485APOS 1 c75904_485apos.htm

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 14, 2014

 

Securities Act File No. 333-123257
Investment Company Act File No. 811-10325

 

 

United States Securities and Exchange Commission

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

 

FORM N-1A

 

 

 

  Registration Statement Under the Securities Act of 1933 S
  Pre-Effective Amendment No. £
  Post Effective Amendment No. 1,467 S
  and/or  
  Registration Statement Under the Investment Company Act of 1940 S
  Amendment No. 1,471 S

 

 

 

MARKET VECTORS ETF TRUST

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

 

 

 

335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor
New York, New York 10017
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
(212) 293-2000
Registrant’s Telephone Number

Jonathan R. Simon, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel
Van Eck Associates Corporation
335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor
New York, New York 10017
(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

 

 

Copy to:
Stuart M. Strauss, Esq.
Dechert LLP
1095 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036

 

 

 

Approximate Date of Proposed Public Offering: As soon as practicable after the effective date of this registration statement.

 

 

 

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)
S 75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)
£ On [date] pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of rule 485

 

 
 

The information in this Prospectus is not complete and may be changed. The Trust may not sell these securities 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 jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

Subject to Completion

 

Preliminary Prospectus dated April 14, 2014

 

 

 

[ ], 2014 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[LOGO]

 

Market Vectors ChinaAMC MSCI All China ETF (ALCH)

 

Principal U.S. Listing Exchange: NYSE Arca, Inc.

 

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

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

SUMMARY INFORMATION MARKET VECTORS CHINAAMC MSCI ALL CHINA ETF 1
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FUND’S INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS 11
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS 29
MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND 29
SHAREHOLDER INFORMATION 32
INDEX PROVIDER 38
MSCI ALL CHINA INDEX 39
LICENSE AGREEMENT AND DISCLAIMERS 40
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS 41
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT INFORMATION 41
GENERAL INFORMATION 41

 

SUMMARY INFORMATION

 

MARKET VECTORS ChinaAMC MSCI ALL CHINA ETF

 

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE

 

Market Vectors ChinaAMC MSCI All China ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the MSCI All China Index (the “Index”).

 

FUND FEES AND EXPENSES

 

The following tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund (“Shares”).

 

Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment) None

 

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

 

Management Fee 0.50%
   
Other Expenses(a) 0.28%
   
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses(b) 0.78%
   
Fee Waivers and Expense Reimbursement(b) 0.00%
   
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and Expense Reimbursement(b) 0.78%

 

(a) “Other Expenses” are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year.

 

(b)Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, offering costs, trading expenses, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 0.84% of the Fund’s average daily net assets per year until at least May 1, 2015. During such time, the expense limitation is expected to continue until the Fund’s Board of Trustees acts to discontinue all or a portion of such expense limitation.

 

EXPENSE EXAMPLE

 

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling Shares of the Fund.

 

The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% annual return 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:

 

YEAR   EXPENSES  
1   $ 80  
3   $ 249  

 

PORTFOLIO TURNOVER

 

The Fund will pay transaction costs, such as commissions, when it purchases and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover will cause the Fund to incur additional transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which

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are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, may affect the Fund’s performance. Because the Fund is newly organized, no portfolio turnover figures are available.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

 

The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its total assets in securities that comprise the Fund’s benchmark index. The Index is comprised of equity securities, which may include depositary receipts, of publicly traded companies that are generally considered by MSCI Inc. (“MSCI” or the “Index Provider”) to be Chinese companies based on the country of incorporation of the issuing company and the primary listing of the security. As of March 3, 2014, the Index included 612 securities of companies with a market capitalization range of between approximately $340.4 million and $79.3 billion and a weighted average market capitalization of $15.6 billion. The Fund’s 80% investment policy is non-fundamental and may be changed without shareholder approval upon 60 days’ prior written notice to shareholders.

 

The Fund, using a “passive” or indexing investment approach, attempts to approximate the investment performance of the Index by investing in a portfolio of securities that generally replicates the Index. The Adviser expects that, over time, the correlation between the Fund’s performance before fees and expenses and that of the Index will be 95% or better. A figure of 100% would indicate perfect correlation.

 

The Index is comprised of China A-shares (“A-shares”), China B-shares (“B-shares”), China H-shares (“H-shares”), China Red Chips (“Red Chips”) and China P-Chips (“P Chips”) share classes as well as securities of Chinese companies listed in the United States and Singapore (collectively, “Chinese Securities”). The Index is a rules-based, modified capitalization weighted, float adjusted index intended to track the performance of the entire investable global large-and mid-cap China equity opportunity set. Constituent stocks for the Index must have been listed for more than three months prior to the implementation of a semi-annual review by the Index Provider, unless the stock meets certain size-segment investability and full market capitalization requirements as defined by the Index Provider. As of March 3, 2014, approximately 50.54% of the Index is comprised of A-shares, 0.34% of the Index is comprised of B-shares, 22.39% of the Index is comprised of H-shares, 11.42% of the Index is comprised of Red Chips, 10.70% of the Index is comprised of P Chips and 4.60% of the Index is comprised of American depositary receipts (“ADRs”).

 

A-shares are issued by companies incorporated in the People’s Republic of China (“China” or the “PRC”). A-shares are traded in renminbi (“RMB”) on the Shenzhen or Shanghai Stock Exchanges. The A-share market in China is made available to domestic PRC investors and certain foreign investors, including principally those that have been approved as a Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (“RQFII”) or a Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (“QFII”). A RQFII or QFII license may be obtained by application to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”). After obtaining a RQFII or QFII license, the RQFII or QFII would also apply to China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (“SAFE”) for a specific aggregate dollar amount investment quota in which the RQFII or QFII can invest in A-shares. Accordingly, the Fund’s direct investments in A-shares will be limited to the RQFII or QFII. Investment companies are not currently within the types of entities that are eligible for a RQFII or QFII license.

 

B-shares are issued by companies incorporated in China that trade on the Shanghai or Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, are quoted in U.S. dollars on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and in Hong Kong dollars (“HKD”) on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and are available to domestic PRC investors and foreign investors. H-shares are shares of companies incorporated in China that trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Red Chips are shares of companies incorporated outside of China that trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and are controlled by organizations or enterprises that are owned by the state, provinces, or municipalities of the PRC. P Chips are shares of companies incorporated outside of China that trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and satisfy the majority of the following criteria: (i) the company is controlled by PRC individuals, (ii) the company derives more than 80% of its revenue from the PRC and

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(iii) the company allocates more than 60% of its assets in the PRC. Securities listed in the United States and Singapore are considered to be Chinese companies if they satisfy two out of three of the following criteria: (i) the company is headquartered in the PRC, (ii) the company derives more than 50% of its revenue from activities conducted in the PRC and (iii) the company has more than 50% of its assets in the PRC.

 

The Fund will seek to achieve its investment objective by primarily investing directly in Chinese Securities. Because the Fund does not satisfy the criteria to qualify as a RQFII or QFII itself, the Fund intends to invest directly in A-shares via the A-share quota granted to the Fund’s sub-adviser, China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited (the “Sub-Adviser”), by SAFE (“RQFII quota”). The Sub-Adviser has obtained RQFII status and has been granted an RQFII quota, which the Sub-Adviser will use to invest the portion of the Fund’s assets allocated to it by the Adviser in A-shares. At such time that the Sub-Adviser has utilized its entire RQFII quota, the Sub-Adviser may, subject to applicable regulations, apply for an increase of the RQFII quota. The size of the Fund’s direct investment in A-shares will be limited by the size of the RQFII quota of the Sub-Adviser unless the Fund is able to enter into another sub-advisory agreement with another sub-adviser who has an RQFII quota. Assets not allocated to the Sub-Adviser for investment directly in A-shares will be managed by the Adviser. As of the date of this Prospectus, approximately half of the Index was comprised of A-shares.

 

The Fund may concentrate its investments in a particular industry or group of industries to the extent that the Index concentrates in an industry or group of industries. As of March 3, 2014, the Index was concentrated in the financial services sector and each of the information technology and industrials sectors represented a significant portion of the Index.

 

PRINCIPAL RISKS OF INVESTING IN THE FUND

 

Investors in the Fund should be willing to accept a high degree of volatility in the price of the Fund’s Shares and the possibility of significant losses. An investment in the Fund involves a substantial degree of risk. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit with a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Therefore, you should consider carefully the following risks before investing in the Fund.

 

Special Risk Considerations of Investing in China. Investing in securities of Chinese companies involves certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. issuers, including, among others, (i) the small size of the market for Chinese securities and the low volume of trading, resulting in lack of liquidity and in price volatility, (ii) currency devaluations and other currency exchange rate fluctuations or blockage, (iii) the nature and extent of intervention by the Chinese government in the Chinese securities markets, whether such intervention will continue and the impact of such intervention or its discontinuation, (iv) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets, (v) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support economic reform programs, (vi) limitations on the use of brokers, (vii) higher rates of inflation, (viii) greater political, economic and social uncertainty, (ix) market volatility caused by any potential regional or territorial conflicts or natural disasters, (x) the risk of increased trade tariffs, embargoes and other trade limitations and (xi) custody risks associated with investing through a RQFII, where due to requirements regarding establishing a custody account in the joint names of the Fund and the Sub-Adviser the Fund’s assets may not be as well protected from the claims of creditors than if the Fund had an account in its name only.

 

The economy of China differs, often unfavorably, from the U.S. economy in such respects as structure, general development, government involvement, wealth distribution, rate of inflation, growth rate, interest rates, allocation of resources and capital reinvestment, among others. The Chinese central government has historically exercised substantial control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through

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administrative regulation and/or state ownership and actions of the Chinese central and local government authorities continue to have a substantial effect on economic conditions in China. In addition, previously the Chinese government has from time to time taken actions that influence the prices at which certain goods may be sold, encourage companies to invest or concentrate in particular industries, induce mergers between companies in certain industries and induce private companies to publicly offer their securities to increase or continue the rate of economic growth, control the rate of inflation or otherwise regulate economic expansion. It may do so in the future as well, potentially having a significant adverse effect on economic conditions in China.

 

The Chinese securities markets are emerging markets characterized by relatively low trading volume, resulting in substantially less liquidity and greater price volatility. Liquidity risks may be more pronounced for the A-share market than for Chinese securities markets generally because the A-share market is subject to greater government restrictions and control, including trading suspensions, as described in greater detail below. Some Chinese companies are listed on both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in H-shares and the Shanghai Stock Exchange in A-shares. Price fluctuations of A-shares are currently limited to either 5% or 10% per trading day, while no such restrictions apply to H-shares. H-shares are therefore more susceptible to greater intraday price fluctuations while A-shares may exhibit greater volatility over longer periods due to such restrictions. In addition, issuers of B-shares and H-shares pay dividends in U.S. dollars or HKD. The ability of these issuers to pay dividends in U.S. dollars or HKD is dependent on their ability to generate sufficient revenues in U.S. dollars, HKD or currencies freely convertible into U.S. dollars or HKD. The market for B-shares in China is also relatively illiquid so that market opportunities may be limited as compared to other major international stock exchanges, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

 

There is also less regulation and monitoring of Chinese securities markets and the activities of investors, brokers and other participants than in the United States. Accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards in China are different from U.S. standards and, therefore, disclosure of certain material information may not be made. In addition, less information may be available to the Fund and other investors than would be the case if the Fund’s investments were restricted to securities of U.S. issuers. There is also generally less governmental regulation of the securities industry in China, and less enforcement of regulatory provisions relating thereto, than in the United States. Moreover, it may be more difficult to obtain a judgment in a court outside the United States.

 

The Chinese government strictly regulates the payment of foreign currency denominated obligations and sets monetary policy. In addition, the Chinese economy is export-driven and highly reliant on trade. Adverse changes to the economic conditions of its primary trading partners, such as the United States, Japan and South Korea, would adversely impact the Chinese economy and the Fund’s investments. Moreover, the current major slowdown in other significant economies of the world, such as the United States, the European Union and certain Asian countries, may adversely affect economic growth in China. An economic downturn in China would adversely impact the Fund’s investments.

 

Emerging markets such as China can experience high rates of inflation, deflation and currency devaluation. The value of RMB and HKD may be subject to a high degree of fluctuation due to, among other things, changes in interest rates, the effects of monetary policies issued by the PRC, Hong Kong, the United States, foreign governments, central banks or supranational entities, the imposition of currency controls or other national or global political or economic developments. In addition, China is Hong Kong’s largest trading partner with respect to both exports and imports. Any changes in the Chinese economy, currency exchange rates or a tightening of China’s control over China, may adversely affect Hong Kong’s economy and the value of HKD. The Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in investments denominated in RMB or HKD and the income received by the Fund will principally be in RMB or HKD. The Fund’s exposure to RMB and HKD and changes in value of RMB or HKD versus the

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U.S. dollar may result in reduced returns for the Fund. The value of HKD is currently pegged at a fixed exchange rate to the U.S. dollar. However, there can be no assurance that this fixed exchange rate policy will continue. Moreover, the Fund may incur costs in connection with conversions between U.S. dollars and RMB or HKD. RMB is currently not a freely convertible currency. The Chinese government places strict regulation on RMB and sets the value of RMB to levels dependent on the value of the U.S. dollar, but the Chinese government has been under pressure to manage the currency in a less restrictive fashion so that it is less correlated to the U.S. dollar. The Chinese government’s imposition of restrictions on the repatriation of RMB out of mainland China may limit the depth of the offshore RMB market and reduce the liquidity of the Fund’s investments. There may not be sufficient amounts of RMB for the Fund to be fully invested because the Fund has to convert U.S. dollars received from the purchase of Creation Units (defined herein) into RMB to purchase RMB denominated investments. As a result, these restrictions may adversely affect the Fund and its investments.

 

Risk of the RQFII Regime and Investing in A-shares. The Fund intends to invest directly in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota. Because the Fund will not be able to invest directly in A-shares in excess of the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota, the size of the Fund’s direct investment in A-shares may be limited. In addition, the RQFII quota of the Sub-Adviser may be reduced or revoked by the Chinese regulators if, among other things, the Sub-Adviser fails to observe SAFE and other applicable Chinese regulations. The Fund cannot predict what would occur if the RQFII quota of the Sub-Adviser or RQFII or QFII quotas generally were reduced or eliminated, although such an occurrence would likely have a material adverse effect on the Fund, including the requirement that the Fund dispose of certain or all of its A-shares holdings, and may adversely affect the willingness and ability of potential swap counterparties to engage in swaps with the Fund linked to the performance of A-shares. These risks are compounded by the fact that, at present, there are only a limited number of firms and potential counterparties that have RQFII or QFII status or are willing and able to enter into swap transactions linked to the performance of A-shares. Therefore, any such reduction or elimination may have a material adverse effect on the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective. If the Fund is unable to obtain sufficient exposure to the performance of the A-share component of the Index due to the limited availability of the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota or other investments that provide exposure to the performance of A-shares, the Fund could, among other things, as a defensive measure limit or suspend creations until the Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser determine that the requisite exposure to the A-share component of the Index is obtainable. During the period that creations are suspended, the Fund could trade at a significant premium or discount to its net asset value (“NAV”) and could experience substantial redemptions.

 

The A-share market is volatile with a risk of suspension of trading in a particular security or government intervention. Securities on the A-share market, including securities in the Index, may be suspended from trading without an indication of how long the suspension will last, which may impair the liquidity of such securities. The regulations which regulate investments by RQFIIs in the PRC and the repatriation of capital from RQFII investments are relatively new. The application and interpretation of such investment regulations are therefore relatively untested and there is no certainty as to how they will be applied. The PRC authorities and regulators have been given wide discretion in such investment regulations and there is no precedent or certainty as to how such discretion may be exercised now or in the future. The application and interpretation of such investment regulations may adversely affect the Fund. In addition, there are custody risks associated with investing through a RQFII, where due to requirements regarding establishing a custody account in the joint names of the Fund and the Sub-Adviser the Fund’s assets may not be as well protected from the claims of creditors than if the Fund had an account in its name only.

 

Specific rules governing taxes on capital gains derived by RQFIIs and QFIIs from the trading of PRC securities have yet to be announced. In the absence of specific rules, the tax treatment of the Fund’s investments in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota should be governed by the general PRC tax provisions and provisions applicable to RQFIIs. Under these provisions, the Fund is generally subject

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to a tax of 10% on any dividends, distributions and interest it receives from its investment in PRC securities. In addition, a nonresident enterprise is subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10% on its capital gains. However, it is unclear if this tax will be applied to investments by an RQFII such as the Sub-Adviser or what the methodology for calculating or collecting the tax will be. Withholding taxes on dividends, interest and capital gains may be taxed at a reduced rate under an applicable tax treaty, but the application of such treaties for an RQFII acting on behalf of a foreign investor (i.e., the Sub-Adviser acting on behalf of the Fund) is also uncertain and would depend on the approval of PRC tax authorities. It is also unclear how China’s business tax may apply to activities of an RQFII such as the Sub-Adviser and how such application may be affected by tax treaty provisions. The current PRC tax laws and regulations and interpretations thereof may be revised or amended in the future, including with respect to the possible liability of the Fund for obligations of the Sub-Adviser, and may be applied retroactively. Any revision or amendment in tax laws and regulations may adversely affect the Fund. In light of this uncertainty, the Fund plans to reserve 10% of its realized and unrealized gains from its A-share investments to meet any potential withholding tax liability. The tax reserve will be reflected in the Fund’s daily NAV calculations as a deduction from the Fund’s NAV. This reserve may turn out to be excessive or inadequate in light of the Fund’s actual tax liabilities. Therefore, if the Fund’s tax reserve turns out to be excessive or inadequate and the Fund’s tax reserve and related deduction from NAV is modified accordingly, this will work to the benefit or detriment, respectively, of the Fund’s existing shareholders at the time the uncertainty surrounding the Fund’s tax liabilities is resolved. The Fund may also be liable to the Sub-Adviser for any tax that is imposed on the Sub-Adviser by the PRC with respect to the Fund’s investments.

 

The Sub-Adviser, as a licensed RQFII, is currently permitted to repatriate RMB daily and is not subject to RMB repatriation restrictions or prior approval. However, there is no assurance that RQFIIs may not be subject to restrictions or prior approval requirements in the future. Any additional restrictions imposed on the Sub-Adviser or RQFIIs generally may have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to invest directly in A-shares and its ability to meet redemption requests. If the Fund’s direct investments in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota become subject to repatriation restrictions, the Fund may be unable to satisfy distribution requirements applicable to regulated investment companies (“RICs”) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”), and be subject to income and excise tax at the Fund level. In addition, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay taxes and make distributions before re-qualifying for taxation as a RIC. See the prospectus under “Shareholder Information—Tax Information—Taxes on Distributions” for more information. The Fund may elect, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, to treat Chinese taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by the Fund as paid by its shareholders. Even if the Fund is qualified to make that election and does so this treatment will not apply with respect to amounts the Fund reserves in anticipation of the imposition of withholding taxes not currently in effect (as discussed above). If these amounts are used to pay any tax liability of the Fund in a later year, they will be treated as paid by the shareholders in such later year, even if they are imposed with respect to income of an earlier year. See the prospectus under “Shareholder Information—Tax Information” for a further description of this risk.

 

 

Risk of Investing in Foreign Securities. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve risks beyond those associated with investments in U.S. securities. These additional risks include greater market volatility, the availability of less reliable financial information, higher transactional and custody costs, taxation by foreign governments, decreased market liquidity and political instability. Because many foreign securities markets may be limited in size, the prices of securities that trade in such markets may be influenced by large traders. Certain foreign markets that have historically been considered relatively stable may become volatile in response to changed conditions or new developments. Increased interconnectivity of world economies and financial markets increases the possibility that adverse developments and conditions in one country or region will affect the stability of economies and financial markets in other countries or regions. Foreign issuers are often subject to less stringent requirements

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regarding accounting, auditing, financial reporting and record keeping than are U.S. issuers, and therefore, not all material information may be available or reliable. Securities exchanges or foreign governments may adopt rules or regulations that may negatively impact the Fund’s ability to invest in foreign securities or may prevent the Fund from repatriating its investments. The Fund may invest in shares of foreign investment companies, including Hong Kong-listed ETFs, the shares of which are listed and traded primarily on a foreign securities exchange. The Fund as an investor in a foreign fund may not be afforded the same investor protections that are provided by the U.S. federal securities laws. The Fund may also invest in depositary receipts which involve similar risks to those associated with investments in foreign securities. In addition, the Fund may not receive shareholder communications or be permitted to vote the securities that it holds, as the issuers may be under no legal obligation to distribute shareholder communications.

 

Risk of Investing in Emerging Market Issuers. Investments in securities of emerging market issuers are exposed to a number of risks that may make these investments volatile in price or difficult to trade. Political risks may include unstable governments, nationalization, restrictions on foreign ownership, laws that prevent investors from getting their money out of a country and legal systems that do not protect property rights as well as the laws of the United States. Market risks may include economies that concentrate in only a few industries, securities issues that are held by only a few investors, limited trading capacity in local exchanges and the possibility that markets or issues may be manipulated by foreign nationals who have inside information.

 

Risk of Investing in Depositary Receipts. Depositary receipts in which the Fund may invest are receipts listed on U.S. exchanges issued by banks or trust companies that entitle the holder to all dividends and capital gains that are paid out on the underlying foreign shares. Investments in depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market and, if not included in the Index, may negatively affect the Fund’s ability to replicate the performance of the Index.

 

Risk of Investing in the Financial Services Sector. The financial services sector includes engaged in banking, commercial and consumer finance, investment banking, brokerage, asset management, custody or insurance. Because as currently constituted the Index is concentrated in the financial services sector, the Fund will be sensitive to changes in, and its performance will depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the financial services sector. Companies in the financial services sector may be subject to extensive government regulation that affects the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain. The profitability of companies in the financial services sector may be adversely affected by increases in interest rates, by loan losses, which usually increase in economic downturns and by credit rating downgrades. In addition, the financial services sector is undergoing numerous changes, including continuing consolidations, development of new products and structures and changes to its regulatory framework. Furthermore, increased government involvement in the financial services sector, including measures such as taking ownership positions in financial institutions, could result in a dilution of the Fund’s investments in financial institutions. Recent developments in the credit markets have caused companies operating in the financial services sector to incur large losses, experience declines in the value of their assets and even cease operations.

 

Risk of Investing in the Information Technology Sector. The information technology sector includes software developers, providers of information technology consulting and services and manufacturers and distributors of computers, peripherals, communications equipment and semiconductors. Because as currently constituted the information technology sector represents a significant portion of the Index, the Fund will be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the information technology sector. Information technology companies face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Information technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or

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personnel. The products of information technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Companies in the information technology sector are heavily dependent on patent protection and the expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies.

 

Risk of Investing in the Industrials Sector. The industrials sector includes companies engaged in the manufacture and distribution of capital goods, such as those used in defense, construction and engineering, companies that manufacture and distribute electrical equipment and industrial machinery and those that provide commercial and transportation services and supplies. Because as currently constituted the industrials sector represents a significant portion of the Index, the Fund will be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the industrials sector. Companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by changes in government regulation, world events and economic conditions. In addition, companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by environmental damages, product liability claims and exchange rates.

 

Risk of Investing in Medium-Capitalization Companies. Medium-capitalization companies may be more volatile and more likely than large-capitalization companies to have narrower product lines, fewer financial resources, less management depth and experience and less competitive strength. Returns on investments in securities of medium-capitalization companies could trail the returns on investments in securities of large-capitalization companies.

 

Equity Securities Risk. The value of the equity securities held by the Fund may fall due to general market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the markets in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate, or factors relating to specific issuers in which the Fund invests. Equity securities are subordinated to preferred securities and debt in a company’s capital structure with respect to priority in right to a share of corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater dividend risk than preferred securities or debt instruments. In addition, while broad market measures of equity securities have historically generated higher average returns than fixed income securities, equity securities have generally also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns, although under certain market conditions fixed income investments may have comparable or greater price volatility.

 

Market Risk. The prices of the securities in the Fund are subject to the risks associated with investing in the stock market, including general economic conditions and sudden and unpredictable drops in value. An investment in the Fund may lose money.

 

Index Tracking Risk. The Fund’s return may not match the return of the Index for a number of reasons. For example, the Fund incurs a number of operating expenses not applicable to the Index and incurs costs associated with buying and selling securities, especially when rebalancing the Fund’s securities holdings to reflect changes in the composition of the Index and raising cash to meet redemptions or deploying cash in connection with newly created Creation Units. In addition, the Fund may not be able to invest in certain securities included in the Index or invest in them in the exact proportions they represent of the Index, due to legal restrictions or limitations imposed by the Chinese Government or a lack of liquidity on stock exchanges in which such securities trade. As discussed above, one or more securities included the Index may be suspended from trading and such securities would be valued by the Index at the last closing price. The Fund is expected to value these securities and its other investments based on fair value prices. To the extent the Fund calculates its NAV based on fair value prices and the value of the Index is based on securities’ closing prices on local foreign markets (i.e., the value of the Index is not based on fair value prices), the Fund’s ability to track the Index may be adversely affected. The Fund will be required to remit RMB to settle the purchase of A-shares and repatriate RMB to U.S. dollars to settle redemption orders. In the event such remittance is delayed or disrupted, the Fund will not be able to fully replicate the Index by investing in the relevant A-shares, which may lead to increased tracking error, and may need

8

to rely on borrowings to meet redemptions, which may lead to increased expenses. To the extent the Fund invests in swaps on Chinese Securities, which are denominated in U.S. dollars, and the underlying Chinese Securities represented by the swaps may be denominated in RMB or HKD, the ability of the Fund to track the Index is in part subject to foreign exchange fluctuations as between the U.S. dollar and RMB or HKD. The terms of the swaps require the payment of the U.S. dollar equivalent of RMB or HKD distributions and dividends received by the QFII, meaning that the Fund is exposed to foreign exchange risk and fluctuations in value between the U.S. dollar and RMB or HKD. In light of the above factors and the maintenance of a tax reserve as a provision for potential Chinese taxes as discussed above, the Fund’s return may deviate significantly from the return of the Index.

 

Replication Management Risk. An investment in the Fund involves risks similar to those of investing in any fund of equity securities traded on an exchange, such as market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic and political developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in security prices. However, because the Fund is not “actively” managed, unless a specific security is removed from the Index, the Fund generally would not sell a security because the security’s issuer was in financial trouble. Therefore, the Fund’s performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers.

 

Premium/Discount Risk. Disruptions to creations and redemptions, the existence of extreme market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for Shares may result in Shares trading at a significant premium or discount to NAV. If a shareholder purchases Shares at a time when the market price is at a premium to the NAV or sells Shares at a time when the market price is at a discount to the NAV, the shareholder may sustain losses.

 

 

Non-Diversified Risk. The Fund is classified as a “non-diversified” investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Therefore, the Fund may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a smaller number of issuers or may invest a larger proportion of its assets in a single issuer. As a result, the gains and losses on a single investment may have a greater impact on the Fund’s NAV and may make the Fund more volatile than more diversified funds.

 

Concentration Risk. The Fund’s assets may be concentrated in a particular sector or sectors or industry or group of industries to the extent the Index concentrates in a particular sector or sectors or industry or group of industries. Based on the current composition of the Index, the Fund’s assets are concentrated in the financial services sector; therefore, the Fund will be subject to the risk that economic, political or other conditions that have a negative effect on that sector will negatively impact the Fund to a greater extent than if the Fund’s assets were invested in a wider variety of sectors or industries.

 

PERFORMANCE

 

The Fund has not yet commenced operations and therefore does not have a performance history. Once available, the Fund’s performance information will be accessible on the Fund’s website at www.marketvectorsetfs.com.

 

PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT

 

Investment Adviser. Van Eck Associates Corporation.

 

Investment Sub-Adviser. China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited.

 

Portfolio Managers. The following individuals are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio:

9

Name   Title with Sub-Adviser   Date Began Managing the Fund
Jian Fei (Jeff) Wu   Portfolio Manager   April 2014
         
David Lai   Portfolio Manager   April 2014

 

Name   Title with Adviser   Date Began Managing the Fund
Hao-Hung (Peter) Liao   Portfolio Manager   April 2014
         
George Cao   Portfolio Manager   April 2014

 

PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES

 

The Fund issues and redeems Shares at NAV only in a large specified number of Shares each called a “Creation Unit,” or multiples thereof. A Creation Unit consists of 100,000 Shares.

 

Individual Shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the Fund are listed on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca”) and because Shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, Shares of the Fund may trade at a price greater than or less than NAV.

 

TAX INFORMATION

 

The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FUND’S INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

 

The Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser anticipate that, generally, the portions of the Fund for which they are responsible will hold or gain exposure to all of the securities that comprise the Index in proportion to their weightings in the Index. However, under various circumstances, it may not be possible or practicable to purchase all of those securities in those weightings. In these circumstances, the Fund may purchase a sample of securities in the Index. There also may be instances in which the Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser may choose to underweight or overweight a security in the Index, purchase securities not in the Index that the Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser believe are appropriate to substitute for certain securities in the Index or utilize various combinations of other available investment techniques in seeking to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the Index. The Fund may sell securities that are represented in the Index in anticipation of their removal from the Index or purchase securities not represented in the Index in anticipation of their addition to the Index. The Fund may also, in order to comply with the tax diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, temporarily invest in securities not included in the Index that are expected to be highly correlated with the securities included in the Index. The Fund may also invest, to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, in other affiliated and unaffiliated funds, such as open-end or closed-end management investment companies, including other ETFs.

 

The Fund’s assets will be primarily invested in Chinese Securities. Because the Fund does not satisfy the criteria to qualify as a RQFII or QFII itself, the Fund intends to invest directly in A-shares via the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota. In the event that the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota is or becomes inadequate or if the Sub-Adviser is unable to maintain its RQFII status or to seek to replicate the Index through the other means described in this Prospectus, the Fund may retain one or more additional sub-advisers that maintain RQFII licenses and/or the Adviser may obtain a QFII quota and the Adviser or additional sub-adviser(s), on behalf of the Fund, may invest in A-shares and other permitted China securities listed on the Shenzhen and Shanghai Stock Exchanges up to the amount specified in the Adviser’s or additional sub-adviser(s)’s QFII or RQFII quota, respectively.

 

ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

 

The Fund may also seek to invest a portion of its assets in swaps, futures contracts and other types of derivative instruments that have economic characteristics that are similar to the economic characteristics of Chinese Securities, including swaps on the Index, swaps on the Chinese Securities which comprise the Index and/or swaps on funds that seek to replicate the performance of the Index or funds that invest in Chinese Securities or the Fund may invest directly in shares of such funds. Assets not invested in Chinese Securities, other funds, swaps and other derivatives will be invested primarily in money market instruments.

 

The Fund may also invest in securities not included in the Index, money market instruments, including repurchase agreements or other funds which invest exclusively in money market instruments, convertible securities, structured notes (notes on which the amount of principal repayment and interest payments are based on the movement of one or more specified factors, such as the movement of a particular stock or stock index), and certain derivatives. Depositary receipts may be used by the Fund in seeking performance that corresponds to the Index, and in managing cash flows, and may count towards compliance with the Fund’s 80% policy. The Fund will not invest in money market instruments as part of a temporary defensive strategy to protect against potential stock market declines.

 

An authorized participant (i.e., a person eligible to place orders with the Distributor (defined below) to create or redeem Creation Units of the Fund) that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is

11

defined under Rule 144A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), will not be able to receive, as part of a redemption, restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.

 

BORROWING MONEY

 

The Fund may borrow money from a bank up to a limit of one-third of the value of its assets (including the amount borrowed) from banks as permitted by the 1940 Act). The Fund intends to enter into a credit facility to borrow money for temporary or emergency purposes, including the funding of shareholder redemption requests, trade settlements and as necessary to distribute to shareholders any income required to maintain the Fund’s status as a RIC. To the extent that the Fund borrows money, it will be leveraged; at such times, the Fund will appreciate or depreciate in value more rapidly than the Index.

 

FUNDAMENTAL AND NON-FUNDAMENTAL POLICIES

 

The Fund’s investment objective and each of its other investment policies are non-fundamental policies that may be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval, except as noted in this Prospectus or in the Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) under the section entitled “Investment Policies and Restrictions—Investment Restrictions.”

 

LENDING PORTFOLIO SECURITIES

 

The Fund may lend its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers and other financial institutions desiring to borrow securities to complete transactions and for other purposes. In connection with such loans, the Fund receives liquid collateral equal to at least 102% of the value of the portfolio securities being loaned. This collateral is marked-to-market on a daily basis. Although the Fund will receive collateral in connection with all loans of its securities holdings, the Fund would be exposed to a risk of loss should a borrower fail to return the borrowed securities (e.g., the Fund would have to buy replacement securities and the loaned securities may have appreciated beyond the value of the collateral held by the Fund) or become insolvent. The Fund may pay fees to the party arranging the loan of securities. In addition, the Fund will bear the risk of loss of any cash collateral that it invests.

