit”). Following a transition period during which the EU and the UK Government engaged in a series of negotiations regarding the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the EU and the UK Government signed an agreement on December 30, 2020 regarding the economic relationship between the UK and the EU. This agreement became effective on a provisional basis on January 1, 2021 and formally entered into force on May 1, 2021. While the full impact of Brexit is unknown, Brexit has already resulted in volatility in European and global markets and could have negative long-term impacts on financial markets in the UK and throughout Europe. There is considerable uncertainty about the potential consequences of Brexit, how future negotiations of trade relations will proceed, and how the financial markets will react to all of the preceding. As this process unfolds, markets may be further disrupted. Brexit may also cause additional member states to contemplate departing from the EU, which would likely perpetuate political and economic instability in the region and cause additional market disruption in global financial markets.
The effects of Brexit on the UK and EU economies and the broader global economy could be significant, resulting in negative impacts, such as business and trade disruptions, increased volatility and illiquidity, and potentially lower economic growth of markets in the UK, EU and globally, which could negatively impact the value of a Fund's investments. Brexit could also lead to legal uncertainty and politically divergent national laws and regulations while the new relationship between the UK and EU is further defined and the UK determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. Additionally, depreciation of the British pound sterling and/or the euro in relation to the U.S. dollar following Brexit could adversely affect Fund investments denominated in the British pound sterling and/or the euro, regardless of the performance of the investment.
On February 24, 2022, Russian military forces invaded Ukraine, significantly amplifying already existing geopolitical tensions among Russia, Ukraine, Europe, NATO, and the West. Following Russia’s actions, various countries, including the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, as well as the European Union, issued broad-ranging economic sanctions against Russia. The sanctions consist of the prohibition of trading in certain Russian securities and engaging in certain private transactions, the prohibition of doing business with certain Russian corporate entities, large financial institutions, officials and oligarchs, and the freezing of Russian assets. 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, any future sanctions or other actions, or even the threat of further sanctions or other actions, may negatively affect the value and liquidity of a Fund's investments.
The extent and duration of the war in Ukraine and the longevity and severity of sanctions remain unknown, but they could have a significant adverse impact on the European economy as well as the price and availability of certain commodities, including oil and natural gas, throughout the world. These sanctions, and the resulting disruption of the Russian economy, may cause volatility in other regional and global markets and may negatively impact the performance of various sectors and industries, as well as companies in other countries, which could have a negative effect on the performance of a Fund, even if the Fund does not have direct exposure to securities of Russian issuers.
Whether or not a 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 due to the interconnected nature of the global economy and capital markets.
Information and Supervision – There is generally less publicly available information about foreign companies than companies based in the United States. For example, there are often no reports and ratings published about foreign companies comparable to the ones written about U.S. companies. Foreign companies are typically not subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements comparable to those applicable to U.S. companies. The lack of comparable information makes investment decisions concerning foreign companies more difficult and less reliable than those concerning domestic companies.
Stock Exchange and Market Risk – The Adviser anticipates that in most cases an exchange or over-the-counter market located outside of the United States will be the best available market for foreign securities. Foreign stock markets, while growing in volume and sophistication, are generally not as developed as the markets in the United States. Foreign stock markets tend to differ from those in the United States in a number of ways.
Foreign stock markets:
|▪||Are generally more volatile than, and not as developed or efficient as, those in the United States;|
|▪||Have substantially less volume;|
|▪||Trade securities that tend to be less liquid and experience rapid and erratic price movements;|
|▪||Have generally higher commissions and are subject to set minimum rates, as opposed to negotiated rates;|
|▪||Employ trading, settlement and custodial practices less developed than those in U.S. markets; and|
|▪||May have different settlement practices, which may cause delays and increase the potential for failed settlements.|
Foreign markets may offer less protection to shareholders than U.S. markets because:
|▪||Foreign accounting, auditing, and financial reporting requirements may render a foreign corporate balance sheet more difficult to understand and interpret than one subject to U.S. law and standards;|
|▪||Adequate public information on foreign issuers may not be available, and it may be difficult to secure dividends and information regarding corporate actions on a timely basis;|
|▪||In general, there is less overall governmental supervision and regulation of securities exchanges, brokers, and listed companies than in the United States;|
|▪||Over-the-counter markets tend to be less regulated than stock exchange markets and, in certain countries, may be totally unregulated;|
|▪||Economic or political concerns may influence regulatory enforcement and may make it difficult for shareholders to enforce their legal rights; and|
|▪||Restrictions on transferring securities within the United States or to U.S. persons may make a particular security less liquid than foreign securities of the same class that are not subject to such restrictions.|
Foreign Currency Risk – While the Funds denominate their net asset value in U.S. dollars, the securities of foreign companies are frequently denominated in foreign currencies. Thus, a change in the value of a foreign currency against the U.S. dollar will result in a corresponding change in value of securities denominated in that currency. Some of the factors that may impair the investments denominated in a foreign currency are:
|▪||It may be expensive to convert foreign currencies into U.S. dollars and vice versa;|
|▪||Complex political and economic factors may significantly affect the values of various currencies, including the U.S. dollar, and their exchange rates;|
|▪||Government intervention may increase risks involved in purchasing or selling foreign currency options, forward contracts and futures contracts, since exchange rates may not be free to fluctuate in response to other market forces;|
|▪||There may be no systematic reporting of last sale information for foreign currencies or regulatory requirement that quotations available through dealers or other market sources be firm or revised on a timely basis;|
|▪||Available quotation information is generally representative of very large round-lot transactions in the inter-bank market and thus may not reflect exchange rates for smaller odd-lot transactions (less than $1 million) where rates may be less favorable; and|
|▪||The inter-bank market in foreign currencies is a global, around-the-clock market. To the extent that a market is closed while the markets for the underlying currencies remain open, certain markets may not always reflect significant price and rate movements.|
Taxes – Certain foreign governments levy withholding taxes on dividend and interest income. Although in some countries it is possible for a Fund to recover a portion of these taxes, the portion that cannot be recovered will reduce the income the Fund receives from its investments.
Emerging Markets – Investing in emerging markets may magnify the risks of foreign investing. Security prices in emerging markets can be significantly more volatile than those in more developed markets, reflecting the greater uncertainties of investing in less established markets and economies.
In particular, countries with emerging markets may:
|▪||Have relatively unstable governments;|
|▪||Present greater risks of nationalization of businesses, restrictions on foreign ownership and prohibitions on the repatriation of assets;|
|▪||Offer less protection of property rights than more developed countries; and|
|▪||Have economies that are based on only a few industries, may be highly vulnerable to changes in local or global trade conditions, and may suffer from extreme and volatile debt burdens or inflation rates.|
Local securities markets may trade a small number of securities and may be unable to respond effectively to increases in trading volume, potentially making prompt liquidation of holdings difficult or impossible at times.
Investments in China
China is an emerging market, and as a result, investments in securities of companies organized and listed in China may be subject to liquidity constraints and significantly higher volatility, from time to time, than investments in securities of more developed markets. China may be subject to considerable government intervention and varying degrees of economic, political and social instability. These factors may result in, among other things, a greater risk of stock market, interest rate, and currency fluctuations, as well as inflation. Accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards in China are different from U.S. standards and, therefore, disclosure of certain material information may not be made, may be less available, or may be less reliable. It may also be difficult or impossible for a Fund to obtain or enforce a judgment in a Chinese court. In addition, periodically there may be restrictions on investments in Chinese companies. For example, on November 12, 2020, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order prohibiting U.S. persons from purchasing or investing in publicly-traded securities of companies identified by the U.S. Government as “Communist Chinese military companies” or in instruments that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to, those companies. The universe of affected securities can change from time to time. As a result of an increase in the number of investors looking to sell such securities, or because of an inability to participate in an investment that the Adviser otherwise believes is attractive, a Fund may incur losses. Certain securities that are or become designated as prohibited securities may have less liquidity as a result of such designation and the market price of such prohibited securities may decline, potentially causing losses to a Fund. In addition, the market for securities of other Chinese-based issuers may also be negatively impacted, resulting in reduced liquidity and price declines.
Derivatives are financial instruments whose value is based on an underlying asset (such as a stock or a bond), an underlying economic factor (such as an interest rate) or a market benchmark. Unless otherwise stated in the Prospectus, the Funds may use derivatives for a number of purposes including managing risk, gaining exposure to various markets in a cost-efficient manner, reducing transaction costs, remaining fully invested and speculating. The Funds may also invest in derivatives with the goal of protecting themselves from broad fluctuations in market prices, interest rates or foreign currency exchange rates (a practice known as “hedging”). When hedging is successful, a Fund will have offset any depreciation in the value of its portfolio securities by the appreciation in the value of the derivative position. Although techniques other than the sale and purchase of derivatives could be used to control the exposure of the Funds to market fluctuations, the use of derivatives may be a more effective means of hedging this exposure. In the future, to the extent such use is consistent with the Funds’ investment objectives and is legally permissible, the Funds may use instruments and techniques that are not presently contemplated, but that may be subsequently developed.
There can be no assurance that a derivative strategy, if employed, will be successful. Because many derivatives have a leverage or borrowing component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, reference rate or index can result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself.
Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act. Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act (the “Derivatives Rule”) provides a comprehensive framework for the use of derivatives by registered investment companies. The Derivatives Rule permits a registered investment company, subject to various conditions described below, to enter into derivatives transactions and certain other transactions notwithstanding the restrictions on the issuance of “senior securities” under Section 18 of the 1940 Act. Section 18 of the 1940 Act, among other things, prohibits open-end funds, including the Funds, from issuing or selling any “senior security,” other than borrowing from a bank (subject to a requirement to maintain 300% “asset coverage”).
Registered investment companies that don’t qualify as “limited derivatives users” as defined below, are required by the Derivatives Rule to, among other things, (i) adopt and implement a derivatives risk management program (“DRMP”) and new testing requirements; (ii) comply with a relative or absolute limit on fund leverage risk calculated based on value-at-risk (“VaR”); and (iii) comply with new requirements related to Board and SEC reporting. The DRMP is administered by a “derivatives risk manager,” who is appointed by the Board and periodically reviews the DRMP and reports to the Board.
The Derivatives Rule provides an exception from the DRMP, VaR limit and certain other requirements for a registered investment company that limits its “derivatives exposure” to no more than 10% of its net assets (as calculated in accordance with the Derivatives Rule) (a “limited derivatives user”), provided that the registered investment company establishes appropriate policies and procedures reasonably designed to manage derivatives risks, including the risk of exceeding the 10% “derivatives exposure” threshold.
The requirements of the Derivatives Rule may limit a Fund's ability to engage in derivatives transactions as part of its investment strategies. These requirements may also increase the cost of a Fund's investments and cost of doing business, which could adversely affect the value of the Fund's investments and/or the performance of the Fund. The rule also may not be effective to limit a Fund's risk of loss. In particular, measurements of VaR rely on historical data and may not accurately measure the degree of risk reflected in a Fund's derivatives or other investments. There may be additional regulation of the use of derivatives transactions by registered investment companies, which could significantly affect their use. The ultimate impact of the regulations remains unclear. Additional regulation of derivatives transactions may make them more costly, limit their availability or utility, otherwise adversely affect their performance or disrupt markets.
CFTC Regulations. Pursuant to rules adopted under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), a Fund must either operate within certain guidelines and restrictions with respect to the Fund’s use of futures, options on such futures, commodity options and certain swaps, or the Adviser will be subject to registration with the CFTC as a “commodity pool operator” (“CPO”).
Consistent with the CFTC’s regulations, the Adviser, on behalf of the Funds, has filed a notice of exclusion from the definition of the term CPO under the CEA pursuant to CFTC Rule 4.5 with respect to the Funds’ operation. Therefore, the Funds are not subject to regulation as commodity pools under the CFA and the Adviser is not subject to registration or regulation as a CPO under the CEA with respect to the Funds. As a result, the Funds will be limited in their ability to use futures, options on such futures, commodity options and certain swaps. Complying with the limitations may restrict the Adviser’s ability to implement the Funds’ investment strategies and may adversely affect the Funds’ performance.
Types of Derivatives:
Futures – A futures contract is an agreement between two parties whereby one party agrees to sell and the other party agrees to buy a specified amount of a financial instrument at an agreed upon price and time. The financial instrument underlying the contract may be a stock, stock index, bond, bond index, interest rate, foreign exchange rate or other similar instrument. Agreeing to buy the underlying financial instrument is called buying a futures contract or taking a long position in the contract. Likewise, agreeing to sell the underlying financial instrument is called selling a futures contract or taking a short position in the contract.
Futures contracts are traded in the United States on commodity exchanges or boards of trade (known as “contract markets”) approved for such trading and regulated by the CFTC. These contract markets standardize the terms, including the maturity date and underlying financial instrument, of all futures contracts.
Unlike other securities, the parties to a futures contract do not have to pay for or deliver the underlying financial instrument until some future date (the “delivery date”). Contract markets require both the purchaser and seller to deposit “initial margin” with a futures broker, known as a futures commission merchant or custodian bank, when they enter into the contract. Initial margin deposits are typically equal to a percentage of the contract’s value. Initial margin is similar to a performance bond or good faith deposit on a contract and is returned to the depositing party upon termination of the futures contract if all contractual obligations have been satisfied. After they open a futures contract, the parties to the transaction must compare the purchase price of the contract to its daily market value. If the value of the futures contract changes in such a way that a party’s position declines, that party must make additional “variation margin” payments so that the margin payment is adequate. On the other hand, the value of the contract may change in such a way that there is excess margin on deposit, possibly entitling the party that has a gain to receive all or a portion of this amount. This process is known as “marking to the market.” Variation margin does not represent a borrowing or loan by a party but is instead a settlement between the party and the futures broker of the amount one party would owe the other if the futures contract terminated. In computing daily net asset value, each party marks to market its open futures positions.
Although the terms of a futures contract call for the actual delivery of and payment for the underlying security, in many cases the parties may close the contract early by taking an opposite position in an identical contract. If the sale price upon closing out the contract is less than the original purchase price, the party closing out the contract will realize a loss. If the sale price upon closing out the contract is more than the original purchase price, the party closing out the contract will realize a gain. Conversely, if the purchase price upon closing out the contract is more than the original sale price, the party closing out the contract will realize a loss. If the purchase price upon closing out the contract is less than the original sale price, the party closing out the contract will realize a gain.
A Fund may incur commission expenses when it opens or closes a futures position.
Options – An option is a contract between two parties for the purchase and sale of a financial instrument for a specified price (known as the “strike price” or “exercise price”) at any time during the option period. Unlike a futures contract, an option grants a right (not an obligation) to buy or sell a financial instrument. Generally, a seller of an option can grant a buyer two kinds of rights: a “call” (the right to buy the security) or a “put” (the right to sell the security). Options have various types of underlying instruments, including specific securities, indices of securities prices, foreign currencies, interest rates and futures contracts. Options may be traded on an exchange (exchange-traded options) or may be customized agreements between the parties (over-the-counter or “OTC” options). Like futures, a financial intermediary, known as a clearing corporation, financially backs exchange-traded options. However, OTC options have no such intermediary and are subject to the risk that the counterparty will not fulfill its obligations under the contract. The principal factors affecting the market value of an option include supply and demand, interest rates, the current market value of the underlying instrument relative to the exercise price of the option, the volatility of the underlying instrument, and the time remaining until the option expires.
|▪||Purchasing Put and Call Options|
When a Fund purchases a put option, it buys the right to sell the instrument underlying the option at a fixed strike price. In return for this right, the Fund pays the current market price for the option (known as the “option premium”). A Fund may purchase put options to offset or hedge against a decline in the market value of its securities (“protective puts”) or to benefit from a decline in the price of securities that it does not own. A Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying securities decreased below the exercise price sufficiently to cover the premium and transaction costs. However, if the price of the underlying instrument does not fall enough to offset the cost of purchasing the option, a put buyer would lose the premium and related transaction costs.
Call options are similar to put options, except that a Fund obtains the right to purchase, rather than sell, the underlying instrument at the option’s strike price. A Fund would normally purchase call options in anticipation of an increase in the market value of securities it owns or wants to buy. A Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying instrument exceeded the exercise price plus the premium paid and related transaction costs. Otherwise, the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the call option.
The purchaser of an option may terminate its position by:
|▪||Allowing it to expire and losing its entire premium;|
|▪||Exercising the option and either selling (in the case of a put option) or buying (in the case of a call option) the underlying instrument at the strike price; or|
|▪||Closing it out in the secondary market at its current price.|
|▪||Selling (Writing) Put and Call Options|
When a Fund writes a call option it assumes an obligation to sell specified securities to the holder of the option at a fixed strike price if the option is exercised at any time before the expiration date. Similarly, when a Fund writes a put option it assumes an obligation to purchase specified securities from the option holder at a fixed strike price if the option is exercised at any time before the expiration date. The Fund may terminate its position in an exchange-traded put option before exercise by buying an option identical to the one it has written. Similarly, the Fund may cancel an OTC option by entering into an offsetting transaction with the counterparty to the option.
A Fund could try to hedge against an increase in the value of securities it would like to acquire by writing a put option on those securities. If security prices rise, the Fund would expect the put option to expire and the premium it received to offset the increase in the security’s value. If security prices remain the same over time, the Fund would hope to profit by closing out the put option at a lower price. If security prices fall, the Fund may lose an amount of money equal to the difference between the value of the security and the premium it received. Writing covered put options may deprive a Fund of the opportunity to profit from a decrease in the market price of the securities it would like to acquire.
The characteristics of writing call options are similar to those of writing put options, except that call writers expect to profit if prices remain the same or fall. A Fund could try to hedge against a decline in the value of securities it already owns by writing a call option. If the price of that security falls as expected, the Fund would expect the option to expire and the premium it received to offset the decline of the security’s value. However, the Fund must be prepared to deliver the underlying instrument in return for the strike price, which may deprive it of the opportunity to profit from an increase in the market price of the securities it holds.
The Funds are permitted to write only “covered” options. At the time of selling a call option, a Fund may cover the option by owning, among other things:
|▪||The underlying security (or securities convertible into the underlying security without additional consideration), index, interest rate, foreign currency or futures contract;|
|▪||A call option on the same security or index with the same or lesser exercise price;|
|▪||A call option on the same security or index with a greater exercise price, provided that the Fund also segregates cash or liquid securities in an amount equal to the difference between the exercise prices;|
|▪||Cash or liquid securities equal to at least the market value of the optioned securities, interest rate, foreign currency or futures contract; or|
|▪||In the case of an index, the portfolio of securities that corresponds to the index.|
At the time of selling a put option, a Fund may cover the option by, among other things:
|▪||Entering into a short position in the underlying security;|
|▪||Purchasing a put option on the same security, index, interest rate, foreign currency or futures contract with the same or greater exercise price;|
|▪||Purchasing a put option on the same security, index, interest rate, foreign currency or futures contract with a lesser exercise price and segregating cash or liquid securities in an amount equal to the difference between the exercise prices; or|
|▪||Maintaining the entire exercise price in liquid securities.|
|▪||Options on Securities Indices|
Options on securities indices are similar to options on securities, except that the exercise of securities index options requires cash settlement payments and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities. In addition, securities index options are designed to reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or segment of the securities market rather than price fluctuations in a single security.
|▪||Options on Credit Default Swaps|
An option on a credit default swap gives the holder the right to enter into a credit default swap at a specified future date and under specified terms in exchange for a purchase price or premium. The writer of the option bears the risk of any unfavorable move in the value of the credit default swap relative to the market value on the exercise date, while the purchaser may allow the option to expire unexercised.
|▪||Options on Futures|
An option on a futures contract provides the holder with the right to buy a futures contract (in the case of a call option) or sell a futures contract (in the case of a put option) at a fixed time and price. Upon exercise of the option by the holder, the contract market clearing house establishes a corresponding short position for the writer of the option (in the case of a call option) or a corresponding long position (in the case of a put option). If the option is exercised, the parties will be subject to the futures contracts. In addition, the writer of an option on a futures contract is subject to initial and variation margin requirements on the option position. Options on futures contracts are traded on the same contract market as the underlying futures contract.
The buyer or seller of an option on a futures contract may terminate the option early by purchasing or selling an option of the same series (i.e., the same exercise price and expiration date) as the option previously purchased or sold. The difference between the premiums paid and received represents the trader’s profit or loss on the transaction.
A Fund may purchase put and call options on futures contracts instead of selling or buying futures contracts. The Fund may buy a put option on a futures contract for the same reasons it would sell a futures contract. It also may purchase such a put option in order to hedge a long position in the underlying futures contract. A Fund may buy a call option on a futures contract for the same purpose as the actual purchase of a futures contract, such as in anticipation of favorable market conditions.
A Fund may write a call option on a futures contract to hedge against a decline in the prices of the instrument underlying the futures contracts. If the price of the futures contract at expiration were below the exercise price, the Fund would retain the option premium, which would offset, in part, any decline in the value of its portfolio securities.
The writing of a put option on a futures contract is similar to the purchase of the futures contracts, except that, if the market price declines, a Fund would pay more than the market price for the underlying instrument. The premium received on the sale of the put option, less any transaction costs, would reduce the net cost to the Fund.
|▪||Options on Foreign Currencies|
A put option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to sell a foreign currency at the exercise price until the option expires. A call option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to purchase the currency at the exercise price until the option expires. The Funds may purchase or write put and call options on foreign currencies for the purpose of hedging against changes in future currency exchange rates.
The Funds may use foreign currency options given the same circumstances under which they could use forward foreign currency exchange contracts. For example, a decline in the U.S. dollar value of a foreign currency in which a Fund’s securities are denominated would reduce the U.S. dollar value of the securities, even if their value in the foreign currency remained constant. In order to hedge against such a risk, the Fund may purchase a put option on the foreign currency. If the value of the currency then declined, the Fund could sell the currency for a fixed amount in U.S. dollars and thereby offset, at least partially, the negative effect on its securities that otherwise would have resulted. Conversely, if a Fund anticipates a rise in the U.S. dollar value of a currency in which securities to be acquired are denominated, the Fund may purchase call options on the currency in order to offset, at least partially, the effects of negative movements in exchange rates. If currency exchange rates do not move in the direction or to the extent anticipated, the Funds could sustain losses on transactions in foreign currency options.
