485APOS 1 d725644d485apos.htm STATE STREET INSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST State Street Institutional Investment Trust
Table of Contents

As filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on April 18, 2019

1933 Act File No. 333-30810

1940 Act File No. 811-09819

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, DC 20549

 

 

FORM N-1A

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

   THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933  
   Post-Effective Amendment No. 255  

and

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

   THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940  
   Amendment No. 257  

 

 

STATE STREET INSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST

 

 

One Iron Street

Boston MA 02210

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

(617) 664-7037

(Registrant’s Telephone Number)

Joshua A. Weinberg, Esq.

Managing Director and Managing Counsel

c/o SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

 

Copy to:

Timothy W. Diggins, Esq.

Ropes & Gray LLP

800 Boylston Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02199-3600

 

 

It is proposed that this filing will become effective (check appropriate box):

 

Immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)

On (date) pursuant to paragraph (b)

60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)

On (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of Rule 485.

75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)

On (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of Rule 485.

If appropriate, check the following box:

 

This post-effective amendment designates a new effective date for a previously filed post-effective amendment.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

The information in this prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell the securities being registered pursuant to this registration statement until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

Prospectus

Dated [            ], 2019

State Street Institutional

Investment Trust

State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Fund

Institutional Class ([    ]) Administration Class ([    ]) Investment Class ([    ])

Investor Class ([    ]) Premier Class ([    ])

 

 

Beginning on January 1, 2021, as permitted by regulations adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, paper copies of a Fund’s annual and semi-annual shareholder reports will no longer be sent by mail, unless you specifically request paper copies of the reports from the Fund (or from your financial intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or bank). Instead, the reports will be made available on the Fund’s website (www.ssga.com/cash), and you will be notified by mail each time a report is posted, and provided with a website link to access the report.

Beginning on January 1, 2019, you may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. If you invest through a financial intermediary, you can contact your financial intermediary to request that you continue to receive paper copies of your shareholder reports. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds held in your account, if you invest through your financial intermediary or all funds held with the fund complex if you invest directly with a Fund.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

An investment in the Fund offered by this Prospectus is not a bank deposit and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

The Fund may offer multiple classes of shares. This Prospectus covers only the Institutional Class, Administration Class, Investment Class, Investor Class and Premier Class Shares of the Fund.

State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Fund is a “floating net asset value” money market fund. The share price of this Fund will fluctuate.

None of State Street Corporation, State Street Bank and Trust Company, State Street Global Advisors, SSGA Funds Management, Inc. or their affiliates (“State Street Entities”) guarantee the value of your investment at $1.00 per share or any other target share price. Investors should have no expectation of capital support to the Fund from State Street Entities.

 

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Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Fund Summaries

           

State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Fund

     1  

Additional Information About Investment Objectives, Principal Strategies and Risks

     8  

Additional Information About Non-Principal Investment Strategies and Risks

     17  

Portfolio Holdings Disclosure

     18  

Management and Organization

     18  

Shareholder Information

     19  

Dividends, Distributions and Tax Considerations

     26  

Financial Intermediary Arrangements

     27  

Financial Highlights

     29  

 

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STATE STREET ESG LIQUID RESERVES FUND

Investment Objective

The investment objective of the State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Fund (the “ESG Liquid Reserves Fund” or sometimes referred to in context as the “Fund”) is to seek to maximize current income while giving consideration to SSGA Funds Management, Inc.’s (“SSGA FM’s” or the “Adviser’s”) environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) criteria, to the extent consistent with the preservation of capital and liquidity, by investing in U.S. dollar-denominated money market securities.

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

The table below describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund (“Fund Shares”). The expenses shown in the table and the Example reflect the expenses of the Fund and the Fund’s proportionate share of the expenses of the State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio, a separate series of State Street Master Funds (the “ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio” or sometimes referred to in context as the “Portfolio”).

Shareholder Fees

(fees paid directly from your investment)

 

     Institutional    Administration    Investment    Investor    Premier

Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price)

   None    None    None    None    None

Maximum Deferred Sales Charge (Load) (as a percentage of the lower of the sale proceeds or the original offering price)

   None    None    None    None    None

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)

 

     Institutional     Administration     Investment     Investor     Premier  

Management Fee

                                             

Distribution and/or Shareholder Service
(12b-1) Fees

                                             

Other Expenses

                                             

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses

                                             
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Example:

This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated, and then sell all of your Fund Shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

 

     1
year
     3
years
 

Institutional

   $                $            

Administration

   $                $            

Investment

   $                $            

Investor

   $                $            

Premier

   $                $            

 

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Principal Investment Strategies

The ESG Liquid Reserves Fund follows a disciplined investment process in which the Adviser bases its decisions on the relative attractiveness of different money market instruments while considering ESG criteria at the time of purchase. Among other things, the Adviser conducts its own credit analyses of potential investments and portfolio holdings, and relies substantially on a dedicated short-term credit research team.

The Fund invests in accordance with regulatory requirements applicable to money market funds, which require, among other things, the Fund to invest only in short-term, high quality debt obligations (generally, securities that have remaining maturities of 397 calendar days or less and that the Fund believes present minimal credit risk), to maintain a maximum dollar-weighted average maturity and dollar-weighted average life of sixty (60) days or less and 120 days or less, respectively, and to meet requirements as to portfolio diversification and liquidity. In the Adviser’s opinion, the attractiveness of an instrument may vary depending on, among other things, the general level of interest rates and imbalances of supply and demand in the market.

Although the Fund is a money market fund, the net asset value (“NAV”) of the Fund’s Shares “floats,” fluctuating with changes in the values of the Fund’s portfolio securities. The Fund typically accepts purchase and redemption orders multiple times per day, and calculates its NAV at each such time.

The Adviser uses a proprietary platform to assign ESG ratings to issuers. For investments other than U.S. government securities, securities of governments other than the U.S. government and, in some cases, investments involving certain financial counterparties, the Adviser assigns “R-Factor” scores to potential investments based on environmental, social, and governance scores developed by the Adviser using proprietary, internal research and analysis of information provided by third party data providers. The R-Factor score incorporates metrics and criteria recognized by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) and ISS Governance (“ISG”). Among the ESG criteria that the Adviser considers when assigning an R-Factor score are: impact on climate change and air quality, energy management, human rights, labor practices, business ethics, board independence and accountability, shareholder rights and engagement, and alignment of compensation and business strategy. Not all criteria are assigned equal weight in constructing an R-Factor score. Security selection in U.S. government securities, securities of governments other than the U.S. government, and securities issued by certain financial counterparties is based on the Adviser’s fundamental security selection process after screening out issuers that receive ESG risk ratings from a third-party provider that do not meet the threshold set by the Adviser.

The factors listed above are illustrative and do not necessarily reflect the full range of ESG factors the Adviser may consider in analyzing a particular security for investment. The availability of information about a company, ESG issues associated with a particular industry, changing market conditions or other circumstances may affect the manner in which the Adviser’s ESG criteria are applied in a particular situation. In making investment decisions, the Adviser will normally consider ESG factors at the time of investment and will not apply ESG factors to make sell decisions. Once a security is purchased by the Fund, the Adviser will periodically review an issuer’s performance to determine how it compares to the Fund’s ESG criteria and affects the Fund’s overall ESG orientation, but the Adviser typically will not sell a security based solely on a change in the Adviser’s ESG evaluation of an issuer.

The Adviser will select securities for investment by the Fund based on its consideration of fundamental and technical factors relating to the investment, as well as in some cases seeking to increase ESG scoring in the investment portfolio. The Adviser’s ESG analysis is an integral component of portfolio construction. A company in which the Fund invests may rank higher or lower across ESG factors or in any one factor as compared with other companies in which the Fund invests or might invest. For example, it is possible that the Adviser might select for investment a company with a lower ESG score than another on the basis of that company’s relative high score in the Adviser’s overall analysis. Conversely, it is possible that the Adviser might select for investment an issue with a higher ESG score and lower yield than another to achieve a higher R-Factor score. The Adviser does not expect typically to invest in securities that do not achieve a minimum R-Factor threshold score set by the Adviser from time to time. There may be certain investments with desirable investment attributes that the Adviser will not consider for investment by the Fund because they do not meet that threshold, and the Fund might achieve less favorable investment results than a comparable fund that is not so limited.

 

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The Fund attempts to meet its investment objective by investing in a broad range of money market instruments. These may include among other things: U.S. government securities, including U.S. Treasury bills, notes and bonds and other securities issued or guaranteed as to principal and/or interest, as applicable, by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities; certificates of deposits and time deposits of U.S. and foreign banks (including European Certificates of Deposit (“ECDs”), European Time Deposits (“ETDs”) and Yankee Certificates of Deposit (“YCDs”)), commercial paper and other high quality obligations of U.S. or foreign companies, including “green” bonds; secured securities such as asset-backed commercial paper and other asset-backed securities; and repurchase agreements. These instruments may bear fixed, variable or floating rates of interest or may be zero-coupon securities. The Fund also may invest in shares of government money market funds, including funds advised by the Adviser. Under normal market conditions, the Fund intends to invest more than 25% of its total assets in bank obligations. A substantial portion of the Fund may be invested in securities that are issued or traded pursuant to exemptions from registration under the federal securities laws.

The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing substantially all of its investable assets in the ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio, a separate series of State Street Master Funds (the “Portfolio”), which has substantially identical investment policies to the Fund. When a Fund invests in this “master-feeder” structure, the Fund’s only investments are shares of the Portfolio, and it participates in the investment returns achieved by the Portfolio. Descriptions in this section of the investment activities of the “Fund” also generally describe the expected investment activities of the Portfolio.

Principal Risks

You could lose money by investing in the Fund. Because the share price of the Fund will fluctuate, when you sell your shares they may be worth more or less than what you originally paid for them. The Fund may impose a fee upon the sale of your shares or may temporarily suspend your ability to sell shares if the Fund’s liquidity falls below required minimums because of market conditions or other factors. An investment in the Fund is subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal, is not a deposit in a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) or any other government agency. The Fund’s sponsor has no legal obligation to provide financial support to the Fund, and you should not expect that the sponsor will provide financial support to the Fund at any time.

In addition, the Fund is subject to the following risks. The risks are described in alphabetical order and not in the order of importance or potential exposure.

Counterparty Risk: The Fund will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties with which the Fund enters into repurchase agreements and other transactions. If a counterparty fails to meet its contractual obligations, the Fund may be unable to terminate the transaction, and it may be delayed or prevented from realizing on any collateral in the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency proceeding relating to the counterparty.

Debt Securities Risk: The values of debt securities may increase or decrease as a result of the following: market fluctuations, increases in interest rates, actual or perceived inability or unwillingness of issuers, guarantors or liquidity providers to make scheduled principal or interest payments or illiquidity in debt securities markets; the risk of low rates of return due to reinvestment of securities during periods of falling interest rates or repayment by issuers with higher coupon or interest rates; and/or the risk of low income due to falling interest rates. To the extent that interest rates rise, certain underlying obligations may be paid off substantially slower than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply. A rising interest rate environment may cause the value of the Fund’s fixed income securities to decrease, an adverse impact on the liquidity of the Fund’s fixed income securities, and increased volatility of the fixed income markets. If the principal on a debt obligation is prepaid before expected, the prepayments of principal may have to be reinvested in obligations paying interest at lower rates. During periods of falling interest rates, the income received by the Fund may decline. Changes in interest rates will likely have a greater effect on the values of debt securities of longer durations. Returns on investments in debt securities could trail the returns on other investment options, including investments in equity securities.

 

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ESG Investing Risk: The Fund’s incorporation of ESG considerations in its investment process may cause it to make different investments than funds that have a similar investment universe and/or investment style but that do not incorporate such considerations in their strategy or investment processes. Under certain economic conditions, this could cause the Fund’s investment performance to be worse than similar funds that do not incorporate such considerations in their investment strategies or processes. In applying ESG criteria to its investment decisions, the Fund may forgo higher yielding investments that it would invest in absent the application of its ESG investing criteria. In addition, due to constraints imposed by regulations applicable to money market funds or other considerations relating to credit quality, liquidity or yield, the Fund may be unable to successfully implement its ESG investment strategy and could invest, and remain invested, in issuers that may have an adverse social and environmental impact.

Financial Institutions Risk: Changes in the creditworthiness of financial institutions (such as banks and broker-dealers) may adversely affect the values of instruments of issuers in financial industries. Adverse developments in banking and other financial industries may cause the Fund to underperform relative to other funds that invest more broadly across different industries or have a smaller exposure to financial institutions. Changes in governmental regulation and oversight of financial institutions may have an adverse effect on the financial condition of a financial institution.

Income Risk: The Fund’s income may decline due to falling interest rates or other factors. Issuers of securities held by the Fund may call or redeem the securities during periods of falling interest rates, and the Fund would likely be required to reinvest in securities paying lower interest rates. If an obligation held by the Fund is prepaid, the Fund may have to reinvest the prepayment in other obligations paying income at lower rates.

Large Shareholder Risk: To the extent a large proportion of the interests of the Portfolio are held by a small number of investors (or a single investor), including funds or accounts over which the Adviser has investment discretion, the Portfolio is subject to the risk that these investors will purchase or redeem Portfolio interests in large amounts rapidly or unexpectedly, including as a result of an asset allocation decision made by the Adviser. These transactions could adversely affect the ability of the Portfolio to conduct its investment program.

Liquidity Risk: Lack of a ready market or restrictions on resale may limit the ability of the Fund to sell a security at an advantageous time or price or at all. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value. Illiquidity of the Fund’s holdings may limit the ability of the Fund to obtain cash to meet redemptions on a timely basis. In addition, the Fund, due to limitations on investments in any illiquid securities and/or the difficulty in purchasing and selling such investments, may be unable to achieve its desired level of exposure to a certain market or sector.

Low Short-Term Interest Rate Risk: During market conditions in which short-term interest rates are at low levels, the Fund’s yield can be very low. During these conditions, it is possible that the Fund will generate an insufficient amount of income to pay its expenses, and that it will not be able to pay a daily dividend and may have a negative yield (i.e., it may lose money on an operating basis). It is possible that the Fund would, during these conditions, maintain a substantial portion of its assets in cash, on which it may earn little, if any, income.

Market Risk: The Fund’s investments are subject to changes in general economic conditions, and general market fluctuations and the risks inherent in investment in securities markets. Investment markets can be volatile and prices of investments can change substantially due to various factors including, but not limited to, economic growth or recession, changes in interest rates, changes in the actual or perceived creditworthiness of issuers, and general market liquidity. The Fund is subject to the risk that geopolitical events will disrupt securities markets and adversely affect global economies and markets.

 

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Master/Feeder Structure Risk: The Fund pursues its objective by investing substantially all of its assets in another pooled investment vehicle (a “master fund”). The ability of the Fund to meet its investment objective is directly related to the ability of the master fund to meet its investment objective. The Adviser serves as investment adviser to the master fund, leading to potential conflicts of interest. The Fund will bear its pro rata portion of the expenses incurred by the master fund. Substantial redemptions by other investors in a master fund may affect the master fund’s investment program adversely and limit the ability of the master fund to achieve its objective.

Money Market Risk-Floating NAV: The Fund does not maintain a constant net asset value per share. The value of the Fund’s shares is calculated to four decimal places and will vary reflecting the value of the portfolio of investments held by the Fund. It is possible to lose money by investing in the Fund.

Mortgage-Related and Other Asset-Backed Securities Risk: Investments in mortgage-related and other asset-backed securities are subject to the risk of significant credit downgrades, illiquidity, and defaults to a greater extent than many other types of fixed-income investments. The liquidity of mortgage-related and asset-backed securities may change over time. During periods of falling interest rates, mortgage- and asset-backed securities may be called or prepaid, which may result in the Fund having to reinvest proceeds in other investments at a lower interest rate. During periods of rising interest rates, the average life of mortgage- and asset-backed securities may extend, which may lock in a below-market interest rate, increase the security’s duration and interest rate sensitivity, and reduce the value of the security. Enforcing rights against the underlying assets or collateral may be difficult, and the underlying assets or collateral may be insufficient if the issuer defaults.

Non-U.S. Securities Risk: Non-U.S. securities (including depositary receipts) are subject to political, regulatory, and economic risks not present in domestic investments. There may be less information publicly available about a non-U.S. entity than about a U.S. entity, and many non-U.S. entities are not subject to accounting, auditing, legal and financial report standards comparable to those in the United States. Further, such entities and/or their securities may be subject to risks associated with currency controls; expropriation; changes in tax policy; greater market volatility; differing securities market structures; higher transaction costs; and various administrative difficulties, such as delays in clearing and settling portfolio transactions or in receiving payment of dividends. Securities traded on foreign markets may be less liquid (harder to sell) than securities traded domestically. Foreign governments may impose restrictions on the repatriation of capital to the U.S. In addition, to the extent investments are made in a limited number of countries, events in those countries will have a more significant impact on the Fund. Investments in depositary receipts may be less liquid and more volatile than the underlying shares in their primary trading market.

Rapid Changes in Interest Rates Risk: Rapid changes in interest rates may cause significant requests to redeem Fund Shares, and possibly cause the Fund to sell portfolio securities at a loss to satisfy those requests.

Repurchase Agreement Risk: Repurchase agreements may be viewed as loans made by the Fund which are collateralized by the securities subject to repurchase. If the Fund’s counterparty should default on its obligations and the Fund is delayed or prevented from recovering the collateral, or if the value of the collateral is insufficient, the Fund may realize a loss.

Restricted Securities Risk: The Fund may hold securities that have not been registered for sale to the public under the U.S. federal securities laws. There can be no assurance that a trading market will exist at any time for any particular restricted security. Limitations on the resale of these securities may have an adverse effect on their marketability, and may prevent the Fund from disposing of them promptly at reasonable prices. The Fund may have to bear the expense of registering the securities for resale and the risk of substantial delays in effecting the registration. Also, restricted securities may be difficult to value because market quotations may not be readily available, and the securities may have significant volatility.

Risk of Investment in Other Pools: If the Fund invests in another pooled investment vehicle, it is exposed to the risk that the other pool will not perform as expected and is exposed indirectly to all of the risks applicable to an

 

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investment in such other pool. The investment policies of the other pool may not be the same as those of the Fund; as a result, an investment in the other pool may be subject to additional or different risks than those to which the Fund is typically subject. The Fund bears its proportionate share of the fees and expenses of any pool in which it invests. The Adviser or an affiliate may serve as investment adviser to a pool in which the Fund may invest, leading to potential conflicts of interest. It is possible that other clients of the Adviser or its affiliates will purchase or sell interests in a pool sponsored or managed by the Adviser or its affiliates at prices and at times more favorable than those at which the Fund does so.

U.S. Government Securities Risk: Certain U.S. government securities are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States; others are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; others are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase the agency’s obligations; and still others are supported only by the credit of the issuing agency, instrumentality, or enterprise. Although U.S. government-sponsored enterprises such as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) may be chartered or sponsored by Congress, they are not funded by Congressional appropriations, and their securities are not issued by the U.S. Treasury, are not supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and involve increased credit risks.

Variable and Floating Rate Securities Risk: During periods of increasing interest rates, changes in the coupon rates of variable or floating rate securities may lag behind the changes in market rates or may have limits on the maximum increases in coupon rates. Alternatively, during periods of declining interest rates, the coupon rates on such securities will typically readjust downward resulting in a lower yield. In addition, investment in derivative variable rate securities, such as inverse floaters, whose rates vary inversely with market rates of interest, or range floaters or capped floaters, whose rates are subject to periodic or lifetime caps, or in securities that pay a rate of interest determined by applying a multiple to the variable rate involves special risks as compared to investment in a fixed-rate security and may involve leverage.

Zero-Coupon Bond Risk: Zero-coupon bonds usually trade at a deep discount from their face or par values and are subject to greater market value fluctuations from changing interest rates than debt obligations of comparable maturities that make current distributions of interest.

Performance

Performance information for the Fund has been omitted because the Fund had not commenced investment operations as of the date of this Prospectus. Once the Fund has completed a full calendar year of operations, a bar chart and table will be included that will provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing the variability of the Fund’s returns based on net assets. The Fund will make updated performance information, including its current net asset value, available at the Fund’s website: www.ssga.com/cash.

Investment Adviser

SSGA FM serves as the investment adviser to the Fund.

Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares

Purchase Minimums

 

Institutional Class

  

To establish an account

   $ 25,000,000  

To add to an existing account

     No minimum  

Administration Class

  

To establish an account

   $ 1,000  

To add to an existing account

     No minimum  

 

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Investment Class

  

To establish an account

   $ 25,000,000  

To add to an existing account

     No minimum  

Investor Class

  

To establish an account

   $ 10,000,000  

To add to an existing account

     No minimum  

Premier Class

  

To establish an account

   $ 250,000,000  

To add to an existing account

     No minimum  

You may purchase or redeem Fund Shares on any day the Fund is open for business.

You may purchase or redeem Fund Shares by written request or wire transfer. Written requests should be sent to:

By Mail:

State Street Funds

P.O. Box 219737

Kansas City, MO 64121-9737

By Overnight:

State Street Funds

430 W 7th Street Suite 219737

Kansas City, MO 64105-1407

By Telephone:

For wire transfer instructions, please call (866) 392-0869 between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. Redemptions by telephone are permitted only if you previously have been authorized for these transactions.

By Intermediary:

If you wish to purchase or redeem Fund Shares through a broker, bank or other financial intermediary (“Financial Intermediary”), please contact that Financial Intermediary directly. Your Financial Intermediary may have different or additional requirements for opening an account and/or for the processing of purchase and redemption orders, or may be closed at times when the Fund is open.

Financial Intermediaries may contact DST Asset Manager Solutions, Inc. at (877) 332-6207 or via email at nsccresearch@dstsystems.com with questions.

Tax Information

For U.S. federal income tax purposes, the Fund’s distributions are generally taxed as ordinary income unless you are investing through a tax-advantaged arrangement, such as a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account. Any withdrawals made from such tax-advantaged arrangement may be taxable to you.

Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

If you purchase Fund Shares through a broker-dealer or other Financial Intermediary (such as a bank), the Adviser or its affiliates may pay the Financial Intermediary for certain activities related to the Fund, including educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your Financial Intermediary’s website for more information.

 

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES, PRINCIPAL STRATEGIES AND RISKS

Investment Objective

The investment objective of the ESG Liquid Reserves Fund, as stated in the Fund’s Summary, may be changed without shareholder approval.

ESG Liquid Reserves Fund

Principal Investment Strategies

The ESG Liquid Reserves Fund follows a disciplined investment process in which the Adviser bases its decisions on the relative attractiveness of different money market instruments while considering ESG criteria at the time of purchase. Among other things, the Adviser conducts its own credit analyses of potential investments and portfolio holdings, and relies substantially on a dedicated short-term credit research team.

The Fund invests in accordance with regulatory requirements applicable to money market funds, which require, among other things, the Fund to invest only in short-term, high quality debt obligations (generally, securities that have remaining maturities of 397 calendar days or less and that the Fund believes present minimal credit risk), to maintain a maximum dollar-weighted average maturity and dollar-weighted average life of sixty (60) days or less and 120 days or less, respectively, and to meet requirements as to portfolio diversification and liquidity. In the Adviser’s opinion, the attractiveness of an instrument may vary depending on, among other things, the general level of interest rates and imbalances of supply and demand in the market.

Although the Fund is a money market fund, the net asset value (“NAV”) of the Fund’s Shares “floats,” fluctuating with changes in the values of the Fund’s portfolio securities. The Fund typically accepts purchase and redemption orders multiple times per day, and calculates its NAV at each such time.

The Adviser uses a proprietary platform to assign ESG ratings to issuers. For investments other than U.S. government securities, securities of governments other than the U.S. government and, in some cases, investments involving certain financial counterparties, the Adviser assigns “R-Factor” scores to potential investments based on environmental, social, and governance scores developed by the Adviser using proprietary, internal research and analysis of information provided by third party data providers. The R-Factor score incorporates metrics and criteria recognized by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) and ISS Governance (“ISG”). Among the ESG criteria that the Adviser considers when assigning an R-Factor score are: impact on climate change and air quality, energy management, human rights, labor practices, business ethics, board independence and accountability, shareholder rights and engagement, and alignment of compensation and business strategy. Not all criteria are assigned equal weight in constructing an R-Factor score. Security selection in U.S. government securities, securities of governments other than the U.S. government, and securities issued by certain financial counterparties is based on the Adviser’s fundamental security selection process after screening out issuers that receive ESG risk ratings from a third-party provider that do not meet the threshold set by the Adviser.

The factors listed above are illustrative and do not necessarily reflect the full range of ESG factors the Adviser may consider in analyzing a particular security for investment. The availability of information about a company, ESG issues associated with a particular industry, changing market conditions or other circumstances may affect the manner in which the Adviser’s ESG criteria are applied in a particular situation. In making investment decisions, the Adviser will normally consider ESG factors at the time of investment and will not apply ESG factors to make sell decisions. Once a security is purchased by the Fund, the Adviser will periodically review an issuer’s performance to determine how it compares to the Fund’s ESG criteria and affects the Fund’s overall ESG orientation, but the Adviser typically will not sell a security based solely on a change in the Adviser’s ESG evaluation of an issuer.

 

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The Adviser will select securities for investment by the Fund based on its consideration of fundamental and technical factors relating to the investment, as well as in some cases seeking to increase ESG scoring in the investment portfolio. The Adviser’s ESG analysis is an integral component of portfolio construction. A company in which the Fund invests may rank higher or lower across ESG factors or in any one factor as compared with other companies in which the Fund invests or might invest. For example, it is possible that the Adviser might select for investment a company with a lower ESG score than another on the basis of that company’s relative high score in the Adviser’s overall analysis. Conversely, it is possible that the Adviser might select for investment an issue with a higher ESG score and lower yield than another to achieve a higher R-Factor score. The Adviser does not expect typically to invest in securities that do not achieve a minimum R-Factor threshold score set by the Adviser from time to time. There may be certain investments with desirable investment attributes that the Adviser will not consider for investment by the Fund because they do not meet that threshold, and the Fund might achieve less favorable investment results than a comparable fund that is not so limited.

The Fund attempts to meet its investment objective by investing in a broad range of money market instruments. These may include among other things: U.S. government securities, including U.S. Treasury bills, notes and bonds and other securities issued or guaranteed as to principal and/or interest, as applicable, by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities; certificates of deposits and time deposits of U.S. and foreign banks (including European Certificates of Deposit (“ECDs”), European Time Deposits (“ETDs”) and Yankee Certificates of Deposit (“YCDs”)), commercial paper and other high quality obligations of U.S. or foreign companies, including “green” bonds; secured securities such as asset-backed commercial paper and other asset-backed securities; and repurchase agreements. These instruments may bear fixed, variable or floating rates of interest or may be zero-coupon securities. The Fund also may invest in shares of government money market funds, including funds advised by the Adviser. Under normal market conditions, the Fund intends to invest more than 25% of its total assets in bank obligations. A substantial portion of the Fund may be invested in securities that are issued or traded pursuant to exemptions from registration under the federal securities laws.

The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing substantially all of its investable assets in the ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio, a separate series of State Street Master Funds (the “Portfolio”), which has substantially identical investment policies to the Fund. When a Fund invests in this “master-feeder” structure, the Fund’s only investments are shares of the Portfolio, and it participates in the investment returns achieved by the Portfolio. Descriptions in this section of the investment activities of the “Fund” also generally describe the expected investment activities of the Portfolio.

Additional Information Regarding Third-Party Research Providers. SASB is a non-profit organization that develops and maintains reporting standards intended to enable businesses around the world to identify, manage and communicate financially material sustainability information. SASB’s framework scores companies across five categories including: environment, social capital, human capital, business model and innovation, and leadership and governance. Each category consists of numerous sub-categories including, but not limited to, air quality, energy management, human rights and community relations, customer welfare, labor practices, impact of climate change, and business ethics.

ISG is an initiative comprising of large institutional investors and global asset managers which develop basic standards of investment stewardship and corporate governance. ISG’s data is representative of corporate governance framework that articulates six principles that the ISG believes are fundamental to good corporate governance at U.S. listed companies:

 

   

Boards are accountable to shareholders

 

   

Shareholders should be entitled to voting rights in proportion to their economic interest

 

   

Boards should be responsive to shareholders and be proactive in order to understand their perspectives

 

   

Board strength and independence, and incentive structures

 

   

Boards should adopt structures and practices that enhance their effectiveness

 

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Boards should develop management incentive structures that are aligned with the long-term strategy of the company

Additional Information About Risks

The risks below are described in alphabetical order and not in the order of importance or potential exposure.

Call/Prepayment Risk. Call/prepayment risk is the risk that an issuer will exercise its right to pay principal on an obligation held by a Fund earlier than expected or required. This may occur, for example, when there is a decline in interest rates, and an issuer of bonds or preferred stock redeems the bonds or stock in order to replace them with obligations on which it is required to pay a lower interest or dividend rate. It may also occur when there is an unanticipated increase in the rate at which mortgages or other receivables underlying mortgage- or asset-backed securities held by a Fund are prepaid. In any such case, a Fund may be forced to invest the prepaid amounts in lower-yielding investments, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.

Counterparty Risk. A Fund will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties with which a Fund enters into repurchase agreements and other transactions. If a counterparty fails to meet its contractual obligations, a Fund may be unable to terminate the transaction, and it may be delayed or prevented from realizing on any collateral in the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency proceeding relating to the counterparty.

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that an issuer, guarantor or liquidity provider of a fixed-income security held by a Fund may be unable or unwilling, or may be perceived (whether by market participants, ratings agencies, pricing services or otherwise) as unable or unwilling, to make timely principal and/or interest payments, or to otherwise honor its obligations. It includes the risk that the security will be downgraded by a credit rating agency; generally, lower credit quality issuers present higher credit risks. An actual or perceived decline in creditworthiness of an issuer of a fixed-income security held by a Fund may result in a decrease in the value of the security. It is possible that the ability of an issuer to meet its obligations will decline substantially during the period when a Fund owns securities of the issuer or that the issuer will default on its obligations or that the obligations of the issuer will be limited or restructured.

The credit rating assigned to any particular investment does not necessarily reflect the issuer’s current financial condition and does not reflect an assessment of an investment’s volatility or liquidity. Securities rated in the lowest category of investment-grade are considered to have speculative characteristics. If a security held by a Fund loses its rating or its rating is downgraded, the Fund may nonetheless continue to hold the security in the discretion of the Adviser. In the case of asset-backed or mortgage-related securities, changes in the actual or perceived ability of the obligors on the underlying assets or mortgages to make payments of interest and/or principal may affect the values of those securities.

Debt Securities Risk. The values of debt securities may increase or decrease as a result of the following: market fluctuations, increases in interest rates, actual or perceived inability or unwillingness of issuers, guarantors or liquidity providers to make scheduled principal or interest payments or illiquidity in debt securities markets; the risk of low rates of return due to reinvestment of securities during periods of falling interest rates or repayment by issuers with higher coupon or interest rates; and/or the risk of low income due to falling interest rates. To the extent that interest rates rise, certain underlying obligations may be paid off substantially slower than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply. A rising interest rate environment may cause the value of a Fund’s fixed income securities to decrease, an adverse impact on the liquidity of a Fund’s fixed income securities, and increased volatility of the fixed income markets. If the principal on a debt obligation is prepaid before expected, the prepayments of principal may have to be reinvested in obligations paying interest at lower rates. During periods of falling interest rates, the income received by a Fund may decline. Changes in interest rates will likely have a greater effect on the values of debt securities of longer durations. Returns on investments in debt securities could trail the returns on other investment options, including investments in equity securities.

ESG Investing Risk. The Fund’s incorporation of environmental, social and/or governance considerations in its investment process may cause it to make different investments than funds that have a similar investment universe

 

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and/or investment style but that do not incorporate such considerations in their investment strategy or processes. In applying ESG criteria to its investment decisions, the Fund may forgo higher yielding investments that it would invest in absent the application of its ESG investing criteria. For instance, the Fund’s exclusion of investments in companies with significant fossil fuel exposure may adversely affect the Fund’s relative performance at times when such investments are performing well. The Fund’s socially responsible investment process may also affect the Fund’s exposure to certain sectors or types of investments, which may impact the Fund’s relative investment performance depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor with the market. In addition, a Fund’s investments in certain companies may be susceptible to various factors that may impact their businesses or operations, including costs associated with government budgetary constraints that impact publicly funded projects and clean energy initiatives, the effects of general economic conditions throughout the world, increased competition from other providers of services, unfavorable tax laws or accounting policies and high leverage. The Fund’s portfolio managers are dependent on available information to assist in the ESG evaluation process, and, because there are few generally accepted standards to use in evaluation, the process employed for the Fund may differ from processes employed for other funds. The Fund will seek to identify companies that it believes meet its ESG criteria, but investors may differ in their views of what constitutes positive or negative societal impact outcomes. As a result, the Fund may invest in companies that do not reflect the beliefs and values of any particular investor.

Due to constraints imposed by regulations applicable to money market funds or other considerations relating to credit quality, liquidity or yield, the Fund may be unable to successfully implement its ESG investment strategy and could invest, and remain invested, in issuers that may have an adverse social and environmental impact. In addition, the Adviser generally will not sell a security as a result of a decline in an issuer’s ESG rating, but will attempt to maintain a high ESG score for the Fund’s portfolio overall. As a result, if the ESG status of a current Fund holding deteriorates, the Fund’s new investment opportunities may be limited, since the Fund may be unable to invest in securities that are relatively lower-scoring on an ESG basis.

Extension Risk. During periods of rising interest rates, the average life of certain types of securities may be extended because of slower-than-expected principal payments. This may increase the period of time during which an investment earns a below-market interest rate, increase the security’s duration and reduce the value of the security. Extension risk may be heightened during periods of adverse economic conditions generally, as payment rates decline due to higher unemployment levels and other factors.

Financial Institutions Risk. Some instruments are issued or guaranteed by financial institutions, such as banks and brokers, or are collateralized by securities issued or guaranteed by financial institutions. Changes in the creditworthiness of any of these institutions may adversely affect the values of instruments of issuers in financial industries. Financial institutions may be particularly sensitive to certain economic factors such as interest rate changes, adverse developments in the real estate market, fiscal and monetary policy and general economic cycles. Adverse developments in banking and other financial industries may cause a Fund to underperform relative to other funds that invest more broadly across different industries or have a smaller exposure to financial institutions. Changes in governmental regulation and oversight of financial institutions may have an adverse effect on the financial condition or the earnings or operations of a financial institution and on the types and amounts of businesses in which a financial institution may engage. An investor may be delayed or prevented from exercising certain remedies against a financial institution. The amount of a Fund’s assets that may be invested in any financial institution, or financial institutions generally, may be limited by applicable law.

Income Risk. A Fund’s income may decline due to falling interest rates or other factors. Issuers of securities held by a Fund may call or redeem the securities during periods of falling interest rates, and the Fund would likely be required to reinvest in securities paying lower interest rates. If an obligation held by a Fund is prepaid, the Fund may have to reinvest the prepayment in other obligations paying income at lower rates. A reduction in the income earned by a Fund may limit the Fund’s ability to achieve its objective.

Interest Rate Risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that the securities held by a Fund will decline in value because of increases in market interest rates. Duration is a measure used to determine the sensitivity of a security’s price to changes in interest rates. Debt securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to changes in interest rates, usually making them more volatile than debt securities with shorter durations. For example, the value of a security

 

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with a duration of five years would be expected to decrease by 5% for every 1% increase in interest rates. Falling interest rates also create the potential for a decline in a Fund’s income and yield. Interest-only and principal-only securities are especially sensitive to interest rate changes, which can affect not only their prices but can also change the income flows and repayment assumptions about those investments. Variable and floating rate securities also generally increase or decrease in value in response to changes in interest rates, although generally to a lesser degree than fixed-rate securities. A substantial increase in interest rates may also have an adverse impact on the liquidity of a security, especially those with longer durations. Changes in governmental policy, including changes in central bank monetary policy, could cause interest rates to rise rapidly, or cause investors to expect a rapid rise in interest rates. This could lead to heightened levels of interest rate, volatility and liquidity risks for the fixed income markets generally and could have a substantial and immediate effect on the values of a Fund’s investments.

Large Shareholder Risk. To the extent a large proportion of the interests of a Portfolio are highly concentrated or held by a small number of investors (or a single investor), including funds or accounts over which the Adviser has investment discretion, a Portfolio is subject to the risk that these investors will purchase or redeem Portfolio interests in large amounts rapidly or unexpectedly, including as a result of an asset allocation decision made by the Adviser. These transactions could adversely affect the ability of a Portfolio to conduct its investment program. For example, they could require a Portfolio to sell portfolio securities or purchase portfolio securities unexpectedly and incur substantial transaction costs and/or accelerate the realization of taxable income and/or gains to investors, or a Portfolio may be required to sell its more liquid portfolio investments to meet a large redemption, in which case a Portfolio’s remaining assets may be less liquid, more volatile, and more difficult to price. A Portfolio may hold a relatively large proportion of its assets in cash in anticipation of large redemptions, diluting its investment returns.

Liquidity Risk. Liquidity risk is the risk that a Fund may not be able to dispose of securities readily at a favorable time or prices (or at all) or at prices approximating those at which a Fund currently values them. For example, certain investments may be subject to restrictions on resale, may trade in the over-the-counter market or in limited volume, or may not have an active trading market. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value. It may be difficult for a Fund to value illiquid securities accurately. The market for certain investments may become illiquid under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the conditions of a particular issuer. Disposal of illiquid securities may entail registration expenses and other transaction costs that are higher than those for liquid securities. A Fund may seek to borrow money to meet its obligations (including among other things redemption obligations) if it is unable to dispose of illiquid investments, resulting in borrowing expenses and possible leveraging of the Fund. In some cases, due to unanticipated levels of illiquidity a Fund may choose to meet its redemption obligations wholly or in part by distributions of assets in-kind.

Low Short-Term Interest Rate Risk. During market conditions in which short-term interest rates are at low levels a Fund’s yield can be very low. During these conditions, it is possible that a Fund will generate an insufficient amount of income to pay its expenses, and that it will not be able to pay a daily dividend and may have a negative yield (i.e., it may lose money on an operating basis). It is possible that a Fund will maintain a substantial portion of its assets in cash, on which it may earn little, if any, income.

Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk. A Fund is subject to the risk that geopolitical events will disrupt securities markets and adversely affect global economies and markets. War, terrorism, and related geopolitical events have led, and in the future may lead, to increased short-term market volatility and may have adverse long-term effects on U.S. and world economies and markets generally. Likewise, natural and environmental disasters and systemic market dislocations may be highly disruptive to economies and markets. Those events as well as other changes in foreign and domestic economic and political conditions also could adversely affect individual issuers or related groups of issuers, securities markets, interest rates, credit ratings, inflation, investor sentiment, and other factors affecting the value of a Fund’s investments. Given the increasing interdependence among global economies and markets, conditions in one country, market, or region might adversely affect markets, issuers, and/or foreign exchange rates in other countries, including the U.S. Any partial or complete dissolution of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union, or any increased uncertainty as to its status, could have significant adverse effects on currency and financial markets,

 

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and on the values of a Fund’s investments. Securities and financial markets may be susceptible to market manipulation or other fraudulent trade practices, which could disrupt the orderly functioning of these markets or adversely affect the values of investments traded in these markets, including investments held by a Fund. To the extent a Fund has focused its investments in the market or index of a particular region, adverse geopolitical and other events could have a disproportionate impact on the Fund.

Market Risk. Market prices of investments held by a Fund will go up or down, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. The Fund’s investments are subject to changes in general economic conditions, general market fluctuations and the risks inherent in investment in securities markets. Investment markets can be volatile and prices of investments can change substantially due to various factors including, but not limited to, economic growth or recession, changes in interest rates, changes in actual or perceived creditworthiness of issuers and general market liquidity. Even if general economic conditions do not change, the value of an investment in a Fund could decline if the particular industries, sectors or companies in which the Fund invests do not perform well or are adversely affected by events. Further, legal, political, regulatory and tax changes also may cause fluctuations in markets and securities prices.

Market Volatility; Government Intervention Risk. Market dislocations and other external events, such as the failures or near failures of significant financial institutions, dislocations in investment or currency markets, corporate or governmental defaults or credit downgrades, or poor collateral performance, may subject a Fund to significant risk of substantial volatility and loss. Governmental and regulatory authorities have taken, and may in the future take, actions to provide or arrange credit supports to financial institutions whose operations have been compromised by credit market dislocations and to restore liquidity and stability to financial systems in their jurisdictions; the implementation of such governmental interventions and their impact on both the markets generally and a Fund’s investment program in particular can be uncertain. In recent periods, governmental and non-governmental issuers have defaulted on, or have been forced to restructure, their debts, and many other issuers have faced difficulties obtaining credit. These market conditions may continue, worsen or spread, including, without limitation, in Europe or Asia. Defaults or restructurings by governments or others of their debts could have substantial adverse effects on economies, financial markets, and asset valuations around the world. Further Federal Reserve or other U.S. or non-U.S. governmental or central bank actions, including interest rate increases or contrary actions by different governments, or investor perception that these efforts are not succeeding, could negatively affect financial markets generally as well as the values and liquidity of certain securities.

Master/Feeder Structure Risk. The Fund pursues its objective by investing substantially all of its assets in another pooled investment vehicle (a “master fund”). The ability of a Fund to meet its investment objective is directly related to the ability of the master fund to meet its investment objective. The ability of a Fund to meet its objective may be adversely affected by the purchase and redemption activities of other investors in the master fund. The ability of a Fund to meet redemption requests will depend on its ability to redeem its interest in the master fund. The Adviser or an affiliate serves as investment adviser to the master fund, leading to potential conflicts of interest. For example, the Adviser or its affiliates will receive fees based on the amount of assets invested in the master fund. Investment by a Fund in the master fund may be beneficial in the management of the master fund, by helping to achieve economies of scale or enhancing cash flows. Due to this and other factors, the Adviser may have an incentive to invest a Fund’s assets in a master fund sponsored or managed by the Adviser or its affiliates in lieu of investments by a Fund directly in portfolio securities, or may have an incentive to invest in such master fund over a master fund sponsored or managed by others. Similarly, the Adviser may have an incentive to delay or decide against the sale of interests held by a Fund in a master fund sponsored or managed by the Adviser or its affiliates. It is possible that other clients of the Adviser or its affiliates will purchase or sell interests in a master fund sponsored or managed by the Adviser or its affiliates at prices and at times more favorable than those at which a Fund does so. A Fund will bear its pro rata portion of the expenses incurred by the master fund.

Money Market Risk-Floating NAV. The Fund does not maintain a constant net asset value per share. The value of the Fund’s Shares is calculated to four decimal places and will vary reflecting the value of the portfolio of investments held by the Fund. It is possible to lose money by investing in the Fund.

 

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Mortgage-Related and Other Asset-Backed Securities Risk. Investments in mortgage-related and other asset-backed securities are subject to the risk of significant credit downgrades, illiquidity, and defaults to a greater extent than many other types of fixed income investments. The liquidity of mortgage-related and asset-backed securities may change over time. Mortgage-related securities represent a participation in, or are secured by, mortgage loans. Other asset-backed securities are typically structured like mortgage-related securities, but instead of mortgage loans or interests in mortgage loans, the underlying assets may include, for example, items such as motor vehicle installment sales or installment loan contracts, leases on various types of real and personal property, and receivables from credit card agreements. During periods of falling interest rates, mortgage-related and other asset-backed securities, which typically provide the issuer with the right to prepay the security prior to maturity, may be prepaid, which may result in a Fund having to reinvest the proceeds in other investments at lower interest rates. During periods of rising interest rates, the average life of mortgage-related and other asset-backed securities may extend because of slower-than expected principal payments. This may lock in a below market interest rate, increase the security’s duration and interest rate sensitivity, and reduce the value of the security. As a result, mortgage-related and other asset-backed securities may have less potential for capital appreciation during periods of declining interest rates than other debt securities of comparable maturities, although they may have a similar risk of decline in market values during periods of rising interest rates. Prepayment rates are difficult to predict and the potential impact of prepayments on the value of a mortgage-related or other asset-backed security depends on the terms of the instrument and can result in significant volatility. The price of a mortgage-related or other asset-backed security also depends on the credit quality and adequacy of the underlying assets or collateral. Mortgage-related or other asset-backed securities issued by non-governmental issuers (such as commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers) will generally entail greater credit risk than obligations guaranteed by the U.S. Government. Defaults on the underlying assets, if any, may impair the value of a mortgage-related or other asset-backed security. For some asset-backed securities in which a Fund invests, such as those backed by credit card receivables, the underlying cash flows may not be supported by a security interest in a related asset. Moreover, the values of mortgage-related and other asset-backed securities may be substantially dependent on the servicing of the underlying asset pools, and are therefore subject to risks associated with the negligence or malfeasance by their servicers and to the credit risk of their servicers. In certain situations, the mishandling of related documentation may also affect the rights of securities holders in and to the underlying collateral. There may be legal and practical limitations on the enforceability of any security interest granted with respect to underlying assets, or the value of the underlying assets, if any, may be insufficient if the issuer defaults.

Non-U.S. Securities Risk. Investments in securities of non-U.S. issuers (including depositary receipts) entail risks not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. issuers. Similar risks may apply to securities traded on a U.S. securities exchange that are issued by entities with significant exposure to non-U.S. countries. In certain countries, legal remedies available to investors may be more limited than those available with regard to U.S. investments. Income and gains with respect to investments in certain countries may be subject to withholding and other taxes. There may be less information publicly available about a non-U.S. entity than about a U.S. entity, and many non-U.S. entities are not subject to accounting, auditing, and financial reporting standards, regulatory framework and practices comparable to those in the United States. The securities of some non-U.S. entities are less liquid and at times more volatile than securities of comparable U.S. entities, and could become subject to sanctions or embargoes that adversely affect a Fund’s investment. Non-U.S. transaction costs, such as brokerage commissions and custody costs may be higher than in the U.S. In addition, there may be a possibility of nationalization or expropriation of assets, imposition of currency exchange controls, confiscatory taxation, and diplomatic developments that could adversely affect the values of a Fund’s investments in certain non-U.S. countries. Investments in securities of non-U.S. issuers also are subject to foreign political and economic risk not associated with U.S. investments, meaning that political events (civil unrest, national elections, changes in political conditions and foreign relations, imposition of exchange controls and repatriation restrictions), social and economic events (labor strikes, rising inflation) and natural disasters occurring in a country where a Fund invests could cause the Fund’s investments in that country to experience gains or losses.

 

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Rapid Changes in Interest Rates. The values of most instruments held by a Fund are adversely affected by changes in interest rates generally, especially increases in interest rates. Rapid changes in interest rates may cause significant requests to redeem Fund Shares, and possibly cause a Fund to sell portfolio securities at a loss to satisfy those requests.

Reinvestment Risk. Income from a Fund’s portfolio may decline when the Fund invests the proceeds from investment income, sales of portfolio securities or matured, traded or called debt obligations. For instance, during periods of declining interest rates, an issuer of debt obligations may exercise an option to redeem securities prior to maturity, forcing a Fund to reinvest the proceeds in lower-yielding securities. A decline in income received by a Fund from its investments is likely to have a negative effect on the yield and total return of the Fund Shares.