 

RISKS OF INVESTING IN THE FUND

 

The following section provides additional information regarding the principal risks identified under “Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund” in the Fund’s “Summary Information” section followed by additional risk information.

 

Investors in the Fund should be willing to accept a high degree of volatility in the price of the Fund’s Shares and the possibility of significant losses. An investment in the Fund involves a substantial degree of risk. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit with a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Therefore, you should consider carefully the following risks before investing in the Fund.

 

Special Risk Considerations of Investing in China. The Fund will seek to achieve its investment objective by primarily investing directly in Chinese Securities. Investments in Chinese Securities involve certain risks and special considerations, including the following:

 

Political and Economic Risk. The economy of China, which has been in a state of transition from a planned economy to a more market oriented economy, differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the level of government involvement, its state of development, its growth rate, control of foreign exchange, and allocation of resources. Although the majority of productive assets in China are still owned by the PRC government at various levels, in recent years, the PRC government has implemented economic reform measures

12

emphasizing utilization of market forces in the development of the economy of China and a high level of management autonomy. The economy of China has experienced significant growth in the past 30 years, but growth has been uneven both geographically and among various sectors of the economy. Economic growth has also been accompanied by periods of high inflation. The PRC government has implemented various measures from time to time to control inflation and restrain the rate of economic growth.

 

For more than 30 years, the PRC government has carried out economic reforms to achieve decentralization and utilization of market forces to develop the economy of the PRC. These reforms have resulted in significant economic growth and social progress. There can, however, be no assurance that the PRC government will continue to pursue such economic policies or, if it does, that those policies will continue to be successful. Any such adjustment and modification of those economic policies may have an adverse impact on the securities market in the PRC as well as the underlying securities of the Index. Further, the PRC government may from time to time adopt corrective measures to control the growth of the PRC economy which may also have an adverse impact on the capital growth and performance of the Fund.

 

Political changes, social instability and adverse diplomatic developments in the PRC could result in the imposition of additional government restrictions including expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxes or nationalization of some or all of the property held by the issuers of the Fund’s A-share investments or contained in the Index.

 

The laws, regulations, including the investment regulations allowing RQFIIs (and QFIIs) to invest in A-shares, government policies and political and economic climate in China may change with little or no advance notice. Any such change could adversely affect market conditions and the performance of the Chinese economy and, thus, the value of the Chinese Securities in the Fund’s portfolio.

 

Since 1949, the PRC has been a socialist state controlled by the Communist party. China has only recently opened up to foreign investment and has only begun to permit private economic activity. There is no guarantee that the Chinese government will not revert from its current open-market economy to the economic policy of central planning that it implemented prior to 1978.

 

The Chinese government continues to be an active participant in many economic sectors through ownership positions and regulation. The allocation of resources in China is subject to a high level of government control. The Chinese government strictly regulates the payment of foreign currency denominated obligations and sets monetary policy. Through its policies, the government may provide preferential treatment to particular industries or companies. The policies set by the government could have a substantial effect on the Chinese economy and the Fund’s investments.

 

The Chinese economy is export-driven and highly reliant on trade, and much of China’s growth in recent years has been the result of focused investments in economic sectors intended to produce goods and services for export purposes. The performance of the Chinese economy may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product, rate of inflation, currency depreciation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payments position. Adverse changes to the economic conditions of its primary trading partners, such as the United States, Japan and South Korea, would adversely impact the Chinese economy and the Fund’s investments. International trade tensions involving China and its trading counterparties may arise from time to time which can result in trade tariffs, embargoes, trade limitations, trade wars and other negative consequences. Such actions and consequences may ultimately result in a significant reduction in international trade, an oversupply

13

of certain manufactured goods, devaluations of existing inventories and potentially the failure of individual companies and/or large segments of China’s export industry with a potentially severe negative impact to the Fund.

 

China has been transitioning to a market economy since the late seventies, reaffirming its economic policy reforms through five-year programs, the latest of which (for 2011 through 2015) was approved in March 2011. Under the economic reforms implemented by the Chinese government, the Chinese economy has experienced tremendous growth, developing into one of the largest economies in the world. There is no assurance, however, that such growth will be sustained in the future.

 

Moreover, the current slowdown or any future recessions in other significant economies of the world, such as the United States, the European Union and certain Asian countries, may adversely affect economic growth in China. An economic downturn in China would adversely impact the Fund’s investments.

 

Inflation. Economic growth in China has also historically been accompanied by periods of high inflation. Beginning in 2004, the Chinese government commenced the implementation of various measures to control inflation, which included the tightening of the money supply, the raising of interest rates and more stringent control over certain industries. If these measures are not successful, and if inflation were to steadily increase, the performance of the Chinese economy and the Fund’s investments could be negatively impacted.

 

Tax Changes. The Chinese system of taxation is not as well settled as that of the United States. In addition, changes in the Chinese tax system may have retroactive effects.

 

Nationalization and Expropriation. After the formation of the Chinese socialist state in 1949, the Chinese government renounced various debt obligations and nationalized private assets without providing any form of compensation. There can be no assurance that the Chinese government will not take similar actions in the future. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund involves a risk of a total loss.

 

U.S. Sanctions. From time to time, certain of the companies in which the Fund expects to invest may operate in, or have dealings with, countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. Government as state sponsors of terrorism. A company may suffer damage to its reputation if it is identified as a company which operates in, or has dealings with, countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. Government as state sponsors of terrorism. As an investor in such companies, the Fund will be indirectly subject to those risks.

 

Hong Kong Policy. As part of Hong Kong’s transition from British to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, China agreed to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy with regard to its political, legal and economic systems for a period of at least 50 years. China controls matters that relate to defense and foreign affairs. Under the agreement, China does not tax Hong Kong, does not limit the exchange of the Hong Kong dollar for foreign currencies and does not place restrictions on free trade in Hong Kong. However, there is no guarantee that China will continue to honor the agreement, and China may change its policies regarding Hong Kong at any time. Any such change could adversely affect market conditions and the performance of the Chinese economy and, thus, the value of securities in the Fund’s portfolio.

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Chinese Securities Markets. The securities markets in China have a limited operating history and are not as developed as those in the United States. These markets tend to be smaller in size, have less liquidity and historically have had greater volatility than markets in the United States and some other countries. In addition, there is less regulation and monitoring of Chinese securities markets and the activities of investors, brokers and other participants than in the United States. Accordingly, issuers of securities in China are not subject to the same degree of regulation as are U.S. issuers with respect to such matters as insider trading rules, tender offer regulation, stockholder proxy requirements and the requirements mandating timely disclosure of information. Stock markets in China are in the process of change and further development. This may lead to trading volatility, unpredictable trading suspensions, difficulty in the settlement and recording of transactions and difficulty in interpreting and applying the relevant regulations. These risks may be more pronounced for the A-share market than for Chinese securities markets generally because the A-share market is subject to greater government restrictions and control, including trading suspensions, as described in greater detail below. Some Chinese companies are listed on both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in H-shares and the Shanghai Stock Exchange in A-shares. Price fluctuations of A-shares are currently limited to either 5% or 10% per trading day, while no such restrictions apply to H-shares. H-shares are therefore more susceptible to greater intraday price fluctuations while A-shares may exhibit greater volatility over longer periods due to such restrictions. In addition, issuers of B-shares and H-shares pay dividends in U.S. dollars or HKD. The ability of these issuers to pay dividends in U.S. dollars or HKD is dependent on their ability to generate sufficient revenues in U.S. dollars, HKD or currencies freely convertible into U.S. dollars or HKD. The market for B-shares in China is also relatively illiquid so that market opportunities may be limited as compared to other major international stock exchanges, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

 

Available Disclosure About Chinese Companies. Disclosure and regulatory standards in emerging market countries, such as China, are in many respects less stringent than U.S. standards. There is substantially less publicly available information about Chinese issuers than there is about U.S. issuers. Therefore, disclosure of certain material information may not be made, and less information may be available to the Fund and other investors than would be the case if the Fund’s investments were restricted to securities of U.S. issuers. Chinese issuers are subject to accounting, auditing and financial standards and requirements that differ, in some cases significantly, from those applicable to U.S. issuers. In particular, the assets and profits appearing on the financial statements of a Chinese issuer may not reflect its financial position or results of operations in the way they would be reflected had such financial statements been prepared in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

 

Foreign Currency Considerations. Emerging markets such as China can experience high rates of inflation, deflation and currency devaluation. The value of RMB may be subject to a high degree of fluctuation due to, among other things, changes in interest rates, the effects of monetary policies issued by the PRC, the United States, foreign governments, central banks or supranational entities, the imposition of currency controls or other national or global political or economic developments. The Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in investments denominated in RMB and the income received by the Fund from such investments will principally be in RMB. The Fund’s exposure to RMB and changes in value of RMB versus the U.S. dollar may result in reduced returns for the Fund. Moreover, the Fund may incur costs in connection with conversions between U.S. dollars and RMB. RMB is currently not a freely convertible currency. The value of RMB is based on a managed floating rate exchange rate based on market supply and demand with reference to a basket of foreign currencies. The daily trading price of RMB is allowed to float within a narrow band around the central parity published by the People’s Bank of China. The Chinese government’s imposition of restrictions on the repatriation

15

of RMB out of mainland China may limit the depth of the offshore RMB market and reduce the liquidity of the Fund’s investments. These restrictions as well as any accelerated appreciation or depreciation of RMB may adversely affect the Fund and its investments.

 

The Fund’s assets are expected to be primarily invested in Chinese Securities and the income received by the Fund from such investments will be principally in RMB or HKD. Meanwhile, the Fund will compute and expects to distribute its income in U.S. dollars, and the computation of income will be made on the date that the income is earned by the Fund at the foreign exchange rate in effect on that date. Therefore, if the value of RMB or HKD falls relative to the U.S. dollar between the earning of the income and the time at which the Fund converts RMB or HKD to U.S. dollars, the Fund may be required to liquidate certain positions in order to make distributions if the Fund has insufficient cash in U.S. dollars to meet distribution requirements under the Internal Revenue Code. The liquidation of investments, if required, may also have an adverse impact on the Fund’s performance. The value of HKD is currently pegged at a fixed exchange rate to the U.S. dollar. However, there can be no assurance that this fixed exchange rate policy will continue.

 

Furthermore, the Fund may incur costs in connection with conversions between U.S. dollars and RMB or HKD. Foreign exchange dealers realize a profit based on the difference between the prices at which they are buying and selling various currencies. Thus, a dealer normally will offer to sell a foreign currency to the Fund at one rate, while offering a lesser rate of exchange should the Fund desire immediately to resell that currency to the dealer. The Fund will conduct its foreign currency exchange transactions either on a spot (i.e., cash) basis at the spot rate prevailing in the foreign currency exchange market, or through entering into forward, futures or options contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies.

 

RMB can be further categorized into onshore RMB (“CNY”), which can be traded only in the PRC, and offshore RMB (“CNH”), which can be traded outside the PRC. CNY and CNH are traded at different exchange rates and their exchange rates may not move in the same direction. Although there has been a growing amount of RMB held offshore, CNH cannot be freely remitted into the PRC and is subject to certain restrictions, and vice versa. The Fund may also be adversely affected by the exchange rates between CNY and CNH. In addition, there may not be sufficient amounts of RMB for the Fund to be fully invested because the Fund has to convert U.S. dollars received from the purchase of Creation Units into RMB to purchase A-shares, and this may result in settlement delays and increased tracking error. The Fund will be required to remit CNH to settle the purchase of A-shares by the Fund from time to time. In the event such remittance is disrupted, the Fund will not be able to fully replicate the Index by investing in the relevant A-shares, which may lead to increased tracking error. Moreover, the trading and settlement of RMB-denominated securities are recent developments in Hong Kong and there is no assurance that problems will not be encountered with the systems or that other logistical problems will not arise.

 

Currently, there is no market in China in which the Fund may engage in hedging transactions to minimize RMB foreign exchange risk, and there can be no guarantee that instruments suitable for hedging currency will be available to the Fund in China at any time in the future. In the event that in the future it becomes possible to hedge RMB currency risk in China, the Fund may seek to protect the value of some portion or all of its portfolio holdings against currency risks by engaging in hedging transactions. In that case, the Fund may enter into forward currency exchange contracts and currency futures contracts and options on such futures contracts, as well as purchase put or call options on currencies, in China. Currency hedging would involve special risks, including possible default by the other party to the transaction, illiquidity and, to the extent the Adviser’s and/or the Sub-Adviser’s view as to certain market movements is incorrect, the risk

16

that the use of hedging could result in losses greater than if they had not been used. The use of currency transactions could result in the Fund’s incurring losses as a result of the imposition of exchange controls, exchange rate regulation, suspension of settlements or the inability to deliver or receive a specified currency.

 

Chinese Corporate and Securities Law. The regulations on investments and repatriation of capital by QFIIs and RQFIIs are relatively new. As a result, the application and interpretation of such investment regulations are therefore relatively untested. In addition, PRC authorities have broad discretion in this regard. The Fund’s rights with respect to its investments in Chinese Securities will not be governed by U.S. law, and instead will be governed by Chinese or Hong Kong law. China operates under a civil law system, in which court precedent is not binding. Because there is no binding precedent to interpret existing statutes, there is uncertainty regarding the implementation of existing law.

 

Legal principles relating to corporate affairs and the validity of corporate procedures, directors’ fiduciary duties and liabilities and stockholders’ rights often differ from those that may apply in the United States and other countries. Chinese laws providing protection to investors, such as laws regarding the fiduciary duties of officers and directors, are undeveloped and will not provide investors, such as the Fund, with protection in all situations where protection would be provided by comparable law in the United States. China lacks a national set of laws that address all issues that may arise with regard to a foreign investor such as the Fund.

 

It may therefore be difficult for the Fund to enforce its rights as an investor under Chinese corporate and securities laws, and it may be difficult or impossible for the Fund to obtain a judgment in court. Moreover, as Chinese corporate and securities laws continue to develop, these developments may adversely affect foreign investors, such as the Fund.

 

Risk of the RQFII Regime and Investing in A-shares. As of the date of this Prospectus, approximately half of the Index was comprised of A-shares. The Fund intends to invest directly in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota. Because the Fund will not be able to invest directly in A-shares in excess of the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota, the size of the Fund’s direct investment in A-shares may be limited. In addition, the RQFII quota of the Sub-Adviser may be reduced or revoked by the Chinese regulators if, among other things, the Sub-Adviser fails to observe SAFE and other applicable Chinese regulations. In addition, there may be significant restrictions on the repatriation of gains and income related to the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota that may affect the Fund’s ability to satisfy redemption requests. Currently, there are two stock exchanges in mainland China, the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, and there is one stock exchange in Hong Kong. The Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges are supervised by the CSRC and are highly automated with trading and settlement executed electronically. The Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges are substantially smaller, less liquid and more volatile than the major securities markets in the United States. In comparison to the mainland Chinese securities markets, the securities markets in Hong Kong are relatively well developed and active.

 

The Shanghai Stock Exchange commenced trading on December 19, 1990, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange commenced trading on July 3, 1991 and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange commenced trading on April 2, 1986. The Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges divide listed shares into two classes: A-shares and B-shares. Companies whose shares are traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges that are incorporated in mainland China may issue both A-shares and B-shares. In China, the A-shares and B-shares of an issuer may only trade on one exchange. A-shares and B-shares may both be listed on either the Shanghai or Shenzhen Stock Exchanges. Both classes represent an ownership interest comparable to a share of common stock and all shares are entitled to substantially the same rights and benefits associated with ownership. A-shares are traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges in RMB.

17

As of February 17, 2014, the CSRC had granted licenses to 48 RQFIIs and 258 QFIIs bringing total investment quotas to approximately US$ 194 billion in A-shares and other permitted securities. Because restrictions continue to exist and capital therefore cannot flow freely into the A-share market, it is possible that in the event of a market disruption, the liquidity of the A-share market and trading prices of A-shares could be more severely affected than the liquidity and trading prices of markets where securities are freely tradable and capital therefore flows more freely. The Chinese government has in the past taken actions that benefited holders of A-shares. As A-shares become more available to foreign investors, such as the Fund, the Chinese government may be less likely to take action that would benefit holders of A-shares. However, the Fund cannot predict the nature or duration of such a market disruption or the impact that it may have on the A-share market and the short-term and long-term prospects of its investments in the A-share market.

 

The Fund cannot predict what would occur if the RQFII quota of the Sub-Adviser or RQFII or QFII quotas generally were reduced or eliminated, although such an occurrence would likely have a material adverse effect on the Fund, including the requirement that the Fund dispose of certain or all of its A-shares holdings, and may adversely affect the willingness and ability of potential swap counterparties to engage in swaps with the Fund linked to the performance of A-shares. These risks are compounded by the fact that, at present, there are only a limited number of firms and potential counterparties that have RQFII or QFII status or are willing and able to enter into swap transactions linked to the performance of A-shares. Therefore, any such reduction or elimination may have a material adverse effect on the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective. If the Fund is unable to obtain sufficient exposure to the performance of the Index due to the limited availability of the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota or other investments that provide exposure to the performance of A-shares, the Fund could, among other things, as a defensive measure limit or suspend creations until the Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser determine that the requisite exposure to the Index is obtainable. During the period that creations are suspended, the Fund could trade at a significant premium or discount to its net asset value (“NAV”) and could experience substantial redemptions.

 

The A-share market is volatile with a risk of suspension of trading in a particular security or government intervention. Securities on the A-share market, including securities in the Index, may be suspended from trading without an indication of how long the suspension will last, which may impair the liquidity of such securities. The regulations which regulate investments by RQFIIs in the PRC and the repatriation of capital from RQFII investments are relatively new. The application and interpretation of such investment regulations are therefore relatively untested and there is no certainty as to how they will be applied. The PRC authorities and regulators have been given wide discretion in such investment regulations and there is no precedent or certainty as to how such discretion may be exercised now or in the future. The application and interpretation of such investment regulations may adversely affect the Fund.

 

Investment and Repatriation Restrictions. Investments by the Fund in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota, other Chinese financial instruments regulated by the CSRC, including warrants and open- and closed-end investment companies, are subject to governmental pre-approval limitations on the quantity that the Fund may purchase or limits on the classes of securities in which the Fund may invest.

 

The Sub-Adviser, as a licensed RQFII, is currently permitted to repatriate RMB daily and is not subject to RMB repatriation restrictions or prior approval. However, there is no assurance that PRC rules and regulations will not change or that repatriation restrictions will not be imposed in the future. Any additional restrictions imposed on the Sub-Adviser or RQFIIs generally may have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to invest directly in A-shares and its ability to meet redemptions requests.

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If the Fund’s direct investments in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota become subject to repatriation restrictions, the Fund may be unable to satisfy distribution requirements applicable to RICs under the Internal Revenue Code and be subject to income and excise tax at the Fund level. In addition, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay taxes and make distributions before re-qualifying for taxation as a RIC. See the prospectus under “Shareholder Information—Tax Information—Taxes on Distributions” for more information. The Fund may elect, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, to treat Chinese taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by the Fund as paid by its shareholders. Even if the Fund is qualified to make that election and does so this treatment will not apply with respect to amounts the Fund reserves in anticipation of the imposition of withholding taxes not currently in effect (as discussed above). If these amounts are used to pay any tax liability of the Fund in a later year, they will be treated as paid by the shareholders in such later year, even if they are imposed with respect to income of an earlier year. See the prospectus under “Shareholder Information—Tax Information” for a further description of this risk.

 

The Chinese government limits foreign investment in the securities of certain Chinese issuers entirely if foreign investment is banned in respect of the industry in which the relevant Chinese issuers are conducting their business. These restrictions or limitations may have adverse effects on the liquidity and performance of the Fund holdings as compared to the performance of the Index. This may increase the risk of tracking error and may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

 

Tax Risk. Specific rules governing taxes on capital gains derived by RQFIIs and QFIIs from the trading of PRC securities have yet to be announced. In the absence of specific rules, the tax treatment of the Fund’s investments in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota should be governed by the general PRC tax provisions and provisions applicable to RQFIIs. Under these provisions, the Fund is generally subject to a tax of 10% on any dividends, distributions and interest it receives from its investment in PRC securities. In addition, a nonresident enterprise is subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10% on its capital gains. However, it is unclear if this tax will be applied to investments by an RQFII such as the Sub-Adviser or what the methodology for calculating or collecting the tax will be. Withholding taxes on dividends, interest and capital gains may be taxed at a reduced rate under an applicable tax treaty, but the application of such treaties for an RQFII acting on behalf of a foreign investor (i.e., the Sub-Adviser acting on behalf of the Fund) is also uncertain and would depend on the approval of PRC tax authorities. It is also unclear how China’s business tax may apply to activities of an RQFII such as the Sub-Adviser and how such application may be affected by tax treaty provisions. The current PRC tax laws and regulations may be revised or amended in the future, and may be applied retroactively. Any revision or amendment in tax laws and regulations may adversely affect the Fund. In light of this uncertainty, the Fund plans to reserve 10% of its realized and unrealized gains from its A-share investments to meet any potential withholding tax liability. The tax reserve will be reflected in the Fund’s daily NAV calculations as a deduction from the Fund’s NAV. This reserve may turn out to be excessive or inadequate in light of the Fund’s actual tax liabilities. Therefore, if the Fund’s tax reserve turns out to be excessive or inadequate and the Fund’s tax reserve and related deduction from NAV is modified accordingly, this will work to the benefit or detriment, respectively, of the Fund’s existing shareholders at the time the uncertainty surrounding the Fund’s tax liabilities is resolved. The Fund may also be liable to the Sub-Adviser for any tax that is imposed on the Sub-Adviser by the PRC with respect to the Fund’s investments.

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The sale or transfer by the Sub-Adviser of A-shares or B-shares will be subject to PRC Stamp Duty at a rate of 0.1% on the transacted value. However, the Sub-Adviser will not be subject to PRC Stamp Duty when it acquires A-shares and B-shares.

 

In the absence of specific guidance, RQFIIs such as the Sub-Adviser may be potentially subject to PRC business tax at a rate of 5% with respect to the capital gains derived from the trading of A-shares. Existing guidance provides a business tax exemption for QFIIs with respect to their gains derived from the trading of PRC securities, but this business tax exemption does not explicitly apply to RQFIIs. However, in practice, the Chinese tax authorities have not actively enforced the collection of business tax on such gains. A Fund’s shareholder’s ability to claim a credit for certain Chinese taxes may be limited under general U.S. tax principles.

 

Risk of Loss of Favorable U.S. Tax Treatment. The Fund intends to distribute annually all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income and net capital gain. However, if the Fund does not repatriate funds associated with direct investment in A-shares on a timely basis, it may be unable to satisfy the distribution requirements required to qualify for the favorable tax treatment otherwise generally afforded to RICs under the Internal Revenue Code. If the Fund fails to qualify for any taxable year as a RIC, the Fund would be treated as a corporation subject to U.S. federal income tax, thereby subjecting any income earned by the Fund to tax at the corporate level currently at a 35% U.S. federal tax rate and, when such income is distributed, to a further tax at the shareholder level to the extent of the Fund’s current or accumulated earnings and profits. In addition, the Fund would not be eligible for a deduction for dividends paid to shareholders. In addition, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay taxes and make distributions (any of which could be subject to interest charges) before re-qualifying for taxation as a RIC. See below under “Shareholder Information—Tax Information—Taxes on Distributions” for more information.

 

Tax on Retained Income and Gains. To the extent the Fund does not distribute to shareholders all of its investment company taxable income and net capital gain in a given year, it will be required to pay U.S. federal income and excise tax on the retained income and gains, thereby reducing the Fund’s return. The Fund may elect to treat its net capital gain as having been distributed to shareholders. In that case, shareholders of record on the last day of the Fund’s taxable year will be required to include their attributable share of the retained gain in income for the year as a long-term capital gain despite not actually receiving the dividend, and will be entitled to a tax credit or refund for the tax deemed paid on their behalf by the Fund as well as an increase in the basis of their shares to reflect the difference between their attributable share of the gain and the related credit or refund.

 

Foreign Exchange Control. The Chinese government heavily regulates the domestic exchange of foreign currencies within China. Chinese law requires that all domestic transactions must be settled in RMB, places significant restrictions on the remittance of foreign currency and strictly regulates currency exchange from RMB. Under SAFE regulations, Chinese corporations may only purchase foreign currencies through government approved banks. In general, Chinese companies must receive approval from or register with the Chinese government before investing in certain capital account items, including direct investments and loans, and must thereafter maintain separate foreign exchange accounts for the capital items. Foreign investors may only exchange foreign currencies at specially authorized banks after complying with documentation requirements. These restrictions may adversely affect the Fund and its investments. There may not be sufficient amounts of RMB for the Fund to be fully invested because the Fund has to convert U.S. dollars received from the purchase of Creation Units into RMB to purchase RMB denominated investments. It should also be noted that that the PRC government’s policies on

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exchange control and repatriation restrictions are subject to change, and any such change may adversely impact the Fund. There can be no assurance that the RMB exchange rate will not fluctuate widely against the US dollar or any other foreign currency in the future.

 

Custody Risks of Investing in A-shares. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (“ICBC” or the “PRC sub-custodian”), which is approved by CSRC and SAFE as a qualified RQFII custodian, has been appointed to provide custody services to the Fund’s assets invested in A-shares and investments in the PRC. The PRC sub-custodian maintains the Fund’s RMB deposit accounts and oversees the Fund’s investments in A-shares to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations of the CSRC and the People’s Bank of China. A-shares that are traded on the Shanghai or Shenzhen Stock Exchange are dealt and held in book-entry form through the China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited (“CSDCC”). The securities purchased by the Sub-Adviser, in its capacity as a RQFII, on behalf of the Fund, will be received by the CSDCC as credited to a securities trading account maintained by the PRC sub-custodian in the joint names of the Fund and the Sub-Adviser, and the Fund will pay the cost of the account. The Sub-Adviser may not use the account for any other purpose than for maintaining the Fund’s assets invested in A-shares. However, given that the securities trading account will be maintained in the joint names of the Sub-Adviser and the Fund, the Fund’s assets may not be as well protected as they would be if it were possible for them to be registered and held solely in the name of the Fund. In particular, there is a risk that creditors of the Sub-Adviser may assert that the securities are owned by the Sub-Adviser and not the Fund, and that a court would uphold such an assertion, in which case creditors of the Sub-Adviser could seize assets of the Fund.

 

Investors should also note that cash deposits in the Fund’s account with the PRC sub-custodian will not be segregated from the proprietary assets of the PRC sub-custodian or the assets of its other clients. Therefore, to the extent the Fund’s assets are commingled, the cash deposits will be vulnerable in the event of a liquidation or bankruptcy by the PRC sub-custodian. Under such circumstances, the Fund will not have any proprietary rights to the cash deposited in the account, and the Fund will become an unsecured creditor, and would have no priority over the claims of any other unsecured creditors to the assets of the PRC sub-custodian. The Fund may encounter difficulties or delays in recovering such debt, or may not be able to recover it in full or at all, in which case the Fund will suffer losses.

 

Use of Brokers. CSRC and SAFE regulations specify that all securities traded by the Sub-Adviser, as a licensed RQFII, on behalf of the Fund must be executed through one of three specified brokers per exchange. As a result, the Sub-Adviser will have less flexibility to choose among brokers on behalf of the Fund than is typically the case for investment managers.

 

Disclosure of Interests and Short Swing Profit Rule. The Fund may be subject to shareholder disclosure of interest regulations promulgated by the CSRC. These regulations currently require the Fund to make certain public disclosures when the Fund and parties acting in concert with the Fund acquire 5% or more of the issued securities of a listed company. If the reporting requirement is triggered, the Fund will be required to report information which includes, but is not limited to: (a) information about the Fund and the type and extent of its holdings in the company; (b) a statement of the Fund’s purposes for the investment and whether the Fund intends to increase its holdings over the following 12-month period; (c) a statement of the Fund’s historical investments in the company over the previous six months; (d) the time of, and other information relating to, the transaction that triggered the Fund’s holding in the listed company reaching the 5% reporting threshold; and (e) other information that may be required by the CSRC or the stock exchange. Additional information may be required if the Fund and its concerted parties constitute the largest shareholder or actual controlling shareholder of the listed company.

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The report must be made to the CSRC, the stock exchange, the invested company, and the CSRC local representative office where the listed company is located. The Fund would also be required to make a public announcement through a media outlet designated by the CSRC. The public announcement must contain the same content as the official report.

 

The relevant PRC regulations presumptively treat all affiliated investors and investors under common control as parties acting in concert. As such, under a conservative interpretation of these regulations, the Fund may be deemed as a “concerted party” of other funds managed by the Adviser and its affiliates and/or the Sub-Adviser and its affiliates and therefore may be subject to the risk that the Fund’s holdings may be required to be reported in the aggregate with the holdings of such other funds should the aggregate holdings trigger the reporting threshold under the PRC law.

 

If the 5% shareholding threshold is triggered by the Fund and parties acting in concert with the Fund, the Fund would be required to file its report within three days of the date the threshold is reached. During the time limit for filing the report, a trading freeze applies and the Fund would not be permitted to make subsequent trades in the invested company’s securities. Any such trading freeze may negatively impact the Fund’s performance, if the Fund would otherwise make trades during that period but is prevented from doing so by the regulation.

 

Once the Fund and parties acting in concert reach the 5% trading threshold as to any listed company, any subsequent incremental increase or decrease of 5% or more will trigger a further reporting requirement and an additional three-day trading freeze, and also an additional freeze on trading within two days of the Fund’s report and announcement of the incremental change. These trading freezes may undermine the Fund’s performance as described above. Also, Shanghai Stock Exchange requirements currently require the Fund and parties acting in concert, once they have reached the 5% threshold, to disclose whenever their shareholding drops below this threshold (even as a result of trading which is less than the 5% incremental change that would trigger a reporting requirement under the relevant CSRC regulation).

 

CSRC regulations also contain additional disclosure (and tender offer) requirements that apply when an investor and parties acting in concert reach thresholds of 20% and greater than 30% shareholding in a company. Because no single underlying foreign investor investing through a RQFII or QFII (e.g., the Fund) may currently hold more than 10% of the total outstanding shares in one listed company, it is currently unlikely that the Fund’s trading would trigger the more detailed reporting or tender offer requirements at the higher thresholds.

 

Subject to the interpretation of PRC courts and PRC regulators, the operation of the PRC short swing profit rule may be applicable to the trading of the Fund with the result that where the holdings of the Fund (possibly with the holdings of other accounts managed by the Sub-Adviser) exceed 5% of the total issued shares of a listed company, the Fund may not reduce its holdings in the company within six months of the last purchase of shares of the company. If the Fund violates the rule, it may be required by the listed company to return any profits realized from such trading to the listed company. In addition, the rule limits the ability of the Fund to repurchase securities of the listed company within six months of such sale. Moreover, under PRC civil procedures, the Fund’s assets may be frozen to the extent of the claims made by the company in question. If the operation of the PRC short swing profit rule is triggered as described above, it may greatly impair the performance of the Fund.

 

 

Risk of Investing in Foreign Securities. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve risks beyond those associated with investments in U.S. securities. These additional risks include greater market

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volatility, the availability of less reliable financial information, higher transactional and custody costs, taxation by foreign governments, decreased market liquidity and political instability. Because many foreign securities markets may be limited in size, the prices of securities that trade in such markets may be influenced by large traders. Certain foreign markets that have historically been considered relatively stable may become volatile in response to changed conditions or new developments. Increased interconnectivity of world economies and financial markets increases the possibility that adverse developments and conditions in one country or region will affect the stability of economies and financial markets in other countries or regions. Foreign issuers are often subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing, financial reporting and record keeping than are U.S. issuers, and therefore, not all material information may be available or reliable. Securities exchanges or foreign governments may adopt rules or regulations that may negatively impact the Fund’s ability to invest in foreign securities or may prevent the Fund from repatriating its investments. In addition, the Fund may not receive shareholder communications or be permitted to vote the securities that it holds, as the issuers may be under no legal obligation to distribute shareholder communications.

 

In addition, various PRC companies derive their revenues in RMB but have requirements for foreign currency, including for the import of materials, debt service on foreign currency denominated debt, purchases of imported equipment and payment of any cash dividends declared. The existing PRC foreign exchange regulations have significantly reduced government foreign exchange controls for certain transactions, including trade and service related foreign exchange transactions and payment of dividends. However, it is impossible to predict whether the PRC government will continue its existing foreign exchange policy and when the PRC government will allow free conversion of the RMB to foreign currency. Certain foreign exchange transactions, including principal payments in respect of foreign currency-denominated obligations, currently continue to be subject to significant foreign exchange controls and require the approval of SAFE. Since 1994, the conversion of RMB into U.S. dollars has been based on rates set by the People’s Bank of China, which are set daily based on the previous day’s PRC interbank foreign exchange market rate. It is not possible to predict nor give any assurance of any future stability of the RMB to U.S. dollar exchange rate. Fluctuations in exchange rates may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV. Furthermore, because dividends are declared in U.S. dollars and underlying payments are made in RMB, fluctuations in exchange rates may adversely affect dividends paid by the Fund.