The Funds may purchase and write options in combination with each other, or in combination with futures or forward contracts or swap agreements, to adjust the risk and return characteristics of the overall position. For example, a Fund could construct a combined position whose risk and return characteristics are similar to selling a futures contract by purchasing a put option and writing a call option on the same underlying instrument. Alternatively, a Fund could write a call option at one strike price and buy a call option at a lower price to reduce the risk of the written call option in the event of a substantial price increase. Because combined options positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.
Forward Foreign Currency Exchange Contracts – A forward foreign currency contract involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific amount of currency at a future date or date range at a specific price. In the case of a cancelable forward contract, the holder has the unilateral right to cancel the contract at maturity by paying a specified fee. Forward foreign currency exchange contracts differ from foreign currency futures contracts in certain respects. Unlike futures contracts, forward contracts:
|▪||Do not have standard maturity dates or amounts (i.e., the parties to the contract may fix the maturity date and the amount);|
|▪||Are typically traded directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers in the inter-bank markets, as opposed to on exchanges regulated by the CFTC (note, however, that under new definitions adopted by the CFTC and SEC, many non-deliverable foreign currency forwards will be considered swaps for certain purposes, including determination of whether such instruments must be traded on exchanges and centrally cleared);|
|▪||Do not require an initial margin deposit; and|
|▪||May be closed by entering into a closing transaction with the currency trader who is a party to the original forward contract, as opposed to with a commodities exchange.|
|▪||Foreign Currency Hedging Strategies|
A “settlement hedge” or “transaction hedge” is designed to protect a Fund against an adverse change in foreign currency values between the date a security is purchased or sold and the date on which payment is made or received. Entering into a forward contract for the purchase or sale of the amount of foreign currency involved in an underlying security transaction for a fixed amount of U.S. dollars “locks in” the U.S. dollar price of the security. A Fund may also use forward contracts to purchase or sell a foreign currency when it anticipates purchasing or selling securities denominated in foreign currency, even if it has not yet selected the specific investments.
A Fund may use forward contracts to hedge against a decline in the value of existing investments denominated in foreign currency. Such a hedge, sometimes referred to as a “position hedge,” would tend to offset both positive and negative currency fluctuations, but would not offset changes in security values caused by other factors. The Fund could also hedge the position by selling another currency expected to perform similarly to the currency in which the Fund’s investment is denominated. This type of hedge, sometimes referred to as a “proxy hedge,” could offer advantages in terms of cost, yield, or efficiency, but generally would not hedge currency exposure as effectively as a direct hedge into U.S. dollars. Proxy hedges may result in losses if the currency used to hedge does not perform similarly to the currency in which the hedged securities are denominated.
Transaction and position hedging do not eliminate fluctuations in the underlying prices of the securities that a Fund owns or intends to purchase or sell. They simply establish a rate of exchange that one can achieve at some future point in time. Additionally, these techniques tend to minimize the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged currency and to limit any potential gain that might result from the increase in value of such currency.
A Fund may enter into forward contracts to shift its investment exposure from one currency into another. Such transactions may call for the delivery of one foreign currency in exchange for another foreign currency, including currencies in which its securities are not then denominated. This may include shifting exposure from U.S. dollars to a foreign currency, or from one foreign currency to another foreign currency. This type of strategy, sometimes known as a “cross-hedge,” will tend to reduce or eliminate exposure to the currency that is sold, and increase exposure to the currency that is purchased. Cross-hedges may protect against losses resulting from a decline in the hedged currency but will cause the Fund to assume the risk of fluctuations in the value of the currency it purchases. Cross-hedging transactions also involve the risk of imperfect correlation between changes in the values of the currencies involved.
It is difficult to forecast with precision the market value of portfolio securities at the expiration or maturity of a forward or futures contract. Accordingly, a Fund may have to purchase additional foreign currency on the spot (cash) market if the market value of a security it is hedging is less than the amount of foreign currency it is obligated to deliver. Conversely, the Fund may have to sell on the spot market some of the foreign currency it received upon the sale of a security if the market value of such security exceeds the amount of foreign currency it is obligated to deliver.
Equity-Linked Securities – The Funds may invest in privately issued securities whose investment results are designed to correspond generally to the performance of a specified stock index or “basket” of securities, or sometimes a single stock (referred to as “equity-linked securities”). These securities are used for many of the same purposes as derivative instruments and share many of the same risks. Equity-linked securities may be considered illiquid and thus subject to the Funds’ restrictions on investments in illiquid investments.
Swap Agreements – A swap agreement is a financial instrument that typically involves the exchange of cash flows between two parties on specified dates (settlement dates), where the cash flows are based on agreed-upon prices, rates, indices, etc. The nominal amount on which the cash flows are calculated is called the notional amount. Swap agreements are individually negotiated and structured to include exposure to a variety of different types of investments or market factors, such as interest rates, foreign currency rates, mortgage securities, corporate borrowing rates, security prices or inflation rates.
Swap agreements may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the investments of a Fund and its share price. The performance of swap agreements may be affected by a change in the specific interest rate, currency, or other factors that determine the amounts of payments due to and from the Fund. If a swap agreement calls for payments by the Fund, the Fund must be prepared to make such payments when due. In addition, if the counterparty’s creditworthiness declined, the value of a swap agreement would be likely to decline, potentially resulting in losses.
Generally, swap agreements have a fixed maturity date that will be agreed upon by the parties. The agreement can be terminated before the maturity date under certain circumstances, such as default by one of the parties or insolvency, among others, and can be transferred by a party only with the prior written consent of the other party. A Fund may be able to eliminate its exposure under a swap agreement either by assignment or by other disposition, or by entering into an offsetting swap agreement with the same party or a similarly creditworthy party. If the counterparty is unable to meet its obligations under the contract, declares bankruptcy, defaults or becomes insolvent, a Fund may not be able to recover the money it expected to receive under the swap agreement. The Funds will not enter into any swap agreement unless the Adviser believes that the counterparty to the transaction is creditworthy.
A swap agreement can be a form of leverage, which can magnify the Funds’ gains or losses. In order to reduce the risk associated with leveraging, the Funds may cover their current obligations under swap agreements according to guidelines established by the SEC. If a Fund enters into a swap agreement on a net basis, it may segregate assets with a daily value at least equal to the excess, if any, of the Fund’s accrued obligations under the swap agreement over the accrued amount the Fund is entitled to receive under the agreement. If a Fund enters into a swap agreement on other than a net basis, it may segregate assets with a value equal to the full amount of the Fund’s accrued obligations under the swap agreement.
In a typical equity swap, one party agrees to pay another party the return on a stock, stock index or basket of stocks in return for a specified interest rate. By entering into an equity index swap, for example, the index receiver can gain exposure to stocks making up the index of securities without actually purchasing those stocks. Equity index swaps involve not only the risk associated with investment in the securities represented in the index, but also the risk that the performance of such securities, including dividends, will not exceed the return on the interest rate that a Fund will be committed to pay.
|▪||Total Return Swaps|
Total return swaps are contracts in which one party agrees to make payments of the total return from a reference instrument—which may be a single asset, a pool of assets or an index of assets—during a specified period, in return for payments equal to a fixed or floating rate of interest or the total return from another underlying reference instrument. The total return includes appreciation or depreciation on the underlying asset, plus any interest or dividend payments. Payments under the swap are based upon an agreed upon principal amount but, since the principal amount is not exchanged, it represents neither an asset nor a liability to either counterparty, and is referred to as notional. Total return swaps are marked to market daily using different sources, including quotations from counterparties, pricing services, brokers or market makers. The unrealized appreciation or depreciation related to the change in the valuation of the notional amount of the swap is combined with the amount due to a Fund at termination or settlement. The primary risks associated with total return swaps are credit risks (if the counterparty fails to meet its obligations) and market risk (if there is no liquid market for the swap or unfavorable changes occur to the underlying reference instrument).
|▪||Interest Rate Swaps|
Interest rate swaps are financial instruments that involve the exchange of one type of interest rate for another type of interest rate cash flow on specified dates in the future. Some of the different types of interest rate swaps are “fixed-for-floating rate swaps,” “termed basis swaps” and “index amortizing swaps.” Fixed-for-floating rate swaps involve the exchange of fixed interest rate cash flows for floating rate cash flows. Termed basis swaps entail cash flows to both parties based on floating interest rates, where the interest rate indices are different. Index amortizing swaps are typically fixed-for-floating rate swaps where the notional amount changes if certain conditions are met.
As with a traditional investment in a debt security, a Fund could lose money by investing in an interest rate swap if interest rates change adversely. For example, if a Fund enters into a swap where it agrees to exchange a floating rate of interest for a fixed rate of interest, the Fund may have to pay more money than it receives. Similarly, if a Fund enters into a swap where it agrees to exchange a fixed rate of interest for a floating rate of interest, the Fund may receive less money than it has agreed to pay.
A currency swap is an agreement between two parties in which one party agrees to make interest rate payments in one currency and the other promises to make interest rate payments in another currency. A Fund may enter into a currency swap when it has one currency and desires a different currency. Typically, the interest rates that determine the currency swap payments are fixed, although occasionally one or both parties may pay a floating rate of interest. Unlike an interest rate swap, however, the principal amounts are exchanged at the beginning of the agreement and returned at the end of the agreement. Changes in foreign exchange rates and changes in interest rates, as described above, may negatively affect currency swaps.
Inflation swaps are fixed-maturity, over-the-counter derivatives where one party pays a fixed rate in exchange for payments tied to an inflation index, such as the Consumer Price Index. The fixed rate, which is set by the parties at the initiation of the swap, is often referred to as the “breakeven inflation” rate and generally represents the current difference between treasury yields and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities yields of similar maturities at the initiation of the swap agreement. Inflation swaps are typically designated as “zero coupon,” where all cash flows are exchanged at maturity. The value of an inflation swap is expected to fluctuate in response to changes in the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. An inflation swap can lose value if the realized rate of inflation over the life of the swap is less than the fixed market implied inflation rate (the breakeven inflation rate) the investor agreed to pay at the initiation of the swap.
|▪||Credit Default Swaps|
A credit default swap is an agreement between a “buyer” and a “seller” for credit protection. The credit default swap agreement may have as reference obligations one or more securities that are not then held by a Fund. The protection buyer is generally obligated to pay the protection seller an upfront payment and/or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the agreement until a credit event on a reference obligation has occurred. If no default occurs, the seller would keep the stream of payments and would have no payment obligations. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the full notional amount (the “par value”) of the swap.
|▪||Caps, Collars and Floors|
Caps and floors have an effect similar to buying or writing options. In a typical cap or floor agreement, one party agrees to make payments only under specified circumstances, usually in return for payment of a fee by the other party. For example, the buyer of an interest rate cap obtains the right to receive payments to the extent that a specified interest rate exceeds an agreed-upon level. The seller of an interest rate floor is obligated to make payments to the extent that a specified interest rate falls below an agreed-upon level. An interest rate collar combines elements of buying a cap and selling a floor.
Risks of Derivatives:
While transactions in derivatives may reduce certain risks, these transactions themselves entail certain other risks. For example, unanticipated changes in interest rates, securities prices or currency exchange rates may result in a poorer overall performance of the Funds than if they had not entered into any derivatives transactions. Derivatives may magnify the Funds’ gains or losses, causing them to make or lose substantially more than they invested.
When used for hedging purposes, increases in the value of the securities a Fund holds or intends to acquire should offset any losses incurred with a derivative. Purchasing derivatives for purposes other than hedging could expose the Fund to greater risks.
Use of derivatives involves transaction costs, which may be significant, and may also increase the amount of taxable income to shareholders.
Correlation of Prices – The Funds’ ability to hedge their securities through derivatives depends on the degree to which price movements in the underlying index or instrument correlate with price movements in the relevant securities. In the case of poor correlation, the price of the securities a Fund is hedging may not move in the same amount, or even in the same direction as the hedging instrument. The Adviser will try to minimize this risk by investing in only those contracts whose behavior it expects to correlate with the behavior of the portfolio securities it is trying to hedge. However, if the Adviser’s prediction of interest and currency rates, market value, volatility or other economic factors is incorrect, a Fund may lose money, or may not make as much money as it expected.
Derivative prices can diverge from the prices of their underlying instruments, even if the characteristics of the underlying instruments are very similar to the derivative. Listed below are some of the factors that may cause such a divergence:
|▪||Current and anticipated short-term interest rates, changes in volatility of the underlying instrument, and the time remaining until expiration of the contract;|
|▪||A difference between the derivatives and securities markets, including different levels of demand, how the instruments are traded, the imposition of daily price fluctuation limits or discontinued trading of an instrument; and|
|▪||Differences between the derivatives, such as different margin requirements, different liquidity of such markets and the participation of speculators in such markets.|
Derivatives based upon a narrower index of securities, such as those of a particular industry group, may present greater risk than derivatives based on a broad market index. Since narrower indices are made up of a smaller number of securities, they are more susceptible to rapid and extreme price fluctuations because of changes in the value of those securities.
While currency futures and options values are expected to correlate with exchange rates, they may not reflect other factors that affect the value of the investments of the Funds. A currency hedge, for example, should protect a yen-denominated security from a decline in the yen, but will not protect the Funds against a price decline resulting from deterioration in the issuer’s creditworthiness. Because the value of the Funds’ foreign-denominated investments changes in response to many factors other than exchange rates, it may not be possible to match the amount of currency options and futures to the value of the Funds’ investments precisely over time.
Lack of Liquidity – Before a futures contract or option is exercised or expires, a Fund can terminate it only by entering into a closing purchase or sale transaction. Moreover, a Fund may close out a futures contract only on the exchange the contract was initially traded. Although the Funds intend to purchase options and futures only where there appears to be an active market, there is no guarantee that such a liquid market will exist. If there is no secondary market for the contract, or the market is illiquid, a Fund may not be able to close out its position. In an illiquid market, a Fund may:
|▪||Have to sell securities to meet its daily margin requirements at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so;|
|▪||Have to purchase or sell the instrument underlying the contract;|
|▪||Not be able to hedge its investments; and/or|
|▪||Not be able to realize profits or limit its losses.|
Derivatives may become illiquid (i.e., difficult to sell at a desired time and price) under a variety of market conditions. For example:
|▪||An exchange may suspend or limit trading in a particular derivative instrument, an entire category of derivatives or all derivatives, which sometimes occurs because of increased market volatility;|
|▪||Unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations of an exchange;|
|▪||The facilities of the exchange may not be adequate to handle current trading volume;|
|▪||Equipment failures, government intervention, insolvency of a brokerage firm or clearing house or other occurrences may disrupt normal trading activity; or|
|▪||Investors may lose interest in a particular derivative or category of derivatives.|
Management Risk – Successful use of derivatives by the Funds is subject to the ability of the Adviser to forecast stock market and interest rate trends. If the Adviser incorrectly predicts stock market and interest rate trends, the Funds may lose money by investing in derivatives. For example, if a Fund were to write a call option based on the Adviser’s expectation that the price of the underlying security would fall, but the price were to rise instead, the Fund could be required to sell the security upon exercise at a price below the current market price. Similarly, if a Fund were to write a put option based on the Adviser’s expectation that the price of the underlying security would rise, but the price were to fall instead, the Fund could be required to purchase the security upon exercise at a price higher than the current market price.
Pricing Risk – At times, market conditions might make it hard to value some investments. For example, if a Fund has valued its securities too high, shareholders may end up paying too much for Fund shares when they buy into the Fund. If the Fund underestimates its price, shareholders may not receive the full market value for their Fund shares when they sell.
Margin – Because of the low margin deposits required upon the opening of a derivative position, such transactions involve an extremely high degree of leverage. Consequently, a relatively small price movement in a derivative may result in an immediate and substantial loss (as well as gain) to a Fund and it may lose more than it originally invested in the derivative.
If the price of a futures contract changes adversely, a Fund may have to sell securities at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so to meet its minimum daily margin requirement. A Fund may lose its margin deposits if a broker-dealer with whom it has an open futures contract or related option becomes insolvent or declares bankruptcy.
Volatility and Leverage – The Funds’ use of derivatives may have a leveraging effect. Leverage generally magnifies the effect of any increase or decrease in value of an underlying asset and results in increased volatility, which means the Funds will have the potential for greater gains, as well as the potential for greater losses, than if the Funds do not use derivative instruments that have a leveraging effect. The prices of derivatives are volatile (i.e., they may change rapidly, substantially and unpredictably) and are influenced by a variety of factors, including:
|▪||Actual and anticipated changes in interest rates;|
|▪||Fiscal and monetary policies; and|
|▪||National and international political events.|
Most exchanges limit the amount by which the price of a derivative can change during a single trading day. Daily trading limits establish the maximum amount that the price of a derivative may vary from the settlement price of that derivative at the end of trading on the previous day. Once the price of a derivative reaches this value, the Funds may not trade that derivative at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movements during a given day and does not limit potential gains or losses. Derivative prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days, preventing prompt liquidation of the derivative.
Government Regulation – The regulation of derivatives markets in the U.S. is a rapidly changing area of law and is subject to modification by government and judicial action. In particular, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law in 2010, grants significant new authority to the SEC and the CFTC to impose comprehensive regulations on the over-the-counter and cleared derivatives markets. These regulations include, but are not limited to, mandatory clearing of certain derivatives and requirements relating to disclosure, margin and trade reporting. The new law and regulations may negatively impact the Funds by increasing transaction and/or regulatory compliance costs, limiting the availability of certain derivatives or otherwise adversely affecting the value or performance of the derivatives the Funds trade.
In addition, the SEC adopted the Derivatives Rule on October 28, 2020. Since its compliance date of August 19, 2022, the Derivatives Rule has replaced prior SEC and staff guidance with an updated, comprehensive framework for registered funds’ use of derivatives. See “Derivatives — Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act” above for additional information on the requirements imposed on registered funds by the Derivatives Rule. Complying with the Derivatives Rule may increase the cost of the Funds' investments and cost of doing business, which could adversely affect investors. Other potentially adverse regulatory obligations can develop suddenly and without notice.
Investment Company Shares
The Funds may invest in shares of other investment companies, to the extent permitted by applicable law, subject to certain restrictions. These investment companies typically incur fees that are separate from those fees incurred directly by the Funds. A Fund’s purchase of such investment company securities results in the layering of expenses, such that shareholders would indirectly bear a proportionate share of the operating expenses of such investment companies, including advisory fees, in addition to paying the Fund’s expenses.
Generally, the federal securities laws limit the extent to which a Fund can invest in securities of other investment companies, subject to certain exceptions, For example, Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act prohibits a fund from (i) acquiring more than 3% of the voting shares of any one investment company, (ii) investing more than 5% of its total assets in any one investment company, and (iii) investing more than 10% of its total assets in all investment companies combined, including its ETF investments.
In October 2020, the SEC adopted certain regulatory changes and took other actions related to the ability of an investment company to invest in the securities of another investment company. These changes include, among other things, the rescission of certain SEC exemptive orders permitting investments in excess of the statutory limits and the withdrawal of certain related SEC staff no-action letters, and the adoption of Rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act. Rule 12d1-4, which became effective on January 19, 2021, permits the Funds to invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits, subject to certain conditions. The rescission of the applicable exemptive orders and the withdrawal of the applicable no-action letters became effective on January 19, 2022. The impact of these regulatory changes on the Funds is still uncertain.
For hedging or other purposes, the Funds may invest in investment companies that seek to track the composition and/or performance of specific indexes or portions of specific indexes. Certain of these investment companies, known as ETFs, are traded on a securities exchange. (See “Exchange-Traded Funds” above). The market prices of index-based investments will fluctuate in accordance with changes in the underlying portfolio securities of the investment company and also due to supply and demand of the investment company’s shares on the exchange upon which the shares are traded. Index-based investments may not replicate or otherwise match the composition or performance of their specified index due to transaction costs, among other things.
Money Market Securities
Money market securities include short-term U.S. Government securities; custodial receipts evidencing separately traded interest and principal components of securities issued by the U.S. Treasury; commercial paper rated in the highest short-term rating category by an NRSRO, such as S&P’s or Moody’s, or determined by the Adviser to be of comparable quality at the time of purchase; short-term bank obligations (certificates of deposit, time deposits and bankers’ acceptances) of U.S. commercial banks with assets of at least $1 billion as of the end of their most recent fiscal year; and repurchase agreements involving such securities. Each of these money market securities are described above. For a description of ratings, see “Appendix A – Description of Ratings” to this SAI.
The Funds may enter into repurchase agreements with financial institutions. A repurchase agreement is an agreement under which a fund acquires a fixed income security (generally a security issued by the U.S. Government or an agency thereof, a banker’s acceptance, or a certificate of deposit) from a commercial bank, broker, or dealer, and simultaneously agrees to resell such security to the seller at an agreed upon price and date (normally, the next business day). Because the security purchased constitutes collateral for the repurchase obligation, a repurchase agreement may be considered a loan that is collateralized by the security purchased. The Funds follow certain procedures designed to minimize the risks inherent in such agreements. These procedures include effecting repurchase transactions only with creditworthy financial institutions whose condition will be continually monitored by the Adviser. The repurchase agreements entered into by the Funds will provide that the underlying collateral at all times shall have a value at least equal to 102% of the resale price stated in the agreement and consist only of securities permissible under Section 101(47)(A)(i) of the Bankruptcy Code (the Adviser monitors compliance with this requirement). Under all repurchase agreements entered into by the Funds, the custodian or its agent must take possession of the underlying collateral. In the event of a default or bankruptcy by a selling financial institution, the Funds will seek to liquidate such collateral. However, the exercising of the Funds’ right to liquidate such collateral could involve certain costs or delays and, to the extent that proceeds from any sale upon a default of the obligation to repurchase were less than the repurchase price, a Fund could suffer a loss. A Fund may enter into “tri-party” repurchase agreements. In “tri-party” repurchase agreements, an unaffiliated third-party custodian maintains accounts to hold collateral for the Fund and its counterparties and, therefore, the Fund may be subject to the credit risk of those custodians. The investments of a Fund in repurchase agreements, at times, may be substantial when, in the view of the Adviser, liquidity or other considerations so warrant.
