Statement of Additional Information
John Hancock Funds II
January 1, 2024
 
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Alternative Asset Allocation Fund
JAAAX
JAACX
JAAIX
JAAPX
JAASX
N/A
JAARX
N/A
N/A
Blue Chip Growth Fund
JBGAX
JBGCX
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
JHBCDX
JIBCX
Capital Appreciation Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
JHCPX
JICPX
Capital Appreciation Value Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Core Bond Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
JHCDX
JICDX
Emerging Markets Fund
JEVAX
JEVCX
JEVIX
N/A
JEVRX
JEVNX
N/A
Emerging Markets Debt Fund
JMKAX
JMKCX
JMKIX
JHEMX
JHMDX
N/A
JEMIX
N/A
Equity Income Fund
JHEIX
JHERX
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
JIEMX
Floating Rate Income Fund
JFIAX
JFIGX
JFIIX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JFIRX
JFIHX
Fundamental Global Franchise Fund
JFGAX
N/A
JFGIX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JFGFX
N/A
Global Equity Fund
JHGEX
JGECX
JGEFX
JGERX
JGETX
N/A
JGEMX
N/A
Health Sciences Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
High Yield Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
JHHDX
JIHDX
International Small Company Fund
JISAX
JISDX
JSCIX
JHSMX
N/A
International Strategic Equity Allocation Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Mid Value Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
JMVNX
N/A
Multi-Asset High Income Fund
JIAFX
JIAGX
JIAIX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JIASX
N/A
Lifestyle Blend Aggressive Portfolio
JABQX
N/A
JIIRX
N/A
JIIOX
Lifestyle Blend Balanced Portfolio
JABMX
N/A
JIBRX
N/A
JIBOX
Lifestyle Blend Conservative Portfolio
JABJX
N/A
JLCSX
N/A
JLCGX
Lifestyle Blend Growth Portfolio
JABPX
N/A
JLGSX
N/A
JLGOX
Lifestyle Blend Moderate Portfolio
JABKX
N/A
JLMRX
N/A
JLMOX
2065 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHBLX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JAAJX
N/A
JAAKX
N/A
JAAFX
2060 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHBKX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JHIKX
N/A
JIEHX
N/A
JRODX
2055 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHBJX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JLKWX
N/A
JLKYX
N/A
JLKZX
2050 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHBFX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRTYX
N/A
JRLZX
N/A
JRLWX
2045 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHBEX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRLUX
N/A
JRLVX
N/A
JRLQX
2040 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHBAX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRTVX
N/A
JRTWX
N/A
JRTTX
2035 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHAYX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRTMX
N/A
JRTNX
N/A
JRTKX
2030 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHAVX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRTIX
N/A
JRTJX
N/A
JRTGX
2025 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHAUX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRTDX
N/A
JRTFX
N/A
JRTBX
Manulife, Manulife Investment Management, Stylized M Design, and Manulife Investment Management & Stylized M Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by its affiliates under license.
JH0831SAI

 
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2020 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHAPX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRLPX
N/A
JRTAX
N/A
JRLOX
2015 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHAOX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRLKX
N/A
JRLLX
N/A
JRLIX
2010 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
JHANX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JRLFX
N/A
JRLHX
N/A
JRLDX
Multimanager 2065 Lifetime Portfolio
JAAWX
N/A
JABSX
JAAZX
JABBX
JABDX
JABEX
N/A
JAAVX
Multimanager 2060 Lifetime Portfolio
JJERX
N/A
JMENX
JVIMX
JROUX
JGHTX
JESRX
N/A
JRETX
Multimanager 2055 Lifetime Portfolio
JLKLX
N/A
JHRTX
JLKNX
JLKQX
JLKSX
JLKTX
N/A
JLKUX
Multimanager 2050 Lifetime Portfolio
JLKAX
N/A
JHRPX
JLKEX
JLKGX
JLKHX
JLKRX
N/A
JLKOX
Multimanager 2045 Lifetime Portfolio
JLJAX
N/A
JHROX
JLJEX
JLJGX
JLJHX
JLJIX
N/A
JLJOX
Multimanager 2040 Lifetime Portfolio
JLIAX
N/A
JHRDX
JLIEX
JLIGX
JLIHX
JLIIX
N/A
JLIOX
Multimanager 2035 Lifetime Portfolio
JLHAX
N/A
JHRMX
JLHEX
JLHGX
JLHHX
JLHIX
N/A
JLHOX
Multimanager 2030 Lifetime Portfolio
JLFAX
N/A
JHRGX
JLFEX
JLFGX
JLFHX
JLFIX
N/A
JLFOX
Multimanager 2025 Lifetime Portfolio
JLEAX
N/A
JHRNX
JLEEX
JLEGX
JLEHX
JLEIX
N/A
JLEOX
Multimanager 2020 Lifetime Portfolio
JLDAX
N/A
JHRVX
JLDEX
JLDGX
JLDHX
JLDIX
N/A
JLDOX
Multimanager 2015 Lifetime Portfolio
JLBAX
N/A
JHREX
JLBKX
JLBGX
JLBHX
JLBJX
N/A
JLBOX
Multimanager 2010 Lifetime Portfolio
JLAAX
N/A
JHRLX
JLAEX
JLAGX
JLAHX
JLAIX
N/A
JLAOX
New Opportunities Fund
JASOX
JBSOX
JHSOX
JSSOX
JUSOX
N/A
JWSOX
JISOX
Opportunistic Fixed Income Fund
JABWX
JABOX
JABTX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JABUX
JHGDX
JIGDX
Real Estate Securities Fund
JYEBX
JABFX
JABGX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JABIX
JIREX
Science & Technology Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Small Cap Dynamic Growth Fund (formerly Small Cap Growth
Fund)
JSJAX
JSJCX
JSJIX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JSJFX
N/A
Small Cap Value Fund
JSCAX
N/A
JSCBX
N/A
N/A
N/A
JSCCX
N/A
Strategic Income Opportunities Fund
JIPAX
JIPCX
JIPIX
JIPPX
N/A
N/A
JIPRX
N/A
U.S. Sector Rotation Fund
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) provides information about each fund listed above (each a fund and collectively, the funds). Each fund is a series of the Trust indicated above. The information in this SAI is in addition to the information that is contained in each fund’s prospectus dated January 1, 2024, as amended and supplemented from time to time (collectively, the “Prospectus”). The funds may offer other share classes that are described in separate prospectuses and SAIs.
This SAI is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus. This SAI incorporates by reference the financial statements of each fund for the period ended August 31, 2023, as well as the related opinion of the fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, as included in the fund’s most recent annual report to shareholders (each an “Annual Report”). The financial statements of each fund for the fiscal period ended August 31, 2023 are available through the following link(s):
Form N-CSR filed October 13, 2023 for:
Lifetime Blend Portfolios
Lifestyle Blend Portfolios
Multimanager Lifetime Portfolios
Alternative Asset Allocation Fund
Blue Chip Growth Fund
Equity Income Fund
Fundamental Global Franchise Fund
Global Equity Fund
International Small Company Fund
Small Cap Dynamic Growth Fund
Small Cap Value Fund
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1331971/000168386322006751/f12710d1.htm
Form N-CSR filed October 20, 2023 for:
Emerging Markets Debt Fund

Emerging Markets Fund
Multi-Asset High Income Fund
New Opportunities Fund
Real Estate Securities Fund
Strategic Income Opportunities Fund
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1331971/000168386323007210/f36522d1.htm
Form N-CSR filed October 27, 2023 for:
Capital Appreciation Fund
Capital Appreciation Value Fund
Core Bond Fund
Health Sciences Fund
High Yield Fund
International Strategic Equity Allocation Fund
Mid Value Fund
Opportunistic Fixed Income Fund
Science & Technology Fund
U.S. Sector Rotation Fund
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1331971/000168386323007301/f36524d1.htm
Form N-CSR filed November 6, 2023 for:
A copy of a Prospectus or an Annual Report can be obtained free of charge by contacting:
John Hancock Signature Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 219909
Kansas City, MO 64121-9909
800-225-5291
jhinvestments.com

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Glossary
Term
Definition
“1933 Act”
the Securities Act of 1933, as amended
“1940 Act”
the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended
“Advisers Act”
the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended
“Advisor”
John Hancock Investment Management LLC (formerly, John Hancock Advisers, LLC), 200 Berkeley Street,
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
“Advisory Agreement”
an investment advisory agreement or investment management contract between the Trust and the Advisor
“Affiliated Subadvisors”
Manulife Investment Management (North America) Limited and Manulife Investment Management (US) LLC, as
applicable
“affiliated underlying funds”
underlying funds that are advised by John Hancock’s investment advisor or its affiliates
“BDCs”
business development companies
“Board”
Board of Trustees of the Trust
“Bond Connect”
Mutual Bond Market Access between Mainland China and Hong Kong
“Brown Brothers Harriman”
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
“CATS”
Certificates of Accrual on Treasury Securities
“CBOs”
Collateralized Bond Obligations
“CCO”
Chief Compliance Officer
“CDSC”
Contingent Deferred Sales Charge
“CEA”
the Commodity Exchange Act, as amended
“China A-Shares”
Chinese stock exchanges
“CIBM”
China interbank bond market
“CLOs”
Collateralized Loan Obligations
“CMOs”
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations
“Code”
the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended
“COFI floaters”
Cost of Funds Index
“CPI”
Consumer Price Index
“CPI-U”
Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers
“CPO”
Commodity Pool Operator
“CFTC”
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
“Citibank”
Citibank, N.A., 388 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013
“Distributor”
John Hancock Investment Management Distributors LLC (formerly, John Hancock Funds, LLC), 200 Berkeley
Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116
“EMU”
Economic and Monetary Union
“ETFs”
Exchange-Traded Funds
“ETNs”
Exchange-Traded Notes
“EU”
European Union
“Fannie Mae”
Federal National Mortgage Association
“FATCA”
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
“Fed”
U.S. Federal Reserve
“FHFA”
Federal Housing Finance Agency
“FHLBs”
Federal Home Loan Banks
“FICBs”
Federal Intermediate Credit Banks
“Fitch”
Fitch Ratings
“Freddie Mac”
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
“funds” or “series”
The John Hancock funds within this SAI as noted on the front cover and as the context may require
“funds of funds”
funds that seek to achieve their investment objectives by investing in underlying funds, as permitted by
Section 12(d) of the 1940 Act and the rules thereunder
“GNMA”
Government National Mortgage Association
“HKSCC”
Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company
2

Term
Definition
“IOs”
Interest-Only
“IRA”
Individual Retirement Account
“IRS”
Internal Revenue Service
“JHCT”
John Hancock Collateral Trust
“JH Distributors”
John Hancock Distributors, LLC
“JHLICO New York”
John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York
“JHLICO U.S.A.”
John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.)
“LOI”
Letter of Intention
“LIBOR”
London Interbank Offered Rate
“MAAP”
Monthly Automatic Accumulation Program
“Manulife Financial” or “MFC”
Manulife Financial, a publicly traded company based in Toronto, Canada
“Manulife IM (NA)”
Manulife Investment Management (North America) Limited (formerly, John Hancock Asset Management a
Division of Manulife Asset Management (North America) Limited)
“Manulife IM (US)”
Manulife Investment Management (US) LLC (formerly, John Hancock Asset Management a Division of Manulife
Asset Management (US) LLC)
“MiFID II”
Markets in Financial Instruments Directive
“Moody's”
Moody’s Investors Service, Inc
“NAV”
Net Asset Value
“NRSRO”
Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization
“NYSE”
New York Stock Exchange
“OID”
Original Issue Discount
“OTC”
Over-The-Counter
“PAC”
Planned Amortization Class
“PFS”
Personal Financial Services
“POs”
Principal-Only
“PRC”
People's Republic of China
“REITs”
Real Estate Investment Trusts
“RIC”
Regulated Investment Company
“RPS”
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services
“SARSEP”
Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pension Plan
“SEC”
Securities and Exchange Commission
“SEP”
Simplified Employee Pension
“SIMPLE”
Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees
“S&P”
S&P  Global Ratings
“SLMA”
Student Loan Marketing Association
“SPACs”
Special Purpose Acquisition Companies
“State Street”
State Street Bank and Trust Company, One Congress Street, Suite 1, Boston, MA 02114
“Stock Connect”
Hong Kong Stock Connect Program
“subadvisor”
Any subadvisors employed by John Hancock within this SAI as noted in Appendix B and as the context may
require
“TAC”
Target Amortization Class
“TIGRs”
Treasury Receipts, Treasury Investors Growth Receipts
3

Term
Definition
“Trust”
John Hancock Bond Trust
John Hancock California Tax-Free Income Fund
John Hancock Capital Series
John Hancock Current Interest
John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust
John Hancock Funds II
John Hancock Funds III
John Hancock Investment Trust
John Hancock Investment Trust II
John Hancock Municipal Securities Trust
John Hancock Sovereign Bond Fund
John Hancock Strategic Series
John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust
“TSA”
Tax-Sheltered Annuity
“unaffiliated underlying funds”
underlying funds that are advised by an entity other than John Hancock’s investment advisor or its affiliates
“underlying funds”
funds in which the funds of funds invest
“UK”
United Kingdom
4