 

The Fund may also invest in shares of foreign investment companies, including Hong Kong-listed ETFs, the shares of which are listed and traded primarily on a foreign securities exchange. The Fund as an investor in a foreign fund may not be afforded the same investor protections that are provided by the U.S. federal securities laws. The Fund’s ability to transfer shares of such foreign funds outside of the foreign fund’s primary market may be restricted or prohibited.

 

In addition, the Fund may invest in depositary receipts which involve similar risks to those associated with investments in foreign securities. The issuers of certain depositary receipts are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities.

 

Risk of Investing in Emerging Market Issuers. Investments in securities of emerging market issuers are exposed to a number of risks that may make these investments volatile in price or difficult to trade. Political risks may include unstable governments, nationalization, restrictions on foreign ownership, laws that prevent investors from getting their money out of a country and legal systems that do not protect property rights as well as the laws of the United States. Market risks may include economies that concentrate in only a few industries, securities issues that are held by only a few investors, limited trading capacity in local exchanges and the possibility that markets or issues may be manipulated by foreign nationals who have inside information.

Risk of Investing in Depositary Receipts. The Fund may invest in depositary receipts which involve similar risks to those associated with investments in foreign securities. Depositary receipts are receipts listed on U.S. exchanges issued by banks or trust companies that entitle the holder to all dividends and capital gains that are paid out on the underlying foreign shares. The issuers of certain depositary receipts are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities. Investments in depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market and, if not included in the Index, may negatively affect the Fund’s ability to replicate the performance of the Index. In

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addition, investments in depositary receipts that are not included in the Fund’s Index may increase tracking error.

 

Risk of Investing in the Financial Services Sector. The financial services sector includes companies involved in such activities as banking, commercial and consumer finance, investment banking, brokerage, asset management, custody and insurance. Because as currently constituted the Index is concentrated in the financial services sector, the Fund will be sensitive to changes in, and its performance will depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the financial services sector. Companies in the financial services sector may be subject to extensive government regulation that affects the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain. The profitability of companies in the financial services sector may be adversely affected by increases in interest rates, by loan losses, which usually increase in economic downturns, and by credit rating downgrades. In addition, the financial services sector in certain countries is undergoing numerous changes, including continuing consolidations, development of new products and structures and changes to its regulatory framework, which may have an impact on the issuers included in the Index. Furthermore, increased government involvement in the financial services sector, including measures such as taking ownership positions in financial institutions, could result in a dilution of the Fund’s investments in financial institutions. Recent developments in the credit markets have caused companies operating in the financial services sector to incur large losses, experience declines in the value of their assets and even cease operations.

 

Risk of Investing in the Information Technology Sector. The information technology sector includes software developers, providers of information technology consulting and services and manufacturers and distributors of computers, peripherals, communications equipment and semiconductors. Because as currently constituted the information technology sector represents a significant portion of the Index, the Fund will be sensitive to changes in, and their performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the information technology sector. Technology companies face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Companies in the technology sector are heavily dependent on patent protection and the expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies.

 

Risk of Investing in the Industrials Sector. The industrials sector includes companies engaged in the manufacture and distribution of capital goods, such as those used in defense, construction and engineering, companies that manufacture and distribute electrical equipment and industrial machinery and those that provide commercial and transportation services and supplies. Because as currently constituted the Index includes securities of issuers in the industrials sector, the Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the industrials sector. Companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by changes in government regulation, world events and economic conditions. In addition, companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by environmental damages, product liability claims and exchange rates. The stock prices of companies in the industrials sector are affected by supply and demand both for their specific product or service and for industrial sector products in general. The products of manufacturing companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction. In addition, the industrials sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced or characterized by unpredictable factors.

 

Risk of Investing in Medium-Capitalization Companies. The Fund may invest in medium-capitalization companies and, therefore will be subject to certain risks associated with medium-capitalization companies. These companies are often subject to less analyst coverage and may be in early

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and less predictable periods of their corporate existences, with little or no record of profitability. In addition, these companies often have greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than larger more established companies. These companies tend to have smaller revenues, narrower product lines, less management depth and experience, smaller shares of their product or service markets, fewer financial resources and less competitive strength than large-capitalization companies. Returns on investments in securities of medium-capitalization companies could trail the returns on investments in securities of larger companies.

 

Equity Securities Risk. The value of the equity securities held by the Fund may fall due to general market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the markets in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate, or factors relating to specific issuers in which the Fund invests. For example, an adverse event, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may result in a decline in the value of equity securities of an issuer held by the Fund; the price of the equity securities of an issuer may be particularly sensitive to general movements in the securities markets; or a drop in the securities markets may depress the price of most or all of the equities securities held by the Fund. In addition, the equity securities of an issuer in the Fund’s portfolio may decline in price if the issuer fails to make anticipated dividend payments. Equity securities are subordinated to preferred securities and debt in a company’s capital structure with respect to priority in right to a share of corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater dividend risk than preferred securities or debt instruments. In addition, while broad market measures of equity securities have historically generated higher average returns than fixed income securities, equity securities have generally also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns, although under certain market conditions fixed income investments may have comparable or greater price volatility.

 

Market Risk. The prices of the securities in the Fund are subject to the risks associated with investing in the securities market, including general economic conditions and sudden and unpredictable drops in value. Overall securities values could decline generally or could underperform other investments. An investment in the Fund may lose money.

 

Index Tracking Risk. The Fund’s return may not match the return of the Index for a number of reasons. For example, the Fund incurs a number of operating expenses not applicable to the Index and incurs costs and risks associated with buying and selling securities, especially when rebalancing the Fund’s securities holdings to reflect changes in the composition of the Index and raising cash to meet redemptions or deploying cash in connection with newly created Creation Units, while such costs and risks are not factored into the return of the Index. The Fund may not be fully invested at times, either as a result of cash flows into the Fund or reserves of cash held by the Fund to meet redemptions and pay expenses. In addition, the Fund maintains a tax reserve as a provision for potential Chinese taxes while the Index does not. To the extent the Fund is unable to invest in Chinese Securities or enter into swaps or other derivatives linked to the performance of the Index or securities comprising the Index, it may enter into swaps or other derivatives linked to the performance of other funds that seek to track the performance of the Index. These funds may trade at a premium or discount to NAV, which may result in additional tracking error for the Fund. Moreover, the ability of the Fund to track the Index may be affected by foreign exchange fluctuations as between the U.S. dollar and RMB or HKD because the securities included in the Index are denominated in RMB or HKD and the Fund’s NAV is calculated in U.S. dollars.

 

In addition, the Fund may not be able to invest in certain securities included in the Index, or invest in them in the exact proportions they represent of the Index, due to legal restrictions or limitations imposed by the Chinese government or a lack of liquidity on stock exchanges in which such securities trade. Moreover, the Fund may be delayed in purchasing or selling securities included in the Index. The Fund will be required to remit CNH to settle the purchase of A-shares and repatriate CNH to U.S. dollars to settle redemption orders. In the event such remittance or repatriation is delayed or disrupted, the Fund will not be able to fully replicate the Index by investing in the relevant A-shares or may need to rely on borrowings to meet redemptions. These and any other issues the Fund encounters with regard to

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investment restrictions, trade settlements, currency convertibility (including the cost of borrowing funds, if any) and repatriation may also increase the index tracking risk.

 

Relevant PRC laws and regulations may limit the ability of the Adviser and/or potential swap counterparties to acquire A-shares in certain PRC issuers from time to time. In addition, a potential swap counterparty may not be able to acquire A-shares to hedge the swaps in which the Fund invests. In such cases, this may restrict the Fund’s ability to invest in certain A-shares and also may restrict the issuance, and therefore the purchase, of swaps linked to these A-shares by the Fund. Furthermore, the tracking error of the Fund may be increased by the overall costs of maintaining the swaps. As a result of such costs the value of the swaps may differ from the price of the A-shares to which such swaps are linked, leading to an increased tracking error.

 

As discussed above, one or more securities in the Index may be suspended from trading and such securities would be valued by the Index at the last closing price. The Fund is expected to fair value these securities and its other investments. See “Shareholder Information—Determination of NAV.” To the extent the Fund calculates its NAV based on fair value prices and the value of the Index is based on securities’ closing prices on local foreign markets (i.e., the value of the Index is not based on fair value prices), the Fund’s ability to track the Index may be adversely affected. The need to comply with the tax diversification and other requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, may also impact the Fund’s ability to replicate the performance of the Index. In addition, to the extent the Fund utilizes swaps and other derivative instruments, its return may not correlate as well with the Index as would be the case if the Fund purchased all the securities in the Index directly. Actions taken in response to proposed corporate actions could result in increased tracking error.

 

Replication Management Risk. Unlike many investment companies, the Fund is not “actively” managed. Therefore, unless a specific security is removed from the Index, the Fund generally would not sell a security because the security’s issuer is in financial trouble. If a specific security is removed from the Index, the Fund may be forced to sell such security at an inopportune time or for prices other than at current market values. An investment in the Fund involves risks similar to those of investing in any fund of equity securities traded on an exchange, such as market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic and political developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in security prices. The Fund’s Index may not contain the appropriate or a diversified mix of securities for any particular economic cycle. The timing of changes in the securities of the Fund’s portfolio in seeking to replicate the Index could have a negative effect on the Fund. Unlike with an actively managed fund, the Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser do not use techniques or defensive strategies designed to lessen the effects of market volatility or to reduce the impact of periods of market decline. This means that, based on market and economic conditions, the Fund’s performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers.

 

Premium/Discount Risk. Disruptions to creations and redemptions, the existence of extreme market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for Shares may result in Shares trading at a significant premium or discount to NAV. The NAV of the Shares will fluctuate with changes in the market value of the Fund’s securities holdings. The market prices of Shares will fluctuate in accordance with changes in NAV and supply and demand on NYSE Arca. The Adviser cannot predict whether Shares will trade below, at or above their NAV. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for Shares will be closely related to, but not identical to, the same forces influencing the prices of the securities of the Index trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. If a shareholder purchases Shares at a time when the market price is at a premium to the NAV or sells Shares at a time when the market price is at a discount to the NAV, the shareholder may sustain losses.

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Non-Diversified Risk. The Fund is classified as a “non-diversified” investment company under the 1940 Act. As a result, the Fund is subject to the risk that it will be more volatile than a diversified fund because the Fund may invest its assets in a smaller number of issuers or may invest a larger proportion of its assets in a single issuer. As a result, the gains and losses on a single investment may have a greater impact on the Fund’s NAV and may make the Fund more volatile than more diversified funds.

 

Concentration Risk. The Fund’s assets may be concentrated in a particular sector or sectors or industry or group of industries to the extent that the Index concentrates in a particular sector or sectors or industry or group of industries. The securities of many or all of the companies in the same sector or industry may decline in value due to developments adversely affecting such sector or industry. By concentrating its assets in a particular sector or sectors or industry or group of industries, the Fund is subject to the risk that economic, political or other conditions that have a negative effect on that sector or industry will negatively impact the Fund to a greater extent than if the Fund’s assets were invested in a wider variety of sectors or industries. Based on the current composition of the Index, the Fund’s assets are concentrated in the financial services sector; therefore, the Fund will be subject to the risk that economic, political or other conditions that have a negative effect on that sector will negatively impact the Fund to a greater extent than if the Fund’s assets were invested in a wider variety of sectors or industries.

 

ADDITIONAL RISKS

 

Risk of Investing in Swaps. The Fund may invest in swaps and other types of derivative instruments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the economic characteristics of Chinese Securities, including swaps on the Index, swaps on the Chinese Securities which comprise the Index and/or swaps on funds that seek to replicate the performance of the Index or funds that invest in Chinese Securities or the Fund may invest directly in shares of such funds. The use of swap agreements entails certain risks, which may be different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the underlying asset for the swap agreement. These risks include:

 

Limited Availability of Swaps. The Fund’s ability to achieve its stated investment objective may depend upon the continuing availability of Chinese Securities and the willingness and ability of potential swap counterparties to engage in swaps with the Fund linked to the performance of Chinese Securities. A-shares may be particularly vulnerable to this risk. To the extent that the RQFII or QFII quota of a potential swap counterparty is reduced or eliminated due to actions by the Chinese government or as a result of transactions entered into by the counterparty with other investors, the counterparty’s ability to continue to enter into swaps or other derivative transactions with the Fund may be reduced or eliminated, which could have a material adverse effect on the Fund. These risks are compounded by the fact that at present there are only a limited number of potential counterparties willing and able to enter into swap transactions linked to the performance of A-shares. Furthermore, swaps are of limited duration and there is no guarantee that swaps entered into with a counterparty will continue indefinitely. Accordingly, the duration of a swap depends on, among other things, the ability of the Fund to renew the expiration period of the relevant swap at agreed upon terms. In addition, under the current regulations regarding quotas of RQFIIs or QFIIs administered by SAFE, RQFIIs and QFIIs are prohibited from transferring or selling their quotas to any third party. However, there is uncertainty over how this prohibition is implemented. Therefore, subject to interpretation by SAFE, QFIIs or RQFIIs may be limited or prohibited from providing the Fund access to RQFII quotas by entering into swap or other derivative transactions, which, in turn, could adversely affect the Fund.

 

Counterparty Risk. Because a swap is an obligation of the counterparty rather than a direct investment in Chinese Securities, the Fund may suffer losses potentially equal to, or greater than, the full value of the swap if the counterparty fails to perform its obligations under the swap as a

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result of bankruptcy or otherwise. Any loss would result in a reduction in the NAV of the Fund and will likely impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. The counterparty risk associated with the Fund’s investments is expected to be greater than most other funds because there are only a limited number of counterparties that are willing and able to enter into swaps on Chinese Securities. In fact, because there are so few potential counterparties, the Fund, subject to applicable law, may enter into swap transactions with as few as one counterparty at any time.

 

Liquidity Risk. Swap agreements may be subject to liquidity risk, which exists when a particular swap is difficult to purchase or sell. If a swap transaction is particularly large or if the relevant market is illiquid, it may not be possible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price, which may result in significant losses to the Fund. This is especially true given the limited number of potential counterparties willing and able to enter into swap transactions on Chinese Securities. In addition, a swap transaction may be subject to the Fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities. Swap agreements may be subject to pricing risk, which exists when a particular swap agreement becomes extraordinarily expensive (or inexpensive) relative to historical prices or the prices of corresponding cash market instruments. The swaps market is subject to extensive regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act and certain SEC and CFTC rules promulgated thereunder. It is possible that developments in the swaps market, including new and additional government regulation, could result in higher Fund costs and expenses and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability, among other things, to enter into or to terminate existing swap agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.

 

Tax Risk. The Fund’s investments in swaps and other derivative instruments may be less tax-efficient than a direct investment in Chinese Securities. Investments in swaps and other derivatives may be subject to special U.S. federal income tax rules that could negatively affect the character, timing and amount of income earned by the Fund (e.g., by causing amounts that would be capital gain to be taxed as ordinary income or to be taken into income earlier than would otherwise be necessary). Also, the Fund may be required to periodically adjust its positions in its swaps and derivatives to comply with certain regulatory requirements which may further cause these investments to be less efficient than a direct investment in Chinese Securities. For example, swaps in which the Fund will invest may need to be reset on a regular basis in order to maintain compliance with the 1940 Act, which may increase the likelihood that the Fund will generate short-term capital gains. In addition, because the application of these special rules may be uncertain, it is possible that the manner in which they are applied by the Fund may be determined to be incorrect. In that event, the Fund may be found to have failed to maintain its qualification as a RIC or to be subject to additional U.S. tax liability. Moreover, the Fund may make investments, both directly and through swaps or other derivative positions, in companies classified as passive foreign investment companies for U.S. federal income tax purposes (“PFICs”). Investments in PFICs are subject to special tax rules which may result in adverse tax consequences to the Fund and its shareholders.

 

Risk of Investing in Futures. Futures contracts generally provide for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified instrument, index or commodity at a specified future time and at a specified price. The value of a futures contract tends to increase and decrease in tandem with the value of the underlying instrument. The prices of futures can be highly volatile, using futures can lower total return, can create investment leverage, and the potential loss from futures can exceed the Fund’s initial investment in such contracts. Futures contacts involve the risk of mispricing or improper valuation and the risk that changes in the value of a futures contract may not correlate perfectly with the underlying indicator. Even a well-conceived futures transaction may be unsuccessful due to market events. There is also the risk of loss by the Fund of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom the

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Fund has an open position in the futures contract. A liquid secondary market may not always exist for the Fund’s futures contract positions at any time.

 

Risk of Investing in Options. An option is a contract that provides the holder the right to buy or sell shares at a fixed price, within a specified period of time. An American call option gives the option holder the right to buy the underlying security from the option writer at the option exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option. A European call option gives the option holder the right to buy the underlying security from the option writer only on the option expiration date. An American put option gives the option holder the right to sell the underlying security to the option writer at the option exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option. A European put option gives the option holder the right to sell the underlying security to the option writer at the option exercise price only on the option expiration date. A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment and even a well-conceived option transaction may be unsuccessful because of market behavior or unexpected events. The prices of options can be highly volatile and the use of options can lower total returns.

 

Leverage Risk. To the extent that the Fund borrows money or utilizes certain derivatives, it may be leveraged. Leveraging generally exaggerates the effect on NAV of any increase or decrease in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio securities.

 

No Guarantee of Active Trading Market. While the Fund’s Shares are listed on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that active trading markets for the Shares will be maintained. Van Eck Securities Corporation, the distributor of the Shares (the “Distributor”), does not maintain a secondary market in the Shares.

 

Trading Issues. Trading in Shares on NYSE Arca may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of NYSE Arca, make trading in Shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in Shares on NYSE Arca is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to NYSE Arca’s “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements of NYSE Arca necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged.

 

PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

 

A description of the Fund’s policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund’s SAI.

 

MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND

 

Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees of Market Vectors ETF Trust (the “Trust”) has responsibility for the general oversight of the management of the Fund, including general supervision of the Adviser and other service providers, but is not involved in the day-to-day management of the Trust. A list of the Trustees and the Trust’s officers, and their present positions and principal occupations, is provided in the Fund’s SAI.

 

Investment Adviser and Sub-Adviser. Under the terms of an investment management agreement between the Trust and Van Eck Associates Corporation with respect to the Fund (the “Investment Management Agreement”), Van Eck Associates Corporation serves as the adviser to the Fund and, subject to the supervision of the Board of Trustees, will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day investment management of the Fund. China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited acts as investment sub-adviser to the Fund and, subject to the oversight of the Adviser, will be responsible for the day-to-day investment management of the assets allocated to it by the Adviser. The Sub-Adviser serves as investment sub-

29

adviser to the Fund pursuant to an investment sub-advisory agreement between the Adviser and the Sub-Adviser (the “Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement”).

 

As of December 31, 2013, the Adviser managed approximately $30.45 billion in assets. The Adviser has been an investment adviser since 1955 and also acts as adviser or sub-adviser to other mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, other pooled investment vehicles and separate accounts. The Adviser’s principal business address is 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017.

 

The Sub-Adviser was established in September 2008 as a wholly owned subsidiary of China Asset Management Co., Ltd. (“ChinaAMC”). The Sub-Adviser has been licensed by Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to engage in asset management activities, dealing in securities and advising on securities. As of November 30, 2013, assets under management were approximately $57.08 billion for ChinaAMC and $2.95 billion for the Sub-Adviser. The Sub-Adviser currently provides both asset management and advisory services to Hong Kong and overseas clients, including institutional mandates from Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and Germany. The Sub-Adviser’s principal place of business is 37F, Bank of China Tower, 1 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong.

 

A discussion regarding the Board of Trustees’ approval of the Investment Management Agreement and the Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement is available in the Trust’s semi-annual report for the period ended June 30, 2014.

 

For the services provided to the Fund under the Investment Management Agreement, the Fund will pay the Adviser monthly fees based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets at the annual rate of 0.50%. From time to time, the Adviser may waive all or a portion of its fee.

 

Until at least May 1, 2015, the Adviser has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, offering costs, trading expenses, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 0.84% of its average daily net assets per year. Offering costs excluded from the expense cap are: (a) legal fees pertaining to the Fund’s Shares offered for sale; (b) SEC and state registration fees; and (c) initial fees paid for Shares of the Fund to be listed on an exchange.

 

The Fund is responsible for all of its expenses, including the investment advisory fees, costs of transfer agency, custody, legal, audit and other services, interest, taxes, any distribution fees or expenses, offering fees or expenses and extraordinary expenses. For the services provided and the expenses assumed by the Sub-Adviser pursuant to the Sub-Advisory Agreement, the Adviser (not the Fund) will pay a monthly fee to the Sub-Adviser based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets managed by the Sub-Adviser.

 

Manager of Managers Structure. The Adviser and the Trust may rely on an exemptive order (the “Order”) from the SEC that permits the Adviser to enter into investment sub-advisory agreements with unaffiliated sub-advisers without obtaining further shareholder approval. The Adviser, subject to the review and approval of the Board of Trustees, may select sub-advisers for the Fund and supervise, monitor and evaluate the performance of each sub-adviser.

 

The Order also permits the Adviser, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees, to replace sub-advisers and amend investment sub-advisory agreements, including fees, without shareholder approval whenever the Adviser and the Board of Trustees believe such action will benefit the Fund and its shareholders. The Adviser thus would have the responsibility (subject to the oversight of the Board of Trustees) to recommend the hiring and replacement of sub-advisers as well as the discretion to terminate any sub-adviser and reallocate the Fund’s assets for management among any other sub-adviser(s) and

30

itself. This means that the Adviser would be able to reduce the sub-advisory fees and retain a larger portion of the management fee, or increase the sub-advisory fees and retain a smaller portion of the management fee. The Adviser would compensate each sub-adviser out of its management fee.

 

Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. Van Eck Associates Corporation is the administrator for the Fund (the “Administrator”), and The Bank of New York Mellon is the custodian of the Fund’s assets and provides transfer agency and fund accounting services to the Fund. The Administrator is responsible for certain clerical, recordkeeping and/or bookkeeping services which are provided pursuant to the Investment Management Agreement.

 

All of the Fund’s China A-share assets in the PRC (including onshore PRC cash deposits and its onshore A-shares portfolio) will be held by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, the PRC sub-custodian. A securities account shall be opened with CSDCC in the joint names of the Sub-Adviser (as the RQFII holder) and the Fund. An RMB cash account shall also be established and maintained with the PRC sub-custodian in the joint names of the Sub-Adviser (as the RQFII holder) and the Fund. The PRC sub-custodian shall, in turn, have a cash clearing account with CSDCC for trade settlement according to applicable regulations.

 

Distributor. Van Eck Securities Corporation is the distributor of the Shares. The Distributor will not distribute Shares in less than Creation Units, and does not maintain a secondary market in the Shares. As noted in the section entitled “Shareholder Information—Buying and Selling Exchange-Traded Shares,” the Shares are traded in the secondary market.

 

PORTFOLIO MANAGERS

 

Jeff Wu, CFA, has 11 years experience in the financial industry. He joined the Sub-Adviser in August 2007 as equity analyst, sector portfolio manager, portfolio manager assistant and portfolio manager. Prior to joining the Sub-Adviser, he worked with BlackRock and Bloomberg. Mr. Wu received his Master’s degree from Columbia University and his Bachelor’s degree from Xiamen University.

 

David Lai, CFA, has 15 years of experience in the financial industry. Mr. Lai joined the Sub-Adviser in 2011 as a Director and a portfolio manager. Prior to joining the Sub-Adviser, he had been a portfolio manager of Chinese equities in several China domestic and offshore financial institutions since 2002.

 

Hao-Hung (Peter) Liao has been employed by the Adviser since the summer of 2004 as an Analyst. Mr. Cao has been employed by the Adviser since December 2007 as a Senior Analyst. Messrs. Liao and Cao also serve as portfolio managers for certain other investment companies advised by the Adviser.

 

 

See the Fund’s SAI for additional information about the portfolio managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and their respective ownership of Shares.

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SHAREHOLDER INFORMATION

 

DETERMINATION OF NAV

 

The NAV per Share for the Fund is computed by dividing the value of the net assets of the Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of Shares outstanding. Expenses and fees, including the management fee, are accrued daily and taken into account for purposes of determining NAV. The NAV of the Fund is determined each business day as of the close of trading (ordinarily 4:00 p.m. Eastern time) on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”). Any assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are converted into U.S. dollars at the current market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more sources.

 

The values of the Fund’s portfolio securities are based on the securities’ closing prices on their local principal markets, where available. Due to the time difference between the United States and certain countries in which the Fund invests, securities on these exchanges may not trade at times when Shares of the Fund will trade. In the absence of a last reported sales price, or if no sales were reported, and for other assets for which market quotes are not readily available, values may be based on quotes obtained from a quotation reporting system, established market makers or by an outside independent pricing service. Prices obtained by an outside independent pricing service may use information provided by market makers or estimates of market values obtained from yield data related to investments or securities with similar characteristics and may use a computerized grid matrix of securities and its evaluations in determining what it believes is the fair value of the portfolio securities. If a market quotation for a security is not readily available or the Adviser believes it does not otherwise accurately reflect the market value of the security at the time the Fund calculates its NAV, the security will be fair valued by the Adviser in accordance with the Trust’s valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board of Trustees. The Fund may also use fair value pricing in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to, situations where the value of a security in the Fund’s portfolio has been materially affected by events occurring after the close of the market on which the security is principally traded (such as a corporate action or other news that may materially affect the price of a security) or trading in a security has been suspended or halted. In addition, the Fund currently expects that it will fair value certain of the foreign equity securities held by the Fund each day the Fund calculates its NAV. Accordingly, the Fund’s NAV is expected to reflect certain portfolio securities’ fair values rather than their market prices. Fair value pricing involves subjective judgments and it is possible that a fair value determination for a security is materially different than the value that could be realized upon the sale of the security. In addition, fair value pricing could result in a difference between the prices used to calculate the Fund’s NAV and the prices used by the Index. This may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to track the Index. With respect to securities traded in foreign markets, the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities may change on days when you will not be able to purchase or sell your Shares.

 

BUYING AND SELLING EXCHANGE-TRADED SHARES

 

The Shares of the Fund are listed on NYSE Arca. If you buy or sell Shares in the secondary market, you will incur customary brokerage commissions and charges and may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offered price in the secondary market on each leg of a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction. In times of severe market disruption or low trading volume in the Fund’s Shares, this spread can increase significantly. It is anticipated that the Shares will trade in the secondary market at prices that may differ to varying degrees from the NAV of the Shares. During periods of disruptions to creations and redemptions or the existence of extreme market volatility, the market prices of Shares are more likely to differ significantly from the Shares’ NAV.

 

The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) serves as securities depository for the Shares. (The Shares may be held only in book-entry form; stock certificates will not be issued.) DTC, or its nominee, is the record or registered owner of all outstanding Shares. Beneficial ownership of Shares will be shown on the

32

records of DTC or its participants (described below). Beneficial owners of Shares are not entitled to have Shares registered in their names, will not receive or be entitled to receive physical delivery of certificates in definitive form and are not considered the registered holder thereof. Accordingly, to exercise any rights of a holder of Shares, each beneficial owner must rely on the procedures of: (i) DTC; (ii) “DTC Participants,” i.e., securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC; and (iii) “Indirect Participants,” i.e., brokers, dealers, banks and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly, through which such beneficial owner holds its interests. The Trust understands that under existing industry practice, in the event the Trust requests any action of holders of Shares, or a beneficial owner desires to take any action that DTC, as the record owner of all outstanding Shares, is entitled to take, DTC would authorize the DTC Participants to take such action and that the DTC Participants would authorize the Indirect Participants and beneficial owners acting through such DTC Participants to take such action and would otherwise act upon the instructions of beneficial owners owning through them. As described above, the Trust recognizes DTC or its nominee as the owner of all Shares for all purposes. For more information, see the section entitled “Book Entry Only System” in the Fund’s SAI.

 

The NYSE Arca is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Because non-U.S. exchanges may be open on days when the Fund does not price its Shares, the value of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s Shares.

 

Market Timing and Related Matters. The Fund imposes no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions. The Board of Trustees considered the nature of the Fund (i.e., a fund whose shares are expected to trade intra-day), that the Adviser monitors the trading activity of authorized participants for patterns of abusive trading, that the Fund reserves the right to reject orders that may be disruptive to the management of or otherwise not in the Fund’s best interests, and that the Fund fair values certain of its securities. Given this structure, the Board of Trustees determined that it is not necessary to impose restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions for the Fund at the present time.

 

DISTRIBUTIONS

 

Net Investment Income and Capital Gains. As a shareholder of the Fund, you are entitled to your share of the Fund’s distributions of net investment income and net realized capital gains on its investments. The Fund pays out substantially all of its net earnings to its shareholders as “distributions.”

 

The Fund typically earns income dividends from stocks and interest from debt securities. These amounts, net of expenses, are typically passed along to Fund shareholders as dividends from net investment income. The Fund realizes capital gains or losses whenever it sells securities. Net capital gains are distributed to shareholders as “capital gain distributions.”

 

Net investment income, if any, and net capital gains, if any, are typically distributed to shareholders at least annually. Dividends may be declared and paid more frequently to improve index tracking or to comply with the distribution requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, the Fund may determine to distribute at least annually amounts representing the full dividend yield net of expenses on the underlying investment securities, as if the Fund owned the underlying investment securities for the entire dividend period, in which case some portion of each distribution may result in a return of capital, which, for tax purposes, is treated as a return of your investment in Shares. Record shareholders will be notified regarding the portion of the distribution which represents a return of capital.

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Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional Shares of the Fund only if the broker through which you purchased Shares makes such option available.

 

TAX INFORMATION

 

As with any investment, you should consider how your Fund investment will be taxed. The tax information in this Prospectus is provided as general information. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in the Fund, including the possible application of foreign, state and local taxes. Unless your investment in the Fund is through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as a 401(k) plan, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when: (i) the Fund makes distributions, (ii) you sell Shares in the secondary market or (iii) you create or redeem Creation Units.

 

Taxes on Distributions. As noted above, the Fund expects to distribute net investment income at least annually, and any net realized long-term or short-term capital gains annually. The Fund may also pay a special distribution at any time to comply with U.S. federal tax requirements.

 

If the Fund fails to distribute on a timely basis with respect to each taxable year at least 90% of its “investment company taxable income” and its net tax-exempt interest income, the Fund would fail to qualify for the special tax treatment applicable to RICs. In such a case, the Fund would be subject to U.S. federal income tax at regular corporate rates on its taxable income, including its net capital gain, even if such income were distributed to its shareholders, and all distributions out of earnings and profits would be taxed to shareholders as ordinary dividend income. Such distributions generally would be eligible for the dividends-received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders and may be eligible to be qualified dividend income for non-corporate shareholders. In addition, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay taxes and make distributions (any of which could be subject to interest charges) before re-qualifying for taxation as a RIC. Additionally, to the extent the Fund does not distribute to shareholders all of its investment company taxable income and net capital gain in a given year, it will be required to pay U.S. federal income tax on the retained income and gains, thereby reducing the Fund’s return.

 

The Fund will be subject to a 4% excise tax on certain undistributed income if it does not distribute to its shareholders in each calendar year in an amount at least equal to the sum of 98% of its ordinary income (taking into account certain deferrals and elections) for the calendar year, 98.2% of its capital gain net income for the twelve months ended October 31 of such year and 100% of any undistributed amounts from the prior years. Although the Fund generally intends to declare and distribute dividends and distributions in the amounts and at the times necessary to avoid the application of this 4% excise tax, the Fund may elect to retain a portion of its income and gains, and in such a case, the Fund may be subject to excise tax.

 

In general, your distributions are subject to U.S. federal income tax when they are paid, whether you take them in cash or reinvest them in the Fund. Distributions of net investment income, including any net short-term gains, if any, are generally taxable as ordinary income. Whether distributions of capital gains represent long-term or short-term capital gains is determined by how long the Fund owned the investments that generated them, rather than how long you have owned your Shares. Distributions of net short-term capital gains in excess of net long-term capital losses, if any, are generally taxable as ordinary income. Distributions of net long-term capital gains in excess of net short-term capital losses, if any, that are reported as capital gain dividends are generally taxable as long-term capital gains. After 2012, long-term capital gains of non-corporate shareholders are generally taxable at a maximum rate of 15% or 20%, depending on whether the shareholder’s income exceeds certain threshold amounts.