The Funds may lend portfolio securities to brokers, dealers and other financial organizations that meet capital and other credit requirements or other criteria established by the Board. These loans, if and when made, may not exceed 33 1/3% of the total asset value of a Fund (including the loan collateral). The Funds will not lend portfolio securities to the Adviser or its affiliates unless permissible under the 1940 Act and the rules and promulgations thereunder. Loans of portfolio securities will be fully collateralized by cash, letters of credit or U.S. Government securities, and the collateral will be maintained in an amount equal to at least 100% of the current market value of the loaned securities by marking to market daily. Any gain or loss in the market price of the securities loaned by a Fund that might occur during the term of the loan would be for the account of such Fund.
The Funds may pay a part of the interest earned from the investment of collateral, or other fee, to an unaffiliated third party for acting as the Funds’ securities lending agent, but will bear all of any losses from the investment of collateral.
By lending its securities, a Fund may increase its income by receiving payments from the borrower that reflect the amount of any interest or any dividends payable on the loaned securities as well as by either investing cash collateral received from the borrower in short-term instruments or obtaining a fee from the borrower when U.S. Government securities or letters of credit are used as collateral. Each Fund will adhere to the following conditions whenever its portfolio securities are loaned: (i) the Fund must receive at least 100% cash collateral or equivalent securities of the type discussed above from the borrower; (ii) the borrower must increase such collateral whenever the market value of the securities rises above the level of such collateral; (iii) the Fund must be able to terminate the loan on demand; (iv) the Fund must receive reasonable interest on the loan, as well as any dividends, interest or other distributions on the loaned securities and any increase in market value; (v) the Fund may pay only reasonable fees in connection with the loan (which fees may include fees payable to the lending agent, the borrower, the Fund’s administrator and the custodian); and (vi) voting rights on the loaned securities may pass to the borrower, provided, however, that if a material event adversely affecting the investment occurs, the Fund must terminate the loan and regain the right to vote the securities. The Board has adopted procedures reasonably designed to ensure that the foregoing criteria will be met. Loan agreements involve certain risks in the event of default or insolvency of the borrower, including possible delays or restrictions upon a Fund’s ability to recover the loaned securities or dispose of the collateral for the loan, which could give rise to loss because of adverse market action, expenses and/or delays in connection with the disposition of the underlying securities.
Illiquid investments are investments that a Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment. Because of their illiquid nature, illiquid investments must be priced at fair value as determined in good faith by the Adviser, subject to Board oversight. Despite such good faith efforts to determine fair value prices, a Fund’s illiquid investments are subject to the risk that the investment's fair value price may differ from the actual price which the Fund may ultimately realize upon its sale or disposition. Difficulty in selling illiquid investments may result in a loss or may be costly to the Fund. Under the supervision of the Board, the Adviser determines the liquidity of the Fund’s investments. A Fund may not acquire an illiquid investment if, immediately after the acquisition, the Fund would have invested more than 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments that are assets.
Restricted securities are securities that may not be sold freely to the public absent registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”) or an exemption from registration. As consistent with a Fund’s investment objective, the Fund may invest in Section 4(a)(2) commercial paper. Section 4(a)(2) commercial paper is issued in reliance on an exemption from registration under Section 4(a)(2) of the 1933 Act and is generally sold to institutional investors who purchase for investment. Any resale of such commercial paper must be in an exempt transaction, usually to an institutional investor through the issuer or investment dealers who make a market in such commercial paper.
As consistent with a Fund’s investment objective, the Fund may engage in short sales that are either “uncovered” or “against the box.” A short sale is “against the box” if at all times during which the short position is open, a Fund owns at least an equal amount of the securities or securities convertible into, or exchangeable without further consideration for, securities of the same issue as the securities that are sold short. A short sale against the box is a taxable transaction to the Fund with respect to the securities that are sold short.
Uncovered short sales are transactions under which a Fund sells a security it does not own. To complete such a transaction, the Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund then is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing the security at the market price at the time of the replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay the lender amounts equal to any dividends or interest that accrue during the period of the loan. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold. The proceeds of the short sale will be retained by the broker, to the extent necessary to meet margin requirements, until the short position is closed out.
Until a Fund closes its short position or replaces the borrowed security, the Fund will: (a) maintain a segregated account containing cash or liquid securities at such a level that the amount deposited in the account plus the amount deposited with the broker as collateral will equal the current value of the security sold short; or (b) otherwise cover the Fund’s short position.
InterFund Lending Program
The SEC has granted an exemptive order that permits the Funds to participate in an interfund lending program (the “Program”) with (i) any existing or future series of the Trust and (ii) any existing or future registered open-end management investment company or existing or future series thereof advised by the Adviser and certain of its affiliates (the “Participating Funds”). The Program allows the Participating Funds to lend money to and borrow money from each other for temporary or emergency purposes. Participation in the Program is voluntary for both borrowing and lending Participating Funds. The interest rate charged to the Participating Funds on any interfund loan (“Interfund Loan Rate”) consists of the average of the (i) “Repo Rate” and (ii) “Bank Loan Rate,” each as defined below. The “Repo Rate” for any day would be the highest rate available to a lending Participating Fund from investing in overnight repurchase agreements. The “Bank Loan Rate” for any day would be calculated according to a formula established by the Board designed to approximate the lowest interest rate at which a bank short-term loan would be available to a borrowing Participating Fund. The Interfund Loan Rate will never be set at a rate (i) less favorable to the lending Participating Fund than the Repo Rate or (ii) less favorable to a borrowing Participating Fund than the Bank Loan Rate. Thus, no interfund loan would be made on terms unfavorable to either the lending Participating Fund or the borrowing Participating Fund relative to these measures.
All interfund loans and borrowings must comply with the conditions set forth in the exemptive order, which are designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all Participating Funds. Each Fund’s participation in the Program must be consistent with its investment objectives, limitations and organizational documents and is subject to certain percentage limitations. The Adviser, together with the Fund’s administrator, administers the Program according to procedures approved by the Board. In addition, the Program is subject to oversight and periodic review by the Board.
Special Risks of Cyber Attacks
As with any entity that conducts business through electronic means in the modern marketplace, a Fund, and its service providers, may be susceptible to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber attacks. Cyber attacks include, among other behaviors, stealing or corrupting data maintained online or digitally, denial of service attacks on websites, the unauthorized monitoring, release, misuse, loss, destruction or corruption of confidential information, unauthorized access to relevant systems, compromises to networks or devices that a Fund and its service providers use to service the Fund’s operations, ransomware, operational disruption or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support the Fund and its service providers, or various other forms of cyber security breaches. Cyber attacks affecting a Fund or the Adviser, the Funds’ distributor or custodian, or any other of the Funds’ intermediaries or service providers may adversely impact the Fund and its shareholders, potentially resulting in, among other things, financial losses or the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business. For instance, cyber attacks may interfere with the processing of shareholder transactions, impact a Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, cause the release of private shareholder information or confidential business information, impede trading, subject the Fund to regulatory fines or financial losses and/or cause reputational damage. A Fund may also incur additional costs for cyber security risk management purposes designed to mitigate or prevent the risk of cyber attacks. Such costs may be ongoing because threats of cyber attacks are constantly evolving as cyber attackers become more sophisticated and their techniques become more complex. Similar types of cyber security risks are also present for issuers of securities in which a Fund may invest, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investments in such companies to lose value. There can be no assurance that a Fund, the Fund’s service providers, or the issuers of the securities in which the Fund invests will not suffer losses relating to cyber attacks or other information security breaches in the future.
LIBOR Replacement Risk
The London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), which is used extensively in the U.S. and globally as a benchmark or reference rate for various commercial and financial contracts, is expected to be discontinued. The elimination of LIBOR may adversely affect the interest rates on, and value of, certain Fund investments for which the value is tied to LIBOR. Such investments may include bank loans, derivatives, floating rate securities, and other assets or liabilities tied to LIBOR. On July 27, 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced that it intends to stop compelling or inducing banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. The publication of LIBOR on a representative basis ceased for the one-week and two-month U.S. dollar LIBOR settings immediately after December 31, 2021 and is expected to cease for the remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR settings immediately after June 30, 2023. Actions by regulators have resulted in the establishment of alternative reference rates to LIBOR in most major currencies. The U.S. Federal Reserve, based on the recommendations of the New York Federal Reserve’s Alternative Reference Rate Committee (comprised of major derivative market participants and their regulators), has begun publishing a Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), which is intended to replace U.S. dollar LIBOR. Alternative reference rates for other currencies have also been announced or have already begun publication. Markets are slowly developing in response to these new rates. Questions around liquidity impacted by these rates, and how to appropriately adjust these rates at the time of transition, remain a concern for the Funds. The effect of any changes to, or discontinuation of, LIBOR on the Funds will vary depending on, among other things, (1) existing fallback or termination provisions in individual contracts and (2) whether, how, and when industry participants develop and adopt new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products and instruments. The expected discontinuation of LIBOR could have a significant impact on the financial markets in general and may also present heightened risk to market participants, including public companies, investment advisers, other investment companies, and broker-dealers. The risks associated with this discontinuation and transition will be exacerbated if the work necessary to effect an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate is not completed in a timely manner. Accordingly, it is difficult to predict the full impact of the transition away from LIBOR on the Funds until new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products, instruments and contracts are commercially accepted.
General Market Risk
An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus designated as COVID-19 was first detected in China in December 2019 and subsequently spread internationally. The transmission of COVID-19 and efforts to contain its spread have resulted in international, national and local border closings and other significant travel restrictions and disruptions, significant disruptions to business operations, supply chains and customer activity, event cancellations and restrictions, service cancellations, reductions and other changes, significant challenges in healthcare service preparation and delivery, and quarantines, as well as general concern and uncertainty that has negatively affected the economic environment. These impacts also have caused significant volatility and declines in global financial markets, which have caused losses for investors. The impact of this COVID-19 pandemic may be short term or may last for an extended period of time, and in either case could result in a substantial economic downturn or recession. Health crises caused by viral or bacterial outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social, economic, market and financial risks. The impact of this outbreak, and other epidemics and pandemics that may arise in the future, could negatively affect the global economy, as well as the economies of individual countries, the financial performance of individual companies and sectors, and the markets in general in significant and unforeseen ways. Any such impact could adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the securities and other instruments in which a Fund invests, which in turn could negatively impact the Fund’s performance and cause losses on your investment in the Fund.
The following investment limitations are fundamental policies of each Fund that cannot be changed without the consent of the holders of a majority of a Fund’s outstanding shares. The phrase “majority of the outstanding shares” means the vote of (i) 67% or more of a Fund’s shares present at a meeting, if more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of a Fund’s outstanding shares, whichever is less.
Each Fund may not:
|1.||Purchase securities of an issuer that would cause the Fund to fail to satisfy the diversification requirement for a diversified management company under the 1940 Act, the rules or regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time. This investment limitation does not apply to the Frost Growth Equity Fund.|
|2.||Concentrate investments in a particular industry or group of industries, as concentration is defined under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.|
|3.||Borrow money or issue senior securities (as defined under the 1940 Act), except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.|
|4.||Make loans, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.|
|5.||Purchase or sell commodities or real estate, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.|
|6.||Underwrite securities issued by other persons, except to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.|
|7.||The Frost Municipal Bond Fund may not change its investment strategy to invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in municipal securities that generate income exempt from federal income tax, but not necessarily the federal alternative minimum tax.|
In addition to each Fund’s investment objective, the following investment limitations of each Fund are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.
Each Fund may not:
|1.||Purchase securities of any issuer (except securities of other investment companies, securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities and repurchase agreements involving such securities) if, as a result, more than 5% of the total assets of the Fund would be invested in the securities of such issuer; or acquire more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer. This restriction applies to 75% of the Fund’s total assets. This investment limitation does not apply to the Frost Growth Equity Fund.|
|2.||Purchase any securities which would cause 25% or more of the net assets of the Fund to be invested in the securities of one or more issuers conducting their principal business activities in the same industry, provided that this limitation does not apply to investments in obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities and repurchase agreements involving such securities. For purposes of this limitation, (i) utility companies will be classified according to their services, for example, gas distribution, gas transmission, electric and telephone will each be considered a separate industry; and (ii) financial service companies will be classified according to the end users of their services, for example, automobile finance, bank finance and diversified finance will each be considered a separate industry.|
|3.||Borrow money in an amount exceeding 33 1/3% of the value of its total assets, provided that investment strategies that either obligate the Fund to purchase securities or require the Fund to cover a position by segregating assets or entering into an offsetting position shall not be subject to this limitation. Asset coverage of at least 300% (including the amount borrowed) is required for all borrowing, except where the Fund has borrowed money for temporary purposes in an amount not exceeding 5% of its total assets.|
|4.||Make loans if, as a result, more than 33 1/3% of its total assets would be lent to other parties, except that the Fund may (i) purchase or hold debt instruments in accordance with its investment objective and policies; (ii) enter into repurchase agreements; and (iii) lend its securities.|
|5.||Purchase or sell real estate, real estate limited partnership interests, physical commodities or commodities contracts except that the Fund may purchase (i) marketable securities issued by companies which own or invest in real estate (including REITs), commodities or commodities contracts; and (ii) commodities contracts relating to financial instruments, such as financial futures contracts and options on such contracts.|
For purposes of the Funds' concentration policy, the Funds may classify and re-classify companies in a particular industry and define and re-define industries in any reasonable manner, consistent with SEC and SEC staff guidance.
|6.||The Frost Low Duration Bond Fund and the Frost Total Return Bond Fund may not change their investment strategies to invest at least 80% of their net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in fixed income securities, without 60 days’ prior written notice to shareholders.|
|7.||The Frost Growth Equity Fund may not change its investment strategy to invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in equity securities, without 60 days’ prior written notice to shareholders.|
|8.||The Frost Credit Fund may not change its investment strategy to invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in fixed income securities of U.S. and foreign corporate issuers, which will include corporate bonds and mortgage-backed and other asset-backed securities, and structured notes with economic characteristics similar to fixed income securities, without 60 days’ prior written notice to shareholders.|
Except with respect to the Funds’ policies concerning borrowing, if a percentage restriction is adhered to at the time of an investment, a later increase or decrease in percentage resulting from changes in values or assets will not constitute a violation of such restriction. With respect to the limitation on borrowing, in the event that a subsequent change in net assets or other circumstances causes a Fund to exceed its limitation, the Fund will take steps to bring the aggregate amount of borrowing back within the limitations within three days thereafter (not including Sundays and holidays).
Frost Investment Advisors, LLC, a wholly owned non-banking subsidiary of Frost Bank, is a professional investment management firm registered with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The Adviser, a Delaware limited liability company, was established in December of 2007 and offers investment management services for institutions and retail clients. The Adviser’s principal place of business is located at 111 West Houston Street, P.O. Box 2509, San Antonio, Texas 78299-2509. The Adviser is a wholly-owned non-banking subsidiary of Frost Bank, a state bank. Frost Bank is a subsidiary of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc., a Texas Corporation. As of September 30, 2022, the Adviser had approximately $4.1 billion in assets under management.
The Board supervises the Adviser and establishes policies that the Adviser must follow in its management activities.
Advisory Agreement with the Trust. The Trust and the Adviser have entered into an investment advisory agreement (the “Advisory Agreement”) under which the Adviser serves as the investment adviser and makes investment decisions for each of the Funds and continuously reviews, supervises and administers the investment program of each Fund, subject to the supervision of, and policies established by, the Trustees. After the initial two-year term, the continuance of the Advisory Agreement must be specifically approved at least annually: (i) by the vote of the Trustees or by a vote of the majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Funds; and (ii) by the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not parties to the Advisory Agreement or “interested persons” of any party thereto, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Trustees or, with respect to any Fund, by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that Fund, or by the Adviser on not less than 30 days’ nor more than 60 days’ written notice to the Trust. As used in the Advisory Agreement, the terms “majority of the outstanding voting securities,” “interested persons” and “assignment” have the same meaning as such terms in the 1940 Act.
Advisory Fees Paid to the Adviser. For its services under the Advisory Agreement, the Adviser is entitled to a fee, which is calculated daily and paid monthly, at the following annual rates based on the average daily net assets of each Fund:
|Fund||Advisory Fee Rate|
|Frost Growth Equity Fund||0.50%|
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund||0.35%|
|Frost Credit Fund||0.50%|
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund||0.30%|
|Frost Municipal Bond Fund||0.25%|
The Adviser has contractually agreed to reduce its fees and/or reimburse expenses to the extent necessary to keep total annual Fund operating expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions, acquired fund fees and expenses, extraordinary expenses, and any class-specific expenses (including distribution and/or service (12b-1) fees and shareholder servicing fees) (collectively, “excluded expenses”)) for Institutional Class Shares, Investor Class Shares and A Class Shares from exceeding certain levels as set forth below until June 24, 2024 (each, a “contractual expense limitation”). This agreement may be terminated: (i) by the Board, for any reason at any time; or (ii) by the Adviser, upon ninety (90) days’ prior written notice to the Trust, effective as of the close of business on June 24, 2024.
|Fund||Contractual Expense Limitation|
|Frost Growth Equity Fund||1.25%|
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund||0.95%|
|Frost Credit Fund||1.00%|
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund||0.95%|
For the Frost Municipal Bond Fund, the Adviser has voluntarily agreed to reduce its fees and/or reimburse expenses of the Frost Municipal Bond Fund to the extent necessary to keep total annual Fund operating expenses (not including excluded expenses) for Institutional Class Shares and Investor Class Shares from exceeding the level set forth below (the “voluntary expense limitation”). The Adviser intends to continue this voluntary expense limitation until further notice, but may discontinue all or part of these fee reductions or expense reimbursements at any time.
|Fund||Voluntary Expense Limitation|
|Frost Municipal Bond Fund||1.05%|
In addition, the Adviser may receive from a Fund the difference between the Fund's total annual Fund operating expenses (not including excluded expenses) and the contractual expense limitation or the voluntary expense limitation to recoup all or a portion of its prior fee reductions or expense reimbursements made during the rolling three-year period preceding the date of the recoupment if at any point total annual Fund operating expenses (not including excluded expenses) are below the contractual expense limitation or the voluntary expense limitation: (i) at the time of the fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement; and (ii) at the time of the recoupment. The Adviser, however, will not be permitted to recoup the amount of any difference that is attributable to the voluntary fee reduction or contractual fee reduction.
For the fiscal years ended July 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, the Funds paid the Adviser the following advisory fees:
|Fund||Contractual Advisory Fees||Fees Waived by the Adviser||Total Fees Paid to
Adviser (After Waivers)
|Frost Growth Equity Fund||$1,721,942||$2,098,096||$2,031,045||$0||$0||$0||$1,721,942||$2,098,096||$2,031,045|
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund||$12,863,902||$10,954,640||$10,371,602||$0||$0||$0||$12,863,902||$10,954,640||$10,371,602|
|Frost Credit Fund||$1,053,497||$938,742||$900,668||$0||$0||$0||$1,053,497||$938,742||$900,668|
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund||$1,115,804||$1,352,343||$1,354,279||$0||$0||$0||$1,115,804||$1,352,343||$1,354,279|
|Frost Municipal Bond Fund||$402,237||$148,174||$94,307||$114,924||$19,046||$0||$287,313||$129,128||$94,307|
This section includes information about the Funds’ portfolio managers, including information about other accounts managed, the dollar range of Fund shares owned and compensation.
Compensation. The Adviser compensates each Fund’s portfolio managers for their management of the Funds. Compensation for the portfolio managers includes an annual salary, 401(k) retirement plan and, at the discretion of management, an annual bonus and company-wide profit sharing provided for employees of Frost Bank. Each portfolio manager currently named in the Prospectus also may own equity shares in Cullen/Frost Banker’s Inc., a financial services holding company, either directly or through a 401(k) retirement savings plan. Both the salary and potential bonus are reviewed approximately annually for comparability with salaries of other portfolio managers in the industry, using survey data obtained from compensation consultants. The awarding of a bonus is subjective. Criteria that are considered in formulating a bonus include, but are not limited to, the following: revenues available to pay compensation of a manager and all other expenses related to supporting the accounts managed by the manager, including the manager’s specific fund(s); multiple year historical total return of accounts managed by the manager, including the manager’s specific fund(s), relative to market performance and similar investment companies; single year historical total return of accounts managed by the manager, including the manager’s specific fund(s), relative to market performance and similar investment companies; and the degree of sensitivity of the manager to potential tax liabilities created for account holders in generating returns, relative to overall return. There is no material difference in the method used to calculate the manager’s compensation with respect to the manager’s specific fund(s) and other accounts managed by the manager, except that certain accounts managed by the manager may have no income or capital gains tax considerations. To the extent that a manager realizes benefits from capital appreciation and dividends paid to shareholders of the manager’s specific fund(s), such benefits accrue from the overall financial performance of the manager’s specific fund(s).