Restricted Securities Risk. A Fund may hold securities that have not been registered for sale to the public under the U.S. federal securities laws pursuant to an exemption from registration. These securities may be less liquid than securities registered for sale to the general public. The liquidity of a restricted security may be affected by a number of factors, including, among others: (i) the creditworthiness of the issuer; (ii) the frequency of trades and quotes for the security; (iii) the number of dealers willing to purchase or sell the security and the number of other potential purchasers; (iv) dealer undertakings to make a market in the security; (v) the nature of any legal restrictions governing trading in the security; and (vi) the nature of the security and the nature of marketplace trades. There can be no assurance that a liquid trading market will exist at any time for any particular restricted security. Also, restricted securities may be difficult to value because market quotations may not be readily available, and the securities may have significant volatility.

Repurchase Agreement Risk. A repurchase agreement is an agreement to buy a security from a seller at one price and a simultaneous agreement to sell it back to the original seller at an agreed-upon price, typically representing the purchase price plus interest. Repurchase agreements may be viewed as loans made by a Fund which are collateralized by the securities subject to repurchase. A Fund’s investment return on such transactions will depend on the counterparty’s willingness and ability to perform its obligations under a repurchase agreement. If a Fund’s counterparty should default on its obligations and a Fund is delayed or prevented from recovering the collateral, or if the value of the collateral is insufficient, a Fund may realize a loss.

Risk of Investment in Other Pools. If a Fund invests in another pooled investment vehicle, it is exposed to the risk that the other pool will not perform as expected. A Fund is exposed indirectly to all of the risks applicable to an investment in such other pool. In addition, lack of liquidity in the underlying pool could result in its value being more volatile than the underlying portfolio of securities, and may limit the ability of a Fund to sell or redeem its interest in the pool at a time or at a price it might consider desirable. The investment policies and limitations of the other pool may not be the same as those of the Fund; as a result, the Fund may be subject to additional or different risks, or may achieve a reduced investment return, as a result of its investment in another pool. If a pool is an exchange-traded fund or other product traded on a securities exchange or otherwise actively traded, its shares may trade at a premium or discount to their NAV, an effect that might be more pronounced in less liquid markets. A Fund bears its proportionate share of the fees and expenses of any pool in which it invests. The Adviser or an affiliate may serve as investment adviser to a pool in which the Fund may invest, leading to potential conflicts of interest. For example, the Adviser or its affiliates may receive fees based on the amount of assets invested in the pool. Investment by a Fund in the pool may be beneficial to the Adviser or an affiliate in the management of the pool, by helping to achieve economies of scale or enhancing cash flows. Due to this and other factors, the Adviser may have an incentive to invest a Fund’s assets in a pool sponsored or managed by the Adviser or its affiliates in lieu of investments by the Fund directly in portfolio securities, or may have an incentive to invest in the pool over a pool sponsored or managed by others. Similarly, the Adviser may have an incentive to delay or decide against the sale of interests held by a Fund in a pool sponsored or managed by the Adviser or its affiliates. It is possible that other clients of the Adviser or its affiliates will purchase or sell interests in a pool sponsored or managed by the Adviser or its affiliates at prices and at times more favorable than those at which a Fund does so.

 

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Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper and Rule 144A Securities Risk. A Fund may invest in commercial paper issued in reliance on the private placement exemption from registration afforded by Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). This commercial paper is commonly called “Section 4(a)(2) paper.” A Fund may also invest in securities that may be offered and sold only to “qualified institutional buyers” under Rule 144A of the 1933 Act (“Rule 144A securities”).

Section 4(a)(2) paper is sold to institutional investors who must agree to purchase the paper for investment and not with a view to public distribution. Any resale by the purchaser must be in a transaction exempt from the registration requirements of the 1933 Act. Section 4(a)(2) paper normally is resold to other institutional investors like a Fund through or with the assistance of the issuer or investment dealers that make a market in Section 4(a)(2) paper. As a result it suffers from liquidity risk, the risk that the securities may be difficult to value because of the absence of an active market and the risk that it may be sold only after considerable expense and delay, if at all. Rule 144A securities generally must be sold only to other qualified institutional buyers. Section 4(a)(2) paper and Rule 144A securities will not be considered illiquid for purposes of a Fund’s limitation on illiquid securities if the Adviser (pursuant to the Fund’s liquidity risk management program) determines that a liquid trading market exists for the securities in question. There can be no assurance that a liquid trading market will exist at any time for any particular Section 4(a)(2) paper or Rule 144A securities.

U.S. Government Securities Risk. U.S. government securities, such as Treasury bills, notes and bonds and mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States; others are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; others are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase the agency’s obligations; and still others are supported only by the credit of the issuing agency, instrumentality, or enterprise. Although U.S. government-sponsored enterprises such as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) may be chartered or sponsored by Congress, they are not funded by Congressional appropriations, and their securities are not issued by the U.S. Treasury nor supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. There is no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies and instrumentalities if not required to do so. In addition, certain governmental entities have been subject to regulatory scrutiny regarding their accounting policies and practices and other concerns that may result in legislation, changes in regulatory oversight and/or other consequences that could adversely affect the credit quality, availability, or investment character of securities issued by these entities. The value and liquidity of U.S. government securities may be affected adversely by changes in the ratings of those securities. Securities issued by the U.S. Treasury historically have been considered to present minimal credit risk. The downgrade in the long-term U.S. credit rating by at least one major rating agency has introduced greater uncertainty about the ability of the U.S. to repay its obligations. A further credit rating downgrade or a U.S. credit default could decrease the value and increase the volatility of a Fund’s investments.

Variable and Floating Rate Securities Risk. Variable or floating rate securities are debt securities with variable or floating interest rates payments. Variable or floating rate securities bear rates of interest that are adjusted periodically according to formulae intended generally to reflect market rates of interest and allow a Fund to participate (determined in accordance with the terms of the securities) in increases in interest rates through upward adjustments of the coupon rates on the securities. However, during periods of increasing interest rates, changes in the coupon rates may lag behind the changes in market rates or may have limits on the maximum increases in coupon rates. Alternatively, during periods of declining interest rates, the coupon rates on such securities will typically readjust downward resulting in a lower yield. A Fund may also invest in variable or floating rate equity securities, whose dividend payments vary based on changes in market rates of interest or other factors.

Zero-Coupon Bond Risk. Zero-coupon bonds are debt obligations that are generally issued at a discount and payable in full at maturity, and that do not provide for current payments of interest prior to maturity. Zero-coupon bonds usually trade at a deep discount from their face or par values and are subject to greater market value fluctuations from changing interest rates than debt obligations of comparable maturities that make current distributions of interest. When interest rates rise, the values of zero-coupon bonds fall more rapidly than securities paying interest on a current basis, because a Fund is unable to reinvest interest payments at the higher rates.

 

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT NON-PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS

The investments described below reflect the Fund’s and the Portfolio’s current practices. In addition to the principal risks described above, other risks are described in some of the descriptions of the investments below:

Conflicts of Interest Risk. An investment in a Fund will be subject to a number of actual or potential conflicts of interest. For example, the Adviser or its affiliates may provide services to a Fund, such as securities lending agency services, custodial, administrative, bookkeeping, and accounting services, transfer agency and shareholder servicing, securities brokerage services, and other services for which the Fund would compensate the Adviser and/or such affiliates. The Fund may invest in other pooled investment vehicles sponsored, managed, or otherwise affiliated with the Adviser. There is no assurance that the rates at which a Fund pays fees or expenses to the Adviser or its affiliates, or the terms on which it enters into transactions with the Adviser or its affiliates will be the most favorable available in the market generally or as favorable as the rates the Adviser makes available to other clients. Because of its financial interest, the Adviser will have an incentive to enter into transactions or arrangements on behalf of a Fund with itself or its affiliates in circumstances where it might not have done so in the absence of that interest, provided that the Adviser will comply with applicable regulatory requirements.

The Adviser and its affiliates serve as investment adviser to other clients and may make investment decisions that may be different from those that will be made by the Adviser on behalf of the Fund. For example, the Adviser may provide asset allocation advice to some clients that may include a recommendation to invest in or redeem from particular issuers while not providing that same recommendation to all clients invested in the same or similar issuers. The Adviser may (subject to applicable law) be simultaneously seeking to purchase (or sell) investments for a Fund and to sell (or purchase) the same investment for accounts, funds, or structured products for which it serves as asset manager, or for other clients or affiliates. The Adviser and its affiliates may invest for clients in various securities that are senior, pari passu or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by a Fund. The Adviser or its affiliates, in connection with its other business activities, may acquire material nonpublic confidential information that may restrict the Adviser from purchasing securities or selling securities for itself or its clients (including the Fund) or otherwise using such information for the benefit of its clients or itself.

The foregoing does not purport to be a comprehensive list or complete explanation of all potential conflicts of interests which may affect a Fund. A Fund may encounter circumstances, or enter into transactions, in which conflicts of interest that are not listed or discussed above may arise.

Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet and the dependence on computer systems to perform business and operational functions, funds (such as the Fund) and their service providers (including the Adviser) may be prone to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber-attacks and/or technological malfunctions. In general, cyber-attacks are deliberate, but unintentional events may have similar effects. Cyber-attacks include, among others, stealing or corrupting data maintained online or digitally, preventing legitimate users from accessing information or services on a website, releasing confidential information without authorization, and causing operational disruption. Successful cyber-attacks against, or security breakdowns of, a Fund, a Portfolio, the Adviser or a custodian, transfer agent, or other affiliated or third-party service provider may adversely affect a Fund or its shareholders. For instance, cyber-attacks or technical malfunctions may interfere with the processing of shareholder or other transactions, affect a Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, cause the release of private shareholder information or confidential Fund information, impede trading, cause reputational damage, and subject a Fund to regulatory fines, penalties or financial losses, reimbursement or other compensation costs, and additional compliance costs. Cyber-attacks or technical malfunctions may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund Shares, and other data integral to the functioning of a Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. A Fund may also incur substantial costs for cybersecurity risk management in order to prevent cyber incidents in the future. A Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result. While the Adviser has

 

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established business continuity plans and systems designed to minimize the risk of cyber-attacks through the use of technology, processes and controls, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified given the evolving nature of this threat. The Fund relies on third-party service providers for many of its day-to-day operations, and will be subject to the risk that the protections and protocols implemented by those service providers will be ineffective to protect the Fund from cyber-attack. The Adviser does not control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by third-party service providers, and such third-party service providers may have limited indemnification obligations to the Adviser or the Fund. Similar types of cybersecurity risks or technical malfunctions also are present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers, and may cause a Fund’s investment in such securities to lose value.

PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE

The Fund’s portfolio holdings disclosure policy is described in the Statement of Additional Information (the “SAI”).

MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION

The Fund is a separate, diversified series of the State Street Institutional Investment Trust (the “Trust”), which is an open-end management investment company organized as a business trust under the laws of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Fund invests as part of a “master/feeder” structure. The Fund currently seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing substantially all of its investable assets in a corresponding Portfolio, a separate mutual fund, which has substantially identical investment objective, investment policies, and risks as the Fund. All discussions about a Fund’s investment objective, policies and risks should be understood to refer also to the investment objectives, policies and risks of the corresponding Portfolio.

A Fund can withdraw its investment in a Portfolio if, at any time, the Fund’s Board of Trustees determines that it would be in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders, or if the investment objectives of the corresponding Portfolio changed so that they were inconsistent with the objectives of the Fund. If a Fund withdraws its investment from a Portfolio, the Fund may invest all of its assets in another mutual fund that has the same investment objective as the Fund, the Adviser may directly manage the Fund’s assets, or the Board may take such other action it deems appropriate and in the best interests of shareholders of the Fund, which may include liquidation of the Fund.

Investment Adviser

SSGA FM serves as the investment adviser to the Fund and corresponding Portfolio and, subject to the oversight of the Board, is responsible for the investment management of the Fund. The Adviser provides an investment management program for the Fund and manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. The Adviser is a wholly-owned subsidiary of State Street Global Advisors, Inc., which itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of State Street Corporation. The Adviser is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. The Adviser and certain other affiliates of State Street Corporation make up SSGA. SSGA is one of the world’s largest institutional money managers and the investment management arm of State Street Corporation. As of December 31, 2018, the Adviser managed approximately $452.10 billion in assets and SSGA managed approximately $2.51 trillion in assets. The Adviser’s principal business address is One Iron Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02210.

The Fund has entered into an investment advisory agreement with the Adviser pursuant to which the Adviser will manage the Fund’s assets directly, for compensation paid at an annual rate of [ ]% of the Fund’s average daily net assets, in the event that the Fund were to cease investing substantially all of its assets in its corresponding Portfolio or another investment company with essentially the same investment objectives and policies as the Fund. The Adviser does not receive any management fees from a Fund under that agreement so long as the Fund continues to invest substantially all of its assets in the corresponding Portfolio or in another investment company with essentially the same investment objectives and policies as the Fund. The Adviser places all orders for purchases and sales of the Portfolio’s investments.

 

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Total Annual Fund Operating Expense Waivers. SSGA FM, as the investment adviser to the Fund, is contractually obligated, though April 30, 2021, to (i) waive up to the full amount of the advisory fee payable by the Fund, and/or (ii) to reimburse a Fund for expenses to the extent that Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses (exclusive of non-recurring account fees, interest, taxes, extraordinary expenses, acquired fund fees, any class-specific expenses, such as distribution, shareholder servicing, sub-transfer agency and administration fees) exceed [    ]% of average daily net assets on an annual basis. These waiver and/or reimbursement arrangements may not be terminated prior to April 30, 2021 except with approval of the Fund’s Board of Trustees.

A discussion regarding the Board’s consideration of the Fund’s Investment Advisory Agreement will be provided in the Fund’s first report to shareholders following its commencement of operations.

The Administrator, Sub-Administrator and Custodian

The Adviser serves as administrator of the Fund. The amount of the fee paid to the Adviser for administrative services may vary by share class. The Fund currently pays the Adviser an administrative fee at the annual rate of [ ]% in respect of the class of shares in this Prospectus. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”), a subsidiary of State Street Corporation, serves as the sub-administrator for the Fund for a fee that is paid by the Adviser. State Street also serves as custodian of the Fund for a separate fee that is paid by the Fund. SSGA FM serves as administrator of the Portfolios and State Street serves as sub-administrator and custodian of the Portfolios.

The Transfer Agent and Dividend Disbursing Agent

DST Asset Manager Solutions, Inc. is the Fund’s transfer agent and dividend disbursing agent (the “Transfer Agent”).

The Distributor

State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC serves as the Fund’s distributor (“SSGA FD”) pursuant to the Distribution Agreement between SSGA FD and the Trust.

The Shareholder Servicing Agent

SSGA FD serves as the Fund’s shareholder servicing agent pursuant to the Shareholder Servicing Agreement between SSGA FD and the Trust and receives fees from the Fund for the provision and procurement of applicable services. Please see the SAI for more information on SSGA FD’s role as the Fund’s shareholder servicing agent.

Additional Information

The Trustees of the Trust oversee generally the operations of the Fund and the Trust. The Trust enters into contractual arrangements with various parties, including among others the Fund’s investment adviser, custodian, transfer agent, and accountants, who provide services to the Fund. Shareholders are not parties to any such contractual arrangements or intended beneficiaries of those contractual arrangements, and those contractual arrangements are not intended to create in any shareholder any right to enforce them directly against the service providers or to seek any remedy under them directly against the service providers.

This Prospectus provides information concerning the Trust and the Fund that you should consider in determining whether to purchase shares of the Fund. Neither this Prospectus, nor the related SAI, is intended, or should be read, to be or to give rise to an agreement or contract between the Trust or the Fund and any investor, or to give rise to any rights in any shareholder or other person other than any rights under federal or state law that may not be waived.

SHAREHOLDER INFORMATION

Determination of Net Asset Value

The Fund determines its NAV per share three times each day on which the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”), the Federal Reserve banks and State Street are open for business (a “Business Day”) at 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET. The price for Fund shares is the NAV next calculated after the purchase order is accepted by the Fund. Orders accepted before 12:00pm will receive the 12:00 p.m. NAV, orders accepted before 3:00pm will receive the 3:00 p.m. NAV, and orders accepted after 3:00 p.m. will receive 8:00am NAV calculated on the following Business Day. The Fund calculates its NAV to four decimal places.

 

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The NAV of each class of the Fund’s shares is calculated by dividing the value of the assets of the Fund attributable to that class less the liabilities of the Fund attributable to that class by the number of shares in the class outstanding. The Fund values each security or other investment pursuant to guidelines adopted by the Board of Trustees. Securities or other investments may be valued at fair value, as determined in good faith and pursuant to procedures approved by the Portfolio’s Board of Trustees, under certain limited circumstances. For example, fair value pricing may be used when market quotations are not readily available or reliable, such as when (i) trading for a security is restricted; or (ii) a significant event, as determined by the Adviser, that may affect the value of one or more securities or other investments held by the Fund occurs after the close of a related exchange but before the determination of the Fund’s NAV. Attempts to determine the fair value of securities or other investments introduce an element of subjectivity to the pricing of securities or other investments. As a result, the price of a security or other investment determined through fair valuation techniques may differ from the price quoted or published by other sources and may not accurately reflect the price a Fund would have received had it sold the investment. To the extent that the Fund invests in the shares of other registered open-end investment companies that are not traded on an exchange (mutual funds), such shares are valued at their published net asset values per share as reported by the funds. The prospectuses of these funds explain the circumstances under which the funds will use fair value pricing and the effects of using fair value pricing.

Pricing does not occur on NYSE holidays. The Federal Reserve is closed on certain holidays on which the NYSE is open. These holidays are Columbus Day and Veterans Day. On these holidays, you will not be able to purchase shares by wiring Federal Funds because Federal Funds wiring does not occur on days when the Federal Reserve is closed. The Fund reserve the right to accept orders to purchase or redeem shares, or to continue to accept such orders following the close of the NYSE, on any day that is not a Business Day or any day on which the NYSE closes early, provided the Federal Reserve remains open. As noted in this Prospectus, the Fund may invest in securities listed on foreign exchanges, or otherwise traded in a foreign market, and those securities may trade on weekends or other days when a Fund does not price its shares. Consequently, the NAV of a Fund’s shares may change on days when shareholders are not able to purchase or redeem the Fund’s shares. The Fund also may establish special hours on those days to determine the Fund’s NAV. In the event that the Fund invokes the right to accept orders to purchase or redeem shares on any day that is not a Business Day or adopt special hours of operation, the Fund will post advance notice of these events at:www.ssga.com/cash.

If you hold shares of a Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary, your intermediary may offer additional services and account features that are not described in this Prospectus. Please contact your intermediary directly for an explanation of these services.

Investing in State Street Institutional Investment Trust Shares

Mutual funds advised by SSGA FM (the “State Street Funds”) and their service providers have a legal obligation to collect from you certain personal information about you at the time you open an account in order to verify your identity and the source of your payment. If you do not provide this information, you may not be able to open an account with the State Street Funds. If the State Street Funds believe that they have uncovered unlawful activity, the State Street Funds and their service providers may close your account and take any action they deem reasonable or required by law. The State Street Funds reserve the right to reject any purchase order.

This section of the Prospectus explains the basics of doing business with the State Street Funds. Carefully read each topic. The policies set forth below regarding the purchase, redemption and exchange of State Street Fund shares are in addition to the “Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares” section contained in the “Fund Summary” portion of this Prospectus. The State Street Funds reserve the right to change the following policies, without notice to shareholders; except that any modification or termination of the exchange privileges described in this Prospectus will be preceded by 60 days’ advance notice to shareholders. Please call or check online for current information. Requests for transactions in the State Street Funds will be processed when they are received in “good order.” “Good order” means that the request is in an accurate and complete form, and all applicable documents have been received in such accurate and complete form (including typically, a signed application and medallion-guaranteed documents), and, for a purchase request, the check or wired funds have cleared.

 

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Purchasing Shares

The Fund offer five classes of shares through this Prospectus: Institutional Class, Administration Class, Investment Class, Investor Class and Premier Class available to you subject to the eligibility requirements set forth below. All classes of a Fund share the same investment objective and investments, but the different share classes have different expense structures and eligibility requirements. You should choose the class with the expense structure that best meets your needs for which you are eligible. In choosing a share class, you should consider the amount you plan to invest. Your investment professional can help you choose the share class that best suits your investment needs.

The chart below summarizes the features of the different share classes. This chart is only a general summary, and you should read the description of the Fund’s expenses in the Fund Summary in this Prospectus.

The minimum purchase amount may be waived by for specific investors or types of investors, including, without limitation, retirement plans, employees of State Street Corporation and its affiliates and their family.

 

   

Institutional Class

 

Administration Class

 

Investment Class

 

Investor Class

 

Premier Class

Minimum Initial Investment

  $         25,000,000   $                  1,000   $          25,000,000   $         10,000,000   $         250,000,000
Maximum Investment   None.   None.   None.   None.   None.
Initial Sales Charge   No. Entire purchase price is invested in shares of a Fund.   No. Entire purchase price is invested in shares of a Fund.   No. Entire purchase price is invested in shares of a Fund.   No. Entire purchase price is invested in shares of a Fund.   No. Entire purchase price is invested in shares of a Fund.
Deferred (CDSC) Sales Charge   No.   No.   No.   No.   No.
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees   No.   0.05% annual fee.   0.10% annual fee.   No.   No.
Redemption Fees   No.   No.   No.   No.   No.

Investors pay no sales load to invest in the shares of the Fund. The price for Fund Shares is the NAV per share.

Purchase requests received by a Fund in good order (a purchase request is in good order if it meets the requirements implemented from time to time by the Transfer Agent or authorized agent of the Fund, and for new accounts includes submission of a completed and signed application and all documentation necessary to open an account) on a Business Day will, if payment is received by FedWire, be priced at the NAV next determined after the order is accepted by the Fund. Payments received by FedWire prior to the last Valuation Times (for the Fund generally, 3:00 p.m. ET, unless the Fund closes earlier) will earn dividend accrual for that purchase.

All purchases that are made by check will be priced with the last valuation price and begin earning dividends the following Business Day after the day the order is accepted. (If you purchase shares by check, your order will not be in good form until the Transfer Agent receives federal funds for the check.) All purchase orders are subject to acceptance by the Fund. The Fund intends to be as fully invested as is practicable; therefore, investments must be made in Federal Funds (i.e., monies credited to the account of the Fund’s custodian bank by a Federal Reserve Bank).

The minimum initial investment in Institutional Class, Administration, Investment, Investor and Premier shares of the Fund is $25 million, $1 thousand, $25 million, $10 million and $250 million, respectively, although the Adviser may waive the minimum in its discretion. Holdings of related customer accounts may be aggregated for purposes of determining the minimum investment amount. “Related customer accounts” may include but are not limited to accounts held by the same investment or retirement plan, financial institution, broker, dealer or intermediary. The

 

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Fund and the Adviser reserve the right to increase or decrease the minimum amount required to open or maintain an account. There is no minimum subsequent investment, except in relation to maintaining certain minimum account balances (See “Redeeming Shares” below).

The Fund reserves the right to cease accepting investments at any time or to reject any investment order. The Fund determines its NAV at 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET. The 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. NAV calculation times are intended to facilitate same day settlement.

How to Purchase Shares

 

By Mail:

An initial investment in the Fund must be preceded or accompanied by a completed, signed Institutional Account Application Form, sent to:

State Street Funds

P.O. Box 219737

Kansas City, MO 64121 - 9737

By Overnight:

State Street Funds

430 W 7th Street Suite 219737

Kansas City, MO 64105-1407

By Telephone/Fax:

An initial investment in the Fund must be preceded or accompanied by a completed, signed Institutional Account Application Form, faxed to (816) 218-0400. Call the Fund at (866) 392-0869 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. ET and 5:00 p.m. ET to:

 

   

confirm receipt of the faxed Institutional Account Application Form (initial purchases only),

 

   

request your new account number (initial purchases only),

 

   

confirm the amount being wired and wiring bank, and

 

   

receive a confirmation number for your purchase order (your trade is not effective until you have received a confirmation number from the Fund).

For your initial investment, send the original, signed Institutional Account Application Form to the address above.

Wire Instructions:

Instruct your bank to transfer money by Federal Funds wire to:

State Street Bank and Trust Company

1 Iron Street

Boston, MA 02110

   ABA# 011000028

DDA# 9904-631-0

State Street Institutional Investment Trust

Fund Name

Class Name

Account Number

Account Registration

On Columbus Day and Veterans Day, you will not be able to purchase shares by wiring Federal Funds because the Federal Funds wiring does not occur on those days. Payment for Fund Shares must be in Federal Funds (or converted to Federal Funds by the Transfer Agent) by the close of the Federal Reserve.

You will not be able to redeem shares from the account until the original Application has been received. The Fund and the Fund’s agents are not responsible for transfer errors by the sending or receiving bank and will not be liable for any loss incurred due to a wire transfer not having been received.

Automatic Investment Plan. An Automatic Investment Plan is available for all operational State Street Funds that offer the Administration Class shares. Once an initial investment has been accepted, you may elect to make automatic subsequent investments of $100 or more on a periodic basis (i.e., monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) by authorizing the Fund to debit your bank checking or savings account through Automated Clearing House (ACH). For the Fund Administration Class shares, purchases made through the Automated Investment Plan will be priced at the last valuation price on the day of the transaction. Once this option has been established, you may call the State Street Funds to make additional automatic purchases, to change the amount of the existing automatic purchase, or to

 

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discontinue the service. The Fund reserves the right to cancel your Automatic Investment Plan if any correspondence sent by the Fund to your address of record is returned by the postal service or other delivery service as “undeliverable.” Ask your financial adviser or financial intermediary for details.

Redeeming Shares

An investor may redeem all or any portion of its investment. Redemption orders are processed at the NAV next determined after a Fund receives a redemption order in good form.

If the Fund receives a redemption order in good form prior to its last valuation time (generally, 3:00 p.m. ET, unless the Fund closes earlier) on a Business Day, the Fund typically sends payment for redeemed shares on that day, but no later than the next Business Day if redemption proceeds are sent by wire or ACH. If redemption proceeds are sent by check, the Fund typically expects to pay out redemption proceeds on the next Business Day. If a full redemption order is requested, no dividends will accrue with respect to shares on the day the redemption proceeds are sent. If a redemption order is placed after the last valuation time (generally, 3:00 p.m. ET, unless the Fund closes earlier) the Fund typically expects to pay out redemption proceeds on the next Business Day (and dividends will accrue up to, but not including, the day that redemption proceeds are sent). The Fund reserves the right to pay for redeemed shares within seven days after receiving a redemption order if, in the judgment of the Adviser, an earlier payment could adversely affect the Fund.

Certain special limitations affecting redemptions. The SEC has implemented a number of requirements, including liquidity fees and redemption gates, for money market funds based on the amount of fund assets in “weekly liquid assets,” which generally includes cash, direct obligations of the U.S. government, certain other U.S. government or agency securities, and securities that will mature or are subject to a demand feature that is exercisable and payable within five Business Days. The Fund will pass through to its investors any liquidity fee or suspension of redemptions imposed by the ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio on the same terms and conditions as imposed by the Money Market Portfolio on the Fund.

If the ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio’s weekly liquid assets fall below 30% of its total assets and the Portfolio’s Board of Trustees determines it is in the best interests of the Portfolio, the Portfolio may immediately impose a liquidity fee of no more than 2% and/or temporarily suspend redemptions for up to 10 Business Days in any 90 day period. If the Portfolio’s weekly liquid assets fall below 10% of its total assets at the end of any Business Day, the Portfolio will impose a liquidity fee of 1% on all redemptions beginning on the next Business Day, unless the Portfolio’s Board determines that imposing such a fee would not be in the best interests of the Portfolio or determines that a lower or higher fee (not to exceed 2%) would be in the best interests of the Portfolio, which would remain in effect until weekly liquid assets return to 30% or the Portfolio’s Board determines that the fee is no longer in the best interests of the Portfolio. All liquidity fees payable by the Fund would be passed through to its shareholders, would be payable to the Portfolio and could offset any losses realized by the Portfolio when seeking to honor redemption requests. If liquidity fees are imposed or redemptions are suspended by the Portfolio, the Fund will notify shareholders on the Fund’s website. The Fund expects to treat such liquidity fees paid to the Portfolio as reducing proceeds paid to shareholders in redemption of Fund shares, and not constituting income to the Portfolio or the Fund. There may be circumstances under which the Fund may impose its own liquidity fees and/or suspend redemptions based on the level of the Fund’s own weekly liquid assets, in which case the Fund will also provide notice to shareholders.

If the ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio’s weekly liquid assets were to fall below 10% of its assets on a Business Day, the Portfolio may cease honoring redemptions and liquidate in the discretion of the Portfolio’s Board. If the Fund is notified that its Portfolio’s weekly liquid assets fall below 10% of the Portfolio’s assets and the Portfolio has suspended redemptions and intends to liquidate, the Fund may also do so in the discretion of the Fund’s Board. There may be circumstances under which the Fund may cease honoring redemptions and liquidate in the discretion of its Board based on the level of the Fund’s own weekly liquid assets. If the Fund ceases honoring redemptions and determines to liquidate, the Fund expects that it would notify shareholders on the Fund’s website. Distributions to shareholders of liquidation proceeds may occur in one or more disbursements.

 

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Under normal circumstances, the Fund expect to meet redemption requests by using cash or cash equivalents in its portfolio and/or selling portfolio assets to generate cash. The Fund also may pay redemption proceeds using cash obtained through borrowing arrangements that may be available from time to time.

The Fund may pay all or a portion of your redemption proceeds by giving you securities (for example, if the Fund reasonably believes that a cash redemption may have a substantial impact on the Fund and its remaining shareholders). You may pay transaction costs to dispose of the securities, and you may receive less for them than the price at which they were valued for purposes of the redemption. In addition, you will be subject to the market risks associated with such securities until such time as you choose to dispose of the security.

During periods of deteriorating or stressed market conditions or during extraordinary or emergency circumstances, the Fund may be more likely to pay redemption proceeds with cash obtained through short-term borrowing arrangements (if available) or by giving you securities.

A request for a partial redemption by an investor whose account balance is below the minimum amount or a request for partial redemption by an investor that would bring the account below the minimum amount may be treated as a request for a complete redemption of the account. These minimums may be different for investments made through certain financial intermediaries as determined by their policies and may be waived in the Adviser’s discretion. The Fund reserves the right to modify minimum account requirements at any time with or without prior notice. The Fund also reserves the right to involuntarily redeem an investor’s account if the investor’s account balance falls below the applicable minimum amount due to transaction activity.

How to Redeem Shares

 

By Mail:  

Send a signed letter to:

State Street Institutional Investment Trust Funds

P.O. Box 219737

Kansas City, MO 64121-9737

  The letter should include information necessary to process your request as described below. The Fund may require a medallion guarantee in certain circumstances. See “Medallion Guarantees” below.
By Overnight:  

State Street Institutional Investment Trust Funds

430 W 7th Street Suite 219737

Kansas City, MO 64105-1407

By Telephone:   Please call (866) 392-0869 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET.
The Fund will need the following information to process your redemption request:

•  name(s) of account owners;

 

•  account number(s);

 

•  the name of the Fund;

 

•  your daytime telephone number; and

 

•  the dollar amount or number of shares being redeemed.

On any day that the Fund calculates its NAV earlier than normal, the Fund reserves the right to adjust the times noted above for purchasing and redeeming shares.

Medallion Guarantees. Certain redemption requests must include a medallion guarantee for each registered account owner if any of the following apply:

 

   

Your account address has changed within the last 10 Business Days.

 

   

Redemption proceeds are being transferred to an account with a different registration.

 

   

A wire is being sent to a financial institution other than the one that has been established on your Fund account.

 

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Other unusual situations as determined by the Transfer Agent.

The Fund reserves the right to waive medallion guarantee requirements, require a medallion guarantee under other circumstances or reject or delay redemption if the medallion guarantee is not in good form. Medallion guarantees may be provided by an eligible financial institution such as a commercial bank, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) member firm such as a stock broker, a savings association or a national securities exchange. A notary public cannot provide a medallion guarantee. The Fund reserves the right to reject a medallion guarantee if it is not provided by a STAMP Medallion guarantor.

About Telephone Transactions. Telephone transactions are convenient but are not free from risk. Neither the Fund nor the Fund’s agents will be responsible for any losses resulting from unauthorized telephone transactions if reasonable security procedures are followed. In addition, you are responsible for: (i) verifying the accuracy of all data and information transmitted by telephone, (ii) verifying the accuracy of your account statements immediately upon receipt, and (iii) promptly notifying the Fund of any errors or inaccuracies including, without limitation, any errors or inaccuracies relating to shareholder data or information transmitted by telephone. During periods of heavy market activity or other times, it may be difficult to reach the Fund by telephone. If you are unable to reach us by telephone, consider sending written instructions. The Fund may terminate the receipt of redemption orders by telephone at any time, in which case you may redeem shares by other means.

If you choose to purchase or redeem shares by sending instructions by regular mail, they will not be deemed received in good order until they are released by the post office and redelivered to the Transfer Agent’s physical location at 430 W 7th Street Suite 219737, Kansas City, MO 64105-1407. There will be a time lag, which may be one or more days, between regular mail receipt at the Boston post office box and redelivery to such physical location in Canton, and a Fund’s NAV may change over those days. You might consider using express rather than regular mail if you believe the time of receipt of your transaction request to be sensitive.

Exchanging Shares

An exchange occurs when you use the proceeds from the redemption of shares of a Fund in the State Street Institutional Investment Trust to simultaneously purchase shares of a different Fund in the State Street Institutional Investment Trust. Exchanges may be made within the same class (i.e. Institutional Class shares for Institutional Class shares; Investor Class shares for Investor Class shares). The account holding the original shares must be registered in the same name as the account holding the new shares received in the exchange. You may make exchange requests by telephone, or by mail. See Purchasing Shares and Redeeming Shares. Exchanges are subject to the terms applicable to the purchases of the fund into which you are exchanging. Exchange privileges may not be available for mutual funds advised by SSGA FM (the “State Street Funds”) and may be suspended or rejected.

Excessive Trading

Because the Fund is a money market fund, the Fund’s Board of Trustees has not adopted policies and procedures with respect to frequent purchases and redemptions of Fund shares by Fund shareholders. Nonetheless, the Fund may take any reasonable action that they deem necessary or appropriate to prevent excessive trading in Fund shares without providing prior notification to the account holder. Such action may include rejecting any purchase, in whole or part, including, without limitation, by a person whose trading activity in Fund shares may be deemed harmful to the Fund. While the Fund attempt to discourage such excessive trading, there can be no guarantee that they will be able to identify investors who are engaging in excessive trading or limit their trading practices. Additionally, frequent trades of small amounts may not be detected. The Fund recognizes that they may not always be able to detect or prevent excessive trading or other activity that may disadvantage the Fund or its shareholders.

Delivery of Documents to Accounts Sharing an Address

To reduce expenses, we may mail only one copy of the Fund’s Prospectus and each annual and semi-annual report to those addresses shared by two or more accounts. If you wish to receive individual copies of these documents, please call us at (877) 521-4083, or contact your financial institution. We will begin sending you individual copies thirty (30) days after receiving your request.

 

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Unclaimed Property

Many states have unclaimed property rules that provide for transfer to the state (also known as “escheatment”) of unclaimed property under various circumstances. These circumstances include inactivity (e.g., no owner-initiated contact for a certain period), returned mail (e.g., when mail sent to a shareholder is returned by the post office as undeliverable), or a combination of both inactivity and returned mail. If a State Street Fund identifies property as unclaimed, it will attempt to contact the shareholder, but if that attempt is unsuccessful, the account may be considered abandoned and escheated to the state after the passage of a certain period of time (as required by applicable state law).

If you are a resident of the state of Texas, you may designate a representative to receive escheatment notifications by completing and submitting a designation form, which you can find on the website of the Texas Comptroller. Designating such a representative may be beneficial, since Texas law provides that the escheatment period will cease if the representative, after receiving an escheatment notification regarding your account, communicates knowledge of your location and confirms that you have not abandoned your account. You can mail a completed designation form to the Fund (if you hold shares directly with the Fund) or to your financial intermediary (if you do not hold shares directly with the Fund).

DIVIDENDS, DISTRIBUTIONS AND TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The Fund intends to declare dividends on shares from net investment income daily and pay them as of the last Business Day of each month. Distributions from capital gains, if any, will be made annually in December. Income dividends and capital gains distributions will be paid in additional shares on the reinvestment date unless you have elected to receive them in cash. No interest will accrue on the amounts represented by uncashed distribution checks. If you have elected to receive distributions by check, and the postal or other delivery service is unable to deliver the checks because of an incorrect mailing address, or if a distribution check remains uncashed for six months, the uncashed distribution and all future distributions will be reinvested at the then-current NAV of the Fund.

The following discussion is a summary of some important U.S. federal income tax considerations generally applicable to an investment in a Fund. Your investment in a Fund may have other tax implications. Please consult your tax advisor about federal, state, local, foreign or other tax laws applicable to you. Investors, including non-U.S. investors, may wish to consult the SAI tax section for additional disclosure.

The Fund has elected to be treated as a regulated investment company and intends each year to qualify and to be eligible to be treated as such. A regulated investment company generally is not subject to tax at the corporate level on income and gains that are timely distributed to shareholders. In order to qualify and be eligible for treatment as a regulated investment company, a Fund must, among other things, satisfy diversification, 90% gross income and distribution requirements. A Fund’s failure to qualify as a regulated investment company would result in corporate level taxation, and consequently, a reduction in income available for distribution to shareholders.

The Fund invests substantially all of its investible assets in a corresponding Portfolio that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Therefore, the nature and character of the Fund’s income, gains, losses and deductions generally will be determined at the Portfolio level, and the Fund will be allocated its share of the corresponding Portfolio’s income, gains, losses and deductions. As applicable, references in this discussion to income, gains and losses of a Fund will be to income, gains and losses recognized and deductions accruing at the Portfolio level and allocated to or otherwise taken into account by the Fund, and references to assets of a Fund will be to the Fund’s allocable share of the assets of the corresponding Portfolio.

For U.S. federal income tax purposes, distributions of investment income are generally taxable to you as ordinary income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains generally are determined by how long the applicable Portfolio owned (or is deemed to have owned) the investments that generated them, rather than how long you have owned your Fund Shares. Any net short-term gains the Fund distributes will be taxable to you as ordinary income. The Fund generally does not expect to make distributions that are eligible for taxation as long-term capital gains.

 

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Distributions are taxable to you even if they are paid from income or gains earned by a Fund before your investment (and thus were included in the price you paid for your shares). Distributions may also be subject to state and local taxes and are taxable whether you receive them in cash or reinvest them in additional shares.

When the NAV of Fund Shares varies from a shareholder’s tax basis in such shares, including when the NAV of such Fund Shares varies from $1.0000 per share, the shareholder generally will realize a gain or loss upon the redemption or other taxable disposition of such Fund Shares. Any such gain generally would be taxable to you as either short-term or long-term capital gain, depending upon how long you held the Fund Shares. The IRS permits a simplified method of accounting for gains and losses realized upon the disposition of shares of a regulated investment company that is a money market fund. If you elect to adopt this simplified method of accounting, rather than compute gain or loss on every taxable disposition of Fund Shares, you will determine your gain or loss based on the change in the aggregate value of your Fund Shares during a computation period (such as your taxable year), reduced by your net investment (purchase minus sales) in those shares during that period. Under this simplified method, any resulting net capital gain or loss would be treated as short-term capital gain or loss. Shareholders should see the SAI for further information.

A Fund’s income from or proceeds of investments in non-U.S. assets may be subject to non-U.S. withholding and other taxes. This will decrease the Fund’s return on securities subject to such taxes. Tax treaties between certain countries and the U.S. may reduce or eliminate such taxes. Although such taxes will reduce a Fund’s taxable income, shareholders generally will not be entitled separately to claim a credit or deduction with respect to foreign taxes incurred by the Fund.

An additional 3.8% Medicare contribution tax is imposed on the “net investment income” of individuals, estates and trusts to the extent their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Net investment income generally includes for this purpose dividends paid by a Fund and net gains recognized on the redemption of shares of a Fund.

If you are not a U.S. person, dividends paid by a Fund that the Fund properly reports as capital gain dividends, short-term capital gain dividends, or interest-related dividends, each as further defined in the SAI, are not subject to withholding of U.S. federal income tax, provided that certain other requirements are met. A Fund is permitted, but is not required, to report any part of its dividends as are eligible for such treatment. A Fund’s dividends other than those the Fund so reports as capital gain dividends, short-term capital gain dividends, or interest-related dividends generally will be subject to U.S. withholding tax at a 30% rate (or lower applicable treaty rate). See the Fund’s SAI for further information.

The U.S. Treasury and IRS generally require a Fund to obtain information sufficient to identify the status of each shareholder under sections 1471-1474 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and the U.S. Treasury and IRS guidance issued thereunder (collectively, the “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” or “FATCA”) or under an applicable intergovernmental agreement between the United States and a foreign government. Please see the SAI for more information on FATCA reporting requirements.

FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARY ARRANGEMENTS

Distribution Arrangements and Rule 12b-1 Fees

The Fund has adopted a distribution plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act under which a Fund may compensate SSGA FD (or others) for services in connection with the distribution of a Fund’s shares and for services provided to Fund shareholders (the “Plan”). The Plan calls for payments at an annual rate (based on average daily net assets) of 0.05% and 0.10% of the Fund’s net assets attributable to its Administration Class shares and Investment Class shares, respectively. Because these fees are paid out of the assets of a Fund attributable to its shares on an ongoing basis, they will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more over time than paying other types of sales charges. Long-term shareholders of the Fund may pay more in Rule 12b-1 fees than the economic equivalent of the maximum front-end sales charge permitted by the FINRA.

 

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Because the Fund pays distribution and other fees for the sale of its shares and for services provided to shareholders out of the Fund’s assets on an ongoing basis, over time those fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales loads.

The Fund may pay distribution fees and other amounts described in this Prospectus at a time when shares of the Fund are unavailable for purchase.

Other Payments to Financial Intermediaries

In addition to payments under the Plan described above, the Fund may reimburse SSGA FD or its affiliates for payments made to Financial Intermediaries that provide certain administrative, recordkeeping, and account maintenance services. The amount of the reimbursement and the manner in which it is calculated are reviewed by the Trustees periodically.

Financial Intermediaries are firms that sell shares of mutual funds, including the Fund, and/or provide certain administrative and account maintenance services to mutual fund investors. Financial Intermediaries may include, among others, brokers, financial planners or advisers, banks, retirement plan recordkeepers and insurance companies.

In some cases, a Financial Intermediary may hold its clients’ Fund Shares in nominee or street name and may utilize omnibus accounts. Shareholder services provided by a Financial Intermediary may (though they will not necessarily) include, among other things: establishing and maintaining shareholder account registrations; receiving and processing purchase and redemption orders, including aggregated orders and delivering orders to the Fund’s transfer agent; processing and mailing trade confirmations, periodic statements, prospectuses, annual reports, semiannual reports, shareholder notices, and other SEC-required communications; capturing and processing tax data; issuing and mailing dividend checks to shareholders who have selected cash distributions; preparing record date shareholder lists for proxy solicitations; and collecting and posting distributions to shareholder accounts.

The Financial Intermediary is often compensated by SSGA FD or its affiliates for the services it performs and in such cases is typically paid continually over time, during the period when the Financial Intermediary’s clients hold investments in the Fund. The amount of continuing compensation paid by SSGA FD or its affiliates to different Financial Intermediaries for distribution and/or shareholder services varies. Any compensation is typically a percentage of the value of the Financial Intermediary’s clients’ investments in the Fund or a per account fee. The variation in compensation may, but will not necessarily, reflect enhanced or additional services provided by the Financial Intermediary.

SSGA FD and its affiliates (including SSGA FM), at their own expense and out of their own assets, may also provide other compensation to Financial Intermediaries in connection with sales of the Fund’s shares or the servicing of shareholders or shareholder accounts. Such compensation may include, but is not limited to, financial assistance to Financial Intermediaries in connection with conferences, sales, or training programs for their employees; seminars for the public; advertising or sales campaigns; or other Financial Intermediary-sponsored special events. In some instances, this compensation may be made available only to certain Financial Intermediaries whose representatives have sold or are expected to sell significant amounts of shares. Dealers may not use sales of the Fund’s shares to qualify for this compensation to the extent prohibited by the laws or rules of any state or any self-regulatory agency, such as FINRA.

If payments to Financial Intermediaries by the distributor or adviser for a particular mutual fund complex exceed payments by other mutual fund complexes, your financial adviser and the Financial Intermediary employing him or her may have an incentive to recommend that fund complex over others. Please speak with your financial adviser to learn more about the total amounts paid to your financial adviser and his or her firm by SSGA FD and its affiliates and by sponsors of other mutual funds he or she may recommend to you. You should also consult disclosures made by your Financial Intermediary at the time of purchase.

 

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Third-Party Transactions. The State Street Funds have authorized certain Financial Intermediaries to accept purchase, redemption and exchange orders on the State Street Fund’s behalf. Orders received for a State Street Fund by a Financial Intermediary that has been authorized to accept orders on the Fund’s behalf (or other Financial Intermediaries designated by the Financial Intermediary) will be deemed accepted by the Fund at the time they are received by the Financial Intermediary and will be priced based on the Fund’s next NAV determination as long as the Financial Intermediary transmits the order in good form and in a timely manner to the applicable State Street Fund(s). For the Fund, the State Street Funds will be the sole party to determine if a trade is received in good order. The Financial Intermediary is responsible for transmitting your orders and associated funds in good form and in a timely manner to the applicable State Street Fund(s). The State Street Funds will not be responsible for delays by the Financial Intermediary in transmitting your orders, including timely transfer of payment, to a Fund.

If you are purchasing, selling, exchanging or holding State Street Fund shares through a program of services offered by a Financial Intermediary, you may be required by the Financial Intermediary to pay additional fees. You should contact the Financial Intermediary for information concerning what additional fees, if any, may be charged.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

The Fund had not commenced operations prior to the date of this Prospectus and therefore does not have financial information.

 

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Contacting the State Street Funds

 

Online:    www.ssga.com/cash    24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Phone:    (877) 521-4083    Monday – Friday 7:00 am – 5:00 pm EST

Written requests should be sent to:

 

Regular mail    Overnight/Registered, Express, Certified Mail

State Street Funds

P.O. Box 219737

Kansas City, MO 64121-9737

  

State Street Funds

430 W 7th Street Suite 219737

Kansas City, MO 64105-1407

The Fund does not consider the U.S. Postal Service or other independent delivery services to be its agents. Therefore, deposits in the mail or with such services, or receipt at the Fund’s post office box, of purchase orders or redemption requests, do not constitute receipt by the Fund or Transfer Agent.

 

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For more information about the Fund:

The Fund’s SAI includes additional information about the Fund and is incorporated by reference into this document. Additional information about the Fund’s investments will be available in the Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders after it commences operations. The Fund’s SAI is available, without charge, upon request. Shareholders in the Fund may make inquiries to the Fund to receive such information by calling (877) 521-4083 or the customer service center at the telephone number shown in the accompanying contract prospectus, if applicable. The Fund’s Prospectus and SAI are available free of charge, on the Fund’s website at www.ssga.com/cash.

Reports and other information about the Fund is available free of charge on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov. Copies of this information also may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following E-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov.

 

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

ONE IRON STREET

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02210

 

[                    ]    The State Street Institutional Investment Trust’s Investment Company Act File Number is 811-09819.


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STATE STREET INSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST

(the “Trust”)

One Iron Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02210

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

[ ], 2019

STATE STREET ESG LIQUID RESERVES FUND

Premier Class ([    ])

Investment Class ([    ])

Institutional Class ([    ])

Investor Class ([    ])

Administration Class ([    ])

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) relates to the prospectuses dated [ ], 2019 as may be revised and/or supplemented from time to time thereafter for the State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Fund (the “Prospectus”).