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The Fund may receive dividends, the distribution of which the Fund may designate as qualified dividends. In the event that the Fund receives such a dividend and designates the distribution of such dividend as a qualified dividend, the dividend may be taxed at the maximum capital gains rates, provided holding period and other requirements are met at both the shareholder and the Fund level.

 

Distributions in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits are treated as a tax-free return of your investment to the extent of your basis in the Shares, and generally as capital gain thereafter. A return of capital, which for tax purposes is treated as a return of your investment, reduces your basis in Shares, thus reducing any loss or increasing any gain on a subsequent taxable disposition of Shares. A distribution will reduce the Fund’s NAV per Share and may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gain even though, from an economic standpoint, the distribution may constitute a return of capital.

 

Special tax rules may change the normal treatment of gains and losses recognized by the Fund if the Fund makes certain investments such as investments in structured notes, swaps, options and futures transactions. Those special tax rules can negatively affect the character, timing and amount of income earned by the Fund (e.g., by causing amounts that would be capital gain to be taxed as ordinary income or to be taken into income earlier than would otherwise be necessary). The Fund intends to invest in swaps and other derivative instruments that are linked to the performance of A-shares. The U.S. tax treatment of such investments may generally be less efficient than a direct investment in A- shares. Furthermore, the Fund may be required to periodically adjust its positions in these swaps or derivatives to comply with certain regulatory requirements which may further cause these investments to be less efficient than a direct investment in A-shares. In addition, because the application of these special rules may be uncertain, it is possible that the manner in which they are applied by the Fund may be determined to be incorrect. In that event, the Fund may be found to have failed to maintain its qualification as a RIC or to be subject to additional U.S. tax liability.

 

The Fund may make investments, both directly and through swaps or other derivative positions, in companies classified as PFICs for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Investments in PFICs are subject to special tax rules which may result in adverse tax consequences to the Fund and its shareholders. The Fund generally intends to elect to “mark to market” these investments at the end of each taxable year. By making this election, the Fund will recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such shares as of the close of the taxable year over their adjusted basis and as ordinary loss any decrease in such investment (but only to the extent of prior income from such investment under the mark to market rules). Gains realized with respect to a disposition of a PFIC that the Fund has elected to mark to market will be ordinary income. By making the mark to market election, the Fund may recognize income in excess of the distributions that it receives from its investments. Accordingly, the Fund may need to borrow money or dispose of some of its investments in order to meet its distribution requirements. If the Fund does not make the mark to market election with respect to an investment in a PFIC, the Fund could become subject to U.S. federal income tax with respect to certain distributions from, and gain on the dispositions of, the PFIC which cannot be avoided by distributing such amounts to the Fund’s shareholders.

 

Dividends, interest and gains from non-U.S. investments of the Fund may give rise to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may, in some cases, reduce or eliminate such taxes.

 

If more than 50% of the Fund’s total assets at the end of its taxable year consist of foreign securities, the Fund may elect to “pass through” to its investors certain foreign income taxes paid by the Fund, with the result that each investor will (i) include in gross income, as an additional dividend, even though not actually received, the investor’s pro rata share of the Fund’s foreign income taxes, and (ii) either deduct (in calculating U.S. taxable income) or credit (in calculating U.S. federal income), subject to certain holding period and other limitations, the investor’s pro rata share of the Fund’s foreign income taxes. This

35

treatment will not apply with respect to amounts the Fund reserves in anticipation of the imposition of Chinese withholding taxes not currently in effect (as discussed above). If these amounts are used to pay any tax liability of the Fund in a later year, they will be treated as paid by the shareholders in such later year, even if they are imposed with respect to income of an earlier year. It is expected that more than 50% of the Fund’s assets will consist of foreign securities.

 

Backup Withholding. The Fund may be required to withhold a percentage of your distributions and proceeds if you have not provided a taxpayer identification number or social security number or otherwise established a basis for exemption from backup withholding. The backup withholding rate for individuals is currently 28%. This is not an additional tax and may be refunded, or credited against your U.S. federal income tax liability, provided certain required information is furnished to the Internal Revenue Service.

 

Taxes on the Sale or Cash Redemption of Exchange Listed Shares. Currently, any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Shares is generally treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the Shares have been held for more than one year and as a short term capital gain or loss if held for one year or less. However, any capital loss on a sale of Shares held for six months or less is treated as long -term capital loss to the extent that capital gain dividends were paid with respect to such Shares. The ability to deduct capital losses may be limited. A redemption of a shareholder’s Fund Shares for cash is normally treated as a sale for tax purposes.

 

Taxes on In-Kind Creations and In-Kind Redemptions of Creation Units. To the extent a person exchanges securities or securities and cash for Creation Units, such person generally will recognize a gain or loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time of exchange and the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the amount of any cash paid for such Creation Units. A person who exchanges Creation Units for securities or securities and cash will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the sum of the aggregate market value of the securities received and the amount of any cash received for such Creation Units. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of primarily securities for Creation Units cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position. Persons exchanging primarily securities for Creation Units or redeeming Creation Units should consult their own tax adviser with respect to whether wash sale rules apply and when a loss might be deductible and the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction.

 

Under current U.S. federal income tax laws, any capital gain or loss realized upon a redemption (or creation) of Creation Units is generally treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the Shares (or securities surrendered) have been held for more than one year and as a short-term capital gain or loss if the Shares (or securities surrendered) have been held for one year or less.

 

If you create or redeem Creation Units, you will be sent a confirmation statement showing how many Shares you created or sold and at what price.

 

Medicare Tax. An additional 3.8% Medicare tax is imposed on certain net investment income (including ordinary dividends and capital gain distributions received from the Fund and net gains from redemptions or other taxable dispositions of Fund Shares) of U.S. individuals, estates and trusts to the extent that such person’s “modified adjusted gross income” (in the case of an individual) or “adjusted gross income” (in the case of an estate or trust) exceeds certain threshold amounts.

 

Non-U.S. Shareholders. If you are not a citizen or resident alien of the United States, the Fund’s ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be

36

subject to a 30% U.S. withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies or unless such income is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business.

 

 

Non-U.S. shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisors with respect to the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in the Fund, including the possible applicability of the U.S. estate tax.

 

The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the consequences under current U.S. federal income tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. Consult your own tax advisor about the potential tax consequences of an investment in the Fund under all applicable tax laws.

37

INDEX PROVIDER

 

The Index is published by MSCI. MSCI is a leading provider of investment decision products and services - including indices, portfolio risk and performance analytics, and governance tools - to around 7,500 clients worldwide, headquartered in New York, NY, USA. Presently, MSCI has developed and is maintaining a number of indexes in addition to the Index. The Index Provider does not sponsor, endorse, or promote the Fund and bears no liability with respect to the Fund or any security.

38

MSCI ALL CHINA INDEX

 

The Index is a rules-based, modified capitalization weighted, float adjusted index comprised of equity securities, which may include depositary receipts, of publicly traded companies that are generally considered by the Index Provider to be Chinese companies based on the country of incorporation of the issuing company and the primary listing of the security. The Index is intended to track the performance of the entire investable global large-and mid-cap China equity opportunity set. The Index is comprised of China A-shares (“A-shares”), China B-shares (“B-shares”), China H-shares (“H-shares”), China Red Chips (“Red Chips”) and China P-Chips (“P Chips”) share classes as well as U.S.-securities of Chinese companies listed in the United States and Singapore. As of March 3, 2014, approximately 50.54% of the Index is comprised of A-shares, 0.34% of the Index is comprised of B-shares, 22.39% of the Index is comprised of H-shares, 11.42% of the Index is comprised of Red Chips, 10.70% of the Index is comprised of P Chips and 4.60% of the Index is comprised of ADRs.

 

As of March 3, 2014, the Index included 612 securities of companies from China (including Hong Kong), Singapore and the United States with a market capitalization range of between approximately $340.4 million and $79.3 billion and a weighted average market capitalization of $15.6 billion. These amounts are subject to change.

 

To be eligible for inclusion in the Index, a security must meet certain requirements regarding full market capitalization, free-float adjusted market capitalization and liquidity. These requirements are as defined by the Index Provider.

 

The Index is rebalanced on a quarterly basis, usually as of the close of the last business day of February, May, August and November. The results of the quarterly reviews are generally announced at least two weeks in advance of their effective implementation dates.

39

LICENSE AGREEMENT AND DISCLAIMERS

 

The Adviser has entered into a licensing agreement with the Index Provider to use the Index. The Fund is entitled to use the Index pursuant to a sub-licensing arrangement with the Adviser.

 

THIS FUND IS NOT SPONSORED, ENDORSED, SOLD OR PROMOTED BY MSCI INC. (“MSCI”), ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES, ANY OF ITS INFORMATION PROVIDERS OR ANY OTHER THIRD PARTY INVOLVED IN, OR RELATED TO, COMPILING, COMPUTING OR CREATING ANY MSCI INDEX (COLLECTIVELY, THE “MSCI PARTIES”). THE MSCI INDEXES ARE THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF MSCI. MSCI AND THE MSCI INDEX NAMES ARE SERVICE MARK(S) OF MSCI OR ITS AFFILIATES AND HAVE BEEN LICENSED FOR USE FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES BY THE ADVISER. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES MAKES ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, TO THE ISSUER OR OWNERS OF THIS FUND OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY REGARDING THE ADVISABILITY OF INVESTING IN FUNDS GENERALLY OR IN THIS FUND PARTICULARLY OR THE ABILITY OF ANY MSCI INDEX TO TRACK CORRESPONDING STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE. MSCI OR ITS AFFILIATES ARE THE LICENSORS OF CERTAIN TRADEMARKS, SERVICE MARKS AND TRADE NAMES AND OF THE MSCI INDEXES WHICH ARE DETERMINED, COMPOSED AND CALCULATED BY MSCI WITHOUT REGARD TO THIS FUND OR THE ISSUER OR OWNERS OF THIS FUND OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES HAS ANY OBLIGATION TO TAKE THE NEEDS OF THE ISSUER OR OWNERS OF THIS FUND OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY INTO CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING, COMPOSING OR CALCULATING THE MSCI INDEXES. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OR HAS PARTICIPATED IN THE DETERMINATION OF THE TIMING OF, PRICES AT, OR QUANTITIES OF THIS FUND TO BE ISSUED OR IN THE DETERMINATION OR CALCULATION OF THE EQUATION BY OR THE CONSIDERATION INTO WHICH THIS FUND IS REDEEMABLE. FURTHER, NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES HAS ANY OBLIGATION OR LIABILITY TO THE ISSUER OR OWNERS OF THIS FUND OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION, MARKETING OR OFFERING OF THIS FUND.

 

ALTHOUGH MSCI SHALL OBTAIN INFORMATION FOR INCLUSION IN OR FOR USE IN THE CALCULATION OF THE MSCI INDEXES FROM SOURCES THAT MSCI CONSIDERS RELIABLE, NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES WARRANTS OR GUARANTEES THE ORIGINALITY, ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF ANY MSCI INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES MAKES ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY THE ISSUER OF THE FUND, OWNERS OF THE FUND, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY, FROM THE USE OF ANY MSCI INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES SHALL HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS OR INTERRUPTIONS OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH ANY MSCI INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. FURTHER, NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES MAKES ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, AND THE MSCI PARTIES HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WITH RESPECT TO EACH MSCI INDEX AND ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT SHALL ANY OF THE MSCI PARTIES HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, CONSEQUENTIAL OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS) EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

 

No purchaser, seller or holder of this security, product or fund, or any other person or entity, should use or refer to any MSCI trade name, trademark or service mark to sponsor, endorse, market or promote this security without first contacting MSCI to determine whether MSCI’s permission is required. Under no circumstances may any person or entity claim any affiliation with MSCI without the prior written permission of MSCI.

40

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

 

The Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus and therefore does not have a financial history.

 

PREMIUM/DISCOUNT INFORMATION

 

Information regarding how often the Shares of the Fund traded on NYSE Arca at a price above (i.e., at a premium) or below (i.e., at a discount) the NAV of the Fund during the past four calendar quarters, as applicable, can be found at www.marketvectorsetfs.com.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

 

CONTINUOUS OFFERING

 

The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Trust on an ongoing basis, a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur at any point. Broker dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the Securities Act.

 

For example, a broker dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent Shares, and sells such Shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new Shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for Shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a categorization as an underwriter.

 

Broker dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary trading transactions), and thus dealing with Shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(3)(C) of the Securities Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the Securities Act. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. As a result, broker dealer firms should note that dealers who are not underwriters but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted with ordinary secondary market transactions) and thus dealing with the Shares that are part of an overallotment within the meaning of Section 4(3)(A) of the Securities Act would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the Securities Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to Shares are reminded that, under Rule 153 of the Securities Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to an exchange member in connection with a sale on NYSE Arca is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at NYSE Arca upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is only available with respect to transactions on an exchange.

 

OTHER INFORMATION

 

The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on March 15, 2001. Its Declaration of Trust currently permits the Trust to issue an unlimited number of Shares of beneficial interest. If shareholders are required to vote on any matters, each Share outstanding would be entitled to one vote. Annual meetings of shareholders will not be held except as required by the 1940 Act and other applicable law. See the Fund’s SAI for more information concerning the Trust’s form of organization. Section 12(d)(1) of

41

the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies in the securities of other investment companies, including Shares of the Fund.

 

Dechert LLP serves as counsel to the Trust, including the Fund. Ernst & Young LLP serves as the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm and will audit the Fund’s financial statements annually.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

This Prospectus does not contain all the information included in the Registration Statement filed with the SEC with respect to the Fund’s Shares. Information about the Fund can be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room and information on the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling the SEC at 1.202.551.8090. The Fund’s Registration Statement, including this Prospectus, the Fund’s SAI and the exhibits may be examined at the offices of the SEC (100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549) or on the EDGAR database at the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov), and copies may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following email address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549-1520. These documents and other information concerning the Trust also may be inspected at the offices of NYSE Arca (20 Broad Street, New York, New York 10005).

 

The SAI for the Fund, which has been filed with the SEC, provides more information about the Fund. The SAI for the Fund is incorporated herein by reference and is legally part of this Prospectus. Additional information about the Fund’s investments will be available in the Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the Fund’s annual report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund’s performance during its last fiscal year. The SAI and the Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports may be obtained without charge by writing to the Fund at Van Eck Securities Corporation, the Fund’s distributor, at 335 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10017 or by calling the distributor at the following number: Investor Information: 1.888.MKT.VCTR (658-8287).

 

Shareholder inquiries may be directed to the Fund in writing to 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017 or by calling 1.888.MKT.VCTR (658-8287).

 

The Fund’s SAI will be available at www.marketvectorsetfs.com.

 

(Investment Company Act file no. 811-10325)

42

For more detailed information about the Fund, see the SAI dated [ ], 2014, which is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. Additional information about the Fund’s investments is available in the Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the Fund’s annual report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund’s performance during its last fiscal year.

 

Call Van Eck at 888.MKT.VCTR to request, free of charge, the annual or semi-annual reports, the SAI, or other information about the Fund or to make shareholder inquiries. You may also obtain the SAI or the Fund’s annual or semi-annual reports, when available, by visiting the Van Eck website at www.marketvectorsetfs.com.

 

Information about the Fund (including the SAI) can also be reviewed and copied at the SEC Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. Information about the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling 202.551.8090.

 

Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s internet site at http://www.sec.gov. In addition, copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following email address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549-0102.

 

 

Transfer Agent: The Bank of New York Mellon
SEC Registration Number: 333-123257
1940 Act Registration Number: 811-10325
888.MKT.VCTR
   
[      ]PRO vaneck.com
 

The information in this Statement of Additional Information is not complete and may be changed. The Trust may not sell these securities 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 jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

Subject to Completion

 

Preliminary Statement of Additional Information dated April 14, 2014

 

MARKET VECTORS ETF TRUST

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Dated [ ], 2014

 

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus dated [ ], 2014 (the “Prospectus”), for the Market Vectors ETF Trust (the “Trust”), relating to the series of the Trust listed below, as it may be revised from time to time.

 

Fund   Principal U.S. Listing Exchange   Ticker
Market Vectors ChinaAMC MSCI All China ETF   NYSE Arca, Inc.   ALCH

 

A copy of the Prospectus may be obtained without charge by writing to the Trust or the Distributor. The Trust’s address is 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

  Page
   
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TRUST 1  
INVESTMENT POLICIES AND RESTRICTIONS 1  
Repurchase Agreements 1  
Futures Contracts and Options 2  
Swaps 3  
Warrants and Subscription Rights 5  
Currency Forwards 5  
Convertible Securities 5  
Structured Notes 6  
Participation Notes 6  
Future Developments 6  
Investment Restrictions 7  
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS AND RISKS 8  
General 8  
RQFII Program Risk 10  
EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING 11  
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE TRUST 12  
Trustees and Officers of the Trust 12  
Independent Trustees 13  
Interested Trustee 14  
Officer Information 15  
Remuneration of Trustees 18  
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE 19  
QUARTERLY PORTFOLIO SCHEDULE 19  
CODE OF ETHICS 19  
PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES 20  
MANAGEMENT 21  
Investment Adviser and Sub-Adviser 21  
The Administrator 22  
Custodian and Transfer Agent 22  
The Distributor 22  
Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers 23  
Portfolio Manager Compensation 24  
Portfolio Manager Share Ownership 24  

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

(continued)

 

  Page
BROKERAGE TRANSACTIONS 25  
BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM 26  
CREATION AND REDEMPTION OF CREATION UNITS 28  
General 28  
Fund Deposit 28  
Procedures for Creation of Creation Units 29  
Placement of Creation Orders Using Clearing Process 30  
Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Domestic Funds 31  
Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds 31  
Acceptance of Creation Orders 32  
Creation Transaction Fee 32  
Redemption of Creation Units 33  
Redemption Transaction Fee 33  
Placement of Redemption Orders Using Clearing Process 34  
Placement of Redemption Orders Outside Clearing Process—Domestic Funds 34  
Placement of Redemption Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds 35  
DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE 37  
DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS 38  
General Policies 38  
DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT SERVICE 38  
CONTROL PERSONS and principal shareholders 39  
TAXES 40  
Reportable Transactions 43  
PRC Taxation 43  
CAPITAL STOCK AND SHAREHOLDER REPORTS 44  
COUNSEL AND INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM 45  
LICENSE AGREEMENT AND DISCLAIMERS 46  
APPENDIX A VAN ECK GLOBAL PROXY VOTING POLICIES 48  

ii

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TRUST

 

The Trust is an open-end management investment company. The Trust currently consists of 59 investment portfolios. This SAI relates to one investment portfolio, Market Vectors ChinaAMC MSCI All China ETF (the “Fund”). The Fund is classified as a non-diversified management investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (“1940 Act”), and, as a result, is not required to meet certain diversification requirements under the 1940 Act. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on March 15, 2001. The shares of the Fund are referred to herein as “Shares.”

 

The Fund will offer and issue Shares at their net asset value (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of Shares (each, a “Creation Unit”) principally for cash. Similarly, Shares will be redeemable by the Fund only in Creation Units and principally for cash. The Shares of the Fund are expected to be approved for listing, subject to notice of issuance, on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” or the “Exchange”), and will trade in the secondary market at market prices that may differ from the Shares’ NAV. A Creation Unit consists of 100,000 Shares of the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to permit or require a “cash” option for creations and redemptions of Shares of the Fund (subject to applicable legal requirements) to the extent such Shares are not created and redeemed in cash.

 

INVESTMENT POLICIES AND RESTRICTIONS

 

Repurchase Agreements

 

The Fund may invest in repurchase agreements with commercial banks, brokers or dealers to generate income from its excess cash balances and to invest securities lending cash collateral. A repurchase agreement is an agreement under which the Fund acquires a money market instrument (generally a security issued by the U.S. Government or an agency thereof, a banker’s acceptance or a certificate of deposit) from a seller, subject to resale to the seller at an agreed upon price and date (normally, the next business day). A repurchase agreement may be considered a loan collateralized by securities. The resale price reflects an agreed upon interest rate effective for the period the instrument is held by the Fund and is unrelated to the interest rate on the underlying instrument.

 

In these repurchase agreement transactions, the securities acquired by the Fund (including accrued interest earned thereon) must have a total value at least equal to the value of the repurchase agreement and are held by the Trust’s custodian bank until repurchased. In addition, the Trust’s Board of Trustees (“Board” or “Trustees”) has established guidelines and standards for review of the creditworthiness of any bank, broker or dealer counterparty to a repurchase agreement with the Fund. No more than an aggregate of 15% of the Fund’s net assets will be invested in repurchase agreements having maturities longer than seven days.

 

The use of repurchase agreements involves certain risks. For example, if the other party to the agreement defaults on its obligation to repurchase the underlying security at a time when the value of the security has declined, the Fund may incur a loss upon disposition of the security. If the other party to the agreement becomes insolvent and subject to liquidation or reorganization under the Bankruptcy Code or other laws, a court may determine that the underlying security is collateral not within the control of the Fund and, therefore, the Fund may incur delays in disposing of the security and/or may not be able to substantiate its interest in the underlying security and may be deemed an unsecured creditor of the other party to the agreement.

 

Futures Contracts and Options

 

Futures contracts generally provide for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified instrument, index or commodity at a specified future time and at a specified price. Stock index futures contracts are settled daily with a payment by one party to the other of a cash amount based on the difference between the level of the stock index specified in the contract from one day to the next. Futures contracts are standardized as to maturity date and underlying instrument and are traded on futures exchanges. The Fund may use futures contracts and options on futures contracts based on securities or indexes that Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) believes may help the Fund achieve its investment objective.

 

An option is a contract that provides the holder the right to buy or sell shares at a fixed price, within a specified period of time. An American call option gives the option holder the right to buy the underlying security from the option writer at the option exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option. A European call option gives the option holder the right to buy the underlying security from the option writer only on the option expiration date. An American put option gives the option holder the right to sell the underlying security to the option writer at the option exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option. A European put option gives the option holder the right to sell the underlying security to the option writer at the option exercise price only on the option expiration date.

 

Although futures contracts (other than cash settled futures contracts including most stock index futures contracts) by their terms call for actual delivery or acceptance of the underlying instrument or commodity, in most cases the contracts are closed out before the maturity date without the making or taking of delivery. Closing out an open futures position is done by taking an opposite position (“buying” a contract which has previously been “sold” or “selling” a contract previously “purchased”) in an identical contract to terminate the position. Brokerage commissions are incurred when a futures contract position is opened or closed.

 

Futures traders are required to make a good faith margin deposit in cash or government securities with a broker or custodian to initiate and maintain open positions in futures contracts. A margin deposit is intended to assure completion of the contract (delivery or acceptance of the underlying instrument or commodity or payment of the cash settlement amount) if it is not terminated prior to the specified delivery date. Brokers may establish deposit requirements which are higher than the exchange minimums.  Futures contracts are customarily purchased and sold on margin deposits which may range upward from less than 5% of the value of the contract being traded.

 

After a futures contract position is opened, the value of the contract is marked-to-market daily. If the futures contract price changes to the extent that the margin on deposit does not satisfy margin requirements, payment of additional “variation” margin will be required.

 

Conversely, a change in the contract value may reduce the required margin, resulting in a repayment of excess margin to the contract holder. Variation margin payments are made to and from the futures broker for as long as the contract remains open. The Fund expects to earn interest income on its margin deposits.

 

The Fund may use futures contracts and options thereon, together with positions in cash and money market instruments to simulate full investment of the Fund’s portfolio. Under such circumstances, the Adviser may seek to utilize other instruments that it believes to be correlated to the securities included in the Fund’s portfolio.

2

Positions in futures contracts and options may be closed out only on an exchange that provides a secondary market therefor. However, there can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market will exist for any particular futures contract or option at any specific time. Thus, it may not be possible to close a futures or options position. In the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments to maintain its required margin. In such situations, if the Fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell portfolio securities to meet daily margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, the Fund may be required to make delivery of the instruments underlying futures contracts it has sold.

 

The Fund will seek to minimize the risk that it will be unable to close out a futures or options contract by only entering into futures and options for which there appears to be a liquid secondary market.

 

The risk of loss in trading futures contracts or uncovered call options in some strategies (e.g., selling uncovered stock index futures contracts) is potentially unlimited. The Fund does not plan to use futures and options contracts in this way. The risk of a futures position may still be large as traditionally measured due to the low margin deposits required. In many cases, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss or gain to the investor relative to the size of a required margin deposit.

 

Utilization of futures transactions by the Fund involves the risk of loss by the Fund of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom the Fund has an open position in the futures contract or option.

 

Certain financial futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. The daily limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price at the end of a trading session. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular type of contract, no trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movement during a particular trading day and therefore does not limit potential losses, because the limit may prevent the liquidation of unfavorable positions. Futures contract prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of future positions and subjecting some futures traders to substantial losses.

 

Except as otherwise specified in the Fund’s Prospectus or this SAI, there are no limitations on the extent to which the Fund may engage in transactions involving futures and options thereon. The Fund will take steps to prevent its futures positions from “leveraging” its securities holdings. When the Fund has a long futures position, it will maintain with its custodian bank, cash or liquid securities having a value equal to the notional value of the contract (less any margin deposited in connection with the position). When the Fund has a short futures position, as part of a complex stock replication strategy the Fund will maintain with its custodian bank assets substantially identical to those underlying the contract or cash and liquid securities (or a combination of the foregoing) having a value equal to the net obligation of the Fund under the contract (less the value of any margin deposits in connection with the position).

 

Swaps

 

Over-the-counter (“OTC”) swap agreements are contracts between parties in which one party agrees to make payments to the other party based on the change in market value or level of a specified index or asset. In return, the other party agrees to make payments to the first party based on the return of a different specified index or asset. Although OTC swap agreements entail the risk that a party will default on its payment obligations thereunder, the Fund seeks to reduce this risk by entering into agreements that involve payments no less frequently than quarterly. The net amount of the excess, if any,

3

of the Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each swap is accrued on a daily basis and an amount of cash or highly liquid securities having an aggregate value at least equal to the accrued excess is maintained in an account at the Trust’s custodian bank.

 

The use of such swap agreements involves certain risks. For example, if the counterparty, under a swap agreement, defaults on its obligation to make payments due from it as a result of its bankruptcy or otherwise, the Fund may lose such payments altogether or collect only a portion thereof, which collection could involve costs or delays.

 

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) and related regulatory developments require the eventual clearing and exchange-trading of many standardized over-the-counter derivative instruments that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently defined as “swaps” and “security based swaps,” respectively. Mandatory exchange-trading and clearing is occurring on a phased-in basis based on the type of market participant and CFTC approval of contracts for central clearing and exchange trading. In a cleared swap, the Fund’s ultimate counterparty is a central clearinghouse rather than a brokerage firm, bank or other financial institution. The Fund initially will enter into cleared swaps through an executing broker. Such transactions will then be submitted for clearing and, if cleared, will be held at regulated futures commission merchants (“FCMs”) that are members of the clearinghouse that serves as the central counterparty. When the Fund enters into a cleared swap, it must deliver to the central counterparty (via an FCM) an amount referred to as “initial margin.” Initial margin requirements are determined by the central counterparty, but an FCM may require additional initial margin above the amount required by the central counterparty. During the term of the swap agreement, a “variation margin” amount may also be required to be paid by the Fund or may be received by the Fund in accordance with margin controls set for such accounts, depending upon changes in the price of the underlying reference asset subject to the swap agreement. At the conclusion of the term of the swap agreement, if the Fund has a loss equal to or greater than the margin amount, the margin amount is paid to the FCM along with any loss in excess of the margin amount. If the Fund has a loss of less than the margin amount, the excess margin is returned to the Fund. If the Fund has a gain, the full margin amount and the amount of the gain is paid to the Fund.

 

Central clearing is designed to reduce counterparty credit risk compared to uncleared swaps because central clearing interposes the central clearinghouse as the counterparty to each participant’s swap, but it does not eliminate those risks completely. There is also a risk of loss by the Fund of the initial and variation margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which the Fund has an open position in a swap contract. The assets of the Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because the Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds and margin segregated on behalf of an FCM’s customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use the Fund’s assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM’s other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty. Exchange-trading is expected to increase liquidity of swaps trading.

 

In addition, with respect to cleared swaps, the Fund may not be able to obtain as favorable terms as it would be able to negotiate for an uncleared swap. In addition, an FCM may unilaterally impose position limits or additional margin requirements for certain types of swaps in which the Fund may invest. Central counterparties and FCMs generally can require termination of existing cleared swap transactions at any time, and can also require increases in margin above the margin that is required at the initiation of the swap agreement. Margin requirements for cleared swaps vary on a number of factors, and the margin required under the rules of the clearinghouse and FCM may be in excess of the collateral required to be posted by the Fund to support its obligations under a similar uncleared swap. However, regulators are

4

expected to adopt rules imposing certain margin requirements, including minimums, on uncleared swaps in the near future, which could change this comparison.

 

The Fund is also subject to the risk that, after entering into a cleared swap with an executing broker, no FCM or central counterparty is willing or able to clear the transaction. In such an event, the central counterparty would void the trade. Before the Fund can enter into a new trade, market conditions may become less favorable to the Fund.

 

The Adviser will continue to monitor developments regarding trading and execution of cleared swaps on exchanges, particularly to the extent regulatory changes affect the Fund’s ability to enter into swap agreements and the costs and risks associated with such investments.

 

Warrants and Subscription Rights

 

Warrants are equity securities in the form of options issued by a corporation which give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to purchase stock, usually at a price that is higher than the market price at the time the warrant is issued. A purchaser takes the risk that the warrant may expire worthless because the market price of the common stock fails to rise above the price set by the warrant.

 

Currency Forwards

 

A currency forward transaction is a contract to buy or sell a specified quantity of currency at a specified date in the future at a specified price which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. Currency forward contracts may be used to increase or reduce exposure to currency price movements.

 

The use of currency forward transactions involves certain risks. For example, if the counterparty under the contract defaults on its obligation to make payments due from it as a result of its bankruptcy or otherwise, the Fund may lose such payments altogether or collect only a portion thereof, which collection could involve costs or delays.

 

Convertible Securities

 

A convertible security is a bond, debenture, note, preferred stock, right, warrant or other security that may be converted into or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock or other security of the same or a different issuer or into cash within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security generally entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt securities or the dividend paid on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion, convertible securities generally have characteristics similar to both debt and equity securities. The value of convertible securities tends to decline as interest rates rise and, because of the conversion feature, tends to vary with fluctuations in the market value of the underlying securities. Convertible securities ordinarily provide a stream of income with generally higher yields than those of common stock of the same or similar issuers. Convertible securities generally rank senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure but are usually subordinated to comparable nonconvertible securities. Convertible securities generally do not participate directly in any dividend increases or decreases of the underlying securities although the market prices of convertible securities may be affected by any dividend changes or other changes in the underlying securities.

5

Structured Notes

 

A structured note is a derivative security for which the amount of principal repayment and/or interest payments is based on the movement of one or more “factors.” These factors include, but are not limited to, currency exchange rates, interest rates (such as the prime lending rate or LIBOR), referenced bonds and stock indices. Some of these factors may or may not correlate to the total rate of return on one or more underlying instruments referenced in such notes. Investments in structured notes involve risks including interest rate risk, credit risk and market risk. Depending on the factor(s) used and the use of multipliers or deflators, changes in interest rates and movement of such factor(s) may cause significant price fluctuations. Structured notes may be less liquid than other types of securities and more volatile than the reference factor underlying the note.

 

Participation Notes

 

Participation notes (“P-Notes”) are issued by banks or broker-dealers and are designed to offer a return linked to the performance of a particular underlying equity security or market. P-Notes can have the characteristics or take the form of various instruments, including, but not limited to, certificates or warrants. The holder of a P-Note that is linked to a particular underlying security is entitled to receive any dividends paid in connection with the underlying security. However, the holder of a P-Note generally does not receive voting rights as it would if it directly owned the underlying security. P-Notes constitute direct, general and unsecured contractual obligations of the banks or broker-dealers that issue them, which therefore subject the Fund to counterparty risk, as discussed below. Investments in P-Notes involve certain risks in addition to those associated with a direct investment in the underlying foreign securities or foreign securities markets whose return they seek to replicate. For instance, there can be no assurance that the trading price of a P-Note will equal the value of the underlying foreign security or foreign securities market that it seeks to replicate. As the purchaser of a P-Note, the Fund is relying on the creditworthiness of the counterparty issuing the P-Note and has no rights under a P-Note against the issuer of the underlying security. Therefore, if such counterparty were to become insolvent, the Fund would lose its investment. The risk that the Fund may lose its investments due to the insolvency of a single counterparty may be amplified to the extent the Fund purchases P-Notes issued by one issuer or a small number of issuers. P-Notes also include transaction costs in addition to those applicable to a direct investment in securities. In addition, the Fund’s use of P-Notes may cause the Fund’s performance to deviate from the performance of the portion of the Index (defined herein) to which the Fund is gaining exposure through the use of P-Notes.