Fund Shares Owned by Portfolio Managers. The following table shows the dollar amount range of each portfolio manager’s “beneficial ownership” of shares of the Funds. The information below is provided as of July 31, 2022. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “1934 Act”).
|Name||Dollar Range of Fund Shares Owned|
Over $1,000,000 (Frost Total Return Bond Fund)
$1 - $10,000 (Frost Credit Fund)
$10,001 - $50,000 (Frost Low Duration Bond Fund)
$100,001 - $500,000 (Frost Growth Equity Fund)
$10,001 - $50,000 (Frost Total Return Bond Fund)
$100,001 - $500,000 (Frost Credit Fund)
$10,001 - $50,000 (Frost Total Return Bond Fund)
$10,001 - $50,000 (Frost Total Return Bond Fund)
$1 - $10,000 (Frost Low Duration Bond Fund)
|Jonathan Waite||$50,001-$100,000 (Frost Growth Equity Fund)|
Other Accounts. In addition to the Funds, certain portfolio managers may also be responsible for the day-to-day management of certain other accounts, as indicated by the following table. None of the accounts included below are subject to performance-based advisory fees. The information below is provided as of July 31, 2022.
|Number of Accounts||
|Number of Accounts||Total Assets
|Number of Accounts||Total Assets|
Conflicts of Interest. Each portfolio manager’s management of “other accounts” may give rise to potential conflicts of interest in connection with his or her management of the Funds’ investments, on the one hand, and the investments of the other accounts, on the other. The other accounts may have the same investment objective as a Fund’s. Therefore, a potential conflict of interest may arise as a result of the identical investment objective, whereby the portfolio manager could favor one account over another. Another potential conflict could include each portfolio manager’s knowledge about the size, timing and possible market impact of a Fund’s trade, whereby a portfolio manager could use this information to the advantage of other accounts and to the disadvantage of a Fund. However, the Adviser has established policies and procedures to ensure that the purchase and sale of securities among all accounts it manages are fairly and equitably allocated.
Potential conflicts of interest may arise because Frost engages in portfolio management activities for other clients. Frost uses a model portfolio management approach in which all accounts are mirrored to a selected model creating substantially equal treatment in terms of investment strategy and investment opportunity. Frost’s trading allocation policy is designed to the best of its ability to ensure that the allocation of trades among its client accounts is done in a manner that is fair and equitable to all clients. When consistent with client objectives, orders are aggregated when possible. If a block trade is filled in different lots with the same broker, where possible, Frost will arrange for these trades to be priced at the average of all of the different lots to ensure that all the accounts executed at one broker receive the same price.
General. SEI Investments Global Funds Services (the “Administrator”), a Delaware statutory trust, has its principal business offices at One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456. SEI Investments Management Corporation (“SIMC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SEI Investments Company (“SEI Investments”), is the owner of all beneficial interest in the Administrator. SEI Investments and its subsidiaries and affiliates, including the Administrator, are leading providers of fund valuation services, trust accounting systems, and brokerage and information services to financial institutions, institutional investors, and money managers. The Administrator and its affiliates also serve as administrator or sub-administrator to other mutual funds.
Administration Agreement with the Trust. The Trust and the Administrator have entered into an administration agreement (the “Administration Agreement”) under which the Administrator provides the Trust with administrative services, including regulatory reporting and all necessary office space, equipment, personnel and facilities.
The Administration Agreement provides that the Administrator shall not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss suffered by the Trust in connection with the matters to which the Administration Agreement relates, except a loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on the part of the Administrator in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard by it of its duties and obligations thereunder.
Administration Fees Paid. For its services under the Administration Agreement, the Administrator is paid a fee, which varies based on the average daily net assets of the Funds, subject to certain minimums. For the fiscal years ended July 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, the Funds paid the following amounts for these services:
|Fund||Administration Fees Paid|
|Frost Growth Equity Fund||$250,211||$306,025||$296,733|
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund||$2,669,759||$2,282,504||$2,164,441|
|Frost Credit Fund||$153,050||$136,911||$131,575|
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund||$270,248||$328,754||$329,717|
|Frost Municipal Bond Fund||$83,438||$37,662||$27,551|
General. The Trust and SEI Investments Distribution Co. (the “Distributor”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SEI Investments and an affiliate of the Administrator, are parties to a distribution agreement (the “Distribution Agreement”). The principal business address of the Distributor is One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456.
The continuance of the Distribution Agreement must be specifically approved at least annually (i) by the vote of the Trustees or by a vote of the majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust and (ii) by the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust and have no direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the Distribution Agreement or any related agreement, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Distribution Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act), and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Trustees or by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust, or by the Distributor, upon not less than 60 days’ written notice to the other party.
PAYMENTS TO FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES
Distribution Plan. The Trust has adopted a Distribution Plan with respect to the Investor Class Shares and A Class Shares (the “Plan”) in accordance with the provisions of Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act, which regulates circumstances under which an investment company may directly or indirectly bear expenses relating to the distribution of its shares. Continuance of the Plan must be approved annually by a majority of the Trustees and by a majority of the Trustees who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust and have no direct or indirect financial interest in the Plan or in any agreements related to the Plan (“Qualified Trustees”). The Plan requires that quarterly written reports of amounts spent under the Plan and the purposes of such expenditures be furnished to and reviewed by the Trustees. The Plan may not be amended to increase materially the amount that may be spent thereunder without approval by a majority of the outstanding shares of the affected Funds. All material amendments of the Plan will require approval by a majority of the Trustees and of the Qualified Trustees.
The Plan provides a method of paying for distribution and shareholder services, which may help the Funds grow or maintain asset levels to provide operational efficiencies and economies of scale, provided by the Distributor or other financial intermediaries that enter into agreements with the Distributor. The Funds may make payments to financial intermediaries, such as banks, savings and loan associations, insurance companies, investment counselors, broker-dealers, mutual fund “supermarkets” and the Distributor’s affiliates and subsidiaries, as compensation for services, reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with distribution assistance or provision of shareholder services. The Distributor may, at its discretion, retain a portion of such payments to compensate itself for distribution services and distribution related expenses such as the costs of preparation, printing, mailing or otherwise disseminating sales literature, advertising, and prospectuses (other than those furnished to current shareholders of a Fund), promotional and incentive programs, and such other marketing expenses that the Distributor may incur.
Under the Plan, the Distributor or financial intermediaries may receive up to 0.25% of the average daily net assets of the Investor Class Shares and A Class Shares as compensation for distribution and shareholder services. The Plan is characterized as a compensation plan since the distribution fee will be paid to the Distributor without regard to the distribution or shareholder service expenses incurred by the Distributor or the amount of payments made to financial intermediaries. The Trust intends to operate the Plan in accordance with its terms and with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) rules concerning sales charges.
Payments Under the Distribution Plan. For the fiscal years ended July 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, the Funds paid the Distributor the following fees.
|Fund||12b-1 Fees Paid||12b-1 Fees Retained by the Distributor|
|Frost Growth Equity Fund||$122,609||$155,956||$151,301||$0||$926||$402|
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund||$1,282,154||$972,421||$883,105||$0||$3,597||$2,979|
|Frost Credit Fund||$31,214||$26,001||$44,443||$0||$0||$0|
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund||$61,325||$74,102||$64,942||$0||$2.94||$0|
|Frost Municipal Bond Fund||$13,910||$11,841||$11,755||$0||$0.21||$0|
Dealer Reallowances. A Class Shares of the Funds are sold subject to a front-end sales charge as described in the Prospectus. Selling dealers are normally reallowed 100% of the sales charge by the Distributor. The following table shows the amount of the front-end sales charge that is reallowed to dealers as a percentage of the offering price of A Class Shares.
|Less than $100,000||$100,000 but less than $250,000||$250,000 but less than $500,000||$500,000 but less than $1,000,000||$1,000,000 and over|
Shareholder Servicing Plan. The Funds have adopted a shareholder servicing plan under which shareholder servicing fees of up to 0.15% of average daily net assets of A Class Shares will be paid to financial intermediaries. Under the plan, financial intermediaries may perform, or may compensate other financial intermediaries for performing, certain shareholder and/or administrative services or similar non-distribution services, including: (i) maintaining shareholder accounts; (ii) arranging for bank wires; (iii) responding to shareholder inquiries relating to the services performed by the financial intermediaries; (iv) responding to inquiries from shareholders concerning their investment in the Funds; (v) assisting shareholders in changing dividend options, account designations and addresses; (vi) providing information periodically to shareholders showing their position in the Funds; (vii) forwarding shareholder communications from the Funds such as proxies, shareholder reports, annual reports, and dividend and capital gain distribution and tax notices to shareholders; (viii) processing purchase, exchange and redemption requests from shareholders and placing orders with the Funds or their service providers; (ix) providing sub-accounting services; (x) processing dividend and capital gain payments from the Funds on behalf of shareholders; (xi) preparing tax reports; and (xii) providing such other similar non-distribution services as the Funds may reasonably request to the extent that the financial intermediary is permitted to do so under applicable laws or regulations.
Other Payments by the Funds. The Funds may enter into agreements with financial intermediaries pursuant to which the Funds may pay financial intermediaries for non-distribution-related sub-transfer agency, administrative, sub-accounting, and other shareholder services. Payments made pursuant to such agreements are generally based on either (1) a percentage of the average daily net assets of Fund shareholders serviced by a financial intermediary, or (2) the number of Fund shareholders serviced by a financial intermediary. Any payments made pursuant to such agreements may be in addition to, rather than in lieu of, distribution or shareholder servicing fees the Funds may pay to financial intermediaries pursuant to the Funds’ distribution plan or shareholder servicing plan.
Payments by the Adviser. The Adviser and/or its affiliates, in their discretion, may make payments from their own resources and not from Fund assets to affiliated or unaffiliated brokers, dealers, banks (including bank trust departments), trust companies, registered investment advisers, financial planners, retirement plan administrators, insurance companies, and any other institution having a service, administration, or any similar arrangement with the Funds, their service providers or their respective affiliates, as incentives to help market and promote the Funds and/or in recognition of their distribution, marketing, administrative services, and/or processing support.
These additional payments may be made to financial intermediaries that sell Fund shares or provide services to the Funds, the Distributor or shareholders of the Funds through the financial intermediary’s retail distribution channel and/or fund supermarkets. Payments may also be made through the financial intermediary’s retirement, qualified tuition, fee-based advisory, wrap fee bank trust, or insurance (e.g., individual or group annuity) programs. These payments may include, but are not limited to, placing the Funds in a financial intermediary’s retail distribution channel or on a preferred or recommended fund list; providing business or shareholder financial planning assistance; educating financial intermediary personnel about the Funds; providing access to sales and management representatives of the financial intermediary; promoting sales of Fund shares; providing marketing and educational support; maintaining share balances and/or for sub-accounting, administrative or shareholder transaction processing services. A financial intermediary may perform the services itself or may arrange with a third party to perform the services.
The Adviser and/or its affiliates may also make payments from their own resources to financial intermediaries for costs associated with the purchase of products or services used in connection with sales and marketing, participation in and/or presentation at conferences or seminars, sales or training programs, client and investor entertainment and other sponsored events. The costs and expenses associated with these efforts may include travel, lodging, sponsorship at educational seminars and conferences, entertainment and meals to the extent permitted by law.
Revenue sharing payments may be negotiated based on a variety of factors, including the level of sales, the amount of Fund assets attributable to investments in the Funds by financial intermediaries’ customers, a flat fee or other measures as determined from time to time by the Adviser and/or its affiliates. A significant purpose of these payments is to increase the sales of Fund shares, which in turn may benefit the Adviser through increased fees as Fund assets grow.
Investors should understand that some financial intermediaries may also charge their clients fees in connection with purchases of shares or the provision of shareholder services.
THE TRANSFER AGENT
DST Systems, Inc., 333 W. 11th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64105 (the “Transfer Agent”), serves as the Funds’ transfer agent.
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., 40 Water Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02109 (the “Custodian”), acts as the custodian of the Funds. The Custodian holds cash, securities and other assets of the Funds as required by the 1940 Act.
INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
Ernst & Young LLP, 111 West Houston Street, Suite 1901, San Antonio, Texas 78205, serves as independent registered public accounting firm for the Funds. The financial statements and notes thereto incorporated by reference have been audited by Ernst & Young LLP, as indicated in their report with respect thereto, and are incorporated by reference in reliance on the authority of their report as experts in accounting and auditing.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, 1701 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-2921, serves as legal counsel to the Trust.
The Funds did not engage in securities lending activities during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2022.
TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS OF THE TRUST
Board Responsibilities. The management and affairs of the Trust and its series, including the Funds described in this SAI, are overseen by the Trustees. The Board has approved contracts, as described above, under which certain companies provide essential management services to the Trust.
Like most mutual funds, the day-to-day business of the Trust, including the management of risk, is performed by third-party service providers, such as the Adviser, the Distributor and the Administrator. The Trustees are responsible for overseeing the Trust’s service providers and, thus, have oversight responsibility with respect to risk management performed by those service providers. 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 funds. The funds and their service providers employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify various 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. Each service provider is responsible for one or more discrete aspects of the Trust’s business (e.g., the Adviser is responsible for the day-to-day management of each Fund’s portfolio investments) and, consequently, for managing the risks associated with that business. The Board has emphasized to the funds’ service providers the importance of maintaining vigorous risk management.
The Trustees’ role in risk oversight begins before the inception of a fund, at which time certain of the fund’s service providers present the Board with information concerning the investment objectives, strategies and risks of the fund as well as proposed investment limitations for the fund. Additionally, the fund’s adviser provides the Board with an overview of, among other things, its investment philosophy, brokerage practices and compliance infrastructure. Thereafter, the Board continues its oversight function as various personnel, including the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer, as well as personnel of the adviser and other service providers, such as the fund’s independent accountants, make periodic reports to the Audit Committee or to the Board with respect to various aspects of risk management. The Board and the Audit Committee oversee efforts by management and service providers to manage risks to which the funds may be exposed. The Board is responsible for overseeing the nature, extent and quality of the services provided to the funds by the adviser and receives information about those services at its regular meetings. In addition, on an annual basis, in connection with its consideration of whether to renew the advisory agreement with the adviser, the Board meets with the adviser to review such services. Among other things, the Board regularly considers the adviser’s adherence to the funds’ investment restrictions and compliance with various fund policies and procedures and with applicable securities regulations. The Board also reviews information about the funds’ investments, including, for example, reports on the adviser’s use of derivatives in managing the funds, if any, as well as reports on the funds’ investments in other investment companies, if any.
The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer reports regularly to the Board to review and discuss compliance issues and fund and adviser risk assessments. At least annually, the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer provides the Board with a report reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s policies and procedures and those of its service providers, including the adviser. The report addresses the operation of the policies and procedures of the Trust and each service provider since the date of the last report; any material changes to the policies and procedures since the date of the last report; any recommendations for material changes to the policies and procedures; and any material compliance matters since the date of the last report.
The Board receives reports from the funds’ service providers regarding operational risks and risks related to the valuation and liquidity of portfolio securities. The Adviser makes regular reports to the Board concerning investments for which market quotations are not readily available. Annually, the independent registered public accounting firm reviews with the Audit Committee its audit of the funds’ financial statements, focusing on major areas of risk encountered by the funds and noting any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the funds’ internal controls. Additionally, in connection with its oversight function, the Board oversees fund management’s implementation of disclosure controls and procedures, which are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Trust in its periodic reports with the SEC are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the required time periods. The Board also oversees the Trust’s internal controls over financial reporting, which comprise policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of the Trust’s financial reporting and the preparation of the Trust’s financial statements.
From their review of these reports and discussions with the adviser, the Chief Compliance Officer, the independent registered public accounting firm and other service providers, the Board and the Audit Committee learn in detail about the material risks of the funds, thereby facilitating a dialogue about how management and service providers identify and mitigate those risks.
The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the funds can be identified and/or quantified, 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 funds’ 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. Most of the funds’ investment management and business affairs are carried out by or through the funds’ service providers, each of which has an independent interest in risk management but whose policies and the methods by which one or more risk management functions are carried out may differ from the funds’ and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s ability to monitor and manage risk, as a practical matter, is subject to limitations.
Members of the Board. There are five members of the Board, three of whom are not interested persons of the Trust, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (“independent Trustees”). Robert Nesher, an interested person of the Trust, serves as Chairman of the Board. Joseph T. Grause, Jr., an independent Trustee, serves as the lead independent Trustee. The Trust has determined its leadership structure is appropriate given the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Trust. The Trust made this determination in consideration of, among other things, the fact that the chairperson of each Committee of the Board is an independent Trustee, the amount of assets under management in the Trust, and the number of funds (and classes of shares) overseen by the Board. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information to the independent Trustees from fund management.
The Board has two standing committees: the Audit Committee and the Governance Committee. The Audit Committee and the Governance Committee are chaired by an independent Trustee and composed of all of the independent Trustees. In addition, the Board has a lead independent Trustee.
In his role as lead independent Trustee, Mr. Grause, among other things: (i) presides over Board meetings in the absence of the Chairman of the Board; (ii) presides over executive sessions of the independent Trustees; (iii) along with the Chairman of the Board, oversees the development of agendas for Board meetings; (iv) facilitates communication between the independent Trustees and management, and among the independent Trustees; (v) serves as a key point person for dealings between the independent Trustees and management; and (vi) has such other responsibilities as the Board or independent Trustees determine from time to time.
Set forth below are the names, years of birth, position with the Trust and length of time served, and the principal occupations and other directorships held during at least the last five years of each of the persons currently serving as a Trustee. There is no stated term of office for the Trustees. Nevertheless, an independent Trustee must retire from the Board as of the end of the calendar year in which such independent Trustee first attains the age of seventy-five years; provided, however, that, an independent Trustee may continue to serve for one or more additional one calendar year terms after attaining the age of seventy-five years (each calendar year a “Waiver Term”) if, and only if, prior to the beginning of such Waiver Term: (1) the Governance Committee (a) meets to review the performance of the independent Trustee; (b) finds that the continued service of such independent Trustee is in the best interests of the Trust; and (c) unanimously approves excepting the independent Trustee from the general retirement policy set out above; and (2) a majority of the Trustees approves excepting the independent Trustee from the general retirement policy set out above. Unless otherwise noted, the business address of each Trustee is SEI Investments Company, One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456.
|Name and Year of Birth||Position with Trust and Length of Time Served||Principal Occupations in the Past 5 Years||Other Directorships Held in the Past 5 Years|
Chairman of the Board of Trustees1
|SEI employee 1974 to present; currently performs various services on behalf of SEI Investments for which Mr. Nesher is compensated. President, Chief Executive Officer and Trustee of SEI Daily Income Trust, SEI Tax Exempt Trust, SEI Institutional Managed Trust, SEI Institutional International Trust, SEI Institutional Investments Trust, SEI Asset Allocation Trust, Adviser Managed Trust, New Covenant Funds, SEI Insurance Products Trust and SEI Catholic Values Trust. President and Director of SEI Structured Credit Fund, LP. Vice Chairman of O’Connor EQUUS (closed-end investment company) to 2016. President, Chief Executive Officer and Trustee of SEI Liquid Asset Trust to 2016. Vice Chairman of Winton Series Trust to 2017. Vice Chairman of Winton Diversified Opportunities Fund (closed-end investment company), The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III, Gallery Trust, Schroder Series Trust and Schroder Global Series Trust to 2018.||
Current Directorships: Trustee of The Advisors' Inner Circle Fund, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund II, Bishop Street Funds, The KP Funds, SEI Daily Income Trust, SEI Institutional International Trust, SEI Institutional Investments Trust, SEI Institutional Managed Trust, SEI Asset Allocation Trust, SEI Tax Exempt Trust, Adviser Managed Trust, New Covenant Funds, SEI Insurance Products Trust and SEI Catholic Values Trust. Director of SEI Structured Credit Fund, LP, SEI Global Master Fund plc, SEI Global Assets Fund plc, SEI Global Investments Fund plc, SEI Investments-Global Funds Services, Limited, SEI Investments Global, Limited, SEI Investments (Europe) Ltd., SEI Investments-Unit Trust Management (UK) Limited, SEI Multi-Strategy Funds PLC and SEI Global Nominee Ltd.
Former Directorships: Trustee of SEI Liquid Asset Trust to 2016.
|Name and Year of Birth||Position with Trust and Length of Time Served||Principal Occupations in the Past 5 Years||Other Directorships Held in the Past 5 Years|
|President, Chief Investment Officer and Manager of Frost Investment Advisors LLC since 2021. Executive Vice President, Statewide Portfolio Management Team Leader of Frost Bank – Financial Services, 2017 to 2021. Managing Director and Regional Portfolio Manager of Frost Investment Advisors LLC, 2009 to 2016.||None|
Joseph T. Grause, Jr.
Lead Independent Trustee
|Self-Employed Consultant since 2012. Director of Endowments and Foundations, Morningstar Investment Management, Morningstar, Inc., 2010 to 2011. Director of International Consulting and Chief Executive Officer of Morningstar Associates Europe Limited, Morningstar, Inc., 2007 to 2010. Country Manager - Morningstar UK Limited, Morningstar, Inc., 2005 to 2007.||
Current Directorships: Trustee of The Advisors' Inner Circle Fund, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund II, Bishop Street Funds and The KP Funds. Director of RQSI GAA Systematic Global Macro Fund, Ltd.
Former Directorships: Director of The Korea Fund, Inc. to 2019.
|Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, from 1998 to 2018.||
Current Directorships: Trustee of The Advisors' Inner Circle Fund, The Advisors' Inner Circle Fund II, Bishop Street Funds and The KP Funds. Director of RQSI GAA Systematic Global Macro Fund, Ltd.