The SAI is not a prospectus and should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus. A copy of the Prospectus can be obtained free of charge by calling (877) 521-4083 or by written request to the Trust at the address listed above.

The information in this Statement of Additional Information is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell the securities being registered pursuant to this registration statement until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This Statement of Additional Information is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

General

   3

Description of the Fund and Its Investments and Risks

   4

Additional Investments and Risks

   4

Management of the Trust and State Street Master Funds

   15

Proxy Voting Procedures

   24

Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities

   24

Investment Advisory and Other Services

   25

Portfolio Managers

  

Brokerage Allocation and Other Practices

   30

Declaration of Trust, Capital Stock and Other Information

   31

Pricing of Shares

   32

Taxation of the Funds

   32

Underwriter

   43

Financial Statements

   43

Appendix A - Ratings of Debt Instruments

   A-1

Appendix B - Trust’s Proxy Voting Procedures

   B-1

Appendix C - Adviser’s Proxy Voting Procedures and Guidelines

   C-1


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GENERAL

The Trust was organized as a business trust under the laws of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts on February 16, 2000.

The Trust is an open-end management investment company. The Trust includes the following diversified series:

 

   

State Street Equity 500 Index Fund;

 

   

State Street Aggregate Bond Index Fund;

 

   

State Street Institutional Liquid Reserves Fund;

 

   

State Street Institutional U.S. Government Money Market Fund;

 

   

State Street Institutional Treasury Money Market Fund;

 

   

State Street Institutional Treasury Plus Money Market Fund;

 

   

State Street Treasury Obligations Money Market Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2015 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2020 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2025 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2030 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2035 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2040 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2045 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2050 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2055 Fund;

 

   

State Street Target Retirement 2060 Fund;

 

   

State Street Global Equity ex-U.S. Index Fund;

 

   

State Street Equity 500 Index II Portfolio;

 

   

State Street Aggregate Bond Index Portfolio;

 

   

State Street Global Equity ex-U.S. Index Portfolio;

 

   

State Street Emerging Markets Equity Index Fund;

 

   

State Street Hedged International Developed Equity Index Fund;

 

   

State Street International Developed Equity Index Fund;

 

   

State Street Small/Mid Cap Equity Index Fund;

 

   

State Street Small/Mid Cap Equity Index Portfolio;

 

   

State Street Ultra Short Term Bond Fund;

 

   

State Street Ultra Short Term Bond Portfolio;

 

   

State Street Defensive Global Equity Fund; and

 

   

State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Fund (the “Fund”).

The Trust includes a non-diversified series:

 

   

State Street International Value Spotlight Fund;

 

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The ESG Liquid Reserves Fund is referred to in this SAI as the “Money Fund,” the “Money Market Fund” or the “Fund.”

The Fund is a feeder fund (the “Feeder Fund”) and seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing substantially all of its investable assets in a corresponding master portfolio in State Street Master Funds that has substantially similar investment strategies to those of the Feeder Fund. The table below shows the Portfolio in which the Feeder Fund invests. The State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio is referred to in this SAI as the “Portfolio,” “Money Portfolio,” or “Money Market Portfolio.”

 

Feeder Fund

  

Master Portfolio

The Fund    State Street ESG Liquid Reserves Portfolio

DESCRIPTION OF THE FUND AND ITS INVESTMENTS AND RISKS

The Fund’s Prospectus contains information about its investment objective and policies. This SAI should only be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of the Fund.

In addition to the principal investment strategies and the principal risks of the Fund and Portfolio described in the Fund’s Prospectus, the Fund or Portfolio may employ other investment practices and may be subject to additional risks, which are described below. In reviewing these practices of the Feeder Fund, you should assume that the practices of the Portfolio are the same in all material respects.

ADDITIONAL INVESTMENTS AND RISKS

To the extent consistent with its investment objective and restrictions, the Fund or Portfolio may invest in the following instruments and use the following techniques, and is subject to the following additional risks.

Auction Rate Securities.

Auction rate municipal securities permit the holder to sell the securities in an auction at par value at specified intervals. The dividend or interest is typically reset by “Dutch” auction in which bids are made by broker-dealers and other institutions for a certain amount of securities at a specified minimum yield. The rate set by the auction is the lowest interest or dividend rate that covers all securities offered for sale. While this process is designed to permit auction rate securities to be traded at par value, there is the risk that an auction will fail due to insufficient demand for the securities. The Portfolio will take the time remaining until the next scheduled auction date into account for purposes of determining the securities’ duration.

Cleared Derivatives Transactions

Transactions in some types of swaps are required to be centrally cleared. In a cleared derivatives transaction, the Portfolio’s counterparty to the transaction is a central derivatives clearing organization, or clearing house, rather than a bank or broker. Because the Portfolio is not a member of a clearing house, and only members of a clearing house can participate directly in the clearing house, the Portfolio holds cleared derivatives through accounts at clearing members. In cleared derivatives transactions, the Portfolio will make payments (including margin payments) to and receive payments from a clearing house through its accounts at clearing members. Clearing members guarantee performance of their clients’ obligations to the clearing house. Centrally cleared derivative arrangements may be less favorable to the Portfolio than bilateral (non-cleared) arrangements. For example, the Portfolio may be required to provide greater amounts of margin for cleared derivatives transactions than for bilateral derivatives transactions. Also, in contrast to bilateral derivatives transactions, in some cases following a period of notice to the Portfolio, a clearing member generally can require termination of existing cleared derivatives transactions at any time or an increase in margin requirements above the margin that the clearing member required at the beginning of a transaction. Clearing houses also have broad rights to increase margin requirements for existing transactions or to terminate transactions at any time. The Portfolio is subject to risk if it enters into a derivatives transaction that is required to be cleared (or which the Adviser expects to be cleared), and no clearing member is willing or able to clear the transaction on the Portfolio’s behalf. In that case, the transaction might have to be terminated, and the Portfolio could lose some or all of the benefit of the transaction, including loss of an increase in the value of the transaction and loss of hedging protection. In addition, the documentation governing the relationship between the Portfolio and clearing members is drafted by the clearing members and generally is less favorable to the Portfolio than typical bilateral derivatives documentation. For example, documentation relating to cleared derivatives generally includes a one-way indemnity by the Portfolio in favor of the clearing member for losses the clearing member incurs as the Portfolio’s clearing member. Also, such documentation typically does not provide the Portfolio any remedies if the clearing member defaults or becomes insolvent.

 

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Counterparty risk with respect to derivatives has been and will continue to be affected by new rules and regulations relating to the derivatives market. With respect to a centrally cleared transaction, a party is subject to the credit risk of the clearing house and the clearing member through which it holds its cleared position. Credit risk of market participants with respect to centrally cleared derivatives is concentrated in a few clearing houses, and it is not clear how an insolvency proceeding of a clearing house would be conducted and what impact an insolvency of a clearing house would have on the financial system. A clearing member is obligated by contract and regulation to segregate all funds received from customers with respect to cleared derivatives positions from the clearing member’s proprietary assets. However, all funds and other property received by a clearing member from its customers with respect to cleared derivatives are generally held by the clearing member on a commingled basis in an omnibus account (which can be invested in instruments permitted under the regulations). Therefore, the Portfolio might not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the Portfolio’s clearing member because the Portfolio would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of the funds held by the clearing member on behalf of customers, with a claim against the clearing member for any deficiency. Also, the clearing member is required to transfer to the clearing house the amount of margin required by the clearing house for cleared derivatives, which amount is generally held in an omnibus account at the clearing house for all customers of the clearing member. Regulations promulgated by the CFTC require that the clearing member notify the clearing house of the initial margin provided by the clearing member to the clearing house that is attributable to each customer. However, if the clearing member does not accurately report the Portfolio’s initial margin, the Portfolio is subject to the risk that a clearing house will use the assets attributable to it in the clearing house’s omnibus account to satisfy payment obligations a defaulting customer of the clearing member has to the clearing house. In addition, clearing members generally provide the clearing house the net amount of variation margin required for cleared swaps for all of its customers, rather than individually for each customer. The Portfolio is therefore subject to the risk that a clearing house will not make variation margin payments owed to the Portfolio if another customer of the clearing member has suffered a loss and is in default, and the risk that the Portfolio will be required to provide additional variation margin to the clearing house before the clearing house will move the Portfolio’s cleared derivatives positions to another clearing member. In addition, if a clearing member does not comply with the applicable regulations or its agreement with the Portfolio, or in the event of fraud or misappropriation of customer assets by a clearing member, the Portfolio could have only an unsecured creditor claim in an insolvency of the clearing member with respect to the margin held by the clearing member.

Swap Execution Facilities

Certain derivatives contracts are required to be executed through swap execution facilities (“SEFs”). A SEF is a trading platform where multiple market participants can execute derivatives by accepting bids and offers made by multiple other participants in the platform. Such requirements may make it more difficult and costly for investment funds, such as the Portfolio, to enter into highly tailored or customized transactions. Trading swaps on a SEF may offer certain advantages over traditional bilateral over-the-counter trading, such as ease of execution, price transparency, increased liquidity and/or favorable pricing. Execution through a SEF is not, however, without additional costs and risks, as parties are required to comply with SEF and CFTC rules and regulations, including disclosure and recordkeeping obligations, and SEF rights of inspection, among others. SEFs typically charge fees, and if the Portfolio executes derivatives on a swap execution facility through a broker intermediary, the intermediary may impose fees as well. The Portfolio also may be required to indemnify a SEF, or a broker intermediary who executes swaps on a SEF on the Portfolio’s behalf, against any losses or costs that may be incurred as a result of the Portfolio’s transactions on the SEF. In addition, the Portfolio may be subject to execution risk if it enters into a derivatives transaction that is required to be cleared, and no clearing member is willing to clear the transaction on the Portfolio’s behalf. In that case, the transaction might have to be terminated, and the Portfolio could lose some or all of the benefit of any increase in the value of the transaction after the time of the trade.

Risks Associated with Derivatives Regulation

The U.S. government has enacted legislation that provides for new regulation of the derivatives market, including clearing, margin, reporting, and registration requirements. The European Union and some other countries are implementing similar requirements, which will affect the Portfolio when it enters into a derivatives transaction with a counterparty organized in that country or otherwise subject to that country’s derivatives regulations. Clearing rules and other new rules and regulations could, among other things, restrict the Portfolio’s ability to engage in, or increase the cost to the Portfolio of, derivatives transactions, for example, by making some types of derivatives no longer available to the Portfolio, increasing margin or capital requirements, or otherwise limiting liquidity or increasing transaction costs. While the new rules and regulations and central clearing of some derivatives transactions are designed to reduce systemic risk (i.e., the risk that the interdependence of large derivatives dealers could cause them to suffer liquidity, solvency or other challenges simultaneously), there is no assurance that they will achieve that result, and in the meantime, as noted above, central clearing and related requirements expose the Portfolio to new kinds of costs and risks.

 

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For example, in the event of a counterparty’s (or its affiliate’s) insolvency, the Portfolio’s ability to exercise remedies, such as the termination of transactions, netting of obligations and realization on collateral, could be stayed or eliminated under new special resolution regimes adopted in the United States, the European Union and various other jurisdictions. Such regimes provide government authorities with broad authority to intervene when a financial institution is experiencing financial difficulty. In particular, with respect to counterparties who are subject to such proceedings in the European Union, the liabilities of such counterparties to the Portfolio could be reduced, eliminated, or converted to equity in such counterparties (sometimes referred to as a “bail in”).

Additionally, U.S. regulators, the EU and certain other jurisdictions have adopted minimum margin and capital requirements for uncleared derivatives transactions. These rules impose minimum margin requirements on derivatives transactions between the Portfolio and its counterparties. They impose regulatory requirements on the timing of transferring margin and the types of collateral that parties are permitted to exchange.

These and other regulations are new and evolving, so their potential impact on the Portfolio and the financial system are not yet known.

Custodial Risk

There are risks involved in dealing with the custodians or brokers who hold the Portfolio’s investments or settle the Portfolio’s trades. It is possible that, in the event of the insolvency or bankruptcy of a custodian or broker, the Portfolio would be delayed or prevented from recovering its assets from the custodian or broker, or its estate, and may have only a general unsecured claim against the custodian or broker for those assets. In recent insolvencies of brokers or other financial institutions, the ability of certain customers to recover their assets from the insolvent’s estate has been delayed, limited, or prevented, often unpredictably, and there is no assurance that any assets held by the Portfolio with a custodian or broker will be readily recoverable by the Portfolio. In addition, there may be limited recourse against non-U.S. sub-custodians in those situations in which the Portfolio invests in markets where custodial and/or settlement systems and regulations are not fully developed, including emerging markets, and the assets of the Portfolio have been entrusted to such sub-custodians. SSGA FM or an affiliate may serve as the custodian of the Portfolio.

Eurodollar Certificates of Deposit (“ECDs”), Eurodollar Time Deposits (“ETDs”) and Yankee Certificates of Deposit (“YCDs”)

The Portfolio may invest in ECDs, ETDs and YCDs. ECDs and ETDs are U.S. dollar denominated certificates of deposit and time deposits, respectively, issued by non-U.S. branches of domestic banks and non-U.S. banks. YCDs are U.S. dollar denominated certificates of deposit issued by U.S. branches of non-U.S. banks.

Different risks than those associated with the obligations of domestic banks may exist for ECDs, ETDs and YCDs because the banks issuing these instruments, or their domestic or non-U.S. branches, are not necessarily subject to the same regulatory requirements that apply to domestic banks, such as loan limitations, examinations, and reserve, accounting, auditing, recordkeeping and public reporting requirements. Obligations of non-U.S. issuers also involve risks such as future unfavorable political and economic developments, withholding tax, seizures of non-U.S. deposits, currency controls, interest limitations, and other governmental restrictions that might affect repayment of principal or payment of interest, or the ability to honor a credit commitment.

Forward Commitments

The Fund may invest in forward commitments. The Fund may contract to purchase securities for a fixed price at a future date beyond customary settlement time consistent with the Fund’s ability to manage its investment portfolio and meet redemption requests. The Fund may dispose of a commitment prior to settlement if it is appropriate to do so and realize short-term profits or losses upon such sale. When effecting such transactions, cash or other liquid assets (such as liquid high quality debt obligations) held by the Fund of a dollar amount sufficient to make payment for the portfolio securities to be purchased will be segregated on the Fund’s records at the trade date and maintained until the transaction is settled. Such segregated assets will be marked to market on a daily basis, and if the market value of such assets declines, additional cash or assets will be segregated so that the market value of the segregated assets will equal the amount of the Fund’s obligations. Forward commitments involve a risk of loss if the value of the security to be purchased declines prior to the settlement date, or if the other party fails to complete the transaction.

Government Mortgage-Related Securities

The Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA” or “Ginnie Mae”) is the principal federal government guarantor of mortgage-related securities. GNMA is a wholly owned U.S. Government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It guarantees, with the full faith and credit of the United States, full and timely payment of all monthly principal and interest on its mortgage-related securities. GNMA pass-through securities are considered to have a relatively low risk of default in that (1) the underlying mortgage loan portfolio is comprised entirely of government-backed loans and (2) the timely payment of both principal and interest on the securities is guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, regardless of whether they

 

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have been collected. GNMA pass-through securities are, however, subject to the same interest rate risk as comparable privately issued mortgage-related securities. Therefore, the effective maturity and market value of the Portfolio’s GNMA securities can be expected to fluctuate in response to changes in interest rate levels.

Residential mortgage loans are also pooled by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC” or “Freddie Mac”), a corporate instrumentality of the U.S. Government. The mortgage loans in FHLMC’s portfolio are not government backed; FHLMC, not the U.S. Government, guarantees the timely payment of interest and ultimate collection of principal on FHLMC securities. FHLMC also issues guaranteed mortgage certificates, on which it guarantees semiannual interest payments and a specified minimum annual payment of principal.

The Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA” or “Fannie Mae”) is a government-sponsored corporation owned entirely by private stockholders. It is subject to general regulation by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. FNMA purchases residential mortgages from a list of approved seller/servicers, which include savings and loan associations, savings banks, commercial banks, credit unions and mortgage bankers. Pass-through securities issued by FNMA are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by FNMA, not the U.S. Government.

Illiquid Securities

The Portfolio may invest in illiquid securities. The absence of a regular trading market for illiquid securities imposes additional risks on investments in these securities. Illiquid securities may be difficult to value and may often be disposed of only after considerable expense and delay.

The Portfolio (and the Fund) is managed in accordance with Rule 2a-7 under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). As a result, the Portfolio (and the Fund) has adopted the following liquidity policies (except as noted):

 

  1.

The Portfolio/Fund may not purchase an illiquid security if, immediately after purchase, the Portfolio/Fund would have invested more than 5% of its total assets in illiquid securities (securities that cannot be sold or disposed of in the ordinary course of business within seven days at approximately the market value ascribed to them by the Portfolio/Fund);

 

  2.

The Portfolio/Fund may not purchase a security other than a security offering daily liquidity if, immediately after purchase, the Portfolio/Fund would have invested less than 10% of its total assets in securities offering daily liquidity (includes securities that mature or are subject to demand within one business day, cash, direct U.S. Government obligations or amounts receivable and due unconditionally within one business day on pending sales of portfolio securities.); and

 

  3.

The Portfolio/Fund may not purchase a security other than a security offering weekly liquidity if, immediately after purchase, the Portfolio/Fund would have invested less than 30% of its total assets in securities offering weekly liquidity (includes securities that mature or are subject to demand within five business days, cash, direct U.S. Government obligations, Government agency discount notes with remaining maturities of 60 days or less or amounts receivable and due unconditionally within five business days on pending sales of portfolio securities.).

Under Rule 2a-7, “illiquid security” means a security that cannot be sold or disposed of in the ordinary course of business within seven calendar days at approximately the value ascribed to it by the seller.

Industrial Development and Private Activity Bonds

Industrial development bonds are issued to finance a wide variety of capital projects including: electric, gas, water and sewer systems; ports and airport facilities; colleges and universities; and hospitals. The principal security for these bonds is generally the net revenues derived from a particular facility, group of facilities, or in some cases, the proceeds of a special excise tax or other specific revenue sources. Although the principal security behind these bonds may vary, many provide additional security in the form of a debt service reserve fund whose money may be used to make principal and interest payments on the issuer’s obligations. Some authorities provide further security in the form of a state’s ability without obligation to make up deficiencies in the debt service reserve fund.

Private activity bonds are considered municipal securities if the interest paid thereon is exempt from federal income tax and they are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to raise money to finance various privately operated facilities for business and manufacturing, housing, sports, and pollution control. These bonds are also used to finance public facilities such as airports, mass transit systems, ports and parking. The payment of the principal and interest on such bonds is dependent solely on the ability of the facility’s user to meet its financial obligations and the value of any real or personal property pledged as security for such payment. Interest income on these bonds may be an item of tax preference subject to federal alternative minimum tax for individuals and corporations.

 

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Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk

The Portfolio is subject to the risk that geopolitical events will disrupt securities markets and adversely affect global economies and markets. War, terrorism, and related geopolitical events have led, and in the future may lead, to increased short-term market volatility and may have adverse long-term effects on U.S. and world economies and markets generally. Likewise, natural and environmental disasters and systemic market dislocations may be highly disruptive to economies and markets. Those events as well as other changes in non-U.S. and domestic economic and political conditions also could adversely affect individual issuers or related groups of issuers, securities markets, interest rates, credit ratings, inflation, investor sentiment, and other factors affecting the value of the Portfolio’s investments. Given the increasing interdependence between global economies and markets, conditions in one country, market, or region might adversely impact markets, issuers and/or foreign exchange rates in other countries, including the U.S. Continuing uncertainty as to the status of the Euro and the European Monetary Union (the “EMU”) has created significant volatility in currency and financial markets generally. Any partial or complete dissolution of the EMU, or any continued uncertainty as to its status, could have significant adverse effects on currency and financial markets, and on the values of the Portfolio’s investments.

Mortgage-Related Securities

The Portfolio may invest in mortgage-related securities. Mortgage-related securities represent an interest in a pool of, or are secured by, mortgage loans. Mortgage-related securities may be issued or guaranteed by (i) U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities such as GNMA, FNMA and FHLMC or (ii) other issuers, including private companies.

Many mortgage-related securities provide regular payments which consist of interest and, in most cases, principal. In contrast, other forms of debt securities normally provide for periodic payment of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or specified call dates. In effect, payments on many mortgage-related securities are a “pass-through” of the payments made by the individual borrowers on their mortgage loans, net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of such securities.

Besides the scheduled repayment of principal, repayments of principal may result from the voluntary prepayment, refinancing or foreclosure of the underlying mortgage loans. If property owners make unscheduled prepayments of their mortgage loans, these prepayments will typically result in early payment of the applicable mortgage-related securities. The occurrence of mortgage prepayments is affected by a variety of factors including the level of interest rates, general economic conditions, the location and age of the mortgage, and other social and demographic conditions. During periods of falling interest rates, the rate of mortgage prepayments tends to increase, thereby tending to decrease the life of mortgage-related securities. During periods of rising interest rates, the rate of mortgage prepayments usually decreases, thereby tending to increase the life of mortgage-related securities.

Because of the possibility of prepayments (and due to scheduled repayments of principal), mortgage-related securities are less effective than other types of securities as a means of “locking in” attractive long-term interest rates. Prepayments would have to be reinvested at lower rates. As a result, these securities may have less potential for capital appreciation during periods of declining interest rates than other securities of comparable maturities, although they may have a similar risk of decline in market value during periods of rising interest rates. Prepayments may also significantly shorten the effective maturities of these securities, especially during periods of declining interest rates. Conversely, during periods of rising interest rates, a reduction in prepayments may increase the effective maturities of these securities, subjecting them to a greater risk of decline in market value in response to rising interest rates than traditional debt securities, and, therefore, potentially increasing the volatility of the Portfolio.

Collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) may be issued by a U.S. Government agency or instrumentality or by a private issuer. CMOs are typically structured with classes or series that have different maturities and are generally retired in sequence. Each class of obligations receives periodic interest payments according to its terms. However, monthly principal payments and any prepayments from the collateral pool are generally paid first to the holders of the most senior class. Thereafter, payments of principal are generally allocated to the next most senior class of obligations until that class of obligations has been fully repaid. Any or all classes of obligations of a CMO may be paid off sooner than expected because of an increase in the payoff speed of the pool. Changes in prepayment rates may have significant effects on the values and the volatility of the various classes and series of a CMO. Payment of interest or principal on some classes or series of a CMO may be subject to contingencies or some classes or series may bear some or all of the risk of default on the underlying mortgages. Stripped mortgage-related securities are usually structured with two classes that receive different portions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage loans. The yield to maturity on an interest only or “IO” class of stripped mortgage-related securities is extremely sensitive not only to changes in prevailing interest rates but also to the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the underlying assets. A rapid rate of principal prepayments may have a

 

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measurable adverse effect on the Fund’s yield to maturity to the extent it invests in IOs. If the assets underlying the IO experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Fund may fail to recoup fully, or at all, its initial investment in these securities. Conversely, principal only securities or “POs” tend to increase in value if prepayments are greater than anticipated and decline if prepayments are slower than anticipated. The secondary market for stripped mortgage-related securities may be more volatile and less liquid than that for other mortgage-related securities, potentially limiting the Portfolio’s ability to buy or sell those securities at any particular time.

Other Asset-Backed Securities

In addition to the mortgage-related securities discussed above, the Portfolio may invest in asset-backed securities that are not mortgage-related. Asset-backed securities other than mortgage-related securities represent undivided fractional interests in pools of instruments, such as consumer loans, and are typically similar in structure to mortgage-related pass-through securities. Payments of principal and interest are passed through to holders of the securities and are typically supported by some form of credit enhancement, such as a letter of credit, surety bond, limited guarantee by another entity, or by priority to certain of the borrower’s other securities. The degree of credit-enhancement, if any, varies, applying only until exhausted and generally covering only a fraction of the security’s par value.

The value of such asset-backed securities is affected by changes in the market’s perception of the asset backing the security, changes in the creditworthiness of the servicing agent for the instrument pool, the originator of the instruments, or the financial institution providing any credit enhancement and the expenditure of any portion of any credit enhancement. The risks of investing in asset-backed securities are ultimately dependent upon payment of the underlying instruments by the obligors, and the Fund would generally have no recourse against the obligee of the instruments in the event of default by an obligor. The underlying instruments are subject to prepayments which shorten the duration of asset-backed securities and may lower their return, in generally the same manner as described above for prepayments of pools of mortgage loans underlying mortgage-related securities.

Municipal and Municipal-Related Securities

The Portfolio may invest in municipal and municipal-related securities. Municipal securities may bear fixed, floating or variable rates of interest or may be zero coupon securities. Municipal securities are generally of two types: general obligations and revenue obligations. General obligations are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuer. These securities include tax anticipation notes, bond anticipation notes, general obligation bonds and commercial paper. Revenue obligations are backed by the revenues generated from a specific project or facility and include industrial development bonds and private activity bonds. Tax anticipation notes are issued to finance working capital needs of municipalities and are generally issued in anticipation of future tax revenues. Bond anticipation notes are issued in expectation of the issuer obtaining longer-term financing.

Municipal obligations are affected by economic, business or political developments. These securities may be subject to provisions of litigation, bankruptcy and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors, or may become subject to future laws extending the time for payment of principal and/or interest, or limiting the rights of municipalities to levy taxes. The Portfolio may be more adversely impacted by changes in tax rates and policies than other funds. Because interest income from municipal securities is normally not subject to regular federal income taxation, the attractiveness of municipal securities in relation to other investment alternatives is affected by changes in federal income tax rates applicable to, or the continuing federal income tax-exempt status of, such interest income. Any proposed or actual changes in such rates or exempt status, therefore, can significantly affect the demand for and supply, liquidity and marketability of municipal securities. This could in turn affect a Portfolio’s ability to acquire and dispose of municipal securities at desirable yield and price levels. Concentration of a Portfolio’s investments in these municipal obligations will subject the Portfolio, to a greater extent than if such investment was not so concentrated, to the risks of adverse economic, business or political developments affecting the particular state, industry or other area of concentration. Issuers, including governmental issuers, of municipal securities may be unable to pay their obligations as they become due. Recent declines in tax revenues, and increases in liabilities, such as pension and health care liabilities, may increase the actual or perceived risk of default on such securities.

Municipal Leases

The Portfolio may purchase participation interests in municipal obligations, including municipal lease/purchase agreements. Municipal leases are an undivided interest in a portion of an obligation in the form of a lease or installment purchase issued by a state or local government to acquire equipment or facilities. These instruments may have fixed, floating or variable rates of interest, with remaining maturities of 13 months or less. Certain participation interests may permit a Portfolio to demand payment on not more than seven days’ notice, for all or any part of the Portfolio’s interest, plus accrued interest.

 

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Municipal leases frequently have special risks not normally associated with general obligation or revenue bonds. Some leases or contracts include “non-appropriation” clauses, which provide that the governmental issuer has no obligation to make future payments under the lease or contract unless money is appropriated for such purpose by the appropriate legislative body on a yearly or other periodic basis. To reduce these risks, the Portfolios will only purchase municipal leases subject to a non-appropriation clause when the payment of principal and accrued interest is backed by a letter of credit or guarantee of a bank.

Whether a municipal lease agreement will be considered illiquid for the purpose of a Portfolio’s restriction on investments in illiquid securities will be determined in accordance with procedures established by the Board of Trustees.

Insured Municipal Securities

Insured municipal securities are those for which scheduled payments of interest and principal are guaranteed by a private (non-governmental) insurance company. The insurance entitles a fund to receive only the face or par value of the securities held by the fund, but the ability to be paid is limited to the claims paying ability of the insurer. The insurance does not guarantee the market value of the municipal securities or the net asset value of the Portfolio’s shares. Insurers are selected based upon the diversification of their portfolios and the strength of the management team which contributes to the claims paying ability of the entity. However, the Adviser selects securities based upon the underlying credit, with bond insurance viewed as an enhancement only. The Adviser’s objective is to have an enhancement that provides additional liquidity to insulate against volatility in changing markets.

Pre-Refunded Municipal Securities

The interest and principal payments on pre-refunded municipal securities are typically paid from the cash flow generated from an escrow fund consisting of U.S. Government securities. These payments have been “pre-refunded” using the escrow fund.

Purchase of Other Investment Company Shares

The Portfolio may, to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act and exemptive rules and orders thereunder, invest in shares of other investment companies, which include funds managed by SSGA FM, which invest exclusively in money market instruments or in investment companies with investment policies and objectives which are substantially similar to those of the Portfolio. These investments may be made temporarily, for example, to invest uncommitted cash balances or, in limited circumstances, to assist in meeting shareholder redemptions, or as long-term investments.

Repurchase Agreements

The Portfolio may enter into repurchase agreements with banks, other financial institutions, such as broker-dealers, and other institutional counterparties. Under a repurchase agreement, the Portfolio purchases securities from a financial institution that agrees to repurchase the securities at the Portfolio’s original purchase price plus interest within a specified time. The Portfolio will limit repurchase transactions to those member banks of the Federal Reserve System, broker-dealers, and other financial institutions whose creditworthiness the Adviser considers satisfactory. Should the counterparty to a transaction fail financially, the Portfolio may encounter delay and incur costs before being able to sell the securities, or may be prevented from realizing on the securities. Further, the amount realized upon the sale of the securities may be less than that necessary to fully compensate the Portfolio.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

The Portfolio may enter into reverse repurchase agreements, which are a form of borrowing. Under reverse repurchase agreements, the Portfolio transfers possession of portfolio securities to financial institutions in return for cash in an amount equal to a percentage of the portfolio securities’ market value and agrees to repurchase the securities at a future date by repaying the cash with interest. The Portfolio retains the right to receive interest and principal payments from the securities. Cash or liquid high quality debt obligations from the Portfolio’s portfolio equal in value to the repurchase price including any accrued interest will be segregated by the Custodian on the Portfolio’s records while a reverse repurchase agreement is in effect. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of securities sold by the Portfolio may decline below the price at which it is obligated to repurchase the securities. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the buyer of the securities sold might be unable to deliver them when the Portfolio seeks to repurchase the securities. If the buyer files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, the Portfolio may be delayed or prevented from recovering the security that it sold.

 

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Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper/Rule 144A Securities

The Portfolio may invest in commercial paper issued in reliance on the so called “private placement” exemption from registration afforded by Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“1933 Act”) (“Section 4(a)(2) paper”).

Section 4(a)(2) paper is restricted as to disposition under the federal securities laws and generally is sold to investors who agree that they are purchasing the paper for investment and not with a view to public distribution. Any resale by the purchaser must be a transaction exempt from the registration requirements of the 1933 Act. Section 4(a)(2) paper normally is resold to other institutional investors like the Portfolio through or with the assistance of the issuer or investment dealers that make a market in Section 4(a)(2) paper. Rule 144A securities generally must be sold only to other institutional investors.

There can be no assurance that a liquid trading market will exist at any time for any particular Section 4(a)(2) paper or Rule 144A securities.

Tax Exempt Commercial Paper

The Portfolio may invest in tax exempt commercial paper. Tax exempt commercial paper is a short-term obligation with a stated maturity of 365 days or less. It is typically issued to finance seasonal working capital needs or as short-term financing in anticipation of longer term financing. Each instrument may be backed only by the credit of the issuer or may be backed by some form of credit enhancement, typically in the form of a guarantee by a commercial bank. Commercial paper backed by guarantees of foreign banks may involve additional risk due to the difficulty of obtaining and enforcing judgments against such banks and the generally less restrictive regulations to which such banks are subject. The Portfolios will only invest in commercial paper rated at the time of purchase not less than Prime-1 by Moody’s, A-1 by S&P or F-1 by Fitch Ratings. See Appendix A for more information on the ratings of debt instruments.

Tender Option Bonds

A tender option is a municipal obligation (generally held pursuant to a custodial arrangement) having a relatively long maturity and bearing interest at a fixed rate substantially higher than prevailing short-term tax exempt rates, that has been coupled with the agreement of a third party, such as a bank, broker-dealer or other financial institution, pursuant to which such institution grants the security holders the option, at periodic intervals, to tender their securities to the institution and receive the face value thereof. As consideration for providing the option, the financial institution receives periodic fees equal to the difference between the municipal obligation’s fixed coupon rate and the rate, as determined by a remarketing or similar agent at or near the commencement of such period, that would cause the securities, coupled with the tender option, to trade at par on the date of such determination. Thus, after payment of this fee, the security holder effectively holds a demand obligation that bears interest at the prevailing short-term tax exempt rate. Subject to applicable regulatory requirements, the Portfolio may buy tender option bonds if the agreement gives the Portfolio the right to tender the bond to its sponsor no less frequently than once every 397 days. The Adviser will consider on an ongoing basis the creditworthiness of the issuer of the underlying obligation, any custodian and the third party provider of the tender option. In certain instances and for certain tender option bonds, the option may be terminable in the event of a default in payment of principal or interest on the underlying municipal obligation and for other reasons.

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities

The Portfolio may invest in Inflation-Protection Securities (“TIPSs”), a type of inflation-indexed Treasury security. TIPSs typically provide for semiannual payments of interest and a payment of principal at maturity. In general, each payment will be adjusted to take into account any inflation or deflation that occurs between the issue date of the security and the payment date based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”).

Each semiannual payment of interest will be determined by multiplying a single fixed rate of interest by the inflation-adjusted principal amount of the security for the date of the interest payment. Thus, although the interest rate will be fixed, the amount of each interest payment will vary with changes in the principal of the security as adjusted for inflation and deflation.

TIPSs also provide for an additional payment (a “minimum guarantee payment”) at maturity if the security’s inflation-adjusted principal amount for the maturity date is less than the security’s principal amount at issuance. The amount of the additional payment will equal the excess of the security’s principal amount at issuance over the security’s inflation-adjusted principal amount for the maturity date.

 

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U.S. Government Securities

The Portfolio may purchase U.S. Government securities. The types of U.S. Government obligations in which each the Portfolio may at times invest include: (1) U.S. Treasury obligations and (2) obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies and instrumentalities which are supported by any of the following: (a) the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury, (b) the right of the issuer to borrow an amount limited to a specific line of credit from the U.S. Treasury, (c) discretionary authority of the U.S. Government agency or instrumentality, or (d) the credit of the instrumentality (examples of agencies and instrumentalities are: Federal Land Banks, Federal Housing Administration, Federal Farm Credit Bank, Farmers Home Administration, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Central Bank for Cooperatives, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, Federal Home Loan Banks, General Services Administration, Maritime Administration, Tennessee Development Bank, Asian-American Development Bank, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae” or “FNMA”). No assurance can be given that in the future the U.S. Government will provide financial support to U.S. Government securities it is not obligated to support.

The Portfolio may purchase U.S. Government obligations on a forward commitment basis.

Variable Amount Master Demand Notes

The Portfolio may invest in variable amount master demand notes which are unsecured obligations that are redeemable upon demand and are typically unrated. These instruments are issued pursuant to written agreements between their issuers and holders. The agreements permit the holders to increase (subject to an agreed maximum) and the holders and issuers to decrease the principal amount of the notes, and specify that the rate of interest payable on the principal fluctuates according to an agreed formula. Generally, changes in interest rates will have a smaller effect on the market value of these securities than on the market value of comparable fixed income obligations. Thus, investing in these securities generally allows less opportunity for capital appreciation and depreciation than investing in comparable fixed income securities. There may be no active secondary market with respect to a particular variable rate instrument.

Variable and Floating Rate Securities

The Portfolio may invest in variable and floating rate securities. Variable rate securities are instruments issued or guaranteed by entities such as (1) U.S. Government, or an agency or instrumentality thereof, (2) corporations, (3) financial institutions, (4) insurance companies or (5) trusts that have a rate of interest subject to adjustment at regular intervals. A variable rate security provides for the automatic establishment of a new interest rate on set dates. Interest rates on these securities are ordinarily tied to widely recognized market rates, which are typically set once a day. Generally, changes in interest rates will have a smaller effect on the market value of variable and floating rate securities than on the market value of comparable fixed income obligations. Thus, investing in variable and floating rate securities generally allows less opportunity for capital appreciation and depreciation than investing in comparable fixed income securities. Variable rate obligations will be deemed to have a maturity equal to the period remaining until the next readjustment of the interest rate.

Many financial instruments use or may use a floating rate based on LIBOR, which is the offered rate for short-term Eurodollar deposits between major international banks. On July 27, 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. There remains uncertainty regarding the future utilization of LIBOR and the nature of any replacement rate. As such, the potential effect of a transition away from LIBOR on a Fund or the financial instruments in which a Fund invests cannot yet be determined. The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets that currently rely on LIBOR to determine interest rates. It could also lead to a reduction in the value of some LIBOR-based investments and reduce the effectiveness of new hedges placed against existing LIBOR-based instruments. Since the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark could deteriorate during the transition period, these effects could occur prior to the end of 2021.

When-Issued Securities

The Portfolio may purchase securities on a when-issued basis. Delivery of and payment for these securities may take place as long as a month or more after the date of the purchase commitment. The value of these securities is subject to market fluctuation during this period, and no income accrues to the Portfolio until settlement takes place. When entering into a when-issued transaction, the Portfolio will rely on the other party to consummate the transaction; if the other party fails to do so, the Portfolio may be disadvantaged. The Portfolio will not invest more than 25% of its net assets in when-issued securities. Securities purchased on a when-issued basis and held by the Portfolio are subject to changes in market value based upon actual or perceived changes in the level of interest rates. Generally, the value of such securities will fluctuate inversely to changes in interest rates — i.e., they will appreciate in value when interest rates decline and decrease in value when interest rates rise. Therefore, if in order to achieve higher interest income the Portfolio remains substantially fully invested at the same time that it has purchased securities on a “when-issued” basis, there will be a greater possibility of fluctuation in the Portfolio’s NAV.

Zero Coupon Securities

The Portfolio may invest in zero coupon securities. Zero coupon securities are notes, bonds and debentures that: (1) do not pay current interest and are issued at a substantial discount from par value; (2) have been stripped of their unmatured interest coupons and receipts; or (3) pay no interest until a stated date one or more years into the future. These securities also include certificates representing interests in such stripped coupons and receipts. Generally, changes in interest rates will have a greater impact on the market value of a zero coupon security than on the market value of the comparable securities that pay interest periodically during the life of the instrument. In the case of any zero-coupon debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date

 

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of issuance that are treated as issued originally at a discount, the Portfolio will be required to accrue original issue discount (“OID”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, in the case of the Portfolio treated as a RIC, may as a result be required to pay out as an income distribution an amount which is greater than the total amount of cash interest the Portfolio actually received. To generate sufficient cash to make the requisite distributions to maintain its qualification for treatment as a “regulated investment company” (“RIC”) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), the Portfolio that is taxed as a RIC may be required to sell investments, including at a time when it may not be advantageous to do so.

The Portfolio may invest no more than 25% of its total assets in stripped securities that have been stripped by their holder, typically a custodian bank or investment brokerage firm. Privately-issued stripped securities are not themselves guaranteed by the U.S. Government, but the future payment of principal or interest on U.S. Treasury obligations which they represent is so guaranteed.

Asset Segregation and Coverage

The Portfolio may be required to earmark or otherwise segregate liquid assets in respect of its obligations under derivatives transactions that involve contractual obligations to pay in the future, or the Portfolio may engage in other measures to “cover” its obligations with respect to such transactions. The amounts that are earmarked or otherwise segregated may be based on the notional value of the derivative or on the daily mark-to-market obligation under the derivatives contract and may be reduced by amounts on deposit with the applicable broker or counterparty to the derivatives transaction. In certain circumstances, the Portfolio may enter into an offsetting position rather than earmarking or segregating liquid assets. The Portfolio may modify its asset segregation and coverage policies from time to time. Although earmarking or segregating may in certain cases have the effect of limiting the Portfolio’s ability to engage in derivatives transactions, the extent of any such limitation will depend on a variety of factors, including the method by which the Fund determines the nature and amount of assets to be earmarked or segregated.

Fundamental Investment Restrictions

The Portfolio in which the Fund invests has substantially the same investment restrictions as the Fund. In reviewing the description of the Fund’s investment restrictions below, you should assume that the investment restrictions of the Portfolio are the same in all material respects as those of the Fund.

The Trust has adopted the following restrictions applicable to the Fund, which may not be changed without the affirmative vote of a “majority of the outstanding voting securities” of the Fund, which is defined in the 1940 Act to mean the affirmative vote of the lesser of (1) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund and (2) 67% or more of the shares present at a meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding shares are present at the meeting in person or by proxy.

 

  1.

The Fund may borrow money and issue senior securities to the extent consistent with applicable law from time to time.

 

  2.

The Fund may make loans, including to affiliated investment companies, to the extent consistent with applicable law from time to time.

 

  3.

The Fund may purchase or sell commodities to the extent consistent with applicable law from time to time.

 

  4.

The Fund may purchase, sell or hold real estate to the extent consistent with applicable law from time to time.

 

  5.

The Fund may underwrite securities to the extent consistent with applicable law from time to time.

 

  6.

The Fund may not purchase any security if, as a result, 25% or more of the Fund’s total assets (taken at current value) would be invested in a particular industry (for purposes of this restriction, investment companies are not considered to constitute a particular industry or group of industries), except as is consistent with applicable law from time to time and as follows: the Fund is permitted to invest without limit in “government securities” (as defined in the 1940 Act), tax-exempt securities issued by a U.S. territory or possession, a state or local government, or a political subdivision of any of the foregoing and bankers’ acceptances, certificates of deposit and similar instruments issued by: (i) U.S. banks, (ii) U.S. branches of foreign banks (in circumstances in which the Adviser determines that the U.S. branches of foreign banks are subject to the same regulation as U.S. banks), (iii) foreign branches of U.S. banks (in circumstances in which the Adviser determines that the Fund will have recourse to the U.S. bank for the obligations of the foreign branch), and (iv) foreign branches of foreign banks (to the extent that the Adviser determines that the foreign branches of foreign banks are subject to the same or substantially similar regulations as U.S. banks).

With respect to investment policy on concentration (#6 above), the Fund may concentrate in bankers’ acceptances, certificates of deposit and similar instruments when, in the opinion of the Adviser, the yield, marketability and availability of investments meeting the Fund’s quality standards in the banking industry justify any additional risks associated with the concentration of the Fund’s assets in such industry.

 

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For purposes of the above investment limitation number 6, in the case of a tax-exempt bond issued by a non-governmental user, where the tax-exempt bond is backed only by the assets and revenues of the non-governmental user, then such non-governmental user would be deemed to be the sole issuer. All percentage limitations (except the limitation to borrowings) on investments will apply at the time of the making of an investment and shall not be considered violated unless an excess or deficiency occurs or exists immediately after and as a result of such investment. Except for the investment restrictions expressly identified as fundamental, or to the extent designated as such in the Prospectus with respect to the Fund, the other investment policies described in this SAI or in the Prospectus are not fundamental and may be changed by approval of the Trustees without shareholder approval.

Additional Information

Fundamental Investment Restrictions (1) through (6), as numbered above limit the Fund’s ability to engage in certain investment practices and purchase securities or other instruments to the extent consistent with applicable law as that law changes from time to time. Applicable law includes the 1940 Act, the rules or regulations thereunder and applicable orders of SEC as are currently in place. In addition, interpretations and guidance provided by the SEC staff may be taken into account, where deemed appropriate by the Fund, to determine if an investment practice or the purchase of securities or other instruments is permitted by applicable law. As such, the effects of these limitations will change as the statute, rules, regulations or orders (or, if applicable, interpretations) change, and no shareholder vote will be required or sought when such changes permit or require a resulting change in practice.

Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings

Introduction

The policies set forth below to be followed by State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) and SSGA FM ( collectively, the “Service Providers”) for the disclosure of information about the portfolio holdings of the SSGA Funds, State Street Master Funds, and State Street Institutional Investment Trust (each, a “Trust”). These disclosure policies are intended to ensure compliance by the Service Providers and the Trust with applicable regulations of the federal securities laws, including the 1940 Act and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. The Board of Trustees of the Trust must approve all material amendments to the policy.

General Policy

It is the policy of the Service Providers to protect the confidentiality of client holdings and prevent the selective disclosure of non-public information concerning the Trust.

No information concerning the portfolio holdings of the Trust may be disclosed to any party (including shareholders) except as provided below. The Service Providers are not permitted to receive compensation or other consideration in connection with disclosing information about the Fund’s portfolio to third parties. In order to address potential conflicts between the interest of Fund shareholders, on the one hand, and those of the Service Providers or any affiliated person of those entities or of the Fund, on the other hand, the Fund’s policies require that non-public disclosures of information regarding the Fund’s portfolio may be made only if there is a legitimate business purpose consistent with fiduciary duties to all shareholders of the Fund.

The Board of Trustees of the Trust exercises continuing oversight over the disclosure of the Fund’s holdings by (i) overseeing the implementation and enforcement of the portfolio holding disclosure policy, Codes of Ethics and other relevant policies of the Fund and its service providers by the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) and (2) considering reports and recommendations by the Trust’s CCO concerning any material compliance matters (as defined in Rule 38a-1 under the 1940 Act). The Board reserves the right to amend the policy at any time without prior notice in its sole discretion.

Publicly Available Information. Any party may disclose portfolio holdings information after the holdings are publicly available.

The Fund generally will post on its website (or, in the case of the Portfolio, on the Feeder Fund’s website) a full list of its portfolio holdings each Friday reflecting the portfolio holdings of the fund on the immediately preceding Wednesday. The Fund will also post a full list of its portfolio holdings on its website (or, in the case of a Portfolio, on the corresponding Fund’s website) no later than the fifth business day of each month, reflecting its portfolio holdings as of the last business day of the previous month. Such monthly posting shall contain such information as required by Rule 2a-7(h)(10) under the 1940 Act and remain posted on the website for not less than six months. The Fund is also required to file with the SEC its complete portfolio holdings in monthly reports on Form N-MFP, available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

 

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Information about the Fund’s 10 largest holdings generally is posted on the Fund’s website at SSGAFUNDS.com within 30 days following the end of each month.

Press Interviews Brokers and Other Discussions

Portfolio managers and other senior officers or spokespersons of the Service Providers or the Trust may disclose or confirm the ownership of any individual portfolio holding position to reporters, brokers, shareholders, consultants or other interested persons only if such information has been previously publicly disclosed in accordance with these disclosure policies. For example, a portfolio manager discussing the Trust may indicate that he owns XYZ Company for the Trust only if the Trust’s ownership of such company has previously been publicly disclosed.

Trading Desk Reports

State Street Global Advisors’ (“SSGA”) trading desk may periodically distribute lists of investments held by its clients (including the Trust) for general analytical research purposes. In no case may such lists identify individual clients or individual client position sizes. Furthermore, in the case of equity securities, such lists shall not show aggregate client position sizes.

Miscellaneous

Confidentiality Agreement. No non-public disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio holdings will be made to any party unless such party has signed a written Confidentiality Agreement. For purposes of the disclosure policies, any Confidentiality Agreement must be in a form and substance acceptable to, and approved by, the Trust’s officers.

Evaluation Service Providers. There are numerous mutual fund evaluation services (such as Morningstar, Inc. and Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., formerly, Lipper, Inc.) and due diligence departments of broker-dealers and wirehouses that regularly analyze the portfolio holdings of mutual funds in order to monitor and report on various attributes. These services and departments then distribute the results of their analysis to the public, paid subscribers and/or in-house brokers. In order to facilitate the review of the Trust by these services and departments, the Trust may distribute (or authorize the Service Providers and the Trust’s custodian or fund accountants to distribute) month-end portfolio holdings to such services and departments only if such entity has executed a confidentiality agreement.