 

Due to liquidity and transfer restrictions, the secondary markets on which P-Notes are traded may be less liquid than the markets for other securities, which may lead to the absence of readily available market quotations for securities in the Fund’s portfolio and may cause the value of the P-Notes to decline. The ability of the Fund to value its securities becomes more difficult and the Adviser’s judgment in the application of fair value procedures may play a greater role in the valuation of the Fund’s securities due to reduced availability of reliable objective pricing data. Consequently, while such determinations will be made in good faith, it may nevertheless be more difficult for the Fund to accurately assign a daily value to such securities.

 

Future Developments

 

The Fund may take advantage of opportunities in the area of options, futures contracts, options on futures contracts, options on the Fund, warrants, swaps and any other investments which are not presently contemplated for use or which are not currently available, but which may be developed, to the extent such investments are considered suitable for the Fund by the Adviser.

6

Investment Restrictions

 

The Trust has adopted the following investment restrictions as fundamental policies with respect to the Fund. These restrictions cannot be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. For purposes of the 1940 Act, a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund means the vote, at an annual or a special meeting of the security holders of the Trust, of the lesser of (1) 67% or more of the voting securities of the Fund present at such meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (2) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Under these restrictions:

 

1.The Fund may not make loans, except that the Fund may (i) lend portfolio securities, (ii) enter into repurchase agreements, (iii) purchase all or a portion of an issue of debt securities, bank loan or participation interests, bank certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, debentures or other securities, whether or not the purchase is made upon the original issuance of the securities and (iv) participate in an interfund lending program with other registered investment companies;

 

2.The Fund may not borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified by regulation from time to time;

 

3.The Fund may not issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified by regulation from time to time;

 

4.The Fund may not purchase or sell real estate, except that the Fund may (i) invest in securities of issuers that invest in real estate or interests therein; (ii) invest in mortgage-related securities and other securities that are secured by real estate or interests therein; and (iii) hold and sell real estate acquired by the Fund as a result of the ownership of securities;

 

5.The Fund may not engage in the business of underwriting securities issued by others, except to the extent that the Fund may be considered an underwriter within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), in the disposition of restricted securities or in connection with its investments in other investment companies;

 

6.The Fund may not purchase or sell commodities, unless acquired as a result of owning securities or other instruments, but it may purchase, sell or enter into financial options and futures, forward and spot currency contracts, swap transactions and other financial contracts or derivative instruments and may invest in securities or other instruments backed by commodities; and

 

7.The Fund may not purchase any security if, as a result of that purchase, 25% or more of its total assets would be invested in securities of issuers having their principal business activities in the same industry except that the Fund may invest 25% or more of the value of its total assets in securities of issuers in any one industry or group of industries if the index that the Fund replicates concentrates in an industry or group of industries. This limit does not apply to securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities.

 

In addition to the investment restrictions adopted as fundamental policies as set forth above, the Fund observes the following restrictions, which may be changed by the Board without a shareholder vote. The Fund will not:

7
1.Invest in securities which are “illiquid” securities, including repurchase agreements maturing in more than seven days and options traded over-the-counter, if the result is that more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets would be invested in such securities.

 

2.Make short sales of securities.

 

3.Purchase any security on margin, except for such short-term loans as are necessary for clearance of securities transactions. The deposit or payment by the Fund or initial or variation margin in connection with futures contracts or related options thereon is not considered the purchase of a security on margin.

 

4.Participate in a joint or joint-and-several basis in any trading account in securities, although transactions for the Fund and any other account under common or affiliated management may be combined or allocated between the Fund and such account.

 

5.Purchase securities of open-end or closed-end investment companies except in compliance with the 1940 Act, although the Fund may not acquire any securities of registered open-end investment companies or registered unit investment trusts in reliance on Sections 12(d)(1)(F) or 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act.

 

If a percentage limitation is adhered to at the time of investment or contract, a later increase or decrease in percentage resulting from any change in value or total or net assets will not result in a violation of such restriction, except that the percentage limitations with respect to the borrowing of money and illiquid securities above in fundamental restriction 2 and non-fundamental restriction 1, respectively, will be continuously complied with.

 

The Fund may invest in securities not included in its underlying index (the “Index”), money market instruments or funds which reinvest exclusively in money market instruments, in stocks that are in the relevant market but not the Index, and/or in combinations of certain stock index futures contracts, options on such futures contracts, stock options, stock index options, options on the Shares, and stock index swaps and swaptions, each with a view towards providing the Fund with exposure to the securities in the Index. These investments may be made to invest uncommitted cash balances or, in limited circumstances, to assist in meeting shareholder redemptions of Creation Units. The Fund will not invest in money market instruments as part of a temporary defensive strategy to protect against potential stock market declines.

 

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS AND RISKS

 

A discussion of the risks associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the Prospectus under the headings “Summary Information—Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund” and “Additional Information About the Fund’s Investment Strategies and Risks—Risks of Investing in the Fund.” The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, such sections of the Prospectus.

 

General

 

Investment in the Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of the issuers of the portfolio securities, the value of securities generally and other factors.

 

An investment in the Fund should also be made with an understanding of the risks inherent in an investment in equity securities, including the risk that the financial condition of issuers may become

8

impaired or that the general condition of the stock market may deteriorate (either of which may cause a decrease in the value of the portfolio securities and thus in the value of Shares). Common stocks are susceptible to general stock market fluctuations and to volatile increases and decreases in value as market confidence in and perceptions of their issuers change. These investor perceptions are based on various and unpredictable factors, including expectations regarding government, economic, monetary and fiscal policies, inflation and interest rates, economic expansion or contraction, and global or regional political, economic and banking crises.

 

Holders of common stocks incur more risk than holders of preferred stocks and debt obligations because common stockholders, as owners of the issuer, have generally inferior rights to receive payments from the issuer in comparison with the rights of creditors of, or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks issued by, the issuer. Further, unlike debt securities which typically have a stated principal amount payable at maturity (whose value, however, will be subject to market fluctuations prior thereto), or preferred stocks which typically have a liquidation preference and which may have stated optional or mandatory redemption provisions, common stocks have neither a fixed principal amount nor a maturity. Common stock values are subject to market fluctuations as long as the common stock remains outstanding.

 

In the event that the securities in the Index are not listed on a national securities exchange, the principal trading market for some may be in the over-the-counter market. The existence of a liquid trading market for certain securities may depend on whether dealers will make a market in such securities. There can be no assurance that a market will be made or maintained or that any such market will be or remain liquid. The price at which securities may be sold and the value of the Fund’s Shares will be adversely affected if trading markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities are limited or absent or if bid/ask spreads are wide.

 

The Fund is not actively managed by traditional methods, and therefore the adverse financial condition of any one issuer will not result in the elimination of its securities from the securities held by the Fund unless the securities of such issuer are removed from the Index.

 

An investment in the Fund should also be made with an understanding that the Fund will not be able to replicate exactly the performance of the Index because the total return generated by the securities will be reduced by transaction costs incurred in adjusting the actual balance of the securities and other Fund expenses, whereas such transaction costs and expenses are not included in the calculation of the Index. It is also possible that for periods of time, the Fund may not fully replicate the performance of the Index due to the temporary unavailability of certain Index securities in the secondary market or due to other extraordinary circumstances. It is also possible that the composition of the Fund may not exactly replicate the composition of the Index if the Fund has to adjust its portfolio holdings in order to continue to qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”).

 

Regulatory developments affecting the exchange-traded and OTC derivatives markets may impair the Fund’s ability to manage or hedge its investment portfolio through the use of derivatives. The Dodd-Frank Act and the rules promulgated thereunder may limit the ability of the Fund to enter into one or more exchange-traded or OTC derivatives transactions.

 

The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has filed a notice of eligibility with the National Futures Association claiming an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” (“CPO”) pursuant to CFTC Regulation 4.5, as promulgated under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), with respect to the Fund’s operations. Therefore, neither the Fund nor the Adviser (with respect to the Fund) is subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool or CPO under the CEA. If the Fund becomes

9

subject to these requirements, the Fund may incur additional compliance and other expenses. The Fund’s use of derivatives may also be limited by the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, for qualification as a regulated investment company for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

With respect to investments in swap transactions, commodity futures, commodity options or certain other derivatives used for purposes other than bona fide hedging purposes, an investment company must meet one of the following tests under the amended regulations in order to claim an exemption from being considered a “commodity pool” or CPO. First, the aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish an investment company’s positions in such investments may not exceed five percent (5%) of the liquidation value of the investment company’s portfolio (after accounting for unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such investments). Alternatively, the aggregate net notional value of such instruments, determined at the time of the most recent position established, may not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the liquidation value of the investment company’s portfolio (after accounting for unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). In addition to meeting one of the foregoing trading limitations, the investment company may not market itself as a commodity pool or otherwise as a vehicle for trading in the commodity futures, commodity options or swaps and derivatives markets. In the event that the Adviser is required to register as a CPO, the disclosure and operations of the Fund would need to comply with all applicable CFTC regulations. Compliance with these additional registration and regulatory requirements would increase operational expenses. Other potentially adverse regulatory initiatives could also develop.

 

Shares are subject to the risks of an investment in a portfolio of equity securities in an economic sector or industry in which the Index is concentrated. In addition, because it is the policy of the Fund to generally invest in the securities that comprise the Index, the portfolio of securities held by the Fund (“Fund Securities”) also will be concentrated in that economic sector or industry.

 

RQFII Program Risk

 

The Adviser allocates a portion of the Fund’s assets to an unaffiliated sub-adviser with an RQFII license (each, a “sub-adviser”) for purposes of investing in A-shares. China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited currently acts as the Fund’s sub-adviser for this purpose. The RQFII regulations provide that the size of a RQFII’s quota may be reduced or cancelled by SAFE if the RQFII is unable to use its RQFII quota effectively within one year after the quota is granted. Pursuant to PRC and RQFII regulations, SAFE is vested with the power to impose regulatory sanctions if the Sub-Adviser, in its capacity as RQFII, or the PRC sub-custodian violates any provision of the RQFII regulations. Any such violations could result in the revocation of the Sub-Adviser’s quota or other regulatory sanctions and may adversely impact the portion of the Sub-Adviser’s quota granted with respect to the Fund.

 

If SAFE reduces the Sub-Adviser’s quota, it may affect the Fund’s ability to effectively pursue its investment strategy. In addition, the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII status could be suspended or revoked. There can be no assurance that the Sub-Adviser will continue to maintain its RQFII status or be able to acquire additional RQFII quota. In the event the Sub-Adviser is unable to maintain its RQFII status or its RQFII quota becomes inadequate, and the Adviser is not able to retain an additional sub-adviser with an RQFII quota, the Fund may be unable to gain exposure to A-shares through other means described in the Prospectus. In such event it is possible that the trading price of the Fund’s Shares on the Exchange will be at a significant premium to the NAV (which may also increase tracking error of the Fund).

 

The current RQFII regulations include rules on investment restrictions applicable to the Fund. Transaction sizes for RQFIIs are relatively large (with the corresponding heightened risk of exposure to decreased market liquidity and significant price volatility leading to possible adverse effects on the timing and pricing of acquisition or disposal of securities).

10

The regulations which regulate investments by RQFIIs in the PRC and the repatriation of capital from RQFII investments are relatively new. The application and interpretation of such investment regulations are therefore relatively untested and there is no certainty as to how they will be applied as the PRC authorities and regulators have been given wide discretion in such investment regulations and there is no precedent or certainty as to how such discretion may be exercised now or in the future. The future application and/or interpretation of such regulations may create difficulties with respect to the manner in which the Fund seeks to invest in A-shares in furtherance of its investment objective.

 

EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING

 

A discussion of exchange listing and trading matters associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the Prospectus under the headings “Summary Information—Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund,” “Additional Information About the Fund’s Investment Strategies and Risks—Risks of Investing in the Fund,” “Shareholder Information—Determination of NAV” and “Shareholder Information—Buying and Selling Exchange-Traded Shares.” The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, such sections of the Prospectus.

 

The Shares of the Fund are expected to be approved for listing on NYSE Arca, subject to notice of issuance, and will trade in the secondary market at prices that may differ to some degree from their NAV. The Exchange may but is not required to remove the Shares of the Fund from listing if: (1) following the initial twelve-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of the Fund, there are fewer than 50 beneficial holders of the Shares for 30 or more consecutive trading days, (2) the value of the Index or portfolio of securities on which the Fund is based is no longer calculated or available or (3) such other event shall occur or condition exists that, in the opinion of the Exchange, makes further dealings on the Exchange inadvisable. In addition, the Exchange will remove the Shares from listing and trading upon termination of the Trust. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of Shares of the Fund will continue to be met.

 

As in the case of other securities traded on the Exchange, brokers’ commissions on transactions will be based on negotiated commission rates at customary levels.

 

In order to provide investors with a basis to gauge whether the market price of the Shares on the Exchange is approximately consistent with the current value of the assets of the Fund on a per Share basis, an updated Indicative Per Share Portfolio Value is disseminated intra-day through the facilities of the Consolidated Tape Association’s Network B. Indicative Per Share Portfolio Values are disseminated every 15 seconds during regular Exchange trading hours based on the most recently reported prices of Fund Securities. As the respective international local markets close, the Indicative Per Share Portfolio Value will continue to be updated for foreign exchange rates for the remainder of the U.S. trading day at the prescribed 15 second interval. The Fund is not involved in or responsible for the calculation or dissemination of the Indicative Per Share Portfolio Value and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of the Indicative Per Share Portfolio Value.

11

BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE TRUST

 

Trustees and Officers of the Trust

 

The Board of the Trust consists of five Trustees, four of whom are not “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act), of the Trust (the “Independent Trustees”). Mr. David H. Chow, an Independent Trustee, serves as Chairman of the Board. The Board is responsible for overseeing the management and operations of the Trust, including general supervision of the duties performed by the Adviser and other service providers to the Trust. The Adviser is responsible for the day-to-day administration and business affairs of the Trust.

 

The Board believes that each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of the other Trustees lead to the conclusion that the Board possesses the requisite skills and attributes to carry out its oversight responsibilities with respect to the Trust. The Board believes that the Trustees’ ability to review, critically evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Adviser, other service providers, counsel and independent auditors, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties, support this conclusion. The Board also has considered the following experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills, among others, of its members in reaching its conclusion: such person’s character and integrity; length of service as a board member of the Trust; such person’s willingness to serve and willingness and ability to commit the time necessary to perform the duties of a Trustee; and as to each Trustee other than Mr. van Eck, his status as not being an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust. In addition, the following specific experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills apply as to each Trustee: Mr. Chow, significant business and financial experience, particularly in the investment management industry, experience with trading and markets through his involvement with the Pacific Stock Exchange, and service as a chief executive officer, board member, partner or executive officer of various businesses and non-profit organizations; Mr. Short, business and financial experience, particularly in the investment management industry, and service as a president, board member or executive officer of various businesses; Mr. Sidebottom, business and financial experience, particularly in the investment management industry, and service as partner and/or executive officer of various businesses; Mr. Stamberger, business and financial experience and service as the president and chief executive officer of SmartBrief Inc., a media company; and Mr. van Eck, business and financial experience, particularly in the investment management industry, and service as a president, executive officer and/or board member of various businesses, including the Adviser, Van Eck Securities Corporation, and Van Eck Absolute Return Advisers Corp. References to the experience, qualifications, attributes and skills of Trustees 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.

 

The Trustees of the Trust, their addresses, positions with the Trust, ages, term of office and length of time served, principal occupations during the past five years, the number of portfolios in the Fund Complex overseen by each Trustee and other directorships, if any, held by the Trustees, are set forth below.

12

Independent Trustees

 

Name, Address1
and Age
  Position(s)
Held with
the Trust
  Term of
Office
2 and
Length of
Time Served
  Principal
Occupation(s)
During Past Five
Years
  Number of
Portfolios in
Fund
Complex
3
Overseen
  Other
Directorships
Held By
Trustee
During Past
Five Years
David H. Chow,
56*†
  Chairman
Trustee
  Since 2008
Since 2006
  Founder and CEO, DanCourt Management LLC (financial/strategy consulting firm and registered investment adviser), March 1999 to present.   59  

Director, Forward Management LLC and Audit Committee Chairman, January 2008 to present; Trustee, Berea College of Kentucky and Vice-Chairman of the Investment Committee, May 2009 to present; Member of the Governing Council of the Independent Directors Council, October 2012 to present; President, July 2013 to present, and Board Member of the CFA

Society of Stamford, July 2009

to present.

                     
R. Alastair Short,
60*†
  Trustee   Since 2006   President, Apex Capital Corporation (personal investment vehicle), January 1988 to present; Vice Chairman, W.P. Stewart & Co., Inc. (asset management firm), September 2007 to September 2008; and Managing Director, The GlenRock Group, LLC (private equity investment firm), May 2004 to September 2007.   70   Chairman and Independent Director, EULAV Asset Management, January 2011 to present; Independent Director, Tremont offshore funds, June 2009 to present; Director, Kenyon Review.

13

Name, Address1
and Age
  Position(s)
Held with
the Trust
  Term of
Office
2 and
Length of
Time Served
  Principal
Occupation(s)
During Past Five
Years
  Number of
Portfolios in
Fund
Complex
3
Overseen
  Other
Directorships
Held By
Trustee
During Past
Five Years
Peter J. Sidebottom,
51*†
  Trustee   Since 2012  

Independent business adviser, January 2014 to present; Partner, Bain & Company (management consulting firm), April 2012 to December 2013; Executive Vice President and Senior Operating Committee Member, TD Ameritrade (on-line brokerage firm), February 2009 to January 2012; Executive Vice President, Wachovia Corporation (financial services firm), December 2004 to February 2009.

  59   Board Member, Special Olympics, New Jersey, November 2011 to September 2013; Director, The Charlotte Research Institute, December 2000 to present; Board Member, Social Capital Institute, University of North Carolina Charlotte, November 2004 to January 2012.
                     
Richard D. Stamberger,
54*†
  Trustee   Since 2006   Director, President and CEO, SmartBrief, Inc. (media company).   70   Director, Food and Friends, Inc., 2013 to present.

 
1The address for each Trustee and officer is 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017.
2Each Trustee serves until resignation, death, retirement or removal. Officers are elected yearly by the Trustees.
3The Fund Complex consists of the Van Eck Funds, Van Eck VIP Trust and the Trust.
*Member of the Audit Committee.
Member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

 

Interested Trustee

 

Name, Address1
and Age
  Position(s)
Held with
the Trust
  Term of
Office
2 and
Length of
Time Served
  Principal
Occupation(s) During
Past Five Years
  Number of
Portfolios in
Fund
Complex
3
Overseen
  Other
Directorships
Held By
Trustee During
Past Five Years
Jan F. van Eck,
504
  Trustee, President and Chief Executive Officer   Trustee (Since 2006); President and Chief Executive Officer (Since 2009)   Director, President and Owner of the Adviser, Van Eck Associates Corporation; Director and President, Van Eck Securities Corporation (“VESC”); Director and President, Van Eck Absolute Return Advisers Corp. (“VEARA”).   59   Director, National Committee on US-China Relations.

14
 
1The address for each Trustee and officer is 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017.
2Each Trustee serves until resignation, death, retirement or removal. Officers are elected yearly by the Trustees.
3The Fund Complex consists of the Van Eck Funds, Van Eck VIP Trust and the Trust.
4“Interested person” of the Trust within the meaning of the 1940 Act. Mr. van Eck is an officer of the Adviser.

 

Officer Information

 

The Officers of the Trust, their addresses, positions with the Trust, ages and principal occupations during the past five years are set forth below.

 

Officer’s Name, Address1
and Age
  Position(s) Held
with the Trust
  Term of
Office
2 and
Length of
Time Served
  Principal Occupation(s) During The Past Five
Years
Russell G. Brennan, 49   Assistant Vice President and Assistant Treasurer   Since 2008   Assistant Vice President and Assistant Treasurer of the Adviser (since 2008); Manager (Portfolio Administration) of the Adviser, September 2005 to October 2008; Officer of other investment companies advised by the Adviser.
             
Charles T. Cameron, 54   Vice President   Since 2006   Director of Trading (since 1995) and Portfolio Manager (since 1997) for the Adviser; Officer of other investment companies advised by the Adviser.
             
Simon Chen, 42   Assistant Vice President   Since 2012   Greater China Director of the Adviser (Since January 2012); General Manager, SinoMarkets Ltd. (June 2007 to December 2011).
             
John J. Crimmins, 56   Vice President, Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer   Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer (Since 2012); Treasurer (Since 2009)   Vice President of Portfolio Administration of the Adviser, June 2009 to present; Vice President of VESC and VEARA, June 2009 to present; Chief Financial, Operating and Compliance Officer, Kern Capital Management LLC, September 1997 to February 2009; Officer of other investment companies advised by the Adviser.
             
Eduardo Escario, 38   Vice President   Since 2012   Regional Director, Business Development/Sales for Southern Europe and South America of the Adviser (since July 2008); Regional Director (Spain, Portugal, South America and Africa) of Dow Jones Indexes and STOXX Ltd. (May 2001 – July 2008).

15

Officer’s Name, Address1
and Age
  Position(s) Held
with the Trust
  Term of
Office
2 and
Length of
Time Served
  Principal Occupation(s) During The Past Five
Years
Lars Hamich, 45   Vice President   Since 2012   Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Van Eck Global (Europe) GmbH (since 2009); Chief Executive Officer of Market Vectors Index Solutions GmbH (“MVIS”) (since June 2011); Managing Director of STOXX Limited (until 2008).
             
Wu-Kwan Kit, 32   Assistant Vice President and Assistant Secretary   Since 2011   Assistant Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of the Adviser, VESC and VEARA (since 2011); Associate, Schulte Roth & Zabel (September 2007 – 2011); University of Pennsylvania Law School (August 2004 – May 2007).
             
Susan C. Lashley, 59   Vice President   Since 2006   Vice President of the Adviser and VESC; Officer of other investment companies advised by the Adviser.
             
Laura I. Martínez, 34   Assistant Vice President and Assistant Secretary   Since 2008   Assistant Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of the Adviser, VESC and VEARA (since 2008); Associate, Davis Polk & Wardwell (October 2005 – June 2008); Officer of other investment companies advised by the Adviser.
             
Ferat Oeztuerk, 31   Assistant Vice President   Since 2012   Sales Associate, Van Eck Global (Europe) GmbH (since November 2011); Account Manager, Vodafone Global Enterprise Limited (January 2011 to October 2011).
             
Jonathan R. Simon, 39   Vice President, Secretary and Chief Legal Officer   Vice President (Since 2006) and Secretary and Chief Legal Officer (Since 2014)   Vice President (since 2006), General Counsel and Secretary (since 2014) of the Adviser, VESC and VEARA; Officer of other investment companies advised by the Adviser.
             
Bruce J. Smith, 59   Senior Vice President   Since 2006   Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Controller of the Adviser, VESC and VEARA (since 1997); Director of the Adviser, VESC and VEARA (since October 2010); Officer of other investment companies advised by the Adviser.
             
Janet Squitieri, 52   Chief Compliance Officer   Since September 2013   Vice President, Global Head of Compliance of the Adviser, VESC and VEARA (since September 2013); Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Vice President North America of HSBC Global Asset Management NA (August 2010 – September 2013);  Chief Compliance Officer North America of Babcock & Brown LP (July 2008 - June 2010).

 
1The address for each Officer is 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017.
2Officers are elected yearly by the Trustees.

 

The Board has an Audit Committee consisting of four Trustees who are Independent Trustees. Messrs. Chow, Short, Sidebottom and Stamberger currently serve as members of the Audit Committee

16

and each of Messrs. Chow, Short and Stamberger have been designated as an “audit committee financial expert” as defined under Item 407 of Regulation S-K of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Mr. Short is the Chairman of the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee has the responsibility, among other things, to: (i) oversee the accounting and financial reporting processes of the Trust and its internal control over financial reporting; (ii) oversee the quality and integrity of the Trust’s financial statements and the independent audit thereof; (iii) oversee or, as appropriate, assist the Board’s oversight of the Trust’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements that relate to the Trust’s accounting and financial reporting, internal control over financial reporting and independent audit; (iv) approve prior to appointment the engagement of the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm and, in connection therewith, to review and evaluate the qualifications, independence and performance of the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm; and (v) act as a liaison between the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm and the full Board.

 

The Board also has a Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee consisting of four Independent Trustees. Messrs. Chow, Short, Sidebottom and Stamberger currently serve as members of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Stamberger is the Chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee has the responsibility, among other things, to: (i) evaluate, as necessary, the composition of the Board, its committees and sub-committees and make such recommendations to the Board as deemed appropriate by the Committee; (ii) review and define Independent Trustee qualifications; (iii) review the qualifications of individuals serving as Trustees on the Board and its committees; (iv) evaluate, recommend and nominate qualified individuals for election or appointment as members of the Board and recommend the appointment of members and chairs of each Board committee and subcommittee; and (v) review and assess, from time to time, the performance of the committees and subcommittees of the Board and report the results to the Board.

 

The Board has determined that its leadership structure is appropriate given the business and nature of the Trust. In connection with its determination, the Board considered that the Chairman of the Board is an Independent Trustee. The Chairman of the Board can play an important role in setting the agenda of the Board and also serves as a key point person for dealings between management and the other Independent Trustees. The Independent Trustees believe that the Chairman’s independence facilitates meaningful dialogue between the Adviser and the Independent Trustees. The Board also considered that the Chairman of each Board committee is an Independent Trustee, which yields similar benefits with respect to the functions and activities of the various Board committees. The Independent Trustees also regularly meet outside the presence of management and are advised by independent legal counsel. The Board has determined that its committees help ensure that the Trust has effective and independent governance and oversight. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information to the Independent Trustees from management of the Trust, including the Adviser. The Board reviews its structure on an annual basis.

 

As an integral part of its responsibility for oversight of the Trust in the interests of shareholders, the Board, as a general matter, oversees risk management of the Trust’s investment programs and business affairs. The function of the Board with respect to risk management is one of oversight and not active involvement in, or coordination of, day-to-day risk management activities for the Trust. The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the Trust can be identified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve the Trust’s goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Trustees that may relate to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information.

17

The Board exercises oversight of the risk management process primarily through the Audit Committee, and through oversight by the Board itself. The Trust faces a number of risks, such as investment-related and compliance risks. The Adviser’s personnel seek to identify and address risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of the Trust. Under the overall supervision of the Board or the applicable Committee of the Board, the Trust, the Adviser, and the affiliates of the Adviser employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify such possible events or circumstances, to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Different processes, procedures and controls are employed with respect to different types of risks. Various personnel, including the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer, as well as various personnel of the Adviser and other service providers such as the Trust’s independent accountants, may report to the Audit Committee and/or to the Board with respect to various aspects of risk management, as well as events and circumstances that have arisen and responses thereto.

 

The officers and Trustees of the Trust, in the aggregate, own less than 1% of the Shares of the Fund as of April 1, 2014.

 

For each Trustee, the dollar range of equity securities beneficially owned (including ownership through the Trust’s Deferred Compensation Plan) by the Trustee in the Trust and in all registered investment companies advised by the Adviser (“Family of Investment Companies”) that are overseen by the Trustee is shown below.

 

Name of Trustee   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in Market Vectors
Market Vectors ChinaAMC
MSCI All China ETF
(As of December 31, 2013)
  Aggregate Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in all Registered Investment
Companies Overseen By Trustee In
Family of Investment Companies
(As of December 31, 2013)
David H. Chow  None  Over $100,000
R. Alastair Short  None  Over $100,000
Peter J. Sidebottom  None  None
Richard D. Stamberger  None  Over $100,000
Jan F. van Eck  None  Over $100,000

 

 

 

As to each Independent Trustee and his immediate family members, no person owned beneficially or of record securities in an investment manager or principal underwriter of the Fund, or a person (other than a registered investment company) directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by or under common control with the investment manager or principal underwriter of the Fund.

 

Remuneration of Trustees

 

The Trust pays each Independent Trustee an annual retainer of $80,000, a per meeting fee of $15,000 for scheduled quarterly meetings of the Board and each special meeting of the Board and a per meeting fee of $7,500 for telephonic meetings. The Trust pays the Chairman of the Board an annual retainer of $45,500, the Chairman of the Audit Committee an annual retainer of $19,500 and the Chairman of the Governance Committee an annual retainer of $13,000. The Trust also reimburses each Trustee for travel and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred in attending such meetings. No pension or retirement benefits are accrued as part of Trustee compensation.

 

The table below shows the estimated compensation to be paid to the Trustees by the Trust for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014. Annual Trustee fees may be reviewed periodically and changed by the Trust’s Board.

18
Name of Trustee  Aggregate
Compensation
From the Trust
   Deferred
Compensation
From the Trust
  

Pension or
Retirement
Benefits
Accrued as Part
of the Trust’s
Expenses(2)

  Estimated
Annual Benefits
Upon
Retirement
 

Total
Compensation
From the Trust
and the Fund
Complex(1) Paid
to Trustee(2)

 
David H. Chow  $215,500   $53,875   N/A  N/A  $215,500 
R. Alastair Short  $189,500   $0   N/A  N/A  $319,500 
Peter J. Sidebottom  $170,000   $0   N/A  N/A  $170,000 
Richard D. Stamberger  $183,000   $36,600   N/A  N/A  $323,000 
Jan F. van Eck(3)   $0   $0   N/A  N/A  $0 

 

 
(1) The “Fund Complex” consists of Van Eck Funds, Van Eck VIP Trust and the Trust.
(2) Because the funds of the Fund Complex have different fiscal year ends, the amounts shown are presented on a calendar year basis.
(3) “Interested person” under the 1940 Act.

 

PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE

 

The Fund’s portfolio holdings are publicly disseminated each day the Fund is open for business through financial reporting and news services, including publicly accessible Internet web sites. In addition, a basket composition file, which includes the security names and share quantities to deliver in exchange for Creation Units, together with estimates and actual cash components, is publicly disseminated daily prior to the opening of the Exchange via the National Securities Clearing Corporation (the “NSCC”), a clearing agency that is registered with the SEC. The basket represents one Creation Unit of the Fund. The Trust, Adviser, Custodian and Distributor will not disseminate non-public information concerning the Trust.

 

QUARTERLY PORTFOLIO SCHEDULE

 

The Trust is required to disclose, after its first and third fiscal quarters, the complete schedule of the Fund’s portfolio holdings with the SEC on Form N-Q. Form N-Q for the Fund will be available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. The Fund’s Form N-Q may also be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. and information on the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling 202.551.8090. The Fund’s Form N-Q will be available through the Fund’s website, at www.vaneck.com or by writing to 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017.

 

CODE OF ETHICS

 

The Fund, the Adviser, the Sub-Adviser and the Distributor have each adopted a Code of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act, designed to monitor personal securities transactions by their personnel (the “Personnel”). The Code of Ethics requires that all trading in securities that are being purchased or sold, or are being considered for purchase or sale, by the Fund must be approved in advance by the Head of Trading, the Director of Research and the Chief Compliance Officer of the Adviser and persons performing similar functions of the Sub-Adviser. Approval will be granted if the security has not been purchased or sold or recommended for purchase or sale for the Fund on the day that the Personnel of the Adviser or the Sub-Adviser requests pre-clearance, or otherwise if it is determined that the personal trading activity will not have a negative or appreciable impact on the price or market of the security, or is of such a nature that it does not present the dangers or potential for abuses that are likely to result in harm or detriment to the Fund. At the end of each calendar quarter, all Personnel must file a report of all transactions entered into during the quarter. These reports are reviewed by a senior officer of the Adviser or the Sub-Adviser, as applicable.

19

Generally, all Personnel must obtain approval prior to conducting any transaction in securities. Independent Trustees, however, are not required to obtain prior approval of personal securities transactions. Personnel may purchase securities in an initial public offering or private placement, provided that he or she obtains preclearance of the purchase and makes certain representations.

 

PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

 

The Fund’s proxy voting record will be available upon request and on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. Proxies for the Fund’s portfolio securities are voted in accordance with the Adviser’s proxy voting policies and procedures, which are set forth in Appendix A to this SAI.

 

The Trust is required to disclose annually the Fund’s complete proxy voting record on Form N-PX covering the period July 1 through June 30 and file it with the SEC no later than August 31. Form N-PX for the Fund will be available through the Fund’s website, at www.vaneck.com, or by writing to 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017. The Fund’s Form N-PX will be also available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

20

MANAGEMENT

 

The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Management of the Fund.”

 

Investment Adviser and Sub-Adviser

 

Van Eck Associates Corporation acts as investment adviser to the Trust and, subject to the general supervision of the Board, is responsible for overseeing the activities of the Sub-Adviser and for the day-to-day investment management of the Fund’s assets allocated to it. China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited acts as investment sub-adviser to the Trust and, subject to the oversight of the Adviser, is responsible for the day-to-day investment management of the Fund’s assets allocated to it. The Adviser is a private company with headquarters in New York and manages other mutual funds and separate accounts.