Former Directorships: Trustee of Villanova University Alumni Board of Directors to 2018.
|Name and Year of Birth||Position with Trust and Length of Time Served||Principal Occupations in the Past 5 Years||Other Directorships Held in the Past 5 Years|
|Global Head of Asset Allocation, Manulife Asset Management (subsidiary of Manulife Financial), 2010 to 2011. Executive Vice President - Investment Management Services, John Hancock Financial Services (subsidiary of Manulife Financial), 2003 to 2010.||Current Directorships: Trustee of The Advisors' Inner Circle Fund, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund II, Bishop Street Funds and The KP Funds. Director of Stone Harbor Investments Funds (8 Portfolios), Stone Harbor Emerging Markets Income Fund (closed-end fund) and Stone Harbor Emerging Markets Total Income Fund (closed-end fund). Director of RQSI GAA Systematic Global Macro Fund, Ltd.|
|1||Mr. Nesher may be deemed to be an “interested” person, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act, of the Funds by virtue of his affiliation with SEI Investments Distribution Co. (the “Distributor”) and/or its affiliates. Mr. McCain may be deemed to be an “interested” person, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act, of the Funds by virtue of his affiliation with the Adviser and/or its affiliate.|
Individual Trustee Qualifications
The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees should serve on the Board because of their ability to review and understand information about the funds provided to them by management, to identify and request other information they may deem relevant to the performance of their duties, to question management and other service providers regarding material factors bearing on the management and administration of the funds, and to exercise their business judgment in a manner that serves the best interests of the funds’ shareholders. The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees should serve as a Trustee based on their own experience, qualifications, attributes and skills as described below.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Nesher should serve as Trustee because of the experience he has gained in his various roles with SEI Investments, which he joined in 1974, and his knowledge of and experience in the financial services industry.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. McCain should serve as Trustee because of the experience he has gained in his various roles with the Adviser, which he joined in 2009, and his knowledge of and experience in the investment management industry.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Grause should serve as Trustee because of the knowledge and experience he gained in a variety of leadership roles with different financial institutions, his knowledge of the mutual fund and investment management industries, and his past experience as an interested trustee and chair of the investment committee for a multi-managed investment company.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Mulhall should serve as Trustee because of the knowledge and experience he gained in a variety of leadership roles with an audit firm and various financial services firms, his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry, and his experience serving in a variety of leadership capacities for non-profit organizations.
The Trust has concluded that Mr. Speca should serve as Trustee because of the knowledge and experience he gained serving as president of a mutual fund company and portfolio manager for a $95 billion complex of asset allocation funds, and his over 25 years of experience working in a management capacity with mutual fund boards.
In its periodic assessment of the effectiveness of the Board, the Board considers the complementary individual skills and experience of the individual Trustees primarily in the broader context of the Board’s overall composition so that the Board, as a body, possesses the appropriate (and appropriately diverse) skills and experience to oversee the business of the funds.
Board Committees. The Board has established the following standing committees:
|•||Audit Committee. The Board has a standing Audit Committee that is composed of each of the independent Trustees. The Audit Committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board. The principal responsibilities of the Audit Committee include: (i) recommending which firm to engage as each fund’s independent registered public accounting firm and whether to terminate this relationship; (ii) reviewing the independent registered public accounting firm’s compensation, the proposed scope and terms of its engagement, and the firm’s independence; (iii) pre-approving audit and non-audit services provided by each fund’s independent registered public accounting firm to the Trust and certain other affiliated entities; (iv) serving as a channel of communication between the independent registered public accounting firm and the Trustees; (v) reviewing the results of each external audit, including any qualifications in the independent registered public accounting firm’s opinion, any related management letter, management’s responses to recommendations made by the independent registered public accounting firm in connection with the audit, reports submitted to the Committee by the internal auditing department of the Administrator that are material to the Trust as a whole, if any, and management’s responses to any such reports; (vi) reviewing each fund’s audited financial statements and considering any significant disputes between the Trust’s management and the independent registered public accounting firm that arose in connection with the preparation of those financial statements; (vii) considering, in consultation with the independent registered public accounting firm and the Trust’s senior internal accounting executive, if any, the independent registered public accounting firms’ reports on the adequacy of the Trust’s internal financial controls; (viii) reviewing, in consultation with each fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, major changes regarding auditing and accounting principles and practices to be followed when preparing each fund’s financial statements; and (ix) other audit related matters. Messrs. Grause, Mulhall and Speca currently serve as members of the Audit Committee. Mr. Mulhall serves as the Chairman of the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee meets periodically, as necessary, and met three (3) times during the most recently completed fiscal year.|
|•||Governance Committee. The Board has a standing Governance Committee (formerly the Nominating Committee) that is composed of each of the independent Trustees. The Governance Committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board. The principal responsibilities of the Governance Committee include: (i) considering and reviewing Board governance and compensation issues; (ii) conducting a self-assessment of the Board’s operations; (iii) selecting and nominating all persons to serve as independent Trustees; and (iv) reviewing shareholder recommendations for nominations to fill vacancies on the Board if such recommendations are submitted in writing and addressed to the Committee at the Trust’s office. Messrs. Grause, Mulhall and Speca currently serve as members of the Governance Committee. Mr. Speca serves as the Chairman of the Governance Committee. The Governance Committee meets periodically, as necessary, and met two (2) times during the most recently completed fiscal year.|
Fund Shares Owned by Board Members. The following table shows the dollar amount range of each Trustee’s “beneficial ownership” of shares of each of the Funds as of the end of the most recently completed calendar year. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the 1934 Act.
Dollar Range of Fund Shares
Aggregate Dollar Range of Shares
(All Funds in the Family of Investment Companies)1,2
Frost Growth Equity Fund
Frost Low Duration Bond Fund
|1||Valuation date is December 31, 2021.|
|2||The Funds are the only funds in the family of investment companies.|
The Trustees and officers of the Trust own less than 1% of the outstanding shares of the Funds.
Board Compensation. The Trust paid the following fees to the Trustees during the Funds' most recently completed fiscal year:
|Name||Aggregate Compensation from the Trust||Pension or Retirement Benefits Accrued as Part of Fund Expenses||Estimated Annual Benefits Upon Retirement||Total Compensation from the Trust and Fund Complex1|
for service on one (1) board
for service on one (1) board
|1||All funds in the Fund Complex are series of the Trust.|
Trust Officers. Set forth below are the names, years of birth, position with the Trust and length of time served, and the principal occupations for the last five years of each of the persons currently serving as executive officers of the Trust. There is no stated term of office for the officers of the Trust. Unless otherwise noted, the business address of each officer is SEI Investments Company, One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456. The Chief Compliance Officer is the only officer who receives compensation from the Trust for his services.
Certain officers of the Trust also serve as officers of one or more mutual funds for which SEI Investments or its affiliates act as investment manager, administrator or distributor.
|Name and Year of Birth||Position with Trust and Length of Time Served||Principal Occupations in Past 5 Years|
|Director of Client Service, SEI Investments, since 2004.|
Vice President and Assistant Secretary
Attorney, SEI Investments, since 2017.
Prior Positions: Self-employed consultant, 2017. Associate General Counsel & Vice President, Nationwide Funds Group and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, from 2002 to 2016. Assistant General Counsel & Vice President, Market Street Funds and Provident Mutual Insurance Company, from 1999 to 2002.
|Fund Accounting Manager, SEI Investments, since 2000.|
Eric C. Griffith
Vice President and Assistant Secretary
|Counsel at SEI Investments since 2019. Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, JPMorgan Chase & Co., from 2012 to 2018.|
Matthew M. Maher
|Counsel at SEI Investments since 2018. Attorney, Blank Rome LLP, from 2015 to 2018. Assistant Counsel & Vice President, Bank of New York Mellon, from 2013 to 2014. Attorney, Dilworth Paxson LLP, from 2006 to 2013.|
Treasurer, Controller and Chief Financial Officer
|Director of Fund Accounting, SEI Investments, since 2020. Senior Director, Embark, from 2019 to 2020. Senior Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, from 2002 to 2019.|
|Account Manager, SEI Investments, since 2007.|
Stephen F. Panner
Chief Compliance Officer
|Chief Compliance Officer of SEI Asset Allocation Trust, SEI Daily Income Trust, SEI Institutional Investments Trust, SEI Institutional International Trust, SEI Institutional Managed Trust, SEI Tax Exempt Trust, Adviser Managed Trust, New Covenant Funds, SEI Catholic Values Trust, SEI Exchange Traded Funds, SEI Structured Credit Fund LP, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund II, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III, Bishop Street Funds, Frost Family of Funds, Gallery Trust, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Master Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Tender Fund and Catholic Responsible Investments Funds since September 2022. Fund Compliance Officer of SEI Investments Company from February 2011 to September 2022. Fund Accounting Director and CFO and Controller for the SEI Funds from July 2005 to February 2011.|
Alexander F. Smith
Vice President and Assistant Secretary
|Counsel at SEI Investments since 2020. Associate Counsel & Manager, Vanguard, 2012 to 2020. Attorney, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, 2008 to 2012.|
Bridget E. Sudall
(from 2019 – June 2022 and since November 2022)
Anti-Money Laundering Officer
(from 2019 – June 2022 and since November 2022)
|Senior Associate and AML Officer, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, from 2011 to 2015. Investor Services Team Lead, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, from 2007 to 2011.|
PURCHASING AND REDEEMING SHARES
Purchases and redemptions may be made through the Transfer Agent on any day the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) is open for business. Shares of the Funds are offered and redeemed on a continuous basis. Currently, the NYSE is closed for business when the following holidays are observed: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It is currently the Trust’s policy to pay all redemptions in cash. The Trust retains the right, however, to alter this policy to provide for redemptions in whole or in part by a distribution in-kind of securities held by a Fund in lieu of cash. Shareholders may incur brokerage charges on the sale of any such securities so received in payment of redemptions.
The Trust reserves the right to suspend the right of redemption and/or to postpone the date of payment upon redemption for more than seven days during times when the NYSE is closed, other than during customary weekends or holidays, for any period on which trading on the NYSE is restricted (as determined by the SEC by rule or regulation), or during the existence of an emergency (as determined by the SEC by rule or regulation) as a result of which the disposal or valuation of a Fund’s securities is not reasonably practicable, or for such other periods as the SEC has by order permitted. The Trust also reserves the right to suspend sales of shares of any Fund for any period during which the NYSE, the Adviser, the Administrator, the Transfer Agent and/or the Custodian are not open for business.
DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE
General Policy. The Funds adhere to Section 2(a)(41), and Rules 2a-4 and 2a-5 thereunder, of the 1940 Act with respect to the valuation of portfolio securities. In general, securities for which market quotations are readily available are valued at current market value, and all other securities are valued at fair value by the Adviser in good faith, and subject to the oversight of the Board. In complying with the 1940 Act, the Trust relies on guidance provided by the SEC and by the SEC staff in various interpretive letters and other guidance.
Equity Securities. Securities listed on a securities exchange, market or automated quotation system for which quotations are readily available (except for securities traded on NASDAQ), including securities traded over the counter, are valued at the last quoted sale price on an exchange or market (foreign or domestic) on which they are traded on the valuation date (or at approximately 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time if such exchange is normally open at that time), or, if there is no such reported sale on the valuation date, at the most recent quoted bid price. For securities traded on NASDAQ, the NASDAQ Official Closing Price will be used. If such prices are not available or determined to not represent the fair value of the security as of the Funds’ pricing time, the security will be valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Adviser, subject to Board oversight.
Money Market Securities and other Debt Securities. If available, money market securities and other debt securities are priced based upon valuations provided by recognized independent, third-party pricing agents. Such values generally reflect the last reported sales price if the security is actively traded. The third-party pricing agents may also value debt securities by employing methodologies that utilize actual market transactions, broker-supplied valuations, or other methodologies designed to identify the market value for such securities. Such methodologies generally consider such factors as security prices, yields, maturities, call features, ratings and developments relating to specific securities in arriving at valuations. Money market securities and other debt securities with remaining maturities of sixty days or less may be valued at their amortized cost, which approximates market value. If such prices are not available or determined to not represent the fair value of the security as of each Fund’s pricing time, the security will be valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Adviser, subject to Board oversight.
Foreign Securities. The prices for foreign securities are reported in local currency and converted to U.S. dollars using currency exchange rates. Exchange rates are provided daily by recognized independent pricing agents.
Derivatives and Other Complex Securities. Exchange traded options on securities and indices purchased by the Funds generally are valued at their last trade price or, if there is no last trade price, the last bid price. Exchange traded options on securities and indices written by the Funds generally are valued at their last trade price or, if there is no last trade price, the last asked price. In the case of options traded in the over-the-counter market, if the OTC option is also an exchange traded option, the Funds will follow the rules regarding the valuation of exchange traded options. If the OTC option is not also an exchange traded option, the security will be valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Adviser, subject to Board oversight.
Futures and swaps cleared through a central clearing house (“centrally cleared swaps”) are valued at the settlement price established each day by the board of the exchange on which they are traded. The daily settlement prices for financial futures are provided by an independent source. On days when there is excessive volume or market volatility, or the future or centrally cleared swap does not end trading by the time the Funds calculate net asset value, the settlement price may not be available at the time at which each Fund calculates its net asset value. On such days, the best available price (which is typically the last sales price) may be used to value a Fund’s futures or centrally cleared swaps position.
Foreign currency forward contracts are valued at the current day’s interpolated foreign exchange rate, as calculated using the current day’s spot rate, and the thirty, sixty, ninety and one-hundred eighty day forward rates provided by an independent source.
If available, non-centrally cleared swaps, CDOs, CLOs and bank loans are priced based on valuations provided by an independent third-party pricing agent. If a price is not available from an independent third-party pricing agent, the security will be valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Adviser, subject to Board oversight.
Use of Third-Party Independent Pricing Services. Pursuant to contracts with the Administrator, prices for most securities held by the Funds with readily available market quotations are provided by third-party independent pricing agents. The valuations for these securities are reviewed by the Administrator. In accordance with the Adviser's Valuation Procedures, the Adviser may also use third-party independent pricing agents (reviewed and approved by the Adviser) to fair value certain securities without readily available market quotations (or where market quotations are unreliable).
Fair Value Procedures. Securities for which market prices are not “readily available” or which cannot be valued using the methodologies described above are valued in accordance with Fair Value Procedures established by the Adviser and implemented through the Adviser's Valuation Committee. In establishing a fair value for an investment, the Adviser will use valuation methodologies established by the Adviser and may consider inputs and methodologies provided by, among others, third-party independent pricing agents, independent broker dealers and/or the Adviser's own personnel (including investment personnel). The members of the Adviser's Valuation Committee report, as necessary, to the Board regarding portfolio valuation determinations. The Board, from time to time, will review these methods of valuation and will recommend changes which may be necessary to assure that the investments of the Funds are valued at fair value.
Some of the more common reasons that may necessitate a security being valued using Fair Value Procedures include: the security’s trading has been halted or suspended; the security has been de-listed from a national exchange; the security’s primary trading market is temporarily closed at a time when under normal conditions it would be open; the security has not been traded for an extended period of time; the security’s primary pricing source is not able or willing to provide a price; trading of the security is subject to local government-imposed restrictions; or a significant event with respect to a security has occurred after the close of the market or exchange on which the security principally trades and before the time the Funds calculate net asset value. When a security is valued in accordance with the Fair Value Procedures, the Adviser's Valuation Committee will determine the value after taking into consideration relevant information reasonably available to the Committee.
The following is only a summary of certain additional U.S. federal income tax considerations generally affecting the Funds and their shareholders that is intended to supplement the discussion contained in the Prospectus. No attempt is made to present a detailed explanation of the tax treatment of the Funds or their shareholders, and the discussion here and in the Prospectus is not intended as a substitute for careful tax planning. Shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisors with specific reference to their own tax situations, including their state, local, and foreign tax liabilities.
If you hold your shares in a tax-qualified retirement account, you generally will not be subject to federal taxation on income and capital gains distribution from a Fund, until you begin receiving payments from your retirement account. You should consult your tax adviser regarding the tax rules that apply to your retirement account.
The following general discussion of certain federal income tax consequences is based on the Code and the regulations issued thereunder as in effect on the date of this SAI. New legislation, as well as administrative changes or court decisions, may significantly change the conclusions expressed herein, and may have a retroactive effect with respect to the transactions contemplated herein.
Qualification as a Regulated Investment Company. Each Fund has elected and intends to qualify to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. By following such a policy, each Fund expects to eliminate or reduce to a nominal amount the federal taxes to which it may be subject. A Fund that qualifies as a RIC will generally not be subject to federal income taxes on the net investment income and net realized capital gains that the Fund distributes to its shareholders in a timely manner. The Board reserves the right not to maintain the qualification of a Fund as a RIC if it determines such course of action to be beneficial to shareholders.
In order to qualify as a RIC under the Code, each Fund must distribute annually to its shareholders at least 90% of its net investment income (which includes dividends, taxable interest, and the excess of net short-term capital gains over net long-term capital losses, less operating expenses) and at least 90% of its net tax exempt interest income, for each tax year, if any, to its shareholders (the “Distribution Requirement”) and also must meet certain additional requirements. Among these requirements are the following: (i) at least 90% of each Fund’s gross income each taxable year must be derived from dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities, or foreign currencies, or other income (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities, or currencies, and net income derived from an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership (the “Qualifying Income Test”); and (ii) at the close of each quarter of each Fund’s taxable year: (A) at least 50% of the value of each Fund’s total assets must be represented by cash and cash items, U.S. Government securities, securities of other RICs and other securities, with such other securities limited, in respect to any one issuer, to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of each Fund’s total assets and that does not represent more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, including the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership, and (B) not more than 25% of the value of each Fund’s total assets is invested, including through corporations in which the Fund owns a 20% or greater voting stock interest, in the securities (other than U.S. Government securities or the securities of other RICs) of any one issuer or the securities (other than the securities of another RIC) of two or more issuers that a Fund controls and which are engaged in the same or similar trades or businesses or related trades or businesses, or the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships (the “Asset Test”).
Although each Fund intends to distribute substantially all of its net investment income and may distribute its capital gains for any taxable year, each Fund will be subject to federal income taxation to the extent any such income or gains are not distributed. Each Fund is treated as a separate corporation for federal income tax purposes. Each Fund is therefore considered to be a separate entity in determining its treatment under the rules for RICs described herein. Losses in one Fund do not offset gains in another and the requirements (other than certain organizational requirements) for qualifying RIC status are determined at the Fund level rather than at the Trust level.
If a Fund fails to satisfy the Qualifying Income Test or the Asset Test in any taxable year, such Fund may be eligible for relief provisions if the failures are due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect and if a penalty tax is paid with respect to each failure to satisfy the applicable requirements. Additionally, relief is provided for certain de minimis failures of the diversification requirements where the Fund corrects the failure within a specified period. If a Fund fails to maintain qualification as a RIC for any tax year, and the relief provisions are not available, such Fund will be subject to federal income tax at the regular corporate rate (currently 21%) without any deduction for distributions to shareholders. In such case, its shareholders would be taxed as if they received ordinary dividends, although corporate shareholders could be eligible for the dividends received deduction and individuals may be able to benefit from the lower tax rates available to qualified dividend income, both subject to certain limitations. In addition, a Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a RIC.
A Fund may elect to treat part or all of any “qualified late year loss” as if it had been incurred in the succeeding taxable year in determining the Fund’s taxable income, net capital gain, net short-term capital gain, and earnings and profits. The effect of this election is to treat any such “qualified late year loss” as if it had been incurred in the succeeding taxable year in characterizing Fund distributions for any calendar year. A “qualified late year loss” generally includes net capital loss, net long-term capital loss, or net short-term capital loss incurred after October 31 of the current taxable year (commonly referred to as “post-October losses”) and certain other late-year losses.
The treatment of capital loss carryovers for the Funds is similar to the rules that apply to capital loss carryovers of individuals, which provide that such losses be carried over indefinitely. If a Fund has a “net capital loss” (that is, capital losses in excess of capital gains), the excess of the Fund’s net short-term capital losses over its net long-term capital gains is treated as a short-term capital loss arising on the first day of the Fund’s next taxable year, and the excess (if any) of the Fund’s net long-term capital losses over its net short-term capital gains is treated as a long-term capital loss arising on the first day of the Fund’s next taxable year. The carryover of capital losses may be limited under the general loss limitation rules if a Fund experiences an ownership change as defined in the Code.
Federal Excise Tax. Notwithstanding the Distribution Requirement described above, which generally requires a Fund to distribute at least 90% of its annual investment company taxable income and the excess of its exempt interest income (but does not require any minimum distribution of net capital gain), a Fund will be subject to a nondeductible 4% federal excise tax to the extent it fails to distribute by the end of the calendar year at least 98% of its ordinary income and 98.2% of its capital gain net income (the excess of short- and long-term capital gains over short- and long-term capital losses) for the one-year period ending on October 31 of such year (including any retained amount from the prior calendar year on which a Fund paid no federal income tax). The Funds intend to make sufficient distributions to avoid liability for federal excise tax, but can make no assurances that such tax will be completely eliminated. The Funds may in certain circumstances be required to liquidate Fund investments in order to make sufficient distributions to avoid federal excise tax liability at a time when the Adviser might not otherwise have chosen to do so, and liquidation of investments in such circumstances may affect the ability of the Funds to satisfy the requirement for qualification as RICs.
Shareholder Treatment. The Funds receive income generally in the form of dividends and interest on investments. This income, plus net short-term capital gains, if any, less expenses incurred in the operation of the Funds, constitutes the Funds’ net investment income from which dividends may be paid to you. Any distributions by the Funds (except the Frost Municipal Bond Fund, see below) from such income will be taxable to you as ordinary income or at the lower capital gains rates that apply to individuals receiving qualified dividend income, whether you take them in cash or in additional shares.
Distributions by the Funds currently are eligible for the reduced maximum tax rate to individuals of 20% (lower rates apply to individuals in lower tax brackets) to the extent that the Funds receive qualified dividend income on the securities they hold and the Funds report the distribution as qualified dividend income. Qualified dividend income is, in general, dividend income from taxable domestic corporations and certain foreign corporations (e.g., foreign corporations incorporated in a possession of the United States or in certain countries with a comprehensive tax treaty with the United States, or the stock of which is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States). A dividend will not be treated as qualified dividend income to the extent that (i) the shareholder has not held the shares on which the dividend was paid for more than 60 days during the 121-day period that begins on the date that is 60 days before the date on which the shares become “ex-dividend” (which is the day on which declared distributions (dividends or capital gains) are deducted from a Fund’s assets before it calculates the net asset value) with respect to such dividend, (ii) a Fund has not satisfied similar holding period requirements with respect to the securities it holds that paid the dividends distributed to the shareholder, (iii) the shareholder is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to substantially similar or related property, or (iv) the shareholder elects to treat such dividend as investment income under section 163(d)(4)(B) of the Code. Therefore, if you lend your shares in a Fund, such as pursuant to a securities lending arrangement, you may lose the ability to treat dividends (paid while the shares are held by the borrower) as qualified dividend income. Distributions that a Fund receives from an underlying fund taxable as a RIC or from a REIT will be treated as qualified dividend income only to the extent so reported by such underlying fund or REIT. Distributions by a Fund of its net short-term capital gains will be taxable as ordinary income. Capital gain distributions consisting of a Fund’s net capital gains will be taxable as long-term capital gains for individual shareholders at a maximum rate of 20% regardless of how long a Fund’s shares have been held by the shareholder. Distributions from capital gains are generally made after applying any available capital loss carryforwards. Because the Frost Low Duration Bond Fund, Frost Credit Fund, Frost Total Return Bond Fund, and Frost Municipal Bond Fund will receive income primarily in the form of interest derived from their investments, such Funds are generally not expected to make distributions eligible to be treated as qualified dividend income.