Additional Restrictions. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the Trust’s Board of Trustees, State Street and SSGA FM may, on a case-by-case basis, impose additional restrictions on the dissemination of portfolio information beyond those found in these disclosure policies.

Waivers of Restrictions. These disclosure policies may not be waived, or exceptions made, without the consent of the Trust’s officers. All waivers and exceptions involving the Trust will be disclosed to the Board of Trustees of the Trust no later than its next regularly scheduled quarterly meeting.

Disclosures Required by Law. Nothing contained herein is intended to prevent the disclosure of portfolio holdings information as may be required by applicable law. For example, SSGA FM, State Street, the Trust or any of its affiliates or service providers may file any report required by applicable law (such as Schedules 13D, 13G and 13F or Form N-MFP), respond to requests from regulators and comply with valid subpoenas.

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST AND STATE STREET MASTER FUNDS

The Board of Trustees is responsible for overseeing generally the management, activities and affairs of the Fund and has approved contracts with various organizations to provide, among other services, day-to-day management required by the Trust (see the section called “Investment Advisory and Other Services”). The Board has engaged the Adviser to manage the Fund on a day-to day basis. The Board is responsible for overseeing the Adviser and other service providers in the operation of the Trust in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act, applicable Massachusetts law and regulation, other applicable laws and regulations, and the Amended and Restated Declaration of Trust. The Trustees listed below are also Trustees of the SSGA Funds, the State Street Master Funds and the State Street Navigator Securities Lending Trust (the “Navigator Trust”) and their respective series. Except for Mr. Taber, the Trustees listed below are also Trustees of State Street Institutional Funds, State Street Variable Insurance Series Funds, Inc., Elfun Diversified Fund, Elfun Government Money Market Fund, Elfun Tax-Exempt Income Fund, Elfun Income Fund, Elfun International Equity Fund and Elfun Trusts (collectively, the “Elfun Funds”). The following table provides information with respect to each Trustee, including those Trustees who are not considered to be “interested” as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (the “Independent Trustees”), and each officer of the Trusts.

 

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NAME, ADDRESS,

AND YEAR OF BIRTH

  

POSITION(S)

HELD WITH

TRUST

  

TERM OF

OFFICE AND

LENGTH OF

TIME SERVED

  

PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION

DURING PAST FIVE YEARS

AND RELEVANT

EXPERIENCE

   NUMBER OF
FUNDS IN
FUND
COMPLEX
OVERSEEN
BY TRUSTEE†
  

OTHER

DIRECTORSHIPS

HELD BY TRUSTEE

DURING PAST FIVE

YEARS

INDEPENDENT TRUSTEES         

Michael F. Holland

c/o SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 022101

YOB: 1944

  

Trustee and

Co-Chairperson

of the Board

  

Term:

Indefinite

Elected: 7/99

  

Chairman, Holland & Company L.L.C.

(investment adviser)

(1995- present).

   68    Director, the Holland Series Fund, Inc.; Director, The China Fund, Inc.; Director, The Taiwan Fund, Inc. (2007 – 2017); Director, Reaves Utility Income Fund, Inc.; and Director, Blackstone/GSO Loans (and Real Estate) Funds.

Patrick J. Riley

c/o SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1948

  

Trustee and

Co-Chairperson

of the Board

  

Term:

Indefinite

Elected: 1/14

   2002 to May 2010, Associate Justice of the Superior Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts; 1985 to 2002, Partner, Riley, Burke & Donahue, L.L.P. (law firm); 1998 to Present, Independent Director, State Street Global Advisers Ireland, Ltd. (investment company); 1998 to Present, Independent Director, SSGA Liquidity plc (formerly, SSGA Cash Management Fund plc); January 2009 to Present, Independent Director, SSGA Fixed Income plc; and January 2009 to Present, Independent Director, SSGA Qualified Funds PLC.    68    Board Director and Chairman, SPDR Europe 1PLC Board (2011 – Present); Board Director and Chairman, SPDR Europe II, PLC (2013 – Present); Independent Director, State Street Global Advisers Ireland, Ltd. (investment company) (1998 to Present).

John R. Costantino

c/o SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1946

  

Trustee and

Co-Chairperson of the Qualified Legal and Compliance Committee

   Term: Indefinite Elected: 12/18    Managing General Partner, NGN Capital LLC (2006 – present); and Managing Director, Vice President of Walden Capital Management (1996 – present).    68    Director of Kleinfeld Bridal Corp. (March 2016 – present); Trustee of Neuroscience Research Institute (1986 – present); Trustee of Fordham University (1989 – 1995 and 2001 – 2007) and Trustee Emeritus (2007 – present); Trustee of GE Funds (1993 – February 2011); Director of Artes Medical (2006 – 2008); and Trustee of Gregorian University Foundation (1992 – 2007).

Donna M. Rapaccioli

c/o SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1962

  

Trustee and

Co-Chairperson of the Audit Committee

   Term: Indefinite Elected: 12/18    Dean of the Gabelli School of Business (2007 – present) and Accounting Professor (1987 – present) at Fordham University.    68    Trustee of Emmanuel College (2010 – present); Director – Graduate Management Admissions Council (2015 – present);

 

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Table of Contents

NAME, ADDRESS,

AND YEAR OF BIRTH

  

POSITION(S)

HELD WITH

TRUST

  

TERM OF

OFFICE AND

LENGTH OF

TIME SERVED

  

PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION

DURING PAST FIVE YEARS

AND RELEVANT

EXPERIENCE

   NUMBER OF
FUNDS IN
FUND
COMPLEX
OVERSEEN
BY TRUSTEE†
  

OTHER

DIRECTORSHIPS

HELD BY TRUSTEE

DURING PAST FIVE

YEARS

Richard D. Shirk

c/o SSGA Funds, Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1945

  

Trustee and

Co-Chairman

of the Qualified

Legal and

Compliance

Committee

  

Term:

Indefinite

Elected: 1/14

   March 2001 to April 2002, Chairman (1996 to March 2001, President and Chief Executive Officer), Cerulean Companies, Inc. (holding company) (Retired); 1992 to March 2001, President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (health insurer, managed healthcare).    68    1998 to December 2008, Chairman, Board Member and December 2008 to Present, Investment Committee Member, Healthcare Georgia Foundation (private foundation); September 2002 to 2012, Lead Director and Board Member, Amerigroup Corp. (managed health care); 1999 to 2013, Board Member and (since 2001) Investment Committee Member, Woodruff Arts Center; and 2003 to 2009, Trustee, Gettysburg College; Board member, Aerocare Holdings, Regenesis Biomedical Inc.

Rina K. Spence

c/o SSGA Funds, Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1948

  

Trustee and Co-Chairperson of the Audit Committee, Co-Chairperson of the

Nominating Committee

and Co-Chairperson of the Governance Committee

  

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 7/99

  

President of SpenceCare International LLC

(international healthcare consulting) (1999 – present); Chief Executive Officer, IEmily.com (health internet company) (2000 – 2001); Chief Executive Officer of Consensus Pharmaceutical, Inc. (1998 – 1999); Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spence Center for Women’s Health (1994 –1998); President and CEO, Emerson Hospital (1984 – 1994); Honorary Consul for Monaco in Boston (2015 – present).

   68    Trustee, Eastern Enterprise (utilities) (1988 – 2000); Director, Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America (1993 – 2009).

Bruce D. Taber

c/o SSGA Funds, Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1943

   Trustee and Co-Chairman of the Valuation Committee and Co-Chairman of the Governance Committee    Term: Indefinite Elected: 1/14   

Retired; 1999 to 2016, Partner, Zenergy LLC (a technology company providing Computer Modeling and System Analysis to the General Electric Power Generation Division); Until December 2008, Independent Director, SSGA

Cash Management Fund plc; Until December 2008, Independent Director, State Street Global Advisers Ireland, Ltd. (investment companies).

   50   

 

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Table of Contents

NAME, ADDRESS,

AND YEAR OF BIRTH

  

POSITION(S)

HELD WITH

TRUST

  

TERM OF

OFFICE AND

LENGTH OF

TIME SERVED

  

PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION

DURING PAST FIVE YEARS

AND RELEVANT

EXPERIENCE

   NUMBER OF
FUNDS IN
FUND
COMPLEX
OVERSEEN
BY TRUSTEE†
  

OTHER

DIRECTORSHIPS

HELD BY TRUSTEE

DURING PAST FIVE

YEARS

Michael A. Jessee

c/o SSGA Funds, Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1946

  

Trustee and Co-Chairman

of the

Valuation

Committee

  

Term:

Indefinite

Appointed: 7/16

Elected: 12/18

   Retired; formerly, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston (1989 – 2009); Trustee, Randolph-Macon College (2004 – 2016).    68   
INTERESTED TRUSTEE(1)         

Ellen M. Needham(2)

SSGA Funds

Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1967

   Trustee and President    Term: Indefinite Elected: 12/18    President and Director, SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (2001 – present)*; Senior Managing Director, State Street Global Advisors (1992 – present)*; Director, State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC (May 2017 – present).*    68   

James E. Ross(3)

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1965

   Trustee   

Term:

Indefinite

Appointed: 2/07

Elected:

12/18

  

Chairman and Director, SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (2005 – present); Executive

Vice President, State Street Global Advisors (2012-present); Chief Executive Officer and Director, State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC (May 2017 – present); Director, State Street Global Markets, LLC (2013 – April 2017); President, SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (2005 – 2012); Principal,

State Street Global Advisors (2000 – 2005).

   186    SSGA SPDR ETFs Europe I plc (Director) (November 2016 – present); SSGA SPDR ETFs Europe II plc (Director) (November 2016 – present).

 

(For the purpose of determining the number of portfolios overseen by the Trustees, “Fund Complex” comprises registered investment companies for which SSGA FM serves as investment adviser.

(1)

The individuals listed below are Trustees who are “interested persons,” as defined in the 1940 Act, of the Trusts (“Interested Trustees”).

(2)

Ms. Needham is an Interested Trustee because of her employment by SSGA FM, an affiliate of the Trust.

(3)

Mr. Ross is an Interested Trustee because of his employment by SSGA FM, an affiliate of the Trust.

*

Served in various capacities and/or with various affiliated entities during noted time period.

 

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The following lists the principal officers for the Trust and State Street Master Funds, as well as their mailing addresses and ages, positions with the Trusts and length of time served, and present and principal occupations:

 

NAME, ADDRESS,

AND YEAR OF BIRTH

  

POSITION(S)

HELD WITH

TRUST

  

TERM OF

OFFICE AND

LENGTH OF

TIME SERVED

  

PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION

DURING PAST FIVE YEARS

OFFICERS:         

Ellen M. Needham

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1967

   President, Trustee    Term: Indefinite Elected: 10/12    President and Director, SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (2001 – present)*; Senior Managing Director, State Street Global Advisors (1992 –present); Director, State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC (May 2017 – present).*

Bruce S. Rosenberg

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1961

   Treasurer    Term: Indefinite Elected: 2/16    Managing Director, State Street Global Advisors and SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (July 2015 – present); Director, Credit Suisse (April 2008 – July 2015).

Ann M. Carpenter

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1966

   Vice President and Deputy Treasurer   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 10/12

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 2/16

   Chief Operating Officer, SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (April 2005 – present) *; Managing Director, State Street Global Advisors. (2005 –present).*

Chad C. Hallett

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1969

   Deputy Treasurer   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 2/16

   Vice President, State Street Global Advisors and SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (November 2014 – present); Vice President, State Street Bank and Trust Company (2001 –November 2014).*

Darlene Anderson-Vasquez

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1968

   Deputy Treasurer   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 11/16

   Managing Director, State Street Global Advisors and SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (May 2016 – present); Senior Vice President, John Hancock Investments (September 2007 – May 2016).

Arthur A. Jensen

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

1600 Summer Street

Stamford, CT 06905

YOB: 1966

   Deputy Treasurer   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 11/16

   Vice President State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc. (July 2016 – present); Deputy Treasurer of Elfun Funds (July 2016 – present); Treasurer of State Street Institutional Funds, State Street Variable Insurance Series Funds, Inc. and GE Retirement Savings Plan Funds (June 2011 – present); Treasurer of Elfun Funds (June 2011– July 2016); Mutual Funds Controller of GE Asset Management Incorporated (April 2011 – July 2016).

 

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Table of Contents

NAME, ADDRESS,

AND YEAR OF BIRTH

  

POSITION(S)

HELD WITH

TRUST

  

TERM OF

OFFICE AND

LENGTH OF

TIME SERVED

  

PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION

DURING PAST FIVE YEARS

Sujata Upreti

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1974

  

Assistant

Treasurer

  

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 2/16

   Vice President, State Street Global Advisors and SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (May 2015 – present); Assistant Director, Cambridge Associates, LLC (July 2014 – January 2015); Vice President, Bank of New York Mellon (July 2012 – August 2013); Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (September 2003 – July 2012).

Daniel Foley

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1972

   Assistant Treasurer   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 2/16

   Vice President, State Street Global Advisors and SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (April 2007 – present).*

Daniel G. Plourde

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1980

   Assistant Treasurer   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 5/17

   Vice President, State Street Global Advisors and SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (May 2015 – present); Officer, State Street Bank and Trust Company (March 2009 – May 2015).

Brian Harris

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1973

  

Chief Compliance Officer, Anti-Money Laundering Officer and Code of Ethics

Compliance Officer

  

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 11/13

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 9/16

   Managing Director, State Street Global Advisors and SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (June 2013—Present); Senior Vice President and Global Head of Investment Compliance, BofA Global Capital Management (September 2010 – May 2013).

Joshua A. Weinberg

SSGA Funds Management, Inc.

One Iron Street

Boston, MA 02210

YOB: 1978

   Chief Legal Officer   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 2/15

   Managing Director and Managing Counsel, State Street Global Advisors (2011 – present)*; Clerk, SSGA Funds Management, Inc. (2013 – present); Associate, Financial Services Group, Dechert LLP (2005 – 2011).

Jesse D. Hallee

State Street Bank and Trust Company

100 Summer Street,

7th Floor

Boston, MA 02111

YOB: 1976

   Secretary   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 9/16

   Vice President and Managing Counsel, State Street Bank and Trust Company (2013 – present); Vice President and Counsel, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. (2007 – 2013).

Khimmara Greer

State Street Bank and Trust Company

100 Summer Street,

7th Floor

Boston, MA 02111

YOB: 1983

   Assistant Secretary   

Term: Indefinite

Elected: 5/16

   Vice President and Counsel, State Street Bank and Trust Company (2015 – present); Regulatory Advisor, JPMorgan (2014 – 2015).

 

*

Served in various capacities and/or with various affiliated entities during noted time period.

 

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The By-Laws of the Trust provide that the Trust shall indemnify each person who is or was a Trustee of the Trust against all expenses, judgments, fines, settlements and other amounts actually and reasonably incurred in connection with any proceedings if the person in good faith and reasonably believes that his or her conduct was in the Trust’s best interest. The Trust, at its expense, provides liability insurance for the benefit of its Trustees and officers.

Summary of Trustees’ Qualifications

Following is a summary of the experience, attributes and skills which qualify each Trustee to serve on the Boards of Trustees of the Trust and State Street Master Funds.

Michael F. Holland: Mr. Holland is an experienced business executive with over 47 years of experience in the financial services industry including 22 years as a portfolio manager of another registered mutual fund; his experience includes service as a trustee, director or officer of various investment companies. He has served on the Board of Trustees and related committees of State Street Institutional Investment Trust and State Street Master Funds for 18 years (since the Trusts’ inception) and possesses significant experience regarding the operations and history of those Trusts. He also serves as a Trustee of the Navigator Trust.

John R. Costantino: In addition to his tenure as a board member of various other funds advised by SSGA FM, Mr. Costantino has over 30 years of private equity investing experience. He has also served as an officer or a board member of charitable organizations and public and private companies for over 30 years. Mr. Costantino is an attorney and a certified public accountant.

Ellen M. Needham: Ms. Needham is a Senior Managing Director of State Street Global Advisors; Head of Global Funds Management, President of SSGA Funds Management, Inc. Ms. Needham serves as a director of SSGA Funds Management, Inc. and State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC. In her role, she is responsible for managing firm-wide processes that focus on governance, fund structure, subadviser oversight, tax, product viability, distribution, ongoing monitoring and regulatory coordination across all products globally. Ms. Needham has been involved in the investment industry for over thirty years, beginning her career at State Street in 1989.

Rina K. Spence: Ms. Spence is an experienced business executive with over 38 years of experience in the health care industry; her experience includes service as a trustee, director or officer of various investment companies, charities and utility companies and chief executive positions for various health care companies. She has served on the Board of Trustees and related committees of the State Street Institutional Investment Trust and the State Street Master Funds for 18 years (since the Trusts’ inception) and possesses significant experience regarding the operations and history of those Trusts. She also serves as a Trustee of the Navigator Trust and the Elfun Funds.

Donna M. Rapaccioli: Ms. Rapaccioli has over 30 years of service as a full-time member of the business faculty at Fordham University, where she developed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including International Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis and has taught at the executive MBA level. She has served on Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation team visits, lectured on accounting and finance topics and consulted for numerous investment banks.

James E. Ross: Mr. Ross is an experienced business executive with over 29 years of experience in the financial services industry; his experience includes service as a trustee, director or officer of various investment companies. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the State Street Institutional Investment Trust and the State Street Master Funds for 11 years and as President of the trusts for over 11 years and possesses significant experience regarding the Trusts’ operations and history. He also serves as a Trustee of the Navigator Trust, the Elfun Funds and additional trusts that include series for which SSGA FM serves as investment adviser. Mr. Ross is also a senior executive officer of State Street Global Advisors and Chief Executive Officer of State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC. Mr. Ross is also on the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute.

Patrick J. Riley: Mr. Riley is an experienced business executive with over 42 years of experience in the legal and financial services industries; his experience includes service as a trustee or director of various investment companies and Associate Justice of the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has served on the Board of Trustees and related committees of SSGA Funds for 30 years and possesses significant experience regarding the operations and history of the Trust. He also serves as a Trustee of the Navigator Trust and the Elfun Funds.

Richard D. Shirk: Mr. Shirk is an experienced business executive with over 50 years of experience in the health care and insurance industries and with investment matters; his experience includes service as a trustee, director or officer of various health care companies and nonprofit organizations. He has served on the Board of Trustees and related committees of SSGA Funds for 30 years and possesses significant experience regarding the operations and history of the Trust. He also serves as a Trustee of the Navigator Trust and the Elfun Funds.

 

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Bruce D. Taber: Mr. Taber is an experienced business executive with over 45 years of experience in the power generation, technology and engineering industries; his experience includes service as a trustee or director of various investment companies. He has served on the Board of Trustees and related committees of SSGA Funds for 27 years and possesses significant experience regarding the operations and history of the Trust. He also serves as a Trustee of the Navigator Trust.

Michael A. Jessee: Mr. Jessee is an experienced business executive with approximately 42 years of experience in the banking industry. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston as well as various senior executive positions of major banks. Mr. Jessee has served on the Navigator Trust’s Board of Trustees and related committees for 23 years and possesses significant experience regarding the Trust’s operations and history. He also serves as a Trustee of the Elfun Funds.

References to the experience, attributes and skills of Trustees above are pursuant to requirements of the SEC, do not constitute holding out of the Board or any Trustee as having any special expertise or experience, and shall not impose any greater responsibility or liability on any such person or on the Board by reason thereof.

Standing Committees

The Board of Trustees has established various committees to facilitate the timely and efficient consideration of various matters of importance to Independent Trustees, the Trust, and the Trust’s shareholders and to facilitate compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Currently, the Board has created an Audit Committee, Governance Committee, Valuation Committee, Nominating Committee and Qualified Legal and Compliance Committee.

The Audit Committee is composed of all of the Independent Trustees. The Audit Committee meets twice a year, or more often as required, in conjunction with meetings of the Board of Trustees. The Audit Committee oversees and monitors the Trust’s internal accounting and control structure, its auditing function and its financial reporting process. The Audit Committee is responsible for selecting and retaining the independent accountants for the Trust. The Audit Committee is responsible for approving the audit plans, fees and other material arrangements in respect of the engagement of the independent accountants, including non-audit services performed. The Audit Committee reviews the qualifications of the independent accountant’s key personnel involved in the foregoing activities and monitors the independent accountant’s independence. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, the Audit Committee held four meetings.

Each of the Governance Committee and the Nominating Committee is composed of all the Independent Trustees. The primary functions of the Governance Committee and the Nominating Committee, are to review and evaluate the composition and performance of the Board; make nominations for membership on the Board and committees; review the responsibilities of each committee; and review governance procedures, compensation of Independent Trustees and independence of outside counsel to the Trustees. The Nominating Committee will consider nominees to the Board recommended by shareholders. Recommendations should be submitted in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Nominating Committee Charter and should be submitted in writing to the Trust, to the attention of the Trust’s Secretary, at the address of the principal executive offices of the Trust. Shareholder recommendations must be delivered to, or mailed and received at, the principal executive offices of the Trust not less than sixty (60) calendar days nor more than ninety (90) calendar days prior to the date of the Board or shareholder meeting at which the nominee candidate would be considered for election. The Governance Committee performs an annual self-evaluation of Board members. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, the Governance Committee held one meeting and Nominating Committee held two meetings.

The Valuation Committee is composed of all the Independent Trustees. The Valuation Committee’s primary purpose is to review the actions and recommendations of the Adviser’s Oversight Committee no less often than quarterly. The Trust has established procedures and guidelines for valuing portfolio securities and making fair value determinations from time to time through the Valuation Committee, with the assistance of the Oversight Committee, State Street and SSGA FM. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, the Valuation Committee held four meetings.

The Qualified Legal and Compliance Committee (the “QLCC”) is composed of all the Independent Trustees. The primary functions of the QLCC are to receive quarterly reports from the CCO; to oversee generally the Trust’s responses to regulatory inquiries; and to investigate matters referred to it by the Chief Legal Officer and make recommendations to the Board regarding the implementation of an appropriate response to evidence of a material violation of the securities laws or breach of fiduciary duty or similar violation by the Trust, its officers or the Trustees. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, the QLCC held four meetings.

 

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Leadership Structure and Risk Management Oversight

The Board has chosen to select different individuals as Co-Chairpersons of the Board of the Trust and as President of the Trust. Currently, Mr. Holland and Mr. Riley, both Independent Trustees, serve as Co-Chairpersons of the Board, Ms. Rapaccioli and Ms. Spence serve as Co-Chairpersons of the Audit Committee, Mr. Shirk and Ms. Spence serve as Co-Chairpersons of the QLCC, Mr. Jessee and Mr. Taber serve as Co-Chairpersons of the Valuation Committee, Mr. Taber and Ms. Spence serve as Co-Chairpersons of the Governance Committee and Mr. Taber and Ms. Spence serve as Co-Chairpersons of the Nominating Committee.

Ms. Needham and Mr. Ross, who are employees of the Adviser, serve as Trustees of the Trust and Ms. Needham serves as President of the Trust. The Board believes that this leadership structure is appropriate, since Mr. Ross and Ms. Needham provide the Board with insight regarding the Trust’s day-to-day management, while Mr. Holland and Mr. Riley provide an independent perspective on the Trust’s overall operation and Ms. Rapaccioli and Ms. Spence provide a specialized perspective on audit matters.

The Board has delegated management of the Trust to service providers who are responsible for the day-to-day management of risks applicable to the Trust. The Board oversees risk management for the Trust in several ways. The Board receives regular reports from both the CCO and administrator for the Trust, detailing the results of the Trust’s compliance with its Board-adopted policies and procedures, the investment policies and limitations of the Fund, and applicable provisions of the federal securities laws and the Code. As needed, the Adviser discusses management issues regarding the Trust with the Board, soliciting the Board’s input on many aspects of management, including potential risks to the Fund. The Board’s Audit Committee also receives reports on various aspects of risk that might affect the Trust and offers advice to management, as appropriate. The Trustees also meet in executive session with the independent counsel to the Independent Trustees, the independent registered public accounting firm, counsel to the Trust, the CCO and representatives of management, as needed. Through these regular reports and interactions, the Board oversees the risk management parameters for the Trust, which are effected on a day-to-day basis by service providers to the Trust.

Trustee Ownership of Securities of the Trust, Adviser and Distributor

As of December 31, 2018 none of the Independent Trustees or their immediate family members had any ownership of securities of the Adviser, State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC (“SSGA FD”), the Trust’s distributor, or any person directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by or under common control with the Adviser or SSGA FD.

The following table sets forth information describing the dollar range of the Trust’s equity securities beneficially owned by each Trustee as of December 31, 2018.

 

Name of Independent Trustee

   Dollar Range Of Equity Securities In The Fund    Aggregate Dollar Range
Of Equity Securities In
All Registered
Investment Companies
Overseen By
Trustees In Family of
Investment Companies

Michael F. Holland

   None    None

John R Costantino(2)

   None    None

William L. Marshall(1)

   None    Over $100,000

Patrick J. Riley

   None    Over $100,000

Richard D. Shirk

   None    Over $100,000

Rina K. Spence

   None    None

Bruce D. Taber

   None    Over $100,000

Donna M. Rapaccioli(2)

   None    None

Douglas T. Williams(1)

   None    None

Michael A. Jessee

   None    None

Name of Interested Trustee

         

James E. Ross

   None    Over $100,000

Ellen M. Needham

   None    None

 

(1) 

Messrs. Marshall and Williams retired as Trustees effective as of the close of business on December 18, 2018.

(2) 

Mr. Costantino and Ms. Rapaccioli became Trustees effective December 18, 2018

 

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Trustee Compensation

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, except as noted below, each Independent Trustee received for his or her services to the State Street Master Funds, the State Street Institutional Investment Trust, the SSGA Funds, the Elfun Funds, the Navigator Trust, State Street Institutional Funds and State Street Variable Insurance Series Funds, Inc. a $195,000 annual base retainer in addition to $22,500 for each in-person meeting, $6,000 for each special in-person meeting and $2,500 for each telephonic meeting from the Trusts. The Trust paid a fixed allocation of $15,000 per Fund. The Co-Chairmen received an additional $50,000 annual retainer. The annual base retainer paid to Mr. Holland and to Mr. Taber was $164,000, and the annual Co-Chairmen retainer paid to Mr. Holland was $49,000 in light of the fact that Mr. Taber did not serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Elfun Funds, State Street Institutional Funds and State Street Variable Insurance Series Funds, Inc. during the fiscal year of December 31, 2018, and Mr. Holland did not serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Elfun Funds, State Street Institutional Funds and State Street Variable Insurance Series Funds, Inc. until December 18, 2018. The Independent Trustees are reimbursed for travel and other out-of pocket expenses in connection with meeting attendance. As of the date of this SAI, the Trustees were not paid pension or retirement benefits as part of the Trust’s expenses.

The Trust’s officers are compensated by the Adviser and its affiliates.

The following table sets forth the total remuneration of Trustees and officers of the Trust for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018:

 

     AGGREGATE
COMPENSATION
FROM THE
TRUST
     PENSION OR
RETIREMENT
BENEFITS
ACCRUED AS PART
OF TRUST
EXPENSES
     ESTIMATED
ANNUAL
BENEFITS UPON
RETIREMENT
     TOTAL
COMPENSATION
FROM TRUST &
FUND COMPLEX
PAID TO
TRUSTEES
 

NAME OF INDEPENDENT
TRUSTEE

           

Michael F. Holland

   $ 287,212      $ 0      $ 0      $ 330,500  

William L. Marshall(1)

   $ 232,599      $ 0      $ 0      $ 287,500  

Patrick J. Riley

   $ 272,023      $ 0      $ 0      $ 337,500  

Richard D. Shirk

   $ 232,599      $ 0      $ 0      $ 287,500  

Rina K. Spence

   $ 232,599      $ 0      $ 0      $ 287,500  

Bruce D. Taber

   $ 244,776      $ 0      $ 0      $ 281,500  

Douglas T. Williams(1)

   $ 232,599      $ 0      $ 0      $ 287,500  

Michael A. Jessee

   $ 232,599      $ 0      $ 0      $ 287,500  

John R. Costantino(2)

   $ 0      $ 0      $ 0      $ 170,000  

Donna M. Rapaccioli(2)

   $ 0      $ 0      $ 0      $ 160,000  

NAME OF INTERESTED
TRUSTEE

           

James E. Ross

   $ 0      $ 0      $ 0      $ 0  

Ellen M. Needham

   $ 0      $ 0      $ 0      $ 0  

 

(1) 

Messrs. Marshall and Williams retired as Trustees effective as of the close of business on December 18, 2018.

(2) 

Mr. Costantino and Ms. Rapaccioli became Trustees effective December 18, 2018.

PROXY VOTING PROCEDURES

The Trust has adopted proxy voting procedures pursuant to which the Trust delegates the responsibility for voting proxies relating to portfolio securities held by the Portfolio to the Adviser as part of the Adviser’s general management of the Portfolio, subject to the Board’s continuing oversight. A copy of the Trust’s proxy voting procedures is located in Appendix B and a copy of the Adviser’s proxy voting procedures is located in Appendix C.

Shareholders may receive information regarding how the Fund voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent 12-month period ending June 30 (i) by calling (877) 521-4083 or (ii) on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

Because the Fund commenced operations on or following the date of this SAI, as of [ ], 2019, the Trustees and officers of the Trust owned in the aggregate less than 1% of the shares of each class of the Fund.

 

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Persons or organizations owning 25% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund may be presumed to “control” (as that term is defined in the 1940 Act) the Fund. As a result, these persons or organizations could have the ability to approve or reject those matters submitted to the shareholders of the Fund for their approval.

Because the Fund commenced operations on or following the date of this SAI, as of [ ], 2019, to the knowledge of the Trust, no persons held of record or beneficially through one or more accounts 25% or more of the outstanding shares of any class of the Fund.

Because the Fund commenced operations on or following the date of this SAI, as of [ ], 2019, to the knowledge of the Trust, no persons held of record or beneficially through one or more accounts 5% or more of the outstanding shares of any class of the Fund.

INVESTMENT ADVISORY AND OTHER SERVICES

Investment Advisory Agreement

The Adviser is responsible for the investment management of the Fund pursuant to the Amended and Restated Investment Advisory Agreement dated November 17, 2015 as amended from time to time (the “Advisory Agreement”), by and between the Adviser and the Trust. The Adviser is a wholly-owned subsidiary of State Street Global Advisors, Inc., which itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of State Street Corporation, a publicly held financial holding company. State Street is a wholly-owned subsidiary of State Street Corporation.

The Advisory Agreement will continue from year to year provided that such continuance is specifically approved at least annually by (a) the Trustees or by the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, and (b) vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Advisory Agreement may be terminated by the Adviser or the Trust without penalty upon sixty days’ notice and will terminate automatically upon its assignment. The Adviser and its affiliates may have deposit, loan and other commercial banking relationships with the issuers of obligations that may be purchased on behalf of the Fund, including outstanding loans to such issuers that could be repaid in whole or in part with the proceeds of securities so purchased. Such affiliates deal, trade and invest for their own accounts in such obligations and are among the leading dealers of various types of such obligations. The Adviser has informed the Fund that, in making its investment decisions, it will not obtain or use material non-public information in its possession or in the possession of any of its affiliates. In making investment recommendations for the Fund, the Adviser will not inquire or take into consideration whether an issuer of securities proposed for purchase or sale by the Fund is a customer of the Adviser, its parent or its subsidiaries or affiliates and, in dealing with its customers, the Adviser, its parent, subsidiaries and affiliates will not inquire or take into consideration whether securities of such customers were held by any fund managed by the Adviser or any such affiliate.

In certain instances there may be securities that are suitable for the Fund as well as for one or more of the Adviser’s other clients. Investment decisions for the Trust and for the Adviser’s other clients are made with a view to achieving their respective investment objectives. It may develop that a particular security is bought or sold for only one client even though it might be held by, or bought or sold for, other clients. Likewise, a particular security may be bought for one or more clients when one or more clients are selling that same security. Some simultaneous transactions are inevitable when several clients receive investment advice from the same investment adviser, particularly when the same security is suitable for the investment objectives of more than one client. When two or more clients are simultaneously engaged in the purchase or sale of the same security, the securities are allocated among clients in a manner believed to be equitable to each. The Trust recognizes that in some cases this system could have a detrimental effect on the price or volume of the security as far as the Fund is concerned. However, it is believed that the ability of the Fund to participate in volume transactions will produce better executions for the Fund.

The Fund currently invests all of its assets in the Portfolio, which has the same investment objectives and substantially the same investment policies as the Fund. As long as the Fund remains completely invested in the Portfolio (or any other investment company), the Adviser is not entitled to receive any investment advisory fee with respect to the Fund. The Fund may withdraw its investment from the Portfolio at any time. The Trust has retained the Adviser as investment adviser to manage the Fund’s assets in the event that the Fund withdraws its investment from the Portfolio.

The Adviser is also the investment adviser to the Portfolio pursuant to an investment advisory agreement (the “Portfolio Advisory Agreement”) between the Adviser and State Street Master Funds, on behalf of the Portfolio. The Adviser receives an investment advisory fee with respect to the Portfolio. The Portfolio Advisory Agreement is the same in all material respects as the Advisory Agreement between the Trust on behalf of the Fund and the Adviser. If the Fund invests in the Portfolio it will bear a proportionate part of the management fees paid by the Portfolio (based on the percentage of the Portfolio’s assets attributable to the Fund).

For the services provided under the Advisory Agreement and the Portfolio Advisory Agreement, the Fund pays the Adviser a fee at an annual rate of [ ]% of the Fund’s average daily net assets.

 

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The advisory fees paid by the Fund to SSGA FM for the last three fiscal years have been omitted because the Fund had not commenced investment operations as of the date of this SAI.

Total Annual Fund Operating Expense Waivers. The Adviser has contractually agreed with the Trust to (i) waive up to the full amount of the advisory fee payable by the Fund, and/or (ii) to reimburse the Fund for expenses to the extent that Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses (exclusive of non-recurring account fees, extraordinary expenses, acquired fund fees, any class-specific expenses, such as distribution, shareholder servicing, sub-transfer agency and administration fees) exceed the following percentage of average daily net assets on an annual basis with respect to the Fund:

 

Expense
Limitation

   Expiration
Date
 

[    ]%

     [    

Administrator

SSGA FM serves as the administrator for the Fund pursuant to an Amended and Restated Administration Agreement dated June 1, 2015. Under the Amended and Restated Administration Agreement, SSGA FM is obligated to continuously provide business management services to the Trust and the Fund and will generally, subject to the general oversight of the Trustees and except as otherwise provided in the Amended and Restated Administration Agreement, manage all of the business and affairs of the Trust. The nature and amount of services provided by SSGA FM under the Amended and Restated Administration Agreement may vary as between classes of shares of the Fund, and the Fund may pay fees to SSGA FM under that Agreement at different rates in respect of its different share classes. Except as noted below, as consideration for SSGA FM’s services as administrator to the Fund, SSGA FM receives an annual fee of [0.05]% of the average daily net assets of the Fund, accrued daily at the rate of 1/365th and payable monthly on the first business day of each month.

The administration fees paid by the Fund to SSGA FM for the last three fiscal years have been omitted because the Fund had not commenced investment operations as of the date of this SAI.

Sub-Administrator and Custodian

State Street serves as the sub-administrator to each series of the Trust, pursuant to a Sub-Administration Agreement dated June 1, 2015 (the “Sub-Administration Agreement”). Under the Sub-Administration Agreement, State Street is obligated to provide certain sub-administrative services to the Trust and the Fund. State Street is a wholly owned subsidiary of State Street Corporation, a publicly held financial holding company, and is affiliated with the Adviser. State Street’s mailing address is State Street Financial Center, One Lincoln Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02111-2900.

State Street serves as custodian and fund accountant for the Fund pursuant to a Custody Agreement and holds the Fund’s assets.

Custody and Fund Accounting Fees and Sub-Administration Fees (Effective June 1, 2015):

 

Fee for Custody and Fund Accounting

  

$12,000 per Feeder Fund per year for the first two Feeder Funds

$9,600 per Feeder Fund per year for each additional Feeder Fund

Fee for Sub-Administration

   $25,000 per Feeder Fund per year

The sub-administration and custodian fees paid by the Fund to SSGA FM for the last three fiscal years have been omitted because the Fund had not commenced investment operations as of the date of this SAI.

Transfer Agent and Dividend Paying Agent

DST Asset Manager Solutions, Inc. serves as the Transfer and Dividend Paying Agent. DST Asset Manager Solutions, Inc. is paid for the following annual account services and activities including but not limited to: establishment and maintenance of each shareholder’s account; closing an account; acceptance and processing of trade orders; preparation and transmission of payments for dividends and distributions declared by the Fund; customer service support including receipt of correspondence and responding to shareholder and financial intermediary inquiries; investigation services; tax related support; financial intermediary fee payment processing; and charges related to compliance and regulatory services.

 

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Portfolio fees are allocated to the Fund based on the average net asset value of the Fund and are billable on a monthly basis at the rate of 1/12 of the annual fee. DST Asset Manager Solutions, Inc. is reimbursed by the Fund for supplying certain out-of-pocket expenses including confirmation statements, investor statements, banking fees, postage, forms, audio response, telephone, records retention, customized programming/enhancements, reports, transcripts, microfilm, microfiche, and expenses incurred at the specific direction of the Fund. DST Asset Manager Solutions, Inc. principal business address is 2000 Crown Colony Drive, Quincy, MA 02169.

The transfer agency fees paid by the Fund to DST for the last three fiscal years have been omitted because the Fund had not commenced investment operations as of the date of this SAI.

Codes of Ethics

The Trust, the Adviser and SSGA FD have each adopted a code of ethics (together, the “Codes of Ethics”) as required by Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act, which is designed to prevent affiliated persons of the Trust, the Adviser and SSGA FD from engaging in deceptive, manipulative or fraudulent activities in connection with securities held or to be acquired by the Fund (which may also be held by persons subject to the Codes of Ethics). The Codes of Ethics permit personnel, subject to the Codes of Ethics and their provisions, to invest in securities for their personal investment accounts, subject to certain limitations, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Trust, Adviser, State Street or SSGA FD.

Distributor

SSGA FD serves as the distributor of the Fund pursuant to the Distribution Agreement by and between SSGA FD and the Trust. Pursuant to the Distribution Agreement, the Fund pays SSGA FD fees under the Rule 12b-1 Plan in effect for the Fund. For a description of the fees paid to SSGA FD under the Rule 12b-1 Plan, see “Distribution Plans,” below. SSGA FD is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of State Street Corporation. SSGA FD’s mailing address is One Iron Street, Boston, MA 02210.

Distribution Plan

To compensate SSGA FD for the services it provides and for the expenses it bears in connection with the distribution of shares of the Fund, SSGA FD will be entitled to receive any front-end sales load applicable to the sale of shares of the Fund. The Fund may make payments (“Rule 12b-1 Fees”) from the assets attributable to certain classes of its shares to SSGA FD under a distribution plan adopted pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act (the “Distribution Plan”). The Distribution Plan is a compensation plan that provides for payments at annual rates (based on average daily net assets) set out below. Because Rule 12b-1 Fees are paid on an ongoing basis, they will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales loads. The principal business address of SSGA FD is One Iron Street, Boston, MA 02210.

The Board, including all of the Trustees who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust (the “Independent Trustees”) and who have no direct or indirect financial interest in the Distribution Plan or any related agreements, (the “Qualified Distribution Plan Trustees”) approved the Distribution Plan. The Distribution Plan will continue in effect with respect to a class of shares of the Fund only if such continuance is specifically approved at least annually by a vote of both a majority of the Board of Trustees of the Trust and a majority of the Qualified Distribution Plan Trustees. The Distribution Plan may not be amended to increase materially the amount of the Fund’s permitted expenses thereunder without the approval of a majority of the outstanding shares of the affected share class and may not be materially amended in any case without a vote of the majority of both the Trustees and the Qualified Distribution Plan Trustees. As of December 31, 2018 none of the Independent Trustees had a direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the Distribution Plan. The Distribution Plan calls for payments at an annual rate (based on the Fund’s average net assets) as follows:

 

[Premier Class

     0.00

Investment Class

     0.10

Institutional Class

     0.00

Investor Class

     0.00

Administration Class

     0.05 %] 

 

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The Rule 12b-1 fees paid by the Fund to SSGA FD for the last fiscal year have been omitted because the Fund had not commenced investment operations as of the date of this SAI.

The Distribution Plan may benefit the Fund by increasing sales of shares and reducing redemptions of shares, resulting potentially, for example, in economies of scale and more predictable flows of cash into and out of the Fund. Because Rule 12b-1 fees are paid out of the Fund’s assets, all shareholders share in that expense; however, because shareholders hold their shares through varying arrangements (for example, directly or through financial intermediaries), they may not share equally in the benefits of the Distribution Plan.

Shareholder Servicing Agent

SSGA FD serves as a shareholder servicing agent of the Fund pursuant to a Shareholder Servicing Agreement between SSGA FD and the Trust (the “Shareholder Servicing Agreement”). Pursuant to the Shareholder Servicing Agreement, SSGA FD provides or arranges for the provision of various administrative, sub-accounting and personal services to investors in the Institutional Class, Trust Class, Investor Class, Administration Class and Investment Class shares of the Fund. Services provided by SSGA FD or that SSGA FD arranges to be provided by a financial intermediary pursuant to the Shareholder Servicing Agreement include, among other things: establishing and maintaining shareholder account registrations; sub-accounting with respect to shares held in omnibus accounts; receiving and processing purchase and redemption orders, including aggregated orders, and delivering orders to the Fund’s transfer agent; processing and delivering trade confirmations, periodic statements, prospectuses, annual reports, semi-annual reports, shareholder notices, and other SEC-required communications; processing dividend and distribution payments and issuing related documentation; providing shareholder tax reporting and processing tax data; receiving, tabulating, and transmitting proxies for proxy solicitations; and responding to inquiries from shareholders. Shareholder servicing fees paid for the last fiscal year included amounts paid to affiliates of the Adviser and SSGA FD including State Street Global Markets, LLC and the Wealth Management Services and Global Services divisions of State Street Bank and Trust Company. These affiliates of the Adviser are also among the financial intermediaries that may receive fees from the Distribution Plan.

[The Shareholder Servicing Agreement calls for payments by the Fund at an annual rate (based on average net assets) as follows:

 

Institutional Class

     [     ]% 

Investor

     [     ]% 

Administration

     [     ]% 

Investment

     [     ]%] 

The total shareholder servicing fees paid to SSGA FD by the Fund for the last three fiscal years have been omitted because the Fund had not commenced investment operations as of the date of this SAI.

Payments to Financial Intermediaries

Financial intermediaries are firms that sell shares of mutual funds, including the Fund, and/or provide certain administrative and account maintenance services to mutual fund shareholders. Financial intermediaries may include, among others, brokers, financial planners or advisors, banks, retirement plan recordkeepers, and insurance companies. In some cases, a financial intermediary may hold its clients’ Fund shares in nominee or street name and may utilize omnibus accounts. Shareholder services provided by a financial intermediary may (though they will not necessarily) include, among other things: establishing and maintaining shareholder account registrations; sub-accounting with respect to shares held in omnibus accounts; receiving and processing purchase and redemption orders, including aggregated orders, and delivering orders to the Fund’s transfer agent; processing and delivering trade confirmations, periodic statements, prospectuses, annual reports, semi-annual reports, shareholder notices, and other SEC-required communications; processing dividend and distribution payments and issuing related documentation; providing shareholder tax reporting and processing tax data; receiving, tabulating, and transmitting proxies for proxy solicitations; and responding to inquiries from shareholders. Some portion of SSGA FD’s payments to financial intermediaries will be made out of amounts received by SSGA FD under the Distribution Plans and pursuant to the Shareholder Servicing Agreement. In addition, the Fund may reimburse SSGA FD for payments SSGA FD makes to financial intermediaries that provide recordkeeping, shareholder servicing, sub-transfer agency, administrative and/or account maintenance services (collectively, “servicing”). The amount of the reimbursement for servicing compensation and the manner in which it is calculated are reviewed by the Trustees periodically.

A financial intermediary is often compensated by SSGA FD or its affiliates for the services the financial intermediary performs and in such cases it is typically paid continually over time, during the period when the intermediary’s clients hold investments in the Fund. The compensation to financial intermediaries may include networking fees and account-based fees. The amount of continuing

 

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compensation paid by SSGA FD to different financial intermediaries varies. In the case of most financial intermediaries, compensation for servicing in excess of any amount covered by payments under a Distribution Plan is generally paid at an annual rate of 0.03% – 0.25% of the aggregate average daily net asset value of Fund shares held by that financial intermediary’s customers, although in some cases the compensation may be paid at higher annual rates (which may, but will not necessarily, reflect enhanced or additional services provided by the financial intermediary). The amount paid by the Fund may vary by share class.

SSGA FD and its affiliates (including SSGA FM), at their own expense and out of their own assets, may also provide compensation to financial intermediaries in connection with sales of the Fund’s shares or servicing of shareholders or shareholder accounts by financial intermediaries. Such compensation may include, but is not limited to, ongoing payments, financial assistance to financial intermediaries in connection with conferences, sales, or training programs for their employees, seminars for the public, advertising or sales campaigns, or other financial intermediary-sponsored special events. In some instances, this compensation may be made available only to certain financial intermediaries whose representatives have sold or are expected to sell significant amounts of shares. Financial intermediaries may not use sales of the Fund’s shares to qualify for this compensation to the extent prohibited by the laws or rules of any state or any self-regulatory agency, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”). The level of payments made to a financial intermediary in any given year will vary and, in the case of most financial intermediaries, will not exceed 0.05% of the value of assets attributable to the financial intermediary invested in shares of funds in the SSGA FM-fund complex. In certain cases, the payments described in the preceding sentence are subject to minimum payment levels.

If payments to financial intermediaries by the distributor or adviser for a particular mutual fund complex exceed payments by other mutual fund complexes, your financial advisor and the financial intermediary employing him or her may have an incentive to recommend that fund complex over others. Please speak with your financial advisor to learn more about the total amounts paid to your financial advisor and his or her firm by SSGA FD and its affiliates, and by sponsors of other mutual funds he or she may recommend to you. You should also consult disclosures made by your financial intermediary at the time of purchase. Because the Fund pays distribution, service and other fees for the sale of their shares and for services provided to shareholders out of the Fund’s assets on an ongoing basis, over time those fees will increase the cost of an investment in the Fund.

The Fund may pay distribution fees, service fees and other amounts described above at a time when shares of the Fund are not being actively promoted to new investors generally, or when shares of the Fund are unavailable for purchase.

Set forth below is a list of those financial intermediaries to which SSGA FD (and its affiliates) expects, as of [ ], 2019, to pay compensation in the manner described in this “Payments to Financial Intermediaries” section.

 

•  ADP Broker-Dealer Inc.

  

•  Peoples Securities, Inc.

•  American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc.

  

•  Pershing LLC

•  American United Life Insurance Company

  

•  PNC Bank, N.A.

  

•  Principal Life Insurance

•  Apex Clearing Corp.

  

•  Putnam Investor Services, Inc.

•  Ariel Distributor, Inc.

  

•  RBC Capital Markets Corp.

•  Ascensus Inc.

  

•  Reliance Trust Company

•  AXA Advisors, LLC

  

•  Royal Alliance Associate, Inc.

•  Bank of America Merrill Lynch

  

•  RWB Securities Inc.