 

The Adviser serves as investment adviser to the Fund pursuant to an investment management agreement between the Trust and the Adviser (the “Investment Management Agreement”). Under the Investment Management Agreement, the Adviser, subject to the supervision of the Board and in conformity with the stated investment policies of the Fund, manages and administers the Trust and oversees the Sub-Adviser with respect to the duties it has delegated to the Sub-Adviser regarding the investment and reinvestment of the Fund’s assets. The Sub-Adviser serves as investment subadviser to the Fund pursuant to an investment subadvisory agreement between the Adviser and the Sub-Adviser (the “Investment Subadvisory Agreement”). The Sub-Adviser is responsible for placing purchase and sale orders and providing continuous supervision of the Fund’s assets allocated to it.

 

Pursuant to the Investment Management Agreement, the Trust has agreed to indemnify the Adviser for certain liabilities, including certain liabilities arising under the federal securities laws, unless such loss or liability results from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or the reckless disregard of its obligations and duties. Pursuant to the Investment Subadvisory Agreement, the Adviser has agreed to indemnify the Sub-Adviser for certain liabilities, including certain liabilities arising under the federal securities laws, unless such loss or liability results from willful misfeasance or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or the reckless disregard of its obligations and duties.

 

Compensation. As compensation for its services under the Investment Management Agreement, the Adviser is paid a monthly fee based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets at the annual rate of 0.50%. Until at least May 1, 2015, the Adviser has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, offering costs, trading expenses, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 0.84% of its average daily net assets per year. From time to time, the Adviser may waive all or a portion of its fees. Offering costs excluded from the expense cap are: (a) legal fees pertaining to the Fund’s Shares offered for sale; (b) SEC and state registration fees; and (c) initial fees paid for Shares of the Fund to be listed on an exchange. For the services provided and the expenses assumed by the Sub-Adviser pursuant to the Sub-Advisory Agreement, the Adviser (not the Fund) will pay a monthly fee to the Sub-Adviser based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets managed by the Sub-Adviser.

 

Term. The Investment Management Agreement is subject to annual approval by (1) the Board or (2) a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, provided that in either event such continuance also is approved by a majority of the Board who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust by a vote cast in person at a meeting called for

21

the purpose of voting on such approval. The Investment Management Agreement is terminable without penalty, on 60 days notice, by the Board or by a vote of the holders of a majority (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. The Investment Management Agreement is also terminable upon 60 days’ notice by the Adviser and will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act). The Investment Subadvisory Agreement terminates automatically upon assignment and is terminable at any time without penalty as to the Fund by the Board, or by vote of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities on 60 days’ written notice to the Sub-Adviser, by the Adviser on six (6) months’ written notice to the Sub-Adviser or by the Sub-Adviser on six (6) months’ written notice to the Adviser and the Trust.

 

The Administrator

 

Van Eck Associates Corporation also serves as administrator for the Trust pursuant to the Investment Management Agreement. Under the Investment Management Agreement, the Adviser is obligated on a continuous basis to provide such administrative services as the Board of the Trust reasonably deems necessary for the proper administration of the Trust and the Fund. The Adviser will generally assist in all aspects of the Trust’s and the Fund’s operations; supply and maintain office facilities, statistical and research data, data processing services, clerical, bookkeeping and record keeping services (including without limitation the maintenance of such books and records as are required under the 1940 Act and the rules thereunder, except as maintained by other agents), internal auditing, executive and administrative services, and stationery and office supplies; prepare reports to shareholders or investors; prepare and file tax returns; supply financial information and supporting data for reports to and filings with the SEC and various state blue sky authorities; supply supporting documentation for meetings of the Board; provide monitoring reports and assistance regarding compliance with the Declaration of Trust, by-laws, investment objectives and policies and with federal and state securities laws; arrange for appropriate insurance coverage; calculate NAVs, net income and realized capital gains or losses; and negotiate arrangements with, and supervise and coordinate the activities of, agents and others to supply services.

 

Custodian and Transfer Agent

 

The Bank of New York Mellon (“The Bank of New York”), located at 101 Barclay Street, New York, New York 10286, serves as custodian for the Fund pursuant to a Custodian Agreement. As Custodian, The Bank of New York holds the Fund’s assets. The Bank of New York serves as the Fund’s transfer agent pursuant to a Transfer Agency Agreement. The Bank of New York may be reimbursed by the Fund for its out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, The Bank of New York provides various accounting services to the Fund pursuant to a fund accounting agreement.

 

The Distributor

 

Van Eck Securities Corporation (the “Distributor”) is the principal underwriter and distributor of Shares. Its principal address is 335 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10017 and investor information can be obtained by calling 1-888-MKT-VCTR. The Distributor has entered into an agreement with the Trust which will continue from its effective date unless terminated by either party upon 60 days’ prior written notice to the other party by the Trust and the Adviser, or by the Distributor, or until termination of the Trust or the Fund offering its Shares, and which is renewable annually thereafter (the “Distribution Agreement”), pursuant to which it distributes Shares. Shares will be continuously offered for sale by the Trust through the Distributor only in Creation Units, as described below under “Creation and Redemption of Creation Units—Procedures for Creation of Creation Units.” Shares in less than Creation Units are not distributed by the Distributor. The Distributor will deliver a prospectus to persons purchasing Shares in Creation Units and will maintain records of both orders placed with it and

22

confirmations of acceptance furnished by it. The Distributor is a broker-dealer registered under the Exchange Act and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). The Distributor has no role in determining the investment policies of the Trust or which securities are to be purchased or sold by the Trust.

 

The Distributor may also enter into sales and investor services agreements with broker-dealers or other persons that are Participating Parties and DTC Participants (as defined below) to provide distribution assistance, including broker-dealer and shareholder support and educational and promotional services but must pay such broker-dealers or other persons, out of its own assets.

 

The Distribution Agreement provides that it may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty: (i) by vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or (ii) by vote of a majority (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, on at least 60 days written notice to the Distributor. The Distribution Agreement is also terminable upon 60 days notice by the Distributor and will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act).

 

Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers

 

China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited

 

As of the date indicated below, Messrs. Wu and Lai managed the following other accounts:

 

    Other Accounts Managed
(As of December 31, 2013)
  Accounts with respect to which the
advisory fee is based on the
performance of the account
Name of
Portfolio
Manager
  Category of
Account
  Number of
Accounts in
Category
  Total Assets in
Accounts in
Category
  Number of
Accounts in
Category
  Total Assets in
Accounts in
Category
Jeff Wu   Registered investment companies   0   $0   0   $0
    Other pooled investment vehicles   1   $13.86 million   0   $0
    Other accounts   1   $17.05 million   0   $0
David Lai   Registered investment companies   0   $0   0   $0
    Other pooled investment vehicles   1   $1.51 billion   0   $0
    Other accounts   2   $143.01 million   0   $0

 

Van Eck Associates Corporation

 

As of the date indicated below, Messrs. Liao and Cao managed the following other accounts:

23

    Other Accounts Managed
(As of December 31, 2013)  
  Accounts with respect to which the
advisory fee is based on the
performance of the account
Name of
Portfolio
Manager
  Category of
Account
  Number of
Accounts in
Category
  Total Assets in
Accounts in
Category
  Number of
Accounts in
Category
  Total Assets in
Accounts in
Category
Hao-Hung (Peter) Liao   Registered investment companies   39   $18.92 billion   0   $0
    Other pooled investment vehicles   0   $0   0   $0
    Other accounts   0   $0   0   $0
George Cao   Registered investment companies   39   $18.92 billion   0   $0
    Other pooled investment vehicles   0   $0   0   $0
    Other accounts   0   $0   0   $0

 

Although the funds in the Trust that are managed by Messrs. Liao and Cao may have different investment strategies, each has an investment objective of seeking to replicate, before fees and expenses, its respective underlying index. The Adviser does not believe that management of the various accounts presents a material conflict of interest for Messrs. Liao or Cao or the Adviser.

 

Portfolio Manager Compensation

 

China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited

 

The portfolio managers of the Sub-Adviser are paid a base salary and performance-based compensation. Each portfolio manager is evaluated from an investment performance perspective, typically over a three year period, and from a peer evaluation that is completed by the Sub-Adviser’s whole investment team (including other fund managers and analysts).

 

Van Eck Associates Corporation

 

The portfolio managers of the Adviser are paid a fixed base salary and a bonus. The bonus is based upon the quality of investment analysis and the management of the funds. The quality of management of the funds includes issues of replication, rebalancing, portfolio monitoring and efficient operation, among other factors. Portfolio managers who oversee accounts with significantly different fee structures are generally compensated by discretionary bonus rather than a set formula to help reduce potential conflicts of interest. At times, the Adviser and its affiliates manage accounts with incentive fees.

 

Portfolio Manager Share Ownership

 

As of the date of this SAI, Messrs. Wu, Lai, Liao and Cao did not beneficially own any Shares of the Fund.

24

BROKERAGE TRANSACTIONS

 

When selecting brokers and dealers to handle the purchase and sale of portfolio securities, the Adviser and the Sub-Adviser look for prompt execution of the order at a favorable price. Generally, the Adviser and the Sub-Adviser work with recognized dealers in these securities, except when a better price and execution of the order can be obtained elsewhere. The Fund will not deal with affiliates in principal transactions unless permitted by exemptive order or applicable rule or regulation. The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser owe a duty to each of their clients to seek best execution on trades effected. Since the investment objective of the Fund is investment performance that corresponds to that of the Index, the Adviser and the Sub-Adviser do not intend to select brokers and dealers for the purpose of receiving research services in addition to a favorable price and prompt execution either from that broker or an unaffiliated third party.

 

The Adviser assumes general supervision over placing orders on behalf of the Fund’s assets for the purchase or sale of portfolio securities. If purchases or sales of portfolio securities of the Fund’s assets allocated to itself and one or more other investment companies or clients supervised by the Adviser are considered at or about the same time, transactions in such securities are allocated among the several investment companies and clients in a manner deemed equitable to all by the Adviser. In some cases, this procedure could have a detrimental effect on the price or volume of the security so far as the Fund is concerned. However, in other cases, it is possible that the ability to participate in volume transactions and to negotiate lower brokerage commissions will be beneficial to the Fund. The primary consideration is best execution.

 

The Sub-Adviser oversees placing orders on behalf of the Fund’s assets allocated to it for the purchase or sale of portfolio securities. If purchases or sales of portfolio securities of the Fund’s assets allocated to it and one or more other investment companies or clients supervised by the Sub-Adviser are considered at or about the same time, transactions in such securities will be made among the several investment companies and clients in a manner deemed appropriate by the Sub-Adviser consistent with its duty to seek best execution.

 

Portfolio turnover may vary from year to year, as well as within a year. High turnover rates are likely to result in comparatively greater brokerage expenses and taxable distributions. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions is evaluated by the Adviser based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services.

25

BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM

 

The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Shareholder Information—Buying and Selling Exchange-Traded Shares.”

 

The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) acts as securities depositary for the Shares. Shares of the Fund are represented by securities registered in the name of DTC or its nominee and deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC. Certificates will not be issued for Shares.

 

DTC, a limited-purpose trust company, was created to hold securities of its participants (the “DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) and FINRA. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (the “Indirect Participants”).

 

Beneficial ownership of Shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in Shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial Owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial Owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of Shares.

 

Conveyance of all notices, statements and other communications to Beneficial Owners is effected as follows. Pursuant to the Depositary Agreement between the Trust and DTC, DTC is required to make available to the Trust upon request and for a fee to be charged to the Trust a listing of the Shares holdings of each DTC Participant. The Trust shall inquire of each such DTC Participant as to the number of Beneficial Owners holding Shares, directly or indirectly, through such DTC Participant. The Trust shall provide each such DTC Participant with copies of such notice, statement or other communication, in such form, number and at such place as such DTC Participant may reasonably request, in order that such notice, statement or communication may be transmitted by such DTC Participant, directly or indirectly, to such Beneficial Owners. In addition, the Trust shall pay to each such DTC Participant a fair and reasonable amount as reimbursement for the expenses attendant to such transmittal, all subject to applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

 

Share distributions shall be made to DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., as the registered holder of all Shares. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall credit immediately DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in Shares as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners of Shares held through such DTC Participants will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in a “street name,” and will be the responsibility of such DTC Participants.

 

The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspects of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial Owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in such Shares, or for

26

maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners owning through such DTC Participants.

 

DTC may determine to discontinue providing its service with respect to the Shares at any time by giving reasonable notice to the Trust and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the Trust shall take action either to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost or, if such a replacement is unavailable, to issue and deliver printed certificates representing ownership of Shares, unless the Trust makes other arrangements with respect thereto satisfactory to the Exchange.

27

CREATION AND REDEMPTION OF CREATION UNITS

 

General

 

The Fund will issue and sell Shares only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Distributor, without an initial sales load, at their NAV next determined after receipt, on any Business Day (as defined herein), of an order in proper form. An Authorized Participant (defined below) that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined under Rule 144A of the Securities Act, will not be able to receive, as part of a redemption, restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.

 

A “Business Day” with respect to the Fund is any day on which the NYSE is open for business. As of the date of the Prospectus, the NYSE observes the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day (Washington’s Birthday), Good Friday, Memorial Day (observed), Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

 

Fund Deposit

 

The consideration for a purchase of Creation Units is partially cash and partially in-kind. To the extent in-kind creations are effected for the Fund, Creation Units of the Fund will consist of the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of equity securities (the “Deposit Securities”) that comprise the Index and an amount of cash computed as described below (the “Cash Component”). The Cash Component together with the Deposit Securities, as applicable, are referred to as the “Fund Deposit,” which represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for Shares. The Cash Component represents the difference between the NAV of a Creation Unit and the market value of Deposit Securities and may include a Dividend Equivalent Payment. The “Dividend Equivalent Payment” enables the Fund to make a complete distribution of dividends on the next dividend payment date, and is an amount equal, on a per Creation Unit basis, to the dividends on all the securities held by the Fund (“Fund Securities”) with ex-dividend dates within the accumulation period for such distribution (the “Accumulation Period”), net of expenses and liabilities for such period, as if all of the Fund Securities had been held by the Trust for the entire Accumulation Period. The Accumulation Period begins on the ex-dividend date for the Fund and ends on the next ex-dividend date.

 

The Administrator, through the NSCC, makes available on each Business Day, immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m. Eastern time), the list of the names and the required number of shares of each Deposit Security to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information at the end of the previous Business Day) as well as the Cash Component for the Fund. Such Fund Deposit is applicable, subject to any adjustments as described below, in order to effect creations of Creation Units of the Fund until such time as the next-announced Fund Deposit composition is made available.

 

The identity and number of shares of the Deposit Securities required for the Fund Deposit for the Fund changes as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by the Adviser with a view to the investment objective of the Fund. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the securities constituting the Index. In addition, the Trust reserves the right to accept a basket of securities or cash that differs from Deposit Securities or to permit or require the substitution of an amount of cash (i.e., a “cash in lieu” amount) to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security which may, among other reasons, not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery, not be permitted to be re-registered in the name of the Trust as a result of an in-kind creation order pursuant to local law or market convention or which may not be eligible for transfer through the Clearing Process (described below), or which may not be eligible for trading by a Participating Party (defined below). In light of the foregoing, in order to seek

28

to replicate the in-kind creation order process, the Trust expects to purchase the Deposit Securities represented by the cash in lieu amount in the secondary market (“Market Purchases”). In such cases where the Trust makes Market Purchases because a Deposit Security may not be permitted to be re-registered in the name of the Trust as a result of an in-kind creation order pursuant to local law or market convention, or for other reasons, the Authorized Participant will reimburse the Trust for, among other things, any difference between the market value at which the securities were purchased by the Trust and the cash in lieu amount (which amount, at the Adviser’s discretion, may be capped), applicable registration fees and taxes. Brokerage commissions incurred in connection with the Trust’s acquisition of Deposit Securities will be at the expense of the Fund and will affect the value of all Shares of the Fund; but the Adviser may adjust the transaction fee to the extent the composition of the Deposit Securities changes or cash in lieu is added to the Cash Component to protect ongoing shareholders. The adjustments described above will reflect changes, known to the Adviser on the date of announcement to be in effect by the time of delivery of the Fund Deposit, in the composition of the Index or resulting from stock splits and other corporate actions.

 

In addition to the list of names and numbers of securities constituting the current Deposit Securities of a Fund Deposit, the Administrator, through the NSCC, also makes available (i) on each Business Day, the Dividend Equivalent Payment, if any, and the estimated Cash Component effective through and including the previous Business Day, per outstanding Shares of the Fund, and (ii) on a continuous basis throughout the day, the Indicative Per Share Portfolio Value.

 

Procedures for Creation of Creation Units

 

To be eligible to place orders with the Distributor to create Creation Units of the Fund, an entity or person either must be (1) a “Participating Party,” i.e., a broker-dealer or other participant in the Clearing Process through the Continuous Net Settlement System of the NSCC; or (2) a DTC Participant (see “Book Entry Only System”); and, in either case, must have executed an agreement with the Distributor and the Transfer Agent (as it may be amended from time to time in accordance with its terms) (“Participant Agreement”) (discussed below). A Participating Party and DTC Participant are collectively referred to as an “Authorized Participant.” All Creation Units of the Fund, however created, will be entered on the records of the Depository in the name of Cede & Co. for the account of a DTC Participant.

 

All orders to create Creation Units must be placed in multiples of 100,000 Shares (i.e., a Creation Unit). All orders to create Creation Units, whether through the Clearing Process or outside the Clearing Process, must be received by the Distributor no later than the closing time of the regular trading session on NYSE Arca (“Closing Time”) (ordinarily 4:00 p.m. Eastern time) on the date such order is placed in order for creation of Creation Units to be effected based on the NAV of the Fund as determined on such date. A “Custom Order” may be placed by an Authorized Participant in the event that the Trust permits or requires the substitution of an amount of cash to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security which may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or which may not be eligible for trading by such Authorized Participant or the investor for which it is acting, or other relevant reason. The Business Day on which a creation order (or order to redeem as discussed below) is placed is herein referred to as the “Transmittal Date.” Orders must be transmitted by telephone or other transmission method acceptable to the Distributor pursuant to procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement, as described below (see “—Placement of Creation Orders Using Clearing Process”). Severe economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communication failure, may impede the ability to reach the Distributor, a Participating Party or a DTC Participant.

 

In connection with all orders to create Creation Units, the Authorized Participant will be required to post collateral with the Trust consisting of cash in an amount up to 15% of the net asset value of the Fund’s shares included in the order. The cash collateral will be used to cover creation transaction fees

29

and as collateral for securities which were not available for purchase. The Trust will return any unused portion of the collateral to the Authorized Participant.

 

Creation Units also may be created in advance of the receipt by the Trust of all or a portion of the Fund Deposit. In such cases, the Authorized Participant will remain liable for the full deposit of the missing portion(s) of the Fund Deposit and will be required to post collateral with the Trust consisting of cash at least equal to a percentage of the marked-to-market value of such missing portion(s) that is specified in the Participant Agreement. The Trust may use such collateral to buy the missing portion(s) of the Fund Deposit at any time and will subject such Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the cost to the Trust of purchasing such securities and the value of such collateral. The Trust will have no liability for any such shortfall. The Trust will return any unused portion of the collateral to the Authorized Participant once the entire Fund Deposit has been properly received by the Distributor and deposited into the Trust.

 

Orders to create Creation Units of the Fund shall be placed with a Participating Party or DTC Participant, as applicable, in the form required by such Participating Party or DTC Participant. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed a Participant Agreement, and that, therefore, orders to create Creation Units of the Fund may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through a Participating Party or a DTC Participant who has executed a Participant Agreement. At any given time there may be only a limited number of broker-dealers that have executed a Participant Agreement. Those placing orders to create Creation Units of the Fund through the Clearing Process should afford sufficient time to permit proper submission of the order to the Distributor prior to the Closing Time on the Transmittal Date.

 

Orders for creation that are effected outside the Clearing Process are likely to require transmittal by the DTC Participant earlier on the Transmittal Date than orders effected using the Clearing Process. Those persons placing orders outside the Clearing Process should ascertain the deadlines applicable to DTC and the Federal Reserve Bank wire system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depository institution effectuating such transfer of Deposit Securities and Cash Component.

 

Orders to create Creation Units of the Fund may be placed through the Clearing Process utilizing procedures applicable to domestic funds for domestic securities (“Domestic Funds”) (see “—Placement of Creation Orders Using Clearing Process”) or outside the Clearing Process utilizing the procedures applicable to either Domestic Funds or foreign funds for foreign securities (“Foreign Funds”) (see “—Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Domestic Funds” and “—Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds”). In the event that the Fund includes both domestic and foreign securities, the time for submitting orders is as stated in the “Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds” and “Placement of Redemption Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds” sections below shall operate.

 

Placement of Creation Orders Using Clearing Process

 

Fund Deposits created through the Clearing Process, if available, must be delivered through a Participating Party that has executed a Participant Agreement.

 

The Participant Agreement authorizes the Distributor to transmit to NSCC on behalf of the Participating Party such trade instructions as are necessary to effect the Participating Party’s creation order. Pursuant to such trade instructions from the Distributor to NSCC, the Participating Party agrees to transfer the requisite Deposit Securities (or contracts to purchase such Deposit Securities that are expected to be delivered in a “regular way” manner by the third (3rd) Business Day) and the Cash Component to the Trust, together with such additional information as may be required by the Distributor. An order to

30

create Creation Units of the Fund through the Clearing Process is deemed received by the Distributor on the Transmittal Date if (i) such order is received by the Distributor not later than the Closing Time on such Transmittal Date and (ii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed.

 

Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Domestic Funds

 

Fund Deposits created outside the Clearing Process must be delivered through a DTC Participant that has executed a Participant Agreement. A DTC Participant who wishes to place an order creating Creation Units of the Fund to be effected outside the Clearing Process need not be a Participating Party, but such orders must state that the DTC Participant is not using the Clearing Process and that the creation of Creation Units will instead be effected through a transfer of securities and cash. The Fund Deposit transfer must be ordered by the DTC Participant in a timely fashion so as to ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Deposit Securities through DTC to the account of the Trust by no later than 11:00 a.m. Eastern time, of the next Business Day immediately following the Transmittal Date. All questions as to the number of Deposit Securities to be delivered, and the validity, form and eligibility (including time of receipt) for the deposit of any tendered securities, will be determined by the Trust, whose determination shall be final and binding. The cash equal to the Cash Component must be transferred directly to the Distributor through the Federal Reserve wire system in a timely manner so as to be received by the Distributor no later than 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, on the next Business Day immediately following the Transmittal Date. An order to create Creation Units of the Fund outside the Clearing Process is deemed received by the Distributor on the Transmittal Date if (i) such order is received by the Distributor not later than the Closing Time on such Transmittal Date; and (ii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed. However, if the Distributor does not receive both the requisite Deposit Securities and the Cash Component in a timely fashion on the next Business Day immediately following the Transmittal Date, such order will be cancelled. Upon written notice to the Distributor, such cancelled order may be resubmitted the following Business Day using a Fund Deposit as newly constituted to reflect the current NAV of the Fund. The delivery of Creation Units so created will occur no later than the third (3rd) Business Day following the day on which the creation order is deemed received by the Distributor.

 

Additional transaction fees may be imposed with respect to transactions effected outside the Clearing Process (through a DTC participant) and in circumstances in which any cash can be used in lieu of Deposit Securities to create Creation Units. (See “Creation Transaction Fee” section below.)

 

Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds

 

The Distributor will inform the Transfer Agent, the Adviser and the Custodian upon receipt of a Creation Order. The Custodian will then provide such information to the appropriate subcustodian. The Custodian will cause the subcustodian of the Fund to maintain an account into which the Deposit Securities (or the cash value of all or part of such securities, in the case of a permitted or required cash purchase or “cash in lieu” amount) will be delivered. Deposit Securities must be delivered to an account maintained at the applicable local custodian. The Trust must also receive, on or before the contractual settlement date, immediately available or same day funds estimated by the Custodian to be sufficient to pay the Cash Component next determined after receipt in proper form of the purchase order, together with the creation transaction fee described below.

 

Once the Transfer Agent has accepted a creation order, the Transfer Agent will confirm the issuance of a Creation Unit of the Fund against receipt of payment, at such NAV as will have been calculated after receipt in proper form of such order. The Transfer Agent will then transmit a confirmation of acceptance of such order.

31

Creation Units will not be issued until the transfer of good title to the Trust of the Deposit Securities and the payment of the Cash Component have been completed. When the subcustodian has confirmed to the Custodian that the required Deposit Securities (or the cash value thereof) have been delivered to the account of the relevant subcustodian, the Distributor and the Adviser will be notified of such delivery and the Transfer Agent will issue and cause the delivery of the Creation Units.

 

Acceptance of Creation Orders

 

The Trust reserves the absolute right to reject a creation order transmitted to it by the Distributor if, for any reason, (a) the order is not in proper form; (b) the creator or creators, upon obtaining the Shares, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding Shares of the Fund; (c) the Deposit Securities delivered are not as specified by the Administrator, as described above; (d) the acceptance of the Deposit Securities would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (e) the acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (f) the acceptance of the Fund Deposit would otherwise, in the discretion of the Trust or the Adviser, have an adverse effect on the Trust or the rights of beneficial owners; or (g) in the event that circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Distributor and the Adviser make it for all practical purposes impossible to process creation orders. Examples of such circumstances include, without limitation, acts of God or public service or utility problems such as earthquakes, fires, floods, extreme weather conditions and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy and computer failures; wars; civil or military disturbances, including acts of civil or military authority or governmental actions; terrorism; sabotage; epidemics; riots; labor disputes; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the Trust, the Adviser, the Distributor, DTC, the NSCC or any other participant in the creation process, and similar extraordinary events. The Transfer Agent shall notify a prospective creator of its rejection of the order of such person. The Trust, the Custodian, any subcustodian and the Distributor are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of Fund Deposits to Authorized Participants nor shall either of them incur any liability to Authorized Participants for the failure to give any such notification.

 

All questions as to the number of shares of each security in the Deposit Securities and the validity, form, eligibility and acceptance for deposit of any securities to be delivered shall be determined by the Trust, and the Trust’s determination shall be final and binding.

 

Creation Transaction Fee

 

A fixed creation transaction fee of $9,000 payable to the Custodian is imposed on each creation transaction regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased in the transaction. In addition, a variable charge for cash creations or for creations outside the Clearing Process currently of up to four times the basic creation transaction fee will be imposed. In the case of cash creations or where the Trust permits or requires a creator to substitute cash in lieu of depositing a portion of the Deposit Securities, the creator may be assessed an additional variable charge to compensate the Fund for the costs associated with purchasing the applicable securities. (See “Fund Deposit” section above.) As a result, in order to seek to replicate the in-kind creation order process, the Trust expects to purchase, in the secondary market or otherwise gain exposure to, the portfolio securities that could have been delivered as a result of an in-kind creation order pursuant to local law or market convention, or for other reasons (“Market Purchases”). In such cases where the Trust makes Market Purchases, the Authorized Participant will reimburse the Trust for, among other things, any difference between the market value at which the securities and/or financial instruments were purchased by the Trust and the cash in lieu amount (which amount, at the Adviser’s discretion, may be capped), the costs associated with the Fund’s swap transactions, applicable registration fees, brokerage commissions and certain taxes. The Adviser may adjust the transaction fee to the extent the composition of the creation securities changes or cash in lieu is added to the Cash

32

Component to protect ongoing shareholders. Creators of Creation Units are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Deposit Securities to the account of the Trust.

 

Redemption of Creation Units

 

Shares may be redeemed only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by the Distributor, only on a Business Day and only through a Participating Party or DTC Participant who has executed a Participant Agreement. The Trust will not redeem Shares in amounts less than Creation Units. Beneficial Owners also may sell Shares in the secondary market, but must accumulate enough Shares to constitute a Creation Unit in order to have such Shares redeemed by the Trust. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the public trading market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit. Investors should expect to incur brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of Shares to constitute a redeemable Creation Unit. See the section entitled “Summary Information—Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund” and “Additional Information About the Fund’s Investment Strategies and Risks—Risks of Investing in the Fund” in the Prospectus.

 

Redemptions are effected partially for cash and partially in-kind. To the extent redemptions are effected in-kind, the Administrator, through NSCC, makes available immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m. Eastern time) on each day that the Exchange is open for business, the Fund Securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day. If the Trust determines, based on information available to the Trust when a redemption request is submitted by an Authorized Participant, that (i) the short interest of the Fund in the marketplace is greater than or equal to 100% and (ii) the orders in the aggregate from all Authorized Participants redeeming Fund Shares on a Business Day represent 25% or more of the outstanding Shares of the Fund, such Authorized Participant will be required to verify to the Trust the accuracy of its representations that are deemed to have been made by submitting a request for redemption. If, after receiving notice of the verification requirement, the Authorized Participant does not verify the accuracy of its representations that are deemed to have been made by submitting a request for redemption in accordance with this requirement, its redemption request will be considered not to have been received in proper form. The redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit generally consist of Fund Securities as announced by the Administrator on the Business Day of the request for redemption, plus cash in an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of the Shares being redeemed, as next determined after a receipt of a request in proper form, and the value of the Fund Securities, less the redemption transaction fee and variable fees described below. Should the Fund Securities have a value greater than the NAV of the Shares being redeemed, a compensating cash payment to the Trust equal to the differential plus the applicable redemption transaction fee will be required to be arranged for by or on behalf of the redeeming shareholder. The Fund reserves the right to honor a redemption request by delivering a basket of securities or cash that differs from the Fund Securities.

 

Redemption Transaction Fee

 

The basic redemption transaction fee of $9,000 is the same no matter how many Creation Units are being redeemed pursuant to any one redemption request. An additional charge up to four times the redemption transaction fee will be charged with respect to cash redemptions or redemptions outside of the Clearing Process. An additional variable charge for cash redemptions or partial cash redemptions (when cash redemptions are permitted or required for the Fund) may also be imposed to compensate the Fund for the costs associated with selling the applicable securities. As a result, in order to seek to replicate the in-kind redemption order process, the Trust expects to sell, in the secondary market, the portfolio securities or settle any financial instruments that may not be permitted to be re-registered in the name of

33

the Participating Party as a result of an in-kind redemption order pursuant to local law or market convention, or for other reasons (“Market Sales”). In such cases where the Trust makes Market Sales, the Authorized Participant will reimburse the Trust for, among other things, any difference between the market value at which the securities and/or financial instruments were sold or settled by the Trust and the cash in lieu amount (which amount, at the Adviser’s discretion, may be capped), the costs associated with the Fund’s swap transactions, applicable registration fees, brokerage commissions and certain taxes (“Transaction Costs”). The Adviser may adjust the transaction fee to the extent the composition of the redemption securities changes or cash in lieu is added to the Cash Component to protect ongoing shareholders. In no event will fees charged by the Fund in connection with a redemption exceed 2% of the value of each Creation Unit. Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services. To the extent the Fund cannot recoup the amount of Transaction Costs incurred in connection with a redemption from the redeeming shareholder because of the 2% cap or otherwise, those Transaction Costs will be borne by the Fund’s remaining shareholders and negatively affect the Fund’s performance.

 

Placement of Redemption Orders Using Clearing Process

 

Orders to redeem Creation Units of the Fund through the Clearing Process, if available, must be delivered through a Participating Party that has executed the Participant Agreement. An order to redeem Creation Units of the Fund using the Clearing Process is deemed received on the Transmittal Date if (i) such order is received by the Distributor not later than 4:00 p.m. Eastern time on such Transmittal Date; and (ii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed; such order will be effected based on the NAV of the Fund as next determined. An order to redeem Creation Units of the Fund using the Clearing Process made in proper form but received by the Fund after 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, will be deemed received on the next Business Day immediately following the Transmittal Date. The requisite Fund Securities (or contracts to purchase such Fund Securities which are expected to be delivered in a “regular way” manner) and the applicable cash payment will be transferred by the third (3rd) Business Day following the date on which such request for redemption is deemed received.

 

Placement of Redemption Orders Outside Clearing Process—Domestic Funds

 

Orders to redeem Creation Units of the Fund outside the Clearing Process must be delivered through a DTC Participant that has executed the Participant Agreement. A DTC Participant who wishes to place an order for redemption of Creation Units of the Fund to be effected outside the Clearing Process need not be a Participating Party, but such orders must state that the DTC Participant is not using the Clearing Process and that redemption of Creation Units of the Fund will instead be effected through transfer of Creation Units of the Fund directly through DTC. An order to redeem Creation Units of the Fund outside the Clearing Process is deemed received by the Administrator on the Transmittal Date if (i) such order is received by the Administrator not later than 4:00 p.m. Eastern time on such Transmittal Date; (ii) such order is preceded or accompanied by the requisite number of Shares of Creation Units specified in such order, which delivery must be made through DTC to the Administrator no later than 11:00 a.m. Eastern time, on such Transmittal Date (the “DTC Cut-Off-Time”); and (iii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed.