In the case of corporate shareholders, Fund distributions (other than capital gain distributions) generally qualify for the dividends received deduction to the extent such distributions are so reported and do not exceed the gross amount of qualifying dividends received by such Fund for the year. Generally, and subject to certain limitations (including certain holding period limitations), a dividend will be treated as a qualifying dividend if it has been received from a domestic corporation. Because the Frost Low Duration Bond Fund, Frost Credit Fund, Frost Total Return Bond Fund, and Frost Municipal Bond Fund will receive income generally in the form of interest derived from their investments, none of their dividends are expected to qualify under the Code for the dividends received deductions for corporations. In addition, certain of the Frost Growth Equity Fund’s investment strategies may limit its ability to make distributions that qualify for the dividends received deduction by corporate shareholders.
It is expected that the Frost Low Duration Bond Fund, Frost Credit Fund, and Frost Total Return Bond Fund receive income generally in the form of interest derived from such Fund’s investments, and distributions of such earnings will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. However, these Funds may derive capital gains and losses in connection with sales or other dispositions of their portfolio securities. As discussed above, distributions of long-term capital gains are taxable as capital gains, while distributions of short-term capital gains and net investment income are generally taxable to shareholders as ordinary income.
To the extent that a Fund makes a distribution of income received by such Fund in lieu of dividends (a “substitute payment”) with respect to securities on loan pursuant to a securities lending transaction, such income will not constitute qualified dividend income to individual shareholders and will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction for corporate shareholders.
If a Fund’s distributions exceed its current and accumulated earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made in the same taxable year may be re-characterized as a return of capital to shareholders. A return of capital distribution will generally not be taxable, but will reduce each shareholder’s cost basis in the Funds and result in a higher reported capital gain or lower reported capital loss when those shares on which the distribution was received are sold.
A dividend or distribution received shortly after the purchase of shares reduces the net asset value of the shares by the amount of the dividend or distribution and, although in effect a return of capital, will be taxable to the shareholder. If the net asset value of shares were reduced below the shareholder’s cost by dividends or distributions representing gains realized on sales of securities, such dividends or distributions would be a return of investment though taxable to the shareholder in the same manner as other dividends or distributions.
The Funds will report annually to their shareholders the amount of ordinary income dividends, qualified dividend income and capital gains distributions, if any.
Shareholders who have not held Fund shares for a full year should be aware that a Fund may report and distribute, as ordinary income, qualified dividend income, or capital gain, a percentage of income that is not equal to the actual amount of such income earned during the period of your investment in such Fund.
Although dividends generally will be treated as distributed when paid, dividends declared to shareholders of record in October, November or December, and actually paid in the following January, will be treated as having been distributed by a Fund (and received by shareholders) on December 31 of the calendar year in which declared. Under this rule, therefore, a shareholder may be taxed in one year on dividends or distributions actually received in January of the following year.
A RIC that receives business interest income may pass through its net business interest income for purposes of the tax rules applicable to the interest expense limitations under Section 163(j) of the Code. A RIC’s total “Section 163(j) Interest Dividend” for a tax year is limited to the excess of the RIC’s business interest income over the sum of its business interest expense and its other deductions properly allocable to its business interest income. A RIC may, in its discretion, designate all or a portion of ordinary dividends as Section 163(j) Interest Dividends, which would allow the recipient shareholder to treat the designated portion of such dividends as interest income for purposes of determining such shareholder’s interest expense deduction limitation under Section 163(j). This can potentially increase the amount of a shareholder’s interest expense deductible under Section 163(j). In general, to be eligible to treat a Section 163(j) Interest Dividend as interest income, you must have held your shares in a Fund for more than 180 days during the 361-day period beginning on the date that is 180 days before the date on which the share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend. Section 163(j) Interest Dividends, if so designated by the Fund, will be reported to your financial intermediary or otherwise in accordance with the requirements specified by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”).
Sales, Exchanges or Redemptions. Any gain or loss recognized on a sale, exchange, or redemption of shares of a Fund by a shareholder who is not a dealer in securities will generally, for individual shareholders, be treated as a long-term capital gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than twelve months and otherwise will be treated as a short-term capital gain or loss. However, if shares on which a shareholder has received a net capital gain distribution are subsequently sold, exchanged, or redeemed and such shares have been held for six months or less, any loss recognized will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of the net capital gain distribution or disallowed to the extent of tax-exempt interest dividend distributions. In addition, the loss realized on a sale or other disposition of shares will be disallowed to the extent a shareholder repurchases (or enters into a contract to or option to repurchase) shares within a period of 61 days (beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition of the shares). This loss disallowance rule will apply to shares received through the reinvestment of dividends during the 61-day period. For tax purposes, an exchange of your Fund shares for shares of a different fund is the same as a sale.
U.S. individuals with income exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly) are subject to a 3.8% tax on their “net investment income,” including interest, dividends, and capital gains (including capital gains realized on the sale or exchange of shares of a Fund). “Net investment income” does not include distributions of exempt-interest.
Each Fund (or its administrative agent) must report to the IRS and furnish to Fund shareholders the cost basis information for purchases of Fund shares. In addition to the requirement to report the gross proceeds from the sale of Fund shares, each Fund (or its administrative agent) is also required to report the cost basis information for such shares and indicate whether these shares have a short-term or long-term holding period. For each sale of Fund shares the Fund will permit Fund shareholders to elect from among several IRS-accepted cost basis methods, including the average cost basis method. In the absence of an election, a Fund will use the average cost basis method as the default cost basis method. The cost basis method elected by the Fund shareholder (or the cost basis method applied by default) for each sale of Fund shares may not be changed after the settlement date of each such sale of Fund shares. Fund shareholders should consult their tax advisors to determine the best IRS-accepted cost basis method for their tax situation and to obtain more information about how cost basis reporting applies to them. Shareholders also should carefully review the cost basis information provided to them and make any additional basis, holding period or other adjustments that are required when reporting these amounts on their federal income tax returns.
Special Tax Considerations for Shareholders of the Frost Municipal Bond Fund. If at least 50% of the value of the Frost Municipal Bond Fund's total assets at the close of each quarter of its taxable years consists of debt obligations that generate interest exempt from U.S. federal income tax, then the Fund may qualify to pass through to its shareholders the tax-exempt character of its income from such debt obligations by paying tax-exempt interest dividends. The Frost Municipal Bond Fund intends to satisfy such conditions that will enable it to designate distributions from the interest income generated by investments in municipal obligations, which is exempt from regular federal income tax when received by such Fund, as exempt-interest dividends. Shareholders receiving exempt-interest dividends will not be subject to regular federal income tax on the amount of such dividends, but may (as discussed below) become subject to the federal alternative minimum tax. Insurance proceeds received by the Frost Municipal Bond Fund under any insurance policies in respect of scheduled interest payments on defaulted municipal obligations will generally be excludable from federal gross income under Section 103(a) of the Code. In the case of non-appropriation by a political subdivision, however, there can be no assurance that payments made by the insurer representing interest on non-appropriation lease obligations will be excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes.
Because the Frost Municipal Bond Fund may invest in private activity bonds (within the meaning of Section 141 of the Code), the interest on which is not federally tax-exempt to persons who are “substantial users” of the facilities financed by such bonds or “related persons” of such “substantial users,” the Fund may not be an appropriate investment for shareholders who are considered either a “substantial user” or a “related person” within the meaning of the Code. For additional information, investors should consult their tax advisors before investing in the Fund.
The Code imposes an alternative minimum tax with respect to shareholders that are individuals. Interest on certain municipal obligations that meet the definition of private activity bonds under the Code is included as an item of tax preference in determining the amount of a taxpayer’s alternative minimum taxable income. To the extent that the Frost Municipal Bond Fund receives income from private activity bonds, a portion of the dividends paid by it, although otherwise exempt from federal income tax, will be taxable to individual shareholders subject to the alternative minimum tax regime. The Fund will annually supply shareholders with a report indicating the percentage of the Fund’s income attributable to municipal obligations required to be included in calculating the federal alternative minimum tax.
Tax-exempt income, including exempt-interest dividends paid by the Frost Municipal Bond Fund, are taken into account in determining whether a portion of such Fund shareholder’s social security or railroad retirement benefits will be subject to federal income tax.
The Code provides that interest on indebtedness incurred or continued to purchase or carry shares of any Fund that distributes exempt-interest dividends may be disallowed as a deduction in whole or in part (depending upon the amount of exempt-interest dividends distributed in comparison to other taxable distributions). Under rules used by the IRS for determining when borrowed funds are considered used for the purpose of purchasing or carrying particular assets, the purchase of shares of a Fund may be considered to have been made with borrowed funds even though such funds are not directly traceable to the purchase of shares.
Any loss on the sale or exchange of shares of the Frost Municipal Bond Fund held for six months or less will be disallowed to the extent of any exempt-interest dividends received by the selling shareholder with respect to such shares.
The Frost Municipal Bond Fund may not be a suitable investment for IRAs, for other tax-exempt or tax-deferred accounts or for investors who are not sensitive to the federal income tax consequences of their investments, because such shareholders and plans would not gain any additional tax benefit from the receipt of exempt-interest dividends.
Depending on a shareholder’s state of residence, exempt interest dividends from interest earned on municipal obligations of a state, or its political subdivisions may be exempt in the hands of such shareholder from income tax in that state. However, income from municipal obligations of a state other than the shareholder’s state of residence generally will not qualify for tax-free treatment for such shareholder.
Issuers of bonds purchased by the Frost Municipal Bond Fund (or the beneficiary of such bonds) may have made certain representations or covenants in connection with the issuance of such bonds to satisfy certain requirements of the Code that must be satisfied subsequent to the issuance of such bonds for the interest on such bonds to be exempt-interest under the Code. Investors should be aware that exempt-interest dividends derived from such bonds may become subject to regular federal income taxation retroactively to the date of issuance of the bonds to which such dividends are attributable if such representations are determined to have been inaccurate or if the issuer of such bonds (or the beneficiary of such bonds) fails to comply with such covenants.
State Taxes. Depending upon state and local law, distributions by the Funds to their shareholders and the ownership of such shares may be subject to state and local taxes. Rules of state and local taxation of dividend and capital gains distributions from RICs often differ from the rules for federal income taxation described above. It is expected that each Fund will not be liable for any corporate excise, income or franchise tax in Delaware if it qualifies as a RIC for federal income tax purpose. Shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding state and local taxes applicable to an investment in the Funds.
Many states grant tax-free status to dividends paid to you from interest earned on direct obligations of the U.S. Government, subject in some states to minimum investment requirements that must be met by the Funds. Investment in Ginnie Mae or Fannie Mae securities, banker’s acceptances, commercial paper, and repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. Government securities do not generally qualify for such tax-free treatment. The rules on exclusion of this income are different for corporate shareholders.
Shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding state and local taxes applicable to an investment in the Funds.
Tax Treatment of Complex Securities. The Funds may invest in complex securities. These investments may be subject to numerous special and complex tax rules. These rules could affect the Funds’ ability to qualify as RICs, affect whether gains and losses recognized by the Funds are treated as ordinary income or capital gain, accelerate the recognition of income to the Funds and/or defer the Funds’ ability to recognize losses, and, in limited cases, subject the Funds to U.S. federal income tax on income from certain of their foreign securities. In turn, these rules may affect the amount, timing or character of the income distributed to you by the Funds.
Each Fund is required for federal income tax purposes to mark-to-market and recognize as income for each taxable year its net unrealized gains and losses on certain futures and options contracts subject to section 1256 of the Code ("Section 1256 Contracts") as of the end of the year as well as those actually realized during the year. Gain or loss from Section 1256 Contracts on broad-based indexes required to be marked to market will be 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gain or loss. Application of this rule may alter the timing and character of distributions to shareholders. A Fund may be required to defer the recognition of losses on Section 1256 Contracts to the extent of any unrecognized gains on offsetting positions held by the Fund. These provisions may also require the Funds to mark-to-market certain types of positions in their portfolios (i.e., treat them as if they were closed out), which may cause a Fund to recognize income without receiving cash with which to make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the Distribution Requirement and for avoiding the excise tax discussed above. Accordingly, in order to avoid certain income and excise taxes, a Fund may be required to liquidate its investments at a time when the investment adviser might not otherwise have chosen to do so.
With respect to investments in STRIPS, treasury receipts, and other zero coupon securities which are sold at original issue discount and thus do not make periodic cash interest payments, a Fund will be required to include as part of its current income the imputed interest on such obligations even though the Fund has not received any interest payments on such obligations during that period. Because each Fund intends to distribute all of its net investment income to its shareholders, a Fund may have to sell Fund securities to distribute such imputed income which may occur at a time when the Adviser would not have chosen to sell such securities and which may result in taxable gain or loss.
Any market discount recognized on a bond is taxable as ordinary income. A market discount bond is a bond acquired in the secondary market at a price below redemption value or adjusted issue price if issued with original issue discount. Absent an election by a Fund to include the market discount in income as it accrues, gain on the Fund’s disposition of such an obligation will be treated as ordinary income rather than capital gain to the extent of the accrued market discount.
A Fund may invest in inflation-linked debt securities. Any increase in the principal amount of an inflation-linked debt security will be original interest discount, which is taxable as ordinary income and is required to be distributed, even though the Fund will not receive the principal, including any increase thereto, until maturity. As noted above, if a Fund invests in such securities it may be required to liquidate other investments, including at times when it is not advantageous to do so, in order to satisfy its distribution requirements and to eliminate any possible taxation at the Fund level.
MLPs. In general, for purposes of the Qualifying Income Test described above, income derived from a partnership will be treated as qualifying income only to the extent such income is attributable to items of income of the partnership that would be qualifying income if realized directly by a Fund. However, 100% of the net income derived from an interest in a “qualified publicly traded partnership” (“QPTP”) (generally, a partnership (i) interests in which are traded on an established securities market or are readily tradable on a secondary market or the substantial equivalent thereof, (ii) that derives at least 90% of its income from the passive income sources specified in Code section 7704(d), and (iii) that generally derives less than 90% of its income from the same sources as described in the Qualifying Income Test) will be treated as qualifying income. In addition, although in general the passive loss rules of the Code do not apply to RICs, such rules do apply to a RIC with respect to items attributable to an interest in a QPTP.
A Fund may invest in certain MLPs that may be treated as QPTPs. The net income from QPTPs is qualifying income for purposes of the Qualifying Income Test, but a Fund’s investment in one or more of such QPTPs is limited under the Asset Test to no more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s assets. The Funds will monitor their investments in such QPTPs in order to ensure compliance with the Qualifying Income Test and Asset Test. Please see the discussion regarding the consequences of failing to satisfy one of these RIC qualification tests set forth above. MLPs and other partnerships that the Funds may invest in will deliver a Schedule K-1 to the Funds to report their share of income, gains, losses, deductions and credits of the MLP or other partnership. The Schedule K-1 may be delayed and may not be received until after the time that a Fund issues its tax reporting statements. As a result, a Fund may at times find it necessary to reclassify the amount and character of its distributions to you after it issues you your tax reporting statement.
"Qualified publicly traded partnership income” within the meaning of Section 199A(e)(5) of the Code is eligible for a 20% deduction by non-corporate taxpayers. Qualified publicly traded partnership income is generally income of a “publicly traded partnership” that is not treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes that is effectively connected with such entity’s trade or business, but does not include certain investment income. A “publicly traded partnership” for purposes of this deduction is not necessarily the same as a “qualified publicly traded partnership,” as defined above. This deduction, if allowed in full, equates to a maximum effective tax rate of 29.6% (37% top rate applied to income after 20% deduction). The Code does not contain a provision permitting a RIC, such as a Fund, to pass the special character of this income through to its shareholders. Currently, direct investors in entities that generate “qualified publicly traded partnership income” will enjoy the lower rate, but investors in RICs that invest in such entities will not. It is uncertain whether future technical corrections or administrative guidance will address this issue to enable a Fund to pass through the special character of “qualified publicly traded partnership income” to shareholders.
Investment in Certain ETFs and ETNs. The Funds may make investments into one or more exchange traded products, such as ETNs or ETFs, swaps or other derivative investments that may raise questions regarding the qualification of the income from such investments as qualifying income under the Qualifying Income Test. In addition, the determination of the value and the identity of the issuer of such investments are often unclear for purposes of the “Asset Test” described above. Each Fund intends to monitor its investments and the character of its income to ensure it will satisfy the Qualifying Income Test and to ensure that they are adequately diversified under the Asset Test, but it is possible that a Fund may fail to qualify as a RIC in a given tax year due to a failure to satisfy the Qualifying Income Test or Asset Test. Please see the discussion regarding the consequences of failing to satisfy one of these RIC qualification tests set forth above.
REITs. The Funds may invest in REITs. Investments in REIT equity securities may require a Fund to accrue and distribute income not yet received. To generate sufficient cash to make the requisite distributions, a Fund may be required to sell securities in its portfolio (including when it is not advantageous to do so) that it otherwise would have continued to hold. A Fund’s investments in REIT equity securities may at other times result in the Fund’s receipt of cash in excess of the REIT’s earnings if the Fund distributes these amounts, these distributions could constitute a return of capital to Fund shareholders for federal income tax purposes. Dividends paid by a REIT, other than capital gain distributions, will be taxable as ordinary income up to the amount of the REIT’s current and accumulated earnings and profits. Capital gain dividends paid by a REIT to a Fund will be treated as long-term capital gains by the Fund and, in turn, may be distributed by the Fund to its shareholders as a capital gain distribution. Dividends received by a Fund from a REIT generally will not constitute qualified dividend income or qualify for the dividends received deduction. If a REIT is operated in a manner such that it fails to qualify as a REIT, an investment in the REIT would become subject to double taxation, meaning the taxable income of the REIT would be subject to federal income tax at the regular corporate rate without any deduction for dividends paid to shareholders and the dividends would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income (or possibly as qualified dividend income) to the extent of the REIT’s current and accumulated earnings and profits.
The Code treats “qualified REIT dividends” (i.e., ordinary REIT dividends other than capital gain dividends and portions of REIT dividends designated as qualified dividend income eligible for capital gain tax rates) as eligible for a 20% deduction by non-corporate taxpayers. This deduction, if allowed in full, equates to a maximum effective tax rate of 29.6% (37% top rate applied to income after 20% deduction). Distributions by a Fund to its shareholders that are attributable to qualified REIT dividends received by the Fund and which the Fund properly reports as “section 199A dividends,” are treated as “qualified REIT dividends” in the hands of non-corporate shareholders. A section 199A dividend is treated as a qualified REIT dividend only if the shareholder receiving such dividend holds the dividend-paying RIC shares for at least 46 days of the 91-day period beginning 45 days before the shares become ex-dividend, and is not under an obligation to make related payments with respect to a position in substantially similar or related property. A Fund is permitted to report such part of its dividends as section 199A dividends as are eligible, but is not required to do so.
REITs in which a Fund invests often do not provide complete and final tax information to the Funds until after the time that the Funds issue a tax reporting statement. As a result, a Fund may at times find it necessary to reclassify the amount and character of its distributions to you after it issues your tax reporting statement. When such reclassification is necessary, a Fund (or its administrative agent) will send you a corrected, final Form 1099-DIV to reflect the reclassified information. If you receive a corrected Form 1099-DIV, use the information on this corrected form, and not the information on the previously issued tax reporting statement, in completing your tax returns.
Tax-Exempt Shareholders. Certain tax-exempt shareholders, including qualified pension plans, individual retirement accounts, salary deferral arrangements, 401(k)s, and other tax-exempt entities, generally are exempt from federal income taxation except with respect to their unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”). Tax-exempt entities are not permitted to offset losses from one trade or business against the income or gain of another trade or business. Certain net losses incurred prior to January 1, 2018 are permitted to offset gain and income created by an unrelated trade or business, if otherwise available. Under current law, the Funds generally serve to block UBTI from being realized by their tax-exempt shareholders. However, notwithstanding the foregoing, the tax-exempt shareholder could realize UBTI by virtue of an investment in a Fund where, for example: (i) the Fund invests in residual interests of REMICs; (ii) the Fund invests in a REIT that is a taxable mortgage pool (“TMP”) or that has a subsidiary that is a TMP or that invests in the residual interest of a REMIC; or (iii) shares in the Fund constitute debt-financed property in the hands of the tax-exempt shareholder within the meaning of section 514(b) of the Code. There are no restrictions preventing a Fund from holding investments in REITs that hold residual interests in REMICs, and a Fund may do so. Charitable remainder trusts are subject to special rules and should consult their tax adviser. The IRS has issued guidance with respect to these issues and prospective shareholders, especially charitable remainder trusts, are strongly encouraged to consult their tax advisors regarding these issues.
Tax Shelter Reporting Regulations. Under Treasury Regulations, generally, if an individual shareholder recognizes a loss of $2 million or more or if a corporate shareholder recognizes a loss of $10 million or more, the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on Form 8886. Direct shareholders of securities are in many cases exempt from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a RIC are not exempt. Future guidance may extend for current exemption from this reporting requirement to shareholders of most or all RICs. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisors to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.