•  Benefit Trust Company

  

•  Scottrade, Inc.

•  Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc.

  

•  SEI Private Trust Company

•  Calvert Shareholder Services, Inc.

  

•  Slavic Investment Corporation

•  Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

  

•  Southwest Securities, Inc.

•  ETrade Securities

  

•  State Street Bank and Trust Company

 

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•  EFC Financial Services, LLC

  

•  State Street Bank and Trust Company- Wealth Manager Services

•  Edward Jones

  

•  Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc.

•  Fidelity Brokerage Services, LLC

  

•  FIS (formerly Sungard Institutional Brokerage Inc.)

•  Fidelity Investments Institutional Operations Co.

  

•  TD Ameritrade, Inc.

•  First Clearing, LLC

  

•  The Bank Of New York Mellon

•  GWFS Equities Inc.

  

•  The O.N. Equity Sales Company

•  Hartford Life Insurance Company

  

•  Treasury Brokerage, LLC

  

•  Treasury Company of America

•  Hewitt Services LLC

  

•  UBS Financial Services, Inc.

•  Interactive Brokers LLC

  

•  US Bank N.A.

•  Janney Montgomery Scott LLC

  

•  VALIC Retirement Services Co.

•  John Hancock Trust Co.

  

•  Voya Financial Advisors, LLC

•  JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

  

•  Voya Life Insurance and Annuity Company

•  LaSalle Street Securities

  

•  Voya Institutional Plan Services, LLC

•  Lincoln Financial Advisors

  

•  Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

•  Marshall & Ilsley Trust Company, N.A.

  

•  William Blair & Co, LLC

•  Metlife Securities Inc.

  

•  Mid Atlantic Capital Corp.

  

•  Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

  

•  MSCS Financial Services LLC

  

•  National Financial Services, LLC

  

•  Nationwide Financial Services, Inc.

  

•  NFP Securities, Inc.

  

Counsel and Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

Ropes & Gray LLP serves as counsel to the Trust. The principal business address of Ropes & Gray LLP is 800 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02199. [Joseph P. Barri LLC, located at 259 Robbins Street, Milton, Massachusetts 02186, serves as independent counsel to the Independent Trustees.]

Ernst & Young LLP serves as the independent registered public accounting firm for the Trust and provides (i) audit services and (ii) tax services. In connection with the audit of the 2018 financial statements, the Trust entered into an engagement agreement with Ernst & Young LLP that sets forth the terms of Ernst & Young LLP’s audit engagement. The principal business address of Ernst & Young LLP is 200 Clarendon Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116.

BROKERAGE ALLOCATION AND OTHER PRACTICES

The Fund invests all of its investable assets in a corresponding Portfolio and therefore does not directly incur transactional costs for purchases and sales of portfolio investments. The Fund purchases and redeems shares of the Portfolio each day depending on the number of shares of the Fund purchased or redeemed by investors on that day. Shares of the Portfolio are available for purchase by the Fund at its NAV without any sales charges, transaction fees, or brokerage commissions being charged.

All portfolio transactions are placed on behalf of the Portfolio by the Adviser. Purchases and sales of securities on a securities exchange are effected through brokers who charge a commission for their services. Ordinarily commissions are not charged on over the counter orders (including, for example, debt securities and money market investments) because the Portfolio pays a spread which

 

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is included in the cost of the security, and is the difference between the dealer’s cost and the cost to the Portfolio. When the Portfolio executes an over the counter order with an electronic communications network, an alternative trading system or a non-market maker, a commission is charged because there is no spread on the trade. Securities may be purchased from underwriters at prices that include underwriting fees. The Portfolio normally does not pay a stated brokerage commission on transactions.

The Portfolio’s investment advisory agreement authorizes the Adviser to place, in the name of the Portfolio, orders for the execution of the securities transactions in which the Portfolio is authorized to invest, provided the Adviser, and as applicable, the sub-adviser seeks the best overall terms for the transaction. In selecting brokers or dealers (including affiliates of the Adviser, and as applicable, the sub-adviser), the Adviser, and as applicable, the sub-adviser chooses the broker-dealer deemed most capable of providing the services necessary to obtain the most favorable execution (the most favorable cost or net proceeds reasonably obtainable under the circumstances). The full range of brokerage services applicable to a particular transaction may be considered when making this judgment, which may include, but is not limited to: liquidity, price, commission, timing, aggregated trades, capable floor brokers or traders, competent block trading coverage, ability to position, capital strength and stability, reliable and accurate communications and settlement processing, use of automation, knowledge of other buyers or sellers, arbitrage skills, administrative ability, brokerage and research services, underwriting, and provision of information on a particular security or market in which the transaction is to occur. The specific criteria will vary depending on the nature of the transaction, the market in which it is executed, and the extent to which it is possible to select from among multiple broker-dealers. The Adviser, and as applicable, the sub-adviser does not currently use the Portfolio’s assets for soft-dollar arrangements. The Adviser, and as applicable, the sub-adviser does not presently participate in any soft dollar arrangements. It may aggregate trades with clients of State Street Global Advisors whose commission dollars are used to generate soft dollar credits for State Street Global Advisors. Although the Adviser’s clients’ commissions are not used for soft dollars, the Adviser and State Street Global Advisors’ clients may benefit from the soft dollar products/services received by State Street Global Advisors.

The Adviser assumes general supervision over placing orders on behalf of the Trust for the purchase or sale of portfolio securities.

DECLARATION OF TRUST, CAPITAL STOCK AND OTHER INFORMATION

Capitalization

Under the Declaration of Trust, the Trustees are authorized to issue an unlimited number of shares of the Fund. Upon liquidation or dissolution of the Fund, investors are entitled to share pro rata in the Fund’s net assets available for distribution to its investors. Investments in the Fund have no preference, preemptive, conversion or similar rights, except as determined by the Trustees or as set forth in the Bylaws, and are fully paid and non-assessable, except as set forth below.

Declarations of Trust

The Declarations of Trust of the Trust and the Master Trust each provide that a Trust may redeem shares of the Fund at the redemption price that would apply if the share redemption were initiated by a shareholder. It is the policy of each Trust that, except upon such conditions as may from time to time be set forth in the then current prospectus of the Fund or to facilitate a Trust’s or the Fund’s compliance with applicable law or regulation, a Trust would not initiate a redemption of shares unless it were to determine that failing to do so may have a substantial adverse consequence for the Fund or the Trust.

Each Trust’s Declaration of Trust provides that a Trustee who is not an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of a Trust will be deemed independent and disinterested with respect to any demand made in connection with a derivative action or proceeding. It is the policy of each Trust that it will not assert that provision to preclude a shareholder from claiming that a Trustee is not independent or disinterested with respect to any demand made in connection with a derivative action or proceeding; provided, however, that the foregoing policy will not prevent the Trusts from asserting applicable law (including Section 2B of Chapter 182 of the Massachusetts General Laws) to preclude a shareholder from claiming that a Trustee is not independent or disinterested with respect to any demand made in connection with a derivative action or proceeding.

A Trust will not deviate from the foregoing policies in a manner that adversely affects the rights of shareholders of the Fund without the approval of “a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund.

Voting

Each shareholder is entitled to a vote in proportion to the number of Fund shares it owns. Shares do not have cumulative voting rights in the election of Trustees, and shareholders holding more than 50% of the aggregate outstanding shares in the Trust may elect all of the Trustees if they choose to do so. The Trust is not required and has no current intention to hold annual meetings of shareholders but the Trust will hold special meetings of shareholders when in the judgment of the Trustees it is necessary or desirable to submit matters for a shareholder vote.

 

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Massachusetts Business Trust

Under Massachusetts law, shareholders in a Massachusetts business trust could, under certain circumstances, be held personally liable for the obligations of the trust. However, the Declaration of Trust disclaims shareholder liability for acts or obligations of the Trust and provides for indemnification out of the property of the applicable series of the Trust for any loss to which the shareholder may become subject by reason of being or having been a shareholder of that series and for reimbursement of the shareholder for all expense arising from such liability. Thus the risk of a shareholder incurring financial loss on account of shareholder liability should be limited to circumstances in which the series would be unable to meet its obligations.

PRICING OF SHARES

Pricing of shares of the Fund does not occur on New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) holidays. The NYSE is open for trading every weekday except for: (a) the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday (the third Monday in February), Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas; and (b) the preceding Friday or the subsequent Monday when one of the calendar-determined holidays falls on a Saturday or Sunday, respectively. Purchases and withdrawals will be effected at the time of determination of NAV next following the receipt of any purchase or withdrawal order which is determined to be in good order. The Fund’s securities will be valued pursuant to guidelines established by the Board of Trustees.

[The Fund’s NAV per share will float. The Fund determines its NAV per share three times each business day at 9:00am, 12:00pm and 3:00pm Eastern Time (“ET”) except for days when the NYSE’s regular closing is prior to 3 p.m. ET, in which event the Fund determines its final NAV for the day at the earlier closing time (each time when the Fund determines its NAV per share is referred to herein as a “Valuation Time”). The Fund calculates its NAV to four decimal places.]

TAXATION OF THE FUNDS

The following discussion of U.S. federal income tax consequences of an investment in the Fund is based on the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), U.S. Treasury regulations, and other applicable authority, as of the date of this SAI. These authorities are subject to change by legislative or administrative action, possibly with retroactive effect. The following discussion is only a summary of some of the important U.S. federal income tax considerations generally applicable to investments in the Fund. There may be other tax considerations applicable to particular shareholders. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding their particular situation and the possible application of foreign, state and local tax laws.

The Fund invests substantially all of its assets in the Portfolio and so substantially all of the Fund’s income will result from distributions or deemed distributions, or allocations, as the case may be, from the Portfolio. Therefore, as applicable, references to the U.S. federal income tax treatment of the Fund, including to the assets owned and the income earned by the Fund, will be to or will include such treatment of the Portfolio, and, as applicable, the assets owned and the income earned by the Portfolio. See “Tax Considerations Applicable to Funds Investing in Portfolios Treated as Partnerships” and “Tax Considerations Applicable to Funds Investing in Portfolios Treated as RICs” below for further information.

Special tax rules apply to investments through defined contribution plans and other tax-qualified plans or tax-advantaged arrangements. Shareholders should consult their tax advisers to determine the suitability of shares of the Fund as an investment through such plans and arrangements and the precise effect of an investment on their particular tax situations.

 

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Qualification as a Regulated Investment Company

The Fund has elected or intends to elect to be treated as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Code and intends each year to qualify and be eligible to be treated as such. In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded RICs and their shareholders, the Fund must, among other things, (a) derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from (i) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale of securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to gains from options, futures or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies and (ii) net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (as defined below); (b) diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the value of the Fund’s total assets consists of cash and cash items, U.S. Government securities, securities of other RICs, and other securities limited in respect of any one issuer to a value not greater than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and no more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (ii) no more than 25% of its assets are invested, including through corporations in which the Fund owns a 20% or more voting stock interest, (x) in the securities (other than those of the U.S. Government or other RICs) of any one issuer or of two or more issuers which the Fund controls and which are engaged in the same, similar or related trades and businesses, or (y) in the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships (as defined below); and (c) distribute with respect to each taxable year at least 90% of the sum of its investment company taxable income (as that term is defined in the Code without regard to the deduction for dividends paid — generally taxable ordinary income and the excess, if any, of net short-term capital gains over net long-term capital losses) and net tax-exempt income, for such year.

In general, for purposes of the 90% gross income requirement described in (a) above, income derived from a partnership will be treated as qualifying income only to the extent such income is attributable to items of income of the partnership which would be qualifying income if realized directly by the RIC.

However, 100% of the net income derived from an interest in a “qualified publicly traded partnership” (a partnership (x) the interests in which are traded on an established securities market or readily tradable on a secondary market or the substantial equivalent thereof, and (y) that derives less than 90% of its income from the qualifying income described in section (a)(i) of the preceding paragraph), will be treated as qualifying income. In general, such entities will be treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes, because they meet the passive income requirement under Code section 7704(c)(2). Further, although in general the passive loss rules of the Code do not apply to RICs, such rules do apply to a RIC with respect to items attributable to an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership.

For purposes of the diversification test in (b) above, the term “outstanding voting securities of such issuer” will include the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership. Also, for purposes of the diversification test in (b) above, the identification of the issuer (or, in some cases, issuers) of a particular investment can depend on the terms and conditions of that investment. In some cases, identification of the issuer (or issuers) is uncertain under current law, and an adverse determination or future guidance by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) with respect to issuer identification for a particular type of investment may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to meet the diversification test in (b) above.

If the Fund qualifies as a RIC that is accorded special tax treatment, the Fund will not be subject to federal income tax on income or gains distributed in a timely manner to its shareholders in the form of dividends (including Capital Gain Dividends, as defined below). If the Fund were to fail to meet the income, diversification or distribution test described above, the Fund could in some cases cure such failure, including by paying the Fund-level tax, paying interest or disposing of certain assets. If the Fund were ineligible to or otherwise did not cure such failure for any year, or if the Fund were otherwise to fail to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment in any taxable year, the Fund would be subject to tax at the Fund level on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including any distributions of net tax-exempt income and net capital gains (each as defined below), would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Some portions of such distributions may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders and may be eligible to be treated as “qualified dividend income” in the case of shareholders taxed as individuals, provided, in both cases, the shareholder meets certain holding period and other requirements in respect of the Fund’s shares (each as described below). In addition, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before re-qualifying as a RIC that is accorded special tax treatment.

The Fund intends to distribute at least annually to its shareholders all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income (computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction) and its net tax-exempt income (if any), and may distribute its net capital gain (that is, the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss, in each case determined with reference to any loss carryforwards). Any taxable income retained by the Fund will be subject to tax at the Fund level at regular corporate rates. If the Fund retains any net capital gain, it will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained, but is permitted to designate the retained amount as undistributed capital gain in a timely notice to its shareholders who (a) will be required to include in income for federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their shares of such undistributed amount, and (b) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund on such undistributed amount against their federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds on a properly-filed U.S. tax return to the extent the credit exceeds such liabilities. If the Fund makes this designation, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the tax basis of shares owned by a shareholder of the Fund will be increased by an amount equal to the difference between the amount of undistributed capital gains included in the shareholder’s gross income under clause (a) of the preceding sentence and the tax deemed paid by the shareholder under clause (b) of the preceding sentence. The Fund is not required to, and there can be no assurance the Fund will, make this designation if it retains all or a portion of its net capital gain in a taxable year.

 

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In determining its net capital gain, including in connection with determining the amount available to support a Capital Gain Dividend (as defined below), its taxable income, and its earnings and profits, a RIC generally may elect to treat part or all of any post-October capital loss (defined as any net capital loss attributable to the portion, if any, of the taxable year after October 31 or, if there is no such loss, the net long-term capital loss or net short-term capital loss attributable to any such portion of the taxable year) or late-year ordinary loss (generally, the sum of its (i) net ordinary loss, if any, from the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition of property, attributable to the portion, if any, of the taxable year after October 31, and its (ii) other net ordinary loss, if any, attributable to the portion, if any, of the taxable year after December 31) as if incurred in the succeeding taxable year.

If the Fund were to fail to distribute in a calendar year at least an amount equal, in general, to the sum of 98% of its ordinary income for such year and 98.2% of its capital gain net income for the one-year period ending October 31 of such year (or November 30 or December 31, if the Fund is eligible to elect and so elects), plus any such amounts retained from the prior year, the Fund would be subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax on the undistributed amounts. For purposes of the required excise tax distribution, a RIC’s ordinary gains and losses from the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition of property that would otherwise be taken into account after October 31 of a calendar year (or November 30, if the Fund makes the election referred to above) generally are treated as arising on January 1 of the following calendar year; [in the case of the Fund with a December 31 year end that makes the election described above, no such gains or losses will be so treated.] Also, for these purposes, the Fund will be treated as having distributed any amount on which it is subject to corporate income tax for the taxable year ending within the calendar year. The Fund intends generally to make distributions sufficient to avoid imposition of the excise tax, although there can be no assurance that it will be able to do so. Distributions declared by the Fund during October, November and December to shareholders of record on a date in any such month and paid by the Fund during the following January will be treated for federal tax purposes as paid by the Fund and received by shareholders on December 31 of the year in which declared.

Capital losses in excess of capital gains (“net capital losses”) are not permitted to be deducted against the Fund’s net investment income. Instead, potentially subject to certain limitations, the Fund may carry net capital losses from any taxable year forward to subsequent taxable years to offset capital gains, if any, realized during such subsequent taxable years. Distributions from capital gains are generally made after applying any available capital loss carryforwards. Capital loss carryforwards are reduced to the extent they offset current-year net realized capital gains, whether the Fund retains or distributes such gains. The Fund may carry net capital losses forward to one or more subsequent taxable years without expiration; any such carryforward losses will retain their character as short-term or long-term. The Fund must apply such carryforwards first against gains of the same character. See the Fund’s most recent annual shareholder report for the Fund’s available capital loss carryovers as of the end of its most recently ended fiscal year.

Taxation of Distributions Received by Shareholders

For U.S. federal income tax purposes, distributions of investment income are generally taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains are determined by how long the Fund owned (or is deemed to have owned) the investments that generated them, rather than how long a shareholder has owned his or her Fund shares. In general, the Fund will recognize long-term capital gain or loss on the disposition of assets the Fund has owned (or is deemed to have owned) for more than one year, and short-term capital gain or loss on the disposition of investments the Fund has owned (or is deemed to have owned) for one year or less. Distributions of net-capital gain (that is, the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss) that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends (“Capital Gain Dividends”) generally will be taxable to a shareholder receiving such distributions as long-term capital gains includible in net capital gain and taxed to individuals at reduced rates relative to ordinary income. Distributions from capital gains are generally made after applying any available capital loss carryovers. The Fund does not expect to distribute Capital Gain Dividends. Distributions of net short-term capital gain (as reduced by any net long-term capital loss for the taxable year) will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Distributions of investment income properly reported by the Fund [and, in the case of the Fund investing in a Portfolio treated as a RIC, the Portfolio, as derived from “qualified dividend income” will be taxed in the hands of individuals at the rates applicable to net capital gain, provided holding period and other requirements are met at each of the shareholder, the Portfolio and, in the case of the Fund investing in a Portfolio treated as a RIC, the Fund level. The Fund does not expect Fund distributions to be derived from qualified dividend income.]

The Code generally imposes a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on the net investment income of certain individuals, trusts and estates to the extent their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. For these purposes, “net investment income” generally includes, among other things, (i) distributions paid by the Fund of net investment income and capital gains, and (ii) any net gain from the sale, redemption, exchange or other taxable disposition of Fund shares. Shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisors regarding the possible implications of this additional tax on their investment in the Fund.

 

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If the Fund makes a distribution to a shareholder in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits in any taxable year, the excess distribution will be treated as a return of capital to the extent of such shareholder’s tax basis in its shares, and thereafter as capital gain. A return of capital is not taxable, but it reduces a shareholder’s tax basis in its shares, thus reducing any loss or increasing any gain on a subsequent taxable disposition by the shareholder of its shares.

Shareholders of the Fund will be subject to federal income taxes as described herein on distributions made by the Fund whether received in cash or reinvested in additional shares of the Fund.

Distributions with respect to the Fund’s shares are generally subject to U.S. federal income tax as described herein to the extent they do not exceed the Fund’s realized income and gains, even though such distributions may economically represent a return of a particular shareholder’s investment. Such distributions are likely to occur in respect of shares purchased at a time when the Fund’s net asset value includes either unrealized gains, or realized but undistributed income or gains, that were therefore included in the price the shareholder paid. Such distributions may reduce the fair market value of the Fund’s shares below the shareholder’s cost basis in those shares. As described above, the Fund is required to distribute realized income and gains regardless of whether the Fund’s net asset value also reflects unrealized losses.

In order for some portion of the dividends received by the Fund shareholder to be “qualified dividend income,” the Portfolio must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to the dividend-paying stocks held by the Portfolio, the shareholder must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to the Fund’s shares[, and in the case of the Fund investing in a Portfolio treated as a RIC,] the Fund must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to its shares in the Portfolio. In general, a dividend will not be treated as qualified dividend income (at any of the Portfolio, Fund or shareholder level, as applicable) (a) if the dividend is received with respect to any share of stock held for fewer than 61 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date which is 60 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (or, in the case of certain preferred stock, 91 days during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date), (b) to the extent that the recipient is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property, (c) if the recipient elects to have the dividend income treated as investment income for purposes of the limitation on deductibility of investment interest, or (d) if the dividend is received from a foreign corporation that is (i) not eligible for the benefits of a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States (with the exception of dividends paid on stock of such a foreign corporation readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States) or (ii) treated as a passive foreign investment company.

In general, distributions of investment income properly reported by the Fund as derived from qualified dividend income will be treated as qualified dividend income in the hands of a shareholder taxed as an individual, provided the shareholder meets the holding period and other requirements described above with respect to the Fund’s shares. If the aggregate qualified dividends (a) allocated to the Fund by a Portfolio that is treated as a partnership or (b) received by the Fund from a Portfolio that is treated as a RIC, during any taxable year are 95% or more of the Fund’s gross income (excluding net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss), then 100% of the Fund’s dividends (other than dividends properly reported as Capital Gain Dividends) will be eligible to be treated as qualified dividend income.

In general, dividends of net investment income received by corporate shareholders of the Fund will qualify for the dividends-received deduction generally available to corporations to the extent of the amount of eligible dividends from domestic corporations received by a Portfolio (a) that is treated as a partnership and allocated to the Fund, or (b) that is treated as a RIC and in turn paid by the Portfolio to the Fund for the taxable year. A dividend so allocated or paid to the Fund will not be treated as a dividend eligible for the dividends-received deduction (at any of the Portfolio, Fund or shareholder level, as applicable) (a) if it has been received with respect to any share of stock that the Portfolio has held for less than 46 days (91 days in the case of certain preferred stock) during the 91-day period beginning on the date which is 45 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date in the case of certain preferred stock) or (b) to the extent that the Portfolio is under an obligation (pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property. Moreover, the Fund that invests in a corresponding Portfolio that is treated as a RIC must meet similar requirements with respect to its shares of the corresponding Portfolio. Finally, the dividends-received deduction may otherwise be disallowed or reduced (x) if the corporate shareholder fails to satisfy the foregoing requirements with respect to its shares of the Fund or (y) by application of various provisions of the Code (for instance, the dividends-received deduction is reduced in the case of a dividend received on debt-financed portfolio stock (generally, stock acquired with borrowed funds)). The Fund does not expect Fund distributions to be eligible for the dividends-received deduction.

 

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Any distribution of income that is attributable to (a) income received by the Fund in lieu of dividends with respect to securities on loan pursuant to a securities lending transaction or (b) dividend income received by the Fund on securities it temporarily purchased from a counterparty pursuant to a repurchase agreement that is treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a loan by the Fund, will not constitute qualified dividend income to individual shareholders and will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction for corporate shareholders.

If the Fund holds, directly or indirectly, one or more “tax credit bonds” issued on or before December 31, 2018, on one or more applicable dates during a taxable year, the Fund may elect to permit its shareholders to claim a tax credit on their income tax returns equal to each shareholder’s proportionate share of tax credits from the bond otherwise allowed to the Fund. In such a case, shareholders must include in gross income (as interest) their proportionate share of the income attributable to the tax credits. A shareholder’s ability to claim a tax credit associated with one or more tax credit bonds may be subject to certain limitations imposed by the Code, and the amount of the tax credits may not exceed the amount reported by the Fund in a written notice to shareholders. Even if the Fund is eligible to pass through tax credits to shareholders, the Fund may choose not to do so.

Tax Considerations Applicable to Funds Investing in Portfolios Treated as Partnerships

The Fund may invest substantially all of its investable assets in a corresponding Portfolio that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In such cases the nature and character of each such Fund’s income, gains, losses and deductions will generally be determined at the Portfolio level and each such Fund will be allocated its share of Portfolio income and gains. As applicable, references to income, gains, losses and deductions of the Fund will be to income, gains and losses recognized and deductions accruing at the Portfolio level and allocated to or otherwise taken into account by the Fund, and references to assets of the Fund will be to the Fund’s allocable share of the assets of the corresponding Portfolio.

The may be required to redeem a portion of its interest in a Portfolio in order to obtain sufficient cash to make the requisite distributions to maintain its qualification for treatment as a RIC. The Portfolio in turn may be required to sell investments in order to meet such redemption requests, including at a time when it may not be advantageous to do so.

In addition, in certain circumstances, the “wash sale” rules under Section 1091 of the Code may apply to the Fund’s sales of the corresponding Portfolio interests that have generated losses. A wash sale occurs if equity interests of an issuer are sold by the Fund at a loss and the Fund acquires additional interests of that same issuer 30 days before or after the date of the sale. The wash-sale rules could defer losses in the Fund’s hands on corresponding interests in a Portfolio (to the extent such sales are wash sales) for extended (and, in certain cases, potentially indefinite) periods of time.

Tax Considerations Applicable to Funds Investing in Portfolios Treated as RICs

The following considerations are relevant to shareholders of Funds that invest substantially all of their assets in a corresponding Portfolio that intends to elect to be treated and to qualify and be eligible to be treated each year as a RIC.

Substantially all of the Fund’s income will result from distributions or deemed distributions from the corresponding Portfolio. Additionally, whether the Fund will meet the asset diversification test described above will depend on whether the corresponding Portfolio meets each of the income, diversification and distribution tests. If a Portfolio were to fail to meet any such test and were ineligible to or otherwise were not to cure such failure, the corresponding Fund would as a result itself fail to meet the asset diversification test and might be ineligible or unable to or might otherwise not cure such failure.

Because the Fund invests substantially all of its assets in shares of the corresponding Portfolio, its distributable income and gains will normally consist substantially of distributions from the corresponding Portfolio. To the extent that a Portfolio realizes net losses on its investments for a given taxable year, the Fund will not be able to benefit from those losses until, and only to the extent that (i) the Portfolio realizes gains that it can reduce by those losses, or (ii) the Fund recognizes its share of those losses when it disposes of shares of the Portfolio in a transaction qualifying for sale or exchange treatment. Moreover, even when the Fund does make such a disposition, any loss will be recognized as a capital loss, a portion of which may be a long-term capital loss. The Fund will not be able to offset any capital losses from its dispositions of shares of the corresponding Portfolio against its ordinary income (including distributions of any net short-term capital gains realized by a Portfolio), and the Fund’s long-term capital losses first offset its long-term capital gains, increasing the likelihood that the Fund’s short-term capital gains are distributed to shareholders as ordinary income.

In addition, in certain circumstances, the “wash sale” rules under Section 1091 of the Code may apply to the Fund’s sales of the corresponding Portfolio shares that have generated losses. A wash sale occurs if shares of an issuer are sold by the Fund at a loss and the Fund acquires additional shares of that same issuer 30 days before or after the date of the sale. The wash-sale rules could defer losses in the Fund’s hands on corresponding Portfolio shares (to the extent such sales are wash sales) for extended (and, in certain cases, potentially indefinite) periods of time.

 

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The foregoing rules may cause the tax treatments of the Fund’s’ gains, losses and distributions to differ at times from the tax treatment that would apply if the Fund invested directly in the types of securities held by the corresponding Portfolio. As a result, investors may receive taxable distributions earlier and recognize higher amounts of capital gain or ordinary income than they otherwise would.

Finally, a RIC generally must look through its 20 percent voting interest in a corporation, including a RIC, to the underlying assets thereof for purposes of the diversification test; special rules potentially provide limited relief from the application of this rule where a RIC owns such an interest in an underlying RIC (as defined below), such as a Portfolio.

Investments in Other RICs.

If the Fund receives dividends from a Portfolio treated as a RIC, or a Portfolio receives dividends from a mutual fund, an ETF or another investment company that qualifies as a RIC (each an “underlying RIC”) and the underlying RIC reports such dividends as qualified dividend income, then the Fund, or Portfolio, as applicable, is permitted, in turn, to report a portion of its distributions as “qualified dividend income,” provided the Fund, or Portfolio, as applicable, meets the holding period and other requirements with respect to shares of the underlying RIC.

If the Fund or Portfolio receives dividends from an underlying RIC and the underlying RIC reports such dividends as eligible for the dividends-received deduction, then the Fund or Portfolio, as applicable, is permitted, in turn, to report a portion of its distributions as eligible for the dividends-received deduction, provided the Fund or Portfolio, as applicable, meets the holding period and other requirements with respect to shares of the underlying RIC.

The foregoing rules may cause the tax treatments of the Fund’s gains, losses and distributions to differ at times from the tax treatment that would apply if the Fund invested directly in the types of securities held by the corresponding Portfolio. As a result, investors may receive taxable distributions earlier and recognize higher amounts of capital gain or ordinary income than they otherwise would.

Tax Implications of Certain Fund Investments

Special Rules for Debt Obligations. Some debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance (and zero-coupon debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance) will be treated as debt obligations that are issued originally at a discount. Generally, original issue discount (“OID”) is treated as interest income and is included in the Fund’s income and required to be distributed by the Fund over the term of the debt obligation, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, upon partial or full repayment or disposition of the debt obligation. In addition, payment-in-kind securities will give rise to income which is required to be distributed and is taxable even though the Fund holding the obligation receives no interest payment in cash on the obligation during the year.

Some debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance that are acquired in the secondary market by the Fund may be treated as having “market discount.” Very generally, market discount is the excess of the stated redemption price of a debt obligation (or in the case of an obligation issued with OID, its “revised issue price”) over the purchase price of such obligation. Subject to the discussion below regarding Section 451 of the Code, (i)generally, any gain recognized on the disposition of, and any partial payment of principal on, a debt obligation having market discount is treated as ordinary income to the extent the gain, or principal payment, does not exceed the “accrued market discount” on such debt obligation, (ii) alternatively, the Fund may elect to accrue market discount currently, in which case the Fund will be required to include the accrued market discount in income (as ordinary income) and thus distribute it over the term of the debt obligation, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, upon partial or full repayment or disposition of the debt obligation and (iii) the rate at which the market discount accrues, and thus is included in the Fund’s income, will depend upon which of the permitted accrual methods the Fund elects. Notwithstanding the foregoing, effective for taxable years beginning after 2017, Section 451 of the Code generally requires any accrual method taxpayer to take into account items of gross income no later than the time at which such items are taken into account as revenue in the taxpayer’s financial statements. Although the application of Section 451 to the accrual of market discount is currently unclear, , the IRS and the Department of Treasury have announced their intent to issue proposed regulations providing that Section 451 does not apply to accrued market discount. If Section 451 were to apply to the accrual of market discount the Fund would be required to include in income any market discount as it takes the same into account on its financial statements even if the Fund does not otherwise elect to accrue market discount currently for federal income tax purposes.

If the Fund holds the foregoing kinds of obligations, or other obligations subject to special rules under the Code, the Fund may be required to pay out as an income distribution each year an amount which is greater than the total amount of cash interest the Fund actually received. Such distributions may be made from the cash assets of the Fund or, if necessary, by disposition of portfolio securities including at a time when it may not be advantageous to do so. These dispositions may cause the Fund to realize higher amounts of short-term capital gains (generally taxed to shareholders at ordinary income tax rates) and, in the event the Fund realizes net capital gains from such transactions, its shareholders may receive a larger Capital Gain Dividend than they would have if the Fund had not held such obligations.

 

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Securities Purchased at a Premium. Very generally, where the Fund purchases a bond at a price that exceeds the redemption price at maturity – that is, at a premium — the premium is amortizable over the remaining term of the bond. In the case of a taxable bond, if the Fund makes an election applicable to all such bonds it purchases, which election is irrevocable without consent of the IRS, the Fund reduces the current taxable income from the bond by the amortized premium and reduces its tax basis in the bond by the amount of such offset; upon the disposition or maturity of such bonds acquired on or after January 4, 2013, the Fund is permitted to deduct any remaining premium allocable to a prior period.

A portion of the OID accrued on certain high yield discount obligations may not be deductible to the issuer and will instead be treated as a dividend paid by the issuer for purposes of the dividends-received deduction. In such cases, if the issuer of the high yield discount obligations is a domestic corporation, dividend payments by the Fund may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction to the extent attributable to the deemed dividend portion of such OID.

At-risk or Defaulted Securities. Investments in debt obligations that are at risk of or in default present special tax issues for the Funds. Tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when the Fund may cease to accrue interest, OID or market discount; whether, when or to what extent the Fund should recognize market discount on a debt obligation; when and to what extent the Fund may take deductions for bad debts or worthless securities; and how the Fund should allocate payments received on obligations in default between principal and income. These and other related issues will be addressed by the Fund when, as and if it invests in such securities, in order to seek to ensure that it distributes sufficient income to preserve its status as a RIC and does not become subject to U.S. federal income or excise tax.

Certain Investments in Mortgage Pooling Vehicles. The Fund may invest directly or indirectly in residual interests in real estate mortgage investment conduits (“REMICs”) (including by investing in residual interests in collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) with respect to which an election to be treated as a REMIC is in effect) or equity interests in taxable mortgage pools (“TMPs”). Under a notice issued by the IRS in October 2006 and Treasury regulations that have yet to be issued but may apply retroactively, a portion of the Fund’s income (including income allocated to the Fund from certain pass-through entities) that is attributable to a residual interest in a REMIC or an equity interest in a TMP (referred to in the Code as an “excess inclusion”) will be subject to U.S. federal income tax in all events. This notice also provides, and the regulations are expected to provide, that excess inclusion income of a RIC, such as the Fund, will be allocated to shareholders of the RIC in proportion to the dividends received by such shareholders, with the same consequences as if the shareholders held the related interest directly. As a result, a RIC investing in such securities may not be a suitable investment for charitable remainder trusts, as noted below.

In general, excess inclusion income allocated to shareholders (i) cannot be offset by net operating losses (subject to a limited exception for certain thrift institutions), (ii) will constitute unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) to entities (including a qualified pension plan, an individual retirement account, a 401(k) plan, a Keogh plan or other tax-exempt entity) subject to tax on UBTI, thereby potentially requiring such an entity that is allocated excess inclusion income, and that otherwise might not be required to file a tax return, to file a tax return and pay tax on such income, and (iii) in the case of a foreign shareholder will not qualify for any reduction in U.S. federal withholding tax. A shareholder will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on such inclusions notwithstanding any exemption from such income tax otherwise available under the Code.

Foreign Currency Transactions. Any transaction by the Fund in foreign currencies, foreign currency-denominated debt obligations or certain foreign currency options, futures contracts or forward contracts (or similar instruments) may give rise to ordinary income or loss to the extent such income or loss results from fluctuations in the value of the foreign currency concerned. Any such net gains could require a larger dividend toward the end of the calendar year. Any such net losses will generally reduce and potentially require the recharacterization of prior ordinary income distributions. Such ordinary income treatment may accelerate the Fund’s distributions to shareholders and increase the distributions taxed to shareholders as ordinary income. Any net ordinary losses so created cannot be carried forward by the Fund to offset income or gains earned in subsequent taxable years.

Because it is not always possible to identify a foreign corporation as a PFIC, the Fund may incur the tax and interest charges described above in some instances.

Options and Futures. In general, option premiums received by the Fund are not immediately included in the income of the Fund. Instead, the premiums are recognized when the option contract expires, the option is exercised by the holder, or the Fund transfers or otherwise terminates the option (e.g., through a closing transaction). If a call option written by the Fund is exercised and the Fund sells

 

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or delivers the underlying stock, the Fund generally will recognize capital gain or loss equal to (a) the sum of the strike price and the option premium received by the Fund minus (b) the Fund’s basis in the stock. Such gain or loss generally will be short-term or long-term depending upon the holding period of the underlying stock. If securities are purchased by the Fund pursuant to the exercise of a put option written by it, the Fund generally will subtract the premium received for purposes of computing its cost basis in the securities purchased. Gain or loss arising in respect of a termination of the Fund’s obligation under an option other than through the exercise of the option will be short-term gain or loss depending on whether the premium income received by the Fund is greater or less than the amount paid by the Fund (if any) in terminating the transaction. Thus, for example, if an option written by the Fund expires unexercised, the Fund generally will recognize short-term gain equal to the premium received.

The Fund’s options activities may include transactions constituting straddles for U.S. federal income tax purposes, that is, that trigger the U.S. federal income tax straddle rules contained primarily in Section 1092 of the Code. Such straddles include, for example, positions in a particular security, or an index of securities, and one or more options that offset the former position, including options that are “covered” by the Fund’s long position in the subject security. Very generally, where applicable, Section 1092 requires (i) that losses be deferred on positions deemed to be offsetting positions with respect to “substantially similar or related property,” to the extent of unrealized gain in the latter, and (ii) that the holding period of such a straddle position that has not already been held for the long-term holding period be terminated and begin anew once the position is no longer part of a straddle. Options on single stocks that are not “deep in the money” may constitute qualified covered calls, which generally are not subject to the straddle rules; the holding period on stock underlying qualified covered calls that are “in the money” although not “deep in the money” will be suspended during the period that such calls are outstanding. Thus, the straddle rules and the rules governing qualified covered calls could cause gains that would otherwise constitute long-term capital gains to be treated as short-term capital gains, and distributions that would otherwise constitute “qualified dividend income” or qualify for the dividends-received deduction to fail to satisfy the holding period requirements and therefore to be taxed as ordinary income or fail to qualify for the dividends-received deduction, as the case may be.

The tax treatment of certain positions entered into by the Fund, including regulated futures contracts, certain foreign currency positions and certain listed non-equity options, will be governed by section 1256 of the Code (“section 1256 contracts”). Gains or losses on section 1256 contracts generally are considered 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gains or losses (“60/40”), although certain foreign currency gains and losses from such contracts may be treated as ordinary in character. Also, section 1256 contracts held by the Fund at the end of each taxable year (and, for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain other dates as prescribed under the Code) are “marked to market” with the result that unrealized gains or losses are treated as though they were realized and the resulting gain or loss is treated as ordinary or 60/40 gain or loss, as applicable.

Derivatives, Hedging, and Related Transactions. In addition to the special rules described above in respect of futures and options transactions, the Fund’s transactions in other derivative instruments (e.g., forward contracts and swap agreements), as well as any of its hedging, short sale, securities loan or similar transactions, may be subject to one or more special tax rules (e.g., notional principal contract, straddle, constructive sale, wash sale and short sale rules). These rules may affect whether gains and losses recognized by the Fund are treated as ordinary or capital, accelerate the recognition of income or gains to the Fund, defer losses to the Fund, and cause adjustments in the holding periods of the Fund’s securities, thereby affecting whether capital gains and losses are treated as short-term or long-term. These rules could therefore affect the amount, timing and/or character of distributions to shareholders.

Because these and other tax rules applicable to these types of transactions are in some cases uncertain under current law, an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to these rules (which determination or guidance could be retroactive) may affect whether the Fund has made sufficient distributions, and otherwise satisfied the relevant requirements, to maintain its qualification as a RIC and avoid the Fund-level tax.

Book-Tax Differences. Certain of the Fund’s investments in derivative instruments and foreign currency-denominated instruments, and any of the Fund’s transactions in foreign currencies and hedging activities, are likely to produce a difference between its book income and the sum of its taxable income and net tax-exempt income (if any). If such a difference arises, and the Fund’s book income is less than the sum of its taxable income and net tax-exempt income, the Fund could be required to make distributions exceeding book income to qualify as a RIC that is accorded special tax treatment and to avoid an entity-level tax. In the alternative, if the Fund’s book income exceeds the sum of its taxable income (including realized capital gains) and net tax-exempt income, the distribution (if any) of such excess generally will be treated as (i) a dividend to the extent of the Fund’s remaining earnings and profits (including earnings and profits arising from tax-exempt income), (ii) thereafter, as a return of capital to the extent of the recipient’s basis in its shares, and (iii) thereafter as gain from the sale or exchange of a capital asset.

Foreign Taxation

The Fund’s income, proceeds and gains from sources within foreign countries may be subject to non-U.S. withholding or other taxes, which will reduce the yield of those investments. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes. Shareholders generally will not be entitled separately to claim a credit or deduction in respect of non-U.S. taxes paid or treated as paid by the Fund.

 

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Backup Withholding

The Fund generally is required to withhold and remit to the U.S. Treasury a percentage of the taxable distributions and redemption proceeds paid to any individual shareholder who fails to properly furnish the Fund with a correct taxpayer identification number (“TIN”), who has under-reported dividend or interest income, or who fails to certify to the Fund that he or she is not subject to such withholding.

Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld may be credited against the shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability, provided the appropriate information is furnished to the IRS.

Tax-Exempt Shareholders

Income of a RIC that would be unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) if earned directly by a tax-exempt entity will not generally constitute UBTI when distributed to a tax-exempt shareholder of the RIC. Notwithstanding this “blocking” effect, a tax-exempt shareholder could realize UBTI by virtue of its investment in the Fund if shares in the Fund constitute debt-financed property in the hands of the tax-exempt shareholder within the meaning of Code Section 514(b).

A tax-exempt shareholder may also recognize UBTI if the Fund recognizes “excess inclusion income” derived from direct or indirect investments in residual interests in REMICS or equity interests in TMPs if the amount of such income recognized by the Fund exceeds the Fund’s investment company taxable income (after taking into account deductions for dividends paid by the Fund).

In addition, special tax consequences apply to charitable remainder trusts (“CRTs”) that invest in RICs that invest directly or indirectly in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs. Under legislation enacted in December 2006, a CRT (as defined in section 664 of the Code) that realizes any UBTI for a taxable year must pay an excise tax annually of an amount equal to such UBTI. Under IRS guidance issued in October 2006, a CRT will not recognize UBTI as a result of investing in a RIC that recognizes “excess inclusion income.” Rather, if at any time during any taxable year a CRT (or one of certain other tax-exempt shareholders, such as the United States, a state or political subdivision, or an agency or instrumentality thereof, and certain energy cooperatives) is a record holder of a share in a RIC that recognizes “excess inclusion income,” then the RIC will be subject to a tax on that portion of its “excess inclusion income” for the taxable year that is allocable to such shareholders at the highest federal corporate income tax rate. The extent to which this IRS guidance remains applicable in light of the December 2006 legislation is unclear. To the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, the Fund may elect to specially allocate any such tax to the applicable CRT, or other shareholder, and thus reduce such shareholder’s distributions for the year by the amount of the tax that relates to such shareholder’s interest in the Fund. CRTs are urged to consult their tax advisors concerning the consequences of investing in the Fund.

Redemptions and Exchanges

Redemptions and exchanges of the Fund’s shares are taxable events and, accordingly, shareholders may realize gain or loss on these transactions. In general, any gain or loss realized upon a taxable disposition of shares will be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than 12 months. Otherwise, the gain or loss on the taxable disposition of Fund shares will be treated as short-term capital gain or loss. However, any loss realized upon a taxable disposition of Fund shares held by a shareholder for six months or less will be treated as long-term, rather than short-term, to the extent of any Capital Gain Dividends received (or deemed received) by the shareholder with respect to the shares. Further, subject to the discussion below regarding money market funds, all or a portion of any loss realized upon a taxable disposition of Fund shares generally will be disallowed under the Code’s “wash sale” rule if other substantially identical shares are purchased, including by means of dividend reinvestment, within 30 days before or after the disposition. In such a case, the basis of the newly purchased shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.

The IRS permits a simplified method of accounting for gains and losses realized upon the disposition of shares of a regulated investment company that is a money market fund. Very generally, rather than realizing gain or loss upon each redemption of a share, a shareholder of the Fund using such method of accounting will recognize gain or loss with respect to the Fund’s shares for a given computation period (the shareholder’s taxable year or shorter period selected by the shareholder) equal to the value of all the Fund shares held by the shareholder on the last day of the computation period, less the value of all Fund shares held by the shareholder on the last day of the preceding computation period, less the shareholder’s net investment in the Fund (generally, purchases minus redemptions) made during the computation period. The IRS has also published guidance providing that the “wash sale” rule of the Code—disallowing losses on taxable dispositions of Fund shares where other substantially identical shares are purchased, including by means of dividend reinvestment, within 30 days before or after the disposition—will not apply to redemptions of shares in a so-called floating NAV money market fund. Shareholders of the Fund are urged to consult their own tax advisors regarding their investment in the Fund.

 

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Upon the redemption or exchange of shares of the Fund, the Fund or, in the case of shares purchased through a financial intermediary, the financial intermediary may be required to provide you and the IRS with cost basis and certain other related tax information about the Fund shares you redeemed or exchanged. See the Fund’s prospectuses for more information.

Tax Shelter Reporting

Under Treasury regulations, if a shareholder recognizes a loss of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder, the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases excepted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a RIC are not excepted. Future guidance may extend the current exception from this reporting requirement to shareholders of most or all RICs. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their tax advisers to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.

Non-U.S. Shareholders

Non-U.S. shareholders in the Fund should consult their tax advisors concerning the tax consequences of ownership of shares in the Fund. Distributions by the Fund to shareholders that are not “U.S. persons” within the meaning of the Code ( “foreign shareholders”) properly reported by the Fund as (1) Capital Gain Dividends, (2) short-term capital gain dividends, and (3) interest-related dividends, each as defined and subject to certain conditions described below, generally are not subject to withholding of U.S. federal income tax.

In general, the Code defines (1) “short-term capital gain dividends” as distributions of net short-term capital gains in excess of net long-term capital losses and (2) “interest-related dividends” as distributions from U.S.-source interest income of types similar to those not subject to U.S. federal income tax if earned directly by an individual foreign shareholder, in each case to the extent such distributions are properly reported as such by the Fund in a written notice to shareholders.

The exceptions to withholding for Capital Gain Dividends and short-term capital gain dividends do not apply to (A) distributions to an individual foreign shareholder who is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the distribution and (B) distributions attributable to gain that is treated as effectively connected with the conduct by the foreign shareholder of a trade or business within the United States under special rules regarding the disposition of U.S. real property interests as described below. If the Fund invests in a RIC that pays such distributions to the Fund, such distributions retain their character as not subject to withholding if properly reported when paid by the Fund to foreign shareholders. The exception to withholding for interest-related dividends does not apply to distributions to a foreign shareholder (i) that has not provided a satisfactory statement that the beneficial owner is not a U.S. person, (ii) to the extent that the dividend is attributable to certain interest on an obligation if the foreign shareholder is the issuer or is a 10% shareholder of the issuer, (iii) that is within certain foreign countries that have inadequate information exchange with the United States, or (iv) to the extent the dividend is attributable to interest paid by a person that is a related person of the foreign shareholder and the foreign shareholder is a controlled foreign corporation). A RIC is permitted to report such parts of its dividends as are eligible to be treated as interest-related or short-term capital gain dividends, but is not required to do so. In the case of shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may withhold even if the Fund reports all or a portion of a payment as an interest-related or short-term capital gain dividend to shareholders.

Foreign shareholders should contact their intermediaries regarding the application of withholding rules to their accounts.

Distributions by the Fund to foreign shareholders other than Capital Gain Dividends, short-term capital gain dividends and interest-related dividends (e.g., dividends attributable to dividend and foreign-source interest income or to short-term capital gains or U.S. source interest income to which the exception from withholding described above does not apply) are generally subject to withholding of U.S. federal income tax at a rate of 30% (or lower applicable treaty rate).

A foreign shareholder is not, in general, subject to U.S. federal income tax on gains (and is not allowed a deduction for losses) realized on the sale of shares of the Fund unless (a) such gain is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business carried on by such holder within the United States, (b) in the case of an individual holder, the holder is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the sale and certain other conditions are met, or (c) the special rules relating to gain attributable to the sale or exchange of “U.S. real property interests” (“USRPIs”) apply to the foreign shareholder’s sale of shares of the Fund (as described below).