 

After the Administrator has deemed an order for redemption outside the Clearing Process received, the Administrator will initiate procedures to transfer the requisite Fund Securities (or contracts to purchase such Fund Securities) which are expected to be delivered within three Business Days and the cash redemption payment to the redeeming Beneficial Owner by the third Business Day following the Transmittal Date on which such redemption order is deemed received by the Administrator. An additional variable redemption transaction fee of up to four times the basic transaction fee is applicable to redemptions outside the Clearing Process.

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Placement of Redemption Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds

 

Arrangements satisfactory to the Trust must be in place for the Participating Party to transfer the Creation Units through DTC on or before the settlement date. Redemptions of Shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable U.S. federal and state securities laws and the Fund (whether or not it otherwise permits or requires cash redemptions) reserves the right to redeem Creation Units for cash to the extent that the Fund could not lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or could not do so without first registering the Deposit Securities under such laws.

 

In connection with taking delivery of Shares for Fund Securities upon redemption of Creation Units, a redeeming shareholder or entity acting on behalf of a redeeming shareholder must maintain appropriate custody arrangements with a qualified broker-dealer, bank or other custody providers in each jurisdiction in which any of the Fund Securities are customarily traded, to which account such Fund Securities will be delivered. If neither the redeeming shareholder nor the entity acting on behalf of a redeeming shareholder has appropriate arrangements to take delivery of the Fund Securities in the applicable foreign jurisdiction and it is not possible to make other such arrangements, or if it is not possible to effect deliveries of the Fund Securities in such jurisdictions, the Trust may, in its discretion, exercise its option to redeem such Shares in cash, and the redeeming shareholder will be required to receive its redemption proceeds in cash.

 

Deliveries of redemption proceeds generally will be made within three business days. Due to the schedule of holidays in certain countries or for other reasons, however, the delivery of redemption proceeds may take longer than three business days after the day on which the redemption request is received in proper form. In such cases, the local market settlement procedures will not commence until the end of the local holiday periods.

 

The holidays applicable to Foreign Funds are listed below. The proclamation of new holidays, the treatment by market participants of certain days as “informal holidays” (e.g., days on which no or limited securities transactions occur, as a result of substantially shortened trading hours), the elimination of existing holidays or changes in local securities delivery practices, could affect the information set forth herein at some time in the future. The dates in calendar years 2014 and 2015 in which the regular holidays affect the relevant securities markets are as follows (the following holiday schedule is subject to potential changes in the securities market):

 

2014

 

CHINA      
January 1 February 6 May 7 October 6
January 20 February 7 May 26 October 7
January 30 February 17 July 4 October 13
January 31 May 1 September 1 November 11
February 3 May 2 October 1 November 27
February 4 May 5 October 2 December 25
February 5 May 6 October 3  

 

HONG KONG      
January 1 April 21 July 1 December 24
January 30 May 1 September 9 December 25
January 31 May 6 October 1 December 26
April 18 June 2 October 2 December 31
35
SINGAPORE      
January 1 May 1 August 9 December 25
January 31 May 13 October 6  
February 1 May 15 October 22  
April 18 July 28 October 23  

 

2015

 

CHINA      
January 1 February 23 September 27 October 7
January 2 February 24 October 1 December 25
February 18 April 6 October 2   
February 19 May 1 October 5   
February 20 June 20 October 6  

 

HONG KONG      
January 1 April 6 September 28 December 26
February 19 May 1 October 1  
February 20 May 25 October 21  
April 3 July 1 December 25  
       
SINGAPORE      
January 1 May 1 December 25  
February 19 August 10 December 31  
February 20 November 11     
April 3 December 24    

 

The longest redemption cycle for Foreign Funds is a function of the longest redemption cycle in countries whose securities comprise the Fund. In the calendar years 2014 and 2015, the dates of regular holidays affecting the following securities markets present the worst-case (longest) redemption cycle* for the Foreign Funds as follows:

 

SETTLEMENT PERIODS GREATER THAN
SEVEN DAYS FOR YEAR 2014

 

    Beginning of Settlement
Period
    End of Settlement
Period
    Number of Days in
Settlement Period
China     01/27/14       02/10/14       14
      01/28/14       02/11/14       14
      01/29/14       02/12/14       14
      04/28/14       05/08/14       10
      04/29/14       05/09/14       10
      04/30/14       05/12/14       12
36
      09/26/14       10/08/14       12
      09/29/14       10/09/14       10
      09/30/14       10/10/14       10

 

SETTLEMENT PERIODS GREATER THAN
SEVEN DAYS FOR YEAR 2015

 

    Beginning of Settlement
Period
    End of Settlement
Period
    Number of Days in
Settlement Period
China     02/13/15       02/25/15       12
      02/16/15       02/26/15       10
      02/17/15       02/27/15       10
      09/28/15       10/08/15       10
      09/29/15       10/09/15       10
      09/30/15       10/12/15       12

 

* These worst-case redemption cycles are based on information regarding regular holidays, which may be out of date. Based on changes in holidays, longer (worse) redemption cycles are possible.

 

The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed (1) for any period during which the NYSE is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the NYSE is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the Shares of the Fund or determination of its NAV is not reasonably practicable; or (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC.

 

DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

 

The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Shareholder Information—Determination of NAV.”

 

The NAV per Share for the Fund is computed by dividing the value of the net assets of the Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of Shares outstanding. Expenses and fees, including the management fee, are accrued daily and taken into account for purposes of determining NAV. The NAV of the Fund is determined each business day as of the close of trading (ordinarily 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on the NYSE. Any assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are converted into U.S. dollars at the current market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more sources.

 

The values of the Fund’s portfolio securities are based on the securities’ closing prices on their local principal markets, where available. Due to the time differences between the United States and certain countries in which the Fund invests, securities on these exchanges may not trade at times when Shares of the Fund will trade. In the absence of a last reported sales price, or if no sales were reported, and for other assets for which market quotes are not readily available, values may be based on quotes obtained from a quotation reporting system, established market makers or by an outside independent pricing service. Prices obtained by an outside independent pricing service may use information provided by market makers or estimates of market values obtained from yield data related to investments or securities with similar characteristics and may use a computerized grid matrix of securities and its evaluations in determining what it believes is the fair value of the portfolio securities. If a market quotation for a security is not readily available or the Adviser believes it does not otherwise accurately

37

reflect the market value of the security at the time the Fund calculates its NAV, the security will be fair valued by the Adviser in accordance with the Trust’s valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board of Trustees. The Fund may also use fair value pricing in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to, situations where the value of a security in the Fund’s portfolio has been materially affected by events occurring after the close of the market on which the security is principally traded (such as a corporate action or other news that may materially affect the price of a security) or trading in a security has been suspended or halted. In addition, the Fund currently expects that it will fair value certain of the foreign equity securities held by the Fund each day the Fund calculates its NAV, except those securities principally traded on exchanges that close at the same time the Fund calculates its NAV. Accordingly, the Fund’s NAV may reflect certain portfolio securities’ fair values rather than their market prices at the time the exchanges on which they principally trade close. Fair value pricing involves subjective judgments and it is possible that a fair value determination for a security is materially different than the value that could be realized upon the sale of the security. In addition, fair value pricing could result in a difference between the prices used to calculate the Fund’s NAV and the prices used by the Index. This may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to track the Index. With respect to securities traded in foreign markets, the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities may change on days when you will not be able to purchase or sell your Shares.

 

DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS

 

The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Shareholder Information—Distributions.”

 

General Policies

 

Dividends from net investment income, if any, are declared and paid at least annually by the Fund. Distributions of net realized capital gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis for the Fund to improve its Index tracking or to comply with the distribution requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, in all events in a manner consistent with the provisions of the 1940 Act. In addition, the Trust may distribute at least annually amounts representing the full dividend yield on the underlying portfolio securities of the Fund, net of expenses of the Fund, as if the Fund owned such underlying portfolio securities for the entire dividend period in which case some portion of each distribution may result in a return of capital for tax purposes for certain shareholders.

 

Dividends and other distributions on Shares are distributed, as described below, on a pro rata basis to Beneficial Owners of such Shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants to Beneficial Owners then of record with proceeds received from the Trust. The Trust makes additional distributions to the minimum extent necessary (i) to distribute the entire annual taxable income of the Trust, plus any net capital gains and (ii) to avoid imposition of the excise tax imposed by Section 4982 of the Internal Revenue Code. Management of the Trust reserves the right to declare special dividends if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve the status of the Fund as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income.

 

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT SERVICE

 

No reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by Beneficial Owners of the Fund through DTC Participants for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. If this service is used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole Shares of the

38

Fund. Beneficial Owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require Beneficial Owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables.

 

CONTROL PERSONS and principal shareholders

 

As of the date of this SAI, no entity beneficially owned any voting securities of the Fund

39

TAXES

 

The following information also supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Shareholder Information—Tax Information” and the section in this Statement of Additional Information entitled “Special Considerations and Risks.” The following summary of certain relevant tax provisions is subject to change, and does not constitute legal or tax advice.

 

The Fund intends to qualify for and to elect treatment as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code. As a RIC, the Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of its taxable investment income and capital gains that it distributes to its shareholders. To qualify for treatment as a RIC, a company must annually distribute at least 90% of its net investment company taxable income (which includes dividends, interest and net short-term capital gains) and meet several other requirements relating to the nature of its income and the diversification of its assets, among others. However, to the extent the Fund invests directly in the A-share market, if the Fund does not receive approval from SAFE to repatriate funds associated with such direct investment on a timely basis, it may be unable to meet the distribution requirements required to qualify for the favorable tax treatment otherwise generally afforded to regulated investment companies under the Internal Revenue Code. Additionally, the Fund will create a reserve account with respect to earnings on certain investments in China that are not currently subject to withholding tax.

 

The Fund will be subject to a 4% excise tax on certain undistributed income if it does not distribute to its shareholders in each calendar year an amount at least equal to the sum of 98% of its ordinary income (taking into account certain deferrals and elections) for the calendar year, 98.2% of its capital gain net income for the twelve months ended October 31 of such year, and 100% of any undistributed amounts from the prior years. The Fund intends to declare and distribute dividends and distributions in the amounts and at the times necessary to avoid the application of this 4% excise tax.

 

As a result of U.S. federal income tax requirements, the Trust on behalf of the Fund, has the right to reject an order for a creation of Shares if the creator (or group of creators) would, upon obtaining the Shares so ordered, own 80% or more of the outstanding Shares of the Fund and if, pursuant to Section 351 of the Internal Revenue Code, the Fund would have a basis in the Deposit Securities different from the market value of such securities on the date of deposit. The Trust also has the right to require information necessary to determine beneficial share ownership for purposes of the 80% determination. See “Creation and Redemption of Creation Units—Procedures for Creation of Creation Units.”

 

Dividends, interest and gains received by the Fund from a non-U.S. investment may give rise to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes. If more than 50% of the Fund’s total assets at the end of its taxable year consist of foreign stock or securities, the Fund may elect to “pass through” to its investors certain foreign income taxes paid by the Fund, with the result that each investor will (i) include in gross income, as an additional dividend, even though not actually received, the investor’s pro rata share of the Fund’s foreign income taxes, and (ii) either deduct (in calculating U.S. taxable income) or credit (in calculating U.S. federal income), subject to certain holding period and other limitations, the investor’s pro rata share of the Fund’s foreign income taxes. Even if the Fund is qualified to make that election and does so, however, this treatment will not apply with respect to amounts the Fund reserves in anticipation of the imposition of withholding taxes not currently in effect (as discussed above). If these amounts are used to pay any tax liability of the Fund in a later year, they will be treated as paid by the stockholders in such later year, even if they are imposed with respect to income of an earlier year. It is expected that more than 50% of the Fund’s assets will consist of foreign securities.

40

The Fund will report to shareholders annually the amounts of dividends received from ordinary income, the amount of distributions received from capital gains and the portion of dividends, if any, which may qualify for the dividends received deduction. Certain ordinary dividends paid to non-corporate shareholders may qualify for taxation at a lower tax rate applicable to long-term capital gains provided holding period and other requirements are met at both the shareholder and Fund levels.

 

In general, a sale of Shares results in capital gain or loss, and for individual shareholders, is taxable at a federal rate dependent upon the length of time the Shares were held. A redemption of a shareholder’s Fund Shares is normally treated as a sale for tax purposes. Fund Shares held for a period of one year or less at the time of such sale or redemption will, for tax purposes, generally result in short-term capital gains or losses, and those held for more than one year will generally result in long-term capital gains or losses. The maximum tax rate on long-term capital gains available to a non-corporate shareholder generally is 15% or 20%, depending on whether the shareholder’s income exceeds certain threshold amounts.

 

An additional 3.8% Medicare tax is imposed on certain net investment income (including ordinary dividends and capital gain distributions received from the Fund and net gains from redemptions or other taxable dispositions of Fund Shares) of U.S. individuals, estates and trusts to the extent that such person’s “modified adjusted gross income” (in the case of an individual) or “adjusted gross income” (in the case of an estate or trust) exceeds certain threshold amounts.

 

Special tax rules may change the normal treatment of gains and losses recognized by the Fund if the Fund makes certain investments such as investments in structured notes, swaps, options, futures transactions and non-U.S. corporations classified as “passive foreign investment companies” (“PFICs”). Those special tax rules can, among other things, affect the treatment of capital gain or loss as long-term or short-term and may result in ordinary income or loss rather than capital gain or loss and may accelerate when the Fund has to take these items into account for tax purposes. The Fund’s investments in swaps and other derivative instruments may generally be less tax-efficient than a direct investment in A-shares. Furthermore, the Fund may be required to periodically adjust its positions in these swaps or derivatives to comply with certain regulatory requirements which may further cause these investments to be less efficient than a direct investment in A-shares.

 

Under Section 988 of the Internal Revenue Code, special rules are provided for certain transactions in a foreign currency other than the taxpayer’s functional currency (i.e., unless certain special rules apply, currencies other than the U.S. dollar). In general, foreign currency gains or losses from forward contracts, from futures contracts that are not “regulated futures contracts,” and from unlisted options will be treated as ordinary income or loss under Section 988 of the Internal Revenue Code. Also, certain foreign exchange gains or losses derived with respect to foreign fixed income securities are also subject to Section 988 treatment. In general, therefore, Section 988 gains or losses will increase or decrease the amount of the Fund’s investment company taxable income available to be distributed to shareholders as ordinary income, rather than increasing or decreasing the amount of the Fund’s net capital gain.

 

The Fund may make investments, both directly and through swaps or other derivative positions, in PFICs. Investments in PFICs are subject to special tax rules which may result in adverse tax consequences to the Fund and its shareholders. To the extent the Fund invests in PFICs, it generally intends to elect to “mark to market” these investments at the end of each taxable year. By making this election, the Fund will recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such shares as of the close of the taxable year over their adjusted basis and as ordinary loss any decrease in such investment (but only to the extent of prior income from such investment under the mark to market rules). Gains realized with respect to a disposition of a PFIC that the Fund has elected to mark to market will be

41

ordinary income. By making the mark to market election, the Fund may recognize income in excess of the distributions that it receives from its investments. Accordingly, the Fund may need to borrow money or dispose of some of its investments in order to meet its distribution requirements. If the Fund does not make the mark to market election with respect to an investment in a PFIC, the Fund could become subject to U.S. federal income tax with respect to certain distributions from, and gain on the dispositions of, the PFIC which cannot be avoided by distributing such amounts to the Fund’s shareholders.

 

Gain or loss on the sale or redemption of Fund Shares is measured by the difference between the amount of cash received (or the fair market value of any property received) and the adjusted tax basis of the Shares. Shareholders should keep records of investments made (including Shares acquired through reinvestment of dividends and distributions) so they can compute the tax basis of their Fund Shares. Legislation passed by Congress requires reporting of adjusted cost basis information for covered securities, which generally include shares of a regulated investment company acquired after January 1, 2012, to the Internal Revenue Service and to taxpayers.  Shareholders should contact their financial intermediaries with respect to reporting of cost basis and available elections for their accounts.

 

A loss realized on a sale or exchange of Shares of the Fund may be disallowed if other Fund Shares or substantially identical shares are acquired (whether through the automatic reinvestment of dividends or otherwise) within a sixty-one (61) day period beginning thirty (30) days before and ending thirty (30) days after the date that the Shares are disposed of. In such a case, the basis of the Shares acquired will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss. Any loss upon the sale or exchange of Shares held for six (6) months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of any capital gain dividends received by the shareholders. Distribution of ordinary income and capital gains may also be subject to foreign, state and local taxes.

 

The Fund may make investments in which it recognizes income or gain prior to receiving cash with respect to such investment. For example, under certain tax rules, the Fund may be required to accrue a portion of any discount at which certain securities are purchased as income each year even though the Fund receives no payments in cash on the security during the year. To the extent that the Fund makes such investments, it generally would be required to pay out such income or gain as a distribution in each year to avoid taxation at the Fund level.

 

Distributions reinvested in additional Fund Shares through the means of a dividend reinvestment service (see “Dividend Reinvestment Service”) will nevertheless be taxable dividends to Beneficial Owners acquiring such additional Shares to the same extent as if such dividends had been received in cash.

 

Some shareholders may be subject to a withholding tax on distributions of ordinary income, capital gains and any cash received on redemption of Creation Units (“backup withholding”). The backup withholding rate for individuals is currently 28%. Generally, shareholders subject to backup withholding will be those for whom no certified taxpayer identification number is on file with the Fund or who, to the Fund’s knowledge, have furnished an incorrect number. When establishing an account, an investor must certify under penalty of perjury that such number is correct and that such investor is not otherwise subject to backup withholding. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld will be allowed as a credit against shareholders’ U.S. federal income tax liabilities, and may entitle them to a refund, provided that the required information is timely furnished to the Internal Revenue Service.

 

Distributions of ordinary income paid to shareholders who are nonresident aliens or foreign entities will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. withholding tax unless a reduced rate of withholding or a withholding exemption is provided under applicable treaty law. Prospective investors are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding such withholding.

42

For taxable years beginning before January 1, 2014 (unless further extended by Congress), properly designated dividends received by a nonresident alien or foreign entity are generally exempt from U.S. federal withholding tax when they (i) are paid in respect of the Fund’s “qualified net interest income” (generally, the Fund’s U.S. source interest income, reduced by expenses that are allocable to such income), or (ii) are paid in connection with the Fund’s “qualified short-term capital gains” (generally, the excess of the Fund’s net short-term capital gain over the Fund’s long-term capital loss for such taxable year). However, depending on the circumstances, the Fund may designate all, some or none of the Fund’s potentially eligible dividends as such qualified net interest income or as qualified short-term capital gains, and a portion of the Fund’s distributions (e.g. interest from non-U.S. sources or any foreign currency gains) would be ineligible for this potential exemption from withholding. There can be no assurance as to whether or not legislation will be enacted to extend this exemption.

 

Effective July 1, 2014, withholding of U.S. tax at a 30% rate will be required on payments of dividends and (effective January 1, 2017) redemption proceeds and certain capital gain dividends paid to certain non-U.S. entities that fail to comply (or be deemed compliant) with extensive new reporting and withholding requirements designed to inform the U.S. Department of the Treasury of U.S.-owned foreign investment accounts. Shareholders may be requested to provide additional information to clarify whether withholding is required with respect to such payments relating to their shares of the Fund.

 

Non-U.S. shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisors with respect to the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in the Fund, including the possible applicability of the U.S. estate tax.

 

The foregoing discussion is a summary only and is not intended as a substitute for careful tax planning. Purchasers of Shares of the Trust should consult their own tax advisers as to the tax consequences of investing in such Shares, including under state, local and other tax laws. Finally, the foregoing discussion is based on applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, judicial authority and administrative interpretations in effect on the date hereof. Changes in applicable authority could materially affect the conclusions discussed above, and such changes often occur.

 

Reportable Transactions

 

Under promulgated Treasury regulations, if a shareholder recognizes a loss on disposition of the Fund’s Shares of $2 million or more in any one taxable year (or $4 million or more over a period of six taxable years) for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more in any taxable year (or $20 million or more over a period of six taxable years) for a corporate shareholder, the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases excepted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a RIC that engaged in a reportable transaction are not excepted. Future guidance may extend the current exception from this reporting requirement to shareholders of most or all RICs. In addition, significant penalties may be imposed for the failure to comply with the reporting requirements. 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 advisors to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.

 

PRC Taxation

 

The Fund’s investments in A-shares will be subject to a number of PRC tax rules and the application of many of those rules is at present uncertain. PRC taxes that may apply to the Fund’s investments include withholding taxes on dividends and interest earned by the Fund, withholding taxes on capital gains, business tax and stamp tax. Specific rules governing taxes on capital gains derived by

43

RQFIIs and QFIIs from the trading of PRC securities have yet to be announced. In the absence of specific rules, the tax treatment of the Fund’s investments in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota should be governed by the general PRC tax provisions and provisions applicable to RQFIIs. Under these provisions, the Fund is generally subject to a tax of 10% on any dividends, distributions and interest it receives from its investment in PRC securities. A nonresident enterprise is subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10% on its capital gains. However, it is unclear if this tax will be applied to investments by an RQFII or what the methodology for calculating or collecting the tax will be. Withholding taxes on dividends, interest and capital gains may be taxed at a reduced rate under an applicable tax treaty, but the application of such treaties for an RQFII acting on behalf of a foreign investor (i.e., the Sub-Adviser acting on behalf of the Fund) is also uncertain and would depend on the approval of PRC tax authorities. It is also unclear how China’s business tax may apply to activities of an RQFII such as the Sub-Adviser and how such application may be affected by tax treaty provisions. The current PRC tax laws and regulations and interpretations thereof may be revised or amended in the future, including with respect to the possible liability of the Fund for obligations of the Sub-Adviser, and may be applied retroactively. Any revision or amendment in tax laws and regulations may adversely affect the Fund. In light of this uncertainty, the Fund plans to reserve 10% of its realized and unrealized gains from its A-share investments to meet any potential withholding tax liability. This reserve may turn out to be excessive or inadequate in light of the Fund’s actual tax liabilities. The Fund may also be liable to the Sub-Adviser for any tax that is imposed on the Sub-Adviser by the PRC with respect to the Fund’s investments. If the Fund’s direct investments in A-shares through the Sub-Adviser’s RQFII quota become subject to repatriation restrictions, the Fund may be unable to satisfy distribution requirements applicable to RICs under the Internal Revenue Code, and be subject to tax at the Fund level.

 

CAPITAL STOCK AND SHAREHOLDER REPORTS

 

The Trust currently is comprised of 59 investment funds. The Trust issues Shares of beneficial interest with no par value. The Board may designate additional funds of the Trust.

 

Each Share issued by the Trust has a pro rata interest in the assets of the Fund. Shares have no pre-emptive, exchange, subscription or conversion rights and are freely transferable. Each Share is entitled to participate equally in dividends and distributions declared by the Board with respect to the Fund, and in the net distributable assets of the Fund on liquidation. The Fund may liquidate and terminate at any time and for any reason, including as a result of the termination of the license agreement between the Adviser and the Index Provider, without shareholder approval.

 

Each Share has one vote with respect to matters upon which a shareholder vote is required consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act and the rules promulgated thereunder and each fractional Share has a proportional fractional vote. Shares of all funds vote together as a single class except that if the matter being voted on affects only a particular fund it will be voted on only by that fund, and if a matter affects a particular fund differently from other funds, that fund will vote separately on such matter. Under Delaware law, the Trust is not required to hold an annual meeting of shareholders unless required to do so under the 1940 Act. The policy of the Trust is not to hold an annual meeting of shareholders unless required to do so under the 1940 Act. All Shares of the Trust have noncumulative voting rights for the election of Trustees. Under Delaware law, Trustees of the Trust may be removed by vote of the shareholders.

 

Under Delaware law, shareholders of a statutory trust may have similar limitations on liability as shareholders of a corporation.

 

The Trust will issue through DTC Participants to its shareholders semi-annual reports containing unaudited financial statements and annual reports containing financial statements audited by an

44

independent auditor approved by the Trust’s Trustees and by the shareholders when meetings are held and such other information as may be required by applicable laws, rules and regulations. Beneficial Owners also receive annually notification as to the tax status of the Trust’s distributions.

 

Shareholder inquiries may be made by writing to the Trust, c/o Van Eck Associates Corporation, 335 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10017.

 

COUNSEL AND INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

 

Dechert LLP, 1095 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10036, is counsel to the Trust and has passed upon the validity of the Fund’s Shares.

 

Ernst & Young LLP, 5 Times Square, New York, New York 10036, is the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm and audits the Fund’s financial statements and performs other related audit services.

45

LICENSE AGREEMENT AND DISCLAIMERS

 

The information contained herein regarding the Index was provided by MSCI Inc. (the “Index Provider”).

 

THE FUND IS NOT SPONSORED, ENDORSED, SOLD OR PROMOTED BY MSCI INC. (“MSCI”), ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES, ANY OF ITS INFORMATION PROVIDERS OR ANY OTHER THIRD PARTY INVOLVED IN, OR RELATED TO, COMPILING, COMPUTING OR CREATING ANY MSCI INDEX (COLLECTIVELY, THE “MSCI PARTIES”). THE MSCI INDEXES ARE THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF MSCI. MSCI AND THE MSCI INDEX NAMES ARE SERVICE MARK(S) OF MSCI OR ITS AFFILIATES AND HAVE BEEN LICENSED FOR USE FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES BY VAN ECK ASSOCIATES CORPORATION. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES MAKES ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, TO THE ISSUER OR OWNERS OF THIS FUND OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY REGARDING THE ADVISABILITY OF INVESTING IN FUNDS GENERALLY OR IN THIS FUND PARTICULARLY OR THE ABILITY OF ANY MSCI INDEX TO TRACK CORRESPONDING STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE. MSCI OR ITS AFFILIATES ARE THE LICENSORS OF CERTAIN TRADEMARKS, SERVICE MARKS AND TRADE NAMES AND OF THE MSCI INDEXES WHICH ARE DETERMINED, COMPOSED AND CALCULATED BY MSCI WITHOUT REGARD TO THE FUNDS OR THE ISSUER OR OWNERS OF THE FUNDS OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES HAS ANY OBLIGATION TO TAKE THE NEEDS OF THE ISSUER OR OWNERS OF THE FUND OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY INTO CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING, COMPOSING OR CALCULATING THE MSCI INDEXES. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OR HAS PARTICIPATED IN THE DETERMINATION OF THE TIMING OF, PRICES AT, OR QUANTITIES OF THE FUNDS TO BE ISSUED OR IN THE DETERMINATION OR CALCULATION OF THE EQUATION BY OR THE CONSIDERATION INTO WHICH THIS FUND IS REDEEMABLE. FURTHER, NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES HAS ANY OBLIGATION OR LIABILITY TO THE ISSUER OR OWNERS OF THIS FUND OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION, MARKETING OR OFFERING OF THIS FUND.

 

ALTHOUGH MSCI SHALL OBTAIN INFORMATION FOR INCLUSION IN OR FOR USE IN THE CALCULATION OF THE MSCI INDEXES FROM SOURCES THAT MSCI CONSIDERS RELIABLE, NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES WARRANTS OR GUARANTEES THE ORIGINALITY, ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF ANY MSCI INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES MAKES ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY THE ISSUER OF THE FUND, OWNERS OF THE FUND, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY, FROM THE USE OF ANY MSCI INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES SHALL HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS OR INTERRUPTIONS OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH ANY MSCI INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. FURTHER, NONE OF THE MSCI PARTIES MAKES ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, AND THE MSCI PARTIES HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WITH RESPECT TO EACH MSCI INDEX AND ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT SHALL ANY OF THE MSCI PARTIES HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, CONSEQUENTIAL OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS) EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

 

No purchaser, seller or holder of these securities, products or funds, or any other person or entity, should use or refer to any MSCI trade name, trademark or service mark to sponsor, endorse, market or

46

promote these securities without first contacting MSCI to determine whether MSCI’s permission is required. Under no circumstances may any person or entity claim any affiliation with MSCI without the prior written permission of MSCI.

47

APPENDIX A

 

VAN ECK GLOBAL PROXY VOTING POLICIES

 

Van Eck Global (the “Adviser”) has adopted the following policies and procedures which are reasonably designed to ensure that proxies are voted in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of its clients in accordance with its fiduciary duties and Rule 206(4)-6 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. When an adviser has been granted proxy voting authority by a client, the adviser owes its clients the duties of care and loyalty in performing this service on their behalf. The duty of care requires the adviser to monitor corporate actions and vote client proxies. The duty of loyalty requires the adviser to cast the proxy votes in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of the client.

 

Rule 206(4)-6 also requires the Adviser to disclose information about the proxy voting procedures to its clients and to inform clients how to obtain information about how their proxies were voted. Additionally, Rule 204-2 under the Advisers Act requires the Adviser to maintain certain proxy voting records.

 

An adviser that exercises voting authority without complying with Rule 206(4)-6 will be deemed to have engaged in a “fraudulent, deceptive, or manipulative” act, practice or course of business within the meaning of Section 206(4) of the Advisers Act.

 

The Adviser intends to vote all proxies in accordance with applicable rules and regulations, and in the best interests of clients without influence by real or apparent conflicts of interest. To assist in its responsibility for voting proxies and the overall voting process, the Adviser has engaged an independent third party proxy voting specialist, Glass Lewis & Co., LLC. The services provided by Glass Lewis include in-depth research, global issuer analysis, and voting recommendations as well as vote execution, reporting and recordkeeping.

 

Resolving Material Conflicts of Interest

 

When a material conflict of interest exists, proxies will be voted in the following manner:

 

1.Strict adherence to the Glass Lewis guidelines , or
   
2.The potential conflict will be disclosed to the client:
   
a.with a request that the client vote the proxy,
   
b.with a recommendation that the client engage another party to determine how the proxy should be voted or
   
c.if the foregoing are not acceptable to the client, disclosure of how Van Eck intends to vote and a written consent to that vote by the client.

 

Any deviations from the foregoing voting mechanisms must be approved by the Chief Compliance Officer with a written explanation of the reason for the deviation.

 

A material conflict of interest means the existence of a business relationship between a portfolio company or an affiliate and the Adviser, any affiliate or subsidiary, or an “affiliated person” of a Van Eck mutual fund. Examples of when a material conflict of interest exists include a situation where the adviser provides significant investment advisory, brokerage or other services to a company whose management is soliciting proxies; an officer of the Adviser serves on the board of a charitable organization that receives

48

charitable contributions from the portfolio company and the charitable organization is a client of the Adviser; a portfolio company that is a significant selling agent of the Adviser’s products and services solicits proxies; a broker-dealer or insurance company that controls 5% or more of the Adviser’s assets solicits proxies; the Adviser serves as an investment adviser to the pension or other investment account of the portfolio company; the Adviser and the portfolio company have a lending relationship. In each of these situations voting against management may cause the Adviser a loss of revenue or other benefit.

 

Client Inquiries

 

All inquiries by clients as to how the Adviser has voted proxies must immediately be forwarded to Portfolio Administration.

 

Disclosure to Clients

 

1.Notification of Availability of Information
   
a.Client Brochure - The Client Brochure or Part II of Form ADV will inform clients that they can obtain information from the Adviser on how their proxies were voted. The Client Brochure or Part II of Form ADV will be mailed to each client annually. The Legal Department will be responsible for coordinating the mailing with Sales/Marketing Departments.
   
2.Availability of Proxy Voting Information
   
a.At the client’s request or if the information is not available on the Adviser’s website, a hard copy of the account’s proxy votes will be mailed to each client.

 

Recordkeeping Requirements

 

1.Van Eck will retain the following documentation and information for each matter relating to a portfolio security with respect to which a client was entitled to vote:
   
a.proxy statements received;
   
b.identifying number for the portfolio security;
   
c.shareholder meeting date;
   
d.brief identification of the matter voted on;
   
e.whether the vote was cast on the matter;
   
f.how the vote was cast (e.g., for or against proposal, or abstain; for or withhold regarding election of directors);
   
g.records of written client requests for information on how the Adviser voted proxies on behalf of the client;
   
h.a copy of written responses from the Adviser to any written or oral client request for information on how the Adviser voted proxies on behalf of the client; and any documents prepared by the Adviser that were material to the decision on how to vote or that memorialized the basis for the decision, if such documents were prepared.

 

2.Copies of proxy statements filed on EDGAR, and proxy statements and records of proxy votes maintained with a third party (i.e., proxy voting service) need not be maintained. The third party must agree in writing to provide a copy of the documents promptly upon request.