Tax Considerations for Foreign Investments. Dividends and interest received by a Fund may be subject to income, withholding or other taxes imposed by foreign countries and United States possessions that would reduce the yield on a Fund’s securities. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate these taxes. Foreign countries generally do not impose taxes on capital gains with respect to investments by foreign investors. If more than 50% of the value of a Fund’s total assets at the close of its taxable year consists of stocks or securities of foreign corporations, the Fund will be eligible to, and intends to, file an election with the IRS that may enable shareholders, in effect, to receive either the benefit of a foreign tax credit or a deduction with respect to any foreign and U.S. possessions income taxes paid by the Fund, subject to certain limitations. Pursuant to the election, the Fund will treat those taxes as dividends paid to its shareholders. Each such shareholder will be required to include a proportionate share of those taxes in gross income as income received from a foreign source and must treat the amount so included as if the shareholder had paid the foreign tax directly. The shareholder may then either deduct the taxes deemed paid by him or her in computing his or her taxable income or, alternatively, use the foregoing information in calculating any foreign tax credit they may be entitled to use against the shareholders’ federal income tax. If a Fund makes the election, the Fund will report annually to its shareholders the respective amounts per share of the Fund’s income from sources within, and taxes paid to, foreign countries and U.S. possessions.
In general, gains from “foreign currencies” and from foreign currency options, foreign currency futures, and forward foreign exchange contracts (“forward contracts”) relating to investments in stock, securities, or foreign currencies will be qualifying income for purposes of determining whether a Fund qualifies as a RIC.
Under the Code, special rules are provided for certain transactions in a foreign currency other than the taxpayer’s functional currency (i.e., unless certain special rules apply, currencies other than the U.S. Dollar). In general, foreign currency gains or losses from forward contracts, from futures contracts that are not “regulated futures contracts,” and from unlisted options will be treated as ordinary income or loss under the Code. Also, certain foreign exchange gains derived with respect to foreign fixed income securities are also subject to special treatment. In general, any such gains or losses will increase or decrease the amount of a Fund’s investment company taxable income available to be distributed to shareholders as ordinary income, rather than increasing or decreasing the amount of a Fund’s net capital gain. Additionally, if such losses exceed other investment company taxable income during a taxable year, a Fund would not be able to make any ordinary dividend distributions.
Most foreign exchange gains realized on the sale of debt securities are treated as ordinary income by the Funds. Similarly, foreign exchange losses realized by the Funds on the sale of debt securities are generally treated as ordinary losses by the Funds. These gains when distributed will be taxable to you as ordinary dividends, and any losses will reduce the Funds’ ordinary income otherwise available for distribution to you. This treatment could increase or reduce the Funds’ ordinary income distributions to you, and may cause some or all of the Funds’ previously distributed income to be classified as a return of capital.
If a Fund owns shares in certain foreign investment entities, referred to as “passive foreign investment companies” or “PFICs”, the Fund will generally be subject to one of the following special tax regimes: (i) the Fund may be liable for U.S. federal income tax, and an additional interest charge, on a portion of any “excess distribution” from such foreign entity or any gain from the disposition of such shares, even if the entire distribution or gain is paid out by the Fund as a dividend to its shareholders; (ii) if the Fund were able and elected to treat a PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” or “QEF”, the Fund would be required each year to include in income, and distribute to shareholders in accordance with the distribution requirements set forth above, the Fund’s pro rata share of the ordinary earnings and net capital gains of the PFIC, whether or not such earnings or gains are distributed to the Fund; or (iii) the Fund may be entitled to mark-to-market annually shares of the PFIC, and in such event would be required to distribute to shareholders any such mark-to-market gains in accordance with the distribution requirements set forth above. Each Fund intends to make the appropriate tax elections, if possible, and take any additional steps that are necessary to mitigate the effect of these rules. Amounts included in income each year by a Fund arising from a QEF election, will be “qualifying income” under the Qualifying Income Test (as described above) even if not distributed to the Fund, if the Fund derives such income from its business of investing in stock, securities or currencies.
Backup Withholding. In certain cases, a Fund will be required to withhold, and remit to the U.S. Treasury, 24% of any distributions paid to a shareholder who: (1) has failed to provide a correct taxpayer identification number or has provided no number at all; (2) is subject to backup withholding by the IRS; (3) has not certified to that Fund that such shareholder is not subject to backup withholding; or (4) has failed to certify that he or she is a U.S. person (including a citizen or U.S. resident alien).
Non-U.S. Investors. Non-U.S. investors in the Funds may be subject to U.S. withholding and estate tax and are encouraged to consult their tax advisors prior to investing in a Fund regarding the applicable rate of U.S. withholding tax on amounts treated as ordinary dividends from the Fund and the applicability of U.S. gift and estate taxes. Foreign shareholders (i.e., nonresident alien individuals and foreign corporations, partnerships, trusts and estates) are generally subject to U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30% (or a lower tax treaty rate) on distributions derived from taxable ordinary income. The Fund may, under certain circumstances, report all or a portion of a dividend as an “interest-related dividend” or a “short-term capital gain dividend,” which would generally be exempt from this 30% U.S. withholding tax, provided certain other requirements are met. Short-term capital gain dividends received by a nonresident alien individual who is present in the U.S. for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the taxable year are not exempt from this 30% withholding tax. Gains realized by foreign shareholders from the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund generally are not subject to U.S. taxation, unless the recipient is an individual who is physically present in the U.S. for 183 days or more per year. Foreign shareholders who fail to provide an applicable IRS form may be subject to backup withholding on certain payments from the Fund. Backup withholding will not be applied to payments that are subject to the 30% (or lower applicable treaty rate) withholding tax described in this paragraph. Different tax consequences may result if the foreign shareholder is engaged in a trade or business within the United States. In addition, the tax consequences to a foreign shareholder entitled to claim the benefits of a tax treaty may be different than those described above.
Under legislation generally known as “FATCA” (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), the Funds are required to withhold 30% of certain ordinary dividends they pay to shareholders that fail to meet prescribed information reporting or certification requirements. In general, no such withholding will be required with respect to a U.S. person or non-U.S. person that timely provides the certifications required by the Funds or their agent on a valid IRS Form W-9 or applicable series of IRS Form W-8, respectively. Shareholders potentially subject to withholding include foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”), such as non-U.S. investment funds, and non-financial foreign entities (“NFFEs”). To avoid withholding under FATCA, an FFI generally must enter into an information sharing agreement with the IRS in which it agrees to report certain identifying information (including name, address, and taxpayer identification number) with respect to its U.S. account holders (which, in the case of an entity shareholder, may include its direct and indirect U.S. owners), and an NFFE generally must identify and provide other required information to the fund or other withholding agent regarding its U.S. owners, if any. Such non-U.S. shareholders also may fall into certain exempt, excepted or deemed compliant categories as established by regulations and other guidance. A non-U.S. shareholder resident or doing business in a country that has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the U.S. to implement FATCA will be exempt from FATCA withholding provided that the shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of the agreement.
A non-U.S. entity that invests in a Fund will need to provide such Fund with documentation properly certifying the entity’s status under FATCA in order to avoid FATCA withholding. Non-U.S. investors in the Funds should consult their tax advisors in this regard.
Shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisors regarding the application of the provisions of tax law described in this SAI in light of the particular tax situations of the shareholders and regarding specific questions as to federal, state, or local taxes.
Brokerage Transactions. Generally, equity securities are bought and sold through brokerage transactions for which commissions are payable. Purchases from underwriters will include the underwriting commission or concession, and purchases from dealers serving as market makers will include a dealer’s mark-up or reflect a dealer’s mark-down. Money market securities and other debt securities are usually bought and sold directly from the issuer or an underwriter or market maker for the securities. Generally, the Funds will not pay brokerage commissions for such purchases. When a debt security is bought from an underwriter, the purchase price will usually include an underwriting commission or concession. The purchase price for securities bought from dealers serving as market makers will similarly include the dealer’s mark up or reflect a dealer’s mark down. When a Fund executes transactions in the over-the-counter market, it will generally deal with primary market makers unless prices that are more favorable are otherwise obtainable.
In addition, an adviser may place a combined order for two or more accounts it manages, including a Fund, engaged in the purchase or sale of the same security if, in its judgment, joint execution is in the best interest of each participant and will result in best price and execution. Transactions involving commingled orders are allocated in a manner deemed equitable to each account or Fund. Although it is recognized that, in some cases, the joint execution of orders could adversely affect the price or volume of the security that a particular account or Fund may obtain, it is the opinion of the advisers that the advantages of combined orders outweigh the possible disadvantages of combined orders.
For the fiscal years ended July 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, the Funds paid the following aggregate brokerage commissions on portfolio transactions:
|Fund||Aggregate Dollar Amount of Brokerage Commissions Paid|
|Frost Growth Equity Fund||$46,365||$51,374||$33,825|
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund||$1,689||$0||$7,731|
|Frost Credit Fund||$0||$0||$0|
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund||$0||$0||$0|
|Frost Municipal Bond Fund||$0||$0||$0|
Brokerage Selection. The Trust does not expect to use one particular broker or dealer, and when one or more brokers is believed capable of providing the best combination of price and execution, an adviser may select a broker based upon brokerage or research services provided to the adviser. The advisers may pay a higher commission than otherwise obtainable from other brokers in return for such services only if a good faith determination is made that the commission is reasonable in relation to the services provided.
Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act permits an adviser, under certain circumstances, to cause the Funds to pay a broker or dealer a commission for effecting a transaction in excess of the amount of commission another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting the transaction in recognition of the value of brokerage and research services provided by the broker or dealer. In addition to agency transactions, an adviser may receive brokerage and research services in connection with certain riskless principal transactions, in accordance with applicable SEC guidance. Brokerage and research services include: (1) furnishing advice as to the value of securities, the advisability of investing in, purchasing or selling securities, and the availability of securities or purchasers or sellers of securities; (2) furnishing analyses and reports concerning issuers, industries, securities, economic factors and trends, Fund strategy, and the performance of accounts; and (3) effecting securities transactions and performing functions incidental thereto (such as clearance, settlement, and custody). In the case of research services, the advisers believe that access to independent investment research is beneficial to their investment decision-making processes and, therefore, to the Funds.
To the extent that research services may be a factor in selecting brokers, such services may be in written form or through direct contact with individuals and may include information as to particular companies and securities as well as market, economic, or institutional areas and information which assists in the valuation and pricing of investments. Examples of research-oriented services for which the advisers might utilize Fund commissions include research reports and other information on the economy, industries, sectors, groups of securities, individual companies, statistical information, political developments, technical market action, pricing and appraisal services, credit analysis, risk measurement analysis, performance and other analysis. An adviser may use research services furnished by brokers in servicing all client accounts and not all services may necessarily be used in connection with the account that paid commissions to the broker providing such services. Information so received by the adviser will be in addition to and not in lieu of the services required to be performed by the Adviser under the Advisory Agreement. Any advisory or other fees paid to the advisers are not reduced as a result of the receipt of research services.
In some cases an adviser may receive a service from a broker that has both a “research” and a “non-research” use. When this occurs, the adviser makes a good faith allocation, under all the circumstances, between the research and non-research uses of the service. The percentage of the service that is used for research purposes may be paid for with client commissions, while the adviser will use its own funds to pay for the percentage of the service that is used for non-research purposes. In making this good faith allocation, the advisers face a potential conflict of interest, but the advisers believe that their allocation procedures are reasonably designed to ensure that they appropriately allocate the anticipated use of such services to their research and non-research uses.
From time to time, an adviser may purchase new issues of securities for clients, including the Funds, in a fixed price offering. In these situations, the seller may be a member of the selling group that will, in addition to selling securities, provide the advisers with research services. FINRA has adopted rules expressly permitting these types of arrangements under certain circumstances. Generally, the seller will provide research “credits” in these situations at a rate that is higher than that which is available for typical secondary market transactions. These arrangements may not fall within the safe harbor of Section 28(e).
For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2022, the Funds paid no commissions on brokerage transactions directed to brokers pursuant to an agreement or understanding whereby the broker provides third-party research services to the Adviser. The Adviser may, however, receive proprietary research from various full-service brokers, the cost of which is bundled with the cost of the broker’s execution services.
Brokerage with Fund Affiliates. The Funds may execute brokerage or other agency transactions through registered broker-dealer affiliates of either the Funds or the Adviser for a commission in conformity with the 1940 Act and rules promulgated by the SEC. The 1940 Act requires that commissions paid to the affiliate by the Funds for exchange transactions not exceed “usual and customary” brokerage commissions. The rules define “usual and customary” commissions to include amounts which are “reasonable and fair compared to the commission, fee or other remuneration received or to be received by other brokers in connection with comparable transactions involving similar securities being purchased or sold on a securities exchange during a comparable period of time.” The Trustees, including those who are not “interested persons” of the Funds, have adopted procedures for evaluating the reasonableness of commissions paid to affiliates and review these procedures periodically.
For the fiscal years ended July 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, the Funds did not pay any brokerage commissions on portfolio transactions effected by affiliated brokers.
Securities of “Regular Broker-Dealers.” The Funds are required to identify any securities of their “regular brokers and dealers” (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act) that each Fund held during its most recent fiscal year. During the most recent fiscal year, the following Funds held securities of their "regular brokers or dealers" as follows:
|Fund||Name of Broker/Dealer||Type of Security Held||Dollar Amount at FYE|
|Frost Growth Equity Fund||JP Morgan Chase||Equity||$2,480|
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund||Wells Fargo||Debt||$15,943|
|Credit Suisse First Boston||Debt||$7,609|
|JP Morgan Chase||Debt||$5,231|
|Bank of America||Debt||$244|
|Frost Credit Fund||UBS Securities||Debt||$1,509|
|Deutsche Bank Securities||Debt||$2,337|
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund||Deutsche Bank Securities||Debt||$1,933|
|Bank of America||Debt||$4,612|
The Board has approved policies and procedures that govern the timing and circumstances regarding the disclosure of Fund portfolio holdings information to shareholders and third parties. These policies and procedures are designed to ensure that disclosure of information regarding the Funds’ portfolio securities is in the best interests of Fund shareholders, and include procedures to address conflicts between the interests of the Funds’ shareholders and those of the Adviser, principal underwriter or any affiliated person of the Funds, the Adviser or the principal underwriter. Pursuant to such procedures, the Board has authorized the Adviser’s Chief Compliance Officer (“Adviser CCO”) to authorize the release of the Funds’ portfolio holdings, as necessary, in conformity with the foregoing principles. The Adviser CCO, either directly or through reports by the Funds’ Chief Compliance Officer, reports quarterly to the Board regarding the operation and administration of such policies and procedures.
Pursuant to applicable law, the Funds are required to disclose their complete portfolio holdings quarterly, within 60 days of the end of each fiscal quarter (currently, each October 31, January 31, April 30, and July 31). Each Fund will disclose a complete or summary schedule of investments (which includes the Fund’s 50 largest holdings in unaffiliated issuers and each investment in unaffiliated issuers that exceeds one percent of the Fund’s net asset value (“Summary Schedule”)) in its Semi-Annual and Annual Reports which are distributed to the Fund’s shareholders. Each Fund’s complete schedule of investments following the first and third fiscal quarters will be available in quarterly holdings reports filed with the SEC as exhibits to Form N-PORT, and each Fund’s complete schedule of investments following the second and fourth fiscal quarters will be available in Shareholder Reports filed with the SEC on Form N-CSR.
Complete schedules of investments filed with the SEC on Form N-CSR and as exhibits to Form N-PORT are not distributed to the Funds’ shareholders but are available, free of charge, on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Should a Fund include only a Summary Schedule rather than a complete schedule of investments in its Semi-Annual and Annual Reports, its complete schedule of investments will be available without charge, upon request, by calling 1-877-71-FROST.
Each Fund generally posts a detailed list of its securities (portfolio holdings) daily. In addition, each Fund generally posts its ten largest portfolio holdings, and the percentage that each of these holdings represents of the Fund’s total assets, as of the most recent calendar month end, 10 calendar days after the end of the calendar month. These postings can be found on the internet at https://frostfundholdings.seic.com and generally remain until such information is included in a filing on Form N-PORT or Form N-CSR as described above. The Adviser may exclude any portion of a Fund’s portfolio holdings from publication when deemed in the best interest of the Fund. Additionally, each Fund publishes a quarterly fact sheet that includes, among other things, a list of its ten largest portfolio holdings, on a quarterly basis, generally within four (4) weeks after the end of each quarter. The fact sheets will be available without charge, upon request, by calling 1-877-71-FROST.
In addition to information provided to shareholders and the general public, portfolio holdings information may be disclosed as frequently as daily to the Funds’ Adviser, Administrator, Custodian, Transfer Agent, financial printer, pricing vendors, liquidity analytics vendors, class action reclaim vendors and foreign tax reclaim vendors and other vendors that provide the Adviser with various middle office, back office, client reporting and portfolio analytics services in connection with their services to the Funds. From time to time rating and ranking organizations, such as S&P, Lipper and Morningstar, Inc., may request non-public portfolio holdings information in connection with rating a Fund. Similarly, institutional investors, financial planners, pension plan sponsors and/or their consultants or other third parties may request portfolio holdings information in order to assess the risks of a Fund’s portfolio along with related performance attribution statistics. The lag time for such disclosures will vary. The Funds believe that these third parties have legitimate objectives in requesting such portfolio holdings information. The Funds’ Chief Compliance Officer will regularly review these arrangements and will make periodic reports to the Board regarding disclosure pursuant to such arrangements. The Adviser currently has no arrangements to provide non-public portfolio holdings information to any entity.
The Funds’ policies and procedures provide that the Adviser’s CCO may authorize disclosure of non-public portfolio holdings information to such parties at differing times and/or with different lag times. Prior to making any disclosure to a third party, the Adviser’s CCO must determine that such disclosure serves a reasonable business purpose, is in the best interests of a Fund’s shareholders and that to the extent conflicts between the interests of the Fund’s shareholders and those of the Adviser, principal underwriter, or any affiliated person of the Fund exist, such conflicts are addressed. Portfolio holdings information may be disclosed no more frequently than monthly to ratings agencies, consultants and other qualified financial professionals or individuals. The disclosures will not be made sooner than three days after the date of the information.
With the exception of disclosures to rating and ranking organizations as described above, the Funds require any third party receiving non-public holdings information to enter into a confidentiality agreement with the Adviser. The confidentiality agreement provides, among other things, that non-public portfolio holdings information will be kept confidential and that the recipient has a duty not to trade on the non-public information and will use such information solely to analyze and rank the Funds, or to perform due diligence and asset allocation, depending on the recipient of the information.
The Funds’ policies and procedures prohibit any compensation or other consideration from being paid to or received by any party in connection with the disclosure of portfolio holdings information, including the Funds, the Adviser and its affiliates or recipients of the Funds’ portfolio holdings information.
The Adviser may manage other accounts that are not subject to these policies and procedures with investment objectives and strategies that are substantially similar to those of a Fund. Because the portfolio holdings of such accounts may be substantially similar, and in some cases nearly identical, to those of a Fund, an investor in such an account may be able to infer the portfolio holdings of a Fund from the portfolio holdings of the account.
DESCRIPTION OF SHARES
The Declaration of Trust authorizes the issuance of an unlimited number of funds and shares of each Fund, each of which represents an equal proportionate interest in the portfolio with each other share. Shares are entitled upon liquidation to a pro rata share in the net assets of a Fund. Shareholders have no preemptive rights. The Declaration of Trust provides that the Trustees may create additional series or classes of shares. All consideration received by the Trust for shares of any additional fund and all assets in which such consideration is invested would belong to that fund and would be subject to the liabilities related thereto. Share certificates representing shares will not be issued. The Funds’ shares, when issued, are fully paid and non-assessable.
LIMITATION OF TRUSTEES’ LIABILITY
The Declaration of Trust provides that a Trustee shall be liable only for his or her own willful defaults and, if reasonable care has been exercised in the selection of officers, agents, employees or investment advisers, shall not be liable for any neglect or wrongdoing of any such person. The Declaration of Trust also provides that the Trust will indemnify its Trustees and officers against liabilities and expenses incurred in connection with actual or threatened litigation in which they may be involved because of their offices with the Trust unless it is determined in the manner provided in the Declaration of Trust that they have not acted in good faith in the reasonable belief that their actions were in the best interests of the Trust. However, nothing in the Declaration of Trust shall protect or indemnify a Trustee against any liability for his or her willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of his or her duties. Nothing contained in this section attempts to disclaim a Trustee’s individual liability in any manner inconsistent with the federal securities laws.
The Board has delegated responsibility for decisions regarding proxy voting for securities held by the Funds to the Adviser. The Adviser will vote such proxies in accordance with its proxy voting policies and procedures, which are included in Appendix B to this SAI.
The Trust is required to disclose annually the Funds’ complete proxy voting record on Form N-PX. The Funds’ proxy voting record for the most recent 12-month period ended June 30th is available: (i) without charge upon request by calling 1-877-71-FROST; and (ii) on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
CODES OF ETHICS
The Board, on behalf of the Trust, has adopted a Code of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act. In addition, the Adviser, Distributor and Administrator have each adopted Codes of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1. These Codes of Ethics apply to the personal investing activities of trustees, officers and certain employees (“Access Persons”). Rule 17j-1 and the Codes of Ethics are designed to prevent unlawful practices in connection with the purchase or sale of securities by Access Persons. Under each Code of Ethics, Access Persons are permitted to invest in securities, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Funds, but are required to report their personal securities transactions for monitoring purposes. In addition, certain Access Persons are required to obtain approval before investing in IPOs or private placements, or are prohibited from making such investments. Copies of these Codes of Ethics are on file with the SEC, and are available to the public.