 

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Foreign shareholders with respect to whom income from the Fund is effectively connected with a trade or business conducted by the foreign person within the United States will in general be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the income derived from the Fund at the graduated rates applicable to U.S. citizens, residents or domestic corporations, whether such income is received in cash or reinvested in shares of the Fund and, in the case of a foreign corporation, may also be subject to a branch profits tax. If a foreign shareholder is eligible for the benefits of a tax treaty, any effectively connected income or gain will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net basis only if it is also attributable to a permanent establishment maintained by the shareholder in the United States. More generally, foreign shareholders who are residents in a country with an income tax treaty with the United States may obtain different tax results than those described herein, and are urged to consult their tax advisors.

Special rules would apply if the Fund were a qualified investment entity (“QIE”) because it is either a “U.S. real property holding corporation” (“USRPHC”) or would be a USRPHC but for the operation of certain exceptions to the definition thereof. Very generally, a USRPHC is a domestic corporation that holds USRPIs the fair market value of which equals or exceeds 50% of the sum of the fair market values of the corporation’s USRPIs, interests in real property located outside the United States, and other trade or business assets. USRPIs are generally defined as any interest in U.S. real property and any interest (other than solely as a creditor) in a USRPHC or, very generally, an entity that has been a USRPHC in the last five years. The Fund that holds, directly or indirectly, significant interests in REITs may be a USRPHC. Interests in domestically controlled QIEs, including REITs and RICs that are QIEs, not-greater-than-10% interests in publicly traded classes of stock in REITs and not-greater-than-5% interests in publicly traded classes of stock in RICs generally are not USRPIs, but these exceptions do not apply for purposes of determining whether the Fund is a QIE. If an interest in the Fund were a USRPI, the Fund would be required to withhold U.S. tax on the proceeds of a share redemption by a greater-than-5% foreign shareholder, in which case such foreign shareholder generally would also be required to file U.S. tax returns and pay any additional taxes due in connection with the redemption.

If the Fund were a QIE under a special “look-through” rule, any distributions by the Fund to a foreign shareholder attributable directly or indirectly to (i) distributions received by the Fund from a lower-tier REIT that the Fund is required to treat as USRPI gain in its hands and (ii) gains realized on the disposition of USRPIs by the Fund, would retain their character as gains realized from USRPIs in the hands of the Fund’s foreign shareholders and would be subject to U.S. tax withholding. In addition, such distributions could result in the foreign shareholder being required to file a U.S. tax return and pay tax on the distributions at regular U.S. federal income tax rates. The consequences to a foreign shareholder, including the rate of such withholding and character of such distributions (e.g., as ordinary income or USRPI gain), would vary depending upon the extent of the foreign shareholder’s current and past ownership of the Fund. The Fund generally does not expect that it will be a QIE.

Foreign shareholders of the Fund also may be subject to “wash sale” rules to prevent the avoidance of the tax-filing and –payment obligations discussed above through the sale and repurchase of Fund shares.

Foreign shareholders should consult their tax advisers and, if holding shares through intermediaries, their intermediaries, concerning the application of these rules to their investment in the Fund.

In order for a foreign shareholder to qualify for any exemptions from withholding described above or from lower withholding tax rates under income tax treaties, or to establish an exemption from back back-up withholding, the foreign shareholder must comply with special certification and filing requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN, IRS Form W-8 BEN-E, or substitute form). Non-U.S. investors in the Fund should consult their tax advisers in this regard.

Special rules (including withholding and reporting requirements) apply to foreign partnerships and those holding Fund shares through foreign partnerships. Additional considerations may apply to foreign trusts and estates. Investors holding Fund shares through foreign entities should consult their tax advisers about their particular situation.

A foreign shareholder may be subject to state and local tax and to the U.S. federal estate tax in addition to the U.S. federal income tax on income referred to above.

Shareholder Reporting Obligations With Respect To Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts

Shareholders that are U.S. persons and own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of the Fund by vote or value could be required to report annually their “financial interest” in the Fund’s “foreign financial accounts,” if any, on FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”). Shareholders should consult a tax advisor, and persons investing in the Fund through an intermediary should contact their intermediary, regarding the applicability to them of this reporting requirement.

 

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Other Reporting and Withholding Requirements

Sections 1471-1474 of the Code and the U.S. Treasury and IRS guidance issued thereunder (collectively, “FATCA”) generally require the Fund to obtain information sufficient to identify the status of each of its shareholders under FATCA or under an applicable intergovernmental agreement (an “IGA”) between the United States and a foreign government. If a shareholder fails to provide the requested information or otherwise fails to comply with FATCA or an IGA, the Fund may be required to withhold under FATCA at a rate of 30% with respect to that shareholder on ordinary dividends it pays. The IRS and the Department of Treasury have issued proposed regulations providing that these withholding rules will not apply to the gross proceeds of share redemptions or Capital Gain Dividends the Portfolio pays. If a payment by the Fund is subject to FATCA withholding, the Fund is required to withhold even if such payment would otherwise be exempt from withholding under the rules applicable to foreign shareholders described above (e.g., short-term capital gain dividends and interest-related dividends).

Each prospective investor is urged to consult its tax adviser regarding the applicability of FATCA and any other reporting requirements with respect to the prospective investor’s own situation, including investments through an intermediary.

General Considerations

The U.S. federal income tax discussion set forth above is for general information only. Prospective investors should consult their tax advisers regarding the specific U.S. federal income tax consequences of purchasing, holding, and disposing of shares of the Fund, as well as the effects of state, local, foreign, and other tax laws and any proposed tax law changes.

UNDERWRITER

SSGA FD serves as the Fund’s distributor pursuant to the Distribution Agreement by and between SSGA FD and the Trust. Pursuant to the Distribution Agreement, the Fund pays SSGA FD fees under the Rule 12b-1 Plan in effect for the Fund. For a description of the fees paid to SSGA FD under the Rule 12b-1 Plan, see “Distribution Plans,” above. SSGA FD is not obligated to sell any specific number of shares and will sell shares of the Fund on a continuous basis only against orders to purchase shares. The principal business address of SSGA FD is One Iron Street, Boston, MA 02210.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

As of the date of this SAI, the Fund had not commenced operations and thus do not have audited financial statements.

 

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APPENDIX A

RATINGS OF DEBT INSTRUMENTS

MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC. (“MOODY’S”)

GLOBAL LONG-TERM RATING SCALE

Ratings assigned on Moody’s global long-term rating scale are forward-looking opinions of the relative credit risks of financial obligations issued by non-financial corporates, financial institutions, structured finance vehicles, project finance vehicles, and public sector entities. Long-term ratings are assigned to issuers or obligations with an original maturity of one year or more and reflect both on the likelihood of a default on contractually promised payments and the expected financial loss suffered in the event of default.

Aaa: Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.

Aa: Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.

A: Obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.

Baa: Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.

Ba: Obligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.

B: Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.

Caa: Obligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.

Ca: Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.

C: Obligations rated C are the lowest rated and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.

Note: Moody’s appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category. Additionally, a “(hyb)” indicator is appended to all ratings of hybrid securities issued by banks, insurers, finance companies, and securities firms.*

 

*

By their terms, hybrid securities allow for the omission of scheduled dividends, interest, or principal payments, which can potentially result in impairment if such an omission occurs. Hybrid securities may also be subject to contractually allowable write-downs of principal that could result in impairment. Together with the hybrid indicator, the long-term obligation rating assigned to a hybrid security is an expression of the relative credit risk associated with that security.

GLOBAL SHORT-TERM RATING SCALE

Ratings assigned on Moody’s global short-term rating scale are forward-looking opinions of the relative credit risks of financial obligations issued by non-financial corporates, financial institutions, structured finance vehicles, project finance vehicles, and public sector entities. Short-term ratings are assigned to obligations with an original maturity of thirteen months or less and reflect both on the likelihood of a default on contractually promised payments and the expected financial loss suffered in the event of default.

P-1: Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-1 have a superior ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

P-2: Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-2 have a strong ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

P-3: Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-3 have an acceptable ability to repay short-term obligations.

NP: Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Not Prime do not fall within any of the Prime rating categories.

 

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S&P GLOBAL RATINGS (“S&P”)

ISSUE CREDIT RATING DEFINITIONS

An S&P Global Ratings issue credit rating is a forward-looking opinion about the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a specific financial obligation, a specific class of financial obligations, or a specific financial program (including ratings on medium-term note programs and commercial paper programs). It takes into consideration the creditworthiness of guarantors, insurers, or other forms of credit enhancement on the obligation and takes into account the currency in which the obligation is denominated. The opinion reflects S&P Global Ratings’ view of the obligor’s capacity and willingness to meet its financial commitments as they come due, and this opinion may assess terms, such as collateral security and subordination, which could affect ultimate payment in the event of default.

Issue credit ratings can be either long-term or short-term. Short-term ratings are generally assigned to those obligations considered short-term in the relevant market. Short-term ratings are also used to indicate the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to put features on long-term obligations. Medium-term notes are assigned long-term ratings.

LONG-TERM ISSUE CREDIT RATINGS*

AAA: An obligation rated ‘AAA’ has the highest rating assigned by S&P Global Ratings. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is extremely strong.

AA: An obligation rated ‘AA’ differs from the highest-rated obligations only to a small degree. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is very strong.

A: An obligation rated ‘A’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher-rated categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is still strong.

BBB: An obligation rated ‘BBB’ exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

BB; B; CCC; CC; and C: Obligations rated ‘BB’, ‘B’, ‘CCC’, ‘CC’, and ‘C’ are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. ‘BB’ indicates the least degree of speculation and ‘C’ the highest. While such obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposure to adverse conditions.

BB: An obligation rated ‘BB’ is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions that could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

B: An obligation rated ‘B’ is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

CCC: An obligation rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitments on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

CC: An obligation rated ‘CC’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment. The ‘CC’ rating is used when a default has not yet occurred, but S&P Global Ratings expects default to be a virtual certainty, regardless of the anticipated time to default.

C: An obligation rated ‘C’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment, and the obligation is expected to have lower relative seniority or lower ultimate recovery compared with obligations that are rated higher.

D: An obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due, unless S&P Global Ratings believes that such payments will be made within five business days in the absence of a stated grace period or within the earlier of the stated grace period or 30 calendar days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. An obligation’s rating is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed exchange offer.

 

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NR: This indicates that no rating has been requested, or that there is insufficient information on which to base a rating, or that S&P Global Ratings does not rate a particular obligation as a matter of policy.

 

*

The ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.

SHORT-TERM ISSUE CREDIT RATINGS

A-1: A short-term obligation rated ‘A-1’ is rated in the highest category by S&P Global Ratings. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is strong. Within this category, certain obligations are designated with a plus sign (+). This indicates that the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on these obligations is extremely strong.

A-2: A short-term obligation rated ‘A-2’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rating categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is satisfactory.

A-3: A short-term obligation rated ‘A-3’ exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken an obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

B: A short-term obligation rated ‘B’ is regarded as vulnerable and has significant speculative characteristics. The obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments; however, it faces major ongoing uncertainties that could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments.

C: A short-term obligation rated ‘C’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

D: A short-term obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due, unless S&P Global Ratings believes that such payments will be made within any stated grace period. However, any stated grace period longer than five business days will be treated as five business days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of a similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. An obligation’s rating is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed exchange offer.

FITCH RATINGS. (“FITCH”)

ISSUER DEFAULT RATINGS

Rated entities in a number of sectors, including financial and non-financial corporations, sovereigns, insurance companies and certain sectors within public finance, are generally assigned Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs). IDRs are also assigned to certain entities in global infrastructure and project finance. IDRs opine on an entity’s relative vulnerability to default on financial obligations. The threshold default risk addressed by the IDR is generally that of the financial obligations whose non-payment would best reflect the uncured failure of that entity. As such, IDRs also address relative vulnerability to bankruptcy, administrative receivership or similar concepts.

In aggregate, IDRs provide an ordinal ranking of issuers based on the agency’s view of their relative vulnerability to default, rather than a prediction of a specific percentage likelihood of default.

AAA: Highest credit quality.

‘AAA’ ratings denote the lowest expectation of default risk. They are assigned only in cases of exceptionally strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is highly unlikely to be adversely affected by foreseeable events.

 

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AA: Very high credit quality.

‘AA’ ratings denote expectations of very low default risk. They indicate very strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is not significantly vulnerable to foreseeable events. A: High credit quality.

‘A’ ratings denote expectations of low default risk. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered strong. This capacity may, nevertheless, be more vulnerable to adverse business or economic conditions than is the case for higher ratings.

BBB: Good credit quality.

‘BBB’ ratings indicate that expectations of default risk are currently low. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate, but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity.

BB: Speculative.

‘BB’ ratings indicate an elevated vulnerability to default risk, particularly in the event of adverse changes in business or economic conditions over time; however, business or financial flexibility exists that supports the servicing of financial commitments.

B: Highly speculative.

‘B’ ratings indicate that material default risk is present, but a limited margin of safety remains. Financial commitments are currently being met; however, capacity for continued payment is vulnerable to deterioration in the business and economic environment.

CCC: Substantial credit risk.

Default is a real possibility.

CC: Very high levels of credit risk.

Default of some kind appears probable.

C: Near default

A default or default-like process has begun, or the issuer is in standstill, or for a closed funding vehicle, payment capacity is irrevocably impaired. Conditions that are indicative of a ‘C’ category rating for an issuer include:

 

a.

the issuer has entered into a grace or cure period following non-payment of a material financial obligation;

 

b.

the issuer has entered into a temporary negotiated waiver or standstill agreement following a payment default on a material financial obligation;

 

c.

the formal announcement by the issuer or their agent of a distressed debt exchange;

 

d.

a closed financing vehicle where payment capacity is irrevocably impaired such that it is not expected to pay interest and/or principal in full during the life of the transaction, but where no payment default is imminent.

RD: Restricted default.

‘RD’ ratings indicate an issuer that in Fitch’s opinion has experienced:

 

a.

an uncured payment default on a bond, loan or other material financial obligation, but

 

b.

has not entered into bankruptcy filings, administration, receivership, liquidation, or other formal winding-up procedure, and

 

c.

has not otherwise ceased operating.

This would include:

 

i.

the selective payment default on a specific class or currency of debt;

 

ii.

the uncured expiry of any applicable grace period, cure period or default forbearance period following a payment default on a bank loan, capital markets security or other material financial obligation;

 

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iii.

the extension of multiple waivers or forbearance periods upon a payment default on one or more material financial obligations, either in series or in parallel; ordinary execution of a distressed debt exchange on one or more material financial obligations.

D: Default.

‘D’ ratings indicate an issuer that in Fitch’s opinion has entered into bankruptcy filings, administration, receivership, liquidation or other formal winding-up procedure or that has otherwise ceased business.

Default ratings are not assigned prospectively to entities or their obligations; within this context, non-payment on an instrument that contains a deferral feature or grace period will generally not be considered a default until after the expiration of the deferral or grace period, unless a default is otherwise driven by bankruptcy or other similar circumstance, or by a distressed debt exchange.

In all cases, the assignment of a default rating reflects the agency’s opinion as to the most appropriate rating category consistent with the rest of its universe of ratings and may differ from the definition of default under the terms of an issuer’s financial obligations or local commercial practice.

SHORT-TERM RATINGS ASSIGNED TO ISSUERS AND OBLIGATIONS

A short-term issuer or obligation rating is based in all cases on the short-term vulnerability to default of the rated entity and relates to the capacity to meet financial obligations in accordance with the documentation governing the relevant obligation. Short-term deposit ratings may be adjusted for loss severity. Short-Term Ratings are assigned to obligations whose initial maturity is viewed as “short term” based on market convention. Typically, this means up to 13 months for corporate, sovereign, and structured obligations and up to 36 months for obligations in U.S. public finance markets.

F1: Highest Short-Term Credit Quality. Indicates the strongest intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments; may have an added “+” to denote any exceptionally strong credit feature.

F2: Good Short-Term Credit Quality. Good intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments.

F3: Fair Short-Term Credit Quality. The intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments is adequate.

B: Speculative Short-Term Credit Quality. Minimal capacity for timely payment of financial commitments, plus heightened vulnerability to near term adverse changes in financial and economic conditions.

C: High Short-Term Default risk. Default is a real possibility.

RD: Restricted Default. Indicates an entity that has defaulted on one or more of its financial commitments, although it continues to meet other financial obligations. Typically applicable to entity ratings only.

D: Default. Indicates a broad-based default event for an entity, or the default of a short-term obligation.

Note: The modifiers “+” or “-” may be appended to a rating to denote relative status within major rating categories. For example, the rating category ‘AA’ has three notch-specific rating levels (‘AA+’; ‘AA’; ‘AA-’; each a rating level). Such suffixes are not added to ‘AAA’ ratings. For corporate finance obligation ratings, they are not appended to rating categories below the ‘CCC’. For all other sectors/obligations, they are not assigned to rating categories below the ‘B’.

 

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APPENDIX B - TRUST’S PROXY VOTING PROCEDURES

SSGA FUNDS

STATE STREET MASTER FUNDS

STATE STREET INSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST

ELFUN GOVERNMENT MONEY MARKET FUND

ELFUN TAX-EXEMPT INCOME FUND

ELFUN INCOME FUND

ELFUN DIVERSIFIED FUND

ELFUN INTERNATIONAL EQUITY FUND

ELFUN TRUSTS

STATE STREET NAVIGATOR SECURITIES LENDING TRUST

STATE STREET INSTITUTIONAL FUNDS

STATE STREET VARIABLE INSURANCE SERIES FUNDS, INC. (THE “COMPANY”)1

PROXY VOTING POLICY AND PROCEDURES

As of September 20, 2017

The Board of Trustees/Directors of the Trust/Company (each series thereof, a “Fund”) have adopted the following policy and procedures with respect to voting proxies relating to portfolio securities held by the Trust/Company’s investment portfolios.

 

1.

Proxy Voting Policy

The policy of the Trust/Company is to delegate the responsibility for voting proxies relating to portfolio securities held by the Trust/Company to SSGA Funds Management, Inc., the Trust/Company’s investment adviser (the “Adviser”), subject to the Trustees/Directors’ continuing oversight.

 

2.

Fiduciary Duty

The right to vote proxies with respect to a portfolio security held by the Trust/Company is an asset of the Trust/Company. The Adviser acts as a fiduciary of the Trust/Company and must vote proxies in a manner consistent with the best interest of the Trust/Company and its shareholders.

 

3.

Proxy Voting Procedures

A. At least annually, the Adviser shall present to the Boards of Trustees/Directors its policies, procedures and other guidelines for voting proxies (“Policy”) and the policy of any Sub- adviser (as defined below) to which proxy voting authority has been delegated (see Section 9 below). In addition, the Adviser shall notify the Trustees/Directors of material changes to its Policy or the policy of any Sub-adviser promptly and not later than the next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees/Directors after such amendment is implemented.

B. At least annually, the Adviser shall present to the Boards of Trustees/Directors its policy for managing conflicts of interests that may arise through the Adviser’s proxy voting activities. In addition, the Adviser shall report any Policy overrides involving portfolio securities held by a Fund to the Trustees/Directors at the next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees/Directors after such override(s) occur.

 

1

Unless otherwise noted, the singular term “Trust/Company” used throughout this document means each of SSGA Funds, State Street Master Funds, State Street Institutional Investment Trust, State Street Navigator Securities Lending Trust, Elfun Government Money Market Fund, Elfun Tax-Exempt Income Fund, Elfun Income Fund, Elfun Diversified Fund, Elfun International Equity Fund, Elfun Trusts, State Street Institutional Funds, and State Street Variable Insurance Series Funds, Inc.

 

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C. At least annually, the Adviser shall inform the Trustees/Director that a record is available with respect to each proxy voted with respect to portfolio securities of the Trust/Company during the year. Also see Section 5 below.

 

4.

Revocation of Authority to Vote

The delegation by the Trustees/Directors of the authority to vote proxies relating to portfolio securities of the Trust/Company may be revoked by the Trustees/Directors, in whole or in part, at any time.

 

5.

Annual Filing of Proxy Voting Record

The Adviser shall provide the required data for each proxy voted with respect to portfolio securities of the Trust/Company to the Trust/Company or its designated service provider in a timely manner and in a format acceptable to be filed in the Trust/Company’s annual proxy voting report on Form N-PX for the twelve-month period ended June 30. Form N-PX is required to be filed not later than August 31 of each year.

 

6.

Retention and Oversight of Proxy Advisory Firms

A. In considering whether to retain or continue retaining a particular proxy advisory firm, the Adviser will ascertain whether the proxy advisory firm has the capacity and competency to adequately analyze proxy issues, act as proxy voting agent as requested, and implement the Policy. In this regard, the Adviser will consider, at least annually, among other things, the adequacy and quality of the proxy advisory firm’s staffing and personnel and the robustness of its policies and procedures regarding its ability to identify and address any conflicts of interest. The Adviser shall, at least annually, report to Boards of Trustees/Directors regarding the results of this review.

B. The Adviser will request quarterly and annual reporting from any proxy advisory firm retained by the Adviser, and hold ad hoc meetings with such proxy advisory firm, in order to determine whether there has been any business changes that might impact the proxy advisory firm’s capacity or competency to provide proxy voting advice or services or changes to the proxy advisory firm’s conflicts policies or procedures. The Adviser will also take reasonable steps to investigate any material factual error, notified to the Adviser by the proxy advisory firm or identified by the Adviser, made by the proxy advisory firm in providing proxy voting services.

 

7.

Periodic Sampling

The Adviser will periodically sample proxy votes to review whether they complied with the Policy. The Adviser shall, at least annually, report to the Boards of Trustees/Directors regarding the frequency and results of the sampling performed.

 

8.

Disclosures

 

  A.

The Trust/Company shall include in its registration statement:

1. A description of this policy and of the policies and procedures used by the Adviser to determine how to vote proxies relating to portfolio securities; and

1. A statement disclosing that information regarding how the Trust/Company voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent twelve-month period ended June 30 is available without charge, upon request, by calling the Trust/Company’s toll-free telephone number; or through a specified Internet address; or both; and on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (the “SEC”) website.

 

  B.

The Trust/Company shall include in its annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders:

1. A statement disclosing that a description of the policies and procedures used by or on behalf of the Trust/Company to determine how to vote proxies relating to portfolio securities of the Funds is available without charge, upon request, by calling the Trust/Company’s toll-free telephone number; through a specified Internet address, if applicable; and on the SEC’s website; and

 

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2. A statement disclosing that information regarding how the Trust/Company voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent twelve-month period ended June 30 is available without charge, upon request, by calling the Trust/Company’s toll-free telephone number; or through a specified Internet address; or both; and on the SEC’s website.

 

9.

Sub-Advisers

For certain Funds, the Adviser may retain investment management firms (“Sub-advisers”) to provide day-to-day investment management services to the Funds pursuant to sub-advisory agreements. It is the policy of the Trust/Company that the Adviser may delegate proxy voting authority with respect to a Fund to a Sub-adviser. Pursuant to such delegation, a Sub-adviser is authorized to vote proxies on behalf of the applicable Fund or Funds for which it serves as sub-adviser, in accordance with the Sub-adviser’s proxy voting policies and procedures.

 

10.

Review of Policy

The Trustees/Directors shall review this policy to determine its continued sufficiency as necessary from time to time.

 

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APPENDIX C - ADVISER’S PROXY VOTING PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES

March 2019

Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles

State Street Global Advisors, one of the industry’s largest institutional asset managers, is the investment management arm of State Street Corporation, a leading provider of financial services to institutional investors. As an investment manager, State Street Global Advisors has discretionary proxy voting authority over most of its client accounts, and State Street Global Advisors votes these proxies in the manner that we believe will most likely protect and promote the long-term economic value of client investments as described in this documenti.

 

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Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles

 

State Street Global Advisors maintains Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines for select markets, including: Australia, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, North America (Canada and the US), the UK and Ireland, and emerging markets. International markets not covered by our market-specific guidelines are reviewed and voted in a manner that is consistent with our Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles; however, State Street Global Advisors also endeavors to show sensitivity to local market practices when voting in these various markets.

State Street Global Advisors’ Approach to Proxy Voting and Issuer Engagement

At State Street Global Advisors, we take our fiduciary duties as an asset manager very seriously. We have a dedicated team of corporate governance professionals who help us carry out our duties as a responsible investor. These duties include engaging with companies, developing and enhancing in-house corporate governance guidelines, analyzing corporate governance issues on a case-by-case basis at the company level, and exercising our voting rights. The underlying goal is to maximize shareholder value.

Our Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles (the “Principles”) may take different perspectives on common governance issues that vary from one market to another. Similarly, engagement activity may take different forms in order to best achieve long-term engagement goals. We believe that proxy voting and engagement with portfolio companies is often the most direct and productive way for shareholders to exercise their ownership rights. This comprehensive toolkit is an integral part of the overall investment process.

We believe engagement and voting activity have a direct relationship. As a result the integration of our engagement activities, while leveraging the exercise of our voting rights, provides a meaningful shareholder tool that we believe protects and enhances the long-term economic value of the holdings in our client accounts. We maximize our voting power and engagement by maintaining a centralized proxy voting and active ownership process covering all holdings, regardless of strategy. Despite the vast investment strategies and objectives across State Street Global Advisors, the fiduciary responsibilities of share ownership and voting for which State Street Global Advisors has voting discretion are carried out with a single voice and objective.

The Principles support governance structures that we believe add to, or maximize shareholder value, for the companies held in our clients’ portfolios. We conduct issuer specific engagements with companies to discuss

our principles, including sustainability related risks. In addition we encourage issuers to find ways to increase the amount of direct communication board members have with shareholders. Direct communication with executive board members and independent non-executive directors is critical to helping companies understand shareholder concerns. Conversely, we conduct collaborative engagement activities with multiple shareholders and communicate with company representatives about common concerns where appropriate.

In conducting our engagements, we also evaluate the various factors that influence the corporate governance framework of a country, including the macroeconomic conditions and broader political system, the quality of regulatory oversight, the enforcement of property and shareholder rights, and the independence of the judiciary. We understand that regulatory requirements and investor expectations relating to governance practices and engagement activities differ from country-to-country. As a result, we engage with issuers, regulators, or a combination of the two depending upon the market. We are also a member of various investor associations that seek to address broader corporate governance related policy at the country level as well as issuer specific concerns at a company level.

The State Street Global Advisors Asset Stewardship Team may collaborate with members of the Active Fundamental and various other investment teams to engage with companies on corporate governance issues and to address any specific concerns. This facilitates our comprehensive approach to information gathering as it relates to shareholder items that are to be voted upon at upcoming shareholder meetings. We also conduct issuer- specific engagements with companies covering various corporate governance and sustainability related topics outside of proxy season.

The Asset Stewardship Team employs a blend of quantitative and qualitative research, analysis, and data in order to support screens that identify issuers where active engagement may be necessary to protect and promote shareholder value. Issuer engagement may also be event driven, focusing on issuer-specific corporate governance, sustainability concerns, or more broad industry-related trends. We also give consideration to the size of our total position of the issuer in question and/or the potential negative governance, performance profile, and circumstance at hand. As a result, we believe issuer engagement can take many forms and be triggered by numerous circumstances. The following approaches represent how we define engagement methods:

 

 

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Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles

 

Active

We use screening tools designed to capture a mix of company specific data including governance and sustainability profiles to help us focus our voting and engagement activity.

We will actively seek direct dialogue with the board and management of companies that we have identified through our screening processes. Such engagements may lead to further monitoring to ensure that the company improves its governance or sustainability practices. In these cases, the engagement process represents the most meaningful opportunity for us to protect long-term shareholder value from excessive risk due to poor governance and sustainability practices.

Reactive

Reactive engagement is initiated by the issuers. We routinely discuss specific voting issues and items with the issuer community. Reactive engagement is an opportunity to address not only voting items, but also a wide range of governance and sustainability issues.

We have established an engagement protocol that further describes our approach to issuer engagement.

Measurement

Assessing the effectiveness of our issuer engagement process is often difficult. In order to limit the subjectivity of effectiveness measurement, we actively seek issuer feedback and monitor the actions issuers take post-engagement in order to identify tangible changes. Thus we are able to establish indicators to gauge how issuers respond to our concerns and to what degree these responses satisfy our requests. It is also important to note that successful engagement activity can be measured over differing time periods depending upon the relevant facts and circumstances. Engagements can last as briefly as a single meeting or span multiple years.

Depending upon the issue and whether the engagement activity is reactive, recurring, or active, engagement with issuers can take the form of written communication, conference calls, or in-person meetings. We believe active engagement is best conducted directly with company management or board members. Collaborative engagement, where multiple shareholders communicate with company representatives, can serve as a potential forum for issues that are not identified by us as requiring active engagement. An example of such a forum is a shareholder conference call.

Proxy Voting Procedure

Oversight

The Asset Stewardship Team is responsible for developing and implementing the Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), case-by-case voting items, issuer engagement activities, and research and analysis of governance-related issues. The implementation of the Guidelines is overseen by the State Street Global Advisors Global Proxy Review Committee (“PRC”), a committee of investment, compliance and legal professionals, who provide guidance on proxy issues as described in greater detail below. Oversight of the proxy voting process is ultimately the responsibility of the State Street Global Advisors Investment Committee (“IC”). The IC reviews and approves amendments to the Guidelines. The PRC reports to the IC, and may refer certain significant proxy items to that committee.

Proxy Voting Process

In order to facilitate our proxy voting process, we retain Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”), a firm with expertise in proxy voting and corporate governance. We utilize ISS’s services in three ways: (1) as our proxy voting agent (providing State Street Global Advisors with vote execution and administration services), (2) for applying the Guidelines, and (3) as providers of research and analysis relating to general corporate governance issues and specific proxy items.

The Asset Stewardship Team reviews the Guidelines with ISS on an annual basis or on a case-by-case basis. On most routine proxy voting items (e.g., ratification of auditors), ISS will affect the proxy votes in accordance with the Guidelines.

In other cases, the Asset Stewardship Team will evaluate the proxy solicitation to determine how to vote based upon facts, circumstances consistency with our Principles and accompanying Guidelines.

In some instances, the Asset Stewardship Team may refer significant issues to the PRC for a determination of the proxy vote. In addition, in determining whether to refer a proxy vote to the PRC, the Asset Stewardship Team will consider whether a material conflict of interest exists between the interests of our client and those of State Street Global Advisors or its affiliates (as explained in greater detail in our Conflict Mitigation Guidelines).

 

 

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Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles

 

We vote in all markets where it is feasible; however, we may refrain from voting meetings when power of attorney documentation is required, where voting will have a material impact on our ability to trade the security, where issuer-specific special documentation is required, or where various market or issuer certifications are required. We are unable to vote proxies when certain custodians, used by our clients, do not offer proxy voting in a jurisdiction or when they charge a meeting specific fee in excess of the typical custody service agreement.

Conflict of Interest

See our standalone Conflict Mitigation Guidelines.

Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles

Directors and Boards

The election of directors is one of the most important fiduciary duties we perform as a shareholder. We believe that well-governed companies can protect and pursue shareholder interests better and withstand the challenges of an uncertain economic environment. As such we seek to vote director elections in a way that we believe will maximize the long-term value of each portfolio’s holdings.

Principally a board acts on behalf of shareholders by protecting their interests and preserving their rights. This concept establishes the standard by which board and director performance is measured. In order to achieve this fundamental principle, the role of the board is to carry out its responsibilities in the best long-term interest of the company and its shareholders. An independent and effective board oversees management, provides guidance on strategic matters, selects the CEO and other senior executives, creates a succession plan for the board and management, provides risk oversight, and assesses the performance of the CEO and management. In contrast, management implements the business and capital allocation strategies and runs the company’s day-to-day operations. As part of our engagement process, we routinely discuss the importance of these responsibilities with the boards of issuers.

We believe the quality of a board is a measure of director independence, director succession planning, board diversity, evaluations and refreshment, and company governance practices. In voting to elect nominees, we consider many factors. We believe independent directors are crucial to good corporate governance; they help management establish sound corporate governance policies and practices. A sufficiently independent board will effectively monitor management, maintain appropriate governance practices, and perform oversight functions necessary to protect

shareholder interests. We also believe the right mix of skills, independence, diversity, and qualifications among directors provides boards with the knowledge and direct experience to manage risks and operating structures that are often complex and industry-specific.

Accounting and Audit-Related Issues

We believe audit committees are critical and necessary as part of the board’s risk oversight role. The audit committee is responsible for setting out an internal audit function that provides robust audit and internal control systems designed to effectively manage potential and emerging risks to the company’s operations and strategy. We believe audit committees should have independent directors as members, and we will hold the members of the audit committee responsible for overseeing the management of the audit function.

The disclosure and availability of reliable financial statements in a timely manner is imperative for the investment process. As a result board oversight of the internal controls and the independence of the audit process are essential if investors are to rely upon financial statements. It is important for the audit committee to appoint external auditors who are independent from management; we expect auditors to provide assurance of a company’s financial condition.

Capital Structure, Reorganization and Mergers

The ability to raise capital is critical for companies to carry out strategy, to grow, and to achieve returns above their cost of capital. The approval of capital raising activities is fundamental to a shareholder’s ability to monitor the amounts of proceeds and to ensure capital is deployed efficiently. Altering the capital structure of a company is a critical decision for boards. When making such a decision we believe the company should disclose a comprehensive business rationale that is consistent with corporate strategy and not overly dilutive to its shareholders.

Mergers or reorganization of the structure of a company often involve proposals relating to reincorporation, restructurings, liquidations, and other major changes to the corporation.

Proposals that are in the best interests of shareholders, demonstrated by enhancing share value or improving the effectiveness of the company’s operations, will be supported. In evaluating mergers and acquisitions, we consider the adequacy of the consideration and the impact of the corporate governance provisions to shareholders. In all cases, we use our discretion in order to maximize shareholder value.

 

 

 

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Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles

 

Occasionally, companies add anti-takeover provisions that reduce the chances of a potential acquirer to make an offer, or to reduce the likelihood of a successful offer. We do not support proposals that reduce shareholders’ rights, entrench management, or reduce the likelihood of shareholders’ right to vote on reasonable offers.

Compensation

We consider the board’s responsibility to include identifying the appropriate level of executive compensation. Despite the differences among the types of plans and the awards possible, there is a simple underlying philosophy that guides our analysis of executive compensation; we believe that there should be a direct relationship between executive compensation and company performance over the long term.

Shareholders should have the opportunity to assess whether pay structures and levels are aligned with business performance. When assessing remuneration reports, we consider factors such as adequate disclosure of various remuneration elements, absolute and relative pay levels, peer selection and benchmarking, the mix of long-term and short-term incentives, alignment of pay structures with shareholder interests, as well as with corporate strategy and performance. We may oppose remuneration reports where pay seems misaligned with shareholders’ interests. We may also consider executive compensation practices when re-electing members of the remuneration committee.

We recognize that compensation policies and practices are unique from market to market; often there are significant differences between the level of disclosures, the amount and forms of compensation paid, and the ability of shareholders to approve executive compensation practices. As a result, our ability to assess the appropriateness of executive compensation is often dependent on market practices and laws.

Environmental and Social Issues

As a fiduciary, State Street Global Advisors takes a comprehensive approach to engaging with our portfolio companies about material environmental and social (sustainability) issues. We use our voice and our vote through engagement, proxy voting, and thought leadership in order to communicate with issuers and educate market participants about our perspective on important sustainability topics. Our Asset Stewardship program prioritization process allows us to proactively identify companies for engagement and voting in order to mitigate sustainability risks in our portfolio. Through engagement, we address a broad range of topics that align with our thematic priorities and build long-term relationships with issuers. When voting, we fundamentally consider whether the adoption of a shareholder proposal addressing a material

sustainability issue would promote long-term shareholder value in the context of the company’s existing practices and disclosures as well as existing market practice.

For more information on our approach to environmental and social issues, please see our Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines for Environmental and Social Issues available at ssga.com/about-us/asset-stewardship.html.

General/Routine

Although we do not seek involvement in the day-to-day operations of an organization, we recognize the need for conscientious oversight and input into management decisions that may affect a company’s value. We support proposals that encourage economically advantageous corporate practices and governance, while leaving decisions that are deemed to be routine or constitute ordinary business to management and the board of directors.

Fixed Income Stewardship

The two elements of our fixed income stewardship program are:

Proxy Voting:

While matters that arise for a vote at bondholder meetings vary by jurisdiction, examples of common proxy voting resolutions at bondholder meetings include:

 

    Approving amendments to debt covenants and/or terms of issuance

 

    Authorizing procedural matters, such as filing of required documents/other formalities

 

    Approving debt restructuring plans

 

    Abstaining from challenging the bankruptcy trustees

 

    Authorizing repurchase of issued debt security

 

    Approving the placement of unissued debt securities under the control of directors

 

    Approving spin-off/absorption proposals

Given the nature of the items that arise for vote at bondholder meetings, we take a case-by-case approach to voting bondholder resolutions. Where necessary, we will engage with issuers on voting matters prior to arriving at voting decisions. All voting decisions will be made in the best interest of our clients.

Issuer Engagement:

We recognize that debt holders have limited leverage with companies on a day-to-day basis. However, we believe that given the size of our holdings in corporate debt, we can meaningfully influence ESG practices of companies through issuer engagement. Our guidelines for engagement with fixed income issuers broadly follow the engagement guidelines for our equity holdings as described above.

 

 

 

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Securities on Loan

For funds in which we act as trustee, we may recall securities in instances where we believe that a particular vote will have a material impact on the fund(s). Several factors shape this process. First, we must receive notice of the vote in sufficient time to recall the shares on or before the record date. In many cases, we do not receive timely notice, and we are unable to recall the shares on or before the record date. Second, State Street Global Advisors may exercise its discretion and recall shares if it believes that the benefit of voting shares will outweigh the foregone lending income. This determination requires State Street Global Advisors, with the information available at the time, to form judgments about events or outcomes that are difficult

to quantify. Given our expertise and vast experience, we believe that the recall of securities will rarely provide an economic benefit that outweighs the cost of the foregone lending income.

Reporting

Any client who wishes to receive information on how its proxies were voted should contact its State Street Global Advisors relationship manager.

 

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These Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines are also applicable to State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc. State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc., State Street Global Advisors Trust Company, and other advisory affiliates of State Street make up State Street Global Advisors, the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.

 

 

 

ssga.com

State Street Global Advisors Worldwide Entities

Abu Dhabi: State Street Global Advisors Limited, Middle East Branch, 42801, 28, Al Khatem Tower, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Mayah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority. T: +971 2 245 9000. Australia: State Street Global Advisors, Australia, Limited (ABN 42 003 914 225) is the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number 238276). Registered office: Level 17, 420 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia T: +612 9240 7600. F: +612 9240 7611. Belgium: State Street Global Advisors Belgium, Chaussée de La Hulpe 120, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. T: 32 2 663 2036, F: 32 2 672 2077. SSGA Belgium is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Limited. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Canada: State Street Global Advisors, Ltd., 770 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1200 Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1G1, T: +514 282 2400 and 30 Adelaide Street East Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G6. T: +647 775 5900. Dubai: State Street Global Advisors Limited, DIFC Branch, Central Park Towers, Suite 15-38 (15th floor), P.O Box 26838, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). T: +971 (0)4 4372800, F: +971 (0)4 4372818. France: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris branch is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris Branch, is registered in France with company number RCS Nanterre 832 734 602 and whose office is at Immeuble Défense Plaza, 23-25 rue Delarivière-Lefoullon, 92064 Paris La Défense Cedex, France. T: (+33) 1 44 45 40 00. F: (+33) 1 44 45 41 92. Germany: State Street Global Advisors GmbH, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Authorized and regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (“BaFin”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Munich HRB 121381. T: +49 (0)89 55878 400. F: +49 (0)89 55878 440. Hong Kong: State Street Global Advisors Asia Limited, 68/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong. T: +852 2103-0288. F: +852 2103 0200. Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John

Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Italy: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano), is registered in Italy with company number 10495250960 - R.E.A. 2535585 and VAT number 10495250960and whose office is at Via dei Bossi, 4 - 20121 Milano, Italy. T: +39 02 32066 100. F: +39 02 32066 155. Japan: State Street Global Advisors (Japan) Co., Ltd., Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 25F 1-23-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-6325 Japan, T: +81-3-4530-7380 Financial Instruments Business Operator, Kanto Local Financial Bureau (Kinsho #345) , Membership: Japan Investment Advisers Association, The Investment Trust Association, Japan, Japan Securities Dealers’ Association. Netherlands: State Street Global Advisors Netherlands, Apollo Building, 7th floor Herikerbergweg 29 1101 CN Amsterdam, Netherlands. Telephone: 31 20 7181701. SSGA Netherlands is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Singapore: State Street Global Advisors Singapore Limited, 168, Robinson Road, #33-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912 (Company Reg. No: 200002719D, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore). Telephone: +65 6826 7555. F: +65 6826 7501. Switzerland: State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstr. 19, CH-8027 Zurich. Authorized and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht (“FINMA”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Zurich CHE-105.078.458. T: +41 (0)44 245 70 00. Facsimile F: +41 (0)44 245 70 16. United Kingdom: State Street Global Advisors Limited. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 2509928. VAT No. 5776591 81. Registered office: 20 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HJ. T: 020 3395 6000. F: 020 3395 6350. United States: State Street Global Advisors, One Iron Street, Boston MA 02210. T: +1 617 786 3000.

Investing involves risk including the risk of loss of principal.

The whole or any part of this work may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without State Street Global Advisor’s express written consent.

 

 

 

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March 2019

2019 State Street Global Advisors Conflict Mitigation Guidelines

State Street Corporation has a comprehensive standalone Conflicts of Interest Policy and other policies that address a range of conflicts of interests identified. In addition, State Street Global Advisors, the asset management business of State Street Corporation, maintains a conflicts register that identifies key conflicts and describes systems in place to mitigate the conflicts. This guidance1 is designed to act in conjunction with related policies and practices employed by other groups within the organization. Further, they complement those policies and practices by providing specific guidance on managing the conflicts of interests that may arise through State Street Global Advisors’ proxy voting and engagement activities.

 

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2019 State Street Global Advisors Conflict Mitigation Guidelines

 

 

Managing Conflicts of Interest Related to Proxy Voting

State Street Global Advisors has policies and procedures designed to prevent undue influence on State Street Global Advisors’ voting activities that may arise from relationships between proxy issuers or companies and State Street Corporation, State Street Global Advisors, State Street Global Advisors affiliates, State Street Global Advisors Funds or State Street Global Advisors Fund affiliates.

Protocols designed to help mitigate potential conflicts of interest include:

 

    Providing sole voting discretion to members of State Street Global Advisors’ Asset Stewardship team. Members of the Asset Stewardship team may from time to time discuss views on proxy voting matters, company performance, strategy etc. with other State Street Corporation or State Street Global Advisors employees including portfolio managers, senior executives and relationship managers. However, final voting decisions are made solely by the Asset Stewardship team, in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of all clients, taking into account various perspectives on risks and opportunities with a view of maximizing the value of client assets;

 

    Exercising a singular vote decision for each ballot item regardless of our investment strategy;

 

    Prohibiting members of State Street Global Advisors’ Asset Stewardship team from disclosing State Street Global Advisors’ voting decision to any individual not affiliated with the proxy voting process prior to the meeting or date of written consent, as the case may be;

 

    Mandatory disclosure by members of the State Street Global Advisors’ Asset Stewardship team, Global Proxy Review Committee (“PRC”) and Investment Committee (“IC”) of any personal conflict of interest (e.g., familial relationship with company management, serves as a director on the board of a listed company) to the Head of the Asset Stewardship team. Members are required to recuse themselves from any engagement or proxy voting activities related to the conflict;
    In certain instances, client accounts and/or State Street Global Advisors pooled funds, where State Street Global Advisors acts as trustee, may hold shares in State Street Corporation or other State Street Global Advisors affiliated entities, such as mutual funds affiliated with State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc. In general, State Street Global Advisors will outsource any voting decision relating to a shareholder meeting of State Street Corporation or other State Street Global Advisors affiliated entities to independent outside third parties. Delegated third parties exercise vote decisions based upon State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines (“Guidelines”); and

 

    Reporting of voting guideline overrides, if any, to the PRC on a quarterly basis.

In general, we do not believe matters that fall within the Guidelines and are voted consistently with the Guidelines present any potential conflicts, since the vote on the matter has effectively been determined without reference to the soliciting entity. However, where matters do not fall within the Guidelines or where we believe that voting in accordance with the Guidelines is unwarranted, we conduct an additional review to determine whether there is a conflict of interest. In circumstances where a conflict has been identified and either: (i) the matter does not fall clearly within the Guidelines; or (ii) State Street Global Advisors determines that voting in accordance with such guidance is not in the best interests of its clients, the Head of the Asset Stewardship team will determine whether a material relationship exists. If so, the matter is referred to the PRC. The PRC then reviews the matter and determines whether a conflict of interest exists, and if so, how to best resolve such conflict. For example, the PRC may (i) determine that the proxy vote does not give rise to a conflict due to the issues presented, (ii) refer the matter to the IC for further evaluation or (iii) retain an independent fiduciary to determine the appropriate vote.

 

1 

These Managing Conflicts of Interest Arising From State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Activity Guidelines are also applicable to State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc. State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc., State Street Global Advisors Trust Company, and other advisory affiliates of State Street make up State Street Global Advisors, the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.

 

 

State Street Global Advisors

 

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ssga.com

 

State Street Global Advisors Worldwide Entities

Abu Dhabi: State Street Global Advisors Limited, Middle East Branch, 42801, 28, Al Khatem Tower, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Mayah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. T: +971 2 245 9000. Australia: State Street Global Advisors, Australia, Limited (ABN 42 003 914 225) is the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number 238276). Registered office: Level 17, 420 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia. T: +612 9240 7600. F: +612 9240 7611.

Belgium: State Street Global Advisors Belgium, Chaussée de La Hulpe 120, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. T: 32 2 663 2036. F: 32 2 672 2077. SSGA Belgium is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Limited. State Street Global Advisors Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom. Canada: State Street Global Advisors, Ltd., 770 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1200 Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1G1, T: +514 282 2400 and 30 Adelaide Street East Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G6. T: +647 775 5900. Dubai: State Street Global Advisors Limited, DIFC Branch, Central Park Towers, Suite 15 -38 (15th floor), P.O Box 26838, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). T: +971 (0)4-4372800. France: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris branch is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris Branch, is registered in France with company number RCS Nanterre 832 734 602 and whose office is at Immeuble Défense Plaza, 23-25 rue Delarivière-Lefoullon, 92064 Paris La Défense Cedex, France. T: (+33) 1 44 45 40 00. F: (+33) 1 44 45 41 92. Germany: State Street Global Advisors GmbH, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Authorized and regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (“BaFin”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Munich HRB 121381. T: +49 (0)89 55878 400. F: +49 (0)89 55878 440. Hong Kong: State Street Global Advisors Asia Limited, 68/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong. T: +852 2103 0288. F: +852 2103 0200. Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of

Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Italy: State Street Global Advisors Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Limited, a company registered in the UK, authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA ), with a capital of GBP 62,350,000, and whose registered office is at 20 Churchill Place, London E14 5HJ. State Street Global Advisors Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano), is registered in Italy with company number 06353340968 - R.E.A. 1887090 and VAT number 06353340968 and whose office is at Via dei Bossi, 4 - 20121 Milano, Italy. T: 39 02 32066 100. F: 39 02 32066 155. Japan: State Street Global Advisors (Japan) Co., Ltd., Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 25F 1-23-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-6325 Japan, T: +81-3-4530-7380 Financial Instruments Business Operator, Kanto Local Financial Bureau (Kinsho #345) , Membership: Japan Investment Advisers Association, The Investment Trust Association, Japan, Japan Securities Dealers’ Association. Netherlands: State Street Global Advisors Netherlands, Apollo Building, 7th floor Herikerbergweg 29 1101 CN Amsterdam, Netherlands. T: 31 20 7181701. SSGA Netherlands is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Limited. State Street Global Advisors Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom. Singapore: State Street Global Advisors Singapore Limited, 168, Robinson Road, #33-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912 (Company Reg. No: 200002719D, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore). T: +65 6826 7555. F: +65 6826 7501. Switzerland: State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstr. 19, CH-8027 Zurich. Authorized and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht (“FINMA”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Zurich CHE-105.078.458. T: +41 (0)44 245 70 00. F: +41 (0)44 245 70 16. United Kingdom: State Street Global Advisors Limited. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 2509928. VAT No. 5776591 81. Registered office: 20 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HJ. T: 020 33 95 6000. F: 020 3395 6350. United States: State Street Global Advisors, One Iron Street, Boston MA 02210. T: +1 617 786 3000.