Organization of the TRUST
The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust under the laws of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is an open-end management investment company registered under the 1940 Act. Each of Blue Chip Growth Fund, Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Fundamental Global Franchise Fund, and Real Estate Securities Fund is a non-diversified series of the Trust and each other fund is a diversified series of the Trust, as those terms are used in the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time. The funds of funds may invest in affiliated and unaffiliated underlying funds. The following table sets forth the date the Trust was organized:
Trust
Date of Organization
John Hancock Funds II
June 28, 2005
The Advisor is a Delaware limited liability company whose principal offices are located at 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116. The Advisor is registered as an investment advisor under the Advisers Act. The Advisor is an indirect principally owned subsidiary of JHLICO U.S.A. JHLICO U.S.A. and its subsidiaries today offer a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found on the Internet at johnhancock.com. The ultimate controlling parent of the Advisor is MFC, a publicly traded company based in Toronto, Canada. MFC is the holding company of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, collectively known as Manulife Financial.
The Advisor has retained for each fund a subadvisor that is responsible for providing investment advice to the fund subject to the review of the Board and the overall supervision of the Advisor.
Manulife Financial is a leading international financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada, and the United States. Operating primarily as John Hancock in the United States and Manulife elsewhere, it provides financial protection products and advice, insurance, as well as wealth and asset management services through its extensive network of solutions for individuals, groups, and institutions. Its global headquarters are in Toronto, Canada, and it trades as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto Stock Exchange, NYSE, and the Philippine Stock Exchange, and under '945' in Hong Kong. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.
The following table sets forth each fund's inception date:
Fund
Commencement of Operations
Alternative Asset Allocation Fund
January 2, 2009
Blue Chip Growth Fund
October 17, 2005
Capital Appreciation Fund
October 17, 2005
Capital Appreciation Value Fund
January 6, 2011
Core Bond Fund
October 17, 2005
Emerging Markets Fund
May 1, 2007
Emerging Markets Debt Fund
January 4, 2010
Equity Income Fund
October 17, 2005
Floating Rate Income Fund
January 2, 2008
Fundamental Global Franchise Fund
June 29, 2012
Global Equity Fund
May 16, 2013
Health Sciences Fund
September 30, 2011
High Yield Fund
October 15, 2005
International Small Company Fund
April 28, 2006
International Strategic Equity Allocation Fund
October 17, 2016
Mid Value Fund
January 2, 2009
Multi-Asset High Income Fund
November 14, 2014
Lifestyle Blend Aggressive Portfolio
December 30, 2013
Lifestyle Blend Balanced Portfolio
December 30, 2013
Lifestyle Blend Conservative Portfolio
December 30, 2013
Lifestyle Blend Growth Portfolio
December 30, 2013
Lifestyle Blend Moderate Portfolio
December 30, 2013
2065 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
September 23, 2020
2060 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
March 30, 2016
2055 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
March 26, 2014
2050 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
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Fund
Commencement of Operations
2045 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
2040 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
2035 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
2030 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
2025 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
2020 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
2015 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
2010 Lifetime Blend Portfolio
November 7, 2013
Multimanager 2065 Lifetime Portfolio
September 23, 2020
Multimanager 2060 Lifetime Portfolio
March 30, 2016
Multimanager 2055 Lifetime Portfolio
March 26, 2014
Multimanager 2050 Lifetime Portfolio
April 29, 2011
Multimanager 2045 Lifetime Portfolio
October 30, 2006
Multimanager 2040 Lifetime Portfolio
October 30, 2006
Multimanager 2035 Lifetime Portfolio
October 30, 2006
Multimanager 2030 Lifetime Portfolio
October 30, 2006
Multimanager 2025 Lifetime Portfolio
October 30, 2006
Multimanager 2020 Lifetime Portfolio
October 30, 2006
Multimanager 2015 Lifetime Portfolio
October 30, 2006
Multimanager 2010 Lifetime Portfolio
October 30, 2006
New Opportunities Fund
October 17, 2005
Opportunistic Fixed Income Fund
October 17, 2005
Real Estate Securities Fund
October 15, 2005
Science & Technology Fund
February 14, 2013
Small Cap Dynamic Growth Fund
October 31, 2005
Small Cap Value Fund
December 16, 2008
Strategic Income Opportunities Fund
April 28, 2006
U.S. Sector Rotation Fund
September 26, 2016
If a fund or share class has been in operation for a period that is shorter than the three-year fiscal period covered in this SAI, information is provided for the period the fund or share class, as applicable, was in operation.
Additional Investment Policies and Other Instruments
The principal strategies and risks of investing in each fund are described in the applicable Prospectus. Unless otherwise stated in the applicable Prospectus or this SAI, the investment objective and policies of the funds may be changed without shareholder approval. Each fund may invest in the instruments below, and such instruments and investment policies apply to each fund, but only if and to the extent that such policies are consistent with and permitted by a fund's investment objective and policies. Each fund may also have indirect exposure to the instruments described below through derivative contracts, if applicable. By owning shares of the underlying funds, each fund of funds indirectly invests in the securities and instruments held by the underlying funds and bears the same risks of such underlying funds.
Asset-Backed Securities
The securitization techniques used to develop mortgage securities also are being applied to a broad range of other assets. Through the use of trusts and special purpose corporations, automobile and credit card receivables are being securitized in pass-through structures similar to mortgage pass-through structures or in a pay-through structure similar to the CMO structure.
Generally, the issuers of asset-backed bonds, notes or pass-through certificates are special purpose entities and do not have any significant assets other than the receivables securing such obligations. In general, the collateral supporting asset-backed securities is of a shorter maturity than that of mortgage loans. As a result, investment in these securities should be subject to less volatility than mortgage securities. Instruments backed by pools of receivables are similar to mortgage-backed securities in that they are subject to unscheduled prepayments of principal prior to maturity. When the obligations are prepaid, a fund must reinvest the prepaid amounts in securities with the prevailing interest rates at the time. Therefore, a fund’s ability to maintain an investment including high-yielding asset-backed securities will be affected adversely to the extent that prepayments of principal must be
6