PRINCIPAL SHAREHOLDERS AND CONTROL PERSONS
As of November 1, 2022, the following persons were record owners (or to the knowledge of the Trust, beneficial owners) of 5% or more of any class of the shares of the Funds. The Trust believes that most of the shares referred to below were held by the below persons in accounts for their fiduciary, agency or custodial customers. Persons beneficially owning more than 25% of a Fund’s outstanding shares may be deemed to “control” the Fund within the meaning of the 1940 Act. Shareholders controlling a Fund may have a significant impact on any shareholder vote of the Fund.
|Frost Growth Equity Fund|
|Name and Address||Class of Shares||% of Class|
NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07210-1995
MUIR & CO 0
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
MUIR & CO 1
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
MUIR & CO 3
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
HARTFORD LIFE INSURANCE CO
ATTN UIT OPERATIONS
PO BOX 2999
HARTFORD, CT 06104-2999
MUIR & CO 1
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
PIGEON & CO
PO BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
|Frost Low Duration Bond Fund|
|Name and Address||Class of Shares||% of Class|
MUIR & CO 0
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
MUIR & CO 1
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
MUIR & CO 3
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07210-1995
PIGEON & CO
PO BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07210-1995
|Frost Total Return Bond Fund|
|Name and Address||Class of Shares||% of Class|
1 PERSHING PLZ
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07399-0001
CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC
SPECIAL CUSTODY A/C FBO CUSTOMERS
ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS
101 MONTGOMERY ST
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94101-4151
MUIR & CO 0
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
MUIR & CO 3
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
PIGEON & CO
PO BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
|Frost Municipal Bond Fund|
|Name and Address||Class of Shares||% of Class|
NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07210-1995
NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07210-1995
MUIR & CO 0
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC
SPECIAL CUSTODY A/C FBO CUSTOMERS
ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS
101 MONTGOMERY ST
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94101-4151
NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07210-1995
NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC
499 WASHINGTON BLVD
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07210-1995
|Frost Credit Fund|
|Name and Address||Class of Shares||% of Class|
1 PERSHING PLZ
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07399-0001
MUIR & CO 0
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
MUIR & CO 1
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
MUIR & CO 3
C/O FROST BANK TRUST DEPT
P.O. BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC
SPECIAL CUSTODY A/C FBO CUSTOMERS
ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS
101 MONTGOMERY ST
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94101-4151
PIGEON & CO
PO BOX 2950
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78299-2950
DESCRIPTION OF RATINGS
Description of Ratings
The following descriptions of securities ratings have been published by Moody’s Investors Services, Inc. (“Moody’s”), S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”), and Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”), respectively.
Description of Moody’s Global Ratings
Ratings assigned on Moody’s global long-term and short-term rating scales are forward-looking opinions of the relative credit risks of financial obligations issued by non-financial corporates, financial institutions, structured finance vehicles, project finance vehicles, and public sector entities. Long-term ratings are assigned to issuers or obligations with an original maturity of one year or more and reflect both on the likelihood of a default or impairment on contractual financial obligations and the expected financial loss suffered in the event of default or impairment. Short-term ratings are assigned for obligations with an original maturity of thirteen months or less and reflect both on the likelihood of a default or impairment on contractual financial obligations and the expected financial loss suffered in the event of default or impairment.
Description of Moody’s Global Long-Term Ratings
Aaa Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.
Aa Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.
A Obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.
Baa Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.
Ba Obligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.
B Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.
Caa Obligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.
Ca Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.
C Obligations rated C are the lowest rated and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.
Note: Moody’s appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category.
Hybrid Indicator (hyb)
The hybrid indicator (hyb) is appended to all ratings of hybrid securities issued by banks, insurers, finance companies, and securities firms. By their terms, hybrid securities allow for the omission of scheduled dividends, interest, or principal payments, which can potentially result in impairment if such an omission occurs. Hybrid securities may also be subject to contractually allowable write-downs of principal that could result in impairment. Together with the hybrid indicator, the long-term obligation rating assigned to a hybrid security is an expression of the relative credit risk associated with that security.
Description of Moody’s Global Short-Term Ratings
P-1 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-1 have a superior ability to repay short-term debt obligations.
P-2 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-2 have a strong ability to repay short-term debt obligations.
P-3 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-3 have an acceptable ability to repay short-term obligations.
NP Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Not Prime do not fall within any of the Prime rating categories.
Description of Moody’s U.S. Municipal Short-Term Obligation Ratings
The Municipal Investment Grade (“MIG”) scale is used to rate U.S. municipal cash flow notes, bond anticipation notes and certain other short-term obligations, which typically mature in three years or less. Under certain circumstances, the MIG scale is used to rate bond anticipation notes with maturities of up to five years.
Moody’s U.S. municipal short-term obligation ratings are as follows:
MIG 1 This designation denotes superior credit quality. Excellent protection is afforded by established cash flows, highly reliable liquidity support, or demonstrated broad-based access to the market for refinancing.
MIG 2 This designation denotes strong credit quality. Margins of protection are ample, although not as large as in the preceding group.
MIG 3 This designation denotes acceptable credit quality. Liquidity and cash-flow protection may be narrow, and market access for refinancing is likely to be less well-established.
SG This designation denotes speculative-grade credit quality. Debt instruments in this category may lack sufficient margins of protection.
Description of Moody’s Demand Obligation Ratings
In the case of variable rate demand obligations (“VRDOs”), a two-component rating is assigned. The components are a long-term rating and a short-term demand obligation rating. The long-term rating addresses the issuer’s ability to meet scheduled principal and interest payments. The short-term demand obligation rating addresses the ability of the issuer or the liquidity provider to make payments associated with the purchase-price-upon-demand feature (“demand feature”) of the VRDO. The short-term demand obligation rating uses the Variable Municipal Investment Grade (“VMIG”) scale. VMIG ratings with liquidity support use as an input the short-term counterparty risk assessment of the support provider, or the long-term rating of the underlying obligor in the absence of third party liquidity support. Transitions of VMIG ratings of demand obligations with conditional liquidity support differ from transitions on the Prime scale to reflect the risk that external liquidity support will terminate if the issuer’s long-term rating drops below investment grade. The VMIG short-term demand obligation rating is typically assigned if the frequency of the demand feature is less than every three years. If the frequency of the demand feature is less than three years but the purchase price is payable only with remarketing proceeds, the short-term demand obligation rating is “NR”.
Moody’s demand obligation ratings are as follows:
VMIG 1 This designation denotes superior credit quality. Excellent protection is afforded by the superior short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.
VMIG 2 This designation denotes strong credit quality. Good protection is afforded by the strong short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.
VMIG 3 This designation denotes acceptable credit quality. Adequate protection is afforded by the satisfactory short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.
SG This designation denotes speculative-grade credit quality. Demand features rated in this category may be supported by a liquidity provider that does not have a sufficiently strong short-term rating or may lack the structural or legal protections necessary to ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.
Description of S&P’s Issue Credit Ratings
An S&P issue credit rating is a forward-looking opinion about the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a specific financial obligation, a specific class of financial obligations, or a specific financial program (including ratings on medium-term note programs and commercial paper programs). It takes into consideration the creditworthiness of guarantors, insurers, or other forms of credit enhancement on the obligation and takes into account the currency in which the obligation is denominated. The opinion reflects S&P’s view of the obligor’s capacity and willingness to meet its financial commitments as they come due, and this opinion may assess terms, such as collateral security and subordination, which could affect ultimate payment in the event of default.
Issue credit ratings can be either long-term or short-term. Short-term issue credit ratings are generally assigned to those obligations considered short-term in the relevant market, typically with an original maturity of no more than 365 days. Short-term issue credit ratings are also used to indicate the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to put features on long-term obligations. S&P would typically assign a long-term issue credit rating to an obligation with an original maturity of greater than 365 days. However, the ratings S&P assigns to certain instruments may diverge from these guidelines based on market practices. Medium-term notes are assigned long-term ratings.
Issue credit ratings are based, in varying degrees, on S&P’s analysis of the following considerations:
|•||The likelihood of payment—the capacity and willingness of the obligor to meet its financial commitments on an obligation in accordance with the terms of the obligation;|
|•||The nature and provisions of the financial obligation, and the promise S&P imputes; and|
|•||The protection afforded by, and relative position of, the financial obligation in the event of a bankruptcy, reorganization, or other arrangement under the laws of bankruptcy and other laws affecting creditors’ rights.|
An issue rating is an assessment of default risk but may incorporate an assessment of relative seniority or ultimate recovery in the event of default. Junior obligations are typically rated lower than senior obligations, to reflect lower priority in bankruptcy, as noted above. (Such differentiation may apply when an entity has both senior and subordinated obligations, secured and unsecured obligations, or operating company and holding company obligations.)
NR indicates that a rating has not been assigned or is no longer assigned.
Description of S&P’s Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings*
AAA An obligation rated ‘AAA’ has the highest rating assigned by S&P. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is extremely strong.
AA An obligation rated ‘AA’ differs from the highest-rated obligations only to a small degree. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is very strong.
A An obligation rated ‘A’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher-rated categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is still strong.
BBB An obligation rated ‘BBB’ exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.
BB; B; CCC; CC; and C Obligations rated ‘BB’, ‘B’, ‘CCC’, ‘CC’, and ‘C’ are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. ‘BB’ indicates the least degree of speculation and ‘C’ the highest. While such obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposure to adverse conditions.
BB An obligation rated ‘BB’ is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions that could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.
B An obligation rated ‘B’ is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.
CCC An obligation rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitments on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.
CC An obligation rated ‘CC’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment. The ‘CC’ rating is used when a default has not yet occurred but S&P expects default to be a virtual certainty, regardless of the anticipated time to default.
C An obligation rated ‘C’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment, and the obligation is expected to have lower relative seniority or lower ultimate recovery compared with obligations that are rated higher.
D An obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due, unless S&P believes that such payments will be made within five business days in the absence of a stated grace period or within the earlier of the stated grace period or 30 calendar days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. A rating on an obligation is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed debt restructuring.
|*||Ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the rating categories.|
Description of S&P’s Short-Term Issue Credit Ratings
A-1 A short-term obligation rated ‘A-1’ is rated in the highest category by S&P. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is strong. Within this category, certain obligations are designated with a plus sign (+). This indicates that the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on these obligations is extremely strong.
A-2 A short-term obligation rated ‘A-2’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rating categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is satisfactory.
A-3 A short-term obligation rated ‘A-3’ exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken an obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.
B A short-term obligation rated ‘B’ is regarded as vulnerable and has significant speculative characteristics. The obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments; however, it faces major ongoing uncertainties that could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments.
C A short-term obligation rated ‘C’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.
D A short-term obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due, unless S&P believes that such payments will be made within any stated grace period. However, any stated grace period longer than five business days will be treated as five business days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of a similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. A rating on an obligation is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed debt restructuring.
Description of S&P’s Municipal Short-Term Note Ratings
An S&P U.S. municipal note rating reflects S&P’s opinion about the liquidity factors and market access risks unique to the notes. Notes due in three years or less will likely receive a note rating. Notes with an original maturity of more than three years will most likely receive a long-term debt rating. In determining which type of rating, if any, to assign, S&P’s analysis will review the following considerations:
|•||Amortization schedule—the larger the final maturity relative to other maturities, the more likely it will be treated as a note; and|
|•||Source of payment—the more dependent the issue is on the market for its refinancing, the more likely it will be treated as a note.|
S&P’s municipal short-term note ratings are as follows:
SP-1 Strong capacity to pay principal and interest. An issue determined to possess a very strong capacity to pay debt service is given a plus (+) designation.
SP-2 Satisfactory capacity to pay principal and interest, with some vulnerability to adverse financial and economic changes over the term of the notes.
SP-3 Speculative capacity to pay principal and interest.
D ‘D’ is assigned upon failure to pay the note when due, completion of a distressed debt restructuring, or the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions.
Description of Fitch’s Credit Ratings
Fitch’s credit ratings relating to issuers are an opinion on the relative ability of an entity to meet financial commitments, such as interest, preferred dividends, repayment of principal, insurance claims or counterparty obligations. Credit ratings relating to securities and obligations of an issuer can include a recovery expectation. Credit ratings are used by investors as indications of the likelihood of receiving the money owed to them in accordance with the terms on which they invested.
The terms “investment grade” and “speculative grade” have established themselves over time as shorthand to describe the categories ‘AAA’ to ‘BBB’ (investment grade) and ‘BB’ to ‘D’ (speculative grade). The terms investment grade and speculative grade are market conventions and do not imply any recommendation or endorsement of a specific security for investment purposes. Investment grade categories indicate relatively low to moderate credit risk, while ratings in the speculative categories either signal a higher level of credit risk or that a default has already occurred.
For the convenience of investors, Fitch may also include issues relating to a rated issuer that are not and have not been rated on its web page. Such issues are also denoted as ‘NR’.
Fitch’s credit ratings do not directly address any risk other than credit risk. In particular, ratings do not deal with the risk of a market value loss on a rated security due to changes in interest rates, liquidity and other market considerations. However, in terms of payment obligation on the rated liability, market risk may be considered to the extent that it influences the ability of an issuer to pay upon a commitment.
Ratings nonetheless do not reflect market risk to the extent that they influence the size or other conditionality of the obligation to pay upon a commitment (for example, in the case of index-linked bonds).
In the default components of ratings assigned to individual obligations or instruments, the agency typically rates to the likelihood of non-payment or default in accordance with the terms of that instrument’s documentation. In limited cases, Fitch may include additional considerations (i.e. rate to a higher or lower standard than that implied in the obligation’s documentation).
Note: The modifiers “+” or “-” may be appended to a rating to denote relative status within major rating categories. Such suffixes are not added to the ‘AAA’ ratings and ratings below the ‘CCC’ category. For the short-term rating category of ‘F1’, a ‘+’ may be appended.
Description of Fitch’s Long-Term Corporate Finance Obligations Ratings
AAA Highest credit quality. ‘AAA’ ratings denote the lowest expectation of credit risk. They are assigned only in cases of exceptionally strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is highly unlikely to be adversely affected by foreseeable events.
AA Very high credit quality. ‘AA’ ratings denote expectations of very low credit risk. They indicate very strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is not significantly vulnerable to foreseeable events.
A High credit quality. ‘A’ ratings denote expectations of low credit risk. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered strong. This capacity may, nevertheless, be more vulnerable to adverse business or economic conditions than is the case for higher ratings.
BBB Good credit quality. ‘BBB’ ratings indicate that expectations of credit risk are currently low. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate, but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity.
BB Speculative. ‘BB’ ratings indicate an elevated vulnerability to credit risk, particularly in the event of adverse changes in business or economic conditions over time; however, business or financial alternatives may be available to allow financial commitments to be met.
B Highly speculative. ‘B’ ratings indicate that material credit risk is present.
CCC Substantial credit risk. ‘CCC’ ratings indicate that substantial credit risk is present.
CC Very high levels of credit risk. ‘CC’ ratings indicate very high levels of credit risk.
C Exceptionally high levels of credit risk. ‘C’ ratings indicate exceptionally high levels of credit risk.
Ratings in the categories of ‘CCC’, ‘CC’ and ‘C’ can also relate to obligations or issuers that are in default. In this case, the rating does not opine on default risk but reflects the recovery expectation only.
Defaulted obligations typically are not assigned ‘RD’ or ‘D’ ratings, but are instead rated in the ‘CCC’ to ‘C’ rating categories, depending on their recovery prospects and other relevant characteristics. This approach better aligns obligations that have comparable overall expected loss but varying vulnerability to default and loss.
Description of Fitch’s Short-Term Ratings
A short-term issuer or obligation rating is based in all cases on the short-term vulnerability to default of the rated entity and relates to the capacity to meet financial obligations in accordance with the documentation governing the relevant obligation. Short-term deposit ratings may be adjusted for loss severity. Short-Term Ratings are assigned to obligations whose initial maturity is viewed as “short term” based on market convention. A long-term rating can also be used to rate an issue with short maturity. Typically, this means up to 13 months for corporate, sovereign, and structured obligations, and up to 36 months for obligations in U.S. public finance markets.
Fitch’s short-term ratings are as follows:
F1 Highest short-term credit quality. Indicates the strongest intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments; may have an added “+” to denote any exceptionally strong credit feature.
F2 Good short-term credit quality. Good intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments.
F3 Fair short-term credit quality. The intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments is adequate.
B Speculative short-term credit quality. Minimal capacity for timely payment of financial commitments, plus heightened vulnerability to near term adverse changes in financial and economic conditions.
C High short-term default risk. Default is a real possibility.
RD Restricted default. Indicates an entity that has defaulted on one or more of its financial commitments, although it continues to meet other financial obligations. Typically applicable to entity ratings only.
D Default. Indicates a broad-based default event for an entity, or the default of a short-term obligation.
FROST INVESTMENT ADVISORS, LLC
PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Frost Investment Advisors, LLC has adopted the following proxy voting policies and procedures (the “Proxy Voting Policy”) for the voting of proxies on behalf of client accounts for which Frost Investment Advisors, LLC has voting discretion by contract, including the Frost Investment Advisors, LLC Funds. Under this Proxy Voting Policy, shares are to be voted in a timely manner and in the best interests of the client. Frost Investment Advisors, LLC’s CCO or their designee is responsible for monitoring compliance with these policies and procedures.
Frost Investment Advisors, LLC has retained an independent third party (the “Service Firm”) to review proxy proposals and to vote proxies in a manner consistent with an approved set of guidelines (the “Proxy Guidelines”). The Proxy Guidelines are provided by the Service Provider and approved by the Chief Investment Officer (“CIO”) of Frost Investment Advisors, LLC investment and the CCO or their designee. The CIO annually adopts the Proxy Guidelines concerning various corporate governance issues. The CIO has the ultimate responsibility for the content, interpretation and application of the Proxy Guidelines and may apply these Proxy Guidelines with a measure of flexibility. The CCO or their designee shall monitor the Service Firm to assure that all proxies are being properly voted and appropriate records are being retained.
Except as otherwise provided herein, the CIO may overrule the Service Firm and assert its authority to vote the proxies itself in instances where it is in disagreement with the Service Firm. The CIO may choose to vote contrary to the recommendations of the Service Firm, if it determines that such action is in the best interests of a Client. In exercising its discretion, the CIO may take into account a variety of factors relating to the matter under consideration, the nature of the proposal and the company involved. As a result, the CIO may vote in one manner in the case of one company and in a different manner in the case of another where, for example, the past history of the company, the character and integrity of its management, the role of outside directors, and the company’s record of producing performance for investors justifies a high degree of confidence in the company and the effect of the proposal on the value of the investment.
Similarly, poor past performance, uncertainties about management and future directions, and other factors may lead the CIO to conclude that particular proposals present unacceptable investment risks and should not be supported. The CIO also evaluates proposals in context. A particular proposal may be acceptable standing alone, but objectionable when part of an existing or proposed package. Special circumstances may also justify casting different votes for different clients with respect to the same proxy vote.
Frost Investment Advisors, LLC may occasionally be subject to conflicts of interest in the voting of proxies due to business or personal relationships with persons having an interest in the outcome of certain votes. For example, Frost Investment Advisors, LLC or its affiliates may provide trust, custody, investment management, brokerage, underwriting, banking and related services to accounts owned or controlled by companies whose management is soliciting proxies. Occasionally, Frost Investment Advisors, LLC may also have business or personal relationships with other proponents of proxy proposals, participants in proxy contests, corporate directors or candidates for directorships. Frost Investment Advisors, LLC may also be required to vote proxies for securities issued by Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. or its affiliates or on matters in which Frost Investment Advisors, LLC has a direct financial interest, such as shareholder approval of a change in the advisory fees paid by a Fund.
Frost Investment Advisors, LLC seeks to address such conflicts of interest through various measures above, including and the retention of the Service Firm to perform proxy review and vote recommendation functions. The CIO has the responsibility to determine whether a proxy vote involves a potential conflict of interest and how the conflict should be addressed in conformance with the Proxy Voting Policy. The CIO would normally resolve such conflicts by allowing the Service Firm to vote in accordance with the Proxy Guidelines.
Frost Investment Advisors, LLC may choose to instruct the Service Firm not to vote proxies in certain situations or for a client. This may occur, for example, in situations where the exercise of voting rights could restrict the ability to freely trade the security in question (as is the case, for example, in certain foreign jurisdictions known as “blocking markets”). In addition, voting certain international securities may involve unusual costs to clients. In other cases it may not be possible to vote certain proxies despite good faith efforts to do so, for instance when inadequate notice of the matter is provided. In the instance of loan securities, voting of proxies typically requires termination of the loan, so it is not usually in the best economic interests of clients to vote proxies on loaned securities. Frost Investment Advisors, LLC typically will not, but reserves the right to, vote where share blocking restrictions, unusual costs or other barriers to efficient voting apply. If Frost Investment Advisors, LLC does not vote, it would have made the determination that the cost of voting exceeds the expected benefit to the client. The CIO shall record the reason for any proxy not being voted, which record shall be kept with the proxy voting records of Frost Investment Advisors, LLC.
In circumstances in which the Service Firm does not provide recommendations for a particular proxy, the CIO may obtain recommendations from analysts at Frost Investment Advisors, LLC who review the issuer in question or the industry in general. The CIO will apply the Proxy Guidelines as discussed above to any such recommendation.
Clients will be informed how they may obtain these proxy voting policies and procedures through Frost Investment Advisors, LLC’s Part 2A of Form ADV, in the Funds’ Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). Further proxy voting information may be obtained in the Funds’ SAI and shareholder’s reports.
A report of proxies voted for the Funds is made quarterly to the Board, noting any proxies that were voted in exception to the Proxy Guidelines. Frost Investment Advisors, LLC’s proxy voting record will also be filed on Form N-PX. An annual record of all proxy votes cast for the Funds during the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 can be obtained, free of charge, on the Fund’s website, and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Frost Investment Advisors, LLC will prepare and maintain the following records of its proxy voting:
|•||The proxy voting policies and procedures;|
|•||Copies of proxy statements Frost Investment Advisors, LLC received for client securities;|
|•||A record of each vote Frost Investment Advisors, LLC cast on behalf of a client;|
|•||A copy of any document Frost Investment Advisors, LLC created that was material to making a decision on how to vote proxies on behalf of a client or that memorializes the basis for that decision; and|
A copy of each written client request for information on how Frost Investment Advisors, LLC voted proxies on behalf of the client, and a copy of any written response by Frost Investment Advisors, LLC to any (written or oral) client request for that information on behalf of the requesting client.