The whole or any part of this work may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without SSGA’s express written consent.

 

 

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© 2019 State Street Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

ID15922 0319 Exp. Date: 03/31/2020


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Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines for Environmental and Social Issues

 

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Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines for Environmental and Social Issues

 

Overview

Our primary fiduciary obligation to our clients is to maximize the long-term returns of their investments. It is our view that material environmental and social (sustainability) issues can both create risk as well as generate long-term value in our portfolios. This philosophy provides the foundation for our value-based approach to Asset Stewardship.

We use our voice and our vote through engagement, proxy voting, and thought leadership in order to communicate with issuers and educate market participants about our perspective on important sustainability topics. Our Asset Stewardship program prioritization process allows us to proactively identify companies for engagement and voting in order to mitigate sustainability risks in our portfolio.

Through engagement, we address a broad range of topics that align with our thematic priorities and build long-term relationships with issuers. Engagements are often multi- year exercises. We share our views of key topics and also seek to understand the disclosure and practices of issuers. We leverage our long-term relationship with companies to effect change. Voting on sustainability issues is mainly driven through shareholder proposals. However, we may take voting action against directors even in the absence of shareholder proposals for unaddressed concerns pertaining to sustainability matters.

In this document we provide additional transparency into our approach to engagement and voting on sustainability- related matters.

Our Approach to Assessing Materiality and Relevance of Sustainability Issues

While we believe that sustainability-related factors can expose potential investment risks as well as drive long-term value creation, the materiality of specific sustainability issues varies from industry to industry and company by company. With this in mind, we leverage several distinct frameworks as well as additional resources to inform our views on the materiality of a sustainability issue at a given company including:

 

    The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Materiality Map

 

    The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Framework

 

    Disclosure expectations in a company’s given regulatory environment

 

    Market expectations for the sector and industry

 

    Other existing third party frameworks, such as the CDP (formally the Carbon Disclosure Project)

 

    Our proprietary R-Factor1 score

We expect companies to disclose information regarding their approach to identifying material sustainability-related risks and the management policies and practices in place to address such issues. We support efforts by companies to demonstrate the ways in which sustainability is incorporated into operations, business activities, and most importantly, long-term business strategy.

Approach to Engagement on Sustainability Issues

State Street Global Advisors holds more than 12,000 listed equities across its global portfolios. The success of our engagement process is due to our ability to prioritize and optimally allocate resources. Our approach is driven by:

1) Proprietary Screens

We have developed proprietary in-house sustainability screens to help identify companies for proactive engagement. These screens leverage our proprietary R-Factor score to identify sector and industry outliers for engagement and voting on sustainability issues.

2) Thematic Prioritization

As part of our annual stewardship planning process we identify thematic sustainability priorities that will be addressed during most engagement meetings. We develop our priorities based upon several factors, including client feedback, emerging sustainability trends, developing macroeconomic conditions, and evolving regulations. These engagements not only inform our voting decisions but also allow us to monitor improvement over time and to contribute to our evolving perspectives on priority areas. Insights from these engagements are shared with clients through our publicly available Annual Stewardship Report.

Voting on Sustainability Proposals

Historically, shareholder proposals addressing sustainability-related topics have been most common in the U.S. and Japanese markets. However, we have observed such proposals being filed in additional markets, including Australia, the UK, and continental Europe.

Agnostic of market, sustainability-related shareholder proposals address diverse topics and typically ask companies to either improve sustainability-related disclosure or enhance their practices. Common topics for sustainability-related shareholder proposals include:

 

    Climate-related issues

 

    Sustainable practices

 

    Gender equity

 

    Campaign contributions and lobbying

 

    Labor and human rights

 

    Animal welfare
 

 

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We take a case-by-case approach to voting on shareholder proposals related to sustainability topics and consider the following when reaching a final vote decision:

 

    The materiality of the sustainability topic in the proposal to the company’s business and sector (see “Our Approach to Assessing Materiality and Relevance of Sustainability Issues” above)

 

    The content and intent of the proposal

 

    Whether the adoption of such a proposal would promote long-term shareholder value in the context of the company’s disclosure and practices

 

    The level of board involvement in the oversight of the company’s sustainability practices

 

    Quality of engagement and responsiveness to our feedback

 

    Binding nature of proposal or prescriptiveness of proposal

Vote Options for Sustainability- Related Proposals

 

    State Street Global Advisors votes For (support for proposal) if the issue is material and the company has poor disclosure and/or practices relative to our expectations.

 

    State Street Global Advisors votes Abstain (some reservations) if the issue is material and the company’s disclosure and/or practices could be improved relative to our expectations.

 

    State Street Global Advisors votes Against (no support for proposal) if the issue is non-material and/or the company’s disclosure and/or practices meet our expectations.

 

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State Street Global Advisors’ proprietary scoring model, which aligns with SASB’s materiality map.

 

 

ssga.com

 

State Street Global Advisors Worldwide Entities

Abu Dhabi: State Street Global Advisors Limited, Middle East Branch, 42801, 28, Al Khatem Tower, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Mayah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority. T: +971 2 245 9000. Australia: State Street Global Advisors, Australia, Limited (ABN 42 003 914 225) is the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number 238276). Registered office: Level 17, 420 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia T: +612 9240 7600. F: +612 9240 7611. Belgium: State Street Global Advisors Belgium, Chaussée de La Hulpe 120, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. T: 32 2 663 2036, F: 32 2 672 2077. SSGA Belgium is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Limited. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Canada: State Street Global Advisors, Ltd., 770 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1200 Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1G1, T: +514 282 2400 and 30 Adelaide Street East Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G6. T: +647 775 5900. Dubai: State Street Global Advisors Limited, DIFC Branch, Central Park Towers, Suite 15-38 (15th floor), P.O Box 26838, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). T: +971 (0)4 4372800, F: +971 (0)4 4372818. France: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris branch is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris Branch, is registered in France with company number RCS Nanterre 832 734 602 and whose office is at Immeuble Défense Plaza, 23-25 rue Delarivière-Lefoullon, 92064 Paris La Défense Cedex, France. T: (+33) 1 44 45 40 00. F: (+33) 1 44 45 41 92. Germany: State Street Global Advisors GmbH, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Authorized and regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (“BaFin”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Munich HRB 121381. T: +49 (0)89 55878 400. F: +49 (0)89 55878 440. Hong Kong: State Street Global Advisors Asia Limited, 68/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong. T: +852

2103-0288. F: +852 2103 0200. Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Italy: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano), is registered in Italy with company number 10495250960 - R.E.A. 2535585 and VAT number 10495250960and whose office is at Via dei Bossi, 4 - 20121 Milano, Italy. T: +39 02 32066 100. F: +39 02 32066 155. Japan: State Street Global Advisors (Japan) Co., Ltd., Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 25F 1-23-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-6325 Japan, T: +81-3-4530-7380 Financial Instruments Business Operator, Kanto Local Financial Bureau (Kinsho #345) , Membership: Japan Investment Advisers Association, The Investment Trust Association, Japan, Japan Securities Dealers’ Association. Netherlands: State Street Global Advisors Netherlands, Apollo Building, 7th floor Herikerbergweg 29 1101 CN Amsterdam, Netherlands. Telephone: 31 20 7181701. SSGA Netherlands is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Singapore: State Street Global Advisors Singapore Limited, 168, Robinson Road, #33-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912 (Company Reg. No: 200002719D, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore). Telephone: +65 6826 7555. F: +65 6826 7501. Switzerland: State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstr. 19, CH-8027 Zurich. Authorized and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht (“FINMA”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Zurich CHE-105.078.458. T: +41 (0)44 245 70 00. Facsimile F: +41 (0)44 245 70 16. United Kingdom: State Street Global Advisors Limited. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 2509928. VAT No. 5776591 81. Registered office: 20 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HJ. T: 020 3395 6000. F: 020 3395 6350. United States: State Street Global Advisors, One Iron Street, Boston MA 02210. T: +1 617 786 3000.

 

 

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© 2019 State Street Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

ID15998 0319 Exp. Date: 03/31/2020


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March 2019

Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines

North America

(United States & Canada)

State Street Global Advisors’ North America Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines1 outline our expectations of companies listed on stock exchanges in the US and Canada. These guidelines complement and should be read in conjunction with State Street Global Advisors’ Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles, which provide a detailed explanation of our approach to voting and engaging with companies, and State Street Global Advisors’ Conflict Mitigation Guidance.

 

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State Street Global Advisors’ North America Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines address areas, including board structure, director tenure, audit related issues, capital structure, executive compensation, as well as environmental, social, and other governance-related issues of companies listed on stock exchanges in the US and Canada (“North America”). Principally, we believe the primary responsibility of the board of directors is to preserve and enhance shareholder value and protect shareholder interests. In order to carry out their primary responsibilities, directors have to undertake activities that range from setting strategy and overseeing executive management to monitoring the risks that arise from a company’s business, including risks related to sustainability issues. Further, good corporate governance necessitates the existence of effective internal controls and risk management systems, which should be governed by the board.

When voting and engaging with companies in global markets, we consider market specific nuances in the manner that we believe will most likely protect and promote the long-term economic value of client investments. We expect companies to observe the relevant laws and regulations of their respective markets, as well as country specific best practice guidelines and corporate governance codes. When we feel that a country’s regulatory requirements do not address some of the key philosophical principles that we believe are fundamental to its global voting guidelines, we may hold companies in such markets to our global standards.

In its analysis and research about corporate governance issues in North America, we expect all companies to act in a transparent manner and to provide detailed disclosure on board profiles, related-party transactions, executive compensation, and other governance issues that impact shareholders’ long-term interests. Further, as a founding member of the Investor Stewardship Group (“ISG”), we proactively monitor companies’ adherence to the Corporate Governance Principles for US listed companies. Consistent with the “comply-or-explain” expectations established by the principles, we encourage companies to proactively disclose their level of compliance with the principles. In instances of non-compliance when companies cannot explain the nuances of their governance structure effectively, either publicly or through engagement, we may vote against the independent board leader.

State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Philosophy

Corporate governance and sustainability issues are an integral part of the investment process. The Asset Stewardship Team consists of investment professionals with expertise in corporate governance and company law,

remuneration, accounting, and environmental and social issues. We have established robust corporate governance principles and practices that are backed with extensive analytical expertise to understand the complexities of the corporate governance landscape. We engage with companies to provide insight on the principles and practices that drive our voting decisions. We also conduct proactive engagements to address significant shareholder concerns and environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) issues in a manner consistent with maximizing shareholder value.

The team works alongside members of State Street Global Advisors’ Active Fundamental and various other investment teams, collaborating on issuer engagements and providing input on company specific fundamentals. We are also a member of various investor associations that seek to address broader corporate governance related policy issues in North America.

State Street Global Advisors is a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (“UNPRI”) and is compliant with the US Investor Stewardship Group Principles. We are committed to sustainable investing and are working to further integrate ESG principles into investment and corporate governance practices, where applicable and consistent with our fiduciary duty.

Directors and Boards

State Street Global Advisors believes that a well constituted board of directors, with a balance of skills, expertise, and independence, provides the foundations for a well governed company. We view board quality as a measure of director independence, director succession planning, board diversity, evaluations and refreshment, and company governance practices. We vote for the election/re-election of directors on a case-by-case basis after considering various factors, including board quality, general market practice, and availability of information on director skills and expertise. In principle, we believe independent directors are crucial to robust corporate governance and help management establish sound corporate governance policies and practices. A sufficiently independent board will most effectively monitor management and perform oversight functions necessary to protect shareholder interests. Further, we expect boards of Russell 3000 and TSX listed companies to have at least one female board member.

Director related proposals include issues submitted to shareholders that deal with the composition of the board or with members of a corporation’s board of directors. In deciding the director nominee to support, we consider numerous factors.

 

 

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Director Elections

Our director election guideline focuses on companies’ governance profile to identify if a company demonstrates appropriate governance practices or if it exhibits negative governance practices. Factors we consider when evaluating governance practices include, but are not limited to the following:

 

    Shareholder rights

 

    Board independence

 

    Board structure

If a company demonstrates appropriate governance practices, we believe a director should be classified as independent based upon the relevant listing standards or local market practice standards. In such cases, the composition of the key oversight committees of a board should meet the minimum standards of independence. Accordingly, we will vote against a nominee at a company with appropriate governance practices if the director is classified as non-independent under relevant listing standards or local market practice and serves on a key committee of the board (compensation, audit, nominating, or committees required to be fully independent by local market standards).

Conversely, if a company demonstrates negative governance practices, State Street Global Advisors believes the classification standards for director independence should be elevated. In such circumstances, we will evaluate all director nominees based upon the following classification standards:

 

    Is the nominee an employee of or related to an employee of the issuer or its auditor?

 

    Does the nominee provide professional services to the issuer?

 

    Has the nominee attended an appropriate number of board meetings?

 

    Has the nominee received non-board related compensation from the issuer?

In the US market where companies demonstrate negative governance practices, these stricter standards will apply not only to directors who are a member of a key committee but to all directors on the board as market practice permits. Accordingly, we will vote against a nominee (with the exception of the CEO) where the board has inappropriate governance practices and is considered not independent based on the above independence criteria.

Additionally, we may withhold votes from directors based on the following:

 

    Overall average board tenure is excessive. In assessing excessive tenure, we give consideration to factors such as the preponderance of long tenured directors, board refreshment practices, and classified board structures

 

    Directors attend less than 75% of board meetings without appropriate explanation or providing reason for their failure to meet the attendance threshold

 

    CEOs of a public company who sit on more than three public company boards

 

    Director nominees who sit on more than six public company boards

 

    Directors of companies that have not been responsive to a shareholder proposal that received a majority shareholder support at the last annual or special meeting

 

    Consideration can be warranted if management submits the proposal(s) on the ballot as a binding management proposal, recommending shareholders vote for the particular proposal(s)

 

    Directors of companies have unilaterally adopted/ amended company bylaws that negatively impact our shareholder rights (such as fee-shifting, forum selection, and exclusion service bylaws) without putting such amendments to a shareholder vote

 

    Compensation committee members where there is a weak relationship between executive pay and performance over a five-year period

 

    Audit committee members if non-audit fees exceed 50% of total fees paid to the auditors

 

    Directors who appear to have been remiss in their duties

Director Related Proposals

We generally vote for the following director related proposals:

 

    Discharge of board members’ duties, in the absence of pending litigation, regulatory investigation, charges of fraud, or other indications of significant concern

 

    Proposals to restore shareholders’ ability in order to remove directors with or without cause

 

    Proposals that permit shareholders to elect directors to fill board vacancies

 

    Shareholder proposals seeking disclosure regarding the company, board, or compensation committee’s use of compensation consultants, such as company name, business relationship(s), and fees paid
 

 

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We generally vote against the following director related proposals:

 

    Requirements that candidates for directorships own large amounts of stock before being eligible to be elected

 

    Proposals that relate to the “transaction of other business as properly comes before the meeting,” which extend “blank check” powers to those acting as proxy

 

    Proposals requiring two candidates per board seat

Majority Voting

We will generally support a majority vote standard based on votes cast for the election of directors.

We will generally vote to support amendments to bylaws that would require simple majority of voting shares (i.e. shares cast) to pass or to repeal certain provisions.

Annual Elections

We generally support the establishment of annual elections of the board of directors. Consideration is given to the overall level of board independence and the independence of the key committees, as well as the existence of a shareholder rights plan.

Cumulative Voting

We do not support cumulative voting structures for the election of directors.

Separation Chair/CEO

We analyze proposals for the separation of Chair/CEO on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration numerous factors, including the appointment of and role played by a lead director, a company’s performance, and the overall governance structure of the company.

Proxy Access

In general, we believe that proxy access is a fundamental right and an accountability mechanism for all long-term shareholders. We will consider proposals relating to proxy access on a case-by-case basis. We will support shareholder proposals that set parameters to empower long-term shareholders while providing management the flexibility to design a process that is appropriate for the company’s circumstances.

We will review the terms of all other proposals and will support those proposals that have been introduced in the spirit of enhancing shareholder rights.

Considerations include the following:

 

    The ownership thresholds and holding duration proposed in the resolution

 

    The binding nature of the proposal
    The number of directors that shareholders may be able to nominate each year

 

    Company governance structure

 

    Shareholder rights

 

    Board performance

Age/Term Limits

Generally, we will vote against age and term limits unless the company is found to have poor board refreshment and director succession practices, and has a preponderance of non-executive directors with excessively long tenures serving on the board.

Approve Remuneration of Directors

Generally, we will support directors’ compensation, provided the amounts are not excessive relative to other issuers in the market or industry. In making our determination, we review whether the compensation is overly dilutive to existing shareholders.

Indemnification

Generally, we support proposals to limit directors’ liability and/or expand indemnification and liability protection if he or she has not acted in bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of his or her office.

Classified Boards

We generally support annual elections for the board of directors.

Confidential Voting

We will support confidential voting.

Board Size

We will support proposals seeking to fix the board size or designate a range for the board size and will vote against proposals that give management the ability to alter the size of the board outside of a specified range without shareholder approval.

Audit-Related Issues

Ratifying Auditors and Approving Auditor Compensation

We support the approval of auditors and auditor compensation provided that the issuer has properly disclosed audit and non-audit fees relative to market practice and the audit fees are not deemed excessive. We deem audit fees to be excessive if the non-audit fees for the prior year constituted 50% or more of the total fees paid to the auditor. We will also support the disclosure of auditor and consulting relationships when the same or related

 

 

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entities are conducting both activities and will support the establishment of a selection committee responsible for the final approval of significant management consultant contract awards where existing firms are already acting in an auditing function.

In circumstances where “other” fees include fees related to initial public offerings, bankruptcy emergence, and spin-offs, and the company makes public disclosure of the amount and nature of those fees which are determined to be an exception to the standard “non-audit fee” category, then such fees may be excluded from the non-audit fees considered in determining the ratio of non-audit to audit/audit-related fees/tax compliance and preparation for purposes of determining whether non-audit fees are excessive.

We will support the discharge of auditors and requirements that auditors attend the annual meeting of shareholders.2

Capital-Related Issues

Capital structure proposals include requests by management for approval of amendments to the certificate of incorporation that will alter the capital structure of the company.

The most common request is for an increase in the number of authorized shares of common stock, usually in conjunction with a stock split or dividend. Typically, we support requests that are not unreasonably dilutive or enhance the rights of common shareholders. In considering authorized share proposals, the typical threshold for approval is 100% over current authorized shares. However, the threshold may be increased if the company offers a specific need or purpose (merger, stock splits, growth purposes, etc.). All proposals are evaluated on a case-by-case basis taking into account the company’s specific financial situation.

Increase in Authorized Common Shares

In general, we support share increases for general corporate purposes up to 100% of current authorized stock.

We support increases for specific corporate purposes up to 100% of the specific need plus 50% of current authorized common stock for US and Canadian firms.

When applying the thresholds, we will also consider the nature of the specific need, such as mergers and acquisitions and stock splits.

Increase in Authorized Preferred Shares

We vote on a case-by-case basis on proposals to increase the number of preferred shares.

Generally, we will vote for the authorization of preferred stock in cases where the company specifies the voting, dividend, conversion, and other rights of such stock and the terms of the preferred stock appear reasonable.

We will support proposals to create “declawed” blank check preferred stock (stock that cannot be used as a takeover defense). However, we will vote against proposals to increase the number of blank check preferred stock authorized for issuance when no shares have been issued or reserved for a specific purpose.

Unequal Voting Rights

We will not support proposals authorizing the creation of new classes of common stock with superior voting rights and will vote against new classes of preferred stock with unspecified voting, conversion, dividend distribution, and other rights. In addition, we will not support capitalization changes that add “blank check” classes of stock (i.e. classes of stock with undefined voting rights) or classes that dilute the voting interests of existing shareholders.

However, we will support capitalization changes that eliminate other classes of stock and/or unequal voting rights.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers or the reorganization of the structure of a company often involve proposals relating to reincorporation, restructurings, liquidations, and other major changes to the corporation.

Proposals that are in the best interests of the shareholders, demonstrated by enhancing share value or improving the effectiveness of the company’s operations, will be supported.

In general, provisions that are not viewed as economically sound or are thought to be destructive to shareholders’ rights are not supported.

We will generally support transactions that maximize shareholder value. Some of the considerations include the following:

 

    Offer premium

 

    Strategic rationale

 

    Board oversight of the process for the recommended transaction, including, director and/or management conflicts of interest

 

    Offers made at a premium and where there are no other higher bidders

 

    Offers in which the secondary market price is substantially lower than the net asset value
 

 

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We may vote against a transaction considering the following:

 

    Offers with potentially damaging consequences for minority shareholders because of illiquid stock, especially in some non-US markets

 

    Offers where we believe there is a reasonable prospect for an enhanced bid or other bidders

 

    The current market price of the security exceeds the bid price at the time of voting

Anti–Takeover Issues

Typically, these are proposals relating to requests by management to amend the certificate of incorporation or bylaws to add or to delete a provision that is deemed to have an anti-takeover effect. The majority of these proposals deal with management’s attempt to add some provision that makes a hostile takeover more difficult or will protect incumbent management in the event of a change in control of the company.

Proposals that reduce shareholders’ rights or have the effect of entrenching incumbent management will not be supported.

Proposals that enhance the right of shareholders to make their own choices as to the desirability of a merger or other proposal are supported.

Shareholder Rights Plans

US We will support mandates requiring shareholder approval of a shareholder rights plans (“poison pill”) and repeals of various anti-takeover related provisions.

In general, we will vote against the adoption or renewal of a US issuer’s shareholder rights plan (“poison pill”).

We will vote for an amendment to a shareholder rights plan (“poison pill”) where the terms of the new plans are more favorable to shareholders’ ability to accept unsolicited offers (i.e. if one of the following conditions are met: (i) minimum trigger, flip-in or flip-over of 20%, (ii) maximum term of three years, (iii) no “dead hand,” “slow hand,” “no hand” nor similar feature that limits the ability of a future board to redeem the pill, and (iv) inclusion of a shareholder redemption feature (qualifying offer clause), permitting ten percent of the shares to call a special meeting or seek a written consent to vote on rescinding the pill if the board refuses to redeem the pill 90 days after a qualifying offer is announced).

Canada We analyze proposals for shareholder approval of a shareholder rights plan (“poison pill”) on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration numerous factors, including but not limited to, whether it conforms to ‘new generation’ rights plans and the scope of the plan.

Special Meetings

We will vote for shareholder proposals related to special meetings at companies that do not provide shareholders the right to call for a special meeting in their bylaws if:

 

    The company also does not allow shareholders to act by written consent

 

    The company allows shareholders to act by written consent but the ownership threshold for acting by written consent is set above 25% of outstanding shares

We will vote for shareholder proposals related to special meetings at companies that give shareholders (with a minimum 10% ownership threshold) the right to call for a special meeting in their bylaws if:

 

    The current ownership threshold to call for a special meeting is above 25% of outstanding shares

We will vote for management proposals related to special meetings.

Written Consent

We will vote for shareholder proposals on written consent at companies if:

 

    The company does not have provisions in their bylaws giving shareholders the right to call for a special meeting

 

    The company allows shareholders the right to call for a special meeting, but the current ownership threshold to call for a special meeting is above 25% of outstanding shares

 

    The company has a poor governance profile

We will vote management proposals on written consent on a case-by-case basis.

Super–Majority

We will generally vote against amendments to bylaws requiring super-majority shareholder votes to pass or repeal certain provisions. We will vote for the reduction or elimination of super-majority vote requirements, unless management of the issuer was concurrently seeking to or had previously made such a reduction or elimination.

Remuneration Issues

Despite the differences among the types of plans and the awards possible there is a simple underlying philosophy that guides the analysis of all compensation plans; namely, the terms of the plan should be designed to provide an incentive for executives and/or employees to align their interests with those of the shareholders and thus work toward enhancing shareholder value. Plans that benefit participants only when the shareholders also benefit are those most likely to be supported.

 

 

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Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation and Frequency

State Street Global Advisors believes executive compensation plays a critical role in aligning executives interest with shareholder’s, attracting, retaining and incentivizing key talent, and ensuring positive correlation between the performance achieved by management and the benefits derived by shareholders. We support management proposals on executive compensation where there is a strong relationship between executive pay and performance over a five-year period. We seek adequate disclosure of various compensation elements, absolute and relative pay levels, peer selection and benchmarking, the mix of long-term and short-term incentives, alignment of pay structures with shareholder interests as well as with corporate strategy, and performance. Further shareholders should have the opportunity to assess whether pay structures and levels are aligned with business performance on an annual basis.

In Canada, where advisory votes on executive compensation are not commonplace, we will rely primarily upon engagement to evaluate compensation plans.

Employee Equity Award Plans

We consider numerous criteria when examining equity award proposals. Generally we do not vote against plans for lack of performance or vesting criteria. Rather the main criteria that will result in a vote against an equity award plan are:

Excessive voting power dilution To assess the dilutive effect, we divide the number of shares required to fully fund the proposed plan, the number of authorized but unissued shares and the issued but unexercised shares by the fully diluted share count. We review that number in light of certain factors, such as the industry of the issuer.

Historical option grants Excessive historical option grants over the past three years. Plans that provide for historical grant patterns of greater than five to eight percent are generally not supported.

Repricing We will vote against any plan where repricing is expressly permitted. If a company has a history of repricing underwater options, the plan will not be supported.

Other criteria include the following:

 

    Number of participants or eligible employees

 

    The variety of awards possible

 

    The period of time covered by the plan

There are numerous factors that we view as negative. If combined they may result in a vote against a proposal. Factors include:

 

    Grants to individuals or very small groups of participants

 

    “Gun-jumping” grants which anticipate shareholder approval of a plan or amendment

 

    The power of the board to exchange “underwater” options without shareholder approval. This pertains to the ability of a company to reprice options, not the actual act of repricing described above

 

    Below market rate loans to officers to exercise their options

 

    The ability to grant options at less than fair market value;

 

    Acceleration of vesting automatically upon a change in control

 

    Excessive compensation (i.e. compensation plans which we deem to be overly dilutive)

Share Repurchases If a company makes a clear connection between a share repurchase program and its intent to offset dilution created from option plans and the company fully discloses the amount of shares being repurchased, the voting dilution calculation may be adjusted to account for the impact of the buy back.

Companies will not have any such repurchase plan factored into the dilution calculation if they do not (i) clearly state the intentions of any proposed share buy-back plan, (ii) disclose a definitive number of the shares to be bought back, (iii) specify the range of premium/discount to market price at which a company can repurchase shares, and (iv) disclose the time frame during which the shares will be bought back..

162(m) Plan Amendments If a plan would not normally meet our criteria described above, but was primarily amended to add specific performance criteria to be used with awards that were designed to qualify for performance- based exception from the tax deductibility limitations of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code, then we will support the proposal to amend the plan.

Employee Stock Option Plans

We generally vote for stock purchase plans with an exercise price of not less than 85% of fair market value. However, we take market practice into consideration.

Compensation Related Items

We generally support the following proposals:

 

    Expansions to reporting of financial or compensation- related information within reason

 

    Proposals requiring the disclosure of executive retirement benefits if the issuer does not have an independent compensation committee
 

 

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We generally vote against the following proposal:

 

    Retirement bonuses for non-executive directors and auditors

Miscellaneous/Routine Items

We generally support the following miscellaneous/routine governance items:

 

    Reimbursement of all appropriate proxy solicitation expenses associated with the election when voting in conjunction with support of a dissident slate

 

    Opting-out of business combination provision

 

    Proposals that remove restrictions on the right of shareholders to act independently of management

 

    Liquidation of the company if the company will file for bankruptcy if the proposal is not approved

 

    Shareholder proposals to put option repricings to a shareholder vote

 

    General updating of, or corrective amendments to, charter and bylaws not otherwise specifically addressed herein, unless such amendments would reasonably be expected to diminish shareholder rights (e.g. extension of directors’ term limits, amending shareholder vote requirement to amend the charter documents, insufficient information provided as to the reason behind the amendment)

 

    Change in corporation name

 

    Mandates that amendments to bylaws or charters have shareholder approval

 

    Management proposals to change the date, time, and/or location of the annual meeting unless the proposed change is unreasonable

 

    Repeals, prohibitions or adoption of anti-greenmail provisions

 

    Management proposals to implement a reverse stock split when the number of authorized shares will be proportionately reduced and proposals to implement a reverse stock split to avoid delisting

 

    Exclusive forum provisions

State Street Global Advisors generally does not support the following miscellaneous/routine governance items:

 

    Proposals requesting companies to adopt full tenure holding periods for their executives

 

    Reincorporation to a location that we believe has more negative attributes than its current location of incorporation
    Shareholder proposals to change the date, time, and/or location of the annual meeting unless the current scheduling or location is unreasonable

 

    Proposals to approve other business when it appears as a voting item

 

    Proposals giving the board exclusive authority to amend the bylaws

 

    Proposals to reduce quorum requirements for shareholder meetings below a majority of the shares outstanding unless there are compelling reasons to support the proposal

Environmental and Social Issues

As a fiduciary, State Street Global Advisors takes a comprehensive approach to engaging with our portfolio companies about material environmental and social (sustainability) issues. We use our voice and our vote through engagement, proxy voting, and thought leadership in order to communicate with issuers and educate market participants about our perspective on important sustainability topics. Our Asset Stewardship program prioritization process allows us to proactively identify companies for engagement and voting in order to mitigate sustainability risks in our portfolio. Through engagement, we address a broad range of topics that align with our thematic priorities and build long-term relationships with issuers. When voting, we fundamentally consider whether the adoption of a shareholder proposal addressing a material sustainability issue would promote long-term shareholder value in the context of the company’s existing practices and disclosures as well as existing market practice.

For more information on our approach to environmental and social issues, please see our Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines for Environmental and Social Issues available at ssga.com/about-us/asset-stewardship.html.

More Information

Any client who wishes to receive information on how its proxies were voted should contact its State Street Global Advisors relationship manager.

 

1 

These Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines are also applicable to SSGA Funds Management, Inc.” SSGA Funds Management, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. SSGA Funds Management, Inc., State Street Global Advisors Trust Company, and other advisory affiliates of State Street make up State Street Global Advisors, the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.

2 

Common for non-US issuers; request from the issuer to discharge from liability the directors or auditors with respect to actions taken by them during the previous year.

 

 

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ssga.com

State Street Global Advisors Worldwide Entities

Abu Dhabi: State Street Global Advisors Limited, Middle East Branch, 42801, 28, Al Khatem Tower, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Mayah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority. T: +971 2 245 9000. Australia: State Street Global Advisors, Australia, Limited (ABN 42 003 914 225) is the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number 238276). Registered office: Level 17, 420 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia T: +612 9240 7600. F: +612 9240 7611. Belgium: State Street Global Advisors Belgium, Chaussée de La Hulpe 120, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. T: 32 2 663 2036, F: 32 2 672 2077. SSGA Belgium is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Limited. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Canada: State Street Global Advisors, Ltd., 770 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1200 Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1G1, T: +514 282 2400 and 30 Adelaide Street East Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G6. T: +647 775 5900. Dubai: State Street Global Advisors Limited, DIFC Branch, Central Park Towers, Suite 15-38 (15th floor), P.O Box 26838, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). T: +971 (0)4 4372800, F: +971 (0)4 4372818. France: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris branch is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris Branch, is registered in France with company number RCS Nanterre 832 734 602 and whose office is at Immeuble Défense Plaza, 23-25 rue Delarivière-Lefoullon, 92064 Paris La Défense Cedex, France. T: (+33) 1 44 45 40 00. F: (+33) 1 44 45 41 92. Germany: State Street Global Advisors GmbH, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Authorized and regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (“BaFin”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Munich HRB 121381. T: +49 (0)89 55878 400. F: +49 (0)89 55878 440. Hong Kong: State Street Global Advisors Asia Limited, 68/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong. T: +852 2103-0288. F: +852 2103 0200. Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited

is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Italy: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano), is registered in Italy with company number 10495250960 - R.E.A. 2535585 and VAT number 10495250960and whose office is at Via dei Bossi, 4 - 20121 Milano, Italy. T: +39 02 32066 100. F: +39 02 32066 155. Japan: State Street Global Advisors (Japan) Co., Ltd., Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 25F 1-23-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-6325 Japan, T: +81-3-4530-7380 Financial Instruments Business Operator, Kanto Local Financial Bureau (Kinsho #345) , Membership: Japan Investment Advisers Association, The Investment Trust Association, Japan, Japan Securities Dealers’ Association. Netherlands: State Street Global Advisors Netherlands, Apollo Building, 7th floor Herikerbergweg 29 1101 CN Amsterdam, Netherlands. Telephone: 31 20 7181701. SSGA Netherlands is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Singapore: State Street Global Advisors Singapore Limited, 168, Robinson Road, #33-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912 (Company Reg. No: 200002719D, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore). Telephone: +65 6826 7555. F: +65 6826 7501. Switzerland: State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstr. 19, CH-8027 Zurich. Authorized and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht (“FINMA”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Zurich CHE-105.078.458. T: +41 (0)44 245 70 00. Facsimile F: +41 (0)44 245 70 16. United Kingdom: State Street Global Advisors Limited. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 2509928. VAT No. 5776591 81. Registered office: 20 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HJ. T: 020 3395 6000. F: 020 3395 6350. United States: State Street Global Advisors, One Iron Street, Boston MA 02210. T: +1 617 786 3000.

The whole or any part of this work may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without SSGA’s express written consent.

 

 

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March 2019

Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines

Australia and New Zealand

State Street Global Advisors’ Australia and New Zealand Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines1 outline our expectations of companies listed on stock exchanges in Australia and New Zealand. These guidelines complement and should be read in conjunction with State Street Global Advisors’ Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles that provide a detailed explanation of our approach to voting and engaging with companies and State Street Global Advisors’ Conflict Mitigation Guidelines.

 

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State Street Global Advisors’ Australia and New Zealand Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines address areas including board structure, audit related issues, capital structure, remuneration, environmental, social, and other governance related issues. Principally we believe the primary responsibility of the board of directors is to preserve and enhance shareholder value and protect shareholder interests. In order to carry out their primary responsibilities, directors have to undertake activities that range from setting strategy and overseeing executive management to monitoring the risks that arise from a company’s business, including risks related to sustainability issues. Further, good corporate governance necessitates the existence of effective internal controls and risk management systems, which should be governed by the board.

When voting and engaging with companies in global markets, we consider market specific nuances in the manner that we believe will best protect and promote the long-term economic value of client investments. We expect companies to observe the relevant laws and regulations of their respective markets as well as country specific best practice guidelines, and corporate governance codes. We may hold companies in such markets to our global standards when we feel that a country’s regulatory requirements do not address some of the key philosophical principles that we believe are fundamental to our global voting guidelines.

In our analysis and research into corporate governance issues in Australia and New Zealand, we expect all companies at a minimum to comply with the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and proactively monitor companies’ adherence to the principles. Consistent with the ‘comply or explain’ expectations established by the Principles, we encourage companies to proactively disclose their level of compliance with the Principles. In instances of non-compliance when companies cannot explain the nuances of their governance structure effectively, either publicly or through engagement, we may vote against the independent board leader. On some governance matters, such as composition of audit committees, we hold Australian companies to our global standards requiring all directors on the committee to be independent of management.

State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Philosophy

In our view, corporate governance and sustainability issues are an integral part of the investment process. The Asset Stewardship Team consists of investment professionals with expertise in corporate governance and company law,

remuneration, accounting, and environmental and social issues. We have established robust corporate governance principles and practices that are backed with extensive analytical expertise in order to understand the complexities of the corporate governance landscape. We engage with companies to provide insight on the principles and practices that drive our voting decisions. We also conduct proactive engagement to address significant shareholder concerns and environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) issues in a manner consistent with maximizing shareholder value.

The team works alongside members of State Street Global Advisors’ Active Fundamental and Asia-Pacific (“APAC”) investment teams, collaborating on issuer engagement and providing input on company specific fundamentals. We are also a member of various investor associations that seek to address broader corporate governance related policy issues in the region.

State Street Global Advisors is a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (“UNPRI”). We are committed to sustainable investing and are working to further integrate ESG principles into investment and corporate governance practices where applicable and consistent with our fiduciary duty.

Directors and Boards

State Street Global Advisors believes that a well constituted board of directors with a good balance of skills, expertise, and independence provides the foundations for a well governed company. We view board quality as a measure of director independence, director succession planning, board diversity, evaluations and refreshment, and company governance practices. We vote for the election/re-election of directors on a case-by-case basis after considering various factors including board quality, general market practice, and availability of information on director skills and expertise. In principle, we believe independent directors are crucial to corporate governance and help management establish sound ESG policies and practices. A sufficiently independent board will most effectively monitor management and perform oversight functions necessary to protect shareholder interests. We expect boards of ASX 300 and New Zealand listed companies to be comprised of at least a majority of independent directors. At all other Australian listed companies, we expect boards to be comprised of at least one-third independent directors. Further, we expect boards of ASX 300 listed companies to have at least one female board member.

 

 

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Our broad criteria for director independence in Australia and New Zealand include factors such as:

 

    Participation in related-party transactions and other business relations with the company

 

    Employment history with company

 

    Relations with controlling shareholders

 

    Family ties with any of the company’s advisers, directors, or senior employees

When considering the election or re-election of a director, we also consider the number of outside board director-ships that a non-executive and an executive may undertake and attendance at board meetings. In addition, we monitor other factors that may influence the independence of a non-executive director, such as performance-related pay, cross-directorships, significant shareholdings, and tenure. We support the annual election of directors and encourages Australian and New Zealand companies to adopt this practice.

While we are generally supportive of having the roles of chairman and CEO separated in the Australian and New Zealand markets, we assess the division of responsibilities between chairman and CEO on a case-by-case basis, giving consideration to factors such as company-specific circumstances, overall level of independence on the board and general corporate governance standards in the company. Similarly, we will monitor for circumstances in which a combined chairman/CEO is appointed or where a former CEO becomes chairman.

We may also consider board performance and directors who appear to be remiss in the performance of their oversight responsibilities when analyzing their suitability for reappointment (e.g. fraud, criminal wrongdoing and breach of fiduciary responsibilities).

We believe companies should have committees for audit, remuneration, and nomination oversight. The audit committee is responsible for monitoring the integrity of the financial statements of the company, appointing external auditors, monitoring their qualifications and independence, and their effectiveness and resource levels. ASX Corporate Governance Principles requires listed companies to have an audit committee of at least three members all of whom are non-executive directors and a majority of whom are independent directors. It also requires that the committee be chaired by an independent director who is not the chair of the board. We hold Australian and New Zealand companies to our global standards for developed financial markets by requiring that all members of the audit committee be independent directors.

In our analysis of boards, we consider whether board members have adequate skills to provide effective oversight of corporate strategy, operations, and risks, including environmental and social issues. Boards should also have a regular evaluation process in place to assess the effectiveness of the board and the skills of board members to address issues, such as emerging risks, changes to corporate strategy, and diversification of operations and geographic footprint. The nomination committee is responsible for evaluating and reviewing the balance of skills, knowledge, and experience of the board. It also ensures that adequate succession plans are in place for directors and the CEO. We may vote against the re-election of members of the nomination committee if the board has failed to address concerns over board structure or succession.

Executive pay is another important aspect of corporate governance. We believe that executive pay should be determined by the board of directors. We expect companies to have in place remuneration committees to provide independent oversight over executive pay. ASX Corporate Governance Principles requires listed companies to have a remuneration committee of at least three members all of whom are non-executive directors and a majority of whom are independent directors. Since Australia has a non-binding vote on pay with a two-strike rule requiring a board spill vote in the event of a second strike, we believe that the vote provides investors a mechanism to address concerns they may have on the quality of oversight provided by the board on remuneration issues. Accordingly our voting guidelines accommodate local market practice.

Indemnification and limitations on liability

Generally, State Street Global Advisors supports proposals to limit directors’ liability and/or expand indemnification and liability protection up to the limit provided by law, if he or she has not acted in bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of his or her office.

Audit-Related Issues

Companies should have robust internal audit and internal control systems designed for effective management of any potential and emerging risks to company operations and strategy. The responsibility of setting out an internal audit function lies with the audit committee, which should have independent non-executive directors designated as members.

 

 

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Appointment of External Auditors

State Street Global Advisors believes that a company’s auditor is an essential feature of an effective and transparent system of external supervision. Shareholders should be given the opportunity to vote on their appointment or to re-appoint at the annual meeting. When appointing external auditors and approving audit fees, we will take into consideration the level of detail in company disclosures. We will generally not support resolutions if adequate breakdown is not provided and if non-audit fees are more than 50% of audit fees. In addition, we may vote against members of the audit committee if we have concerns with audit-related issues or if the level of non-audit fees to audit fees is significant. In certain circumstances, we may consider auditor tenure when evaluating the audit process.

Shareholder Rights and Capital-Related Issues

Share Issuances

The ability to raise capital is critical for companies to carry out strategy, to grow, and toachieve returns above their cost of capital. The approval of capital raising activities is fundamental to shareholders’ ability to monitor the returns and to ensure capital is deployed efficiently. State Street Global Advisors supports capital increases that have sound business reasons and are not excessive relative to a company’s existing capital base.

Pre-emption rights are a fundamental right for shareholders to protect their investment in a company. Where companies seek to issue new shares without pre-emption rights, we may vote against if such authorities are greater than 20% of the issued share capital. We may also vote against resolutions seeking authority to issue capital with pre-emption rights if the aggregate amount allowed seems excessive and is not justified by the board. Generally, we are against capital issuance proposals greater than 100% of the issued share capital when the proceeds are not intended for specific purpose.

Share Repurchase Programs

We generally support proposals to repurchase shares, unless the issuer does not clearly state the business purpose for the program, a definitive number of shares to be repurchased, and the timeframe for the repurchase. We may vote against share repurchase requests that allow share repurchases during a takeover period.

Dividends

We generally support dividend payouts that constitute 30% or more of net income. We may vote against the dividend payouts if the dividend payout ratio has been consistently below 30% without adequate explanation. We may also vote

against if the payout is excessive given the company’s financial position. Particular attention will be warranted when the payment may damage the company’s long-term financial health.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers or reorganization of the company structure often involve proposals relating to reincorporation, restructurings, liquidations, and other major changes to the corporation. Proposals that are in the best interests of shareholders, demonstrated by enhancing share value or improving the effectiveness of the company’s operations, will be supported. In general, provisions that are not viewed as financially sound or are thought to be destructive to shareholders’ rights are not supported. We will generally support transactions that maximize shareholder value. Some of the considerations include:

 

    Offer premium

 

    Strategic rationale

 

    Board oversight of the process for the recommended transaction, including, director and/or management conflicts of interest

 

    Offers made at a premium and where there are no other higher bidders

 

    Offers in which the secondary market price is substantially lower than the net asset value

We may vote against a transaction considering the following:

 

    Offers with potentially damaging consequences for minority shareholders because of illiquid stock

 

    Offers where we believe there is a reasonable prospect for an enhanced bid or other bidders

 

    The current market price of the security exceeds the bid price at the time of voting

Anti-Takeover Measures

We oppose anti-takeover defenses, such as authorities for the board to issue warrants convertible into shares to existing shareholders during a hostile takeover.

Remuneration

Executive Pay

There is a simple underlying philosophy that guides State Street Global Advisors’ analysis of executive pay; there should be a direct relationship between remuneration and company performance over the long term. Shareholders should have the opportunity to assess whether pay structures and levels are aligned with business performance. When assessing remuneration reports, we consider various

 

 

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factors, such as adequate disclosure of different remuneration elements, absolute and relative pay levels, peer selection and benchmarking, the mix of long-term and short-term incentives, alignment of pay structures with shareholder interests as well as with corporate strategy and performance. State Street Global Advisors may oppose remuneration reports in which there seems to be a misalignment between pay and shareholders’ interests and where incentive policies and schemes have a re-test option or feature. We may also vote against the re-election of members of the remuneration committee if we have serious concerns about remuneration practices and if the company has not been responsive to shareholder pressure to review its approach.

Equity Incentive Plans

We may not support proposals on equity-based incentive plans where insufficient information is provided on matters, such as grant limits, performance metrics, performance, and vesting periods and overall dilution. Generally, we do not support options under such plans being issued at a discount to market price nor plans that allow for re-testing of performance metrics.

Non-Executive Director Pay

Authorities that seek shareholder approval for non-executive directors’ fees generally are not controversial. We generally support resolutions regarding directors’ fees unless disclosure is poor and we are unable to determine whether the fees are excessive relative to fees paid by other comparable companies. We will evaluate any non-cash or performance-related pay to non-executive directors on a company-by-company basis.

Risk Management

State Street Global Advisors believes that risk management is a key function of the board, which is responsible for setting the overall risk appetite of a company and for providing oversight on the risk management process established by senior executives at a company. We allow boards to have discretion over the ways in which they provide oversight in this area. However, we expect

companies to disclose ways in which the board provides oversight on its risk management system and to identify key risks facing the company. Boards should also review existing and emerging risks that evolve in tandem with the political and economic landscape or as companies diversify or expand their operations into new areas.

Environmental and Social Issues

As a fiduciary, State Street Global Advisors takes a comprehensive approach to engaging with our portfolio companies about material environmental and social (sustainability) issues. We use our voice and our vote through engagement, proxy voting, and thought leadership in order to communicate with issuers and educate market participants about our perspective on important sustainability topics. Our Asset Stewardship program prioritization process allows us to proactively identify companies for engagement and voting in order to mitigate sustainability risks in our portfolio. Through engagement, we address a broad range of topics that align with our thematic priorities and build long-term relationships with issuers. When voting, we fundamentally consider whether the adoption of a shareholder proposal addressing a material sustainability issue would promote long-term shareholder value in the context of the company’s existing practices and disclosures as well as existing market practice.

For more information on our approach to environmental and social issues, please see our Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines for Environmental and Social Issues available at ssga.com/about-us/asset-stewardship.html.

More Information

Any client who wishes to receive information on how its proxies were voted should contact its State Street Global Advisors relationship manager.

 

1 

These Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines are also applicable to SSGA Funds Management, Inc. SSGA Funds Management, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. SSGA Funds Management, Inc., State Street Global Advisors Trust Company, and other advisory affiliates of State Street make up State Street Global Advisors, the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.