reinvested in securities that have lower yields than the prepaid obligations. Moreover, prepayments of securities purchased at a premium could result in a realized loss. Unless otherwise stated in its Prospectus, a fund will only invest in asset-backed securities rated, at the time of purchase, “AA” or better by S&P or Fitch or “Aa” or better by Moody’s.
As with mortgage securities, asset-backed securities are often backed by a pool of assets representing the obligation of a number of different parties and use similar credit enhancement techniques. For a description of the types of credit enhancement that may accompany asset-backed securities, see “Types of Credit Support” below. When a fund invests in asset-backed securities, it will not limit its investments in asset-backed securities to those with credit enhancements. Although asset-backed securities are not generally traded on a national securities exchange, such securities are widely traded by brokers and dealers, and will not be considered illiquid securities for the purposes of the investment restriction on illiquid securities under the sub-section “Illiquid Securities” in this section below.
Types of Credit Support. To lessen the impact of an obligor’s failure to make payments on underlying assets, mortgage securities and asset-backed securities may contain elements of credit support. Such credit support falls into two categories:
liquidity protection; and
default protection.
Liquidity protection refers to the provision of advances, generally by the entity administering the pool of assets, to ensure that the pass-through of payments due on the underlying pool of assets occurs in a timely fashion. Default protection provides protection against losses resulting from ultimate default and enhances the likelihood of ultimate payment of the obligations on at least a portion of the assets in the pool. This protection may be provided through guarantees, insurance policies or letters of credit obtained by the issuer or sponsor from third parties, through various means of structuring the transaction or through a combination of such approaches. A fund will not pay any additional fees for such credit support, although the existence of credit support may increase the price of a security.
Some examples of credit support include:
“senior-subordinated securities” (multiple class securities with one or more classes subordinate to other classes as to the payment of principal thereof and interest thereon, with the result that defaults on the underlying assets are borne first by the holders of the subordinated class);
creation of “reserve funds” (where cash or investments, sometimes funded from a portion of the payments on the underlying assets, are held in reserve against future losses); and
“over-collateralization” (where the scheduled payments on, or the principal amount of, the underlying assets exceed those required to make payment on the securities and pay any servicing or other fees).
The ratings of mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities for which third-party credit enhancement provides liquidity protection or default protection are generally dependent upon the continued creditworthiness of the provider of the credit enhancement. The ratings of these securities could be reduced in the event of deterioration in the creditworthiness of the credit enhancement provider even in cases where the delinquency and loss experienced on the underlying pool of assets is better than expected.
The degree of credit support provided for each issue is generally based on historical information concerning the level of credit risk associated with the underlying assets. Delinquency or loss greater than anticipated could adversely affect the return on an investment in mortgage securities or asset-backed securities.
Collateralized Debt Obligations. CBOs, CLOs, other collateralized debt obligations, and other similarly structured securities (collectively, “CDOs”) are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is a trust that 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. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses.
In a CDO structure, 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 it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CDO trust typically has a higher rating and lower yield than its underlying securities, and can be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, 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 CDO securities as a class. In the case of all CDO tranches, the market prices of and yields on tranches with longer terms to maturity tend to be more volatile than those of tranches with shorter terms to maturity due to the greater volatility and uncertainty of cash flows.
Borrowing
Unless otherwise prohibited, a fund may borrow money in an amount that does not exceed 33% of its total assets. Borrowing by a fund involves leverage, which may exaggerate any increase or decrease in a fund’s investment performance and in that respect may be considered a speculative practice. The interest that a fund must pay on any borrowed money, additional fees to maintain a line of credit or any minimum average balances
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required to be maintained are additional costs that will reduce or eliminate any potential investment income and may offset any capital gains. Unless the appreciation and income, if any, on the asset acquired with borrowed funds exceed the cost of borrowing, the use of leverage will diminish the investment performance of a fund.
Brady Bonds
Brady Bonds are debt securities issued under the framework of the “Brady Plan,” an initiative announced by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady in 1989 as a mechanism for debtor nations to restructure their outstanding external commercial bank indebtedness. The Brady Plan framework, as it has developed, involves the exchange of external commercial bank debt for newly issued bonds (“Brady Bonds”). Brady Bonds also may be issued in respect of new money being advanced by existing lenders in connection with the debt restructuring. Brady Bonds issued to date generally have maturities between 15 and 30 years from the date of issuance and have traded at a deep discount from their face value. In addition to Brady Bonds, investments in emerging market governmental obligations issued as a result of debt restructuring agreements outside of the scope of the Brady Plan are available.
Agreements implemented under the Brady Plan to date are designed to achieve debt and debt-service reduction through specific options negotiated by a debtor nation with its creditors. As a result, the financial packages offered by each country differ. The types of options have included:
the exchange of outstanding commercial bank debt for bonds issued at 100% of face value that carry a below-market stated rate of interest (generally known as par bonds);
bonds issued at a discount from face value (generally known as discount bonds);
bonds bearing an interest rate which increases over time; and
bonds issued in exchange for the advancement of new money by existing lenders.
Discount bonds issued to date under the framework of the Brady Plan have generally borne interest computed semiannually at a rate equal to 13/16th of one percent above current six-month LIBOR. Regardless of the stated face amount and interest rate of the various types of Brady Bonds, when investing in Brady Bonds, a fund will purchase Brady Bonds in secondary markets in which the price and yield to the investor reflect market conditions at the time of purchase.
Certain sovereign bonds are entitled to “value recovery payments” in certain circumstances, which in effect constitute supplemental interest payments but generally are not collateralized. Certain Brady Bonds have been collateralized as to principal due at maturity (typically 15 to 30 years from the date of issuance) by U.S. Treasury zero coupon bonds with a maturity equal to the final maturity of such Brady Bonds, although the collateral is not available to investors until the final maturity of the Brady Bonds. Collateral purchases are financed by the International Monetary Fund (the “IMF”), the World Bank and the debtor nations’ reserves. In addition, interest payments on certain types of Brady Bonds may be collateralized by cash or high-grade securities in amounts that typically represent between 12 and 18 months of interest accruals on these instruments, with the balance of the interest accruals being uncollateralized.
A fund may purchase Brady Bonds with no or limited collateralization, and must rely for payment of interest and (except in the case of principal collateralized Brady Bonds) principal primarily on the willingness and ability of the foreign government to make payment in accordance with the terms of the Brady Bonds.
Brady Bonds issued to date are purchased and sold in secondary markets through U.S. securities dealers and other financial institutions and are generally maintained through European transactional securities depositories. A substantial portion of the Brady Bonds and other sovereign debt securities in which a fund invests are likely to be acquired at a discount.
Canadian and Provincial Government and Crown Agency Obligations
Canadian Government Obligations. Canadian government obligations are debt securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the government of Canada pursuant to authority granted by the Parliament of Canada and approved by the Governor in Council, where necessary. These securities include treasury bills, notes, bonds, debentures and marketable government of Canada loans.
Canadian Crown Obligations. Canadian Crown agency obligations are debt securities issued or guaranteed by a Crown corporation, company or agency (“Crown Agencies”) pursuant to authority granted by the Parliament of Canada and approved by the Governor in Council, where necessary. Certain Crown Agencies are by statute agents of Her Majesty in right of Canada, and their obligations, when properly authorized, constitute direct obligations of the government of Canada. These obligations include, but are not limited to, those issued or guaranteed by the:
Export Development Corporation;
Farm Credit Corporation;
Federal Business Development Bank; and
Canada Post Corporation.
In addition, certain Crown Agencies that are not, by law, agents of Her Majesty may issue obligations that, by statute, the Governor in Council may authorize the Minister of Finance to guarantee on behalf of the government of Canada. Other Crown Agencies that are not, by law, agents of Her Majesty
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may issue or guarantee obligations not entitled to be guaranteed by the government of Canada. No assurance can be given that the government of Canada will support the obligations of Crown Agencies that are not agents of Her Majesty, which it has not guaranteed, since it is not obligated to do so by law.
Provincial Government Obligations. Provincial Government obligations are debt securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the government of any province of Canada pursuant to authority granted by the provincial Legislature and approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of such province, where necessary. These securities include treasury bills, notes, bonds and debentures.
Provincial Crown Agency Obligations. Provincial Crown Agency obligations are debt securities issued or guaranteed by a provincial Crown corporation, company or agency (“Provincial Crown Agencies”) pursuant to authority granted by the provincial Legislature and approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of such province, where necessary. Certain Provincial Crown Agencies are by statute agents of Her Majesty in right of a particular province of Canada, and their obligations, when properly authorized, constitute direct obligations of such province. Other Provincial Crown Agencies that are not, by law, agents of Her Majesty in right of a particular province of Canada may issue obligations that, by statute, the Lieutenant Governor in Council of such province may guarantee, or may authorize the Treasurer thereof to guarantee, on behalf of the government of such province. Finally, other Provincial Crown Agencies that are not, by law, agencies of Her Majesty may issue or guarantee obligations not entitled to be guaranteed by a provincial government. No assurance can be given that the government of any province of Canada will support the obligations of Provincial Crown Agencies that are not agents of Her Majesty and that it has not guaranteed, as it is not obligated to do so by law. Provincial Crown Agency obligations described above include, but are not limited to, those issued or guaranteed by a:
provincial railway corporation;
provincial hydroelectric or power commission or authority;
provincial municipal financing corporation or agency; and
provincial telephone commission or authority.
Certificates of Deposit, Time Deposits, and Bankers’ Acceptances
Certificates of Deposit. Certificates of deposit are certificates issued against funds deposited in a bank or a savings and loan. They are issued for a definite period of time and earn a specified rate of return.
Time Deposits. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates.
Bankers’ Acceptances. Bankers’ acceptances are short-term credit instruments evidencing the obligation of a bank to pay a draft which has been drawn on it by a customer. These instruments reflect the obligations both of the bank and of the drawer to pay the face amount of the instrument upon maturity. They are primarily used to finance the import, export, transfer or storage of goods. They are “accepted” when a bank guarantees their payment at maturity.
These obligations are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Commercial Paper and Short-Term Notes
Commercial paper consists of unsecured promissory notes issued by corporations. Issues of commercial paper and short-term notes will normally have maturities of less than nine months and fixed rates of return, although such instruments may have maturities of up to one year.
Variable Amount Master Demand Notes. Commercial paper obligations may include variable amount master demand notes. Variable amount master demand notes are obligations that permit the investment of fluctuating amounts at varying rates of interest pursuant to direct arrangements between a fund, as lender, and the borrower. These notes permit daily changes in the amounts borrowed. The investing (i.e., “lending”) fund has the right to increase the amount under the note at any time up to the full amount provided by the note agreement, or to decrease the amount, and the borrower may prepay up to the full amount of the note without penalty. Because variable amount master demand notes are direct lending arrangements between the lender and borrower, it is not generally contemplated that such instruments will be traded. There is no secondary market for these notes, although they are redeemable (and thus immediately repayable by the borrower) at face value, plus accrued interest, at any time.
Except in the case of Opportunistic Fixed Income Fund, an affiliated underlying fund, a subadvisor will only invest in variable amount master demand notes issued by companies that, at the date of investment, have an outstanding debt issue rated “Aaa” or “Aa” by Moody’s or “AAA” or “AA” by S&P or Fitch, and that the subadvisor has determined present minimal risk of loss. A subadvisor will look generally at the financial strength of the issuing company as “backing” for the note and not to any security interest or supplemental source, such as a bank letter of credit. A variable amount master demand note will be valued on each day a NAV is determined. The NAV generally will be equal to the face value of the note plus accrued interest unless the financial position of the issuer is such that its ability to repay the note when due is in question.
Conversion of Debt Securities
In the event debt securities held by a fund are converted to or exchanged for equity securities, the fund may continue to hold such equity securities, but only if and to the extent consistent with and permitted by its investment objective and policies.
Convertible Securities
Convertible securities may include corporate notes or preferred securities. Investments in convertible securities are not subject to the rating criteria with respect to non-convertible debt obligations. As with all debt securities, the market value of convertible securities tends to decline as interest rates
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increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. The market value of convertible securities can also be heavily dependent upon the changing value of the equity securities into which such securities are convertible, depending on whether the market price of the underlying security exceeds the conversion price. Convertible securities generally rank senior to common stocks in an issuer’s capital structure and consequently entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock. However, the extent to which such risk is reduced depends upon the degree to which the convertible security sells above its value as a fixed-income security.
Corporate Obligations
Corporate obligations are bonds and notes issued by corporations to finance long-term credit needs.
Depositary Receipts
Securities of foreign issuers may include American Depositary Receipts, European Depositary Receipts, Global Depositary Receipts, International Depositary Receipts, and Non-Voting Depositary Receipts (“ADRs,” “EDRs,” “GDRs,” “IDRs,” and “NVDRs,” respectively, and collectively, “Depositary Receipts”). Depositary Receipts are certificates typically issued by a bank or trust company that give their holders the right to receive securities issued by a foreign or domestic corporation.
ADRs are U.S. dollar-denominated securities backed by foreign securities deposited in a U.S. securities depository. ADRs are created for trading in the U.S. markets. The value of an ADR will fluctuate with the value of the underlying security and will reflect any changes in exchange rates. An investment in ADRs involves risks associated with investing in foreign securities. Issuers of unsponsored ADRs are not contractually obligated to disclose material information in the United States, and, therefore, there may not be a correlation between that information and the market value of an unsponsored ADR.
EDRs, GDRs, IDRs, and NVDRs are receipts evidencing an arrangement with a foreign bank or exchange affiliate similar to that for ADRs and are designed for use in foreign securities markets. EDRs, GDRs, IDRs, and NVDRs are not necessarily quoted in the same currency as the underlying security. NVDRs do not have voting rights.
Exchange-Traded Notes
ETNs are senior, unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities the returns of which are linked to the performance of a particular market benchmark or strategy, minus applicable fees. ETNs are traded on an exchange (e.g., the NYSE) during normal trading hours; however, investors also can hold ETNs until they mature. At maturity, the issuer pays to the investor a cash amount equal to the principal amount, subject to the day’s market benchmark or strategy factor. ETNs do not make periodic coupon payments or provide principal protection. ETNs are subject to credit risk, including the credit risk of the issuer, and the value of the ETN may drop due to a downgrade in the issuer’s credit rating, despite the underlying market benchmark or strategy remaining unchanged. The value of an ETN also may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in underlying assets, changes in the applicable interest rates, changes in the issuer’s credit rating, and economic, legal, political, or geographic events that affect the referenced underlying asset. When a fund invests in ETNs, it will bear its proportionate share of any fees and expenses borne by the ETN. A decision by a fund to sell ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market. In addition, although an ETN may be listed on an exchange, the issuer may not be required to maintain the listing, and there can be no assurance that a secondary market will exist for an ETN.
ETNs also are subject to tax risk. No assurance can be given that the IRS will accept, or a court will uphold, how a fund characterizes and treats ETNs for tax purposes.
An ETN that is tied to a specific market benchmark or strategy may not be able to replicate and maintain exactly the composition and relative weighting of securities, commodities or other components in the applicable market benchmark or strategy. Some ETNs that use leverage can, at times, be relatively illiquid, and thus they may be difficult to purchase or sell at a fair price. Leveraged ETNs are subject to the same risk as other instruments that use leverage in any form. The market value of ETNs may differ from their market benchmark or strategy. This difference in price may be due to the fact that the supply and demand in the market for ETNs at any point in time is not always identical to the supply and demand in the market for the securities, commodities or other components underlying the market benchmark or strategy that the ETN seeks to track. As a result, there may be times when an ETN trades at a premium or discount to its market benchmark or strategy.