 

3.If applicable, any document memorializing that the costs of voting a proxy exceed the benefit to the client or any other decision to refrain from voting, and that such abstention was in the client’s best interest.

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4.Proxy voting records will be maintained in an easily accessible place for five years, the first two at the office of the Adviser. Proxy statements on file with EDGAR or maintained by a third party and proxy votes maintained by a third party are not subject to these particular retention requirements.

 

Voting Foreign Proxies

 

At times the Adviser may determine that, in the best interests of its clients, a particular proxy should not be voted. This may occur, for example, when the cost of voting a foreign proxy (translation, transportation, etc.) would exceed the benefit of voting the proxy or voting the foreign proxy may cause an unacceptable limitation on the sale of the security. Any such instances will be documented by the Portfolio Manager and reviewed by the Chief Compliance Officer.

 

Securities Lending

 

Certain portfolios managed by the Adviser participate in securities lending programs to generate additional revenue. Proxy voting rights generally pass to the borrower when a security is on loan. The Adviser will use its best efforts to recall a security on loan and vote such securities if the Portfolio Manager determines that the proxy involves a material event.

 

Proxy Voting Policy

 

The Adviser has reviewed the Glass Lewis Proxy Guidelines (“Guidelines”) and has determined that the Guidelines are consistent with the Adviser’s proxy voting responsibilities and its fiduciary duty with respect to its clients. The Adviser will review any material amendments to the Guidelines.

 

While it is the Adviser’s policy to generally follow the Guidelines, the Adviser retains the right, on any specific proxy, to vote differently from the Guidelines, if the Adviser believes it is in the best interests of its clients. Any such exceptions will be documented by the Adviser and reviewed by the Chief Compliance Officer.

 

The portfolio manager or analyst covering the security is responsible for making proxy voting decisions. Portfolio Administration, in conjunction with the portfolio manager and the custodian, is responsible for monitoring corporate actions and ensuring that corporate actions are timely voted.

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PROXY PAPERTM

GUIDELINES

 

2014 PROXY SEASON

 

AN OVERVIEW OF THE GLASS LEWIS

APPROACH TO PROXY ADVICE

 

UNITED STATES

 

 

 

COPYRIGHT 2014 GLASS LEWIS, & CO., LLC

 
TABLE OF

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

I. OVERVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT UPDATES FOR 2014   1
       
  Majority-Approved Shareholder Proposals Seeking Board Declassification   1
  Poison Pills with a Term of One Year or Less   1
  Dual-Listed Companies   1
  Hedging and Pledging of Stock   1
  SEC Final Rules Regarding Compensation Committee Member Independence and Compensation Consultants   1
       
II. A BOARD OF DIRECTORS THAT SERVES THE INTERESTS OF SHAREHOLDERS   2
       
  Election of Directors   2
  Independence   2
  Voting Recommendations on the Basis of Board Independence   4
  Committee Independence   4
  Independent Chairman   4
  Performance   5
  Voting Recommendations on the Basis of Performance   5
  Board Responsiveness   6
  The Role of a Committee Chairman   6
  Audit Committees and Performance   7
  Standards for Assessing the Audit Committee   7
  Compensation Committee Performance   10
  Nominating and Governance Committee Performance   12
  Board Level Risk Management Oversight   13
  Experience   14
  Other Considerations   14
  Controlled Companies   16
  Unofficially Controlled Companies and 20-50% Beneficial Owners   17
  Exceptions for Recent IPOs   17
  Dual-Listed Companies   18
  Mutual Fund Boards   18
  Declassified Boards   19
  Mandatory Director Term and Age limits   20
  Requiring Two or More Nominees per Board Seat   21
  Proxy Access   21

 

I
 
  Majority Vote for the Election of Directors   21
  The Plurality Vote Standard   21
  Advantages of a Majority Vote Standard   22
       
III. TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY OF FINANCIAL REPORTING   23
       
  Auditor Ratification   23
  Voting Recommendations on Auditor Ratification   23
  Pension Accounting Issues   24
       
IV. THE LINK BETWEEN COMPENSATION AND PERFORMANCE   25
       
  Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (“Say-on-Pay”)   25
  Say-on-Pay Voting Recommendations   26
  Company Responsiveness   27
  Pay for Performance   27
  Short-Term Incentives   27
  Long-Term Incentives   28
  Recoupment (“Clawback”) Provisions   29
  Hedging of Stock   29
  Pledging of Stock   29
  Compensation Consultant Independence   30
  Frequency of Say-on-Pay   30
  Vote on Golden Parachute Arrangements   31
  Equity-Based Compensation Plan Proposals   31
  Option Exchanges   32
  Option Backdating, Spring-Loading and Bullet-Dodging   33
  Director Compensation Plans   33
  Executive Compensation Tax Deductibility (IRS 162(m) Compliance)   34
       
V. GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE AND THE SHAREHOLDER FRANCHISE   35
       
  Anti-Takeover Measures   35
  Poison Pills (Shareholder Rights Plans)   35
  NOL Poison Pills   35
  Fair Price Provisions   36
  Reincorporation   37
  Exclusive Forum Provisions   37
  Authorized Shares   38
  Advance Notice Requirements   38
  Voting Structure   39
  Cumulative Voting   39
  Supermajority Vote Requirements   40

 

II
 
  Transaction of Other Business   40
  Anti-Greenmail Proposals   40
  Mutual Funds: Investment Policies and Advisory Agreements   40
  Real Estate Investment Trusts   41
  Preferred Stock Issuances at REITs   41
  Business Development Companies   41
  Authorization to Sell Shares at a Price below Net Asset Value   41
       
VI. COMPENSATION, ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE SHAREHOLDER INITIATIVES OVERVIEW   43

 

III
 
I.

 

 

 

OVERVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT UPDATES FOR 2014

Glass Lewis evaluates these guidelines on an ongoing basis and formally updates them on an annual basis. This year we’ve made noteworthy revisions in the following areas, which are summarized below but discussed in greater detail throughout this document:

 

MAJORITY-APPROVED SHAREHOLDER PROPOSALS SEEKING BOARD DECLASSIFICATION

 

We have updated our policy with regard to implementation of majority-approved shareholder proposals seeking board declassification. If a company fails to implement a shareholder proposal seeking board declassification, which received majority support from shareholders (excluding abstentions and broker non-votes) at the previous year’s annual meeting, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against all nominees up for election that served throughout the previous year, regardless of their committee membership.

 

POISON PILLS WITH A TERM OF ONE YEAR OR LESS

 

We have refined our policy with regard to short-term poison pills (those with a term of one year or less). If a poison pill with a term of one year or less was adopted without shareholder approval, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against all members of the governance committee. If the board has, without seeking shareholder approval, extended the term of a poison pill by one year or less in two consecutive years, we will consider recommending that shareholders vote against the entire board.

 

DUAL-LISTED COMPANIES

 

We have clarified our approach to companies whose shares are listed on exchanges in multiple countries, and which may seek shareholder approval of proposals in accordance with varying exchange- and country-specific rules. In determining which Glass Lewis country-specific policy to apply, we will consider a number of factors, and we will apply the policy standards most relevant in each situation.

 

HEDGING AND PLEDGING OF STOCK

 

We have included general discussions of our policies regarding hedging of stock and pledging of shares owned by executives.

 

SEC FINAL RULES REGARDING COMPENSATION COMMITTEE MEMBER INDEPENDENCE AND COMPENSATION CONSULTANTS

 

We have summarized the SEC requirements for compensation committee member independence and compensation consultant independence, and how these new rules may affect our evaluation of compensation committee members. These requirements were mandated by Section 952 of the Dodd-Frank Act and formally adopted by the NYSE and NASDAQ in 2013. Companies listed on these exchanges were required to meet certain basic requirements under the new rules by July 1, 2013, with full compliance by the earlier of their first annual meeting after January 15, 2014, or October 31, 2014.

 

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II.

 

 

 

A BOARD OF DIRECTORS THAT SERVES THE INTERESTS OF SHAREHOLDERS

ELECTION OF DIRECTORS

 

The purpose of Glass Lewis’ proxy research and advice is to facilitate shareholder voting in favor of governance structures that will drive performance, create shareholder value and maintain a proper tone at the top. Glass Lewis looks for talented boards with a record of protecting shareholders and delivering value over the medium- and long-term. We believe that a board can best protect and enhance the interests of shareholders if it is sufficiently independent, has a record of positive performance, and consists of individuals with diverse backgrounds and a breadth and depth of relevant experience.

 

INDEPENDENCE

 

The independence of directors, or lack thereof, is ultimately demonstrated through the decisions they make. In assessing the independence of directors, we will take into consideration, when appropriate, whether a director has a track record indicative of making objective decisions. Likewise, when assessing the independence of directors we will also examine when a director’s service track record on multiple boards indicates a lack of objective decision-making. Ultimately, we believe the determination of whether a director is independent or not must take into consideration both compliance with the applicable independence listing requirements as well as judgments made by the director.

 

We look at each director nominee to examine the director’s relationships with the company, the company’s executives, and other directors. We do this to evaluate whether personal, familial, or financial relationships (not including director compensation) may impact the director’s decisions. We believe that such relationships make it difficult for a director to put shareholders’ interests above the director’s or the related party’s interests. We also believe that a director who owns more than 20% of a company can exert disproportionate influence on the board and, in particular, the audit committee.

 

Thus, we put directors into three categories based on an examination of the type of relationship they have with the company:

 

Independent Director – An independent director has no material financial, familial or other current relationships with the company, its executives, or other board members, except for board service and standard fees paid for that service. Relationships that existed within three to five years1 before the inquiry are usually considered “current” for purposes of this test.

 

In our view, a director who is currently serving in an interim management position should be considered an insider, while a director who previously served in an interim management position for less than one year and is no longer serving in such capacity is considered independent. Moreover, a director who previously served in an interim management position for over one year and is no longer serving in such capacity is considered an affiliate for five years following the date of his/her resignation or departure from the interim management position. Glass Lewis applies a three-year look-back period to all directors who have an affiliation with the company other than former employment, for which we apply a five-year look-back.

 

 

1 NASDAQ originally proposed a five-year look-back period but both it and the NYSE ultimately settled on a three-year look-back prior to finalizing their rules. A five-year standard is more appropriate, in our view, because we believe that the unwinding of conflicting relationships between former management and board members is more likely to be complete and final after five years. However, Glass Lewis does not apply the five-year look-back period to directors who have previously served as executives of the company on an interim basis for less than one year.

 

2
 

Affiliated Director – An affiliated director has a material financial, familial or other relationship with the company or its executives, but is not an employee of the company.2 This includes directors whose employers have a material financial relationship with the company.3 In addition, we view a director who owns or controls 20% or more of the company’s voting stock as an affiliate.4

 

We view 20% shareholders as affiliates because they typically have access to and involvement with the management of a company that is fundamentally different from that of ordinary shareholders. More importantly, 20% holders may have interests that diverge from those of ordinary holders, for reasons such as the liquidity (or lack thereof) of their holdings, personal tax issues, etc.

 

Definition of “Material”: A material relationship is one in which the dollar value exceeds:

 

  $50,000 (or where no amount is disclosed) for directors who are paid for a service they have agreed to perform for the company, outside of their service as a director, including professional or other services; or
    
  $120,000 (or where no amount is disclosed) for those directors employed by a professional services firm such as a law firm, investment bank, or consulting firm and the company pays the firm, not the individual, for services. This dollar limit would also apply to charitable contributions to schools where a board member is a professor; or charities where a director serves on the board or is an executive;5 and any aircraft and real estate dealings between the company and the director’s firm; or

 

  1% of either company’s consolidated gross revenue for other business relationships (e.g., where the director is an executive officer of a company that provides services or products to or receives services or products from the company).6

 

Definition of “Familial”: Familial relationships include a person’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and anyone (other than domestic employees) who shares such person’s home. A director is an affiliate if: i) he or she has a family member who is employed by the company and receives more than $120,000 in annual compensation; or, ii) he or she has a family member who is employed by the company and the company does not disclose this individual’s compensation. 

 

Definition of “Company”: A company includes any parent or subsidiary in a group with the company or any entity that merged with, was acquired by, or acquired the company.

 

Inside Director – An inside director simultaneously serves as a director and as an employee of the company. This category may include a chairman of the board who acts as an employee of the company or is paid as an employee of the company. In our view, an inside director who derives a greater amount of income as a result of affiliated transactions with the company rather than through compensation paid by the company (i.e., salary, bonus, etc. as a company employee) faces a conflict between making decisions that are in the best interests of the company versus those in the director’s own best interests. Therefore, we will recommend voting against such a director.

 

 

2 If a company classifies one of its non-employee directors as non-independent, Glass Lewis will classify that director as an affiliate.

3 We allow a five-year grace period for former executives of the company or merged companies who have consulting agreements with the surviving company. (We do not automatically recommend voting against directors in such cases for the first five years.) If the consulting agreement persists after this five-year grace period, we apply the materiality thresholds outlined in the definition of “material.”

4 This includes a director who serves on a board as a representative (as part of his or her basic responsibilities) of an in-vestment firm with greater than 20% ownership. However, while we will generally consider him/her to be affiliated, we will not recommend voting against unless (i) the investment firm has disproportionate board representation or (ii) the director serves on the audit committee.

5 We will generally take into consideration the size and nature of such charitable entities in relation to the company’s size and industry along with any other relevant factors such as the director’s role at the charity. However, unlike for other types of related party transactions, Glass Lewis generally does not apply a look-back period to affiliated relationships involving charitable contributions; if the relationship between the director and the school or charity ceases, or if the company discontinues its donations to the entity, we will consider the director to be independent.

6 This includes cases where a director is employed by, or closely affiliated with, a private equity firm that profits from an acquisition made by the company. Unless disclosure suggests otherwise, we presume the director is affiliated.

 

3
 

VOTING RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE BASIS OF BOARD INDEPENDENCE

 

Glass Lewis believes a board will be most effective in protecting shareholders’ interests if it is at least two-thirds independent. We note that each of the Business Roundtable, the Conference Board, and the Council of Institutional Investors advocates that two-thirds of the board be independent. Where more than one-third of the members are affiliated or inside directors, we typically7 recommend voting against some of the inside and/or affiliated directors in order to satisfy the two-thirds threshold.

 

In the case of a less than two-thirds independent board, Glass Lewis strongly supports the existence of a presiding or lead director with authority to set the meeting agendas and to lead sessions outside the insider chairman’s presence.

 

In addition, we scrutinize avowedly “independent” chairmen and lead directors. We believe that they should be unquestionably independent or the company should not tout them as such.

 

COMMITTEE INDEPENDENCE

 

We believe that only independent directors should serve on a company’s audit, compensation, nominating, and governance committees.8 We typically recommend that shareholders vote against any affiliated or inside director seeking appointment to an audit, compensation, nominating, or governance committee, or who has served in that capacity in the past year.

 

Pursuant to Section 952 of the Dodd-Frank Act, as of January 11, 2013, the SEC approved new listing requirements for both the NYSE and NASDAQ which require that boards apply enhanced standards of independence when making an affirmative determination of the independence of compensation committee members. Specifically, when making this determination, in addition to the factors considered when assessing general director independence, the board’s considerations must include: (i) the source of compensation of the director, including any consulting, advisory or other compensatory fee paid by the listed company to the director (the “Fees Factor”); and (ii) whether the director is affiliated with the listing company, its subsidiaries, or affiliates of its subsidiaries (the “Affiliation Factor”).

 

Glass Lewis believes it is important for boards to consider these enhanced independence factors when assessing compensation committee members. However, as discussed above in the section titled Independence, we apply our own standards when assessing the independence of directors, and these standards also take into account consulting and advisory fees paid to the director, as well as the director’s affiliations with the company and its subsidiaries and affiliates. We may recommend voting against compensation committee members who are not independent based on our standards.

 

INDEPENDENT CHAIRMAN

 

Glass Lewis believes that separating the roles of CEO (or, more rarely, another executive position) and chairman creates a better governance structure than a combined CEO/chairman position. An executive manages the business according to a course the board charts. Executives should report to the board regarding their performance in achieving goals set by the board. This is needlessly complicated when a CEO chairs the board, since a CEO/chairman presumably will have a significant influence over the board.

 

It can become difficult for a board to fulfill its role of overseer and policy setter when a CEO/chairman controls the agenda and the boardroom discussion. Such control can allow a CEO to have an entrenched

 

 

7 With a staggered board, if the affiliates or insiders that we believe should not be on the board are not up for election, we will express our concern regarding those directors, but we will not recommend voting against the other affiliates or insiders who are up for election just to achieve two-thirds independence. However, we will consider recommending voting against the directors subject to our concern at their next election if the concerning issue is not resolved.

8 We will recommend voting against an audit committee member who owns 20% or more of the company’s stock, and we believe that there should be a maximum of one director (or no directors if the committee is comprised of less than three directors) who owns 20% or more of the company’s stock on the compensation, nominating, and governance committees.

 

4
 

position, leading to longer-than-optimal terms, fewer checks on management, less scrutiny of the business operation, and limitations on independent, shareholder-focused goal-setting by the board.

 

A CEO should set the strategic course for the company, with the board’s approval, and the board should enable the CEO to carry out the CEO’s vision for accomplishing the board’s objectives. Failure to achieve the board’s objectives should lead the board to replace that CEO with someone in whom the board has confidence.

 

Likewise, an independent chairman can better oversee executives and set a pro-shareholder agenda without the management conflicts that a CEO and other executive insiders often face. Such oversight and concern for shareholders allows for a more proactive and effective board of directors that is better able to look out for the interests of shareholders.

 

Further, it is the board’s responsibility to select a chief executive who can best serve a company and its shareholders and to replace this person when his or her duties have not been appropriately fulfilled. Such a replacement becomes more difficult and happens less frequently when the chief executive is also in the position of overseeing the board.

 

Glass Lewis believes that the installation of an independent chairman is almost always a positive step from a corporate governance perspective and promotes the best interests of shareholders. Further, the presence of an independent chairman fosters the creation of a thoughtful and dynamic board, not dominated by the views of senior management. Encouragingly, many companies appear to be moving in this direction—one study even indicates that less than 12 percent of incoming CEOs in 2009 were awarded the chairman title, versus 48 percent as recently as 2002.9 Another study finds that 45 percent of S&P 500 boards now separate the CEO and chairman roles, up from 23 percent in 2003, although the same study found that of those companies, only 25 percent have truly independent chairs.10

 

We do not recommend that shareholders vote against CEOs who chair the board. However, we typically recommend that our clients support separating the roles of chairman and CEO whenever that question is posed in a proxy (typically in the form of a shareholder proposal), as we believe that it is in the long-term best interests of the company and its shareholders.

 

PERFORMANCE

 

The most crucial test of a board’s commitment to the company and its shareholders lies in the actions of the board and its members. We look at the performance of these individuals as directors and executives of the company and of other companies where they have served.

 

VOTING RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE BASIS OF PERFORMANCE

 

We disfavor directors who have a record of not fulfilling their responsibilities to shareholders at any company where they have held a board or executive position. We typically recommend voting against:

 

  1.A director who fails to attend a minimum of 75% of board and applicable committee meetings, calculated in the aggregate.11

 

  2.A director who belatedly filed a significant form(s) 4 or 5, or who has a pattern of late filings if the late filing was the director’s fault (we look at these late filing situations on a case-by-case basis).

 

 

9 Ken Favaro, Per-Ola Karlsson and Gary Neilson. “CEO Succession 2000-2009: A Decade of Convergence and Compression.” Booz & Company (from Strategy+Business, Issue 59, Summer 2010).

10 Spencer Stuart Board Index, 2013, p. 5

11 However, where a director has served for less than one full year, we will typically not recommend voting against for failure to attend 75% of meetings. Rather, we will note the poor attendance with a recommendation to track this issue going forward. We will also refrain from recommending to vote against directors when the proxy discloses that the director missed the meetings due to serious illness or other extenuating circumstances.

 

5
 
  3.A director who is also the CEO of a company where a serious and material restatement has occurred after the CEO had previously certified the pre-restatement financial statements.

 

  4.A director who has received two against recommendations from Glass Lewis for identical reasons within the prior year at different companies (the same situation must also apply at the company being analyzed).

 

  5.All directors who served on the board if, for the last three years, the company’s performance has been in the bottom quartile of the sector and the directors have not taken reasonable steps to address the poor performance.

 

BOARD RESPONSIVENESS

 

Glass Lewis believes that any time 25% or more of shareholders vote contrary to the recommendation of management, the board should, depending on the issue, demonstrate some level of responsiveness to address the concerns of shareholders. These include instances when 25% or more of shareholders (excluding abstentions and broker non-votes): WITHOLD votes from (or vote AGAINST) a director nominee, vote AGAINST a management-sponsored proposal, or vote FOR a shareholder proposal. In our view, a 25% threshold is significant enough to warrant a close examination of the underlying issues and an evaluation of whether or not a board response was warranted and, if so, whether the board responded appropriately following the vote. While the 25% threshold alone will not automatically generate a negative vote recommendation from Glass Lewis on a future proposal (e.g. to recommend against a director nominee, against a say-on-pay proposal, etc.), it may be a contributing factor if we recommend to vote against management’s recommendation in the event we determine that the board did not respond appropriately.

 

As a general framework, our evaluation of board responsiveness involves a review of publicly available disclosures (e.g. the proxy statement, annual report, 8-Ks, company website, etc.) released following the date of the company’s last annual meeting up through the publication date of our most current Proxy Paper. Depending on the specific issue, our focus typically includes, but is not limited to, the following:

 

  At the board level, any changes in directorships, committee memberships, disclosure of related party transactions, meeting attendance, or other responsibilities;

 

  Any revisions made to the company’s articles of incorporation, bylaws or other governance documents;

 

  Any press or news releases indicating changes in, or the adoption of, new company policies, business practices or special reports; and

 

  Any modifications made to the design and structure of the company’s compensation program.

 

Our Proxy Paper analysis will include a case-by-case assessment of the specific elements of board responsiveness that we examined along with an explanation of how that assessment impacts our current vote recommendations.

 

THE ROLE OF A COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

 

Glass Lewis believes that a designated committee chairman maintains primary responsibility for the actions of his or her respective committee. As such, many of our committee-specific vote recommendations deal with the applicable committee chair rather than the entire committee (depending on the seriousness of the issue). However, in cases where we would ordinarily recommend voting against a committee chairman but the chair is not specified, we apply the following general rules, which apply throughout our guidelines:

 

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  If there is no committee chair, we recommend voting against the longest-serving committee member or, if the longest-serving committee member cannot be determined, the longest-serving board member serving on the committee (i.e. in either case, the “senior director”); and

 

  If there is no committee chair, but multiple senior directors serving on the committee, we recommend voting against both (or all) such senior directors.

 

In our view, companies should provide clear disclosure of which director is charged with overseeing each committee. In cases where that simple framework is ignored and a reasonable analysis cannot determine which committee member is the designated leader, we believe shareholder action against the longest serving committee member(s) is warranted. Again, this only applies if we would ordinarily recommend voting against the committee chair but there is either no such position or no designated director in such role.

 

On the contrary, in cases where there is a designated committee chair and the recommendation is to vote against the committee chair, but the chair is not up for election because the board is staggered, we do not recommend voting against any members of the committee who are up for election; rather, we will simply express our concern with regard to the committee chair.

 

AUDIT COMMITTEES AND PERFORMANCE

 

Audit committees play an integral role in overseeing the financial reporting process because “[v]ibrant and stable capital markets depend on, among other things, reliable, transparent, and objective financial information to support an efficient and effective capital market process. The vital oversight role audit committees play in the process of producing financial information has never been more important.”12

 

When assessing an audit committee’s performance, we are aware that an audit committee does not prepare financial statements, is not responsible for making the key judgments and assumptions that affect the financial statements, and does not audit the numbers or the disclosures provided to investors. Rather, an audit committee member monitors and oversees the process and procedures that management and auditors perform. The 1999 Report and Recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Improving the Effectiveness of Corporate Audit Committees stated it best:

 

A proper and well-functioning system exists, therefore, when the three main groups responsible for financial reporting – the full board including the audit committee, financial management including the internal auditors, and the outside auditors – form a ‘three legged stool’ that supports responsible financial disclosure and active participatory oversight. However, in the view of the Committee, the audit committee must be ‘first among equals’ in this process, since the audit committee is an extension of the full board and hence the ultimate monitor of the process.

 

STANDARDS FOR ASSESSING THE AUDIT COMMITTEE

 

For an audit committee to function effectively on investors’ behalf, it must include members with sufficient knowledge to diligently carry out their responsibilities. In its audit and accounting recommendations, the Conference Board Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise said “members of the audit committee must be independent and have both knowledge and experience in auditing financial matters.”13

 

We are skeptical of audit committees where there are members that lack expertise as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or corporate controller, or similar experience. While

 

 

12 Audit Committee Effectiveness – What Works Best.” PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation. 2005.

13 Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise. The Conference Board. 2003.

 

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we will not necessarily vote against members of an audit committee when such expertise is lacking, we are more likely to vote against committee members when a problem such as a restatement occurs and such expertise is lacking.

 

Glass Lewis generally assesses audit committees against the decisions they make with respect to their oversight and monitoring role. The quality and integrity of the financial statements and earnings reports, the completeness of disclosures necessary for investors to make informed decisions, and the effectiveness of the internal controls should provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are materially free from errors. The independence of the external auditors and the results of their work all provide useful information by which to assess the audit committee.

 

When assessing the decisions and actions of the audit committee, we typically defer to its judgment and would vote in favor of its members, but we would recommend voting against the following members under the following circumstances:14

 

  1. All members of the audit committee when options were backdated, there is a lack of adequate controls in place, there was a resulting restatement, and disclosures indicate there was a lack of documentation with respect to the option grants.

 

  2. The audit committee chair, if the audit committee does not have a financial expert or the committee’s financial expert does not have a demonstrable financial background sufficient to understand the financial issues unique to public companies.

 

  3. The audit committee chair, if the audit committee did not meet at least 4 times during the year.

 

  4. The audit committee chair, if the committee has less than three members.

 

  5. Any audit committee member who sits on more than three public company audit committees, unless the audit committee member is a retired CPA, CFO, controller or has similar experience, in which case the limit shall be four committees, taking time and availability into consideration including a review of the audit committee member’s attendance at all board and committee meetings.15

 

  6. All members of an audit committee who are up for election and who served on the committee at the time of the audit, if audit and audit-related fees total one-third or less of the total fees billed by the auditor.

 

  7. The audit committee chair when tax and/or other fees are greater than audit and audit-related fees paid to the auditor for more than one year in a row (in which case we also recommend against ratification of the auditor).

 

  8. All members of an audit committee where non-audit fees include fees for tax services (including, but not limited to, such things as tax avoidance or shelter schemes) for senior executives of the company. Such services are prohibited by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”).

 

  9. All members of an audit committee that reappointed an auditor that we no longer consider to be independent for reasons unrelated to fee proportions.

 

 

14 As discussed under the section labeled “Committee Chairman,” where the recommendation is to vote against the committee chair but the chair is not up for election because the board is staggered, we do not recommend voting against the members of the committee who are up for election; rather, we will simply express our concern with regard to the committee chair.

15 Glass Lewis may exempt certain audit committee members from the above threshold if, upon further analysis of relevant factors such as the director’s experience, the size, industry-mix and location of the companies involved and the director’s attendance at all the companies, we can reasonably determine that the audit committee member is likely not hindered by multiple audit committee commitments.

 

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  10. All members of an audit committee when audit fees are excessively low, especially when compared with other companies in the same industry.

 

  11. The audit committee chair16 if the committee failed to put auditor ratification on the ballot for shareholder approval. However, if the non-audit fees or tax fees exceed audit plus audit-related fees in either the current or the prior year, then Glass Lewis will recommend voting against the entire audit committee.

 

  12. All members of an audit committee where the auditor has resigned and reported that a section 10A17 letter has been issued.

 

  13. All members of an audit committee at a time when material accounting fraud occurred at the company.18

 

  14. All members of an audit committee at a time when annual and/or multiple quarterly financial statements had to be restated, and any of the following factors apply:

 

  The restatement involves fraud or manipulation by insiders;

 

  The restatement is accompanied by an SEC inquiry or investigation;

 

  The restatement involves revenue recognition;

 

  The restatement results in a greater than 5% adjustment to costs of goods sold, operating expense, or operating cash flows; or

 

  The restatement results in a greater than 5% adjustment to net income, 10% adjustment to assets or shareholders equity, or cash flows from financing or investing activities.

 

  15. All members of an audit committee if the company repeatedly fails to file its financial reports in a timely fashion. For example, the company has filed two or more quarterly or annual financial statements late within the last 5 quarters.

 

  16. All members of an audit committee when it has been disclosed that a law enforcement agency has charged the company and/or its employees with a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

 

  17. All members of an audit committee when the company has aggressive accounting policies and/ or poor disclosure or lack of sufficient transparency in its financial statements.

 

  18. All members of the audit committee when there is a disagreement with the auditor and the auditor resigns or is dismissed (e.g., the company receives an adverse opinion on its financial statements from the auditor).

 

  19. All members of the audit committee if the contract with the auditor specifically limits the auditor’s liability to the company for damages.19

 

  20. All members of the audit committee who served since the date of the company’s last annual

 

 

16 As discussed under the section labeled “Committee Chairman,” in all cases, if the chair of the committee is not specified, we recommend voting against the director who has been on the committee the longest.

17 Auditors are required to report all potential illegal acts to management and the audit committee unless they are clearly inconsequential in nature. If the audit committee or the board fails to take appropriate action on an act that has been determined to be a violation of the law, the independent auditor is required to send a section 10A letter to the SEC. Such letters are rare and therefore we believe should be taken seriously.

18 Recent research indicates that revenue fraud now accounts for over 60% of SEC fraud cases, and that companies that engage in fraud experience significant negative abnormal stock price declines—facing bankruptcy, delisting, and material asset sales at much higher rates than do non-fraud firms (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. “Fraudulent Financial Reporting: 1998-2007.” May 2010).

19 The Council of Institutional Investors. “Corporate Governance Policies,” p. 4, April 5, 2006; and “Letter from Council of Institutional Investors to the AICPA,” November 8, 2006.

 

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    meeting, and when, since the last annual meeting, the company has reported a material weakness that has not yet been corrected, or, when the company has an ongoing material weakness from a prior year that has not yet been corrected.

 

We also take a dim view of audit committee reports that are boilerplate, and which provide little or no information or transparency to investors. When a problem such as a material weakness, restatement or late filings occurs, we take into consideration, in forming our judgment with respect to the audit committee, the transparency of the audit committee report.

 

COMPENSATION COMMITTEE PERFORMANCE

 

Compensation committees have the final say in determining the compensation of executives. This includes deciding the basis on which compensation is determined, as well as the amounts and types of compensation to be paid. This process begins with the hiring and initial establishment of employment agreements, including the terms for such items as pay, pensions and severance arrangements. It is important in establishing compensation arrangements that compensation be consistent with, and based on the long-term economic performance of, the business’s long-term shareholders returns.

 

Compensation committees are also responsible for the oversight of the transparency of compensation. This oversight includes disclosure of compensation arrangements, the matrix used in assessing pay for performance, and the use of compensation consultants. In order to ensure the independence of the compensation consultant, we believe the compensation committee should only engage a compensation consultant that is not also providing any services to the company or management apart from their contract with the compensation committee. It is important to investors that they have clear and complete disclosure of all the significant terms of compensation arrangements in order to make informed decisions with respect to the oversight and decisions of the compensation committee.

 

Finally, compensation committees are responsible for oversight of internal controls over the executive compensation process. This includes controls over gathering information used to determine compensation, establishment of equity award plans, and granting of equity awards. For example, the use of a compensation consultant who maintains a business relationship with company management may cause the committee to make decisions based on information that is compromised by the consultant’s conflict of interests. Lax controls can also contribute to improper awards of compensation such as through granting of backdated or spring-loaded options, or granting of bonuses when triggers for bonus payments have not been met.

 

Central to understanding the actions of a compensation committee is a careful review of the Compensation Discussion and Analysis (“CD&A”) report included in each company’s proxy. We review the CD&A in our evaluation of the overall compensation practices of a company, as overseen by the compensation committee. The CD&A is also integral to the evaluation of compensation proposals at companies, such as advisory votes on executive compensation, which allow shareholders to vote on the compensation paid to a company’s top executives.

 

When assessing the performance of compensation committees, we will recommend voting against for the following:20

 

  1. All members of the compensation committee who are up for election and served at the time of poor pay-for-performance (e.g., a company receives an F grade in our pay-for-performance analysis) when shareholders are not provided with an advisory vote on executive compensation

 

 

20 As discussed under the section labeled “Committee Chairman,” where the recommendation is to vote against the committee chair and the chair is not up for election because the board is staggered, we do not recommend voting against any members of the committee who are up for election; rather, we will simply express our concern with regard to the committee chair.

 

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