 

 

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ssga.com

 

State Street Global Advisors Worldwide Entities

Abu Dhabi: State Street Global Advisors Limited, Middle East Branch, 42801, 28, Al Khatem Tower, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Mayah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority. T: +971 2 245 9000. Australia: State Street Global Advisors, Australia, Limited (ABN 42 003 914 225) is the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number 238276). Registered office: Level 17, 420 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia T: +612 9240 7600. F: +612 9240 7611. Belgium: State Street Global Advisors Belgium, Chaussée de La Hulpe 120, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. T: 32 2 663 2036, F: 32 2 672 2077. SSGA Belgium is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Limited. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Canada: State Street Global Advisors, Ltd., 770 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1200 Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1G1, T: +514 282 2400 and 30 Adelaide Street East Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G6. T: +647 775 5900. Dubai: State Street Global Advisors Limited, DIFC Branch, Central Park Towers, Suite 15-38 (15th floor), P.O Box 26838, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). T: +971 (0)4 4372800, F: +971 (0)4 4372818. France: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris branch is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris Branch, is registered in France with company number RCS Nanterre 832 734 602 and whose office is at Immeuble Défense Plaza, 23-25 rue Delarivière-Lefoullon, 92064 Paris La Défense Cedex, France. T: (+33) 1 44 45 40 00. F: (+33) 1 44 45 41 92. Germany: State Street Global Advisors GmbH, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Authorized and regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (“BaFin”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Munich HRB 121381. T: +49 (0)89 55878 400. F: +49 (0)89 55878 440. Hong Kong: State Street Global Advisors Asia Limited, 68/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong. T: +852 2103-0288. F: +852 2103 0200. Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John

Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Italy: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano), is registered in Italy with company number 10495250960 - R.E.A. 2535585 and VAT number 10495250960and whose office is at Via dei Bossi, 4 - 20121 Milano, Italy. T: +39 02 32066 100. F: +39 02 32066 155. Japan: State Street Global Advisors (Japan) Co., Ltd., Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 25F 1-23-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-6325 Japan, T: +81-3-4530-7380 Financial Instruments Business Operator, Kanto Local Financial Bureau (Kinsho #345) , Membership: Japan Investment Advisers Association, The Investment Trust Association, Japan, Japan Securities Dealers’ Association. Netherlands: State Street Global Advisors Netherlands, Apollo Building, 7th floor Herikerbergweg 29 1101 CN Amsterdam, Netherlands. Telephone: 31 20 7181701. SSGA Netherlands is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Singapore: State Street Global Advisors Singapore Limited, 168, Robinson Road, #33-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912 (Company Reg. No: 200002719D, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore). Telephone: +65 6826 7555. F: +65 6826 7501. Switzerland: State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstr. 19, CH-8027 Zurich. Authorized and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht (“FINMA”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Zurich CHE-105.078.458. T: +41 (0)44 245 70 00. Facsimile F: +41 (0)44 245 70 16. United Kingdom: State Street Global Advisors Limited. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 2509928. VAT No. 5776591 81. Registered office: 20 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HJ. T: 020 3395 6000. F: 020 3395 6350. United States: State Street Global Advisors, One Iron Street, Boston MA 02210. T: +1 617 786 3000.

The whole or any part of this work may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without State Street Global Advisor’s’s express written consent.

 

 

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© 2019 State Street Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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March 2019

Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines

Europe

State Street Global Advisors’ European Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines1 cover different corporate governance frameworks and practices in European markets, excluding the United Kingdom and Ireland. These guidelines complement and should be read in conjunction with State Street Global Advisors’ Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles that provide a detailed explanation of our approach to voting and engaging with companies and State Street Global Advisors’ Conflict Mitigation Guidelines.

 

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State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines in European markets address areas, such as board structure, audit related issues, capital structure, remuneration, environmental, social, and other governance related issues. Principally, we believe the primary responsibility of the board of directors is to preserve and enhance shareholder value, and to protect shareholder interests. In order to carry out their primary responsibilities, directors have to undertake activities that range from setting strategy and overseeing executive management, to monitoring the risks that arise from a company’s business, including risks related to sustainability issues. Further, good corporate governance necessitates the existence of effective internal controls and risk management systems, which should be governed by the board.

When voting and engaging with companies in European markets, we consider market-specific nuances in the manner that we believe will most likely protect and promote the long-term financial value of client investments. We expect companies to observe the relevant laws and regulations of their respective markets as well as country-specific best practice guidelines and corporate governance codes. We may hold companies in some markets to our global standards when we feel that a country’s regulatory requirements do not address some of the key philosophical principles that we believe are fundamental to our global voting guidelines.

In our analysis and research into corporate governance issues in European companies, we also consider guidance issued by the European Commission and country-specific governance codes. We proactively monitor companies’ adherence to applicable guidance and requirements. Consistent with the diverse “comply-or-explain” expectations established by guidance and codes, we encourage companies to proactively disclose their level of compliance with applicable provisions and requirements. In cases of non-compliance, when companies cannot explain the nuances of their governance structure effectively, either publicly or through engagement, we may vote against the independent board leader.

State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Philosophy

Corporate governance and sustainability issues are an integral part of the investment process. The Asset Stewardship Team consists of investment professionals with expertise in corporate governance and company law, remuneration, accounting, and environmental and social issues. We have established robust corporate governance principles and practices that are backed with extensive analytical expertise in order to understand the complexities of the corporate governance landscape. We engage with companies to provide insight on the principles and practices

that drive our voting decisions. We also conduct proactive engagement to address significant shareholder concerns and environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) issues in a manner consistent with maximizing shareholder value.

The team works alongside members of State Street Global Advisors’ Active Fundamental and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (“EMEA”) investment teams, collaborating on issuer engagement and providing input on company-specific fundamentals. We are also a member of various investor associations that seek to address broader corporate governance related policy issues in European markets.

State Street Global Advisors is a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (“UNPRI”). We are committed to sustainable investing; thus we are working to further integrate ESG principles into investment and corporate governance practices where applicable and consistent with our fiduciary duty.

Directors and Boards

We believe that a well constituted board of directors, with a balance of skills, expertise and independence, provides the foundations for a well governed company. We view board quality as a measure of director independence, director succession planning, board diversity, evaluations and refreshment, and company governance practices. We vote for the election/re-election of directors on a case-by-case basis after considering various factors, including board quality, general market practice, and availability of information on director skills and expertise. In principle, we believe independent directors are crucial to good corporate governance and help management establish sound corporate governance policies and practices. A sufficiently independent board will most effectively monitor management and perform oversight functions necessary to protect shareholder interests. Further we expect boards of STOXX Europe 600 listed companies to have at least one female board member.

Our broad criteria for director independence in European companies include factors such as:

 

    Participation in related–party transactions and other business relations with the company

 

    Employment history with the company

 

    Relations with controlling shareholders

 

    Family ties with any of the company’s advisers, directors, or senior employees

 

    Employee and government representatives; and

 

    Overall average board tenure and individual director tenure at issuers with classified and de-classified boards, respectively
 

 

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While overall board independence requirements and board structures differ from market to market, we consider voting against directors we deem non–independent if overall board independence is below one-third or if overall independence level is below 50% after excluding employee-representatives and/or directors elected in accordance with local laws who are not elected by shareholders. We also assess the division of responsibilities between chairman and CEO on a case-by- case basis, giving consideration to factors, such as overall level of independence on the board and general corporate governance standards in the company. We may support a proposal to discharge the board if a company fails to meet adequate governance standards or board level independence.

When considering the election or re-election of a non- executive director, we also consider the number of outside board directorships a non-executive holds, attendance at board meetings, and cross-directorships. In addition, we may vote against the election of a director whose biographical disclosures are insufficient to assess his or her role on the board and/or independence.

Although we generally are in favor of the annual election of directors, we recognize that director terms vary considerably in different European markets. We may vote against article/bylaw changes that seek to extend director terms. In addition, we may vote against directors if their terms extend beyond four years in certain markets.

We believe companies should have relevant board level committees for audit, remuneration, and nomination oversight. The audit committee is responsible for monitoring the integrity of the financial statements of the company, appointing external auditors, monitoring their qualifications and independence, and assessing effectiveness and resource levels. Similarly executive pay is an important aspect of corporate governance, and it should be determined by the board of directors. We expect companies to have remuneration committees to provide independent oversight of executive pay. We may vote against nominees who are executive members of audit or remuneration committees.

In its analysis of boards, we consider whether board members have adequate skills to provide effective oversight of corporate strategy, operations, and risks, including environmental and social issues. Boards should also have a regular evaluation process in place to assess the effectiveness of the board and the skills of board members to address issues such as emerging risks, changes to corporate strategy, and diversification of operations and geographic footprint.

In certain European markets it is not uncommon for the election of directors to be presented in a single slate. In these cases, where executives serve on the audit or the remuneration committees, we may vote against the entire slate.

We may also consider factors such as board performance and directors who appear to be remiss in the performance of their oversight responsibilities (e.g. fraud, criminal wrongdoing, and breach of fiduciary responsibilities).

Indemnification and Limitations on Liability

Generally, we support proposals to limit directors’ liability and/or expand indemnification and liability protection up to the limit provided by law if a director has not acted in bad faith, with gross negligence, or with reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of his or her office.

Audit-Related Issues

Companies should have robust internal audit and internal control systems designed for effective management of any potential and emerging risks to company operations and strategy. The responsibility of setting out an internal audit function lies with the audit committee, which should have as members independent non-executive directors.

Appointment of External Auditors

We believe that a company’s auditor is an essential feature of an effective and transparent system of external supervision. Shareholders should be given the opportunity to vote on their appointment or re-appoint them at the annual meeting. When appointing external auditors and approving audit fees, we consider the level of detail in company disclosures; we will generally not support such resolutions if adequate breakdown is not provided and if non-audit fees are more than 50% of audit fees. In addition, we may vote against members of the audit committee if we have concerns with audit related issues or if the level of non-audit fees to audit fees is significant. We may consider auditor tenure when evaluating the audit process in certain circumstances.

Limit Legal Liability of External Auditors

We generally oppose limiting the legal liability of audit firms as we believe this could create a negative impact on the quality of the audit function.

Shareholder Rights and Capital-Related Issues

In some European markets, differential voting rights continue to exist. State Street Global Advisors supports the “one share one vote” policy and favors a share structure

 

 

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where all shares have equal voting rights. We believe pre-emption rights should be introduced for shareholders in order to provide adequate protection from excessive dilution from the issuance of new shares or convertible securities to third parties or a small number of select shareholders.

Unequal Voting Rights

We generally oppose proposals authorizing the creation of new classes of common stock with superior voting rights. We will generally oppose the creation of new classes of preferred stock with unspecified voting, conversion, dividend distribution, and other rights. In addition, we will not support capitalization changes that add classes of stock with undefined voting rights or classes that may dilute the voting interests of existing shareholders. We support proposals to abolish voting caps and capitalization changes that eliminate other classes of stock and/or unequal voting rights.

Increase in Authorized Capital

The ability to raise capital is critical for companies to carry out strategy, to grow, and to achieve returns above their cost of capital. The approval of capital raising activities is fundamental to shareholders’ ability to monitor returns and to ensure capital is deployed efficiently. We support capital increases that have sound business reasons and are not excessive relative to a company’s existing capital base.

Pre-emption rights are a fundamental right for shareholders to protect their investment in a company. Where companies seek to issue new shares whilst disapplying pre-emption rights, we may vote against if such authorities are greater than 20% of the issued share capital. We may also vote against resolutions that seek authority to issue capital with pre-emption rights if the aggregate amount allowed seems excessive and is not justified by the board. Generally, we oppose capital issuance proposals greater than 100% of the issued share capital when the proceeds are not intended for a specific purpose.

Share Repurchase Programs

We typically support proposals to repurchase shares; however, there are exceptions in some cases. We do not support repurchases in cases if the issuer does not clearly state the business purpose for the program, a definitive number of shares to be repurchased, the range of premium/ discount to market price at which the company can repurchase shares, and the timeframe for the repurchase. We may vote against share repurchase requests that allow share repurchases during a takeover period.

Dividends

We generally support dividend payouts that constitute 30% or more of net income. We may vote against the dividend payouts if the dividend payout ratio has been consistently below 30% without adequate explanation or the payout is excessive given the company’s financial position. Particular attention will be paid to cases in which the payment may damage the company’s long-term financial health.

Related-Party Transactions

Some companies in European markets have a controlled ownership structure and have complex cross-shareholdings between subsidiaries and parent companies (“related companies”). Such structures may result in the prevalence of related-party transactions between the company and its various stakeholders, such as directors and management, subsidiaries, and shareholders. In markets where shareholders are required to approve such transactions, we expect companies to provide details of the transaction, such as the nature, the value, and the purpose of such a transaction. We also encourage independent directors to ratify such transactions. Further we encourage companies to describe the level of independent board oversight and the approval process, including details of any independent valuations provided by financial advisors on related- party transactions.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers or restructurings often involve proposals relating to reincorporation, restructurings, mergers, liquidation, and other major changes to the corporation. Proposals will be supported if they are in the best interests of the shareholders, which is demonstrated by enhancing share value or improving the effectiveness of the company’s operations. In general provisions that are not viewed as financially sound or are thought to be destructive to shareholders’ rights are not supported.

We will generally support transactions that maximize shareholder value. Some of the considerations include the following:

 

    Offer premium

 

    Strategic rationale

 

    Board oversight of the process for the recommended transaction, including director and/or management conflicts of interest

 

    Offers made at a premium and where there are no other higher bidders

 

    Offers in which the secondary market price is substantially lower than the net asset value
 

 

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We may vote against a transaction considering the following:

 

    Offers with potentially damaging consequences for minority shareholders because of illiquid stock

 

    Offers where we believe there is a reasonable prospect for an enhanced bid or other bidders

 

    The current market price of the security exceeds the bid price at the time of voting.

Anti–Takeover Measures

European markets have diverse regulations concerning the use of share issuances as takeover defenses, with legal restrictions lacking in some markets. We support the one-share, one-vote policy. For example, dual-class capital structures entrench certain shareholders and management, insulating them from possible takeovers. We oppose unlimited share issuance authorizations because they can be used as antitakeover devices. They have the potential for substantial voting and earnings dilution. We also monitor the duration of time for authorities to issue shares, as well as whether there are restrictions and caps on multiple issuance authorities during the specified time periods. We oppose antitakeover defenses such as authorities for the board, when subject to a hostile takeover to issue warrants convertible into shares to existing shareholders.

Remuneration

Executive Pay

Despite the differences among the various types of plans and awards , there is a simple underlying philosophy that guides our analysis of executive pay; there should be a direct relationship between remuneration and company performance over the long term.

Shareholders should have the opportunity to assess whether pay structures and levels are aligned with business performance. When assessing remuneration reports, we consider factors such as adequate disclosure of remuneration elements, absolute and relative pay levels, peer selection and benchmarking, the mix of long-term and short-term incentives, alignment of pay structures with shareholder interests as well as with corporate strategy and performance. We may oppose remuneration reports where pay seems misaligned with shareholders’ interests. We may also vote against the re-election of members of the remuneration committee if we have serious concerns about remuneration practices and if the company has not been responsive to shareholder pressure to review its approach.

Equity Incentives Plans

We may not support proposals regarding equity-based incentive plans where insufficient information is provided on matters, including grant limits, performance metrics, performance and vesting periods, and overall dilution. Generally we do not support options under such plans being issued at a discount to market price or plans that allow for retesting of performance metrics.

Non–Executive Director Pay

In European markets, proposals seeking shareholder approval for non-executive directors’ fees are generally not controversial. We typically support resolutions regarding directors’ fees unless disclosure is poor and we are unable to determine whether the fees are excessive relative to fees paid by comparable companies. We will evaluate any non-cash or performance-related pay to non-executive directors on a company-by-company basis.

Risk Management

We believe that risk management is a key function of the board, which is responsible for setting the overall risk appetite of a company and for providing oversight on the risk management process established by senior executives at a company. We allow boards discretion regarding the ways in which they provide oversight in this area. However, we expect companies to disclose how the board provides oversight on its risk management system and risk identification. Boards should also review existing and emerging risks, as they can change with a changing political and economic landscape or as companies diversify or expand their operations into new areas.

Environmental and Social Issues

As a fiduciary, State Street Global Advisors takes a comprehensive approach to engaging with our portfolio companies about material environmental and social (sustainability) issues. We use our voice and our vote through engagement, proxy voting, and thought leadership in order to communicate with issuers and educate market participants about our perspective on important sustainability topics. Our Asset Stewardship program prioritization process allows us to proactively identify companies for engagement and voting in order to mitigate sustainability risks in our portfolio. Through engagement, we address a broad range of topics that align with our thematic priorities and build long-term relationships with issuers. When voting, we fundamentally consider whether the adoption of a shareholder proposal addressing a material

 

 

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sustainability issue would promote long-term shareholder value in the context of the company’s existing practices and disclosures as well as existing market practice.

For more information on our approach to environmental and social issues, please see our Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines for Environmental and Social Issues available at ssga.com/about-us/asset-stewardship.html.

More Information

Any client who wishes to receive information on how its proxies were voted should contact its State Street Global Advisors relationship manager.

 

1 

These Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines are also applicable to State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc. State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. State Street Global Advisors Funds Management, Inc., State Street Global Advisors Trust Company, and other advisory affiliates of State Street make up State Street Global Advisors, the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.

 

 

ssga.com

 

State Street Global Advisors Worldwide Entities

Abu Dhabi: State Street Global Advisors Limited, Middle East Branch, 42801, 28, Al Khatem Tower, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Mayah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority. T: +971 2 245 9000. Australia: State Street Global Advisors, Australia, Limited (ABN 42 003 914 225) is the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number 238276). Registered office: Level 17, 420 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia T: +612 9240 7600. F: +612 9240 7611. Belgium: State Street Global Advisors Belgium, Chaussée de La Hulpe 120, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. T: 32 2 663 2036, F: 32 2 672 2077. SSGA Belgium is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Limited. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Canada: State Street Global Advisors, Ltd., 770 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1200 Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1G1, T: +514 282 2400 and 30 Adelaide Street East Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G6. T: +647 775 5900. Dubai: State Street Global Advisors Limited, DIFC Branch, Central Park Towers, Suite 15-38 (15th floor), P.O Box 26838, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). T: +971 (0)4 4372800, F: +971 (0)4 4372818. France: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris branch is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris Branch, is registered in France with company number RCS Nanterre 832 734 602 and whose office is at Immeuble Défense Plaza, 23-25 rue Delarivière-Lefoullon, 92064 Paris La Défense Cedex, France. T: (+33) 1 44 45 40 00. F: (+33) 1 44 45 41 92. Germany: State Street Global Advisors GmbH, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Authorized and regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (“BaFin”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Munich HRB 121381. T: +49 (0)89 55878 400. F: +49 (0)89 55878 440. Hong Kong: State Street Global Advisors Asia Limited, 68/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong. T: +852 2103-0288. F: +852 2103 0200. Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John

Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Italy: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano), is registered in Italy with company number 10495250960 - R.E.A. 2535585 and VAT number 10495250960and whose office is at Via dei Bossi, 4 - 20121 Milano, Italy. T: +39 02 32066 100. F: +39 02 32066 155. Japan: State Street Global Advisors (Japan) Co., Ltd., Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 25F 1-23-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-6325 Japan, T: +81-3-4530-7380 Financial Instruments Business Operator, Kanto Local Financial Bureau (Kinsho #345) , Membership: Japan Investment Advisers Association, The Investment Trust Association, Japan, Japan Securities Dealers’ Association. Netherlands: State Street Global Advisors Netherlands, Apollo Building, 7th floor Herikerbergweg 29 1101 CN Amsterdam, Netherlands. Telephone: 31 20 7181701. SSGA Netherlands is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Singapore: State Street Global Advisors Singapore Limited, 168, Robinson Road, #33-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912 (Company Reg. No: 200002719D, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore). Telephone: +65 6826 7555. F: +65 6826 7501. Switzerland: State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstr. 19, CH-8027 Zurich. Authorized and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht (“FINMA”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Zurich CHE-105.078.458. T: +41 (0)44 245 70 00. Facsimile F: +41 (0)44 245 70 16. United Kingdom: State Street Global Advisors Limited. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 2509928. VAT No. 5776591 81. Registered office: 20 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HJ. T: 020 3395 6000. F: 020 3395 6350. United States: State Street Global Advisors, One Iron Street, Boston MA 02210. T: +1 617 786 3000.

The whole or any part of this work may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without State Street Global Advisor’s express written consent.

 

 

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Japan

State Street Global Advisors’ Japan Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines1 outline our expectations of companies listed on stock exchanges in Japan. These guidelines complement and should be read in conjunction with State Street Global Advisors’ overarching Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines, which provide a detailed explanation of our approach to voting and engaging with companies and State Street Global Advisors’ Conflict Mitigation Guidelines.

 

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State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines in Japan address areas including: board structure, audit related issues, capital structure, remuneration, environmental, social, and other governance- related issues. Principally, we believe the primary responsibility of the board of directors is to preserve and enhance shareholder value and protect shareholder interests. In order to carry out their primary responsibilities, directors have to undertake activities that range from setting strategy and overseeing executive management to monitoring the risks that arise from a company’s business, including risks related to sustainability issues. Further, good corporate governance necessitates the existence of effective internal controls and risk management systems, which should be governed by the board.

When voting and engaging with companies in Japan, State Street Global Advisors takes into consideration the unique aspects of Japanese corporate governance structures. We recognize that under Japanese corporate law, companies may choose between two structures of corporate governance: the statutory auditor system or the committee structure. Most Japanese boards predominantly consist of executives and non-independent outsiders affiliated through commercial relationships or cross-shareholdings. Nonetheless, when evaluating companies, State Street Global Advisors expects Japanese companies to address conflicts of interest and risk management and to demonstrate an effective process for monitoring management. In our analysis and research regarding corporate governance issues in Japan, we expect all companies at a minimum to comply with Japan’s Corporate Governance Principles and proactively monitor companies’ adherence to the principles. Consistent with the ‘comply or explain’ expectations established by the Principles, we encourage companies to proactively disclose their level of compliance with the Principles. In instances of non-compliance when companies cannot explain the nuances of their governance structure effectively, either publicly or through engagement, we may vote against the board leader.

State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Philosophy

In our view, corporate governance and sustainability issues are an integral part of the investment process. The Asset Stewardship Team consists of investment professionals with expertise in corporate governance and company law, remuneration, accounting, and environmental and social issues. We have established robust corporate governance principles and practices that are backed with extensive analytical expertise to understand the complexities of the corporate governance landscape. We engage with companies to provide insight on the principles and practices that drive

our voting decisions. We also conduct proactive engagement to address significant shareholder concerns and environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) issues in a manner consistent with maximizing shareholder value.

The team works alongside members of State Street Global Advisors’ Active Fundamental and Asia-Pacific (“APAC”) Investment teams; the teams collaborate on issuer engagement and provide input on company specific fundamentals. We are also a member of various investor associations that seek to address broader corporate governance related policy issues in Japan.

State Street Global Advisors is a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (“UNPRI”) and is compliant with Japan’s Stewardship Code and Corporate Governance Code. We are committed to sustainable investing and are working to further integrate ESG principles into investment and corporate governance practices where applicable and consistent with our fiduciary duty.

Directors and Boards

State Street Global Advisors believes that a well constituted board of directors with a balance of skills, expertise, and independence, provides the foundation for a well governed company. We view board quality as a measure of director independence, director succession planning, board diversity, evaluations and refreshment, and company governance practices. We vote for the election/re-election of directors on a case-by-case basis after considering various factors, including board quality, general market practice, and availability of information on director skills and expertise. In principle, we believe independent directors are crucial to robust corporate governance and help management establish sound corporate governance policies and practices. A sufficiently independent board will most effectively monitor management and perform oversight functions that are necessary to protect shareholder interests. Further we expect boards of TOPIX 500 listed companies to have at least one female board member.

Japanese companies have the option of having a traditional board of directors with statutory auditors, a board with a committee structure, or a hybrid board with a board level audit committee. We will generally support companies that seek shareholder approval to adopt a committee or hybrid board structure.

Most Japanese issuers prefer the traditional statutory auditor structure. Statutory auditors act in a quasi- compliance role, as they are not involved in strategic decision-making nor are they part of the formal management decision process. Statutory auditors attend board meetings but do not have voting rights at the board; however,

 

 

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they have the right to seek an injunction and conduct broad investigations of unlawful behavior in the company’s operations.

State Street Global Advisors will support the election of statutory auditors, unless the outside statutory auditor nominee is regarded as non-independent based on our criteria, the outside statutory auditor has attended less than 75 percent of meetings of the board of directors or board of statutory auditors during the year under review, or the statutory auditor has been remiss in the performance of their oversight responsibilities (fraud, criminal wrong doing, and breach of fiduciary responsibilities).

For companies with a statutory auditor structure there is no legal requirement that boards have outside directors; however, we believe there should be a transparent process of independent and external monitoring of management on behalf of shareholders.

 

    We believe that boards of TOPIX 500 companies should have at least three independent directors or be at least one-third independent, whichever requires fewer independent directors. Otherwise, we may oppose the board leader who is responsible for the director nomination process.

 

    For controlled, non-TOPIX 500 companies with a statutory auditor structure or hybrid structure, we may oppose the board leader if the board does not have at least two independent directors.

 

    For non-controlled, non-TOPIX 500 companies with a statutory auditor structure or hybrid structure, State Street Global Advisors may oppose the board leader, if the board does not have at least two outside directors.

For companies with a committee structure or a hybrid board structure, we also take into consideration the overall independence level of the committees. In determining director independence, we consider the following factors:

 

    Participation in related-party transactions and other business relations with the company

 

    Past employment with the company

 

    Professional services provided to the company

 

    Family ties with the company

Regardless of board structure, we may oppose the election of a director for the following reasons:

 

    Failure to attend board meetings

 

    In instances of egregious actions related to a director’s service on the board

Indemnification and Limitations on Liability

Generally, State Street Global Advisors supports proposals to limit directors’ and statutory auditors’ liability and/or expand indemnification and liability protection up to the limit provided by law, if he or she has not acted in bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of his or her office. We believe limitations and indemnification are necessary to attract and retain qualified directors.

Audit-Related Items

State Street Global Advisors believes that a company’s auditor is an essential feature of an effective and transparent system of external supervision. Shareholders should have the opportunity to vote on the appointment of the auditor at the annual meeting.

Ratifying External Auditors

We generally support the appointment of external auditors unless the external auditor is perceived as being non- independent and there are concerns about the accounts presented and the audit procedures followed.

Limiting Legal Liability of External Auditors

We generally oppose limiting the legal liability of audit firms as we believe this could create a negative impact on the quality of the audit function.

Capital Structure, Reorganization, and Mergers

State Street Global Advisors supports the “one share one vote” policy and favors a share structure where all shares have equal voting rights. We support proposals to abolish voting caps or multiple voting rights and will oppose measures to introduce these types of restrictions on shareholder rights.

We believe pre-emption rights should be introduced for shareholders. This can provide adequate protection from excessive dilution due to the issuance of new shares or convertible securities to third parties or a small number of select shareholders.

Unequal Voting Rights

We generally oppose proposals authorizing the creation of new classes of common stock with superior voting rights. We will generally oppose new classes of preferred stock with unspecified voting, conversion, dividend distribution, and other rights. In addition, we will not support capitalization changes that add classes of stock with undefined voting rights or classes that may dilute the voting interests of existing shareholders.

 

 

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However, we will support capitalization changes that eliminate other classes of stock and/or unequal voting rights.

Increase in Authorized Capital

We generally support increases in authorized capital where the company provides an adequate explanation for the use of shares. In the absence of an adequate explanation, we may oppose the request if the increase in authorized capital exceeds 100% of the currently authorized capital. Where share issuance requests exceed our standard threshold, we will consider the nature of the specific need, such as mergers, acquisitions and stock splits.

Dividends

We generally support dividend payouts that constitute 30% or more of net income. We may vote against the dividend payouts if the dividend payout ratio has been consistently below 30% without adequate explanation; or, the payout is excessive given the company’s financial position. Particular attention will be paid where the payment may damage the company’s long-term financial health.

Share Repurchase Programs

Companies are allowed under Japan Corporate Law to amend their articles to authorize the repurchase of shares at the board’s discretion. We will oppose an amendment to articles allowing the repurchase of shares at the board’s discretion. We believe the company should seek shareholder approval for a share repurchase program at each year’s AGM, providing shareholders the right to evaluate the purpose of the repurchase.

We generally support proposals to repurchase shares, unless the issuer does not clearly state the business purpose for the program, a definitive number of shares to be repurchased, and the timeframe for the repurchase. We may vote against share repurchase requests that allow share repurchases during a takeover period.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers or reorganizing the structure of a company often involve proposals relating to reincorporation, restructurings, mergers, liquidations, and other major changes to the corporation. We will support proposals that are in the best interests of the shareholders, demonstrated by enhancing share value or improving the effectiveness of the company’s operations. In general, provisions that are deemed to be destructive to shareholders’ rights or financially detrimental are not supported.

We evaluate mergers and structural reorganizations on a case-by-case basis. We will generally support transactions that maximize shareholder value. Some of the considerations include, but are not limited to the following:

 

    Offer premium

 

    Strategic rationale
    Board oversight of the process for the recommended transaction, including director and/or management conflicts of interest

 

    Offers made at a premium and where there are no other higher bidders

 

    Offers in which the secondary market price is substantially lower than the net asset value

We may vote against a transaction considering the following:

 

    Offers with potentially damaging consequences for minority shareholders because of illiquid stock

 

    Offers where we believe there is a reasonable prospect for an enhanced bid or other bidders

 

    Offers in which the current market price of the security exceeds the bid price at the time of voting

Anti-Takeover Measures

In general, State Street Global Advisors believes that adoption of poison pills that have been structured to protect management and to prevent takeover bids from succeeding is not in shareholders’ interest. A shareholder rights plan may lead to management entrenchment. It may also discourage legitimate tender offers and acquisitions. Even if the premium paid to companies with a shareholder rights plan is higher than that offered to unprotected firms, a company’s chances of receiving a takeover offer in the first place may be reduced by the presence of a shareholder rights plan.

Proposals that reduce shareholders’ rights or have the effect of entrenching incumbent management will not be supported.

Proposals that enhance the right of shareholders to make their own choices as to the desirability of a merger or other proposal are supported.

Shareholder Rights Plans

In evaluating the adoption or renewal of a Japanese issuer’s shareholder rights plans (“poison pill”), we consider the following conditions: (i) release of proxy circular with details of the proposal with adequate notice in advance of meeting, (ii) minimum trigger of over 20%, (iii) maximum term of three years, (iv) sufficient number of independent directors, (v) presence of an independent committee, (vi) annual election of directors, and (vii) lack of protective or entrenchment features. Additionally, we consider the length of time that a shareholder rights plan has been in effect.

 

 

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In evaluating an amendment to a shareholder rights plan (“poison pill”), in addition to the conditions above, we will also evaluate and consider supporting proposals where the terms of the new plans are more favorable to shareholders’ ability to accept unsolicited offers.

Compensation

In Japan, excessive compensation is rarely an issue. Rather, the problem is the lack of connection between pay and performance. Fixed salaries and cash retirement bonuses tend to comprise a significant portion of the compensation structure while performance-based pay is generally a small portion of the total pay. State Street Global Advisors, where possible, seeks to encourage the use of performance-based compensation in Japan as an incentive for executives and as a way to align interests with shareholders.

Adjustments to Aggregate Compensation Ceiling for Directors

Remuneration for directors is generally reasonable. Typically, each company sets the director compensation parameters as an aggregate thereby limiting the total pay to all directors. When requesting a change, a company must disclose the last time the ceiling was adjusted, and management provides the rationale for the ceiling increase. We will generally support proposed increases to the ceiling if the company discloses the rationale for the increase. We may oppose proposals to increase the ceiling if there has been corporate malfeasance or sustained poor performance.

Annual Bonuses for Directors/Statutory Auditors

In Japan, since there are no legal requirements that mandate companies to seek shareholder approval before awarding a bonus, we believe that existing shareholder approval of the bonus should be considered best practice. As a result, we support management proposals on executive compensation where there is a strong relationship between executive pay and performance over a five-year period.

Retirement Bonuses for Directors/Statutory Auditors

Retirement bonuses make up a sizeable portion of directors’ and auditors’ lifetime compensation and are based upon board tenure. While many companies in Japan have abolished this practice, there remain many proposals seeking shareholder approval for the total amounts paid to directors and statutory auditors as a whole. In general, we support these payments unless the recipient is an outsider or in instances where the amount is not disclosed.

Stock Plans

Most option plans in Japan are conservative, particularly at large companies. Japanese corporate law requires companies to disclose the monetary value of the stock options for directors and/or statutory auditors. Some companies do not disclose the maximum number of options that can be issued per year and shareholders are unable to evaluate the dilution impact. In this case, we cannot calculate the dilution level and, therefore, we may oppose such plans for poor disclosure. We also oppose plans that allow for the repricing of the exercise price.

Deep Discount Options

As Japanese companies move away from the retirement bonus system, deep discount options plans have become more popular. Typically, the exercise price is set at JPY 1 per share. We evaluate deep discount options using the same criteria used to evaluate stock options as well as considering the vesting period.

Environmental and Social Issues

As a fiduciary, State Street Global Advisors takes a comprehensive approach to engaging with our portfolio companies about material environmental and social (sustainability) issues. We use our voice and our vote through engagement, proxy voting, and thought leadership in order to communicate with issuers and educate market participants about our perspective on important sustainability topics. Our Asset Stewardship program prioritization process allows us to proactively identify companies for engagement and voting in order to mitigate sustainability risks in our portfolio. Through engagement, we address a broad range of topics that align with our thematic priorities and build long-term relationships with issuers. When voting, we fundamentally consider whether the adoption of a shareholder proposal addressing a material sustainability issue would promote long-term shareholder value in the context of the company’s existing practices and disclosures as well as existing market practice.

For more information on our approach to environmental and social issues, please see our Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines for Environmental and Social Issues available at ssga.com/about-us/asset-stewardship.html.

 

 

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Miscellaneous/Routine Items

Expansion of Business Activities

Japanese companies’ articles of incorporation strictly define the types of businesses in which a company is permitted to engage. In general, State Street Global Advisors views proposals that expand and diversify the company’s business activities as routine and non-contentious. We will monitor instances in which there has been an inappropriate acquisition and diversification away from the company’s main area of competence that resulted in a decrease of shareholder value.

More Information

Any client who wishes to receive information on how its proxies were voted should contact its State Street Global Advisors relationship manager.

 

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These Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines are also applicable to SSGA Funds Management, Inc. SSGA Funds Management, Inc.is an SEC-registered investment adviser. SSGA Funds Management, Inc., State Street Global Advisors Trust Company, and other advisory affiliates of State Street make up State Street Global Advisors, the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.

 

 

ssga.com

 

State Street Global Advisors Worldwide Entities

Abu Dhabi: State Street Global Advisors Limited, Middle East Branch, 42801, 28, Al Khatem Tower, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Mayah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority. T: +971 2 245 9000. Australia: State Street Global Advisors, Australia, Limited (ABN 42 003 914 225) is the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number 238276). Registered office: Level 17, 420 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia T: +612 9240 7600. F: +612 9240 7611. Belgium: State Street Global Advisors Belgium, Chaussée de La Hulpe 120, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. T: 32 2 663 2036, F: 32 2 672 2077. SSGA Belgium is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Limited. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Canada: State Street Global Advisors, Ltd., 770 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1200 Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1G1, T: +514 282 2400 and 30 Adelaide Street East Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G6. T: +647 775 5900. Dubai: State Street Global Advisors Limited, DIFC Branch, Central Park Towers, Suite 15-38 (15th floor), P.O Box 26838, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). T: +971 (0)4 4372800, F: +971 (0)4 4372818. France: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris branch is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Paris Branch, is registered in France with company number RCS Nanterre 832 734 602 and whose office is at Immeuble Défense Plaza, 23-25 rue Delarivière-Lefoullon, 92064 Paris La Défense Cedex, France. T: (+33) 1 44 45 40 00. F: (+33) 1 44 45 41 92. Germany: State Street Global Advisors GmbH, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Authorized and regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (“BaFin”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Munich HRB 121381. T: +49 (0)89 55878 400. F: +49 (0)89 55878 440. Hong Kong: State Street Global Advisors Asia Limited, 68/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong. T: +852 2103-0288. F: +852 2103 0200. Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited

is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Italy: State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano), is registered in Italy with company number 10495250960 - R.E.A. 2535585 and VAT number 10495250960and whose office is at Via dei Bossi, 4 - 20121 Milano, Italy. T: +39 02 32066 100. F: +39 02 32066 155. Japan: State Street Global Advisors (Japan) Co., Ltd., Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 25F 1-23-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-6325 Japan, T: +81-3-4530-7380 Financial Instruments Business Operator, Kanto Local Financial Bureau (Kinsho #345) , Membership: Japan Investment Advisers Association, The Investment Trust Association, Japan, Japan Securities Dealers’ Association. Netherlands: State Street Global Advisors Netherlands, Apollo Building, 7th floor Herikerbergweg 29 1101 CN Amsterdam, Netherlands. Telephone: 31 20 7181701. SSGA Netherlands is a branch office of State Street Global Advisors Ireland Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 145221, authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Singapore: State Street Global Advisors Singapore Limited, 168, Robinson Road, #33-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912 (Company Reg. No: 200002719D, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore). Telephone: +65 6826 7555. F: +65 6826 7501. Switzerland: State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstr. 19, CH-8027 Zurich. Authorized and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht (“FINMA”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Zurich CHE-105.078.458. T: +41 (0)44 245 70 00. Facsimile F: +41 (0)44 245 70 16. United Kingdom: State Street Global Advisors Limited. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 2509928. VAT No. 5776591 81. Registered office: 20 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HJ. T: 020 3395 6000. F: 020 3395 6350. United States: State Street Global Advisors, One Iron Street, Boston MA 02210. T: +1 617 786 3000.

The whole or any part of this work may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without SSGA’s express written consent.

 

 

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March 2019

Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines

United Kingdom and Ireland

State Street Global Advisors’, United Kingdom and Ireland Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines1 outline our expectations of companies listed on stock exchanges in the United Kingdom and Ireland. These guidelines complement and should be read in conjunction with State Street Global Advisors’ Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles, which provide a detailed explanation of our approach to voting and engaging with companies and State Street Global Advisors’ Conflict Mitigation Guidelines.

 

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State Street Global Advisors’ United Kingdom (“UK”) and Ireland Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines address areas including board structure, audit related issues, capital structure, remuneration, environmental, social and other governance related issues. Principally, we believe the primary responsibility of a board of directors is to preserve and enhance shareholder value and to protect shareholder interests. In order to carry out their primary responsibilities, directors have to undertake activities that range from setting strategy, overseeing executive management, and monitoring the risks that arise from a company’s business, including risks related to sustainability issues. Further, good corporate governance necessitates the existence of effective internal controls and risk management systems, which should be governed by the board.

When voting and engaging with companies in global markets, we consider market specific nuances in the manner that we believe will most likely protect and promote the long-term economic value of client investments. We expect companies to observe the relevant laws and regulations of their respective markets as well as country-specific best practice guidelines and corporate governance codes. When we identify that a country’s regulatory requirements do not address some of the key philosophical principles that we believe are fundamental to our global voting guidelines, we may hold companies in such markets to our global standards.

In our analysis and research into corporate governance issues in the UK and Ireland, we expect all companies, regardless of domicile, that obtain a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange or the Irish Stock Exchange to comply with the UK Corporate Governance Code and proactively monitor companies’ adherence to the Code. Consistent with the ‘comply or explain’ expectations established by the Code, we encourage companies to proactively disclose their level of compliance with the Code. In instances of non-compliance in which companies cannot explain the nuances of their governance structure effectively, either publicly or through engagement, we may vote against the independent board leader.

State Street Global Advisors’ Proxy Voting and Engagement Philosophy

In our view, corporate governance and sustainability issues are an integral part of the investment process. The Asset Stewardship Team consists of investment professionals with expertise in corporate governance and company law, remuneration, accounting, and environmental and social issues. We have established robust corporate governance principles and practices that are backed with extensive analytical expertise to understand the complexities of the corporate governance landscape. We engage with companies to provide insight on the principles and practices that drive

 

our voting decisions. We also conduct proactive engagement to address significant shareholder concerns and environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) issues in a manner consistent with maximizing shareholder value.

The team works alongside members of SSGA’s Active Fundamental and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (“EMEA”) Investment teams. We collaborate on issuer engagement and provide input on company specific fundamentals. We are also a member of various investor associations that seek to address broader corporate governance related policy issues in the UK and European markets.

State Street Global Advisors is a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (“UNPRI”) and is compliant with the UK Stewardship Code. We are committed to sustainable investing and are working to further integrate ESG principles into investment and corporate governance practice where applicable and consistent with our fiduciary duty.

Directors and Boards

We believe that a well constituted board of directors, with a balance of skills, expertise and independence, provides the foundations for a well governed company. We view board quality as a measure of director independence, director succession planning, board diversity, evaluations and refreshment, and company governance practices. We vote for the election/re-election of directors on a case-by-case basis after considering various factors, including board quality, general market practice, and availability of information on director skills and expertise. In principle, we believe independent directors are crucial to robust corporate governance and help management establish sound corporate governance policies and practices. A sufficiently independent board will most effectively monitor management and perform oversight functions necessary to protect shareholder interests. Further, we expect boards of FTSE 350 listed companies to have at least one female board member.

Our broad criteria for director independence for UK companies include factors such as:

 

    Participation in related-party transactions and other business relations with the company

 

    Employment history with company

 

    Excessive tenure and a preponderance of long-tenured directors

 

    Relations with controlling shareholders

 

    Family ties with any of the company’s advisers, directors or senior employees

 

    If the company classifies the director as non-independent
 

 

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When considering the election or re-election of a director, we also consider the number of outside board directorships a non-executive and an executive may undertake as well as attendance at board meetings. In addition, we monitor other factors that may influence the independence of a non-executive director, such as performance related pay, cross-directorships and significant shareholdings. We support the annual election of directors.

While we are generally supportive of having the roles of chairman and CEO separated in the UK market, we assess the division of responsibilities between chairman and CEO on a case-by-case basis, giving consideration to factors, such as the company’s specific circumstances, overall level of independence on the board and general corporate governance standards in the company. Similarly we monitor for circumstances in which a combined chairman/CEO is appointed or a former CEO becomes chairman.

We may also consider factors such as board performance and directors who appear to be remiss in the performance of their oversight responsibilities when considering their suitability for reappointment (e.g. fraud, criminal wrongdoing and breach of fiduciary responsibilities).

We believe companies should have committees for audit, remuneration, and nomination oversight. The audit committee is responsible for monitoring the integrity of the financial statements of the company, the appointment of external auditors, auditor qualifications and independence, and effectiveness and resource levels. Similarly executive pay is an important aspect of corporate governance, and it should be determined by the board of directors. We expect companies to have remuneration committees to provide independent oversight over executive pay. We will vote against nominees who are executive members of audit or remuneration committees.

We consider whether board members have adequate skills to provide effective oversight of corporate strategy, operations, and risks, including environmental and social issues. Boards should also have a regular evaluation process in place to assess the effectiveness of the board and the skills of board members to address issues such as emerging risks, changes to corporate strategy, and diversification of operations and geographic footprint. The nomination committee is responsible for evaluating and reviewing the balance of skills, knowledge, and experience of the board. It also ensures that adequate succession plans are in place for directors and the CEO. We may vote against the re-election of members of the nomination committee if, over time, the board has failed to address concerns over board structure or succession.

Indemnification and Limitations on Liability

Generally, we support proposals to limit directors’ liability and/or expand indemnification and liability protection up to the limit provided by law. This holds if a director has not acted in bad faith, gross negligence, nor reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of his or her office.

Audit-Related Issues

Companies should have robust internal audit and internal control systems designed for effective management of any potential and emerging risks to company operations and strategy. The responsibility of setting out an internal audit function lies with the audit committee, which should have as members independent non-executive directors.

Appointment of External Auditors

State Street Global Advisors believes that a company’s auditor is an essential feature of an effective and transparent system of external supervision. Shareholders should be given the opportunity to vote on their appointment or re-appoint at the annual meeting. When appointing external auditors and approving audit fees, we take into consideration the level of detail in company disclosures and will generally not support such resolutions if an adequate breakdown is not provided and if non-audit fees are more than 50% of audit fees. In addition, we may vote against members of the audit committee if we have concerns with audit-related issues or if the level of non-audit fees to audit fees is significant. In certain circumstances, we may consider auditor tenure when evaluating the audit process.

Limit Legal Liability of External Auditors

We generally oppose limiting the legal liability of audit firms because we believe this could create a negative impact on the quality of the audit function.

Shareholder Rights and Capital-Related Issues

Share Issuances

The ability to raise capital is critical for companies to carry out strategy, to grow, and to achieve returns above their cost of capital. The approval of capital raising activities is essential to shareholders’ ability to monitor returns and to ensure capital is deployed efficiently. We support capital increases that have sound business reasons and are not excessive relative to a company’s existing capital base.

 

 

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Pre-emption rights are a fundamental right for shareholders to protect their investment in a company. Where companies seek to issue new shares without pre-emption rights, we may vote against if such authorities are greater than 20% of the issued share capital. We may also vote against resolutions that seek authority to issue capital with pre-emption rights if the aggregate amount allowed seems excessive and is not justified by the board. Generally, we are against capital issuance proposals greater than 100% of the issued share capital when the proceeds are not intended for a specific purpose.

Share Repurchase Programs

We generally support a proposal to repurchase shares. However, this is not the case if the issuer does not clearly state the business purpose for the program, a definitive number of shares to be repurchased, the range of premium/ discount to market price at which a company can repurchase shares, and the timeframe for the repurchase. We may vote against share repurchase requests that allow share repurchases during a takeover period.

Dividends

We generally support dividend payouts that constitute 30% or more of net income. We may vote against the dividend payouts if the dividend payout ratio has been consistently below 30% without adequate explanation or the payout is excessive given the company’s financial position. Particular attention will be paid where the payment may damage the company’s long term financial health.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers or reorganizing the structure of a company often involve proposals relating to reincorporation, restructurings, mergers, liquidations, and other major changes to the corporation. Proposals that are in the best interests of the shareholders, demonstrated by enhancing share value or improving the effectiveness of the company’s operations, will be supported. In general, provisions that are not viewed as financially sound or are thought to be destructive to shareholders’ rights and are not supported.

We will generally support transactions that maximize shareholder value. Some of the considerations include the following:

 

    Offer premium

 

    Strategic rationale

 

    Board oversight of the process for the recommended transaction, including, director and/or management conflicts of interest

 

    Offers made at a premium and where there are no other higher bidders

 

    Offers in which the secondary market price is substantially lower than the net asset value

We may vote against a transaction considering the following:

 

    Offers with potentially damaging consequences for minority shareholders because of illiquid stock

 

    Offers in which we believe there is a reasonable prospect for an enhanced bid or other bidders

 

    The current market price of the security exceeds the bid price at the time of voting

Anti-Takeover Measures

We oppose anti-takeover defenses such as authorities for the board when subject to a hostile takeover to issue warrants convertible into shares to existing shareholders.

Remuneration

Executive Pay

Despite the differences among the types of plans and awards possible, there is a simple underlying philosophy that guides our analysis of executive pay, There should be a direct relationship between remuneration and company performance over the long term.

Shareholders should have the opportunity to assess whether pay structures and levels are aligned with business performance. When assessing remuneration policies and reports, we consider adequate disclosure of various remuneration elements, absolute and relative pay levels, peer selection and ben