Fixed-Income Securities
Investment grade bonds are rated at the time of purchase in the four highest rating categories by a NRSRO, such as those rated “Aaa,” “Aa,” “A” and “Baa” by Moody’s, or “AAA,” “AA,” “A” and “BBB” by S&P or Fitch. Obligations rated in the lowest of the top four rating categories (such as “Baa” by Moody’s or “BBB” by S&P or Fitch) may have speculative characteristics and changes in economic conditions or other circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity to make principal and interest payments, including a greater possibility of default or bankruptcy of the issuer, than is the case with higher grade bonds. Subsequent to its purchase by a fund, an issue of securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum required for purchase by a fund. In addition, it is possible that Moody’s, S&P, Fitch and other NRSROs might not timely change their ratings of a particular issue to reflect subsequent events. None of these events will require the sale of the securities by a fund, although a subadvisor will consider these events in determining whether it should continue to hold the securities.
In general, the ratings of Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch represent the opinions of these agencies as to the quality of the securities that they rate. It should be emphasized however, that ratings are relative and subjective and are not absolute standards of quality. These ratings will be used by a fund as initial criteria for the selection of portfolio securities. Among the factors that will be considered are the long-term ability of the issuer to pay principal and interest and general economic trends. Appendix A contains further information concerning the ratings of Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch and their significance.
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Foreign Government Securities
Foreign government securities include securities issued or guaranteed by foreign governments (including political subdivisions) or their authorities, agencies, or instrumentalities or by supra-national agencies. Different kinds of foreign government securities have different kinds of government support. For example, some foreign government securities are supported by the full faith and credit of a foreign national government or political subdivision and some are not. Foreign government securities of some countries may involve varying degrees of credit risk as a result of financial or political instability in those countries and the possible inability of a fund to enforce its rights against the foreign government issuer. As with other fixed income securities, sovereign issuers may be unable or unwilling to make timely principal or interest payments. Supra-national agencies are agencies whose member nations make capital contributions to support the agencies’ activities.
High Yield (High Risk) Domestic Corporate Debt Securities
High yield corporate debt securities (also known as “junk bonds”) include bonds, debentures, notes, bank loans, credit-linked notes and commercial paper. Most of these debt securities will bear interest at fixed rates, except bank loans, which usually have floating rates. Bonds also may have variable rates of interest, and debt securities may involve equity features, such as equity warrants or convertible outright and participation features (i.e., interest or other payments, often in addition to a fixed rate of return, that are based on the borrower’s attainment of specified levels of revenues, sales or profits and thus enable the holder of the security to share in the potential success of the venture). Today, much high yield debt is used for general corporate purposes, such as financing capital needs or consolidating and paying down bank lines of credit.
The secondary market for high yield U.S. corporate debt securities is concentrated in relatively few market makers and is dominated by institutional investors, including funds, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Accordingly, the secondary market for such securities is not as liquid as, and is more volatile than, the secondary market for higher-rated securities. In addition, market trading volume for high yield U.S. corporate debt securities is generally lower and the secondary market for such securities could shrink or disappear suddenly and without warning as a result of adverse market or economic conditions, independent of any specific adverse changes in the condition of a particular issuer. The lack of sufficient market liquidity may cause a fund to incur losses because it will be required to effect sales at a disadvantageous time and then only at a substantial drop in price. These factors may have an adverse effect on the market price and a fund’s ability to dispose of particular portfolio investments. A less liquid secondary market also may make it more difficult for a fund to obtain precise valuations of the high yield securities in its portfolio.
A fund is not obligated to dispose of securities whose issuers subsequently are in default or that are downgraded below the rating requirements that the fund imposes at the time of purchase.
Hybrid Instruments
Hybrid instruments (a type of potentially high-risk derivative) combine the elements of futures contracts or options with those of debt, preferred equity or a depository instrument.
Characteristics of Hybrid Instruments. Generally, a hybrid instrument is a debt security, preferred stock, depository share, trust certificate, certificate of deposit or other evidence of indebtedness on which a portion of or all interest payments, and/or the principal or stated amount payable at maturity, redemption or retirement, is determined by reference to the following:
prices, changes in prices, or differences between prices of securities, currencies, intangibles, goods, articles or commodities (collectively, “underlying assets”); or
an objective index, economic factor or other measure, such as interest rates, currency exchange rates, commodity indices, and securities indices (collectively, “benchmarks”).
Hybrid instruments may take a variety of forms, including, but not limited to:
debt instruments with interest or principal payments or redemption terms determined by reference to the value of a currency or commodity or securities index at a future point in time;
preferred stock with dividend rates determined by reference to the value of a currency; or
convertible securities with the conversion terms related to a particular commodity.
Uses of Hybrid Instruments. Hybrid instruments provide an efficient means of creating exposure to a particular market, or segment of a market, with the objective of enhancing total return. For example, a fund may wish to take advantage of expected declines in interest rates in several European countries, but avoid the transaction costs associated with buying and currency-hedging the foreign bond positions.
One approach is to purchase a U.S. dollar-denominated hybrid instrument whose redemption price is linked to the average three-year interest rate in a designated group of countries. The redemption price formula would provide for payoffs of greater than par if the average interest rate was lower than a specified level, and payoffs of less than par if rates were above the specified level. Furthermore, the investing fund could limit the downside risk of the security by establishing a minimum redemption price so that the principal paid at maturity could not be below a predetermined minimum level if interest rates were to rise significantly.
The purpose of this type of arrangement, known as a structured security with an embedded put option, is to give a fund the desired European bond exposure while avoiding currency risk, limiting downside market risk, and lowering transactions costs. Of course, there is no guarantee that such a strategy will be successful and the value of a fund may decline if, for example, interest rates do not move as anticipated or credit problems develop with the issuer of the hybrid instrument.
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Structured Notes. Structured notes include investments in an entity, such as a trust, organized and operated solely for the purpose of restructuring the investment characteristics of various securities. This type of restructuring involves the deposit or purchase of specified instruments and the issuance of one or more classes of securities backed by, or representing interests, in the underlying instruments. The cash flow on the underlying instruments may be apportioned among the newly issued structured notes to create securities with different investment characteristics, such as varying maturities, payment priorities or interest rate provisions. The extent of the income paid by the structured notes is dependent on the cash flow of the underlying instruments.
Illiquid Securities
A fund may not invest more than 15% of its net assets in securities that cannot be sold or disposed of in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment (“illiquid securities”). Investment in illiquid securities involves the risk that, because of the lack of consistent market demand for such securities, a fund may be forced to sell them at a discount from the last offer price. To the extent that an investment is deemed to be an illiquid investment or a less liquid investment, a fund can expect to be exposed to greater liquidity risk.
Illiquid securities may include, but are not limited to: (a) securities (except for Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper, discussed below) that are not eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act; (b) repurchase agreements maturing in more than seven days (except for those that can be terminated after a notice period of seven days or less); (c) IOs and POs of non-governmental issuers; (d) time deposits maturing in more than seven days; (e) federal fund loans maturing in more than seven days; (f) bank loan participation interests; (g) foreign government loan participations; (h) municipal leases and participations therein; and (i) any other securities or other investments for which a liquid secondary market does not exist.
The Trust has implemented a written liquidity risk management program (the “LRM Program”) and related procedures to manage the liquidity risk of a fund in accordance with Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act (“Rule 22e-4”). Rule 22e-4 defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that a fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by the fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interests in the fund. The Board has designated the Advisor to serve as the administrator of the LRM Program and the related procedures. As a part of the LRM Program, the Advisor is responsible to identify illiquid investments and categorize the relative liquidity of a fund’s investments in accordance with Rule 22e-4. Under the LRM Program, the Advisor assesses, manages, and periodically reviews a fund’s liquidity risk, and is responsible to make periodic reports to the Board and the SEC regarding the liquidity of a fund’s investments, and to notify the Board and the SEC of certain liquidity events specified in Rule 22e-4. The liquidity of a fund’s portfolio investments is determined based on relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations under the LRM Program.
Commercial paper issued in reliance on Section 4(a)(2) of the 1933 Act (“Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper”) is restricted as to its disposition under federal securities law, and generally is sold to institutional investors, such as the funds, who agree that they are purchasing the paper for investment purposes and not with a view to public distribution. Any resale by the purchaser must be made in an exempt transaction. Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper normally is resold to other institutional investors, like the funds, through or with the assistance of the issuer or investment dealers who make a market in Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper, thus providing liquidity.
If the Advisor determines, pursuant to the LRM Program and related procedures, that specific Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper or securities that are restricted as to resale but for which a ready market is available pursuant to an exemption provided by Rule 144A under the 1933 Act or other exemptions from the registration requirements of the 1933 Act are liquid, they will not be subject to a fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities. Investing in Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper could have the effect of increasing the level of illiquidity in a fund if qualified institutional buyers become for a time uninterested in purchasing these restricted securities.
Indexed Securities
Indexed securities are instruments whose prices are indexed to the prices of other securities, securities indices, currencies, or other financial indicators. Indexed securities typically, but not always, are debt securities or deposits whose value at maturity or coupon rate is determined by reference to a specific instrument or statistic.
Currency-indexed securities typically are short-term to intermediate-term debt securities whose maturity values or interest rates are determined by reference to the values of one or more specified foreign currencies, and may offer higher yields than U.S. dollar-denominated securities. Currency-indexed securities may be positively or negatively indexed; that is, their maturity value may increase when the specified currency value increases, resulting in a security that performs similarly to a foreign denominated instrument, or their maturity value may decline when foreign currencies increase, resulting in a security whose price characteristics are similar to a put on the underlying currency. Currency-indexed securities also may have prices that depend on the values of a number of different foreign currencies relative to each other.
The performance of indexed securities depends to a great extent on the performance of the security, currency, or other instrument to which they are indexed, and also may be influenced by interest rate changes in the United States and abroad. Indexed securities may be more volatile than the underlying instruments. Indexed securities also are subject to the credit risks associated with the issuer of the security, and their values may decline substantially if the issuer’s creditworthiness deteriorates. Issuers of indexed securities have included banks, corporations, and certain U.S. government agencies. An indexed security may be leveraged to the extent that the magnitude of any change in the interest rate or principal payable on an indexed security is a multiple of the change in the reference price.
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Index-Related Securities (“Equity Equivalents”)
A fund may invest in certain types of securities that enable investors to purchase or sell shares in a basket of securities that seeks to track the performance of an underlying index or a portion of an index. Such Equity Equivalents include, among others DIAMONDS (interests in a basket of securities that seeks to track the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average), SPDRs or S&P Depositary Receipts (an exchange-traded fund that tracks the S&P 500 Index). Such securities are similar to index mutual funds, but they are traded on various stock exchanges or secondary markets. The value of these securities is dependent upon the performance of the underlying index on which they are based. Thus, these securities are subject to the same risks as their underlying indices as well as the securities that make up those indices. For example, if the securities comprising an index that an index-related security seeks to track perform poorly, the index-related security will lose value.
Equity Equivalents may be used for several purposes, including to simulate full investment in the underlying index while retaining a cash balance for portfolio management purposes, to facilitate trading, to reduce transaction costs or to seek higher investment returns where an Equity Equivalent is priced more attractively than securities in the underlying index. Because the expense associated with an investment in Equity Equivalents may be substantially lower than the expense of small investments directly in the securities comprising the indices they seek to track, investments in Equity Equivalents may provide a cost-effective means of diversifying a fund’s assets across a broad range of securities.
To the extent a fund invests in securities of other investment companies, including Equity Equivalents, fund shareholders would indirectly pay a portion of the operating costs of such companies in addition to the expenses of its own operations. These costs include management, brokerage, shareholder servicing and other operational expenses. Indirectly, if a fund invests in Equity Equivalents, shareholders may pay higher operational costs than if they owned the underlying investment companies directly. Additionally, a fund’s investments in such investment companies are subject to limitations under the 1940 Act and market availability.
The prices of Equity Equivalents are derived and based upon the securities held by the particular investment company. Accordingly, the level of risk involved in the purchase or sale of an Equity Equivalent is similar to the risk involved in the purchase or sale of traditional common stock, with the exception that the pricing mechanism for such instruments is based on a basket of stocks. The market prices of Equity Equivalents are expected to fluctuate in accordance with both changes in the NAVs of their underlying indices and the supply and demand for the instruments on the exchanges on which they are traded. Substantial market or other disruptions affecting Equity Equivalents could adversely affect the liquidity and value of the shares of a fund.
Inflation-Indexed Bonds
Inflation-indexed bonds are debt instruments whose principal and/or interest value are adjusted periodically according to a rate of inflation (usually a CPI). Two structures are most common. The U.S. Treasury and some other issuers use a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Most other issuers pay out the inflation accruals as part of a semiannual coupon.
U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (“TIPS”) currently are issued with maturities of five, ten, or thirty years, although it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. The principal amount of TIPS adjusts for inflation, although the inflation-adjusted principal is not paid until maturity. Semiannual coupon payments are determined as a fixed percentage of the inflation-adjusted principal at the time the payment is made.
If the rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds will be adjusted downward, and consequently the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. At maturity, TIPS are redeemed at the greater of their inflation-adjusted principal or at the par amount at original issue. If an inflation-indexed bond does not provide a guarantee of principal at maturity, the adjusted principal value of the bond repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal.
The value of inflation-indexed bonds is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates in turn are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. For example, if inflation were to rise at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates would likely decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation-indexed bonds. In contrast, if nominal interest rates increase at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates would likely rise, leading to a decrease in value of inflation-indexed bonds.
While these securities, if held to maturity, are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If nominal interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to an expansion of non-inflationary economic activity), investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase in rates is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.
The inflation adjustment of TIPS is tied to the CPI-U, which is calculated monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of price changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation, and energy. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services.
Interfund Lending
Pursuant to an exemptive order issued by the SEC, a fund may lend money to, and borrow money from, other funds advised by the Advisor or any other investment advisor under common control with the Advisor, subject to the fundamental restrictions on borrowing and lending applicable to the fund. Each fund is authorized to participate fully in this program.
A fund will borrow through the program only when the costs are equal to or lower than the cost of bank loans, and a fund will lend through the program only when the returns are higher than those available from an investment in overnight repurchase agreements. Interfund loans and borrowings normally extend overnight, but can have a maximum duration of seven days. Loans may be called on one day’s notice. A fund may have to borrow from a bank at a
13

higher interest rate if an interfund loan is called or not renewed. Any delay in repayment to a lending fund or from a borrowing fund could result in a lost investment opportunity or additional borrowing costs.
Investment in Other Investment Companies
A fund may invest in other investment companies (including closed-end investment companies, unit investment trusts, open-end investment companies, investment companies exempted from registration under the 1940 Act pursuant to the rules thereunder and other pooled vehicles) to the extent permitted by federal securities laws, including Section 12 of the 1940 Act, and the rules, regulations and interpretations thereunder. A fund may invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits set forth in Section 12 of the 1940 Act (“statutory limits”) to the extent permitted by an exemptive rule adopted by the SEC or pursuant to an exemptive order obtained from the SEC.
Investing in other investment companies involves substantially the same risks as investing directly in the underlying instruments, but the total return on such investments at the investment company-level may be reduced by the operating expenses and fees of such other investment companies, including advisory fees. Certain types of investment companies, such as closed-end investment companies, issue a fixed number of shares that trade on a stock exchange or may involve the payment of substantial premiums above the value of such investment companies’ portfolio securities when traded OTC or at discounts to their NAVs. Others are continuously offered at NAV, but also may be traded in the secondary market.
Blue Chip Growth Fund, Capital Appreciation Value Fund, Health Sciences Fund, and Equity Income Fund also may invest in shares of certain internal T. Rowe Price funds (collectively, the “T. Rowe Funds”), consistent with each such fund’s investment objective and policies. In order to prevent these funds from paying duplicate management fees, the value of shares of the T. Rowe Funds held in a T. Rowe Price-subadvised fund’s portfolio will be excluded from the fund’s total assets in calculating the subadvisory fees payable to T. Rowe Price.
Investments in Creditors’ Claims
Creditors’ claims in bankruptcy (“Creditors’ Claims”) are rights to payment from a debtor under the U.S. bankruptcy laws. Creditors’ Claims may be secured or unsecured. A secured claim generally receives priority in payment over unsecured claims.
Sellers of Creditors’ Claims can either be: (i) creditors that have extended unsecured credit to the debtor company (most commonly trade suppliers of materials or services); or (ii) secured creditors (most commonly financial institutions) that have obtained collateral to secure an advance of credit to the debtor. Selling a Creditors’ Claim offers the creditor an opportunity to turn a claim that otherwise might not be satisfied for many years into liquid assets.
A Creditors’ Claim may be purchased directly from a creditor although most are purchased through brokers. A Creditors’ Claim can be sold as a single claim or as part of a package of claims from several different bankruptcy filings. Purchasers of Creditors’ Claims may take an active role in the reorganization process of the bankrupt company and, in certain situations in which a Creditors’ Claim is not paid in full, the claim may be converted into stock of the reorganized debtor.
Although Creditors’ Claims can be sold to other investors, the market for Creditors’ Claims is not liquid and, as a result, a purchaser of a Creditors’ Claim may be unable to sell the claim or may have to sell it at a drastically reduced price. There is no guarantee that any payment will be received from a Creditors’ Claim, especially in the case of unsecured claims.
Lending of Securities
A fund may lend its securities so long as such loans do not represent more than 33 13% of its total assets. As collateral for the loaned securities, the borrower gives the lending portfolio collateral equal to at least 100% of the value of the loaned securities. The collateral will consist of cash (including U.S. dollars and foreign currency), cash equivalents or securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities. The borrower must also agree to increase the collateral if the value of the loaned securities increases. If the market value of the loaned securities declines, the borrower may request that some collateral be returned.
During the existence of the loan, a fund will receive from the borrower amounts equivalent to any dividends, interest or other distributions on the loaned securities, as well as interest on such amounts. If the fund receives a payment in lieu of dividends (a “substitute payment”) with respect to securities on loan pursuant to a securities lending transaction, such income will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction (the “DRD”) for corporate shareholders or for treatment as qualified dividend income for individual shareholders. The DRD and qualified dividend income are discussed more fully in this SAI under “Additional Information Concerning Taxes.”
Because Class 1 shares of the funds are held directly by insurance companies affiliated with the Advisor, such insurance companies, rather than individuals who select the funds as investment options under variable insurance contracts, would receive the benefit of any DRD. As a result, a decision by the Advisor or an affiliated subadvisor for a particular fund to refrain from securities lending could benefit the affiliated insurance companies (which would receive the DRD) to the detriment of contract holders who have selected that fund (as they would not receive the benefit of securities lending income, including substitute payments). However, the Advisor and the affiliated subadvisors have a fiduciary duty to independently assess whether engaging in securities lending is in the best interests of a fund, which should act to limit this conflict of interest.
As with other extensions of credit, there are risks that collateral could be inadequate in the event of the borrower failing financially, which could result in actual financial loss, and risks that recovery of loaned securities could be delayed, which could result in interference with portfolio management decisions or exercise of ownership rights. The collateral is managed by an affiliate of the Advisor, which may incentivize the Advisor to lend fund
14

securities to benefit this affiliate. The Advisor maintains robust oversight of securities lending activity and seeks to ensure that all lending activity undertaken by a fund is in the fund's best interests. A fund will be responsible for the risks associated with the investment of cash collateral, including the risk that the fund may lose money on the investment or may fail to earn sufficient income to meet its obligations to the borrower. In addition, a fund may lose its right to vote its shares of the loaned securities at a shareholder meeting if the subadvisor does not recall or does not timely recall the loaned securities, or if the borrower fails to return the recalled securities in advance of the record date for the meeting.
The Trust, on behalf of certain of its funds, has entered into an agency agreement for securities lending transactions (“Securities Lending Agreement”) with each of Citibank, Brown Brothers Harriman, National Financial Services LLC (“Fidelity Agency Lending”) and Goldman Sachs Bank USA (“Goldman Sachs Agency Lending”) (each, a “Securities Lending Agent”). Pursuant to each Securities Lending Agreement, each of Citibank, Brown Brothers Harriman, Fidelity Agency Lending or Goldman Sachs Agency Lending acts as securities lending agent for the funds and administers each fund’s securities lending program. During the fiscal year, each Securities Lending Agent performed various services for the funds, including the following: (i) lending portfolio securities, previously identified by the fund as available for loan, and held by the fund’s custodian (“Custodian”) on behalf of the fund, to borrowers identified by the fund in the Securities Lending Agreement; (ii) instructing the Custodian to receive and deliver securities, as applicable, to effect such loans; (iii) locating borrowers; (iv) monitoring daily the market value of loaned securities; (v) ensuring daily movement of collateral associated with loan transactions; (vi) marking to market loaned securities and non-cash collateral; (vii) monitoring dividend activity with respect to loaned securities; (viii) negotiating loan terms with the borrowers; (ix) recordkeeping and account servicing related to securities lending activities; and (x) arranging for the return of loaned securities at the termination of the loan. Under each Securities Lending Agreement, each of Citibank, Brown Brothers Harriman, Fidelity Agency Lending or Goldman Sachs Agency Lending, as applicable, generally will bear the risk that a borrower may default on its obligation to return loaned securities.
Securities lending involves counterparty risk, including the risk that the loaned securities may not be returned or returned in a timely manner and/or a loss of rights in the collateral if the borrower or the lending agent defaults or fails financially. This risk is increased when the fund’s loans are concentrated with a single or limited number of borrowers. There are no limits on the number of borrowers to which the fund may lend securities and the fund may lend securities to only one or a small group of borrowers. In addition, under each Securities Lending Agreement, loans may be made to affiliates of each of Citibank, Brown Brothers Harriman, Fidelity Agency Lending or Goldman Sachs Agency Lending, as applicable, as identified in the applicable Securities Lending Agreement.
Cash collateral may be invested by a fund in JHCT, a privately offered 1940 Act registered institutional money market fund. Investment of cash collateral offers the opportunity for a fund to profit from income earned by this collateral pool, but also the risk of loss, should the value of the fund’s shares in the collateral pool decrease below the NAV at which such shares were purchased.
For each fund that engaged in securities lending activities during the fiscal period ended August 31, 2023, the following tables detail the amounts of income and fees/compensation related to such activities during the period. Any fund not listed below did not engage in securities lending activities during the fiscal period ended August 31, 2023.
Fund Name
Alternative
Asset Allocation
Fund
Blue Chip
Growth
Fund
Capital
Appreciation
Fund
Capital
Appreciation
Value Fund
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
375,427
180,209
153,004
192,249
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and related
service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
6,282
5,341
1,925
4,621
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees
deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not
included in the revenue split ($)
7,019
2,968
2,219
3,092
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
309,323
124,562
128,192
147,788
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities ($)
322,624
132,871
132,336
155,501
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
52,803
47,338
20,668
36,748
Fund Name
Core
Bond
Fund
Emerging
Markets
Fund
Emerging
Markets
Debt Fund
Equity
Income
Fund
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
22,930
5,825
235,977
391,946
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and related service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
56
337
15,549
13,572
15

Fund Name
Core
Bond
Fund
Emerging
Markets
Fund
Emerging
Markets
Debt Fund
Equity
Income
Fund
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees deducted from a
pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not included in the revenue split ($)
396
82
4,543
5,297
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
21,874
2,714
80,247
257,811
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities ($)
22,326
3,133
100,339
276,680
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
604
2,692
135,638
115,266
Fund Name
Floating
Rate Income
Fund
High
Yield
Fund
International
Small Company
Fund
International
Strategic Equity
Allocation Fund
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
222,293
174,601
1,023,908
1,835,487
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and related
service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
5,834
7,897
55,154
79,983
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees
deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are
not included in the revenue split ($)
3,120
2,759
12,927
26,376
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
152,644
105,824
558,011
1,197,409
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities
($)
161,598
116,480
626,092
1,303,768
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
60,695
58,121
397,816
531,719
Fund Name
Lifestyle Blend
Aggressive
Portfolio
Lifestyle Blend
Balanced
Portfolio
Lifestyle Blend
Conservative
Portfolio
Lifestyle Blend
Growth
Portfolio
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
244,174
2,370,314
1,112,870
1,315,883
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and
related service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
702
105,831
56,389
50,919
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including
fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment
vehicle) that are not included in the revenue split ($)
3,963
40,671
19,562
22,390
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
227,795
1,436,265
634,587
860,495
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending
activities ($)
232,460
1,582,767
710,538
933,804
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
11,714
787,547
402,332
382,079
Fund Name
Lifestyle Blend
Moderate
Portfolio
2010 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2015 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2020 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
1,147,406
171,403
213,324
676,948
16

Fund Name
Lifestyle Blend
Moderate
Portfolio
2010 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2015 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2020 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and
related service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
53,505
5,789
6,586
17,719
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including
fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle)
that are not included in the revenue split ($)
20,582
3,089
3,676
11,777
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
689,389
118,100
153,936
500,534
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending
activities ($)
763,476
126,978
164,198
530,030
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
383,930
44,425
49,126
146,918
Fund Name
2025 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2030 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2035 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2040 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
991,015
958,821
462,887
327,098
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and
related service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
25,345
23,775
4,590
3,414
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including
fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle)
that are not included in the revenue split ($)
17,539
16,730
8,385
5,825
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
757,510
742,881
412,360
289,665
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending
activities ($)
800,394
783,386
425,335
298,904
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
190,621
175,435
37,552
28,194
Fund Name
2045 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2050 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2055 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
2060 Lifetime
Blend
Portfolio
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
248,565
175,527
142,646
75,592
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and
related service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
1,195
2,241
328
353
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including
fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle)
that are not included in the revenue split ($)
4,483
3,008
2,512
1,233
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
231,642
152,055
134,549
70,154
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending
activities ($)
237,320
157,304
137,389
71,740
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
11,245
18,223
5,257
3,852
17

Fund Name
Mid
Value
Fund
Multi-Asset
High Income
Fund
Opportunistic
Fixed Income
Fund
Real Estate
Securities
Fund
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
1,315,980
15,868
945
442
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and related
service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
47,601
1,316
29
4
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees
deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not
included in the revenue split ($)
21,361
219
15
9
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
881,286
4,863
646
390
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities ($)
950,248
6,398
690
403
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
365,732
9,470
255
39
Fund Name
Science &
Technology
Fund
Small Cap
Dynamic
Growth Fund
Small Cap
Value
Fund
Strategic Income
Opportunities
Fund
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
44,033
463,688
306,204
1,722,367
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and related
service:
 
 
 
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
1,181
3,274
6,103
87,240
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees
deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle) that are not
included in the revenue split ($)
831
8,317
4,859
28,006
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
 
 
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
33,031
421,605
247,649
860,833
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
 
 
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities ($)
35,043
433,196
258,611
976,079
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
8,990
30,492
47,593
746,288
Fund Name
U.S. Sector
Rotation
Fund
Gross Income from securities lending activities ($)
289,385
Fees and/or compensation for securities lending activities and related service:
 
Fees paid to securities lending agent from a revenue split ($)
6,565
Fees paid for any cash collateral management service (including fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle)
that are not included in the revenue split ($)
4,651
Administrative fees not included in revenue split ($)
 
Indemnification fee not included in revenue split ($)
 
Rebate (paid to borrower) ($)
240,687
Other fees not included in revenue split (specify) ($)
 
Aggregate fees/compensation for securities lending activities ($)
251,903
Net Income from securities lending activities ($)
37,482
Loan Participations and Assignments; Term Loans
Loan participations are loans or other direct debt instruments that are interests in amounts owned by a corporate, governmental or other borrower to another party. They may represent amounts owed to lenders or lending syndicates to suppliers of goods or services, or to other parties. A fund will have the right to receive payments of principal, interest and any fees to which it is entitled only from the lender selling the participation and only upon receipt
18

by the lender of the payments from the borrower. In connection with purchasing participations, a fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the borrower with the term of the loan agreement relating to loan, nor any rights of set-off against the borrower, and a fund may not directly benefit from any collateral supporting the loan in which it has purchased the participation. As a result, the fund will assume the credit risk of both the borrower and the lender that is selling the participation. In the event of the insolvency of the lender selling a participation, a fund may be treated as a general creditor of the lender and may not benefit from any set-off between the lender and the borrower.
When a fund purchases assignments from lenders it will acquire direct rights against the borrower on the loan. However, because assignments are arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and potential assignors, the rights and obligation acquired by a fund as the purchaser of an assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the assigning lender. Investments in loan participations and assignments present the possibility that a fund could be held liable as a co-lender under emerging legal theories of lender liability. In addition, if the loan is foreclosed, a fund could be part owner of any collateral and could bear the costs and liabilities of owning and disposing of the collateral. It is anticipated that such securities could be sold only to a limited number of institutional investors. In addition, some loan participations and assignments may not be rated by major rating agencies and may not be protected by the securities laws.
A term loan is typically a loan in a fixed amount that borrowers repay in a scheduled series of repayments or a lump-sum payment at maturity. A delayed draw loan is a special feature in a term loan that permits the borrower to withdraw predetermined portions of the total amount borrowed at certain times. If a fund enters into a commitment with a borrower regarding a delayed draw term loan or bridge loan, the fund will be obligated on one or more dates in the future to lend the borrower monies (up to an aggregate stated amount) if called upon to do so by the borrower. Once repaid, a term loan cannot be drawn upon again.
Investments in loans and loan participations will subject a fund to liquidity risk. Loans and loan participations may be transferable among financial institutions, but may not have the liquidity of conventional debt securities and are often subject to restrictions on resale, thereby making them potentially illiquid. For example, the purchase or sale of loans requires, in many cases, the consent of either a third party (such as the lead or agent bank for the loan) or of the borrower, and although such consent is, in practice, infrequently withheld, the consent requirement can delay a purchase or hinder a fund’s ability to dispose of its investments in loans in a timely fashion. In addition, in some cases, negotiations involved in disposing of indebtedness may require weeks to complete. Consequently, some indebtedness may be difficult or impossible to dispose of readily at what a subadvisor believes to be a fair price.
Corporate loans that a fund may acquire or in which a fund may purchase a loan participation are made generally to finance internal growth, mergers, acquisitions, stock repurchases, leveraged buy-outs, leverage recapitalizations and other corporate activities. The highly leveraged capital structure of the borrowers in certain of these transactions may make such loans especially vulnerable to adverse changes in economic or market conditions and greater credit risk than other investments.
Certain of the loan participations or assignments acquired by a fund may involve unfunded commitments of the lenders or revolving credit facilities under which a borrower may from time to time borrow and repay amounts up to the maximum amount of the facility. In such cases, a fund would have an obligation to advance its portion of such additional borrowings upon the terms specified in the loan documentation. Such an obligation may have the effect of requiring a fund to increase its investment in a company at a time when it might not be desirable to do so (including at a time when the company’s financial condition makes it unlikely that such amounts will be repaid).
The borrower of a loan in which a fund holds an interest (including through a loan participation) may, either at its own election or pursuant to the terms of the loan documentation, prepay amounts of the loan from time to time. The degree to which borrowers prepay loans, whether as a contractual requirement or at their election, may be affected by general business conditions, the financial condition of the borrower and competitive conditions among lenders, among other things. As such, prepayments cannot be predicted with accuracy. Upon a prepayment, either in part or in full, the actual outstanding debt on which a fund derives interest income will be reduced. The effect of prepayments on a fund’s performance may be mitigated by the receipt of prepayment fees, and the fund’s ability to reinvest prepayments in other loans that have similar or identical yields. However, there is no assurance that a fund will be able to reinvest the proceeds of any loan prepayment at the same interest rate or on the same terms as those of the prepaid loan.
A fund may invest in loans that pay interest at fixed rates and loans that pay interest at rates that float or reset periodically at a margin above a generally recognized base lending rate, such as the Prime Rate (the interest rate that banks charge their most creditworthy customers), LIBOR, or another generally recognized base lending rate. Most floating rate loans are senior in rank in the event of bankruptcy to most other securities of the borrower such as common stock or public bonds. In addition, floating rate loans also are normally secured by specific collateral or assets of the borrower so that the holders of the loans will have a priority claim on those assets in the event of default or bankruptcy of the issuer. While the seniority in rank and the security interest are helpful in reducing credit risk, such risk is not eliminated. Securities with floating interest rates can be less sensitive to interest rate changes, but may decline in value if their interest rates do not rise as much as interest rates in general, or if interest rates decline. While, because of this interest rate reset feature, loans with resetting interest rates provide a considerable degree of protection against rising interest rates, there is still potential for interest rates on such loans to lag changes in interest rates in general for some period of time. In addition, changes in interest rates will affect the amount of interest income paid to a fund as the floating rate instruments adjust to the new levels of interest rates. In a rising base rate environment, income generation generally will increase. Conversely, during periods when the base rate is declining, the income generating ability of the loan instruments will be adversely affected.
19

Investments in many loans have additional risks that result from the use of agents and other interposed financial institutions. Many loans are structured and administered by a financial institution (e.g., a commercial bank) that acts as the agent of the lending syndicate. The agent typically administers and enforces the loan on behalf of the other lenders in the lending syndicate. In addition, an institution, typically but not always the agent, holds the collateral, if any, on behalf of the lenders. A financial institution’s employment as an agent might be terminated in the event that it fails to observe a requisite standard of care or becomes insolvent. A successor agent would generally be appointed to replace the terminated agent, and assets held by the agent under the loan agreement would likely remain available to holders of such indebtedness. However, if assets held by the agent for the benefit of a fund were determined to be subject to the claims of the agent’s general creditors, the fund might incur certain costs and delays in realizing payment on a loan or loan participation and could suffer a loss of principal and/or interest. In situations involving other interposed financial institutions (e.g., an insurance company or government agency) similar risks may arise.
Loans and Other Direct Debt Instruments
Direct debt instruments are interests in amounts owed by a corporate, governmental, or other borrower to lenders or lending syndicates (loans and loan participations), to suppliers of goods or services (trade claims or other receivables), or to other parties. Direct debt instruments involve a risk of loss in case of default or insolvency of the borrower and may offer less legal protection to the purchaser in the event of fraud or misrepresentation, or there may be a requirement that a fund supply additional cash to a borrower on demand. U.S. federal securities laws afford certain protections against fraud and misrepresentation in connection with the offering or sale of a security, as well as against manipulation of trading markets for securities. It is unclear whether these protections are available to investments in loans and other forms of direct indebtedness under certain circumstances, in which case such risks may be increased.
A fund may be in possession of material non-public information about a borrower as a result of owning a floating rate instrument issued by such borrower. Because of prohibitions on trading in securities of issuers while in possession of such information, a fund might be unable to enter into a transaction in a publicly traded security issued by that borrower when it would otherwise be advantageous to do so.
Market Capitalization Weighted Approach
A fund’s structure may involve market capitalization weighting in determining individual security weights and, where applicable, country or region weights. Market capitalization weighting means each security is generally purchased based on the issuer’s relative market capitalization. Market capitalization weighting may be adjusted by a subadvisor, for a variety of reasons. A fund may deviate from market capitalization weighting to limit or fix the exposure to a particular country or issuer to a maximum portion of the assets of the fund. Additionally, a subadvisor may consider such factors as free float, momentum, trading strategies, size, relative price, liquidity, profitability, investment characteristics and other factors determined to be appropriate by a subadvisor given market conditions. In assessing relative price, a subadvisor may consider additional factors such as price to cash flow or price to earnings ratios. In assessing profitability, a subadvisor may consider different ratios, such as that of earnings or profits from operations relative to book value or assets. The criteria a subadvisor uses for assessing relative price and profitability are subject to change from time to time. A subadvisor may exclude the eligible security of a company that meets applicable market capitalization criterion if it determines, in its judgment, that the purchase of such security is inappropriate in light of other conditions. These adjustments will result in a deviation from traditional market capitalization weighting. A further deviation may occur due to holdings in securities received in connection with corporate actions. A subadvisor may consider a small capitalization company’s investment characteristics with respect to other eligible companies when making investment decisions and may exclude a small capitalization company when the manager determines it to be appropriate. In assessing a company’s investment characteristics, a subadvisor may consider ratios such as recent changes in assets divided by total assets. Under normal circumstances, a fund will seek to limit such exclusion to no more than 5% of the eligible small capitalization company universe in each country that the fund invests. The criteria a subadvisor uses for assessing a company’s investment characteristics is subject to change from time to time.
Adjustment for free float modifies market capitalization weighting to exclude the share capital of a company that is not freely available for trading in the public equity markets. For example, the following types of shares may be excluded: (i) those held by strategic investors (such as governments, controlling shareholders and management); (ii) treasury shares; or (iii) shares subject to foreign ownership restrictions.
Furthermore, a subadvisor may reduce the relative amount of any security held in order to retain sufficient portfolio liquidity. A portion, but generally not in excess of 20% of a fund’s assets, may be invested in interest-bearing obligations, such as money market instruments, thereby causing further deviation from market capitalization weighting. A further deviation may occur due to holdings in securities received in connection with corporate actions.
Block purchases of eligible securities may be made at opportune prices, even though such purchases exceed the number of shares that, at the time of purchase, would be purchased under a market capitalization weighted approach. Generally, changes in the composition and relative ranking (in terms of market capitalization) of the stocks that are eligible for purchase take place with every trade when the securities markets are open for trading due, primarily, to price changes of such securities. On at least a semiannual basis, a subadvisor will identify companies whose stock is eligible for investment by the fund. Additional investments generally will not be made in securities that have changed in value sufficiently to be excluded from a subadvisor’s then-current market capitalization requirement for eligible portfolio securities. This may result in further deviation from market capitalization weighting. Such deviation could be substantial if a significant amount of holdings of a fund change in value sufficiently to be excluded from the requirement for eligible securities but not by a sufficient amount to warrant their sale.
Country weights may be based on the total market capitalization of companies within each country. The country weights may take into consideration the free float of companies within a country or whether these companies are eligible to be purchased for the particular strategy. In addition, to maintain a
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satisfactory level of diversification, a subadvisor may limit or fix the exposure to a particular country or region to a maximum proportion of the assets of that vehicle. Country weights may also vary due to general day-to-day trading patterns and price movements. The weighting of countries may vary from their weighting in published international indices.
Money Market Instruments
Money market instruments (and other securities as noted under each fund description) may be purchased for temporary defensive purposes or for short-term investment purposes. General overnight cash held in a fund's portfolio may also be invested in JHCT, a privately offered 1940 Act registered institutional money market fund subadvised by Manulife IM (US), an affiliate of the Advisor, that is part of the same group of investment companies as the fund and that is offered exclusively to funds in the same group of investment companies.
Mortgage Dollar Rolls
Under a mortgage dollar roll, a fund sells mortgage-backed securities for delivery in the future (generally within 30 days) and simultaneously contracts to repurchase substantially similar securities (of the same type, coupon and maturity) on a specified future date. During the roll period, a fund forgoes principal and interest paid on the mortgage-backed securities. A fund is compensated by the difference between the current sale price and the lower forward price for the future purchase (often referred to as the “drop”), as well as by the interest earned on the cash proceeds of the initial sale. A fund also may be compensated by receipt of a commitment fee. Dollar roll transactions involve the risk that the market value of the securities sold by a fund may decline below the repurchase price of those securities. A mortgage dollar roll may be considered a form of leveraging, and may, therefore, increase fluctuations in a fund’s NAV per share. Please see “Government Regulation of Derivatives” section for additional information. For financial reporting and tax purposes, the funds treat mortgage dollar rolls as two separate transactions; one involving the purchase of a security and a separate transaction involving a sale.
Mortgage Securities
Prepayment of Mortgages. Mortgage securities differ from conventional bonds in that principal is paid over the life of the securities rather than at maturity. As a result, when a fund invests in mortgage securities, it receives monthly scheduled payments of principal and interest, and may receive unscheduled principal payments representing prepayments on the underlying mortgages. When a fund reinvests the payments and any unscheduled prepayments of principal it receives, it may receive a rate of interest that is higher or lower than the rate on the existing mortgage securities. For this reason, mortgage securities may be less effective than other types of debt securities as a means of locking in long term interest rates.
In addition, because the underlying mortgage loans and assets may be prepaid at any time, if a fund purchases mortgage securities at a premium, a prepayment rate that is faster than expected will reduce yield to maturity, while a prepayment rate that is slower than expected will increase yield to maturity. Conversely, if a fund purchases these securities at a discount, faster than expected prepayments will increase yield to maturity, while slower than expected payments will reduce yield to maturity.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage Securities. Adjustable rate mortgage securities are similar to the fixed rate mortgage securities discussed above, except that, unlike fixed rate mortgage securities, adjustable rate mortgage securities are collateralized by or represent interests in mortgage loans with variable rates of interest. These variable rates of interest reset periodically to align themselves with market rates. Most adjustable rate mortgage securities provide for an initial mortgage rate that is in effect for a fixed period, typically ranging from three to twelve months. Thereafter, the mortgage interest rate will reset periodically in accordance with movements in a specified published interest rate index. The amount of interest due to an adjustable rate mortgage holder is determined in accordance with movements in a specified published interest rate index by adding a pre-determined increment or “margin” to the specified interest rate index. Many adjustable rate mortgage securities reset their interest rates based on changes in:
one-year, three-year and five-year constant maturity Treasury Bill rates;
three-month or six-month Treasury Bill rates;
11th District Federal Home Loan Bank Cost of Funds;
National Median Cost of Funds; or
one-month, three-month, six-month or one-year LIBOR and other market rates.
During periods of increasing rates, a fund will not benefit from such increase to the extent that interest rates rise to the point where they cause the current coupon of adjustable rate mortgages held as investments to exceed any maximum allowable annual or lifetime reset limits or “cap rates” for a particular mortgage. In this event, the value of the mortgage securities held by a fund would likely decrease. During periods of declining interest rates, income to a fund derived from adjustable rate mortgages that remain in a mortgage pool may decrease in contrast to the income on fixed rate mortgages, which will remain constant. Adjustable rate mortgages also have less potential for appreciation in value as interest rates decline than do fixed rate investments. Also, a fund’s NAV could vary to the extent that current yields on adjustable rate mortgage securities held as investments are different than market yields during interim periods between coupon reset dates.
Privately Issued Mortgage Securities. Privately issued mortgage securities provide for the monthly principal and interest payments made by individual borrowers to pass through to investors on a corporate basis, and in privately issued collateralized mortgage obligations, as further described below. Privately issued mortgage securities are issued by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including:
mortgage bankers;
commercial banks;
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investment banks;
savings and loan associations; and
special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing.
Since privately issued mortgage certificates are not guaranteed by an entity having the credit status of GNMA or Freddie Mac, such securities generally are structured with one or more types of credit enhancement. For a description of the types of credit enhancements that may accompany privately issued mortgage securities, see “Types of Credit Support” below. To the extent that a fund invests in mortgage securities, it will not limit its investments in mortgage securities to those with credit enhancements.
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations. CMOs generally are bonds or certificates issued in multiple classes that are collateralized by or represent an interest in mortgages. CMOs may be issued by single-purpose, stand-alone finance subsidiaries or trusts of financial institutions, government agencies, investment banks or other similar institutions. Each class of CMOs, often referred to as a “tranche,” may be issued with a specific fixed coupon rate (which may be zero) or a floating coupon rate. Each class of CMOs also has a stated maturity or final distribution date. Principal prepayments on the underlying mortgages may cause the CMOs to be retired substantially earlier than their stated maturities or final distribution dates. Interest is paid or accrued on CMOs on a monthly, quarterly or semiannual basis.
The principal of and interest on the underlying mortgages may be allocated among the several classes of a series of a CMO in many ways. The general goal sought to be achieved in allocating cash flows on the underlying mortgages to the various classes of a series of CMOs is to create tranches on which the expected cash flows have a higher degree of predictability than the underlying mortgages. In creating such tranches, other tranches may be subordinated to the interests of these tranches and receive payments only after the obligations of the more senior tranches have been satisfied. As a general matter, the more predictable the cash flow is on a CMO tranche, the lower the anticipated yield will be on that tranche at the time of issuance. As part of the process of creating more predictable cash flows on most of the tranches in a series of CMOs, one or more tranches generally must be created that absorb most of the volatility in the cash flows on the underlying mortgages. The yields on these tranches are relatively higher than on tranches with more predictable cash flows. Because of the uncertainty of the cash flows on these tranches, and the sensitivity of these transactions to changes in prepayment rates on the underlying mortgages, the market prices of and yields on these tranches tend to be highly volatile. The market prices of and yields on tranches with longer terms to maturity also tend to be more volatile than tranches with shorter terms to maturity due to these same factors. To the extent the mortgages underlying a series of a CMO are so-called “subprime mortgages” (mortgages granted to borrowers whose credit history is not sufficient to obtain a conventional mortgage), the risk of default is higher, which increases the risk that one or more tranches of a CMO will not receive its predicted cash flows.
CMOs purchased by a fund may be:
1
collateralized by pools of mortgages in which each mortgage is guaranteed as to payment of principal and interest by an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government;
2
collateralized by pools of mortgages in which payment of principal and interest is guaranteed by the issuer and the guarantee is collateralized by U.S. government securities; or
3
securities for which the proceeds of the issuance are invested in mortgage securities and payment of the principal and interest is supported by the credit of an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government.
Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities. Separately traded interest components of securities may be issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury. The interest components of selected securities are traded independently under the Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities program. Under the Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities program, the interest components are individually numbered and separately issued by the U.S. Treasury at the request of depository financial institutions, which then trade the component parts independently.
Stripped Mortgage Securities. Stripped mortgage securities are derivative multi-class mortgage securities. Stripped mortgage securities may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government, or by private issuers, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing. Stripped mortgage securities have greater volatility than other types of mortgage securities in which a fund invests. Although stripped mortgage securities are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, the market for such securities has not yet been fully developed. Accordingly, stripped mortgage securities may be illiquid and, together with any other illiquid investments, will not exceed a fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities.
Stripped mortgage securities are usually structured with two classes that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of stripped mortgage security will have one class receiving some of the interest and most of the principal from the mortgage assets, while the other class will receive most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (the interest only or “IO” class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (the principal only or “PO” class). The yield to maturity on an IO class is extremely sensitive to changes in prevailing interest rates and the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying mortgage assets. A rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on an investing fund’s yield to maturity. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities even if the securities are rated highly.
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As interest rates rise and fall, the value of IOs tends to move in the same direction as interest rates. The value of the other mortgage securities described in the Prospectus and this SAI, like other debt instruments, will tend to move in the opposite direction to interest rates. Accordingly, investing in IOs, in conjunction with the other mortgage securities described in the Prospectus and this SAI, is expected to contribute to the relative stability of a fund’s NAV.
In addition to the stripped mortgage securities described above, the affiliated underlying fund, High Yield Fund, may invest in similar securities such as Super Principal Only (“SPO”) and Levered Interest Only (“LIO”) are more volatile than POs and IOs. Risks associated with instruments such as SPOs are similar in nature to those risks related to investments in POs. Risks associated with LIOs and IOettes (a.k.a. “high coupon bonds”) are similar in nature to those associated with IOs. Other similar instruments may develop in the future.
Under the Code, POs may generate taxable income from the current accrual of original issue discount, without a corresponding distribution of cash to a fund.
Inverse Floaters. Inverse floaters may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government, or by private issuers, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing. Inverse floaters have greater volatility than other types of mortgage securities in which a fund invests (with the exception of stripped mortgage securities and there is a risk that the market value will vary from the amortized cost). Although inverse floaters are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, the market for such securities has not yet been fully developed. Accordingly, inverse floaters may be illiquid. Any illiquid inverse floaters, together with any other illiquid investments, will not exceed a fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities.
Inverse floaters are derivative mortgage securities that are structured as a class of security that receives distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. Yields on inverse floaters move in the opposite direction of short-term interest rates and at an accelerated rate.
Types of Credit Support. Mortgage securities are often backed by a pool of assets representing the obligations of a number of different parties. To lessen the impact of an obligor’s failure to make payments on underlying assets, mortgage securities may contain elements of credit support. A discussion of credit support is included in “Asset-Backed Securities.”
Municipal Obligations
The two principal classifications of municipal obligations are general obligations and revenue obligations. General obligations are secured by the issuer’s pledge of its full faith, credit and taxing power for the payment of principal and interest. Revenue obligations are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or in some cases from the proceeds of a special excise or other tax. For example, industrial development and pollution control bonds are in most cases revenue obligations since payment of principal and interest is dependent solely on the ability of the user of the facilities financed or the guarantor to meet its financial obligations, and in certain cases, the pledge of real and personal property as security for payment.
Issuers of municipal obligations are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors, such as the Federal Bankruptcy Act, and laws, if any, that may be enacted by Congress or state legislatures extending the time for payment of principal or interest or both, or imposing other constraints upon enforcement of such obligations. There also is the possibility that as a result of litigation or other conditions, the power or ability of any one or more issuers to pay when due the principal of and interest on their municipal obligations may be affected.
Municipal Bonds. Municipal bonds are issued to obtain funding for various public purposes, including the construction of a wide range of public facilities such as airports, highways, bridges, schools, hospitals, housing, mass transportation, streets and water and sewer works. Other public purposes for which municipal bonds may be issued include refunding outstanding obligations, obtaining funds for general operating expenses and obtaining funds to lend to other public institutions and facilities. In addition, certain types of industrial development bonds are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to obtain funds for many types of local, privately operated facilities. Such debt instruments are considered municipal obligations if the interest paid on them is exempt from federal income tax. The payment of principal and interest by issuers of certain obligations purchased may be guaranteed by a letter of credit, note repurchase agreement, insurance or other credit facility agreement offered by a bank or other financial institution. Such guarantees and the creditworthiness of guarantors will be considered by a subadvisor in determining whether a municipal obligation meets investment quality requirements. No assurance can be given that a municipality or guarantor will be able to satisfy the payment of principal or interest on a municipal obligation.
The yields or returns of municipal bonds depend on a variety of factors, including general market conditions, effective marginal tax rates, the financial condition of the issuer, general conditions of the municipal bond market, the size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation, and the rating (if any) of the issue. The ratings of S&P, Moody’s and Fitch represent their opinions as to the quality of various municipal bonds that they undertake to rate. It should be emphasized, however, that ratings are not absolute standards of quality. For example, depending on market conditions, municipal bonds with the same maturity and stated interest rate, but with different ratings, may nevertheless have the same yield. See Appendix A for a description of ratings. Many issuers of securities choose not to have their obligations rated. Although unrated securities eligible for purchase must be determined to be comparable in quality to securities having certain specified ratings, the market for unrated securities may not be as broad as for rated securities since many investors rely on rating organizations for credit appraisal. Yield disparities may occur for reasons not directly related to the investment quality of particular issues or the general movement of interest rates, due to such factors as changes in the overall demand or supply of various types of municipal bonds.
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The effects of a widespread health crisis such as a global pandemic could affect the ability of states and their political subdivisions to make payments on debt obligations when due and could adversely impact the value of their bonds, which could negatively impact the performance of the fund.
Municipal Bonds Issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Municipal obligations issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its agencies, or other U.S. territories, generally are tax-exempt.
Adverse economic, market, political, or other conditions within Puerto Rico may negatively affect the value of a fund’s holdings in municipal obligations issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its agencies.
Puerto Rico has faced and continues to face significant fiscal challenges, including persistent government budget deficits, underfunded public pension benefit obligations, underfunded government retirement systems, sizable debt service obligations and a high unemployment rate. In recent years, several rating organizations have downgraded a number of securities issued in Puerto Rico to below investment-grade or placed them on “negative watch.” Puerto Rico has previously missed payments on its general obligation debt. As a result of Puerto Rico's fiscal challenges, it entered into a process analogous to a bankruptcy proceeding in U.S. courts. Recently, Puerto Rico received court approval to be released from bankruptcy through a large restructuring of its U.S. municipal debt. The restructuring was recommended by an oversight board, an unelected body that shares power with elected officials, that is federally mandated to oversee Puerto Rico's finances. Pursuant to federal law, the oversight board will remain intact and can only disband after Puerto Rico experiences four consecutive years of balanced budgets. Any future defaults, or actions by the oversight board, among other factors, could have a negative impact on the marketability, liquidity, or value of certain investments held by a fund and could reduce a fund’s performance.
Municipal Notes. Municipal notes are short-term obligations of municipalities, generally with a maturity ranging from six months to three years. The principal types of such notes include tax, bond and revenue anticipation notes, project notes and construction loan notes.
Tax-Anticipation Notes. Tax anticipation notes are issued to finance working capital needs of municipalities. Generally, they are issued in anticipation of various tax revenues, such as income, sales, use and business taxes, and are specifically payable from these particular future tax revenues.
Bond Anticipation Notes. Bond anticipation notes are issued to provide interim financing until long-term bond financing can be arranged. In most cases, the long-term bonds then provide the funds for the repayment of the notes.
Revenue Anticipation Notes. Revenue anticipation notes are issued in expectation of receipt of specific types of revenue, other than taxes, such as federal revenues available under Federal Revenue Sharing Programs.
Project Notes. Project notes are backed by an agreement between a local issuing agency and the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and carry a U.S. government guarantee. These notes provide financing for a wide range of financial assistance programs for housing, redevelopment and related needs (such as low-income housing programs and urban renewal programs). Although they are the primary obligations of the local public housing agencies or local urban renewal agencies, the HUD agreement provides for the additional security of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Payment by the United States pursuant to its full faith and credit obligation does not impair the tax-exempt character of the income from project notes.
Construction Loan Notes. Construction loan notes are sold to provide construction financing. Permanent financing, the proceeds of which are applied to the payment of construction loan notes, is sometimes provided by a commitment by GNMA to purchase the loan, accompanied by a commitment by the Federal Housing Administration to insure mortgage advances thereunder. In other instances, permanent financing is provided by the commitments of banks to purchase the loan.
Municipal Commercial Paper. Municipal commercial paper is a short-term obligation of a municipality, generally issued at a discount with a maturity of less than one year. Such paper is likely to be issued to meet seasonal working capital needs of a municipality or interim construction financing. Municipal commercial paper is backed in many cases by letters of credit, lending agreements, note repurchase agreements or other credit facility agreements offered by banks and other institutions.
High Yield (High Risk) Municipal Debt Obligations. Municipal bonds rated “BBB” or “BB” by S&P or Fitch, or “Baa” or “Ba” by Moody’s, or lower (and their unrated equivalents) are considered to have some speculative characteristics and, to varying degrees, can pose special risks generally involving the ability of the issuer to make payment of principal and interest to a greater extent than higher rated securities.
A subadvisor may be authorized to purchase lower-rated municipal bonds when, based upon price, yield and its assessment of quality, investment in these bonds is determined to be consistent with a fund’s investment objectives. The subadvisor will evaluate and monitor the quality of all investments, including lower-rated bonds, and will dispose of these bonds as determined to be necessary to assure that the fund’s portfolio is constituted in a manner consistent with these objectives. To the extent that a fund’s investments in lower-rated municipal bonds emphasize obligations believed to be consistent with the goal of preserving capital, these obligations may not provide yields as high as those of other obligations having these ratings, and the differential in yields between these bonds and obligations with higher quality ratings may not be as significant as might otherwise be generally available. The Prospectus for certain funds includes additional information regarding a fund’s ability to invest in lower-rated debt obligations under “Principal investment strategies.”
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Preferred Stocks
Preferred stock generally has a preference to dividends and, upon liquidation, over an issuer’s common stock but ranks junior to debt securities in an issuer’s capital structure. Preferred stock generally pays dividends in cash (or additional shares of preferred stock) at a defined rate but, unlike interest payments on debt securities, preferred stock dividends are payable only if declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Dividends on preferred stock may be cumulative, meaning that, in the event the issuer fails to make one or more dividend payments on the preferred stock, no dividends may be paid on the issuer’s common stock until all unpaid preferred stock dividends have been paid. Preferred stock also may be subject to optional or mandatory redemption provisions.
Repurchase Agreements, Reverse Repurchase Agreements, and Sale-Buybacks
Repurchase agreements are arrangements involving the purchase of an obligation and the simultaneous agreement to resell the same obligation on demand or at a specified future date and at an agreed-upon price. A repurchase agreement can be viewed as a loan made by a fund to the seller of the obligation with such obligation serving as collateral for the seller’s agreement to repay the amount borrowed with interest. Repurchase agreements provide the opportunity to earn a return on cash that is only temporarily available. Repurchase agreements may be entered with banks, brokers, or dealers. However, a repurchase agreement will only be entered with a broker or dealer if the broker or dealer agrees to deposit additional collateral should the value of the obligation purchased decrease below the resale price.
Generally, repurchase agreements are of a short duration, often less than one week but on occasion for longer periods. Securities subject to repurchase agreements will be valued every business day and additional collateral will be requested if necessary so that the value of the collateral is at least equal to the value of the repurchase obligation, including the interest accrued thereon.
A subadvisor shall engage in a repurchase agreement transaction only with those banks or broker dealers who meet the subadvisor’s quantitative and qualitative criteria regarding creditworthiness, asset size and collateralization requirements. The Advisor also may engage in repurchase agreement transactions on behalf of the funds. The counterparties to a repurchase agreement transaction are limited to a:
Federal Reserve System member bank;
primary government securities dealer reporting to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Market Reports Division; or
broker dealer that reports U.S. government securities positions to the Federal Reserve Board.
A fund also may participate in repurchase agreement transactions utilizing the settlement services of clearing firms that meet the subadvisors' creditworthiness requirements.
The Advisor and the subadvisors will continuously monitor repurchase agreement transactions to ensure that the collateral held with respect to a repurchase agreement equals or exceeds the amount of the obligation.
The risk of a repurchase agreement transaction is limited to the ability of the seller to pay the agreed-upon sum on the delivery date. In the event of bankruptcy or other default by the seller, the instrument purchased may decline in value, interest payable on the instrument may be lost and there may be possible difficulties and delays in obtaining collateral and delays and expense in liquidating the instrument. If an issuer of a repurchase agreement fails to repurchase the underlying obligation, the loss, if any, would be the difference between the repurchase price and the underlying obligation’s market value. A fund also might incur certain costs in liquidating the underlying obligation. Moreover, if bankruptcy or other insolvency proceedings are commenced with respect to the seller, realization upon the underlying obligation might be delayed or limited.
Under a reverse repurchase agreement, a fund sells a debt security and agrees to repurchase it at an agreed-upon time and at an agreed-upon price. The fund retains record ownership of the security and the right to receive interest and principal payments thereon. At an agreed-upon future date, the fund repurchases the security by remitting the proceeds previously received, plus interest. The difference between the amount the fund receives for the security and the amount it pays on repurchase is payment of interest. In certain types of agreements, there is no agreed-upon repurchase date and interest payments are calculated daily, often based on the prevailing overnight repurchase rate. A reverse repurchase agreement may be considered a form of leveraging and may, therefore, increase fluctuations in a fund’s NAV per share.
A fund may effect simultaneous purchase and sale transactions that are known as “sale-buybacks.” A sale-buyback is similar to a reverse repurchase agreement, except that in a sale-buyback, the counterparty that purchases the security is entitled to receive any principal or interest payments made on the underlying security pending settlement of the fund's repurchase of the underlying security.
Subject to the requirements noted under “Government Regulation of Derivatives”, a fund will either treat reverse repurchase agreements and similar financings, including sale-buybacks, as derivatives subject to the Derivatives Rule limitations or not as derivatives and treat reverse repurchase agreements and similar financings transactions as senior securities equivalent to bank borrowings subject to asset coverage requirements of Section 18 of the 1940 Act. A fund will ensure that its repurchase agreement transactions are “fully collateralized” by maintaining in a custodial account cash, Treasury bills, other U.S. government securities, or certain other liquid assets having an aggregate value at least equal to the amount of such commitment to repurchase including accrued interest, until payment is made.
Foreign Repurchase Agreements. Foreign repurchase agreements involve an agreement to purchase a foreign security and to sell that security back to the original seller at an agreed-upon price in either U.S. dollars or foreign currency. Unlike typical U.S. repurchase agreements, foreign repurchase agreements may not be fully collateralized at all times. The value of a security purchased may be more or less than the price at which the counterparty has agreed to repurchase the security. In the event of default by the counterparty, a fund may suffer a loss if the value of the security
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purchased is less than the agreed-upon repurchase price, or if it is unable to successfully assert a claim to the collateral under foreign laws. As a result, foreign repurchase agreements may involve higher credit risks than repurchase agreements in U.S. markets, as well as risks associated with currency fluctuations. In addition, as with other emerging market investments, repurchase agreements with counterparties located in emerging markets, or relating to emerging markets, may involve issuers or counterparties with lower credit ratings than typical U.S. repurchase agreements.
Restricted Securities
A fund may invest in “restricted securities,” which generally are securities that may be resold to the public only pursuant to an effective registration statement under the 1933 Act or an exemption from registration. Regulation S under the 1933 Act is an exemption from registration that permits, under certain circumstances, the resale of restricted securities in offshore transactions, subject to certain conditions, and Rule 144A under the 1933 Act is an exemption that permits the resale of certain restricted securities to qualified institutional buyers.
Since its adoption by the SEC in 1990, Rule 144A has facilitated trading of restricted securities among qualified institutional investors. To the extent restricted securities held by a fund qualify under Rule 144A and an institutional market develops for those securities, the fund expects that it will be able to dispose of the securities without registering the resale of such securities under the 1933 Act. However, to the extent that a robust market for such 144A securities does not develop, or a market develops but experiences periods of illiquidity, investments in Rule 144A securities could increase the level of a fund's illiquidity. A fund might have to register restricted securities in order to dispose of them, resulting in additional expense and delay. Adverse market conditions could impede such a public offering of securities.
There is a large institutional market for certain securities that are not registered under the 1933 Act, which may include markets for repurchase agreements, commercial paper, foreign securities, municipal securities, loans and corporate bonds and notes. Institutional investors depend on an efficient institutional market in which the unregistered security can be readily resold or on an issuer's ability to honor a demand for repayment. The fact that there are contractual or legal restrictions on resale to the general public or to certain institutions may not be indicative of the liquidity of such investments.
Short Sales
A fund may engage in short sales and short sales “against the box.” In a short sale against the box, a fund borrows securities from a broker-dealer and sells the borrowed securities, and at all times during the transaction, a fund either owns or has the right to acquire the same securities at no extra cost. If the price of the security has declined at the time a fund is required to deliver the security, a fund will benefit from the difference in the price. If the price of a security has increased, the funds will be required to pay the difference.
In addition, a fund may sell a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of that security (a “short sale”). To complete such a transaction, a fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The fund is then obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing it at market price at the time of 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 any dividends or interest which accrues 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 are typically retained by the broker to meet margin requirements until the short position is closed out. Please see “Government Regulation of Derivatives” section for additional information.
A fund will incur a loss as a result of the short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the fund replaced the borrowed security and theoretically the fund's loss could be unlimited. A fund will generally realize a gain if the security declines in price between those dates. This result is the opposite of what one would expect from a cash purchase of a long position in a security. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss increased, by the amount of any premium, dividends or interest the fund may be required to pay in connection with a short sale. Short selling may amplify changes in a fund's NAV. Short selling also may produce higher than normal portfolio turnover, which may result in increased transaction costs to a fund.
Short-Term Trading
Short-term trading means the purchase and subsequent sale of a security after it has been held for a relatively brief period of time. If and to the extent consistent with and permitted by its investment objective and policies, a fund may engage in short-term trading in response to stock market conditions, changes in interest rates or other economic trends and developments, or to take advantage of yield disparities between various fixed-income securities in order to realize capital gains or improve income. Short-term trading may have the effect of increasing portfolio turnover rate. A high rate of portfolio turnover (100% or greater) involves correspondingly greater brokerage transaction expenses and may make it more difficult for a fund to qualify as a RIC for federal income tax purposes (for additional information about qualification as a RIC under the Code, see “Additional Information Concerning Taxes” in this SAI). See specific fund details in the “Portfolio Turnover” section of this SAI.
Sovereign Debt Obligations
Sovereign debt obligations are issued or guaranteed by foreign governments or their agencies. Sovereign debt may be in the form of conventional securities or other types of debt instruments such as loan or loan participations. Typically, sovereign debt of developing countries may involve a high degree of risk and may be in default or present the risk of default, however, sovereign debt of developed countries also may involve a high degree of risk and may be in default or present the risk of default. Governments rely on taxes and other revenue sources to pay interest and principal on their debt obligations, and governmental entities responsible for repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal and pay interest when due and may require renegotiation or rescheduling of debt payments. The payment of principal and interest on these obligations may be adversely affected
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by a variety of factors, including economic results, changes in interest and exchange rates, changes in debt ratings, a limited tax base or limited revenue sources, natural disasters, or other economic or credit problems. In addition, prospects for repayment and payment of interest may depend on political as well as economic factors. Defaults in sovereign debt obligations, or the perceived risk of default, also may impair the market for other securities and debt instruments, including securities issued by banks and other entities holding such sovereign debt, and negatively impact the funds.
U.S. Government and Government Agency Obligations
U.S. Government Obligations. U.S. government obligations are debt securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the U.S. Treasury. These securities include treasury bills, notes and bonds.
GNMA Obligations. GNMA obligations are mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the GNMA, which guarantee is supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
U.S. Agency Obligations. U.S. government agency obligations are debt securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government pursuant to authority granted by Congress. U.S. government agency obligations include, but are not limited to:
SLMA;
FHLBs;
FICBs; and
Fannie Mae.
U.S. Instrumentality Obligations. U.S. instrumentality obligations include, but are not limited to, those issued by the Export-Import Bank and Farmers Home Administration.
Some obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury or the Federal Reserve Banks, such as those issued by FICBs. Others, such as those issued by Fannie Mae, FHLBs and Freddie Mac, are supported by discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the agency or instrumentality. In addition, other obligations, such as those issued by the SLMA, are supported only by the credit of the agency or instrumentality. There also are separately traded interest components of securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury.
No assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support for the obligations of such U.S. government-sponsored agencies or instrumentalities in the future, since it is not obligated to do so by law. In this SAI, “U.S. government securities” refers not only to securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the U.S. Treasury but also to securities that are backed only by their own credit and not the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
It is possible that the availability and the marketability (liquidity) of the securities discussed in this section could be adversely affected by actions of the U.S. government to tighten the availability of its credit. In 2008, FHFA, an agency of the U.S. government, placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship, a statutory process with the objective of returning the entities to normal business operations. The FHFA will act as the conservator to operate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until they are stabilized. It is unclear what effect this conservatorship will have on the securities issued or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Variable and Floating Rate Obligations
Investments in floating or variable rate securities normally will 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 rates of Treasury Bonds or Bills or the prime rate at a major commercial bank. In addition, a bondholder can demand payment of the obligations on behalf of the investing fund on short notice at par plus accrued interest, which amount may be more or less than the amount the bondholder paid for them. The maturity of floating or variable rate obligations (including participation interests therein) is deemed to be the longer of: (i) the notice period required before a fund is entitled to receive payment of the obligation upon demand; or (ii) the period remaining until the obligation’s next interest rate adjustment. If not redeemed by the investor through the demand feature, the obligations mature on a specified date, which may range up to thirty years from the date of issuance.
Warrants
Warrants may trade independently of the underlying securities. Warrants are rights to purchase securities at specific prices and are valid for a specific period of time. Warrant prices do not necessarily move parallel to the prices of the underlying securities, and warrant holders receive no dividends and have no voting rights or rights with respect to the assets of an issuer. The price of a warrant may be more volatile than the price of its underlying security, and a warrant may offer greater potential for capital appreciation as well as capital loss. Warrants cease to have value if not exercised prior to the expiration date. These factors can make warrants more speculative than other types of investments.
When-Issued/Delayed Delivery/Forward Commitment Securities
A fund may purchase or sell securities on a “when-issued,” “delayed-delivery” or “forward commitment” basis. When-issued, delayed-delivery or forward-commitment transactions involve a commitment to purchase or sell securities at a predetermined price or yield in which payment and delivery take place after the customary settlement for such securities (which is typically one month or more after trade date). When purchasing securities in one of these types of transactions, payment for the securities is not required until the delivery date, however, the purchaser assumes the rights and risks of
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ownership, including the risks of price and yield fluctuations and the risk that the security will not be delivered. When a fund has sold securities pursuant to one of these transactions, it will not participate in further gains or losses with respect to that security. At the time of delivery, the value of when-issued, delayed-delivery or forward commitment securities may be more or less than the transaction price, and the yields then available in the market may be higher or lower than those obtained in the transaction.
Under normal circumstances, when a fund purchases securities on a when-issued or forward commitment basis, it will take delivery of the securities, but a fund may, if deemed advisable, sell the securities before the settlement date. Forward contracts may settle in cash between the counterparty and the fund or by physical settlement of the underlying securities, and a fund may renegotiate or roll over a forward commitment transaction. In general, a fund does not pay for the securities, or start earning interest on them, or deliver or take possession of securities until the obligations are scheduled to be settled. In such transactions, no cash changes hands on the trade date, however, if the transaction is collateralized, the exchange of margin may take place between the fund and the counterparty according to an agreed-upon schedule. A fund does, however, record the transaction and reflect the value each day of the securities in determining its NAV.
When-issued or forward settling securities transactions physically settling within 35-days are deemed not to involve a senior security. When-issued or forward settling securities transactions that do not physically settle within 35-days are required to be treated as derivatives transactions in compliance with the Derivatives Rule as outlined in the “Government Regulation of Derivatives” section.
Yield Curve Notes
Inverse floating rate securities include, but are not limited to, an inverse floating rate class of a government agency-issued yield curve note. A yield curve note is a fixed-income security that bears interest at a floating rate that is reset periodically based on an interest rate benchmark. The interest rate resets on a yield curve note in the opposite direction from the interest rate benchmark.
Zero Coupon Securities, Deferred Interest Bonds and Pay-In-Kind Bonds
Zero coupon securities, deferred interest bonds and pay-in-kind bonds involve special risk considerations. Zero coupon securities and deferred interest bonds are debt securities that pay no cash income but are sold at substantial discounts from their value at maturity. While zero coupon bonds do not require the periodic payment of interest, deferred interest bonds provide for a period of delay before the regular payment of interest begins. When a zero coupon security or a deferred interest bond is held to maturity, its entire return, which consists of the amortization of discount, comes from the difference between its purchase price and its maturity value. This difference is known at the time of purchase, so that investors holding these securities until maturity know at the time of their investment what the return on their investment will be. Pay-in-kind bonds are bonds that pay all or a portion of their interest in the form of debt or equity securities.
Zero coupon securities, deferred interest bonds and pay-in-kind bonds are subject to greater price fluctuations in response to changes in interest rates than ordinary interest-paying debt securities with similar maturities. The value of zero coupon securities and deferred interest bonds usually appreciates during periods of declining interest rates and usually depreciates during periods of rising interest rates.
Issuers of Zero Coupon Securities and Pay-In-Kind Bonds. Zero coupon securities and pay-in-kind bonds may be issued by a wide variety of corporate and governmental issuers. Although zero coupon securities and pay-in-kind bonds are generally not traded on a national securities exchange, these securities are widely traded by brokers and dealers and, to the extent they are widely traded, will not be considered illiquid for the purposes of the investment restriction under “Illiquid Securities.”
Tax Considerations. Current federal income tax law requires the holder of a zero coupon security or certain pay-in-kind bonds to accrue income with respect to these securities prior to the receipt of cash payments. To maintain its qualification as a RIC under the Code and avoid liability for federal income and excise taxes, a fund may be required to distribute income accrued with respect to these securities and may have to dispose of portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances in order to generate cash to satisfy these distribution requirements.
Risk Factors